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St. Anne's Class Of '56 Gets Together

February 14, 2006
By MELISSA PIONZIO, Courant Staff Writer

When members of the Class of 1956 recall their days at the former St. Anne's School in Hartford, they remember strict nuns in starched habits, and separate lunches, and recess times that kept boys and girls from fraternizing.

But the former students, now in their 60s, say their best memories are of the friendships they made: meeting at the Frog Hollow Restaurant for soda and grinders, catching a movie at the Lyric Theater or ice-skating at Pope Park.

"I don't know if it was in spite of or because of the sternness, but it seems like we were all friends," said St. Anne's graduate Lorraine (Boucher) Marcello of the Unionville section of Farmington. "Most of us were in school together for about eight years and we grew up together. These were special, special relationships."

The classmates will rekindle those relationships during a reunion planned for the Manchester Grill in Manchester on June 17 - the same date they graduated from the Catholic grammar school 50 years ago.

Responses from classmates have been good so far, said reunion committee members, who are still trying to locate about 23 of the 75 students that made up the class.

"The reunion is so we can get back that feeling of being together again," said Leila (Lussier) DiMauro of East Hartford. "So we can see what everyone has done with their lives, how many children and grandchildren."

Located on Babcock and Lawrence streets, where the Maria Sanchez School now stands, St. Anne's was run by the Daughters of the Holy Spirit from 1936 until it closed in the mid-1980s.

In school, Louise (Primeau) Conran said, her dream was to become a nun, which put her in good standing with her teachers. "But then I discovered boys and changed my mind," she said. "I met my husband and fell in love and have been married for 45 years."

One Sunday this past November, Conran and a group of classmates returned to St. Anne's Church, where they heard the Mass in French. The neighborhood may have changed, she said, but being in the church made it feel as if she were back home again.

"I lost it, I started crying," she said. "My parents were married in that church. I was baptized in that church, made my first communion and graduation there. It brought back a lot of memories."

For information on the reunion, call Daniel Desmarais, 860-644-4224; Lorraine Marcello, 860-673-8399; Louise Conran, 860-569-4470 or Leila DiMauro, 860-568-1317.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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