Friday, September 24: Class Dinner in San Diego.  

To coordinate with the 1 PM football game against the University of San Diego on the 25th.  Optional tennis or golf at the Del Mar Country Club Friday afternoon.  Also, the Friends of Princeton Football have arranged a major tailgate picnic at the stadium before the game, starting at 10:30 AM.

Chairmen: Jim Blair & Joe McGinity

'61's Southern California weekend - 9/24 and 9/25 
by Joe McGinity

Twenty-five classmates and significant others gathered for a weekend of fun and football on 9/24 and 25 in sunny southern California. Inspired by the invitation of Jim and Sue Blair, we met Friday night for dinner at their home in Rancho Santa Fe, overlooking the picturesque Del Mar Country Club.

Californians present were: our hosts Jim and Sue, Vern and Judy Close, Parker and Sally Finch, Ron and Barbara Goldman, Chip and Nancy Hatch, Phil and Kathy Johnson, Paul and Sue Rubincam, Bill and Jacqui Rudell, George Scheele and Judith Ryland. From out of town came Carol Wojciechowicz, Jerry and Wilma Ehrens, Art and Stephanie Strasburger, Maureen and I. Shirley Tilghman was at a gathering in Los Angeles, but sent her regrets.

From cocktails to dinner and dessert at the Blairs the buzz was like a family gathering. Plenty of stories, lots of laughs and friendships renewed. Bill Rudell led a locomotive for our generous hosts, and we passed the hat for donations to our 45th reunion fund. It was late when the last of us left the Blairs, but the fun wasn't over.

McGinity, Sheele, Jim and Sue, Wilma and Jerry Ehrens, Sally Finch, Judith Ryland, Jacqui Rudell

Next day we made our way to the scenic campus of the University of San Diego, where our Princeton Tigers were to play their first game ever on the west coast. USD was founded in 1949, has 4,800 undergrads, and is a built in a Spanish Renaissance style, overlooking Mission Bay and the Pacific, just north of San Diego. The tailgate was well attended and featured President Tilghman, the Princeton Band, and a score or more of us in our "1961" caps.


                                                                                     at USD before the game, with Shirley Tilghman 

Standing, from left - Kathy Johnson, Blair, Rubincam, Barbara Goldman, Kurt Hovan '89, Shirley, Carol Wojciechowicz.  Kneeling - Phil Johnson, Sue Blair, McGinity, Lisa Blair Hovan '87

On to the game, which drew a good crowd, and was closely fought. We jumped out to a 21 point lead in the second quarter, then held on to win 24 - 17.  When the issue was in doubt, Princeton spirits were rallied by a lone bagpiper playing "Going Back to Nassau Hall." A tall, handsome guy, could have been from the Royal Highland Regiment - except for his "1961" baseball cap! It was our own Chip Hatch.* The tiger defense stiffened, threw the Toreros for a loss, and the game was won. Thanks Chip!  [Click herefor complete game details.]

After the game a bunch of us gathered for margaritas and guacamole at La Casa de Bandini in historic Old Town, to celebrate. Among the revelers were Chip, Carol Wojcie, the Blairs (and family), Goldmans, Strasburgers, Closes, Sheele, and the McGinitys. The margaritas were huge, and somehow we all got home, I think. Terrific time all around.

* from Chip Hatch: "[An] exchange of emails [about the Band making the trip to San Diego] is how the whole bagpiping-at-Torrero-stadium caper came to be. Ben Elias [is] the band secretary, as well as a clarinetist. He was my contact. His particular uniform fittingly was a Princeton kilt, an orange and black tartan. Between the final whistle and the margarita at Casa Bandini I joined the band in the traditional end of game set of jazzy type tunes at the stadium gate. They invited me join in their drum riff with my pipes. It was great fun. Did I mention that at the time? Probably got lost in Bandini good fellowship and lime. At the game, by the end of the first half I was ready to move out of the west facing end zone section, in which the band and I were melting down, to join you all.  It got a bit surreal sitting next to all the honking and thudding and clanging (most of it was musical) whenever Princeton made a great play.  I tried complementing their "Going Back" with a bagpipe version which I rehearsed by myself at the beach last week.  When I came over to your section you all were kind to put up with my playing. It's my version of "Prairie Home Companion's" spoof-sponsor Powder Milk Biscuits: You know the bit where Garrison Keillor says "My, how delicious. They give shy people the courage to get up and do what has to be done." I don't consider myself a complete wall flower, but the pipes at least are a conversation piece. Believe it or not those real musicians in the Princeton band were fascinated with how the pipes worked. I don't think I knew any band people when we were undergrads.

Anyway, you get the idea. I started taking lessons in 1986 from a friend of the family's prodigy teenage son.  Chip

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