By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
Amsterdam residents Fred Wawrzonek and Leonard Korona have known each other for almost 80 years.
The two grew up together in Amsterdam, becoming best friends in grade school. After graduating from Amsterdam High School -- Wawrzonek in 1948 and Korona in 1949 -- they went their separate ways.
On Saturday, the two reunited at the Raindancer Steak Parlour to reminisce during the joint Amsterdam High School classes of 1948 and 1949 reunion.
"We were close in grade school," Korona recalled. "We still see each other from time to time."
Wawrzonek owns Fred's Flower and Gift Shop on Reid Street, which he opened after graduation, 65 years ago, while Korona went on to become an electrician.
"He does my electric," Wawrzonek said.
Korona said it was something he always wanted to do.
"I was surprised when I looked in my yearbook to see that my life's ambition was to be an electrician," he said. "I guess I accomplished that goal."
Class of 1948 graduates Nancy Catena and Betty Blase were also catching up, after losing touch over the years.
"We were best friends since kindergarten," Catena said.
Blase said for several years after high school, they remained in touch.
"I remember the Christmas cards," she said. "There was a new kid in each of them."
However, Catena said they gradually lost touch over the years as they settled down raise their families.
"It's fun to come back here after so many years," Blase said.
Catena agreed, but said she wished they were younger.
Another class of 1949 pair, Frank Fusco and Vito Ottati, didn't become friends until high school, but today the two are still friends, along with their wives.
Ottati said he was glad to come back to reunite with old classmates.
"I am happy to be here to see who everyone is," he said. "There are some here who I haven't seen in over 50 years."
Between the two classes, nearly 100 alumni and their guests attended the event. For the class of 1948, it was the last celebration they would have together.
Reunion committee member Dorothy Pawlowski said many of the alumni are more than 83 years old and after losing more than half of the class, the committee decided the 66-year reunion would be the last.
"It is sad we are not going to have another one," Pawlowski said.