SADDLE BROOK, N.J.– Saddle Brook High School graduate Tommy "Purple" Hayes is planning a multi-class reunion to coincide with the township's ongoing tricentennial celebration.
The reunion is open to those who graduated in 1961 through 1976.
"Five years ago, my class (1971) had a reunion at The Fiesta," Hayes said. "It was a formal event. We had a good turnout – around 80 people."
For this reunion, Hayes was looking for a more "relaxed" atmosphere.
The event will be held on Aug. 26 at the VFW, one day before the 300th anniversary picnic . It'll run from 7 p.m. until midnight.
Hayes saw Facebook posts about people wanting a high school reunion and "I’m kind of known as an organizer," said the Drums From Heaven founder.
The retired mail carrier said he spent two hours a day circulating the reunion information via e-mail, Facebook, classmates.com and conversations.
Someone from California booked a flight to attend, Hayes said.
"I like the balance of the classes," Hayes added. "It will be nice to see other people" from other years. "Being social, building friendships and community-oriented events is what I’m about. If I can do some good and bring people together, so be it."
At SBHS, Hayes played sports – football camp was one of his fondest memories – and was involved in the music program.
"I was an average student," he said. "I was pretty much known as a social butterfly."
His favorite subjects were gym and wood shop.
"I still have a cabinet I made my sophomore year," Hayes said.
He earned his nickname after attending Woodstock in 1969.
"When I came back everyone started calling me “Purple" Hayes because I stayed until the end to see Jimi Hendrix," he said. "A lot of people didn’t know he played on Monday morning, but I stayed.”
Hayes even wrote a term paper on the famous concert.
He also recalls a walkout in 1970 to protest a rule against students wearing bluejeans.
Those who wish to attend the reunion can RSVP – by Aug. 12 – via Facebook .
The cost will be $40 per person and $400 for a table of 10.
There will be a fully catered buffet, complimentary soda, beer and wine, and a disc jockey playing music from that era, Hayes said.