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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Granite State of Mind, #77: Luka's Greenhouse, Hampton Falls

This used to be my playground...

Nearly a quarter of a century ago, Senior Prom was approaching for the EAHS Class of 1993. Our junior prom had been at the Talbot Gym on campus, and it had been fantastic - thanks largely to Amy Kuegel MacDougall's father's efforts - but we were ready to move off-site. Yoken's, that old reliable, didn't appeal. As president of our class, I was nominally in charge of the process to identify a locale, but in practice I was all to happy to defer to Amy (class secretary) and Jen Keefe (veep) in their joint capacity as event co-chairs. My role was mainly to break ties, massage conflict, and make flowery speeches at need. Some things never change. Our class advisor, the late Mr. Frank Otis, took us to a couple of places to sample culinary fare, and he was immediately sold by the Greek appetizers Peter Luka plied us with at his Hampton Falls eatery and banquet center, Luka's Greenhouse.

Like poor Mr. Otis, it's gone now, as is its successor event space, Joseph's Trattoria and Faro Gardens. The lot at the Seabrook border on Route 1 sits empty and overgrown with weeds. But with a little imagination, and some help from Andrea Lee's archival photo of the sartorially splendid Nate Oxnard and Jason Oechsle, you can see what the building once looked like. We were young, then, testing the limits of sense with bowler hats and walking sticks and bringing a future former missus to the prom. (To this day, I remain a bit stunned that Jen Strickland Cyr didn't manage to slip out a bathroom window. They must have all been locked from the outside...)

Next year will be 25 years since the Class of 93 graduated, which seems far too much time to be allowed. Aside from graduation itself and the casino boat ride after, this was our last night together as kids, as a class that has since scattered to the corners of the globe as parents and soldiers, writers and builders, entrepreneurs and educators. There's a new high school building, the venue for our senior prom is a vacant lot, and some of our number are no longer with us, yet we remain a virtual family, a coherent community of support and strength. Like I said before - some things never change.

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