Thursday, March 07, 2019

Class of '74 reunion set - all SWCS grads welcome


JAMESTOWN, NY - The SWCS Class of 1974 has made plans for an August reunion at which all SWCS grads are welcome.

The announcement below gives the details...

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Classmate Van Swearingen has passed away

   
SHERRILL, NY - Classmate Van Swearingen died Sunday, it was reported in the Jamestown Post-Journal.
   The obituary with full details about his life is at the bottom of this posting.
   I don't remember too much about Van, except that some of us would talk about what it was probably like to have your father as principal of the high school.
   We were sympathetic. At least I hope so.
   Until I looked in the SWCS yearbook today and saw his picture, I didn't remember that his first name was the same as his dad's: Cloise
   To most of us, he was always just Van. And he did smile a lot, just like in the photo.

   He was also one busy guy during high school, evidenced by the yearbook entry of his activities. The cropped photo that is tucked under his yearbook list I believe has images of classmates Marianne Jim and Diane Delancy.
   Classmate Jim Nelson had this to say about Van:
"He was a really good guy who I knew quite well during our SWCS days, but, sadly, he really disappeared after high school.  Every now and then, I would try to locate him, but was unsuccessful.  He never came to any of our reunions, so maybe he just didn't want to re-engage with his old classmates.  Being the son of Mr. "Cheese" Swearingen was probably a heavy cross to bear, but he was always cheerful and, as you pointed out, was involved in many activities.  The two things I will alway remember about Van:  We were managers of the varsity b-ball team and spent a lot of hours shooting hoops together during practices.  Secondly, we spent a lot of time playing silly games while swimming at Lakewood Beach.  Van could hold his breath longer than anyone I knew.  The funny things you remember about people..."
   Rest in Peace, Cloise Van Swearingen.


OBITUARY FROM THE POST-JOURNAL


Friday, January 11, 2019

A new novel is out and a road trip being planned

   
   POINT RICHMOND, Calif. - Last month my third novel finally was published, I say finally because it was more than two years in the writing, editing and eventually making it to print. Some of that was my fault, some blame can be attributed to a publisher in New York City.
      But The Devil's Pipeline is out there and I hope some of you pick it up and give it a look-see.
     The pre-publication reviews were all good. I'm waiting for people to start posting their comments on Amazon.com. Perhaps I should say nervously waiting?
     The book has a strong Kent State connection - specifically a connection to the shooting in May of 1970. That horrible incident is probably burned in your brains as firmly as it is into mine. 
     It wasn't until I was done with the book and was writing an author's note prior to publication that I realized I had fled Lakewood/Jamestown August 1970 in part because the toxic political climate where I was working that May became unbearable after the Kent State shootings.
     It was no accident I landed in California in 1970, or that the politics nearly 50 years later still seem a good fit. At least for me.
     But for the last three years I've criss-crossed the country three times, stopping often in small towns, out-of-the way spots and with a lot of touristy places on my itinerary. 
      Actually, to say I ever have a real itinerary is probably a stretch. I have a general idea when I travel but try not to let progress toward destination destroy the journey.
     
Possibly the only photo in existence of me holding a water bottle
The journey this summer, dragging The Red Writer travel trailer again, is planned (ouch, another word I rarely use!) to be a long looping trip across the Southwest, Deep South, then up the Eastern Seaboard into New England. 
     Possibly that will also include a sojourn into Nova Scotia and the Maritime provinces of Canada. Then in late August, after going to (and writing about!) Woodstock 50 in Watkins Glen, the balance of the trip is likely to be up across the Northern U.S. with stops Michigan, the Dakotas, Montana and, well, who knows.
     Somewhere in all these miles I hope to catch up with some of you. 
     Really.  I don't know about you, but I wonder how many of these cross-country jogs I have left in me. Best not to think that way.
     Last summer I had a great visit with Dan Sundquist at his lakeside home in New Hampshire. Then as I was skedaddling back across country I stopped and swapped lies, er tales, with Bud Hooper in Lakewood.
     Unbelievably, I forgot to take photos of us together.
     I'll try to do better this summer.
Stay safe and healthy, classmates.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

'Well, you know. A man of your age?'

   
     POINT RICHMOND, Calif. - The recent passing of Bill Taylor and my impending 70th birthday in July have been a one-two punch to the belly in thinking about mortality.
     And punches to the belly - where a month ago I had two hernia repairs done - are very, very unwelcome, thank you very much.
     Anyone else notice that all that I seem to be able to post on this Class of '66 website are details about which classmate has just passed away? Jaysus!

   This past winter I caught a cold (and probably pneumonia) that almost did me in. Same thing happened two years ago. But my emergency room doctor, (Doogie Howser's older brother) used an expression that my wife Sylvia is soooooo sick of hearing me repeat.
    It does get a good laugh from my kids and friends when I throw it out there.
   I was in the ER getting the once over with symptoms of flu - high fever, some nausea, aches, pains. After nearly buying the farm two years ago with a bout of pneumonia, I don't take any chances with respiratory stuff.
   After being poked and prodded, the doctor shoved a long cotton-swab tipped instrument into my sinus cavity that went so far up I thought he was trying to take a brain cell sample. (Hold the brain sample jokes for the moment.)
   At that point, I thought he had to be done.
   But after retracting the probe, he pushed and prodded some more and then ordered an EKG.
   Say what? EKG?
   I bristled slightly, given that he could see on his computer I had had full heart workup done just a few months before when I had landed in a different ER with chest pains. (Acid-reflux can be a real bitch, friends.) I passed all the heart tests with flying colors.
   But in a move no doubt taught at medical schools, he put his hand on my arm and very paternally explained he really had to do the EKG.
   "After all," he said, "well, you know, a man of your age?"
     A man of my age. Doesn't that about about sum it up!
     So stay healthy classmate amigos - as healthy as you can. And anytime to you need a get-out-of-jail-free card to avoid something?     
    Just say, "You know, a man (or woman) of my age..."
    Did I say stay healthy? I did. Well, one more reminder can't hurt.


Class of '66 classmate Bill Taylor has passed away

   
   WATERVLIET - Class of '66 Classmate Bill Taylor passed away in April, apparently of a heart attack.

     Bill was 69.

     According to his younger brother Pete, no services are planned and as per Bill's wishes he was cremated.

     Bill was not doing well - health-wise - and was living alone at the time of his death.
     
     That's all the details we have at the moment.





Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Class of '66 classmate Chris Henderson has passed away


   ROCHESTER, NY - Southwestern Central Class of '66 classmate Chris Henderson passed away January 23. His obituary (listed below) says it was "following a lengthy battle with cancer."
   Chris was the editor of The Trojan (school newspaper) our senior year. And if I remember correctly, he was instrumental in convincing faculty advisor Calvin Hanson to allow John Rupp and I to write a gossip column called "The Eavesdroppers."
   Rupp and I had a great time writing it, though more than once we were threatened with bodily injury for what we had posted about some goings on at the Lakewood Drive-In.
   Chris could have nixed that column at the outset. But he seemed to have a rebellious side to him that didn't show very often, except in quiet ways.

   My other memory of Chris - one that still makes me smile, was during some kind of end of the year show that the class put on. 
   In the skit, Chris played Tom Priester. At the time, then Mr. Priester got a ration of ribbing all the time for teaching girls' PE.
    On one side of the stage was a curtain with bare arms waving and voices saying, 
"Oh Mr. Priester, Mr. Priester, I need a towel, please!!!!"
   The arms and voices, of course, meant to represent the girls' shower room - and just another day in the locker room with the high school girls in his PE classes.
   Chris came on stage from the opposite side, wearing a blindfold and baseball cape, walking tenuously all the across until he clumsily tossed the towels to the waving arms.
   But when he turned and walked back across the stage, you see his blindfold only covered ONE EYE.
   And as Chris walked back across the stage - with the audience just roaring with laughter - Chris had a grin on his face I can still remember.
   Rest in peace Judge Chris. Rest in peace. 

===========================
OBITUARY 



     Christopher Charles Henderson, formerly of Indian Head, Maryland and St. Thomas USVI, passed away in Rochester, NY on January 23, 2018 following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was born in New Rochelle, New York on May 27, 1948. Chris had a great sense of humor and enjoyed playing practical jokes on family and friends.
     You always knew he was up to something by the twinkle in his eyes. He loved travelling to various parts of the world, spending his winters in St. Thomas, keeping up with political news and the stock market and was always willing to share his opinions. He is predeceased by his parents, Charles F. and Jeanne R. Henderson, and his favorite aunt, Frances Henderson. Chris is survived by siblings Candace Larson of Lakewood, NY and Timothy P. (Susan) Henderson Sr. of Pittsford, NY as well as nieces and nephews Kerstin (John) Kenty of Clearwater, Florida, Shannon (Stan Horan) Larson of Kona, Hawaii and Deirdre (Blake) Luvon of Twisp, Washington, T. Parker (Jessica) Henderson Jr. of Hilliard, Ohio, Christopher (Frances Miller) Henderson of Chicago, Illinois, and Laura (Matthew) Dudek of Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition, he has nine great nieces and nephews. Chris is a 1966 graduate of Southwestern Central High School (Jamestown, NY), received his BA from Dartmouth College in 1970 followed by his attainment of a JD degree from Georgetown University Law Center (1973). Upon graduation, he was the law clerk for the highly respected Judge Herbert Stern in New Jersey. Chris then served in the US Navy JAG Corps from 1975 -1979. 
     Chris was a partner in the law firm of Digges & Henderson in LaPlata, Maryland and was named and elected Associate Judge in the Seventh Judicial Circuit for Charles County from 1996 until his retirement in 2008. 
     Of note, he presided over the longest criminal trial in Charles County history. Chris was a member of the District of Columbia Bar, State Court of Military Appeals Bar, Maryland State Bar Association and Charles County State Bar (President 1994). He was also a Director of the Charles County Freedom Landing (1990 - 1996) as well as Mattawoman Creek Art Center (1996). 
     A Celebration of Life will be held in LaPlata, Maryland with his remains being scattered at a later date in his beloved St. Thomas. Memorials can be made to the Mattawoman Creek Art Center (www.mattawomanart.org) of which Chris was an avid supporter.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Dan Harp, SWCS Class of 1964 passes away


   PROVIDENCE, R.I. - I just received word today that Dan Harp, SWCS Class of 1964 and older brother of Class of '66 classmate JoAnne Harp passed away in October.
    Dan and I worked together at Lakewood Beach as lifeguards the summer of 1966.
    He was sort of a gentle giant, it seemed to me. He taught me the ropes of what lifeguards really do. And he was a good mentor about what college would be like.
    I'll probably write more about him at another time. 
    But for now, RIP Dan Harp. 

LINK to Obituary.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A class of '74 SWCS classmate passes away

VALOIS, New York - I received notice today that an SWCS grad from 1974 - Bob Storms - recently passed away.

https://swcs1974.wordpress.com/2017/07/22/bob-storms/

Bob Storms was the son of the late Bud Storms of Lakewood, a fellow I worked with in 1970 at the old Crown Dental Laboratory in Jamestown. Bud was a clever, outspoken guy and lectured me from time to time about, well, everything. I was 21, he was in his 40s.

We sparred about politics endlessly until the Kent State shootings in May of 1970. He didn't understand why the students would protest and put themselves in harms way. I didn't understand how he couldn't understand.

I learned a lot from him though and I knew how important his family was to him.

One little odd note, a comment on genetics.

In the photo of Bob Storms, there is a reflection - kind of a glint - from a front tooth, as if he had a gold or metal crown on his tooth. His father Bud had a front tooth - right in the same spot - that had an issue. Plus, Bob looks just like Bud in the photo.

RIP Bob Storms, tell your dad hello for me.