Saturday, July 30, 2005

Those 1965 Mustangs and the Class of '66

STOW, New York - It was somewhere between Stow and a joint called Snug Harbor that John Rupp's red '65 Mustang went off the road and into the ditch, flipping upside down in the process, which then involved state troopers, insurance companies and all kinds of raining hell from parents.

That car could fly and in that memorable incident, apparently did, even if briefly.

It turns out that the Class of '66 had at least three Mustangs to its credit: John's which ended its useful days after hitting that ditch; a 65 maroon Mustang I owned for about year before I traded it in for a blue Volkswagen bus formerly owned by the Arrison family of Lakewood; and a third, a blue '65 owned by Cheryl Towers. Both Cheryl's and mine were owned post-graduation, but still, they were 1965 Mustangs. And Cheryl has a great story about her car which I will let her tell you herself at the reunion next year. (It did involve an Englishman, an airport and an art gallery, but that's I can say.)

Cheryl, you are going, right? July 15? Mayville?

My Mustang was picked out by my girlfriend at the time (later the first Mrs. Fitz) who hated my Triumph Spitfire with an intensity that was scary. Perhaps it was because it only ran about half the time and when it rained, there wasn't much reason to put the top up, it leaked so badly. But the Mustang had one incredible fault that I didn't understand fully at first - white upholstery. Bright white. White as in 'I dare you to keep me clean, bubba.'

And so in the first test of our relationship, I said "No Way!" But, of course, I did buy the car, after a promise, a solemn promise, practically a blood vow taken at midnight under a full moon that my girlfriend would keep that upholstery shiny as long as we had that car.

The day I sold the Mustang, I reeked of vinyl cleaner and made my own promise.

The Mustang was a great car, however, so simple that even I could work on it.

And now, every once in awhile in California, I'll see some 16-year-old sweetheart driving down the road in a beautiful, restored '65 Mustang (usually a convertible) that her dad no doubt spends weekends polishing and worry about almost as much as how fast his daughter is tooling around in the machine.

When my daughter turned 16, I bought her an old practically bulletproof Chevy Nova that she drove for years. (Being bulletproof in parts of California is very important.) That Nova was the envy of some of her friends whose dads wouldn't let them take their cars on certain types of high school expeditions - such as fording local streams or using them to go off-road.

I figured, 'Why not?' We did it all the time.

Now, here in Valois, New York, this summer I'm bombing around in my late mother-in-law's wheels, a 1992 Buick Century, which, of course is a four-door sedan and white, literally owned formerly by a little old lady schoolteacher.

Where is that Mustang when I need it?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Some money going to a good cause - SWCS

JAMESTOWN, New York - If the guys in this photo look familar, well, they should, just add a few years.

On the left is Tom Priester and the right Whitey Lindquist (SWCS Class of '60).

Tom we all remember from his days of being a P.E. teacher and coach at SWCS (the butt of many jokes, as he taught girls P.E. in a time when women taught women and men taught men).

Whitey, I believe, ran a Mobil station at the four corners in Lakewood, getting a good share of the money I earned when I was about 18-20 because my cars (first a Triumph Spitfire, then a Ford Mustang) were perpetually in need of repair.

And Whitey had the best - nearly only - place to go. At least it was a place close enough to push my car(s) when they wouldn't run.

The check being passed from Whitey to Tom is not hush money or a payoff from some bet they had on the 1966 World Series. It's from an alumni golf tournament. Tom says the money is slated to go for a wireless computer lab for the middle school, with the funds routed through the Southwestern School Education Foundation project.

Tom is very involved - in fact maybe he's the Big Kahuna - with the foundation and will likely be at our reunion next year, in part to let us have more fun at his expense (remember the shower scene in the Senior Days skit with Chris Henderson playing Tom, with a blindfold on ONE eye). But he will also be there to put the arm on us for the SWCS Foundation which is just getting underway and needs support.

In case you can't wait to make a donation, you can email Tom now at:

I've already agreed to buy one of the bricks saved from demolition of Lakewood Elementary School, bricks Tom mentioned in an earlier email that the foundation is somehow going to use to raise money.

Now I'll have two bricks, thanks to Bud Hooper going by and bagging me one, too, when the school was tumbling. I am now officially relieved of the label my mother frequently attached to me when I did something particularly stupid or dangerous. (How often was that, well...?)

Can you see the joke I'm setting up here? Maybe the expression grew out of her Brooklyn years? She had so many.

OK. If my mom were still alive, I would tell, her, "See, 'I'm no longer two bricks short of full load...'"

She would laugh - she loved a good pun - then probably tell me I needed a lot more than two bricks to get even with the kind of crap I pulled. She would love that I am still limping around on a injured knee - hurt while doing the Twist.

Damned knee brace worked for two days, then it hurt more. Enough about ailments.

Steve Sewell sends along the following special request as our song of the day for the Class of '66.

Sounds like a slow dance to me:

What's Your Name
Don & Juan

What's your name
I have seen you before
What's your name
May I walk you to your door
It's so hard to find a personality
With charms like yours for me
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ee

What's your name
Is it Mary or Sue
What's your name
Do I stand a chance with you
It's so hard to find a personality
With charms like yours for me
Ooh-ee, ooh-ee, ooh-ee

I stood on this corner
Waiting for you to come along
So my heart could feel satisf-i-ied
So please let me be your Number One
Under the moon, under the stars
And under the sun

Oh-oh, what's your name
(What's your name)
Is it Mary or Sue
What's your name
Do I stand a chance with you
It's so hard to find a personality
With charms like yours for me
Ooh-ee, ooh-ee, ooh-ee

What's your name
What's your name


Monday, July 25, 2005

Mark your calendars - reunion July 15, 2006

MAYVILLE, New York - In the news business, we call it a 'bulletin' or sometimes borrow the military term: 'flash traffic.'

Today's Class of '66 bulletin/flash traffic comes from Big R - Randy Carlson - who says that the reunion date has been set for Saturday, July 15, 2006 at Webb's Resort in Mayville.

Cocktails at 6 p.m. dinner at 7, dancing until we drop. (I am resisting all kinds of smart ass comments here... Let's see if I can get all the way through this without making references to the movie Cocoon.)

You can check Webb's out at:
  • Webb's Resort

  • Jim Lindell has rented a pavillon at Midway Park for Sunday (July 16) for a family picnic and there are also some ongoing discussions about maybe meeting in Bemus Point Friday night (July 14, Bastille Day).

    Here are some other links to activities the group putting the reunion together is thinking about:
  • Summer Wind

  • Bemus Bay Pops

  • So a couple of months after Cathy Lindstrom Prince starts this madness, there's a date, a time and a place for the 40th reunion of the SWCS Class of '66. Nice going Cathy. Nice going Randy, Jim, Lee Johnson and whoever else has already put so much time into this.

    See you next July - if not before.
  • Cocoon - the movie

  • Sorry. I couldn't resist...