Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bob Swanson sends full lyrics for that drinking song

JAMESTOWN, New York - Classmate Bob Swanson has sent along the full chorus & lyrics to the drinking song I referenced yesterday. Thanks Bob!

Here you go:

Cheers, Cheers, to Southwestern High
You bring the whiskey, I'll bring the rye
Send the freshmen out for gin
And don't let a sober sophomore in
Juniors never stagger
Seniors never fall
They sober up on wood alcohol
While the royal faculty
Lies drunk on the bar room floor.

Also, Bob noted that Gunnie Nelson, owner/operator of the Pastime Restaurant in Lakewood (across the canal from the Rod & Gun Club) has passed away.

I spent many hours and many dollars at the Pastime, which had pretty good bands back in those days. I actually met my first wife there, now that I think about it. I'll leave all that for another day.

Wine drinking

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The seven graduations were looong, but good

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The seven graduations - even lugging the university 'mace' went as well as such things can, with only a few goofs in the program and more than a few students whose exuberance was fueled by alcohol.

If I had been a student (and not sitting up on the platform) and had any advance warning about how dull some of the speeches would be, I might have dosed myself with a little Grey Goose before the ceremony.

Interestingly, one group that graduated at 8 a.m. probably had the highest percentage of smashed students marching up to get their diplomas.

What was that song we used to sing?

Seniors never stagger,
Juniors never fall,
They sober up on wood alcohol,
And the loyal faculty,
lies drunk on the bar room floor.

Or something like that.

I only muffed my lines one, stumbling over the pronounciation of Dean Sanjay Varshney.

Oh sure, it looks easy from where you are sitting right now. Try saying that name in front of 2,000 people while your goofy hat is falling off your head.

Michael at graduation
Standing post with the university mace

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas greetings from Dianne Hagglund

JAMESTOWN, New York - The following Christmas missive goes out to all classmates from Dianne Hagglund, to whom I apologize if I misspelled her last name - I'm in San Francisco on my way to Mexico to celebrate Christmas on a surfboard with a margarita in my hand.

Here's Dianne's note:

I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.You talk of the cold and the frozen lake.Not this year ! It has been very mild ,the lake isn't frozen and today the temperature is about 44.

I was also thinking how different the holidays are now from 40 years ago.Then we wanted that new sweater or shirt, money or any other gadget we thought out friends might be envious of.Today we all want about the same thing.We want health,happiness for our children and granchildren.We also want health for ourselves so we can enjoy the time we spend with them.So that is what i wish to all of you this Christmas season, health and happiness!

I had earlier this year suggested we all write in Mike's blog. Since i didn't get to talk to everyone at the reunion, maybe you could write and tell us a few of the things you have done since we walked tha halls of SWCS.

We know what Mike is up to and Alan,and a few others.

Another time i will let you in on my 40 years after SWCS.

Take care everyone, stay safe this holiday season and enjoy your family to the fullest. Until we meet again in the summer of 2007,

Dianne(also known as Hag)

Dianne Hagglund and amigas
Diane and her three amigas last summer at Bemus Point

Thursday, December 21, 2006

So, would you like to sit through 7 graduations?

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The end of the semester is a magical time for most people who teach college, largely because there will be no more term papers to read, no more lectures to prepare and no more campus politics to get your blood boiling.

But it also means graduation for many universities, even in December.

And at California State University, Sacramento, it means seven graduations: one for each college.

As chair of our faculty senate, I'm the designated chief marshal, which means I get to attend all seven and at each lead in the procession of faculty and students and say important things like: Please stand for the national anthem.

I'll probably be able to say that quite well by the fifth or sixth time I utter in front of several thousand people.
(I wonder how many times you can listen to Pomp & Circumstance before you go completely mad?)

I remember our high school graduation only faintly. We were all lined up and had to walk across the stage in the auditorium to get the little folder that would eventually house our diploma. I don't think we actually were given the diploma that afternoon/evening. I think that arrived later, but I could be wrong.

What I do remember is a wild night of carousing afterwards and driving home at dawn from Lake Erie with the sun rising and the song "Red Rubber Ball" playing on the radio.

More than 40 years ago and I can still hear that song and still see how red the sun was coming up that morning as I came down West Summit Avenue, hoping to make it home before my mother, grandmother and sister rolled out, at which time they would have realized I hadn't been home.

Not that I didn't stay out all night many, many evenings long before graduation - they just never knew. Thank God for that downstairs window.

College graduation is different, of course, because for most of the grads it means going to work at whatever they have studied. I shake a lot of hands at graduation. Parents are usually so proud they are bursting. It could also be relief over not paying tuition and room and board any more.

So, I'll do my duty, starting tonight with one college, then four on Friday and then two on Saturday.

Please stand for the national anthem.

There, I've got my lines down cold.

Graduation elation

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bemus point ferry is probably frozen solid

BEMUS POINT, New York - As I was griping about the cold and rain here (it's close to 60 degrees and drizzling) I ran across this shot of the Bemus Point Ferry, a reminder of summer and the reunion.

I regret that I didn't take a ferry ride last summer for nostalgia purposes, even if I had just ridden it sans auto. The ferry was a big part of my growing up and also it was a great target to buzz when we would bring our boats up from Lakewood.

On more than one occasion, we would roar up in the dark with our lights off and at the last second, turn them on, scaring the crap out of the ferry operator and anyone in their cars watching.

During the day, we were ever-so-polite as we didn't want the sheriff to nail our butts.

That narrows area of the lake is likely frozen solid by now, with ice skaters considering a run across from Bemus to Stow.

Ice skating. Now that brings back memories (however cold...)

Bemus point ferry
Bemus Ferry crossing

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Downtown Jamestown and the holiday season

JAMESTOWN, New York - Earlier this morning I wrote a long Christmas blog about growing up in Jamestown and walking the streets, snow crunching underfoot.

In those days, we didn't have to deal with failing computer technology, like I did earlier.

The entire missive disappeared into cyberspace, but the photos were saved, one of the recent Christmas parade downtown, the second of a snowstorm, , both are posted below.

So the short version, for today:

Ho-Ho and Merry Christmas, y'all.

Jamestown snowstorm

Jamestown Christmas parade

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Some classmates located by Det. R. Carlson

JAMESTOWN, New York - Randy Carlson, aka, Det. R. Carlson, reports that after relentless work and burning up some shoe leather, he has tracked down classmates Jack Nobbs and Dave Jones.

OK. Maybe he didn't exactly track them down, per se, but Jack stopped by to see Larry Nelson and reports that he now lives in Washington state. It's still good detective work, right?

Here's Jack's contact info:


Address: 1924 W 10th Ave Kennewick, Wa 99336

I was too lazy to pull out the yearbook and snap a shot to show Jack in 1966, but I had this shot of he and his wife Linda from 15 years ago. (By the way Jack, I borrowed $5 from you at The Main Event bar that reunion. I figure with interest, I owe you, well, let's call it square, shall we?)

Det. Carlson didn't let on how he found the contact information for Dave Jones (trade secrets, no doubt) but here's Dave's info:

Dave Jones
42 Turnberry Ln
Chillicothe, Ohio 45601-1100.

OH! And if you lost Ken Sonne's email, here it is:

I can't tell you how nice it is to post some happy news.

Here's a shot of Det. R. Carlson and Larry Nelson from this summer while they were on a case outside the SeeZurh House:

Det. Carlson and Larrry Nelson

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Classmates: Sue Pratt has passed away

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota -- I received word from Dan Beckstrom and also Bob Swanson over the weekend that our classmate, Sue Pratt, has died.

Her obituary from the Jamestown Post-Journal is reprinted - without permission, thank you very much - below.

I looked up Sue in my yearbook and noted that she didn't sign it, though I do remember her. She wasn't very tall and I remember she always seemed to be moving really fast when classes were passing. I also remember her with a smile most of the time.

It's pretty sad how many of our classmates are passing away. We are not that old, people!

Here's Sue's notice:

Sue Pratt

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dave Carlson tells his tale of retirement

Dave Carlson
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
By Dave Carlson

At the risk of turning some of you green with envy (who cares),
let me tell you I'm already retired! I left IBM at 55 with a tidy
investment and a modest pension.

How did I do it? The Swedish way: My wife and I had good jobs with IBM, we lived beneath our means, saved a lot, and invested it. Oh, and a little luck in the stock market, too.

All is not entirely roses, however as my ex-wife ran off with her college sweetheart (maybe that's a plus). But we had already accumulated enough to comfortably split our assets w.o. letting divorce lawyers taking half!

I'm now looking for someone to explore the world with and am "interviewing" lots of interesting ladies (one at a time, line forms to the left, please, and puh-lease, I'm kidding, maybe...). I'm not living large, that's not my style, but I get on the water most weeks and take a couple of interesting vacations every year (planning to kayak in British Columbia or Belize, next year, and Africa is on the near horizon). And that trip this summer paddling down the Colorado River was a hoot!

MIke, I like your idea of living on a boat. No room for inlaws. LOL!

But how do you take a dog for a constitutional in the middle of the ocean? My Akita is too big to be a deckhand! I’m not buying any coastal property, either, cause I don't want to leave it to a marine sanctuary in my will!


I've got a "happy" job, now, as a literacy instructor in grade school to keep me busy and to repay the community for the blessings I've received. Pay is great, more high fives and gap-toothed smiles than you can count! The hours are great and no hassles, either.

And now that I'm retired, what would I change? Well, I wish this rich nation would make health care available to all and would stop killing so many innocent people. How does anyone expect the world to love us when we're bombing the crap out of them??? BTW, what have the rest of you done to help fulfill JFK's, RFK's, and MLK's dreams? Your accomplishments and endeavors would be a wonderful topic for another day/blog!

Peace, y'all,

Dave Carlson
Holly Springs, NC

Dave in kayak

Allan Winger has joined the blogosphere...

Allan Winger, 1966
Originally uploaded by Brite Lights photos.
CYBERSPACE - Allan Winger joined the ranks of those of us who labor (this is labor?) in the blogsphere with his new blog, announced to most you via email in the last day or so.

This blogging is contagious, no doubt about it.

I listed Allan's blog on my list of links, so you don't even need to bookmark the url - but I still would advise it.

The more hits he gets from people reading, the more likely he will keep writing. It's a vicious, and fun, circle.

I'm sitting at my keyboard, alternately working, answering emails and then jumping back on the blogging bandwagon just for fun.

In my electronic travels through cyberspace, I ran across this poster, with which I can realllly relate.

It's not a big sea bass?

Tom Priester at Class of '66 40th reunion

MAYVILLE, New York - Tom Priester responded to my call right away, for stories about people from the Class of '66 era who have retired.

I saw Tom a month or so before our reunion and, just like at the reunion in Mayville, he was tan, fit and rested. We had him over to our house in Sacramento for lunch and my wife, ever curious, asked Tom what I was like when I was in high school.

He told her, too. I think he used the phrase 'a little squirrelly,' several times in the conversation.

He still gets to wear a whistle a lot in retirement, officiating at track meets, et al. Here's what he passed along...

Tom Priester in 1966
Tom in 1966

Dear Class of 66

Retirement is AWESOME! You get to play with grandchildren, do some traveling, and especially VOLUNTEERING TO HELP OTHERS. That is very gratifying. You can even visit class reunions like I do.
Give it some thought, first. Be sure you have enough $$$$ for health insurance. It is VERY EXPENSIVE.
Whatever you decide, have FUN doing it. We only live once.


So, as a natural leader, Tom Priester went first with his retirement story.

Send me yours, with or without a photo, and I'll post it here...

Cheers, amigos


Sunday, November 05, 2006

When you know that it's time for retirement

Arecibo beach
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
A SANDY BEACH, Earth - The shorter days seem to leave me time for reflection about what the next years will bring. Or it could be the case of wine I started working on this weekend.

Will there be more work? More stress? Less money (due to inflation)?

I try not to dwell on that stuff and instead to look at pictures like the one with this blog. Click on it. Please click on it. Good Gawd. Is that a real place?


I've been to beaches like that. In fact I have anchored my sailboat in front of little resorts like that, gone in and had a couple of drinks - the kind they stick a little umbrella in. (NOTE TO TOURISTS: If you actually do get a drink with a little umbrella in it, well, chances are you are paying way too much for it. Move down the beach to the saloon that's short on umbrellas but has bigger glasses with more rum or tequila.)

When I started out as a journalist, the farthest thing from my mind was ever leaving that profession and when I started teaching - nearly 25 years ago - same deal. Retire? Never.

And in way, that's kind of true.

What I look forward to doing is having the time to do rockumentaries, finish book projects, learn the play the guitar better (provided the tendinitis is cured) and sit in the sun. OK, because my dermatologist now reads this blog, what I really meant to say, was sit in the shade with sun all around me.

When I hear the word retire used in the same sentence as my name, I always wince a little, because I expect to be even more busy, retired from the university than I am now, working fullltime+ with teaching and writing for three outfits.

There was certainly a lot of conversation at our class reunion about retirement. I know at least a dozen of our Class of '66 classmates said they are retired - or about to be.

Maybe a fun thing for this blog would be for people to let us know what it's like to be 'retired.' And, if it's not too much self-disclosure, to let the rest of the class know how you swung it in your 50s. Land investments,? Wealthy spouses? Patents? Ponzi schemes?

I know some of the folks I talked with at the reunion were talking about working until the very day they dropped in their tracks; others were buying coastal vacation homes.

I'm not buying a coastal home, mine floats.

But what kind of retirement plans do you have? Enquiring Class of '66 minds would like to know...

Retirement planning

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

SWCS reunion at the Silver Gate Yacht Club

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - There was a mini-reunion (very mini) over the past weekend in San Diego between the Class of '66 (represented by me) and the Class of '69 (with delegate Cheryl Aitken-Thompson).

Cheryl is a teacher in San Diego and joined the Admiral and I at the Silver Gate Yacht Club for dinner and glass of wine last weekend. OK, we had more than one glass of wine. OK, we had more than two glasses of wine. Enough questions.

Cheryl has been a Californian for more than 25 years and, like a good Californian, lives in a beautiful condo near La Jolla and has a great swimming pool, where she says she hangs out a lot. She has the tan to prove, too.

She's hoping to attend to the SWCS 10-years-worth-of-classes reunion July 7, but might not be able to make it. That July 7 date is early in the summer for a lot of people, so we might have to have another reunion later in July or even August for all of us SWCS-Jamestown area expatriates.

I noticed riding in Cheryl's car, that when she comes to a curve, instead of stepping the brake, she punches the gas pedal a little, a trick she says she learned from Bud Hooper who always told her to 'power through the curves.'

In her sporty Toyota, we powered quite nicely around the hills of Point Loma. Maybe Bud Hooper should have taught Driver's Education. Hmm... Let's not go there right now.

In other reunion news, Randy Carlson reports that the
10-years-worth-of-classes reunion July 7 will be at American Legion Post No. 777 and that the street address for the place is actually 26 Jackson Avenue in Celeron. His earlier reports might have had those numbers switched around.

Not a big problem Randy. How many American Legion Posts could there possibly be in Celeron anyway?

Uh-oh, I can hear the veterans marching my way right now.

Sound the retreat, amigos...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

July 7 Class Reunion or maybe run with the bulls

PAMPLONA, Spain - The weekend of the proposed SWCS Class Reunion (for classes from 1960-1970) conflicts with the annual running with the bulls in Spain.


So, I suppose, those of you who annually head over for this celebration - to risk getting gored by a raging bull - will miss the fete in Celeron.

But for everyone else considering coming back to the Jamestown area next summer, here's an update from Class of '66 Special Correspondent Randy Carlson:


The 1960-1970 SWCS reunion is off and running. It will be held 7/7/07 Saturday night at the Herman Kent Post American Legion Lodge at 777 Jackson Avenue Celoron (too many 7's not to be lucky).

Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at 6:00 and a buffet starting at 7:00. Music, use of the lodge, outside pavilion, outside tents and access to relatively cheap drinks (additional cost) is included. They set a cost of $25.00 per person and due to the capacity of the facility, it will be limited to 500 people.

In order to reserve a spot, checks made out to SWCS 60's Reunion for $25.00 and sent to Ron Ducat at 118 Elizabeth Street, Lakewood, N.Y. 14750 will do it if you are in the first 500 people to respond.

Our class is in a good position as we are the relative few to have this advance notice, only the class of "67", which was to have their 40th next year, is up and running and should have a large representation based on what Andy Robinson related regarding their last gathering.

I'm sure other events during that weekend will be planned, suggestions welcome.



It seems like an event of 500 people, might be, well, an event of 500 people. I went to one of those a couple of weeks ago and although it was fun, it was hard to really get around and talk to many folks.

Really BIG name tags will be a requirement, I think.

Perhaps in honor of the day, we could have our own Class of '66 running of bulls, or at least go out cow-tipping that night after cocktails.

In any event, in case you wonder about what other holidays & events you might miss out on July 7, here's a partial list:

July 7 holidays

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The 2007 reunion for classes from 1960-1970

JAMESTOWN, New York - Randy Carlson forwarded me this notice about the meeting of the group putting together the 1960-1970 reunion next summer.

The date has been now tentatively (?) set for July 7 - a little early in the summer for me to sojourn to Jamestown, but not impossible.

Randy said he will attend the meeting to defend our class honor and will no doubt have more details after that. Ten years of SWCS grads. Good grief. If you think you had trouble recognizing classmates you graduated with, how about people from other classes?

I would be pretty good at recognizing people from the Class of '65 and Class of '67, but beyond that, I'm not so sure. It would be fun to run into Jim Burk and Dan Harp again (Class of '64) or perhaps Sandy Carlson (Class of '67).

I haven't had too much time lately to write about our class and last summer's reunion. I was reminded today that I still have an hour or so of video to edit and put music to for the stuff I shot, mostly of us dancing like we were 18 again.

HOT HOT HOT, everyone. Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole.

In the meantime, we'll wait for word from Randy to see if this duck is really going to lift off the lake.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Halloween looms with memories of old 'tricks'

Trick or treat
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The air has gotten cold here in Sacramento, but the stores are full of Halloween candy -- all those boxes of chocolate and now virtually indigestible stuff that we soooo craved when we wandered around Halloween night as teenagers.

What I remember most about the Halloween season though, were the sometimes funny, sometimes not-so-funny, tricks that we played for the week or two before (and sometimes the week or two after).

The easy one was soaping windows of houses and even screens. For some reason I don't remember soaping windows on any cars. I'm sure we did. If you were feeling mean, using a candle to 'wax' a window did pretty much the same thing, except getting wax out of a screen was real pain and getting wax off windows sometime required scraping.

More than a few people found their tires pretty flat when they left for work in the morning. Some cars wouldn't start because of the potatoes stuffed up their tailpipes.

One Halloween season we borrowed a stop sign and placed it in various people's front lawns. We would lurk in the bushes and watch people coming to a screeching halt right in the middle of West Summit Avenue where a stop sign had so mysteriously appeared.

People driving by never seemed to take much notice of three or four teenage miscreants carrying a stop sign down the street on a wooden pole.

We moved more than a few cars around, too, though on at least on occasion I remember moving a car on a hill, pushing it, and had it get away from us, nearly landing in a creek.

Another favorite was borrowing the flashing yellow lights that the public works department put on top of those metal sawhorses at construction sites.

Anyone ever filled a paper bag with dog crap, put in on a front porch and then lit it on fire?

And toilet papering a house! Gawd that fun, especially the looks you got earlier at Super Duper, buying a six pack of toilet paper and a dozen eggs for the evening's activities.

Of course, had any of my four children done any of this stuff, I would have locked them in the house a heartbeat.

Halloween is pretty tame here in California, trick-wise, anyway. I think more adults get dressed up and get crazy than kids, especially around the university. All the bars have competitions for the best costumes and it seems that the raunchier they are, the better.

I already did my dressing up two weeks ago in a tuxedo, doing a passable imitiation of a waiter at a restaurant. I think this year I'll sit home with a basket of candy (small Chunky candy bars) for the half-dozen or so neighborhood kids who will come by early, then wait for the toilet papering after dark.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dancing lessons to physical therapy to ?

The group ABBA
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The past six weeks have been marked by two or three sessions per week with a physical therapist, followed by at-home stretching exercises that make me want to scream.

Still there's some improvement on the tendinitis in my right shoulder that has kept me from playing the guitar at all.

I may have to take up the bongo drums.

But today Shelley Kales sent along a list of songs, the titles of which have been updated to reflect our aging baby-boomer physical conditions.

OK, my physical condition.

Here' s Shelley's list:


Herman's Hermits --
Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Walker

The Bee Gees --
How Can You Mend a Broken Hip

Bobby Darin --
Splish, Splash, I Was Havin' a Flash

Ringo Starr --
I Get By With a Little Help From Depends

Roberta Flack --
The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face

Johnny Nash --
I Can't See Clearly Now

Paul Simon --
Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver

The Commodores --
Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom

Marvin Gaye --
Heard It Through the Grape Nuts

Leo Sayer --
You Make Me Feel Like Napping

The Temptations --
Papa's Got a Kidney Stone

Abba --
Denture Queen

Tony Orlando --
Knock 3 Times On The Ceiling If You Hear Me Fall

Helen Reddy --
I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore

Willie Nelson --
On the Commode Again

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Class Reunion on Bastille Day next summer?

The Bastille
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
JAMESTOWN, New York - Randy Carlson reports that the group putting together the class reunion for next summer - the one to which SWCS grads from 1960-1970 will be invited - looks like it might be held July 14, 2007.

Here's Randy's email to me:

"The first meeting was held last night. Not all of the classes were represented, but the results seemed to be good, and a follow up meeting will be held on 10/23 at 7:00.

This is all tenative, but it looks like Sat, 7/14/07 will be the date of the event, held at the Herman Kent American Legion Post in Celoron. The use of the hall, which holds about 300 people, the new outdoors covered pavilion and tents and the band (we would have a choice) would be free of charge. The club would be open for spirits purchase (cheap) and they could do a buffet for about $12.00 to $15.00 depending on choices."

So for those of us who suffered through (excuse me, sat through and studied sooooo many) French classes, you know that July 14th is Bastille Day. It is also my ex-father-in-law's birthday, but that's another story.

I just watched a great PBS special on Marie Antoinette, which featured the Bastille. And, by the way, she never said, "Let them eat cake."

That was put out by her political opponents, the descendants of whom probably work for Fox News now.

Anyway, I know we all celebrate Bastille Day in our way, but this year, it could be that we will all be together at a reunion, singing La Marseillaise and swilling French wine. (Well, maybe some Uncle Homer's Red anyway.)

Perhaps we should practice our French phrases, too, in honor of Jon Giacco, about whom Tom Priester can tell us "the rest of the story," when we next get together.

Mon dieu! Mon dieu!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Seneca Lake winery tour ready to set sail

Seneca Lake wineries
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
HECTOR, New York - The annual pilgrimage of Chautauqua County couples to Seneca Lake will be next weekend Bob Swanson reports. Two years ago Bob and Donna stopped by Valois where the Admiral and I have our 'summer house' on the shore of the lake.

If 'summer house' sounds a little pretentious, please stop by anytime you are in the area to help me paint, repair plumbing problems and drag fallen tree limbs to the brush pile.

If that isn't enough fun, we can rake seaweed into piles and haul it to the vegetable garden.

When Bob and Donna came by, we went to the Rasta Ranch Winery, which, like Rodney Dangerfield, gets no respect but markets some fine wine. My personal favorite is Uncle Homer's Red, which because of its name probably doesn't get the respect it needs either.

I shipped a case of wine from New York here to California where a dozen bottles are sitting in my wine rack (Gawd, there's another pretentious sounding thing. My wine rack is a cardboard wine box from Trader Joe's sitting on its side.)

I wanted to thank Allan Winger for posting the web address where people could go to see me introducing the president of my university. I think I want to thank him, anyway.

And if you think this blog is only being read by Class of '66 folks, you are mistaken.

At a meeting a few days ago, the president asked me to tell him the how-many-presidents-does-it-take-to-screw-in-a light bulb jokes I mentioned before.


In case you missed the previous blog about the SWCS reunion for classes from 1960 to 1970, I've posted it here again. I don't know what weekend they're shooting for yet, but I have my fingers crossed that it's in mid to late July. I can usually put down the paint brush in Valois by then to get away.

Reunion graphic

Monday, September 18, 2006

Class reunion in works for 10 years of graduates

JAMESTOWN, New York - Sue Siecker sent me the clip below from the Post-Journal about planning efforts for a reunion of SWCS graduating classes from 1960 to 1970.

Think how old those class of 1960 people must be! Think how young those 1970 grads are. Young punks, I bet.
In any event, it might be that the Class of '66 could somehow time our visit/reunion/soiree/fete the same weekend. Perhaps someone on the ground there (Helloooooooo Randy!) could get in touch with folks organizing this 10-year deal and see what's up?

While all that's happening, I'll drag out my battered issue of the Centralian, and also set plans for a walking tour of downtown Busti. Bob Swanson has promised to be my guide, but because there aren't any wineries, we will have to carry some along as he points out the notable landmarks.

Reunion graphic

Friday, September 08, 2006

It was all about Chautauqua Lake for me

What I remember
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
LAKEWOOD, New York - As fall creeps in, even here in California, I'm reminded of how important Chautauqua Lake was to me.

Right after Labor Day was when the boats and docks came out of the water and the boots and heavy jackets out of the closet.

My mother was fearful of the roads, so she bought me a fairly clunky bicycle, but she didn't skimp on the boats. Oh no! I started wth a rowboat at 10, had a small ski boat at 12, a larger one (with a 50 HP Mercury engine) by the time I was 14 and traded it all in for a sailboat my first year of college.

A sailboat! That was the beginning of a 40-year-love affair that keeps me busy nearly every weekend all year long.

Even then I traced the path down Lake Chautauqua from my house in Lakewood, past Celeron, down that windy river (is it a river?) through Jamestown, leading you (if you figure out how to get your boat past several dams) to the Atlantic Ocean. My grandmother (who lived in New York City) gave me a world atlas when I was 13 and I studied it as carefully as any of the Playboy magazines we were able to find. (Hey! I studied the articles. Come on!)

I wish I had actually gotten into sailing earlier, but the then-Lakewood Yacht Club was a closed social circle that I couldn't really crack. It was one of the few places I remember that I was barred from (outside of the bars we tried to sneak into starting about age 16). And for some years, that probably accounted for my having a bad attitude about yacht clubs.

Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club
Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club today

I got over that notion in California and have paid enough yacht club dues to four different yacht clubs in California and Puerto Vallarta to buy a pretty nice boat, if I didn't already own one.

I sailed out of the Lakewood Yacht Club just once - aboard a small Sunfish owned by Sandy Carlson (Class of '67), who was a good sailor and couldn't believe that I barely knew a rudder from a centerboard. We headed out late in the day and as the sun set, the wind dropped and we were becalmed, easily a mile from the club dock on one of those warm summer evenings that made the lake such a special place in the summer.

I should have recognized the tactic on her part. I mean, I was always pretending to run out of gas on my ski boat on those rare occasions I actually had a date. But I was as dense then as I am now about such things, so I just started paddling us in instead of having a romantic interlude.

It was a very quiet cruise back to the dock and I just thought Sandy was angry because we were becalmed.


At our reunion I had several conversations with people about the lake - mostly that there was a clear social division between people who lived in Lakewood and those who lived elsewhere. See? Elsewhere. That's how geocentric life was for me.

And, I have a confession. I have never driven to - or though - Busti. No kidding. Not once.

Sorry Bob and Donna Swanson. I'll rectify that next summer.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Taking a tour of Southwestern Central High

Welcome sign
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
JAMESTOWN, N.Y. - One regret I have about our Class of '66 reunion (aside from the headache I had on Sunday) was not going by the high school and checking it out.

I would have liked to walk the halls and see if they are as huge as I remember, or if that evil aura still exists right outside the principal's office.

Regardless, the photos here come from Lee Anderson and this is an excerpt from his note to me:

My sister, Carin - class of 1961, attended her 45th reunion at the end of July and she sent me some pictures of the school. They went up to the school and were allowed to walk around. Thought you might like to see them.

I sure hope we can do an annual picnic get-together. I would enjoy talking to everyone in a more relaxed setting. It was nice a Webb's but way too loud. Must be my old age. :-)


Front entrance
Front Entrance

Alma Mater
The Alma Mater

Had I gone to the school, I could have checked out the practice fields for softball and soccer where, on the weekends, we would drive around on our motorcycles, jumping some of the hills. It was on one of those hills that Cindy Hall slid off the back of my bike and landed smack dab on her ass.


Luckily, she was fine, just (as they say) her pride hurt. My pride was hurt a little, too, by my poor hill-jumping skills, but not like Cindy's.

I would have also like to have gone down the hill to the football field and track and listened for the sound of the crowds I remember from the track meets. I can still hear the voice of Coach Joe Rushin as I would round the turn headed to hand off the relay baton to Larry Nelson.


Maybe next summer I'll stop by the track when I'm in town for our mini-reunion. That seems like it will probably be the second or third weekend in July. And depending on when the Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club regatta is, I might be there both weekends.

More on that another time.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Noelani Rupp takes to the sidewalks

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vermont - I received this photo a couple of days ago of John & Paula Rupp's daughter Noelani, taking off on one of her first excursions on her bicycle. If she is anything like her father, those training wheels will come off very soon and before her mother knows it, she will be pedaling down the street and around the corner - without permission, of course.

John had one of the first motorcycles in the group I hung around with in high school, a Honda 65 that he lent to just about anyone who asked if they could borrow it.

He usually failed to ask an important operant question: Can you ride a motorcycle? So more than once, his bike got smashed and had to be repaired. And, of course, he did a few crashes himself.

Iborrowed it once, promptly crashing into Linda Davidson's front yard where I dug a small trench with the kickstand ( Was it Marvin Avenue in Lakewood?). I quickly removed myself and the motorcycle before anyone came outside. Tom Todaro (Jerry Todaro's younger brother) then borrowed it from me, promptly crashing into a fence across the street from Cindy Hall's house. It's a wonder that motorcycle ran at all.

Paula reports that she and Noelani are settling back in at home now, with pre-school looming and lots of activities for Paula, too, including taking a water safety instuctor's course so she can teach swimming to the little ones.

As sad as I am about John Rupp's early passing, it's a gift to be able to stay in touch with his young family.

Go Noelani! Go!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another sad bit of news for the Class of '66

JAMESTOWN, New York - Classmate Sue Siecker and Cheryl Aitken Thompson (Class of '69 who lives in San Diego) passed along the sad news that Rhonda Bolles, the younger sister of Dana Bolles, has passed away at 55.

Rhonda Bolles
Rhonda Bolles

Sue sent me her full obituary from the Jamestown Post Journal, which I was unable to cut and paste here. But if you would like a copy, I can forward it to you, or Sue can also. ( I think a forward of Sue's email might work.)

Little sisters, were, of course, little sisters as we were in high school and Rhonda might never have been the object of any upperclassmen's attention except for the Beach Boys song, Help Me Rhonda.

Rhonda was, well, the only Rhonda I knew and I remember all of us singing that damned song and Rhonda Bolles went from Dana's little sister to someone who could be part of the social scene. Maybe even, gasp, ask to a dance.

But wait right there! She was still Dana Bolles' little sister - making it one idea that flamed out fast.

I hope that Rhonda is reading this as I type it, laughing that a bunch of geeks, upperclassmen geeks at that, were thinking about her when they crashed about in their cars, singing the verses to Help Me Rhonda, car radios turned up so loud we cracked the speakers.

My condolences to Dana and his family. It's a sad time for sure.

And for Rhonda? Well, this song is dedicated to her from the Class of '66 and we hope that Heaven has plenty of rock 'n roll playing and that she's already dancing. It wouldn't be Heaven without rock n' roll.

Help Me Rhonda
performed by The Beach Boys

Well since she put me down I 've been out doin' in my head
Come in late at night and in the mornin' I just lay in bed

Well, Rhonda you look so fine (look so fine)
And I know it wouldn't take much time
For you to help me Rhonda
Help me get her out of my heart

Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda yeah
Get her out of my heart

She was gonna be my wife
And I was gonna be her man
But she let another guy come between us
And it ruined our plan

Well, Rhonda you caught my eye (caught my eye)
And I can give you lotsa reasons why
You gotta help me Rhonda
Help me get her out of my heart

Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda yeah
Get her out of my heart

Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda yeah
Get her out of my heart

Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda
Help me Rhonda
Help, help me Rhonda

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Getting those new threads for school

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - That expression, "clothes don't make the man,' is a good one, except that anyone who has ever shown up somewhere grossly underdressed - or overdressed - it's obvious there is some connection between clothes and who people think you are.

I spent some time in the past few weeks buying some new threads - something I thought I was done with - so that I can hobnob with some of the big cheeses on my campus as well as legislative types and the big donors that want to get their names on buildings.

I remember not-too-fondly the trips to Carnahan's in downtown Jamestown each August to get some new SWCS threads, but being fashion-challeged, I invariably bought the wrong stuff and didn't realize it until the first day of school.

About sophomore year, I figured out that instead of my mother, I needed a friend to go with me on clothes-shopping days. It improved my wardrobe, but not too much. Guys generally have crappy judgment about what looks good and what doesn't.

The shoes were the big challenge, because when the snow would fly, my mom would insist that I wear boots - or at the very least slip-on rubbers.

Isn't that a great word? Rubbers.

I can still hear my grandmother shouting out the back door of my house as I walked to the bus stop: You forgot your rubbers!

Rubbers, indeed.

I wore loafers, of course, the truly cool shoes which coincidentally had slick bottoms and I landed on my ass all the time. But I remained cool, as we all did, except for those few guys whose mothers somehow got them to wear their rubbers on the school bus.

My God, did they get a load of crap from those of us who were, well, rubber-less!

The other new threads I was forced to wear, of course, was a hat, (once the snow flew) and so I would walk out every morning with a God-awful, red furry hat (complete with ear flaps) perched on my head. And as soon as I was out of sight, I would carefully place it in the bushes next to my neighbor's house (Ted Husted's place I believe).

Afternoons, I had to retrieve it to bring it home and one day, well, it was gone and there was quite a fuss about replacing it. (Mercifully enough, winter was almost over and my mother didn't want to lay out any more cash.)

Today I have to go buy some school shoes. Admiral Fox is adamant that I can't wear my boat shoes every day, particulary in a couple of weeks when I probably will end up dining with a fellow who just gave the university $2 million towards a new athletic building.

But thanks to the mild California weather, I'll spray a little waterproofing on the seams and be fine for the winter.

No need for rubbers, thank you very much.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Cleaning up the backyard & Pacifico beers

Pacifico beers
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - I just reclaimed my backyard from the vines and assorted plants that had decided it was their backyard, not mine, and in the process I imbibed of couple of bottles of beers that remind me of warmer days in Mexico.

Well, maybe not warmer. It's hot as hell outside.

But after a couple of Pacifico's (the 12 ounce bottled version, not the jumbos), the yard is spiffy enough to host a dinner party next weekend for our three new faculty members and the administrators from the university who are still speaking to me now that I am chair of our faculty.

Yes, it will be a small affair.

But today's blog is really not about my beer consumption or university politics, it's to mention an idea that Dianne Hagglund posted on the Class of '66 discussion list that Allan Winger keeps going.

Diane agreed that having a yearly get together would be fun - but she also suggested that perhaps some other folks might be willing to share their memories, perspectives, nightmares, etc... from our high school days.
Dianne Hagglund, Linda Davidson, Marianne Jim & Linda Anderson
Dianne on far left

I'm not short of stories. I haven't even started on the stuff about what we did most Halloweens or when we drank too much beer and Southern Comfort and would stumble into athletic events. (Don't worry Jim Carr, as long as you keep the Grey Goose cold for my visits to you in Arizona, the bleacher incident will not be written about...).

But I think it might be fun to have other people write up a couple of hundred words. I'll post them in this space - and I'll try to find some kind of photo to go with - as well as the author's yearbook picture. I know Cheryl Towers has some tales. I bet other people do to...

Think about it, because as soon as school starts (in about a week for me) all hell will break loose in terms of my time and while I will endeavor to keep this blog going, the gaps (like this past week) may become frequent.

Blog on, amigos, blog on!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

How about an annual SWCS Class of '66 reunion?

See Zurh House scene
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
BEMUS POINT, New York - While the memory of last month's 40th reunion of the Class of '66 is still in your minds -- and it's likely you haven't yet seen your credit card bill from the trip -- let me make a wild suggestion about next summer and the summer after that and the summer after that and...

Many folks make a pilgrimage back to the Jamestown area nearly every summer, to see friends or relatives or just on a nostalgia tour.

So why not have a reunion every summer?

(Sweet Jaysus! He's lost his mind! Not true, I lost it a long time ago, amigos. A long time ago.)

What I'm suggesting is that we (you, me, the entire Class of '66) pick some weekend in the summer as a mini-reunion date. We can simply all gather at some watering hole (like the See Zurh House or Surf Club or The Pub) or elsewhere (Randy, want to throw a party? Sue Chandler? Jim Lindell, I see you hiding there...)

If five people show up, five show up. If ten, it's ten. If 100 show up, it's a social movement and we can apply for non-profit status.

All the Class of '66 needs to do is pick a date sometime for a soiree next summer.

I would prefer after July 4th, as my family obligations tend to keep me close to Valois near Seneca Lake that holiday weekend. And, given that I might have a chance to race in the Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club sailing regatta again next summer, well, I expect to be around in mid-July of 2007

But whatever date seems good, I'll be there if I can - and if not - well, I'll make it in 2008. Or 2009. Or 2010. The important thing is setting a date. Remember all those people at the See Zurh House and at Webb's you swore you would keep in touch with? Well, maybe this will help.

So, think about it. Mull it over. Chew on the idea. Bounce it around. Give it some thought. Ponder the concept. And then run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it.

In meantime, I'll open my credit card statement and see how much damage I did at Webb's Resort and elsewhere that weekend.

Hmmm... damned heavy envelope.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Gloria Boutelle offers up a class-reunion poem

Gloria Boutelle
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
JAMESTOWN, New York - As I was munching a Mallo Cup, my email dinged with a missive from Gloria Boutelle about reunions.

It's pretty good.



Every ten years, as summertime nears,
An announcement arrives in the mail,
A reunion is planned; it'll be really grand;
Make plans to attend without fail.

I'll never forget the first time we met;
We tried so hard to impress.
We drove fancy cars, smoked big cigars,
And wore our most elegant dress.

It was quite an affair; the whole class was there.
It was held at a fancy hotel.
We wined, and we dined, and we acted refined,
And everyone thought it was swell.

The men all conversed about who had been first
To achieve great fortune and fame.
Meanwhile, their spouses described their fine houses
And how beautiful their children became.

The homecoming queen, who once had been lean,
Now weighed in at one-ninety-six.
The jocks who were there had all lost their hair,
And the cheerleaders could no longer do kicks.

No one had heard about the class nerd
Who'd guided a spacecraft to the moon;
Or poor little Jane, who's always been plain;
She married a shipping tycoon.

The boy we'd decreed "most apt to succeed"
Was serving ten years in the pen,
While the one voted "least" now was a priest;
Just shows you can be wrong now and then.

They awarded a prize to one of the guys
Who seemed to have aged the least.
Another was given to the grad who had driven
The farthest to attend the feast.

They took a class picture, a curious mixture
Of beehives, crew cuts and wide ties.
Tall, short, or skinny, the style was the mini;
You never saw so many thighs.

At our next get-together, no one cared whether
They impressed their classmates or not.
The mood was informal, a whole lot more normal;
By this time we'd all gone to pot.

It was held out-of-doors, at the lake shores;
We ate hamburgers, coleslaw, and beans.
Then most of us lay around in the shade,
In our comfortable T-shirts and jeans.

By the fortieth year, it was abundantly clear,
We were definitely over the hill.
Those who weren't dead had to crawl out of bed,
And be home in time for their pill.

And now I can't wait as they've set the date;
Our sixtieth is coming, I'm told.
It should be a ball, they've rented a hall
At the Shady Rest Home for the old.

Repairs have been made on my old hearing aid;
My pacemaker's been turned up on high.
My wheelchair is oiled, and my teeth have been boiled;
And I've bought a new wig and glass eye.

I'm feeling quite hearty; I'm ready to party,
I'll dance until dawn's early light.
It'll be lots of fun; and I hope at least one
Other person can make it that night.

-- Author Unknown

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The gang on the porch at the See Zurh House

BEMUS POINT, New York - I'm back from my hiatus to the California Delta (which I wrote about in my other blog) and it seems like our reunion was, well, a month ago.

Not surprising, as it was a month ago.

And in the ensuing time, I am hopelessly confused about what photos have been posted and which have not, so if I start to repeat myself like someone with Alzheimer's, bear with me.

And in the ensuing time, I am hopelessly confused about what photos have been posted and which have not, so if I start to repeat myself like someone with Alzheimer's, bear with me.

What's that? Eh?

This photo features (seated from l-r) Linda Davidson, Barb Bunce, Kathy Anderson, Marianne Jim and Gloria Boutelle. Kneeling in front is Mike Coon, who, I believe, is drinking a Budweiser product, not much a surprise, I suppose.

Oh, and a message to Gloria. Thanks again for the Mallo Cups. I've gone to rationing them carefully (not...) as the whole package is disappearing frighteningly fast (and my waistline is growing even faster).

I did receive a couple of more photos: one of Jim Nelson dancing with Shelley Kales and one of me dancing with Shelley Kales. Shelley seems to have been a favorite of the photographers - perhaps because she was out on the dance floor the whole evening. Good for her; some of us had to rest.

And I'm posting a few more which I believe I haven't ever posted. But if so, well, remember that paragraph about Alzheimer's.

And I'm posting a few more which I believe I haven't ever posted. But if so, well, remember that paragraph about Alzheimer's.

Jim & Shelley
Jim Nelson and Shelley Kales

Shelley and Fitz dancing
Fitz and Shelley Kales

Skating crowd
The Skating Crowd

Greg Taft at Midway with a friend
Greg Taft at Midway Park

Thursday, August 03, 2006

HOT HOT HOT & time for another vacation

Buster Poindexter
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Class of '66 Reunion in July was definitely a high point this summer for me and the songs the DJ played have been ringing through my head for weeks.

Best slow song? Mel Carter singing Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me.

Best fast song? HOT HOT HOT with Buster Poindexter.

In case either of those songs doesn't spark any memories from the reunion, the slow song had everyone out on the dance floor in the firm grip of romance - sometimes even with their own spouse.

And HOT HOT HOT was the fast song that prompted a wild conga line.

The video of that conga line is pretty wild and will be heavily featured in the rockumentary about the reunion.

Here's a partial list of the songs that were played, which we might dub, the Class of '66 Soundtrack:

Tossin' and Turnin'
Mustang Sally
The Stroll
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me
The Wanderer
Start Me Up
Takin' Care Of Business
Mony Mony
Devil With the Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly
Where the Boys Are
(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
Some Kind of Wonderful

And now that I reread the list, I suppose I will have Shout stuck in my head for most of the day, replacing HOT HOT HOT and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me.

Hmmm... Feelin'
HOT HOT HOT... Nope, that one's still stuck in my brain.

This website will look pretty much the same - no, make that exactly the same - for a week or so, while Admiral Fox and I take our sailboat Sabbatical on a week's vacation into the California Delta area where - Gasp! - there is no internet service and cell phone service is pretty spotty. I'm taking along some old technology for amusement (books) and hope to come back refreshed enough to take on my new university job - and finish the rockumentary from our reunion.

But for your amusement, I pulled one still frame from the video of the conga line. In going from video-to-still, it didn't translate all that well, but you can get the idea.

The video version is quite clear and focused and five minutes long. Oh boy!

HOT HOT HOT Classmates!

HOT HOT HOT conga line at reunion
The conga line at the Class of '66 reunion