Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Look for Ed Westerling at the SeeZurh House

BEMUS POINT, NY - Randy Carlson just passed along the first 'teacher' response to the invites for our reunion.

It comes from Mr. Ed Westerling, one of our guidance counselors. Ed says he might be able to come and swill drinks, er, visit with us at the SeeZurh House Friday night.

And if you are a little hazy on which one he was, he's in the upper right hand corner of the photo with today's blog.

Gene Munson is in the back row with him. In front is Miss Lopus and Royce Mallory.

Why no first name with Miss Lopus? Because I have absolutely no recollection of the woman at all. Period. Was she real, or did they just need four people to fill out the yearbook shot?

Gene I clearly remember because he was my guidance counselor and we argued all the time. (Well, as much as were allowed to argue with the designated adults.) Royce I remember because a couple of years after graduation, I got to know a fellow named Bud Storm, who lived in Lakewood and worked with me at the Crown Dental Lab in downtown Jamestown.

Royce was Bud's next door neighbor and apparently while off getting his EdD one summer, he learned how to play the guitar.

"It ruined him," Bud told me once. "It just ruined him. He used to be really industrious. Now all he does is sit around and strum that goddamn guitar."

Bud wasn't much on music, apparently.

Ed's letter to Randy I will email to the class list. It's a PDF, and when I try to paste it in here, well, the results are pretty funny.

In case the PDF won't open, here's Ed's address in Florida:

Ed and Margie Westerling
4194 Fairway Place
North Port, Florida 34287
Tel: 941-423-973

Sunday, February 26, 2006

It's raining, I'm bored, so let's go bowling. Bowling?

LAKEWOOD, NY - The rain outside today here in California is drumming down hard, just the kind of all-day crap I remember from this time of the year growing up, rain that would turn to slush about 5 p.m. and then freeze solid on the roads after dark.

What a fond freakin' memory!

But the rain also reminds me of what we sometimes did on rainy days, and even on a few occasions for dates.


Yup, bowling. Or, as we used say, the Polish national sport. (I bet I'll hear about that one... My apologies in advance to anyone whose heritage includes the fine European nation of Poland. I promise not to draw any cartoons, either.)

As the rain poured down many Saturdays - and it was clear that we would not be partcularly welcomed at anyone's house - we would hook a ride to the Lakewood Bowling alley at the top of Chautaqua Avenue, don some awful-smelling shoes and launch heavy bowling balls down the lanes, pretending we actually knew what we were doing.

I think I was about 30 years old before I figured out how you really score bowling.

But the times I remember most vividly were when we erroneously thought that bowling would make for a good double-date situation. Good in concept, bad in construct.

Bad? Well, it was bad because the girls seemed to be far better at bowling than we were, perhaps because they were not trying to show off - just get the damned bowling ball all the way down the lane without landing it in the gutter.

I watched one of our male classmates (who shall remain nameless here today, but you can guess) launch an airball that crossed two alleys, coming to rest in a third lane still moving forward with incredible speed.

It helped whoever was supposed to be using that lane to get a spare, I recall. Nicely done.

Then there was always the chance you would be there, trying your best moves on your date (the best moves allowed in public anyway) and someone's parents would be two lanes away. Whether they were actually watching or not, it felt like taking your mother-in-law on your honeymoon.

More on that issue another time, thank you very much.

The bowling alley was a well-lit alternative (and much cheaper, I think) to going to a movie downtown. And in February or March, well, those romantic (well...) drive-in movies were a distant dream.

I suppose I could head to the bowling alley today and try to slam a few frames. It's just down the street from my house heree and my knee feels like it could use some exercise besides the physical therapy stuff I've been doing.

Naw... I think I'll thumb through our yearbook to try to remember who it was who got their thumb stuck in bowling ball and slid halfway down the lane, screaming one wet Saturday afternoon.

I remember the sound of the scream and the list of likely suspects is fairly short.

There were a lot people from the Class of '66 there that afternoon. Anyone else remember who it was?

It was not me, at least the time I'm thinking of.