|BEND SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
CLASS OF 1958
|ARCHIVE PAGE - 3
Click on any photo to enlarge.
PAGE WILL BE SLOW IN LOADING
BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY PHOTOGRAPHS.
|Blogs and Roast from our website.
Early on we got to write a blog if we wanted and or the classmates that were paying each month to support
the website could pick someone to roast. Here is a compilation of those writings. Know that these were all
written with love and to remember our history and tell our story.
Well now, it looks like you get me for another month. Denny is in California so gave the August blog to me. I really
think he is trying to show me just how difficult it is to come up with new stuff month-after-month. As I sit here not
knowing what the hell I am going to say, I know what he is talking about. With that said, if you want a crack at a
blog on Bend, current or of old, please let me know and I will sign you up for a month.
Seeing as I don’t live in Bend, it is hard to talk current so I think I will go for the Bend of old. With the reunion just a
month away, my excitement grows with the thought of seeing everyone again bringing back memories of all of us
when we were young, naive, stupid, fun loving, ignorant, and just plain kids. Gary Slate and I talked about writing a book of our youthful
experiences but thought better of it as some of it would be X rated and why give the police any help on some of their old cold cases.
Needless to say, some things are better off unsaid.
But, some memories can be shared without too much fear of retribution and so I will try.
My first memories of Bend started out at Todd Lake, where my family was camping and fishing, and I met my soon-to-be best friend
Richard Harris and his family who had just arrived from Minnesota in their home-made camper and were living at the lake until they found
a house. We both started the 3rd grade together at St. Francis. Dick was a true friend and always looked after me - beware to anyone
who would threaten me or any of his friends. We lovingly called him Big Hare and we all miss him dearly. He and I and Bob Hatch were
teammates at SF and athletics brought us together with all the tough guys from Allen and Kenwood grade schools. This began
friendships that will last forever. Some of my fondest memories of grade school include walking out the front door of SF and being able
to ice skate on Troy field every winter and walking down to Drake park and Harmon field to practice and play our games.
SF had an 8th grade but all our friends were going to Bend High for the 8th grade, so we begged our parents to let us go to the high
school and they relented. How many of you can remember 8th grade initiation and the thrill of being with the big kids? Walking the halls
was such fun and I wonder why we let them talk us into stopping this tradition when we moved to the new high school. That being said,
old Bend high was such a delight.
Remember the dressing rooms down under the old gym? Sid Bauer and I were left unattended one evening and decided to take a steam
bath. We reached into the cage with a coat hanger and pulled the water temperature gauge over to hot, hot, really hot and then turned
all the showers on. With all the doors closed, we had steam so thick you couldn't’t see your hand in front of your face. Twenty or thirty
minutes into our basking we heard yelling and pounding on that shed door that went up into the gym. Apparently the girls tumbling class
was up in the gym and it was filling with steam from below - you see the picture.
Gary Raper and I signed up for typing because all the girls took typing and where better to be. Unfortunately for Mr. Carlile, we figured
out that one little spring that controlled the carriage return could be removed and it would disable the typewriter. We finally stopped
stealing them when an announcement came over the PA stating that this was not’t funny anymore (better than half of the typewriters
were out of commission) and when those responsible were caught, death would be the preferred punishment over what they had
The same was true with our Algebra class. For some reason they didn't have enough text books for everyone, so all classes had to
share the same 30 books. Well somehow, each day, a book would leave the classroom. For awhile no one noticed. Soon two people
needed to share a book. However, they were not as dumb as we thought, because word came down that the perpetrators would be
found and expelled if the books were not returned. With great care, we got them back without being discovered.
Our best year was our sophomore year when we had split shifts. As I remember, we started at 7:00 a.m. and went until noon, or there
about, and had all afternoon off to raise hell. Our favorite hangout was the Copper Room that Bob Douglas’s family owned. He would let
us in the club every day and we would have our lunch, fill our drinks from the well faucets (cokes of course) and dance to the jute box.
To tell you of the trouble we thought up during those glories afternoons would be betraying my friends so have to leave it at this.
First Junior class ever in the new high school! Boy, did we think we were tough stuff. By this time our reputation preceded us and
everyone in Central Oregon knew about the class of ‘58. Heck, it might have been all of Oregon. I can remember Principal Acheson
(one tough dude) calling about 12 of us into his office. He said we were the class leaders and he expected us to act like that and get our
class whipped into shape. Yeah right! But then he got our attention. I believe his words were “you had better shape up” or “I will take
each one of you into the gym, put on boxing gloves and give each of you a licking to remember.” Hey, I tried to be a role model from then
on out. We got a little better after that, but could never keep John Wirch under control.
There is one more story that I must tell. It has weighed on me since our senior year. Our baseball team never got any new equipment and
the track team always had new stuff. We were jealous. Tom Winbigler, the track coach, had tediously cut out all kinds of motivational
material for his team and stuck them to the walls of the locker room we shared. I’m talking hundreds of sheets and posters. One night
after baseball practice, Sid Bauer, Dick Harris and I (again the last people in the locker room), had just come out of the showers and
were horsing around snapping our towels at things. You got it! After the first motivational poster fell to the floor in shreds we became
animals and minutes (maybe hours) later the place looked like Main street after the Macy’s day parade. As we viewed the carnage we
heard a car door shut. We were afraid it was Mr. Winbigler, and it was (we saw his car as we escaped.) In panic we grabbed our clothes
and ran stark naked to Sid’s green Chevrolet and sped away. This is how stupid we were. What made us think that he would not know
Sid’s car, the only one in the parking lot at that time. He is and was a class act and never said a word to us. May I take this opportunity
to apologize to him this many years later.
Growing up in Bend in the ‘50’s was a treasure and a gift bestowed on us that can only happen once in a lifetime. I am convinced that
we had all met in heaven and had made a pact to reincarnate into families that were living in Bend or were going to move to Bend. Put
whatever spin you want on this, but we were all there. Do you remember the picnics at Camp Abbott that were put on by the Elks Club,
the Fourth of July pageant and kids’ parade, bonfires before the games, sock hops, senior hick day, class and school elections with all
the banners around the school, assemblies, dances at the Eagles and Elks hall, dates to the drive-in theater, and trying to stick straw
covers on the ceiling while Mable was looking the other way? I remember these things and my heart feels good. See you all in
September where we will continue this conversation.
Some time in my life someone imprinted on me that I should exercise every day. I did.... In former years
it was golf, tennis, water skiing and running. Then I reached the age of 30 and the old body did not seem
to work the same. I could still jog (recommended by some rich guy who owns a shoe company) so that’s
what my exercise routine became. A five (5) mile run every day. Then I reached 40 and 5 miles became 4.
Then I reached 50 and 4 miles became 3. Then I reached 60 and running became a thing of the past and
I started walking. Sometimes 3 miles sometimes 2 miles and sometimes I would just put on my sweat pants
and sit on the deck with a cup of coffee. This has been my routine for a few years now and then I realized
that sitting on the deck with that cup of coffee was really my daily routine. That and a belly that puts Buddha
to shame. Between my doctors look of, "what the hell has happened to you my friend", and my wife’s laughter
while watching me get out of my recliner, I was shamed into starting up my walking again. I did the program…. Start with a short walk
and build up.... I did this and am proud to say that at almost 72 years of age I am back up to 3 miles. I literally roll out of bed at 9:30am
(come on, we are retired) and put on those worn out sweat pants, knee braces, back brace, hearing aids and my Walkman. I put my cell
phone in my pocket and out the door I go. I have a 2 mile and 3 mile walk staked out. I always try for the 3 mile based on the first mile.
Today's walk went like this.... After the first 1/2 mile I am motoring. At 1 mile I am already thinking that today will be a 2 mile walk and by
a mile and a half, I’m asking myself, “what the hell are you doing out here?” My hip joints are killing me from rubbing together like a
grasshoppers back legs and my calves feel like twisted rope. At 2 miles I hurt all over like I’ve been beaten with a rubber hose, broken
glass is residing in my right kneecap, the soles of my feet are suffering from plantar fasciitis and I’m wondering whether to take, option
1, fake a heart attack so they will come and get me, or option 2, just phone a taxi to come and take me home. Now you might have
noticed my dilemma. If I were to do the 2 mile walk I was suppose to stop at a mile and head back as my staked out route is a circle.
This my friends is also part of the aging process, you don’t plan well. Now I am at the 2 mile marker and since failing to pick one of the
first two cancel walk options, and with no other options available, that I can think of (calling wife to come get me won’t work. She just
says “tough it out big boy, no pain no gain)” I trudge on cursing the unknown person who imprinted on me that I should exercise
everyday. At 2 miles I am sniveling like a baby and praying that a rattlesnake will jump out and bite me so they will have to bring in a
helicopter to fly me out. Finally, home is in site and I start to feel pretty, pretty good about myself and other than a sore arm from patting
myself on the back, I am feeling very smug and thinking “How many other 72 year olds are out walking 3 miles a day?” OK, almost
every day, and then again maybe every other day, or if I really were truthful, every 2 days. I digress….. the point being that I am back
walking and wondering at what age can we finally say “screw it, I don’t have to exercise anymore?” Please, I don’t want to walk
anymore so someone tell me when I can stop. You can tell that I can’t wait until tomorrow, or is it the day after? Not important but boy
does that recliner look good.
Again this month Margret Ann (Meg) saves the website by sending in money to sponsor two people this time. She
told me that she wanted to feature them so as to bring to light all they do for the class. She said something about
these two people holding the class together but I really don't see it. Maybe the webmaster does, but when is the
last time Brennan has done anything for anybody? Last I heard he graduated from Oregon State which should tell
you every thing you need to know right there. Any and all good 58ers went to The University of Oregon.
During our high school years Billy was a member of the group called the SHADES. Webmaster was a member of
the illustrious group known as the ROCKERS. Does this say it all or not? Much, much time and energy was spent in trying to get a
current photo of Bill for 2012. I spent hours looking in the local homeless shelters in Corvallis and finally resorted to getting a photo
from his perpetrator file at the local police station. They assured me, that he was no threat to anyone anymore, and now days he just
keeps muttering about where his shades are. Guess who has them now. On the other hand, it was a breeze to get that current photo
for the Webmaster. Just phoned the GQ magazine and they sent a current photo right out.
Hey, I'm the first one who wants to give credit were credit is do, but I don't see it. Did any of you see Bill's pathetic 71st birthday photos?
Thanks to the website they were featured a couple of months back. Every photo showed Mr. Brennan with a glass of wine in his hand
and his arm around some young woman. I was embarrassed, but like Meg suggested, I have to try to keep the class together. And oh
yea, I don't want to spread any rumors here but aren't his wife's initials KB, the same as were on the panties in Harold Williamson's guitar
case at the 50th reunion? Last summer I got an accidental email that was meant to go to the Shades only. Seems that they were calling
the group together for the annual Summer Solstice gathering out in the hills of Central Oregon. Apparently they sit around an open fire
in the buff (thongs were allowed) and pass a talking stick around so that they know who is supposed to be speaking. Subject matter this
year was, Global warming, the best wines to drink and how they lost their virginity. Actually I considered trying to go as I needed material
for the website and this seemed like a gold mine of information. When I sent them my RSVP and stated that “nudity was out for me” they
turned me down. Well, I guess in retrospect, Billy does do a lot for the class, but I don't know what the hell it is. If anyone can tell me
then PLEEEASE send it to me and I will post it on the end of this. Oh and by the way, Bill and the Webmaster are both sponsored in
coming months and I promise that each, oh yea, will get a fair shake in those months.
This months website is again sponsored by Leo Palmer and we thank him profusely. Leo gave me permission
to sponsor anyone that I wanted even though he paid for the month. I choose Mr. Dennis Douglass because the
cheapskate has never contributed anything in the way of money to support this wonderful website (just a little pat
on the back for me) even though I have to admit that he has done some blogs and sent in some pictures, but really
DD there is nothing like money to get my attention. Now Denny is an intellectual and probably does not even look
at the website, but anyone who goes out in the wilderness with guys, gets naked and passes around a talking stick
to celebrate the winter solstice or something like that, needs a talking to. Now I don’t know Denny very well because
he was a member of an elite group of guys who called themselves the Shades and I hung with a bunch of hooligans called the
Rockers. Oil and water if you know what I mean. I do remember that he played the drums in a “Rock band” during high school but from
what the other band members told me, they let him sit in but he was not allowed to actually play the drums as he could not carry a beat
so they had a recording of drums playing and he acted like he was the one playing. I ask all of his friends to send in some information
about him but nothing came. Either he was a saint or he has something on them (like really, what does go on during those solstice
things). That left it up to me to come up with something.
In what I like to call our grey years, or no need for a haircut anymore, I have come to know DD from our email group and he and I even
recommended books and TV shows to each other to try and enlighten the other one. Not going to happen friends. It appears we are
from different planets and have had to agree to disagree on just about everything from politics to spirituality. You see I am a conservative
and Denny is a liberal, and I refused to go out in the woods and get naked in order to shake a stick and celebrate the winter coming or
going or whatever. In our email's, Denny does carry on a great debate on his point of view even though nobody ever knows what the
hell he’s talking about.
Well lets just say that I have the editorial rights here and that’s not fair, so I am leaving a big space here (…….), for Denny to respond in
his own defense. And oh yea, anyone else want to chime in? Any responses I get for or against him will be printed below unedited. Oh
by the way, we did agree on one thing and that was that the Oregon Ducks are the best football team in the country. Or was that
Brennan? Have to give Mr. Douglass credit for one thing, he sure married a special lady in Ruth. Makes you wonder what she saw that
just plain eludes the rest of us.
Its a new month and well Ed is up again. On one hand, we really appreciate him supporting the website but on
the other hand we wonder how to find nice things to say about him month after month. I asked some of his close
friends and they were more than willing to give me stories so I don't have to lie this month.
From what I hear,Eddie use to have a weight problem and around 1960 he found a solution....Diet. His idea of a
diet at that time was to switch from ice cream to ice milk. He was so proud of this huge calorie reduction that he
loaded up the ice milk with spoonfuls of chocolate syrup, bananas, chopped nuts and whipped cream. Hummmm.
During that same time frame Fast Freddie had an 80th birthday party for his mother and invited Ed who lived 40
miles up the road. Fred said that there was an 800 pound Gorilla in the room all evening as nobody wanted to
mention to Ed that he had two different color shoes on. Now I hear you ask, “so?”..... and may say, “I have often left home for a party
with two different color shoes on”, but then you think to yourself, oh wait!... should this guy be the one to teach my little Johnnie and be
the school principal? Teacher and principal he was, my friends. Ed even tells stories on himself while Principal and keeper of the kids
and admits that sometimes he could fool the kids and sometimes not. One day during fire prevention week Ed squeezed into a Smoky
the Bear costume for the fire prevention assembly and then later that day one of the little kids said, “Gee Mr. Donohue you have on the
same shoes that Smoky the Bear did”. As a footnote we think that both shoes were the same color but then how did those little kids
spot them? Another time he rang the bell for an Earth Quake drill in the morning. Later that afternoon there was a real Earth Quake
and all the little kids ran up to him after the event an ask him “how did you know it was coming Mr. Donohue and how did you make it
happen?” Now if you read the blogs in the website regularly you will remember that we have often noted that Ed has more money than
Scrooge Duck. One has to wonder if he was nicking the kids lunch money and there in lies the secret to his riches. I'm just saying that
to go from wearing two different color shoes to rich leaves some really big questions, although, it might have something to do with his
business names, Eddie “The Exterminator” and Big Ed, aka “The Snake”. Think I'm kidding, then check out his business card:
Now this is hearsay and if anybody can verify it please do so, but rumor has it that Ed once walked up Pilot Butte backwards. They say
he did it because he wasn't sure how to find his way back down if he didn't keep site of the bottom. Makes sense to me. I wonder if
beer was involved in this event. Well my mother always said “if you can't say something nice then don't say anything at all” so I have to
report that Ed was just written up for something he did with COCC. Probably gave him special treatment because he was a star athlete
on the basketball team. Without a doubt, another successful 58er. Way to go Edward, we love ya.
Time has passed quickly and a new month is here. This month sponsor is Mr. Fred Fenton who is lovingly known
as “Freddie“ or “Fast Freddie“. Where this name “Fast” originated is a mystery to me as well as the name “The
Ultimate American” which his son calls him. My name for him “Mighty Bull” is explainable and it is not referring to
a large animal but rather a very big Bull Sh!**$#. If you talk or email much with Fred you know where of I speak.
These many names and his life actions were my dilemma in coming up with a song for Fred as this months payer.
After a couple of glasses of courage and many nights of loss sleep, I finally picked the “ROAD TO HELL” which says
it all in so many ways.
Now, I have to preface what I say with the fact that most of my information comes from Mighty Bull and Norm Noakes
who I have named “Walking Bird” (if Noakes won’t tell you what this means, get back to me), so who knows the accuracy of what I
know. One of the things I have ascertained is that he has more money then Donohue. Well maybe not more because nobody has
more money than Eddie. Maybe more than Margret Ann. No still a stretch but you see where I am going here. Another factor is his pet
car. A Ford Falcon for deities sakes. Who even remembers a Ford Falcon? One of the stories that Freddie maintains is how great his
little league team was. I remember playing that team and when Freddie would come to bat, our pitcher would run over to the dugout
and get a little T-Baller stand to put on home plate. He would sit a ball on it so Freddie could hit and run to 1st base. Remembering
back, this is not where he got the name Fast Freddie. One thing we know about Fred is that he is a hoarder and saver of literally
everything. Check out the Classmates page and see the photos and narrative on his life in 9 pictures.
I humor him because he is the best website supporter I have, and lets be serious here, I need all the support I can get. Last on the road
to hell is Freddie’s golf game. Now I have no room to talk when it comes to golf but come on. Playing golf with Fred is the same as
playing cards with your older sibling when you were a little kid. They just changed the rules on you as needed and you were too stupid
to know. Who knew that the rule book said that if your name was Fenton you got a mulligan on every hole and that every time his ball
was within 3 feet of the hole that it was a gimme putt. OK, if your name is Noakes or Brennan then the same rules apply but we who
are on the Road to Heaven had no idea.
I guess what all this says is that Fred is just plain smarter then the rest of us and with the utmost sincerity I proclaim him a man with an
enormous heart and soul and someone we all love dearly. I just kid with you my friend and thank you for being my friend and the
support you so freely give to the class of 1958.
Fast Freddie was up this month so he kindly gave up his month to sponsor little Johnny Newell who we
affectionately called “Nate“. We knew John would never cough up the $14 to sponsor a month and we have so
much to tell the world about him that we had to do this…. Oh boy, where to start? I lived with John our senior
year as my parents told me that they were going out for some ice cream and made a quick escape to Southern
California. John and his family came to my rescue by inviting me to stay with him that last eventful year of the
class of 58. Living in the Newell household should really exclude me from writing this but then I can’t be trusted
either. Why do you think my parents skipped town in the middle of the night. Of course all things reported here
are totally truthful and are reported from all who knew him since the first grade. Little Johnny was if nothing else,
an athlete of Olympian status. He excelled in football, basketball, baseball, golf and especially wrestling.
John needed some new ski equipment and his mother said no. Not a word John understood. He challenged his
mother to a full MMA wrestling match. Rules, he pins her and wins new gear, she wins, he yells two out of three.
Story has it that John pinned her in under 30 seconds with a full body slam.
Memory of this success lead him to think he was invincible and in 1955 in a PE class he and Sid Bauer challenged our instructor Wes
Hogland to a wrestling match. Losers had to shine the winners shoes. Needless to say Wes pinned their scrawny little butts in short
order but here is the best part of the story. Wes had a beautiful pair of those cordovan English brogues. When he got them back they
were dyed black. Classy teacher that he was, he never blinked or said a word but I am sure was thinking how lame he was to trust these
two knot heads.
Now track was not one of Nate’s big suits, at least outdoors. Indoors was another thing. The story goes that after practice one evening
at Kenwood school 5th grade, John decided to practice a new sport and bowled the 16lb shot put down the dressing room floor into the
urinal. Apparently he was good at this sport too as he landed the shot put dead center and shattered it into a million pieces. We all
thought that a weeks suspension was to much, especially since he got to play all week while we had to attend class. Speaking of track, I
think John holds the world record for a vertical leap from a pike position. In others words while holding on to your ankles. One afternoon
after baseball practice at Harmon field, John was to tired to walk back to the old gym so he borrowed a little kids bike to ride back.
Coach Glen Kinney was furious when he found out. Now back in those days our punishment for our discretions was called the “whistle”.
Now I don’t know who invented it but Glen was a master of applying it. Orders were “drop trow and grab your ankles”. Mr. Kinney would
swing that whistle around and around until it reached the speed of sound and then land it on your butt cheek. When it hit on Johns butt
his arms came up and he leaped at least four feet into the air and looked like superman taking off. Swear to God the imprint of that
whistle was there for weeks. This event put John in a bad mood and one day in Miss Veaches bone head math class I had put my head
down on my arms and went to sleep. John couldn't’t stand it that I was sleeping so he got up and moved to my desk and shook me
awake. Miss Veach was very upset and grabbed him by the ear and pulled him back to his desk and scolded him. From that point on I
knew I had an “A” coming in that class and “yes Dorothy there is Karma”.
When the word got out that it was salute Newell month the comments came pouring in. Here are some of them that can be revealed in
1. When John and I (Dennis Douglas) were in fifth or sixth grade and living near each other on Columbia St., we decided to walk
downtown to the Tower Theater to see a movie. We met at his place and walked down Galveston past the West Side Tavern. After we
got past by maybe 100 ft. we decided to see who could hit the sign with a rock. Newell fluffed, I hit, the sign went out and we both ran like
2. Those same years, the guys living south of Galveston (including me and the Haugen boys) invited John (who lived north of Galveston)
to join us in a water balloon fight. We were pretty civilized. We all filled our water balloons together, portioned them out to either side and
decided where each team's "home base" was. We failed to realize that John was a wild man and that, to him, the direct route to victory
was the best. So when the game started, John merely ran to the other team's "home base" and busted all their balloons, kicking a hole in
some mother's laundry bag in the process. Game, set, match. DD
1. John the hunter, sent in by Frank Letho. At Bloody Camp, John was upset with the flat landers moving into our hunting turf. That
morning he had taken an empty vodka pint and filled it with water as a canteen. We ran into 3 flat landers road hunting in an open jeep.
They asked John if he'd seen anything. John said I haven't seen a damn thing but I got 3 sound shots this morning. The flat landers said
sound shots??? John's reply was those big bucks make a lot of noise coming through the brush. John took a drink from his vodka bottle
and staggered backwards offering them a drink. John laughed as the flat landers ripped down the road and then said that's the last we'll
see of those SOB's. Frank
2. John at his worst. When we were in high school John had a thing with police meter readers. John enjoyed harassing patrolman Herby
Maker. John would continuously ask him when he was going to get a gun and a patrol car. One night he and I were out cruising and John
saw a white duck which we instantly grabbed. A few minutes later we were pulled over by Herby. We think Herby may have been a
cousin to Barney Fife. Herby said what are you guys doing with that duck. John said we saved it from being killed in the road way. Herby
said the folks down the street a couple of blocks have a duck. We thank him and a few minutes later we had two ducks. Frank
1. When I think of John, I think of that mischievous grin that was always on his face and one knew that if he was anywhere close, one
had to keep a sharp eye on him so that he couldn't get close enough to lay one of his famous hammer punches to ones shoulder. Damn
those things really hurt a bony shoulder like mine. Skip
It is so much fun to torment John with these stories but when all is said and done there is only one sentiment left. We love you man.
When my folks decided to leave Oregon I refused to go as graduating with my friends in the class of 58 was the most important thing in
my life at that time. Thanks to John and his family I had a roof over my head and a second family. I consider John as my brother and can
never thank him enough for that wonderful year we lived and played together. You can relax now John as I would never reveal what
really happen that year, unless of course, the price was right....... What do you think Norm and Dale, should I tell all?
Thank you Skip for sponsoring this months website. Now, if we could get some of the rest of the cheapskates to
sponsor a month, we can keep the website going. Skip sponsored two months, actually, and he gave up this
month to highlight a fellow classmate. We picked beautiful Marj as she is without doubt an anomaly. Classmate
Fast Freddie wrote in about Marj “All I can remember is she was as pure as the driven snow”. Sid wrote in
“Marj was my first goodnight kiss. I remember that it happened on her front steps and I was real nervous, but I
felt real important on my way home”. Now I have a memory of Marj during a summer night after our 8th grade.
Trust me folks when I say that I was really pure as the driven snow. Frank Letho and I were told that there was
going to be a slumber party at Marj’s house. I told my parents that I was staying the night with Frank and visa
versa. We were free as a bird. Very late in the evening we returned to Frank’s house and got into his father’s
booze cabinet - my first experience with Blackberry Brandy. After a couple of hits we were off to the slumber
party. When we got there the gals were already in their sleeping bags talking and Frank and I were sitting enjoying the Blackberry after
effects and teasing the ladies when for no reason Marj stood up. This my friends was the first wardrobe malfunction seen in the public.
One of Marj’s dirty pillows was displayed for all to witness. Now I am not saying that she did this on purpose but no haste ensued to
close the malfunction. Being only one step passed my first communion I was greatly affected and could not take my eyes off what I was
seeing. I too Sid, felt real important on my way home. Oh yea, how about the time we were all at Marj’s house for a party and some of
the upperclassmen tried to crash. Several of them came to the door and low and behold Butch Hawthorne (the leader and toughest
SOB in school) was standing there demanding to be let in. As we guys melted into the back of the room, Marj said “get out of here your
not welcome” I think Butch said something like “Oh yea!” when Marj kicked him squarely in the family jewels. He went down like a shot-
put dropped off a building. As I remember, Huge Cole was one of the people who dragged him back to the car. Respect was created
that night. Now you see the anomaly. Pure or vixen I will let you decide.
Now you will note the pictures above. This is what I really want to address here. I have lived with insecurity, doubt, broken spirit and
low self esteem for 53 years, 22 hours and 13 minutes since Marj signed my annual our senior year. Years of counseling has not
cleared my mind of those simple words. “Its really been swell knowing you this year”. I have spent thousand of dollars for
professional help, I begged Bill Brennan to let me spend 24/7 building and maintaining the website, knowing that one day I would be able
to write this blog and confront this head on with Marj. See how she wrote the note upside down so that nobody would notice it, and for
goodness sake, “a great senior guy”, come on, what had I been for 4 years before this, chopped liver? Was the event at the
slumber party just a cruel joke. Forget that we knew each other for more than 5 years, forget that she dated my best friend, forget that
we traded dances at formal events, forget that she was my first to see a women's breast, forget that I choose her to sit behind that
curtain when I took pictures of the feet for the Pine Murmurs, forget all the parties we went to, forget all the time we would dance
together and she says swell knowing you this year. I’m sorry, I cannot forgive her no matter that the counselors said, "confronting her
would free me". I am a broken man, and now you know why I have to write all of these roast of my classmates. Yea that’s right, my
excuse, but really, its fun and I enjoy it. So classmates, send in your money to keep me happy or you might be next. Love you Marj. xxo
It looks like I got strong armed to do the blog this month so hopefully it will not put everyone to sleep. As with Lanz,
even though I visit Bend two or three times in each 10 year period, I haven’t lived there for over 47 years.
Consequently, I will also go for the Bend of old.
My first recollection of Bend was in 1944 (I was 4 years old) when I rode the municipal bus by myself to kindergarten
every morning from our home on the East side all the way over to Portland avenue on the west side. Could anyone
today even think of allowing their children or Grandchildren to walk to the bus stop unattended let alone ride the bus
across town alone? I’m sure the answer to that question would be an unequivocal no. Well---that reminds us of the
wonderful little town that we had the privilege of spending our childhood. I should note that my daily excursion to Kindergarten wasn’t
without a certain about of fear. On many occasions, about 3 of those mean old West side boys were lying in wait with a handful of rocks
to throw at me. I became very good at the combat zig zag run plus changing my route from the bus stop to school often enough to fool
the tough guys.
Two years later, it was off to the first grade at Allen Grade School. I was so excited for the summer to end that I almost drove my Mom
nuts. My dad bought me a used World Schwinn bicycle for $5.00 (have no idea why I remember that) with very dented fenders to ride to
school. When I went out to get on my bike to head for school that 1st morning, the panic came over me like a cyclone----I was scared to
death. But----it all came down to which would be worse----getting on my bike with tears streaming down my face and heading for school
or going back in the house and facing the unrelenting razzing of my Dad and older brother and sister. My Mom, of course would have
just put her arms around me and told me every thing was going to be fine. Well, that was an easy decision to make----it consisted of
swallowing my fear, getting on that bike and heading on down the road to school.
Again, who today would let their 6 year old ride a bicycle about a mile or so next to a major highway (97) to school every morning? How
The next four years were rather uneventful. My first grade teacher Mrs Whentland, was a gem, my second grade (the year I met Terry
Skjersaa) teacher, Mrs Smith (Dave Smith’s mother) was also wonderful. My third grade (the year I met Larry Schossow) teacher, Ms
Haggerman was a trip. She had one eye that went every which way but where it was supposed to so when she was marching down
between a row of desks mad at someone, you never knew which kid she was going to smack. I remember her coming down the row
looking at me and hitting the guy next to me. Felt bad for my class mate but was glad it was him and not me.
Starting with the fifth grade, more life time friendships began to be formed and as with Lanz, most of those friendships started as a result
of athletics. 7th grade was a blast. We, at Allen Grade School won all 4 sports----Football, Basketball, Softball and Track. The trophy
that Claude Cook presented to us was so big he wouldn’t let me hold it---said I would probably drop it-----since I weighed all of 73 lbs
soaking wet, he was probably right. During those years I remember Coach Nance telling Skjersaa that he wasn’t holding his blocks long
enough and his opponents were getting up after the block and making a tackle. One Saturday we were playing St Francis at the old
football field across from “The Midget Drive In” and both teams were going back to their huddles after a play. There was Skjersaa laying
on top of Bob Hatch yelling across the field at Coach Nance “Hey Mr. Nance, is this OK?” I’ll never forget looking over at the bench and
seeing that big smile on Coach Nance’s face.
Another Saturday we were playing Kenwood. They had this monster by the name of Robert Rector playing fullback. The guy was big
and mean as they come. I can remember playing safety and praying on every play that Skjersaa or Schossow or Paxton or just anybody
would please tackle that guy before he got to me. Having me trying to tackle him was like sending a fly after a bull. This guy Rector
always seemed to catch the ball on a kick off so before one of our kickoffs, I told another team mate, George Crumb, to hit Rector harder
than he had ever hit anyone in his life. Well, old George did just that and knocked Rector on his butt like it had never been done before.
Poor George came back to the defensive huddle with this big grin on his face and he had no idea he was in a football game or for that
matter where he was. He survived that day to catch the winning bomb that we called the Schossow pass.
As a side note, George’s dad cut off one of George’s fore fingers at the second joint while George was holding a chicken down on the
chopping block. George delighted in horrifying teachers by sitting in class with that short finger stuck up his nose---it looked like he was
picking his brains out---oh, I almost forgot---he also liked to put that finger in his ear to shock any teachers that weren’t aware of his short
Some of us at Allen Grade School remember when Sid Bauer moved to town. As I recall, it was in the spring of the 7th grade. His Mom
had just given him a permanent so he had blond curls all over the place. Us guys thought we would give him some gas about his fake
curls but at lunch break he stepped up to the plate and hit a softball farther than any of us had ever witnessed. From then on, we all very
quietly thought to ourselves---that cat can wear his hair anyway he wants. As everyone remembers, he continued hit that ball a mile for
his entire baseball career.
It was also those years between 10 and 12 years old that we all played Little League Baseball. It was then that the boys of summer from
Allen, Kenwood and St Frances played together and forged life time friendships. Yes, those were the days----Friday night dates to the
movies, walking our girlfriends (Linda Lively for me) home after the movie and standing on the step above where she was standing so I
was tall enough to kiss her good night. It was walking her home after the big games on Saturdays with Schossow and his girl friend and
either bragging about our success or moping about a loss.
The 8th grade brought a lot of changes. Wow----High School---walking the halls with a new girl friend (Sharon Gumpert) and other
friends just like the big guys. Our class in the 8th grade was a large class so it was very important for the older students to get the 8th
grade vote in order to win the election for Student body President etc, etc. As a result of that need, I was asked to be the campaign
manager for (Can’t remember her first name) Thompson---she was the daughter of our Algebra teacher. I was required to make a
campaign speech in front of the entire student body and it must have been a lousy one because Ms Thompson lost the election.
Near the end of our 8th grade year, all of our girl friends decided that the older boys (the jocks and the cats with the cool cars) were
much more grown up and attractive than most of us 8th grade boys so our days (mine in particular) as a ladies man were over---done---
capoot. As a result, most of us all sort of mutteld through our Freshman year. The next year brought the biggest change of all----our
Sophomore year---Black Board Jungle--Rock around the Clock---½ day school days---afternoons to get into all kinds of mischief. As
Lanz noted in his August Blog, the Copper Room for lunch. As I recall, a lot more than coke got consumed at those lunches. Those free
afternoons included spending time in the basement at the Episcopal Church with the pool shark Ron Huffman blowing four thousand
smoke rings and sinking incredible shots. It also included Terry Skjersaa sitting at the poker table with that stoic, sober, never changing
look on his face while he calmly took everyone’s money.
Additionally, those great afternoons entailed spending time at Linda Lively’s house listening the latest rock & roll tunes and sometimes
engaging in other activities. I remember watching Wirch and Raper with their eyes closed and bobbing their heads to the beat of the
music. During that time period it is important to note that Linda’s Dad took great pride in brewing his own Concord Grape Wine. Well,
one evening, Mr. Lively went down in the basement to get another bottle of his pride and joy---what he found was empty shelves----all
that careful attention to the proper ageing etc, etc, etc, was down the tube. No one had the faintest idea what happened to all that
wine. Wirch, Lanz, Terry, Sid----any you guys have any idea what happened to it?
One day shortly after seeing Blackboard Jungle, Wirch, Sid, myself and maybe a couple of other guys were being total jerks (pretending
we were Ardie West from the movie) by sitting on some persons car out in front of a café down near the Tower Theater. Well, the owner
of the car comes out of the café and tells us to get off his car. Being Ardie West clones, we got off his car but not without giving him
some serious lip. To add insult to injury, we all walked into the café and said something smart to him as we passed by the booth he was
sharing with his wife and kids. We headed on back to the bathroom to have a good laugh about our terrific Ardie West impersonation.
About 5 minutes later, there was some serious pounding on the other side of the bathroom door. We opened the door to find a
policeman standing there ordering us out of the café and then marching us down to the police station. While being lectured by the chief
of police (I think his name was Truit) he asked all of us if we had any cigarettes? We each gave him and unequivocal no until he came to
Wirch. With that big grin and wonderful sense of humor that John has always been famous for, he looked at the chief, turned his coat
pocket inside out, pinched a few grains of tobacco left over from previous packs in his pocket between his forefinger and thumb and said
to the Chief “no cigarettes chief, but if you care to roll your own, here is the beginnings of one”.
Well, at that point the Chief could no longer control his ability not to laugh so he told us to get the hell out of his office, clean up our act
and he never wanted to see us again. When we left his office, we cracked up and started plotting our next stupid stunt.
There were many others from pulling all nighters at Lanzarotta’s that, among other things, involved sneaking up on parked cars out in the
woods and peeking in the windows to observe the action to parking close to the liquor store to observe people coming out with a load of
booze in their arms. Someone discovered early on that most people stopped off at the grocery store on their way home after loading up
on booze. That, on several occasions, was a grave mistake as when they returned to their car after grocery shopping, their booze had
taken a powder. Operation 69 had struck again-----anybody know anything about that?
How we all survived (some of us didn’t) I will never know. The bottom line is most of us went on to have productive lives. I know in my
case I was lucky enough to find a wonderful wife that in spite of my many short comings, brought out the best in me. Together we have
produced two wonderful children and two equally wonderful Grand Children. The Lord has blessed us immeasurably with a fantastic life
together and we have also been very blessed to have had the opportunity of making and keeping life long friends-------friendships that
started way back when in that marvelous little town at the foot of the most beautiful mountains in the world----Bend.
“Art can be taught, and anyone can learn!”
At least that’s what the instructor said. She was teaching a course on the ship called “Watercolor
for Beginners” and insisted I join the group, assuring me I would be amazed at what I would do.
(She’s the one who was amazed.)
As a child I was told we all have different talents and that no one can be good at everything. Actually, I’m still waiting to
discover my talents but since I can’t even write my name legibly, I was dubious I had anything artistic lurking in my DNA.
My classmates all claimed to be beginners but I was dubious about that, too; they seemed entirely comfortable with the
paraphernalia on the table.
We each had a palate of watercolors, a brush, a cup full of water, a roll of “special artist blotting paper” (which looked
suspiciously like toilet paper) and a 4x6 card of some sort. I learned to dip the brush into the water and smear it all over the
card first to get it wet, that you don’t ever start in the middle of the canvass (using that term loosely), and that you always use
the lighter colors first. Having covered the basics, it was time to begin.
Our initial project was to be a sunrise or sunset. “Use your imagination, look around you and try to capture what you see”.
The first step was to decide whether we wanted our masterpiece to be horizontal or vertical. Decision-making is not my strong
point so that took awhile but finally I was ready. Following instructions, I conjured up an image of the glorious dawn I had
witnessed that morning and attempted to recreate the glory of the sun as it had emerged from the night, tiptoeing into view.
That image bore no resemblance to what was in front of me; I was looking at a blob of orange in the middle of a lot of black.
The instructor diplomatically managed to find something positive to say and encouraged me to return for the next lesson.
She probably regretted that because I returned for every lesson, each time producing something equally strange and
unappealing, pushing the envelope on the instructor’s inventory of positive remarks. By lesson five she did ask whether I had
any personal issues that might cause my creations to be so dark. At the subsequent lesson she said, “what in the world is
it?” Undaunted, I persevered with the sun theme, moving on to sunsets after a steady series of dismal sunrises, but they were
no better. By now my classmates were way ahead of me, having produced all manner of interesting, lovely entirely
As I admired their work, wondering what they knew that I didn’t know, I was suddenly transported back to Mrs. Thurston’s High
School Home EC class where I was supposed to learn to sew. I have never forgotten her name (she may never have forgotten
mine, either; nightmare experiences can leave indelible imprints.) The first thing she insisted on at the beginning of the
semester was that we all learn to thread every mystifying machine in the room. After nearly four weeks of struggling and
asking repeatedly for help, I managed to conquer one of them and a weary Mrs. Thurston changed the rule; that particular
machine was to be held just for me. By then my classmates had all finished their boring cotton pajamas and had moved on to
skirts, which sounded a lot more interesting, so I ignored guidance, embraced the skirt project with a colorful plaid and learned
the hard way why that was a bad idea.
These endeavors had taken a lot of time and the Mother-Daughter Tea was approaching. The cooking class would prepare
the food and the sewing class would provide the entertainment in form of a fashion show, modeling what we had made. My
latest project was another skirt, this time in plain, brown wool. I assured Mrs. Thurston (who was skilled at avoiding me during
class) that it was nearly finished neglecting to mention it still lacked a waist band, zipper or hem. Not having a clue as to how
to manage the first two I opted to wear a long blouse that would conceal some safety pins but I was sure I could handle the
hem. I went to school early the day of the event, snuck into the sewing room, furtively pulled the rolled up skirt from my bag
and stitched in the hem on the machine, hoping no one would notice it hadn’t been done by hand. Backstage that afternoon I
hastily tried to get ready to model my one project only to discover I had sewn the bottom together. When report cards were
issued Mrs. Thurston explained my D- by saying she couldn’t handle having me repeat the class, which an F would have
Now here I was, as lot of years later, feeling much the same about my bleak artistic endeavors in comparison to those of my
peers. And there was to be an art show in the lobby with everyone’s work on exhibit; no wonder I was remembering Mrs.
Thurston. I cautiously ventured down to the show, wondering whether the instructor would actually display anything I had
done but relieved to remember that even if she had we identified our work only with initials instead of names. Imagine my
shock to see a man peering intently at the little card I had accidentally spilled paint on during one lesson and frantically
attempted to salvage by tipping it in various directions. He actually seemed to like it. For one brief, heady moment I visualized
it hanging in one of those modern art galleries I never quite comprehend but I came back to earth when he turned to his wife
and said, “this is the shade of green I think we should use when we paint the living room.”
I still don’t think art can be taught and that anyone can learn. Neither does the instructor.
Sid slipped me $20 bucks and said “I want to support the website but don’t want any notoriety”. O Boy! Wrong
person to trust Sow Belly (that’s what we use to call him). That was an open invitation to roast him. In all fairness
I thought it only fair to write down some of his family history as well as all the dirt I have on him after being his
roommate for 4 years of baseball travel. I tried to find his family tree and sort out his family and in laws, but my
goodness. The only answers I got were toothless grins and a few grunts but did find out that our own Dale Neth is
his uncle and I think Guy Paxton is his mothers uncle or something like that. It would be easier to get Obamas birth
certificate than figure out this family. Without belaboring the point, Sid is a one of a kind sort of guy and the only
albino that I have ever known. I am sure that somewhere in that family tree lies a link to Terry Bradshaw, famous football player (the look
identical) even though none of Terry’s football prowess rubbed off on Sid. Sid was one hell of a baseball player though and almost made
our little league team which played on the north end of Harmon field. So as not to hurt his feelings they let him play on the South end
which had a really short left field fence, giving him home run rights that summer as Sid was a left handed hitter. As time went on we let
him play with us on the summer legion team and used him as a substitute pitcher when ever we wanted to scare the bejeezus out of one
of their hitters. One year his claim to fame was a photograph that showed Sid ripping the ball out of the catchers mitt while being tagged
out at home plate, making him safe, and also the lead story on the sports page the following day. Don’t get me wrong, Sid could play ball
but we sure got tired of carrying his ass to make him look good. Gary Slate felt sorry for him too and palled around with Sid after high
school and was reluctant to even admit this but did tell me this story. Gary and Sid worked on the pipeline and one day they were sent
home because it was raining. On the way back to Bend, around 9:00am, they stopped off at a bar in Madras for a quick beer. Well, one
led to another and about 4 hours later, in a rather inebriated state, they stupidly jumped in the car and headed for home. Both woke up
while plowing through sage brush on the wrong side of the highway (meaning that on the way off the road they crossed the medium)
bouncing all over the place. With Angels in control, Sid wheeled out of the brush and back across all lanes to their lane. Laughing
hysterically they almost ran off the road again. Now here is the important part of the story. On the way back to work the next day, they
watched carefully to find where they had run off the road and where they got back on. On that entire road, the place they went for a wild
ride in the sage brush was the only place available in that 44 mile stretch of highway where there were no trees or piles of rock for them
to hit. For some strange reason, the Good Lord had his arms wrapped around them and those that were on the highway near them and
nobody got hurt. Is it any wonder that Mr. Bauer didn’t want any notoriety.
Sid did marry right as you will note from the photo of he and Jackie.
Thanks for sponsoring this month Sid and feel free to slip me $20 bucks anytime.
There were wife Kay and I at the 50th Reunion of the Bend Senior High School graduating class of 1958.
I went with the thought that I probably wouldn’t recognize most of my classmates and more with trepidations
(hell I don’t even recognize myself anymore when I look in the mirror even though I don’t feel any different
aside from a few aches and pains than I did 50 years ago) that they probably wouldn’t recognize me even
though I’ve seen many of them as we attended the Annual All Bend High School Picnic the first Saturday
after Labor Day for each of the past four years.
But you know – I recognized almost everyone. Most of you looked better than I did/do! Recognized Joel
Ylvisaker even before I saw him from his laugh. Brought back memories when he and his buddy Dick Hodge
used to entertain us at summer camps with the Bend unit of the National Guard. There were lots of 58er
guys at those camps who were at the 50th. Wirch, Williams, Noakes were some who came to mind.
So good to see 58ers who had to come a long way: Leneve Johnson and Chris Willams down from Alaska; Karel (Tinky) GREG Ling
from Hawaii; Gary Slate from Virginia; Jo PRENTICE Lawrence from Mexico; Ken Hilliard & Clint Neth from Texas; Vola Marchand, Paul
Beaulieu, Ron Rogerson from Arizona. They validated my feelings that our days and relationships from Bend High are still something
Saw Cheree Malone (who I hadn’t seen for over 50 years) and met her husband, Jack. They’ve been married since she was 16 and are
back living in Bend. Couldn’t help but wonder if they’ve been married longer to each other than any other 58’ers!
So good to see Leo Palmer. Biker Leo rode his motorcycle down from Portland to be with us. Other surprises, or phantoms as I call them,
included: Gary Gettman (who never answers his email according to his wife); Dr. Riley Allen who is still a practicing dentist in Prineville;
Jack Jensen (who until 2 weeks before had been on our lost list for 50 years); Ken Hillyard who showed up at the picnic looking like a
Jane NOLAN Schwarten, who surprised us by coming at the last minute; Olga Niemi and husband Bob who got up at 4:30 a.m. Friday
morning to make it to the Pizza feed and had to return to Washington early Saturday to attend a niece’s wedding. Had a breakfast with
Kris HANSEN Ripley and her husband Jack. Learned that they had been in the dog raising/training business for years and they
confirmed my thoughts that my friend Bill Boyd’s Beagle, Zoe, as with all Beagles is NOT trainable. Sorry Boyd!
And how about that Memorial Service to honor our 33 deceased classmates organized by Peyt ROARIG Turner and delivered by Class
Chaplin, Vern Arledge and Ruthie POETSCHAT Douglass, with the help of 300 beautiful little animals (butterflies) as Ruthie called them?
Don’t know about the rest of you, but I had a hard time keeping it together.
Then there was Fast Freddie Fenton who somehow after 50 years had saved and returned to me and many of us the “graduation name
cards” that we had exchanged the night of our graduation! Choked up on that one too.
Really enjoyed meeting many of the significant others who went above and beyond to attend and listen to all those stories of our “glory
days” at good old BSHS . Lino Molina (Jeanne Allen’s husband), Bill Scharwatt (Carol Mattson’s husband), Tony Shine came
representing deceased 58er spouse, Eileen STADUM Shine; Nancy Conrad, came representing deceased 58er spouse, Bill Conrad. Got
to meet Margaret Edmison, Bill’s wife; and the hungriest spouse before the buffet, Carol Murray’s husband, Jim. Carol said he was
always “cranky” when he was hungry! Don Huettl brought Sharon Davis, former spouse of deceased 58er Grant Davis. Don didn’t know
until attending the Pizza Party that Sharon had been married to Grant.
Then there were the spouses that turned into worker bees behind the scenes: Kay Brennan, Bonnie Boyd, Gary Turner and Molly Wirch
to name but a few. They should all be made honorary 58ers based on all the work they did and for the fact that they were smart enough
to marry 58ers!
Old buddies Boyd & Sholes came through by arranging a special rate for 58ers to visit the Deschutes County Museum at the old Reed
School. They even went so far to open it up for a special tour on Sunday morning. Then Denny Douglass organized a beautiful six mile
“River Walk” along the Deschutes River starting and finishing in the Old Mill District followed by an outdoor lunch at Yummi’s, also in the
Old Mill District.
Throughout the weekend there were stories that I had forgotten. Ron Rogerson reminded me of the time when I was 14 with a special
permit to drive my car to school on a prescribed route, I crashed into him off my route! Fortunately there was little damage and none of us
were hurt and our folks decided not to report it as both our asses would have been grass as we we’re both driving illegally!
Each of our graduation speakers and singers Paul Beaulieu and Harold Williamson all distinguished themselves with talent, humor and
Finally, how about ‘dem teachers, Harriet Langmas, Glenn Kinney and Tom Winbigler. Their comments at our “Commencement” were
poignant and emotional and they acted as if they remembered us with fondness even though they might not have. To have them give us
our “diplomas” (Memory Books) to the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” symbolizing our graduation 50 years ago was something
A good time was had by all! And that was the goal of organizers Andrea HUNNELL DuPree, Carol CROOKS Dye, Barb Stokoe, Peyt
ROARIG Turner and Karen McMeen! Thanks ladies! You succeeded in making this reunion, the Big One, the best ever!
|A couple of Anne's articles from the magazine she wrote for.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” My husband had just informed me he’d been invited to be the guest lecturer on a cruise ship and
that I could go along. I get seasick in the shower and I don’t know how to swim. Endless discussions failed to convince me
this could possibly be fun; I envisioned a life jacket as a permanent appendage (orange isn’t even on my color chart) and
nothing could persuade me to share his enthusiasm.
Nevertheless I soon found myself in the middle of the Pacific, surrounded by tranquil passengers who were sipping the drink of
the day and dancing before dinner while I was devouring Dramamine and clutching the banisters. They yawned through the
life-boat drill while I frantically scribbled notes. They dined on caviar and lobster while I nibbled soda crackers and no one
appeared to be at all concerned that there was no land in sight for days.
That was then and this is now; what was to be “just once” has gradually become a way of life. My husband has been a guest
lecturer for a few of the major cruise lines for nearly fifteen years and we’ve sailed off into the sunset more times than I care to
admit. My sea legs are well developed, I know port from starboard, that it’s a cabin not a room, that ships have boats but
boats do not have ships and I’ve become reasonably relaxed about going ashore via “tender” despite a couple of horrific
I smile tolerantly at novices walking the deck the “wrong way” (the water should be on your right), I know what to pack, how to
pack it and how to cope when the luggage doesn’t arrive. I’ve been quite literally tossed and turned in the Tasmanian Sea
and wretched waters elsewhere, survived a harrowing few hours in the Atlantic without engines while headed toward the eye of
a hurricane. I missed all my connections on a solo flight to join spouse/ship in Norway, arriving at the gangway (sans suitcase)
just as it was being raised.
We are usually on board for several back-to-back voyages and we still watch in amazement on “turn-around day” as one group
of passengers is efficiently and cordially dispatched, the ship cleaned from stem to stern, fresh flowers arranged everywhere
and the next group of passengers graciously greeted by a smiling crew, all within a matter of hours.
We sail as guests, in a passenger cabin with every passenger amenity. The only difference is that my husband gives a few
(usually three) 45 minute lectures in his area of expertise, European geo-politics. We’ve gotten to know staff/crew, learned a
bit about the subculture from captain to cabin steward, and had occasional peeks behind the scenes to see how a vast number
of people of different cultures and customs adjust and relate to one another, live and work and play in such close quarters.
Life on a floating hotel is not the “real world” but it’s their world while they are on board--and many of them are there for a very
long while. Contracts of four to twelve months are the norm, depending on the position they hold.
We’ve sailed on ships with passenger capacities ranging from 700 to 2000 as well as one on with only 95. We’ve visited
nearly every European port in the Baltic and the Mediterranean and had stops in the Middle East. We’ve been through the
Suez and Panama Canals; to Australia, New Zealand, Asia, South America, Hawaii, and Mexico. We’ve done “legs” of 101-day
World Cruises and a few “maiden voyages” where the passengers come aboard to find the toilets that don’t flush, the air
conditioners that dispense heat, the elevators that don’t work.
We’ve dined at a table for two and we’ve had dinner companions of all kinds; the charming, the delightful, the eccentric, the
bizarre and we’ve had fun with fascinating people from all corners of the world. We’ve become surrogate parents for young
dance cast/cruise staff far from home, privy to their worries, listening to their woes. We’ve gotten to know professional
entertainers whose paths cross ours repeatedly as they hop from ship to ship, their vagabond lifestyle making ours seem
pedestrian by comparison. I’ve navigated my way through thousands of calories and learned (the hard way) that it is possible
to feast but still stay fit.
Cruising is becoming enormously popular world-wide. Ten years ago the average age we encountered was a great deal older
and there were typically only a handful of non-Americans on board; a few months ago we were on a cruise with 26 nationalities
represented. The industry is growing and changing rapidly as more and more people opt for the idea of unpacking once and
floating off to see the world via the water, especially with the good deals available in today’s economy.
Different itineraries attract different types of passengers. A “crossing” (also known as a re-positioning) offers lots of days at
sea with a myriad of activities you can choose or refuse interspersed with a few stops along the way. Others are so port-
intensive you wake up in a different city every single morning and some offer a balance of both; seasoned cruisers know which
appeal to them. They also know which cabins to request if stormy seas are anticipated. Whatever the itinerary, wherever you
sleep, you’ll find a chocolate on your pillow every night.
We are often asked which has been our favorite cruise or ship or port or our most interesting incident. Many leap to mind but,
amazingly, every cruise has been different from every other. Another question I’m often asked is “what do you do all day?”
Aside from revisiting our favorite ports, (there’s a tiny taverna on an isle in Greece we’ve visited so often the owner puts a
“reserved” sign on our favorite table when the ship arrives) I spend a lot of time writing; I’ve been saying forever that I want to
write a book about all this. So do a lot of other people, many of whom have traveled far more extensively and know great deal
more about cruising than I do but our somewhat unique situation has afforded us a number of experiences, running the gamut
from marvelous to the mind-boggling to the hard-to-believe.
The book may forever remain a dream but I do write regularly for a couple of local publications and Lanz has asked me to
share a few more of those articles on the BSHS website. I thought it might be good to first tell you how it all came about.
Thanks for reading.
|“The owl and the pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat” (Edward Lear)
~ with great reluctance I went too, praying we’d stay afloat;
What am I doing in the middle of the ocean?
|Drawings by Ralph Towner
Click on photo to get the story behind