Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Test Signal

Do you remember back on Christmas morning as a kid when it seemed you just couldn't wake up early enough. I'd sneak over to the tree, and then to my parents' bedroom and back again wondering when they'd wake up so that the shredfest could begin. Then there'd be nothing to do but watch some TV when I'd discover that TV wasn't awake yet either.

Well, even in these modern times that can happen too. Due to technical difficulties........So what gives?

Remember the goofy copyright dispute over at Well it has spilled over to our Reitz website too. Please be patient and we will resolve it in short order by moving the site to a westside server.
When it comes back up, the site will be for a short period and then after a week or so, everything will be back to normal. The .net change should be in place right after Xmas and the change back to normal by New Year. Thanks for your patience and have a safe and wondrous Christmas and New Year.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Out of the Loop

All you westsiders are missing all the excitement. Right now, the action is over at the Wayne Valley Class Directory blog - where there is a raging controversy over ownership of class yearbook images. Well actually it's rather one-sided. I gave up raging years ago.

Maybe I should start from the beginning. A number of years ago, a classmate of mine created a class reunion website for the class. He scanned all the pictures of everyone in the yearbook and set it up. A lot of effort especially using the technology back then. When I discovered the site, I made a copy of the whole thing. It was, at the time, not copyrighted and of course, the source material he used from the yearbook wasn't either. When I built the Wayne Class directory, I used some of those images (the ones that were scribbled on I replaced) and he used some of mine from graduation.  It is mostly for reunions and mine is a class directory. You guys are lucky because your website serves both purposes without rivalry or rancor or insecurity or suspicion.

You are all probably familiar with my on again off again, now entirely off again relationship with the reunion committee for being in grown and unconcerned with finding people. You all know how Linda and I feel about non inclusion and cliquishness. Well the Directory launched on Halloween and has been an incredible success and meeting place for old friends. You folks know how that works.

Everything is running smoothly and I'm busy website buildin' and classmate findin' and Linda's Facebookin' and classmates all over the country are emailin' and cell phone callin' each other when all of a sudden we get a notice on Facebook that Linda's posting of Wayne high school yearbook pictures of certain individuals violated copyrights and had been removed. Scratching our heads, we researched the claims and found that they could be traced to the reunion committee. The following day, my webhost informed me that the class directory website had been suspended for alleged copyright violations and until I responded to them the site was down for the count. Hmmmmm. Just a coincidence? Again, we lifted a rock and uncovered...the reunion committee.

Of course, being the "can do" people we are, there is always a way and the net result of this sabotage was a two day interruption of a service that my class has come to enjoy very much.  I don't think they realized how much until it was gone for a short time.

Why tell this story? Well aside from giving me the opportunity to vent a little, it is a cautionary tale for the FJ Reitz Class of 67 too. Don't let the wonderful class spirit that has been generated here drift off into the winter woods. You have captured the essence of that phrase, something that some in my own class may never fully understand. It is about all of you, together, through the years. It doesn't belong to any one person or any one group. You built it together and you'll keep it alive by setting aside one weekend every couple of years to get together; by keeping your contact information current so Linda doesn't have to do that hunt again, and if you haven't yet sent in a current photo, just go ahead and do it! And if you're into cruising, block off a week in the beginning of 2013 - not next year but the next, for the Cruise to Somewhere which is coming into clearer focus now.

So call a classmate and wish them a Merry Christmas, break bread together over the holiday.  Be thankful that you belong to a high school class that understands the essence of Class Spirit.  It's about community. It's not me, it's we.

BTW, the military service page is filling out nicely. Keep the photos and info flowing.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Last Minute Xmas Gift and Wishes

I thought this holiday season was a good time to tell you all about one of my classmates from Wayne Valley High School in Wayne, NJ. During sophomore year (we were a 6-3-3 school system - six grade school years, 3 middle school years and 3 high school years) the football coaches realized that they had something special on their hands, and they responded appropriately and developed a bunch of kids into the most fearsome football squad in the state; they took the state title. These guys had a defensive four that were All State. They were unstoppable.  Much like the Reitz defense last year, but even better, if you can imagine that. In fact, one of them was recently inducted into the Wayne Football Hall of Fame. One of the other defensive four was named Ray Holcomb. Ray went to college and law school and became a lawyer but it wasn't enough. He joined the FBI and began the adventure that became his life.

About 5 years ago, he decided to write it all down, got all the sensitive national security material cleared for publication or removed, and published his book in June of this year. It is the story of one helluva career

I read a lot. Always have, except for a 4 year period of time after I got out of Yale which so soured me on books that I didn't even pick one up during that time. Even now, my reading is either total fantasy (leaning heavily to science fiction) or documentaries. Well, I decided to buy Ray's book (he's a classmate after all). It had such an impact on me that I even wrote a review of the book for Amazon, where the book is available in either hard cover or Kindle. This is the review I wrote:

The exploits of this career-FBI counter-terrorism agent are quite enough to propel the narrative of Endless Enemies to a satisfying if not cautionary conclusion. This can be said of many first person documentary writings. This tale rewards the reader in many other ways.

The narrative is a historical zoom lens. On the one hand, Mr. Holcomb zooms in and describes the milestones of his career in the Bureau in astonishing and often amusing detail that could only come from a field operative on the inside; on the other he pulls back and is able to place these events in context on a strategic international stage. He presents the dynamic of the domestic and international roles played by the FBI; he covers budgetary constraints and internal political and personal agendas; he intelligently discusses the difficulties of recasting a large law enforcement agency into an effective tool against new and evolving foes; he caringly describes the human toll that its agents continually pay to adapt to that changing role. On a personal level, Ray wistfully recalls the emotional pull of the comfort and safety of a career in corporate law against his visceral desire to meet the security needs of the country.

What makes this narrative so compelling is that Mr. Holcomb is a self-aware narrator. He has clearly given great thought to his role in these sadly real events and it is the depth and clarity of his thinking that makes this book special. He does not posture about his role. He simply lived a life of understated patriotism to the best of his ability and to the extent of his character, and that has taken him farther than most are willing to go. Endless Enemies deserves a read. When you're done, you'll come away with a much deeper appreciation for the dedicated people like Ray Holcomb who are doing their best to protect us amid all the political ambitions and drama being played out in the national headlines of the past 30 years. 

Yeah, sure, Ray is a classmate of mine. That does not change the fact that this man is an unsung national hero and that the book is a real thrill ride precisely because it relates true events from the life of a very modest man.

Speaking of patriots, thanks to all the Reitz vets who have provided information about their military service. This is something that has resonated with this class as well as my own in New Jersey. It wouldn't surprise me if you served in the same units as some of my own classmates. 

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Reitz Class of 1967 for teaching me some very valuable lessons which have proved very useful in my chasing down the Wayne Valley High School Class of 1967. It has also taught me a great deal about the importance of old friends and common memories and appreciate my own a great deal more.

And now for the Christmas wishes part:

To Hitch Peter
We all started anew.
An Orange Beach Condo
To watch Blue Angels that flew
A new website to see all as we were
A Get Together with friendships renewed.
Now the Mother of all Reunions and football Game
and then a Cruise to Somewhere to top it all off. Whew.
Merry Xmas
Linda Yuan

Monday, December 5, 2011

Somewhere has a name

For those of you who have taken to keeping up with the adventures of the Reitz Class of 1967 lately, you know we've been mumbling about the Cruise to Somewhere for quite some time, most recently to announce that it was pushed into the Fall of 2012 after Reunion. There was a meeting of the newly and informally formed (it was whoever could show up of the people that expressed an interest) Cruise to Somewhere Committee (that's CSC in bureaucratese).

Drum roll please. It has been decided that the Cruise to Somewhere will be to (rim shot please) The Southern Caribbean via Royal Caribbean for 7 days in Jan or Feb of 2013. (OVER A YEAR AWAY) Enough time to properly plan and save for such an expedition. It sails out of Port Canaveral FL, a closer port, and goes to places fewer have been. Details will follow but there's plenty of time to see if you're interested. We've already been told by some folks they won't be going because of bad cruise experiences, but those are anecdotal. After all, Linda's first cruise was chased by Hurricane George all around the Caribbean but didn't turn her from cruising again. It's going to be a fun time for anyone that goes and it will be all handled by a travel professional of Patty Qualls acquaintance so the committee will be available to work on other projects to keep the spirit alive and the class getting together as often as we reasonably can.

In the meanwhile, back at the ranch, Linda has been making sure that all her emails and mailing addresses for all the Reitz 67 gang are up to date so that when the reminders and sign-ups start for the 45 we can still get hold of everyone.

Anyone interested in the Cruise to Somewhere should contact Linda (812-425-3255) or Patty (812-626-7917) for more details.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nap Time is Over

Even though the Xmas Holidays are fast approaching, and I must say that Westsiders managed to control their impulses at least this time to not clear out the store shelves in response to the dusting of snow the other day, it is nonetheless time to shake off the snow and get back to work. I can tell you Maggie the little black dog, TV celebrity and 2010 Miss March Pet Calendar model, didn't like it one bit.

First up is the meeting on Saturday Dec. 3 to try to set the details for the Cruise to Somewhere and be able to give it a definite date and destination.

Then there is the matter of trying to get photos of classmates, the holdouts, that is, and convince them that they don't look any worse for wear than any of the rest of us and that they should share a picture. I'm not even going to talk about bios. It would have been nice and still will be if people decide to do one, we'll be happy to post it, especially those of you who moved out of town after graduation.

Finally, it is never, never too early to start talking about the 45th. We want it to be the Mother of all Reunions, the one that people will be talking about for years to come. And the only way to have that happen is if everyone starts talking it up now. Not just in idle conversation but in an organized campaign to make sure that every one is invited and made to feel welcome and encouraged to come. Sure there is email, and facebook and we will be using all these modern if not somewhat impersonal methods of getting the message out there. But Linda didn't pound the pavement for all those phone numbers for nothing. We are going to organize old fashioned telephone trees. There is nothing like voice to voice to bring some meaning to the conversation.

This past year, we proved that inclusion and participation results in a great time for everyone who takes a weekend out of the past 2349 weekends since graduation to get together with their old school chums. So this time we've moved a wee bit upscale, but this ain't the Petroleum Club. We don't care what people wear or what they look like. We just want them there at Reitz to see a football game on Friday night, tour the school on Saturday, and show up at Echo Valley ready to break bread together and have one helluva good time yakking.

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention the T-Shirts? We're talking about having Class of '67 T shirts, and as you know from what's been done so far, when we talk about something, it will happen.

And finally, yes really finally, I want to apologize again to all the veterans in the class who attended the April Get Together. I had every intention of setting up a Veterans' photo but as the 11th hour MC,  my tongue got caught in front of my eye teeth and I lost sight of the fact that we hadn't done it yet and people were getting antsy to start talking to each other. So we are definitely going to take that picture at the 45th and we are going to recognize veterans on the website, so send us an email, drop a dime on us (our kids and grandkids have no idea what that means!) and let us know what branch and when you served, and we'll post it up on the website (the page is there already). Many of you served in a time when sacrifice and service weren't held in such high regard. We need to fix that wherever we can.

Can I squeeze in one more finally? If you've moved, or changed email addresses, or gotten a new phone service, you might as well let us know because you know that Linda will find you anyway sooner or later!

So there you go. Don't be surprised to be getting a phone call from a classmate in the next few months encouraging you to go to the reunion because this one's going to be the big one that no one is going to want to miss.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

We're still Here!

I know it's been a little quiet on the Westside lately, and on the blog specifically, but between the preparations for the Holidays and our grand daughters Reitz volleyball and basketball schedules things have been far from calm. Fortunately, our daughter Leah has seen fit to give us an Xmas present early - a pair of stadium seats to make sitting on those bleacher seats through the basketball games tolerable.

Here's the news. First, just to remind everyone, that the 45th Reunion will be held at Echo Valley on September 8. We have a block of seats reserved for the football game on September 7. It is up in the air who Reitz will be playing that night, but it won't be Harrison.  On Saturday morning before the actual reunion celebration, we have two events; the first is the R-Men's Golf Scramble. The second is a school tour for those of you who haven't been in the building for the last 45 years.  It has changed substantially; we have, so why shouldn't it?

Finally, it look like the Cruise to Somewhere will happen but not until later in the Fall of 2012. We will announce a tentative meeting time for the Reunion Committee shortly. So in the meanwhile, make your plans for September 2012 and watch the blog and Linda's FB page for news of the meeting.

Friday, October 21, 2011

James Riger was (might still be) in town and Linda met him down on Barker by the Save A Lot and got a picture and had a nice chat. He says that he has every intention of being here for the 45 in September of 2012. His picture is now up on the site.

Linda, still grieving over the loss of our little black dog Missy, dug into her class materials and found her copy of the Class of 1966  Reflections to try to distract herself from our loss by staying busy; not that she is ever NOT busy. Now she's scanning that yearbook extracting images of all of you posing as Pep club and underclassmen in all your wide varieties of interests and activities. We'll no doubt post some of these on the website as a more permanent feature than the Facebook postings which Linda is putting up on Facebook.

I know that pets aren't people, but it seems my memory doesn't seem to know that. It doesn't distinguish between one good memory or the other, just that there were many good memories during our custodianship of Missy as well as many trying times. I once asked Linda if Missy's last name was Quit, because every time I talked to her on the phone (before moving here in 1999) Linda was always saying Missy Quit! as the little black dog gnawed on different household furniture and generally got into things and places not meant for dogs.

Especially lately, my memory has really been acting odd. One moment I'm in the here and now, the next, I'm moving to Evansville and meeting the little black dog, the next I'm back in high school cutting up in class (as I was fond of doing back then) and then drifting back to Evansville and walking down Harmony Way getting dragged down the street by a little black dog. Not quite random, but almost. Missy was a good dog. Like Linda, I need to stay busier for a while too.

Monday, October 3, 2011

In the Background

Even though it may seem like nothing's going on class wise, there is a surprising amount of activity going on in the background.....

The Reitz 67 roving ambassador, Gayle Brown Gurksnis has been meeting with classmates in different part of the country as she travels the long way round back to Texas from Evansville, with get togethers in Colorado and Texas. We have posted pictures on the Where We Come From page, down at the bottom.

Inspired by my parents' photos of my graduation ceremony, Linda has discovered some photos of the Reitz 67 graduation ceremonies and we have created a special page for that also under Where We Come From called, unsurprisingly Graduation Day 1967. Jess Searle has donated some additional images to add to the collection. Anyone with others, feel free to forward them to us and we'll post them.

Speaking of pictures, Mike Conners has taken to the Internet with a vengeance and provided another high school era picture of himself, which we didn't previously have. His Facebook page is now full of old photos for those of you on Facebook.

Steve Frohbieter should be back now from his Orange Beach AL vacation courtesy of Gary Malin. What we knew was that this included a tour of the Air Museum nearby. What we didn't know at the time was that it was going to include an up close and personal visit with the Blue Angels and a nearly private air show during a practice session there. Steve has provided some great photos. These are found at the end of the main menu under Condo trip.

Finally, plans for the Reunion next year are still percolating. It turns out, according to Beth Hagan, Athletic Director at Reitz, that the schedule next year is still in turmoil. Our graduation night before, Friday football game is still a home game, and we will have a block of seats, but  it might not be against Harrison.

So, when you're talking about an active class of more than 360 people, there's always something going on and that's not even considering the local Westside gossip!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Big Day

Linda's Aunt is having her house cleaned out. Needless to say, the house is full of old things, some meaningful, some just the debris of a very full and active life, some just junk that got consigned to the basement. But hidden, safely, in a metal box meant just for such things,  two Kodachrome slides of the Reitz 1967 Graduation ceremonies.

So it was the occasion to buy a new scanner capable of handling slides and strip film (something we lost in the fire last year and never got around to repurchasing). I ordered it on Amazon and got it the next day (they must have had it stored around the corner just waiting for my order.) Scary fast. So we quick scanned the two slides and posted them on the website in the "Where We Came From" section under a page called "The Big Day 67". I'm sure Linda will have them splashed all over her Facebook page by the time this Blog post hits the 'Net. But consider this an open call for other photos of that day. I'm sure that there were other proud families shooting a lot of film (film, what's that?) that day. Let's see 'em, folks!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Another Classmate Confirmed

William Anthony Hall
William Spaulding
David Russell
Becky Brown Jewell

These are the last 4 Reitz 67 classmates whose locations have not yet been confirmed. If any of you who follow this blog or see Linda on Facebook have any clue as to their whereabouts, please let her know. It bothers her. We're pretty sure we know where Terry Stinson is, we can't get through his son, who doesn't seem to be passing on the message that we're wanting to contact him.

Facebook. Can't live with it, can't live without it. Sometimes annoying to no end. Sometimes I just want to go on a rampage and poison livestock and burn crops on somebody's farm.  But, sometimes helpful to no end in locating folks. Sheila Monks Scarborough  has been hard to track down, having moved several times in the last few years. But Linda found her brother on Facebook and messaged him to have Sheila give her a call, which she did yesterday, and voila, another classmate updated and located in anticipation of the great 45 next September.

Gayle Brown Gurksnis is on the home stretch of her Great Circle around the Midwest on her Reitz 67 "ambassadorial" duties. She has, in her travels, encouraged, organized and accomplished classmate get-togethers along her route. Good work Gail!

You will notice, at the suggestion of one of my Wayne Valley friends that we are now embolding the names mentioned in the Blog. Makes it easier for our old eyes, or so I'm told.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bad News for an Old Friend; Confirmation of a Plan

We got an email from a post graduate friend of Marla Oberhausen and had to be the bearers of sad news to her about Marla's passing. She had found the website by Googling, we suppose, and had anxiously browsed through the pages until she got to our memorial page. She contacted us for confirmation because she just couldn't believe that such a sadness could have happened. It was just a short message but it spoke volumes about friendship, the expectation and hope that it will last forever. I suppose that most of us believe that friendships are part of the soundtrack of your life, as though you can listen in when you want to, put it into the background at will, and it will be there to give your attention when you have the time.

But life, like small children and pets, does not always do what it's told. That's why we have worked so hard to do what we have done with the directory, the class website, the phone calls the get together this past Spring, and the planning for the 45th. We are no longer immortal like we believed we were in 1967. Old friendships are fragile and can become brittle with age. They can be broken in an instant, not just by ill spoken words, but by time itself, the cruel twist of fate, the callousness of life. Now is the time to reconnect. Now is to say what you always thought you would have time to say to old friends. Now is the time to see them at the 45th Reunion next September 8, 2012. Make the time.

We went to see the Reitz JV volleyball team drub Mt. Vernon soundly last night, paid Phyllis Niehaus Happe for our activity cards, and had a chance to speak with Beth Hagan, the Reitz Activities Director. She indicated that yes, it was not uncommon for a class reunion to book a block of seats and that there may be some switching of schedules so that the Reitz opponent that week may not be Harrison but it will be a home game. All we have to do is shoot her an email and she will book it. Linda will be taking that one to the bank.

Steve Frohbieter postponed his Orange Beach experience to later this month. He must have had an old girl friend named Irene and he was afraid he would bump into her and she would spoil his vacation like she spoiled the plans of many of my high school classmates in the Northeast.

A gentle reminder to keep us informed of any contact information changes that may have occurred since we last spoke. We don't want to have to find you again, but ominously (cue the "Jaws" music please), we will if we have to. ;*)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Little Note from Gary Malin

We got an email from Gary Malin that ought to be shared:

I spoke with Steve today and he has arranged his vacation get away.   He may not want to share much, but he is also sharing his time away with others that he knows and all will enjoy  the beach and a tour of the Pensacola Navy museum.  Will be giving them a personal tour of the museum and a morning "Blue Angels"  practice flight on Tuesday. 
I did appreciate the sentiments of those who came by to see my wife and I as we said our goodbyes to my mother last week.   I was even more surprised when "mother Nelson" and Paul's sister  stopped by the funeral home to pay there respects.  For those who did not know, Paul Nelson's mother, referred to by many as  "mother Nelson"  took care of the guys who wandered in and out of her home over our high school days, and I never forgot her kindness to me as one of those "guys"  and the many antics that we pulled during school and the happy times as she fed and provided sleeping quarters for after late nite antics.   Tom Waterman and Linda and Milt joined the stream coming in to pay respects, my mother lived 93 years raised 10 children and 37 grandchildren, 47 great grandchildren and was the glue that bound an Evansville family in nearly every walk of life.  She will be missed by all who knew her.
I am pleased to see how so many of my classmates came thru on the vacation giveaway and it apparent that those working on the 45th reunion are doing a bang-up job at making it memorable time for all.  Keep up the great work Linda, Milt and the rest of the team.
Gary Malin
I just think this little fundraiser ended up doing far more than just helping to raise funds. I'm just sorry that the Courier Press failed to include "Malin" in Gary's Mom's name. We missed it in the paper ourselves, and we were looking. Had they done so, I think there probably would have been more classmates at the showing.  

So to officially close this Summer fundraiser, the winner, Steve Frohbieter has booked his Orange Beach Condo vacation with tour of the Pensacola Naval Air Museum and Blue Angel practice flight (that's the surprise bonus - surprise to me too)

Thanks again to all who participated so generously to this truly successful fundraiser. And watch for more class activities to come. We heard rumors of a Scott School get-together and who knows what other little informal get togethers are yet to come. Ain't it just great? Don't forget to send us pictures!

One final thing: Does anyone out there have any pictures from the 10th, besides the telephoto long distance giant group thing that we have on the website already?


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Photos Found

Patty Qualls found a little stash of photos from a reunion and it turns out that it was the 30th at, that's right, Echo Valley.  for which we only had two group shots. These are candids and are a lot clearer but Patty did mention that Echo Valley can be a dark place. I have a feeling that is by choice, and while I don't want it to look like a hospital operating room or a booth at Tropic Tan, I also don't want it to be any darker than the Cottonwood was. I thought that was about right, and still there were some photos that didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. I always like to see what I'm eating, and if it's too dark to see who you're talking to, it's probably too dark to take good photos.

Anyway, the new old photos can be found at The first one under the two big group shots is somewhat of a mystery best solved by someone who actually attended. I thought it was Tom Sales and Terry Hurt just based on their current directory photos. Anyone? The rest are probably obvious. It's good to have a few more from that occasion and it did get me to think about the photo situation next year. I've got some plans that will be made more difficult if the place can be better lit.

Even though we're still a year out, we can't not do a little plottin' and schemin' and we will be calling Susan Turpin Gibson's son, owner of Paradise Printing about lead times for silk screened T Shirts so we know when we will have to pull the trigger if we do it for the Reitz home game on Reunion Weekend.

We're also starting to compile information about cruises for next year for the Class Cruise to Somewhere. Based upon the current level of participation expressed, this is starting to look good. And fun. Hopefully we can find something less common in the way of a destination. Usually, when cruise information or AAA books start showing up in the mailbox, it means we're going somewhere or someone (Linda) is thinking about going somewhere (which is practically the same thing). This time, I know it's for the Class Cruise.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Study in Contrasts

As some of you may know, I've been working, with Linda's tenacious help, to create a directory for my own Wayne Valley High School class without the help of the reunion committee. Since this personal project of mine has put me at odds with the committee, who are chiefly concerned with a select group to attend and if others do attend, that's okay too; It just further emphasizes the contrast with what we have tried to do for the Reitz '67 events.

We have set policy that class funds will not be used to pay for alcohol. We don't have anything against it in principle; we just don't want non drinkers to subsidize those who do indulge.  We have tried, through various fund raisers completed and planned in the near future, to bolster the class coffers to keep event charges as low as possible in an attempt to allow as many people as possible to attend without having to eat cat food. We're hoping to be looking at $25 a head because of the bigger place and table service versus the DIY approach at the Spring Get Together. In contrast, Wayne reunions are now up to $75 a head to pay for booze and it's not even for a sit down meal. Anyone for a pasta bar?

It really does look like there will be a home football game (albeit Harrison, to whom we will probably deliver the usual annual drubbing) with school tour prior to the game (this has to be planned with Beth Hagan, the Reitz activities director) on Friday, Sept 7, 2012. Larry Broerman is working on the annual Reitz Men's Golf Outing for Saturday morning, Sept. 8. And then of course, the big event on Saturday evening. When we get a little closer, and start asking for attendance commitments and such, Ralph "Ed" Branch will probably be wanting to revisit the local hotel discount situation too although his research to date indicates that we're already at rock bottom in the market anyway.....

Now Delores Overbey Howard mentioned something about matching T-Shirts for the football game. That would be cool but would require some organization. Any volunteers? Let's keep this in mind as an option. We can make a few calls to find out what kind of lead times we are talking about so we know when we have to pull the trigger to make this work. I have to admit, even before the 44th, I did have a vision of 200 or more Reitz 67 folks sitting in a big block in matching attire in the Bowl getting announced at halftime. Way cool! In contrast, the Wayne reunion committee is talking about a 2 mile walk around Packanack lake as an additional activity.

As some of you may have noticed, Linda is at the start of making inquiries about contact information changes in preparation for the big contact blast when we get all the events lined out. In contrast, the Wayne committee has sent invitations to people who are deceased.

Aren't you glad you went to Reitz?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Congratulations are in order for Steve Frohbieter, winner of the condo drawing. He was surprised, based on his Facebook post:

Can't believe I won the drawing , for use of the condo, at Orange Beach , Alabama.It was quite a suprise , when Linda Yuan , told me I won. I am one of those guys that never win anything .I always just donate , and never give it another thought .WELL YOU CAN BET , THAT MY MIND IS RACING NOW. I want to thank Gary Malin for making this exceptionally great vacation vacation possible for me, He's a good man. Trying to decide when I will go ....... Thanks to Gary , Linda , Milton , and everyone , who helped to put this together ........... Steve .......

We are all delighted that someone who intends to use the condo in the spirit in which it was offered actually 
won. It was a matter of concern, leading to all the provisos after we started.

Planning for the 45 is cranking up and starting to actually look like things will fall into place. School tours, home football game, golf outing, it all seems to be feasible and if it turns out this way, it looks like a full and fun weekend is in store for everyone who attends any or all the events.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

And the Winner Is........

With much fanfare and great attendance for a quiet Sunday afternoon, the Orange Beach AL Condo drawing was held at the Parkway Pizza on Broadway. We announced that we would be pulling out 3 tickets, the winner, the 1st runner up, and the 2nd runner up. If the winner is unable to make arrangements with Gary Malin within 60 days, the 1st runner would be notified., etc., etc. (sorta like Miss America) That way we don't have to redraw.We also held a consolation prize for those present, 2 $25 meal cards which were won by Emma Ray Gilham and Paul Beck (who was in town to celebrate his mother's 90th birthday). So who won the condo for a week? Get on with it.

So when Milton stopped talking about what we were going to do and how, the drawing was held and the winner was.....(insert drum roll here).........Steve Frohbieter. First runner up is Steve Erwin. Second runner up is Phyllis Niehaus Happe.

Photos of the little drawing get-together will be posted on the Reitz67 website soon.

We also talked about plans for the Cruise to Somewhere, a class cruise, date, time and destination to be announced and the Spring Drawing for another fabulous vacation destination, again donated by a classmate.

And of course, we talked about next year's plans for the September 45th Reunion to be held on Saturday, September 8, 2012. We are really hoping that September 7 will be a Reitz home game, and Larry Broerman is trying to put together a golf event for Saturday for all the class duffers.

More later. That's the best part of all of this. There is always more later. We're hoping that this series of special events will help contribute to a greater sense of community in the class as we build up for the 45.

Friday, August 5, 2011

About those Bios.......

What with the excitement of the impending Condo drawing, the attendance for which we have no clue, I have been laying low with the idea of short little biographies for the website. I think Pam Carroll got one in. I'm thinking of  making threats at someone that I'll make something up for them if they don't come up with one soon. That's just the way this reunion committee works, though. Best performance under threat. Before that happens, do give it some thought. Jot it down on a post card and mail it, or email it to either Linda or myself, and I'll see that it gets posted. You can even phone it in for that matter.

There are some updates on the site, in particular for David Palmer, on the Memorial page. It's a short obit. For me, it's an opportunity to get to know someone who I will never meet.

Yes, I'm still cranking through the process of duplicating the year book and republishing it on CD, much like the Class Directory, and we are still updating the directory as we discover things, or as they are reported to us. We got an email with new information from James Riger, out in Nevada. That is also posted on the website on the classmates R page. I'm about 2/3rds through with the yearbook and have to say that I'm glad I didn't have to do my Wayne Valley yearbook. It is a couple hundred pages.

Combined with the search for Wayne Valley classmates and Linda's honey-do's, I have to go back to work to get some rest. At least the grass hasn't grown much.

Keep an eye on the site. We will be announcing the Condo Drawing winner there and here. And for all of you who participated in the drawing, or who took the opportunity to support the class with a cash donation, you have the gratitude of the Reunion Committee and the Class. And to the winner of the drawing, we expect to see a lot of postable pictures!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oak Trees Grow From Little Acorns

We've been getting some emails from classmates who like the idea of homeroom based photos, and of course, that begs the question of who the teachers were who had homerooms? In my experience, they are usually newer teachers first, then the tenured ones last. Anyway, everyone who has emailed us has struggled with their memories, and it made me think of the Reflections project which started all of this in the first place.

As you may remember, we had, well, still have, plans to republish the yearbook digitally, for those classmates who no longer have one but would like to again. Additionally, it might be useful for those of you who can't remember all the teachers. Well, needless to say, between the class directory, the April Get together, and then the Great 2010 Condo Drawing, the Reflections project got set on the back burner a little bit. Well actually, a lot. Well truthfully, it came to a dead stop half way through. In the interests of helping out with the homeroom memory situation, I will be posting the faculty pages on the website as soon as I can. With that little memory push, maybe we'll be able to compile the senior homeroom teachers and their students and their alphabetical breakdown a little more completely so we'll be prepared for the Reunion photos when the time comes.

For those of you who have only recently found out about the Condo drawing, $10 for a $2500 Condo for a week in Orange Beach AL, donated by Gary Malin. The tickets are available from Linda, Nancy, Patti and Tom and Bob Willis. But sales are almost done. Tickets must be bought and paid for by Monday August 1. The drawing is August 7, 2010, at Parkway Pizza, on Broadway just a little west of the levee. The winner must make arrangements with Gary to book the specific time within 60 days or forfeit the prize.

Shake those memory trees. Somewhere in there is the name of a homeroom teacher! Now close your eyes. Open your memory. You are sitting in homeroom. It is 1967. Let your memory look to the left and to the right. Who's that sitting there? In front of you, whose head are you looking at. Whose passing notes to you from behind your back?

Use this link if your memory truly fails:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Panther Pride

Speaking of pride, the Reitz Class of 1967 should be proud to know that the Condo fundraiser, the first fundraiser in recent memory, will go a long way to help defray the cost of the upcoming Fall of 2012 45th Reunion. The generosity of the class seems to know no bounds, plus the desire for a sea breezy Gulf vacation seems mighty attractive when you step outside your door in the Evansville summer ozone alert enhanced heat. Remember, that's August 7, not this coming Sunday, but the next Sunday, 4PM. We've got a condo to give away at Parkway Pizza on Broadway.  I for one am celebrating with an ice cream sundae regardless of the outcome.

Gary Malin may have to revisit Evansville soon because his mother, who was recuperating from a heart attack and seemed to have made a rapid recover, has taken a turn for the worse. This on the heels of a nice evening with him and some classmates at the Westside Hacienda. Our thoughts and best wishes for a good outcome go out to him and his family.

I thought it might be a good time to start thinking about activities for the 45th. At the 44, I think everyone had a great time getting themselves into feeder school groups. I know I want to get a photo of all the attending vets, which, I had intended to do but for my own forgetfulness, we did not do at the 44. Homeroom photos? Maybe? And we'll also have an updated directory on disc with the most current contact information. Hopefully there won't be that many changes in a year and change.

Anyway, Linda has been thinking about how many teachers are still around. We know that Mrs. Martin from Centennial days will be there. We invited her personally the other day when Linda ran into her at lunch, I think at the westside Applebee's. Anyway, if any others are around, either feeder schools or Reitz, it might be a fun time for all....No Linda, no one will rat you out over that skipping school incident back in school. I think your parents already administered their own brand of justice for that anyway.

We're also thinking about setting up a telephone tree so that a working group of people helping the committee will be contacting each and every class member to personally invite everyone to the 45, regardless of how unlikely attendance may be. It doesn't matter. It's also a chance to catch up on any additional contact information changes too so the directory will be updated plus I know that Linda doesn't want to get a repeat phone marathon performance from the 44. We know how hard it was to sell condo chances. It's much easier to invite someone to a reunion for a good meal with friends.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Drawing

The first class fundraiser, the Orange Beach, AL condo drawing will be held:

August 7, 2011 at 4PM
(Proud sponsor of the 2010 Student Directory)

Please let Linda know if you plan to attend the drawing. Call her. Facebook message, Text, Email. We should probably let Parkway know if we're takin' over da joint. (As in, We're da Reitz class ah 67 and we're takin over da joint, see?)  Remember, you don't have to be president, uh, present to win; that if you don't make arrangements with Gary within 60 days, we will redraw. Gary wants the thing to be used for the benefit of a classmate.

In the meanwhile, the sales are going briskly. It has been a great success so far, so be the one to take it over the top! Every ticket goes toward keeping the 45 Reunion reservation price as low as possible so the most number of classmates can afford to attend. As they say, you can't win it if you ain't in it and ticket sales end with the end of the month of July.

Still two weeks to go till the end of sales. Good Luck to all. If you want to buy tickets, contact Linda, Nancy, Patty, Tom or Bob right away quick. Times running out!

Well, seems like no matter where you go, there you are. My own class does not have a directory. They have lists representing everyone that attends reunions, but no complete listing. 621 graduates give or take. Can we do it? You know Linda. Of course we can. Well, you'd think it would be as simple as getting the committee to provide the existing information. Nothing is simple.

Our website classmate information is not as public as the Reitz site. The committee made that decision a while ago apparently. Privacy. This privacy concern is much like parental controls. It may be intended to protect, but what it does as perhaps an unintended consequence, is prevent friends from contacting friends with whom they have lost touch. Just like preventing Google from finding all references to "breast", which makes school reports on cooking chicken breasts an exercise in frustration.

So we are starting from the beginning, the yearbook, adding the lost people we found, and then adding lists for the 40th and 30th after verifying.  A lot of folks are on Facebook so that helps a lot. You know what they say about idle hands. When she's not helping find classmates, Linda is cooking up the next fundraiser for later on this year. I'm not at liberty to say how well we've done with the condo drawing ticket sales, and we're not done yet anyway, but suffice to say, it's been a great success so far.

And finally, thanks to all of you for proving that after 44 years, there is such a thing as class spirit, that friendships can span that many years and miles, and that it is possible to think of doing the get togethers and directories and everything that your class has done. You should all be very proud of yourselves.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Another Classmate Remembered; A Decision is Made

As you may know from the previous entry, Linda and I met Gary Malin in Pensacola. Gary mentioned, along with several others, that he thought that Robert "Bobby" Greenwood had passed away. So Linda took this as  incentive to do a little searching and found that he had passed in April of 2004. He is interred in Sebree, KY.

Even though Bobby did not graduate with you, like many others in the Reitz community of classmates, we have included him in our website on the Memorial page.

Sales of condo drawing tickets is suddenly heating up as though people are finally realizing that August 7 is just around the corner. Remember first, paid tickets only will be included in the drawing; next, we truly want the winner to be someone who wants to make use of the condo. We know now in advance that some classmates are buying tickets as a donation to the class; that the Gulf Coast is not really their cup of tea. We also know many who are buying tickets because they really want to take advantage of the opportunity for an Orange Beach vacation either this year or next spring. We have talked about this and we have decided that if arrangements are not made by the winner with Gary in 60 days, that we will redraw, sort of a second chance drawing. Besides, it's a good excuse to have another Parkway Pizza ice cream sundae.

Ticket sales conclude on Sunday July 31.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A week away; a visit with a Classmate

We just spent a week away from Evansville. A trip to Destin with Minnie (Winnebago, that is), Missy the little black dog (Who had been under the weather and needed some one on one TLC) and Linda, who needed to decompress from her continuing mission to get so much fund raising done before the 45 that reservations will be free! Seriously, it was good to get away, and now was a good time to do it because Nancy Layson Burke and her family were going to be down there at the same time.

Additionally, we made arrangements on the way back to Evansville, to see Gary Malin who drove up from Orange Beach to Pensacola where we shared one of those great Cracker Barrel breakfasts. We told him about the current state of the condo drawing fundraiser and raised his eyebrows at the same time. We were double the level that he thought was achievable. The Reitz classmates have certainly stepped up realizing that this was as much a fundraiser as it was the possibility of getting a free stay in an awesome condo on the beach in Orange Beach, AL, a far less populated vacation getaway area than Destin, which is now wall to wall condos and beach umbrellas. Seeing sand is surprisingly difficult if you don't reside in a condo. In fact, the only pristine (or anything remotely like my childhood memories of the gulf coast, of which I have many) was Henderson Beach State Park, where they are doing the best they can to preserve a little piece of natural beach and a modest but nice RV campground with electric and water hook ups. We also had a great visit, Linda and Gary covering all the topics that old friends cover anytime they can get together; who's doing what and what's going on in Evansville, and how and when we are going to do the drawing, and what if the person that wins the draw doesn't intend to go, and on and on and on.

The bottom line is this: We have raised enough money to more than cover the cost of renting Echo Valley for the Reunion. Once again, we will try to keep the cost of reservation as low as possible. It'll be a little more than the 44; just the nature of the food provided by Echo Valley, but it's the principle. The lower the ticket, the higher the attendance. My own class seems to be going the other way, less attendance, higher reservation costs. I guess when only one person attends, that poor soul will have to pay for the whole thing.

So what about the drawing? Here's what has been decided:  Sunday, August 7, Parkway Pizza, 4PM. Parkway was one of the local businesses that contributed to our 44 and they are Westside through and through. They have great thin crust pizza, and hot ham and cheese and stromboli sandwiches to die for. We won't even talk about their 2 buck ice cream sundaes. It's walls are also festooned with school memorabilia and photos from all the Westside schools.  We had been thinking about Aztar, but I didn't feature getting the bum's rush from the Hoosier lounge meeting area by Aztar security for holding a condo drawing for a non Aztar sponsored event. At Parkway, we can stay for pizza and other food if you want. It's up to you. Should be fun anyway.

Now don't you think that just because this event will be over in August, that we don't have other things in the great Reunion Committee Collective Brain. We're still plotting the Cruise to Somewhere, destination unknown as of now, and there are other things in store before the 45 next September. Idle hands, you know. Still a few weeks to get your condo drawing ticket! Get in touch with Linda, Nancy, Patty, Tom or Bob.

Monday, June 27, 2011

On becoming Officially Old

There are certain milestones we all share. My classmates all remember getting their draft cards. Everyone remembers getting their first driver's license; landing your first job. First date, first kiss, first....well,  let's just say the first of anything.

Most remember high school graduation; some have a college graduation to remember. Each of these events, be they first or not, mark our journey through time and our evolution as people. Each of us use these memories as snapshots of the people we were when these events occurred. As each of these moments go by, there is a change in perspective that subtly occurs.

When I was younger, everything was either directly in front of me or coming soon (or worse, coming at me); I don't recall feeling that the past had much significance, probably because there was so little of it. Maybe when I passed 40, I started looking back every now and again, to see where I had been, as though that glance backward would allow me to chart a better course for the future. I'm not saying that I'm a fatalist; that my course was set from the beginnning and I was just playing it out, but I think everyone has predispositions that help drive those decisions we all face in a particular direction. I've made decisions to the contrary, but always ended up regretting them and recharting a corrective course that led me back to my original direction (I guess those times were when I was fooling myself, and I've done that plenty of times.) Perhaps only an old fool could admit that. Missteps taken, nothing fatal, nothing irrecoverable.

Paul Wagner, a friend of mine from high school, and I used to have these philosophical discussions (as philosophical as two 17 year olds can be) about types of people. We decided that there were dabblers and divers. Dabblers experimented carefully around the edges of things until they were sure they were safe and wouldn't result in death or disfigurement. Divers, as the name implies, just dove in without looking, grabbing opportunities without a care. We also decided that Paul was a diver and I was a dabbler.  I wonder now if I missed out on anything because of my basically cautious nature. I wish I could ask Paul if he felt he made mistakes because of his precocious nature. I would if I could find him; if he's even still above ground. Somewhat more philosophically grounded, I can now say categorically, that it didn't make a bit of difference one way or the other that will be detectable in a couple hundred years.

So on this, my ascension to the ripe age of 62 and my official entry into the realm of "Retireable" , I look back and realize how well life has treated me, in spite of myself, granting me a life rich with good memories, good friends, two wonderful wives (consecutive, not concurrent), a great family, and perhaps most importantly, the wits to remember and appreciate it all. If I never did another thing except play in the dirt and make things grow, I'd probably still be happy. It may have taken 62 years, but I am pleased to say that I think I've found my happy place in life. Now the trick is to enjoy it to the fullest. And part of that is sharing it with as many people as I can. That's why I'm writing to you. Thanks again to all of you who took the time to wish me a happy birthday. Linda made sure it was eventful ( even holding a pre-birthday get together; sound familiar? ). Of course, I couldn't let the moment slip away without commenting on it.

Friday, June 24, 2011


One thing I ask myself, I say, "Self, what else can we do to keep this ball rolling. What can we do to keep people in the loop and looking forward to the big 45 next year?"

Well, the first thing that can be done comes from you, the Reitz Class of 1967 yourselves. I mentioned it in passing on the website at the very beginning, before the major events occurred, i.e., the nearly 100% successful conclusion of the hunt for lost classmates; the building of the class database; the construction of the class website, the production of the class directory; the planning and and execution of what began as the Howell Shelter Cookout that quickly turned into the Spring Get Together of 2011 (unofficially, the Surprise 44th), the photo CD, and now the Gulf Condo Class Fundraiser, the not forgotten production of the digital version of Reflections for those of you who have lost their yearbooks (I've been a little busy lately and I know, I've only got myself and Linda to blame). I also built another website for my stepdaughter's Cat and Kitten Rescue in Mobile AL ( along the way. I had to remind self of what has gone on in the last year. Whew!

Back on topic, back then, I mentioned that I would love, and I think your classmates would too, to be able to click on your website entry on the Classmates pages and get a short bio of what you've done over the past 44. I know, I know, you can't do that. You're too busy, you don't have a way with words, you're not entirely happy with the way things turned out, you don't think you've had a very exciting life, all you did was just got married and had kids, I know the list just goes on and on why you can't tell us about yourself.

If everyone had taken that attitude, the 44 never would have happened and you remember how that turned out? Everyone there took that extra step out of their way, rearranged things for that one night to make some collective magic. It's time to do it again.

We far too often look for reasons why something cannot be done rather than looking for ways to get it done. I say if we can do what we have already done, we can certainly do this too. I believe that there is no life that has not served a purpose: I doubt that even what some might consider an ordinary life is really all that ordinary. Think of all the obstacles life has tried to put in your way. Yet here you are, bowed a little, but unbroken.

I don't want anyone telling me that getting married out of high school and raising a passel of kids and watching them turn out to be worthy adults isn't worth a lifetime achievement award. I can tell you about jobs with companies that I would still be doing if the companies hadn't gone belly up. I can tell you about businesses I've started that ended up short of money without making it over the top. If you've got a golden goose story, we want to hear it too! Fact of the matter is that everyone has a story and everyone wants to know your story too.

Hey, this is the Westside. Chances are some of us know most of it already. This will just be your chance to set the record straight for your classmates. I'm not talking about a novel (not everybody is as wordy as I am [thank heavens] or no one would get anything done) I admit my autobiography in my Wayne class blog is the first time I ever attempted to explain, no relate, my life to anyone ( and it's not easy. But it is cleansing in a way. On the one hand, it makes you step back and take stock of yourself. On the other hand, it tells your classmates what happened. Why you didn't become a doctor, lawyer, indian chief. That's what I told my classmates. How did Ralph (Ed) Branch get to work with blind folks; how did Bruce Alan Seegert end up commuting between Denali Alaska and New Mexico? How did Linda Lively end up with some yakky Chinese guy from New Jersey? There are over 360 stories to tell, and I for one would like to hear every single one of them (except that last one. I know what happened and how it turned out)

So, first call for biographical blurbs. Don't make me ask Linda to start calling to collect stories.............We can also connect them to the class directory so that if you get the digital version and click on a classmate's photos, you get a pop-up little bio. Way cool!

On an entirely different note, we had our grandson run into Lowes and shoot a photo of Cecilia "Doodles" Dillworth and post it up on the website at the bottom of the West Terrace page. Doodles went to West Terrace with Linda and up through freshman year. I've been getting helped by her at Lowes for years without knowing that she was a classmate too!

We are officially over the $1000 mark for the Orange Beach Condo drawing fundraiser. Reitz Class of 67, you've done it again; exceeded expectations and reached another milestone. And there's still time to enter the race to Orange Beach. Call or email Linda Yuan, Nancy Burke, Patty Qualls, Bob Willis or Tommy Lee Waterman (he's out of town for a few days but everyone else is available.) What's that Lotto saying? "You can't win it if you ain't in it" or something like that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Word is Out about that Class of 1967

I received an email response to a request I made of Beth Carnahan, Head of the English Dept at Reitz. Now I think the world of Beth. She is savvy and she's a great teacher and leader of teachers. It seems like a long time ago, but I asked Beth whether she could help me get Linda a replacement yearbook. She promptly got to Bob Hammonds, media specialist (that's librarian extraordinaire, to us old folks) at Reitz who discovered that they didn't have a 1967 yearbook. Well, Bob is a man of the world and gets around and has a prodigious memory. He discovered a website and sent me an email to help me in my quest:

Mr. Yuan: Last school year Beth Carnahan had mentioned that your wife had lost her 1967 Reitz yearbook in a fire. During the school year I tried to locate a copy for the Reitz files since our copy was missing. Since that time I haved learned that one of the members of the class has posted the entire yearbook on the Internet. The location address is: The posting is very nice and is complete with additional information. Hope this is of some help.
Bob Hammonds- Media Specialist Reitz H.S.

Imagine my delight in being able to reply to him:

Thanks Bob. I really appreciate your thoughtful follow-through.  We have since located a copy, scanned it and put it on CD and had my Grand daughter, Aniesa Ricketts (Reitz 2014) deliver it to the media center and Willard so that the school and the library (their copy was missing too) would have a copy. It apparently didn't get in your hands. If you don't locate it, let us know and we will get you another copy. Apparently the free wheeling spirit of the 60's overwhelmed honesty and person or persons unknown borrowed both copies and neglected to return them.

By the way, thanks for the kind words about the website. Linda Lively Yuan (Reitz 67) and I did the website.

Linda located every member of the class (over 360 less 4 and contacted them all [all that were alive, that is]). We used it to act as a nexus for an unofficial 44th reunion of the class scheduled for this past April 8 originally at Howell shelter but we outgrew the shelter and had it at the Cottonwood Center on Hitch Peters Rd. We had 180 paid attendance. There is a blog too, which begins on the website and continues at which documents that process and our official preparations (we and several others became the reunion committee)  for the 45th reunion scheduled to take place in early September 2012. Not bad for old farts, eh?

Bob Hammonds is not just a media specialist (librarian). He is also a historian and a man of letters, a rare quality these days. Now he knows what we have done. Yup, the Class of 1967 is holding events that rival, no surpass, those of later Evansville high school classes, some of whom have cancelled their reunions from lack of interest. Lack of interest?!? What is the matter people? Is the Internet and texting and life on Facebook more important than getting together with your classmates in person? Are you to busy with busyness to wake up and smell the coffee? Will it take another 40 years for you to realize that the ship has already sailed and that you have missed the boat? What is so important in your life that you can't spare one night out of 10 or 20 or 30 years to see your classmates? Let us, the class of 1967, 44 years out of school, explain to you what it means to be one with our classmates, happy to share stories about everyone doing well, sharing the pain of losing some along the way, but sharing. The operative word is sharing. And that's what we're going to do again in September of 2012.

Condo drawing chances are still available. We're trying for an even grand and we're within striking distance. Be the one who puts us over the top. Contact Linda Lively Yuan, Nancy Layson Burke, Patty Qualls, Bob Willis, or Tom Waterman for tickets. We're 6 weeks away from the drawing.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Don't Usually Like to Do This But......

I don't usually like to plagiarize myself. As you may know, in addition to writing about Reitz 67 activities, I do the same for my own high school, Wayne Valley in Wayne, NJ. Linda and I have been busy doing the same thing for them as we did for you folks, finding as many lost classmates as we can. But sometimes, something happens that is universally enlightening and reveals a universal truth. Well, here's what happened:

Not Everyone Remembers Wayne Valley Fondly

I suppose it takes something like this to realize that not everyone remembers their high school days with fondness. Victor Quinn just replied to me in Facebook after we found him and I messaged him to confirm his identity:

"Aside from the fact I have no idea who you are, I had no friends in that place and put it behind me a long time ago. I haven't even been to Wayne in 30 years. Anyone over the age of 30 who actually cares about HS is an idiot who needs to grow up" 

I simply replied that I didn't remember him either and now I realize that I didn't need to. Now I see that the years haven't been kind to Victor's personality and I hope that it has been kinder to his accounting business in Plainfield NJ. WVHS must not have had the same impression that it did for everyone else I have talked to over the past several weeks. In truth, I suspect that it was something other than WVHS that caused him to react so rudely to what must have appeared to be a total stranger. What if I had been a billionaire looking for an accountant? There's an opportunity blown. 

Well, I guess that we're all idiots, but I know for a fact that there are a lot of us who have made it life's work not to grow up. And I for one am glad of it. I am still curious about things not immediately in front of my nose and am willing to well wish people with whom I was once associated but are now separated, even by so many years. I am not rude to strangers, least of all to classmates, even if I didn't care for them back then. We are all different, and I hope better and wiser people than we were so many years ago. At least I would hope so and hope that Victor comes to that realization before it really doesn't matter anymore. And the unfortunate truth is that day is coming sooner every day.

Our class search goes on. I have just sent our class reunion committee a slew of information about folks we have located. I'm happy to say of them, the ones who are alive are living happily, in the company of their friends, children and grandchildren, most doing what they always wanted to do, and all are curious about people with whom we went to school. Most inquire of specific people they grew up with, special friends with whom they have lost touch and in some cases we have been able to help in that regard. The ones not alive are still alive in our memories and that of their family and loved ones. That is all the legacy that anyone has the right to expect.

So, to the Victor Quinns of the world, I can quite proudly and defiantly quote James Barrie and Peter Pan,"I won't grow up!"

I hope that all you Reitz '67 grads will join me in that sentiment.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Higher Expectations and a New Perspective

When Gary Malin offered up his condo in Orange Beach, AL for a free week's stay as a class raiser, he had modest expectations of our selling 50 tickets so we could raise $500 for the class fund. The general idea is always to build up the fund so that we can minimize reservation price for the 45 in September of 2012. We believe that this was one of the factors that made the 44 so successful. Westsiders are all about bang for the buck.

We have come to learn that when it comes to drumming up interest and sales and participation, our current class reunion committee does not rest on its laurels. With 7 weeks to go until the August drawing, we have logged well over $800 in paid ticket sales and commitments for a number more. The idea of raising $1000 is not beyond reason or reach. So get in touch with Linda Lively Yuan, Patty Qualls, Nancy Layson Burke, Tom Waterman, or Bob Willis for your chance at this opportunity. Remember, the availability of this condo has been extended to include some choice times in the Spring of 2012 as well as this fall.

Just when I thought we had run into a stone wall with my Wayne Valley classmates search, we hit paydirt over the weekend, and I had a chance to reminisce with two more classmates, neither of whom knew they were lost and were both grateful that they were found. It seems nearly universal; very few consciously try to lose touch with their high school group, it just happens over time, day by day as life's demands and happenstance buffet you through the years. Whether by design or not, you come to a moment of respite and your mind starts to wander to the past, and high school days come to mind along with the inevitable speculation about this one or that one. Did they fulfill their yearbook ambitions; if they didn't are they happy anyway? I admit I've run into some classmates who .... Let's put it this way, just like my old classmate (I don't seem to have any other kind), Dale Weber being listed in the dictionary under smart ass, there are a few that can be found under hateful and paranoid. "I don't remember you. Who exactly are you and why are you contacting me and why do you want this information?" I know that this is going to cause you to have to contact your federal witness protection program handlers, and you'll probably have to move again, but your high school classmates are curious about how you turned out. Now I can tell them without you having to provide a lick of information.

Anyway, not to get off too far off target, the contact process for the condo drawing was really quite different than that of locating everyone. Now it's not a case of 44 years since last we spoke. It's a few months, and guess who I talked to the other day or guess who I had lunch or dinner with a few weeks ago, or guess who's coming into town and wants to get together with a few friends to break bread.  Things are happening and they're all good.  You can see it on Face Book. Pictures of old friends gathering here and there; Gayle Brown is still rounding up all the Colorado and Texas people for something local. It's in the wind. It's more than nostalgia. In the past, I was always cynical about it, whether it existed or not, and if it did exist why would you feel it anyway. I feel differently now that I've seen it in action and experienced it firsthand - it's called CLASS SPIRIT and it's alive on the Westside of Evansville.

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Not Like Being There

We've resumed the search for the missing classmates of Wayne Valley High School (You all know by now how Linda likes to keep us busy with condo ticket drawing sales, the cruise to somewhere, the 45, the new rent house [alright, that was my idea], the memaw and papaw shuttle [or MAPS for short]), and I realized that I was missing a big part of what made the search for Reitz '67 grads so successful - input from other classmates.

It's as though we're searching in a vacuum with no background information other than what we find on the Internet. There are a few who are also looking but they are from out of town now too. Without some more information other than a name, how hard is it to find Thomas G. Smith? Now I remember him from gym class cause he always wore dark socks and black and white Keds tennies. The gym teachers used to ride him mercilessly. But there are dozens of Thomas G. Smiths in all parts of the country.

Now I don't know if it is just something about Westside folks who know and want to know everything about everyone, or whether it is just because I've been away from my own home town for so long, but I don't know parents, or relatives or childhood buddies of my classmates. I didn't go to grade school there. I went to so many grade schools it isn't funny. My dad's corporate life gave me what amounts to an army brat school history. Even if I had gone through my entire school career in Wayne, people seem more disconnected; there are so many people that we've found that say that they never get back to Wayne, or go there just rarely by coincidence than intent, because there just isn't any other reason to. And I recall thinking how sad that is. I'm not saying that there aren't aspects of Wayne that are quite endearing (and there is an active "I'm from Wayne, NJ" group on Facebook, but they are mostly a nostalgia group - you know, the "who remembers the Valley Road Sweet Shop?" kind of stuff)

Of the Reitz bunch, even those far afield keep in touch with someone. If nothing else, the Fall Festival calls you back here like lemmings to the sea, well, more like Wimpy to a burger or ....I seem to be digging a hole here.... I'll have to give that simile a little more thought. The point is that Evansville people seem to remain Evansville people even though they are living somewhere else. Everyone seems to know everyone else's parents, alive or gone, or brother or sister or niece or nephew or even more importantly, who got married to whom, and even more in most cases. To me, this is part of the magic of Evansville, part of the magic of the Westside in particular. For the travel weary, for me in particular, Evansville and the Westside have become my home. I know without being told, that not being born here, I'm not a genuine Westsider, just a pale imitation. But I'm trying, and I have come to appreciate those qualities that distinguish Westsiders and Evansville folks too. What other small city can raise a million bucks at the drop of a hat when a disaster strikes? or do it regularly for MS or Reilly Hospital or dozens of other equally worthy causes?

This town is special to me, and for those of you in the class who were born Westside people, you're special to me too. You need to see yourselves for who you are, for who you went to school with and get over all the rest of the nonsense that separates you from the special values you grew up with. I'm not admitting defeat in finding my lost classmates, but I'm saying that it is a lot more difficult to find them because I don't have the special connections that your classmates have with you. I'm going to keep looking because I'm a little hard headed about things I decide to do and with Linda's help, how can I fail?

You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your class to get back to Evansville for this reunion. We've got a year to plan it. You've got a year to rearrange your schedules and plan for it. This one's going to be something else. You've heard about how the 44 went and that was on a shoestring budget. If we could have bottled the delight of that night and sent it to you so you'd understand what happened there, we couldn't keep you away. It was truly magical.  And we intend to do it again, bigger and better because now we know it can be done and what kind of support from everyone we will get. Don't hear about it from others. Experience it in person.

And although if you say I said it, I'll deny it, we've got other plans too.............something about the Cruise to Somewhere? and a 47th, ('cause we don't know if we can make it to the 50th?) and other smaller get togethers along the way. It's just ridiculous what idle minds can dream up!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Is it Always a Stab from the Past?

Got a great photo from Jess Searle, who was rummaging around in an old box. He found a circa. 1955 photo of the St. Marks kindergarten class, taught by Tom Townsend's mother. It is now a resident of the "Where we come from" page on the website. It even has the names listed. It was old and faded but I did the best I could to bring the color close to what it used to be.

We were wandering around in Lowe's the other day trying to decide how to most economically redo the new rent house (Jess asked us whether we had ambitions to be the new slumlords of the Westside.) Not quite, but then again, with CD rates as they are, real estate is somewhat more appealing. That's why they call it Real. At our age, there is very little ambition left. Linda says speak for yourself. Anyway, we ran into Cecilia Dillworth, who has worked at Lowe's quite some time. I just didn't know she was a classmate. Some of you may remember her from your memory's dimly lit West Terrace days. She moved away for a while, made it to Reitz freshman year and then went to school somewhere else. Linda got her a copy of the West Terrace 5th grade class photo in which she was a part and some other photos from the 44th. Linda says it was a touching moment. Needless to say, she extended an invitation to Cecilia (you may remember her as Doodles) to attend the 45th, in the spirit of inclusion.

And speaking of inclusion, it seems that more and more people are wanting to get included in the Orange Beach Condo Drawing at the rate of about $200 a week now. The drawing is set for the beginning of August so there's still plenty of time to get your chances, but there are always complications in our lives, grandkids that need shuttling around town and errands that can't wait or things that just pop up to complicate things, so don't wait too long. Paid chances are the only ones that will be included in the drawing. Don't be the person that wanted in and didn't get their ticket money into the pot soon enough.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Not Just the Weather is Getting Hot

As the summer heats up, so have ticket chance sales on the Orange Beach Condo. Thanks in part to a great phone campaign, our classmates have been buying chances to win that stay in the fabulous condo that Gary Malin has offered up and now with the window of opportunity opening wider, those of you with established vacation plans through the end of the year still have the chance to enjoy this vacation destination in the spring as well.

Additionally, the planning for the 45th is proceeding apace with offers of help in a variety of areas. Among them is from Ed (Ralph) Branch, out in CA, who has offered to help consolidate accommodations planning to get us some group rates for those of you requiring places to stay while in town. This can mean considerable savings at some of our local hotels convenient to the Westside. Arranging this is somewhat "chicken and egg" since part of doing this involves knowing the who, what, when, and where details of the event, and we all know that none of this is etched in stone except the anchor event on September 8, 2012. All the associated activities we are thinking about are all in some stage of planning but are not nearly firm enough to satisfy all the obsessive compulsives on the committee. I think Linda is planning a committee meet later this month to start divvying up some necessary tasks. Of course, much of the surrounding activities are organized by other groups who have not yet made their own plans public yet.

And like the guy on TV is fond of saying "but there's more!" but that will have to wait till next time.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

An Informal Get together and the Germ of an Idea

Gayle Brown Gurksnis is in town for a week and we got together with her, Nancy Layson Burke, Patty Qualls, and Linda and Terry Gamblin over at Applebee's on the Westside (of course), and had a grand old time. Met Gayles husband Tom Gurksnis for the first time too. They're splitting their time between South Texas and their Class A RV. Turns out she's good friends with Jan Yestingsmeier Clark also in Texas. The net result of all this activity was 5 more condo tickets sold and a CD. Anyway, another example of how a drop of rain turns into a deluge.

Give Linda a little too much time without focussed activity and she starts getting ideas. Pretty soon, it's like Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney (My Dad's got a barn, we could put on a show!). Well the idea is this. Sometime in 2012, preferably not in Hurricane season, we get a bunch of classmates together to go on a cruise. We know of at least a half dozen people who expressed interest already. We also know a travel planner who should be able to get a pretty good rate if we can help fill a block of rooms on a class cruise. Hey, one cruise we went on was full of guys entered into the Big Mustache and Beard society. (I don't know what the real name of the organization is, but one of them turns out to be from Evansville!) so stranger things have happened. Linda's just turning the idea over in her head (which probably means that we're going on a cruise next year, one way or another). Personally, I enjoy the cruise ship experience (especially on the smaller ones) and sharing one with a bunch of Reitz folks sounds like it would be a hoot! Now I know that this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but then again, the idea is to keep generating new and different ways to be together doing something class related and keeping the spirit that we regenerated this Spring as an ongoing experience.

We also always invite everyone to throw their ideas in the pot for other ways the class can get together and do something unusual, different or whatever.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Bigger Condo Window and an Observation

First, Tom Waterman mentioned that one point of sales resistance for Gary Malin's Condo Drawing was that the window to take the vacation was only through the end of the year. Tommy explained that some folks told him that their vacation plans for this year were already set. Would Gary consider broadening the window of time for the vacation. Linda called Gary this evening and explained the problem. Gary said that March 15 through till May was also available for consideration. And he had some flexibility until the true summer season. Similarly, the snowbird season is clearly out of the running since it is prime rental season. But if that has been the issue for you're buying a chance and those additional times work for you, give Linda a call or contact  Patty, Nancy, Bob Willis or Tommy Lee Waterman.

I was talking with my classmates about how difficult it is to find people because they move around so much. I commented that previous generations were a lot less portable. My Dad was part of  that different generation.  He was recruited out of college by American Cyanamid (that's how we ended up in Wayne, NJ actually. I remember standing in the middle of the woods off Berdan Avenue (future home of American Cyanamid back then) and my dad said here's where my office is going to be. I said "Sure, Dad") He was right again, as it turned out. Anyway, he worked for Cyanamid for his entire working life and retired from there, only to watch it get sold, dismantled and sold off piece by piece by American Home Products. He retired at just about the right time. He'd ask me every now and again, "How come you're always changing jobs? You've had so many." And I'd just reply, "Different times, Dad, different times." Thinking back, I'd either move for other reasons than jobs, or I've had a couple of companies with whom I was really happy go belly up. As I got older and more high maintenance because of my work credentials, I got downsized a couple of times. I also got remarried (not my choice) too and that had me on the move again. I don't know whether it was Fate or luck of he draw or sign of the times, but I try to find a logic to the progression of jobs I've held. I'd like to think that there's a cumulative body of knowledge that I've acquired along the way. Thinking back, I know my folks got a lot smarter as I got older. Funny how that seems to work.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lower Requirements; Higher Expectations

We had lunch with Patty Qualls and some of her family, including her parents. Albert and Dorothy Qualls are a fixture every fall in the Reitz Bowl. As long time residents of Reitz Hill and among the most loyal Reitz backers on the Westside, it was a real pleasure to talk about things with them. Tales of raising 3 kids in a very small house, holding a wedding shower for Linda's first, a little bit of everything. It was great fun.

Ever notice how certain aspects of your personality wants to revert back to your teenage ways? Then you catch yourself and shake yourself out of it. Anyway, it's been great lately, watching all the interaction between old friends. The get together did exactly what we hoped it would. Sales for the condo drawing are ongoing. Don't forget, $10 for a $2600 condo stay in Orange Beach AL. What a deal. You've got till July 31st and then we're gonna have a public drawing.

Heard from Ed Voliva, who is back in Newburgh IN.  We also will be including a new photo of Keith Reitz from his family. We will be updating both the website and directory.

BTW, one of the things we didn't get a chance to do in April, (it was hard enough to get the grade school pictures organized) - we wanted to do a veteran's photo. We're doing that next year for sure. And if we don't seem to be getting to it in the program, remind us. This is something we WANT to do.