Blog 146 Classmate Updates
Note: To those few of you who are not Jeff classmates of 1954 but who follow the blog, you may want to skip this one, as it is missing my usual inane dialogue and is a compendium of updates from classmates.
Thanks to all who replied to my recent request to be in touch base. I am sharing the various responses in this blog. This is almost as long as Gone With the Wind, but you might enjoy reading what some of your fellow oldsters have been accomplishing.
A third of you with emails on file responded and confirmed that we do not yet need a line to the Lord or a wireless to reach down to the nether land to find you. Add to that the fifteen or so who have been in touch in the past six month, and that still leaves a lot not heard from.
What did they say?
Some were brief. A bunch claimed to still be kicking, but no one said how high, and they were so busy kicking that they had not time to send any other news. A few sent a photo to show how well they have aged. Five checked in by phone, so I will summarize those first. Following are your replies in the order they were received. Phone calls first, followed by the updates. I have inserted a few notes/comments/parentheticals when appropriate. Full disclosure: many of you were effusive in your thanks for the continued conversations with our classmates. You are too kind. Generally, I tend to edit those comments out, but in some instances here, there would not be much left to report. Despite my inherent modesty, some of those comments are not excised. Finally, the nice thing here is that I don’t need to attempt to be clever or amusing. It was just cutting and pasting the comments.
Dottie Schwope Griffin
is temporarily staying with her daughter as she recovers from a fall and head bump, but is anxious to return to her own home where she and Charlie lived for over half a century.
Patricia Trimble Bryant
called from Austin. She is doing well, living independently, no longer drives, but is ready to go when her grandchildren show up to chauffer her. She promised to reach and report on Susan Crawford LaVieux,
and Shirley Inselman Sterling, both of whom ignore emails.
sent a photo somewhere below and said that he and Sarah )class of 57) are well and enjoying life in Boerne, participating in a variety of activities.
Esther Whitt Nelson
Esther called to check in. She is still alive and well. She did suffer a stroke a while back that affected her speaking and writing capability, but her brain works just as well as it ever did, and I noticed great improvement for conversing a while back.
Shirley Inselman Sterling
also called before they head back to Colorado for the summer with a quick flight to California for a grandchild event. They are driving to Colorado. Living in a Del Webb community in Georgetown, she and Bill whip up Interstate 35 to Dallas for doctor appointments, about 2 ½ hours each way. Most of us avoid I-35, as it is very heavily traveled with cars constantly changing lanes, jockeying for position to arrive 45 seconds earlier. (We all wish they would buy a car with turn signals next time.)Shirle;y was expecting Mary Ann Lothringer Windem for a couple of nights visit. We have not heard from Mary Ann in a very long time, but I learned from Shirley that Mary Ann is still playing tennis and is in a tournament in Austin. For those unaware, Mary Ann is an extremely accomplished musician, well known across the country for her performance on the organ.
Harry and Cerene Wharton “We are still kicking above ground. Some days are harder than others but we keep on trying.
We seem to stay busy going to doctor’s appointments. This area (College Station/Bryan) is growing so fast that it is hard to keep up with all the changes and dodge the traffic.
Wishing you all good health and happiness.”
Here is a picture of Priscilla Weston Tate on her front porch in Belfast Maine. (Penny and I stopped in for a visit in 2011. She has a great vista in a serene setting. I asked Priscilla how many years has she summered in Maine.) “We bought the cottage in 1997 and after retirement in 1999 started going at the end of May/early June and staying until mid-October. I’m keeping up the tradition as long as I can! Maine is bittersweet—it is wonderful and holds sweet memories, but my dear Gary is gone, as well as several close friends. Losing folks is one of the hard parts of aging. But I have great neighbors, a special parish church, lots of friends, beauty, and peace. Can’t complain!”
We bought the cottage in 1997 and after retirement in 1999 started going at the end of May/early June and staying until mid-October. I’m keeping up the tradition as long as I can!
Betty Davis Russell
“Hi to you and Penny. I was just thinking of contacting you to say again how much everyone sends thanks to you for all the years of keeping us together. John and I are enjoying our one-year-old great granddaughter. Betty
Elna (Eleanor) Winder Thompson
What a great idea! Feel like one of my former students except I have a few more joint replacements. Working at getting my (twin) brother, Dan, and his wife back from Australia where they currently have their citizenship. It is a difficult battle we fight, but am looking forward to getting Positive results soon. We are still traveling the states in our Airstream Interstate. Taking our bed and bath with us is the way to go! Staying active keeps us positive and in touch with family and friends! Stay well everyone!! Love from Elna (Eleanor Winder)
(I asked more about Dan returning and Elna wrote) “Love to hear or read about any of our classmates! We are fortunate to be able to move about (literally) with aid from a walker, but if it keeps me mobile and secure! The only family and friends Dan has are stateside, so we all would like them to come home!”
(class of ’53) wrote “I have to report Genevieve (San Marco)
fell Saturday before Easter Sunday and broke her right leg and cracked her upper right arm. She was operated on Easter Sunday and spent 6 days in the hospital and 21 days rehab. She is home now and getting around on a walker. Our doctor had just told us at our age don’t fall.”
“Jack-we need another re-union. Don’t recall anything said about no more-As long as 2 are standing (You and me) we need to keep meeting. Let me hear from you.”
“Checking in still alive and kicking. Have been fighting cancer for nine months. Had an operation to remove through and limp nodes went into remission but came back in my lungs. Am taking chemo now and everything seems to be working so will pray for the best outcome. Doctor said I can probably last another five or ten years or longer. Seems good to me. You have a great day.”
Barney Cline “I was just thinking about you, Jack, since our SA group gatherings have pretty much been on Covid-hold. With the new variant taking root, this Covid-era may not be ending as widely assumed.
In March we managed a trip to Italy, great fun and trouble-free.
Happily, Nancy and I (yesterday celebrated our 52nd anniversary) are doing well. Yesterday’s anniversary lunch was at Mon Chou Chou at the Pearl. Quite good, perhaps a bit overrated, not inexpensive.”
“Scheduled to attend April 14 alumni function; It was cancelled.
Instead, we reengineered our schedule and visited OKC, San Antonio, Austin and Georgetown; Fourteen-day trip and ready to return home.
Hello to all. Hope to see you all at next alumni function.”
Rudy Alvarez “Bonjour Jack. There is an old saying, ‘Be careful what you ask for because chances are you will get it.’ Yes, I’m definitely still above water, still above ground, for however long Mother Nature allows.
Anny and I recently enjoyed lobster at Le Rhul, seaside restaurant on the John Kennedy Corniche, Marseille.
Note: Rudy and I have exchanged emails over the past few years. I featured photos of him over the years from a yearbook photo of a shy ROTC cadet to handsome hairstyles over the years until today when his hair has left him. Rudy spends about half his time in California and half at his apartment condo in France. Above, Rudy has just finished a lobster dinner, hence the bib.
“checking in as requested. Showing my 86 years, but still around and very blessed. May God’s Richest Blessings Continue To Be Yours!“
Ed Brown “Thanks for the update!”
Marcia Dickinson Hudson
“Hi from Marcia in Oregon. Have been exchanging letters with Patsy (Hatch)
In Tulsa. She is fine and me too. Taking 10-day vacation to Jackson Hole and Ft Collins to visit grandson and great granddaughter. Fun times!”
here “just checking in. We are still vertical so far. The COVID thing messed up our pace although we didn’t get it. Things are getting back to normal now. We work out three times a week at the Y just to keep the bones from freezing up. I am not a jock so I don’t relish it. I do it because if I don’t it starts to make a noticeable difference. My doctor told me that people start to deteriorate rapidly at 84 so we’re all in that boat. Keep it floating or it will sink. If this seems like an obsession it’s not. I just skipped Monday so I’m feeling guilty.
Some fun. We’re so old that we got comped at restaurants twice last month. The pretty girls now open the doors for me. All the old people now call me Sir. My neighbors removed the tree debris from recent storm damage. Someone stopped by with their new chain saw and cut up a fallen oak for firewood. My daughter in law mowed the lawn and collected the leaves.
One other thing worth knowing … there’s a fine line between the numerator and the denominator!
Hi to all you surviving classmates.”
Bill Carls “Did you get this? I got it and I’m still upright and still driving. Always glad to hear from you.”
Geri Guly Gabehart “Greetings to our great class of 54 Always look forward to getting your letter. Last time I checked the old ticker is ticking, legs moving but not to fast and when I look in mirror, I wonder who the hell is looking back
I have new books getting ready to be published It’s been years since I have written anything
With Wayne (Gabehart)
being sick it was hard and then house being rebuilt it’s just taken awhile to get in the mind set. No sex no romance no killing just a sweet animal and the man who found him and the rest of the farm family and their new friends
Last checking Peggy Price Ivey
who lives in Miami is doing well. Has to use two poles to get around but gets around n does her thing
Ann Johnson McEwan
lives with her daughter in Bakersfield Calif doing ok. She does not drive any more. Can’t blame her for that living in Calif
I get fab from Bob? Who posts pictures of our old annuals Love driving it all hey really dressed back then. Makes us look like hobos”
Sam Granato “Still here and kicking. Thanks for taking time to keep track of us. Keep well.”
Laura Moore Brusenhan ” I am fine and see a few dear friends of the past namely, Sam n Mary Helen, Fay Armstrong, Jane Cobb, and Patricia Trimble Bryant. I’ll send you several pics of my granddaughter Milla Brusenhan’s wedding on May 7. (Note: Picture below of grandmother of the bride with son Harry Brusenhan, Jr. Such a strong resemblance to Harry Sr. for those who remember. Laura’s granddaughter was the queen of Fiesta this year and her first granddaughter was queen four years ago. Would that make Laura the dowager queen, and should we address her as ‘your highness’ of similar?)
The youngest granddaughter ,Ali, just graduated with honors from U of Georgia n will be in Fiesta next year . Now all 9 of our grandchildren have graduated from college!”
Henrietta (Hank Boyer) Ruland “I am still in Albuquerque and chugging along.”
Bill Crocker Still standing!
Don Schoenfeld “Still kicking, Don & Nancy Schoenfeld.
I don’t know many people from Jeff because of transferring from Breckenridge and wasn’t there long.
Thanks for your newsletter, it is fun reading about some of the few I do know.
Keep up the good work,” Note: I asked Don how long he was at Jeff and about his home in Aransas Pass, which was heavily damaged when the hurricane hit that area head on several years ago. Don replied
“Not sure how long I was at Jeff. A year or so is my guess.
We have rebuilt our house in Aransas pass since it destroyed over half of our house located by the water. Lucky we didn’t have high tides but it ripped off a lot of the roof and took two years rebuilding.
We are in transit to our house in Ruidoso for the summer.
Did you have any damage?”
Dorothy (Tas) Crawford McGraw
“Small world! I had lunch here at Adante (retirement home) last week and met one of our classmates, Joyce Skolnich Meyer. She said she keeps up with your emails. You have her daughter’s email and her daughter relays the information to her (sneaky way to keep in touch) She sold her home recently and moved into Adante in January.
I am adjusting to living in a retirement community but honestly really miss my neighborhood and my yard.
Margaret Remming Metcalfe “Hello to all. I’m still alive and kicking–though not very high.”
“I’m here and kicking still.”
Toni (Ritter) Hair “Hi Jack & all 3 of my friends from Jeff 54, or that I can recall – Sandra Gildart,, Joan Adams, Mrs. Lloyd.
I’ve been a widow about 20 years – John Hair, Central Catholic High (4 children). The best years were in Port Aransas in a home in the Marina that my brother-in-law bought us. John worked at Lone Star Brewery, then retired to become a charter boat (Blue Water) captain and good husband.
I like the connection you keep with class of 54. Thanks for your work. Now I live in upstairs apartment with daughter and son-in-law, Georgia and Carl Boburg. My 4th child, Cash Martin Hair is captain on American Airlines. Aviation influence came from his grandfather, Dick Hair, flying instructor, Stinson Field.”
Mary Helen Bell “Sam and I are doing fine. Sam goes to a trainer three times a week and the guy is like a marine Sargent. I go once a week. I play bridge twice a week and Sam plays gin rummy. We are going to LA in June for meetings and going to see our first great grandson this summer. Good to hear from you.” Note: I asked Mary Helen about her Covid experience. Her reply follows.
“I had Covid-19 very badly and nearly died. I was in the hospital for three weeks and on oxygen got five months after that. I came home on hospice. I have worked very hard on breathing and getting my strength back and now I am doing great!
We sold our LA condo last April. I was too weak and Sam’s meeting were on Zoom. Now we go 4 times a year for just a few days and that covers his meetings. We are enjoying being in SA for most of the time!”
Howard Denton “Still kicking!”
Delbert Richmond “Still alive and kicking. Healthy and active. Houston remains hot and humid.
Kay Matteson Gregory “PRESENT….I know you know I’m still here but just want to make sure to stay on your email list! Really look forward to the next blog and hope it will have many pictures! Thanks for doing this!”
Sam Kersh “I’m still muddling along but not fast. With Jack Van Vleck
and Lee Leopard (Class if ’56?) passing last year and Jim Warren
I’m beginning to feel my age.”
Frank Hagan “I reckon Frank means me. Therefore, want you to know I am still here and having a great time in Gig Harbor Washington . With a little bit of luck Roxy(wife) and I will be in San Antonio later this year when it cools off. Thanks for all your hard work keeping status of the class of 54.”
Nancy Driesslein Pierce “I’m still here and upright though not taking long hikes anymore. Glad you’re still here too. Many thanks again for keeping us connected.”
Dorothy Putnam Darrah “Just sent a picture! Still here and enjoying life! Hello to all still with us! Still going strong! Photo of me and my daughter!”
Sue Elo Settles “Still kicking but not as high! Just getting over knee replacement and going good it is sad that our numbers are dwindling but we all have our time to go so be Faithful and Joyful and enjoy every minute.
This is Johnny and Sarah Coyle,”looking happy as a couple of “Larks — right?”
Jo Clary Smithen “My email address still works. I still work in a preschool. Always happy to hear from you. I wish I could get to some of the luncheons but working conflicts.” Note, Jo is not the only one still working. Will identify others still working in a later blog.
Fritzie Connally “checking in. Haves good summer”
“Hi all this is Louise Dobbins Rawlings am still above ground and keeping busy–am now a great grandmother–of two both are in kanas—-had a bad year last year–fell and broke shoulder–surgery and long rehab left shoulder–am left handed—can”
Nancy Jones Simpson “Thanks for what you do!”
“I had begun to worry about you since it had been several months since you sent anything out. Glad to see that you are willing to continue to keep your classmates informed. Carolyn and I are doing well, just the normal daily ageing and aches and pains. We have all the boosters the doctors recommend. We still carry on as normally as safe and necessary.
Keep up the good work and stay safe and healthy, Pete and Carolyn Sweet”
Margaret Swarts “Thanks for checking on us, Jack! I am well and still living in the same house in Houston where our family moved in 1975. I stay busy with church activities, exercise classes, and birding and walking with my daughter Katherine who moved in with me just before the pandemic. I feel fortunate and am enjoying life.”
Charley Myers “Jack, You’re doing a great job. Sorry I’m not in San Antonio to be able to participate in some of the class activities.”
Pat White Smith “Something, I always enjoy is these updates; Since I have lived in so many places but never near enough to attend the wonderful “get togethers” I am doing well trying to adjust to my “new life,: I like my little cottage and am still trying to get settled with all the lost articles and/or buying new. I don’t drive anymore and I am really bothered by that. I am used to if I want or need anything, I go out to my car and go get it. Well, not anymore. My niece does all my shopping for me. Because of so many falls, I use a walker all the time, That is my last bit of independence. I am very blessed because I have nothing serious enough to worry about. My doctor is always happy with all the numbers on all my lab work. Thank you so much for doing this letter and doing it so well!!!”
Jeanine Kliefoth Price “Hi, I’m still around. Will send a photo when I can get someone to take it. I don’t have a long enough arm to take a selfie.”
Heinz Loth “Thank you for your message. I just wanted to let you know that I received it and relayed the information to Heinz, who does not do email. Heinz has dementia with short-term memory loss etc. but otherwise he is physically well. We have travelled to Texas for 33 years and enjoyed visiting with our family, including Heinz’s twin sister Helga in New Braunfels. She has dementia as well.
Travel plans changed in March 2020 when Covid hit. We have not been back since and have no plans now to return.
I am sending you some recent photos of Heinz. We live in a beautiful home on the shores of Lake Katchewanooka in the Kawartha Highlands, just two hours north of Toronto. Our daughter, Lisa, is just doing her PhD in Canadian and indigenous studies. Her partner is a PhD in education. We have two grandsons the oldest, Aidan just turned 19 and the younger one, Cohen, is 16.
Life is good. Thanks for doing such a wonderful job, keeping track of all the alumni.
They care and stay well,
“Hi Jack…..it’s Carolyn Edgerton Stafford
checking in. I made a move to Norman, Oklahoma from Wimberley, Texas to be with my large family (hopefully finished growing) this year and to be back in the land of the Sooners. Also to check in on my old college friends.
Texas is still my beloved State and HOME and I truly miss it.
I lost my husband Stew in 2008 and several years later met a very nice man and we were together 12 years before he passed away. I was very fortunate to have these fine men in my life. I loved them both. My four sons are happy and still seeking life’s adventures with their own families but I continue to see them all often and watch with smiles as they go through raising their own children.
You have been a true inspiration in keeping up on the activities and classmates of Jefferson High and I’m in awe of your energy and perseverance. Thank you. I would like to take your blog if you could tell me how.
PAT HILEMAN SPARKS “HERE AND STILL ABOVE GROUND. EVIDENTLY YOU ARE TOO.
GOOD TO HEAR FROM YOU!”
Frances Folks Porter Still alive and enjoying living in Salado. Lots of family around and close by in Austin.
Mike Esparza Glad to hear from you. You could mark me “Present” but I’m going to lay a few lines on you. You may not believe me when I tell you I’m feeling good when I tell you of the medical appointments I have and the medicine I take. Haven’t had a cold since I moved here in 2019. Got all my shots to fight COVID-19, walk indoors daily, eat on a regular basis. Life in an independent facility for senior citizens is not that bad, except for the rent and the annual rent increases.
Take it easy and keep us posted,
Patricia Padgett Wiseman As always thanks for trying to keep us together (almost impossible). I have no news, but count me among the living
Roselyn Mahaffey Cheline
We are well and doing fine. We love being in Colorado, even with an 8″ snow in May. We take drives on the back roads in the mountains every week!! I, of course, miss San Antonio. Stay safe, Roselyn
And there you have it. If you did not see the name of a friend, let them know. I will post any others that arrive.