Wednesday, October 07, 2015


I think the magic number for anything to be considered a "classic" is 100.

We ain't quite there yet, but I think 80 is close enough.  Of course I've considered our class, CHS54, to be full of classics from the very beginning. And I won't be surprised if we all make it to that magic number of 100 or better before it's all over.

After all, statics show that if a person reaches the age of 80....there's no telling how long he or as she will last...100, 110 ....or as Susannah Jones has...116!  And according to the Guiness World Records, that makes her the world's oldest livng person.

(Pardon me, but whenever I see a story about the "world's oldest person" I think of that joke about the TV reporter who was interviewing the 100 year old man and asked him what his secret to longevity was, and the reply was, "Well, it was the fact that my lips NEVER touched that evil ALCOHOL!"

Whereupon, there was a loud bang from the back room of house and the TV reporter stopped the camera as asked, "What was that?"

"Oh I'm so embarrassed," the old man said.  "it's my father. He's drunk again!" )

Susanna Jones 116 years old.
As I was saying,  Susannah Jones, the World's Oldest Person at 116 is from Montgomery, Alabama and attributes her long life to the fact that she ate bacon, eggs and GRITS...every morning of her life.

Hey, that's exactly what WE have been eating all these years, right?



Speaking of Classics, Bob Ellis just brought to my attention one of the most expensive...and beautiful automobiles every made:  a 100 year old Rolls Royce that just sold at auction for $5 MILLION DOLLARS!

The six-cylinder, 7.3-litre car comes with perfect provenance and is still purring smoothly, doing about 15 miles to the gallon.
What it lacks in gadgetry, the British-made classic more than compensates for with an extraordinary level of luxury that leaves its modern-day counterparts
looking a little unsophisticated.
Its gleaming interior fittings are made of silver and ivory, while the door panels are embroidered silk, with brocade tassels attached to silk window shades
for privacy.
The sale took place at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex. Auctioneers had expected it to sell for around 2 million and were astonished
when the bidding between two rival collectors topped 4 million. 


Now, back here in the real world...

I can't think of a more perfect example of "hindsight thinking" than......"Wouldn't it have been great if we had only hung on to those old cars we once owned?"

If we could have afforded to tuck them away in a garage somewhere ...think of what even those considered "pieces of junk" when they were new would now be Edsall, or a Corvair...or even something like my old Henry J. or my very FIRST car, a 1936 Ford Coupe. 

1936 Ford Coupe
My Dad bought it for me in 1951 for $100 from a secretary in his office...Mrs. Fox was her name.  It was fairly low mileage and pretty standard for its day...except for the radio.  She had added a very good radio with a speaker that was at least 7 or 10 inches mounted on the floor.

Now that I think about it...I'll bet that car was indeed a CLASSIC!

The very first......Ghetto Blaster!


Thursday, October 01, 2015

My Inner Artist

In case you missed it, the art world is all atwitter because of Sotheby's  latest auction.  As usual, record prices were paid. To the best of my knowledge I don't ever remember an art auction where "record prices" were NOT paid.

Three of the top sellers were:

"Yellow on Blue" by Mark Rothko...which sold for 48 Million Dollars.

"Yellow on Blue"

Some of Marks other "masterpieces" are  "Red and Blue," "Brown and Black," etc.  His most famous paintng, was "Orange  and Yellow," which sold for $87 million dollars!

"Orange and Yellow"

Alberto Giacometti's bronze sculpture "Pointng Man" sold for 148 million dollars. which exceeded the record breaking price of 27.8 million dollars paid a couple of years ago for his "Walking Man."

"Pointng Man"  by Giacometti

Walking Man

I've decided that it's way past `time for me to get in on this rac....... game!

I realized last night while going through a box of old pictures, taken with the now forgotten film camera (remember Kodak?) that I've had an artistic talent lurking deep inside me that I never realized I had!  It's amazing how just reading about a Sotheby's auction brought out my "inner artist!"

Anyway, after going through only a couple of boxes of old photographs and negatives, a number of obvious "classics" popped right up.  I'm sure you'll agree that these prize winners will make struggling artists everywhere want to turn in their berets!

"Going Forward"

Circle of Life"

"In the Beginning"

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Inner Artist (Continued)

"Life is Wired"
So, Eat your hearts out Mark and Al, there's a new guy in town....ME!

AND, I'm going to tell the thousands of CHS54 website readers how to get in on the action too!

Find a bunch of your old photographs (the kind we all used to take with a film camera) and search for the prints that hopefully you didn't throw away. Every roll we used to get back from the Drug Store included 2 or 3
"The Colors of Our Moods"
frames at the beginning of the roll that the Drug Store's developing machine printed that were simply part of the winding of the film into the camera.  Hopefully you didn't throw them away...because these are the non-sensical, funky images that the art world loves!

That's how my "classics" happened.

Except for the "Circle of Life."  That happened when my flash didn't go off.

Anything that doesn't make any sense to you, will probably be considered a masterpiece by the art world, so go for it!

Give them a high faluting, ethereal name...and VOILA!...the money should start rolling in.  As Andy Warhol himself said, "Art is whatever you can get away with."


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On the Road

    Aware of my great admiration for Charles Kuralt, Warren and Becky Sparrow. CHS54's original rovng correspondents,  discovered a bunch of snapshots hiding in a seldom used drawer somewhere in their Winston Salem mansion a couple of weeks ago and were kind enough to send copies to me.

The photos were taken at Grandfather Mountain at the 40th anniversary of the Mile High Swinging Bridge in 1992.  Kuralt was the featured speaker that day, five years before his untimely passing. 

Becky Sparrow
Warren Sparrow
Charlie Justice was in attendance as well as Hugh Morton, well known author and photographer who had inherited the Grandfather Mountain property from his grandfather.  Hugh was probably North Carolina's greatest photographer, having captured and published a number of coffee table books featuring spectacular scenes of 
the state's natural features as well as most of the leading athletic events of the 40's and 50's.

One of my favorites is his photograph of the city of Charlotte that he took from Grandfather Mountain, 87 miles away!

Charlotte ....from 87 miles away!     by Hugh Morton

Excerpt from Charles Kuralt’s Speech for the 40th Anniversary of the Mile High Swinging Bridge — Sept. 2, 1992

M<orton & KuraltThank you. Nice to be here with so many old friends, and to join in celebrating the birthday of the Mile High Swinging Bridge. When the Mile High Swinging Bridge was completed, opened and dedicated on the afternoon of Sept. 2, 1952, I was starting my sophomore year at Chapel Hill. There was a great deal of fuss in the newspapers of the state about the Mile High Swinging Bridge, since — as we know — the owner and proprietor of the Mile High Swinging Bridge has never seen any reason to be diffident and retiring about the improvements to his property up here. And from all the stories in the papers, I got the impression that the Mile High Swinging Bridge spanned a chasm one mile deep. You can imagine how I felt when I came up here and saw it for the first time and observed to my surprise that the Mile High Swinging Bridge actually hangs about 80 feet above the ground.
It is calculated that six million people have come up here to see the Mile High Swinging Bridge. How many of them would have made the trip if it were advertised as the Eighty-Foot High Swinging Bridge? The owner and proprietor of Grandfather Mountain knows what he is doing.

Charles Kuralt
The first winter that the bridge was here, the winter wind came up 
and blew the bridge around and heaved it like a bedspread being shaken out the back door of the cabin by a mountain woman, and blew a lot of the boards out of the floor and forced the engineers to give the Mile High Swinging Bridge a second thought. The next spring, they attached those cables that hold the bridge to the ground below. I need hardly point out that since then, the Mile High Swinging Bridge, which is NOT a mile high, is not swinging, either. So what we have here is the 80-foot high, tethered bridge. Big deal.

And yet, somehow, it IS a big deal, hanging here 5,305 feet above sea level, which give Hugh Morton a 25-foot margin against any truth-in-advertising lawsuits. If you measure from Wrightsville Beach, it IS a mile high. From the center of the bridge, on a clear day, you can see down into the Linville River Valley 16-hundred feet below to the west… and down into the valley to the east 4,000 feet below.
This is a sufficiently awesome experience to dissuade many otherwise brave men and women from walking across. An extensive survey of 10,000 Grandfather Mountain visitors found that 30 percent of the women, and 12.7 percent of the men come all the way up here and then do not cross the bridge! North Carolina’s all-time great athlete, Charlie “Choo-Choo” Justice, who never had the slightest fear of being pounded by 300-pound linebackers, for the longest time could not bring himself to step out on the bridge… I guess on the theory that while linebackers can drop you to the ground, even they cannot drop you 80 feet to the ground! Charlie Justice has conquered his fear and now strolls across pretending not to be nervous, as do more than 150,000 other visitors every year. The Mile High Swinging Bridge has been wonderful for the economy of the mountains. Visitors stop in neighboring communities to stock up on everything from picnic supplies to T-shirts, and especially, if they know they are coming to the bridge, on Dramamine and Valium.

I don't know anything about who, or when this fellow did this. All I know is the caption on the picture is "Joe Clark." That's all the information the internet says about Joe Clark.

....other than Old Joe Clark is a fairly well known folk song.

And a pretty good one at that.

In fact, I think I hear some good old mountain music now......


Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Energizer Bunnies

Our class was full of them.

Obie, Jerry, Mitzi, Bob, Barney, Johnny, etc.....

And as the President of the Power Nap Brigade, I'm jealous as Hell.

For example, just reading about Ellouise's upcoming schedule of events almost wears me out.

She just got back from a couple of weeks of shows at Jonesbourough, Tenn (which Don and Letty Nance proclaimed as "Boffo.") and she's all set to take off again....

Kansas City, the World War One Museum in Kansas City.....Anderson, the Starburst Story Telling Festival'..... in addition to a regular schedule of shows in DC, MD and VA....

WW1 Museum  Kansas City MO

Her newest story is about the "Hello Girls" of WW1. It's being proclaimed as one of her best yet. A classic.

Anderson, SC isn't that far from Charlotte, it would make a nice mini vacation or day trip for you! It will be well worth it.

As of this moment, the date and time of her performance is

Monday, October 19th
10:30am – Thrift Library Art Gallery, Anderson University
Ellouise Schoettler – “Flesh on Old Bones,” a genealogy workshop.

If this changes, I'll let you know.


Congratulations, "Workers"

The Pope and Barack (wih horns)
As you probably heard, the Pope was in Washington yesterday, and this was expected to bring our terrible enough traffic problems to a virtual standstill.

However, the radio proudly reported this morning that it didn't happen!

And why not?

According to the "journalists" it was all due to the Nation's Capitol's fantastic "WORKERS."

And what did all these brilliant "public servants" do to make it happen?  They did what they do best...

They stayed home!

Contratulations patriots!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Young Whippersnappers

Gabby Hayes
If Gabby Hayes were still alive (he died in 1969) and I happened to meet him, I could rightfully say, "Hello there, you young whippersnapper."
He was around 50 years old when those Westerns were made.

Pretty depressing, ain't it.

Watching Gabby with Gene Autry and Roy Rogers on that big screen at the Visualite Theatre were among my happiest childhood memories. Even the long walks to the "picture show" were often full of adventure and obstacles such as the fierce bull who grazed in the pasture behind the Belk Mansion at the corner of 5th and Hawthorne Lane; and the time Jimmy Weller found some strange looking "balloons" in his Daddy's bedroom dresser drawer, and we blew them up, of course and received an awful lot of attention from passing cars that morning.

The "bull" turned out to be a cow, but when, years later, I passed the adventures on to my children, it remained a "bull."

I left out the balloon story.

I was such a fan of "Cowboy Movies" of the 1940's I believe that  if Hollywood ever decides to produce them again, I would be the perfect choice for chief consultant.  However, I would have to turn the offer down since it would obviously interrupt my nap schedule. But I will offer one "tip" if someone does decide to  produce any "New Old Cowboy Movies;"  for the "Gabby Hayes" role....
Burt Reynolds

I suggest Burt Reynolds.


Yer durn tooting!


Monday, September 21, 2015

and speaking of Whippersnappers...

...our friends in the class below us, also known as the class of '55,  lost their great website, when their webmaster, Len Phillips died suddenly.  Len was a great broadcaster who was founder and owner of a very successful radio station. Len and I had some terrific  conversations back in our CHS days about each of our ambitions and aspirations in Broadcasting.  He was a good man.

Frank Clontz
Unfortunately, the 55 website information such as codes and passwords, etc. were lost when Len passed away.  Frank Clontz has picked up the mantle and is doing all the reporting and writing and I'm doing the simple stuff by posting it on the Internet.

At the risk of having you compare Frank's top notch "newsy" offering with this almost "newsless" one, I recommend that you check it out regularly.  The address is

I'm sure you'll remember most of the great "youngsters"  featured on Frank's site, this month....such as...

Walter Mills

Go take a look!

The address again:


Sunday, September 20, 2015


Yes, that's exactly what it is.

I was without a "fix" for only 2 days, during which, I didn't sleep well, didn't do a lot of healthy eating, lost interest in most of my normal activities...such well.....whatever it is that I do now that I've retired...Anyway, I suffered all the signs of a true addict.....until...the "IT"guy got here and got me "back on the Internet!"...or as my hero Gene Autry used to sing, "Back in the Saddle Again."

Whew, what a relief.

Going through all the accumulated emails I saw one that I liked very much.  Forgive me if you've already seen it, but in case you haven't...enjoy!



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Picture of the WEEK!

The Swansons

This weeks winning photo is of our own Bob Ellis' granddaughter, Anna Weaver Swanson, and family!  Imagine, four beautiful girls in one family!
And one, already planning her strategy for taking over the White House.

She gets my vote!


Roving Reporter

Don Nance drove down to the LDL this week and snapped a couple of photos for our website...which is much appreciated by us "out of towners" who can't make it to the luncheons.

Later, it was "on to Tennesee!"

Letty, Ellouise, and Don

Letty and I visited with Ellouise yesterday at the Mary  B. Martin Storytelling Hall in Jonesborough, TN.  We were privileged to hear her story of the “Hello Girls,” the brave women who served in France during WWI as switchboard operators.  

She told the stories from the prospective of three of the these daring girls serving in different regions of France.  At the end of the war they were ignored, not recognized for their military service with medals or benefits until 1977.  Most of them were dead by then.  It was a story that needs to be told and heard.  

Ellouise had obviously spent much time in research and relayed the truth  with passion and humor.  “Hello Girls” is not yet on CD, but you have got to hear it when it comes out.


Great job, Don!

The Bored of Directors here at CHS54 corporate headquarters chose Don as our ROVING REPORTER because of his and Letty's almost constant "go, go, go" lifestyle.

I wish I had that kind of energy!


Monday, September 07, 2015


Here is the first edition of a feature by Warren Sparrow that we hope will become a regular on this website.  


The Weakly Reader
Vol. I, No. 1

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
1 September 2015

Welcome to the first edition of The Weakly Reader, a publication dedicated to the enjoyment of all souls who spend too much time looking in their rear-view mirrors.  It is the mission of this publication to encourage its readers to keep their eyes on the road ahead and have a good time doing it. 

Perhaps it is appropriate to get started with a poem published in the spring of 1954 Snips and Cuts, Page 121.

                                            the commencing

Each one has bold sharp edges on the base
That he has set to build his living on.
And in defense of conformity,
He claims each jutting angle as his own.

He wishes not to differ with his kind,
But elders’ set traditions chafe his wings;
He wants to be a part of life that soars--
Of life that dreams, and does, and life that sings.

The outline of that base pray God to soften,
By some part added here, subtracted there,
So that the whole be separate and distinct,

Yet—part of all that’s best and all that’s fair. Pray
each man be not worn to dreary sameness
With every other being placed on earth;
But let his nature, different from all,
Work well with all, that each best proves his worth.
Diana Kay Carpenter
On Page 134, Mary Ran Norton concluded the “Class History” with this:

They look back on the friends we’ve made                                   and hope to keep fun we’ve had and want to continue, the Blue Mondays
and glorious Fridays, the hard work and excitement of
frantic days and nights filled with laughter and good clean fun. 
This we remember as the height of happiness, our high school days.

But feet were made to go forward, so we must look
for new horizons, saving a special place for Central and the
class of ’54.   

Three months after our graduation I decided to “look for new horizons.” My feet and I were on our way to see a Labor Day event like no other.  Here is part of what the morning paper said about it.   

From The Charlotte Observer, Labor Day, 6 September 1954:

46 Run At Darlington Today

The race of the mile and thee eighths paved oval will offer a purse of $31,000 before a crowd estimated to reach 25,000.  The 16,000-seat bleachers and grandstand are expected to be filled.  Another 9,000 are expected in the big infield parking area.

                                                *          *          *          *

I went to that race, the first one I ever saw.  It would also be the last.  I was one of the 9,000 The Observer expected in the infield

Sixty-one years ago the front-row qualifiers were Buck Baker, Fireball Roberts and Herschel McGriff, all driving Rocket 88’s..

Starting on the eighth row was Herb Thomas of Sanford, NC, driving a 1954 Hudson Hornet. 

Not listed among the 46 starters was a dude who zoomed around the track in a black Cadillac, turning the fastest laps of the day.  Unfortunately, he had to change tires more than any other driver.  Therefore, he did not win.      

I learned many lessons that Labor Day.  One was to make sure you leave home early enough to get where you want to go on time, especially if you have to park a mile from the stands.  We got to the Darlington parking field too late for the start of the race.  I was disappointed. 

Another lesson learned was to be prepared for ear-splitting noise.  To get to the Darlington Raceway infield, I had to cross a catwalk which ran directly over the track.  Because the race was underway, the cars were going all out when I scampered across.  The sound was loud, much louder than any freight train I ever heard. This served me well during my 36 months of living on an ocean-going airport.  
A third lesson learned was it is true that stock-car racing is not for everyone.  On that day I saw something I had never seen:  Women passed out at a sports event.  It did not appear that they were drunk.  The sun and dust were too much for them.  For the first time in my life I had to buy water.  Until then I thought I had a Constitutional right to free water. 

Hall of Fame Driver Herb Thomas
Alas, I survived.  Herb Thomas won the race, outlasting the Rocket 88’s.  It was the classic tortoise-over-the-hare thing.  His frumpy, gray Hudson Hornet even looked like a tortoise.  The guy in the black Cadillac?  He learned some lessons, too. In later races, he switched to Chevrolets.  He must have read the words of Diana and Mary Ran.  His name?  Junior Johnson.

                                    *          *          *          *

Mystery man in the Black Cadillac, Junior Johnson
So ends the first issue of The Weakly Reader.  The publisher gratefully acknowledges the support of our sponsors, Ralston-Purina, the makers of Hot Ralston, “take a tip from Tom, go and tell your Mom, Hot Ralston can’t be beat;” and Oxydol, proud sponsor of Oxydol’s Own Ma Perkins.

                                                *          *          *          *
    The Weakly Reader
                                       Warren Sparrow, Editor and Publisher
                                                   1117 West Fourth Street
                                                 Winston-Salem, NC 27101
1 September 2015


Saturday, September 05, 2015

September LDL this TUESDAY!

Forget Me Nots
It's quite appropreate that the "Forget me Not "is the official flower of September...and that's pretty much the official meaning of our LDLs.

This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, September 8, 2015, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmies" Restaurant in Mint Hill.

I expect attendance to be good, since most of us should be rested from the recent hectic celebrations during Chicken Boy Day.

-JG and -Ed

Each year on September 1st people across the United States celebrate National Chicken Boy Day in honor of his September 1 ceremonial birthday.
A roadside icon which is often referred to as the “Statue of Liberty of Los Angeles, California”, Chicken Boy is a statue of a boy, with a chicken head, holding a bucket of chicken.   Standing 22 ft. tall, he was named after the former 1960′s restaurant that shared his name.
The iconic statue remained in place at the restaurant until the owner died in 1984.  At that time, Chicken Boy was given to Los Angeles art director, Amy Inouye and was placed in storage until a suitable location could be found.  Some twenty years later, Chicken Boy was moved to his new home at Inouye’s design firm.  The result of the restoration of Chicken Boy was a community effort and donated funds.

A famous landmark on the historic U.S. Route 66, Chicken Boy was recognized by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with the Governor’r Historic Preservation Award in 2010.

Monday, August 31, 2015

New Words

What do “carbon footprint,"  "webisode" and "staycation" all have in common?  All three are new additions to Merriam-Webster’s new dictionary.
The company says the answer to "how do new words get in the dictionary" is simple;  they get used.  A lot.
According to the Internet, the editors at Merriam-Webster spend a bit of time each day reading different books, newspapers, magazines and electronic publications. While reading, they keep an eye out for things like new words or phrases, new spellings and new uses for existing words or phrases.
When editors come across something interesting, they mark the word and collect information that explains how it is used and what it means. This process is called “reading and marking.”
Once a new word or phrase has been marked, editors enter it into a computer system. Then, the word is tracked and counted.....and if it is used some undisclosed number of automatically goes into the latest addition.
I came across some "new" very descriptive words...not yet used enough to make the cut...but words that I think are very likely to  soon be included.
See if you agree:

Nonversation...a completely worthless conversation...small talk. individual who continues talking on their phone so as to be rude or inconsiderate of other people.

Errorist...someone who repeatedly makes mistakes or is always wrong

Askhole...who asks many stupid, pointless, or obnoxious questions

Internest....the cocoon of blankets and pillows you gather around yourself while spending long periods on the Internet

Chairdrobe... piling clothes on a chair in place of a closet or dresser....also see floordrobe

Unlightening...learning something that makes you dumber

Destinesia...when you get to where you were intending to go, but forget why you were going there in the first place.

Textpectation....the anticipation felt when waiting for a response to a text.

Columbusing...when people claim to have discovered something that has been around for years, decades or centuries.

Ambitchous...striving to be more of a bitch than the average bitch.

Afterclap...the last person who claps after everyone else has stopped.

Beerboarding....extracting secret info from a colleague by getting him drunk.

Chiptease....when you buy a bag of potato chips thinking that it will be full...but it turns out it's just air.

On another subject, generally speaking, I believe the accepted terms for the age of groups of people are:

20s ~ 30s = 'young adults'
40s ~ 50s = 'middle aged'
60s ~ 70s = 'seniors'

Finely Aged Citizens
80s ~ = 'elderly'

I don't like the term, "elderly"...but 

"seasoned adults" ain't bad.

But the one I like best is, "finely aged."