Friday, April 29, 2016

Nancy Poplin Passes

Nancy Poplin 1954

Jerry Gaudet reports that another of our classmates has passed away. 
Nancy Kathleen Poplin's obituary, published in the Charlotte Observer, is reproduced below:

Nancy Kathleen Poplin (1934 - 2016)


Nancy Kathleen Poplin, 81, of Charlotte, passed away on April 25, 2016 at Brighton Gardens of Charlotte.

Nancy was preceded in death by her mother, Helen Presson and many aunts, uncles and cousins. She is survived by her aunts, Carol Slifer of Monroe and Doris Torrence of Charlotte and uncles, Al Prather of Charlotte and Richard "Dick" Prather (Shirley) of Tyler, Texas.

Nancy graduated from Central High School. She worked and retired from Belk Store Services in Charlotte. She enjoyed meeting new people and spending time with family and friends, she was loved by all who crossed her path.

The family would like to thank the many caregivers from Brighton Gardens of Charlotte and Novant Health Hospice Team for their love, support and excellent care of Nancy.

Funeral services will be held at the Charlotte Chapel of McEwen Funeral Service at Sharon Memorial Park on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 2:00 PM with the Rev. Ernesto Fernandez officiating. The family will receive friends from 1:00 until 2:00 pm, one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow at Elmwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: Levine Cancer Institute; Research and Academic Headquarters; 1021 Morehead Medical Drive; Charlotte, NC 28204

McEwen Funeral Service at Sharon Memorial Park is honored to be entrusted with the care of Miss Poplin and her family.

Published in Charlotte Observer on Apr. 29, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ah Ha!

I doubt that the "mainstream media" has spent much time discussing this story, but in my opinion, it's the "Ah Ha!" story of the decade.  Maybe even the century.  (In the newsrooms I worked in, an "Ah Ha!" story was one which would make the viewers think, "Ah Ha, it's finally been confirmed and that I was right all along."

There were also ones we called "Grabbers."  Those were anything that would make the listener "sit up in his chair and think, "Well, I'll be damned."

This one is both!

Scientists have captured the flash of light that sparks when a sperm meets an egg

For the first time ever, scientists have captured images of the flash of light that sparks at the very moment a human sperm cell makes contact with an egg.

Sperm Meets Egg

Great accomplishment,  interesting.....but frankly, I doubt if it should ever win a "Breaking News" award......because it's such an old story.  In fact, thousands of years old!  

Genesis 1.3   "And God said, "Let there be light."


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Back to the PRESENT

By Warren Sparrow

Last Saturday, 23 April 2016, my daughter Dora and I drove from Winston-Salem to Charlotte for a visit with Ann and Bonson Hobson.  Bonson took us on a tour of “old” places he had selected.
The old Sparrow Home
 One of those places was a two-story, four-family Dilworth apartment building at the corner of East Boulevard and Euclid Avenue.  Bonson said he had been there many years ago. So had I, having lived there from first grade at Dilworth in 1942 until my senior year at Duke in 1958.   These were indeed “formative years.”

We got out of the car and walked toward the front of the building.  There were several people on the
upstairs front porch, obviously having a good time.  I shouted up to them, “I used to live here!”  Much to my surprise, one of them yelled back, “Come on up!”  This was astonishing.

Filled with joy at this good fortune, Bonson, Dora and I bounded up the 17 stairs that I had not climbed in 58 years.  We were greeted warmly by the young woman who had invited us to “come on up.” She showed us the entire apartment, including my old room.  Not much had changed.  The Arcola furnace which had been in the hallway had been removed.  A serving window had been cut in the wall between  the kitchen and the dining room. Otherwise, everything was the same.

We went to the porch where we met the woman’s family, including her mom and dad.  They offered us a beer.  It took much courage for me to decline.  But, decline I did.  I was so excited to be standing on “my” porch.    I simply did not know how to act.

Our new friends seemed to enjoy the encounter as much as we did.
Warren, Bonson (in back) and new friends

 You can imagine my surprise when one of our new friends asked me, “You are a lawyer, aren’t you?”   Dumbfounded, I answered, “Yes, why did you ask?”  He replied, “I am a Winston-Salem Police Officer and have seen you in court.”

It turns out that virtually all the people on the porch were from Winston-Salem.  What a hoot!
Do you think Paul Harvey could do something with this story?

“Good day,”


Sunday, April 17, 2016

We Get Letters

Well, actually..........Obie did.  

It was from Betsy Villas White, and was so beautiful and "right on" that your humble "webmaster"  (me)  felt that I just had to share it with our thousands of CHS54's loyal 


Ad in the Piedmont annual 1951
Your comments on the Charlotte Observer building and employees was so interesting to read.  Funny thing, I was in Charlotte several weeks ago to see my grandson perform at his school and I took the only free afternoon I had and went downtown.  (Uptown I hear it is called now.)  My intention was to see my Dad's service station and to see if the Radcliffe's Flowers  sign was still there.  When I passed the Observer, I couldn't help but park and look around.  It made me so sad to see it vacated and lonely. It also reminded me of several nights when we dropped Warren off at midnight or so to go to work.  I always loved the Charlotte papers.  You're right, Obie, the Observer isn't what it used to be.  I am such a die hard newspaper fan that I can't face the fact that they will all disappear before long. (I've barely recovered from the disappearance of the News.  What is life without the June News about the debutantes?)

Uptown Charlotte 1950
By the way, the Radcliffe sign is still there.  (lower right in photo)

Joe Radcliffe told me several years ago that it
practically took an act of Congress to keep it hanging.

After my lamentations about the Observer I drove to the corner of East Boulevard and Tryon to see how my Dad's Amoco station was holding up.  The story was the same.  The building is empty and dirty and deserted.  It looks like it, too, is in the process of being sold.  The end with Honey's Restaurant is still there, but in the same sad condition.  If any of you remember, the American Oil District Headquarters was on the second floor of my Dad's station, making it the biggest station on the four corners.  I stood in front of the bay windows and thought about how many Saturdays Daddy took me to work with him when I was at Piedmont and I cleaned and decorated the windows for him.  I used lots of crepe paper and oil cans and whatever was being featured that month.  I could visualize the Amoco salesmen sitting in folding wooden chairs drinking whatever soft drink they had chosen from the "drink box".  Remember those boxes where the drinks sat in cold water and you ran them along the metal rails and took them out of the end of the box?  There was a pin ball machine in the corner and it stayed busy  (Even though I was told that it was illegal to have it on the premises.)

I had so many memories floating in my head by then, but when I remembered standing with Carolyn in front of Ivey's one week before Christmas listening to Silver Bells on the loud speaker, I headed out of town.  Sometimes the memories are almost more than I can bear.

Thank you, Obie, for sharing your story.  Want to meet at Tanner's for some orange juice and peanuts?


Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Nostalgic Observation

By Obie Oakley

Observer Building 1951
There has been a good bit written in Charlotte about the sale of the Observer Building.  It is being sold to a developer (of course) for another mid-rise office building.  Charlotte's skyline is again being dotted with construction cranes and the town is booming with office buildings, high rise condos and apartments.

     As for the Observer, over two years ago, all production facilities were moved to a site up close to UNCC.  Typesetting, composing, presses and distribution all left uptown.  This left the new reporters, sports and business writers along with the administrative in place and recently even those have vacated the building. I've had occasions to go into the Tryon Street building recently (before the final move) and it is sad, really sad for its like a ghost town.  The employee morale is terrible and is is a mere shell of the glory days of yore.  The Monday edition of the Observer is so very thin although the Sunday paper is bulky but that's due to the ad inserts.

    Speaking for myself and another Observer alumnus, Warren Sparrow, we have a sentimental attachments to that paper.  For several years, Warren worked in the mail room inserting comics and flyers on Saturday nights.  He later worked in the newsroom while in college.  For me, from day one it was a part of my life for my dad worked at night in the stereotype department for over 30 years.  My uncle Versal was the press room foreman, Uncle Harold was also a stereotyper and uncle Jack was a linotype operator.

    My first direct involvement was while in high school as a paper carrier aka paper boy!  I had a route on Bay and Laburnum Streets with 100 customers and delivered the paper 364 days a year (didn't publish on Christmas Day).  Carrying the paper wasn't that bad, what I hated was collecting the money.  If I remember correctly, the cost for a subscription was 45 cents a week.  Every Tuesday afternoon I had to go down to the basement of the old building and pay my bill, they got 31 cents and I got 14 or $14.00 a week!

     Later when I was in college, during the summers and holidays, I helped out in my dad's print shop as he had started his own business by then.  My job often meant going to the Observer and taking up the large freight elevator up to the typesetting department, pick up large trays of type which I would take to the shop (in the back of our house) where I would make ad mats.  Then take the trays of type back up to be recycled.  Talk about blue collar work!

     So, as you can see, for me it is quite nostalgic to see such an institution go through such dramatic change.

    Bottom line for me however is, that I am very proud to have been associated with The Charlotte Observer during my lifetime!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

It's Back!

By Warren Sparrow


VOL. II, NO. 2

11 April 2016

I have decided to apply for a job.  Why not?  With my qualifications, it
should not take long to find meaningful work.  To achieve this goal I crafted a
resume like no other, a resume that will resonate and bear fruit.  This is it….

William Warren Sparrow
1117 West Fourth Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Phone:  336 725 8953


Private, unwilling to disclose based upon applicable EEOC rules and regulations.


                     1942-47  Dilworth Elementary School, Charlotte, NC,

disciplined for throwing spitball in 4th Grade and trying to bribe student into not telling.

                     1947-50  Alexander Graham Junior High School, Charlotte, NC, 

forgot 2d verse of “Dear Hearts and Gentle People” during 7th Grade talent show.

                     1950-54  Central High School, Charlotte, NC, 

suffered severe stomach pains in 10th Grade while playing basketball in best friend’s back yard;
tried Sal Hepatica and ended up in Presbyterian Hospital where appendix was

                    1954-55 N.C.State College of Agriculture and Engineering, Raleigh, NC,

drank first beer, learned to walk in a straight line and
change direction on command, cleaned M-1 rifle.

                      1955-59  Duke University College of Engineering, Durham, NC, 

apprehended by campus police after breaking into Duke Indoor Stadium (now
Cameron) at midnight; released when the officers discovered that Sonny Jurgensen
was playing basketball with us.

                      1962-65  Wake Forest College Law School, Winston-Salem, NC, 

learned to change diapers, wash them and hang them on clothes line.

                      Military Service:  1959-62  Active duty, United States Navy,

assigned to USS Wasp (CVS-18), aircraft carrier and flagship of antisubmarine Task Group Bravo,
home port Boston, MA; became adept at bar-room small talk, lead singer with the White Angels.

                       Employment:   1950-54  The Charlotte (NC) Observer,

sports department and mail room; learned I was not the only person who types
with two fingers, inserted comics into Sunday editions at the rate of 10,000 per
night thereby rendering me exhausted and unable to attend Sunday school or
church at Chalmers Memorial Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church,
corner of East and South boulevards, where Rev. Billy Graham and I were baptized.

                         1955  Foremost International Dairies, North Tryon St, Charlotte, NC,

slave assigned to milk-packaging machines, filling bottles and wax-covered
cartons, worst job ever which lead to worst night of my life, the night my N.C State
pals “got me drunk” and I showed up two hours late for work.

                        1956-58 (summers)  Boulevard Sundries (Pharmacy),
                        corner of East Boulevard and Euclid Avenue, Charlotte, NC,

interacted with general public, sold
beer and ice cream, made milk shakes and listened to juke box.

                       1959-62  U.S. Navy active duty (See previous item), 

earned status of Shellback” when ship crossed the Equator, crawled through tunnel of garbage, ran
gauntlet and kissed greased belly of “King Neptune.”

                       1962-65  Winston-Salem (NC) Journal, 
sports writer, copy editor and
county government (court house) reporter during law school and six months
thereafter, continued to type with two fingers, learned to tear copy paper using the
edge of desk, discovered Xerox machine.

                        1966-2012  Licensed attorney,

authorized to practice in North Carolina
courts, including federal district courts throughout the state, admitted to practice in
the United States 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (Richmond, VA), United States Tax
Court and the United States Court of International Trade; served as Forsyth County
(NC) District Attorney for four years (1987-90),  chartered twin-engine private
plane to beat deadline for filing in Columbia, SC, federal court, drove partner’s
Rolls Royce Silver Cloud from Winston-Salem to Greensboro airport where I
picked up two Wallabies and brought them back to partner’s private “zoo,” ordered
the execution of Woody and Bruno, 100-pound Rottweilers who killed a man
jogging by their home.

                          2012-present  Devil’s Workshop.

Special skills:  Two-fingered typing, losing keys and glasses, dropping cell phone
into cup of coffee, hitting wrong button on TV remote, falling up stairs and lying
when the truth would save me.

* * *

That is all we have for today.  Remember, boys and girls, to take a tip from Tom,
go and tell your Mom, “Hot Ralston can’t be beat!”

Thanks for listening.  WS

Friday, April 08, 2016

Charles Threatt Sr. Passes


GASTONIA - Charles R. Threatt Sr., 81, passed away April 4, 2016, at his home.

He was born July 15, 1934, in Charlotte, son of the late Claude Threatt and Elise Mae McCorry.

A graveside service will be held 1 p.m. Thursday, April 7, 2016, at 5716 Monroe Road, Charlotte, in the Mausoleum Chapel of Sharon Memorial Park.

The family will receive friends following the service.

Arrangements are with the West Chapel of Greene Funeral Service and Crematorium, Gastonia.

Online condolences may be sent to
Funeral Home
Greene Funeral Service, Westside Chapel
216 Archie Whitesides Road
Gastonia, NC 28052
(704) 867-5521
Published in Gaston Gazette on Apr. 6, 2016
Condolences may be sent to...
he Family of Mr. Charles Threat
100 Willow Run Dr., #25
Gastonia, NC 28056

Thursday, April 07, 2016

April LDL

By Jerry Gaudet

Before we get started here, Jimmie Pourlos is continuing in reab.  You are encouraged to keep sending cards to "keep (and her) him going".  They are working toward getting home where his rehabilitation will continue.

Mr. and Mrs. Jimmie Pourlos
1722 Birchcrest Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28205-4908

It's that time again!
This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, April 12, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmies" Restaurant in Mint Hill.
Please consider this your personal invitation to join in.  We'd like to see you.  Help us spread the word! Invite other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! Most important, just be sure YOU, come!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Take 2 Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning

It was a Monday, as I recall, and  I had finally run out of my supply of Hadacol that I had hoarded in the '50's and carried with me all these years. It doesn't happen often, but I was feeling......"out of sorts,"........"blue"........"down in the dumps"........if my Mother had been here, she would have said I looked "peak id."  (Pronounce like two words.)

This was serious.  So, I emailed my favorite physician, Dr. Linsy Farris, and too embarased to complain about my symtoms...I simply asked how he was doing.
He instinctively perceived my problem and responded with the perfect  prescription:
 A double dose of POSITVE!

Turned out to be just what I needed!

Take a look:

"It's just marvelous and wonderful to still be enjoying the good life and filling it with things I enjoy during retirement on 1/1/16 from my position at Harlem Hospital as Director, a position I've enjoyed fro 43 years as part of Columbia University.   My worse event has been the loss of my wife of 51 years , Vivian,  in June of 2011 due to breast cancer.  Life really has it's adversities such as a fire that destroyed our church's Sanctuary on Tues, Mar 22.  Resurrection is the saving by God's grace that sure applies to our lives while on this earth as well. 

 I'm blessed to have three children,k one , a daughter Karen, who lives in the same town of Tenafly with three of my grandchildren and two sons, Alan and Andrew who live outside Charlotte and DC with a total of the other five grandchildren. One of my grandchildren , Nora Neus, is now in your business as a TV Reporter for Charlottesville Virginia NBC29.  I am also blessed to be married again to a young lady. Ursula Schell, who I first  met fas a science writer when she came to write up some of my research.  She is a musician as well which is my major pastime now.

Ursula and I also sing in our church choir, First Presbyterian of Englewood,NJ  and I joined a barbershop singing group of men recently.  I do feel many times in spite of life's sorrows, I am LMA (luckiest man alive).   My experience at CHS was life forming and I'll never forget the influences that Jack Stern, the band Director from NYC who showed me a bass fiddle one day and said, "I'm going to get you out of study hall and you're going to learn how to play this".  Also, my teacher and  advisor, Paul Neal, who helped me get scholarships to both UNC and Duke.  I asked him when I got offers from both what should I do.  He shot back,"What do you want to do?"  I replied, "Well Duke has a good medical school and I want to be a doctor". He said, " Well write Duke and tell them that". I did and they gave me $50 dollars more.  Tuition in those days at Duke was $450 per semester.   Yes, I have truly been blessed  My Christian faith that allow me to communicate regularly with my Father and Creator and certainly provides the path to follow and help me control any worries. 
It's just marvelous and wonderful to still be enjoying the good life and filling with things I enjoy during retirement on 1/1/16 from my position at Harlem Hospital as Director, a position I've enjoyed fro 43 years as part of Columbia University.   My worse event has been the loss of my wife of 51 years , Vivian,  in June of 2011 due to breast cancer.  Life really has it's adversities such as a fire that destroyed our church's Sanctuary on Tues, Mar 22.  Resurrection is the saving by God's grace that sure applies to our lives while on this earth as well.  I'm blessed to have three children,k one , a daughter Karen, who lives in the same town of Tenafly with three of my grandchildren and two sons, Alan and Andrew who live outside Charlotte and DC with a total of the other five grandchildren. One of my grandchildren , Nora Neus, is now in your business as a TV Reporter for Charlottesville Virginia NBC29.  I am also blessed to be married again to a young lady. Ursula Schell, who I first  met fas a science writer when she came to write up some of my research.  She is a musician as well which is my major pastime now.  Check out and"


The Jazz Doctors

One More

By R.L.Clark

This next story is from a pilot who was in VMFA 314 at Chu Lai in '69. You Vietnam F4 guys will appreciate this story. Here's another 'bad day' from Chu Lai:

I was one of a half-dozen replacements who checked-in with MAG-13 on August 2. We were not all assigned to VMFA-314 though. There were two other combat squadrons in the Air Group: VMFA-115, the Able Eagles, and VMFA-323, the Death Rattlers. All three squadrons flew the McDonnell Douglas F4B Phantom II and shared common living areas. Although we may have been in different squadrons, eventually we all got to know each other very well.

The first thing we six rookies did was attend an Air Group briefing in an underground bunker protected by a thick layer of sandbags. This bunker served as our group intelligence center. (When I was there in `66, we used a house trailer. I guess things got hotter when the gooks realized that I left and started flying for Delta...CJJ) Suddenly, an urgent radio call interrupted our briefing. We listened as one of VMFA-115s aircraft radioed-in to report a problem. The aircraft had been hit by enemy ground fire and could not lower its landing gear. The pilot was going to attempt a belly landing on the runway. At that news, we all raced outside near the runway to grab a good spot from which to watch the crash landing.

Crash crews raced to cover the runway with a layer of fire retardant foam while the damaged F4 circled overhead, burning down its load of fuel. Two arresting cables were strung across the middle of the runway. The cables were anchored on each end by a chain made with heavy, 40-pound links. The plan was for the F4 to lower his tail hook, to belly-land in the foam, to catch one of the arresting wires, and to come to a screeching halt. It did not quite happen that way.

After burning off most of his fuel, the pilot gingerly lowered the airplane onto the foamed runway. A spark set off the fumes in the jet's empty wing tanks and they erupted into flames. All one could see racing down the runway were two wingtips protruding from an orange and black ball of fire heading toward the arresting cables. The F4 hit the first arresting cable. We watched the cable snap and hurl its 40-pound chain links skyward. Then the plane hit the second arresting cable. It also parted and flung its chain links. The aircraft was now just a ball of fire heading toward the end of the runway.

Then we heard, Boom! Boom! The pilot had lit his afterburners. He was attempting to take-off without wheels! As the aircraft roared toward the end of the runway, it slowly struggled skyward. It got airborne and began to climb nearly vertically. Then, both the pilot and his backseater, the radar intercept officer (RIO), ejected.

We stared in wonder as the aircraft crashed into the nearby ocean. The two crewmen slowly floated down in their parachutes. The wind carried them over the ocean and they too soon splashed down. A rescue helicopter was on the scene immediately. Both of the F-4 crewmen, treading water, raised their right hand. This was a signal to the chopper that they were unharmed. The helicopter slowly lowered itself and plucked the pilot out of the water and into the safety of the helicopter. The helicopter then turned its attention to the RIO. As the helicopter slowly lowered itself over the RIO, the helicopter pilot suddenly lost control of his chopper, and he crashed into the water on top of the RIO. As soon as the chopper hit the water, its pilot regained control, got airborne again, and yanked the RIO from the water. Although the RIO was rescued safely, his leg was broken when the helicopter crashed on top of him.

That night at the Officers Club, the RIO sat with his leg elevated and encased in a full-leg cast. As he imbibed a few, he related his story: "First, we got the xxxx (heck) shot out of us. But, hey, that's okay, we weren't hurt. Then, we survived a belly landing. But, that was okay too, we weren't hurt. Then the pilot decided he'd take off without wheels, but that worked out well too. Then we survived an ejection and a water landing, but that was also okay, we weren't hurt. Then the damn rescue helicopter crashed on me and broke my leg!"


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Some Special Quilts

By Diana Carpenter White

          A most special quilt was the one I made my Mama, my second and larger totally handmade piece, Simple Times in Tucker (from a Little Quilts pattern called Simple Times). The earlier class with Pam where I made a tote bag was a lead-up for this project.  Except for the cereal-cardboard-templates and scissors-only restrictions, we did all the same all-by-hand approach (she did let us use rulers and rotary cutters instead of cereal box cardboard patterns)  We met once a month, and did one section at a time, for most of a year; then we did the backing and quilting and binding, probably in December or maybe even after the holidays.  Was that in 1994-95?  I gave it to Mama, and could not have chosen a better recipient; if you need somebody to ooh and aah, somebody who will want to hear you tell her all about it, that was my Mama.  She was exalted!  I never gave her anything she treasured more.  She kept it over the back of her sofa, and showed it off, and told people about it, and would pet it as she went by.  In 1998 Mama was 90 when her last illness manifested; it was a glioblastoma.  She lost her sight in the summer and was finally persuaded to go into a nursing home in the fall.   She said her Simple Times quilt was too valuable to leave in a house that would be empty most of the time, and for me to take it home and keep it for her.  I did that, under protest, but she was right and it was what she wanted.  A while later after she died, I knew it needed to be Reid’s and Alex’s.  It seemed only right, since Reid is the oldest grandchild.  It hangs in the first room you enter in their house. 

          Another memorable quilt was Mrs. C’s retirement quilt, in 1996 or '97.   Lillian Cantrell was my principal at Henderson Mill.  When Mrs. C. announced in the fall that she would be retiring in December, Dottie Bailey and Judy Kosick and I looked at each other.  We were all three quilters.  Of course we had to make a quilt for her, and of course we had to involve the whole staff.  We agreed to meet in my room, and started planning right away.   And of course we shopped for fabric at Dream Quilters (Pam and Libby were gone, but Jan was there), and found a wonderful “My Kids” print of childlike stick-figure kids in bright colors, and we paired that with a rainbow stripe on white, for border and binding, and single solid colors to match, to frame the signature squares of white muslin.  We cut muslin squares and penciled out a square within which all the writing had to fit for each person's contribution.  We put interfacing under each square, mounting each on a fairly stiff backing, to make them easier to write or draw on and prevent pulling and distortion.  We discreetly notified the staff.  We set up a schedule and ran people through my room in twos and threes early and late in the day, through the lunchroom, keeping them out of the front hall so they never passed Mrs. C going in or coming out.  We kept after people until we got absolutely everybody, even the lunchroom and janitorial staff.  Some just signed their names, perhaps in a list of those who came in together.  Most wrote a message for Mrs. C., or quoted a Bible verse or a line of poetry.  A few did a little drawing or decoration on their square.  Everybody contributed to her quilt!

          All the writing was done in permanent fabric marker, ironed to set it, and the muslin squares were made into blocks with the addition of solid colors on two sides (from a very systematic master plan with the rainbow colors – I sweat bullets over that, and made many a sketch version before I got one to work).  These partially bordered blocks were joined to others in rows, and the rows of them joined into larger arrays, the bordering for each set added, so that the flow of colors made a stair-step diagonally across the quilt in a spectrum progression.  The colorful-kids fabric bordering the whole quilt included all the solid colors we used, and the striped backing was another arrangement of the rainbow of colors. 
          It turned out to be a big quilt, maybe 70-something by 80- or 90-something, bed-sized.  The three of us added the solid colors to one side and the bottom of the block rows, carefully figuring out the progression of colors, and I arranged and re-arranged the layout, with lots of input.   Each of us joined blocks into rows, and each of us joined a third of the rows.  Dotty maybe put the thirds together, and Judy maybe did the final borders, and I put the batting and the backing together, and did the binding, including the hand-stitching to finish up the back.  I had proposed we tie it, since quilting time was non-existent, and we agreed it was the way to go.  I measured intervals, spaced pins, and threaded needles with colored floss.  We three worked together on the completed quilt sandwich, stitching with big needles and colored embroidery floss.  Maybe it was tied in white, maybe black, maybe
colors, maybe a neutral, I'm not sure – I need to see it again.  We measured and safety-pin-marked the even intervals, several inches apart, and used a double thread in and down and in and down again, and up, ends dangling.  After we tied off each knot, we left the dangling ends until all ties were added, and then the three of us checked it all and trimmed off the tie ends to a standard length.  I used a little fray-check dotted in on the end of a pin, to be sure knots stayed knotted.  We presented the quilt to Mrs. C at her retirement banquet, a wonderful evening at Anthony's on Piedmont.  She was just all but overcome.  It was Mrs. C's decision that it never be used as a coverlet on a bed, but was hung upstairs in her house, in a room where it could be seen in its entirety.  She loved showing it off.  Mrs. C. died a few years ago – I trust her family has her retirement quilt safely put by, maybe in a cedar chest, maybe over a sofa, maybe on a wooden rod in an entry hall.  I hope it's always somewhere visible.

          For his May 3rd birthday in 1998, I made a wall quilt for Don.  JoAnn and I went to a quilt show on Pleasantburg in Greenville in the 1990s.  Or maybe I went to the one on Pleasantburg, a show put together by the Foothills Piecers or Piecemakers Guild in the early 90s, and she and I went together to their show another year; I think Don and Ivan went too, to view the quilts (and then we all went out to dinner together).  Anyway, there were some whose geometry pleased Don, quite a lot, as a mathematician and engineer.  The bargellos particularly appealed to him; I tucked this information away, since I wanted to make a bargello quilt sometime.  At some later point, in the middle to late 90s, a quilt guild in Chattanooga sponsored a class in bargello, given by a quilter who had made some wonderful bargellos.  I had some fabric with a black background covered by a spectrum of dots of different sizes, and I had a bunch of some solid color fabrics in a rainbow progression of twelve fabrics – V, dark R-V, lighter R-V, R, R-O, Y, G (a somewhat Y-G), B-G dark, B-G lighter, B (dark true blue), B-V.  Since the first progression was not strictly a clean spectrum, I suspect I shopped for yardage, picking colors that moved into one another, all in the same store, rather than pulling out a rainbow roll of strips, hand-dyed, which is what I look for nowadays at every vendor and every show.  I got the basic strips pieced in class, with lots of blackground print at each end of the strips of color, and I cut the whole thing into varying widths and began to put them side by side, stair-stepping up one block or down one block, as bargello does.  I tried several arrangements before I got an up-and-down pattern that looked happy.  The slash of color like a lightning bolt starts low on the left and goes up and briefly down and up to a peak, and down a bit on the right.  Of course this took some time after the class, and it was a scary process, since making the final choice about cutting off excess fabric was one of those can’t-go-back situations.  Then I had to find a backing and make a label and attach a sleeve.  The backing was a black background with wavy lines of color flowing down it. 

          Do we sense a theme here?  Black backgrounds to make colors pop, colors in a somewhat defensible progression that resembles a spectrum, or a sort of rainbow?  O yes.

          I got the hand-written label made, attached it in a picture-frame surround in the bottom right, and began to machine quilt.  I followed the lines of the color slash, going diagonally corner to corner across the squares of color, and echo-quilted out from those lines, the entire surface of the quilt.  Interestingly, the machine quilting was fairly stress-free and all but freehand.  I looked up how to attach a sleeve and cut one from black and sewed it, and cut binding strips and joined them, and bound and finished off the quilt. 

          Don and JoAnn had lived in several places in Greenville; when Don left their home in Woodstock to go to Greenville for a new job, JoAnn stayed on for a bit while they checked out some things.  When the decision was made, they sold that wonderful house and opted for storing furniture and camping, and then renting, and finally they found land they wanted and made building plans.  Ivan and I got to walk their acreage with them, and I loved all the trees; one variety was chinquapin oak, which I had never really identified, and there were plenty of hardwoods and a good frontage up Trammell Mountain outside Travelers Rest.  JoAnn mourned every tree that had to be cut, even though she agreed with Don’s assessment about the space needed and about clearing that space.  They chose a modular house, which had to be trucked in, in several parts.  Quite an adventure, getting that thing up the mountain and put in place, and joining the parts, and getting the trucks out again. 

          When they were preparing to move in, perhaps at the point of having the mauve carpet installed, we sat in the living room on the carpet rolls, and rejoiced with them.  They had made their move, they had their house, they had good jobs.  Ivan had made it through open heart surgery and a successful triple heart bypass in the spring of 1997.  We were each and all at a good place.  In the evening JoAnn and I went to Subway to get us all some supper, and she chose Subway because they had healthy heart options.  Perhaps it was during that weekend, or perhaps a later one, when Ivan and I were camping at the nearby campground so Ivan and Don could do some finishing up chores at the house, that I put the finishing touches on Don's quilt.  I had brought the quilt, all done but the hand-stitching to finish the black binding, and I finished that at the campground.  Almost as soon as Don got his quilt, he went out to get a rod and some finials and he hung the thing in their living room, where it has lived ever since. 


Friday, March 25, 2016

Jarhead Adventures at Chu Lai

By Robert Clark

R,L Clark
1966: At the time, there was only the expeditionary field of 4,000 feet of shifting metal. All takeoffs were with JATO bottles ( Jet Asssted Take Off....lots of things went wrong with these - especially at night) and all  landings were arrested.  (Think, landing on an aircraft carrier)

One day we taxied in to VMA-223 from a mission and noticed an Air Force C-123 parked at the main ramp. It had made an emergency landing at Chu Lai. That night at the club, the only passenger from the C-123 was there. He was an F-100 pilot in his flight suit on crutches and with two broken legs.

Of course, we wanted to know how he broke his legs. He told us that he was an F-100F (two-seater) Misty Fast FAC. They took turns flying front and back seat. He said that it was his day to go up North in the back seat.
They found the target for the F-105s and marked it with 5" WP rockets.

 Then, after the 105s were done, they were supposed to fly low and fast and take an after-action picture of the target. He was the guy with the hand-held camera. Of course, the NVA (North Vietnam Artllery) knew the routine and began shooting the heck out of them. The front seat guy did a lot of jinking and somehow, the lens came off the camera and disappeared.

They safely got "feet wet" and in-flight refueled for their return trip home down south to Tui Hoa. Our guy said that he kept looking for the lens but the front seater said to forget it. They would find it after landing. Upon landing and taxi back, the front seater called "Canopy Clear" and raised the canopy.

The lens had landed near one of the actuators for the ejection seat. He said that he heard this tremendous explosion and realized what had happened when he got seat separation about 250 feet up at the top of the arc and saw a miniature F-100 below him missing a canopy. He said that it was like a "Wily Coyote" cartoon. There was a point where you stop going up, a pause, and then a rapid going down thing. The F-100 didn't have a zero/zero seat either (needed 100 kts and 100 feet). So, he said that he had always heard that in a long fall, one dies of a heart attack before one hits the ground. So he said he kept shouting: "Come on heart attack." The drogue chute had deployed and that kept his feet straight down. It was real steep near the taxiway, they had been doing a lot of excavating and it had rained. He hit feet first. The undeployed chute saved his back and kept it straight. He skidded down the embankment into a large pool of water. He had two simple fractures. Needless to say, he couldn't buy another drink that night.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Add to Your Prayer List

From Jerry Gaudet

Beverly Harkey 1954
This information was just received from Bee's family...
"This is to let you know that Beverly Harkey Kearns (Class of 1954) had a major 'left brain stroke' in Oct 2015 and is recovering at their Daughters Home in Lexington,SC.  Beverly's husband Von is with her and is helping with her rehabilitation twice a week at RehabSouth in Columbia,SC.  Please keep Beverly in your Prayers for Recovery."

Contact can be made:

Mrs. Beverly Kearns
P.O.Box 74
Helen, GA

Monday, March 21, 2016

Warren Sparrow's Wife Passes

Lydia Rebecca Sparrow passed away  Sunday, March 20, 2016 
surrounded by her husband Warren and their four children.

Lydia Rebecca Smit Sparrow 

July 1, 1938 – March 20, 2016

Lydia Rebecca Smit Sparrow, 77, of Winston-Salem, died on Sunday, March 20, 2016, at Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home  in Winston-Salem.

Lydia Rebecca was born July 1, 1938, in Johnston, RI, to the late Carel J. and Theodora deSitter Smit.  She is survived by her husband Warren Sparrow and their four children, daughters  Catherine Peele (Alex) of Chesterfield, MO, Barbara Sparrow of Durham, NC, and Theodora Sparrow of Winston-Salem, and son Arthur R. Sparrow (Julie James) of Winston-Salem.  Lydia Rebecca is survived by six grandchildren:  Lydia Peele Kinkade  (Kyle) of Overland Park, KS, Melanie Peele Krier (Kyle) of Salina, KS, Charlotte Peele of Manhattan, KS; Hammond Sherouse of Durham, NC, Gabrielle Hill of Winston-Salem,  and Warren Hill of

Lydia Rebecca is survived by two brothers, Neil Smit (Katherine) of Duxbury, MA, and Maarten Smit (Mary Jane) of Newbury, VT, and a sister, Agnes Smit of Bar Harbor, ME.  Lydia Rebecca was preceded in death by her sisters  Eleanor  Levin (Phil) of Gloucester, MA, and Barbara Young (John P.) of Oakland, CA, and  her brother Jac Smit of Washington, DC.

Lydia Rebecca was a CPA, having served as the financial officer at the Blumenthal Jewish Home and
Horizons Residential Care Center.  In 1994 she was YWCA Board Member of the Year.  Before earning her masters in business administration at UNCG in 1980, she was a registered nurse.  In 1958 she graduated first in her class at St. Joseph’s School of Nursing, Nashua, NH.  As a nurse she held staff positions at various hospitals— two in Europe (Germany and Holland) and others in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and North Carolina (NC Baptist Hospital for 15 years).

She was an internal auditor for the North Carolina Department of Human Resources from 1984 to 1987. Prior to service as a state auditor she was a health-care administration consultant and tax accountant.

Lydia Rebecca was treasurer of the West End Association, the West End Garden Club and the YWCA.

She was vice president of the East Winston Restoration Association.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, April 2, 2016, at Salem Funeral Home’s Chapel, 127 South Main Street,  Winston-Salem, NC 27101. 

 In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home, 101 Hospice Lane, Winston-Salem, NC 27103.

When the Swallows Come Back to ...

Oh, forget it.

San Juan Capistrano Mission

.They haven't returned to Capistrano for several years now.

They used to arrive every year on March 19th, but like a million similar minded human types...happiness is seeing THE GOLDEN the rear view mirror.

It doesn't take a genius to know why the swallows don't return to the Mission San Juan Capistrano anymore.  The brilliant "suits" there cleaned up the centuries old  stone rid of those dirty eyesore "nests" along the walls....and waited for the birds and the tourists to flock back every March 19th.

Neither did.

"Surprise, surprise," to quote Gomer Pyle.

As far as the humans bailing out, there are a myriad of reasons, high taxes, illegals, nutty government, nuts and flakes, etc, etc.......

All, reasons enough,  but the most convincing one in my opinion is.....

"Too many Priuses.....and Prius drivers,"...hands down the worst in the world.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

On Life and Love and Growing Old

By Diana C. White

Not that I know much about it, classmates, but we're all 80, or a little bit more or a tiny bit
less.  And we're dealing with lots of issues and discoveries that seem to be part of growing
old.  And I'm not at all sure I like it.

Well, to get into this slowly, when I turned 75 I felt “senior citizen” was just a silly designation
to give myself, although I happily take the discounts.  I felt to describe myself as  “growing
older” was way too tentative to do the job.  Dears, I decided I am just plain no frills old.  No
throwing roses at it, I'm old.  “There,” I said to myself, “I've dealt with it.  I'm old.  So there.”

Fine, well, and good.  And labeling it that far was still only circling around it, and fooling
myself I was dealing.  To my discredit, I'm good at that.

I'm in fairly good health.  Of course, there are some problems.  My joints are for spit – I wear
out cartilage like it was an annoyance I was getting rid of.  I thank God for joint replacement
surgeries; new left knee two years ago, new right shoulder last spring; no surgeries
contemplated for the immediate future, but the left shoulder will have to be dealt with.  And I
suppose eventually the right knee.  After I turn 80 come December, getting a surgeon who
accepts the task happily may be the trick, and nailing down insurance an even bigger
challenge!  So far it helps, at least with the surgeons, that I don't have much gray in my hair

Part of the reason I am planning no surgeries for at least a full year, maybe more, is that
after the second surgery, coming barely a year after the first, I felt different.  Rather vague.
No clear complaints, but a pervasive formless uneasiness.  Especially when I was cleared to
drive again.  Before I headed out anywhere, it was important to me to go over in my head
my route.  GPS thingies are wonderful, but I needed to know before I set out, I needed to
feel I'd located myself somehow.  Now, I'm visual, always have been, prefer visual modes for
learning, for expressing myself, for the joy of it.  I'm a quilter, after all!  But this need – I can
call it no less – to review in my head where I was going was anxious.  I was anxious.  A good
bit of the time.

All of us experience the “What did I come in here for!” moment.  I was having lots of those
moments.  Most of us have done the – oops, in mid story, what was I saying?  Where was I
going with this?  If I put a load of clothes in the washer, I had to develop a system to see
that wash load through the dryer and the fold and put away steps – this after a few times of
getting up the next day to a tub of damp and unhappy laundry.  I also realized I was not
following easily and naturally the thread of my words or anyone else's words, as I had always
done; I had to work at it.  Anxiously.  I was forever dialing my own cell phone since I had no
clue where I'd put it down last. I was losing things I had just handled.   Often.  I was finding
myself derailing myself by doing something else in the middle of what I was purportedly
doing, and losing the flow entirely.  Yes, that was not unknown in my experience, but the
frequency was somewhat increased and the accompanying anxiety was a new element.

I worried about it, in and out, looking for a connecting line, an explanation, words to put
around the whole thing.  Unnoticed TIA.  Anesthesia after-effects.  Temporary aberration.
Personal goofiness.  If I had something to call it, maybe I could deal with this better (a
lifelong delusion I have obviously fostered).

Meanwhile, people around me, whom I love dearly, were also dealing with health issues,
personal crises, illnesses, concerns, worries.  The illness of loved ones.  The troubles of
grown children, about which we can do so little.  The sudden death of spouses.  The
wretched diagnostic trek, frustrating and sometimes long drawn out, occasioned by the onset
of more severe manifestations of chronic conditions in oneself or one's loved ones.  The living
with chronic illness or disability.  The medication regimens, the hospitalizations, the strokes
and aftermath.  The more frequent eye exams and new glasses, the hearing aids, the canes
in the car because they might be needed.  I am actively keeping in touch with some
classmates who are especially dear to me now, to the point where we usually copy to the rest
of us when we send an email update to one of us in particular.  For this handful of us, this
contact has deepened and become more frequent since 2014 when we celebrated our 60th
anniversary from our 1954 CHS graduation.  Among these special folks there are also health
and personal issues and crises.  More and more among my high school and college friends I
hear of nursing homes and in-home care and not driving after dark.

O golly, o golly, o golly.

During the two years' worth of dealing with surgeries and physical and occupational therapy,
I was not able to visit my children with my usual happy frequency.  It has been my habit for
several years to go to Knoxville or to Kingsport to be with my children and their spouses a
couple of times a year, and my children-by-marriage in Greenville, of course around the
Christmas season, but also at other times.  For a few years Reid has been traveling a lot for
the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) and visits to Kingsport for fun weekends
have been few anyway.  Time to pick that all up again.  And so this year, the no-surgery-for-
me-thanks year, I went to Knoxville to spend a weekend early in March.  As always, we talked
our heads off, we caught up, we bought books, we did fun stuff (if you haven't seen
Zootopia, go do it), we ate wonderful meals.

And somewhere near the end of the weekend, my blessed daughter Kay swallowed hard and
introduced the subject of my growing old – I don't remember exactly how.  I could not quote
her, even one sentence.  She's good, she's a wordsmith, like all of us, a psychologist in a
residential treatment program for troubled adolescents, skilled, knowledgeable, caring and
empathic.  I know she sometimes paused to let me speak, even invite me to speak – I could
not, not really.  I felt pole-axed.  I went into total self-cocooning, the I'm-visible-but-I'm-not-
really-here mode.  I'm not sure how the conversation went, I just know I contributed little,
and I did not follow her progression – except that I understood that she and her big brother
Reid, the physician who's comfortable giving an on-air medical class on a national level, and
frequently has to deal with hard medical news and families, had talked and he had given her
the job, here, you do it.  He owes her, big time.

I came home and finally let myself feel the hurt, the anxiety, the outrage, the “That's mine to
initiate talk about,” the what'm I gonna do!  I talked to my friend Claudia, and came home
from being listened to and immediately texted my children.  I let them know, both of them
know, that Kay and I had had the talk, and I was dealing with it, and I didn't really appreciate
what must have been a tough job from their perspective, since from where I sat it was no fun
at all.  O dear.  Kay called instantly, in tears.  It's not nice to smack your children down by
text and email, especially when you're PO'd.  (Fill in the words yourself).  So I had to
compose a more grown-up and balanced letter (it's in final-draft stage), and will send it and
anxiously await phone calls and so on.  And writing this is part of my own getting more real
about it all.  It's huge.  That's some of why I was doing my own kind of spotty denial.

Oh, you understand, it's certainly not that I now have it all pegged down.  Not even I can
convince myself I have now Got It Done.  Far from it.  But thanks to Kay's talking with me, I
am more openly dealing with and thinking about – and (oddly) enjoying – this old-age stage
I'm in.  Getting acquainted with the idea, as it were, exploring the familiar countryside.  For
some time I had been thinking about and noting several things.  All were still a bit discrete, a
bit separated.  Thinking hard around it, not at the sharing stage yet (except Claudia).  So I
think I was at least somewhat in what can perhaps be called denial.  Now just because I can
say it, and even see it in other people, and am to some degree dealing with it, somehow
doesn't mean I had it all together and labeled. So pieces were separate maybe and maybe
not all labeled (how can a good mind compartmentalize so beautifully it thinks it's way open
and free-flowing!) - some of those pieces are now dancing around in the sunlight and
shadow, and teaching me things (well, it's not all dancing – there's some muttering and
snorting too).  And there may still be some denial.  Inwardly kicking and screaming seems to
be the mode I employ when I don't care for where something's going, and outside it may
look like snarling and spitting and saying bad words.

You remember when you had little kids and had to teach them things some of which they
didn't care for?  Table manners.  Telling somebody you're sorry.   Doing your homework.
Telling the truth.  Yes, you have to eat the green things. Yes, you make a promise, you keep
it.  All that stuff.  All the stuff you had to embody in order to teach it.  You remember that,
hmmm?  Well, sometimes mamas and daddies do teach children.  And it's not for long,
really.  After that it's mostly children teaching their mamas and daddies.

I have very brave and responsible and honorable children, 'specially Kay in this particular
instance of children teaching their mama.  So I thank them both, and I am bragging some
more about them to my friends (including Claudia, whose indignation on my behalf is so
healing), and I'll be the one swanning around being old and proud.  When I'm not snarling
and spitting and turning the air blue.

Oh, and I should mention, I am prepared to set a shining example of elder wisdom and old-
age sass; followers and admirers are welcome.   I also have a great store of and am making
up more bad words that could be a real resource!