Sunday, March 22, 2009

And the GOOD NEWS just keeps on coming!

Lots to Report:

The big news is that our own Obie Oakley is to receive one of the nation's most prestigious military honors!!

Reporter extraordinaire Jerry Gaudet checks in:

Our own Obie Oakley is soon to be honored with the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the highest civilian award given by the Department of The Army. The Secretary of the Army awards this decoration to those who provide distinguished service that makes a substantial contribution to the accomplishment of the Army's missions.

The ceremony to bestow this honor will be on Thursday, April 2, 2009, 2:00 PM, at Christ Episcopal Church, 1412 Providence Rd., Charlotte, NC. (The PDF file of the official invitation is attached.)

The invitation to attend is extended to all classmates. If your are able to attend, please R.S.V.P (acceptances only) to the organizers at

Miriam Holder Barrett

I think this is a great idea to hear from different classmates and what is going on in their lives after so-oo-oo many years. I feel I have been so blessed and want to share part of my life after Central.

I was married to Dave Kaleel for 25 years when he died with cancer. We traveled a lot showing quarter horses in open and registered shows. I later married Daniel Barrett in 1986. We continued with horses, but only pleasure trail riding. I started riding with a drill team which was something I always wanted to do. Below is a picture of me riding on my 70th birthday. (You are never too old to follow your dreams.) Daniel and I later got into heavy horses. We Now have a Percheron and a Belgian/Clydesdale cross draft horses. We purchased a wagonette and a Victorian carriage we use for weddings, festivals, and any special event that requires a horse drawn carriage. There is a lot of work involved with the horses, carriages and getting ready for each event. We meet a lot of wonderful people and enjoy driving the horses and making their special day special. I no longer ride with the drill team as there is a conflict with the horse drawn carriage events.

The Lord has blessed us with gentle and beautiful horses which has enabled us to start our horse drawn carriage business at a late time in our lives. Check out our web page.

Hope to see you at the class reunion.



Miriam Holder Barrett

(Wow! What a hoot! Be sure to click on the picture to get a closer look at that handsome couple and their beautiful Clydesdale. I keep looking for a case of Bud...back there, but haven't seen it so far.-Ed)

From Bill Robinson

"... '54 classmates. Sorry I have missed the LDL luncheons. In 1953, when I was a tenth grader at Central, and not knowing what I would do in this world, my father, decided that I did not need to go to high school for three years, made me go to summer school and pick up the two extra credits that would allow me to graduate in 1954. Thus for the ten years I was in the class of 1955, I did tend to have more allegiance to them. For that I apologize because I knew so many of you. Upon graduating, I still did not know what I was going to do, went to NC State, then to Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica, Cal for three years, did not like engineering, lived on the California beach and had a great time, but then went into military service for just short of a couple of years, then went to law school at UNC where I found out I knew absolutely nothing. However, I managed to graduate and thoroughly enjoyed practicing law for 30 some years.

I married just before law school, had two great kids, later divorced, but had close relationship with my two kids, She was very beneficial in keeping that relationship going. We are still on good terms. As to our kids, Shel and Randy, saw them thru college, one thru law school, married again (to Kate Widenhouse from Midland, NC) for 30 years until she passed away in 2005. That was a great loss to me. She had two kids, Trilby Carriker and brother Ronald Carriker, and they pretty much became mine as well. Ronnie and his wife, Rebecca, run my real estate business. They have two sons, Trent and Kipp. Just a couple months ago,Trent at 15 and in the 9th grade at Myers Park High School made the varsity soccer team, went to Raleigh and played in Myers Parks championship game this year. First State Championship for them ever. Shel married Stacy Evans from Oxford, NC. They have three boys, Shel Jr., Braxton, and Charlie. He has his own law firm of some 5 lawyers, practicing on East Boulevard, just a mile or so from where he and I both grew up. Randy married a doctor, Wanda, (He has one daughter, Abby) and he is in Property Management in Charlotte. Trilby is a CPA and is CFO of a major construction company in the southeast. She is also in Charlotte.

I retired from practicing law about 15 years ago, doing mediation work for some 5 to 8 years. Worked part time for son, Shel, taking depositions. During this time, I also worked at my business in real estate, but primarily took up tennis at a late age. I still play some 4 to 5 days a week at Olde Providence Tennis Club. After Kate died, I went to grandson Shel's birthday, became involved with Stacy's mom, Annette Evans from Oxford, NC and we married a year later (see photo below). I like to joke that as I married my son's wife's mother, we had to go to West Virginia to get a marriage license. Annette's son, Mason just had his second girl. Except for Abby, heretofore, all we had was boys. The little girls are precious.

Also, below is a photo of Annette and Bill sailing while vacationing with 3 other couples in the British Virgin Islands in February this year.

All in all, it really makes one feel good when you (me) have been so lucky to have had such a great life, having found another great wife, and have great kids and grandkids, all of whom are doing great in their own right. As I read these emails of others with their good news, I am just delighted that so many of our classmates of 54 and 55 have done so well and not only enjoyed life, but made major contributions to so many.

Bill Robinson "

Nancy Grayson

Nancy Grayson sends this response to "in search of good news". In Nancy's lovely photomontage, the reference to "MILR" is "McGill Institute of Learning in Retirement".

(Thanks Nancy. This just proves my long held theory that the CHS 54 class had the most beautiful young girls in the country.....AND.......they grew up to be the most beautiful mature women in the U.S.

It's amazing what a steady diet of country ham and grits does for female bodies! -Ed)

Warren Sparrow

...sends this "blast from the past."

(Thanks, Warren! Like you, I always carry my CHS graduation picture with me at all times, so I can flash it at people who occasionally question my intellectual credentials. -Lee)

Warren Replies:

"When I saw my senior picture and your comments I laughed out loud. Hope all is well. We are fine, "steaming as before." That is Navy talk, taken from the ship's log.

I am maintaining my law practice, fighting the good fight against windmills wherever they rear their ugly heads.

We are looking forward to the reunion. As far as good news is concerned, there is plenty from here. Becky and I are, as I said, "steaming as before." We have lived in the same house since 1972. This house is over 100 years old. It has served us well, allowing our children to walk to school during their grammar school years. I will try to find more information. What I can say is this: Its tax value has gone from less than $16,000.00 to more than $213,000.00.

It is 1.2 miles from the house to the parking deck near my office. It is 9 miles to the indoor tennis court where I play every week. Can you top it? It is about 1.5 miles to the grocery store. It is 1 mile to the ABC store. Is there anything else you need to know?

Life is good here at 1117 West Fourth Street. The State Department of Corrections has 40,000 souls on board with untold thousands in local jails. For us criminal defense lawyers, "steaming as before" is the order of the day.

Hope all is well. I am going to try to find some artwork to attach to this message. I found something. It is a photo of Becky (Lydia Rebecca Smit)and me with the president of the student body of Kansas State University, our granddaughter, Lydia Peele (named after Becky, a/k/a Lydia). This picture was taken last November in Manhattan, KS. Lydia is the first student in the history of Kansas State to serve as vice president and then as president of the student body. Good news? No kidding.

Keep paddling,


(Click on Picture to enlarge)

Chuck Spruill

"Dear Friends,

I celebrated my 72nd birthday this week. I decided we are never too old to try something new. I decided to learn a couple of new dance steps....The "Tango" is the national dance of passion here in Argentina...I have attached a photo of one of my newly acquired steps....I have others, but I will have to share them at a later time....I have to go visit my chiropractor now.

Kindest regards,

Chuck Spruill"

(Dear Chuck,

It's not nice to fool your handsome, debonair webmaster!! The staff here at CHS54 will be sending our crack investigative reporter on the next plane to Argentina to check out your highly suspicious story. If as we suspect, it proves to be sheer fantasy, you will be reported to ASPCAW (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Aging Webmasters.)

You have been warned! -Ed)