Friday, May 29, 2009

Keep those cards and letters coming

The CHS class of '54 is full of
WRITERS. Good Mary Kratt, who's latest book about the history of Charlotte is a MUST read for all of us who grew up, or still live in the Queen City. Diana Carpenter, Warren Sparrow, Elouise Diggle, etc, etc, etc......and many others who make beautiful music with words.

They say storytelling is a southern tradition....and it's certainly alive here at the website.......Betsy Villas (whose idea it was in the first place) has checked in with her impression of our have others. I'm posting your notes in REUNION REFLECTIONS and HAPPENINGS.......(scroll down just a bit). They will be posted in chronological order.

Just jot down a few notes describing your reactions and feelings.

There will be a pop quiz on it later.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Life Before Central

Carolyn Taylor (Powell) brought these historical pictures to the reunion brunch and was kind enough to send them to the website so everyone can see them.

They were taken at Dilworth Grammar School between 1946 and 1948.

This is Mrs. Houston's class 4th grade Dilworth School...Notice Warren Sparrow 3rd row down Carolyn Taylor is in front of him slightly to his right. Sophie Leventis is on the front row left.

This is 5th grade, Mrs Adair's class. See Warren on second row, first left.

Sixth Grade Mrs. Baker

Thanks very much, Carolyn, for these pictures!
If any of you recognize any other of our classmates in these pictures......or if YOU are in any of them......let me know. I think I see Shirlene McGill in Mrs. Adair's class....but I may be mistaken. -Ed

Monday, May 25, 2009

Reunion Reflections and Happenings

Don't forget to jot down a thought or two...about our reunion...OR...anything else that's happening that you'd like to share with us fellow Wildcats.

Jennie Margaret checks in

HELLO! Thanks again, Jerry and the ‘54 Committee! We really enjoyed our 55th reunion…and Ed’s DVD has been shared several times with folks we know from Charlotte.

Bill’s class of 1952 will have a BIRTHDAY PARTY (75th -- amazing!) June 27th. I believe it is at the same place where we had our party. Hobby Cobb is one of the folks organizing it.

Please tell our classmates to stop by there----after all, there were a good many of them (class of ’52) who came to our party. AND I’d love to see all of you again.

We are driving down on the 26th, so let us know if anything interesting is going on in Charlotte then.

Tell everyone at the “LDL” that Bill and I send our greetings! Cheers! Jennie (Margaret)

Reunion Reflections: By Betsy Villas White

Friday afternoon of the reunion I sat alone at the Carolina Soda Shop at Park Road Shopping Center with my coke and my pimento cheese sandwich. I asked myself why I had felt the need to drive 500 miles by myself to eat barbecue with a relatively small number of my high school classmates. What on earth had I been thinking? Why was I doing this? After all, memories are memories and many years and a lifetime separate me from those after-school hours I spent sitting on the floor with a group of friends in the front hall of Central High School.

It didn't take me long on Friday night to discover why I had come. I was surrounded by familiar laughs, familiar smiles and well-known voices. I was in a room full of people who seemed to know me almost better than I know myself. They remembered who I was and who I was to become. They remembered my mother and daddy and where I lived and what my dreams were. I didn't have to choose my words or explain my life. The conversations were honest, warm and to the point. By breakfast the next morning I felt like I had come home to myself. Somehow the process had reconnected the pieces I had scattered along the way and forgotten about. I felt more complete than I have felt in a very long time.

I have thought a lot about those few hours the class of 1954 spent together this Mother's Day weekend in 2009. Thank you to the Committee, to Jerry, to Ed, to Obie, and all those that made the weekend happen. Thank you to those of you who came. Thank you to Central High School for giving us the space and the encouragement and the tools to make our way in the world. Thank you to the faculty who taught us to dream big and to think deeply. Thank you to those of us who are no longer with us, but are so much a part of who we are. I no longer wonder why I made the trip. I'm just thankful that I did.

-Betsy Villas White

Reunion Committee Chairman Obie Oakley checked in with some nice words for your humble, award winning webmaster regarding the Once Upon a Time DVD that was shown at the dinner.

The staff here at the CHS54 Compound wants me to let you know that there are still plenty of them available since the copies were made before anyone knew how many classmates would be attending the reunion.

Speaking of awards....Obie is on a roll. If he gets many more he and Frances are going to have to build an extension onto their house to hold them all.

Our 55th reunion was not the only one the tireless wonder was orchestrating. He also organized a reunion for about 25 members of his old Army Unit from Germany.

If that wasn't enough, he also assembled and produced a video to show at the World Affairs Council's black tie dinner the night before that reunion. Obie and his production staff received their annual Global Citizens Award! (Former winners were: Billy Graham, Dean Rusk, General Hugh Shelton, etc.....)

To view Obie's video and to learn more about the Carolina's Freedom Foundation click on this


THIS FROM.........

Warren Sparrow:

I had not heard Grandma's Lye(?) Soap in more than 50 years. Of course, it would not suds and could not foam. What a hoot. "Good for everything in the home," the man said. No kidding. So we all sing out....

Yes, we sing out. After the event, I went back to my snips & cuts. What a wonderful book. What a wonderful thing it was to read things said in 1954 by our schoolmates. Here are a few examples.

Once I'd have said, "he is my friend no more." Now I should say, "I am his friend, nothing less." -- Diana Kay Carpenter.

* * * * * *

I'll never forget playing on the big "Reds" and the tournament team with you. The day we won the trophy was really great for all of us....

-- Bonson Hobson.

Note: This is a reference to our Hi-Y club that won the North/South Carolina YMCA

basketball championship at Albemarle.

Scoop! Best of luck and everything to come in the near future. Work hard at State. -- Tommy Lindsay.

Don't ever forget Central and all your friends because Central will never forget you.... -- Ruth Ann Cliff.

I am glad we got to know each other better in our senior year.... Lots of luck in everything you do. You deserve it. --Obie Oakley.

I will always remember you and the troubles you had with all your girlfriends and with your espanol.... I hope you do good at State next year.

-- Johnny Culp.

I'm sorry that I didn't get to know you before this year. Your beating of my back in English will never be forgotten. I wish you all the luck in the world. You certainly deserve it. -- Shirlene McGill.

Stay as you are and you will always be admired by your class mates. -- Charles Mateer.

There you have it. To all my Central friends, those alive after 55, I salute you. Let us not fail to honor those who have passed on. The best way to honor them is to soldier on. It is our duty. Let us discharge it with joy and humility. It is the least we can do for them.

(Note: Folks, send in your reactions and comments. I will add them here....-Ed)

Ann Elizabeth Mitchel...

writes that her trip, all the way from her home in Florida, was well worth the long drive!

It was “great fun” she said, but “we were all older than I thought we were.”

She combined her trip with visits to relatives in Winston Salem where she is still remembered fondly by her old Church members for her “legendary chicken salad” that she made one year and raised a huge amount of money for the congregation. Ann says the secret to its success was that she and other members of the Church handpicked over a thousand chickens!

I got hungry just reading her email…especially when she mentioned the green beans that her aunts had cooked “the old fashion way!”

(Can you say, two hours? Three is even better! –Ed)

All in all, it was a fantastic visit, she says. Nothing happened to “rain on her parade.”…….until AFTER her visit… rained like crazy all the way back home…..and she found that the USPS had not stopped delivery of her mail, as she had requested…..and she found it all sticking out of her overstuffed mailbox….soaking wet……..

Ah well..........I'll bet those homegrown tomatos will be real good this year.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Shortly, the technical staff here at the CHS54 complex will be conducting an upgrade and other computer stuff in order to keep this website operating smoothly.
There's a possibility that for several days in the upcoming order to access this will need to use the url (address)

instead of simply

This will only be temporary. We own the domain so that will always be our address EXCEPT possibly for a very short time.

So, bookmark this for the next several weeks...that may be the only way to reach our website.



Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good News Continues...

The staff here at the website is convinced that the nation's newspapers...which are having such difficulties surviving these days...have brought it on themselves by year after year reporting only the bad news.

We are not going to make that mistake here at the old "blue and white lady." Our policy is to print all the good news that fits. (Eat your heart out NY TIMES!)

For example, Don Nance's son Tommy is now free of cancer! Tommy was treated recently for
cancer of the thyroid.

These pictures were taken at the Relay for Life in Wytheville, Va on Friday, May 15. The first picture was taken on the first lap for survivors of cancer.

Stefanie, Tommy, and son Gabe.

Tommy and Gabe.........

and Gabe's friend "Pop."

(Click on pictures to enlarge-Ed)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Charlotte, A Brief History

We've had a lot of excitement lately, with the reunion and all, but don't forget about Mary Norton Kratt's new book about the history of Charlotte.
Most of us were born there, and many of us have lived in the city named after the beauty challenged English Queen all our lives, but I doubt that many of us know much about Charlotte's exciting history.

I've read other books that she's written and I predict that once you start reading Mary's new book, you won't be able to put it down!

Personally, I can't wait to get my copy. Maybe I'll finally learn WHY every damm street in that town is named "Sharon.....something or other"


SPECIAL for fellow Wildcats!

To order Mary's book call 866.457.5971 ext 112. ...and you will receive a 20% discount and the shipping and handling charge will be only $5 if you mention “Charlotte Central High”.

or....if you prefer, you can order the book from by clicking HERE

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Close Ups

Thought you would like to see a close up of Jerry and Pat's well deserved award that they were given Friday night.

Also, I want to brag about the award that Jerry and the LDL crowd.....gave me!

Well, it's not exactly an award..............but it's something that I am going to frame and put on my mantle here in "yankee land."

Take a look!!

Those folks really know how to make me happy!!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happinings Continue

This website hasn't seen so much activity in a long, long time!

First, we just celebrated our 55th anniversary with a tremendously successful bash that we're still slowly coming down from......then, the LDL crowd met at Jimmies of Mint Hill for our monthly lunch.

I hope the staff here at the website can keep up with it all!

Jerry Gaudet reports:

24 hearty souls came to lunch just days after our 55th year anniversary celebration. All had been at the Reunion.

Of special note were first-time attendees Jeanette Berryhill Bryant, up from Ocala, FL, and Mary Sue Banks Burnett and her husband, Clyde.

We were all still buzzing about the Reunion...and how fast it went by.

Keep in mind these lunches are being held on the second Tuesday of every month at "Jimmies Restaurant" in Mint Hill. We hope others will come when you can!

(Ed's note.......Don't forget to click on the pictures to enlarge!)

....and this from Shirley Maynor: These pictures were taken Friday, the afternoon of our 55th at Betty Rose Palomba's Girl's lunch.....

(FROM LEFT TO RIGHT...Mamie Goodwin Baucum, Nancy Gibson Tomlinson, Betty Rose Palomba, and Shirley Maynor)

Take a look at the bottom picture. I'm going to suggest that we hold our next reunion at Betty's house.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

55th Worth the wait!!

So, we had to wait 55 years for this event, but it was well worth it!!

(Be sure to click on Letty Nance's photo above to enlarge and see our beautiful faces! ALSO......scroll down to see video of the event!)

Almost 125 of us gathered at the Davie Park facility in Charlotte on Saturday evening (May 8th) to celebrate the Class of 54's 55th reunion.

The weather was beautiful, the barbeque tasty, the entertainment was good, and the hugging was overwhelming! (the official count was 30 hugs per person, on average.)

Our reunion chairman, Obie Oakley welcomed the group and "almost" thanked everyone for coming, then realized how unnecessary it was to thank us for attending, when we all were

having such a good time and so happy to be there!

Obie then introduced Don Nance who eloquently presented an award to our Van Goghs of the spreadsheet, Jerry Gaudet and his wife Pat. The honor for Jerry and Pat being such competent and untiring coordinators of our class records etc...was the latest electronic

reading device called............a Kindle!

Ed Myers, your thin, handsome, award winning , and modest webmaster, was also honored.

The other honorees were the reunion committee members, Charlie Willis, Marie Psomadakis,

Marlene Rich, Johnny Culp, Jackie Hart, Jane Thornhill, Mitzi Minor, and Shirley McClannahan (who wasn't able to attend because of unexpected surgery).

But, the highlight of the evening was seeing Nancy Gibson Tomlinson!...who has been an untiring "well of encouragement" for all of our classmates with medical problems.

Nancy and her husband came all the way up from

Florida (with a car full of oxygen tanks)!

Nancy, you are our HERO!!

More to come......about our 55th as our folks start sending in the pictures that they took...

Email us!

See the Video!

The CHS54 "shakey, fashionably orange, slightly out of focus" award winning remote camera crew was there!


More pictures from Jerry Gaudet

Jerry's 55th Reunion FINAL STATS

CHS'54 55th Anniversary, List of Registrants

FirstName LastName MarriedName GuestFN GuestLN

Buck Anderson Peggy Anderson

Mike Andrews Anne Andrews

Sylvia Arnold Regehr Jim Regehr

Darrell Avery

Gill Balance, Teacher

Mary Sue Banks Burnett Clyde Burnett

Betty Barnes Walpole

Gayle Barrier Austin Don Austin

Marie Beatty Robinson

Earl Beckham Becky Beckham

Peggy Bedsol Gandy

Carole Bennett Gilland

Jeanette Berryhill Bryant

Gaither Blackwelder Linda Blackwelder

Vic Brawley Sylvia Brawley

Karol Broadwell Welch Bob Welch

Don Bryan

Betty Cunningham, Staff

Diana Carpenter White Ivan White

Jim Cook Joan Cook

Harold Cullingford Carolyn Cullingford

John Culp Pat Culp

Sylvia Dunn Cross Shane Cross

Max Evans

Linsy Farris

Sylvia Farris Nickel

Ed Nickel

Linda Garmon Huggins Ross Huggins

Jerry Gaudet Pat Gaudet

Nancy Gibson Tomlinson Howard Tomlinson

Jo Graham Lammonds

Beverly Harkey Kearns Von Kearns

Jackie Hart Lookabill Gene Lookabill

Martin Hill Patsy Hill

Bonson Hobson

Miriam Holder Barrett Daniel Barrett

Betty Hull Nixon

Tom Hurt Kay Hurt

Carolyn Keziah Hudspeth Jack Hudspeth

Sophie Leventis Trakas

Thomas Lindsay Linda Lindsay

Sandra Lineberger Patterson Shelton Patterson

Margie Malone Broome

Carolyn McCall

Shirley McClanahan Maynor

Shirlene McGill Yeargins Ellis Yeargins

Jennie Meador Forehand Bill Forehand

Mitzi Minor Roper John Roper

Ann-Elizabeth Mitchell

Elizabeth (Betsy) Monahan Papousek

Ed Myers Linda Shephard

Don Nance Letty Nance

Glenn Nanney, CHS'52

Mary Norton Kratt

Obie Oakley Frances Oakley

Paul Patton Sue Patton

Mary Psomadakis Renfroe

Ronnie Rallis Pourlos Jimmie Pourlos

June Reid Helsabeck Mack Helsabeck

Ann Rich Hobson

Marlene Ritch Beaty Thomas Beaty

Bill Robinson Annette Robinson

Bob Seagraves Gloria Seagraves

Al Selby Nancy Selby

Beverly Smith Garmon

Warren Sparrow Becky Sparrow

Jo Ann Stone King Joe King

Richard Stowe Janice McRorie

Carolyn Taylor Powell

Betty Rose Templeton Palomba Lou Palomba

Larry Thames, CHS'53

Jane Thornhill Cobb Hobby Cobb

Betsy Villas White

Tommy West Janice West

Charlie Willis Jean Willis

Bob Yandle Jeanette Yandle

67 116 49

Classmates Total registered Spouse/Guest


(Feel Free to add your comments to our message board.)

Don Nance opens the conversation with this note:

It is hard to believe that it has been 55 years since we graduated from CHS. It was great being with my classmates and friends Friday night and Saturday morning.

I was sad when I saw the pictures of our classmates who had died. I was happy when I remembered all the great things they did in life and the many happy times we as classmates had together. Those happy times will remain with us forever.

Friday night was such a great tribute to Jerry and Pat. They are the glue that keeps us together. Their care for our parents of those of us who live away from Charlotte is such a blessing. The response I received for the gift to them was greater than I ever expected. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

A special “Thank You” to Ed for reminding our class through pictures, words, and music of our wonderful times at Central and our getting together now at reunions and lunch.

I am proud to be a member of the class of CHS ‘54.

Don Nance