Friday, July 31, 2009

A Sweet Story

While waiting for more "up-dates" from you '54 Wildcats, I want to pass along something sweet!

Fresh off the UPS truck...from the swamps of Wewahichka, Florida to my front door, the finest HONEY in the world! That's not just my opinion either. I think they even made a movie about it, but I don't know about that. I read about it in an outdated magazine at my dentist's office. (It's an ill wind that blows no good.).

It's called TUPELO HONEY....Its only found in swamp lands in the deep south where the Tupelo trees grow and it's very difficult to get because there's such a short time to harvest it....before the other flowers bloom and the bees start mixing inferior honey with the TUPELO HONEY.

And, it ain't cheap.

But it's the best I've ever's NOT sweet, other fact I understand that some doctors allow their diabetic patients to eat it. (However, be sure to check with your doctor about that!)

At the next board of directors meeting I am going to recommend that it be designated as THE OFFICIAL HONEY OF THE CHS54 Website.

Take a look at their WEBSITE and try a small jar to see if you like it.

Up Dates

Thanks to Jerry Gaudet's latest "Blast eMail," responses are pouring in.

Well.......Perhaps that's a little too enthusiastic.......they're actually "trickling" in.

However, they're all exactly what we want; an informal "up-date" of your life today!

It's "Show and Tell" time:


"In response to Jerry Gaudet's plea, here is my offering. There are three photos attached to this email. The first is of me reading to grandson Hammond in our living room. The second is this spring's tulip patch in our front yard. The third is a bunch of cows who stopped in our front yard the other day. They bring new meaning to the phrase "holy cow."

John Merritt

"I have loved the memories of Central. I often wonder why. I didn't try very hard in class, at graduation, I still owed the school many hours of detention hall for being tardy, and always seemed to be a little out-of-step with assignments. Nonetheless, most of my fondest recollections are about classes and teachers. Other things, like waterboying Football for you and others, being in a play, lunches across Elizabeth, and just goofing off make those memories very special. Selective memory is better than selective hearing, and nobody has to repeat themselves.

During the twelfth grade I joined the Naval Reserves, and soon after graduation went on active duty. Two years on a destroyer will cause the most difficult cases to mature. I learned a lot, grew up a bunch, saw much of the world, served my country, and earned the GI Bill.

After the Navy, I attended college and eventually graduated a couple of times from East Carolina with degrees in Art and Art Education. After three years in the Charlotte-Mecklenberg system, I returned to EC to teach. After EC, I moved to Gastonia to teach at Gaston College. After four years, I had the itch for more graduate school. I got my doctorate from NC State, and followed that with twenty-six more years of administrative work back at Gaston. Since retirement, I have taught part time, volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, repaired antiques, and attempted to persuade a little white golf ball to go where I wanted despite the laws of physics and my limited aptitude. I was fortunate to marry a woman with patience, personality, and perseverance. Sounds like she was a troll, but actually pretty good looking. We are proud to have three children and two spoiled grandchildren. Our health has been good even though we are slowly attempting to become bionic.

It has been a good life with few regrets-- yes, things I didn't do, not those that I did. If I could go back to being seventeen again, I would decline, but if karma says I must, I hope most of
it will be like the past, and has a school like Central."

John....the class monitors have been trying to track you down for years to have you make up all those hours you failed to spend in detention hall. We expect you to pay your debt and report to Detention hall on the second Tuesday of every month at Jimmies of Mint Hill. -Ed

PS....In athe FIRST post, I mistakenly said the FIRST Tuesday of the month. What I should have said was the SECOND Tuesday of every month! SECOND Tuesday of the month at Jimmies.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

And now a word from our sponsor...

I've been forced by the reporter's union to raise the salaries of the already overpaid
staff here at the CHS54 media complex.

As a consequence, we are forced (once again) to accept advertising at our formally commercial free flagship website.

Please support our sponsors.


"People tell me "Gee you look good." There are three ages of man: youth, middle age, and "Gee, you look good.""
- Red Skelton

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One of the Mystery Girls Identified

Maxcyne Motte Yaworsky was kind enough to email us from way out in Ogdon, Utah

"I was very sorry to hear of John Ballards passing. The picture you posted from Gene Moore has one face that I can identify for you. The girl to the far right of the photo is Emily Killingsworth. She was at Central for her Sophomore year and later (I think) transferred to Myers Park.
She and I connected later at Charlotte Memorial Hospital where we were both Medical Technologists. "


Monday, July 27, 2009

Travel Tips

Al Gore's internet is a wonder to behold! I came upon a site, by accident, that convinced me that we can all throw away our maps...forget the GPS lady....and just ignore your spouse who is making noises like, "you're driving in circles and don't know where you are....etc."

Relax. Just stop in at the nearest filling station or convenience store and pick up a can of RC Cola!

That's right! It works like this:

If your can on the far left looks like this one, you're in Columbus, Ohio. If it's a white can you're in the mountains of Louisville, KY. If it has white stripes around it like the middle can, you're in Holland, Mich. If it is narrow and has a yellow stripe around the top, you're in Chicago.
And if it looks like the can on the far right...with a red stripe around the've arrived safely back home in Charlotte.

Happy trails!


The 15th annual RC and Moon Pie Festival was held last week in Bell Buckle, Tennessee and witnesses say that it was the best one yet! Since we cronologically challenged Wildcats are not due for another reunion for another 5 years or so, I'm going to suggest to the Reunion Commttee that we all meet next June for the RC and Moon Pie Festival. There's fun for everyone beginning with the RC Moon Pie parade followed by the Moon Pie Toss and the RC Dash. For those of us less athletically inclined there's Syncronized Wading.

All in all, according to the Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce "it's a day of fun for young and old celebrating THREE southern traditions: RC Colas, Moon Pies and Historic Bell Buckle, Tennessee...where we are 100 years behind the times and proud of it."


I don't know exactly when this old RC Cola bottle was used, but when I saw this was like a "time machine" transporting me instantly to another time...and another place.

It seems that I was suddenly about 6 years old sitting in the dining room of our house on East 5th Street drinking a "coke." (We alternated between Cokes, Pepsis, and RC's....depending on which was on sale at the A&P.) We called them all "Cokes."

I believe it was those yellow pyramids that set off that journey in my mind. The feeling only lasted for a split second...but it was powerful.

But, of course, the explanation could be a very simple one: creeping senility, first signs of dementia, or perhaps the pyramids I was thinking about were really the ones on that pack of Camel cigarettes....that made me so sick.


"You know you're getting old when you stop to tie your shoes and wonder what else you can do while you're down there.

"-George Burns

Friday, July 24, 2009

Back Surgery

Marlene Ritch Beaty lets us know that Jackie Lookabill had back surgery on July 14th, and is recovering at home. She will go back to her doctor next week for a scan and progress report. Jackie is in good spirits, but still not up and around as she wants to be.

Send her a card:
Mrs. Jackie Lookabill
3601 Mountainbrook Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28210

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Looking for........

Thanks to Google, I just added a "Search Bar" to the website. You will find it on the upper right hand side of this page. Happy Hunting!

I was playing around with the search bar and typed in the words, Snips and Cuts; and lo and behold, it's still there. That was one of the first things I put up on this website...many years ago...and darn, if it still doesn't look pretty good, especially when you click on the pictures to enlarge them.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sad News

Jerry Gaudet reports:

It is with sadness the we received word of the death of Becky Lampley's husband. Jerry Leonard passed away suddenly on July 14, from "Cardiomyopathy, a heart condition.

Becky and Jerry lost their son 3 years ago this October. They have a daughter, Amy, the mother of their two grandsons who are in military service.

The Service for "Jerry Parker Leonard" will be Sunday, July 26, at 2:30 PM, at First Baptist Church in Kingsport, Tenn. He will be buried at the Veterans Cemetery in Johnson City, TN.

We have this contact information for Becky:
Mrs. Becky Leonard
465-D Manor Dr.
Kingsport, TN 37660


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Gene Moore Checks In

Gene Moore sends us this note:

I was sorry to hear the sad news of the death of CHS '54 classmate, John Earl Ballard. The message from John's wife, which was e-mailed to all of us by Jerry Gaudet, was especially touching. I was reminded of an old picture I have of John and seven other members of Calvary Methodist Church (West Boulevard, Charlotte) which was taken on the occasion of our graduation from Central High. Each graduate wore his/her graduation gown for the picture.

I have attached a copy of that picture and have identified the graduates as follows:

Second Row From Left: Gene Moore, Charles Sweitzer, Joe Kirkley, John Earl Ballard

First Row From Left: Not Remembered, Anne Disher, Not Remembered, Not Remembered

Unfortunately (probably because of my gray hair) I cannot remember the names of three of the girls. It appears in the picture that their graduation robes are different from those of the Central students, therefore they may have gone to another high school.

I join many others who fondly remember John and are sad at his passing.

Gene Moore

(Click on picture to enlarge)

Friday, July 17, 2009


Anne (Alexander) Ballard shares her thoughts regarding John's death with us. It's a very touching read.

Scroll down to John's death announcement.


Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming

I've used that old radio cliche sign off line before.....which emphasizes the need for more writers here at the CHS54 complex. I wish you could see the corporate headquarters here....secretaries, reporters, photographers, computer gurus. Talk about hustle and bustle,THIS is it!

I rarely get down to the corporate cafeteria anymore for a cup of coffee because of the volume of activities.............


But there is one bit of truth in that flight of fancy; we need more writers. Perhaps writers is the wrong word.....contributors are what we need!

Ace reporter and keeper of the records Jerry Gaudet has just sent out a "blastmail" to everyone about this subject.

Get your thinking caps on as my third grade teacher, Ms Carr, used to say, and send us a note or two about what you're up to....your favorite memory of CHS....your least favorite, a grandkid who looks like you did 55 years ago.....a grandkid who looks a lot better than you did 55 years ago...a grandkid who doesn't look like you, whatever interests you will almost certainly interest all of us!

I'll start things off with my favorite picture. When my daughter was little my wife and I wouldn't let her do something or other....and it made her about as mad as she ever got. This is how she took out her anger at us. When we got up the next morning, this was scotch taped to our door:

Let us hear from you. Or we may scotch tape something scary on your door!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"LDL" Still Going Strong

Jerry Gaudet reports on the latest "Let's Do Lunch" event at Jimmie's of Mint Hill. The reason Jerry is the CHS54's highest paid reporter, is because he is also an excellent photographer!

Our "LDL" is rolling along with a "summer" gathering of 27 classmates and spouses. Several more were accounted for as being away on vacations. All told, we have had 47 different classmates and 22 spouses participating. There's room for more.

It was a delight to have first-time attendance from Dottie Cammer Parker and her husband Joel, up from Boiling Springs, SC to be with us. Also, Karol Broadwell Welch and her husband Bob, Hobby Cobb came along with Jane Thornhill Cobb and Willis Rimmer brought his better half, Ruth. (Click on the picture to see a close-up of Willis' shirt - Ed)

We continue to have these luncheons on the second Tuesday of each month and would love to have others join us when you can.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Off My Chest

Something has been bothering me for over 55 years. Jerry Gaudet reminded me of it when he sent in the pictures from the latest LDL outing.

And that is this:

The upperclassmen unashamedly stole as many of our women as they could!

The perfect example of this is Basketball's superstar Hobby Cobb sweeping one of our outstanding beauties, Jane Thornhill off her feet and into a lifetime of living happily ever after.

And, as you can see.....that rascal is still at it!

Oh, wait a looks like Shirley is......

Never mind.

This Just In

Archaeologists here at the CHS54 complex have discovered what they believe is an old yellowed photograph of the first LDL (Let's do lunch) event!

It's an amazing find and scientists are confident they'll be able to identify at least some of the participants. Studying artifacts from that period in history indicate that the event probably occurred sometime around 1952. Best guess is that the restaurant was located just a short J-walk from the famous Charlotte Central high school. (Click on picture to enlarge)

Friday, July 10, 2009

John Ballard Passes

It was with surprise and disappointment that word came today of the passing of classmate John Earl Ballard. I understand John died on July 4 and his funeral was today. Any further details received will be shared.

John's Obituary

Ballard, John E., Sr. age 73, of Bloomington, passed away peacefully July 4, 2009. Beloved husband of Anne; loving father of John, Jr. (Laurie) and Virginia Ballard; granddaughters, Amanda and Chelsea. Owner of Ballard and Associates. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Normandale Hylands UMC or donor's choice. Celebration of Life Service Friday, July 10, 2 PM at Normandale Hylands UMC, 9920 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington. Visitation one hour prior to service at the church, and Thursday 5-8 PM also at the church. Washburn-McReavy Werness Brothers Chapel 952-884-8145

Published in Star Tribune on 7/7/2009

His wife, Anne, can be contacted at:

Mrs. Anne Ballard

5117 W. 105th St.

Bloomington, MN 55437


Note: We knew John's wife Anne at Central when she was Anne Alexander (class of 55)

Anne is sharing this letter that she wrote to Jerry.........

"... John found out he had Melanoma in March 2008, and the doctors said he could have had it since childhood. He fought it until it finally took him. He was born "optimistic" and he never changed. The family knew, as did John, that it couldn't be cured, but he never stopped "living".

We've had a boat, of some sort, on the Mississippi for the past 25 years and we had gone to the boat on July 2 to stay through the weekend and especially to see the fireworks set off in Red Wing MN from a spot right across the river from where our houseboat is docked.

The Melanoma had spread from a spot on his shoulder to spots in his lung and then in his brain. He had chemo (for the lung) and radiation (for the brain) to keep him going. Anyway, he had to go to the hospital in Red Wing Friday morning and I really thought I'd be taking him back to the boat in time for fireworks. On Saturday afternoon, he was taken by ambulance to Methodist Hospital, closer to home and closer to his own doctors, where he took a sudden downturn and was gone by 10 p.m. that night - just when the fireworks were going on close to the hospital!

Our daughter had been with us at the boat and our son met us at the hospital in the cities. He had a peaceful death and was lucid until just before he slipped away. Our pastor, another pastor friend of ours, our children, two nurses and an oncologist (who graduated from Duke) and I were surrounding him and repeating the 23rd Psalm as he left us.

As I said, we knew he was Stage 4, but we were still stunned at how fast he went. I suggested some time ago that we let the class of '54 know, but he just didn't want to be "sad news". He loved Central, his class and mine too (CHS'55), and cherished all the wonderful memories we had from that time.

The service - John's Celebration of Life - was a wonderfully uplifting one, as he wished. John had been in a church choir ever since before his voice changed - and we still were at this church. So - the choir sang and all kinds of music was represented. We had a string bass, drums and piano playing some jazz, dixieland, "our" songs and classical. During the service the choir sang a gospel version of "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" and just before the end of the service, they performed an upbeat gospel number "Swing Down Chariot", arranged by Davis/Robinson. Now our Methodist church is usually more conservative than that, but the service was as John wished it to be. He still liked a party to the end - with no "moping around"!

Our little family and I are doing okay so far - and I realize this is probably more than you wanted to know, but that's how it went. I have received Emails and calls from a few "old" friends from the class - and they are appreciated.

John enjoyed looking at the website and Ed has done such a great job. I will keep on keeping up with that too.

Anne (Alexander) Ballard"

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Mr. Sharon and his streets

I’ve just finished reading Mary Kratt’s great history of Charlotte book and nowhere in there did I find anything about some guy named Sharon who had all those streets named after him. To this outsider it seems that every time I’m driving around lost in my old hometown, it turns out that I’m on some street named Sharon something or other.

I feel kinda dumb for not thinking of this sooner, but the name Sharon is from the Bible….and means “plain,” as in flatland. I’m confident that is what the name is referring to. It seems so obvious to me now. I’m sure all of you knew that, but didn’t want to embarrass me by correcting my twisted thinking. (Below, Rose of Sharon)

Now, here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know: Shakespeare spoke SOUTHERN!

I didn’t know it either until I read fellow CHS’r(1950) John Brock’s book “Southern Breezes Whistle Dixie.” (Yes, he is the son of Mr. Brock who owned the barber shop around the corner from Stanleys on Pecan Ave.)

Here’s John’s proof:

Thine eyes tell the story. Ya’ll have come from over yonder for a mess of fried okra, ain’t ya?” –King Lear, Act XII, scene 14.

“Lay on McDuff..and dammed be him that cries a rebel yell.” –As You Like It..Act CXXIII, scene 17

“Woe to him that forsakes the grits of life.”-Midnight’s Summer Dream, Act IV, scene 40.

There you have it; straight from the Bard’s mouth. And that’s no joke, because as Shakespeare himself said, “I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.”-Romeo and Juliet, Act II, scene 4

(I think Bill was having an “off day” when he penned that.)


John's book can be purchased from:
Southern Observer Press
PO Box 1711
Pawley's Island, SC 29585

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