Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cheese and Sausage, Thin Crust please

Let me tell you about my Pizza Delivery Man.

"STOP THE PRESS" you say.

Well, keep on reading.

Brian Gagnon is somewhere between 50 and 60  years old and like many folks he probably retired too early, and took this job just to have something to do.

But he takes his job seriously, and does it well. He considers his customers his friends; and most of them are. Take me for example. Every time he comes to the house with a hot pizza we talk, usually until it gets cold. I always ask him if he's heard from his daughter recently. He can't exactly tell me what she's been doing, but he's convinced that she's enjoying her Afghanastan.

Lance Corporal Jasmin Gagnon is a US MARINE. She feels that she's carrying on a fine family tradition by being a Marine.

And, she is. Her great uncle, Pfc. Rene Gagnon was drafted into the Marine Corps in 1943. When his regiment, the 28th Marine Battalion,  landed on the Pacific Island of Iwo Jima to clear Japanese pillboxes and occupy the island, Gagnon served as a runner, ferrying messages between headquarters and the front lines.

After the Marines cleared Mount Suribachi, cave by cave, with flame throwers, Rene Gagnon ran up the mountain with the flag that would ultimately become the center of the Marine Corp's most iconic photograph.

You may have seen the picture of Rene Gagnon and a few other Marines raising that flag.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A New American Beauty Queen!

 ...and her measurements are: 7-8 and 20!

That's 7 pounds, 8 ounces and 20 inches long.  She is Danielle Nichole Hines and her
 mom is Kelli Ellis Hines, the youngest daughter of CHS54's own Bob Ellis. The proud father is Jefferson Davis Hines.

Danielle came into this world via natural child birth (Bob tells me that it's also known as "the bathtub routine.")

                                   Speaking of proud...take a look at this grandfather!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Old Station Becomes FM

Imagine that, WGIV has just now received their license to also become WGIV-FM at 103.3 on your dial. Next thing you know, they'll get a license from the FCC to be WGIV-TV!

Oh, wait a minute. My old boss, Francis Fitzgerald already did that.

I remember back in 1953 he put a mirror behind the microphone so we announcers could practice for when that mirror became a TV camera. And we wanted to be ready.

Mr. Fitz, as we all called him, had even purchased land over in the South Blvd area, and had drawn up plans for a huge radio/TV complex....called Charlotte Radio Center....or something like that. He was a man of big ideas.

Maybe too big. He got the station license from the FCC. The name on the application was WGIV-TV.........and it was on Channel 36.

I don't know all the details, but as I look back on those years I think Mr.Fitz must have experienced "buyers remorse" after he learned that the channel he got was if anyone wanted to watch WGIV -TV.....they had to buy a converter for their TV set  to see the station...
It looked like getting a return on his money might take a long time.

So, he sold the license for channel 36, and forgot about the South Blvd Radio Center extravaganza, and returned to his roots; WGIV radio, where Genial Gene was king (and what a great personality he was) Chatty Hattie was queen, others on the announcing staff were the great Julian Barber (Red Barber was his uncle) Eric Dehlin, Johnny Surratt, and Joy Boy Saunders, and a couple of others who made up a very talented staff. As the "teenage DJ" I was just lucky to be there.

Genial Gene Potts and Chatty Hattie
I think an apartment complex that was built on that site still carries the name "Radio Center." It may be public housing now. Or it may not even exist at all.

However, now that WGIV is WGIV-FM, I may re-think my decision to retire up here in Virginia and move back to Charlotte.

Maybe I could get my old job back at WGIV.

They do hire white people there, don't they?


Left to right..Johnny Surratt,Eric Dehlin,Ed Myers

PS....WGIV was founded by Mr Fitz and a couple of other WW2 veterans and the call letters stood for "We are GI Veterans."

Final note: One of Mr. Fitz's hobbies was music. He organized his own band...which consisted of some of the best musicians in Charlotte. Mr. Fitz and his band played for our Senior 1954  -Ed

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

According to this website’s automatic “counter,” we have had almost 2,400 “hits” since June 7th of this year! Now, that’s pretty spectacular, especially for a group as small as ours.

There are at least two possible explanations for this unexpected phenomenon: one is that of all the millions of Chinese who have access to the internet, a goodly number of them perhaps are trying to find, oh say…the Chinese Home Society…lodge number 54……or some such thing….and accidentally log on to our site by mistake.

That’s possible of course, but I think a more logical explanation is that a number of people are logging on who weren’t in our class, but have a Central High connection and interest.

I know that a couple of my friends who fit that description are doing just that: One of them is Frank Clontz (Left....class of 55) an old friend of mine from back in the days when he was demonstrating pianos in the Parker Gardner showroom, where I did an occasional remote broadcast for WGIV.

Fifty two years ago, Frank says he met a beautiful girl at Stanley’s Drug store, and one thing led to another and before long they married and started living happily ever after. After a while, four others joined the party..three boys and a girl.

Meanwhile, Frank worked his way up to COO of Theatre Suppliers, a Division of Stewart & Everett Theatres and operations manager of Confection Storage Company a subsidiary of Theatre Suppliers. Also, Frank added, “I had the pleasure of playing piano at nights at Swain’s Steak House during the sixties, something that enabled Shirley to stay home and raise the kids."

Frank is retired now and spending his time writing his second book. His first published work was titled “The Tiny Star.”

He and Shirley have two grandchildren, Nikki and David.

Frank is one of the movers and shakers of the CHS55's website and reunion committee.

Another “lurker” is my friend Dick Ratcliffe whom I knew at Piedmont but who spent his high school days at Tech.

Dick writes that, “It's difficult to totally comprehend that is has been 55 years since graduating from Tech in 1954. Highlights for me have been the US Army, two years..between Ft. Knox and Germany. My wife Janie and I married in 1957 and celebrated our 50th Anniversary two years ago.
I worked for Monsanto and Celanese (Hoechst) for a total of 30 years. Along the way I graduated from UNCC, doing it the hard way while working. Janie graduated from Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in Charlotte; she's from Gastonia.
Traveled extensively worldwide with Celanese and my last location was New Jersey prior to my early retirement in 1987.

Janie is also retired and we live in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida. We have a home located on the Little Manatee River near Tampa Bay and thoroughly enjoy our leisure life in Florida. Hurricanes still concern us but during the season we keep our evacuation plans handy.

Our four grown married children also live near us and provide us with a number of grandchildren and step grand children. More pleasure than I would have ever imagined. So far my health is very good and I turned 73 last March along with most of class of 1954. Tempus fugit.

I certainly enjoy keeping up with my Central friends and acquaintances via your well run web site. It always brings back many forgotten memories of both Central and Piedmont. Thank you very much.
With best regards

Dick Ratcliffe

Thanks Dick. I especially liked the part about the well run website. Like me, I’m sure a lot of our folks remember you well from our Piedmont days.

And we want all of you non members of the 54 class to come out of the shadows and let us know who you are, so we can welcome you to the site.

Being a member of the class of ’54 is NOT a requirement for participation in our site. Any friend of Central High is a friend of ours!


Saturday, August 22, 2009


This site currently is a backup site for CHS54.COM.
Remember that IF in the can't access this site at the CHS54.COM can be found HERE



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Once Upon a Time there was this.........

One of my favorite storytellers is our own Ellouise (Diggle) Schoeteller. She's so good that the she does it professionally. She was recently interviewed by an internet radio station called Amphitheater about what Ellouise calls, "The New Front Porch."

Her interview is in 3 parts....and can be found at the bottom of THIS PAGE

If you haven't heard, Ellouise has hit the big time. She'll be performing at the National Storyteller's Festival in Jonesborough, TN this Fall.

That National Festival is considered the Super Bowl of storytelling.

Just think, we knew her WHEN.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Elite Meet to Eat


Rumor has it that Jimmies of Mint Hill, the Stork Club of Highway 51, is considering naming one of the dining rooms the "CHS54 LDL ROOM."
This site will let you know if, and when it becomes official.

Meanwhile Jerry Gaudet continues to earn his exorbitant salary from this website by not only taking the usual still pictures of the event, but capturing the excitement on VIDEO!

Here is his report:

"We have persevered through the summer and held our 11th CHS'54 "LDL" today, and will continue on the second Tuesday of each month at Jimmies Restaurant in Mint Hill. 24 attended today and overall we have had 70 different people attend. There's room for plenty more. Come when you can.

It was good that Shirley Maynor was able to attend and Peggy and Buck Anderson came down from (the cool mountains) Fletcher, NC to be with us.

As we tried to do a brief VIDEO clip for the web site, Karol Broadwell Welch's husband, Bob, was picked to anchor our grouping and was asked to "go stand in the corner". That's just what Bob did.

Watch the video at the bottom of the page!

(Videography by Sylvia Brawley ...Vic's wife)

100 Years Old!

Congratulations to our friend and former principal, Dr. John Otts.

Jerry Gaudet reports:

Jennie Meador Forehand tells us of word from Betty Cunningham that our Central High School Principal, Dr. John Otts, will celebrate his 100th birthday on Friday, August 14.

Imagine having dealt with the likes of our class and still surviving to the age of 100! We heard from Betty at our 55th Anniversary Reunion that Dr. Otts was in "pretty good shape for his age".

Want to send him a card? Send a card. Come on, send a card. Today.
Dr. John Otts
Azalea Hall - Highlands Farms
200 Tabernacle Rd
Black Mountain, NC 28711

Monday, August 10, 2009

It Wouldn't Suds and Couldn't Foam

Our President (of the Reunion Committee) Obie Oakley held a closed door meeting last week and declared that Grandmas Lye Soap was now the official soap of the CHS54 website. I'm happy to announce that the vote was unanimous!

Grandma's Lye Soap holds a special place in our memories. Our parents and grandparents were very familiar with it. And I'm not sure, but I think my Mom used it occasionally on hard to clean items. My hands and ears come to mind. I'm sure my grandma in South Carolina (Pelzer) used it. I think she also made it.

We even SANG it. At least Johnny Stanley's version of it.

There's an old expression that goes, "You don't want to know how they make sausage."
Well, I think the same thing applies to Grandma's Lye Soap.

But here's the recipe case you don't have anything else to do this weekend:

"Before the mid 1800's most Americans made their own soap. It was made from hog fat in the fall or from saved drippings from either beef or pork.
Though there is no medical evidence that old fashioned lye soap cures poison ivy, it is sometimes called poison ivy soap. It has also been claimed to cure dandruff, psoriasis, itchy skin, acne, eczema, bed bugs, poison oak, mosquito bites, mites and head lice."

Thanks Obie. Keep up the good work. -Ed

Sad News

Bob Ellis reports that Benny Cofer's wife Xylda passed away.

This is from the Charlotte Observer of August 9, 2009

Xylda Cofer

TUCSON, AZ -- Mrs. Cofer passed away August 4, 2009, at her home in Tucson, AZ. She was born August 23, 1938, in Kinston, NC to the late John Bryan and Ruth Bland. She attended Central High School in Charlotte, NC, where she was very active, well known and voted as Homecoming Queen and Most Popular for the class of '56. She married her junior high school sweetheart Benny C. Cofer July 13, 1958, in Raleigh, NC, and enjoyed 51 years of loving happiness

She enjoyed singing in a barbershop chorus in Raleigh, NC, and living and boating on Lake Hartwell in Anderson, SC. She retired as an Administrative Assistant, from Corning Glass Works in Raleigh, NC, and Stauffer Chemical Company in Anderson, SC. She retired early due to poor circulation, the beginnings of her struggle with strokes and dementia.

To the end she remained joyful and sunny, never losing one of the most beautiful smiles ever. She and her husband lived in the Carolinas before moving to live with daughter Lori in Tucson, AZ. Xylda is survived by Brothers Wilbur (Iris), and Jerry (Judy) Bland, daughters Lisa Belue and Lori Cofer, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Our deepest sympathy to Benny. -Ed

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Our Dear Leader is Honored


The President of our reunion committee, Obie Oakley is the recipient of yet ANOTHER National award.

No, make that a GLOBAL award.

In addition to his full time job with our reunion committee, Obie is also the executive director of the Carolinas Freedom Foundation, which is a patriotic organization that honors our veterans, supports the troops and promotes patriotism. Obie received the Global Citizen Award at the World Affairs Council's awards dinner where they honored the Carolinas Freedom Foundation.

Obie is shown here accepting the award and later posed with three star general, Lloyd Thomas who was one of the presenters.

Past recipients of the award include Dr. Billy Graham, Dean Rusk, Senator Dole, Hugh McColl, John Belk and General Hugh Shelton.

Congratulations Obie! You're in good company!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Beating the Heat



Don and Letty Nance are enjoying cool (cold?) Alaska!

Incidentally, Don told me that he's going to Jonesborough, TN again this year. The big Storyteller festival is held there each Fall. This festival is considered the "BIG TIME" for storytellers. And this year, our own Ellouise (Diggle) Shotteller has been invited to perform!
Don says we all ought to arrange for a bus and all go together to the Festival. He says it's a laugh a minute!

Mitzi Minor Roper has escaped to the mountains; but not really to escape the heat. She has been doing what she loves best and that is taking care of the future Miss Charlotte of 2026; a beauty named Loren Jane who happens to be the grandchild of Miss Charlotte of 1958.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Another Home Run for Grandaddy Carriker

One of the most exciting stories that we've had here on this website was the electrifying home run hit by Bill Carriker's grandchild, Dalton Carriker that won the Little League World Series in 2007.

Dalton became an instant national celebrity.

Now, you'd think that's enough glory to last any grandaddy a lifetime.

But not for Bill...the glory just keeps on coming!

Take a look at this article from Macon (Georgia) dot com:

WRALL softball headed to World Series in Portland

By Chris Deighan

Once again, fate tapped a Carriker on the shoulder. And, once again, a Carriker delivered.
Seven years after big sister Kaitlyn helped put Warner Robins on the Little League map and two years after big brother Dalton cemented the town's spot in youth sports lore, Carson Carriker delivered a tie-breaking, two-run triple in the fifth inning to lead Georgia past Florida, 9-8, in the championship game of the Little League Southeast Region softball tournament Tuesday at Marshall University's Dot Hicks Field in Huntington, W.Va.
Like the softball team in 2002 and the baseball squad in 2007, Warner Robins American Little League has again earned a World Series berth. This time it's Aug. 13-19 in Portland, Ore.

Bill writes...




Photo of Dalton and his grandaddy Bill (2008)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Butting Heads in August

It’s the middle of August. 1953. Temperature (in the shade) is 90 degrees. But we were in the Sun; dressed in the same outfits we would wear in late November. We had been running, jumping, banging full speed into blocking dummies and each other for two hours. But the ordeal was almost over. Soon we would be sipping our first taste of glorious water and relieve the awful symptoms of “cotton mouth.” In addition to water we were given a “salt pill” to make up for all that sweating that had drained from our bodies.

Football practice was almost over for the day. Just one ritual left.

“Wind sprints,” Coach Madden yelled out. “the guy who comes in last, takes one lap around the track.”

We lined up on the 20 yard line and raced as fast as we could to the goal line. Sometimes, if the coach wasn’t pleased with the way the practice went that day, we would do 2 or 3 wind sprints and maybe the whole team would be instructed to run a couple of “laps” around the quarter mile track.

Then, it was over. Until the next day at 9 o’clock.

There were two practices a day, 9am til 12 and 2 til 4. This went on for 2 to 3 weeks.

Now, when my 73 year old mind wanders into that twilight zone in the brain…and I fantasize about being young and in high school again, I think ALGEBRA and WINDSPRINTS and suddenly I’m back to reality….and thankful for it.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Texas Gold

News from Jackie Pickard Marcotte:

"Chuck and I are well, and feel very blessed with our new granddaughter. Sadie McKayla is the daughter of our son Tom and wife Celani. Tom works for ExxonMobil as did his Dad who is now retired. Celani is on maternity leave from ExxonMobil at the time being. They both work in Human Relations. They live in Sugar Land, TX, about 45 minutes from where we live in Houston. Both Tom and Celani are graduates with masters from Texas A&M University. I retired from local school system after 15 years as attendance clerk. While caring for family members health needs, we have not done a great deal of traveling so don't have any news there."

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Al Selby Checks In

Rolling right along.....Al Selby tells about a great historical journey a mobile home!

"In June Nancy & I took our 9 year old granddaughter, AVERY, on a civil war journey which she had just finished studying (her request). We started at Appomatox, hit Montecello and Manassas, and ended up in Gettysburg. It was a great week in the motor home.

In July Nancy and I took our 7 year old granddaughter, AMBER, on a trip up the NC outer banks to see some aquariums (her request). This was her first trip in the motor home. We started in Wilmington and visited the NC Aquarium at Ft Fisher, then visited the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, rode the ferry to Ocracoke Island and visited the lighthouse, then to Hatteras and visited the lighthouse, then to Kill Devil Hill to the Wright Brothers Memorial, then to the NC Aquarium at Manteo (Roanoke Island), and finally home. It was a great week with our youngest grandchild. By the Way, AMBER states the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is the best with Ft Fisher a close second.

We are busy planning a trip to Washington to see the monuments with the 4 oldest grandchildren the week of August 10th (age 9 - 17); and a trip to San Diego in September for the annual convention of my retirees association. More on that later."


(Al, when yaw'll get up to the Washington area be sure to stop by and visit the CHS54 Institution. Guided tours are conducted weekly from 9am til 5pm. The complex is only 6 miles from the White House, as the crow flies. It's a little longer in a Mobile Home.)