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!