Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Story for the Ages

From Roast Beef to H-Bombs 

 By Warren Sparrow

(Here is something I wrote about our Duke Beta 50's Group reunion at Lake Lure. I intend to circulate it among the attendees. One of them was Fred McIntyre, a CHS Class of '55 grad. He was accompanied by Norma Black (Hurt) who is also a CHS '55 grad.)

In 1958 Charles J. Wendorf was in his final year at Duke University. He had worked his way through Duke as a “chow man,” hawking late-night snacks from a push cart. Every week-day night at about 10 o’clock he would shout beneath the campus clock tower, “Chow man, chow man, roast beef, brownies!” The students who lived within hearing distance welcomed Charlie’s call. They flocked to him, eager for those roast-beef sandwiches. Charlie was the ultimate “good guy.” He was also in Air Force ROTC and in Beta Theta Pi fraternity. The Betas were his best customers. Those who knew him knew he was special.

Eight years later, on January 16, 1966, a B-52 carrying four hydrogen bombs took off from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina. The eight-engine bomber’s command pilot was Captain Charles James Wendorf. This was, in those days, a routine mission. These missions were flown by the Strategic Air Command as a hedge against missile attack by the USSR. The conventional wisdom during this truly Cold War period was to let the USSR know that the USA would be able to retaliate even in the event of surprise attack on American forces. So, it was up to the B-52’s to be close enough to the Soviet Union to deliver their bombs quickly in a response to any attack on the United States. Captain Wendorf had flown these missions about 50 times.

These flights were long, very long. They required two mid-air refuelings. These operations were done more than 30,000 feet above Spain, first when the B-52 made it across the Atlantic Ocean from Goldsboro and again when the B-52 was returning to base.

B52 refueling in mid air

On January 17, 1966, Captain Wendorf and his six-man crew were on their way home, having completed their time in a combat-ready orbit. Before starting its westward leg across the Atlantic, the B-52 had to hook up for the second time with a tanker high above the Spanish coast.

What happened next became an international sensation, spawning investigations, TV documentaries, countless articles and a book: The Day We Lost the H-Bomb by Barbara Moran published in 2009.

On the 18th of May 2011, more than 45 years after the fateful day, more than 30 of Captain Wendorf’s Duke fraternity brothers along with their wives and friends gathered for a reunion at Lake Lure, North Carolina. The group assembled in a small conference room at a lodge overlooking the water. A long table dominated the room. At one end of the table stood Captain Wendorf and his wife Betty. On the table was a highly polished wooden model of a B-52. The wall behind the Wendorfs was covered with a large picture of the Wendorf family and pictures of B-52’s. The room was packed. Every person wanted to hear what the Chow Man had to say.

Lt. Col Wendorf at Duke Beta 50's reunion  Lake Lure May 2011
Betty spoke first at the reunion. On the morning of January 16, 1966, Betty told her husband that she had a bad feeling about the mission, asking him to get out of it. Captain Wendorf brushed her off, saying she knew he had to go. Go, he did. It was a “wild blue yonder” thing. So, he left his wife and three children that Sunday to do his duty.

According to Captain Wendorf, the flight went well. First, the plane left Goldsboro and headed west. After making sure the B-52 and its stuff were working properly, Captain Wendorf turned the plane around and headed east. Once across the Atlantic, the B-52 hooked up with a KC-135 tanker. The refueling was done without incident. Thereafter, the B-52 began its patrol pattern.

Captain Wendorf said things were going well on the way back to Goldsboro. They spotted the tanker over Spain at the right place and the right time. He was not actually flying the plane at the time, having relinquished the controls to another pilot which was common practice on these long flights. As the B-52 eased its way toward the refueling boom, everything looked good, Wendorf told his fraternity brothers.

Mid Air Re-fueling
H Bomb in Tomato field
The tanker’s boom operator said nothing, another sign that the planes were in line. Suddenly, the B-52 began to shake. The plane became uncontrollable. Its nose lurched upward and the B-52 collided with the tanker. The two big planes tumbled from the Spanish sky. The tanker exploded, killing all hands. The B-52 began to break apart. Captain Wendorf was stunned but managed to eject from the plane. He was pulled from the Mediterranean Sea by Spanish fishermen. Some of his crew were not so fortunate. Three did not survive.

H bomb number 4 loaded on ship

 The four H-Bombs managed to get out of the plane. Their parachutes opened just as programmed. Three hit the ground, landing in tomato farms near the Spanish coast. The fourth one, which is the star of Barbara Moran’s book, plunked into the Mediterranean Sea. At first U. S. officials were unsure of No. 4’s location. Ultimately, No. 4 was found resting comfortably under its parachute 2,000 feet below the surface.

Crash Survivors pictured in Spanish Newspaper
Wendorf and Sparrow

Captain Wendorf is now Lt.Col. Wendorf, having retired from the Air Force after more than 20 years of service. He got a broken arm when he ejected from his B-52. Today he and Betty live in Nauvoo, Illinois. They have been married for 53 years.

Duke Betas fondly remember Lt.Col. Wendorf, Duke ’58. They remember, “Chow man, chow man, roast beef, brownies!” The Duke Betas had not heard those high-energy calls from their Chow Man in more than 53 years. What they heard at Lake Lure on May 18, 2011, was more than the shout from a push-cart salesman. It was the voice of a real man.  -WS

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bits and Pieces 5/26/11

I heard that the CHS class of 59 was planning a big to-do at the beach this fall and I contacted one of the main movers and shakers of that historic class (it was the LAST CHS class!).....Arleen Clark  ( Barry Clark's sister).

She emailed me back:

Ocean Drive Resort Myrtle Beach
"I have been the co-chair of all of the Class of 1959 reunions to date and am planning a big to-do at the Ocean Drive Resort in Nov. for my class and we are also including the Class of 1958. We're not getting any younger, might as well. We have about 70 signed up so far and more to come I'm sure. After the wonderful 50th reunion in 2009, I had no interest in planning any more reunions but did promise to do this so I am.

You know, the Class of 1959 was the very last graduating class from "old" Central High School. I guess you would say we were historic. We also had the first integrated class, Gus Robers, who died years ago. He worked for the Postal Service. I knew his sister, Gervais, who was in the first integrated class at Piedmont Jr. High School, was very fond of her.

A very brave family to be sure. I have attended two "everyclass reunions" on the campus of CPCC and they were a lot of fun.


Robbinsville, NC

 Arleen and Barry are both living in the same town of Robbinsville, NC...which is located in the beautiful mountains of South Western, NC. Robbinsville is the Graham county seat.


Spring always reminds me of baseball. And I think back to those days in Chapel Hill when Barry and I were hired by the local radio station to broadcast UNC's games.

Ed and Barry broadcasting a UNC baseball game  1955

Barry did the play by play and I did the "color."
He knew the game very well. I hardly knew it at all.
J.B. Clark
Undoubtedly, watching his Dad, broadcast sports events for WBT in the 40's was good "training."

But frankly, Baseball never caught my fancy.

However, I later grew to really..........despise it.

Not that there was anything wrong with the game, but it began interfering with my life.

The baseball season started getting longer and longer....also you never knew when a game was going to end. And those extra inning games in Chapel Hill seemed to always occur on Friday afternoons, when I was anxious to get out of town  and on the road to Charlotte for a Friday night date with my girlfriend. It seemed that the pitcher never could adjust his hat enough...and the batters could never stop hitting enough foul balls....and the innings kept piling my social life was slowly going to know.

It was maddening.

Later, when I came to work in Washington, my station carried the Washington Senators Games......which for years would wipe out my evening radio show an inordinate number of times during the season. Adjusting caps, arguing with the umpire, pitchers digging up dirt with their feet, and spitting.......all of the "non action" on the field, cost me a lost of money.

I suppose the final irony is that my two sons and my 5 grandsons....are all baseball I have to try to get my grandaddy to grandson "bonding" between innings.

Janice Kirby

Speaking of CHS kids who were the offspring of important Charlotte radio personalities, Janice Kirby, daughter of Lee Kirby was in the class of 53. I remember her very well from Mr. Balance's radio class. She was an exceptionally talented voice actress. I've often wondered  if she went into that business, or if the fact that broadcasting was very "unfriendly" toward women in front of the mic until sometime in the '80s kept her away from the business.

Lee Kirby
I remember seeing her father riding his bicycle to work during the gas rationing period of WW2.

Derek Knell, son of Jack Knell, WBT's news director was in our class, of course.  His brother Donald Knell, was two years ahead of us.....and was an outstanding quarterback for that year's football team.

Kurt Webster
I vaguely remember Kurt Webster's son at Elizabeth school, whose name I've forgotten, but they had moved on from Charlotte before he would have become old enough to join us at CHS. As I recall, Kurt's (the "Night Mayor") departure from WBT was a big mystery at the time.  This was before the era of broadcasters willey nilley changing "formats" and talent every other year or so for no good reason. Apparently WBT was on the leading edge of that phenomenon.

David Brinkley

 Around that same time, David Brinkley worked in Charlotte for the Associated Press news service and hung around the station (WBT) which was then in the Wilder Building. The story goes that Brinkley wanted to go to work for WBT very badly, but the general manager, Charles Crutchfield told him in no uncertain terms that he didn't have the "voice" for radio.......and he would never be successful in that business.

Brilliant insight like that is why General Managers and CEOs of businesses make so much money.  -Ed

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Archy and Mehitabel

I think most of you who have been to this website more than a few times, know how much I admired Central High's Charles Kuralt.

He became an early hero of mine, although I didn't know him at the time, when I learned that he had gotten a job as an announcer at WBT when he was only 14 years old!

Charles Kuralt 1958
Wow, that was something!

I had dreams of being an announcer since I first became a Briarhopper fan sometime around the age of  5 or 6 years old.. I was fortunate enough to get my first radio job at age 15, but if Kuralt hadn't  done it first, I doubt if I would have had the nerve to even consider applying at that early age.

A couple of years before I got my job at WGIV......I had applied for, and been turned down by Belks Department Store.

But that was my own fault.  Because the application stated that you had to be at least 16 years old to work for them, I lied.....and told them that I was 16.

But farther on down in the application, instead of subtracting 3 years from my actual birth date,  I added 3, which made me even younger that I actually was.  (Math was not my best subject.)

But I digress.

Danzigers Restaurant circa 1955
I met Kuralt the first day I arrived at the University of North Carolina.  A mutual friend introduced us over coffee at Danzigers restaurant on Franklin Street. The conversation between my friend, who was a card carrying "intellectual" and Charles made me wonder if I had accidentally crossed over into another dimension.

It was intimidating.  I was determined to start paying attention in class for a change.

Maybe it was time for me to "buckle down," as my Mom often advised.

So I seriously began my campaign to become an "intellectual' Charles.

About a week later, he called and invited me to come by the cabin and have coffee and cookies with he and his wife Sori and three or four friends for an evening of "great conversation."

The Old Well at UNC
Now, I thought, this is what college is all about!  Great conversation....with smart people. YES!

I suddenly felt like Jason, the ancient Greek mythological hero and leader of the Argonauts and son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcus who was married to the sorceress Medea....searching for the Golden Keys of intellectualdom!

Hey....look at that. Maybe it worked!

Naw.  It didn't. I just made that up.

But I digress.

The only reason I remember that night at all is that it was the most boring 3 hours of my life.

The entire evening was spent talking about "Archy and Mehitabel".........a cockroach and  a cat.

Archy, the cockroach, would jump on this reporter guy's typewriter at night.......and write stuff for his syndicated column the next day.  The reporter's name was Don Marquis and he wrote those stories in 1916.

Maybe it was clever or even funny back then, but the discussion among the guest "intellectuals" at the Kuralt cabin that night took it very seriously........debating the deep social meaning of Archie's  prose.

Archy only wrote in lower case letters. He wasn't able to write capitals because, the author said, he could only jump on one key of the typewriter at a time.

I remember thinking at the time that all Archie had to do was jump on the Cap Lock key....but that might sound too simplistic and logical.....which certainly wouldn't have been appropriate for that evening's conversation.

What I should have said was something like, "I think what the author meant was that Archie was type-CAST as a member of the lower-CLASS by an uncaring society's inherent prejudice against the peaceful Periplaneta Americanas,  (American cockroaches). That was the  reason Archy could only type lower case letters. Just another example of our cruel and unfair society."

But, as usual, I can't  think of great things like that to say....until usually the next day, or even a week later.

Darn it!

So much for my intellectual aspirations.

Eventually I resigned myself to the fact that the only kind of sense I was ever going to have was a little bit of the common kind....that almost all of us used to have......until everybody started going to college. -Ed

The Lesson of the Moth

By Archy

i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires
why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense
plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became
too civilized to enjoy themselves
and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and immolated himself
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
the longevity
but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself


More LDL Pictures

 By Jerry Gaudet

Letty and Don Nance came “down” from Wytheville, VA for the May “LDL” and, between bites, took several pictures that he shares with us here…

#1, L to R, Jerry Gaudet, Gayle Barrier Austin, Gene Moore and his friend Shirley Burns.

#2, L to R foreground, Shirley, Vic Brawley, Nancy Grayson, Charlie Willis, and Don Nance (how’d he get in his own pictures?). In the background : Betty Rose Templeton Palomba, and Jerry.

#3, L to R, Sylvia Brawley, Al Selby and Gene.

#4, L to R, Anna Lynn Smith-Peterson Kearse, Betty Rose, Marlene Ritch Beaty, Shirley, Vic, Charlie, Al, Don, and Gayle.

#5, L to R, Al, Gene, Don, Gayle, Ronnie Rallis Pourlos, and Sylvia.

#6, L to R, Charlie, Nancy, Vic, Sylvia, Shirley, Al, andJerry.

#7, L to R, Jimmie Pourlos, Ronnie, Gayle, Anna Lynn, Letty Nance, Marlene, and Betty Rose.

You can reach Don at      -JG

Buddy Trexler's Mom Passes

By Jerry Gaudet

Belatedly, we have learned that Buddy Trexler's mother has died.  -JG

Virginia G. Trexler

Mrs. Trexler, of Charlotte, NC, died April 21, 2011 at Piedmont Medical Center.
She was born May 26, 1917 in Columbia, South Carolina, beloved daughter of the late Annie Beard Gibson and John Walter Gibson. She was a LPN and had worked with Presbyterian Hospital for 34 years.

The family will greet friends 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m., Saturday, April 23, 2011 at McEwen Funeral Service at Sharon. A service to celebrate her life will be held at 10:00 a.m. in the Chapel with The Reverend Dennis McGowan officiating.

Mrs. Trexler is survived by her five children: Bernard 'Buddy' Trexler, John Walter Trexler, Minerva Ann Trexler-Purnell, Brenda Trexler-McGowan and Robert Dwayne Trexler; nine grandchildren: Vanessa Trexler Oltmann, Bernard Anthony Trexler, Barry E. Trexler, Sonya Trexler Parker, James Purnell, Jr., Virginia Hildreth, Heather Nicole Williams, Chad Liam McGowan, Robert Andrew Trexler; 16 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 52 years, Bernard R. Trexler and a brother, John Walter Gibson.
Arrangements by McEwen Funeral Service at Sharon, 5716 Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC 28212.
Published in Charlotte Observer on April 23, 2011

Buddy can be reached at:
433 Seminole Trail
Martin, GA 30557


Saturday, May 14, 2011

"My life is measured in coffee spoons."

T.S. Elliot
T S Elliot wrote that in 1915 and the reason I know is because it was part of a poem of his that was required reading in some class I took in college.

The meaning of that line was whatever the English professor who was teaching the class wanted it to mean. As I recall, my professor had written an entire thesis on that one line.

I don't think old T.S. Meant anything more than the fact that it was a convenient way of keeping track of what year and day it was and how much longer he had to wait for his social security check to arrive.

But if I were to divide my life up in segments.....I think I could say, my life is measured in old cars.

36 Chevy Coup
That's mostly the only kind I ever had.

The first one was a 1936 Ford that I had at Central, followed by that Henry J.

After that was a two year old 1953 Chevy Bel Air. That car was incredibly common back then. I also discovered that the keys for that car would fit almost any other 53 Bel Air..

That hit me one day as I was walking out of the UNC library and saw someone else driving off in my car.

53 Chevy Bel Air
His car, which looked just like mine, was still parked in the lot.

I hitched a ride to my job at the radio station and asked on the air for anyone driving around in a 53 Chevy to please look around in the seats to see if they indeed were driving their car.....or mine. And if the contents didn't look familiar it was very likely that they were driving the wrong car....and to meet me at the station and swap.

We did.

Before long small problems began to show themselves. The most significant one, it turned out, was the speedometer. It stopped working. I tried putting graphite down the cable and several other “home remedies,” but nothing I did helped.

I think the heater stopped working around that time too, but for a cash strapped college student like me, as long as the car could still get me from point A to point B, I considered it in Tip Top shape.

But driving without a speedometer had it's downside.

I racked up two speeding tickets in less that six months, which meant I lost my license for 60 days.

I tried, along with my friends at the radio station (WCHL) to make the best of it. We tried turning my experience into a “safe driving” campaign.

When Cruising, Heed the speed Limit... and stuff like that.

But the fact remained that I couldn't legally drive for two months.

I was afraid my job at the station might have to come to an end. I was doing the early morning show at the time from 6am til 7, followed by Ty Boyd from 7 til 10.
That meant that I had to leave for work no later than 5:30am.

Not many people were on the road that early; nevertheless I appealed to my listeners for help.

One kind gentleman said that he left for work every morning at 5:15 and went right by where I was living ...and also passed the radio station, so adding a passenger (me) would be no problem.

Thanks to his kindness and promptness, my radio career continued uninterrupted.
In fact, I was never able to make a more impressive entrance to work than I did in those two months.

The kind man who so willingly gave me rides each morning worked for the state.

Old radio guys still talk about the DJ....way back in the 50's... who used to be chauffeured to the station each morning by a State trooper in a North Carolina Highway patrol car.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Carolyn (Taylor) Powell recuperating nicely

Jerry Gaudet reports that:
".....After having her engine tuned (triple-bypass surgery) and her timing gear replaced (pacemaker), Carolyn (Taylor) Powell is at home and doing well.  She is still gaining her strength and in good spirits, ready to soon hit the road.   
If you care to send a card...
Mrs. Carolyn Powell
1117 Sewickley Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28209

(Note to Jerry:
That's not a "tune up;"
That's an overhaul! )
Our prayers and best wishes go out to Carolyn!
-Ed )

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Two Years Ago

It's been two years ago this month that we celebrated our 55th reunion!

I thought you might enjoy seeing this again. 

It's only 6 minutes long.    -Ed

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

LDL 31 a " Boffo" Event !

They came from far and wide, pilgramage-like to attend CHS54's 31st "Let's do Lunch" today at Jimmie's of Mint Hill!

Jerry Gaudet reports:

Even though it was an “up” and “down” day, this was our “World-Wide Edition”, presided over by Marlene (Ritch) Beaty, ably filling in for Mary Sue (Banks) Burnett who was unable to attend.

Well, maybe world-wide is a stretch…but North American is not.

We enjoyed seeing Letty and Don Nance “down” from Wytheville, Virginia…

And Gene Moore came “up” from Melbourne, Florida. Gene brought his friend, Shirley Burns, who quickly became our friend. Shirley lives in Charlotte…

And “the longest trip to get here award” goes to Nancy Grayson, “down” from Montreal, Canada. That’s a long walk since she had sold her “shiny red top -of -the- line Vespa”. As long as Nancy is in town for “LDL”, we understand she plans to look in on her sister, who lives in Charlotte…

So, when you’re in the neighborhood, plan to join us as CHS’54 does lunch. . Remember, “LDL” is held on the second Tuesday of each and every month, 11:30 AM at "Jimmies" in Mint Hill.

Breaking News

Jerry Gaudet just informed us that the reason Mary Sue was a missing person at today's "LDL". was due to the fact that she was receiving a chemo treatment.

Mary Sue informs us that her Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or NHL, has returned after being in remission for three years. She will have several chemo treatments and then a break of some weeks before still more chemo. She's counting on being fine soon. We can help.

You can be in contact at...
Mary Sue Burnett, husband Clyde
5320 Beritstrasse Ct.
Charlotte, NC 28277
Email ...Mary Sue says she's not looking at her email much.  -JG

Saturday, May 07, 2011

I don't know nothing 'bout art, but.....

I know what I like!

I especially like the kind that "DOES" something; like carrying beauty tools and stuff for our women.

Necktie evening purse by Diana White

This work of art was created by our own Diana White.

Here's the note she emailed:

"I'm sending you an e-card version of an art show announcement - and (who'd have thought it!) I'm in the art show. This is part of a goal I set myself, in the reinvent-yourself process we can go through as we get older. Just enjoy - and if you want to come, how wonderful!

Front - mine is the re-purposed necktie evening purse; Back - the show info -
June 4, Saturday from 10 to 5
June 5, Sunday, from noon to 5


 2217 Irvindale Drive, Chamblee GA 30341

I wanted to share this with friends - 'cause I'm so excited to be included in an art show!
Anyway, just so you'll know, and rejoice with me.

Love, Diana C. White
Quilts and fiber art

Proving once again that all those A pluses she got at old CHS (and totally screwing up the "grade curve' for the rest of us) were not just flukes. Not only has Diana White embarked on a new career as an artist, I believe that she has come up with the answer to the modern day dilemma, "What are we going to do with all those ties nobody ever wears anymore?"


Well, almost nobody.    -Ed

Friday, May 06, 2011


 TIGHAR is the organization that I believe is very close to solving a 75 year old mystery; What happened to Amelia Earhart?

See my article and the latest up-date HERE.

LDL Reminder

Jerry Gaudet reminds us that it's time for another LDL (Let's Do Lunch) event!

Come bond with your old CHS buddies this Tuesday (May 10th) at 11:30 at Jimmies of Mint Hill.

This monthly get together is becoming more and more popular as word has gotten around about how good the food is and how great the camaraderie isl

And I haven't even mentioned the "unexpected" guests who often show up!

"LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 11:30 AM

at "Jimmies Restaurant"

off Hwy. 51 (in Mint Hill)

7024 Brighton Park Dr.

Mint Hill, NC


This link may help you find your way:

Tell everybody! Invite other classmates to come!

Even better, bring someone with you! But, be sure YOU come!

For answers to any conceivable lunch questions,

please contact Mary Sue (Banks) Burnett,

Be sure to try Jimmie's soup of the day which on Tuesday will be coconut crab.

The coconut crab

(Just kidding....just kidding.)  -Ed

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Spring!... etc

I love this time of the year!

I'm sure my love affair with spring can be traced back to a number of causes, but without a doubt, the annual end of those 12 school years has to be at the top of the list.

(And, of course, the couple of years of "Spring Break" in Myrtle Beach!!)

   A "last day of the school year" ritual at Elizabeth was tearing up our workbooks (into little pieces) and throwing them up in the air like confetti as we walked home. No one ever said anything to us, so I guess it was considered part of the price the homeowners had to pay for living near a school yard.
   I understand that Mr. Gault, our old principal at Piedmont, is not doing well. Apparently he'll be in assisted living at Wilora Lake.....for the duration.
   Speaking of Wilora Lake, Mr. Gil Balance, our old English and Radio teacher is 91 this year...and still driving....and just about as active as ever!

Mr. Balance
He has a novel that will be published the latter part of June.....called, Leah's Journey Home.

He says it's fiction, but, he adds,  it's hard to know where the fiction leaves off and the biography begins.

Did you know that his father (not his grandfather) fought in the Civil War?

It will be available from Amazon dot com. 

I'll remind you.
Amelia Earhart


As I gradually slide into the retirement phase of my life, I'm getting more active in my hobbies...which, guess what.....  Surprise, surprise!......are mostly radio and TV related.

Once a month, I produce and host a TV show on Fairfax County Cable TV..........called OUT OF THE PAST.

Tom King
In a few weeks, I'll have finished editing a show I recorded last Saturday with Tom King, a well known archaeologist.   He  is working with a team of professionals who are very close to solving the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart.  The group is called TIGHAR and their hypothesis is that she overshot the south Pacific island of Howland (where the ship Itasca was waiting to help her re-fuel) and landed on an uninhabited island called Gardner (later re-named Nikumororo) where she and her co-pilot Fred Noonan eventually died.

In the approximately 10 times they've searched the island, Tom and the TIGHAR team have unearthed an abundance of evidence, but so far no "smoking gun."

When they'll be hearing a lot about them!

Nikumuroro is not an island paradise; to put it mildly.

One of its main features is its wildlife.....including poisonous fish coconut crabs!

I'm very grateful that Tom didn't bring one along to the studio with him.

Coconut Crab


The TIGHAR team will leave tomorrow (Saturday May 7th) for Fiji.


The British infused nearby islanders into the heretofore uninhabited island of Nikumaroro in 1939 in order to plant coconut crops. They gave up after a couple of years, but while there, the natives found human bones. The Briton in charge of the island thought they might be those of Amelia and her co-pilot, Fred Noonan. He sent them to the hospital in Fiji to be examined.

There, TIGHAR believes, they were mis-identified as coming from an Asian male.  That was the last known location of the bones. TIGHAR wants to examine  them again

Central Medical School, Suva, Fiji
The partial skeleton found on Nikumaroro in 1940 was last known to be at the Central Medical School in Suva, Fiji in April, 1941. In the official file the High Commissioner instructs the head of the school to “retain the remains until further notice” but the file ends in August 1941 with no further mention of the bones.

Research trips to Suva by TIGHAR teams in 1999 and 2003 were not able to pick up the trail. Tomorrow's third trip is being organized by TIGHAR Team Physician Dr. Jon Overholt, who will lead a search of likely locations to which TIGHAR has only recently obtained access.  -Ed