Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You know you're getting old when.......

By Bob Ellis

I would like to inform all my family and friends concerning my grand-daughter"s engagement.

Lindsay Ellis Weaver ( notice her middle name ) is engaged to Colin Stayton, originally from Philadelphia, Pa. Colin and Lindsay both graduated from Covenant College located at Lookout Mt., Tenn.

After their October 29 th wedding, the couple will live in Chattanooga, Tenn. where he is a researcher and copywriter for True North Custom Publishing and she is a licensed massage therapist.
 This is my daughter Jan's youngest. Boy am I getting OLD......

(Congratulations Bob! However, I must correct you on that "getting old" comment. Obviously, you haven't seen the latest statistics from the government showing that 2 million new jobs have been created and our economy has never been better. Also, their latest figures reveal that 75 is the new 30!   -Ed)

Monday, August 29, 2011

All HYPE, no cattle

Tucker Barnes Washington Reporter for FOX
I think the old cowboy cliche (with a few letters changed) is appropriate to describe Hurricane Irene that came limping into our area over the weekend. There was significant damage in a few areas of the country, but nothing that justified the wall to wall, minute to minute coverage of the national news media.

The silver lining, in my opinion, is that it may have caused the boob tube addicted segment of our citizens to begin to wake up from their long video induced sleep and realize that they've got to start "thinking for themselves"....like we used to do.

I believe that a significant  number of those Americans who have been depending on the people who majored in the "easiest" crypt courses our colleges had to offer (Journalism, Radio, TV), to do their thinking for them, just might rise from their slumber and decide to get their own brains back in gear, and realize how dangerously close we've come to losing this greatest country ever devised by man.  -Ed

Wednesday, August 24, 2011



I understand that it was felt in Charlotte too. But here in Falls Church, just outside Washington, DC, it wasn't something we just felt.....it was something we experienced.

Washington, DC after 5.9 Earthquake
Our house was shaking.  I don't mean shaking like you do on a chilly winter day when you wake up and find that you've kicked the covers off your bed.

I mean shaking as if a giant monster has grabbed the house with both hands.....and treating it like he was trying to get ketchup out of a stubborn bottle.

Our instincts were to get out of the house....and we did, but it was like walking on a small boat in a storm,

It continued for 30 to 45 seconds.

Downtown Washinton DC after quake
Only damage to our house (I think) was pictures down, items on shelves now on the floor, and one water pipe leaking.

And a terrified cat.

They say it was a "once in a lifetime" event in our area.

I hope they're right. 


Sunday, August 21, 2011


Amelia Earhart
Way back in May I mentioned a TV show that I was working on for Cable TV up here in Fairfax, Virginia about one of America's best known unsolved mysteries: What happened to Amelia Earhart?

We've finished the editing and now the show is ready for airing in September.

Amelia and her co-pilot Fred Noonan disappeared in 1937, while attempting a round the world flight..

Tom King
I believe the mystery is about to finally be solved by a group of highly qualified experts called TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery)

I think you will agree after you see this interview with Dr. Tom King, TIGHAR's leading archaeologist.

CLICK HERE to see Part One of the two part series.

CLICK HERE to watch Part Two.

(The shows are 30 minutes in length. Part TWO should be completed in a few days, and I'll also post it here.)


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Lost Art

John Wayne
 I liked all those “shoot 'em ups” that the Visualite and Carolina Theaters featured on a regular basis back in the '40's but I was also crazy about the musicals. There are still images of some of the big band movies featuring Benny Goodman, Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey etc etched in my brain.

Benny Goodman Band
One scene in particular always puzzled me. Each of those bands had a guitar player strumming along...just going to town in rhythm to the music, but you never heard him. The horns and the drums drowned him completely out. In one of the Benny Goodman movies, I remember the camera moving in on the guitarist as Benny was finishing a solo, and you could almost hear a couple of chords he was playing before the horns started up again. But that's as close as I ever remember seeing them come to letting us hear a little bit of the guitar.

Years later, long after the big band era of popular music was over, the guitar got amplified and became more popular than ever. I thought back to those poor old acoustic guitar players. What a shame. Now that the guitar could be heard on an equal footing with the other instruments, the era of the big bands was over.

When they disappeared, so did the art of the rhythm guitar, the style of playing that had been adopted especially for the big bands, i.e., strumming complimentary and often extremely complicated chords in rhythm with the band. (Mainly, it was said, for the band members themselves to hear and better feel the "pulse" of the music.)

Now why in the world as an adult I let my brain still be cluttered with thoughts of old movies and guitar players, I'll never know. There was a lot going on in my personal life back then in the early 60's.

I was trying to establish a career in a new city and I was also courting my wife to be. As I mentioned before, that was during the time when I was driving that 12 year old Dodge and still making payments on my stolen TR-3. That was one reason I wasn't able to take Linda on many expensive dates.

M Street and Wisconsin Ave
The Carriage House main dining room
Luckily, we had discovered a restaurant in the Georgetown section of the city called “The Carriage House.” You could spend a lot of money eating in the main dining room, but in one of the back rooms, called “The Snuggery,” you could order a sandwich and nurse a couple of drinks for several hours without spending much money at all. Plus, there was a piano bar there that featured, in my opinion, one of the finest pianists this side of George Shearing named Mel Clement, who, in fact, had studied with Shearing.
George Shearing

I think he knew every popular song ever written. And as far as Linda and I were concerned, there was no entertainment south of New York City, better than sitting around Mel's piano a couple of nights a week listening to this exceptional musician.

It was truly a magical place...and a magical time for us.

Carriage house menu
But as they say, “nothing is so good, that the government can't screw it up.” Well, one night I was afraid that was going to happen to the “Snuggery.”  But the government had nothing to do with it. It was a customer who walked in with a guitar case without saying anything to anyone, and sat down next to Mel at the piano. He opened the case and began tuning his guitar.

Mel seemed to either know him, or was too nice to object to the intrusion. But those of us around the piano were not pleased.....at whatever was going to happen. I think we were all on the verge of letting the “interloper” know that this was Mel's piano bar, not a Karaoke bar, in fact that word hadn't even been coined at that time.

But, before any of us could say anything, the stranger introduced himself as Steve and said he was going to sing a song even though he admitted that he was a terrible singer.

He did, and he was.

But, with Mel accompanying him, his raspy singing was soon overshadowed by a series of exotic chord progressions on his guitar in rhythm with the tune.

All conversations in the room stopped as it became obvious that we were witnessing something very special.

Steve Jordon
I whispered to Linda, “I think that's the guy in the movie!”

She didn't know what the heck I was talking about.

But, it could have been. He was strumming along just like those guitar players in the big band movies, only this time I could hear what he was playing.

And it was spellbinding.

Steve turned out to be Steve Jordon, one of the last, and best, of the acoustic rhythm guitarists who in the 1940's had been with Artie Shaw, Jimmy Dorsey, Stan Kenton and, yes, Benny Goodman.

He lived in DC and was temporarily between “gigs,” which was performing with small combos in Jazz Clubs in Washington and New York.

He joined us at the Snuggery just about every night for the next three weeks or so....and never again had to pay for another drink.

If you'd like to hear what it sounded like on those magical evenings in the "Snuggery" and listen to a style of acoustic guitar accompaniment that you'll probably never hear again ...



(The late Steve Jordon made only one solo record album as far as I know. He thought his singing voice was awful, but frankly I thought it fit nicely with the kind of dusty old songs he performed. It has a sincerity about it that singers with more polished voices can't achieve.

A few CD's of his record album are still available on Amazon.com.  as well as his book, Rhythm Man, Fifty years in Jazz.)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"...he who waits."

Coach Edelman's homeroom at Piedmont Junior High School  (Janice Wilson far right second row)

It took long enough, but I finally got what I had wished for that first day that I sat down in Coach Edelman's 9th grade homeroom:
Janice (Wilson) Karon

That the beautiful girl sitting in the second row would notice me and maybe even someday invite me over to her house for tea and cobbler.

I'm pleased to report that's exactly what I did this week to celebrate my 75th birthday!

Thanks to this website I was able to re-introduce myself to the now prolific national best selling author Jan Karon. I found that she still has fond memories of many of her Piedmont classmates, particularly Shirley McClanahan and Carolyn Brakefield to name just two.

Jan's family moved from Charlotte after her 9th grade, depriving us from having her as an official member of our CHS class of 54. But, as you know, we voted unanimously to make her an honorary member!

In one of my emails to Jan, I happened to mention that my wife Linda and I would be visiting in her part of Virginia on business....and lo and behold before I knew it, Jan had invited the two of us to drop by her house and say “Hey!”

It was a dream come true for both of us. Linda was a long time fan of Jan's Mitford series of books, even before she learned that Jan and I were once in school together. I broke my long time habit of only reading non fiction books and started reading one of the Mitford books just so I'd know what Linda and Jan's millions of other readers were raving about!

So now, there were TWO big fans about to visit the charming mythical town of Mitford....herself.

That sentence may look a little strange, but it is correct. Mitford exists only in Jan Karon's fertile imagination.

Jan's real life story reads like an imaginary novel itself. At age 50 she gave up a successful career in advertising, sold her big car and other trappings of the “good life”.....and moved to Blowing Rock, NC where she was determined to become what she had always wanted to be; a writer.

As Linda and I drove through the gate and about a hundred and fifty yards up the gravel driveway leading to her Virginia country mansion, which sits on a hill overlooking over 100 acres of land containing at least 10 buildings, the thought occurred to me that maybe I was imagining things.

Jan and Ed

But there at the front door was Jan, who warmly welcomed us to her home as only true Southerners can.
Linda and Jan
It's impossible to describe her house in this limited space, in fact, mere words won't do it justice. It has to be seen to get it's full impact. But basically, it's an historic house, built in 1816 which Jan completely restored to it's original condition; almost exactly the way many of the same workmen who built Monticello had constructed it.

In my opinion, if Jan ever decides to switch careers again, God forbid, she could start out at the top of the ladder in the historical restoration industry.

How she was able to oversee every detail of the four years of restoration and write books at the same time is a tribute to her dedication and determination.

Perhaps as her character in the book At Home in Mitford said,

“The firefly only shines when on the wing, So it is with us--when we stop, we darken."

...which seems to sum up Jan's own philosophy.

Jan Karon

As we finished our delicious home-made cobbler and sweet iced tea, I checked off another item on “little Eddie Myer's” ancient wish list.

What a day!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

LDL #34

By Jerry Gaudet

“LDL” # 34 went off without a hitch. Even though recent rains brought the temperatures down a little, “WEATHER and HEAT” were prominent in our conversations…Especially from our “Mountain Man” Obie Oakley who comes “down” from cool places to be with us. Obie said he could really tell the difference, but not inside Jimmies

Speaking of coming “down”, one of the first to arrive was Jennie Margaret Meador Forehand who was down from Maryland for a visit. Jennie had dropped husband Bill (CHS’52) off at his class lunch and was a wonderful “greeter” to those arriving from our “LDL”.

And, Ann Rich Hobson came to be with us even though Bonson couldn’t. He was excused for being off doing a good deed for someone.

We lingered long enough to see Bill Forehand as he arrived with Glen Nanny, who had given Bill a ride over from the CHS’52 lunch.

Many thanks to our Lunch Maven, Mary Sue Banks Burnett, who goes to thoughtful lengths in “setting the scene” for our gatherings. Jimmies is a perfectly nice restaurant, but Mary Sue’s efforts make it especially tailored for us…and those table mints were good!

Jimmies Restaurant gives us lots of space so that we have plenty of room for additional classmates and guest. Come give it a try. We think you’ll be glad you did.


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Linsy Farris' wife Vivian Passes

By Jerry Gaudet

With great sadness we received the news that Linsy Farris' WIFE, VIVIAN, has passed away. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Linsy as he writes:

..."I'm very sorry to have to let you and others know that my wife, Vivian, passed on June 19. We had an 18 month battle with triple negative breast cancer, a very aggresive form that responded poorly to surgery and chemotherapy. 

She passed rather quickly, about 12 hours, in her second bout of liver failure from the metastases, I'm very fortunate to have a very supporting family and friends. After attending a bereavement meeting last week, I realize just how fortunate I am with a daughter and her family living close by in Tenafly, N.J. and my work at Harlem Hospital as Director of the Department of Ophthalmology, not to speak of my continued active interest in music, playing in jazz combos.

My life at Central High School was such a significant shaping factor in my life with opportunities and scholarships that have shaped my life every since. Mr Paul Neal helping me get scholoarships and Mr Jack Stern providing me the oportunity to develop my musical interests, not to mention the leadership training present in, yes, Cheerleading, all have made me who I am. 

These experiences and my strong Christian faith continue to keep me hopeful for the days ahead and eternity. My life with Vivian for 51 years plus was truly a gift from God. I am sorry to inject this sad note but felt that I needed to let my friends know. I'm attaching Vivian's obituitary and Funeral Service. Incidentally, our grandaughter, Nora Nuse, my daughter Karen's daughter is playing at a Flute Festival in Charlotte on Aug 14th at the Convention Center as part of her teacher's group, epluribus flutum. Wish I could be there to hear her. Perhaps some of you can.

Linsy Farris"

Obituary Published in The Record and Herald News on June 21, 2011

FARRIS Vivian (nee Welk), 76, of Tenafly passed away on Sunday, June 19, 2011. Beloved wife of R. Linsy for 51 years and devoted mother of Karen Neus of Tenafly, Alan Farris of Indian Trail, NC and Andrew Farris of Olney, MD, proud grandmother of Nora, C.J., Jack, Shayna, Phoebe, Owen and Audrey. Also survived by brothers and sisters Lois, John, Charles and Ruth, son-in-law Michael, daughters-in-law Kristin and Stacey, and many nieces and nephews. Vivian was born on June 18, 1935 in Nazareth, PA to the late Lawrence and Anna Welk.

 Vivian was a Registered Dietician and a retired member of the American Diabetic Association. She was a graduate of Alabama College (now University of Montevallo), and completed her internship at Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC, where she met her husband while he was a medical student. After his internship in Philadelphia, they served their military obligation on Indian reservations in Eagle Butte and Wagner, SD after which they located to Englewood, NJ and later Tenafly where her husband completed his training as an ophthalmologist and became a member of the faculty of Columbia University Medical School. She was his assistant and office manager for more than 30 years.

Vivian was a longtime and devoted member of the First Presbyterian Church of Englewood, where she was most recently Clerk of Session. For many years, she was a member of the Englewood Woman's Club and Chairman of the Scholarship Committee, where she oversaw the process of awarding college scholarships to young women of Englewood, maintaining connections with these recipients over two decades. Her chief interests were homemaking and gardening, particularly the cultivation of irises. Above all, her family, her faith, and her community were most important.

Visiting hours will be held Friday, June 24, 6-9 PM at the Barrett Funeral Home, 148 Dean Drive, Tenafly, NJ. Funeral services will be on Saturday, June 25 at 2 PM at the First Presbyterian Church of Englewood, 150 East Palisade Avenue, Englewood, NJ 07631. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to either the Farris Family Scholarship Fund by making checks payable to "Englewood Woman's Club of Englewood" c/o Susan Eastham, 84 Lydecker Street, Englewood, NJ 07631 or the First Presbyterian Church of Englewood.

We have the following contact information for Linsy:
Linsy Farris, MD
17 Winthrop Court
Tenafly, NJ 07670
Email linsy@msn.com

Thursday, August 04, 2011

"What I Did Last Summer"

An essay like that used to be a standard back to school homework ritual.

I don't remember what I wrote for the summer between the 5th and 6th grades; probably something like “a week at Myrtle Beach....

Municipal Swimming Pool

...as many bus trips to Municipal Swimming Pool as my parents could afford"...and I might have thrown in a mention of a couple of books I checked out of the library. (I didn't read them, of course, but figured that checking them out should count for something.)

But what I, and my gang of buddies, mostly did for the greater part of those long days that summer was to try and solve this puzzle:
Pastry Driver Puzzle
Pastry Delivery Van

It was presented to us by a pastry delivery truck driver, who decided to make friends with our ragtag bunch. (In fact, it might have been his company's policy for delivery men to get on the good side of hungry kids who hung around places where their deliveries were left outside unattended for short periods of time.)

Anyway, he said that if any of us could draw the above diagram......WITHOUT lifting our pencil (or pen) AND WITHOUT drawing OVER any lines........then he would give us a large cake....that we could divide up among ourselves.

Wow! Who could resist such a simple challenge as that?!

And who would have thought that four boys could spend the better part of three months trying to solve an impossible puzzle?  It almost drove us nuts.

Actually, it wasn't impossible. At the end of August of that year, our pastry delivery man explained that if you FOLDED the paper a certain way....it could be done.

Darn! It was a trick!

He gave us the cake anyway. It was probably pretty good, but more importantly was the lesson I learned from that experience:



Wednesday, August 03, 2011

LDL This Tuesday

By Jerry Gaudet

Wow, It's HOT outside, but not where we're gathering!

Just kidding

"LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 11:30 AM

at "Jimmies Restaurant" off Hwy. 51 (in Mint Hill) 7024 Brighton Park Drive, Mint Hill, NC 28227-7971 (704) 545-7750

Word has it that Jennie Margaret and Bill will be coming. Maybe we can get her to sing The National Anthem for us, you think?

This link may help you find your way:

Another Boffo performance by Ellouise!
Get a load of this great review of her FINDING GUS performance at the FRINGE  in the Washington City Paper.

 By the way, she tells me that she was thrilled that Jerry and Pat Gaudet came to see her show at the Toe River Storytelling festival in Spruce Pine, NC.

Is there anyone more supportive and loyal to our class than Jerry and Pat?
Nope!    -Ed