Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book Signing Friday

Gil Ballance

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was.

After all, the author is 92 years old and it's his first book.
Plus, he spent all his working life teaching high school kids with "skulls full of mush," as Rush Limbaugh would say.

But, our loveable old CHS teacher, Gil Ballance has written a heck of a novel called, "Leah's Journey Home"

Leah's Journey Home takes place near Elizabeth City, a coastal town in North Carolina on the edge of the Dismal Swamp. It's about a poor but ambitious young girl whose prospects for a meaningful life and career suddenly become dismal as well when she discovers that she is pregnant with her dead boyfriend's child.

Her options were few and the one she chose was to marry a widower she barely knew who was 30 years her senior. It was to be a marriage in name only, since all he was looking for was a housekeeper.
 That difficult decision transported a bright, young, literate city girl into the world of an illiterate farmer's “wife” in the rural South.

As I wrote in my "review" that I posted on the Amazon dot Com site (where you should go to buy the book..the paperback is only $10)

 "You won't be disappointed if you ride along with Leah on her journey. It's a suspenseful and  heartwarming story that you will long remember. It's a great read!"

Our own Mary Kratt's praise is printed on the back cover of the book.

Feel free to add your own review on the Amazon site to let others know what you thought of it.

Wilora Lake Lodge
Mr. Ballance is having a BOOK SIGNING this Friday at 2pm at Wilora Lake Lodge in Charlotte.

Even though you won't have time to read the book by then, be sure to go to the signing anyway, otherwise after you've read it, you'll kick yourself for not having gone!   -Ed

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bits and Pieces

CHS54ers continue to amaze me with their wanderlust adventures.  For example, I understand that  Don and Letty Nance have to consult a map whenever they return for a short visit their home in Wythville, Va.

Don tells me that they just came back from Myrtle Beach where they

Tommy West, Don and Letty Nance

"visited with Tommy West and met Randy, one of Tommy's sons.

As we were driving on Main Street ( in what in the old days we called Ocean Drive) I saw a Henry J. It reminded me of the one you used to have.

The Henry J Memorial Statue
We are happy to be back in the mountains again where the leaves are beginning to change colors. It is going to be a beautiful fall in the mountains. -Don"

Your webmaster responds:

Dear Don,

I never did tell you what finally happened to my old Henry J, did I?
It finally broke down one summer while I was soaking up the sun in Myrtle Beach. "Broke down" as in dead as a doornail.

It was impossible get it started again, so I just abandoned it and left it where it was parked on Ocean Drive....nobody ever moved it because I guess they thought I would eventually come a get it, but I didn't,  Finally, after a number of years, they decided to take it to the junk yard, but they couldn't move it because apparently it had fossilized....By the time they decided to bring in a wreaking ball and destroy it, that particular section of town had been declared a National Historical site.......and legally they weren't allowed to move it.  So the town council decided to pretend that it was put there on purpose as a monument to the "kids of the '50's".
In recent years it has become Myrtle Beach's major tourist attraction.  -Ed

Speaking of Old Cars

Look at how Don's sons are coming along with the restoration of Don's old 1951 Pontiac!

The Sparrows don't spend a lot of time in their nest either

"Thanks for the outstanding things you post on CHS54.NET. Becky and I are "steaming as before," a term used in ship's logs. Hope all is well. We are looking forward to another Kansas trip at the end of October. If all goes well, we will be at the Oklahoma v. Kansas State football game in Manhattan, KS.

 Here are  some photos from the Winston-Salem Open, a tennis tournament played one week prior to the US Open. A good time was had by all, especially the guys who sold Modelo. It was Eight Dollars a clip. This one needs no explanation.

The second one is a picture of a jazzy sports car filled with tennis balls. The car's alarm system kept going off. The system could not differentiate between a car thief and a pile of tennis balls.

 The third picture is my lame attempt to create something unusual. In the foreground is a fan which was distributed by one of the tournament sponsors: South African Airways.. Hiding behind the lion-on-the-fan is, well, a tennis fan. The cap is a gift from one of my clients.-WS"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Up Date

Bob Ellis reports that Johnny Culp had knee replacement surgery today and is doing as well as can be expected. I am sure he and Pat would welcome all prayers and thoughts at this time. He had his other knee replacement surgery about 6 years ago, so he knows what is needed. REHAB, REHAB, AND MORE REHAB. Bob says the "Hopefully he will be back on the golf course in no time. Will keep you posted. -BE"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

97th Birthday!

By Jerry Gaudet

Dickson Gault 1951
Many CHS'54 classmates came through Piedmont JHS when Mr. Dickson Gault was principal.

Dick and his wife, Ruth, have lived at Wilora Lake lodge for about twenty years now. Dick says "old age is catching up to them...if not passing them by".

Recently, Dick had to move to the Healthcare Center at Wilora Lake because of failing ability to take care of himself. He's mostly confined to his bed and when up he's in a wheelchair. Except for a little failing memory now and then, he is still a pretty sharp fellow who just had his 97th birthday on Saturday, September 17, 2010. It's not too late to celebrate his birthday. What's a few days in 97 years?

Ruth is "legally blind", suffering vision loss because of macular degeneration, but is still able to live in their apartment. Ruth and Dick say they are "doing the best they can, under their circumstances". Amen to that. We should all do as much.

An encouraging card would be gratefully received...
Mr. and Mrs. Dick Gault
6053 Wilora Lake Rd., Apt# 136
Charlotte, NC 28212


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Heads Up

By now you've no doubt heard that a “bus sized” dead NASA satellite named UARS is scheduled to come crashing down to earth as early as next Sunday.

NASA says it won't know for sure where it will hit until just before it enters the atmosphere, moving at a speed of 18,000 mph- too fast to give anybody time to get out of the way.

According to the press release, the possible target range is "basically everywhere people live, between 57 degrees north, and 57 degrees south."

NASA says most of the satellite will burn up as it re-enters the atmosphere, but that 26 pieces, totaling more than 1,000 pounds, will make it to the ground somewhere.

The chances of a person getting hit?
"Is on the order of one in 3,200," said a NASA spokesperson.

The consensus among the staff and me here at CHS54 dot com headquarters is that, “them odds ain't good enough.”

 So, we're taking a page from the Hale Bop Comet survival manual and are recommending that our readers wear “tin foil hats” until the danger has passed.

The history of wearing tin foil hats was begun around 1920 when it was discovered that they protected the citizens from the government's secret electronic propaganda waves aimed at unsuspecting American brains.

 The government discontinued this practice around 1948, when they learned that Television did the same thing, but much better.

The “tin foil hat solution” was revived in 1997 when it was realized that the odds of the Hale Bop comet crashing down on someones head decreased dramatically when the odds makers added the line, “while wearing a tin foil hat,” to the equation.

The same mathematical formula applies to this latest threat from outer space.

According to this website's calculations, it brings down your odds of being hit by UARS to 1 in a little over 2 trillion.

Ignore this advice at your own risk. -Ed

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 10. 2008

By Bob Ellis

Today was an absolute beautiful day, the same as it was on this day in 2008, when I lost my best friend. As you get older, you think that you can handle about anything that is thrown in your direction. I was not ready for that day.

I was in his hospital room by myself when he drew his last breath. My world as I knew hit a serious bump. I will NEVER forget the look on his face. Folks, don't ever take life as a given. Love your family and friends each day. There might not be a tomorrow. Thanks for your ear on this hard day of remembrance.

Love to all,


(My brother was a retired Captain with the Charlotte Fire Department after 25 years of service. Prior to his illness with cancer Jim was a picture of good health. He was 6'2" and 210 lbs of muscles. He lived in Huntersville,N.C. and also had a 50 acre Christmas tree farm in southern Virginia that he tended by himself. He seemed to be making great strides after his radiation and chemo treatments. On Labor Day weekend 2007 he was admitted to the hospital and passed away on Wednesday 9-10-07 at 11:00 a.m.
Ever Sept. 10th, I mourn for my brother; and then the next day, for our nation...

Thanks, Bob)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

LDL #35

 By Jerry Gaudet

It was a perfectly nice day for a lunch gathering and CHS’54 did just that with “LDL” # 35. Mary Sue (Banks) Burnett, with portage help from husband Clyde, did us proud with floral table decoration that enhanced the already pleasant surroundings of Jimmies Restaurant.


Letty and Don Nance came “down” to be with us while on the way to take care of lesser important business…at least that’s the way we’ll look at it.

 Ronnie (Rallis) Pourlos (Mrs. Jimmie) encouraged friend Miriam (Boger) Burlos, to lunch with us. Miriam came to Central by way of Tech HS and graduated from Central and is a member of CHS’55. Miriam and Sandra (Lineberger) Patterson enjoyed catching up on their friendship.

Shirley Burns came with her friend, our classmate Gene Moore, who came “up” from Melbourne, FL. Gene came north to help Carolina get by Rutgers last week and stayed on because he recognizes a good thing when he sees it.

 And, Frank Stack, Myers Park class of ’54, sought us out to catch up on friendships from Dilworth Elementary, AG JHS and Myers Park. Frank worked in Washington DC, until retiring and returning to Charlotte.

We would like it if many more of your sought us out. We have lots of space so that we have plenty of room for additional classmates and guests. Come give it a try. We think you’ll be glad you did.


Friday, September 09, 2011

LDL This Tuesday!

 By Jerry Gaudet

 CHS'54, "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 11:30 AM

"You won't know who's 
there unless you go there."

at Jimmies Restaurant

off Hwy. 51 (in Mint Hill)

7024 Brighton Park Dr.

Mint Hill, NC


Get the word out to others! Invite other classmates to come!

Even better, bring someone with you!

                                           This link may help you find your way: 

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Happy 90th

Buddy Belote at his 90th
I went to my friend, Buddy Belote's 90th birthday party last Sunday. How rare an event like that would have been considered only a decade or so ago. It's still very special when a person reaches that milestone in reasonably good health and is honored by his family and friends.

But in Buddy's case, longevity was the least of his many accomplishments. I first met him in 1961 when he was assigned as the engineer on my first radio show at WTOP in Washington.

Unlike most engineers, whose talents are generally limited to technical matters with usually very little interest in music and the arts, Buddy was an accomplished musician as well as one of the foremost amateur photographers in Washington. I think he had even composed a couple of symphonies.

It was no surprise that all of us who did music shows on the station at the time wanted Buddy to produce our shows.

Through no effort of his own, other than his quiet competence, he became the unofficial leader of all the announcers and engineers at the station. If you had a problem and needed advice, he was the one you just naturally went to. I heard him referred to one time as the WTOP staff's “mother.”

Buddy's and my work schedules were such that for several years our coffee breaks occurred at the same time each morning. Since he could converse on so many different subjects, that was usually one of the highlights of my workday.

I say usually.

Ed and Buddy  speaking to a Washington Radio Club
Because there came a time when he became focused almost totally on the sport of swimming. A sport that tended to make my eyes glaze over. Now there was a perfectly logical reason for this since his three young daughters had all shown an interest as well as more than a little talent in the sport.

Buddy was the informal “mother” of the WTOP staff, but at home he was the official father....and whatever his daughters were interested in, he and his wife Florence were interested in.......finding the best pool with the best equipment and the best coach in the area.

I went to work for a competing station in late 1969 and I remember the last time I had coffee with him in the station cafeteria. We reminisced about those shows we did together in in the early 60's and the many changes we had seen since then.........

and “by the way,” he said, “you should have seen my little one, Melissa, swimming the other night.....she was spectacular.”

I didn't see Buddy for a couple of years after that, but I did hear more about Melissa......on TV and the newspapers.

She became America's sweetheart , who at 15 years of age,  won three Gold Medals  at the 1972 Olympic Games.


Sunday, September 04, 2011

Linsy and Vivian

I received a lot of emails "seconding" the annonymous letter to Linsy Faris (see below).
I thought you like to read Linsy's reaction:

Dear Ed,  I don't tear up much, but this sure came close.  I can't thank you enough and whoever wrote this letter.  God is truly watching over us all.  I am truly blessed.

I'm attaching a piece that one of my patients, a poet, sent to me.

                                                          (Click on poem to enlarge)

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Open letter to a classmate

 (This letter arrived at the CHS54 complex unsigned and without a return address)

Dear Linsy,

I think my feelings reflect those other members of the Central High School Class of 1954 as I send this along to you.

First, as Jerry said in his email responding to the sad news of the passing of your soul mate, Vivian. It was obvious you had such a positive and wonderful relationship and I know you will miss her terribly.

Linsy and Vivian Farris
Your comments about how fortunate you are to have had the experiences shared during your days at Central are so typical of your attitude throughout your life; one of feeling blessed by others, receiving gifts and an expression of gratitude for what life has given you.

If I may, I would like to turn that around a bit and say how fortunate we, your classmates, and the many friends you’ve made over the years are to have benefitted from gifts you give.

I’ll name a few. Of the many areas of the country you could have chosen to practice your profession of medicine, you selected a hospital in Harlem. I dare say that thousands of patients you have seen over the years have received superior attention from someone highly regarded in their field in a loving and caring way. What a wonderful gift you have given.

The Farris team at work
What about the thousands of senior citizens and shut-ins who have had their day brightened through your musical talents? What a wonderful gift you have given. It is so apparent that your Christian faith is at the center of your life. Your witness and offerings of time, resources and talent have touched the lives of countless others. What a wonderful gift you have given.

I am also sure that if I were to ask your family, they would respond with words of praise and what a great husband and father you have been to them. What a wonderful gift you have given. So you see Linsy, all those many things you feel thankful for are really blessings to those who have been fortunate enough to be blessed with the friendship of Linsy.

What a wonderful gift you have given us!

-Anonymous CHS 54 Classmate

Thursday, September 01, 2011


According to Amazon dot Com, there's a new novel out titled LEAH'S JOURNEY HOME that's getting some great reviews, many of which mention the impressive "authenticity of  the historical events and issues of the early 1900's that Leah confronts: women's rights to run a business, to practice birth control, even to vote and make decisions on her own."

Another reviewer mentions how riviting it is to read " how people lived and talked on the outer banks in 1899."

My copy of the book won't arrive for a couple of days, but I already know the secret of it's realistic insight into that era of American life.

The author is 90 years old.  He was there.

Plus, we all know him.

Gil Ballance circa 1954
Gil Ballance taught English and Radio Production at good old CHS when we were there. His new career is writing books, the first of which is LEAH'S JOURNEY HOME.....available in paper back from Amazon dot Com.

There will be a book signing on Friday September 30th at 2pm at:

Wilora Lake Lodge
6053 Wilora Lake Road
Charlotte, NC

What other reviewers are saying:

"This was a real page-turner, both for the romance and the history."

"It held my interest and I was quickly drawn into the characters lives and wanted to know what happened next. I wish the book had kept going so that I would know more about their later years together. Excellent book " 

"I loved how Leah's character evolved in the book from a young woman not knowing what to do, to a mature lady who stands up for what she knows is right. A great read!"