Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Moving Day

I received an email this week from a very thoughtful daughter of two former CHS  graduates.

Johnny Mallard Class of '51
Good morning,
My parents both attended Central High School, though they were both in classes earlier than 1954.  I thought that perhaps you could help with something.
My parents’ both passed away about a year ago, just a few months apart.  They were Johnny Mallard (class of 1951) and Nancy Bunn Mallard (class of 1953).   We are cleaning out their house now. 
Nancy Bunn Mallard  '53
My mother had a collection of 5-6 Central High School Graduation Announcements from her friends from different years.  Probably from 1953, when she graduated until about 1957 or so.  Does anyone collect these?  Is there anyone who would want them? 
We also have their Snips and Cuts Yearbooks (from about 1949-1953, I think that is about the right years).  Does anyone collect these?  Or is there any place that the history of Central High School is being collected that we could donate these? 
Thank you. 
Kendall Mallard Parker

(If you are interested, or know someone who is, contact


Sunday, May 26, 2013

You Know You Are Getting Old When... learn that you went to Junior High School with..

                                      SANTA CLAUS!

Santa relaxing after visiting the kids at the Florida Sheriff's Ranches event.

Santa posing as a 9th grader in Mr. Edelman's class at Piedmont Junior High School
(last row third from right)

Enlarged image of Santa disguised as Johnny Melton

The Rest of the Story  (Thank you Paul Harvey)

What a surprise to get that email from Johnny Melton, a kid I hadn't seen since the 9th grade!

We were not only "homeroom mates" (in Mr. Edelman's class) but we had both been original members of the Charlotte Boys Choir, which met and rehearsed every Saturday at the CHS music room...and paid us a quarter each week!  (The late Don Harris was the soloist with that choir.) That gig ended after the 6th grade when our voices changed but our friendship continued as we faced the trials and tribulations of Junior High School.

Johnny and I had a lot in common. Mainly, as I remember it, we were BOTH smitten with Shirlene McGill!

After the Piedmont days, Johnny's family moved across town and he spent his high school days at Harding instead of Central.

And that's the last I knew of my friend......until that email.

John is 78 now, retired after 30 years in the military, living in  Panama City Beach, Florida,

and in great health. He married a lovely girl from Mt. Kisco, NY when he was 22  (after being in the Army for 5 years). Assigned for a few years in Washington where their son was born 3 years later. His daughter was born 2 years after that in Frankfurt Germany.

John says,

John in Korea on motorcycle at right
(Great hearing from you Johnny! It's too bad we didn't save those quarters we got from the Boys Choir. They contained real silver.  If we had, we'd probably both  been able to take another trip around the world.  -Ed)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Up, Up and Awayyyy..

No, it's not superman, but you're close.

It's our own tireless Ellouise (Diggle) Schoeteller leaping tall buildings and telling tall tales from Maryland to Washington, DC to South Carolina to Georgia......and THAT was just last week!

I'm crazy about her stories.  But NOT just because so many of them are about Charlotte in the 1950's, although that's an added attraction, but because they resonate with so many of us plain, ordinary, people; regardless of where you are from.

Here's one of her latest.

(Ellouise apologizes in advance for her "senior moment" 
- callng Everygreen Cemetery - Elmwood.   -Ed)


Saturday, May 18, 2013


I got an email last night from.......Joe Kirkley's grandson!


 My grandfather, Joe Kirkley, was in the class of 1954 from Central High. I found this website and contacted you. I'd like to know more about my grandfather, since he died when I was only 7 years old (I am now almost 16), and I did not know him as well as I would have liked to.

 If it isn't too much trouble, could you tell me anything you might know about him from his high school days? Any information or pictures would be great.

 Many thanks,

Will Kirkley

Joe Kirkley  1954
Dear Will,

Your grandfather, Joe, was a very popular and highly respected member of our class  He was about your age when we first got to know him and although he "fit right in" with us kids of the 50's, there was never any doubt that Joe was going to be a big success at whatever career he eventually chose.

You have every right to be very proud that you are Joe's grandson!  In my opinion, you were blessed to have had Joe Kirkley as your grandfather!


Ed Myers   (aka Lee Shephard)

P.S.    Here are a couple of links to stories about Joe. Don't be surprised if you get more stories about him from other members of our class who also remember how special Joe was.

I asked Will to send me a recent picture of himself.  I had a feeling that it might remind us of that  young kid named Joe we used to see roaming the halls of good old CHS.

Deja Vu....all over again!


Will Kirkley  2013

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


By Jerry Gaudet

Participation in this event is likely to result in Sheer Uncontrolable enjoyment!

  However, side effects sometimes cause remorse over failure to have participated previously.

Pitcher Ralph Branka after Bobby Thompson HR

This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on

Tuesday May 14th

at 11:30 pm 
 at "Jimmies" in Mint Hill.

Your help is needed! Spread the word! Invite other classmates to come!
Even better, bring someone with you! Be sure YOU, come!  -JG

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Another Story for our Storyteller

(I got a note from Ellouise a few days ago confirming that it REALLY IS......a small world!)

"I was down south last week telling stories and it was so GOOD to be there. People were great - had a good time - with storytelling, being there and family.

It was a test - 4 cities with three different one person shows and a festival. I was probably stupid to set it up that way but I wanted to be sure I could do it. It was my first trip on my own without Jim - and there were some rough spots - but I did it and it was good. My back may be shaky sometimes but my memory seems to be holding on -

Told the new Arlington Story in Athens Ga and was really grateful for the repsonse - 60 very active seniors at my sister's group at the Catholic Center at UGA -

Reassuring as I am telling the story Memorial Day at the Women's Military Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. A bit scared of that but loving the location - after all it will be my forever neighborhood.

Ellouise and the Kilgore Women and me

It could not have happened anywhere else but Stone Soup.  Friday I opened my story about my 9th grade teacher, Miss Janie Kilgore, and when I called her name these three gasped,looked at each other and burst out laughing,. 
I guessed it. "You know her?", I asked.

"She was our cousin," they replied.

Priceless!  Welcome back, Miss Janie.


Friday, May 03, 2013

A Day at the Office, May, 1963

By R.L. Clark

It has been raining here in Tennessee for the past several days, so any type of outside work has been impossible.  Trying to find something useful to occupy my time, I decided to clean out an old footlocker which I had put away and not looked into for years.  One of the things I found was my copy of an Accident Report from long ago.

When we were relaxing at the Officers’ Club, the pilots who flew in Korea and some who flew in WW II used to claim that you were not really a true Fighter Pilot until you had “TORE UP” at least one airplane.  I can tell you honestly that the United States Navy Department does not like it at all when one of their airplanes is “TORN UP”.  They investigate every piece of it that can be found, looking for something that can be identified as a cause.  It is almost with glee when they identify the cause as “Pilot Error”.  They do not like to admit that something was possibly wrong with their airplane!

Our squadron was detached to the USS Constellation and were in the final stage of carrier landings prior to deployment to the Far East.  Four pilots had to be left behind and the decision was made to leave the four who were the least proficient in carrier landings.  The importance of our designation as an All-Weather unit meant that night landings were part of the agenda.  Consequently, if someone had questionable landings in good weather, he might have big problems at night. Every landing is graded and the camera is on the plane from a point in his approach until touchdown.  If you hook either a 3or4 wire, the LSO is happy.  If you hook a 2 wire, he is not very happy and will “talk” with you.  If you hook a 1 wire, you will receive a chewing from everyone up the line.

R.L. coming in for a landing
I was making my approach and had the meatball just a hair high as was my customary way of landing. (Just a little Jesus factor). I caught a 4 wire, felt the main landing gear touch down, the nose gear fell through and the plane started to come apart from the intake duct on backward.  The hook held the wire but I was stunned to say the least.  When I finally regained my senses, I saw one of the deck crew frantically signaling me to cut the engine off.  One of the pilots up on “Buzzards’ Roost” later told me that as the plane was coming apart, the engine was spitting it out like a big shotgun.  
Actual photo of R.L.'s plane coming apart

Needless to say, those on deck were taking cover anywhere they could find it.  I shut down and was pulled out after the engine quit.  I am enclosing 2 photos; one of my approach and one at touchdown just as the plane is starting to come apart.  I had “TORE UP” my airplane!

The results of the Accident Investigation revealed that the “Drag-Link Pin” that holds the nose gear together had been defective from the manufacturer.  When they removed the chrome plating, and put it under the scope, each landing could be seen and apparently I was just unlucky enough to have been the one in the plane when it finally gave way.  Well, that’s how I became a real Fighter Pilot and “TORE UP” an airplane.  My only negative result was a ruptured lumbar disc which I still have today.  Sometime later on in Japan, I spent some time in the Camp Zama Army Hospital where they taught me how to “live with it”