Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Year of No Summer

That's what I tell my friends as I am well into my second week, of my second month of living with SHINGLES.

I hope you never get it, but statistics say that 20% of people who have ever had Chicken Pox will get it, usually when we get as old as we are.

Chicken Pox normally goes away in a couple of weeks, but it leaves a virus in you body that is just waiting to attack. Not much you can do about it, but getting early treatment often shortens its duration. It sometimes mimics a heart attack. Those were my first symptoms,  but my Cardiologist was absent from class the day they discussed that in Medical school, so it was left to my wife Linda to diagnose my problem.  Delayed treatment is probably what has caused my Shingles to last so long.

Enough about me.

There once was a worldwide Year of No Summer.  It was 1816.

I don't recall ever reading or even hearing about it until I started feeling sorry for myself and began looking for others whose summer was ruined by Shingles.

This is how Wikipedia describes it:

The Year Without a Summer was an agricultural disaster. Historian John D. Post has called this, "the last great subsistence crisis in the Western world".[5] The unusual climatic aberrations of 1816 had the greatest effect on most of New EnglandAtlantic Canada, and parts of western Europe. Typically, the late spring and summer of central and northern New England and southeastern Canada are relatively stable: temperatures (average of both day and night) average between about 68 and 77°F (20 and 25°C) and rarely fall below 41°F (5°C). Summer snow is an extreme rarity.

North America

In the spring and summer of 1816, a persistent "dry fog" was observed in parts of the eastern U.S. The fog reddened and dimmed the sunlight, such that sunspots were visible to the naked eye. Neither wind nor rainfall dispersed the "fog". It has been characterized as a "stratospheric sulfate aerosol veil".[6]
At higher elevations, where farming was problematic in good years, the cooler climate did not quite support agriculture. In May 1816,[1] frost killed off most crops in the higher elevations of New England and New York. On June 4, frosts were reported as far south as northern Connecticut and the highlands of northwest New Jersey. [7] On June 6, snow fell in Albany, New York, and Dennysville, Maine.[8]
Many commented on the phenomenon. Sarah Snell Bryant, of CummingtonMassachusetts, wrote in her diary, "Weather backward."[9]
At the Church Family of Shakers in upstate New York, near New Lebanon, Nicholas Bennet wrote in May 1816, "all was froze" and the hills were "barren like winter." Temperatures went below freezing almost every day in May. The ground froze solid on June 9. On June 12, the Shakers had to replant crops destroyed by the cold. On July 7, it was so cold, everything had stopped growing. The Berkshire Hills had

frost again on August 23, as did much of the upper northeast .[10]
A Massachusetts historian summed up the disaster: "Severe frosts occurred every month; June 7th and 8th snow fell, and it was so cold that crops were cut down, even freezing the roots .... In the early Autumn when corn was in the milk it was so thoroughly frozen that it never ripened and was scarcely worth harvesting. Breadstuffs were scarce and prices high and the poorer class of people were often in straits for want of food. It must be remembered that the granaries of the great west had not then been opened to us by railroad communication, and people were obliged to rely upon their own resources or upon others in their immediate locality."[11]


Cool temperatures and heavy rains resulted in failed harvests in Britain and Ireland. Families in Wales travelled long distances as refugees, begging for food. Famine was prevalent in north and southwest Ireland, following the failure of wheat, oats, and potato harvests. In Germany, the crisis was severe; food prices rose sharply. With the cause of the problems unknown, people demonstrated in front of grain markets and bakeries, and later riotsarson, and looting took place in many European cities. It was the worst famine of 19th-century Europe.[8][14]
Again, according to Wikipedia,

The crop failures of the "Year without a Summer" may have helped shape the settling of the "American Heartland", as many thousands of people (particularly farm families who were wiped out by the event) left New England for what is now western and central New York and the Midwest (then the Northwest Territory) in search of a more hospitable climate, richer soil, and better growing conditions.[24]
According to historian L.D. Stillwell, Vermont alone experienced a drop between 10,000 and 15,000 people, erasing seven previous years of population growth.[5] Among those who left Vermont were the family of Joseph Smith, who moved from Sharon, Vermont, to Palmyra, New York.[25]This move precipitated the series of events that culminated in the publication of the Book of Mormon and the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[16]
In June 1816, "incessant rainfall" during that "wet, ungenial summer" forced Mary ShelleyJohn William Polidori, and their friends to stay indoors for much of their Swiss holiday. They decided to have a contest to see who could write the scariest story, leading Shelley to write Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus and Lord Byron to write "A Fragment", which Polidori later used as inspiration for The Vampyre[26] — a precursor to Dracula. In addition, Lord Byron was inspired to write a poem, "Darkness", at the same time.


I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:

Mount Tamboro Eruption
I believe the reason very few people have ever heard of the YEAR OF NO SUMMER is because for many years it was simply a WEATHER story.  It had to wait for fairly modern communications to learn that disastrous year was caused by the eruption of Mount Tamboro in Indonesia, the largest volcano eruption in recorded history. It killed over 90,000 people.
By the time the world found out, it was "old news."

I'm not trying to out scare any of those great story tellers of the 1800's but scientists who should know, say that Mount Tamboro could erupt again any day now.
It's already been rumbling for over a year.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

They say you never forget your first love

I don’t know about that, but I know you never forget your first car.

At least I haven’t and neither has Don Nance. In fact, it was the same car; and it didn't belong to either one of us.

It was my Dad’s 1952 blue Pontiac.  

Thanks to his job as a stock broker, he got off work about the same time school was out, and with much persuasion, I basically owned that pretty thing for the rest of the day. My first stop was Don’s house and more often than not, we spent the rest of the afternoon looking for excitement.

We never found any, at least none that was more exciting than just riding around in that beauty from Detroit with the Indian Chief on the hood. If truth be told, I think we both were hoping to impress the girls.
It didn’t. Neither did we.

But it sure made a permanent impression on Don and me.  Especially Don. So much so that 62 years later, thanks to his extremely talented sons and a few friends,that Indian is riding again!

Donnie and two other main members of the crew.(L to R)Ricky, Jeff and Donnie

1952 Pontiac

By Don Nance

Eli Caruthers of Graham, NC, purchased the 1952 Pontiac when it was new. In 1985, he drove the car to church in the morning and died later that afternoon. In 1987, I purchased the car from his family. From 1987 until 2010, the car was stored in a barn at the McMillian’s Farm who were friends of ours. In 2010, we started restoring the old chief. Oh yes, it is a 1952 two- door Pontiac Chief Deluxe. Donnie named the car “Lazarus” because it was being raised from the dead.
8 year old Sam
The main people helping to restore the car are our sons, Donnie, Tommy, and Patrick, and my grandson, Sam.  Others helped… Ricky Holmes (Donnie’s friend from middle school), and neighbor, Jeff, in Graham, NC.   John Keck, in Graham, built the radiator. The engine was overhauled by a friend of my sons in Haw River, N C.  The starter was rebuilt by Patrick’s father-in-law, Jack Tibbits, in Basset, VA. The body and paint was done by Tom Young at Young’s Body Shop in Elon, N C. The chrome was refinished in Elizabethton, TN. 
 I enjoy having the car since it brings back wonderful memories of the 1950’s. I worked in the concession stand at the old Armory in Charlotte for Donald (Spike) Coffer. He owned a car like this one with the same colors.  Ed Myers’s father, Walter Myers, owned a car just like this car with the same colors. When Ed (Lee Shephard) was 15 years old and I was 16 year old, Ed would drive his father’s car so we could cruise around Charlotte.

Indian Chief and Donny, the Restoration Chief
The Grill, which had not been installed when picture
 at top was taken.

Tommy under the hood

The Nance Boys plus Letty's finger in  right hand corner

WOW!  Thanks Don. I can't wait to take a ride in that thing again. I got my driver's license in that car. Since the statute of limitations has expired I can finally admit that for about a year, I was driving the "blue beauty" before I was old enough to get my license. Fortunately, I never was stopped by the cops. However, one of our classmates got stopped many times (and we all know who that was) His license was withheld for years. I believe he was about 40 before he finally got it.
Oh, by the way, ask Donnie to look under the back seat. I think that's where my girl friend's "Key Club" pin that I gave her fell off and wound up. 
Thanks for bringing those great memories alive!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bits and Pieces

Maxcyne Mott Yaworsky checked in with this very true, but sad, commentary on our times:

Maxcyne and Emery

For all the Great Grandmas

We have to put the skids under those noxious computer games , infernal I phones, and most of all, stifle those Kindles. Here is a pair of Book Worms- past and future. Book Worms are facing extinction.
I am sharing a book with my great granddaughter, Emery , that I shared with her mom twenty five years ago. There's no place up there in Cyber space for the tiny fingerprints,occasional crayon scrawl, curling page corners, and cookie crumbs that belong in a good story, saved on Great grandmas bookshelf.  Help save the Book Worm!.  Also send more pics to Ed!!- Maxcyne

Unfortunately, as usual, Maxcyne, you're right on the money!  In about 20 years, not only will bookworms be extinct, but there won't be many Americans who even know how to read. 

On second thought, I may be wrong about that.

Make that 10 years.   -Ed


This came in from Internet Trivia. Nobody but us chronologically gifted Americans know a damm thing about Kilroy.This is probably about as close to the truth as anything we'll ever know. -Ed

He is engraved in stone in the National War Memorial in
WW2 Memorial Washington, DC
Washington,DC- back in a small alcove where very few people
have seen it. For the WWII generation, this will bring back memories.
For you younger folks, it's a bit of trivia that is a part of our American
history. Anyone born in 1913 to about 1950, is familiar with Kilroy.
No one knew why he was so well known-but everybody seemed to get into it.

So who was Kilroy?

In 1946 the American Transit Association, through its radio program,"Speak to America ," sponsored a nationwide contest to find the real Kilroy, offering a prize of a real trolley car to the person who could prove himself to be the genuine article. Almost 40 men stepped forward to make that claim, but only James Kilroy from Halifax, Massachusetts, had evidence of his identity.

Kilroy'was a 46-year old shipyard worker during the war who worked as a checker at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy. His job was to go around and check on the number of rivets completed. Riveters were on piecework and got paid by the rivet. He would count a block of rivets and put a check mark in semi-waxed lumber chalk, so the rivets wouldn't be counted twice. When Kilroy went off duty, the riveters would erase the mark. Later on, an off-shift inspector would come through and count the rivets a second time, resulting in double pay for the riveters.

One day Kilroy's boss called him into his office. The foreman was upset about all the wages being paid to riveters, and asked him to investigate. It was then he realized what had been going on. The tight spaces he had to crawl in to check the rivets didn't lend themselves to lugging around a paint can and brush, so Kilroy decided to stick with the waxy chalk. He continued to put his check mark on each job he inspected, but added 'KILROY WAS HERE' inking-sized letters next to the check,; eventually added the sketch of the chap with the long nose peering over the fence; that became part of the Kilroy message.

Once he did that, the riveters stopped trying to wipe away his marks.Ordinarily the rivets and chalk marks would have been covered up with paint. With the war on, however, ships were leaving the Quincy Yard so fast that there wasn't time to paint them. As a result, Kilroy's inspection "trademark" was seen by thousands of servicemen who boarded the troopships the yard produced.

His message apparently rang a bell with the servicemen, because they picked it up and spread it all over Europe and the South Pacific.

Before war's end, "Kilroy" had been here, there, and
every where on the long hauls to Berlin and
 Tokyo. To the troops outbound in those ships, however, he was a complete mystery; all they knew for sure was that someone named Kilroy had "been there first."As a joke, U.S. servicemen began placing the graffiti wherever they landed, claiming it was already there when they arrived.

Kilroy became the U.S. super-GI who had always "already been"wherever GIs went. It became a challenge to place the logo in the most unlikely places imaginable (it is said to be atop Mt. Everest, the Statue of Liberty, the underside of the Arc de Triomphe, and even scrawled on the dust on the moon .

As the war went on, the legend grew. Underwater demolition teams
routinely sneaked ashore on Japanese-held islands in the Pacific to map the terrain for coming invasions by U.S. troops ( thus, presumably, were the first GI's there). On one occasion, however,they reported seeing enemy troops painting over the Kilroy logo!

In 1945, an outhouse was built for the exclusive use of Roosevelt, Stalin,and Churchill at the Potsdam conference. Its' first occupant was Stalin, who emerged and asked his aide,
"Who is Kilroy?"

To help prove his authenticity in 1946, James Kilroy brought along officials from the shipyard and some of the riveters. He won the trolley car, which he gave to his nine children as a Christmas gift and set it up as a playhouse in the Kilroy yard in Halifax,Massachusetts.

And The Tradition Continues...

EVEN Outside Osama Bin Laden's House!!!

-From the Internet. All I did was add the pictures.  -Ed

Monday, August 18, 2014

Now They Tell Me

As young whippersnappers just starting out in the workplace, much of our time was spent thinking about "getting ahead" and being a success.

Well now I learn that what we really should have been doing was.............DOODLING.

At least that's what Suni Brown, author of the "DOODLE REVOLUTION" thinks.

 In her now famous TED talk, she proposes that doodling is deep thinking in disguise and that it is a simple, accessible tool for problem-solving in general. In fact, Brown believes doodling spontaneous marks actually helps you think.

Long dismissed as a waste of time, doodling is getting new respect.
Recent research in neuroscience, psychology and design shows that doodling can help people stay focused, grasp new concepts and retain information. A blank page also can serve as an extended playing field for the brain, allowing people to revise and improve on creative thoughts and ideas.
Doodles are spontaneous marks that can take many forms, from abstract patterns or designs to images of objects, landscapes, people or faces. Some people doodle by retracing words or letters, but doodling doesn't include note-taking.
"It's a thinking tool," says Sunni Brown, an Austin, Texas, author of a new book, "The Doodle Revolution." It can affect how we process information and solve problems, she says.

Here Are the "DOODLES" President Kenedy drew during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Another by JFK


Ronald Reagan


Frankly, in my opinion both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama had at least ONE thing in common. They both must have been aware that their doodles were being saved by historians so there were no longer Circles and squares and swiggly lines. Somewhere in the huge Washington bureaucracy  I bet there is at least one person whose only job is drawing Presidential Doodles.
When I find him, I'll give you his name.

Ed's Doodle

Anyway, I personally tested Suni Browns theory of DOODLING as "Mental Floss" and sure enough...I tried it and immediately started thinking more clearly!
I suddenly realized that her doodle theory is a bunch of hogwash, and is about as effective as tying your shoes or taking out the garbage.
Only, with those 2 things, you at least accomplish something.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Remember Me?

Sorry I've been away for a few weeks. I have been "down and out" with SHINGLES.

I hope to heck you never get that disease. Anyone who has ever had Chicken Pox is at risk.

Here is the internet defination:

After you have chickenpox, the virus that caused it, called varicella, remains in your body. It's always inside you, lying dormant (or asleep) in your nerve cells. At some point later in life, your immune system may weaken, allowing the virus to resurface as ShinglesYou may be feeling great, but if you've had chickenpox, the Shingles virus is already inside you. And your risk for Shingles increases as you get older.

Well, I certainly qualitied.and I suspect most of you do too, although I hope you don't get it. Lordy, Lordy, it is awfully painful! It has kept me out of commission for almost a month, and it still hasn't gone away completely.  It's only slightly improved.

Try to catch it early!  It often mimics "a heart attack."  That's the way it started with me. I wasted time getting EKG's and look  carefully for red spotches ...they can even appear on your face. The sooner you start treatment, the less severe it will be!


I can't count the number of times over my lifetime that I said to myself,
"Oh, if only I had a camera with me to take a picture of that!"

Well, now, just about all of us have one (in our mobile phones) but, more often than not, I forget about it.

So, on my 3 by 5 cards that I write down every thing I want to remember, I have added a reminder to myself that I HAVE ONE...and can take snapshots of things that, I once could only say "I wish I had a picture of that."

Mostly little things....anything that I find interesting in my day to day existence.

For example:

Now, why I find the PNC Bank poster amusing is, to me she looks a lot like Amelia Earhart.
And, you know how she wound up. Perhaps I missed the point they were trying to make, but  since i  consider myself "Mr. Average"  I figure, if it went "over my head," it probably was missed by others as well.

Amelia Earhart

Just think of the pictures we could have taken during our years at Central!

On second thought, I'm glad we didn't have them back then!

Feel free to send me any snapshots that you take during your exciting daily peregrination thrrough our "Golden Years."


Email to:

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Let's Do Lunch on Tuesday!

The Central High School Class of 1954 requests the pleasure of your company at the August 2014 LDL (Let's Do Lunch) on Tuesday August the 12th at 11:30am at Jimmies of Mint Hill.

Yaw'll come, you hear!