Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"America in your pocket."

That's the Reader's Digest slogan.

I've often though that someone ought to start a Reader's Digest....of the Internet.  

As far as I know, no one I will.


Amidst all the spam on the Internet, there are some truly GREAT posts!  Some of the best ones are forwarded to me from thoughtful classmates, who probably wonder why I don't post them on the CHS554 website.....

Good question.

Answer: Often, they take up too much room, i.e., too many bits, bites, mega bites, and motorcycles or whatever, for this bargain basement website to handle.

HOWEVER, it can easily handle "LINKS."

So.....I'm going to start a new feature called ...."Lurkers Digest"...which will be a link or two of "gems" that appear in my email....that perhaps you haven't seen.  I'll put these at the bottom of our regular articles from time to time....for you to either read or ignore.

This is not a "link," but it's so good that I am posting it in its entirety.... Bob Ellis sent me a reminder of an event that happened 73 years ago:

T HE F INAL T OAST ! They bombed Tokyo 73 years ago.
They once were among the most universally admired and revered men in the United States .. There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942, when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring military operations in this nation's history. The mere mention of their unit's name, in those years, would bring tears to the eyes of grateful Americans.
Now only four survive.

After Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around.

Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised. Sixteen B-25s were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. This had never before been tried -- sending such bi g, heavy bombers from a carrier.
The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet, knew that they would not be able to return to the carrier. They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing.
But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan. The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from much farther out in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on. They were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make it to safety. 
And those men went anyway.
They bombed Tokyo and then flew as far as they could. Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died. Eight more were captured; three were executed.

Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp. One crew made it to Russia.
The Doolittle Raiders sent a message from the United States to its enemies, and to the rest of the world: We will fight. And, no matter what it takes, we will win.

Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war. They were celebrated as national heroes, models of bravery. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a motion picture based on the raid; "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson, was a patriotic and emotional box-office hit, and the phrase became part of the national lexicon. In the movie-theater previews for the film, MGM proclaimed that it was presenting the story "with supreme pride."
Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion each April, to commemorate the mission. The reunion is in a different city each year. In 1959, the city of Tucson, Arizona, as a gesture of respect and gratitude, presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets. Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider.
Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is transported to the reunion city. Each time a Raider passes away, his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion, as his old friends bear solemn witness.
Al so in the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very Special cognac. The year is not happenstance: 1896 was when Jimmy Doolittle was born.
There has always been a plan: When there are only two surviving Raiders, they would open the bottle, at last drink from it, and toast their comrades who preceded them in death.

As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders; then, in February, Tom Griffin passed away at age 96.
What a man he was. After bailing out of his plane over a mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid, he became ill with malaria, and almost died. When he recovered, he was sent to Europe to fly more combat missions. He was shot down, captured, and spent 22 months in a German prisoner of war camp.
The selflessness of these men, the sheer guts ... there was a passage in the Cincinnati Enquirer obituary for Mr. Griffin that, on the surface, had nothing to do with the war, but that was emblematic of the depth of his sense of duty and devotion:

"When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home, he visited her every day. He walked from his house to the nursing home, fed his wife and at the end of the day brought home her clothes. At night, he washed and ironed her clothes. Then he walked them up to her room the next morning. He did that for three years until her death in 2005."
So now, out of the original 80, only four Raiders remain: Dick Cole (Doolittle's co-pilot on the Tokyo raid), Robert Hite, Edward Saylor and David Thatcher. All are in their 90s. They have decided that there are too few of them for the public reunions to continue.

The events in Fort Walton Beach marked the end. It has come full circle; Florida's nearby Eglin Field was where the Raiders trained in secrecy for the Tokyo mission. The town planned to do all it can to honor the men: a six-day celebration of their valor, including luncheons, a dinner and a parade.
Do the men ever wonder if those of us for whom they helped save the country have tended to it in a way that is worthy of their sacrifice? They don't talk about that, at least not around other people. But if you find yourself near Fort Walton Beach this week, and if you should encounter any of the Raiders, you might want to offer them a word of thanks. I can tell you from first hand observation that they appreciate hearing that they are remembered.

The men have decided that after this final public reunion they will wait until a later date -- sometime this year -- to get together once more, informally and in absolute privacy. That is when they will open the bottle of brandy. The years are flowing by too swiftly now; they are not going to wait until there are only two of them.

They will fill the four remaining upturned goblets. And raise them in a toast to those who are gone.
Their 70th Anniversary Photo

Meanwhile, send me anything you consider "worthwhile" that happens to show up in your email.



Lurker's Digest

Italian School Lunch

Best Police Pursuit Ever

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ed Walker RIP

Thanks for your prayers, but my friend Ed Walker passed away early Monday Morning.
He was 83.

I reached back into the files and came up with this interview I had with Ed in 2006...
It's an entertaining, and inspirational story of a man who overcame a great handicap....with equally great humor. It's about 25 minutes in length.


Ed Walker - Out of the Past - 2006 from Chuck Langdon on Vimeo.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Obwandiyag Would be Proud

Got this email from Don Nance the other day:

Walt, The car is coming along. Donnie and Tommy put the brakes on the car, and were driving it yesterday. Don

"Coming along?"  What an understatement!

1952 Poniac Chieftain by Donnie and Tommy Nance

Look at the progress Dons' sons have made on that 1952 "piece of junk" he picked up about 20 years ago for two or three dollars. 
A car  restored that well, could easily sell for over $50,000!

It originally was a 1952 Pontiac Chieftain...just like my Dad's car that Don and I drove around trying to look like "big shots" thinking we were impressing the girls.  (We weren't.) 

But we sure had fun thinking big.

I can't wait to see it in person!

But I don't think it can possibly be more authentic...just like that Pontiac of old....unless I open it up, get in...and the radio is tuned to Kilgo's Korner....and there's a little sticker on the bottom right of the back this....

Now, about that "Walt"  name thing,  on the first day of our 5th grade, the teacher called the role and happened to call me by my first name, which is Walter. I corrected her later, but Don liked that name better than retaliation, I started calling him by the name of a cartoon character named "Rosco", 70 years later.....
Chieftain Hood Ornament

And speaking of names, Obwandiyag is the 
name of the Indian whose likeness rode on the hood of those Pontiac Chieftain's.

Oh, he also had a nickname;



Friday, October 23, 2015

Sad News for a "Joy Boy"

It never crossed my mind that I would be adding to our Prayer List 

so soon, but a dear friend of mine up here in the Washington area 
got this bad news only a couple of days ago:

"The latest news is not good.  The doctors have told Ed that the mass they discovered in his bladder is cancer and not operable."

Ed Walker is his name and those of you outside this part of the 

country probably don't know him, but he's very well known 
Ed Walker
here...rather famous in fact
having been in radio...maybe 
even longer than I was...65 or 
perhaps even 70 years.
A few years ago he was 
inducted into the RADIO 
HALL of FAME...along with 
his partner for  
many years, Willard Scott...of NBC Weatherman Fame. 

The two of them did a very popular local show up here in the

50's and 60's that local people still talk about!
They called themselves THE JOY BOYS....
and made up little skits, almost on the spot, four or five times a 
night on their 5 days a week un-rehearsed DJ show:

The Lone Arranger

Betty Crockett

If you have the time, (it's about 6 minutes long) I believe you'll enjoy 

this video of Ed and Willard's final JOY
BOYS show in 1972.  It's an inside look at a
local radio program in progress.


Joy Boys Final Show  (Click on LINK at right)
Video of Final Joy Boys show at WRC Radio, 

Washington, DC

Ed and Willard met in college and have been the closest of friends ever since.

Ed was born blind.and 
told me once that according to his Mother,
his first spoken word was......"Radio."

Pray real hard for him!


An Oldie, But Goody

From the "grooveyard" of past hits....Here is LDL 13.....(it's up to you to figure out what the date is that this video was math skills, which were never any good, have only gotten worse.)
However, not a day has gone by since 1954...when I needed to use algebra.

The only truly sad aspect of this happy past occasion is the fact that so many of our friends in this video are no longer with us.


P.S.    Math Wizzard Jerry G. got out his calculator and came up with the date that this LDL was recorded:

"LDL"13 was held on 10/13/09.-JG

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Prayer List

Bob Ellis mentioned something to me that I had completely forgotten about:  The prayer list!
It used to be a feature on our CHS54 website...and from all the reports I received, a very effective one.

Personally, I would never be mentioned in a conversation about good examples of organized religion followers, but Christian Spirituality has always been a part of my life.

Our small class produced  more than its share of very fine preachers, whose names I won't mention here because sure as I'm sitting here, I'll forget someone...and cuss at myself for days!

And that ain't very "spiritual."

I went on the Internet to look for some advice regarding the proper way to  post a prayer list online, but there was nothing very helpful there.  Most of it was about the different ways of praying....such as:

Never pray for justice, because you might get some.” 
― Margaret AtwoodCat's Eye

He who kneels the most, stands the best.” 
― D.L. Moody

The only difference between a wish and a prayer is that you're at the mercy of the universe for the first, and you've got some help with the second.”
Jodi PicoultSing You Home

I guarantee you that after you die you will not say 'I spent too much time praying; I wish I had watched more TV instead.”
Peter KreeftPrayer fThe power of prayer is miraculous!” 

Lord, Give me the strength not to bitch slap this woman.” 
― J.D. Robb, I'm just going to link to a page  simply called PRAYER LIST.  
To view the list, look on the top of the right hand side of this page, and click on PRAYER LIST.

Any names you want me to add....simply email

The Lord will take it from there.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fancy Meetng You Here

 By Mary Ran Norton Kratt
Mary and Diana
You would recognize Diana Carpenter White anywhere in the world on any street where you meet her.  

I recently met her in Greenville, S.C. where she came with another college classmate to hear Diana's college roommate read from her new novel, and for me to  read from my poetry book at a bookstore there.

It was fun as you can see.  This was just before the rains came to South Carolina.  CHS classmates go on and on!

You can contact them at:
Mary Ran Norton Kratt
Diana Carpenter White

Monday, October 19, 2015

Haven't We Met Before?

I'm Not sure exactly when the history of the Civil War captured my imagination, but I think it was  when I was 7 or 8 years old. 

My family was visiting my cousin Charles Mateer and my Aunt Kathryn when they were spending the summer with Uncle Harry whose company was building a facility for the government's war effort  in Beaufort, S.C.  (Pronounced opposed to Beaufort, N.C. (Pronounced BOW-fort).

Walking around, barefoot (as most all kids did back then in the summer time) I stepped on a "mnnie ball." 

From then on, I was hooked.

Manse Jolly
I've never tired of reading about it and was especially thrilled to discover early on that I had ancesters who fought in the war...especially Manse Jolly, who was somewhat "famous," or "notorious," depending on which side you were on.

Then when I discovered that my wife also had an ancester, Sidney Davis, who had fought for the OTHER side...and had even written a imagination has been in overdrive ever since.

Being a Southerner, my sympathies have always been on the side of my ancestors.  But after "meeting" (via his book) Sidney Davis...WELL.....

Anyway, it's a damm good thing they didn't happen to meet up on some battlefield, and start shooting at each other...and........

Or did they?

Sidney Davis devotes an entire chapter of his book to the
Sidney Davis
Battle of Brandy Station the largest Cavalry battle of the War. Manse and Sidney were both Cavalry officers, but on opposite sides, and both fought in that battle!

Small world, huh?

But of course there were thousands of men and horses that participated  so the odds against their actually shooting at each other  were still pretty great.

There were also some new things I learned about Manse that I didn't know:

The Confederate Military Records stated that:

 The company comander, Capt. Baker, wrote that Manse was 6 feet 4 inches tall, and that he had a ruddy complexion, blue eyes and red hair. 

In the heat and confusion of the battle , Davis writes that he found himself knocked off his horse and mingled briefly with a few Coufederate Calverymen also separated from their horses scrambling to return to their units.

In the confusion, Davis writes that he passed  

 "....a tall,  savage looking confederate, his long red hair and flaming whiskers, heavy eyebows, and muscular frame made up a formidable object, of which I should have felt shy...if alone."


Well, he sure fits that description, especially the "formidable object," part.

Nawwww, couldn't be. There were lots of Confederate Calvery soldiers....6'4"...with red hair........



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Stories Told on the Porch by my 170 Year Old Grandfather

Now that I have your attention.

This story was Inspired by Diana White's great post about listening to her 104 year old Uncle Bob spin tales on Summer evenings on their screen porch.

Admittedly, the headline may be a little misleading, but it's all true!


Except it's not about my grandfather, he didn't tell stories on the porch, and he wasn't 170 years old.

Sidney Davis was my wife's great, great, etc grandfather. I never heard him tell any stories, but he wrote a lot of them, all of which were about his adventures as a Cavalry man in the Yankee Army during the Civil War...which occurred 150 years ago at which time he was about 20 years old.
That's how I came up with the 170.

I've passed on several of his adventures before on this site, for example the time he was sent out to forage  for meat for some of his fellow soldiers.....

"By and by, I came upon a flock of sheep, to which I gave chase. I was rather fleet of foot and kept close to them and driving them into fence corners and over all sorts of obstructions.
Finally, one of them, made an effort to jump through a fence but became fastened, and I caught it.

Out came my knife and I felt for its throat; while thus engaged, however, I felt its heart beat wildly against my leg. “Poor old fellow,” thought I, “how hard it must be for even an animal to yield up its innocent life!”

I hesitated, I put down my hand and stroked its head; and then, returning my knife to my pocket, dismissed the sheep with my blessing."

The foraging expedition was a failure that night.

The last I saw of that sheep was after I had crossed the fence out of the field. I looked back after I had traveled about two rods, and there he was, mounted on his hind feet, and with his fore feet upon the upper rail, and his white head up in the air, and his eyes peering after me.

And then there was the time, after the battle of Gettysburg that he was captured prisoner by the Confederates and being driven by "car" (the train) to Belle Isle prison near Richmond.

The ride from Gordonsville to Richmond was devoid of interest. I remember that it grew dark soon after we left the former town, and that there seemed to be an endless monotony of pine forests and lonely fields.

But few words were spoken that night. I managed to secure a seat on the end of a car beside one of the guards...a tall, lean, lank man, forty-five or fifty years of age, with long reddish hair and whiskers...and as comfortable as circumstances would permit. 

About midnight I felt the guard lean heavily upon me, and from his hand slipped the dreaded musket.  As it fell I seized it, and thus prevented its loss. The man was sound asleep.

My first impulse, now that I had an enemy in my power, was to push him off suddenly between the cars, and have him crushed to death; but it occurred to me that such an act would simply constitute a cowardly murder; then the vision of a family in tears rose vividly before me.

I awakened him, gave him his gun, and cautioned him playfully as to his duty as a soldier.

He seemed very grateful, and said he was completely worn out from fatigue.  For a few moments he sat up, and then settled back again...sound asleep, and I once more caught the gun as it fell.

I allowed him to sleep until we reached Richmond, just before dawn, when I aroused him."

Sidney Davis was a good man that the Civil War caused some bad
Sidney Davis
things to happen to. He saw a lot of death and came close himself on a number of occasions.  Even the one time he was issued a two week "leave" and returned home for a short rest, was not without shock.

Davis was a Motherless child who lived with an "off and on" alcoholic father who worked for a man named Levi Bentley. They also lived on his property. Davis' childhood was pretty much normal for children of that era. In addition to the farm, Bentley owned a printing business at which both father and son worked. A Mrs. Samuel's worked as a housekeeper for Mr. Bentley and was like a "mother" to Sidney.

While relaxing on leave at his home, Davis accidentally discovered a document that he never knew existed;

 Allegheny city, September 20 1845

This article of agreement between Levi Bentley of Washington, County, State of Pennsylvania, of the one part, and Nancy Davis of Allegheny City of the other part witnesseth:

     That the said Nancy agrees to give her son Sidney to the said Levi Bentley to raise until he shall be fit to go for a trade. He also agrees to feed and clothe the boy during the above period.  Mr. Levi Bentley also agrees to give the mother Nancy Thirty-five dollars in cash this day, which she receipts for.  It is distinctly understood by the parties that the said Levi shall have the sole control of the boy, without the interference of his mother Nancy, in consideration of the above thirty five dollars.

He had been an "indentured servant!"

Davis writes only that in hindsight, his father never exercised any claim over him as a parent and "Levi spared my feelings in the matter, for I did not know of the existence of the document."

Davis Manuscript

Davis wrote his memories hoping to have them published and launch his career as a "writer."
Privately published book

But he had no luck.  Instead, his hand written manuscript traveled  unread,  from year to year in descendant's attics until my wife's uncle, John Davis read it....and published it.

Sales were mostly to family members...about half of whom took the trouble to read it, and the other half tucked it away in their attics.

Sorry Sid, but reading is not what many Americans do these days.

Plus, the current generation of youngsters consider the Civil War to be "old" news.  "Something that happened a long, long time ago....probably just after WW2."

It's "so...yesterday."


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Warren Sparrow's Weakly Reader

(Due to a technical problem at CHS54, the second edition of the Weakly Reader failed to  publish as scheduled yesterday (Columbus Day). The problem has been corrected and hopefully will not re-appear,  The entire staff and bored of directors apoligize to all our readers, as well as to Warren and, of course, Columbus. -Ed)

The Weakly Reader

Vol. I, No. 2

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
12 October 2015

Welcome to the second edition of The Weakly Reader, a publication dedicated to the enjoyment of all souls who spend too much time looking in their rear-view mirrors.  It is the mission of this publication to encourage its readers to keep their eyes on the road ahead and have a good time doing it.  Let us get started.  

There has always been something peculiar about our reaching out to those we knew long ago.  Why do we do this?  Perhaps an explanation can be found in the words of Ruben Navarrette whose op ed pieces appear in our local paper.  From the 21 September 2015 edition of the Winston-Salem Journal, here is part of what Navarrette wrote prior to his 30th high school reunion:       

Reuniting with those who knew us when

*          *          *          *

And in a special category all its own, we’ll have our friends from high school.

Think about your high school classmates.  Before we knew anything, were anything, or accomplished anything, these people accepted us as we were.  They wanted nothing from us, and we sought nothing from them. They were there before we got these scars, before life broke our hearts, before we misjudged people.  They were there before we lost parents, bought homes, had children, got fired, changed careers, switched cities, started businesses, overcame health problems, lost our faith and found it again.

We’ve chosen to come together, after all these years, not to show off but to show each other what we once meant to one another.  And still do.

And, through the wrinkles, extra pounds, thinning hair and gray whiskers, we know they’ll recognize us, look into our eyes, cup the back of our neck, kiss our cheek.  And welcome us home.

*          *          *          *

After the reunion Navarrette had this to say:

Recovering from my reunion

It’s been over a week since, in what seemed like a quick vacation to the past.  I traveled to my hometown to reconnect with high-school classmates 30 years after graduation.

And I still have a reunion hangover.  Here’s how I figure it:  Muscles get sore when strained, and our hearts are made of muscle.  As my friends and I tried in vain to squeeze three decades of old memories, regrets, special moments and words unspoken  into six hours of drinking, laughing and reminiscing, our hearts got a workout.  We’re recovering.

*          *          *          *

Today is Columbus Day.  No matter what some folks say about Columbus, I feel really good about Columbus.  I have the Greenland Grill juke box and Guy Mitchell to thank for it.  In fact I am down-right bubbly about Columbus.  Who could not be excited about Columbus, especially if you ever heard Guy’s fanciful and delightful “Christopher Columbus?”  Here is part of what I remember from AG days, maybe as far back as Dilworth School:

Queen Isabella, she gave heed
Said, “Go buy the ships you need.
Take my jewels but travel slow
Cause you might fall down to the world below!”

The crew was yelling, “Turn back home;
We ain’t ready for the Kingdom Come.
A Lookout hollered, “Land I see!
Why there’s the Statue of Liberty!”

All of the Indians come out then
To welcome Chris and the hungry men.
Step right up and have a little bite.
And, the Rotary meets on Monday night!

Chorus:  Oh, let me fly, fly, fly stormy waters.
              Let me walk on the bottom of the rolling sea.
              Let me run, run, run ‘round this great and fertile land
              Cause this world ain’t big enough for me.
There you have the gist of it.  Now you know why I love Columbus Day.  Thank you Greenland Grill and thank you Guy Mitchell

  •         *          *          *.

So ends the second issue of The Weakly Reader.  The publisher once again gratefully acknowledges the support of our sponsors, Ralston-Purina, the makers of Hot Ralston, “take a tip from Tom, go and tell your Mom, Hot Ralston can’t be beat;” and Oxydol, proud sponsor of Oxydol’s Own Ma Perkins. Thank you for listening.  I hope you have enjoyed today’s reunion.  

* * * *
The Weakly Reader
Warren Sparrow, Editor and Publisher
                                                  1117 West Fourth Street
                                                Winston-Salem, NC 27101
12 October 2015