Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Wilson Snell

Wilson Snell 1958
With sadness we learn of anoher of our classmates passing.  Wilson Snell passed away Wednesday, November 18th at Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg, VA.

Wilson Snell May 7, 1936 - November 18, 2015

Wilson M. Snell, 79, of Harrisonburg, passed away Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at Sentara RMH Medical Center.
Wilson was born in Charlotte, NC, on May 7, 1936, and was a son of the late Maude (Propst) and Wilson Cates Snell.
He retired from Dunham Bush in 2002 where he worked as a sales manager. He was a graduate of Belmont Abby College and had served in the National Guard during Vietnam.

On September 5, 1981, he was united in marriage to Pamela E. (Riefe) Snell, who survives.
Wilson is also survived by two daughters, Virginia Page Barth, Journie Cifelli and husband Rob; a son, Gordon Snell; three grandchildren, Jonathan Morgan Barth, Christopher and Anna Cates Cifelli.
A memorial service will be conducted 2PM Saturday, November 21, 2015 at Johnson Funeral Service in Bridgewater, with Pastor Tom Holden officiating. The family will receive friends following the service at the family home.

In lieu of flowers please donate to a charity of choice.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.johnsonfs.com.

Condolences may be made to his widow:
Mrs. Pamela Snell
1371 South Dogwood Dr.
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

By Ed Myers

Wilson's Boyhood Home
"get off and on" point for hobos visiting Charlotte because the trains regularly stopped there for whatever reason. It was a great spot for little boys to get a close up look at trains.

I use that word, "Study" very loosely. I've written here before how we "studied."  We spent all afternoon one day trying to discover the meaning of  "reasonable facsimile," so we could make a couple of a Ralston Cereal Box Tops to send in for a TOM MIX decoder ring. It took the entire afternoon, but I guess we finally made one or two, because a few weeks later we received the rings.

We both agreed to tally that up to 3 hours of "study." 

Wilson was always to first to be picked for our sandlot football games because he was the biggest kid in our neighborhood.  He was also chosen as our gang's boxing champion. I think he won most of his matches, but he would have won them all if we had been able to ever get him "mad" at his opponent.

But he never did.  I don't remember his ever "getting mad" at anyone.

By the time we got to Central, most of "our gang" had caught up, size wise, with Wilson so you probably don't remember him as being particularly "big."

But those of us who knew him well also knew of his "big heart."

Rest in Peace, Wilson.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Freedom Breakfast

By Obie Oakley

At the 20th annual Carolinas Freedom Foundation’s Freedom Breakfast, the
organization paid special tribute to the veterans of the Vietnam Era.  In partnership with
the Department of Defense, a ceremony was conducted over the Veterans Day weekend to present 50th Vietnam Anniversary Commemorative lapel pins to
those who served in
the military on active duty during that decade and to receive a heartfelt “Thank You”
from a grateful Nation.

The event was attended by over 500 community leaders and
elected officials from the Charlotte Area including NC Governor Pat McCrory.

Obie Oakley
The DoD realized that these men and women were never accorded the proper respect for their service to the Nation.  In fact, they were reviled and sometimes ridiculed but certainly never received the welcome home they so richly deserved.  To help make amends for this lack of sensitivity, a program was established to form partnerships throughout the country to extend this long overdue recognition.

As the Executive Director, Osborne (Obie) Oakley called to all in audience to all
who served in the military between 1955 and 1975 to come up to be recognized.  To the
amazement of everyone, over 70 veterans walked forward and filled not only the area in
front of the stage but the stage itself.  Foundation board members walked among those assembled to make individual presentations.

Oakley then extended on behalf of a grateful Nation its sincere
Gov. McCrory and Obie
Thank You.

Needless to say, it was an emotional moment that came 50 years later than it should


And a big salute from CHS54 goes out to Obie for all the work he does for our men in uniform!
Obie said that the Freedom Breakfast was not the only event in a very emotonal morning.....

"... we also honored an 8 year old kid from Ohio who found $20 in a Cracker Barrel parking lot and gave it away to a man in uniform to help other Gold Star kids.  The story went viral (Steve Hartman CBS on the road) and resulted in the collecting of over $250,000.  We also honored the local chapter of Purple Heart veterans.. Downside of the weekend...had to cancel the Salute to Veterans Parade.  Very heavy rains.  Too bad for we always have around 2,000 marchers participating."


Friday, November 20, 2015

A Thanksgiving Remembrance

By Maxcyne Mott Yaworsky

     Every year, as Thanksgiving approaches, and I am happily preparing for the celebration that I will share with my children and grandchildren, the memory returns to me of the first Thanksgiving that I celebrated in Canada as a young bride. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving the first Monday of October, and it was the first year of my marriage to Ray.

     We arrived early at Ray's parents' home in Windsor Ontario, for the dinner that was to be served at two o'clock. We whiled away the time, sitting on the sofa in the living room, perusing some family photo albums.The doorbell rang. Tato  (Ukrainian word for father) appeared, neatly dressed in white dress shirt, dress trousers, a customary bow tie at his throat, to answer the door.  His voice rose in cheerful greetings and he reappeared in the far end of the living room, escorting a smallish, darkly dressed and slightly bent figure of a man who immedately settled himself in a straight backed chair in the far corner.  There being no other seating close by, Tato  remained standing, and began to slowly pace back and forth, his hands clasped behind his back, all the while maintaining a steady conversation, The man seated in the chair made no audible responses, and I realized with some amusement, that my father- in- law was answering his own questions of polite inquiry. After several stretches  of silence, Tato  stepped to the entrance of the dining room and I heard him call " Kazha, Kazha, proshue wodka!" He resumed his pacing and one- sided conversation.

The Elder Yaworskys
     Moments later my mother- in- law appeared, her five foot, two hundred pound body drawn up in its most regal bearing. She presented two small glasses of vodka  upon a silver tray to her husband and their guest..There ensued slight bows among the three as the gentlemen quaffed their drinks of vodka and  Mama murmured soft words of greetings in Ukrainian. Our mystery guest then reached into the pocket of his coat and withdrew an object which he presented to Mama. I watched in wonder as she raised it to the light above, turned it this way and that, examining it as if she were examining each facet of a precious jewel. She "cooed" small exclamations of surprise and appreciation. The gift that she held in her hand was a pear!  A single perfect golden ripe pear! I sat in mute curiosity, absorbing the unusual scene before me. Soon the quiet dark figure departed as suddenly as he had appeared, Mama  returned to her kitchen, and Tato resumed his pacing.

     Ray's three sisters, dressed in Sunday best, descended the stairs from above, noisily chattering among themselves.  Brother Walter arrived to complete our gathering.  We entered the dining room to be greeted by the sight of an overburdened table, covered with platters of turkey, pyrohy (potato filled dumplings), holubtsi (stuffed cabbage rolls), homemade bread, pickles, beets, an endless array of Mama's special offerings. A feast fit for a king!  With prayers of Thanksgiving having been said, blessings bestowed upon the meal performed, I raised my head to survey the bounty before me.  There among the dishes filled to overflowing, my eyes lit upon a small silver tray, upon which sat a single, ripe, golden pear!

     Surrounded by the cheerful voices of my new family, a silence filled my heart as I realized how precious was the moment I had witnessed the gift so humbly given, so  graciously received.

I received the greatest gift. A never to be forgotten Thanksgiving.


May your Thanksgiving be one to remember May the coming holidays be filled with great blessings.

Beautiful!  Thanks Maxcyne!  -Ed


With so much bad news in the world this week...

This "Good News" email from Don and Letty Nance was very welcome !

 On Sunday, November 15th I had the honor of baptizing my grandson, Tristan Alexander Allbright at First Presbyterian Church , Burlington, N.C. Meet the Nance family from left to right: Letty, Don, Roth with Tristan, Emily ( Nathan’s wife) Nathan, Sam, Stefanie, Tommy, Ronda, Donnie, Charlotte, Patrick, Asher, and Jackson. Kim (Patrick’s wife ) is not in the picture.  -Don

I'd love to post more Wildcat snapshots...to brighten up these dark days of November. So make this old webmaster happy, happy....And as we used to say in radio.....send them in.......DO IT TODAY!  Or tomorrow.



Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday Morning Smile

A Nice way to start a Monday morning.
This is from a Chinese TV show....the kids are 10 and 7 years old.



Sunday, November 08, 2015

November's LDL TODAY!

"The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold...."

This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmie's" Restaurant in Mint Hill.
We're sending you this personal invitation to join in.  We'd like to see you.  Help us spread the word! Invite other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! Just be sure YOU COME!              

-Jerry G.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Warren Sparrow's WEAKLY READER #3

                      The Weakly Reader

Vol. I, No. 3
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
2 November 2015

Welcome to the third 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.  Each of us has experienced a “defining moment.”  The following story is about one of them.

                                           Blue Skies

USS Wasp
Five years after my Darlington adventure, I was enjoying a “new life.”  On a perfect August afternoon in 1959 I was relaxing in the officers’ dining room (wardroom) of the aircraft carrier Wasp as she sailed in a calm ocean 200 miles off the New England coast.  I was 23, happily away from the anxieties caused by my spotty academic performance during my four years at Duke.  What could be finer than sipping coffee from a China cup perched on a China 

saucer?  The dark clouds of recurring hydraulics tests were gone for good.  There was “nothing but blue skies from now on."

In a flash everything changed.  I was talking with one of the officers on the admiral’s staff when we heard an unusual noise, a fairly loud, short  whir followed by a sharp bang.  Within a few seconds we heard the ship-wide announcement:  “Fire! Fire in Hanger Bay One.”  

At first we were not concerned.  Fires aboard ship while not routine do happen from time to time.  We kept sipping.  The fire was not our problem.  Neither of us was assigned a damage-control station.  Our duty was simple:  Stay out of the way.  

Mind you the wardroom was a fairly plush place.  In those days it was one of the few air-conditioned spaces on the ship.  The long tables were covered with white linen.  The China was 

fancy.  So was the silver.  It was a sanctuary for the ship’s officers.  The wardroom was directly below Hanger Bay One.

                                           Big Trouble

The first sign of big trouble came when one of the wardroom doors
Fire on USS WASP  August 1959

opened and several dungaree-clad sailors rushed from one side of the room and out another.  A thin cloud of smoke came through the door.   I recognized those men.  They worked for me.  If they were trying to get away from something, it was time for me to do the same.  So I left the wardroom and headed toward the rear of the ship, trying to put as much space as possible between me and the smoke.  

Back I went, stepping through many hatches until I felt comfortable about going up to the flight deck.  I climbed the ladders (stairs) and made it “topside” near the rear of the ship.  Arriving on the flight deck I looked forward and saw black smoke billowing from both sides of the ship.  Sailors were running toward the front of the ship.  A few staggered toward me, their eyes red and their faces black.

Looking toward the bow of the ship I could see two of our escort destroyers, one on each side of the Wasp. acting as fire-boats pumping water at Hanger Bay One.  These two ships were 
at great risk, especially the one on the port (left) side.  This destroyer was so close to the Wasp that the aircraft carrier’s protruding angle deck would have crushed the smaller ship had either the Wasp sped up or had the destroyer  slowed down.  

                                      No Chance

This  was one of the Navy’s “finest hours” though I did not realize it until later.  The fire began when the helicopter squadron maintenance officer  started the engine on one of the helicopters during a routine check in Hanger Bay One.  The “whir” we heard in the wardroom was the engine over-speeding (the rotor blades were not engaged) .  The “bang” was the explosion of the engine.  The maintenance officer who was at the controls was killed and so was 
a sailor who was holding a fire extinguisher at the front of the helicopter.  The start-up routine always required that there be someone with a fire extinguisher in a position to put out any engine fire.  In this instance the engine immediately exploded.  The safety man had no chance.    

When the engine exploded the helicopter caught fire.  In 1959 helicopters were made of magnesium.    For those of you who are familiar with magnesium fires you know they are extremely hot and aggressive.  Water will not put out a magnesium fire.  Magnesium tends to burn brighter when doused with water.  

The men who fought the fire in Hanger Bay One used everything at hand, including the ship’s sprinkler system to fight the fire.  The best weapon was foam, not water.  Water would cool the surrounding area but it would not put out a magnesium fire.

                                 Fire Spreading

In a matter of minutes Hanger Bay One was an inferno, the fire spreading across the oil slick deck from one helicopter to another.  Undaunted, the Wasp crew kept fighting.  There were other dangers, too.  First, the ship’s aviation fuel was dispensed from a station in Hanger Bay One.  Wasp carried a quarter-million gallons everywhere she went.  Second, there were many, many tons of explosives stored below decks.  

Understanding the seriousness of the situation, I looked over the side of the ship and reminded myself it was 50 feet from the flight deck to the water.  The ocean was calm and the there were ships around us.  If worse came to worst, I could jump.  The water would not be too cold.  It would not take long to be rescued.  

                                    Bathrobe and Pajamas

Smoke continued to pour from both sides of the forward section of the Wasp.  The smoke had lessened a bit as I watched from the relative safety of the rear of the flight deck.   The two destroyers maintained their stations and kept pouring water onto the Wasp.  In about an hour the fire was under control.  The following morning we pulled into Quonset Point, Rhode Island, where we off-loaded our most sensitive weapons.  I remember the officer whose duty it was to oversee such things.  He was wearing a bathrobe and pajamas.  

Fire under control
Later we learned that more than 20 men had been burned fighting the fire.  The only two fatalities were those killed as a result of the initial explosion.  In a scene reminiscent of World War II,  the Wasp crew pushed seven burned-out helicopters over the side.  Hanger Bay One was a wreck but its armored deck was undamaged.  It had done what it was designed to do:  Save the ship from catastrophic damage.  The aviation gasoline did not ignite.  The system’s lines were purged appropriately, another lesson learned from World War II.  The damage was confined to Hanger Bay One and a few spaces surrounding it.  

It may be said that August 18, 1959 was one of the most significant days of my life.  It was on that day that I learned the importance of team work, the importance of pulling together, even though I was not truly part of the “team.”  That day marked the end of segregation as I had lived it during my first 23 years.   

* * * *

The Weakly Reader

Warren Sparrow, Editor and Publisher

1117 West Fourth Street

Winston-Salem, NC 27101