Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Writing on the Screen

I believe that there are "clues" along the way in this earthly journey as to who, or what, the future may hold for us.

There is nothing original about that statement, but my lunch the other day with an old friend and colleague reminded me of that.

I knew his name long before I knew him because during the 1950s, my Sunday afternoons in the Fall were largely taken up by Washington Redskin football on TV.  And at the end of each game, there was a credit slide that read, PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY JIM SILMAN.

I believe the word "Invented" or something like that should have been in there somewhere, because at that time there were no guidelines or standards regarding how football games should be "covered" on TV.  Silman was one of those TV Directors "creating the they did it."

Those Redskin's broadcasts were the first ever  professional football games broadcast on a regular basis. And, as often happens, the "pioneer's" efforts are often never surpassed.

Fast forward about 10 years to my home in Charlotte where I had just returned from a week's vacation from my job at WSOC-TV, much of which I had spent "auditioning" at a couple of  TV stations hoping for a career move to a larger market. The phone rang 
around 10 o'clock that beautiful morning in May....and it was long distance...from Washington

My life was about to change forever.

The voice at the other end explained that he was a Vice President of one of the stations for which I had just "auditioned,' Channel 9 (WTOP_TV) and  that he was offering me a full time announcer's job beginning as soon as I could move up to the Washington area.

I was in Heaven!  It had been my ambition to work at that specific station since my high school days!  The station I had visited while on tour of Washington in 1954 as a wide eyed senior at old CHS.

"And what is your name again?"

"Jim Silman," he replied.

That was the beginning of my 10 year career as an announcer/personality at the CBS outlet in Washington working closely with Jim.  Those years were the highlight of my broadcasting career.  Jim introduced me to his boss, who was a man named George Hartford who had a daughter who later became the love of my life, as my wife and Mother of our three children.

Silman and my careers at WTOP-TV ended about the same time 10 years later when the station completely changed management and its focus. and shortly thereafter, their Call Letters.  We both went in different directions, but to this day stay in touch and remain friends.

Good Friends.  the best kind...Old Ones.


Ilinda                                     Jim Silman.                                     Ed

Monday, April 24, 2017

UP Date from Ellouise

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Ellouise and her 1929 Flag
 - - these days my head is in the days of World War One.  The story I am telling most is about World WarOne. I especially love the story of the John Hopkins nurses and its a good thing because others love it too and they are scheduling it. I have entered the Capital Fringe again this year -- with a few  surprises - 7 performances  - - -  in a nice theater at Gallaudet University which requires that all the performances have an ASL signer. The good thing is that the 7 are all scheduled while it is still light outside.

In November I will be telling the story of the Hopkins nurses in Anderson, SC.
One of the Hopkins nurses is from Anderson. Two years ago when I was telling at a festival there I went to her grave and was sad to see that there was nothing on her foot stone to identify her as a WWI Veteran ( they all are - because they were all Army nurses) - so when they asked me to come back I told the Library about this. They too felt something had to be done and they have added a ceremony involving the American Legion to place a marker at her grave. I am sure I will cry,

One bit of Charlotte WWI trivia - John Walter Cobb, Charlotte native and my grand-uncle - is buried in France. He died 6 days before the Armistice - Spanish Flu swept through - anyway - last week, my cousin sent me a terrific surprise. 
Displaying Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 8.25.33 AM.pngCleaning out old boxes of his mother's - he found a silk flag and a medal given to her grandmother (our great grandmother) when she went to France as a Gold Star Pilgrim in 1929 - to visit Walter's grave. In his note he said, "There must be a story in these."
There is. Inspired by my aunt Catherine 20 years ago, John Walter is the reason I began checking out WWI in the first place. Now I am back to him. I keep saying I am going to visit his grave - I hope I do.

Love to you all. 


Nukes, Mickey Mouse Condoms and Elvis!

By Obie Oakley

Recently I was invited to be the guest speaker at a Military Ball celebrating the Centennial Anniversary of my former Army unit, the 23rd Engineer Regiment. Held in Tacoma, WA with 475 current members and their spouses attending, this formal event capped off two days commemorating our heritage.
23d History 2017 Speaker Photo.jpg
Captain US ARMY Obie Oakley

One of my challenges was to deliver a speech holding the interest of an audience one-half my age. Here is some of my thinking.
I realize that this is hardly on a par with giving the commencement address at a major university, however, coupled with other events during the visit, I think it might be something of interest to the class.

What a pleasure it was to spend the day with our young warriors who, for my take, are better trained, smarter and more fit than my generation 58 years ago. Starting at 5:30 am I was on the ground watching their physical training competition finals in the ever-
present Northwest rain. After breakfast, including grits, they opened the motor pool and had crews on station to brief me on the capabilities of all the new equipment that was so strange to me. Where I could, I thanked each one of them for their service, most of them had at least one deployment.

As for my speech, as stated, one of my challenges was to bridge the span of time, pun intended after all it is an Engineer unit, and deliver a speech holding the attention of an audience at least forty years younger..
After the platitudes, I chose to give a brief 100-year history which I called, 101. It is our DNA, our heritage.

Following that, I related several training exercises which were significant. For example, there was my 2:00 am failed mission during an 8-day cold weather exercise and gave my “lessons learned”, including dealing with adversity. They were intrigued to learn of an accident involving an overcharged artillery round
that killed 17 soldiers, which still ranks as the worst in US military history.

Perhaps the most rewarding training we did each year was to bridge across the Main River in a single night and watch those 60 ton tanks come out of the mist and rumble across what we had constructed.
Without a doubt however, three personal experiences generated the most interest:

In 1960, the Soviets shot down one of our U-2 spy planes which resulted in worldwide tension. All our forces were on the highest level of alert. As the special weapons officer, I led a team that was dispatched to pick up a live nuclear device and proceed to the Fulda Tunnel and if necessary, destroy it. Our Infantry Company escort set up a perimeter and no one came or went for 3 days. It is my understanding that this was the only such deployment with a live device in the Army’s history.

The next occurred during a Saturday morning barracks inspection. As I looked into Pvt. Bannon’s locker, there on the shelf was something I could not identify. When I asked him about it, he cautioned, “Please don’t touch it Sir, that is my special condom with Mickey Mouse ears”! He needn’t worry, I wasn’t about to touch it. I think that was when this na├»ve 2nd Lt. lost some of his innocence.

The story that never seems to grow old is my encounter with Elvis Presley which occurred during a tank convoy movement up the Autobahn. There was a scout directing us into a refueling area and I mentioned to my driver, “I think that is Elvis”. He agreed. One
thing I noticed was that he was wearing a different cap than the one prescribed. Later as I was having dinner with his battalion commander, I mentioned my disappointment and commented that he must think he’s better than the rest of us. Lt. Col. Deams, assured me that Elvis was an excellent soldier, one of his best and the reason his hat was different was because the local girls followed him around and had stolen it. He made do the best he could.

All in all, it was an awesome experience and made me prouder than ever of those young men and women who defend our freedom.
In a follow-up note, the current commander said, “Thanks for coming. I think the Soldiers loved your remarks. Nukes, Mickey Mouse condoms and Elvis”! Hence the title.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The LIst

By Jerry Gaudet

At "LDL" today, we recognized classmates who have recently passed away.  This led to some conversation about others who have passed, totaling 112.  Here is the list:

FirstName MiddleName LastName Married Remarks
James Kenneth Allison
Judith Ann Anderson Fainberg Died 11/17/14, suffered Rheumatoid Arthritis, sister Jane Anderson,per Peggy Bedsol Gandy
Nancy Ann Aughtry Kinley Died 11/12/07 (cancer?)
John Earl Ballard John died 7/4/09, Melanoma
Bobby Wallace Benton Died 4/19/2014.
Charles Leroy Berry Died 2/26/04.
Paul Everette Biles died about 1998 of IUP (a lung disease) according to daughter, Tina Ayers, 
James Leroy Boone Murdered in a housebreaking robbery, per John Ballard.
Elizabeth Lee Bowers Shue Died 7/6/16 while in rehab following open heart surgery, 4 bipasses & valve
Mary Carolyn Brakefield Pinner Died 8/31/08 of pancreatic cancer. Peggy Phipps had contact.
Ben Joseph Broadway Died 2/17/09 of complications from COPD.
James Edward Brown Died 10/11/15, pneumonia in additional to other health matters
Mary Glenn Bunn James Died 4/24/1313.
Alma Leona Burton Stevenson Cancer
Frank Busby
Carolyn Webb Byrum Nisbet Died 2/16/08, from broad complications of diabetis.
William Lee Cahoon
Maxine Henriette Carpenter Morrow Died 1/7/99, according to Shirlene
William Ray Carriker Died 2/9/13
Dale Hilliard Cato Boschetti Died in summer of 1995, recurrance of breast cancer.  
Donald Bundy Cooke Carolyn Keziah Hudspeth thinks killed in auto accident in FL.
John Wayne Crockett
Joan Marlene Dalton Garrick Died 5/27/06.
Nancy Louise Davis Nixon Died in 1997 +-, per Anna Lynn Kearse.
Margaret Anne Disher Price
Gordon Luther Edwards
Thomas Lee Ferriot Died 11/10/96
Charles John Fodel
Millie Eloise Fogle Stanton Died 9/29/10, Periteneal cancer
Ronald Edward Foster Died 1/27/96.
Linda Gayle Garmon Huggins
Nancy Lee Gibson Tomlinson Died 4/2/10, cancer & COPD, Married Howard Tomlinson 2/26/05
Jack Nance Gillis
Dennis Leon Gregg Died July 6, 2012 after long decline from Alzheimer's
Robert Love Gregory Jim Cook understands he took his own life.
James Conrad Grimes
Glenna Jean Grogg Crawford Cancer
Charlotte Hardee Bethea Died 10/24/09, presumed cancer
Ralph Lee Harkey
Grady Mack Harmon
Donald Thomas Harris Died 2/7/08 of damaging effects of diabetes. 
Thelma Jacqueline Hart Lookabill Died 8/23/16 in an auto crash
Wayne Frances Hart Moore
Raymond Thomas Hasty Died 2/21/05.
Ann Ruth Henson Boyd
Norman Jay Hexamer Died in December, 1959.  (per Herb Mckinnell, Bob Dodge)
William Martin Hill Died 3/24/17, after long battle from a stroke
John Hondros Died 5/8/03, according to Mary Renfrow.
Frederick Earl Howard Died 11/21/89
William Marion Huntley Died 5/4/05, heart attack
Wade Hampton Ison
Frederick O'Neil Jones Died 6/4/16, pancreatic cancer, Mrs Holly Jones, 322 Westover Drive, Asheville, NC 28801
Harry Motte Joyner
Carolyn Cline Keziah Hudspeth Died 8/24/15, long illness of rare blood disease
Edwin Whitson King
Joel Lemuel Kirkley
Dorothy Anne Kirkpatrick Smarr Died 12/30/08.
Mary Lee Smith Kiser Ellen Abernethy Bates says she died sometime in the 1956-58 from lymphatic cancer.
Derek V. Knell Died 10/23/03, following heart attack.
Jerry Vincent Ledwell Died 7/12/03, heart attack.
Nellie Leventis Boudoucies Died 10/30/10.
Doy Kenneth Lim, aka Arthur Lin Died 7/2/16, think of cancer
Ronald Richard Little SSDI Index search suggests that he passed 7/22/1997
Ewell C. Madden Died 6/20/03.
Margaret Ellen Malone Broome Died 8/16/16, cancer
Charles Harry Mateer Shot down while flying a helicoptor mission in Laos on May 29, 1961
Benjamin Marvin Matthews Died 3/8/10.
Barbara Ann McCall McCall Bob Ellis thinks Barbara Ann McCall passed on 1-24-13
Winifred Churchwell McCall Died in 1984.
Shirley McClanahan Maynor Died 9/26/10, cancer spread to brain
Anna Shirlene McGill Yeargins Died 12/27/12, recurring cancer
Julia Margaret Miller Ellen Abernethy Bates says died from cerebral hemorage within a couple of years of our graduation.
Bradford Donald Mills Died 9/23/00, cancer
Carolyn Stieger Minogue Meacham Died 9/20/06
Sharlene Elizabeth Morris Lightfoot Died 9/30/05, suicide, according to Jane Hoke Bultman & Judy Anderson Fainberg.
Samuel Ernest Phipps Died on 1/15/04, following a massive stroke.
Frances Irene Plyler Best Died 10/11/10.
Ricky James Pope Died 2/29/08, brain cancer
Nancy Kathleen Poplin Died 4/25/16
Frances Eloise Pounds Brooks Ellen Abernethy Bates thinks she passed 9/23/86.
Charles Douglas Presson Died 1/1/08 of pancreatic cancer.
Larry Ray Price Died 10/17/06, Alzheimer's.
George Daniel Randle, III
Harold Foster Reames Died in explosion & fire in his paint store.
Sylvia Ann Reese Plyler Died 12/7/15
Calix Lee Reneau passed away peacefully at his home June 20, 2011
Daniel Snowhill Richards 7/29/06, Bonson & Ann think Dan passed about 10 years ago.
Joseph Edward Riggs
Grace Eugenie Robertson McLendon
Lewis Earl Robinson Willis Rimmer reported Lewis died 5/28+-.
Nancy Donave Ross Stegall Died 3/6/13, Heart valve, Pronounced "Donna-vie"
Larry Fred Russell Died 6/24/03, cancer
Annie Jean Saxon Saxon Died of cancer.
Nancy Sue Scott Wilson Daughter called 9/6/03, Nancy passed away in 2001.
Ernest Lee Shaver Died 4/12/13, See Hilda Beckham Shaver for contact information.
Bobby Russell Small Died 11/17/02, kidney failure following transplant.
Wilson Maurice Snell Died 11/18/15.  Suffered parkensins
Guy Vasser Soule Died 10/16/06, of congestive heart failure.
George W. Spittle
Richard Meredith Stowe Died 1/4/16, liver, heart diabetis problems, Janice McRorie 704/564-7417
Margaret Ellen Strawn Bryan Died in 1975.
John Orville Summey Died 12/28/13
Patsy Ann Sustar McSwain Died 3/29/17 after a very long illness
Susie Juanita Swindler
Carolyn Wayne Taylor Richards
John Anthony Thomas Died 4/20/2012 of multiple health issues
Charles Threatt Died 4/4/16.  Betty Shue informed me
Robert Lee Tribble III passed away 07 DEC 2007.  Frank Clontz informed us.
Wade Edward Turner apparently died 7/6/10
Jerry N. Walker Died 1/24/00.
Donna Lee Waltz Beard died 4/9/12.
Betty Lee Wells Poplin Died in 10/18/04. per her daughter Marsha Brackett, 704/545-5083, son Marshall Poplin, 704/545-8266.

Should any of you have additional information about any of these above, or any overlooked, please share with me.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wow! And...we're still here!

Image result for great depressionWhat a ride!

It began like a cheap novel. "It was a dark and gloomy night." When our journey began, and the odds that it would be a long trip were not in our favor. The great depression was still in full swing...with no end in sight. Life expectancy was 56.

.Imminent disaster was never very far away ; war, disease,...In 1936 as many as 4,500 children died under the age of one, while in 2010 the figure was only 138. 

Our surviving, and our parents winning WW2 was very much in doubt in 1941 and 42.

Polio had killed thousands of children in the 50's.....The Leading cause of death in 1936 was the flu....which killed thousands more.

According to statistics we octogenarians have about 9 years left. In football's "fourth and nine." That's like the time it took to go from the first grade to the 9th grade...that's a pretty long time.

Chances of our making any long term contributions to the human race in that time are pretty slim. Hell, our making any great contribution during our lifetimes were never very great. So relax, chill spite of our unrealistic ambitions of youth...., we were just pretty much average Americans...all along.

And what a great blessing that was!

Enjoy the rest of the game.


Thursday, April 06, 2017

April LDL Tuesday

According to computer calculations...scholars, who study such things have concluded that the most "boring day of the year"  (any year) is April 11th.

Apparently, no one has ever been able to discover anything significant, or noteworthy, that ever happened on that day in history.

That may change next Tuesday at 11:30 am when this month's LDL (Let's Do Lunch) commences at Jimmies of Mint Hill!  That's when the seasoned Wildcats begin storming in....napkins around their necks....sparks flying from the knives and forks in their hands....chanting "When do we eat!, When do we eat!"

Make sure you're part of this happy bunch!

This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmies" Restaurant in Mint Hill.
You're invited to join in.  Help us spread the word! Invite other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! Just be sure YOU, come!

Be a part of history...Don't be late!


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Road to Sucess

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Left to right:  Nancy Grayson of Montreal, Warren Sparrow of Winston Salem, and Mary Sandra (Schulken) Costner of Forest 
City, NC.

This photo of three "Dilworth, AG, Central  1954 Grads is a
 prime example of the quality products being produced by those

They're not making them like they used to anymore!

(Photo taken at Mary Sandra's home.)