Thursday, January 31, 2008

Reunion Scorecard: 166 Found!

Larry Britner reports in his round-robin email that Lyda Graser has just found Elizabeth Townsend, who is living in St. Petersburg.

So far, 166 of our approximate 285-member senior class have been found. There are 75 still out there, unidentified as to place or status.

Unfortunately, Sue Bagg-Foreman reports that Ed Mihalak is deceased.

Thanks to all of you who have taken on this "mission" to find your classmates. (I can testify: I was a product of a phone call from Sue Bagg-Foreman who found my phone number on Google!)

Want to Cheer a Classmate?

Barbara Menees-Pratt is rehabbing from a heart ailment in The Abbey Rehabilitation Center in St. Petersburg. You can reach her by calling (727)527-9004. (It's her home phone, but it rings in her room at The Abbey.) Her daughter Sheila's phone is 813-954-6227. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The area code is my guess because I believe that 954 is a Tampa exchange. If any of you discover something otherwise, please leave a comment on the blog.)

Barbara has three children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She has been at The Abbey for over three months, so a card sent to her at 500 75th Avenue N., Apt. 7 in St. Petersburg or a call would mean a lot.

She Learned to Talk 'Southern'

Jean Robertson-Champ writes to us from Roswell, GA, where she is vice president of a life insurance company. Her travels have taken her to London, South America, Italy, Austria, Monaco, Ireland, Hawaii. (And some people in St. Petersburg have trouble driving across a bridge to Tampa because it's too far!)

She still returns to Madeira Beach every year to spend a week in a condo around July 4. "Once you leave the beach, you want the beach," she says.

What she remembers most about her years at NEHS was trying to lose her Massachusetts accent and the many classmates who helped her to "talk Southern". She has great memories of her days on the swimming team. Among her favorite teachers were Mr. Ritter from DCT (Diversified Cooperative Training), Ms Cheesmond and reading Shakespeare's "MacBeth", and Mr. Ritter in Social Studies, who taught her about a guy named Castro, who had just taken power from a guy named Batista.

Her three proudest achievements are her three children.

Jim Willson Is FOUND!

This time it's Ralph Ames who wins the Blue Ribbon-I-Found-a-Classmate Award for bringing Jim Willson to us. Jim and his wife (Linda Matthews, SPHS) live in Fairhope, AL. Health issues may keep Jim from being with us for the Reunion, but you can brighten his day with emails sent to Phone number is 201-929-3565.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rose Marie Cruz--E-I-E-I-O

The sleek and elegant creatures you see here are two goats who live at Rose Marie Cruz-Martin's Legend Farms in Bushnell, FL. You may remember Rose Marie for, among other things, being a star baton twirler at Northeast High. But before she and husband Ed Martin settled down in Bushnell to be "stewards of the Earth and goat shepherds", our classmate accumulated one achievement after another.

Here are some sample details: Owned "Twirlin' Spot Baton Academy" (for baton twirling instruction) in Florida and Texas for 15 years. Her students were state and national champions. She was featured in the National "Who's Who in Baton Twirling" for 8 years.

She started the Farm Tour Program, Equine Management and Caprine Management curriculum at Seminole Vo-Ed Center in Seminole, FL, where she taught for 8 years.

She was a 4-H organizational leader for 40+ years in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. She co-owned Ed Martin Plumbing Company in Pinellas Park and Largo for 35 years. She also owned Park Feed Store in Pinellas Park for 21 years. She was executive director of Pinellas County Fair, 1983-1986.

Three achievements she's proud of: Named "St. Petersburg's First Lady of Baton Twirling" by the Festival of States Committee. First elected woman president of the Pinellas Park Chamber of Commerce. Soroptimist "Woman of the Year".

Her memories of years at Northeast High include participating in the band, majorettes, working on the Viking Log yearbook, hot rods and motorcycles and "all the cool friends that I spent hours with on the weekends at the 28th Street Drive-In." Her favorite teachers were Band Director Eugene Beeman, and Coach Crum.

She and her husband have been parents to two sons and a daughter. They have two granddaughters.

If you see Rose Marie at the Reunion and you ask her, "So what have you done with yourself?" take a chair and prepare for a lot of details. She's done it all.

Pat Gant is FOUND!

Ann Leedy-Bartlett gets the blue ribbon for finding Pat Gant. Pat has been living in Indiana for the past 30 years. Ann tracked her through Pat's sister "Jo" Phyllis Gant-Kolblaz who graduated from NEHS in 1960.

Here are some update details on Pat Gant: Her name now is Patricia Diane Gant-Miller. She writes a column for a local newspaper and worked in a local shoe factory for 25 years. She attended Ivey Tech for an accounting degree. She lives in Vevay, IN.

Her parents bought property in Indiana for their retirement, but her dad died before he could retire. So Pat bought the property and moved to Indiana. The house on the property burned down in 1978, and Pat escaped with a nightgown, sheet, and son Frank. She survived cancer in 1977.

She created a cake decorating and baking business called Patricia's Pastries.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Carolyn Gramling-McAleese--Busy and Creative

For the past three years I have been teaching an English class at night, once a week in Hollywood, FL--and I just found out that Carolyn Gramling McAleese lives only five minutes from my classroom!

We got together tonight (Jan. 28) and any sense of a 50-year separation just melted away. Here's what she's up to these days:

A registered nurse, she teaches childbirth classes two days a week at a nearby hospital. Once a month she teaches a 9 am to 5 pm class in childbirth for those moms who want to get the training all at once and not in weekly doses. (She calls it a "Childbirth Marathon".) She also serves as a grief counselor for moms whose babies died or who had miscarriages.

She and her husband George do a lot of work with the homeless, cooking, fundraising for their needs, etc. George owns a company in Hialeah that manufactures padding for furniture.

Carolyn is president of the women's guild at her Episcopal church and chairs a monthly book discussion that draws women from all over town. The group invites speakers to share information with them on the needs of women in other cultures. This month's subject is the women of Kabul, Afghanistan.

Carolyn is bubbly and warm, just as I remembered her. We plan to drive together to the reunion in May and will work together in the Information Center set up at the Hampton Inn. (That's a special room where you can drop by and see if your friends have reached town yet and get help on finding places in St. Pete.)

Kathy Hutchins Hintz--A Profile in Courage

Kathy Hutchins Hintz--one of our more recently "found" classmates--sent along a brief summary of her life since Northeast High School. The details speak for themselves--there's a lot of courage and a lot of sharing and giving to others.

Kathy writes: I graduated from FSU in 1962. I taught at Hartsfield Elementary School in Tallahassee for a year and then went back to graduate school at FSU.

I married Jim Brickley in 1964. I was the first female computer programmer in St. Petersburg. Worked at "First" (name changed to "Florida") Federal Savings and Loan, for 11.5 years.

Second marriage to Walter (Wally) Hintz in 1975. I eventually quit work to take care of my stepfather. Although I never had any children, I was a caregiver for both my husband and mother as they died from cancer and then my stepfather.

After Wally's death from cancer in 1977, I worked in several doctors' offices. After surgery for a benign brain tumor in 1983 I lost my hearing and balance on my right side. I went to work at Home Federal Savings and Loan (which became Barnett Bank). In 2006 they found two more tumors--one operable and one inoperable. I don't think of the tumors unless I'm explaining them. I feel so much better than I did the previous years.

The last 17 years my passion has been the Florida Orchestra. I put flowers in the dressing rooms backstage in Mahaffey Theater. (I started putting flowers in Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Pete.)

Through the years I've volunteered for The Florida Orchestra, Perkins Elementary Magnet School for the Arts, the Florida International Museum and counted money for my church.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you'd like to drop Kathy a note, her email address is

Sunday, January 27, 2008

One More Doctor

In an earlier post, there was a listing of classmates with medical credentials. Sue Bagg-Foreman noticed a name that was missing...and this is to remedy that omission. Celeste Cipriano-Northrop, who had a medical practice in mental health, will also be part of our "medical staff" in attendance.

A National Trend

There's a group of our classmates in the Tampa Bay area (St. Pete, Tampa, Riverview, etc.) who get together periodically to chat and catch up. Well, I see the makings of a national trend, although the numbers in attendance can't quite equal Larry Britner's posse.

Personally, I'm getting together Jan. 28 with Carolyn Gramling-McAleese, and probably in February we'll getting together with Barbara Monrose Parrish, hopefully joined by Sandra Creitz.

And Jean Davis Brown wrote to say that she has plans to get with Kitsey (a high school nickname for Carol Curran) --to happen at Rosie's Diner near Monument, CO. Jean's comment was, "I'm excited to see her again."

So Larry, you have started a wave of mini-reunions--all prior to the Big Celebration at the Coliseum.

Clubs at Northeast

I've been looking through my 1958 Viking Log (created and edited by Melody Siplon-Jameson), and I'm noticing all the clubs and their photos. Here are some memory-joggers (more to come in later postings): Junior Exchange--John Krege, Gene Glennon, Ben Wall, Vose Pneuman, Harry Steinhardt, Doug Brisbin, and Bill Parke.

Civinettes: Suzanne Rhodes, Carol Rupert, Arlene Murfin, Linda Crain, Susan Goree, Patricia Albrecht, Marian Kline, Susan McGowan, and Joan Moody.

Wheel Club: Woody Reed, John Eaddy, Sammy Davis, David Britner.

Rojan Club: Karolyn Bagg, Ann Leedy, Connie Counts, Loretta Smith, Celeste Cipriano, Lois Martin, Virginia Payne.

These clubs were called "service clubs" because the members got involved in community service projects. It was a character-building thing, although we wouldn't have referred to it that way at the time. Do you have any memories to share of what you did in one of those clubs?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Memorial Plans

One of the topics of discussion in the emails that fly daily among our classmates has been a desire for a proper way to remember and honor our classmates who have died.

Bucky Merritt and Lyda Graser are working on plans for a respectful presentation at our Reunion Night at the Coliseum. Currently being discussed is a PowerPoint or video presentation, showing photos of the deceased classmates with a musical background. (Larry Britner has suggested that Rosa Lee Ramsey's musical group could perhaps provide vocal music for that background audio.)

Stay tuned for more details.

An Update for John and Trudy

In an earlier post, there's a very attractive photo of John Krege and his high school sweetheart, now his wife, Trudy Andringa Krege. Trudy has sent along an update of what they've been doing since our Graduation Night--and it's all good.

John and I left Northeast, going in two different directions. I went to UF to graduate from the School of Nursing and he went to SPJC for two years before coming to UF and graduating in Pre-Med. Our parents thought they could keep us apart, but that was impossible. We married in our junior year and had our first baby as seniors.

We then moved to Atlanta where John went to Med School at Emory University. I worked in nursing until our second child was born. John then joined the Air Force in his senior year. We moved to San Antonio, TX, and Lackland Air Force Base where John did his internship and orthopedic surgery residency. We had our third child there. We had a lot of fun traveling and enjoying three years in Weisbaden, Germany, where John was stationed. We lived in England where John completed a hip replacement fellowship.

After two more years in the Air Force back at Lackland, where John was on the orthopedic staff, we moved to Greensboro, NC, where John and I still live after thirty years. He retired from private practice a couple of years ago, and from the AF reserve many years ago, after completing his twenty years.

We enjoy our community as volunteers and church members. Our hobbies include tennis, reading, and traveling. John is an avid photographer and is now digitalizing our "three million" slides onto computer and discs. This is a lifetime project. Our latest trip was with Habitat International to Jordan where we helped build a cement block house addition and also toured for several days.

Now here's the update about their children: Daughter Kathy and her family live in Greenville, SC. She and her husband are realtors and the parents of John and Trudy's three oldest grandchildren. Drew and Elaine are a senior and a junior at the Naval Academy. Megan will attend Clemson next year. Their son John is an endocrinologist with Eli Lily in Carmel, IN. He and his wife Mary Dawn have two children, Catherine and Ben, who are 12 and 14. Son Jim and wife Monica live in Greensboro with two daughters, Meredith and Jordan, ages 9 and 5. Jim is a medical device salesman.

Carley and Laird--On the Road

Sometimes there's a stark difference between what an address list tells you and what the real truth is. An earlier posting on this blog said that Carley (Freck) and Laird Bryson were living in Livingston, TX. Joan Vetter writes to correct that notion:

Joan says: They sold their home and have been traveling around in a motor home. That address in Livingston is where their mail is sent, which then gets forwarded to them wherever they are. They came to visit us two years ago. He was a cardiologist and became an Episcopal priest. We took them to our non-denominational church with our black worship leader where the music is very lively! I'm not sure they have recovered."

So far I'm counting three physicians among our class or related to it: Woody (Reed) Tanner, anesthesiologist; John Krege, orthopedic surgeon; and Laird Bryson (married to Carley), cardiologist. Carolyn Gramling is a nurse, so we're in good shape for medical attention at the reunion.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jean Robertson-Champ is FOUND!

Clarissa Rogers-Hamilton gets the blue ribbon for bringing another classmate to our growing "family". Jean Robertson-Champ lives in Roswell, GA. She writes that she has worked in the life insurance industry for 30 years and now works from home. She adds, "I love technology."

She has three children; her youngest lives in Atlanta. There's a daughter in Phoenix and a son in Orlando.

Count on seeing her at the reunion. She says, "I will absolutely be there. The Coliseum. I am surprise that it is still standing. I remember it as where all of the old people went for ballroom dancing."

EDITOR'S NOTE: When we're all there on May 15, we will be the "youngest" people our age who have ever danced there.

Got Medical Issues?

If you're planning to attend our 50th anniversary reunion and if you require any special arrangements or considerations for medical or dietary issues, one of our classmates has agreed to be your Go-To Person.

Carolyn Gramling-McAleese, a registered nurse, is taking on the title of "Reunion Medical Coordinator". (That doesn't mean she will supply nursing services, but if you have questions about special equipment or dietary requirements, she can help.) You can contact her at Her mailing address is Carolyn Gramling-McAleese, 4330 Hillcrest Dr., #600, Hollywood, FL 33021.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Musical Rosie

Okay, how many of you in our Northeast High 1958 class have written music that somebody else made into a record?

Rosa Lee Ramsey-McKnight is holding up her hand. Maybe you remember her as Joyce Crow's Siamese twin and best friend during our high school years. But she's created herself a musical career since she said good-bye to us on Graduation Night.

For 12 years or so, she's been singing in a gospel group that travels quite a bit. And she tells us that she likes to write both songs and stories. Two of her songs were recorded by a local singer. He took one of them to Nashville (The Capital of Country Music) for a recording session. She says that Kenny Price wanted to record her song but some Grinches in the music business said no.

If you drop by Rosie's church in Waco, KY on a Sunday morning, you'll find her doing the "Children's Moment" for the youngsters sitting on the front pew.

And did you know at the ripe young age of 47, she graduated from a medical secretarial course! Actually the business college where she trained hired her to do all their financial aid and student loans, so she never got around to finding a doctor's office to work for.

She has two children (Chuck and Pam) and two grandchildren.

Carol's Riverfront View

In a recent email, Carol Rupert Buss described the scenery surrounding her Kodak,Tennessee home. It's a view "to die for".

In her words: We live on the Broad River, actually up on a bluff overlooking the river. The lower part of our subdivision sits on the French Broad. We have good views of the river and excellent views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including Mt. LeConte. At night, during the ski season, we can see the ski trail lights at Ober Gatlinburg.

We bought our property in 1995. Bob retired in 1997. I retired in May of 1998 and we moved here in June of 1998. It certainly is God's country, even with the traffic we endure during the summer months and weekends in October. Kodak is just close enough to everything but not in the center---just a short hop to I-40 with Knoxville 20 to 30 minutes away.

If that's not reason enough to put Carol and Bob on your "people to see" list during your vacation, then I'm not sure what is!

Memories of North Ward

When I graduated from Northeast High School, there were a few classmates of mine that I had known since the kindergarten-6th grade years at North Ward Elementary (4th St. and 11th Ave.) Back in those "old days" children didn't have to be moved around from school to school, just to fit a quota system.

Here are some of those friends who shared the earliest school days with me: James (Jimmy) Willson, Gloria Rankin ( now deceased), Terry Reichelderfer, Lynwood (Lynn) Swanson (now deceased), William (Billy) Lawrence, Judy Hauser, and Patricia Albrecht. These friends probably didn't know it at the time, but they gave my life some stability because I was an only child in a verrrrry dysfunctional family (a lot of domestic fights), so going to school every day and seeing familiar faces meant a lot to me.

And one of my memories from Mirror Lake Junior High School is going home after school with Doris Delnet, whose parents owned a motel on 4th Street North. I think we took the city bus together to reach her motel-home. For me it was a neat novelty to visit Doris where she lived.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where Are They Now?

A recent "found" classmate list, updated and announced by Sue Bagg-Foreman, shows how we have moved around the US, with a few of us going farther than the continental borders.

Here are some selections (with more to follow) in later postings:

Judith Baker-Philson lives in Aiea, Hawaii. Len Scipioni (now Scott) lives in Canterbury Victoria, Australia. David Norman Bruneau is in Chandler, AZ. Connie Counts-Plants now lives in Cleveland, GA. Sandra Creitz-Logue (recently "found") spent 30 years as a high school teacher in social studies, AP, and psychology. She's living in Boca Raton, FL.

Jean Davis-Brown makes her home in Castle Rock, CO. Jan Duggar is dean of the Davis College of Busness at Jacksonville University, in Jacksonville, FL. John Eaddy is a physician at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, living in Knoxville.

Larry Fannin (shown elsewhere in this blog in some Graduation Day photos) is an electrician living at "Fannin Hill Farm" in Brooksville, FL. Carley Freck-Bryson lives with husband Laird (he was in the 1957 class at NEHS), in Livingston, TX. Linda Fort-Green now lives in Whitesburg, TN. Frank Godsey is in Waco, TX.

Alice Hantz-Johnston, living in Kent, WA, has worked for Boeing Corp. Nancy June Harris-Bailey is a retired flight attendant, now living in New Smyrna Beach, FL. Bruce Stach (his family owned Stach's Bakery...remember?) has his own business--Sigma Strategic Solutions--and lives in Columbia City, IN.

The "Found List" Keeps Growing

Add two more names to the "Found" list: Fred McKenzie (who just retired from NASA) and Sandy Creitz Logue. The Supervisor of our Lost and Found Department, Karolyn Sue Bagg-Foreman, reports that there are only 84 still missing.

Can you help us locate these: Mary Lou Andrews, George Bakerich, Brian Curtis Wells, Barbara Lee Menees-Pratt, Julie Ann Burr, Carol Irene Jelich, or Alan Curtis Love?

Thanks to all of you who have shared in the detective work.

Graduation Angels

Another graduation photo shared by Clarissa Rogers Hamilton...From left to right, Kay Parks, Larry Fannin, and Clarissa decided to play "angel" with the big sleeves of the graduation gowns...What memories! Can't you picture them saying, "Fear not, for verily we are about to graduate!"

Your Senior Class at Work, Part III

Donna Reed-Smith,
center, looks over at Judy Nicholson and Duane Tobey with a look that says, "Are you sure you know what you're doing?"

Obviously, they are ignoring the question because they have a quota to meet of stuffed Reunion invitation envelopes to get ready for mailing.

Photo, courtesy of Melody Siplon-Jameson.

Your Senior Class at Work, Part II

Karolyn Bagg-Foreman, who instigated a recent work party for assembling our Reunion invitations, is shown here using stairsteps as part of her work process.

Those are pictures of you in those packets on the steps. The purpose of the spray can is something you'll have to ask Karolyn about.

Photo, courtesy of Melody Siplon-Jameson.

Chuckle for the Day from Lois

Lois Martin-Walls has become a key source for email that makes you giggle. Here are excerpts from one she sent called "Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?" Dr Phil would say: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on THIS side of the road before it goes after the problem on the OTHER SIDE of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his CURRENT problems before adding NEW problems.

Oprah Winfrey would say: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

George Bush had this view: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us or for us. There is no middle ground here.

Anderson Cooper (CNN) offered this interpretation: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

John Kerry offered this: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

Ernest Hemingway said: To die in the rain. Alone.

Grandpa's opinion was: In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

Colonel Sanders had this question: I missed one?

Vice President Cheney asked: Where's my gun?

Your Senior Class at Work, Part I

You will soon check your mailboxes to find some colorful invitations to our 50th Reunion. Those invites didn't get assembled all by themselves. No, some very hard working classmates of yours got together in St. Petersburg recently to make those invitations possible.

Melody Siplon-Jameson took some candid photos, too good to keep. Here's the first one for you: From left to right, Duane Tobey, Larry Britner, Lyda Graser, with Sue Bagg-Foreman standing, playing Quality Control Supervisor.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Golden Moment on Graduation Night

Clarissa Rogers-Hamilton
shares this photo, taken on our graduation night 50 years ago.

Clarissa, on the left, is all dressed up and ready to go, waiting for a boyfriend named Bob (last name not given here.) Her sister Louise, on the right, is all dressed up and waiting for Larry Fannin, one of the good-looking young men in our graduating class.

Kathy Hutchins Has Been FOUND!!!

Sue Bagg-Foreman, our official class Czarina for Finding People, reports that Kathy Hutchins has been located. She's living in St. Petersburg, and as soon as our blog gets more details, we'll pass them along. (I think that Charles Welch, an ever-resourceful class member, had something to do with passing along clues to finding Kathy.)

Sue reports that so far, 150 of our class members have been found.

Here are some more who are still "among the missing"---

Joel Edward Easom (may be in St. Augustine, FL); Patricia Bland, Mary Lou Andrews, Samuel Doyle Davis, Robert Fournier, Robert Burgess, Suzanne May Brown, Carol Irene Jelich, and Douglas Leicester Brisbin.

If you have any information, leading to the location of these classmates, we can't promise a $1000 reward, but you'll be the owner of an enormous quantity of gratitude from the rest of us.

More Classmates to be proud of

The bio forms that are coming in--telling what our classmates have been up to for the past 50 years--are loaded with things to brag about.

Here are some more examples:

Terry Reichelderfer (she was the only person I ever knew with that last name) married Eddie Stinson. Before they moved to Dunnellon, FL about three years ago, Terry worked for 26.5 years in the office of the Pinellas County Clerk of Court. She retired as a department manager after 20 years in that position. She and Eddie have a son, Mark, who is married and the father of grandson Scott Stinson. Scott is stationed in the U.S. Army in Mannheim, Germany.,

Eddie served for 26 years as a firefighter/paramedic for the Clearwater Fire Department. He also owned a lawn care/landscaping business for 20 years. One of the life achievements that Eddie lists is "having worked in a profession that allowed me to help people and save lives, especially babies and children." His hobbies include fishing/hunting and taxidermy.

Pat Smith, who married Frank Kapocsi, lives in Lakeland, FL. She was a member of the Toast of Tampa Show Chorus for 30 years. She has gone the gamut in volunteer work: Little League scorekeeper, Vacation Bible School teacher; president of the Flower Garden Club in Marietta, GA, and a hospice patient volunteer. She was executive secretary at General Telephone Co., as well as at Dale Mabry Elementary School and Citrus High School.

Frank retired from Public Super Markets as Business Development Director over the Meat and Seafood Departments. He received the George W. Jenkins award for excellence in leadership, fairness, and integrity. He and Pat have a daughter and a son, plus four grandchildren, plus four great-grandchildren. (How did that happen when Frank and Pat are so young???)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More to Brag About (And We're Worth It!)

Did you know that Bobby Labrant was the only guy in our graduating class to earn athletic letters all four years he was at Northeast High? (Thanks to his buddy Woody Reed Tanner for passing that along.)

And did you know that Celeste Cipriano Northrup, now living in the quiet central Florida town of Casselberry, retired in 2007 after a medical career in psychiatry and drug addiction treatment---working at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami? She now does volunteer work in caring for animals but is thinking about applying for an adjunct position on the nursing faculty at University of Central Florida. (Note: If you see Celeste at the Reunion, it will not be polite to ask her about those relatives or in-laws of yours that you KNOW need serious therapy!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Some Things to Brag About

When we were kids, our moms told us it was "not polite to brag on yourself". That was then. This is now. We've made it through 50 years after graduation, and judging from the bio information you are sending in for the Memory Books, you've been doing things that deserve applause.

Here are some samples:
Susan Goree Noyes, now living in Tallahassee, FL, was appointed to the Florida Recreational Trails Council, the Florida Greenways Commission, the Florida Greenways & Trails Council, the Florida Agriculture Center and Horse Park Authority and the Friends of Florida State Forests.

She lists as three achievements in her life that she's proud of: Helping to create the greenways and trails system in Florida....playing a major role in establishing the paint horse as a viable breed in Florida...working to create the Florida Horse Park in Ocala.

Her favorite faculty members at Northeast were Mr. Nimroth and my typing and shorthand teachers, but I can't remember their names.

Her advice to the graduating class of 2008 is: Follow your dreams. Never give up and success will follow.

Clarissa Rogers Hamilton,
now living in Whitney Point, NY, has lived in Maine, California (Santa Ana), and Springfield, MO. She was an administrative assistant in a drug/alcohol rehab hospital in California, a factory supervisor, and is now working in public relations in the emergency room of a hospital in Whitney Point.

One of her personal victories was conquering agoraphobia, which involves anxiety attacks and fear of going outside one's residence. She says, "Unless you have been there, you cannot understand what an achievement that is!"

What she remembers most distinctly about her years at NEHS is "the good times, good clean times. We had friends, we had fun and we learned. I may not have been a scholar but I learned a lot about life from the teachers and my classmates. It was a wonderful time of my life."

David Britner, who lives in St. Petersburg, is proud of his role as co-inventor/founder of the fire sprinkler systems found in today's hotels, motels, and high-rise residential buildings. He is a retired Assistant Fire Chief of the City of St. Petersburg. His work resume is awesome, including the following: 2 years in engineering, 20 years in fire service, two years in code enforcement, and eight years in housing. He spent 10 years as a private investigator, specializing in arson, fatality fires, and insurance fraud. He has also been an author, poet, arbitrator, mediator, guardian ad litem, professor, and appointee to committees and boards at all levels of government and in the private sector.

More classmate profiles will follow in later blog postings. If you haven't submitted your bio information for the Memory Book, send it to Pat Teague Fulton at If you need a copy of the questions, just send an email to Pat, requesting them.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Memorial Service

Our class president Woody Reed Tanner says that Robert Bucky Merritt has volunteered to be in charge of a special memorial time at our May 15 event at the Coliseum. This portion of the program will pay special tribute to classmates who have died. Bucky is looking for some classmates still living in the Tampa Bay area to help him with this, including making arrangements for special flowers, etc.

If you're interested in being a part of this, contact Woody at or leave a note here on the blog.


Donna Quick, another of our formerly "lost" classmates, has showed up on the scene. In a recent email to Sue Bagg-Foreman, she indicated interest in attending the reunion. Her name now is Donna Quick-Starr and her email is She lives in The Villages, FL (32159). My personal memory of Donna is that if you were anywhere near her, there was laughter going on. She was one of those consistently "fun" people.

Celeste Cipriano-Northrop (who has the title "Doctor" now) dropped an email line to Woody Tanner, saying she had received the announcement about the reunion. (The address was wrong, but the postcard got to her anyway.) You can contact her at I'm not sure what city she is living in although I heard it was Cutler Bay (a community in south Dade County, FL). That detail is undergoing research right now.

Too Cool for School

Helen Leigh-Wagner recently said in an email that she's a big stock car fan. And she went on to say that she drove in the very first Powder Puff race at Sunshine Speedway in 1960.

Let me tell you why that fact impresses the daylights out of me...When we were at Northeast, our culture said that "girls" could do things like be a nurse, a teacher, an airline stewardess, a secretary, and of course a wife and mother. "Boys" did the rough-and-tumble things like stock car racing. When the 1960s came along, with the beginnings of broad changes in cultural attitudes--which would lead to "girls can do anything they want to try to do"--then doors started opening for females.

But Helen was a pioneer when I had no clue what it meant to be a pioneer.

Here is Helen's story as she tells it:
I was supposed to drive my brother-in-law's car but it was co-owned at the time and the other owner's wife wanted to drive it. She felt bad and went to the pits and talked another driver into letting me drive his little Ford coupe. It was blue and cute as could be. ...If I remember correctly, I finished fourth.

I married Cliff in '59, so I was married and also had my oldest boy by then. That was the only time I drove. My son was 6 months old. I must have been crazy. I remember doing it on a dare. Cliff didn't think I would do it but I did.

You have to be a little crazy to drive around in circles. We started going to Citrus County Speedway because my nephew was driving up there. He has since sold his car but we got hooked.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Chuckle for the Day

Lois Martin-Walls sent along a poem that's too good to keep....first, some background. As all of us are looking at our 50th anniversary of high school graduation, maybe a few of us have an array of medicine bottles (in the kitchen or in the bathroom, or on the bedside table). We're all young in heart and spirit, but the bottles remind us that our bodies are saying, "What do you want from me? I've been carrying you around for six-plus decades!"

Here's the verse: A row of bottles on my shelf/Caused me to analyze myself. One yellow pill I have to pop/Goes to my heart so it won't stop. A little white one that I take/Goes to my hands so they won't shake. The blue ones that I use a lot/Tell me I'm happy when I'm not. The purple pill goes to my brain/And tells me that I have no pain. The capsules tell me not to wheeze or cough or choke or even sneeze. The red ones, smallest of them all/Go to my blood so I won't fall. The orange ones, very big and bright/Prevent my leg cramps in the night. Such an array of brilliant pills/Helping to cure all kinds of ills. But what I'd really like to know....Is what tells each one where to go!

(And here's the closing punchline): There's always a lot to be thankful for. If you take time to look for it. For example, I'm sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt.....

Smile for the Camera

If you can be with us at the Coliseum the evening of May 15, you will be part of a group photo taken by Graham Photography, a long-time fixture in downtown St. Petersburg. (When we were in high school, the company was owned by the Phil Graham family, but they later sold it to Barry and Dianne Richards in about 1992. Barry and Dianne came to St. Petersburg from England, where their photo credits even included members of the royal family.

For a long time the photo studio was located in the 600 block of Central Avenue, but a few years ago, the block of shops was sold, so that Graham Photo relocated to 9th St. N. at about 4th Avenue. Unfortunately, Barry died about two years ago from a heart infection. His widow hired Gary Johns to take over the photography part of the business (she's the business manager). Cupid did his work and the couple were married last summer.

Now back to the group photos: If you want an 8 x 10 print in a folder, mailed to you, the cost will be $20. We'll be asking for your orders as we get closer to the Reunion week.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Memorial Gift: Ongoing Discussion

A number of ideas on what form our memorial gift (a memorial to our deceased classmates) should take have emerged in email exchanges:

Here are some for your consideration: Bruce Hugill: I could donate a cow patty from Oklahoma. Seriously, I would be happy to contribute monetarily if that is what we need.

Barbara Wells-Preston: (To Mardi Kline Zeiger, who's heading to Israel for a visit): I think that it would be wonderful for you to bring something back that we could auction and use the funds for a memorial on campus for our deceased members. It could possibly be a bench in that new center where they have the facsimile of a ship. The bench could be concrete and have the names etched in it or it could be marble with the names etched in it. We could take a day and some of us go out to the school and look at the place and see where a memorial might be suitable and not likely to be bulldozed in the near future. Perhaps some of the other classmates might have things of real value or services that they would like to donate for a silent auction. All these funds could be used for the memorial.

Sue Bagg-Foreman: She and husband Steve are headed to Antarctica in February..she has offered to bring back an icy piece of glacier or something similar. The water resulting from its meltdown (unless they pack it in "ice") could be auctioned.

The Egyptian Prom

Some of you may have missed the emails describing memories of the Junior-Senior prom produced by our class. As a public service, here are some quotes from Barbara Wells-Preston on how she remembers that spectacular event:

"Our junior year was 'Land of the Pharaohs'. Our senior year was bland except that it had as one of the favors a little Buddha. Marjorie Myers still has her ring that was a favor at that prom, too. She wore it to the reunion in '93. "

Clarissa Rogers-Hamilton remembers the ceiling material made out of parachute cloth. "We had sewing machines in the auditorium and all this material draped over the seats." She also remembers painting big pictures from graphs on smaller pictures. "Don't remember what the pictures were but they were Roman."

Referring to participation as Egyptian dancers at the "Land of the Pharaohs"..Barb says: "Kogerman, Bagg, Curran, Monrose, Leedy, Creitz, McClendon and Cipriano and I can attest that those jumps up on the roof were scary. We had to do those backbend jumps where our feet touched the top of our heads. But, it was so much fun leading all of the classmates in cheers and dancing around as our NEHS Band played spirit-rousing songs." (Editor's note: I'm taking this word-for-word from an email...but maybe this is referring to cheerleading? Somebody supply some clarification here.)

Donna Reed says she was one of "those little dancers in the sheer veils."

Barbara Kogerman says she "vaguely recalls that '57 prom. I think my subconscious is protecting me from a clear memory because, for some reason only God knows, I was tapped to be the MC. All I can remember is that I totally blew my 'big moment'--either forgot my lines, or my script, or something. Anyway, for a long time I chalked it up as 'one of my most embarrassing moments.' " Barbara says she does remember the elaborate set and the Egyptian dancers. "It was a magic evening for everyone---except me. I beat a hasty exit--was that when everybody started calling me 'Charlie Brown' ?"

Viking Log Prices--Then and Now

Clarissa Hamilton found a 1958 Viking Log listed on eBay for $79.95. She passes along the info in case there's a classmate who lost his/her yearbook and would like to buy a replacement.

Clarissa asks, "Do you remember what we paid for them? I am thinking under $10 but I don't remember things like that."

Anybody remember what your 1958 Viking Log cost you?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tentative Reunion Schedule

So you're asking: What's going on for our Reunion celebration besides the Big Deal at the Coliseum?
Well, here is a tentative schedule...nothing's in concrete yet. This is just to give you an idea of where the Planners seem to be headed.

On Wednesday, May 14...registration (at our Information Center at the Hampton Inn on Beach Drive). In the afternoon...possibly a Shuffleboard Party at the Shuffleboard Club (no, you will not be forced to play if you don't want to, but you can sit on the green benches and shoot the breeze a lot with people you haven't seen in years and years.) Note: Depending on indicated interest and other factors, the Shuffleboard thing could be replaced by a bowling party.

In the evening on Wednesday, May 14...a pot luck supper and/or the Girls Night Out that many of the women have expressed interest in. Maybe the bowling party could be an option for those not attending Girls Night Out.

On Thursday, May 15...9 am---A bus tour to show you how St. Pete has changed since you left...and a visit to our alma mater high school. The afternoon will be free for you to shop, sightsee or rest up for the Big Party that night.

On Thursday, May 15, 6-11 pm--Reunion Celebration at the Coliseum. Dinner, music, dancing (for those brave souls who do that sort of thing), and some entertainment surprises. One of your take-homes will be a suitable-for-framing certificate--with your name on it--in honor of your living long enough to attend the 50th anniversary of our graduation. (Dress code is dressy casual, meaning that you women will not be forced to buy a designer long dress and take the rhinestones out of the bank vault and you gentlemen will not have to harnessed against your will into a tuxedo.)

On Friday, May 16 at ??? am (see Woody Tanner), some people who like to hit little white balls into tiny cups on a golf course will get together. Around noon we'll all get together for a picnic.

Note: The author takes no legal responsibility for the authenticity of the schedule described above. Any changes, variations, additions, etc. , are up to the Planners. But you can send in your opinions and apply your influence toward making The Official Schedule.

Where are the writers out there?

Tom Fincher, author of the excerpts about Sky-Vue Drive-in elsewhere in this blog, has a background in writing. "I sold an article to The Tampa Tribune's Accent and got the cover, so being on a roll, I sold a story to the St. Petersburg Times Floridian and got the cover again. This was back in the 70s when they were in a Sunday-only magazine format.

"I thought, 'Hey! This stuff is easy' but having to earn a living got in the way. I've done a few other things here and there. Some I got paid for; others were just for the fun of seeing my name in the byline. I also have a book on The Pepper Tree Demon, but it's cheaper to buy it from me. I'm also working on two other books: Mad Cat County and Debbie in the Night."

I know there are other published writers in our class. Let us know who you are and where we can find your articles, books, etc.

P.S. Tom has promised to send along some poetry soon. Who says writing literature and liking it is only for girls?

A Fitting Memorial

How can we appropriately honor the memories of those we shared classes and conversations and social get-togethers with?

Here are some ideas that are circulating right now. Perhaps you'd like to give us your opinion:

1. One idea is to make a collective contribution to Habitat for Humanity (who build homes for the needy) or to a St. Petersburg food pantry, food distribution service, etc.
2. Another idea is to purchase a bench to be placed in a new courtyard at Northeast. The names of each of the deceased classmates would appear on the bench, in a courtyard marked by a model of a large Viking ship.
3. Hold a raffle, with the proceeds going to the agreed-upon memorial project or organization, etc.

Try looking at the topic this way: What would be meaningful to you if you were on the Memoriam list? How would you like to be remembered?

Your comments are invited and much needed.

In Memoriam

The recent death of George Siemers, one of our classmates, has stimulated an email discussion about what we as a class could do to honor the memory of those who won't be with us for our 50th reunion.

Here is a list, compiled by Sue Bagg-Foreman.
Beverly Anders-Council, Wilbert Hoyle Anderson, Fred Archibald, Louis Edward Ateek, Robert Andrew Batchelor, James Morton Brickley, Rose A. Brissette, Larry Cecconi, Corbet Wayne Cooper, Joyce Crow-Tullgren, Robert Joseph Cuda, Glenn Dewey Farris, Eugene Laurence Glennon, Velsey Annabelle Gray-Cooper, Barbara Hall-Gilberg, John Hicks, Joan Eleanor Kelly-Sequin, Edward Lavender, Donald D. Mitchell, Betty Juanita Myers-Winterbottom, Valerie Neal-Touchton, Donald Nofs, Thomas Elijah Pauley, Judith Ann Peel-Kennedy, Gloria Jean Rankin-Gane, Mike Reed, George Salzman, Kenneth Sassaman, George Arthur Siemers, Ralph William Spaulding, Doris Edith Spaulding-Yorton, Lynn Leroy Swanson, Ann Taylor-Barclay, Tim Thompson, Nancy Jane Tucker, Brenda Adelle Ulrich.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

We Need You for the Memory Book!

At the May reunion in St. Petersburg, you'll see something we're creating, (working title "Memory Book") with information about you and your classmates. We want to have data on as many of our class as possible.

If you want to be included, here is what we're looking for (and email it to
1. The name we knew you as at Northeast High (including any nicknames)
2. Your current residence (city, state, country)
3. Family--spouse, kids, grandkids
4. What have you been doing since you left Northeast High? (Feel free to reveal or conceal as much as you like)
5. Education (college, vocational school, trade school, any special training)
6. Military (which service branch and where you served)
7. Cities/countries where you have lived
8. Types of work, professions, trades, occupations that you have experienced
9. Three achievements in your life that you are very proud of.

1. What do you remember most distinctly about your years at NEHS?
2. Was there anything you learned at NEHS that helped you in later life?
3. Who were your favorite faculty members?
4. What advice would you give today to the 2008 graduating class at NEHS?

If you have any digital photos you'd like to send along, that would be terrific.

Tom Fincher's Memory of Sky-Vue

Sue Bagg-Foreman recently emailed me a clipping of an article by Tom Fincher: "Sky-Vue--That Great Lady of Theaters"

The entire article is too long to reproduce here but his tribute is so poetic that, as part of our reminiscences about theatres we used to love, some selections are worth posting here:

...The ambiance of the Sky-Vue offered us a chance to mix our Gulf Coast Paradise with Hollywood Magic. On her enchanted screen raised regally before us, Gable raced To Please a Lady. Marilyn sang Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend. Roy and Gene, perennial Good Guys, shouting the Outlaw's gun hand. Comics lives with Blondie and Dick Tracy.

The magic existed for our enjoyment in Paradise. The Sky-Vue took her name seriously. In clear Florida air shined countless stars. Jasmine and frangi-pangi aroma floated by, blended with the scene of Southern Gulf Waters.

Friday and Saturday were family nights. Mom and Dad came with their kids, as their parents had brought them. The youngest in pajamas, ready for bed after the movie. Older kids romped in the playground, under the screen's watchful protection. Then, as dusk fell, ending an equatorial day, they headed back to the car. The oldest son sat on the front fender to watch the movie. This practice faded when in-the-car speakers replaced underground. Remember not to drive off with them.

Tropical Southerners didn't care about ninety-degree temperature at eight o'clock at night, Air-conditioning hadn't spoiled us yet. As the best part of the movie began, a mosquito fogging truck approached. As fog swirled, a lone figure materialized like a horror movie graveyard scene. The Lost Soul returning from the refreshment stand, unable to find his car.

The Sky-Vue was the first drive-in a young man took a date to. Other drive-ins were available and they went there later. But the Sky Vue was first and they always went back.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Places to Stay in May

So where are you going to stay while you're in town for the class reunion?

The locals will stay at their own residences, of course, and some of them may have rooms available for incoming out-of-towners. Others coming from other cities, states, even countries, may stay with family or friends in the area.

Here is a starter list for hotels:
Hampton Inn & Suites, 80 Beach Drive NE, 727-892-9900. They have a block of rooms available at $149/night. Call 800-HAMPTON and mention the NEHI 1958 50th Reunion. This is the hotel where our Information Central room will be located.

Courtyard Marriott, 300 4th St. N. 727-450-6200. They have a block of rooms at $109/night. Mention the NEHI 1958 50th Reunion when making reservations.

America's Best Inn St. Pete (a bed-and-breakfast), 342 3rd Ave. N. 727-894-3248. Rooms are from $89 to $99 per night, plus 10%. Toll-free number is 866-219-7260. Their website is

If you're looking for a classmate that may have a spare room, try sending out an email about your search or if you have friends or family in the local area, ask for their assistance.

Medical Matters

Some of our classmates have medical or dietary issues to deal with, which might discourage them from attending the 50th anniversary celebration. Planners for our reunion are working to set up a person who will be the medical coordinator (someone with a medical background) to provide assistance.

For example, if you require oxygen or a wheelchair or walker (for yourself or spouse or other guest who will accompany you), you can email or call the medical coordinator who will facilitate getting you what you need. If you have certain dietary needs (because of allergies, diabetes, or other medical conditions), you can also provide this information to the coordinator. There will be other events in the days before and after the Coliseum event, and some events will involve eating meals together. Having your specific dietary needs in mind, we can prepare ahead of time.

Keep watching this blog for the announcement of the name and contact information of the medical coordinator.

Reunion Update January 2008

Within the next month or so, you will be receiving an official invitation to the May 15, 2008 Reunion Celebration. (That is, you'll receive it if Sue Bagg-Foreman or Woody (Reed) Tanner has your postal address.)

The basic information for the Reunion Celebration is: 6 pm to 11 pm at the St. Petersburg Coliseum, 535 4th Ave N. on May 15, 2008. Dress code is "dressy casual" or "business casual". The evening's agenda will include dinner, dancing, entertainment, and a cash bar.

With your invitation, you receive a response card and envelope to use in making a reservation for the May 15 event. If you RSVP by March 15, 2008, the cost per person is $70. If you RSVP after March 15 or if you pay at the door, the cost per person is $85. If you pay for a reservation but have to cancel, you will receive a full refund if the cancellation is received by May10, 2008.

On the reservation card, you will indicate what day you expect to arrive and what day you will be leaving. Why is this information important? Well, an Information Central room will be set up at the Hampton Inn on Beach Drive. Classmates who want to contact other classmates can use this service to locate their friends.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Help Make a Memory Book

One of the take-home items we want you to have at the May reunion of our 1958 class is something we're calling a Memory Book.

Here's what it's all about:

For as many people as I can obtain information about, there will be an entry for that person, along with a brief bio telling what the person has done since high school. And there will be any quotes, comments from that person on what they remember about their NHS days.

If you would like to be included in the Memory Book, drop me an email at I will send you a questionnaire for you to use in providing bio info. You are free to include or exclude any information. Basically, we're interested in anything you want to tell us about where you've been, work you've done, honors you've won, travel you have experienced, kids, grandkids, places where you have lived.

The book, when completed, will give you an overview of your classmates, along with some candid comments related to high school memories.

Thanks in advance for helping to make this book possible.

June Sharpe Henry has been FOUND!

This blog entry is highly personal for me because at Northeast, June Sharpe was my very best friend. When I returned to St. Petersburg from the Panama Canal Zone, we resumed the best friends contact, sharing our ups and downs with each other.

Thanks to Linda Crain-Cocks who sent my contact info to June, I had a long catch-up conversation with June tonight. Her email address is

She and her husband Bill Henry are living in Chuckey, TN, near Johnson City. Bill continues to work for a company an hour away, scanning documents for them. June says she has taken up oil painting and will be part of a local exhibit in the near future. She has also written for magazines. In short, she says she is staying very busy as a "retired" person, enjoying every minute of it.

She would love to hear from any of her NHS classmates.