Bisonalities, Again

A quarterly Newsletter dedicated to the Alumni of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools

July 2003 --------------------------------------- Summer ------------------------------------ Volume 4 - Number 4

Welcome to the summer issue of the Newsletter dedicated to the alumni (students, teachers, and administrators) of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools. This newsletter will be issued quarterly. New issues will be posted for viewing on the Web site on, or about, October 5, January 5, April 5, and July 5.

The Web site may be viewed by going to:

The success of this newsletter will depend on you. I need contributors. Do you have an interesting article, a nostalgia item, a real life story, or a picture you would like to share with other alumni? Do you have a snail-mail or an e-mail address of one of your classmates? Send it to me at the following e-mail address:

or at my snail-mail address.

Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062
Tel: (301) 283-6549

Please, NO handwritten submissions.

The Bisonalities, Again Newsletter is available to any and all alumni, teachers, and administrators of Waterford or FLBHS on the Web site, free. If you know an alumnus, teacher, or administrator who would be interested, please ask them to contact me.

None of the material in this newsletter has a copyright. If you wish to make copies of this newsletter and distribute it to other Alumni or friends, please feel free to do so.

Death - Marjorie "Tweety" Pfeffer Feldman

Marjorie Mae "Tweety" Feldman, 66, of Waterford, died Sunday, May 11, 2003, at her home after a lengthy illness.

She was born October 27, 1936, in Waterford, daughter of the late Jacob J. and Marion Enssle Pfeffer. She formerly lived in New Port Richey, Fla.

She worked in quality control at Fairview Township's Beechwood Industries for five years. She formerly worked at Louis Marx & Co. for 20 years. She graduated from Fort LeBoeuf High School in 1956. She was an auxiliary member of the Siebenbuerger and Moose clubs and the American Legion. She enjoyed country music and visiting the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn. She also enjoyed gardening and playing bingo. She was preceded in death by a brother, Jake Pfeffer.

Survivors include her husband of 44 years, Richard E. Feldman; a daughter, Marjorie Ann McWilliams of Waterford; a sister, Marian Ruddell of Cambridge Springs; a brother, Frank Pfeffer of New Port Richey; and a granddaughter, Rwianna Feldman.

Burial was at Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery.

Cat's Corner

Well here it is summer, again (number 64 for me) and another winter down the drain. We, here in Southern Maryland, did not have a spring this year. During the month of May we had 26 days of rain for a total of 11 inches. In addition, our temperature averaged 15 degrees below normal. It felt like we were living in Washington state instead of Washington, D.C.

Then June came. We did not see a "normal" temperature until the last week. We received another 8.5 inches of rain and then we got back to normal, high 80 degree days and 70 degree nights.

You will notice that the last page of the newsletter no longer shows a listing of the e-mail addresses. If you are reading this as a hard copy version chances are, you do not have e-mail. If you are reading this on the web site, then you probably also have Internet access and can get the e-mail addresses off the E-Mail Web Page. Therefore, there is no reason to publish the list in the newsletter.

Since the last issue I have heard from several alumni from the class of 1955 and 1957. Word is getting around about the web site. Classmates that haven't been in touch with each other for years, some since graduation, are getting in touch with each other. This is the main reason I started the newsletter and web site.

For those of you with Internet access, you may want to take a look at an interesting site I found the other day while researching Waterford history on the Internet. The web site is the Waterford Borough web site. They post the minutes of the monthly council meetings and a lot of other interesting things going on in Waterford. Take a look at it at:

The Simple Things
by Herb Walden

With computers taking over the world, I often wonder if today's children ever entertain themselves the way we used to. Kids are learning computers at younger and younger ages. In just a few years' most will be on the net before they learn to walk. I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, but I still worry about these young Bill Gates-types. I'm afraid they're missing out on some of the good, old fashioned, simple things.

For instance, can you imagine Bill Gates as a little kid, (he must have looked pretty much as he does now), playing mumbley peg? Lots of boys back in our day carried jackknives, not as weapons, but for entertainment. My cousin and I used to play mumbley peg quite often. You really need a Barlow knife to be good, but I did pretty well with my Lone Ranger jackknife, which I still have.

Some of the boys were good at whittling. I wasn't. The best I could do was make a little stick out of a big one. However, my Dad showed me how to whittle a quill pen from a large feather. I was pretty good at that. I had a pet goose who periodically molted her wing feathers, so I made lots of quill pens. I didn't use them; I just had them in case of an emergency. It's been a long time, but I'll bet I could still "whittle a nib."

Did you ever stomp on a tin can so that it bent around your shoe and stuck there? I doubt if Bill Gates ever did. Tin cans on your feet not only make you taller, they also make a very satisfying noise as you clomp along the sidewalk. You have to have less than 10-year-old feet to do this. Adult feet are too big. Not that I've tried it or anything.

If you wanted to be really tall, stilts were the answer. All that's required are a couple of poles with blocks of wood nailed to them, but I'll bet Bill Gates never had stilts. Dad made my first pair and even demonstrated how to use them. I am a slow learner. I fell immediately and scraped a sizeable quantity of skin off my legs. I was reluctant to try again. But I did. About 25 years later. I did very well.

Do you suppose Bill Gates ever caught bees in a jar? I did. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was the element of danger. That, and bugs were about the only available wildlife smaller than I was. If there were hollyhocks around, (and back then, there always were), I would sometimes catch a bee in a blossom by quickly folding the petals together. I never knew quite what to do next for fear of being stung. Talk about having a tiger by the tail!

I caught a few butterflies, too, but I didn't care much for that. In my 8-year-old mind, butterflies were more of a "girl thing."

I used to catch grasshoppers just to see them spit their "tobacco juice." The big, brown flying grasshoppers were the hardest to catch. Throwing a hat over them was the best way, but even that wasn't too successful.

Did you ever catch cicadas in late summer? Most folks called them "locusts," but this is incorrect. Cicadas are really tough to catch, but I remember Dad catching one for me and tying a long piece of thread around its neck, (or what would be its neck if insects had necks). I could then hang onto the thread and fly my bug like a miniature control-line model airplane. Cicadas do no land so good, though.

I always collected all the cicada shells I could find on tree trunks where they had been shed. They were especially easy to catch. Somehow I got the idea of hooking the shells on the screen door. It never failed to startle people going in and out of the house, especially Mom. What appeared to be a dozen or so thumb-sized insects would capture anyone's attention!

Did you ever make a "telephone" from a couple tin cans and string? My cousin, Donnie, and I tried it a few times, but without much success. The trick is to keep the string tight and don't let it touch anything. We knew all that, but it still didn't work very well.

In desperation, we'd haul out the garden house and talk and listen through that. Of course, neither of us could understand the other, but at least there was sound! And when we would finally give up on communications, we would squirt each other to the point of near-drowning.

Bill Gates couldn't even do that!

Do you remember making grass whistles? You sort of pinched a long blade of grass between the sides of your thumbs and blew on it. I never had much success with grass whistles. Most of my friends did very well, but the best I could do was make a rather disgusting noise once in awhile. I'll bet Bill Gates couldn't even do that!

My greatest whistle success came from using the little caps from acorns. You hold the cap under both thumbs and blow through the space above the knuckles. Now that's a whistle! I could drown out any old blade of grass with an acorn cap!

I wonder if Bill Gates ever split a dandelion stem with his tongue. You've done that, haven't you? The taste of dandelion juice is pretty disagreeable and requires a lot of spitting to get rid of it. But it's worth it when you get a big stem to split into four or five nice curls.

So if you have children or grandchildren who are computer wizards, maybe you ought to pry the mouse out of their fingers and show them some of the simple things we used to do. Otherwise, today's computer kid may turn out to be tomorrow's Bill Gates. And be the richest person in the world. And have the biggest house on the planet. And own a million cars. And a couple of continents. And one of the smaller oceans. And . . . . . . .

You know, now that I think about it, maybe you ought to just leave the kids alone.

Eighth Grade Final Examination

The following was received from Lillian Turley Barnes, class of 1956.

Now this was when education was a real education. I wonder where we went wrong.

8th Grade Final - 1895

Remember when our grandparents, great-grandparents, and such stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895? (LOOK CLOSELY... THAT'S EIGHTEEN NINETY FIVE.) This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, KS, USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS -1895
Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no Modifications.
3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of lie, play and run.
5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.'
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took six hours to complete. Gives the saying "he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?


You are reading the last issue of the Bisonalities, Again newsletter. I have run out of stories to publish. If I do not receive any more stories I will not be able to publish another issue.

Be Safe!

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