Bisonalities, Again

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

January 2004 -------------------------------------- Winter ----------------------------------- Volume 5 - Number 2

Welcome to the winter 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.

Cat's Corner

For those of you who do not have Internet access, you have probably been wondering what happened to the Fall issue of the Bisonalities, Again Newsletter.

Well, let me take the long way around to explain what happened.

I retired in 1994 after working for the Department of State for 36 years.

After retirement I tried several part-time jobs. I worked as Al Bundy for a while (a shoe salesman); I worked in a boat supply store for a while, as a salesman; I worked as a customer service representative for a Federal Contractor; and finally, in 1997 and 1998 I worked as an inventory control clerk in and Information Resource Management warehouse.

After this job, I again went back to a life of leisure, if you can call owning a 9-room house that is 30 years old and has over a half acre of lawn a life of leisure.

Then in 2000 I received a call from a guy I had worked with for 30 years at the Department of State. He asked me to come to work for him as his Vice President of Human Resources and Director of Government Operations. He had just started up a Government Contracting business and I was the first employee he hired.

This began a new career unlike anything I had ever worked before. By the spring of 2003, the company had grown from four people to more than 90. With this fast growth, my work hours went from 20 a week to 60 a week, plus the 30 mile commute.

To compensate for the numbers of hours I was working for the Company, I had to cut back on my leisure time activities. That included the publishing of the Bisonalities, Again newsletter.

Then, without notice, on the 31st of July, I quit the Company and decided to really relax for the first time since my original retirement in May, 1994.

In celebration of our 43rd Anniversary, and my quitting the Company, Nancy and I decided to take a trip to the Southwest and Pacific Northwest.

We took almost three weeks for the trip. We flew out to Las Vegas and spent a couple of days pulling on one-arm bandits. We then rented a car and for the next 14 days traveled to Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California, again and then back to Las Vegas, for three more days, and a flight back home.

Now that I have settled down and gotten my balance back, I decided to start publish the Bisonalities, Again Newsletter, again.

This means, I need stories to put in the newsletter. I have a gossip column that will be included that was written by Loraine Faulhaber Fox (1950) that the Erie Times-News has given me permission to reprint and, hopefully, stories by you, so start them coming to me.

26 Paint Town Rouge
by Loraine Fox

Sunday (November 30) was a beautiful, sunny, warm day and the Fort LeBoeuf Le Rouge (red) Chapeau (hat) Society attended the dinner theater production of "Christmas Memories" at the Station Restaurant on Peach Street. The meal was outstanding and the show superb. The outing was arranged by Dorris Proctor and 26 attended.

Ryne Rutkowski, son of Connie and David Rutkowski of Sharp Road, is a freshman at Penn State University and is on the woodsmen's team. It is a forestry-related team that uses chain saws, climbs trees and does anything to do with forestry. They have traveled to Ontario, North Carolina and other states. In their last competition, they took sixth place of 40 teams.

Good going guys.

Ryne graduated from Fort LeBoeuf in 2003.

Colonial Christmas is this weekend. There is a lot to do at the borough building with a gifts drawing and crafters. Come on down and join us.

Thanks to the Waterford Lady Lioness Cub, which put new bows and checked the lights on the angels and wreaths for the downtown district. Also to Tom Orr and his crew, who put them up for the borough. They look beautiful when they are lit.

The Waterford TOPS Club had a fun meeting last week. They had a purse auction. Members brought a purse filled with surprises, then everyone got to bid on them. The money went into the treasury.

The First Spiritualist Church, on the corner of Sharp and Bagdad roads, will have a ham and turkey dinner on Dec. 14 at 4 p.m. Following the dinner they will have a candlelight service upstairs in the church. A gift give-away is planned during the dinner. The public is welcome.

Don't forget? The banquet at the grade school for the 250th anniversary of George Washington's visit to Fort LeBoeuf is Dec. 11. Reservations are needed. For more information, call 814-796-6030.

It's always nice to get mail, especially if you're in the service, as Wes Jefferson is. He is serving on the U.S.S. Enterprise overseas. Anyone wishing to send him mail or a holiday greeting can contact his mother, Audrey, at 814-796-6532 for the address.

Donna Falk is visiting Waterford for Thanksgiving with daughter Karen, son-in-law Bob and grandsons Dusty and Kevin. She will be spending time with family and friends for several days.

LORAINE FOX writes about people and events in Waterford and southern Erie County. She can be contacted at 814 796 4539.

This article was reprinted with permission of Times Publishing Company, Inc., Copyright 2003.

Rules for Using Mirrors (after age 50)
by Herb Walden

1. I so not use a mirror in a brightly lighted area. Light filtering in from another room is ample.
2. If you wear glasses, do not wear them while looking in a mirror. Unless they are sunglasses.
3. Never clean your mirror.
4. Bathroom mirrors are best used while they're still steamed up after taking a shower.
5. Always tilt your head back when looking in a mirror. Tilting forward allows things to sag.
6. Even if all the above conditions are met, never use a full-length mirror closer than 25 feet.
7. Instead of a regular mirror, try using a kitchen appliance. That way, imperfections can be blamed on the distortion.
           and finally . . . . . . . .
8. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, under any circumstances, use a magnifying mirror!

Growing up on 'different world' of Waterford's Lake LeBoeuf
by Herb Walden

About 11,000 years ago, the great glaciers of the last Ice Age were in full retreat as the climate warmed. Huge chunks of ice broke off the glacier and were covered with mud and gravel as meltwaters raged over them. As these giant ice cubes melted, depressions in the earth were left. The depressions, like great amphitheaters, filled with water, partly from streams whose courses were defined by the melting glaciers, and partly from springs. These water-filled depressions are called "kettle lakes." The one at Waterford is Lake LeBoeuf.

Lake LeBoeuf is almost round, in a triangular sort of way. There is a wooded island in the center, very swampy. The lake is fed primarily by LeBoeuf Creek, which has its beginnings north of Waterford and winds its way through Gameland 109 under the covered bridge, past the spot where the French built Fort LeBoeuf, and then into the lake. We always referred to the lower portion of the creek as "The Inlet."

Several smaller streams also empty into the lake, and springs under the lake feed it as well. South of town, "The Outlet," also LeBoeuf Creek, carries water from the lake to French Creek near Hughes Corners.

Lake LeBoeuf is known for Muskie fishing. Fishermen really devoted to the sport will spend hours on the lake in hopes of landing the legendary Muskellunge. Many leave empty-handed, but a few are in the right place at the right time.

My uncle, Stanley "Pete" Walden, loved fishing above anything else. He practically lived on the lake.

One summer, Uncle Pete got a small kayak. It was just the thing to paddle around easily catching panfish. He was doing just that one day, using a light fly rod, when he hooked a large Muskie! That presented a predicament. He couldn't boat the fish because there wasn't room in the kayak. What's more, Muskies are very ill-tempered when irritated by a fishhook. A Muskie has a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth. An angry Muskie is not a fish to cuddle up to!

Uncle Pete did the only sensible thing: He let the Muskie tow him around in the kayak until it finally tired and gave up. Then he towed it to shore. It was more than four feet long!

When I was a little kid in the '40s, Dad went Muskie fishing at night. Mom and I would met him at "The Inlet" at a predetermined time, quite an adventure for me.

The boat livery and the bait/refreshment stand were at "The Inlet" in the area known as Porter Park and were presided over by Chet Comer. Boat houses and summer cottages were along the creek just before it entered the lake. A string of lights illuminated the footbridge one had to cross to get to the boat livery. In the summer there were always people around in the evenings. Some folks were there to see the fishermen come in, some were summer campers, and still others came just to sit and talk.

Sometimes in the early evening, Dad would take Mom and me for a boat ride. No motor boats were allowed; just rowboats and canoes. Mom was always nervous, but I loved every minute of it. I remember rowing through the lily pads to see the white water lilies up close and the yellow spatterdocks nearer the shore. What a different world!

When I was older, Dad and I went fishing on the lake quite often. The best time was at daybreak. We'd get to the lake when the sky was just graying in the east. Most often there was a thin layer of fog over the water. We'd row silently out to the island, our favorite spot, and anchor just as the sun began to rise. It seemed so quiet, yet there were plenty of sounds around: a squeaky oarlock, water dripping off the oars, a few birds tuning up for the morning, and thousands of frogs calling in an unseen chorus. The glassy smooth water looked almost thick.

As the sun rose higher, birds sang louder and a slight breeze would spring up. We'd have our hooks baited with minnows, and on a good morning would be hauling in crappies as fast as we could.

Around 10 o'clock, the fishing would slacken, and as the temperature increased, the birds would quiet down only to be replaced by buzzing insects. I got drowsy about this time. Usually I'd slip down onto the floor of the boat so I wouldn't doze off and fall overboard.

About noon, we'd pull in our lines and head for shore. Sometimes we had a stringer of fish; sometimes not. It didn't really matter.

Most folks preferred to fish in the evening, and Dad and I did a lot of that, too. It was fun because as we rowed along, it was like walking down a street, running into old friends here and there. We'd pass the Zewes and the Boyers and many others. We'd wave and say hello, and I'd always marvel at the way Mr. Boyer could fly-cast. It was a grand time.

One evening, as Dad and I started out for a couple hours of fishing before dark, Dad decided we'd go clear across the lake instead of the island.

I was rowing, a newly developing skill, and that probably influenced his decision.

It was cloudy, but Dad said it wouldn't rain. And it didn't either - not until we got our lines in the water. Then it started! A deluge. After a short time, Dad thought maybe we ought to go back.

We pulled up the anchor, and I started rowing, even though my shoulders weren't quite back in their sockets from the trip out. When we got to the island, about half way across, Dad dumped the worms and started bailing water out of the boat with the worm can. It was raining so hard we couldn't even see the boat landing. No lightning. No thunder. Just rain!

A little further, Dad spotted a female mallard just ahead of the boat. She was just paddling slowly around as if it were a bright, sunny afternoon. And then, Dad surprised me. He said: "Let's follow her!"

I asked if he thought the duck would lead us home through the storm. He said of course not; he just wanted to see how close we could get to her. With the rain coming down in buckets and roaring on the water, we started following the duck. When we'd get about three feet from her, she'd speed up a little and change direction. We'd do the same. We followed that stupid duck around for twenty minutes or so in a cloudburst. (The duck might not have been the stupid one!)

Eventually we quit playing duck tag and made it safely back to the boat landing. I never had been wetter. I never had more fun. Dad and I laughed all the while as we became water-logged, especially while following the duck. We laughed about it for years after.

Dad and I never caught a great many fish, certainly never anything to brag about. But we always had a good time, and we always laughed.

My only regret: Those mornings I slept in and let Dad go alone. Wish I hadn't.

Be Safe!

Remember. I need articles. Don't be afraid to submit an article because you think you cannot write. If you wish, Nancy (my wife), will edit it for you. She taught English for several years. There are NO professional writers in the Newsletter. Please, submit an article. It can be about something that happened in school, in college, during your career, or in your retirement, or just a story you want people to read.

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