Bisonalities, Again

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

October 2004----------------------------------------Fall------------------------------------- Volume 6 - Number 1

Welcome to the fall 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

Summer has come and gone here in Southern Maryland and other than being ten degrees or so warmer than Erie, we had about the same weather, that is, it rained more days than the sun shone.

This year, Nancy and I, for our summer vacation, decided to catch the Cherry Festival in North East and Heritage Days in Waterford, something we had not done in several years.

We packed up the minivan and headed up to Erie to stay with Nancy's brother for two weeks, hoping for good weather, but knowing we needed to be prepared for anything, so we packed spring, summer, and winter clothes and, of course, my golf clubs and fishing gear.

We decided to leave the skis and ice skates behind, after all, it was July!

In addition to catching the Cherry Festival and Heritage Days, two family reunions were planned for the first two weeks of July, so we could kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Our intention to spend a full two weeks in Erie was soon changed.

We made it to both family reunions (The Catlin family reunion and my late Mother's family reunion.) and to the Cherry Festival.

By then, the heat and humidity was getting to us so we cut the trip short. After having dinner on Monday, July 12, at the Red Lobster in Millcreek with Mrs. Bette Davis and Chuck and Alice Cowley, we packed the minivan back up and headed back home.

I guess we are getting soft or old, or both.

My brother-in-law does not have air conditioning in his house, and he smokes one cigar after another, so between the two, we found it impossible to sleep, so we packed up and came back home earlier then originally intended.

We are going to try it again later in the year, around Halloween this time. Maybe we can take the cold, I know he has heat in his house.

I have another plea. I need stories for the newsletter. I just used the last story I have for this issue. PLEASE, consider writing a story and sending it to me. Help me to keep this newsletter going!

Death - Larry Shaw - Class of 1972

Lawrence "Larry" J. Shaw, age 50, of Erie, died Friday August 6th, 2004 at his residence.

Born July 13, 1954 in Erie he was the son of Lee E. and Joyce E. (Koen) Shaw.

He was a 1972 graduate of Fort LeBoeuf High School.

He was a General Laborer for Welch's Food Inc. until 2000. Previously he was a welder in the Zurn General Air Division. He also enjoyed bowling, camping, target shooting, and loved animals.

He was preceded in death by his twin brother, Gerald E. Shaw. Besides his parents, survivors include: his wife, Linda Kindle Shaw of Erie, a brother, Michael L. Shaw, wife Karen of Girard; an Aunt, Norma Heise of Erie; 3 nieces also survive.

Editor's Note: Thanks to Sandi Clark Angerer, class of 1972, for furnishing the above information.

Where are they now?
by Cheryl (Hermann) Oleski, Class of 1980

My daughter Lauren is a child with special needs and is involved with a lovely program called Therapeutic Riding of Erie County (TREC), which has been in existence for 24 years. We've been members for seven years.

The program teaches horseback riding to the physically and mentally challenged of all ages. It is an all volunteer organization and funds are raised solely by those volunteers and families of the riders. The current facility where the classes are held is The Willows Equestrian Center on Sterettania Road in Fairview. There have been a number of facilities over the years.

This fall TREC will submit their first of several grant proposals for a three-year plan to purchase land and build a permanent school. The program will open up to include persons who have undergone surgeries and have other therapeutic needs than the ones we serve now. We hope to have a Physical Therapist operating from our facility as well.

October 2 is the annual TREC Barn Dance to be held at the Willows Equestrian Center. It's always been quite a lot of fun. Also volunteers are working on an ad book, businesses and private sponsors are encouraged to support that as it becomes the largest source on income annually for the program.

Any questions about the TREC program, about becoming a volunteer, the dance or the ad book can be directed to TREC, P.O. Box 258, McKean, PA 16426 or by calling phone 814 824-5276

My Inner Child and Me
by Herb Walden, Class of 1956

One day last summer after one of many rain showers, I noticed some sizeable puddles on my lawn and driveway. You know what I did? I jumped in them! Yes sir, I jumped in them! Several times! And got wet way up past my waist which, by the way, is the measure of a good puddle-jump.

You're probably think that this is odd behavior for an old guy. Well, I can't really take full credit for it. My "Inner Child" was the one responsible. My Inner Child is between 5 and 10 years old, and he likes to come out and play once in a while.

Mostly our play times are fun, but sometimes things do go awry. You see, my Inner Child usually acts impulsively while I try to analyze the situation and avoid disaster. Usually.

For instance, a few days ago he wanted to climb the oak tree in my backyard. But I explained that at our age, we'd most likely fall and break a lot of things and maybe dislodge some internal organs. He said okay, but every time we walk under that tree, he looks at it longingly. I know he's going to try again, and I'm not sure I'll be able to talk him out of it. Sometimes it's hard to say "no" to a kid.

Take last winter for example. Early one morning I was about to take some bird seed out to the bird feeder. It had snowed overnight, (the first of the season), and there were about two inches on the ground.

All of a sudden, my Inner Child said, "Let's go barefoot to the feeder!"

I said I didn't think it was a good idea, He said he just wanted to see what it felt like. I told him he said the same thing every winter, but he insisted he couldn't remember the feeling of soft, fluffy snow on our feet. Besides, we were already barefoot, and this would save hunting up boots.

So I relented. The feeder is only a dozen steps from the door. We half-trotted out onto the porch and down the steps. When we hit the ground, both feet went out from under us, and we were airborne!

It was a classic fall! One of those kind often seen in cartoons where you're suspended horizontally in midair about four feet off the ground for what seems to be several minutes!

Then we crashed!

We laid in the snow for a little bit. Cautiously, I tried moving various body parts. Everything still worked. I got up, and we went on to the bird feeder. I was okay, but my Inner Child whimpered all the way.

We don't go barefoot in the snow much anymore.

Then there was the bicycle incident.

A while back, I was cleaning up my old bike, and my Inner Child suggested what we go for a ride. I said, "NO!" He said we'd just go down the road a little ways. I said, "NO!" I told him that our bike, being built in the 1940s, was made mostly of cast iron and concrete. Or so it seems. He said that never bothered him when he was my Outer Child. I explained that there's a lot more gravity now then there was back then.

We argued a bit more and then went for a ride. It took about a week for me to recover! Every direction I rode was uphill! People walking along the road were passing me! Even now, I'm getting leg cramps just thinking about it!

We don't ride my bike much anymore.

And then last summer came along.

We were wandering through the back field, my Inner Child and me, when we came upon a huge ant hill. He has always been fascinated by insects and suggested that we stop and watch the ants for a bit. There was quite a line of them coming and going, hauling little things that I couldn't make out.

Having observed where the ants were and were not, we sat down out of the way to watch the procession. Within a few minutes, a couple more- adventurous ants found us and were harmlessly exploring our shoes. We kept an eye on those ants, too.

All of a sudden, we were aware that some previously unnoticed ants had made an excursion up the leg of our shorts! Somewhere between 2 and 2000, I'd say. It was hard to tell. I suggest it was the former, but it felt like the latter! All I know for sure is they were sinking their fangs into parts of our anatomy not designed for fang-sinking!

Well, we got out of there in somewhat of a hurry. My Inner Child was saying some rather harsh things about ants! I would have cautioned him about his language, but I was busy disrobing and doing something that might have passed as an audition for "Riverdance"!

We don't watch ants much anymore.

Now another situation has arisen. I think this one is safe enough. You see, my Inner Child just said that he would like an extra-large dish of vanilla ice cream with way too much chocolate syrup on it. And a glass of root beer to top it off.

As I said before, sometimes it's hard to say "no" to a kid!

Class of '67 Birthday Party
by Dave Rutkowski

The class of '67 celebrated their 55th birthday together on July 19, along the banks of Lake LeBoeuf.

Organized by Kathy (Nelson) Proctor and Trudy (Kuffer) Brown, the event brought classmates from as far away as Georgia, North Carolina, and Illinois to relive old times, and discuss the possibilities of retirement. Trudy hosted the gathering at her home-on-stilts at the campground on Lake LeBoeuf that she runs, along with hubby Gary. And the stilt construction proved to be valuable, as heavy rains during the week inundated the area. Visitors had to park on dry land in town and were ferried to the home in Gary's four-wheel-drive truck. Well, most people did that. One of our classmates drove her husband's one-day-old truck through the floorboard deep water. Beverly (Haibach) Schwab pledged us to secrecy so that husband Kern would not find out what she did with his new Ford F-150. Don't worry Bev, your secret is safe with us.

Traveling from Georgia was Jack Sauers, while Rick Whittlesey drove up from Dayton, Ohio and Larry Anderson traipsed in from Chicago. Also coming from the south was Jim and Margaret (McCall) Connor, and Butch Unger, from his new home in Maryland.

Some of the other attendees were Dave Rutkowski, Eric Peterson, Frances Stewart, Audrey (Aljoe) Dick, Brad Lindberg, Doug Ennis, Hank and Susan (Hunt) Miraldi, Tom Sturtevant, Dan Huck, and several more. I knew who everyone was that night, but now I just can't recall who the heck was there. Should have taken notes, but I never took notes when I was in school, so why start now?

Anyway, a good time was had by all. Trudy and Gary made a good move several years ago by building a picnic pavilion on high ground, and that island oasis was the site of a very enjoyable evening. Let's do it again!

by Sandi Clark Angerer

This isn't the way summer used to be. I remember quite a few very hot summers when cooling off was the first thing all kids thought of. We used to live in Greene Township and had a small cement pond in our yard. During the summer we wore out quite a few pair of shorts and pants sliding down the sides of that pond. Dad drained it but that didn't stop us from sliding down to the bottom. Quite often though we couldn't get out on our own and had to be rescued. The pond wasn't that big but neither were we. The house isn't there anymore (it used to be where the current golf course is now) but the memories are still wonderful.

Then we moved to Stone Quarry Road. The farm we lived on had a real nice wooded area with a creek that ran through it. We loved going down to the creek and wading into it. We caught quite a few critters there including frogs, toads, snakes, crawdads and minnows. It wasn't really deep enough to swim but the woods were cooler than our yard so we liked playing there. It was also a great placed to watch and catch fireflies. I don't see too many fireflies anymore but then I don't live far enough out in the country anymore. That house isn't there anymore either. The last time I went through the farm had been subdivided and there were several houses there instead of just our house and the barn.

When we moved into Mill Village we went swimming in the culvert. It was really nice then. The water would come through the tunnel under the railroad tracks and create a nice waterfall into the pond itself. The water was deep enough that even as teenagers we could swim with no problem. It was a nice area with trees and a lot of grass on the banks. It was a nice way to keep cool especially in the dog days of summer when it was hot and muggy. If you got tired of swimming you could always take a book up to the ledge under the Main Street overpass and sit there and read. The railroad tracks and the bridges over 6N and Main Street are gone now. Even a lot of the trees are gone. I also understand that the stream isn't as strong and the waterfall isn't as good now.

We had other ways of cooling off by walking in the woods out back of Mill Village or biking to French Creek and swimming but the culvert was closer and Mom could keep track of us easier. It was a nice town to grow up in and there will always be warm memories of my life there. More often than not I wish I could afford to move back.

Bison Football Remembered
by Dave Rutkowski, Class of 1967

Football, especially Bison football, has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. When I was in grade school in the 60's I went with my dad to all of the home games. We never sat in the bleachers, but followed the game from the side of the field, where all of the "real" football fans were. We would walk back and forth, following the line of scrimmage. The field did not have a track around it, so the fans were able to get close enough to hear Coach Bonito yelling instructions to his squad and the grunts of the players as they blocked and tackled. Those sights and sounds that I experienced as a youngster made a big impression on me, and fostered my love of football.

With the fans being so close to the action, you really felt that you were part of the game, that your cheers were heard and inspired the players. I remember one chilly night when a cheerleader (memory tells me Linda Humes) plucked the cap from my dad's head and put it on to keep warm. LeBoeuf came from behind to win the game, and for the rest of the year she would seek out my dad, to borrow his "good luck hat."

Unfortunately, my impact on Fort LeBoeuf football would only be as a fan, not as a player. In 7th grade I went out for the team, and did not make a real big impression. Well, except for making the other guys look good, that is. As a running back, I made the defensive players look like future All-County players. As a defender, the backs were able to juke past me, and my lack of speed made them seem a little faster than they really were. In desperation, I think, Coach Flynn had me try quarterback. I couldn't pass that well, but that was OK since LeBoeuf never passed, anyway. My hand offs seemed to be fundamentally sound, I thought, but apparently not sound enough. Coach put Butch Unger in, and, Butch seemed to do good enough. Good enough, in fact, to become a star QB for the Bison varsity a couple years later. So my main contribution to Fort LeBoeuf football was to not stand in Butch's way as he ran and passed the Bison to victory.

In elementary school, the football players were my heroes. I lived on a farm, and the nearby players always wanted to help haul hay. That was pre-season conditioning before weight rooms and exercise machines. In the early 1960's Ted Salchak and his brother Bob hauled hay and pulled weeds from the cabbage, and Ted became my idol. I was so excited to go to the games and cheer him on as he played his tight end position. Now, this was the era of Wally Mahle at quarterback, so there wasn't much passing. The old Woody Hayes adage of 3 yards and a cloud of dust applied to Carm Bonito, also. Wally was the leading rusher in Erie County, as I recall, and went on to star for Syracuse, and later played with the Green Bay Packers. With all of the running plays, Ted's job consisted mostly of blocking. I don't know how many passes he caught for the year, but I do remember his first catch. The game was at Union City, and Ted hauled in a pass and started to run down the sideline. I was so sure my hero would score a touchdown, but he was pushed out of bounds. He was hit late by a defender, and took umbrage to that action. That is a nice way of saying he got in a fight with the defender, and was kicked out of the game. Boy, my idol caught a pass, and then got himself removed from the game . . . I thought that was so neat. The fight actually kicked him up a notch on my idol chart. I don't know where Ted Salchak is now, or what he does for a living, but I hope he remembers that incident as vividly and fondly as I do!

I graduated from FLB in 1967, and went on to Penn State where I cheered the Nittany Lions through some of their glory years. I'm still a Penn State fan, and I root for the Cleveland Browns, and have a fondness for the Buffalo Bills. But the team that is still closest to my heart is the Fort LeBoeuf Bisons. I've shouted "Go, Big Blue" for about 45 years, now. After college I moved away from Waterford, but subscribed to the Erie paper so I could follow Bison sports. I tried to make it back for at least one game every year, and the fans always seemed to support the boys. I was able to see some miserable losses in the few years when LeBoeuf wasn't that good, and I was able to see some excellent teams as they made the District 10 playoffs. I was able to see Brian Milne in only one game, against Northwestern, but knew I was seeing a special player. One thing that stands out in my mind was when Northwestern punted, and Brian was an up-man. He looked up as if he was waiting to catch the ball, and four or five defenders converged on him. The punt actually traveled about 20 yards farther, and the return man made a nice runback, because all the attention was on Milne. Such was the fear and respect other teams had for him.

I felt pity for Brian when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's , but followed his courageous battle as he defeated the cancer, and cried as he made his return to football at the Save-An-Eye All Star game and scored a touchdown. I was thrilled when he enrolled at Penn State and ecstatic when he scored the winning touchdown with seconds left against a tough foe.

When my daughter was four or five years old, and we were living 200 miles from Waterford, I took her to a Bison game while on vacation. As she watched the half-time show by the band, she said "When I grow up I want to play in the Fort LeBoeuf Band at football games". In 1994 I transferred to a position in Erie and moved my family to a new house in Waterford. My daughter's wish as a five-year-old came true, and I was proud to watch her twirl the flags as a member of the marching band color guard. My son followed my footsteps as a football player, which means he discovered his football skills were lacking, despite his enthusiasm and love for the game. He graduated from LeBoeuf with the pride and enjoyment of being a first baseman on the varsity baseball team, and a trumpet player for the Bison Marching Band. So, I spent eight years chaperoning my children on the band bus, as we traveled to away games. My wife thought I was doing it for the kids, but I was really doing it so I could get into the away games for free!

I would watch the football action in enjoyment, and then watch my children during the half-time performance with pride as they performed their solo portions. The band does not seem to be as respected by the student body as the other athletes, but they are a big part of what makes Bison football special. If you attended the games during 2001 and 2002, you may remember the band member in the stands with the big, foam cowboy hat. That's my boy, leading the cheers so well he received the Spirit Award for the band member with the most school pride.

If I had to give up rooting for all teams but one, the one I would keep would be the Fort LeBoeuf Bisons. Part of it is knowing the players through coaching them in Little League and Flag Football. Part of it is knowing their parents. Part of it is seeing old alums like me still coming to every game. Part of it is the purity of high school football, compared to the big-money professionals. But all of the parts total up to a love for the game, and the pride of being part of the Fort LeBoeuf football tradition.

Be Safe!

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