Bisonalities, Again

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

April 2005 ---------------------------------------- Spring ------------------------------------- Volume 6 - Number 3

Welcome to the spring 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
Death of Merle Heard
Sunday Comics Quiz
Remember those early school days
A shocking incident
My life, My cars
Answers to Sunday Comics Quiz
Cat's corner

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where da birdies iz.

Well, another winter has come and gone here in Southern Maryland. We were lucky, we had a great first half. Most of December and January weren't bad for us. We saw many days where it got up into the high 60's or low 70's. Unusually warm for Southern Maryland. Then January 17 came, winter had finally arrived. We saw a high of 30 degrees that day with wind chill factors in single digits. For the next three days, it never got above 25 degrees with wind chill factors below zero every night. Even though it turned cold, we still had the third highest temperature average ever recorded for January and February. Then along came March. We recorded temperatures that averaged 12 degrees below our normal with double our normal precipitation. Very little of it was snow. Had it been, we would have had several feet of it, but thankfully it was rain.

The cold never seemed to bother me when I lived in Waterford and was a LOT younger. As I get older, the temperature has to pretty much match my age.

Nancy and I decided to escape the February cold and packed up and took off for New Port Richey, FL to visit with my brother Leslie (1956), nephew Mark and friends Steve (1956) and Susan Graham, Ma Davis, and Nancy Dorman Swanson (1955).

Just our luck, we took the cold weather with us. We first went to Brevard, North Carolina to visit my sister, Barbara (1952) and the cold and snow followed us there. We then went to Atlanta, Georgia and ran into a snow storm there (at least it didn't stick to the roads). Then on to Florida, where at least it didn't snow, but we rarely saw any days near 70 degrees and a cold breeze blew out of the Northwest most of the time.

If you have ever been to Florida in the winter you will hear the same statement from everyone that we did. "You should have been here last week, it was in the 70's and 80's every day." Yeah, sure it was!

Regardless, it was still warmer than what we were having in Southern Maryland before we left.

One of the articles below is a quiz that was made up by Herb Walden, class of 1956. Herb was a teacher in the Albion school system and writes articles regularly for the Bisonalities, Again. Herb is retired and presently lives in the Albion area. The answers to the quiz will be found on the last page of this issue. I imagine if you were born after 1950, you will be wondering, what is he talking about? See how many you can answer correctly?


Death of Merle L. Heard - Waterford Pharmacist for 34 years

Merle L. Heard, age 78, of 29 South Park Row, Waterford, died Sunday, March 20, 2005 at Saint Vincent Health Center. A lifelong resident of Waterford, he was born there on February 23, 1927, a son of the late Ernest L. and Helen H. Hamilton Heard. Mr. Heard was a pharmacist and businessman who owned and operated Heard Drug in Waterford for 34 years. Prior to that, he also operated the Gem Restaurant and Heard's Sugar Bowl. He was a veteran of WW II, serving in the US Navy from 1945-46, and he was a graduate of the University of Toledo, College of Pharmacy in 1952. He was a member of the Masonic Order, and also the First Presbyterian Church of Waterford where he had served as an elder. He was a well-known athlete through his high school years, and in later years, he enjoyed bowling and golfing. He and his wife enjoyed playing cards and were members of a 500 Card Club in Waterford that included the same eight married couples for the past 50 years. After his retirement in 1989, he and his wife enjoyed spending winters in Sarasota, Fla.

He was preceded in death by a brother, William Heard, a son-in-law, Rodney E. Sargent, and a grandson-in-law, Glen T. Johnston. Survivors include his wife of almost 61 years, Barbara L. McGahen Heard, whom he married July 29, 1944; five daughters, Dr. Rebecca A. Barton and her husband, J. Vernon, of Eads, Tenn., Christa D. Hassel and her husband, Sidney, of Bonita, Calif., Yvonne C. Boyle and her husband, Gary, of Cambridge Springs, Denise M. Blass and her husband, Gary, of McKean, and Melissa L. Heard of Polk, Pa. Also, two sisters, Alma E. Turner of Erie, and Una Mae Van Dyke and her husband, Edwin, of Waterford; and ten grandchildren and eight great- grandchildren.

Burial was at Waterford Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Building Fund of the First Presbyterian Church, Walnut Street, Waterford, PA 16441.

Condolences may be sent to:

Mrs. Barbara Heard
29 South Park Row
Waterford, PA 16441


Sunday Comics Quiz
Name the comic strip

by Herb Walden - Class of 1956

01. This strip featured a pretty girl as the title character and her boyfriend, Phil Fumble. Her niece, Nancy, was a spin-off strip.
02. This strip by Al Capp was the first ever to be turned into a broadway show and movie. It featured such characters as Lonesome Polecat, Hairless Joe, and Big Barnsmell.
03. This little orphan girl never achieved the popularity of Little Orphan Annie. She had a dog, too. Its name was Zero. Her favorite expression was Agloryosky!
04. The title character was a boxer. Heavyweight champ, no less. He joined the army in World War II and was a GI favorite.
05. This strip featured Walt Wallet, his wife Phyllis, and their adopted son, Skeezix. It was the first strip to have the characters age.
06. In the 1940's, the strip featured the title character's little brother, Perry, and his buddies. They called themselves the Rinkydinks. One of them was Denny Dimwit.
07. The title character lived in a boarding house owned by Lord and Lady Plushbottom. His Uncle Willie, Aunt Mamie, and little brother, Kayo, lived there, too.
08. This title character was a pilot. His best friend was Downwind Jaxon whose face we never saw. He was always drawn from the back.
09. This strip was drawn by two cartoonists and appeared simultaneously with two different titles. One title was The Captain and the Kids. What was the other title?
10. The only western comic strip I remember, this cowboy worked on a ranch owned by The Duchess and was followed around by an Indian boy, Little Beaver.
11. A bald boy, apparently mute, always dressed in shorts and a T-shirt with a square neck.
12. Roy Crane was a very prolific cartoonist. He drew two adventure strips: Buz Sawyer and Wash Tubbs. In the 1950's, he also drew a funny strip which, as I recall, was a spin-off from Buz Sawyer. It featured the title character and his sister, Lucille.
13. Maggie and Jiggs were the lead characters, but what was the name of the strip?
14. A spin-off from Barney Google, this strip featured a hillbilly family consisting of the title character, his wife Loweezy and their nephew Jughaid.
15. A comic strip about cavemen called AB.C., but the first caveman strip was ____ ____?

Editor's note: The answers may be found on at the end of this issue. How did you do?


Remembering those early school days
By Elizabeth Faulhaber Demmer-Potter - Class of 1955

I sit here remembering long ago, in the late 40's or so, Fritz Bliley was our bus driver, and my brother Sam was such a tease and clown. Fritz said the boys in the back of the bus, Louie Malinowski, my brother Sam, and a few others were chewing tobacco and spitting it out the windows. Fritz said his wife worked hard at keeping that bus clean and he was not tolerating such behavior, and threw them off the bus. In those days the bus driver could toss the kid off anywhere in the country and he or she could walk or find another way home.

My sister Loraine and I boo-hooed knowing we were miles from home. We worried about Sam until we were dropped off and walked the 1/2 mile home. Lo and behold, there sat Sam in a living room chair like he had never gone to school that day. He had to simply cut across fields and pastures arriving home long before us, as we had miles of bumpy roads to ride before we even got off the bus.

I was always so hungry after school, I can still smell the aroma of Joni Markham's peanut butter sandwiches. She always seemed to have a 1/2 sandwich leftover from her lunch to enjoy on the way home.

Never in my wildest dreams did I realize that one day I would be driving one of those big yellow busses, taking kids to and from school each day. But the laws have much changed, no more putting kids off the bus, plus many other rules.

I must admit, it was one of my very favorite jobs, I learned from those students and shared their joys and sorrows. Much to my surprise, I stopped for a haircut in Fairview one day while home and discovered that one of my former riders is now a beautician. Time marches on, needless to say!

I have so many memories of school. The one room Bagdad School with Eleanore Lane our teacher, just a young gal of 19.

Mrs. Shields and Mrs. Carter at Strong School . . . Christmas plays and parties, Box Socials, Mother and Dad were so good about going!

Going to ??? School. I cannot recall the name just now, it was out past Charley Brace's place. The teacher came to school by horse and buggy! We only went there for a few days, bridge was out I think.

I also went to Depot School for some forgotten reason, I thought that was a really neat school. It was a two story building.

I remember sitting in our snow pants and coats until the room was warm enough to shed some clothes. The boys carried water, fire wood and coal. The girls washed blackboards and swept the floor. And of course, the outhouses, and how we took a cup for a drink of water. A bucket with a ladle in it, and then later, a crockery cooler. Listening to children learning to read. I always thought being a teacher would have been the epitome of careers. Perhaps that is the reason I loved Scouting and driving church and school bus and being room Mother for both my kids when they attended Elementary School.


A shocking incident
By Herb Walden - Class of 1956

Ah, summertime! The time of year we all look forward to. The season of fun. Good times. And the livin' is easy.

Just the thought of summer conjures up memories of picnics and swimming and fishing and vacation trips and, my favorite, mowing lawn!

Yes, mowing lawn. I really like to mow the lawn. Always have. I started way back with an old fashion push-type reel mower. It was a tough job, to say the least, and it's easy to understand why most normal kids hated it. But I've never been accused of being normal.

When I was about 12 years old, Dad bought a power mower. It was the reel-type, and it weighed darn near as much as I did. Mowing lawn became an adventure; those mowers had no reverse. You just titled them back on their rollers and hauled away backwards. That worked pretty well if you were a full-grown person. As for me, well, Mom's flower beds got thinned out from time to time. And a few of Dad's young trees came up missing. But the lawn sure looked nice.

Although I was a fair-to-middling grounds-keeper, I knew nothing about the engine that powered the mower. Oh, I could start it, stop it, and put gas and oil in it, but that was the extent of my knowledge. As the summer wore on, however, my curiosity about gasoline engines grew.

One day after I finished mowing, I parked the mower under our big cherry tree and sat down in my swing to cool off. While I sat there, looking at the mower, my curiosity got the best of me. My attention became riveted on the spark plug. See, it looked like an electric thing, what with a wire hooked up to it and all. But to shut the engine off, you bushed a metal tab down on top of it. It seemed to me that if there was electricity in the plug, you would certainly get a shock. Hmmm! Maybe there isn't any electricity in a spark plug after all.

Only one way to find out: Cautiously, I touched the plug. Nothing. Wait a minute! What if the engine is running? So I pulled the rope, revved up the engine, and grabbed onto the spark plug.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you in no uncertain terms that THERE IS ELECTRICITY IN A SPARK PLUG!!! A WHOLE LOT OF ELECTRICITY! An abundance of electricity! An excessive amount, I'd say!

In just the split-second that I was connected to the plug, I absorbed enough electrical energy to illuminate the entire city of Boston, including the harbor area and both lanterns in the Old North Church!

You've probably seen comedies or cartoons where a guy gets shocked and he stiffens, vibrates, has little lighting bolts flying off from him, his hair stands on end, and you see a flashing x-ray view of him.

Did you know all that really happens?


My life, my cars
by Alan Hazen - Class of 1956

I am 66, and I drive an old man's car. My Cadillac is luxurious, safe, leans in curves, and still attracts attention. My friends say to me, "Nice car!" Women don't look at me anymore, but at least my car is noticed. When I bought the Cadillac last August, I said to my daughter, "This is my last car." Kira replied, "No it's not, Dad." But if it is, I'll go out in style.

It was always my dream to own a Cadillac. But I'd heard they were not good cars, and as I age reliability is more important to me. My wife drives everywhere, up to Erie, to Pittsburgh, and even to Florida. The last thing I need is to get a call that she is stranded or worst.

I'm a car nut in a low-keyed way. If I had my way, I'd buy a Lamborghini, but I would bankrupt myself. "My" first car belonged to my brother Phil, class of '54. It was a '36 Chevrolet. Herb Walden and I drove '30s era Chev's our senior year. And as Herb was fond of saying, "All the get-up-and-go in that car has got-up-and-gone. "My" second car, '58 Ford belonged to my brother Sam, class of '61, and as Ronny McCall said when he sold it, "That's one hot car." Apparently it was too hot as I scrapped myself off a tree three months later.

My first real car cost $30. It was 1951 Henry J, and I bought it in 1962, right before I married Sue. I was 22 and still a student at Penn State. I bought the car from one of Sam's friends. When the car threw a piston rod, Sam's friend felt so bad that he sold me another Henry J for $25. I still remember the sorry green car with the white paint along the right side scrapped from the country bridge located between our apartment and the hospital where Sue worked as a nurse. The car got 30 mpg and 50 miles per quart of oil on level road. There was a mountain to climb at Port Matilda, about 30 miles North of State College, which on a trip to Waterford, always consumed two quarts of oil.

After two years and a masters degree, I got a job working at North American Aviation in Los Angles for $820 a month. To get to California I bought a British TR-3 from Phil. There was only small space behind the two front seats for luggage. We stuffed everything we owned behind the seat. And two-month old Kira lay on top. She still likes the wind.

Then came a series of family cars: '64 Chev, '72 Chev, '78 Buick. No station wagon. Sue hates station wagons. Sue had her car and I had my transportation. As the kids left home, Sue went from family cars to sports cars: '84 Mazada RX-7, '94 Corvette. Since '72 I always owned a motorcycle and at least one car. The '72 Chev was a disaster. I switched to Chrysler with a '76 K-Car and two Dodges, '91 and '99.

Last year was a bad year. The engine in the '99 Dodge blew up and the Corvette burned up. That Corvette was the most handsome car I ever owned and I planned on keeping it forever. Even driving downtown Pittsburgh last year, the pedestrians would comment. But after fording water from the aftermath of Ivan, I parked the Corvette in the garage and waited for dinner. Thirty minutes later Sue, and several of my neighbors, loudly informed me that my garage was on fire. Sue cried as the fireman took their axes to the Corvette hood. Plastic burns very well. The Corvette looked like a bomb had hit it.

Shopping for a replacement that would reflect my maturity, I saw this beautiful, tan Deville. It pulled me back to my youthful dreams. I'd read that Cadillacs were better built since General Motors has decided to engineer them to European standards. I suddenly felt compelled to buy it. Driving the Cadillac has given me a real lift. It runs beautifully and is problem-free. With front-wheel drive, traction control, and ABS, I can challenge the SUVs on slippery roads.

I prefer to drive a heavy car because my bones break a little bit easier these days, and I like having all that strength around me. It also makes me feel better to know that if Sue hits a bridge on her way to Pittsburgh, the car will dial up the local hospital and send an ambulance.


Answers to The Sunday Comics Quiz

01. Fritzi Ritz
02. Li'l Abner
03. Annie Rooney
04. Joe Polooka
05. Gasoline Alley
06. Winnie Winkle
07. Moon Mullins
08. Smilin' Jack
09. Katzenjammer Kids
10. Red Ryder
11. Henry
12. Roscoe Sweeney
13. Bringing Up Father
14. Snuffy Smith
15. Alley Oop

Have a Great Summer!

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