Bisonalities, Again

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

October 2005 ---------------------------------------- Fall ------------------------------------- Volume 7 - 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.

Death of Ma Davis
Cat's Corner
The Move
Mill Village
A Tribute to Marge McStraw

Death of Alice Elizabeth (Bette) Davis

It is with deep regret and sorrow that I inform you of the death of Ma Davis.

Alice Elizabeth "Bette" Hustead Davis, age 88, passed away at her residence on Sunday, July 24, 2005, surrounded by her family and a dear friend. She was born December 31, 1916 in Clarksburg, West Virginia, a daughter of the late Delbert L. and Bessie Mae Hammond Hustead. Bette was a member of the Sardis Methodist Church and was a teacher and guidance counselor for 35 years. She received her B.S. Degree in Home Economics from Salem College, Salem, WV, and a Masters Degree from Edinboro University in Guidance Counseling. She taught home economics in West Virginia for one year in the late 1930's, then moved to the Erie area, where she began teaching at the old Waterford High School in 1947. At Fort LeBoeuf High School, where she taught for 18 years, she was lovingly known as "Ma" or "Davey", and served as cheerleading advisor and Future Homemakers of America advisor, having three state F.H.A. queens. She was inducted into the high school's Wall of Fame in 2004, and until her death, was the oldest living Waterford-Fort LeBoeuf teacher. The remaining 16 years prior to her retirement in 1981, were spent as a guidance counselor in the Millcreek School District. She was a member of the Pennsylvania Home Economics Association and Guidance Counselor Association, the Alpha Omega Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, the White Shrine Chapter of Erie, and the Order of the Eastern Star Fort LeBoeuf Chapter since 1944, serving twice as Worthy Matron. She was also a member of the Jolly Jesters clown group for several years. After retiring, she enjoyed traveling and ventured too many parts of the world. Bette also enjoyed ceramics classes, and volunteered with Meals-on Wheels, reading to the blind at the Erie Center for the Blind and Visually Handicapped, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She was preceded in death by 3 brothers, Carl, Joe & Howard Hustead, and a sister, Delberta June. Survivors include a daughter, Judy Johnson, husband Jerry, of Michigan; a son, Buck Davis, wife Bonnie, of Erie; a brother, Justin Hustead, wife Betty, Charleston, SC; 7 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, 4 great-great grandchildren, 3 nephews, and 1 niece. Burial took place in the Waterford Cemetery.


Cat's Corner

Well, here we go, another long, hot summer is gone and fall and winter are fast approaching.

Nancy had a bad summer. During late spring she developed a problem with the tendons in her right wrist and both legs (Achilles tendons) and spent the summer in a removable cast on her right wrist and right leg. It turned out the problem was the result of the side effects of a medication she was taking for high cholesterol, Lopid. She had been to two doctors about the problem and was getting no better. One evening, I was talking to my sister, Barbara, in North Carolina and told her about the problem Nancy was experiencing. (Barbara is a graduate of Waterford High in 1952 and is a registered nurse.) Barbara asked me if Nancy was on a medication for high cholesterol and I told her about the Lopid Nancy was taking. Barbara said that she should stop taking it immediately, because one of the side-effects of Lopid is that it dries out the lubrication surrounding the tendons and causes them to become very sticky and therefore cause a lot of pain.

Nancy immediately quit the medication, but the damage had already been done. On Wednesday, August 31 she underwent surgery on her right Achilles tendon. As soon as she is able, they will be doing surgery on her right wrist and possibly on her left Achilles tendon.

Summer also brought our annual trek to Erie to visit with friends and family. We moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 1961 and we have been returning home to celebrate the 4th of July every summer since. This year was no exception.

We got a chance to visit with a lot of friends while there and also dropped out to Waterford several times for breakfast/lunch at Jake's on the Park. We also spent several hours at the Heritage Days celebration.

Thanks to Nancy Dorman, I was invited to attend the 50th reunion of the class of 1955. It was great to meet and talk with many old friends, many I had not seen since they graduated.

We went out to Waterford on Saturday, July 16 to see the Heritage Days parade. We watched the parade with Coach Bonito, Dr. Stubbe, and Clinton Daley and his family. Ray Kibbe (class of 1956) had two of his antique cars in the parade, a 1956 Ford Victoria and a 1959 Ford Thunderbird. Both are in showroom condition.

In addition, the Fort LeBoeuf School District Foundation, sponsored the "First Annual Alumni Night for Fort LeBoeuf High School." The Alumni Night was held at the Stancliff Hose Company building on the corner of 4th and High Streets. The Annual Alumni Night, as the name implies, will be held every year for all alumni of Fort LeBoeuf High School, including students, teachers and administrators. It will be held every year at the Fire Hall and it will be from 6 to 10 p.m. on the same Friday that the Heritage Days Celebration starts. The "Night" was organized by Connie Hager and Kathy Proctor. They had a good turn out; over 100 people dropped in and said, "Hi." If you have a chance to visit Heritage Days in future years, walk over to the Fire Hall and say "Hi" and visit with a lot of old friends. I was able to visit with several people I had not seen since I graduated in 1956.

Then in August we took a week and went to visit my sister in Brevard, NC. Brevard sits in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is a very beautiful, small southern city. It has that small town atmosphere where everyone knows everyone else. It is larger than Waterford, closer to Union City in size. Every Tuesday night during the summer, weather permitting, they close off a block of Main Street and hold a square dance, on the street. A local four piece band, in a gazebo in front of the court house, plays country and mountain music. Every fourth song is a square dance. People bring lawn chairs and sit around and listen and talk about their week with friends they probably haven't seen since the last square dance.

Also, every Thursday night during the summer, they have a musical extravaganza in a park just off of Main Street. This is a scramble type of gathering. Musicians from all over the area gather and play and sing local mountain folk songs. There are times when as many as 10 people are on the stage playing. Musicians/singers come and go as the night moves on.

The short facts between stories come from a book I bought titled, "The Outhouse Papers." The facts are "Popular Dieting Myths" found in that book.

Any food you eat in a movie theater after the lights are turned off
doesn't have any calories.


The Move
By David Belt (Class of 1956)

In October of 2002 I few to Oakland, California to help my niece, Elaine, move back to McKean. Elaine had taken her mother, Betty, my sister, from McKean to her home in Livermore, California to recuperate after Betty suffered a minor stroke. When Betty first moved to California she could walk with a walker, talk, bathe and feed herself. Betty had a number of additional small strokes while there and became very weak and was unable to walk, stand or talk. She wanted to return to McKean.

I flew to California on October 26th, expecting to return in a truck with a fifteen foot long box on Wednesday the 30th. My niece had very little packed and when she told me what all she wanted to transport back East I pointed out that it would not all fit in the truck that she had reserved and that we could not get it all packed by that Wednesday. On Monday, she called the truck rental place and delayed the pick up date and also changed the truck to one with a 24 foot box. I planned to leave on Monday, November 4th.

We worked long hours to get things packed by the 4th. I got the truck and the car hauler on the 4th, but at the last minute we were told that the loaders would not be there that day. We were told to expect them by 9:00 a.m. on the 5th.

I was up, showered, shaved and dressed by seven am on the 5th. I pulled the ramp out of its carrier at the rear of the truck and had my suitcases, maps, water and other thing in the cab. I had lots of boxes and furniture on the driveway, and the rest, except for four large items, was in the garage.

When the loaders hadn't arrived by ten, my niece made a phone call, and was told that they needed forty-eight hours notice. ? ? ? ? ? Eventually, she was told that they would be there by one. They finally arrived at two. This "load" service cost just under $900. I could have loaded most of the stuff myself. But, I needed help with an armoire, and entertainment center, two sofas, a hot tub, and a hospital bed. These items were just too heavy for one person.

There were two loaders. One spent over an hour numbering and listing the items that would be going on the truck. The other guy and I worked well together. The truck was loaded, the car hauler connected and loaded, and I was motoring out of Livermore at a little after four pm.

I traveled 198 miles to my first nights stop at Lost Hills, California, along Interstate 5 and California route 46. I fueled up at a large truck stop and asked the girl at the fuel desk where the Day's Inn was. She pointed across the street at a Motel 6 and said that the Day's Inn was just across from it. The Day's Inn was across that road from the Motel 6, but also across a field and another street a couple of blocks east. The pavement ended and the road continued into the desert as two tire trails with stuff growing in the middle. My choice was to back the truck and car hauler about two and a half blocks through the darkness and onto route 46 or make a modified three-point turn. I modified the three-point turn to make it at least thirteen, and maybe even twenty-three. This was necessary to keep the traction wheels on the narrow paved part of the roadway.

I was on the road before sunup the next morning and traveled through Bakersfield, Barstow, Kingman, and Flagstaff, 583 miles to Winslow, AZ. This was a long day behind the wheel, because there were a bunch of "passes" to cross, where the yellow truck chugged along at 25 mph. I also lost an hour, because Winslow is in the Mountain Time zone.

The third day of travel was a 554 mile day taking me to Amarillo, TX. There were a few steep upgrades, but they were not as severe as the "passes" that I had encountered the day before. All three days were sunny and beautiful. I heard about the rain that the San Francisco area was getting and was glad that I was able to be loaded and out of there. I also heard about the three to four inches (per hour) of snow that Truckee, Ca, along Interstate 80, (a slightly more direct route) was getting , and was glad that I had decided to travel the Southern route. Snow was expected on the passes that I had crossed the day before. I saw snow capped mountains North of Interstate 40 in Arizona and New Mexico. I also lost another hour due to crossing into the Central time zone.

An early start on my fourth day of travel permitted me to exit Interstate 40 at Clinton, Oklahoma and get a haircut. I was getting pretty shaggy and I wouldn't be losing time by going into a different time zone that day. My wife and I had eaten lunch at Clinton in 1993 while traveling to New Mexico to attend a wedding.

The fillings in my teeth got loosened by the extremely rough roads in Oklahoma. Eventually, I made it to the Oklahoma Turnpike and then the Will Rogers Turnpike where the road was so smooth that I considered giving the troll more than was asked for. I spent the night at a Red Roof Inn at Springfield, MO. By now, I have had a fair amount of experience backing that car hauler, and turned it around and backed it across six parking spaces near the motel office like a pro. I had covered 541 miles that day.

Missouri has a lot of rolling hills. It is a very pretty state. I traveled Interstate 44 which goes on the North edge of the Ozarks.

Vehicles that I would pass down hill passedme on the upgrades. I passed one of two oversized metal commercial buildings being transported and was moving up to pass the other. The buildings were two lanes wide and appeared to contain natural gas compressors.

The truckers ran with their right tires on the right side shoulder to help others get around, but that still forced passing vehicles well onto the left shoulder. The front of my yellow truck was even with the second building when suddenly the big metal doors halfway up the side flopped open. There as no one inside to pull the doors closed so I changed my mind about passing, as did everyone else. Fortunately, it wasn't very far before we came to a rest area and the monsters pulled off. I crossed the mighty Mississippi at St. Louis, near the arch, and merged onto interstate 70 and then traveled to the East side of Indianapolis, where I would spend Saturday night. I had covered 462 miles that day, lost another hour to a time zone, and was about 410 miles from McKean, where I was to deliver the things on the truck.

My plan was to sleep in until seven or eight Sunday morning and then drive to the Erie Area and check into a motel, unload my niece's car and turn in the car hauler on Monday, and unload the truck on Tuesday. I climbed into bed before 9 Saturday evening. Numerous other motel guests were ---- shall we say --- entrepreneurs. To put it precisely, prostitutes and drug dealers. By one a.m. I still had not fallen asleep, due to constant engine noises, horn beeps, and talking. I head a couple of short beeps and some talking near my room, and looked out to see one SUV parked extremely close behind the car hauler, and a white Chrysler backed in almost to the truck's bumper in front. There were a lot of other available parking spaces, and I assumed that they were using the largeness of the truck to hide what they were doing. Since I wasn't getting any sleep anyway, and I didn't want them to park there, locking me in, I quickly pulled on my jeans, threw on a shirt and went out and started the truck, turning on the lights. The Chrysler immediately left. I loaded my bags and headed East on Interstate 70. I pulled into a rest stop near Dayton, Ohio and slept four or five hours on the bench seat of the truck. I moved on shortly after daybreak.

Now I don't want you to get the impression that I am for prostitution and drug dealing but those people in Indianapolis saved me from traveling the last 410 miles in a terrible storm that killed many people and did a lot of damage. So, in a way, I am happy that they made sleep impossible.

I got to the Erie area about 3 Sunday afternoon. I unloaded my niece's car immediately, because it had just started to sprinkle and I thought it may be raining on Monday morning and I did not want to lie on my back on the wet pavement releasing the hold down chains to get the car unloaded.

When I got to the motel and turned on the TV to watch the news, I became aware of the storm that had gone through Dayton. It was moving east and was causing tremendous damage along a line from Columbus to Cleveland and was headed toward Erie. Words saying "Tornado Warning" crawled across the bottom of the TV screen.

My niece was anxious to get the truck unloaded, and arranged for her nephew and his friend to help on Monday morning. The storm had passed through the area, and our unloading went well. I turned the truck and car hauler in to the Ryder agency on State Street, near the Stadium, and took a long hot shower at the motel, had a great chicken salad and watched several movies on TV.

The next day, I rode a Greyhound bus back to Buffalo. I left the truck in Erie because Ryder would have charged another thousand dollars to drop the truck off in Buffalo.

I had a very enjoyable trip across our beautiful country, but was happy to be home.

If no one sees you eating, the calories don't count.


Mill Village
By Sandi Clark (Class of 1972)

I haven't lived in Mill Village since college but I've gone back a few times and have seen quite a few changes. The old grade school, which was actually a church first I understand, housed businesses the last I knew. We used to have a good time in that school though. The cafeteria was in the basement and that's where all the potluck and spaghetti dinners were served no matter whether given by the fire department or another entity. When you went in the front door first grade was on the left with second grade right next door. Then I believe the bathrooms were right around the corner from that. I don't really remember what was on the right hand wall. The first floor was in an "L" shape. Third and fourth grades were along the left wall of the "top" of the L and fifth and sixth grades along the right wall. They could be opened up for our auditorium. The stage (and nurses office) was behind part of the right hand wall of the "bottom" of the L. They moved the blackboard in fifth grade to reveal the stage. The door to the nurses' office/stage was on the "top" part of the L where it met the "bottom" part. It was cramped in all classes at times but we had good times there nonetheless.

They have removed the railroad tracks that went over Main Street as well as the culvert (our swimming hole). When the tracks were there as you would go north and there was a ledge under the right hand side of the tracks. Quite often we would go up there to sit and read and watch the trains go by. The culvert was back about three feet from that wall. It was a tunnel with a little waterfall coming off the deck and then a nice big water hole. It was deep enough for us to dive into without getting hurt. Also, there was a ledge under the waterfall where we could sit and hide and watch people swimming (as well as jump out and scare them, which we did a lot).

Mill Village was small enough that people joked about blinking and missing it while driving through. The corners consisted of a grocery store (now an antique shop), a phone booth (never did work that I'm aware of), the fire department and a bar. We did have a baseball field at both ends of town. The one on Gillette Street was small and the little league usually played there. The other field was on Church Street. We had big summer celebrations there. I remember one where we had a big picnic with a beauty contest and square dancing. The field near the new school was used for the camp when we had the wagon train come through. The only other real "attraction" was the junkyard. We lived right in front of it. To all of us kids it was just another big playground where we could explore and play, and we did!

The main thing I remember growing up was everyone pretty much knowing everyone else in town and helping each other when needed. We were poor but we had a lot of help from quite a few people especially the Weeds, Sherreds, Kerrs and the pastors of both the Church on Main Street as well as New Ireland, which was outside of town. With eight of us going in different directions most of the time we never seemed to be without a ride to our events and, of course, we were always volunteering when either the Church or school needed help. In the summer it was always nice to sit on the front porch and socialize with everyone on Gillette Street. I always remember having extra kids at our house. We didn't turn anyone away and could have had a couple extra tables full of kids especially during the summer when one or more of us would bring friends home. Doors were always open and everyone watched out for each other.

If the person you are with eats more than you do, your calories don't count.



When his chickens started to get sick and quit laying, a farmer decided he needed to get help from the State Department of Agriculture. He picked the sickest-looking chicken, wrung its neck, and set it off for evaluation. About a week later, he received a letter back in the mail from the Department of Agriculture. They reported that after analyzing the sick chicken it was found that it died of a sudden broken neck.

* * * * * * * * * *

A farmer and a grocer were talking politics over a game of checkers. "There is no justice in this world," said the farmer. "The rich man can buy all he wants on credit, but the poor man must pay for everything in cash. It should be the rich who pay cash, and the poor who should be able to buy on credit."

"That sounded well and good in theory," said the grocer, "but if I were to extend credit to all the loaders in this town, I'd soon be poor myself."

"Then you'd have nothing to worry about," said the farmer, "you'd be able to get everything on credit."

* * * * * * * * * *

Homer Mullinix had never used a telephone. On a rare trip to town he worked up his nerve and decided he would try using one. With a little help he managed to dial over to the general store, where his wife was shopping. At that very instant lightning struck the phone wire, and Homer let go of the phone in a hurry. "That was her, all right," he observed.

Food licked off knives and forks contains no calories.


A tribute to Marjorie Hunt Horst McStraw - (Class of 1952)
By Barbara Catlin (Class of 1952)

Marge and I first met in Junior High, when Waterford Township consolidated their schools and began busing us from our one-room country school houses to Waterford High.

Marge and I became very good friends. We had a lot of things in common. Marge was one of the most intelligent persons I have ever known. She had a very strong sense of right and wrong. Marge was not afraid to argue her point to anyone. I can see her now arguing with St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

We did all the things together that good friends in the 50's did. We talked on the phone, stayed overnight at each others house, shared clothes, double dated, and shared much laughter, and many sorrows.

Marge was Valedictorian of the Class of 1952 and after high school graduation we entered Hamot Hospital's School of Nursing together.

We chose not to room together our freshman year so we would be sure to make new friends. Lo and behold, Marge met and married her roommate Emily Horst's brother and left nursing school, before graduating.

I missed her very much but my roommate, Gwen Smith, soon became another very best friend.

Shortly after marriage, Marge had a baby boy, Danny, and in two short years became a widow.

After a very painful period of time, she and Paul McStraw, whom she had dated before, got back together and married. They had two boys, Michael and Paul, Jr. When Paul died last year, they had been married 50 years.

Marge worked at various jobs during her work years. While she worked in real estate, she sold me my first house. My oldest brother, Ernie, Class of 1947, lived near a diner she owned and would stop in for coffee and a chat.

Throughout our lives, we continued to keep in contact and share both our joys and sorrows up until her recent death from cancer.

I am going to miss her very much and no longer have a friend who will say "Barb, stop your whining and get on with it."

Rest in Peace my dear friend.

Hanging out with really fat people makes you look thinner.


Editor's Note: And no, I am not available to hang out with!

See you all next issue!
Be safe and stay well!

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