Bisonalities, Again

FLBHS                                    WHS

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

October 2006 ---------------------------------- Fall Issue ----------------------------------- Volume 8 - Number 1

Welcome to the fall issue of the Newsletter dedicated to the alumni (students, teachers, and administrators) of Waterford High School and Fort LeBoeuf High School. This newsletter will be issued quarterly. New issues will be posted for viewing on the Web site on, or about January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.

The Bisonalities, Again 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 former classmates? If you do, please 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 or Fax: (301) 375-9250

Please, NO handwritten submissions.

The Bisonalities, Again Newsletter is available to any and all alumni, teachers, and administrators of Waterford High School or FLBHS on the Web site, free.

If you know an alumnus, teacher, or administrator who would be interested, tell them about the Web site. None of the material in this newsletter has a copyright unless otherwise noted. If you wish to make copies of this newsletter and distribute it to other Alumni or friends, please feel free to do so.

If you are reading this newsletter on-line and would like a printable version of it, a PDF version is available on the web site. That is, a file that can be read and displayed by the FREE Adobe File Reader. This will allow you to print the newsletter exactly as if you had received it by snail-mail. If you would like a PDF copy of the newsletter, it is located on the Main Menu under as "Past Issues Bisonalities Again."

Bob Catlin
Cat's Corner

Well here it is fall again. We have been having an unusually hot summer. It was the middle of July before we started seeing consecutive 90 degree plus days and then we had 14 days in a row where it reached 92-102 and a total of 37 days when it got over 90 degrees. Our normal average is 31 days of 90 degrees or higher.

I received an e-mail from Linda Lewis Church, Class of 1964, in reference to the 70th Anniversary of her Mother and Dad.

Ralph and Charlotte Lewis of Waterford were honored with an open house, hosted by their children, to celebrate their 70th Anniversary. They were married September 26, 1936. Their children and spouses are Bill and Karen Lewis of Waterford, Jerry and Janice Thiem of Stephens City, VA and David and Linda Church of Yuma, AZ. They have seven grandchildren and sixteen great grandchildren.

Nancy had just barely recovered from her two previous surgeries, one on her right Achilles tendon and one to reconstruct the joint of her right thumb, where it attaches to the wrist, when she developed a problem with her right shoulder and had to have surgery on it. As of the publication of this issue she is going to physical therapy two days a week and making great progress.

On July 20, the class of 1956, the first class to graduate from Fort LeBoeuf High School, celebrated their 50th reunion at the American Legion on 4th and Walnut Streets in Waterford. We had a great turnout. It was the best turnout we have had for any of our previous reunions. Our special guests were Dr. and Mrs. Stubbe and Mrs. Lois Byers Hamilton.

Dr. Stubbe was our principal at Fort LeBoeuf and Mrs. Hamilton was our art teacher at both Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools.

We wish to thank our special guests for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend our special event.

We also invited Coach Bonito and his wife but due to an illness they were unable to attend.

The night after our reunion, Friday, July 21, the Fort LeBoeuf School District Foundation held their Second Annual Alumni Night at the Stancliff Hose Company for Alumni of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools.

I learned at the class of 1956 reunion luncheon that a scholarship fund has been established in the name of Bette Davis. Lois Hamilton, Shirley Eliason, Walley Mahle, and Dr. Stubbe are working together on the scholarship. You will find more information about the scholarship fund later in this issue.

Istill need stories. Please, set down and put your memories of your days at Waterford on paper and send them to me.

The "Clean Stuff to Laugh At" you see inserted between stories was sent to me by several people.

PALM SUNDAY: It was Palm Sunday and because of a sore throat, five-year-old Johnny stayed home from church. When the family returned home they were carrying several palm branches. The boy asked what they were for. "People held them over Jesus' head as we walked by," his Mother replied. "You might know it," Johnny fumed, "The one Sunday I don't go, he shows up!"

Herb Walden
Tough Guy
By Herb Walden (Class of 1956)

I am one tough guy! I may not look tough, but I am! You've never known a tougher guy!

And you talk about being scared --- heck, I ain't a-scairt of nothing (I know that is poor grammar, but that's the way we tough guys talk. We say "heck" and "darn" a lot, too).

Things weren't always that way, though. Way back when I was a little kid, I was actually afraid of a couple of things.

A favorite summertime activity was something called "sleeping out". "Sleeping" is a misleading term since actual sleep was hardly ever involved. In fact, sleeping was not even an option for a lot of us kids. It was too dangerous! If you fell asleep, you might lose your grip on the baseball bat.

Of course, we needed the baseball bat for protection because we were out there surrounded by one of the things we feared the most. Yes, we were afraid of THE DARK!

The Dark itself was bad enough, but we also had to worry about what might be in it. There was always a lot of rustling going on. Nothing ever rustles in the daylight. Only in The Dark. And I never found out what it was, because to do so would have meant leaving the tent. No kid should ever venture outside the tent in The Dark! Unless, of course, he's headed directly for the house! At full speed!

I always imagined the rustling was caused by the furry-thing-that-lives-in-the-bushes, but I don't know for sure. I never saw him. But what I did see occasionally was far scarier!

Of course, I'm referring to the most dreaded of all nighttime creatures! The one that strikes fear into the hearts of little kids all over the world! (Or maybe it was just me in my backyard). If you haven't guessed already, the awful being of which I speak is A MOTH!

You may think that moths are harmless, but that's probably because you've never been attacked by one! Now, I'm not talking about those little one-inch jobs that hang out under the porch light. I'm talking about the great big ones about the size of a crow!

You show me a big, flapping moth and, well, you won't have a chance to show me anything else, because I will have left town!

Big, brown cecropia moths and those extra-ugly sphinx moths are bad enough that I don't care to share the same county with them. But the worst of the lot, the most frightening moth of all is the Tuna moth! And the thing about it that makes it so horrible is that IT IS GREEN!

No life-form that big should be that green, except maybe a cabbage!

It is a well known fact that Luna moths prey on little boys.

Even now, I can see their gaping jaws drooling with saliva, those razor-sharp teeth, and -- wait a minute! That's not A Moth! That's a pterodactyl! No matter. They're about the same thing.

The combination of The Dark and A Moth is the reason I stopped using a sleeping bag when sleeping out. Ever try running full-tilt in a sleeping bag? It can be done, but it's not easy.

See, the problem is the zipper. You may feel all snug and secure in your zipped-up sleeping bag, and then along comes A Moth! Consumed by terror, you can't find the zipper; Heck, if you're like me, you couldn't remember how to operate it even if you could find it! There's no time to figure it out, so you start running, bag and all! Of course, you can't find the opening in the tent even though the stupid moth found it easy enough!

It's always hard to explain to your parents why you're standing in the kitchen wearing a sleeping bag and wrapped up in the tent with ropes and stakes dragging along. You're reluctant to mention A Moth for fear of ridicule, and breathlessly panting, "I wanted a drink of water", just doesn't make it. So you just say, "G'night", and shuffle off to your bedroom as nonchalantly as possible, hoping the tent stakes won't catch on the stairs.

If you must have a sleeping bag, I strongly recommend against the "mummy type". There is just not enough leg room to develop a stride, so you are pretty much forced to make a series of jumps to the house. But the worst thing about mummy bags is THEY LOOK LIKE GIANT COCOONS!

Unfortunately, a lot of things sound like A Moth in The Dark. Like a gentle breeze, a rabbit hopping by, the neighbor's dog, a railroad train, just to name a few. Any one of them is a source of potential panic. Therefore, while some moths are real, many are imaginary. Be that as it may, one is just as alarming as the other, if not more.

From what I've said, you may think that I'm still afraid of moths. Well, I'm not! No sir! I outgrew that! I'm way too tough to be afraid now. However, I do have a phobia about moths. You can have a phobia and still be tough.

A phobia is almost like a fear when it comes to moths, though. Even now, you put me in a zipped-up sleeping bag inside a tent in The Dark with A Moth and you've got yourself a circus!

No doubt you've seen those novelty acts where motorcycle riders ride at high speed around the sides of a barrel-like container. Big deal! I can do that; too! In a tent! In a sleeping bag! And, heck, I don't need no darn motorcycle!

Happily, my fear of The Dark is gone, too. Mostly. Why, just last summer I was sitting out in the backyard one night right in the middle of The Dark, and it didn't bother me a bit. But when I started into the house, I saw an extra-large Luna moth on the screen door!

"Oh, heck", I said, in somewhat of a falsetto. "There's a darn moth!"

I didn't panic! But I did run around the house to the front door. I did run pretty fast. As fast as I could, actually, but I did that on purpose. It's sometimes fun to see if I can remember where all the bushes are in The Dark. I did, too. Almost.

"Oh, heck", I said. "Darn lilacs."

Had there been A Moth on the front door too, I don't know where I would have ended up. However, I was headed in the general direction of Milwaukee. As I was saying, I am one tough guy. And just because I may over-react a little to A Moth sighting doesn't make me a sissy. I have reason to believe that I am the only person in the world who knows that moths are a clear and present danger.

And, by the way, so are lilac bushes and shrubs.

Sandi Clark
By Sandi Clark (Class of 1972)

As summer comes to a close and tonight's weather included snow in the Rockies, I'm reminded of summer's end years past.

We'd have the beginning of school in the heat of September. In Mill Village that meant you'd swelter in class, so recess was anticipated with joy until it got cooler around the middle of October. I still remember we'd have that first snow of the season and then it would warm up enough to wear shorts and go swimming one more time before all the summer clothes got put into the back of the closet. Then the real snow would come and Thanksgiving could be with a few feet of snow on the ground.

I can't remember what year it was that we had so much snow, I remember in January that year we had to tunnel out the back door around to the front and shovel off the porch so we could use the front door.

I do remember the year that we had a couple feet of snow for Halloween when I was 12 or 13. We had enough snow that we had to dress warm. I was a cat that year so it meant black sweat pants and sweater on top of another layer of clothes. My tail was attached with pins and was supposed to curl at the end hanging down in back of me. Half way through town the tail was so wet that we had to pin it to the back of my sweater so it wouldn't drag in the snow anymore. We really did appreciate the hot chocolate we got at Marzka's (I believe). The Donachy's usually had candied apples or brownies. We never worried about them not being store bought and wrapped because we trusted all our neighbors.

By December we were ready to get started on Christmas and we generally had plenty of snow for the rest of the winter. My birthday is in the middle of January and it was very seldom I was able to have a party because of the snow. I remember one birthday (when my Dad was still alive, so it had to be when I was 6, 7, or 8) that I was supposed to have a birthday party but it started to snow. We lived way out in the country at that time and only a few kids showed up but then had to leave because it just kept snowing, getting deeper and deeper.

These days we still get a few big snows but a lot fewer than in my childhood and even less than when my mother was growing up. My mother almost had to be taken to the hospital in December of 1957 by tank when my sister was born. She knew some women who were transported that way.

In good weather for recess we had a typical playground of old that included swings, a teeter totter, a merry-go-round and a maypole. We always tried to get going as fast and as high as possible on the swings and maypole. The one move we had on the maypole was getting it swinging in a circle as fast as we could and then tipping it so one side hit the pole and the other side went flying into the air. Of course, someone invariably fell off but we never really seemed to get hurt. We always climbed the trees around the school as well. If we fell out, we dusted off and moved on.

All of these are now considered dangerous including the fact that most of our playground was on a gravel bed. Things have changed a lot since then but we all survived. I still wish I could go back and relive some of those times. We really did seem to have a village raising all of us then as everyone in Mill Village and a lot of people in Waterford looked out for us (not just my family but a lot of the families in and around Mill Village and Waterford). It was just two communities who cared a lot about the people that lived in the area.

THE WATER PISTOL: When Johnny opened his birthday gift from his grandmother, he discovered a water pistol. He squealed with delight and headed for the nearest sink. His Mother was not so pleased. She turned to her Mom and said, "I'm surprised at you. Don't you remember how we used to drive you crazy with water guns"?

Her Mother smiled and then replied . . . "I remember."

Joe Leech
A Stinking Memory
By Joe Leech (Class of 1956)

No, this is not a story about one of us in the class playing one of the classical "smell" tricks of our generation. For those who are still "straight arrows" that was the one where you'd go get a pound of bulk limburger cheese and put it on someone's car radiator or motor . . . and when it warmed and started to flow . . . ugh!

This was about a friend and a favor and how it was returned. Sometime "back then," Steve Graham came to me and asked if he could borrow my car. Exact memory fades as to when and which car . . . odds were it was that green '52 Chevy. Steve, being a friend, had his request granted, and returned later. I was in the back of "the store" when he came back with a rather sheepish look on his face. He handed me my keys and said "the car is back, and Joe, I'd never do what I've done to your car for my worst enemy" . . . and his voice trailed.

My mind raced to all kinds of scenarios from the car being totaled to a caved in grill or fender and I asked him, "What happened?"

He then told me, "I hit a skunk!"

Over time the scent faded, but the memory sure hasn't!

Ma Davis
Bette Davis Scholarship Fund

In recognition of the love and admiration shared by the many students, co-workers and friends who were touched by her endless love and boundless energy, the Bette Davis Scholarship Fund is established in her name to assist worthy Fort LeBoeuf students attain their educational goals.

You are cordially invited to participate by contributing to the fund and by getting the word out to your classmates.

The Planning Committee has put together a CD to be sent to anyone who contributes at least twenty dollars to the scholarship fund. Lois Byers Hamilton had occasion to interview Ma before her death and ask her about some of the interesting events that took place at school. The discussion includes a description of the Late Charlie Bowman's chicken plucking machine and of the time the ceiling came down on a visiting dignitary from Harrisburg. The CD also includes many delicious recipes which Ma brought from West Virginia, and lastly, a rendition of "Down Yonder."

500 CD's have been ordered. $25,000 is needed in order to maintain an annual $1,000 scholarship. That means that we need to average $50 per CD if we are to reach our goal.

If you have any questions, or would like to help, call Shirley Eliason at (814) 796-2878 or Walley Mahle at (814) 796-9059.

Contributions should be made payable to:

The Fort LeBoeuf School District Foundation
34 East Ninth Street
P.O. Box 810
Waterford, PA 16441-0810

Be sure to include your name and address so the CD may be sent to you. Also, mark on your check that it is for the "Bette Davis Scholarship Fund."

The FLBSD Foundation is an approved 501(c)(3) organization. All contributions are tax deductible.

CHILDREN'S SERMON: One Easter Sunday morning as the minister was preaching the children's sermon; he reached into his bag of props and pulled out an egg. He pointed at the egg and asked the children, "What's in here?" "I know," a little boy exclaimed, "pantyhose!"

I would like to leave you all with a favorite poem of mine.

A friend in need
Author Unknown

When things go wrong,
As you know they will
And your daily walks through life
Seems all up hill.

When your retirement pay is low
And your bills are high
And you would like to laugh
But can only cry.

When everyone around you
Is giving you a fit
Please, don't turn to me
I don't give a s---.

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

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