Bisonalities, Again

FLBHS                                    WHS

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

April 2007 ------------------------------------------- Spring Issue --------------------------- Volume 8 - Number 3


Cat's Corner
Letters to the Editor
A horse is a horse of course
Fond Memories
Sixth Grade Commencement 1949

Welcome to the Bisonalities, again, a 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 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
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.

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Bob Catlin
Cat's Corner

Spring has sprung! The grass has riz! I wonder where the birdies is?

This is my favorite time of year. The temperatures are on the rise, the trees are putting on their spring clothes, the flowering trees and plants are in full bloom, there is more sunlight than darkness, and all the birds have returned from their winter homes back to their summer homes here in Southern Maryland.

Winter arrived late here. We did not see the first sub-32 degree day until the 12th of January and then we had a lot of days where the temperature went into single digits. In February we had three snow storms. Of course, nothing like those of you who live in the north have received, but bad enough for us.

The one-lines used in this issue were received from my oldest brother, Ernie, Class of 1947.


Age doesn't always bring wisdom. Sometimes it comes alone.

Letters to the Editor

The following letter was received from Wes Nicklas (Class of 1954):

Bob Cat

Déjà vu! It all started when our youngest daughter married and moved to Minneapolis. To visit her we had to travel through Wisconsin.

About the second trip to visit her I noticed a familiar situation in the southern part of this state. It was just north of the Illinois state line, where we started seeing the earmarks of what was probably glacial country.

There were scattered small lakes, lots of swamps and numerous little hills. Also, a few longish ridges. Does any of this sound familiar? You got it --- Erie County all over again, including dairy farms.

It was then that one of those strange feelings came over me --- like I belonged in that region and felt very much at home.

Granted, we didn't know all that much about our history of glacial geology fifty years ago, but the glacial thing explains a lot about Waterford. Did we know about "Lake Effect" snow? I suspect Wisconsin sees a lot of snow, too.

Looking forward to next summer and another trip through Wisconsin. There is a small chain of country cooking restaurants up that way, called "The machine shed" --- almost worth the trip. Wisconsin also has cheese curds if anyone remembers those.


On the last page of this issue you will find a 6th grade commencement program for the future class of 1955. The program was received from Nancy Prososki Austin. Thanks Nancy!


The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

Herb Walden
A horse is a horse, of course
By Herb Walden (Class of 1956)

I consider myself quite an authority on horses. It's all first-hand knowledge, too. None of that book stuff. (Oh, I did read a book about a boy and a horse when I was 11, but I don't remember a thing about it, so it doesn't count!)

My first experience with horses occurred when I was about seven --- nearly 30 years ago.

I was in the process of growing up in Waterford, and there were quite a few horses around town then. I never had anything to do with them, until one spring afternoon near the end of the school year. My mother had come up to school at dismissal time to pick me up. I was always happy when she did that because it meant we'd go for a little ride out through the country.

They were short rides, but they were just what I needed to help unwind from a tough day of coloring, pasting, and those Palmer-method handwriting exercises.

On this particular day, Mom paused to visit a bit with my teacher, Mrs. Brooks. All the other kids had disappeared instantly upon dismissal. So while Mom and Mrs. Brooks talked in front of the school, I played on the swings. It was the only time I ever had all four of them all to myself. I was going from one to the other, trying to decide which was best.

The area from behind the school to Fifth Street was an open field. Paul Bartholme, who lived a couple of houses up the alley from us, had a team of horses. Occasionally he would hitch his team to a mowing machine and mow the field. This day was one of those occasions.

So, there I was happily swinging away when all at once I heard a terrible commotion in the back of the school. Someone was yelling! Horses were making horse noises! Suddenly, from behind the school came the horses at full-gallop!


Now for those of you unfamiliar with “runaways,” horses will sometimes spook when they catch a glimpse of something they perceive to be life-threatening --- like a leaf or a butterfly. Then they run! Away! Very fast! And in no particular direction!

On came the horses with the mowing machine and Mr. Bartholme still attached! Mr. Bartholme was yelling at the top of his lungs. He was saying things like, “Whoa!” and “Gee!” and “Haw!” and other things that I, as a second grader, had never heard before.

The horses paid no attention whatsoever. They were on their way somewhere at about 85 miles per hour! How Mr. Bartholme stayed aboard that sulky-like mowing machine is beyond me. It was chattering like a machine gun. It's a wonder they didn't cut down all the trees in the schoolyard!

I had stopped swinging and just sat there in shock and astonishment. The horses turned and came directly toward me! They were very large horses! Elephant-sized I'd say.

Mom came on a run for me.

Still, I sat their, bug-eyed and immobilized! I would have run, but I had momentarily forgotten how!

When the horses got within a few feet of me, they suddenly turned and headed for the street! When they reached the road, they stopped almost as suddenly as they started.

Funny how little incidents like that stuck with you.

Most of all, I remember the crazed look of the horses' eyes --- bulging, rolling, staring, white. Mom had a similar expression as I recall. I can still see her running out there to fight off those two brontosauruses. Talk about family values!

I don't think we went for our ride that day.

My next experience with horses came when I was about 13 --- nearly 30 years ago.

The Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales were visiting and stayed overnight at the old bus terminal. We went to see them. Unfortunately, they were facing north in their stalls, so all I got to see were their southern ends. (I've not seen such a sight since!) The part I was looking at is a substantial portion of a horse's anatomy in any case. But these were enormous! Huge! Just plain big.

Even so, I was somewhat disappointed. But then I realized that I was getting approximately the same view of the Clydesdales as the driver of that fancy Budweiser wagon. That made me feel better.

I finally got some real hands on experience with horses when I was 20-something --- nearly 30 years ago.

We were living just outside Albion then, and our neighbor, Roscoe, had a rather large riding horse that he kept in our barn for awhile. He rode the horse quite a bit. Having long been a Gene Autry/Roy Rogers fan, I wanted to ride, too. Roscoe was more than willing and showed me how to mount, dismount, neck-rein, check the oil, test the battery --- no, wait --- that was something else.

He said any time I wanted to ride was okay with him. Go right ahead. Just make sure the horse knows who is boss. This was unnecessary advice. The horse knew who was boss long before I showed up.

One afternoon, I decided it was time for a ride, so Dad and I went up to the barn. Dad knew all about horses, but he wasn't able to do anything because of a heart condition. So with Dad giving directions, I somehow managed to get the blanket and saddle on the old horse, along with the bridle, reins, suspenders, cummerbund --- no, wait --- that was something else.

We led her outside, and I mounted up (just like Gene and Roy). I said something horsy, like “giddy-up.” The horse turned and marched back into the barn. Fortunately, I'm a quick ducker or I probably would have fractured my skull on the beam over the door.

I dismounted (just like Gene and Roy). We led her outside again. I mounted up once more and, like an instant replay, she clomped back inside the barn again with me lying on her neck to miss the barn door.

Dad said for me to stay aboard while he led the horse back out. I did, but when he handed me the reins, we went right back inside again. I was getting very proficient at ducking the door.

We decided that we should get the horse a little further from the barn door, so we led her all the way around the barn. I climbed “back in the saddle again,” clucked at the horse, neck-reined and all that, and the horse ignored me completely. She stomped rather rapidly all the way back into the barn. I ducked the door successfully again.

I said I guessed I'd had enough riding for one day. Besides I'd seen about all the inside of the barn that I needed to see. I think the horse was tired, too. So we said goodbye.

A few weeks later, Roscoe was riding around and stopped in the yard to talk with Dad. The horse was parked nearby, and when I came along Roscoe invited me to take a ride.

Dimwittedly, I said okay and climbed on board. To my overwhelming surprise, the horse responded to my urging and away we went off through the field.

We went a couple hundred yards or so. Then the horse stopped. No amount of pleading would make her go further. So, having always been quick to compromise, I decided this was far enough anyhow. I turned her, and as soon as she caught sight of Roscoe back in the yard, she took off for him at full-gallop.

Well, I was hardly prepared for this. I hung on to everything I could find to hang on to. Horses do not have handles, you know.

Luckily, I managed to see where we were going. The horse was taking a shortcut. Under the apple tree. The one with the big, low limb.

The barn door experience proved immeasurably valuable. I hugged the horse around the neck and skimmed under the limb, missing it by several --- uh --- millimeters.

The horse skidded to a stop in front of Roscoe.

He laughed and said, “See, I knew you could do it!”

I went immediately to the house, took a handful of aspirin and smoked a pack of cigarettes.

I have not been on a horse since.

My opening sentence may have been misleading. Maybe I'm not exactly an authority on horses as I suggested.

What I meant was I know everything about horses that I ever want to know!


Practice safe eating - - always use condiments.


The below poem was received from Walley Mahle, Class of 1961, a 1996 inductee to the Fort LeBoeuf Wall of Fame, a stand-out quarterback at Syracuse University, former Green Bay Packer, and retired Fort LeBoeuf teacher and coach.

In the Land of Sandra Dee

Long ago and far away,
in a land that time forgot,
before the days of Dylan
or the dawn of Camelot.
There lived a race of innocents,
and they were you and me,
Long ago and far away
In the Land of Sandra Dee.
Oh, there was truth and goodness
in that land where we were born,
where navels were for oranges,
and Peyton Place was porn.
For Ike was in the White House,
And Hoss was on TV,
And God was in his heaven
In the Land of Sandra Dee.
We learned to gut a muffler,
We washed our hair at dawn,
We spread our crinolines to dry
In circles on the lawn.
And they could hear us coming
All the way to Tennessee,
All starched and sprayed and rumbling
in the Land of Sandra Dee.
We longed for love and romance,
And waited for the prince,
And Eddie Fisher married Liz,
And no one's seen him since.
We danced to "Little Darlin",
And Sang to "Stagger Lee"
And cried for Buddy Holly
In the Land of Sandra Lee.
Only girls wore earrings then,
And three was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts,
Except for Jean McKinney.
And only in our wildest dreams
Did we expect to see
A boy named George with Lipstick
In the Land of Sandra Dee.
We fell for Frankie Avalon,
Annette as oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie,
They never made it twice.
We didn't have a Star Trek Five,
Or Psycho Two and Three,
Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty
In the Land of Sandra Dee.
Miss Kitty had a heart of gold,
And Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat
Whose co-star was a chimp.
We had a Mr. Wizard,
But not a Mr. T,
And Oprah couldn't talk yet
In the Land of Sandra Dee.
We had our share of heroes,
We never thought they'd go,
At least not Bobby Darin,
Or Marilyn Monroe.
For youth was still eternal,
And life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever,
In the Land of Sandra Dee.
We'd never seen the rock band
That was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren't named Jefferson,
And Zeppelins weren't Led.
And Beatles lived in gardens then,
And Monkees in a tree,
Madonna was a virgin
In the Land of Sandra Dee.
We'd never heard of Microwaves,
Or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed,
But they weren't grown in jars.
And pumping iron got wrinkles out,
And "gay" meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never coed
In the Land of Sandra Dee.
We hadn't seen enough of jets
To talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at
The bottom of the bag.
And Hardware was a box of nails,
And bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction
In the Land of Sandra Dee.
Buicks came with portholes,
And side show came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough
To cover both your cheeks.
And Coke came just in bottles,
And skirts came to the knee,
And Castro came to power
In the Land of Sandra Dee.
We had no Crest with Fluoride,
We had no Hill Street Blues,
We all wore superstructure bras
Designed by Howard Hughes.
We had no patterned pantyhose
Or Lipton herbal tea
Or prime-time ads for condoms
In the Land of Sandra Dee.
There were no golden arches,
No Perrier's to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda,
And cats were not called Bill.
And middle-aged was thirty-five
And old was forty-three,
And ancient were our parents
In the Land of Sandra Dee.
But all things have a season,
Or so we've heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline
We swear by Retin-A.
And they send us invitations
To join AARP,
We've come a long way, baby,
From the Land of Sandra Dee.
So now we face a brave new world
In slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they're using
Smaller print in magazines.
And we tell our children's children
of the way it used to be,
Long ago and far away
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

I am in shape. Round is a shape.

Elizabeth Faulhaber Demmery-Potter - 2006 in her kitchen
Fond Autumn Memories
By Elizabeth Faulhaber Demmery-Potter (Class of 1955)

When I was a child I went to Bagdad School, and then to Strong School, such an improvement, we got to ride a school bus! After the walk from the school or the bus stop, we changed our "School Clothes" and one of the chores we faced was picking up fallen apples from our wonderful orchard! We had so many different varieties! Some green with a cheek of red . . . some huge green cooking apples that my Mother made millions of pies with . . . tiny dark red ones with centers of the most brilliant white . . . rough ones that we called Russets . . . fantastic Northern Spies, all very old types of apples!

Anyway, back to that picking up chore. It seemed those apples multiplied each day! There always seemed to be numerous wasps and bees taking more than their share of the juices that flowed after hitting the ground!

But the very best part of the entire season was when we finally gathered enough to make a barrel of cider. My Father loaded burlap bag after bag, baskets, boxes, anything that would hold the fruit, and away we would go to the Union City Cider Mill. Such a buzz of excitement there! Men would stand around chatting, kids running around, and folks waiting to pick up their freshly made cider. I was always in awe of that huge press squeezing all the nice fruit, some bruised beyond recognition . . . all colors of apples . . . and that brown juice would flow!

Dad always had a barrel on the porch, it was wonderful for such a short time, never seemed to get it all drank or given as gifts before it got 'Hard.' We would listen to stories about how some would much rather drink it after it 'Aged' a while!

I remember so well, my Dad laughing when the town drunk visited one early springtime day, the cider had been frozen, thawed and frozen again, God only knows how many times. The bung had fallen into the barrel but this man was delighted to consume several glasses of that nectar, it had dead wasps and leaves in it, but he was oblivious to the contents! He just needed a bit of alcohol in any fashion! Had some sort of a container and just kept opening that spigot, filling his cup!

In later years, after moving to Fairview, PA., I still enjoyed taking my family to the Sterritannia Cider Mill for a gallon of fresh apple juice. Nothing quite like it for a wonderful autumn refreshment! Add a few doughnuts, and it is sheer Heaven on a cool afternoon! I wonder if any Cider Mills still exist. Ah! Fond Autumn Memories . . .

It's frustrating when you know all the answers, but nobody bothers to ask you the questions.

See you next issue!
Be safe and stay well!

Future Class of 1955 - 6th Grade Commencement Announcement of 1949

1949 Commencement Announcement

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