A quarterly Newsletter dedicated to the Alumni of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools
January 2009------------------------------------- Winter Issue ------------------------- Volume 10 - Number 2
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
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.
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Fishing has become an obsession with me. I 'bank' fish on an average of five times a week, in the evening, after dinner. Yard work and weather allowing, I get out in my boat on average of twice a week. I am lucky in that I live within five miles of two major Maryland fishing grounds; the Potomac River and Mattawoman Creek.
The other evening, returning from two hours of fishing along the bank of Mattawoman Creek in Indian Head, MD, I was pulled over, in my Ford Ranger, by a Charles County police officer.
He informed me that my license plate light was burnt out and asked for my driver's license, ownership card, proof of insurance, and emissions inspection certificate. I produced all four items. (I keep them in and envelope on my sun visor because my truck is the neighborhood truck that any of my neighbors may use at anytime they wish.)
After waiting about 20-25 minutes for the officer to write up the ticket I notice two more police cars, with lights flashing, coming down the road. One pulled in behind the first police car and the other pulled directly in front of my truck and backed up against my pumper.
The first officer then came up to my window and asked me if I had another driver's license. I responded, “No, why would I need another driver's license,” to which he responded, “because this one expired in 2002.”
He went back to his car and wrote up a ticket for driving on an expired license, and another ticket of warning for having a burnt out license plate light. He then returned and explained to me that in 2002 when I turned in my Commercial Driver's License and obtained a standard Class C driver's license it appears that it was never recorded by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and therefore my driver' license was invalid. He suggested that I go to the DMV the next day and find out what had happened. He then informed me that I had to call someone to come get my vehicle, and me, because without a valid driver's license I could not continue to drive home. (This explained the other officer's car parked against my front bumper.)
I called Nancy and she got our youngest son and they came and got me. She drove me home and our son drove the truck home.
The next day Nancy drove me to the DMV in Waldorf, MD. We were lined up at the front door when they opened.
I explained to the clerk what had happened and showed her my expired, invalid driver's license. She responded that she knew exactly what had happened and that they would correct the computer records to show that the driver's license was valid through October of 2007, which still meant that I had been driving for one year without a valid driver's license
She also explained that because the problem was created by a computer error they would issue me a new license to cover 2008 to 2013, but I would have to pay the fine ($60) for not having a valid driver's license for 2007, and a $30 fee for a new five-year license.
She also stated that if I had not come into the DMV to get the problem straightened out before November 1, (one year and one day after it expired), I would have had to start from scratch like I was a first time Maryland driver. That would have meant getting a learner's permit, taking 40-hours of driving lessons, 12-hours of classroom instructions and 80-hours behind the wheel with a licensed driver. This would have cost approximately $1800 dollars all together.
I asked her if she could give me something to take to court with me explaining this computer glitch, so I could get the charge dismissed. She said no, it was still my responsibility to make sure I had a valid driver's license that they only send a notice of renewal as a courtesy.
The great thing about our DMV is their efficiency. We were in and out of there in less than 30 minutes.
So, in the long run, a burnt out license plate light that cost $2 to replace, and a $60 ticket saved me $1738 dollars.
On Sunday, October 12 at about 11:00 p.m. my wife came to me and asked if I knew where the blood pressure device was located - - - I had used it last. I got it for her and she took her blood pressure to find that it was 157 over 87. She asked if I would take her to the hospital that she was having a severe pain in her right chest.
We have a small hospital, approximately nine miles from the house that has a great emergency room. I rushed her there.
They immediately put her on oxygen, took several tubes of blood, gave her a 325 mg aspirin, took a chest x-ray, and an EKG.
About 2:00 a.m., they said that it appeared that she did not have a heart attack, but they had called our family doctor and he told them to transfer her to the Washington Hospital Center (One of the best Cardiac Care Centers in the area.)
By 3:30 a.m. we arrived at the Washington Hospital Center and they started the tests all over and scheduled her for a cardiac catheterization.
She was taken for the catheterization at about 10:00 a.m.
At 12:30 p.m. they notified me that she was returning to her room and that they had found two arteries that were 70 percent blocked and they had put stents in an artery in the left rear of her heart and the right front.
On Tuesday, just 48-hours after being taken to the hospital she was home.
She is doing great now!
Alumni, I am out of stories. I need stories to keep this publication going. PLEASE, send me stories of your adventures in life. There has to be a million stories out there, please, share them with the rest of us.
The Bisonalities Again web site (www.bisonalitiesagain.com
The one-liners in this issue were received from a friend who I worked with for many years, Paul Del Giudice.
They are glorious insults from an era when an astute use of words was still valued, before a great portion of the English language got boiled down to four-letter words.
By Victoria (Malinowski) Brogdon, Class of 1966
Richard and Victoria (Malinowski) Brogdon and daughter Rani and Mayur Desai.
Hello FLB friends. I thought I'd tell you a little about my first trip to India with my daughter Rani before she got married in 1999. Rani was about to marry Mayur Desai in an Indian ceremony. Sheela, Mayur's mother, was in India for a ceremony of putting grandfather's ashes in one of the holy rivers. Rani and I took advantage of having such a perfect tour guide already in India.
Visiting India WAS an experience. The trip over to India was terrible. I left Erie on Saturday morning and didn't arrive in Mumbai (Bombay) until Tuesday morning. I didn't realize what jet lag really was. I've since studied it a bit. I thought it was like going to the West Coast and being sleepy or hungry at inappropriate times. But when day flips for night, everything goes wrong including body temperature and hormone production cycles. I wasn't hungry at the wrong time, I was never hungry - a strange sensation for me who is hungry most all the time. I would sleep for 15 minutes then wake up, wide awake for 8-10 hours. I'd ride for hours in a car or train and never fall asleep when here at home the minute I get into a moving vehicle I doze off. Jet lag also affects a traveler's mental health. The typical symptom is anxiety -- which doesn't help a person in a country that's already so foreign. After about a day, I was convinced I was going to catch some terrible disease and die in India.
But, except for mental health, I never felt healthier. Maybe it was the totally vegetarian diet of the Hindu people. Maybe it was no sleep, or no coffee. We stayed with three families and visited many more. Everywhere we went we were served delicious food by the family. We ate in two restaurants also. We ate a lot and never got sick. We had mostly Gujarati cuisine such as sabudhana, dhokala, fenugrek peas and chole. They made many different kinds of breads such as dashami, dosa and dhebari. Probably the most unusual food I had was Pan, a betel leaf wrapped around sweet stuff and surrounded with silver foil. We bought it from a street vendor. It was literally shocking! I think the silver set up an electrolytic cell with the fillings in my teeth. I shiver just remembering the sensation. We also had fresh coconuts, bananas, roasted peanuts, and corn that we bought on the streets of Mumbai or the country roads from Aurangabad to Burhanpur. Instead of coffee we had chai. It's a tea made with milk, sugar, cardamon, ginger, and pepper.
Mayur's relatives are gracious and generous. They are also very religious and well-educated. We stayed with two doctors and an architect. The women were also professionals with college degrees. The cousins (males and females) are in college to become engineers, computer specialists, doctors, etc.
Never once did we feel that they didn't accept us. In fact, they were quite interested in Rani's name, thinking that she had changed it from Ronnie to suit Mayur (Rani is a Sanskrit name). So I told and retold the story of Uncle Joe's gift to me of books on India when I was a teenager, and how since then I had always wanted to go to India, and how I was fascinated by their religions, culture and architecture. Dad had been to India during WW II and he kept telling me that I did not want to go to India. I secretly did anyway.
I took along the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. Many people in India had read it and it initiated many discussions of religion. Strangely the book strengthened my Christianity because it validated many of the magical and mystical things that happened in Jesus' life. India felt holy to me. Everything was imbued with life and significance. We went to a Buddhist temple and the women were allowed into the inner sanctum. Men had to be like Buddhists and remove their shirts -- the men with us chose not to remove their shirts so they couldn't enter. We all took off our shoes. The smell of incense and fresh flower blossoms was overwhelming. I wanted to listen to the monks talking to people but felt like I was intruding. We went to a Hindu shrine which was too ornate for my taste - millions of tiny mirrors of many different colors and patterns. The shrine was for the water form of God with a blue elephant face. There are three forms of God: the creator, the protector and the destroyer. We visited two different sets of caves carved into the mountains where monks lived and worshipped 2200-1000 years ago. Our guide at the caves spoke wonderful English and was quite witty and very well educated. We had no problem with a language barrier except with Vilaskaka (Uncle Desai) who talked and talked and talked so fast that I missed half of each sentence and often had to ask him to repeat it. Chandulal Shah who once taught English and Sanskrit spoke English the best. When I took his picture he said that now he will be remembered forever. The Indian people speak at least four languages -- probably more -- a state language, a family language, Hindi, Sanskrit, English -- there are 15 legal and distinct languages in India.
Religion and family are of utmost importance to the India people. Uncle Desai said that Americans are too materialistic. The Indian people live very simple lives. Their homes have only the barest essentials. Art works on the walls, when there were any, were religious in nature, few curios or knick knacks. Beds were frequently just mats or mattresses on the floor. No lamps, just 4-watt colored light bulbs near the ceiling. Dishes were stainless steel or Corelle. Cooking was on a propane burner similar to what we use for camping. Usually there was a small refrigerator and a television. They had both Indian and American toilets although in some places the American toilet didn't flush. They had shower rooms that were completely tiled, no shower curtain. Actually, it wasn't really a shower but more like a spigot & bucket sponge bath. The whole floor would get wet. I never did figure out how to get dressed in slacks without getting them soaked. They had a few chairs and sofas, and maybe a coffee table. And these were homes of doctors and bankers and architects. All the families had helpers who lived at the homes and performed household duties. They were often treated so much like family that I couldn't tell who was a helper. Usually the helpers were young children or teens. We also saw many people who lived under a piece of cardboard or metal leaning against a building, under a piece of cloth along the sidewalk or a small teepee in a field. We drove through many shantytowns. 70% of the people in India live in poverty; 10% are billionaires.
The streets were not usually paved, except in Mumbai. The roads to the caves were paved by the Japanese because they come to visit the home of Buddhism and want an easy way to visit the holy sites. Cows, goats, pigs, cats and wild dogs roam freely even in Mumbai. They survive by eating garbage.
While we traveled by car (rented car and driver), Dr. Bhupendralal Shah named every plant we passed and told us what medicinal purpose it had. This uncle is an ayurvedic doctor. When we traveled by train we were in a sleeper car and we had porters -- it's a good thing because us three women (Sheela, Rani and I) had ten pieces of luggage. We were a sight straight from a foreign movie.
We bought beautiful red and gold saris for the wedding. The only thing I bought was some handmade paper. My next trip to India in 2002 was just as eventful and I bought many more beautiful items.
Editor's note: The below story was written by an Aunt of Bernard Cowley (Class of 1950), Phyllis Cowley Belcher (Class of 1951), Charles Cowley (Class of 1956), the late Bill Cowley (Class of 1957), and Donna Cowley Edwards (Class of 1965) and is about a dog given to their father, the late Bernard Cowley, Sr., by his father. End of Note
An American visiting Newfoundland was amazed at the size, strength, and courage of the Newfoundland dogs. He found an owner, purchased one, and had it shipped to his home in the United States.
En route the dog gave birth to two puppies. My husband's father learned that one of the pups was for sale and being a dog lover, bought it for his son, who was much younger than my husband.
It became the constant companion of the boy, who named the dog Carlo.
When the boy was old enough to have a paper route delivering newspapers every day his father made a harness for the dog. In the winter he pulled the sled piled high with newspapers. Carlo loved the snow and was waiting every afternoon for his master to return from school and to go to pick up the newspapers.
As usual on the way home the boy rode the sled, but one day as they neared the house Carlo made the turn into the yard and the end of the right front runner of the sled hit a big tree and my husband's brother took a header off the sled. It was not really the dog's fault, but just one of those unavoidable accidents which happen in the relationship of a boy and his dog.
Although Carlo was an outdoor dog, with a kennel in the back yard, their step-mother did not want the animal and insisted that her husband get rid of it.
Although his son's heart was broken, having to part with Carlo, his father sold the dog to a man living in Warren, PA.
He built a crate to hold the dog and shipped it to its new owner.
The boy really mourned the loss of the dog.
Nearly three months later, much to the surprise of everyone in the family, the dog appeared, sick and emaciated, his feet so sore he could barely stand. They took Carlo to a Vet, who did all possible to help it to recover.
His father never bothered to notify the man he had sold Carlo to, he thought if Carlo was so unhappy and wanted to come back that much, and was able to find his way from Warren back to Erie, he deserved to be allowed to stay.
About that time my husband had returned from service in the Navy in WWI and became the ship keeper on the Wolverine, the ship on which he had received his Navy training. He took the dog on board and it became their mascot. He was loved by all the crew members who were caring for the ship after the war.
Even with the best of care Carlo did not live long and in real Navy style they took him out and “buried him at sea” in Presque Isle Bay.
Everyone who knew him was sad at the fate of such a courageous and fine animal.
That was not the last they heard of Carlo.
Years afterwards it was reported in the newspaper that bones, with a chain and large chunk of iron attached, were found at the bottom of Presque Isle Bay. The article stated that those who found it were not sure if they were bones of an animal. Evidently the size puzzled them, but, of course, the ones who knew and loved Carlo knew.
A sad but true dog story!
See you all next issue!