A quarterly Newsletter dedicated to the Alumni of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools
July 2000 ---------------------------------------------- Summer --------------------------------- Volume 1 - Number 4
Welcome to the summer 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.
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.
The one-liners used at the end of each story or report were received from Lillian Turley Barnes and are titled, "Hallmark cards you've never seen."
Death - Wayne Falk
It is with sadness and deep regret I inform you of the death of one of the Alumni of the class of 1956, Wayne V. Falk, 61, on May 4, 2000.
Wayne died after a long fight against colon cancer.
Wayne was the son of the late John and Velma Falk.
He was a self-employed carpenter and a member of the Elsmere, Delaware, Presbyterian Church.
He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Donna Campbell Falk; two sons, Michael Falk and his wife, Kriss, of Waterford, Richard Falk and his wife, Michelle, of Kettering, Ohio; a daughter Karen Pettit and her husband, Bob, of Bear, Del; three brothers, William Falk of New York, John Falk, Jr. and his wife, Virginia, of Waterford, and Wellman Falk and his wife, Fran, of Waterford; six grandchildren, Dustin and Kevin Pettit and Joshua, Cody, Jeremy, and Lauren Falk; and a sister-in-law, Ruth Ann Campbell.
I talked with Donna on the May fifth and she said they are coping, as best they can. She stated her daughter, Karen, has settled in the area is very helpful.
Anyone wishing to send Donna and family a card or letter of condolences may do so at the following address:
Mrs. Donna Falk
Letter to the Editor
The following letter was received from Bill Falk on June 2, 2000:
I have some additional historical information that I would like to add to Bill Marsh's comments in the Winter Issue of Bisonalities, Again, about Wade Ishman.
Bill is absolutely correct, Wade plowed our sidewalks with his horse and plow and he lived with his wife, Iva, in the last house on East Second Street on the South side just before you get to the Cemetery. In addition to that, when I was a very small boy, he was the caretaker at the cemetery, that is why he lived in that house. In those days that house was often referred to as the 'Cemetery House'. The reason is that house was owned by the Waterford Cemetery Association for the caretaker of the time. A few years after, they sold the house because of a lack of funds to run the cemetery. Wade and his wife then moved down on the road that leads to the covered bridge in a small house that is about across the road from the Burns residence.
I certainly remember Mrs. Ishman. She played the piano at my Presbyterian Sunday School, and could she play .. wow! At the time, Charlie Bailie (Fred and Jean's father) was the Sunday School Superintendent. Charlie was a singer also, I believe he sang with some men's group in Erie. He would get us going singing all of those hymns like "What a Friend We have in Jesus", or "My Faith Looks Up to Thee", and "Work for the Night is Coming". One Sunday morning, he got us singing so fast that Iva Ishman stopped playing the piano and said to him, "whoa, I can't play so fast, slow down!" He slowed us down a bit, but I think we soon again were at about the same speed as before. Iva Ishman was the Presbyterian equivalent of the Methodist, Hortence Hinkson, however, Iva did not sing and Hoartie did. Hoartie was a belter, she belted out those hymns and songs. She could have been referred to as the "Waterford Methodist Ethel Merman!"
When I was four years old, my family and I, Mother, Dad and brother Wayne, (John, Jr. was not born yet), moved to Waterford from McKean. We moved into the Port House, which was and still is at the Southwest corner of West Second and Hazel Street. We rented that house for $15.00 a month from Mr. and Mrs. Lee Port, who lived in the LeBoeuf Township somewhere near the Flats Road that leads to Mill Village. I started first grade while we lived there. There was no kindergarten, they didn't have it then. Brother John, Jr., was born in that house, I remember it well. At the time, my grandmother lived with us. One morning, shortly after we got up, Grandma and Dad said to Wayne and I that Mother was very sick and that we had to go and spend the day at our Aunt Alice Kilbane's, who lived up on Main Street, and that we did.
That evening when Dad came to get us, he said, "Do you know what I did today? I went and bought a new baby!". Wayne and I did not believe him. The suspense was overwhelming!! He took us back home to the Port House and escorted us into their bedroom and there was Mother sitting up in bed holding the newborn baby brother, John, Jr. Neighbors came by soon and we were all rejoicing.
We lived in the Port House four or five years until my father built us a new house down around the corner and up on West First Street. The Port house is still standing there today, looking very nice with it's imposing exterior. We moved into the new house by Art Mortenson, using his horse and sleigh-wagon, pulling our furniture on the snow covered street.
Not long after we moved into the new house, one day, Alta Jean Kraker and I were walking home from school crossing Main Street, catty-corner from the ball diamond over to the Red and White Store. It was dead winter and there were high snow piles everywhere. We ran out in front of a man driving a Model-A Ford on Main Street. There was no traffic light there then. He hit us and it threw us both up onto a snow pile. We were both injured, she worst than I. We were taken to Dr. Worster's office on West First Street just a few doors in from Main Street. Alta Jean was injured internally and taken to St. Vincent's hospital in Erie. I had a big cut on my left forehead and Dr. Worster pulled a piece of headlight glass out of my fore-head. Someone got in touch with my mother and she came immediately. He put a bandage completely around my head and my mother and I walked home. I still have a scar on my fore-head today from that accident.
The Kraker family lived in a store front building on Main Street next door to Guy Doud's barber shop. They soon moved from there to Erie and I never heard anything about them thereafter. The store front where they lived later became Curly Ober's restaurant and later again it was his Tavern-Cafe.
We were the first family on the block to have a television. We had an antenna on the roof of our house that was made partially of wooden sticks to give us good reception. Every evening neighbors would stop by to watch "Milton Berle" or "Arthur Godfrey" or "What's My Line" on our floor model 10 inch Philco TV. My mother often would serve sandwiches to our guests.
In high school, from the ninth grade on, I worked at the Bowersox Hardware to give me extra spending money. Mrs. Bowersox, Evangeline, was my mother's first cousin, I think that's how I got the job, a little inside pull, I guess. My starting pay there was 50 cents an hour. I thought that was really good, as I had heard of other kids making 35 or 40 cents an hour. Minimum Wage was unheard of then.
One day at the hardware, Bill Canfield came in and apprehensively asked me for a jock strap. I said, "No, this is a hardware, you can get that at the drug store". He thanked me and walked out of the store with his head sort of in a downward position. I noticed that he did not go in the direction of the drug store, which was up near the traffic light, instead he went back towards Ozzie Moore's garage. I think he was too embarrassed and shy to ask the ladies that worked in the drug store for a jock strap!
Then there was the day that my brother Wayne, who at times was a little perverse, came into the hardware and asked me for a left handed monkey wrench! I said rather loudly to him, "No", he turned around and ran like hell out the front door!
In 12th grade I got my first car. It was a used 1949 Studebaker. It looked a little like Miss Byer's except hers was newer. When those Studebakers were on the road, you could not tell if they were going forward or backward. The front and the back looked the same. The cost of that car was $300, which I did not have. My father signed for me and I was able to put down a modest amount on it. Thereafter, I made monthly payments of $24.19 until it was paid off.
Those were wonderful years.
I can remember so well many times seeing Joe Leech walking up the street, eating a sandwich ! Man, could that guy eat! I also remember him one day riding his bicycle around the streets of Waterford making a big loud announcement that the Korean War had begun . . . 1950, I guess?
Does anyone remember Clancey? He was the policeman that for a while directed traffic and pedestrians at the newly installed traffic light by the Waterford Hotel.
I love and cherish my growing up in Waterford. Nuff fir now!
The following was copied from the February 1956 issue of the Bisonalities Newsletter.
It was nice to see so many of you at the "Sweetheart Waltz" on February 10. Some of the couples were: Janet Campbell and Neil Boyland; Judy Davis and her new flame, Joe Miller; Linda Phelps and Arnold Loop; Pat Haskins and Bob Catlin; Dottie Mosier and Barry Burdick; Faye Marsh and Bud Owens, who flew home from Rhode Island especially for the dance. It was nice to see you, Bud. Jim Brumagin and Donna Morgan; Nancy Porter and Johnny Leech; Babe Owens and Bob Brace also attended. Carol Edman and Dave McMahon were over from Edinboro State Teachers college for the occasion. They double dated with Carol McMahon and Dave Belt.
Also seen were Donna Campbell and Wayne Falk; Ruth Ann Allen and Joe Leech; Pat Weaver and Bill Canfield; Phyllis Doolittle and Tom Sosso; Nancy Ostryniec and Jerry Heckman; Joyce Marsh and Jerry Brace; Janie Rossey and Johnny Morrow; Steve Graham with Blanche Estes from Wattsburg, John and Bill Bainbridge, who double dated with two girls from Edinboro. Peggy Johnson and Betsy Brogdon, were seen there. Lynda Humes and Fred Fisk were seen with Jan See and her new boyfriend, Greg Besonson.
After the dance almost everyone made an appearance at the College Inn for eats.
Janet Powers surprised Justine Monroe at a "Surprise Birthday Party" for her at Janet's home. Those invited were: Sally Fox, Lura Shields, Flora Donnell, Marjorie Warner, Louella Van Zandt, Freida Peeples, Lillian Turley, Phyllis Doolittle, Carol McMahon, Babe Owens, Vera McWilliams and of course, Lana Powers (It wouldn't be complete without her.)
Margaret Wick, Johanna Crooker, Martha Himrod, Polly Donnell, Connie Hager, Nancy See, Lynda Humes, Linda Phelps, Bobbie Wick, Donna Marsh, Ruth Ann Wise, Laurene Pude, Priscilla Major, and Donna Morgan enjoyed a bit of summer when they spent an evening at the Y.W.C.A. where they had a "Splash Party."
Pat Weaver and Bill Canfield were Ruth Ann's guests to help celebrate Joe Leech's birthday on February 10.
Pat Czesnowski entertained a group with supper and a P. J. party. Those enjoying the entertainment were: Liz Allen, Nancy Ostryniec, Joan Coffin, Ann Campbell, and Doris Erdman.
Linda Phelps was given a "Surprise Party" by a group of friends. The gang all journeyed to Erie to see the "Benny Goodman Story" which was much enjoyed by everyone. Those enjoying the run were: Jan See, Greg Besonson, Marty Himrod, Jim McDowell, Patty Haskins, Bob Catlin, Lynda Humes, Fred Fisk, Connie Hager, Nancy See, and Linda's date was Arnold Loop.
That's all. See you in the next issue.
I've always wanted to have someone to hold, someone to love.
After having met you, I've changed my mind.
April 3, I received an e-mail message from Tom Hart, class of 1954. Tom lives and works in Stockholm. His e-mail address may be found on the last page of this newsletter and on the Waterford High School (1954) Web page.
Tom brought to my attention the fact that I had an incorrect year of graduation for Phil Hazen. Those of you who receive the Newsletter via snail-mail will see that it shows Phil as being in the class of 1955, it should read 1954. The information has been corrected on the Web site. My apologies to Phil.
April 5, I received an e-mail from Lillian Barnes. She and Doug have just returned from a trip to Las Vegas. She reported they did not break the bank, so if anyone else travels out that way, there will be plenty of money left to win.
April 6, I called and talked with Herb Walden. He and his mother are doing well and are looking forward to spring.
April 7, I received an e-mail from Dr. Michele Campbell, Assistant Superintendent, FLB School District, in reference to my request for information about an archive at FLBHS that may contain back issues of the Bisonalities Newsletter. Dr. Campbell was unable to locate such an archive, but indicated she would continue to search and will let me know if she is able to locate "a pack rat" that has copies, or if she finds an archive.
April 10, I received an e-mail from Michele Scott Haugh ('79). She is presently living in Huston and says she misses life in a small town and is home sick for Waterford and would like to hear from friends. Her e-mail address has been added to the last page and to the Web site.
April 10, I called Lura Silvaggi and talked at length with her. She and Dom are doing well.
April 16, I received an e-mail message from Anita Breitweiser Palmer. Her e-mail address is listed on the Web site and a page has been created for the class of 1962.
April 17, I received information on the classes of 1958 and 1959 from Connie Hager Wilmire. This information may be found on the Web site. In addition, Connie furnished an e-mail address for her and Merle. Their e-mail address may be found on the last page and on the Web site.
April 24, I received an e-mail message from Bill and Della Marsh. Bill retired in March and Della and he went to Florida for a month. Congratulations to Bill on his retirement.
April 27, I received an e-mail message from Rosemarie Cisson Clayton, furnishing her e-mail address. Her e-mail address may be found on the last page and on the Web site.
May 3, 2000, I received an e-mail message from Fred Bailie. You may find his e-mail address on the last page of this issue and on the Web site.
May 5, 2000, John Scott through his daughter, Kathy, informed me of the death of Wayne Falk, on May 4th from cancer.
May 8, 2000, Chuck Cowley informed me that he is now on-line. You may find his e-mail address on the last page and on the Web site.
June 1, 2000, I received an e-mail from Bill Falk (1955). Bill furnished his address and a picture taken just before his retirement. The address, e-mail address, and picture are on the Web site.
June 16, I received an e-mail message from Cheryl Hermann Oleski, class of 1980, furnishing her address and e-mail message. This information may be found on the Web page for the Class of 1980 and her e-mail address on the last page of this issue.
June 16, I received an e-mail message from Ann Whipple, class of 1980, furnishing her e-mail address. It may be found on the last page of this and future issues and on the Web page.
June 17, I received a picture of a group of young ladies from FLBHS, at the beach, skipping class. The picture came from Lillian Turley Barnes. After receiving the picture, I decided to add a new page to the Web site. The new page is titled "A Portrait Gallery." Send me your pictures and they will be included. If you want them back, make sure you also send a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
June 18, I received information on two members of the class of 1980, Dale Peters and Tracey Thomas Peters. Their e-mail address may be found at the end of this newsletter and on the Web site.
June 19, I received information on another member of the class of 1980, Mary Megna. Her e-mail address may be found at the end of this newsletter and on the Web site.
July 3, I received an e-mail message from Wilma Flint Hermann (class of 1961) and Jack Hermann (class of 1953). There e-mail address may be found at the end of this newsletter and on the Web site.
If I get only one thing for Christmas, I hope it's your sister.
Do You Remember?
by Herb Walden
It seems that whenever I get together with old friends, a lot of our sentences begin with, "Do you remember?" Considering that you are at least a potential friend, I wonder . . . . . . . . . . . .
Do you remember when guys who were really hep, (and the word was "hep" back then), wore zoot suits? The coats were very long and had broad, heavily-padded shoulders, and the trousers were full at the hips and tapered to narrow cuffs. I wasn't old enough to have a zoot suit when they were the fad. I probably wouldn't have anyway, because my favorite things to wear were dungarees.
Do you remember dungarees? They're still around, but they've gone with a lot of name changes, like denims, blue jeans, and Levi's, but they're still dungarees to me!
Do you remember when we wore 4-buckle arctics in winter and canvas sneakers in summer? The arctics were a pain to get on and off, and usually the heels of our shoes would rip through the rubber before winter was over. No problem. We'd just take them to the gas station and have them vulcanized. Do you remember "vulcanized"?
Almost every summer spawned a new pair of sneakers. You felt like you could fly when you ran wearing a new pair of sneakers. It was almost as good as going barefoot. Almost.
B. F. Flyers and Keds were popular brands around my neck of the woods. Do you remember how quickly they became odoriferous? It seems they started getting pungent about an hour out of the box.
Do you remember the old Walt Disney comic books of the 1940s? They were among my favorites. Mickey Mouse had two nephews back then. One of them disappeared. Mysteriously. A couple other Disney characters have disappeared since then, too. Do you remember Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow? I wonder whatever happened to them.
My favorite comic book superhero was Captain Marvel. Do you remember how Billy Batson, (boy reported), would utter the word "SHAZAM", and a big bolt of lightening would appear, and he would be magically transformed into Captain Marvel, ready to do battle with some diabolical enemy? Like Mr. Mind, who was a very smart worm.
I used to get caught up in the stories and would sometimes sneak out back where no one was around and quietly say, "SHAZAM". I didn't want to say it in front of anyone because if it didn't work, I'd be embarrassed. And if it did work, I didn't want to scare my mother, what with the lightning bold and all. Maybe I didn't say "SHAZAM" loud enough, because nothing ever happened.
Speaking of comics, I made a list a while back of all the newspaper comics that have disappeared since I was a kid. There are at least fifty.
Do you remember some of the adventure strips like "Buz Sawyer" and "Smiling Jack"? And detective strips like "Kerry Drake" and "Mickey Finn"? The strips I liked best were the funny ones. Do you remember "Smoky Stover" and "Snuffy Smith" and "Gordo"? There was "Our Boarding House" with Major Hoople and "Bringing Up Father" with Maggie and Jiggs. One of the funniest single panels was "Out Our Way".
Do you remember "flip pictures"? They were a series of pictures of maybe nothing more than a guy walking. But when you flipped through them, the character was set in motion. I remember some Big Little Books having these moving pictures in the corners of the pages. In grade school, some of us used to try to draw our own in our school tablets. The effect was close to magic.
I doubt that there are any of these moving cartoons around anymore, but recently I discovered something close. I found that if I stacked all my old photo drivers licenses in order and "flipped" them, I could actually watch my hairline recede.
Do you remember when Nabisco Shredded Wheat was packed with gray cardboard separators between layers? The separators were printed with pictures of various things. During World War II, there were lots of pictures of airplanes and ships and other military hardware. I seem to have lost my collection. Too bad. I really need some more clutter.
Do you remember LS/MFT? We used to hear it during every commercial on radio's "Hit Parade" each Saturday night. About the same time, "Johnny" used to "call for Philip Morris" while strains of "On the Trail" played in the background. I don't think Philip Morris ever answered. Until recently. Now he's answering for quite a lot!
Do you remember running boards on cars? Oh, I know. We have those pretty little add-ons for trucks and vans, but I'm talking about REAL running boards --- the kind wide enough for two or three people to stand on and go for a ride. That was fun, but then I'm pretty easily amused anyway.
Do you remember when you could actually understand song lyrics? Back in the 40s, there was a novelty song called "Rose O'Day". and the chorus was:
Rose O'Day, Rose O'Day
No, I don't know what it means either. But the point is I could make out every syllable. As for today's pop singers, well, I haven't understood a word since Bing Crosby died.
You know, I just got to thinking a little more about some of the things I've written. So a few minutes ago, I went out in the backyard and looked around to make sure I was alone. Then in a loud, strong voice, I said, "SHAZAM!"
And what do you know? It still didn't work!
How could two people as beautiful as
you have such an ugly baby?
Something to think about
Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 mph in a 55 mph zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often?
When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand. Bob? Bob from church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat.
This was worse than the coming ticket. A Christian cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office.
A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.
Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform.
"Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this."
"Hello, Jack." No smile.
"Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids."
"Yeah, I guess."
Bob seemed uncertain. Good.
"I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit-just this once." Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "The wife said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?"
"I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct."
Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics. "What did you clock me at?"
"Seventy-one. Would you sit back in your car, please?"
"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65."
The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.
"Please, Jack, in the car."
Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window.
The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad.
Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again.
A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand.
Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip.
"Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice.
Bob returned to his car without a word.
Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost? Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:
Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when she was killed by a car. You guessed it - a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters. All three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until heaven before I can ever hug her again.
A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful. My son is all I have left.
Jack turned around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he, too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.
Life is precious.
Handle with care.
Drive safely and carefully, remember, cars are not the only thing recalled by their maker.
I must admit you brought religion into my life.
I never believed in Hell until I met you.
An Icon of the 40s and 50s
by Bob Catlin
If you are going to write stories or talk about growing up in the forties, fifties, and sixties, a subject that is bound to come up are the Burma-Shave signs. After all, they were a big part of the American culture.
I remember while Dad was driving from Waterford down Route 97 to Union City, Route 8 to Titusville, and Route 36 to Tionesta and West Hickory in Forest County, and then up Route 62, through the Allegheny National Forest to Warren to visit all our relatives, seeing those signs along the way. And then again, on the trip we took in 1954 to Louisiana and Texas, we saw the signs in every state we traveled through.
If you ever get the chance to travel to Danville, in central PA, take a side trip out PA Route 54. A businessman in that area, between Bear Gap and Elysburg, has restored a set of those signs. He uses them to advertise his antique shop.
If down this road
You choose to drive
Please slow down
And stay alive
Courtesy of Bear Gap Antiques
Something you may, or may not, know is the history of how these signs came in to existence.
In 1925, Allan Odell pitched his sales idea to his father. He wanted to use small, wooden roadside signs to pitch their product, Burma-Shave, a brushless shaving cream. Dad wasn't exactly wild about the idea, but finally relented and gave Allan $200 to give it a try.
It didn't take long for the signs to catch on and with their popularity came a large increase in Burma-Shave sales.
At their peak of popularity there were over 7,000 Burma-Shave signs. The familiar white on red signs, grouped by fours, fives, and sixes, were a big part of any family trip.
The signs cheered us up during the Depression and World War II. But, as cars got faster and superhighways became into being, the fun little signs gave way to big ugly billboards.
1963 was the last year for new Burma-Shave signs. But, a lot of them stood along highways well into the 70s and early 80s.
I am not going to try to list every one of these little ditties, but here are a few of my favorites and maybe yours, also.
The blackened forest
A lit cigarette
Slow down, Pa
Ma missed signs
Four and five
Means go slow
That old bull is some
It ain't too late
Some widder bait
Can let you down
On a slope
Unless you have
Keep pushin' up those
A man a Miss
A car a curve
He kissed the Miss
And missed the curve
Don't stick your elbow
Out too far
Or it may
In another car!
Angels who guard you
When you drive
Car in ditch
Man in tree
Moon was full
So was he!
If you don't know
Whose signs these are
You haven't driven
Happy Birthday, Uncle Dad! (available only in Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma,
Tennessee, West Virginia, and a major part of Southern Maryland