Bisonalities, Again

FLBHS                                    WHS

A quarterly Newsletter dedicated to the Alumni of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools
January 2010----------------------------------------- Winter Issue --------------------- Volume 11 - Number 2

Cat's Corner - by the Editor
And it's winter before we know it
Hemlock Christmas tree
Classmates down under

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 or Fort LeBoeuf High Schools 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 "Past Issues Bisonalities Again."

The trouble with life is you're halfway through it before you realize it's a do-it-yourself thing!

Bob Catlin - Class of 1956

Cat's Corner

Nancy and I returned to Waterford in October for my oldest brother Ernie's 80th birthday (WHS Class of 1947); Leslie (FLBHS Class of 1956) returned to Waterford for the first time in eight years; Barbara (WHS Class of 1952) came in from California and 24 other friends and relatives gathered at the Eagle Hotel for an afternoon of celebration.

The food was excellent and the service was outstanding. They served 30 people in approximately 15 minutes and everyone got a hot meal and more than you could eat. If you have not had the pleasure of eating there I suggest you give it a try. You will not regret it!

The night before the birthday celebration Nancy and I met Chuck and Alice Cowley at the Eagle Hotel for dinner.

Winter has arrived here in Southern Maryland without my permission. I HATE COLD WEATHER.

On December 19 we received 23 inches of snow in an 18 hour period. A snow storm in December is rare for us. When we do get a large snow storm it usually occurs in January or February.

I am having withdrawal symptoms. I cannot get out and go fishing everyday like I do in the spring, summer, and fall. The last time I was able to go fishing was on the 27th of November. The next day, I drained all the gas out of the boat, removed the battery and motor and stored them away for the winter. That does it until sometime in March. Did I mention that I hate cold weather?

Nancy and I would like to take this time to wish you a Happy, Healthy New Year!

The one-liners were received from a friend of mine who I worked with for many years at the Department of State. With the wonders of computers and instant communications we have been able to keep in contact through the years since we both retired in 1994. The one-liners are entitled, "Stuff I have learned in life."

The first article in this issue was received from Elizabeth Faulhaber Demmery-Potter, WHS class of 1955!

You can't tell which direction the train went by looking at the tracks!

And it's winter before we know it
Author unknown

You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years.

It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. And yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all.

And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams. But, here it is the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise. How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my babies go? And where did my youth go?

I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like. But, here it is my friends are retired and really getting gray. They move slower and I see an older person now. Lots are in better shape than me but, I see the great change, not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be.

Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore . . . it's mandatory because if I don't on my own free will I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!

But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I'm not sure how long it will last this I know, that when it's over . . . its over. Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done . . . things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime.

So, if you're not in your winter yet let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don't put things off too long!

Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not!

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember and hope that they appreciate, and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!

"Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one."


If you think there is good in everybody, you haven't met everybody!

Hemlock Christmas tree
By Bernard R. Cowley
WHS class of 1950

As a child I lived on a farm, therefore most of my stories have been about my life as a farm boy. In the year 1944 we were about to experience our first Christmas on the farm in Pennsylvania. I was twelve at the time.

The subject of a Christmas tree came up one day, and my dad said that we would go down in the woods and see if we could find one that would serve as our tree that year. I remember this event very clearly, as I had heard about other people going through the snow, with saw in hand to get the annual Christmas tree. This year it was our adventure, and our prize that we would walk through the snow to get. I never thought that this exciting event would ever happen to me. All of us kids were as excited as little kids could get.

One day Dad said, I think that we will go down to the woods today and get a tree for Christmas. So off we went, saw in hand, following my dad, through the snow, heading for the woods to find a suitable tree for our house this year.

It is important to note that the only evergreen trees that we had in the woods were hemlock. Hemlocks are not as full as a spruce tree, but that did not matter, as this one would be special because we all had a hand in picking it out. I very clearly remember Dad saying that we all had to agree on which tree we picked out. It's hard to express how excited we were. Living on a farm was just great!

We found a tree that was about fifteen feet tall that the top was formed just the way we liked. About six feet from the top was a spot were we could cut it. So that is what we did. We had our tree and all we had to do now was get it home. I remember taking turns with my dad pulling the tree through the snow. Soon we were out of the woods and we could see the house. We saw Mom looking out of the window as we trekked through the snow towards home. We waved at her and she waved back. Life just doesn't get any better then this.

That hemlock Christmas tree fit just perfect in our house, and that was one of the most memorable holidays we ever had.

About forty years later I was walking in the woods and I happened on the exact spot where we got our tree so many years before. I looked at the tree that we cut the top out of and it had grown a new top and it was now about fifty feet tall. There was a stump sticking out where we had cut the top out. I wonder if that hemlock knew how much pleasure it brought to us so many years ago. I doubt it because I don't believe trees can think. I told it, "thank you" anyway, just in case.

Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate!

Classmates down under
By Dave and Peg Pifer
FLBHS Class of 1959

In February six long time friends went on a dream vacation to Australia and New Zealand. All three couples are graduates of Fort LeBoeuf High School in Waterford, PA. The three couples included Merle ['57] and Connie ['58] Hager Wilmire; Bill ['59] and Polly ['59] Donnell McCall, Dave['59] and Peggy['59] Osborn Pifer. Plans for this trip were made the previous summer when Bill and Polly McCall invited the Wilmires and the Pifers to go on this trip with them. Bill had been the international president of the Graham-Paige Automobile Club and had been to three previous rallies in Australia. Since we had our own tour guide for Australia and New Zealand we quickly accepted.

In Australia

On a beach near Sydney from left to right: Bill and Polly McCall; Dave and Peg Pifer; Connie and Merle Wilmire

Our first two weeks we traveled in Australia where we were treated royally by our own host family who were friends of Polly and Bill. Our host Neville was from Ulladella near Sydney. He had over 30 antique vehicles including four Graham-Paiges that we drove to the week long car rally in Castlemaine near Melbourne which was over 400 miles from Ulladella.

We spent five days touring the lovely area in and around Castlemaine and reliving our high school days and our friendship over the last 50+ years. On one of our tours we found a collector of all kinds of tools who showed us an anvil he had found in a pasture; this anvil was stamped Reed Manufacture Erie PA 1920. This was a special piece as my grand-father worked for 40 years at Reed from 1915-1955.

The third week we flew to Christchurch, NZ and rented a twelve passenger van to tour New Zealand which is one of the most beautiful places I have been.

We traveled over the Southern Alps to the pristine shoreline of eastern NZ. Next we traveled to a rain forest where we walked through the rain forest to Franz Josef glacier which was breath-taking. Next, we traveled to Milford Sound where we took a magnificent boat tour of the fiord. As we traveled back to Christchurch, we saw several stations of sheep, deer, and Black Angus cattle. We also stopped at the A J Hackett bungee jumping site where bungee jumping was started. A day before we got to Christchurch we stopped at the largest mountain [Mt Cook] in New Zealand which was picture perfect.

in New Zealand

All things being equal, fat people use more soap!
See you all next issue!
Be safe and stay well!
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