A quarterly Newsletter dedicated to the Alumni of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools
October 2010------------------------------------------ Fall Issue ------------------------ Volume 12 - Number 1
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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What a summer we had. We had temperatures above 100 and weeks without rain. We had a period in June where we had 90 degrees or higher for 11 days. One of those days was over 100. Then came July, with a total of seven days where we had temperatures over 100 degrees and 24 days of temperatures in the 90's. This continued throughout August and into September. As of the date of publication of this issue, we have set a record for the highest average temperature on record for the months of June, July, and August. Guess what, I preferred this weather to what we had this winter. I think I have said it before, “I hate winter!”
Nancy and I again travelled to Waterford for Heritage Days and were special guests at the WHS Class of 1955s 55th class reunion and the WHS Class of 1954s 56th anniversary.
Nancy was unable to attend the class of 55's reunion due to other commitments, but I dropped in on the festivities and had a wonderful time. It was great to see many old friends. I wish to thank Nancy Dorman Swanson for inviting us.
Nancy and I both attended the 56th anniversary of the class of 54 and had a great time. We wish to thank Shirley Eliason for inviting us. It was wonderful to see Coach Bonito, Dr. Stubbe, Mrs. Lois Hamilton, and the many others who attended.
As a tribute to a dear friend, Herb Walden, who died in late June, I have included one of the many humorous stories he had written for prior publication in the Bisonalities Again.
I am now going to get up on my soap box and start a lecture.
Herb Walden and his mother's deaths were a tragedy not because of how they died or how they lived but in the fact they had no will.
I do not know what the laws are in the state where you live, but in PA if you die without a will and have no spouse the State takes possession of your body and your property. They cremate you and bury you in a paupers grave, along with many other 'unknowns' and then sell your assets. Your children/survivors have to appeal to the courts to gain access to any of your assets.
If you and your spouse both die at the same time, and have no will, your survivors would go through the same thing many of us have gone through for the past months with Herb and his mother trying to find someone to take responsibility for your burial.
In the State of Maryland you do not have to go to a lawyer and have an expensive, formal will written, you can write or type up a will in your own words, have it notarized, and file it at the court house. Those last six words are the key, 'file it at the court house.'
Please, please, make up a will and get it filed. DO NOT PUT IT OFF. No one promises you tomorrow. Do not put your survivors through the unhappy task of trying to guess what your wishes were to liquidate your assets. Make up your will today! Your family will go through enough anguish without having to also go through a lot of court procedures to liquidate your assets.
Joe Leech, FLBHS Class of 1956, who was our Bisonalities editor his senior year, as well as our Yearbook Editor, has written several books.
Now in "semi retirement" Joe has taken a love of writing and published a number of books which are now distributed by Amazon online (a list and URLs follows).
While he says he loves to write, an insider passed me information that it's a way he keeps Ruth Ann happy, because when he's writing, he's not yakking at her for something! This is an unconfirmed bit of information and just between us.
His topics run the gamit from a wide range of experiences on how to Start and Run a Successful Manufacturers' Rep firm, to things some of us might actually be interested in such as Weight Loss or How to Reduce Our Golf Scores! As a current Health Insurance Broker, his Guide on How to Buy Health Insurance might be one for all of our kids. It doesn't have much in it about Medicare that applies to us.
Check out the titles online and drop Joe a note.
Death of Herbert C. Walden
It is with regret and deep sadness that I report to you the death of my good friend, Herb Walden and his Mother, Jane. Herb graduated from Fort LeBoeuf High in 1956.
Herb retired in 1993 as a teacher at Northwestern High School in Albion. For many years he was the sole caretaker for his mother. Herb would have been 74 on September 10. His mother turned 95 on April 4.
Death of Robert C. McCall, Jr.
Never had an unkind word to say about anyone Robert C. McCall, Jr., 71, of Erie, died Monday afternoon July 5, 2010 at his residence following a lengthy illness.
A resident of Erie all of his life he was born on May 19, 1939 a son of the late Robert C., Sr. and Annie Mae Holland McCall.
Robert was a 1957 graduate of Ft. Leboeuf High School and attended Penn State Behrend for two years. He was honorably discharged from the United States Navy. He was a Diesel Engineering Lab Leader with G.E. for over 37 years before retiring in 2001 and owned his own auto body shop for many years. He was a member of All Saints Catholic Church and was an Oldsmobile Car Collector. He was an avid Nascar and Dale Earnhardt fan and a super supporter of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Survivors include his wife of 46 years whom he married on September 7, 1963 and was his very best friend, Barbara M. Rozenek McCall; two sons, Robert C. McCall III of Erie and Christopher A. McCall and his wife Karen of Millcreek; four grandchildren, Ed Martin, Joseph McCall, Katlin McCall, and Robert C. McCall IV; two brothers, William McCall and his wife Polly of Ft. Worth, Texas and John McCall and his wife Janet of Andover, Conn; and two sisters, Margaret Ann Connor and her husband James of Glade Valley, N.C., and Linda Fitchthorn and her husband Raymond of Winston Salem, N.C. Many nieces and nephews also survive.
Death of Paul Lacny
It is with regret I inform you of the death on July 03, 2010 of Paul Lacny, a graduate of the Fort LeBoeuf Class of 1994. Paul Richard Lacny II, age 35, of Waterford, died unexpectedly on Sunday, July 4, 2010. Born in Erie on March 10, 1975, he was the son of the late Paul R. Lacny, and Kathy Wokulich McClellan and her husband Chris McClellan of Waterford. Paul was a loving and devoted father who always had a smile on his face. He made friends with everyone he met and he will be sadly missed by his family, friends, and co-workers. A 1994 graduate of Fort LeBoeuf High School and the Erie County Vocational Technical School, Paul completed the Industrial Maintenance program and went on to work at First Machine in Waterford, now known as Swiss Aero Inc. He has been employed there for the past 16 years. Paul had a great ability to fix things and was often asked by many who knew him to offer a lending hand. He was interested in all kinds of motor sports and for years participated in dirt track racing, drag racing, and tractor and truck pulls. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing, and finding "good deals" at flea markets and garage sales. In addition to his father, Paul is preceded in death by his grandmother Donna McClellan, his grandfathers Alexander Wokulich and Fred Lacny, and his niece Addison Mae Zielinski. Survivors in the family include his parents, Kathy and Chris McClellan; his two children, Paul Richard Lacny III and Ashton Cole Lacny, and their mother, Bobbie Jo Marzka, all of Waterford; two brothers, Matthew G. Lacny of Durham, N.C. and Casey A. McClellan of Waterford; his sister, Janet A. Zielinski and her husband Scott of Millcreek; his grandparents, Dorothy Wokulich of Summit Township, Vivian C. Lacny of Louisville, Ky., and John McClellan of Waterford; many aunts, uncles, and cousins; a niece Hailey Mae Zielinski, and eight nephews: Dustin, Nicholas and Nathan Frederick, Joseph and Dominic Gentile, Bryan and Jakob Grice, and Tyler Marzka.
Death of Eleanor Marion McGahen
Eleanor Marion McGahen, age 68, of Waterford, went home to be with the Lord Monday, July 26, 2010 at Saint Vincent Health Center. She was born September 2, 1941 in Greenwich, N.J. She graduated from Fort LeBoeuf High School in 1960 and for many years she worked for Brace Farms and Megacards. She also volunteered at Thrifty Threads and at her church. Without love we have nothing. She had the love of Jesus in her heart therefore she loved everyone, family and friends. She was definitely a Proverbs 31 wife. Things will never be the same without her. Eleanor was preceded in death by her father and mother, Aplin Isaac and Retha Lillian Hymer Watson, two sisters, Gladys Blossom Moorehead and Hazel McGahen, and her son Thomas Wesley McGahen Jr. She is survived by her loving husband, Thomas Wesley McGahen, and four children, Cindy Cornwell and her husband Guy, Laurie Golden and her husband Duane, Dan McGahen and his wife Amy, and Ron McGahen and his wife Melissa. She has ten grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Her siblings include Retha McGahen, Elizabeth Price, Isaac Watson Jr., Francis Moorehead, Thelma Rossey, Shirley Englehart, George Watson and Frederick Moorehead. Burial will follow at Waterford Cemetery.
Death of Patricia Webster Brozell
Patricia Lee Webster Brozell, age 66, of Summit Township, died at her home on Thursday, September 9, 2010 after a short illness. Born in Erie on April 21, 1944, she was a daughter of the late Raymond and Mildred S. Althoff Webster. Pat graduated from Fort LeBoeuf High School in 1962, and for the past ten years was employed by Cracker Barrel. She had many artistic talents and enjoyed quilting, crafting, and sewing. For many years her family benefited from her abilities when receiving her homemade items as gifts. Pat always put her family first and considered family gatherings and time spent with her grandchildren as time well spent. Family member that remain to mourn her loss include five children: Bill Hicks and wife Carri of Waterford, James Hicks and wife Stacy of Saegertown, Leanne McClellan and husband Lyle of Waterford, Kevin Hicks and wife Tracy of Lehigh, Fla., and Scott Brozell and wife Misty of Corry; also, 21 grandchildren: Jacob, Brandon, Cody, Zachary, Kaitlyn, Andrew, Anthony, Alex, Danielle, Ashley (and Bobby), Ryan, Courtney, Justin, Samantha, Tiffany, Korey, Megan, Courtney, Garret, and Jamie; also, two great-grandchildren, Bobby Lee and Ethan; her sister, Carol Ann Roberts of Monroeville, La.; and a niece and nephew, Robin Priestley and Jeff Younger. Interment was at Erie County Memorial Gardens. Memorials may be made to the John Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation.
Death of Cheryl Ann Wertz Barnett
Cheryl Ann Werth Barnett, age 44, resident of 25168 Ridge Road, Cambridge Springs, Pa., lost her life on Saturday morning as a result of a one vehicle automobile accident occurring on State Highways 6 & 19 several miles north of Cambridge Springs. Born on October 10, 1965 in Erie, Pa. Cheryl is the daughter of James A. Werth and Karen Shenk Werth. Cheryl graduated from Ft LeBoeuf High School in Waterford in 1973 and then worked for a time as a tax accountant for Liberty Tax Services and also for Golden Corral Restaurant in Millcreek. She earned an associate business degree in accounting from Behrend College in Erie in 2005 and presently was doing book keeping for her father's business JA Werth Services. Cheryl enjoyed drag racing as a spectator and also enjoyed listening to classical rock music. Surviving Cheryl in addition to her father - James Werth of Edinboro and her mother Karen Werth of Waterford is her fiancee - Paul Hart with whom she lived in Cambridge Springs for the past 2 1/2 years. Included among her survivors are four children - Manda Chase and her husband, Bob of Atlanta, Ga.; Sonja Revera of Erie; Corey Bartnett of Wesleyville; and Cassand Bartnett of Wesleyville; three grandchildren; one sister - Linda Novotny and her husband, Jeff of Reading; a brother - Alan Werth of Waterford; her paternal grandmother - Marian Metz of Millcreek; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery, Erie, PA
Death of Tracy Faustine Goetz
Tracy Faustine Goetz, 45, of Edinboro, died Wednesday morning September 15, 2010 at Duke University Hospital following a brief illness. A resident of the Erie area all of her life she was born in Erie on July 24, 1965 a daughter of Bonnie Sanders Faustine and the late David Faustine. Tracy was a graduate of Ft. LeBoeuf High School and earned her B.S. in Physical Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh. Tracy was an "outstanding" N.D.T. Certified Physical Therapist with St. Vincent Health Center for 23 years. She loved her co-workers and friends, enjoyed game nights, and camping in Prorockville. She enjoyed walking in the woods, watching storms, canoeing, and road trips. She also enjoyed cleaning the house with a glass of wine and watching sports. She especially loved watching her family grow and being a mother to her daughter, Abby. In addition to her father she was preceded in death by her maternal grandfather, Martin Tarbell and her paternal grandparents, Adelaide and Harold Faustine. In addition to her mother survivors include her husband of 18 years whom she married on 5/30 of 1992 at 1:00 p.m., Donald Goetz; one daughter, Abby Goetz at home; one brother, Keith Powell of Florida; one sister, Shawna Faustine Moye and her husband Anthony of Florida; and many nieces and nephews. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family.
Woodchucks, Raccoons, and Possums
I have often indicated in some of my previous stories, life on the farm was a lot different than living in the city. What we used for food was mostly what we grew or what we caught and killed for meat. Some of the animals we killed for meat were woodchucks, raccoons, or possums.
Hunting for woodchucks took a particular talent that we learned by trial and error. Woodchucks live in hole in the ground, and only come out to eat in the early morning or late evening. They ate grass, and never went to the stream for water. They depended on the dew on the grass for water. Consequently they had to come out when there was dew on the grass.
When we first moved to the farm a lot of the farming was done by horses, and woodchuck holes became a hazard to the horses, should they step in one. There was no season on woodchucks so we could hunt them any time we wanted to, and we did. I can't count the number of woodchucks we ate during those times. These were pretty tough times for a lot of people in the city, but we had all the food we needed, and had some kind of meat every day. Although I am quite sure that some people in the city would rather go without than eat a woodchuck, a raccoon, or a possum.
I hunted woodchucks with a .22 caliber rifle and sometimes had to get up early in the morning to get a particularly crafty woodchuck. I would find a woodchuck hole that I was sure was being used, and then I would sit on the ground by the hole until he popped his head out. A woodchuck hole went into the ground at an angle so that when he came out he was always looking in one direction. I positioned myself on the opposite side of the hole, so that when he stuck his head out, he was looking the other way. I sat on the ground with my legs crossed Indian style, and just waited. Sometimes I had to wait several hours. Sometimes I would just sneak up on the field, and catch them out feeding. They would eat for a while then they would sit upright to see if the coast was clear. If I could get close enough that's when I would get a shot. We ate a lot of woodchucks.
Hunting for raccoons was done at night with a dog. We would go out at night with a kerosene lantern, and wait for the dog to tree a raccoon. When the dog treed a raccoon we used our five-cell flashlight to find him in the tree. Then we would shine one light on the raccoon, and one light on the sights of our .22 caliber rifle. Then “bang” we would have some raccoon to eat. There was no season on raccoons at this time either so we hunted them quite often, also. At that time we could sell the hides for a couple of dollars each. Therefore, we made out pretty good sometimes.
Possums were something that we never hunted on purpose. They were something that we usually encountered while hunting for raccoons. We weren't especially fond of possum as it was too greasy but we did eat a few of them.
I remember one night we found a possum in an old hollow log, and the dog pulled him out, and mauled him quite thoroughly until he was dead. Or so we thought! Ray Terrill said he looked like a nice young one, and decided he would take him home for supper. He was wearing a hunting coat that had a game pocket in the back, so he put the possum in the game pocket, and we proceeded to go on hunting. After about twenty minutes I noticed Ray doing some kind of dance. I thought he had gone nuts or something. He was trying to get his coat off as fast as he could. It turned out that Mr. Possum was only playing possum, and was trying to figure out how to get out of Ray's pocket. It was something to behold! You never can tell when a possum is really dead. The next time he went into the pocket he was really dead.
One winter I was looking out the window of our house, and saw our dog with a possum in his mouth. He was digging a hole in the snow to bury the possum for a future meal. After burying the possum in the snow I watched him make tracks around and around in the snow to confuse any other dog that might happen on the smell of his supper. This took about twenty minutes, and I watched fascinated by the length that the dog was going through to disguise the spot where he had buried the possum. He finally got through, and came up to the house, satisfied that he had done all he could to protect his future meal. About a half an hour later I looked out the window again, and I saw a head sticking out of the snow where the dog had buried the possum. After looking all around and seeing that the coast was clear the possum came out of the snow and scurried off towards the woods. The dog's supper just ran off! Sometimes even dogs can't tell when a possum is playing possum.
Sneezes, Sneezing, and Sneezers
A while back, I wrote a piece about puttering, pointing out that while men are really good at it, women can hardly putter at all. Now I feel compelled to point out another area in which men excel. It is the most obvious, yet the most often overlooked. I'm sure you all know to what I am referring. Yes, you've guessed it: The Sneeze!
I know there is a certain danger in making blanket statements, but with few exceptions, men are better sneezers than women. Generally men sneeze like an eruption of Old Faithful while Women's sneezes are more like shorts bursts from an aerosol can.
The verbal characterization of a sneeze, "Ah-choo," certainly did not originate with a woman. If it had, it would have been more like "chiff."
As a high school teacher for many years, I observed countless student sneezes. Invariably, boys would pretty much clear their desks with an average sneeze. Girls' sneezes were hardly noticeable. There was an exception. One year, a girl in one of my classes sneezed with a high-pitched "YIPE."
I haven't the slightest idea how she did that. I was always hoping she would catch cold or develop an allergy so I cold study it further.
Much of my teaching career centered on biology, and yet with all my vast experience, I do not fully understand what a sneeze is.
Think about it: tickle your nose and you explode! That's a pretty bizarre reaction to a rather mild stimulus.
It is said, and it seems to be true, that you cannot sneeze with your eyes open. I'm afraid women may have the advantage here. Especially if driving in heavy traffic. Their little, petite sneeze required no more than a blink, while in my case my eyes may be closed for several seconds.
For some reason, sneezing has always been funny to me. In fact, the word, "sneeze" is funny itself. It comes from an ancient Germanic term, "fnusen," which can only be pronounced correctly while sneezing. Good word, fnusen. Too bad it's not still in use.
I think most of us men take price in our ability to sneeze long and loud. We sneeze with such gusto and enthusiasm that I'm sure women must be jealous.
My father was on of the all-time great sneezers. World-class, I'd say. You could hear him a block away. And that was when he was in the house. If he sneezed outdoors, people all over town said "Gesundheit!"
I am proud to have inherited some of Dad's talent. I am not a large man, but I sneeze like a sumo wrestler. (The thought of a sneezing Sumo conjures up a rather frightening mental picture, doesn't it?) I often sneeze for no reason at all. Colds and allergies are helpful, but not necessary. My sneezes come in groups of three or four, and lately I've developed the highly-regarded double-sneeze; you know two sneezes in quick succession with no chance to such in a breath between them. Double-sneezes are at once exhilarating and devastating. I usually have to sit down for awhile, if the act itself hasn't knocked me down already.
And is there anything worse than the sneeze that does not come to fruition? You get all primed and cocked for a humongous sneeze, complete with "ah- ah- ah-" and nothing happens. It is one of the great recurring disappointments of life, surpassed only by the pony that never showed up all those Christmas mornings.
Men everywhere should be proud of their natural sneezing talent. And while some may look down on the talent, take heart. It is nothing to fnusen at!
Tribute to a friend!
I believe there are very few of us who graduated with Herb Walden who really knew him well. I like to think that I knew him as well as anyone but after reading the articles in the Erie paper about him, I guess I did not know him as well as I thought I did.
I do know that he was well respected in his community. The people I have talked with in the Albion since his death really liked and respected both Herb and his Mother.
For the past 16 years Herb and I had exchanged letters, about every two months. In addition, we called each other on our birthdays and when I returned to the Erie area we always got together, the first time in the yard of his double-wide and from then on at a small diner in downtown Albion.
My senior year in high school, after we moved from the farm to East 1st Street, I joined the Ground Observer Corps and spent several hours with Herb at the observation tower. We also served together, our senior year, on the Bisonalities School Newspaper.
I will give you a brief history of what I knew about Herb.
He was an only child. During his high school years he developed what Waterford doctors thought was rheumatoid arthritis. It got to the point that he was unable to walk and became wheel chair bound.
His parents removed him from school and began home schooling him. They really didn't have a choice. Those of you who attended the old Waterford Academy know that it was far from being handicapped accessible. As the illness progressed Herb had more and more trouble functioning. In desperation, his parents took him to a specialist to see if something could be done for him. The specialist ran tests and found out that he did not have rheumatoid arthritis, but was having a bad reaction to the medication he was taking for the treatment of something he did not have. They took him off the medication and within a few months he was back on his feet and able to function normally.
He decided he wanted to finish high school with his former classmates but to return to school he had to take an exam. He hoped to return and finish school with the Waterford High class of 1955, but his test results did not allow that so he graduated with the Fort LeBoeuf class of 1956.
After graduation our lives separated. I went into the Army and later moved to Washington, DC. Herb went to college and then started teaching high school in Albion.
Just before the first of my two retirements (that's a different story), I was in Erie on vacation and read a nostalgia article Herb had written for the Erie Times. When I returned to Bryans Road, I went up on the internet and searched for an address for Herb. I then sent him a letter and he responded within days. The friendship was renewed at that point.
Joe Leech pretty much described Herb in an e-mail to me after his death. Joe said, “Herb was our own version of “Garrison Keillor”. Herb was a bit of a mystery. This was certainly present in his writings for the Bisonalities, but in real life, sort of a “Howard Hughes”.”
Even before Herb retired from teaching he became a “Howard Hughes.” He was the sole caretaker for an aging Mother, who at the time of Herb's retirement was in good health, but a recluse. The two of them seemed to enjoy each others company and were content to do their own thing, together. Occasional trips to Albion for groceries and necessities seemed to be their normal contact with other people. Herb confirmed this in one of his letters.
For a period, while teaching, Herb owned a 50 acre farm on Keepville Road in Albion. It had a large farm house on the property that he and his mother lived in.
As his Mother grew older she found it more and more difficult to negotiate the stairs to get up to the bathroom and bedroom on the second floor, so Herb bought a double wide trailer and had it installed on an area at the back of the farm and then sold the farm house and several acres. The double wide was located on a hill about 600 yards behind the farm house. The driveway went between that farm house and another farm house next door.
After Herb retired he developed a back problem that at times caused him to lose control of his right leg. He would be walking or just standing talking to you when his right leg would collapse. This condition limited the things Herb could do, including any travel for any distance.
I kept trying to get him to go to a doctor and determine what was causing the problem, but he had a “complete distrust of any doctor” after what had happened to him back in his teens.
Herb loved to write stories about Waterford and his “growing up” years. I published many of those stories in the Bisonalities, Again Newsletter. They give you a clue as to his life growing up and his sense of humor.
That same sense of humor he displayed in his many articles permeated his many letters.
It is going to take a while for me to get my head around the way Herb and his Mother died and the fact that it took close to a month to track down a relative who would come forward to claim responsibility for their burial.
I am going to miss his letters and his friendship.
See you all next issue!