Bisonalities Again


A quarterly Newsletter dedicated to the Alumni of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools
January 2012------------------------------------------ Winter Issue ------------------------ Volume 13 - Number 2
                     INSIDE THIS ISSUE
     Cat's Corner
     Sad but true
     My stroll back in time
     Refugees at Christmas
     Golden Wedding Anniversary

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) 535-9263
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."

Bob Catlin - Class of 1956

Cat's Corner

You are receiving this issue of the Newsletter early. Nancy and I are going to join my sister, Barbara (WHS Class of 1952), for three months in Florida. We have rented a two bedroom condo four miles from our brother, Leslie (FLBHS class of 1956), in New Port Richey. While in Florida we hope to be able to get together with former classmates and retirees from the office I retired from. All told, we know over a 100 people who either live in Florida year around or are Snow Birds. Some we have not seen in 15-20 years and others we have kept in close contact with over the years.

We had a weird fall. September set a record as the coolest on record. It only missed by an inch of also being the wettest. October, November and December were 5-7 degrees warmer than normal. Regardless, I am still ready for Florida!

In addition, the fishing has been lousy. After the earthquake, and then the excessive rain from the hurricane that went up the east coast, the fishing dropped way down. I usually average catching 15 fish a day, and have done so all spring and summer. But for the months of September through December I have averaged only three fish a day and have had several days that I caught nothing. Regardless, I still consider a day of fishing better than a day of sitting around reading and/or watching television.

One thing that has changed has been the weather. Usually I mothball the boat the weekend after Thanksgiving. This year it stayed warm enough to take the boat out well into December. I mothballed the boat on December 8 this year. I had almost two extra weeks of fishing. This issue starts a three part story written by Anita Breitweiser Palmer about growing up in Waterford. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

I extend a big THANK YOU to Anita for helping me keep the Bisonalities Again going and for submitting a great story to me for publication.

The one-liners in this issue of the newsletter are paraprosdokian sentences. You saw several examples of them in last quarter's newsletter.

The "Sad but true" article was received from Kim Rudolph Trott, FLBHS class of 1973.

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way; so I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
Jerry George Teacher 09/17/11
Deanne Christiansen FLBHS 1963 09/25/11
James Hailwood WHS 1948 10/01/11
James Nuber FLBHS 1964 11/01/11
Martha Martin Stellmack    11/12/11
Richard Sharp WHS 1949 12/02/11
Christian VeatesFLBHS 1970 12/05/11
Sad but true

Scenario 1:
Jack goes duck hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck's gun rack.
1957 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2011 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2:
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.
1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2011 - Police called and SWAT team arrives -- they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 3:
Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students.
1957 - Jeffrey sent to the Principal's office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2011 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4:
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.
2011 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario 5:
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1957 - Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.
2011 - The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 6:
Pedro fails high school English. 1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.
2011 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 7:
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.
1957 - Ants die.
2011 - ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents - and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny's dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 8:
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2011 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

News is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
MY stroll back in time
By Anita Breitweiser Palmer
FLBHS Class of 1962

Part I of III

I don't remember much about winters at the up town house. I pretty much lived for the summers at the lake. My earliest memories of living up town were standing at the window in the living room after a snow storm watching Mr. Ishman plow the sidewalks with a wooden V shaped plow which he stood on and was pulled by a very large brown horse. I just loved seeing that horse. I would run to all the windows to watch until they were out of sight. Also, sometime back in the late 40's, I remember an old ragged woman that walked around town with a push cart collecting rags. She had a little spiel that she repeated over and over as she walked. My grandma would cut up rags to give her. I don't know if she sold them to her or just gave them to her.

I was raised on Pet canned milk, as most babies were at that time. They didn't have the specialty baby formulas they have today. Since I was born during the war, and after the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941 (rationing began May of 1942) my formula milk was rationed, along with sugar, flour, coffee and gas for cars; naming the most important items. Only four gallons of gas for cars could be had per week. Each member of the household received a War ration book for what was needed. They could only use the amount in the book.

For automobile fuel

When the booklet was empty of stamps you couldn't get anymore of that particular item, until you were allotted the next booklet.

OPA coins were used for change; red for meats and fats, blue for processed foods

Does anyone remember the army tank? It was about 1954 or 1955, I think I was in the forth or fifth grade, there was a huge blizzard and some farms had babies due. The storm was so bad that year and lasted so long that Doc Meloro had an old WW II Sherman tank brought out to Waterford to take him to the farms that were snowed-in. Even the tank got stuck.

I remember seeing it parked in the ball field as I walked to school one morning. It was pretty neat.

Another time I remember Gypsies came through town with their horses and wagons and camped in the town park. We kids were told not to go up to the park or talk to them if we saw them in town. I know I wasn't allowed out of the house while they were in town. Also, every one locked their doors that night. We very rarely ever locked our doors. Gypsies were thought to steal things and kidnap children.

Our first B&W television was bought in 1952. It was a Philco table model with a 12 inch screen. I just remember it was very small. The case was a blond color with leather looking covering. The dial had UHF/VHF with 12 channels. Of course, at that time most cities only had one or two stations. Erie started out with channel 12 VHF. Then we got channel 35 UHF a few years later. I remember coming home from school for lunch, as all kids did in the day, and watched "Feather Your Nest," a game show.

My dad and I always watched boxing on the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports and the Life of Riley. (Most people didn't know that my dad boxed Golden Gloves in 1933, when he was 18 and 19 years old.) Grandma Bowman always liked Amos and Andy which was a comedy, about two black guys. The radio program was actually two white actors who played all the black parts. Mom liked "I Remember Mama," which was a show about Norwegian family living in America. Me, I liked Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Cisco Kid, Davy Crockett, (I think I still remember all the words to the Davy Crockett theme song.) and Sagebrush Corners, which was a half hour show staring all the old 1920 and 30's cowboys; Hoot Gibson, Gabby Hayes, Tom Mix, and Buster Crabbe, just to name a few.

We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.
Refugees at Christmas
By Victoria Malinowski Brogdon

One of the saddest parts of the Christmas story is that Jesus, Mary and Joseph became refugees. King Herod was threatened upon hearing that a new king was born and called for the gruesome massacre of all children. Jesus and his parents were forced to leave their homeland and travel to Egypt and live as refugees. A refugee is a person who has fled his or her own country because of threat of being persecuted or killed for reasons of race, religion, or nationality or because of fear of being vulnerable and unprotected by the political powers in that country. In today's crowded world, eight people are forced to flee their homes every minute for fear of persecution or acts of war. The United Nation estimates that there are about 15 million people in the world who are refugees and living in a place that is not their home country.

Since my husband Richard Brogdon was ordained a deacon in the Erie Catholic Diocese in 2010, we have been assigned to work at Catholic Charities Counseling and Adoption Agency's Refugee Resettlement Program. We welcome new Americans to the United States. They are not immigrants, nor are they illegal. They quickly become contributing members of our community because they become self-sufficient: getting jobs, getting an education, starting new businesses, paying taxes, and buying homes. Most of the refugee arrivals to Erie had once been citizens of Bhutan but about 20 years ago they were forcibly kicked out under threat of death by the King of Bhutan who did not like their language or their religion. They had to sign over all their property to the state and leave the country wandering into other nearby countries. Many of them went to Nepal and have been living in a refugee camp for 20 years, raising families there, but never permitted to become citizens or get a job. When we welcome them to the United States with the promise of citizenship, they are so thankful.

Like Jesus and his family, the refugees travel here with next to nothing. I have seen families arrive at the airport with less than one suitcase per family member. We arrange housing and household furnishings for them. We make sure their medical needs are met, provide their first hot meals and find warm clothing for them. We help them enroll in school and help them find a job. Here is the diocese website on Refugees:

and here is our Agency site:

Here is a photo of me in my sari with Nandu Subedi; a Bhutanese cased Leader in the CCCAS Refugee Resettlement Program.

Golden Wedding Anniversary
Bill and Polly Donnell McCall
By Dave Pifer

In September of this year Peggy Osborn Pifer and I were invited to go to Fort Worth Texas to attend the Golden Anniversary of our long time friends, Bill and Polly Donnell McCall. Bill and Polly had taken all their family on an Alaskan cruise in June to celebrate the event, but their kids wanted to have a party for them. So, Polly and Bill consented to have a party but only invite family, a few friends, plus the wedding party. The wedding party came from Pennsylvania, Florida, South Carolina, and the New England states. All of the wedding party was there except Polly's brother Doug Donnell, who had passed. All of the wedding party was graduates of Fort LeBoeuf High School. Below is the original wedding picture taken September 11, 1961.

Right to right: Barbara McCall, Connie Hager [Wilmire], Peggy Osborn [Pifer], Bill and Polly, Roger Carrier, Doug Donnell and John McCall

On Saturday, Polly and Bill had a BBQ dinner in their back yard. The following picture was taken in the same order, except a space was left open where Doug was.

On Sunday the 11th a party was held at the Opryland Hotel in Arlington, Texas with the same people in the same places.

Peg and I were truly blessed to be able to celebrate this occasion with long time high school friends. In fact three years ago Polly and Bill, Connie and Merle Wilmire, and us, Dave and Peggy Pifer, went to Australia together for 24 days. All members of the wedding party were graduates of Fort LeBoeuf.

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity,
they can train people to stand at the edge of a pool and throw fish.
See you all next issue!

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