A quarterly Newsletter dedicated to the Alumni of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools
July 2012------------------------------------------ Summer Issue ------------------------ Volume 13 - Number 4
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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Well here we are back in Southern Maryland. As much as I enjoyed the three months in Florida, I will not do that again. It took me several weeks to get the yard and 12 flower beds back in shape. The warmer than usual winter and early spring that everyone on the east coast seemed to enjoy has raised havoc with my yard and flower beds while I was in Florida.
The last part of Anita's "My stroll back in time," is in this issue. I hope you all have enjoyed reading it as much as I have. I wish I could have published it all in one issue, but the length of the article was too much for one issue. Thanks to Anita for bringing back a lot of memories of our home town.
We have a new contributor, Jim Lammers, FLBHS Class of 1967. I hope you enjoy reading Jim's story, "The paperboy."
I want to thank Anita, Jim and the many others who have contributed stories and helped me to keep this Newsletter alive
The one-liners found in this issue were sent to me by an old friend from the Department of State.
By Anita Breitweiser Palmer
FLBHS Class of 1962
Part III of III
Something I remember that brings a smile to my face were the little plays that were put on by Nan, Jan, and Gary See in their garage in the alley between 1st and 2nd Streets. They had a blanket hung over a clothes line for a stage curtain and old chairs and board benches to seat the audience. If I remember right they charged a nickel admission.
Kids are so engrossed in their electronics now days that using their imagination is pretty much a thing of the past.
Most of us went to a camp of some sort back then. Most summers I went to Camp Caladon Church Camp and Hawthorn Ridge Girl Scout Camp.
When we were around 9-10 years old, Annette Gibson and I took a stroll down into the gorge one year and got lost. We kept missing the trail up to the camp. We thought some day they would find our remains and know what happened to us. We were pretty close to tears when we finally found our way out. The camp councilor asked what we were doing down there and I pulled a little salamander out of my pocket.
Back in the 1940's and 1950's kids of all ages played outside all day. I remember hating to have to go in the house at the end of the day. There wasn't much parents feared back then.
For years Mom told the story of my disappearance when I was just four. I guess she and I had gone for a walk a few days before to Himrod's pasture, down on the corner of 1st and East Streets, where the trailer park is now. That whole area used to be pasture for Mr. Himrod's horses. I had been very interested in the horses. She said she knew right where I was and sure enough that was where she found me, in the pasture petting the horses. Mom understood my passion for horses because she had a horse of her own, named "Babe" when she was a girl. My grandfather Jess, had his matched team "Frank and Charley" that she loved.
When I reached age ten, Mom bought a Shetland pony for me, a little stud. His name was "Mickey," but he was the nastiest little guy. He loved Mom, but he would nip or bite me every chance he got. He was brown with a black mane and tail. We rented a stall from Art Mortenson in a barn at the top of the hill leading to the lake (corner of West First and Hazel Streets). The barn is gone now. Mickey lasted only that summer. The next summer I got "Lady", a big black and white pinto mare. She was the sweetest horse ever. Her draw-back was she would not run when a kid was on her back, only a fast trot. I kept her in that same barn for almost two years, but I outgrew her fast trot, and needed to run. So, she was traded for a beautiful silver white pony with watch eyes, which of coarse were pale blue. He was a large pony, a gelding, and had lots of spirit. He could and would run like the wind. I could pull up and back on the reins and tighten my legs around him and he would rear up just like the Lone Ranger's Silver. I named him "Star", because he was my star. He didn't like a saddle. He would get real ornery when saddled so I never used a saddle on him. He was the most beautiful horse. I just loved him.
Mr. Mortonson did not like kids around his house. He only let us rent the stall because his wife was a friend of Mom's. He told me he didn't want any kids in the barn. When he found out I took Linda into the barn once, he kicked me out, and I had nowhere to keep my horse so we had to sell him. We sold him to a family with two boys. We were told later they would tie him up under the hayloft and jump down onto his back, over and over again, which made him mean. He was eventually sold to Mr. Himrod and I would go down to Himrod's farm and ride him. He remembered me, I guess, because he never tried to throw me.
A girl I went to school with, that also rode horses at Himrod's, wanted to ride him, but was told no. She bridled and got on him anyway. He bucked her off onto the road; she was taken by ambulance to the hospital. I heard she had a steel rod put in her leg and had extensive head injuries. I never saw Star again; I don't know what happened to him. I was never told. I think maybe her family forced Mr. Himrod to put him down?
When I was fourteen I got another horse from Dale Chatman's farm out on Donation Road. The day we were to get him was a rainy day. Mom and Dad drove me out to the farm and I was to ride him home. He hadn't been ridden in a long time, hadn't even been out of the barn in a while. When I got on him, he must have thought he died and went to heaven, because he took off down the road as fast as he could run. There was no stopping him. This was how he acquired his name of "Spark." I thought eventually he would tire out and slow down but he had lots of pent-up energy and just tore down the road. It started to rain again which made the black top road very slippery. I knew we were going to go down, not if, but when, and on the second s-curve in the road, he slipped and down we went. We both slid on our side's half across the road. Dad and Mom were following and Dad thought I was killed. The horse and I were not badly hurt, just very shook-up, with a few bumps and scrapes and a bit of road rash on my leg. I guess it scared the hell out of the horse because he walked the rest of the way home, even though it would thundering and lightening.
Dad built a large box stall in our old garage for Spark. You could have farm animals in town at that time and I also had 20 some rabbits.
A lot of the houses in town still had barns behind them. Powell's had rabbits and chickens. Bart Homes had horses, and Kitty Weaver had her horse in the barn across from the cemetery all between 1st and 2nd Street Alley.
Spark was very dark brown almost black, with black mane and tail. He could pull a wagon or cart and would pace when pulling. He was a large pony. Dad rode him about as much as I did. One time he rode him up into the cemetery, not knowing I taught Spark to run down a small hill coming out of the cemetery, jump the ditch and run up into the First Street alley. When Spark saw the hill, he of course ran down the hill, jumped the ditch, dumped my very surprised father on the pavement and ran up into the alley and came home with out him. Just as Mom was about to go looking for him, he came limping home with a big bruise from his waist to his ankle, but it didn't keep him from riding. When he healed he was back on again. I think he loved that horse as much as I did. My Dad was a trucker and he usually rode when he got home early in the mornings.
Rod Mitchell, Rick Gilmore, and Kitty Weaver were kid's close to my age that also had horses, so we rode together on occasion when we had our horses out. One time Rod and his horse Babe, and I and Spark, were racing each other down Second Street and Spark decided he was done, so he just jumped over the hood of Orville Chase's car that was parked beside the road, his back hoof hit the car and he and I fell on the sidewalk on the other side. We were both unhurt except a small cut on his leg, and a dent in the hood of Orville's car. Boy was I in trouble that day. Of course it was just one of many times I was in trouble.
When you're very young you always want to be older, and when you are older you wish you were young again, what's up with that?
By Jim Lammers
FLBHS Class of 1967
From 1958 until 1964 I was a self-employed entrepreneur, delivering the Erie Times and later the Morning News. I delivered newspapers to nearly every house on the west side of Waterford, from First Street to Fourth, every day. I would ride my bicycle on days the weather would permit, and walked when the snow kept the Schwinn parked in the basement.
The paperboy was basically an invisible guy, seen collecting on Saturday only. The customers were the finest people I ever met. They had to be the most forgiving; I was prone to walking past a customer's house, and wondering, when I got home, why I had too many newspapers in my bag. In my later years I recognize this as the early onslaught of ADD.
Paperboys are, in general, a rather bland bunch of people, but I look back on my colleagues as a remarkable crew. John See was a quiet intellectual; Craig and Eric Mitchell were both fine athletes. Big Brother John was an imposing figure, and is still one of the funniest people I know. Mike Monroe was a natural-born gambler, unfortunately prone to see long odds as a bargain. And then there was my good buddy Billy Beeman. Billy knew only two kinds of people; those who agreed with him, and those who were wrong. There were few who were quicker to take on a challenge, or to challenge a statement that flew into the teeth of his beliefs. These were my comrades, and I count myself fortunate to have known and worked with them.
One thing a newsboy could count on, especially in Erie County, PA, is exposure to the elements. I ran my route day in and day out, 364 days a year. On the coldest of winter mornings, the only person who was up before me was the man who plowed the sidewalks with his horse-drawn plow. The snow could be so cold it would squeak underfoot, and you could not possibly slide on it. Frost would form on my scarf, which I drew over my face in a futile attempt to keep warm. The quiet of those winter mornings was a special kind of peace, leaving me in my own cocoon of silent meditation.
No newsboy ever got rich from his route, but how many 10 year olds could walk into the local taverns, or had the privilege of going up to the door of the prettiest girls in town every day? The job only netted a few dollars a week, but allowed me to have a few items I might have otherwise lived without. It was a responsibility, and my parents were a driving force. I look back on those days with a mixture of pride and nostalgia. The daily newspaper will soon become as extinct as the rotary phone. People will be better informed, but the loss of personal connection will never be replaced.
Norma Malinowski - Scientific and Natural Area Outstanding Volunteer
According to AmberBeth VanNingen, DNR Ecologist, Tower: “Norma Malinowski has been the volunteer site steward for Kawishiwi Pines Scientific and Natural Area near Ely since 2008. Kawishiwi Pines is one of the more remote Scientific and Natural Areas; it is not accessible by motor vehicle and a 2.5 mile hike may be necessary to access it in the winter! Despite this, Norma has faithfully visited the Scientific and Natural Areas nearly every month, making note of things such as illegal ATV use, boundary sign conditions, and general nature observations. She has also shared her knowledge of Kawishiwi Pines, and the Northwoods in general, by leading small groups to the site.”
Norma's involvement goes beyond just one Scientific and Natural Area, however. She has helped monitor other Scientific and Natural Areas and participated in gathering information on them such as species records for plant and bird lists. Recently, she has become involved with the Scientific and Natural Areas Program's new outreach and education initiative by recruiting new site stewards and volunteers and helping the Scientific and Natural Areas program plan outreach events such as hikes into Scientific and Natural Areas in the region. “Because of our small staff, we are dependent on volunteers like Norma to be our eyes and ears on the ground and to help promote Scientific and Natural Areas. Norma represents what we admire in our volunteer site stewards, and we are grateful to have her!”
See you all next issue!