Bisonalities Again


A quarterly Newsletter dedicated to the Alumni of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools
July 2013------------------------------------------Summer Issue ------------------------ Volume 14 - 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.

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

What a rotten spring. The temperatures ran the gambit from the low 50s to the high 80s, sometimes in a 24-hour period. And rain, we had enough rain to last for a year. We had several periods where it rained for five days in a row --- extremely unusual for this area.

The weather has really cut into my fishing. Normally by the first of July I would have already been out 65-70 times. This year I have only been out 45 times. I don't mind fishing in the rain, but the wind, which blew 15-20 mph for days on end and the cool weather is not my bag of tea, so I do not go fishing during those periods.

Dave Rutkowski, class of 1967, has submitted several articles to me for publication. The first story is published in this issue. Thanks, Dave, I really appreciate your contribution toward keeping this newsletter in publication.

"Waterford Days" has replaced Heritage Days. Waterford Days will be held on July 19 through July 21. There will be many, many new events and things to do. The new committee has worked hard to make this happen -- come out and enjoy what is Waterford! If you are interested in seeing what is going on go to the web site at:

Now, how about some of you other readers sending me in articles for publication.


Terri Lee Przybylak WardFLBHS1971
Kelly Winston UhrmacherFLBHS 1983
Robert BriggsFLBHS1957
Robert Krieger, Jr.FLBHS2003
Thom BrownPrincipal 
Thora Haynes OsbornWHS1946
Duane WadeFLBSD Bus Driver 
Helen Heffner StinerWHS1936
Lavina Thompson Hughes WHS1946
Richard KestleWHS1947
Jason Morton FLBHS1999
Jim GrumblattFLBHS 1961
Kasson CrookerFLBHS1961
Carl BlumFLBHS1962
Donald FoxWHS1948
Grace Jones OsbornWHS1937
Lisa Hinterberger-Edinger WHS1948
Bob McLaughlinFLBHS1958
Clay AndersonFLBSD Bus Driver 
Beverly Brown BeebeFLBHS1956
Audrey Davis MarshWVS1934
John ScottFLBHS1956
Bill PavkovWHS1947
Linda Gifford SteelFLBHS1965
Bill HimrodWHS1937
Michael BuchnerFLBHS1991
Book Review

Dr. Verel Salmon, FLBHS class of 1964 has written and published a book titled, "Common Men in the War for the Common Man."

This is the never before told story of hundreds of Americans who went to war in defense of their beliefs, to seek adventure and to see some of the world beyond their rural Pennsylvania neighborhoods. Developed largely in the words of the soldiers of the 145th Pennsylvania Infantry, "Common Men" highlights some of the men's lives before the war and then carries the reader through trials and triumphs from enlistment, jubilant send-off, action from Antietam through Gettysburg and casualty. Democracy and the Union are sustained through the actions of common men, men not always given the best of orders.

Dr. Salmon grew up hearing the stories of his ancestor, First Sergeant George Washington Salmon, who fought in the American Civil War. A teacher, school district administrator and farmer, "Common Men" is the culmination of thirty years of research which carried him from archives to attics to retracing the journey the 145th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry from stifling marches to camp life to explosive fields of battle. Married with four children and a growing number of grandchildren, Salmon maintains his ties to the soil as did most of the young recruits who responded to Lincoln's call for troops.

Dr. Salmon says a second book is due in a couple years which will cover the regiment in the remainder of the war.

"Common Man" is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon, even at the Waterford Pharmacy. Dr. Stubbe and Dick DeLuca were among the 35 at last week's book signing at Werner's Bookstore in the Liberty Plaza.

The Most Witty Class Clown
by David Rutkowski, Class of '67

The Fort LeBoeuf 2012-13 hockey team recently finished up a successful season. Some of you alums may be surprised to find out that the Bison have an ice hockey team. But how many remember the first FLB Hockey team back in 1966? We didn't play a game, but we had nifty sweatshirts.

Jack Sauers had the idea of ordering the shirts, and I was his willing accomplice. We were big hockey fans and regular attendees of the semi-pro Erie Lions games at the Glenwood Arena, near the zoo. Through our high school years we, along with John Rudolph, Billy and David Whipple, Eric Petersen, Rick Whittelsey, and several others, would stand behind the goal and pound on the Plexiglas as the players pounded on each other. Our hero was Bill Link, who was a mild mannered, 40-ish machinist at GE during the day and a mild mannered, 40-ish defenseman on Friday evenings. We loved him because he looked more like Don Knotts than a hockey player. Being a semi-pro team didn't mean the players were semi-skilled. Well, maybe they were in hockey skills, but most of them were all-stars at fighting, especially Bruce Kravis, who was one of the best fighters in the league.

But back to the shirts. Sauers sent the order to Champion, and in a few weeks we were called to the office, and there sat a big box addressed to the FLB Varsity Hockey team. Since one or the other of us was usually involved in some sort of harmless adventure, the office staff correctly assumed the shirts belonged to us. We proudly wore the shirts, telling kids at other schools about our undefeated season. Well, it was true; we didn't lose a game all year. Didn't play, but none the less, didn't lose. And we never even had a fight. Those shirts seemed to be very important. I still have mine. For my 64th birthday my wife had the shirt framed, and I display it proudly in my “man cave.” But you know, now that I think about it, giving me my own 47 year old shirt doesn't seem like much of a present. I know I'm not the only one to keep my shirt. Cheri Nick brought hers to our last class reunion!

You may remember when the school yearbook had a section for seniors entitled “FLB Favorites”. I was voted “class clown”, and Sauers was voted “most witty”, even though I was clearly wittier than he, and he was actually more of a clown than I was. But I think it was the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis thing. You see, Sauers was handsome, suave, and a fancy dresser (like Dean), and I was the awkward, sloppy dork (like Jerry). So, even though Mrs. Goodge and Mrs. Kelly thought I was clearly wittier, I, like it or not, was pegged as the clown. Looking at my copy of the '67 Sentinel, I realize that from the viewpoint of a different type of “senior”, whoever posed the pictures for that section was either the possessor of a weird sense of humor or actually no sense of humor at all. Check it out for yourself. Go ahead, I'll wait.

For those of you without your own copy of the '67 issue (and you know who you are). Shame on you. Head to E-bay and pick one up) the photo for Most Witty shows Sauers standing arms crossed with a smug look on his face and the distaff most witty, Mary Mosier is on her knees peering at the camera from between his legs. What the heck is supposed to be witty about that? Now check the Class Clowns --- the aforementioned me and the female clown Chris Haaf. We are posed with our heads on a gymnastic pommel horse, and making goofy faces. Well, I think Chris was making a goofy face, but that was pretty much my normal look, as I think back on it.

And those weren't the worst. The Most Likely to Succeed, Larry Anderson is lying across a couple chairs while covered with a newspaper, and Karen Carlson is actually peering from a garbage can! I guess that was supposed to be satire? But then does that mean the Most Studious, Margaret McCall and Lee Osborn didn't actually read all 30 volumes of the encyclopedia they are leaning on? (For you younger readers, an encyclopedia was printed on paper and was the Wiki-Pedia of its time. Only truthful.)

But back to my whining about witty vs. clowny. Who was it that read a line from Mad magazine over the PA system for morning words of wisdom? The witty guy. Now that could be considered clowny. Who hid in the cloak closet in Mrs. Kelly's room, and quietly knocked on the door, sending her to the classroom door and finding no one there? Four times. OK, that wasn't the witty guy that was the clown.

However, I think it was actually Petersen who was the mastermind behind the great desk-switch-caper. Several home room students took the drawers from Mrs. Kelly's desk and switched them with the drawers from Jake Russell's desk. Mr. Russell started reading the attendance roll, and after marking Ahenger, Aljoe, and Anderson absent, suddenly realized his alphabetical list should have started with Oleson, Pacoe, and Pennock. So the two teachers switched attendance books. It wasn't until third period that Jake noticed that there were more feminine style items in his desk than he remembered, and decided someone had switched the desks. But instead of simply swapping drawers as the pranksters had done, the teachers called the janitors and had them move the entire desk. Whom did they blame for this distraction, the witty Sauers or the clown Rutkowski? Neither. They blamed the infamous Beeman, which was wrong, but a very logical decision.

Since Beeman kind of incriminated himself in the famous thumbtack on Mac Thomas' chair prank, he was the first to spring to mind when anything unusual happened. Like when someone snuck into Mr. Russell's classroom through an open window during a fire drill and stacked all the boxes of yearbooks in front of the door, which really hindered returning to the room. There was a lot of suspicion, but no apprehension on that one. I think the statute of limitations has expired, so maybe someone will 'fess up at the next reunion.'

Was it the witty guy or the clown who would take a wet, softened bar of Dial soap from the shower after gym class and sneak it into someone's back pants pocket, causing the pants wearer to foam from the rear while walking to the next class? Well, that was both, plus just about every other male student. I don't know if the girls ever did that, but I think not, since they usually smelled better than the guys. Probably because they were actually able to use soap in the shower the way the soap farmers intended them to, when they picked the tiny, unripe, yellow soap bars and shipped them to hygiene fanatic gym teachers throughout the state.

But did the clown sneak out of civics class by telling the substitute teacher he had play practice, when there wasn't any play, and then quietly sneaking backstage in the auditorium when there were a hundred kids in the seats at a study period, and, along with Petersen, slowly, slooowwllyy turn down the house lights to almost extinguished and then suddenly zip them back up to normal, causing everyone to jump and scream at the sudden brightness? Well, yeah, but you must admit that was leaning more toward witty than clownish. And it was educational, since all we did was return the lights to the level they normally were, but since the room occupants had been slowly acclimated to dimness, the “normal” became “bright”. I think Mr. Beltram would have been proud of our scientific deduction.

Now that I think about it, Petersen was involved in quite a bit of the shenanigans, and was not either most witty or class clown. I think, much like the Erie Lions, he skated pretty well.

See you all next issue!

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