Bisonalities, Again

A quarterly Newsletter dedicated to the Alumni of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools

January 2001 ---------------------------------------- Winter ------------------------------------- Volume 2 - Number 2

Welcome to the winter issue of the 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, October 5, January 5, April 5, and July 5.

The 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 classmates? 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

Please, NO handwritten submissions.

The Bisonalities, Again Newsletter is available to any and all alumni, teachers, and administrators of Waterford or FLBHS on the Web site, free. If you know an alumnus, teacher, or administrator who would be interested, please ask them to contact me.

None of the material in this newsletter has a copyright. If you wish to make copies of this newsletter and distribute it to other Alumni or friends, please feel free to do so.

Cat's Corner

I am going to make a plea for more participation. So far I have only received stories from three people, Herb Walden ('56), Joe Leech ('56), and Alan Hazen ('56). Please, I am sure many of you have interesting stories to tell about your life during your school years and/or your life since, take the time to send then to me.

The one-liners used in this issue were received from Lillian Turley Barnes ('56) and are entitled "You know your from Waterford if..."

The Web site is growing almost daily. There are now listings for the classes of 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1979, and 1980. If you were a member of one of the above listed classes, or a class not listed for the years of 19XX through 1980, and have information about the class,, please furnish it to me. I will update your class page to include the new information, or add your class page to the many listed, if it is not already listed.

On October 8, Tim Curley (1964) notified me he had a new e-mail address. It may be found on the Web site and on the last page of this and future issues.

On October 19, Robert and Rita (Buetikofer) Stewart (1964) notified me that they had a new e-mail address.

I received word from John Scott's daughter that John has had to undergo by-pass surgery. He has come through the surgery well and when I talked to him, several weeks later, he was almost fully recovered and well on the way to a 100 per cent recovery.

You've ridden the school bus for an hour each way.

Death - Marion Keen Carnahan

It is with sadness and deep regret, I inform you that Marion Keene Carnahan, 84, of 2200 W. Center St., Mill Village, died Sunday, December 17, 2000, at Union City Memorial Hospital.

She lived in the house that she was born in.

She was preceded in death by her husband David Irwin Carnahan, who died November 20, 1956. She was a home maker and a member of the Mill Village United Presbyterian Church, where she served as an elder, the clerk of session, a Sunday School teacher, and sang in the choir. She was a former Fort Le Boeuf School Board member. She enjoyed gardening, cake decorating, drawing, painting, music, and high school sports events.

Survivors include two sons, Dale Carnahan of Lakewood Ohio and Dan Carnahan of Elyria Ohio, and a daughter Donna Weed of Union City, and three grandchildren. Interment was in Mill Village Cemetery.

The above information was furnished by Marlene Myers Kibbe.

by Glen Alan Hazen

Bob Catlin's request that we contribute some thoughts to his quarterly publication was a lure to me, as it would be for any teacher, to be "published," that could not be resisted. Consequently, I have put down a few of my recollections on student life in the Fort Le Boeuf School System. My recollections are nowhere as complete or accurate as Herb's nor as exciting as Bob's, but I still have fond memories of the teachers who impacted my life - positively and negatively.

Majoring in agriculture, but wanting to make a comfortable living, I became a student of both Mr. Bowman and, in my era, the legendary Mr. Carnahan. Mr. Carnahan's methods of teaching mathematics were unforgettable in so many challenging ways. His insistence that "you cannot teach what you do not know" was the sage wisdom that used to haunt my nights in college, but has served me well for 35 years as a teacher, student advisor, and researcher. Mr. Carnahan was a classic in his own time; but without him, I might have become a generic engineer-reticent to set high expectations, hesitant to be a student for so many years, or to survive as a college teacher and researcher so long that I now teach students of students who are retired. Had that been the case, I doubt if I'd be telling about it.

Mr. Carnahan had standards if not the highest! If you could not pass his final examinations with a grade better than a C, you were simply given a C. He wasn't unpleasant about it, but there was no apology and no compromise. You had two chances to record a good grade. Either you scored well on homework and six-week quizzes as well as the final, or you scored well on the final. So, you either met that standard or you settled for a C.

Rigor? Mr. Carnahan essentially wanted you to work math problems until you were comfortable with basic concepts. (Working at your own pace that would be either six weeks or nine months worth.) So, there were generous assignments and lectures to understand, in addition to the full-time worry that dogged you until you excelled on those doggone tests! You regarded graduates of the course with awe and genuine admiration. If they could earn an A, couldn't you? But even the reassurance that ordinary people had overcome this hurdle, and lived to brag about it, gave you no peace until you excelled on those tests!

Little did I know that Mr. Carnahan's classes would have such a shelf life. Who knew that years later it had prepared me to endure the nightmare of high stakes graduate examinations and research reviews. Who knew that I would spend the last 35 years of my career haunted by ways to increase student performance. Indeed, "you cannot teach what you do not know," and if you don't know, your students and colleagues will surely find out.

Then, there was Mr. Bowman, a stylish man who taught agriculture, but insisted that we learn by practical applications. He taught us to plan out farm projects, keep accurate records, and to have a positive cash flow. Insisting that we complete at least one major project a year, he warned that, should he encounter us in the hallway or elsewhere, he would expect to see an organized, serious individual as evidence of our future as a productive member of the agriculture community. Loved that course; loved the money; but got only a B. Never did quite live up to his standard. Oh well! There may still be hope.

I still enjoy communicating with my fellow Fort Le Boeuf students of the '55 and '56 classes. Most have much in common with me. Some doubt if they will ever return to Waterford for fear that it would be too painful a reminder of their advancing age, punctuated by the passing of Mr. Carnahan and Mr. Bowman. I value the friendships which have withstood the test of time.

You attended a dance in a barn or a field.

Class of 1956 Personality

I remember every small detail, from her red hair to her love for Pizza. She was born in Oil City on May 8, 1938. When and if she graduates, she hopes to be a nurse. Of course, the uniform must be aqua, because that's her color. With her first pay check, she'll probably buy a Pontiac, so she can travel to California, to see the gold fields, of course. At 17 she has a bitter hatred for one thing, teachers! She and her side-kick, Phyllis are both very talented in music. Sax is her instrument.

(((Her identiy will be shown later in this issue!)))

Your Halloween costume fit over a snowsuit.

Legends of the Area
by Lewis Dove
Fort Le Boeuf School District (Retired)


The historic heritage of Waterford and the surrounding area is well known. The three forts, George Washington's trip here, Pontiac's Indians, the river traffic - all these give pride and silent reminder that the land is special.

There is more to a community than great historic events. When a local student, Malena Stiteler, became a National Merit Scholarship winner, or Brooke Freeburg sets a county scoring record in basketball, and local elementary schools set high State records in reading, everyone can take pride because everyone contributed to these success stories. When a local strong man, Harvey Wright, stands flat-footed, jumps up, and kicks out a light bulb eight feet off the floor, in the ceiling of Mitchell's saw mill - it actually happened - we feel this warm awe. This is local pride - as old as recorded time.

The following tales are not intended to be always serious, but to always look seriously at what we were and are.

Old Frank

The Civil War was devastating to the Waterford area. The 83rd (Company E) and 111th Regiments seemingly were always in the front of the action. Officers and men fell - 53% of the total enlisted men were casualties. In 1865, they were mustered out, finally able to return home. Colonel W. O. Colt returned and brought his Southern captive with him - Frank, a dapple - gray war horse.

Col. Colt and Frank were common sights around town. Frank had the run of the town, visiting lawns and gardens, where he selected only the best. Not everyone was pleased, but no magistrate would stop the practice. Even after twenty years, the War was still closely remembered.

On July 4, 1887, the community drew together to celebrate Independence. Col. Colt led the parade riding Old Frank. Someone fired a cannon. Frank fell to his knees, quivered for a few seconds, and fell over - dead. The trauma and memories had overcome him.

Many in town thought he needed a proper burial, with military and religious overtures. The outraged parochial leaders were against it, but they could not stop the proceedings. A grave was dug in the park, behind third base. The local four piece brass band played, "Nearer My God to Thee" before an army chaplain read a eulogy. Frank was lowered into the grave, standing upright, with a sword strapped to his old army saddle and dozens of citizens filed past and dropped flowers into his final resting place.

Teary eyes and some sobs were common as the bugler played "Taps." They buried more than a horse in Waterford that day.


Before the war every town and city in Northwest Pennsylvania had its baseball team or teams and they were all very good. Young boys learned the sport by shagging fly balls during batting practice and being "bat boys." When they were old enough and good enough, they filled in or earned their place on the field. While the players had great times and often joked and fooled around, the game was serious - you did your best to win. For over half a century, this was a "glue" that held a community together.

Waterford was among the best - maybe they were the best. The names and memories of the players still strike a warm spot around the coffee shops. The brothers Bud and Gene Mitchell were up there with the greats. They still recall the playing of Neil Bartholme and Merle Heard. "Remember when Hoot hit that home run," it went up to the wooden part of the steeple on St. Peter's Church." Hoot Gibson hit a lot more than one - the rest did, too.

Nanny Whittelsey was a truly great ball player, the whole area for miles around agrees with that. He was a strong, well-built athlete, even in his advanced years. When he was well over fifty, he was still able to play with the best of them, and in his fifty's he pitched a perfect no hit, no run game.

World War II changed town baseball as well as a lot of other things. The young men were called up. Everyone else worked a seven day week and often a twelve hour day. Travel was cut to a minimum. People's minds were occupied with greater anxieties than sports. With peace, young men rebuilt their lives, while high school baseball came into its own.

Postwar Waterford baseball was marked by the coming of Carm Bonito, a no-nonsense teacher-coach from the high school. A player, coming back after striking out, was hear to remark, "That third strike was a bad call." Carm got his attention, "If you'd hit the second strike over the fence, you wouldn't have to worry about it."

Red and Dell Shields, Tom Crocker, Chet Russell, John Senkalski, The Owens', the Peters', Dean Scott, Bill Powell, Dick Fuller, Bill Canfield - the list goes on and on. Al Rinderle was a professional quality shortstop and Fran, his brother, could and did play any position, as well as pitch. Waterford High School can be proud of this era.

Let's consider one game - Waterford, at Wesleyville on April 23, 1953. "Koko" was catching (the scorer could not spell "Couchenour"). Bill Skiff was pitching. The usual "no run" defense was behind him. It was a windy day, warm and dry, with little spirals of dust rising up like miniature hurricanes and blowing in from the outfield. The Wesleyville team was accustomed to hitting the long ball and scoring quickly and often.

Inning 1 Waterford 4 runs
Wesleyville 3 strike outs
Inning 2Waterford4 runs
Wesleyville3 strike outs
Inning 3Waterford 0 runs
Wesleyville3 strike outs
Inning 4Waterford0 runs
Wesleyville 2 strike outs - pop-up to first base
Inning 5Waterford3 runs
Wesleyville3 strike outs
Inning 6Waterford0 runs
Wesleyville2 strike outs; walk-thrown out at 2nd base
Inning 7Waterford0 runs
Wesleyville3 strike outs

Against a very good team, a perfect game! No hits, no runs, no errors, 11 runs, and 19 strike outs in a seven inning game. Outstanding!

The 1953 record was 14 wins, 0 losses, and three no-hit games - two by Bill Skiff and one by Chet Russell. They were Erie County Champions. Erie County winters are easier to bear with memories like these.

Biggest Liar in Waterford

George couldn't find his sow! A six hundred pound hog, bred and expecting at any time, shouldn't disappear without a trace. He looked all over town. Becoming desperate, he went to the far end of his garden to check the fence and saw one of his pumpkins "move" - kinda shake. Here that sow had eaten an opening into the pumpkin, hollowed it out, and birthed seventeen piglets, each one doing nicely. As George told this story, the boy's eyes bugged out.

Bill's dad, Gene Mitchell, had to tell him that George Lechner exaggerated some.

During World War II, the U.S. Navy kept a guard over the garden; they bought all his cucumbers after it was found they made their best submarines. Germans might steal them.

Man talking to George on High Street. "Where do you suppose they're taking that back hoe,

George?" "My Place." "Why your Place?" "It's time to dig the carrots."

George in barber shop. "Last week I shot 26 pheasants and 32 rabbits." George Coffin responds, "Do you know who I am?" "No." "I'm the new deputy game warden." Lechner, "Do you know who I am?" "No." "I'm the biggest liar in Waterford."

With George it went on and on. The one true thing was that he was a good gardener and everyone knew it. He was invited to weddings and other social events, just to tell his stories; he sure broke the ice. His greatest talent was in not taking himself too seriously.

He was found dead in the snow one cold morning. The ward nurse reported that around his neck was a medal that read, "Biggest liar in Waterford".

The Sentinel

The great hemlock grew on the bank on the left side of Le Boeuf Creek, just up from the lake. Seneca Indians grew corn, beans, and pumpkins on the flats below her, while they camped and built temporary homes on the high ground near the base. The French considered cutting the tree to get a better "fire pattern," in case of siege - their fort was four hundred feet to the North, on an even higher bank. They decided against cutting it down.

She saw the coming of the Virginian militiaman, George Washington, as he rode to the gate of the fort. He stayed as an honored guest inside the fort much of the next six days, before leaving to pave the way for future generations to settled in the valley.

The thirteen British marines, ten years later, escaped Pontiac's Indians and the burning garrison through a drain ditch that ran to the creek half-way to the base of the tree.

Having witnessed so much, later America honored her with the name, "Sentinel". The early settlers gave her great respect. The high school yearbook borrowed her name, as did a local newspaper. By 1983, most people had forgotten why she was revered. In that year she fell, old "in the fullness of time".

********** Our senior personality is: Carol Adaline Louise McMahon. **********

See you all next quarter!

Advance to Next issue
Return to Main Web Page