Tuesday, October 13, 2020

 Yeah, I know. It's been a dog's age since I've visited with you. First, I discovered that I never published Carol Appleton's post about Pam Zott over two years ago. Apologies to Carol. It's now published.

I've got some news for those of you who went to Anthony Wayne JHS. I am sorry to report, courtesy of Kristi Vaiden, the passing of Al "Doc" Piaget, this past Saturday in Wayne. Doc, as he became known in his later years, was a beloved block teacher who introduced us to so many important things in life including learning to think for yourself, social justice, character and to look at things with new eyes. In concert with his then wife to be, Dorothy Tunis, they provided the one-two punch that propelled us into adulthood and the reality of life beyond school. It made me think about our reunion several years ago and how much he meant to us that we would come from all across the country to be with them one more time. It made me think of when I lost my first wife. In my grief and desperation, I reached out to them to try to regain my stability and they contribute more than they knew to my returning to humanity. I hope he knew how much he impacted a generation of kids in Wayne in the early Sixties, and how much he was loved and respected.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

An Anthony Wayne Loss

Pam Zott

Updating emails

Getting ready for spring

We recently received an announcement from Carol Appleton

"It is with great sadness I write to tell you that Pam Zott White passed away this morning after battling pancreatic cancer for nearly a year. She had a strong faith and had trusted Jesus as her Lord and Savior many years ago, even though she told me that she wasn’t ready to leave this life, she had every assurance that she would spend eternity with Christ."

Sunday, January 21, 2018

It's been a long winter.....

It has been a long and difficult winter. It's not just the weather either. After another difficult foot reconstruction surgery (thankfully I only have two of the damn things), and the incredibly cruel winter (and that's only so far - there are still a couple months to go), it is increasingly difficult to go any length of time without visiting the obituaries, but they tend to visit me. I try to stay current on Facebook but if I want to comment I have to post on the Wayne Valley Directory page. Here's the email I got from Rick Sasse today:

Good afternoon.  It is not unusual to read the Providence Journal obituary section and see people I know. In this case it was somehow I had known for over 50 years, Bonnie Crossley.  For no necessary reason we didn’t really get to know each other, but we met at a reunion both knowing we lived in Rhode Island, and became friends. It will be a lonely Wayne Valley ’71-Rhode Island reunion, as I think it would now be Donna Smith (unless she has moved), and Richie Abramson moved to Moodus, CT, in retirement.


So even though I hate to kick start this blog with bad news, I still remain committed to locating and keeping us all up to date with what has happened to members of our class. Here's to a better spring.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Doug Senchak 1949 - 2017

I got a dreaded email from Steve Thomas on August 13, 2017:

With great sadness I write to tell you of the passing yesterday of our friend and classmate, Doug Senchak.  Doug’s health had been failing for a while.  Myself and classmates Arnie Trasente and Andrew Savulich were were en route from our homes when Doug passed.  We all gathered and spent time with with his family yesterday at their farm in upstate NY.

It brought me back to the last time I spoke with Doug. He had called me to let me know of the passing of Peter Isaza, several years ago, and we took the opportunity to catch up. I hadn't spoken to him since I first recontacted him when he was still in the City.

I know that in the process of trying to locate everyone that on more than one occasion I remember thinking that this was an opportunity lost, that this person could have ended up a close friend, with a friendship that would have lasted over the years with many happy memories and many laughs if things had turned out slightly differently. This was certainly true between Doug and me.

Our lives just didn't intersect at acute enough angles. Instead we passed the point and our own momentum just drove us onward. I will always regret that but I am also grateful to Steve, Arnie and Andy for standing in my place in memory of Doug. Even though we never spent that much time together, the time we did was good, his presence was always appreciated, and he will always be remembered by me for his ready wit and smile.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Back on the Trail

Now that we're rested up from our Russian trek, Linda is back on the trail of  our "missing" classmates once again.

Of course, the search reminded me of a street performer we encountered in St. Petersburg who coincidentally was portraying a metallic Sherlock Holmes statue and delighting the kiddies near a church entryway by winking every now and then for a small donation.

The search continues. On the sad side, we discover that David French served in the 101st Airborne in Vietnam only to return to North Carolina in 1968 and succumb to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. It reminded me of John Chichin who was killed in a hit and run accident shortly after graduation, and the sad thought that I had imagined both of them living out long and fulfilling lives only to discover that their lives had been cut short by tragic circumstances.

Joyce Polizzi Porr is still in Wayne, but recently lost her husband of 47 years, Joe Porr. Another classmate hidden in plain sight. Barbara Preusch is in Fredericksburg VA, now married to Michael Lehr. I have an email that I plan to use to see if she is indeed our Barbara Preusch. It just goes to show how fickle these searches can be. We previously had information that led us to believe that she was in Sedona, AZ.

So the search for "lost" classmates continues, for better or worse.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Our World is a Little Bit Smaller

Amid all the Facebook birthday wishes for Charlene DeShaw Norris came a jarring post from Charlene DeShaw Norris's family announcing her passing on May 5th of this year. Our world is a little bit smaller. With each passing our realization that time is moving on continues. All that remains permanent (at least so far) is our memories of a magical time. For me, the hours I spent in the orchestra pit for our high school musicals were some of the most rewarding and enjoyable of my high school career at WVHS. The friendships, the cameraderie, the oneness of the group will not easily be replaced in my affection. Farewell Char, and in the words of C. Tucker, may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. I am sure I join with all the other folks from our high school production group in sending our deepest sympathies to Charlene's family.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

An Old Friend Gone

In the fall of 1964, we gained a new classmate in Mr. Onufer's homeroom (and subsequent Latin classes across the street). He hailed from up North, and his accent was thick of New Hampshire and Vermont and in his leisure, he wore a Bates College sweatshirt. He was bashful, and like all shy people, he tended to overcompensate a little when given the opportunity. I think as a result he was often either overlooked or bullied. He nonetheless persisted. He ended up as our Smoke Signals photographer, and over our high school years, he and I ended up as friends, despite our differences.

This afternoon, I received an email from Rick Sasse, who couldn't exactly remember if Doug Fowler was part of our 7-3/8-4 Anthony Wayne experience, but I was pretty certain that Doug missed out on all that but did share much of what followed. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Rick is right. This is the sort of thing that happens more frequently nowadays. I remember something from back then, and then self doubt asks me if I actually remember that or am I simply remembering the fantasy that I constructed for myself the last time I tried to remember the same series of events.

I do remember speaking to Doug in Nashua NH, as he related the highlights of his life, in which service stations played a major part. In view of my checkered past, I remember listening without judgement, as Doug tried to justify his history and I do distinctly remember telling him that I long ago gave up all judgement about roads not taken, and opportunities missed or life choices that didn't quite work out as we hoped they would. At our way point on the crooked road of life, it long ago stopped mattering; with that ice broken, he regaled me with memories of silly things that we did in gym together and other better times we had. In short, it was another chapter of my search for classmates 5 years ago and another checkmark on my master list of WV grads. It engendered another afternoon of serious soul searching and nostalgic wonderment about how things turned out for another friend with whom I had lost touch.

Here is Doug Fowler's obit for those of you who read this type of thing and think of all that we have done and what we will leave behind:

Douglas H. Fowler, 64, longtime resident of Nashua, died at the Community Hospice House in Merrimack on April 12, 2014, surrounded by members of his loving and devoted family.

Mr. Fowler was born on October 21, 1949, in Massachusetts. He was a son of Patricia (Smith) Fowler of St. Petersburg, FL and the late Donald H. Fowler.

He was the husband of Rosa (Gomes) Fowler, they shared over 12 years of marriage.

Most recently, he had been working with tech support for Comcast. For many years, he was a regional manager for several service stations including Circle K and Shell.

He is remembered as a gentleman who worked hard all his life. He also enjoyed reading. Mr. Fowler loved to challenge his mind with brain games and teasers such as Sudoku. He enjoyed music and dancing.

Mr. Fowler was a veteran of the United States Air Force, having entered after graduating high school, had achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant during his enlistment. His Air Force career brought him all around the world and gave him many life experiences, including a chance to run with the bulls in Spain.

Mr. Fowler cared deeply for his community and was a Master Mason of Lee Lodge No. 30 in Castleton, VT. He was a member of the Scottish Rite Bodies in the Valley of Burlington and the Vermont Consistory 32nd Degree and the Cairo Shriners of Rutland, VT. He was also a member of The American Legion of West Rutland, VT.

SERVICES: A Masonic Funeral Service in his honor will be conducted by the Officers and Members of Ancient York Lodge #89, Nashua at the Masonic Temple, 200 A Main St. (elevator entrance) Nashua on Thursday evening, April 17, 2014 at 6:30 PM. His interment prayers and burial service will be held at a later date in Barre, Vermont at the request of the family.

So farewell, Doug. I'll remember you sitting in the corner of the Smoke Signals office cracking inappropriate jokes and trying to get someone to play chess with you. I'm glad I got a chance to catch up with him before the end.