Monday, August 15, 2011

Serve, Volley, and a Classmate has an Idea

I sent along the latest batch of information on classmate locations to the committee the other day. In return I received a detailed response to each classmate which went, "knew that, knew that, knew that, updated, knew that, etc., etc. or something like that. I was told that Taisa Apanasow was not on the website (page 163) nor Bob Guzallis (page 222). Then separately, I received an email chiding me on an error on my part about Marlene Zachok who was mistakenly put on my "lost" list (actually, she's still lost to me), the gist of which is that the committee is the "official" keeper of class contact information and that while they appreciated finding out about people who were unfound, they don't appreciate that I said they didn't know where people were, once again putting words in my mouth. As regular readers of this blog know, that s one thing that does not need to be done. I've got plenty of my own. I have never said they didn't know where people are; rather I just said that if you don't outreach to keep updated, you will end up knowing less than you think you do.

Additionally and sadly, I was informed that Marion Borowsky had passed away which they acknowledged because her brother had contacted them directly. That was a head scratcher. Perhaps I should have Chris Mauriello contact them directly, or John Chichin Sr. Talking to me is not sufficient.

What the committee doesn't understand is that while this all started as an offer to help locate lost classmates, we've been on very different paths. I always encourage people to go, but it was never just about getting the people I found to go to the Reunion which is the committee's main focus. Reunion weekend. Once every 10 years and now 5 years. Based on the unexpected and unexplainably negative reaction my efforts have engendered, my purpose has shifted from just locating the lost to creating the Class Directory and, as it always was, reconnecting people - that can happen any day, anytime, as long as the information is available. For, dare I say it, seniors like ourselves, the days are getting shorter; the past is getting longer and we had better do it if we're going to do it at all.

So that being said, I was delighted to receive a return call from Dave Chicoine, now in Colorado. He said he went to the 30th (didn't know from the website - his name is bare of attendance dots). We had one of my now typical lengthy retrospective phone calls which ended in his trying to convince me that picking up the clarinet and sax again would be a worthy retirement activity. And take time away from talking to more classmates? Of course, we traded contact information.

I am also half way through a chit chat with Doug Senchak who has looking upstream toward a retirement home upriver from New York City. Doug's history seems nearly as twisty as my own, and we seemed, unbeknownst to each other, to have shared a lot of experiences on different coasts.

Finally, Mark Pinchal, shared with me a project he has been working on for quite a while:

When I first lived in Florida (1983-1999) I was deeply involved in conducting services for the Apollo 1 astronauts, in fact I started the whole thing in February, 1985 after I saw the movie "The Right Stuff". I got permission to place a wreath at Launch Complex 34 where the fire had taken place (1/27/1967). Thought it would be a 1 time thing but when I heard from the security guard I was the first to do something like that I vowed to keep returning until a proper service was a fact of life. In 1990 I had a plaque placed at the site, the first to honor Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.  18 years of work, and the help and major input of like minded people, the service took on a life of its own. The people who joined made this possible and to them goes the lion's share of credit. I moved to Las Vegas in 1999 and after the 2003 service, I handed the service back to the families of the crew. Time and distance made it impractical for me to continue organizing and conducting it.

Having returned to Florida in March 2007, I have thought that there should be a day to honor all of America's Astronauts, past and present, in particular those who have the ultimate sacrifice. NASA does remember their fallen but this too negative. A day should be established to honor all who have risked their lives to expand our knowledge of the infinate universe in which we live. A Federal observance, like Flag Day. I've written a few letters to some senators and have heard nothing back. I have recommended 9 April as a possible date. It was on 9 April 1959 that America and the world first met the Mercury Astronauts. It would be nice to get it approved while some of them are still alive.

Now this is something especially close to people in Southern Indiana, since Gus Grissom was a native son, and highly honored in this region, so I mention it here as a way to help Mark publicize and lobby for this day. Far less significant events, IMHO, have been granted Federal recognition.

I've got to call Doug again, to finish where we left off. I've also sent some post cards to people whose addresses I think are correct but who have no phone numbers available to me. 

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