Saturday, December 26, 2015

Life is Like....

What is it about a photo or a moment that causes the mind to slip back and forth with questions, with reflections, sorrow, or delight? 
Letty and grandson Isaac, at the Viacom building NYC,
sitting on the Forrest Gump bench. 

Forrest would have been proud of our vacation to NYC, and the amount of territory we covered in five days.  It was a trip reminiscent of the great explorers, architects, artists, and financial wizards in history, except we were merely voyeurs of their footsteps.  Shortly after walking back onto the streets of NYC from the Viacom building on Broadway, our footsteps took us to the M&M Store, where the kids bought a box of chocolates, all M&M's of course, but some printed with the names of Isaac's classmates "Ms O's Class". A large bag of chocolates gets very heavy after walking ten miles in NYC, we learned.  With commercialism at its best, I bought a magnet that says, "Melts in your mouth, not in your Han." Thank you Star Wars and Disney for the humor.

Life is like a box of chocolates.You never know what you're gonna get.  fg  

My mind, being what it is, wanders around in a pool of memories floating in a body of emotions. Today I'm celebrating my sixty-eighth birthday in a reflective mood.  It happens yearly now as the days and the decades pass, allowing us time to breathe deeply in a moment of reflective thought.  It wasn't always that way.
Sunshine at Bryant Square

Life is like painter's palette filled with choices. lw

There was a time when I anxiously awaited turning thirteen, sixteen, eighteen, and twenty-one. Every moment of my life was filled with energy and enthusiasm to get older. Lucky for me, I am older and greeting each day with a little stiffer walk.

Life is like riding a train through the mountain tunnels.  You never know what you will see around the next turn. lw

Sixty-eight years ago my mother gave birth to me in Arcadia, California.  Since I was two weeks past the due date, she and my father climbed the mountains of San Bernardino on Christmas day, with the hopes of bringing a child into this world sooner. Like that train in the mountains, we lived there for two years before returning to Kansas, and then onto Oklahoma, where I did indeed become a Sooner.

Life is like a game of football.  The game plan is drawn, studied, and visualized, but sometimes altered by other players. lw

Fifty-five years ago this morning I awoke in tiny stucco motel with brown tile flooring and windows filled with sunshine in Pasadena, California on my thirteenth birthday.  By 9am on December 26, 1960 our family of four stood in line to enter Disneyland. I have no photos of that day, but my mind is filled with memories: we signed in as guest at a pancake shop right underneath the signature of Mr. D'Avignon and his family (my eighth grade science teacher from Miami) and I learned about small world stories; We floated undersea in a submarine, then glimpsed at what the future might hold in a futuristic home made of plastics; We shot through the Matterhorn on a roller coaster, and splashed into the cold waters; We ducked and screamed as pirates and alligators attacked our ship; We shivered as we rocketed into space; I saw my first flip book showing how animation was made; My mother claims she actually saw Walt Disney walking by, but I argued that we just saw Mickey Mouse and Goofy.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.  Albert Einstein

The real Matterhorn 1996 trip to Switzerland.

Like the ride through the Matterhorn, I've spent my life on the move, and have been richly rewarded. Some moves I made completely knocked me off balance and left me bruised and beaten, while other moves bolstered my heart and lifted me upwards because of the love of friends and family, and the blessings of this Earth and faith in God. 

Like my mother used to sing,  Que Sera Sera by Doris Day 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Memorial With Love and Respect


I saw it in his eyes, as he passed on a vivid memory to his ten-year old son, the shock and terror of seeing those planes fly into the Twin Towers. As he pointed to pictures, scenes, burned fire engines, badges of heroism, melted steel beams, the story unfolded.  The sadness, the heartbreak for those who died during the attacks of 911, filled his eyes with tears and his heart with questions; Why? What animal lives to kill and die at his own hands?  How do we share with our children this tragedy, and then pray that they never experience or witness such horror?

I have no answers, but those who worked there repeated this thought, "Please, we don't want to forget what happened here. Pass this history onto your children. Remind them that we live in American, the land of the free and the brave." Between where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood, a concrete wall sparkling with sky blue tile now exists. It stands out as every visitor walks down the stairs to the lower level. Behind the wall is the repository of nearly 8,000 unidentified human remains. The quote, though controversial for classicists, pulls at the heart strings when read over and over.  The message is clear, we shall not forget.        Virgil's quote

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." I hope I live long enough to see that happen. 

One World Trade Center

Spending an early Christmas with our son, Matt, in New York City turned into a family vacation.  Our grandson, Isaac, wanted to see New York, with the goal of visiting every state before he graduates. We arrived expecting winter's blast in December, but we walked the streets in balmy sixty degree weather.  We crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on foot; walked through the Twin Towers Memorial; shed our tears as we stood by the moving water falls outside; agreed that the water soothed the soul; then walked to Battery Park and visited The Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island, all before dinner on day one.  

Though our feet felt wearing and flattened by the concrete steps, we carried ourselves from Battery Park northward to Wall Street where the glitter of Christmas began to come to life. Afterall, the meaning of Christmas is clear even in the crowded city streets and stores.

Love and Time are the only two things in this world that cannot be bought, only spent.   
  --Gary Jennings

May you each enjoy the Love and Time with Family, and show Respect to everyone this Christmas.
 --Letty Watt

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Icy Ice Beauties

Sitting in my writing chair
 viewing nature's icy rain

Tree limbs bending bowing low
 sagging in the howling winds

Leaves the color of honey
 suddenly encased in time

Colors of fall clasped in ice
 gleaming like lacy diamonds

Berries of red and purples
 glisten like crystal baubles

Red finches dance on feeders
 fluttering tweeting eating

Cardinals pecking laboring
 on frozen crystallized seeds

Sculptured hues of greens and brown
 ice beauties sparkling bright

*Thank you Carol Torpey for sharing your colorful photographs.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


On November 1, 2015 a willful nine year old girl introduced herself to me, and asked me to write her side of the story. Reluctantly, I replied, “I’m afraid we’ve never met, and I’ve just signed up for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth with the goal of finishing a memoir that I began five years ago. I’m afraid you’ve asked the wrong person for help.”

She cocked her head to one side, looked me square in the eyes, and then tilted her head to the other side. “Nope, you’re the write person. I don’t know why I picked you, but my gut tells me that you can help me.”

“What is your name? I’ve taught school for decades and perhaps
we’ve met.” I offered.

“My name is Rebecca Kate Temple, and my friends call me Becca or Hound Dog.”  

“Hound dog,” I laughed. “I grew up with a little sister who once carried the nickname Hound Dog, and sometimes we called her “Stormy.”

I felt the determination grow in that little girl’s spine. She began poking at my side, making me laugh. “Come on, please write my story.  I need help, now.” For a moment I felt tears well up inside my old body. “Rebecca Kate, I will do the best job I can for you, but sometimes I get distracted and don’t finish things I start. I want you to know that upfront.”

“Are you saying that you are not dependable, or are you making excuses?” She asked with her arms crossed over her chest, and her right arm on top. “Young lady, did no one teach you to respect your elders.” I demanded.

Her head and shoulders dropped. I felt her strong spine and spirit weaken and shrivel up inside of me. Her energy began to fade, “No, wait. Don’t leave me, Miss Becca. You are right. I make excuses for things I’m afraid to do, for the things I don’t know how to do. I don’t like failure.” With that last word I felt a shiver inside of her, inside of me.

Meekly, her voice replied, “I don’t like failure either, but I have failed, and I bet you have too. Maybe if we work together we can make this story right.” I saw a glimmer of hope in her eyes. I nodded approval and sighed deeply, “Partners then Miss Becca. You may call me Letty. Now where do we start?”

Somewhat belligerently she retorted, “You’re the author. You figure that out. I will just tell you what happens along the way. Oh, if I forget something important can you go back and put it in the story?”

“I bet I can. I bet I can." I studied this deal, this idea for quite sometime while those green eyes starred at me.  "What shall we call this journey?" I asked and offered her my handshake.

“The first story is called Out of Step and the second story might be called SideStep, then there's always Step By Step and In Step. WE will just have to wait and see.”  Before I could take my hand back and argue, she reached out and took my hand, my heart, and my head. 

Thanks to NaNoWriMo here is what I’ve learned of Miss Becca since the first of November.

Naughty, nervy
Outgoing, outspoken
Willful, willing
Rambunctious racehorse
Imaginative, impetuous

11/1    2,438 words
11/5    6,723 words
11/9   11,729 words
11/13  17,247 words
11/18  23,333 words just 26,667 words to go by Nov. 30. Come on Becca help me out.
11/20  28,241 words. I'm getting there. Only 21,759 words to reach the goal of 50,000 words!
11/28  33,084 words.
11/30  35,380 words.  Didn't make the 50,000 goal but plan to finish this story.

P.S. I'd like to thank my person of "Inspiration," my cousin Patty. In her first year of retirement she wrote and finished her first novel. Six months later she published and sold it on, Thank you Patty for showing me commitment and determination.  This is the link for her novel                  The Habitant by P.L. Weaver

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pen Pals Lost and Found

Arriving home from a genealogy vacation last summer,  I returned to the search for classmates, notes, and connections to our 50th high school class reunion.  In a small pile of grade school pictures, I gasped in surprise, there in my hands was a wallet-sized photo

Susan Kuhlman, my pen pal from 5th grade.  I remembered exactly where we met, that July of 1959. 

My parents had taken a long weekend trip to Branson, Missouri to fish and enjoy the waters of Lake Taneycomo (long before it was the Branson of today).  Our small roadside motel had a pool for the kids, a boat dock and fishing dock. Best of all it was raw with nature and wilderness surrounding it. 

A large snapping turtle had been captured and placed in a four sided cement tank on prime property for kids to bend over and offer carrots or poke at it with sticks. In retrospect, I'm sure that turtle wasn't captured for us to tease, but at the time it seemed logical.

Susan and I met in the pool that week, and became the best of young friends. She had a little sister, as did I, so we shared our woes of always having tagalongs sisters on each adventure.  Her father was the principal at the Missouri Military Academy, and like my father he enjoyed fishing. Our mothers made the best picnic lunches that week, and our evening meals were hot dogs, or fresh fish from the lake.  

At the end of the week, Susan and I exchanged addresses and began a writing letter friendship that lasted until we both went off to college.  

The story might have ended, but my curiosity to know what happened pushed me to begin my search.  How simple it became, thanks to social media. First, I found her younger sister on
Susan Kuhlman 1963-64
facebook, and a few days later, I received a note and friend request from my Pen Pal.  Oh, we laughed and recalled those years and letters. Neither of us managed to save those letters, nor did I find any old postcards of Branson.  She said that she'd often thought of me and tried to find me over the years. Susan recalled that one summer her parents were on vacation and dropped her off to stay with me overnight. "You showed me your fallout shelter in the backyard, and I was overwhelmed.  I hoped no one would every have to use it. We played games and just caught up with lots of laughs and great friendship.  I remember your little sister, Jonya. My sister, Joyce, didn't spend the night with us." 

Interesting how a setting made for an Alfred Hitchcock scene, the frigid cold waters and bouncy waves of Lake Taneycomo, a stucco motel with a flat roof and gravely parking lot, provided a happy ending for two little girls, who still share those memories, and whose friendship has come full circle. 

In the process of writing this blog, we've begun to communicate again about memories, about our parents, and eventually we will arrive at today. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Class of 65 We Honor our Veterans

Over fifty years ago, 260 Miami Wardogs proudly wore their caps and gowns crossing the Civic Center stage in alphabetical order and graduating as members of the MHS Class of 1965.  In reflection, how innocent and young we were.  We couldn't vote, but we could go to war and serve our country in the Armed Forces.

In high school, I often looked forward to ABC order, because that placed me near some cute but ornery boys.  What lighthearted trouble Bill Smiley, Richard Spencer, and Johnny Stansell caused me over the years. Looking back at our
graduation rows, I now see men and women, who went on to serve our country. One classmate, a quiet boy by whom I often sat next to in class, Mike Standeford, lost his life in Vietnam. Within one year of graduation President Lyndon B. Johnson sent 400,000 US Troops to Vietnam, among them were our classmates along with older Wardogs who joined the service.  
In September 2015, our class reunited for our 50th graduation reunion.  On the last night together our gaiety turned somber, as we began the evening with a tribute to our classmates who had died. Outside under the blue Oklahoma
skies, we stood together, held hands, and cried as the names of fifty-four deceased classmates were read and balloons lifted in their memory.

Phil Chambers, Tony Palmer, Roy Underwood

Our Gala banquet followed with a tribute to our Veterans.  Bill Smith and Roy Underwood took the helm to guide us through
Letty and Bill Smith, "H" street memories :-)
a time in history: a time when we were each living apart, searching for meaning in life, asking "why" and "how" questions, attending college, beginning careers, starting a new life with a family, and committing to serve our country. We proudly honor our Veterans, not only today, but every time we vote, we speak, we write, we applaud, we Pledge, we sing...We say Thank You. Nearly 23% of our class or 59 of us, who tossed their caps that night in May, served in a branch of the Armed Forces.

Four women advanced their careers and lives with service and honor to our country:  Judy Delozier served in the Navy; Cheryl Storey served in the Air Force; Janice Hannebon Sprinkle joined the Navy; Andrea Anderson Juricic and her husband David both served in the Coast Guard.  Andrea became the first female cook in the Coast Guard

Thirty-one of our classmates served in Vietnam.  We honor all of you who served, who gave those years of your youth to keep us safe, and we respect your commitment to keep our country free:  
Arnold Able, Army, (deceased)
Glen Beauchamp, Army
Duane Benbrook, Army
Jim Bridgeman, Marine, Vietnam
Danny Burkhart, Navy, Vietnam (deceased)
Alan Campbell, Navy, Vietnam, Desert Storm  (deceased)

Phil Chambers, Army, Vietnam
George Cooper, Navy, Vietnam (deceased)
John Finley, Army
Clay Finnell, Army, Vietnam (deceased)
Jim Fraizer, Marine
Clark French, Navy
Bill Garvin, Army (deceased)
Doug Gosney, Army
Steve Gwartney, Army, Vietnam
Danny Harrison, Navy, Vietnam
Tom Haskins, Army
Steve Helmey, Army
Don Hilderbrand, Army, Vietnam
Mike Holt, Army, Vietnam  (deceased)
Richard Hopkins, Air Force
David Hunt, Air Force
James Johnson, Army
Jim (Eddie) Johnston, Army, Vietnam
Bradley Karnes, Marine, Vietnam
Fred Lemons, Army
Randy Loehr, Army, Vietnam
Danny McClure, Navy, Vietnam
Tony Miller, Navy, Vietnam
Dale Milliser, Air Force
George Newman, Navy, Vietnam
Dennis Nichols, Navy
Cody Nidiffer, Army, Vietnam
Terry O'Laughlin, Navy
Rex Oliver, Marine, Vietnam (deceased)
Tony Palmer, Army, Vietnam
John Parcell, Navy
Tom Perry, Army, Vietnam (deceased)
Doug Phillips, Navy, Vietnam
Randy Ransom, Army, Korea
Mike Rundell, Army, Vietnam  (deceased)
Mike Schmidt, Army, Vietnam (deceased)
Gene Shelton, Army, Vietnam
Bill Smiley, Army (deceased)
Bill Smith, Army, Vietnam
Jackie Smith, Army/Navy Vietnam (deceased)
Richard Spencer, Army
Mike Standeford, Army, Vietnam (KIA)
John Stansell, Navy, Vietnam
Jack Trask, Army, Vietnam
Roy Underwood, Army, Vietnam
Jay Dee Whitlock, Army, Vietnam
Pat Wilson, Navy
Darrel Wooldrige, Army (deceased)
Ron Wyrick, Army

Recently, the University of Oklahoma honored, Captain Cody Nidiffer as the Patriot of the Game during the OU vs West Virginia football game. (10/3/15)

Rita and Cody Nidiffer, Sheri Coale

Thank you ALL Wardogs from every generation who have served our great nation.

MHS Class of 65

Thank you Roy Underwood for this photo. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Postcards to Pen Pals

The sun came out and colors came to life.
We were on our way up I 44 toward St. Louis, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a green highway sign saying, "Mexico near." 

An arrow with a mile sign pointing to Mexico, Missouri caught my full attention, luckily Jack was driving, because I suddenly remembered a childhood connection to a Pen Pal who grew up in Mexico, Mo. Somewhere before we stopped for the night I shouted out, "Her name is Susan Kuhlman."  "What?" Jack curiously turned toward me.  "Tee hee hee," I laughed. "I just remembered my Pen Pal's name. I wonder where she is now?"

The Peters family
The trip to Monticello, Indiana, meeting a new family of cousins once removed and sightseeing, took my attention away from a lost pen pal.

Ironically, it was postcards from one hundred years ago that brought our distant families together.  My grandmother Pearl saved her postcards, and they eventually found their way into my hands and onto the web.  One by one Pearl's story in postcards united nearly all of the grandchildren from her sister's side of the family and her side, too. 
1909 view of Indianapolis
Her sister, Mae, died one hundred years ago, leaving behind three small children, who would be raised by a less than kind and loving step-mother and their father.  My grandmother's story was that of following the oil fields, as her husband was a geologist. 

The Boat House, Chicago, Illinois  1912
For four days in June, the Peters family, Jack and I shared stories of our lives and connections.  Genealogy is so much more interesting in person, rather than from the tombstones.  We realized that not only did the postcards connect us, but that four of us are librarians. Our
3rd st Bartlesville, Ok  1914
grandmother's would be so proud.  What great connections the past offers us, when we take the time to look back and begin asking questions.  

Two family stories that I discovered in postcards are already on my blog:   When They Were Young and  Consumed by a Story

As for my Pen Pal, that's another story.

What about the art of sending notes and sharing our lives through postcards?  Postcards are still being sold at state tourism departments and in a few old souvenir shops.  I still send postcards, do you?  Christmas is coming, how many of us will send Christmas cards with a note of happenings in our lives?  

So much to read, so little time.  Why not make it easy and send a postcard?

Check out these stories for more thoughts and pictures in postcards. The Postcard is Alive and Well: The Iconic Muse

Biloxi before Hurricanes Camille and Katrina.  Biloxi, Mississippi

History of postcards Smithsonian

***This is like Christmas, only early.  Look what just arrived in my mailbox from Dori and George, who spent some time this fall in Vienna.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Story Walk

While walking Lucy the other day my mind drifted to my to do list waiting for me at home, so I picked up the pace only to have Lucy slow down, stop and back out of her collar.  Hump!  When I turned to replace her collar, I noticed the two women planting pansies in the nearby garden.  Their energy, at fire engine speed, fascinated me.  My list floated away and I became mesmerized with their technique and skills.

One lady was using a broom and sweeping out the fallen acorns, limbs, and leaves.  Hah! good idea I
thought then I won't tear up our mulch.  The other lady was planting pansies, two by two, with tenderness, nimble fingers, and focus.  Curiously, I stepped closer and spoke, "Excuse me, You seem to be planting two pansies together at a time.  Are you in a hurry or is there reason?"  Jack and I had just planted a flat of pansies the day before in our front yard, and still had another flat to plant in the back yard, rains were forecasted so I understood urgency. 

Like halting a horse in the middle of the race, the lady, Pamela, sat upright, took a breath then smiled at the pansies in her hand, "No, I'm planting pansies together so they will grow better and stay healthy. They like companionship."  Then her fingers began to touch the leaves and petals like she was gently caressing them.  

"I've never heard of that," I responded, but I did recall several pieces of folklore about the pansy. One story said to pluck one of the upper petals and your lover's future can be foretold. Another legend says the pansy was originally white, but turned bright purple where it had been pierced by Cupid's arrow. It was also called 'hearts ease' for people believed that carrying the flower or giving a bouquet of pansies would ensure the love of your sweetheart. 

"Oh, yes," she continued, "pansies love tenderness and partnership.  They should always be planted with a partner, so the two can complement each other's growth." In the ensuing minutes we talked about flowers, health, and healing.  "Did you know that plants grow better with music in the background, or for that matter if you talk to them."  I confessed to talking to trees, but never thought to chat with my plants.  Then her hands returned to the soil. My mind was whirling with ideas and questions.

Now, as I walked home, I noticed that many homes had planted pansies, but not two by two.  With industry and focus I went straight to the backyard and planted the remainder of my pansies, two by two.  Of course, it took another trip to the nursery to buy more to fill in the area.  Now I will watch
curiously as the flowers grow, to see if it makes a difference. To be honest it already has made a difference because I paired the pansies by various colors, and they truly complement each other.  

With my curiosity still peaked I remembered the novel I read last spring The Language of Flowers and how the young girl communicated through the meaning of the flowers she used in bouquets. The book's website offers a list of flowers and their meaning, <>

I did discover that music may indeed help flowers grow as long as it is easy listening or Beethoven and not hard rock and roll.  Some research suggests that the seeds sprout more quickly with 15-20 minutes of music a day.  Other researchers think external stimuli, like wind will induce changes in their growth. If it's wind they need then my pansies are in the right zone for that.  

My favorite piece of lore that I found said that the pansy was once called the Cinderella flower.  

The Language of Flowers did not mention the little pansy, but other sources kept my attention for hours. It is a fact that the word pansy actually comes from the French word pensee, meaning "remembrance" or "thought".  If you give a bouquet of pansies to someone you are saying, "I'm thinking of you."
Perhaps, that also means when I rush up my sidewalk this winter and am greeted by the pansies I will remember to think of someone else, or better yet, it will slow me down and give me the grace to live in the present. I hope this little flower that survives the bitter winters will inspire each of you to "think of someone special."  

Dedicated to my friend of many decades, who loves pansies.  I'm thinking of you, Julia Johnson Wood. 

A great website for the care and feeding of pansies is <> 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Toast to Moments

My husband and I were so fortunate to be able to drive away from our class reunion and enjoy another few days of relaxation and laughter.  
How better to celebrate a mini-vacation than with friends, a bottle or two of champagne, a condo on Grand Lake, and a total eclipse of the moon.

The sunset over water comforts my soul.  I can forget whatever ails me, the worries, the world, and I feel connected to the grace that God has given each of us.  Even when I'm not near the water's edge, my heart wonders there.  I never grew up near the ocean, but the call from those many Monday's on Grand Lake remains a dynamic connection to this earth for me.

Leah Jackson, Doyle Argo, Letty and Jack Watt
Our evening began with sunset, a toast, and dinner on the patio at Shangri-la. Shortly after dinner the moon gained our full attention. How amazing to look up to a full glowing moon across the waters and then relax, clear the mind, and just enjoy every
moment of the eclipse.  No, this is not my first eclipse, but it is the only one I've ever watched beginning to end.

The fun continued when we returned to our condo on hole #1 at Shangri-la.  The eclipse had begun, so we grabbed two beach towels, two bottles of champagne, classy plastic cups, and headed out to watch the moon disappear.  The moment we placed our towels on the golf course, the laughter began.  It seems as though the sprinklers had just cooled off the grasses, but the water didn't dampen our spirits only our clothes.  We did calculate that the sprinklers had passed, and that we would be safe, but we didn't take into consideration the passing of time and the delights of champagne. Fascination with nature allowed the four of us to travel in and out of conversation, but quiet was often the essence of the evening as we each silently slipped away into our own imaginative places, gazing at the lunar eclipse.  

If I were a photographer instead of a storyteller I'd show you the beauty of the moon, but alas, I can only relate how dark it became on that golf course.  With a couple bottles of bubbly drink we laughed at ourselves, and told  childhood stories, and stole a few kisses.  All the time the sprinklers continued to make their rounds.

The moon had nearly come out of the shadow when I heard a familiar sound and click.  Three of us leaped to our feet, leaving Doyle sitting on prime property for a midnight shower.  The giggles over took as we fumbled to gather our towels and empty bottles giving time for Doyle to stand and glare at our lack of sympathy.  Thanks to cell phones and flash lights we were able to run from the water.

But for that moment, as we ran and giggled our way avoiding the sprinklers instead of running through them butt naked, we felt like those wild teenagers we once knew, who used to sit down at the water's edge, drinking Purple Passions, and making memories, or was that making love?

I hope each of you found the time to enjoy this rare supermoon moment. 

Best photos

Images of the lunar eclipse around the world

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Coming to Together

Like art, this picture truly says a 1,000 words and signifies thousands of memories and hundreds of hugs and KISSES.  We still do that, even at our age.  

So much like the proms of our younger years, I didn't want this weekend to end.  Yet, here we are, once again, back to daily lives in homes from  Arizona, to Washington and nearly fifty states in between, We were grade schoolers when Hawaii and Alaska became states and Sputnik was launched. The race to space colored our lives with a sense of adventure, while we came face to face with issues of race in our nation. We were in junior high when the Arms race escalated, and we thought our young lives would be cut short by atomic bombs from Russia.  During high school President Kennedy was shot before our eyes, leaving our lives jolted and shaped by history.  Through it all we were kids, we had our friends, our clicks, our own ups and downs.  We grew apart. 

Fifty years jetted by us, and we came together as Wardogs, as one.

I've pondered how we lost track of each other, even best friends seemed to fade away. Why? How?  I asked. What happened?  My answer came on the first night of the reunion on a yellow bus ride out to the Spook Light.  
We all claimed to have seen
the spook light.

Sitting in front of us was a classmate I had not seen in fifty years.  He'd written us a letter for our 25 reunion, that I would never forget.  He said that he was researching medicines that might one day cure alzheimer's disease.  There we were on a yellow Miami Oklahoma school bus, bouncing down Highway 10.  I taped him on the shoulder, "Aren't you Tom Haskins?" I asked.  Instantly, we relaxed, introduced our spouses and all began to chat about how we'd met, where we lived, and what we were doing now.  Agreement was easy on one subject....retirement is the greatest.  During the conversation I wanted to know more about his research, but instead I learned the answer to my "Why, How, and What happened to us questions."  After graduating from TU where he met his wife, Vera, he couldn't get a job because he was eligible for the draft. One single word that changed our generation for ever, but never with the honor of our fathers'--the draft.  

March 8, 1965 combat troops landed in Viet Nam.  I had my answer. 

Larry Irwin, gives us the details of the
 historic Coleman Theatre.
Just like in life, between the tears of reality that the war had played an active roll in changing all of our lives, we also found time to come together, to laugh, to share pictures of families, and to genuinely listen to the lives of our friends, our classmates.  We've said good-bye to over fifty classmates, but for those of us who came to the reunion we created a new bond of friendship with each and every class mate we came in touch with, and even those who weren't able to come to the reunion were in our hearts and stories.  

We stayed out late at the spook light, sat up even 
later in the hotels and told stories. The next day
some toured the Coleman theatre, ate a  Ku-Ku burger, drove
Happy Birthday Sara
through old neighborhoods, played golf, celebrated birthdays, jumped into a hula hoop
Dena Anders, 100 years young and a living
reminder of childhood times.
Ann can still hula hoop.
to see if we could still twist and turn, relaxed on the patio, and then danced the night away at our Mutt Hutt reincarnation. Like Cinderella's coach and dress, our reunion nametags were for good the Mutt Hutt from Sept. 24-27.  

Saturday we laughed and looked tired, but rallied and talked all day long....By evening we came together and shared our grief with the loss of 56 classmates.  One by one their names were called, and tears flowed as we remembered their youthfulness, their energies, their time....
In memory 
C.J. and Randy

Letty and Bill Smith, neighborhood friend...

Candy, one of my new friends for life.

Roosevelt kids
The reunion provided us time to share our current lives and to be humbled by so many who have done so much in these fifty years. Roy Underwood and Bill Smith humbled us with their program that honored "All Who Have Served."  We were entertained by Wendy Songe, and Jana Jae while we enjoyed a delicious meal.  The night lasted as long as we could carry on, camera shots were flashing all around as the hours counted down.  
The Morning After:  Susan, Richard, Marsha

Yes, we said, "Remember when...." followed by laughs, giggles, tears, and awes, but more than that we discovered how much we've become like each other. Life has brought us closer with every fiber of our souls and hearts.  We truly came together as a class, apart no longer but wrapped together in the bonds of friendship.  

As Rev. Russ Martin said after every game, "When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, He marks--not that you won or lost--but how you played the game."

Thank you to all who made this fabulous reunion possible.  

**Look for a future story on All Who Have Served.

***No, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease for our generation, but there are drugs being tested that might someday help those the age of our grand children.