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National Security Under Test in NC

Canine Gender ConfusionRome may indeed be burning: Mid-East in flames. Iran nuking up. Russia and China flexing muscles. Muslims taking over Europe. 93 million Americans out of work. 47 million on food stamps. $19 trillion in debt. Bridges, tunnels, highways in disrepair. Three-hour wait to board out of O’Hare. But don’t you worry, our federal government is ON THE JOB here in North Carolina! The feds are protecting us from our real national threat: abuse of bathroom gender customs…!

Federal education funding blackmail already in play. Nationwide parental backlash likely. And likely to be enormous.

—Cliff
Hendersonville, NC

DO rest in peace, “dear girl”…!

[06880] Remembering V. Louise Higgins“A life well done, Miss Higgins. Now DO rest in peace…!” There are some who, by virtue of their talent and brains and desire, are just born to teach. Sadly, there are others… Well, not so much. Miss Higgins, as we knew her, passed away Monday, March 28, at the grand old age of 92. Truly one of the best teachers I have ever had. Maybe the best. Nice writeup on Dan Woog’s 06880 blog here. Wrote my one recollection of this remarkable high school teacher here. WestportNow.com obit here.

[Forwarded by Bruce Kent. Thanks, Bruce…]

Fund Drive Update

Dollar SignResults of drive to date… Not sure how long a class blog “fund drive” should last, but it’s now been two months and results have been heartwarming, to say the least. We are now only about $250 away from my “breakeven” goal of Contributions as against Expenses. We can easily make that up next year, although I will track and report any contributions I receive moving forward (hate that phrase…).

89% of goal
26-Apr-2016

Once again, heartfelt thanks to the 13 classmates who’ve contributed to date! Methinks I am going to consolidate fund drive updates on a new “Founders” page.

Oops…!

Comedy and TragedyBy now none of us should be surprised over hearing about some risk associated with a new technology. Example:

About the time that texting became a popular method of smart phone communication, an article appeared in a southern newspaper reporting the following incident between two local farmers:

[Text to a neighbor] “Joe, I’m sorry. I’ve been riddled with guilt and I have to confess: I’ve been helping myself to your wife when you’re not around, probably more than you. I know it’s no excuse, but I don’t get it at home. I can’t live with the guilt any longer! I hope you’ll accept my sincerest apology. It won’t happen again.”

Feeling outraged and betrayed, Joe grabs his gun, goes into the bedroom and—without a word—shoots his wife.

Moments later Joe gets a followup text from his neighbor: “Really should start using Spell Check! That should have said ‘wifi’…

[Ed. Hat tip to Bruce Kent for this little gem.]

Recollections: Rites of Passage (Like No Other…)

[Yearbook] Dave RuckertOf all the yearbook portraits, this is my favorite. Reason: Dave’s polite but forced expression portends an imminent collision of the photographer’s smiley face and Dave’s (hidden) clenched fist…

In this rarely confessed (yet embarrassingly familiar) recounting of a few of his high school misadventures, Dave will have you in stitches! Read on… :-)

Remember Her…?

[Yearbook] Virginia Morehouse“Demure” is one of the descriptors from her Yearbook profile. To some of us, Ginny seems demure to the point of disappearing…! Nevertheless she has remained a true class supporter all these years, feeding me news from time to time about our Wilton classmates. In this update she sends a photo of some of them back in fourth or fifth grade. Want to see what we looked like back then? Click here. “Thanks, Ginny. Your “presence” out there is strongly felt regardless of your “demureness”. ( “Demurity”…?)

A Quiet Retirement in Tampa

[Yearbook] Jacee McCluckie Tampa Bay, FL Hi Jacee… Great to hear from you and Frank again! You’re not the only ones who’ve given up rock climbing and sold the Harley! A pretty fair number of us have likewise settled down to a less strenuous daily routine. Maybe we’ll swing by for a visit one of these days on our way to see Deanna and Mike. Not that far from Asheville, NC. And heartfelt thanks, again, for your generous contribution to our class blog.

Read Jacee’s 2016 update on her Classmate Update page.

Westport: Then and Now

[Yearbook] Tom SavianoRecollections of a bygone Westport by a fellow classmate and lifelong Westport native: Tom Saviano. In a recent email he looks with wistful disappointment at the changes going on in our old home town. Important, I think, in light of Tom’s critical powers of observation and the fact that he has lived in the place since childhood. Continued on Tom’s Classmate Update page. Also, Tom notes for the record that it is likely he who has the honor of being the youngest in the class…! Who knew…!? See Class of ‘55 page.

Blog Fund Drive

Dollar SignBeginning this year I am asking for help in funding our class blog. Staples55.com is now ten years old; a few classmates were generous back at the start (2005 to 2007—see .pdf links, below, in blue), but the years have rolled on, and I have borne all the expense since.

Results of drive to date:

89% of goal
as of
26-Apr-2016

That is, Total Expenses less Total Donations (prior to current drive, i.e., $1,550 vs. $650). A great start! Please accept my thanks…

Current donors…

2016 Donor List
Donor Amt ($) Comments
Don Freeman $25 “Thanks, Don. Your second donation! Guess you still have a few good memories even though having to leave BJHS in 7th grade…”
Noel Castiglia $100 Noel’s been a huge blog supporter from Day 1… “Thank you, my old friend.”
Gloria DeMattia $100 Fellow Greens Farmer and childhood friend of Shirley, Dee, et. al. “Can’t thank you enough, Glo…!”
Tom Saviano $100 This guy is a lifelong Westport resident, expert town observer and true-blue Class of ‘55 supporter. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, Tom!”
Jacee McCluckie $30 A major Class of ‘55 booster and supporter. “Thank you, Jacee!”
Dave Ruckert $100 Can always count on this guy! “Major thanks, Dave! Being the talented writer that you are, we’d love you to share your favorite Westport recollection with us… (Ok, not that one—it’s for public viewing…!)”
Ginny Morehouse $25 “We can always count on you for support and staying in touch, Ginny. Heartfelt thanks…!”
Bob Walton $100 Never a doubt of Bob’s support: 2005, 2009 and now 2016. “Heartfelt thanks, old buddy…!”
Judy Gault $20 “Thanks for all the support since the 50th, Judy…!”
Mike Hyman $25 “Great support from the beginning, Mike. So many thanks…!”
Chuck Banks $50 One of our first contributors, Chuck’s support helped get the blog known to the rest of the class. “Can’t ask for better support than from you, Chuck…!”
Bruce Kent $100 No doubt our most enthusiastic class booster, Bruce would fly in from his estate in Malibu, CA, for each and every class reunion while funding 10% of blog expenses to date. How could anyone ask for more…!?”
Deanna Basta $25 Still a classy class leader after all these years. Thanks, Dee, as always, from your first (I think!?) elementary school boyfriend…! :-)
Total $800

In addition the site is in bad need of a software upgrade. Is this a problem? Answer: Yes and no. Reliance on such outdated content management software poses absolutely no threat to privacy; there is no “private” classmate data anywhere on the blog to compromise. However, the daily security violations are a nuisance to deal with. Also, not using the current version of the software prevents me from installing useful features like email notification of blog postings. I don’t anticipate any added expense from an upgrade; just a fair amount of time and effort on my part.

Here are the expenses from blog launch to now (.pdf link, below, in blue):

Blog Expenses
Category Amt ($) Comments
bubbler.net 49.00 2005: Domain name registration for 1 year.
USPS 49.43 2005 - 2006: Class blog announcement mailings.
register.com 186.00 2005 - 2015: staples55.com domain name registration (6 years) plus name forwarding from bubbler.net (1 year).
The Complete Website 1,119.95 2006 - 2015: Hosting @ $10 per month.
godaddy.com 147.06 2015 - 2024: Domain name registration.
Total $1,551.44

And the contributions to date (.pdf link, also below, in blue):

Prior Donor List
Donor Amt ($) Comments
Class of ‘55 250 From our Class Reunion checking account to cover production costs of the 50th Reunion Rag and postage to notify classmates of the blog’s existence. Thanks, Judy!
Hyman 100 “For maintaining the site and in Shirley’s memory…”
Banks 50 Whose idea it was to send US mail notifications about our blog to all classmates. Thanks, Chuck.
Kent 50 Big fan of the blog as well as our class. Thanks, Bruce…!
Walton 40 Check plus $20 cash during 2009 visit in New Hampshire.
Wilson 25 Always has our back… Thanks, Bruce.
Freeman 25 In 2009 for reproducing and forwarding a copy of the 50th Reunion Rag along with a copy of the 45th Reunion Rag. Thanks, Don.
Castiglia 20 Always there for us… Thanks, Noel.
Eskey 20 Rest in peace, Len…
Leopold 10 Thank you, John.
Ruckert 10 Thanks, Dave.
Ellis 10 Thanks, Pat.
Beck 10 Thanks, Rick.
Hesse 10 Thanks, Carol.
Needham 10 Thanks, Nance.
Ruggles 10 Thanks, Martha.
Total $650 Contributions thru 2009. None since current drive.

My hope is to spread staples55.com funding more equally over the entire class.

I am emailing notice of this funding appeal to fellow classmates, with a link to this post. I’ve got about 50 addresses in my Staples ‘55 email list—some of which are undoubtedly invalid by now. Assuming a best case scenario, if I can get close to $20 from 50 classmates (or $25 from 40), the blog will truly be a Class of ‘55 project—the goal from the outset. ($5 and $10 contributions will not be turned down… :-) And by instituting an annual drive, that will reduce any single year’s financial goal to the level of hosting expense: a modest $10 per month.

Please mail checks to

George Clifford
848 Sandburg Terrace
Hendersonville, NC 28791

(Not sure bank will accept checks for deposit made out to my nickname…)

Thanks and best wishes to all for 2016…

—Cliff
Hendersonville, NC
January, 2016

SHS-55 Expenses

SHS-55 Contributions

P.S. Hello again. When I launched the current Blog Funding Drive (see previous post), I notified classmates by email. In the process 17 email addresses “bounced” as invalid. In other words these guys either now have new email addresses or have simply bowed out of modern world communication. Or, sadly, no longer with us. Then again, maybe they’re just sick of us… :-) The point being: we don’t know.

And the question is: “Do we care…?

Well, of course we care! Perhaps not having seen a classmate for, what, 60 years now, it would still be nice to know what he or she did with his or her life, wouldn’t it…? Especially if you were friends back in high school…?

Here are the good souls whose email addresses are no longer valid. If you have an updated address, please let me know by using the secure form on the Contact page (to enlarge click on photo or link):

“Missing” Classmates (No Email Address)
Yearbook Last Known Residence
[Yearbook] Shirley DexterShirley Dexter Scottsdale, AZ
[Yearbook] Alicia DowAlicia Dow Gilbert, AZ
[Yearbook] Pat EllisPat Ellis Silver Spring, MD
[Yearbook] Nancy FinneranNancy Finneran Chestertown, NY
[Yearbook] Dick FitzgeraldDick Fitzgerald Lakeville, CT
[Yearbook] Suzanne HelferichSuzanne Helferich St. Croix, US VI
[Yearbook] Emma KeeneEmma Keene Milford, CT
[Yearbook] Sue KlineSue Kline Westport, CT
[Yearbook] John LeopoldJohn Leopold Pittsboro, NC
[Yearbook] Marianna McAlarneyMarianna McAlarney Jupiter, FL
Heather MerrymanHeather Merryman Montpelier, VT
[Yearbook] Russell MummaRussell Mumma Orange, CT
[Yearbook] Linda SpeidelLinda Speidel Belmont, NH
[Yearbook] Marion StudwellMarion Studwell Whispering Pines, NC
[Yearbook] Bill WardellBill Wardell Bronxville, NY
[Yearbook] Cynthia WhiteheadCynthia Whitehead Blythewood, SC

‘The’ Father of the ‘Net? Or one of…?

Larry Roberts, Father of the InternetLast summer Noel emailed me a link about our very own Larry Roberts: an article in Wired—a magazine devoted to current high-tech developments. The article originally appeared in the October, 2012, edition of the magazine. The focus of the article was who should get credit for being the “true” father of the internet.

Now I don’t follow high-tech news developments on a routine basis, so I might easily have missed something. But I can’t help wondering if any such “controversy” was truly going on in 2012. I certainly don’t see Larry running around in his circles with that kind of headline coming out of his mouth. (A bit unseemly I would think, although I hardly know Larry at all except on sight.) I also know that, with the media in general, if there doesn’t happen to be any real news prior to going to press, there exists a strong instinct to invent some.

That said I’m posting this because a classmate sent it to me; from our perspective, anything in the national media about a classmate of ours is, of course, hugely newsworthy. The article is well-written and historically accurate as far as I can tell. However my main reason for posting it is that it’s a reminder of the extraordinary, culture-changing achievement of one of our very own classmates! A classmate who some of us back in Staples no doubt thought of as “that nerdy brainiac who played some kind of horn in the school band and ran the student Math Club”.

Who knew…!?

For what it’s worth, the controversy—if there was, in fact, any such “controversy”—seems somewhat silly to this observer. It’s as if the four stone faces on Mount Rushmore, if they could speak, suddenly began to argue over which of them should receive top billing. For heaven’s sake, the contributions of Larry and Kahn and Cerf and Kleinrock and Berners-Lee and possibly others in creating the Internet are just astonishing! Especially when you sit back and reflect on the all-pervasive impact they have had on our lives…! And in the daily lives of everyone on the globe may I add, not just in fully industrialized western countries…! Isn’t there enough credit to go around? Really…?

The fact that internet/World Wide Web functionality has today become indispensable to life as we know it—in finance, commerce, government, defense, communications, entertainment, sports and on and on—the fact that its rate of growth (and therefore indispensability) is accelerating exponentially, seems to ensure, does it not, that every one of these pioneers will and should earn ever-growing historical esteem in Technology’s Hall of Fame.

Anyway, that’s how it seems to me. Comments welcome…

—Cliff
Hendersonville, NC
January 26, 2016