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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 link, below), but the years have rolled on, and I have borne all the expense since.

In addition the site is in bad need of a software upgrade. Is this a problem? Answer: Yes and no. While reliance on such outdated content management software poses absolutely no threat to privacy (there is no “private” classmate data anywhere on the blog to compromise), the daily security violations are a nuisance to deal with. Also, not using a current version 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 to date (.pdf link at end of post):

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 at end of post):

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.

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 with 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 14 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 simply and sadly, no longer with us. Maybe they’re just sick of us or, more l ikely, just don’t care to stay in touch… :-) 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:

“Missing” Classmates
Yearbook Classmate Last Known Residence
Merryman Merryman Montpelier, VT
Shirley Dexter Dexter Scottsdale, AZ
Pat Ellis Ellis Silver Spring, MD
John Leopold Leopold Pittsboro, NC

‘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-Less 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

Our Very Own Godfather Connection

ccastiglianoel.jpgNoel has got to have the most interesting family tree in our entire class—recently sharing this with me via email. Check out the Castiglia - Costello connection on Noel’s Class Update page. You just might be amazed… :)

[Nota bene. Fair notice to readers: in fact Noel emailed me this biographical tidbit on April 17, 2012. To me—and to other members of my own family tree—the term “recent” can refer to anything that occurred as long ago as yesterday or since World War II. Just sayin’…]

Leann, Ponies and The Arts

Leann WalkerHeard from Leann… Check Leann’s Class Update page for latest on Enos family doings, including husband, Randy’s, newly illustrated children’s book: Mocha Dick The Legend And The Fury. Kids and grand kids all pursuing The Arts in one form or another. Read on

Mary Jane Keehan, RIP

Mary Jane Keehan, RIPJust learned, sadly… Many years a resident of Clayton, GA, Mary Jane passed away on the very last day of 2015. I learned this on a recent phone call with Deanna (Basta) and Gail (Armitage), the latter of whom was visiting Dee and her husband, Bob, in Summerfield, FL. Don’t have any more details about her passing other than to say: “Mary Jane, we shall miss your warm and ever-ready smile…”

There is a link to a Hunter Funeral Home obit on Mary Jane’s Deceased page.

Sandra Hardy, RIP

Sandra Hardy“A force of life…” was the headline of the obit in the Bangor Daily News, June 20, 2014, honoring the life of our own Sandra Hardy. She died the day before at age 76 after a noted career as both professor and theater director at the University of Maine in Bangor. The article in the paper’s “Living” section notes that many students and colleagues were touched in deep and lasting ways over the years at UMaine by association with Sandra. [Note: You may need to answer a question from an ad to read article.]

Many of us may remember Sandra for her solo electric guitar performance in the talent show back in high school. Thank you, Ginny (Morehouse) Gillotti for passing this sad news along.

Phyllis Ohanian, RIP

Phyllis B. O'HanianRecently our once-upon-a-time classmate, Don (Ohanian) Freeman, sent me notice that his wonderful mom, Phyllis, had passed away at the amazing age of 101!

You may remember that Phyllis was the wife of John Ohanian, our erstwhile Superintendent of Music. If you spent 7th grade in Bedford Junior High, you may also recall Phyllis’ son (by first marriage), Donny—a musical talent, himself (and fellow fiddler). Phyllis was very well liked as I recall.

Phyllis was employed in our school system for many years as teacher, (piano) accompanist and school librarian. Before Don sent me this photo I had no mental image of his mom. Once I received the photo I recognized her immediately. That means (to me) she was contemporary with our years at Bedford and Staples—at least as our piano accompanist for the many concerts we put on. Obviously music is fortissimo in Freeman/Ohanian DNA.

From Don (October 13):

Hi, Cliff. Just a quick note to say that my mom died a month and a bit ago at age 101. She had a long and good life and passed peacefully and in no pain.

I thought you might want to run this on the Staples 55 website, since a number of people in our age cohort knew her… The funeral home did run an obit for her in whatever the local paper is there now [Newton, MA]. Feel free to edit it if you want, particularly the paragraph about the memorial service. Unfortunately we can’t accommodate people who might want to come, because her assisted-living place is putting on the service and we’ve already given them a headcount.

Hope all’s well at your end.

Best—
Don

Phyllis had been living in Newton, MA, near Boston, a couple of hours away from Don’s home in western MA. Here is the (abbreviated) obit that ran in Westport Now:

John Ottinger, RIP

John C. OttingerWith heavy heart and mixed emotions, our classmate and friend to many of us—old “John Boy” or “Otto” or just plain “John”—is now, hopefully, in a better place. “Mixed emotions” because the last few months of his life must have been hell for he and his wife, Peggy. John suffers no more, and it is certain that his family (wife, Peggy, and brother, Hank, in Columbia, MO) can finally feel some relief.

Peggy contacted me from Madison, WI, last Wednesday to tell me that John had passed away the day before, July 1. I had been planning to call my long-time buddy this past July 4th weekend, for our traditional every-other-month-or-so phone call. John had been ill for many years with emphysema and had spent the last couple of months since mid-April in a nursing home.

Peggy would visit every day, usually during evening visiting hours. Sometimes in the afternoon, as well. His breathing issues had become severe over the past month or two. He had been managing the illness, remarkably, for more than ten years, with near heroic at-home assistance on the part of Peggy. At about 4pm this past Tuesday, she got a call at home from the nursing home to the effect that the end was near. He died with his beloved Peggy beside him at 5:35pm.

A friend of John’s, a George Hesselberg, journalist for the Wisconsin State Journal, wrote a very nice article about John.

John’s obituary can be found here at the Cress Funeral Home website, along with many fond recollections about him from friends and acquantances he’d met along the way. On the obit page scroll down to the link: “Add or view memories” and click.

More on John’s passing on his obit page

—Cliff
Hendersonville, NC

‘Oops! I Did It Again…!”

Deanna BastaWay to go, girl…:)! A week ago I opened a somewhat cryptic email in my inbox. It was from Deanna. It announced that she had gone and gotten married while on a cruise last October and that her new husband was her neighbor…! You can’t make this stuff up and you don’t want to miss the details.

Vince DePierro, RIP

Vincent DePierroSad to report: Vinnie—our popular class VP, track and football standout and all-around funny man—has passed away. He died early Monday morning, April 8, at his home in Westport. The official cause of death is not known, but he did suffer from a long-term kidney-related illness. Obituary.