|From the desk of Don Meyers
April Luncheon - A crowd of 29 classmates, spouses, and friends enjoyed the
camaraderie and friendship at the April 22 Class of ’55 luncheon at Hightower’s.
Plus, three sisters too. Samelia (Cooper) King’s two sisters, Judie (Cooper) Thomas
from Tampa and Linda (Cooper) Petteway from High Springs attended. Judie is a
l959 OHS grad and Linda is a 1961 grad.
Anita (Burnette) Anderson - described to the attendees her “Spirit of International
Art” project which involves group trips to Prague and Vienna to visit art museums.
She envisions the non-profit project as putting Ocala into the international art scene
and benefiting children to become interested in the arts.
’55 Warrior Jack NeSmith - finally broke away from his usual modest and easy
going manner and described to me some of his Vietnam war experiences as a member
of the U.S. Army Special Forces in “MACSOG” or Military Assistance Command
Studies and Observation Group. Jack was in Vietnam 1969 and 1970 in the
Command Control Detachment South. After Googling for and checking out the
“MACSOG” website I kinda think the acronym stands for “Kill’n Gooks”. One of his
unit’s specialty tricks was booby trapping Vietcong ammo and weapons. Our
“friendlies” would take ammunition rounds for enemy AK-47 assault rifles and take
out the powder and insert small amounts of C-4, a powerful plastic explosive. The
bullets or rounds were then placed in clips and thrown on or near paths and trails
frequented by the Vietcong. Thought to be “lost” ammo, the unsuspecting Vietcong
would chamber the clips in the AK-47. Upon firing, the rifle would explode in their
face. Jack also went into detail on booby trapping enemy mortars and the type of
pistol silencers used by his group. And to think I sat next to this guy at the luncheon.
I was trembling as I inserted my car keys in the ignition too.
’55 Odds and Ends – Was watching the DVD “Jarhead” the other night and you could
hear Dr. Elmo singing “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” as background music
at a raucous Marine Christmas party in Iraq.
You Know You’re Getting Older – when you watch back to back drug commercials on
TV and your doctor prescribed the same ones for you yesterday. (Anonymous ’55
What’s In Your Oven ? - will become another feature of your ’55 newsletter, if we can
get enough of our great cooks out there to submit favorite recipes. We’ll start off with
“Wacky Cake” as generously shared by Bettye (Johnston) Poole. She actually picked
this up from her OHS Home Economics class in l953, her sophomore year. Her sister
Ruth (Johnston) Donath both make
“wacky cake” for family gatherings and have passed the recipe down to children and
grandchildren. Bettye assures me it is really good too. Here’s the recipe.
1 ½ cup self-rising flour 6 Tbsp melted shortening
1 cup sugar 1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp vinegar 1 cup cold water
Sift dry ingredients into ungreased baking dish. Make 3 holes in mixture with the
back of a spoon. Put vinegar in one, shortening in one, and vanilla in the other. Pour
water over all and mix well with a fork. Bake at 350 until done. Frost in the baking
dish as cake is too soft to remove.
And while we’re at it…several classmates at our 50th Reunion have asked me who
brought the banana pudding to the Lake Weir reunion Picnic hosted by Ann (Selph)
MacKay. If you are the one I want to put the recipe in the next ’55 newsletter.
Ocala School Safety Patrol – OHS pal Pat Gurr (Class of ’57) sent me a picture of
this group as they posed for the Ocala Star Banner. The boys were to represent Ocala
at the National School Safety Conference – Washington, D.C. The year was 1948.
The boys were all decked out in spiffy military looking gear including dress hats and
shirts. Talk about a military precision looking outfit. The ones from Class of ’55
were Jackie Williams, Pete Odom, Hollis Hancock, Cecil Lewis, Richard Shealy … plus,
Paul Crawford noted as Captain of the Safety Patrol. Other boys in the group are in
the Class of ’54.
“WeCare ’55 Appreciated - Several ’55 classmates have recently commented on Betty
(Voegtle) Larson’s email success at keeping classmates connected. Not just a hospital
ward report, “WeCare ‘55” lets classmates keep track of each others activities, events,
and special happenings. Betty thanks all the ’55 classmates who have shared
information for “WeCare ’55” emails. “Keep it coming,” she says.
Seeing Double ? - Just to let you classmates know that some of the things you read in
the ’55 Stay’n Touch newsletters you may have seen before. That’s because you may
have read it in one of Betty’s WeCare ’55 emails. We share classmate news and
Betty handles the quicker, up-to-date goings on. Of course a lot of our ’55 classmates
don’t use computers so the newsletter serves as an informational “snail mail” for these
classmates. Are we “uptown” or what !
Class Trivia Question # 1 - What was the name of the OHS club that sold
sandwiches, snacks, and drinks at lunchtime in the girls’ gym, and what was the
name of the snack bar ?
Class Trivia Question # 2 - Which two ’55 lady classmates attended the same second
grade class in Brunswick, GA ? Correct answer to either question gets you a Grapette
Globetrotter – Jerrie (Wallace) Tedros and two friends took a great trip to Hong Kong
and China during March. Jerrie says there is a lot of construction going on in Beijing
for the 2008 Olympics. The tour included the Great Wall of China, the Terra Cotta
Army Warriors, Ming Tombs, Forbidden City and Tienamen Square. She said a
Chinese guard on the Square had met an American “nutcase” from Florida who tried
to shoot off fireworks. Just kidding. I couldn’t resist getting that in on Jackie
Williams who we reported in last newsletter, was there earlier. Jerrie noted how friendly
the people were but little English spoken. The most commonly asked question is, “How
old are you?” on airplanes, trains, buses or wherever anyone spoke English. Jerrie
enjoyed Guilin and a cruise on the Li River. They traveled by plane, bus, ferry/turbo-
jet, bullet train, night train, subway, and even a motorcycle with a “box” on the back.
The trip was an adventure going to nine cities and eating Chinese food says Jerrie.
But it was great to see a McDonald’s there and her group made use of it, especially the
Another Globetrotting Classmate – Jim Davis traveled to Peru where he had a two
month visit to Machu Picchu. He says the best way to experience the whole trip is on
the Inca Trail. Jim’s travel advice is that it is possible to rent a car even though the
tour guide people tell you none are available. After that trip Jim took a week and went
to Easter Island where he explored all the sites. Easter Island is in the Pacific Ocean
about a four hour plane ride from Chile. Jim says, “ever since my retirement a few
years ago I have tried to visit a different country which seems to hold some interest to
Since our ’55 guys are traveling all over the place, I’ll be referring to the
classmates who travel out of the U.S.A. as “Globetrotters” and those who risk their lives
here on interstate highways as “Road Warriors”. Just learned of a classmate and
spouse who will travel this summer to Russia. In order to keep good relations with
Russia and not alert the KGB about this classmate I won’t mention any names.
The Belleview Kids - Larry Sliva and eight classmates from our OHS class of ’55
were among 92 people (including spouses) that got together on May 27 to reconnect
and listen to all the stories of yesteryear. According to Larry…The Belleview Kids were
graduating students that rode the school bus to and from OHS through about five
years. They sat around swapping stories from 11am til 6 pm and a good time was
had by all, tells Larry. Some visited the old Belleview school which is now the Town
Hall. An album had been put together from the last reunion five years ago. Larry
said five of the attendees from the first reunion are now gone to their Maker. Martha
Sue (Irby) Hill’s son catered the Bar B Q. Those from our class of ’55 attending
besides Larry were Carl and Charles Stevens, Lorraine (Piotrowski) Miller, Dean and
Gene Hames, Jimmy Taylor, Jean (Curtis) Barrett, and Dorothy (Taylor) Bice.
July 2006 . . .