What was the dumbest stunt ever pulled by you and your high school buddies?
Do you have a story about a special time at Hoyt Park/Temple Theater/Weichmann's?
What was the biggest fib you ever told which got you into trouble (or out of trouble)?
Was there a teacher who had a big influence over your life?
Did you have a nickname in high school? How did you get it?
Who was your first boyfriend/girlfriend? Tell about your first date...first kiss.
What is the biggest physical problem you have had to deal with?
What was the route you drove on Friday nights?
We would love for you to share some of the memories of your youth, adolesence, first marriage, second marriage, whatever. Please become one of our Guest Editors.
Have you read the stories by David Brown and Steve Liskow? Share one of your own stories with us. Send it to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will publish it on our site.
Our goal was to leave you wanting more,more,more...and so we shall: in mid-winter, 2017, count on coming to The Villages for a mini reunion, planned by Villages residents, Marilyn Snider, Karen Hassberger, Rick Yokuty, and Sue Adams, with additional help from Sherri Kusowski, Bob Hogg, and anyone else who is willing to help. Everyone is welcome, however we are aiming to connect with classmates who live or winter in Florida.
Please note that, at the top of this page, there is a survey regarding the "in-planning-stage" reunion. Please add your opinion. And, if you have additional questions that you think may be helpful, write Karen a note, and she will take care of it.
You must be logged in to submit this survey. Please use the login box in the upper right corner.
Your Kids Teach You The Darnedest Things! About two years ago, my daughter dropped a bombshell when she came down to visit. “Dad,” she said, “I’m doing roller derby. I’m Hazel Smut Crunch of New Hampshire Skate Free or Die.” I remembered Joannie Weston and the Bay Area Bombers on TV from my own misspent youth, but thought roller derby had gone the way of disco and big hair years before. Boy, was I wrong. A woman I knew from local theater was involved in roller derby, too, and she introduced me to her friends. By the time I knew that several roller derby leagues had their own Web site, I also knew there was a book in there somewhere. I wasn’t sure what it was yet, but the bus had left Kansas far behind. Two teams skate in New Haven, only 30 miles away, and my theater buddy got one of her rink friends to comp me into a bout, derbyspeak for a match. Let the research begin. When I got there, the arena was already packed. Vendors sold tee shirts, jewelry, CDs, ice cream, and home-made cupcakes big enough for croquet. The audience ranged from grandchildren in strollers to grandparents with walkers, and all of them were cheering. Most were family, friends, or—less often—colleagues of the skaters, but it was clear that everyone loved their Roller Girls. I was hooked before I’d found a seat. Roller derby now uses a flat track instead of the old raked oval, and the players stress athleticism and conditioning instead of the sideshow. The two thirty-minute halves were continuous action and the excitement reminded me of a basketball game with Saginaw High. The coach and a trainer invited me to their next practice session, where I interviewed players, coaches, and the head referee. It was like getting a free pass to a galaxy far, far away. Unlike the skaters from long ago who may have moonlighted as stevedores, today’s roller girls tend to have a white collar and a college degree. Dee Nasty teaches middle school English. Girl Fawkes (who posed for my cover) is a property manager. Another skater works with autistic children. Every skater claims she feels more self-confident now that she’s part of the team, too, and many report that they’ve become more assertive in their jobs. Humor ties it all together. The Woman’s Flat Track Derby Association (www.wftda.com) has a data base of all the skater’s names, and duplicating a name is akin to copying another clown’s circus make-up, a serious no-no. Many of the names suggest violence, and they lean toward puns. Eleanor Bruisevelt and Luciana Pulverati skate for Connecticut teams, and a major English event (yes, it’s even bigger in Europe) is called the Roll Britannia. When I took a friend down with me last summer, he was so taken with the match and the people that he introduced himself to the referees as “I’m with Steve, the guy who’s writing the book,” and asked about becoming a ref himself. The same day that I started writing the first draft, public TV ran a documentary about roller derby, covering the thirties (yes, that’s when it actually started) all the way through the golden age of the Bay Area Bombers and into the eighties when it almost, but not quite, died. Was that a sign or what? Then my daughter’s shiny new team, the Queen City Cherry Bombs, came down from New Hampshire. Hazel Smut Crunch scored the first points in the bout. The high point of the evening may have been seeing a little girl in pigtails—five years old, max—staring up at this behemoth (my daughter is six-three in skates) in blue tights and asking for an autograph. As role models for young girls, these women are on a level with the UConn women’s basketball team, and they take it seriously. I was still groping for a book title when “Haze” told me that her team picked their name so they could play the old song by the Runaways when they were introduced. Each separate play in a derby bout is a jam, so I remembered “Whammer Jammer,” the J. Geils Band harmonica workout from the seventies. There was my title. One agent passed on the manuscript because “I don’t see how a novel about roller derby would be of interest to anyone except the participants.” A month later, I did an author event with four other local authors and discovered that I was the only one who had not gone the self-publishing route. If you’d asked me about self-publishing a year ago, I would have asked when they last adjusted your dosage. Now, I asked those authors a few questions and decided to go Indie. I published the book at the beginning of October and bought an ad in the roller derby program. My daughter suggested the tagline “If you think ONE bitch on wheels is scary, what do you do with a whole pack?” Well, the women seem both thrilled and amazed that someone actually cared enough to get the facts and write a story about them, so Dee Nasty offered me free admission to the November bout—if I would do a signing. The same day that I said yes, she emailed me that they were posting my ad and the book cover on the five-foot video screen where they keep score. At that signing, I met a former student, who told me she was halfway through the download of The Whammer Jammers and loving it. Small world, yes? Hey, it’s what you learn after you THINK you know everything that really counts. Especially when you learn it from your own kid. Steve Liskow
I was a Co-Op student, and as a class project we had to do a product demonstration. I decided to use something called an emersion heater. It was just a cheap “Made in Japan” (the equivalent of made in China today) coiled wire with a plastic handle and an electric cord. You plugged it in, put it in a cup of water, and shortly it would boil the water. On the day of the demonstration, I skillfully placed a cup of water on top of the glass display case, plugged the heater in, and set it in the cup of water, all the while praising the attributes of my product. I then lifted the heater out of the water, and as I was saying: “You can see just how hot it gets...” the radiant red coil began to melt in my hand. A piece of it dropped on the glass display case, and cracked the thick glass, bringing my demonstration to a climatic and sudden end.
I was so dumbfounded, I just stood there staring at the thing. Mr. Hartman (whom everyone called "The Goblin"), jumped out of his seat, ran to where I was, and unplugged it. My classmates howled with laughter, I turned as red as the heater, and the goblin’s face was as white as...well, a goblin.
A couple of decades later I was in Dallas, TX, managing a mortgage office. The prospective mortgagee I was interviewing happened to be a former AHHS Co-Op student, about eight years my junior. When I told him my demonstration story, his eyes got big, and pointing at me like I was a movie star said: “OH MY GOD, YOU’RE THE ONE!” He then went on to tell me that Hartman used my experience as a teaching example (probably until the day he retired) on becoming totally familiar with your product before demonstrating it. Let me tell you, after hearing that, I forever empathized with Vinko Bogataj, the hapless Yugoslavian skier, whose spectacular wipeout (The Agony of Defeat) was shown week after week on the opening credits of the Wide World of Sports. Some things we just never live down.