Wednesday, September 10, 2008

CHS Class of 1960

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

The 23d Psalm gets more meaningful: Today’s post is of a serious nature. No jokes, no satire, no politics or OJ. Just reflection of the journey we’re all taking and how that journey has ended sooner for some than for others. I’m talking about a fact of life – death. Whether we are religious, spiritual, agnostic, atheistic, or have beliefs that fit “none of the above,” we are all destined to make the same journey. The first time death slapped me in the face was on a cold winter morning when I was about 14. As I walked to school in the ankle-deep snow of Western Pennsylvania, a neighbor who was shoveling her walk looked up at me and asked, “Sonny, did you hear that Louie died last night?” I was immediately taken into a surreal trance-like state. Louie Benedetto was my best friend. He was a year or two my junior and attended Catholic school. He had not been ill. We’d just played soldier the previous weekend, hiding in the fort we’d build to keep out the enemy, girls, and parents. Louie? Died? The concept would not gel in my mind. But it had happened. He’d had gotten a headache at school and was gone by evening. It might have been a brain tumor or an aneurism or something else. It didn’t matter. My best friend had died.

Fast forward to High School: Eventually the numbness in my heart that came with Louie’s death hardened as scar tissue and I moved on to high school. A few days before graduation several of the senior boys “played hooky.” That was the nomenclature or the 1950s version of today’s Senior Ditch Day. The group went to an unofficial beach along the Monongahela River for a day of picnic, maybe a swig or two of alcohol, and a swim. Mickey Hrvacic did not make it back to shore. His body was eventually brought back and he became the first of our class to perish. The rest of us, about 250 in number, managed to graduate that June 1960.

Graduates full of promise: Our senior class theme was “Bridges to the Moon. Our new, young soon-to-be president promised that we would have a man on the moon before the next decade and we did, nine years later! For our generation, nothing was impossible. Our grandparents took part in the War to end All Wars, our parents had weathered the Great Depression and World War II, our uncles served in Korea and though we didn’t know it at the time, Viet Nam would become our war to fight or protest. We became flower children, attended Woodstock, became entrepreneurs, enjoyed color TV, portable radios, record players then 4-track tapes, 8-track tapes, and compact discs. Both spouses worked, we owned two or more cars, and our homes grew in size as did our families. Our class was also fortunate enough to have a cadre of people who stayed nearby and planned reunions every five years.

The numbers begin to decline: Each reunion one topic of conversation is always discussed – which of our classmates had passed away since our last get together. Some died of diseases, some in auto accidents, some died violently and others peacefully. In addition to Micky Hrvacic the Roll of Honor includes: Mary Rose Harris Milligan, Harry Martin, dates unknown and Juanita McFadden in 1967. Classmates lost in the 1970s included Connie Bindrum Tiffany, Kenny Papson, Lloyd Roberts, and Dan Brysh. The 1980s took Blond Cochran Taylor, Richard Pavlack, Ann Lewis Granados, Sam Colonna, and Margie Stoffa Wagner. The 1990s decade saw the demise of Alan Lancaster, David Mayfield, Dr. Paul Voelkel, Vivian East Carlson, Ron “Rollo” Richnafsky, Diane Campbell Knapp, Gerry Grunsky, and Ray Guffey. Passings in the 2000 decade were the most devastating on our class numbers. 2000 deaths included Barbara Pacinda O’Donnell, Bill Tillery, Edith Maxwell Stout, as well as Barbara Finney Sharbraugh and Ken Laughlin in 2001. Ron Galloway passed away in Utah in 2002. John Heidrick and Dare Mort in 2003, Sandra Briggs, Clarence Harris, Bob Potts in California and David Davis in 2004. In 2005 we lost Don Salvino and Charlie Rossi, and in 2006 the angels called Don Britton, Anna VanHorn Scruggs Cogley, Patty Veres Milas and Ray Foley. Last year we lost Mike Rothbauer, Christine Danko Selan, Sally Gilmore Rosche, Steve Dzubay (in Oregon), Sam Lauderbaugh, and Alex Ross (in Florida). This year class President Joe Ancrile, who was cited in this blog last month passed in May. A little more than a week ago word came that Jeanette D’Emidio Sgro, one who has contributed so much to keeping the class together and meeting regularly lost her battle with cancer. We grieve for her family and for the families of all classmates who are waiting for us on the other side. We apologize to the families if we missed anybody. We salute the keeper of our high school web page has listed the above 47 classmates, nearly 20% of the graduating class who are still with us in spirit. We look forward to meeting the rest of our classmates who are still in their shoddy bodies or classy chassis in two years when we’ll celebrate our half-century reunion.

A little blogging music Maestro... Something special for this special post – the top 100 songs of 1960:

1. Cathy's Clown, Everly Brothers
2. He'll Have To Go, Jim Reeves
3. Theme From "A Summer Place", Percy Faith
4. It's Now Or Never, Elvis Presley
5. Teen Angel, Mark Dinning
6. I'm Sorry, Brenda Lee
7. Running Bear, Johnny Preston
8. Handy Man, Jimmy Jones
9. Stuck On You, Elvis Presley
10. The Twist, Chubby Checker
11. Everybody's Somebody's Fool, Connie Francis
12. Alley-oop, Hollywood Argyles
13. Greenfields, Brothers Four
14. What In The World's Come Over You, Jack Scott
15. El Paso, Marty Robbins
16. Weld One, Bobby Rydell
17. My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own, Connie Francis
18. Sweet Nothin's, Brenda Lee
19. Only The Lonely, Roy Orbison
20. Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini, Brian Hyland
21. Where Or When, Dion and The Belmonts
22. Sixteen Reasons, Connie Stevens
23. Puppy Love, Paul Anka
24. Why, Frankie Avalon
25. Walk, Dont Run, Ventures
26. Save The Last Dance For Me, Drifters
27. Baby (You Got What It Takes), Brook Benton and Dinah Washington
28. Sink The Bismark, Johnny Horton
29. Chain Gang, Sam Cooke
30. Let It Be Me, Everly Brothers
31. Good Timin', Jimmy Jones
32. Beyond The Sea, Bobby Darin
33. Go Jimmy Go, Jimmy Clanton
34. Night, Jackie Wilson
35. Burning Bridges, Jack Scott
36. Because They're Young, Duane Eddy
37. Lonely Blue Boy, Conway Twitty
38. The Big Hurt, Toni Fisher
39. Pretty Blue Eyes, Steve Lawrence
40. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans, Freddie Cannon
41. Paper Roses, Anita Bryant
42. Mr. Custer, Larry Verne
43. I Want To Be Wanted, Brenda Lee
44. Mule Skinner Blues, Fendermen
45. Cradle Of Love, Johnny Preston
46. Please Help Me, I'm Falling, Hank Locklin
47. You've Got What It Takes, Marv Johnson
48. Love You So, Rod Holden
49. Finger Poppin' Time, Hank Ballard and The Midnighters
50. Harbor Lights, Platters
51. Let The Little Girl Dance, Bobby Bland
52. He'll Have To Stay, Jeanne Black
53. Theme From The Apartment, Ferrante and Teicher
54. Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu), Bobby Rydell
55. A Million To One, Jimmy Charles
56. The Village Of St. Bernadette, Andy Williams
57. White Silver Sands, Bill Black's Combo
58. The Old Lamplighter, Browns
59. Devil Or Angel, Bobby Vee
60. Down By The Station, Four Preps
61. Forever, Little Dippers
62. Image Of A Girl, Safaris and The Phantom's Band
63. Kiddio, Brook Benton
64. Mission Bell, Donnie Brooks
65. I Love The Way You Love, Marv Johnson
66. It's Time To Cry, Paul Anka
67. Tell Laura I Love Her, Ray Peterson
68. Mama, Connie Francis
69. Footsteps, Steve Lawrence
70. So Sad, Everly Brothers
71. That's All You Gotta Do, Brenda Lee
72. Walking To New Orleans, Fats Domino
73. Among My Souvenirs, Connie Francis
74. Swingin' School, Bobby Rydell
75. A Rockin' Good Way, Dinah Washington and Brook Benton
76. Stairway To Heaven, Neil Sedaka
77. My Home Town, Paul Anka
78. Georgia On My Mind, Ray Charles
79. Cherry Pie, Skip and Flip
80. Wonderful World, Sam Cooke
81. O Dio Mio, Annette
82. Lady Luck, Lloyd Price
83. Step By Step, Crests
84. Beatnik Fly, Johnny and The Hurricanes
85. Young Emotions, Ricky Nelson
86. Dreamin', Johnny Burnette
87. Mule Bitty Girl, Bobby Rydell
88.Tracy's Theme, Spencer Ross
89. You Talk Too Much, Joe Jones
90. Happy-Go-Lucky Me, Paul Evans
91. When Will I Be Loved, Everly Brothers
92. Let's Think About Livin', Bob Luman
93. Heartaches By The Number, Guy Mitchell
94. In My Little Corner Of The World, Anita Bryant
95. Sandy, Larry Hall
96. Poetry In Motion, Johnny Tillotson
97. Money, Barret Strong
98. Stay, Maurice Williams
99. Lonely Weekends, Charlie Rich
100. Doggin' Around, Jackie Wilson

Dr. Forgot

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