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Classmate News

Go to the "Archives" section for older "Class News" articles.

June 7, 2019  An EF-4 tornado struck rural Lawrence on May 28. HERE for the story.

May 20, 2019 Friends celebrated the life of Barbara Hodgson on Saturday, April 27, at Brandon Wood’s Smith Center. John McGrew passed the microphone around the room while his wife Rita took photos.

May 9, 2017 — Ten Years of "There's No Place Like Home" Fundraiser

April 18, 2017Bob Bee’s Miniature Soldiers

April 17, 2017 — A Lawrence Institution: Don “Red Dog” Gardner and His Dog Days Exercise Program

July 19, 2016Barbara Hodgson,
everyone’s favorite Homecoming Queen, was honored on February 2nd with a surprise birthday party attended by a large group of friends...HERE for story and photos.

Aug. 9, 2016Marsha Henry Goff has written a new book titled "Sharing Lessons Learned from the Wrong Side of the Stethoscope". HERE for an article about her book.

Aug. 8, 2016 — "Elvis" (Bob Lockwood) makes an appearance at the annual fundraiser for the Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging’s “There’s No Place Like Home”.

Nov. 9, 2013 — Blossom and Dick Laing are featured in an article by Marsha Henry Goff for Amazing Aging.

Sept. 20, 2013Goff's trip to Colorado turns into unexpected adventure.

Aug, 15, 2013Elvis Lives

Dec. 11, 2012 — Article about Bob Lockwood in the Lawrence Journal World.

Nov. 3, 2012 — Yin and Elizabeth Yeh in Taiwan:  As you may remember, Yin Yeh was recently awarded a Senior Fulbright Felllowship. 

Nov. 3, 2012Herb Baker and Ditto retire.

Oct. 29, 2012 — Marsha Goff offers new content on her blog called "Jest for Grins"...

Sept. 5, 2012 — Correction on status of Harold McArdle.

August 6, 2012 — Betty Pippert  is doing well after back surgery. 

July 2012Yin Yeh is awarded Senior Fulbright Fellowship.

July 12, 2012Marsha Henry Goff's has a new Web site called "Jest for Grins".

July 12, 2012Marsha and Ray Goff's search for elusive Wolf Road.

June 21, 2012Elvis returns.

June 21, 2012David Paul loses sight in one eye.

June 6, 2012Betty Redford Pippert is recovering from back surgery. 

May 24, 2012Linda Daniel Packchecks in with a little nostalgia.

May 24, 2012Carol Norris Vincent notifies of her impending move. 

May 24, 2012 — The space launch that didn’t happen for Ray and Marsha Goff.

May 1, 2012 Kendall Wolf quoted in the New York Times

April 11, 2012 Ron Hurst's wife, Joann, is recognized for service to the community. 

2011 Update on Fred Deay




If you have information for "What's Happening" please send via email to Marsha Henry Goff at mhgink@sunflower.com.

What's Happening: "Class News"


EF-4 tornado struck rural Lawrence on May 28

The tornado that struck Lawrence was a mile wide and is in the middle of this rain shaft (four to five miles wide) that concealed it. Ray thinks this photo looks like the detonation of an "atom bomb." We are truly fortunate that its trajectory was not due east instead of northeast (for a while forecasters said it was headed east directly toward us). It was not so fortunate for those in its northeasterly path. It struck rural neighborhoods but did not enter the city limits where the housing was denser; otherwise, the damage would have been even worse.
I am respectful of what a tornado can do, but a watch or warning doesn’t scare me. While an actual tornado headed toward us would terrify me, as long as we can scan the horizon and not see a tornado, we’re good. From our hill, even with the forest Ray has planted around us, we’ve got a 360 degree view. However, when we received this notice from the National Weather Service, it got my attention and we moved to the lower level.

  Tornado Warning
Beginning: 2019-05-28T23:18:00
Ending: 2019-05-29T00:00:00
New Alert

OK, we’re from Kansas, so we didn’t head to the unfinished windowless area. I sat on the couch in the family room next to the solarium with all its windows while Ray stood in the backyard and scanned the sky. We were blessed that the tornado’s trajectory skirted us. Unfortunately, several of our friends who lived in its path lost everything except their lives. Seventeen people were injured, but only three required hospitalization.

This Youtube video of drone footage of the Lawrence tornado shows what 170 mph winds did the first rural neighborhood near 59 Highway and N 1000 Road that it hit. Note the capriciousness of the winds. Some buildings still stand with no apparent damage, others are greatly damaged and some are just swept away. Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jfEEzbIPBs...

I have been up close and personal with two tornadoes. Thankfully, this wasn’t one of them. I wrote about those two tornado encounters on my website. One is titled “Laxatives, Guthrie tornado and Spiders” and the other which follows is “Winter is over; now it’s tornado season.” If you’d like to read about those tornadoes, just go to www.jestforgrins and search for Laxatives.

Many thanks to those classmates and others who knew that Ray and I live southeast of Lawrence, the area threatened by the tornado, and checked to ask if we were OK.

Celebration of Life for Barbara Hodgson

By Marsha Henry Goff

Friends celebrated the life of Barbara Hodgson on Saturday, April 27, 2019, at Brandon Wood’s Smith Center. Attendees were welcomed by Barbara’s closest relative, her niece, Stacy Woodward Natalie. Although those there to honor her were sad that she was gone, there were many laughs as they recounted when they met her and adventures they had with her. John McGrew passed the microphone around the room while his wife Rita took photos.

Judy Allen Morris confessed that her first skinny-dipping experience was with Barbara. Carolyn Lang recounted the birth of her daughter and how eager Barbara was to be with her. Barbara went to the hospital and asked to see her, but was turned away when she admitted she was not family. Undeterred, Barbara sneaked up the back stairs and into Carolyn’s room where she happily greeted baby Erinn. Carolyn proudly announced that Erinn’s daughter is Barbara’s godchild.

Hearing about Barbara’s long ago hospital caper prompted the grandson-in-law of Barbara’s good friend, Kay Johnson, to relate a more recent story of Barbara sneaking into a hospital room. Shortly after their baby’s birth, he said he looked up and Barbara was in the room. The great-grandparents hadn’t even seen the baby yet, but somehow Barbara managed to get there and beat them to it.

The planners of Barbara’s celebration of life — John, Stacy and Kay — asked Bob Lockwood to sing some of Barbara’s favorite songs as Elvis. One of the songs, Peace in the Valley, was especially meaningful because he sang it at a special party for Barbara at Bridge Haven a few months ago. In Barbara’s honor, he also performed a song, I’ll Walk with You in the Sunshine, that he wrote many years ago.

I, too, related a story about Barbara, whom I first met in Eileen Engleson’s 8th grade math class. Every evening, Barbara and I alternated calling each other to check our math homework. One evening she called after I had returned home from a junior high football game in Manhattan. We took a chartered bus and I had the bad luck to do something I have never done again. I bought and ate a hot dog at the bus terminal.

I was sick! I told her, “Barbara, I don’t think I can do this. I feel like I’m going to throw up.” And she said in her quiet, soothing voice, “OK, you just go do that and I’ll wait on the phone and when you come back, you’ll feel much better.” So I did and she did. I didn’t feel a whole lot better, but we got our math answers checked.

One more thought. I will never, ever forget Barbara singing along to Bob’s rendition of "Peace in the Valley" at Bridge Haven. The photos that accompany this post are courtesy of Rita McGrew.



Ten Years of "There's No Place Like Home" Fundraiser

By Marsha Henry Goff, Amazing Aging!

May 9, 2017 — The Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging is proud to present Elvis (aka Bob Lockwood) and the 1950’s Secrets Band in an encore performance of “Blue Hawaii” on Saturday. May 27. Also performing is Dr. Lanny Snodgrass, who flies in each year from his home in Washington. As it has for a decade, the event will be held at Great Overland Station and catered by Aboud’s Catering, whose delicious and beautifully presented food always enhances our theme. This year’s honorary chairs are Lana Renae and Dereck Hood of Topeka. Honored guests from Douglas County are Joann and Ron Hurst. Honored guests from Jefferson County have not yet been selected.

On a personal note, this year marks my last as chair of the event. Jocelyn Lyons is retiring and it seems a good time for me to retire from fundraising. More....



Bob Bee’s Miniature Soldiers

Here are some examples of what I paint. They're about two inches high. German army recruits learning to drill (not!). Drill sergeant on right trying to get them to pay attention. Uniforms as of about 1910.

April 18, 2017 — Classmates have some very interesting hobbies and Bob Bee’s hobby of crafting and painting miniature soldiers, which he says keeps him out of trouble, is particularly interesting. Bob casts the two-inch figures in pieces from resin, them assembles and paints them. Imagine how exacting that work must be. He says his model soldier club in South Carolina is preparing a vignette of a chemical mortar crew firing in WW II Italy.

Bob, an anthropologist, is greatly interested in history and has written much about the Civil War. His book, The Boys from Rockville is available for purchase on Amazon as is his essay, "Fredricksburg on the Other Leg," which is part of an anthology entitled The Third Day at Gettysburg and Beyond.



A Lawrence Institution: Don “Red Dog” Gardner and
His Dog Days Exercise Program

By Marsha Henry Goff, Amazing Aging!

April 17, 2017 — Don Gardner was in junior high when Coach Nanny Duver nicknamed him “Red Dog.” The moniker stuck all through school, his time in the Marine Corps, his service as a Douglas County Deputy Sheriff and a Lawrence Police Officer. Now, even though his flaming hair has faded, he is known to everyone as “Red Dog,” leader of “Red Dog’s Dog Days,” a free year-round community exercise program he began in 1984. HERE for the full article from Amazing Aging! Fall 2016.



Barbara Hodgson's Birthday Party

July 19, 2016 — Barbara Hodgson, everyone’s favorite Homecoming Queen, was honored on February 2nd with a surprise birthday party attended by a large group of friends, several of whom were Class of 1956 members. Planners of the party, held at Brandon Woods where Barbara lives, were John McGrew, Bob Lockwood and Kay Johnson.

An additional and very special surprise for Barbara — and many in the audience — occurred when Elvis (our own Bob Lockwood) appeared in full Elvis costume and performed seven songs during which he passed out scarves, leis and teddy bears.

Classmates attending were Judy Allen Morris, Chuck Borgen, Don “Red Dog” Gardner, Ray Goff and Marsha Henry Goff, Dan Grover, Martha Hammig Patterson, Ron Hurst with wife Joann, Bob Lockwood, John McGrew, Martha Saunders Skeet and Larry Smith.

Near the end of the program, Bob’s sound man, Brian Cooper (LHS Class of 1969) brought everyone to their feet singing and clapping when he played “Stand up and Cheer.”

This Surprise Party Lived up to Its Name



Barb & Bob dancing: Barbara can't resist
dancing with Elvis.


John & Bob: John thanks Bob for his Elvis performance.



Don "Red Dog" Gardner watches as Elvis sings.


Elvis serenades Nancy Vogel & Marcia Chaney Kerr (both LHS Class of 1958).


Ron & Joann Hurst enjoy Bob's performance.



"Elvis" Makes an Appearance


"Elvis" poses with Marsha and
Ray Goff.


Dr. Lanny Snodgrass, Seattle, WA, who performed as Liberace, is pictured with Bob Lockwood.
Lanny is the brother of classmate Bob Snodgrass.


Henry sisters: Marsha (LHS '56), Vicki (LHS '68) and Lesta (LHS '57)

Aug. 8, 2016 — For the last four years, Elvis (Bob Lockwood) and the Fifties’ Secrets Band have headlined Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging’s “There’s No Place Like Home” fundraising dance benefiting the agency’s Guardian Angel Fund. Bob and the band have proved a popular attraction at the event in Topeka which I chair.

It might not have happened had not a mystery “Elvis” appeared in full costume and begun gyrating and singing at our 55th LHS Class of 1956 Reunion. I was sitting next to Jerry Rogers, my LHS geometry teacher, who asked “Who is that?” It took a while, but when I told him I thought it was Bob Lockwood, Jerry exclaimed, “Nawh!”

At last year’s TNPLH dance, Don “Red Dog” Gardner and wife Beverly served as honored guests from Douglas County. Other classmates also have attended the dance with their spouses: Frances Ritchie Summers, Ralph Leary, Gene Kiosow and Martha Saunders Skeet. Last year my sister Lesta came from California and my sister Vicki always attends with a group of friends from Lawrence.

Bob is generous in performing at many charitable events — I’m pretty sure he’s our only classmate who has entertained 1,500 kids at KU’s Lied Center — and also at area nursing homes. Last year, he thrilled a woman by appearing at her 108th birthday party.

Next year’s TNPLH dance is scheduled for May 21 and Bob and the Fifties’ Secrets are expected to perform. If you live anywhere near Topeka (or even in California) it’s worth the trip!



The Art of Love

By Marsha Henry Goff for the Fall 2013 issue of Amazing Aging


Blossom and Dick Laing of Topeka

Nov. 9, 2013 — Blossom and Dick Laing of Topeka have a positive opinion about the song “Love is wonderful the second time around” because they are proving that it is. The couple dated over 50 years ago at Lawrence High School when she was a sophomore and he was a senior. Their romance bloomed for another year after Dick enrolled at the University of Kansas where he pursued a degree in commercial art.

Dick followed participation in ROTC at KU with a military career and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He married a nurse and the couple had two sons. Blossom met Wayne Swanson, attending KU on a track scholarship, when she was a freshman at the University. The couple married in 1957 and, after graduating, Wayne entered the Marine Corps as a Lieutenant and began training to become a jet pilot. They were living in Corpus Christie, Texas in 1959 when he contracted bulbar polio which left him in a wheelchair. The timing could not have been worse because the couple had a young son and were expecting a baby girl. They moved back to Kansas so they could be close to their families and the VA hospital in Topeka.

Dick’s admiration for Blossom’s commitment to caring for Wayne is evident in his recent comment: “God’s little angel took care of him all those years until Wayne’s death in 2006.” Dick read of Wayne’s death in KU’s alumni magazine and called Blossom to offer his condolences. When his wife died several years later, he phoned to tell her of his loss. In July of 2010, he again contacted Blossom,


Blossom’s dollhouse contains
a charming garden room.

hoping she would come to Arizona to visit him. She declined to visit Arizona in the heat of summer, so he placed his dogs in a kennel and visited her. When he returned home, his home, his older sister, who lives in Lawrence, phoned him and said, “You’d better marry that girl before someone else does!”

Blossom and Dick married on November 19, 2010, and began spending winters in Arizona and the rest of the year in Topeka, until recently deciding to sell the Arizona home. Ask Blossom how the marriage is going and she says happily, “It’s been great!”

Indeed, the two — both artists — share much in common. Their home is filled with beautiful creations, Blossom’s work with miniatures and Dick’s watercolors.

Blossom’s interest in miniatures began as a child with a dearly-loved dollhouse which she lost in the 1951 flood in Lawrence. In the late 1970s, she and her grandmother took lessons in Kansas City learning to create miniatures. She is an active member of Small Delights, a miniature club, where she and other members demonstrate and learn how to make various


Dick's watercolor “The Hunter.”

miniature projects. A focal point in a corner of the couple’s living room is a lovely, large antique cabinet holding a dollhouse. A child’s toy dollhouse contained in the child’s bedroom of the larger dollhouse is incredibly tiny at 1/144th scale (i.e., 1 inch represents 12 feet of regular-sized objects).

Another of Blossom’s projects is a shadow box containing her pink baby dress, shoes, necklace and birth certificate, as well as a photo of her late mother, Mildred Ewing Frakes, holding baby Blossom. The shadow box hangs in an exquisitely-decorated bedroom, complete with a fl oral canopy bed.

Dick’s watercolors grace several rooms in the home and he hopes to hang many more in the mancave he is planning to have constructed in the basement. While he was in the military, the family lived in several foreign countries, resulting in his paintings from around the world. Also on display are his watercolors that show the beauty of the Southwest where he lived after retirement. An especially interesting painting, which has not yet found a permanent place in their home, is entitled “The Hunter.” As two armed men are shown riding horses through the desert, a cougar perches high on a rock above, causing the viewer to wonder just who is hunting whom.

In addition to a love of art, Blossom and Dick share a love of family with four children and fourteen grandchildren between them. Love can indeed be wonderful the second time around.



Goff's trip to Colorado turns into unexpected adventure

Sept. 20, 2013 — Ray and Marsha Henry Goff saw the recent flooding in Colorado up close andcoloradotrippersonal.  Here is Marsha’s report:

"Our annual visit to Estes Park could not have had worse timing We arrived on Wednesday, September 11, after driving through Longmont and Lyons, up Highway 36 to Estes where everything along our route appeared as usual. Certainly, other than a light rain which we often encounter in the Rockies, there was nothing to warn us that for the next few days we would be cut off from the rest of the world by the lack of cell signals, landline and Internet connections. 

“The photo of us was taken on a bridge over the Big Thompson River near the Estes Park Visitor Center. From our smiling faces, you can correctly deduce that we did not realize the magnitude of the flood that was beginning to occur. Some areas in a two-day period received nearly double their annual rainfall. That is why the rain was dubbed by one weather guy as being of "Biblical proportions." Curiously, Estes Park has a large two-story Noah's Ark (once a toy store) that remained high and dry during the devastating flood. Mother Nature apparently has a sense of humor.

”I have written at length about our experience and included many flood photos on my website. If you are interested in learning more about the flooding in Colorado and our eventual evacuation from Estes Park, you may do so at www.jestforgrins.com.


Elvis lives 


August 15, 2013 — Bob Lockwood and his 1950s Secrets band recently entertained at a Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging fundraiser, and, as Bob notes, they have been booked again next year on May 10th.  Story in the attached “Amazing Aging” newsletter.  

Dancers and music lovers at JAAA’s 2013 There’s No Place Like Home fundraiser were pleasantly surprised by the variety of the music provided by Elvis (aka retired KU Coach Bob Lockwood of McLouth) and the 1950’s Secrets band. The 34 songs ranged from classic Elvis rock’n’roll hits (Don’t Be Cruel, Heartbreak Hotel, Hound Dog) to ballads (Love Me Tender, Can’t Help Falling in Love) to country hits (Crazy, I Fall to Pieces) to timeless classics (Tennessee Waltz, Goodnight Sweetheart, Hang on Sloopy, The Twist). Diners were delighted with the lovely piano music of Dr. Lanny Snodgrass of Seattle, Washington. The night provided countless musical memories for those who chose to become lost in the 50s for the evening.

Some attendees took home stuffed animals which Elvis distributed as he sang “Teddy Bear.” Others garnered prizes in the drawing and auction: a toaster oven and a framed copy of Naismith’s “Rules of Basketball” — the original copy of which was purchased at auction by David Booth for 4.3 million dollars — as well as the many themed baskets (garden, barbeque and spa, to name only a few).


Jump Training

Dec. 11, 2012 — Bob Lockwood is noted for development of a physical training regimen called Jump Training in a Lawrence Journal World article found HERE.


Yin and Elizabeth Yeh in Taiwan

Nov. 3, 2012 — As you may remember, Yin Yeh was recently awarded a Senior Fulbright Felllowship.  Yin issues the following report as work under the fellowship continues.

“Elizabeth and I have just started our 6 month stay here in Taiwan. Besides my daily activities at the Chang Gung University, the Fulbright people are keeping us engaged in many other cultural activities. Will report on some as they become reality shortly. Our residence here in Taiwan is called the Chang Gung Health and Cultural Village. Indeed it is both: substantially provided food and modern apartments, coupled with many activities consistent with their cultural values. 

“While here, we will have a family reunion by going back to Hangzhou, China, next month to meet with my cousins. My brother, Jen, whom many of you might remember, will have his family there for this event as well. Should be great fun.”

Thanks for the report Yin, and good luck in your research.  We will be looking forward a report (and photos) of your travels and cultural explorations.


Herb and Ditto retire

Nov. 3, 2012 — Some of you may remember Herb Baker giving us a “fly-by” after our 50th reunion in 2006, and some will remember the great day we spent as Herb’s guests at the Kansas City air show in 2007, where we marveled at Herb’s “smoke ring aerobatics.”  Herb is finally retiring  after 15 years of performing at air shows around the country.  For those who were not able to enjoy Herb’s performances, above is a YouTube video of one of his shows. 

On behalf of all of us who were fortunate enough to see Herb and Ditto perform, let me say, Thank you, Herb, for the memories you provided us. 

HERE for Herb's formal announcement along with some photos.



Sept. 5, 2012 — Correction on status of Harold McArdle. We previously posted notice that our classmate, Harold McArdle, died on August 11, 2012.  Apparently, the Harold McArdle who passed away in California was the father of Harold McArdle of the class of 1956.  HERE is a link to the current obituary in the Lawrence Journal World.



August 6, 2012 — Betty Pippert reports that she is doing quite well after her back surgery.  Her surgeon tells her that she is progressing even better than expected at this stage of recovery. For the first time in years Betty experiences some pain-free interludes; the first in years. Betty is doing so well, in fact, that she and Raymond are beginning to travel again. As Betty reports, “We're going to Atlanta the first of September to visit our son Randy. Then the last week of September and the first couple of weeks of so of October our "senior commune" (group of 4 couples we've talked about) are taking a road trip down to Asheville, over to the east coast, up through Outer Banks and a couple of days along the Chesapeake up to D.C. and through Annapolis.”
Keep up the good progress, Betty, and give us a trip report when you’re back home.


Yin Yeh awarded Senior Fulbright Fellowship 

orcafamilyJuly 20, 2012 — Yin and family are also enjoying traveling, as he reports:“(Our) post 55-Reunion activities started with a visit to Taiwan for firming up some of my projects for next trip.Upon return, I found out that I was awarded a Senior Fulbright Fellowship for that next round. This will start in October, 2012 for 6 months.  ...on the Fulbright, I will be working on an aspect of the search for Alzheimer's disease origin with some of my colleagues in Taiwan. We think we have an approach that allows us to see some very interesting molecular interactions at the onset of this disease. 
“The most exciting part of our current year activities thus far has been a trip to San Juan Island, WA, where wewent Orca whale watching or tracking.There is a large "resident population" of these whales in those waters of the Puget Sound. I send you the picture of one I took of whale J-38, swimming very close to our boat. We also took in the Seattle landmarks of old (Space Needle) and new (Glass Garden). The second photohas Betty with one daughter Debi and her son Matthew on top of the Space Needle.
”We are off to Europe for our second river cruise next week. One of the key point will be Venlo, where the international Floriade is taking place. Betty loves beautiful floral displays which we do not seem to have the aptitude to develop at home. We just attribute that to allergies.
”More later. Best to all.” — Yin



July 12, 2012 — Be sure to visit Marsha Henry Goff's new Web site called "Jest for Grins" to read her many stories that will be sure to make you grin! The Web site's address is www.jestforgrins.com.


The Goffs’ quest for Gettysburg’s elusive Wolf Road

July 12, 2012 — I would have wagered serious money that Ray and I had seen Wolf Road on one of our many trips to Pennsylvania’s Gettysburg Battleground . . . and I would have lost. On our recent trip to the area to attend a reunion of WW II’s 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion — the unit my father joined when his Darby’s Ranger Battalion was disbanded after the Cisterna disaster following the Anzio invasion — I planned to surprise Kendall with a photo of Ray pointing to a sign proclaiming WOLF ROAD, named after Kendall’s ancestor.


Wolf Alley, Gettysburg, Pa.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

The bus driver who drove our group to the Eisenhower Farm, the temporary White House where Ike recuperated from his 1956 heart attack, said he was certain the road wasn’t within the battleground. A tour guide at Ike’s home gave us specific directions to Wolf Road, but another guide gave us different directions. A woman at the desk of the historic Gettysburg Hotel Googled it for us, but found it listed as Wolf Alley. Following Google’s directions, we discovered a small alley between Howard and Reynolds Streets. We asked a woman mowing her lawn if the alley was called Wolf Alley. “Is it?” she inquired, “I’ve only been here a couple of years so I don’t know.”

We are tenacious so we followed another individual’s directions and wound up in the country, stuck in one-way traffic where a bridge was being replaced. An elderly man working in his acre-plus yard responded to our query about Wolf Road by saying he had moved up from Florida only six months ago after his wife died. He was lonely so we had a long visit with him.

Back in the car, we said the heck with it. Ray turned down my proposal take a photo of a tree-lined country road and Photoshop in a Wolf Road sign. We decided that Gettysburg may be the only town in Pennsylvania without a Wolf Road. We also decided that 1,054 miles from Kansas to Gettysburg is more than we want to drive in two days.

Still, the reunion was great. The youngest veteran was 91 and the oldest, 96. We saw 15 dead deer during the round-trip and only one live doe. But the most exciting critter sighting occurred when we returned home Sunday evening. With the first load of clothes in the dryer and the second in the washer, Ray exclaimed, “You’re not going to believe what is in the bathroom!”

Sitting on the toilet seat was a small treefrog who calmly allowed me to take several photos of him (or her, hard to tell). We concluded that he must have entered the house on the big fern we keep in the bathroom which Ray watered on the deck before we drove back East. Ray released the frog on the deck.

Later, it occurred to me that one of us (guess which?) might have sat on the frog in the middle of the night. It would have been a shocking experience for me, likely fatal for the frog. Perhaps I should flip on the light to avoid any future frog surprises.


Elvis Returns

bobandmarybethelvisJune 21, 2012 — Elvis’ performance at our 55th reunion caused such a stir that he was cajoled into a repeat performance for the Class of 1957 at their reunion, held at the Lawrence Country Club on June 9th.  As was the case at Alvamar a year ago, the crowd went wild, and most were incredulous when they discovered “Elvis” was in reality, a fellow Lawrence Lion from the class of ‘56.  Again, Bob Lockwood provided a personal touch as he penned lyrics for “The Class of ‘57 Had Their Dreams.” 

Several of Bob’s classmates attended to show to enjoy the entertainment and to assure themselves that they weren’t simply experiencing hallucinations last September.


David Paul loses sight in one eye

June 21, 2012 — We just received the following note from David Paul.  Our thoughts and prayers are with David and his family as they strive to cope.

This is just a note to update you on a health situation that has just dropped in on our family.  Wednesday night, we were watching TV and planning to hit the sack in just a few minutes when the TV began looking very strange through my right eye.  In a few minutes my vision in that eye had shrunk down to a small spot slightly off center so I couldn’t look through it directly.  Suspecting a stroke, we went to the hospital emergency room where it was determined that the problem was not a stroke per se and not a detached retina.  It was  opined that it may be a vascular problem and recommended that we see an ophthalmologist.

The next day, Thursday, we did just that and after seeing both the ophthalmologist and a retinal specialist it was decided that I had suffered a Central Retina Artery Occlusion, or in effect an eye stroke.  The good news is that it was only in one eye, it was not in the brain which could possibly have made a vegetable out of me or in the heart which you might have been reading about in the obit section of the newspaper.  The bad news is that it is not “fixable” as both brain and heart occlusions could be if caught in time.  I am therefor effectively blind in one eye, my right eye which I traditionally used taking pictures, for shooting and for watching the dancing girls through the peephole.  I haven’t really decided what to do to take the place of those treasured activities and would be most grateful for some suggestions.

I haven’t tried driving yet, but I am aware of others with only one good eye driving so I am anticipating little problems there.  The only practical problem I have noticed so far is that in reaching for my wine glass I sometimes grab air because my depth perception has lost some of its luster.  Along similar lines I have found it less messy to sit down in the bathroom.  Other than that, life has not changed all that much.  I fear, though, that Medicare may want to audit me.

If you might wish to send flowers, please send money instead.  We’ll see that it is spent wisely.

Love, David, the One-eyed Bandit. 

P.S. The doctors did say that there is a slight chance that some of my vision might return but even under the best scenario it would be limited.  I’m taking the attitude that that will probably not happen and if it does it will just be a bonus.  As it is said, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Update: August 6, 2012 — David Paul seems to be adapting well to the loss of sight in one eye.  He feels that he sees nearly 90% of what he did before, but that depth perception is the wild card.  David says that driving doesn’t seem to be a problem since marginal depth perception at a distance isn’t particularly noticeable or important.  On the other hand, managing objects close at hand still presents problems.  Things that the rest of us may take for granted---tying a shoe, reaching for a glass of wine — present a challenge for David.  Hopefully, his brain will adapt over time and the problem will cease to be an issue.
David recalls that last year he, too, had back surgery including the insertion of pins and screws to stabilize his spine.  This year, of course, he’s suddenly lost the sight of one eye.  David says he is looking forward to next year with some trepidation.




June 6, 2012 — Betty Redford Pippert is recovering from back surgery.  Here is the report from the Pippert household.  Betty had back surgery 5 weeks ago. She now has two rods and six screws in the lower back vertebrae. (L4, L5, and S1 for those of you who are medically versed. The problem has been advancing since 2003 with stenosis and movement of those three vertebrae) The screws are attached to the rods with set screws which allows them to be moved up or down. Recovery seems slow, but it is happening. She now has hardware in the knee and back — no way she's getting through security at the airports!! However, she's ready to travel as soon as she can sit for longer periods of time.



May 24, 2012 — Linda Daniel Pack checks in with a little nostalgia.  “I have 2 grandsons at K.U. now and even more fun their mother bought houses for them that are just a few blocks from where I grew up. Now when I go see them I am in my old neighborhood. Gary and I are still in California, we have hit the 50 year mark in marriage and the 40 year mark in the house we are living in. Seems a little dull when you say it that way. Both boys have front porches so I get to enjoy front porches again, something I have missed in California that I remember with fondness from growing up years.”



May 24, 2012 — Carol Norris Vincent notifies of her impending move.  “I have decided that I will do better living in an assisted living facility than trying to continue managing on my own in a home. My world is becoming more and more restricted due to my growing disability, and I look forward to the socialization that I will have when I move. My move date is June 15. My new address is 1515 W. White Oak, Apt. 98, Independence, MO 64050; my home phone number and my e-mail are the same. There is a strong church presence in my new place, and I look forward to ministry of presence among people who are lonely and sick. If any of you are in the area, I hope you will plan on stopping for a visit. My home sold in only 3 weeks, so I feel very fortunate; and my apartment is one of the largest in the facility (having just opened up yesterday unexpectedly) -- thank you, Lord!”


The Space Launch That Didn’t Happen for Ray and Marsha Goff

May 24, 2012 — Ray and I almost missed our plane (my fault, another story) to Florida on May 17 to view a rocket launch that promised, in addition to supplying the International Space Station, to place the ashes of my brother-in-law, Steve Julian, into earth orbit for 10 to 240 years. On Friday, we visited Kennedy Space Center and have these photos to prove it.

rocketenginesWe then attended a memorial service for the 320 souls whose ashes were already aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying an unmanned Dragon capsule that is planned to become the first non-government vehicle to berth at the space station. In addition to lesser-known personages’ ‘cremains,’ those of former astronaut Gordon Cooper and James Doohan (better known as Scotty on Star Trek) were accompanying Steve on his celestial journey. Friday evening, Julians, Goffs and family members of others destined for orbit shared a long (three and a half hour) dinner with astronaut John McBride and Wende Doohan at an Italian restaurant where Ray, who thought he loved lobster in any form, found he detests lobster ravioli.

At 3:30 a.m., on Saturday morning, Ray and I, along with my sister Vicki, nephews Chris and Ryan, Chris’ wife Erin and our new friend Alice, whose father’s ashes also were aboard the rocket, drove rocketsto Jetty Park where we planned to watch the launch over an expanse of ocean. As launch time approached, we were excited tosee a spot on the horizon growing lighter as the engines fired up under the rocket.

The countdown began: 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - LIFTOFF! Problem was, it didn’t. A computer, sensing high pressure in one engine, shut down all engines and aborted the launch, leaving us as dejected as children whose Christmas wishes failed to come true. Alice’s sisters, watching in North Carolina on live webcast, texted her. The first dropped an oath; the second texted, “Oh, no!” Both messages expressed our feelings exactly!

takeoffIt was a hugely disappointed and tired group that drove back to our hotel to crash for a few hours. On Saturday afternoon, Ray and I visited the Astronaut Hall of Fame and stopped at Jetty Park to see it in daylight. We stood onthe pier and thought of what might have been the night before. Ihad taken pictures of the light on the horizon as the engines fired and threatened to Photoshop one of those night shots with a cartoon rocket.

Vicki and her family extended their stay, but Ray and I could not and flew home on Sunday, grumbling about spending $1,500 without seeing the launch we came to view. I caught the launch live on NASA’s website at 3:44 a.m. Tuesday morning. Here is what it looked like. It was amazing to watch the launch online, but, oh, how we would have loved to see, hear and FEEL it in person!

Note: you may read Steve’s and other participants biographies at the Celestis Web site.



Kendall Wolf quoted in the New York Times

May 1, 2012 In Kendall’s words: Arthur Sulzberger Jr., scion of the New York Times publishing family, was recently bureau chief for the mid-west, based in Kansas City. In his travels through the mid-west he observed silos growing from trees, and decided to do a feature story on them.  As he did further investigation he discovered some of my photos in flickr, and contacted me.  Eventually, Arthur and his photographer, at my invitation, came to Lawrence where I drove them to various “silo trees.” After a long delay, during which the young Sulzberger returned to New York as copy editor, the article was finally published. The article can be found HERE.



April 11, 2012 Joann Hurst, Ron’s wife, is recognized for her service to the community in this Journal World article


Fred Deay update

Fred Deay reports that his recovery from hip replacement surgery is on schedule. Per Fred: ”They took the staples (26) out yesterday and it made a big difference in the pain level and my mobility. Walking with a cane now and up/down stairs with little effort, my PT says with continued progress I may be cleared to drive again sometime next week. All in all, I'm pleased with my progress – that said I can tell you hip replacement is a 'MAJOR' invasion of one's body (thank goodness I had been working out regularly and was/am able to call on my reserve strength as recovery is very taxing on the ole bod).”