Class of `54
Chat - 05




From Barbara Hird Grant
Hi to all my classmates of the class of 54 BHS. Would love to hear from more of you.  Joe, please post this on the web site so that everyone knows I wish them happy holidays and a fruitful 2006.
Barbara (Hird) Grant
Fron Nicole Huss Gastone
Dear Joe and Nancy, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. This is just another day here in Europe as we are preparing for Christmas.  But before that I'll go olive-picking next week in the south of France and am very much looking forward to it. We had a great trip to Zambia and South Africa in October/November and enjoyed Victoria Falls and more wild animals than I had ever thought possible.  You have probably seen many pictures of what was supposed to be Paris burning, but those events happened only in the suburbs with large majorities of immigrant population.  Good schools and work opportunities might be the only solution, but that seems to be just wishful thinking at this time. 
All the best
From Janet Miller McKee
Good to hear from you Joe.  We have had a good autumn here in Ireland.  Very mild until a couple of days ago.  In October, my husband Ian and I had a great trip to Scotland.  We flew to Glasgow and then took the train north to Inverness, the bus across the highlands to Oban, and then the historic West Highland Railway back down to Glasgow.  Lovely autumn foliage.  Now our grandchildren from Connecticut are visiting and then in another week the Seattle contingent arrive.  Keep well.
Brian Caputo's Katrina Experience
         Joe..when I came back from Louisiana in mid October...I sent a class note to Northeastern University and Boston University simply stating that I was there working as a DAE for FEMA. The senior editor of the N.U.Magazine  sent me a email wanting  more information. She actually did me a "big' favor because I had to put down what I did in a condensed form. Below is a copy of what I sent her.  

          I was requested by FEMA, as a Disaster Assistance Employee (DAE), on the 15th of September to report to the JFO (Joint Field Office) Planning Section in Baton Rouge, LA. NLT than the 17th of September in response  hurricane Katrina (Rita would shortly follow). When I arrived  in Baton Rouge and before I checked in at the JFO I located  Navy/ Marine Reserve Center and was given permission to stay overnight  Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas had double in population with thousands upon thousands of evacuees in shelters hotels, motels, cabins, bed and breakfasts, trailers, college dorms, private homes ,etc. Many evacuees were 15 or more to a room in major hotels/motels. I was extremely fortunate though a FEMA associate to secure a room at a Bed and Breakfast, which was an hour away from the JFO. Many of this BB's residents were extended family and friends; middle class, middle aged who had totally destroyed homes and business.  
        When I arrived the standard work week was 12 hrs per day, 7 days a week with 24 hr  coverage.(My last week was 11 hr day)  My prime assignment to help insure that the JFO's supporting elements/agencies; energy, fire, law, public health, hazardous materials, etc. generated reports that had substantial and timely information. These reports were critiqued and complied  by the Planning Section into a  daily Situation Report which was distributed to the JFO Command. The work required personal contacts with the 27 plus elements/agencies and therefore was both inspiring and educational.The information gathered gave a daily picture the progress being made in response to Katrina and Rita and provided insights into decisions and actions needed. I also was afforded the opportunity to help establish the initial Disaster Resource Center (DRC) in Covington. Covington is a city opposite from New Orleans on the other side of Lake Ponchatrain which had wind but minimal water damage. I did get to go into New Orleans and witness some of the damage.

        The media did an excellent "job" in capturing the initial  the devastation caused by Katrina and Rita to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast as to the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of people and the destruction of their economic base. When I left in mid October the response period was coming to a close and  the recovery stage was beginning to take hold . The question is what do individuals and families do now that they are allowed back into devastated areas and find their homes either destroyed or caked with mold and sludge, and their business, employment, education and society (as they once new it) no longer exists ?
        Even though Katrina and Rita had such a catastrophe effect on the people of Louisiana it did not dampen their spirit to rebuild. I found that they truly appreciate the work of the 50 thousands plus responders (FEMA/military/volunteers), especially at the grass roots level. Now with FEMA's goal of placing as many tasks as soon as practical in the hands of the local hires there is a  change in response/recovery employment and responsibility. In my case I trained a local to take my place.
         There were a "believe it or not" a number of bright spots. A great number of young people came from all over the nation to help, many with advanced college degrees.They helped in energizing the work to be done. (Northeastern along with MIT and Harvard graduates were reported to be helping In New Orleans). There also an opportunity to put in writing (email) to the JFO Staff suggestions on how to improve the response process. My suggestion, in essence, was to develop a response plan that was pre approved by Congress and reviewed by judiciary, in witch the Executive branch would direct DOD to provide the initial response to major natural and technological disasters).
         Final notes: FEMA's  Region One (basically New England @  HQ's in Boston) of which I am a member, staffed a number of key positions at the Baton Rouge JFO.  I appreciated the call to serve/help as a DAE and to become a member of Baton Rouge's JFO Planning Team.


From Barbara Hird Grant
Please let others know my corrected email addresses: My new E-mail on Juno is   You can also reach me on

I agree with everyone else. Keep up the great chat room. I am not as brave as Brian, but have been helping out the people hit so hard on the Gulf by volunteering at the local Red Cross chapter and find it fascinating and rewarding.  People from all walks of life come in to give money and  one town donated $5,000 from their Town Fair. Another little girl and her friends held a lemonade sale and her mom matched what she made. People come in plan bike races, etc., etc. and I am there to witness this wonderful out-pouring of love and concern.  God Bless America.  People do care..
Keep up the good work:     Barbara Grant        Hello to all on the Chat Room line. 
From Kathleen Hennesey Stohl
Thanks so much for keeping the chat room going! It is wonderful to read about everyone's activities and the connections all of us seem to have made. We are just home from five weeks on Martha's Vineyard which included visits from all our children and grandchildren. Our daughter was engaged and we met her fiance's family for the first time, so there was lots going on. Now its back to work, and getting ready to move later this fall. Best to all and keep the notes coming. Kathleen.
From Brian Caputo (Apparently, Brian is assisting with disaster relief in Baton Rouge, LA)
"Jack,   (Thursday noon)DAE (Disaster Assistance Employee) with FEMA at HQ's(the Command Center) in Baton Rouge LA. Pushing paper and shoe leather ( sneakers).The city has double in population and it is a mad house. Working 12hr shift. Rita has added to concerns and redeployment. Tell Bibby that I could not find a place to sleep the first night, but a local Marine unit put up for the night.
Lots of stories.  Will keep in touch."
Brian  Rogers  Caputo
Re Hurricane Ophelia (Joe and Nancy Mazzei)
Nancy and I spent two long days concerned about what this storm was going to do, and two more days experiencing what it did do. We came through it with no damage to our new home, and we were high enough above the flood waters from a nearby river. All things considered, Ophelia caused significant damage. But, what we have is microscopic in comparison to Katrina's wake. We spent three day operating the back up radio communications at our county emergency operations center providing amateur radio emergency services with the Red Cross Shelters
From Fred Merk
Glad to hear you both are having a good summer. Laura and I have been able
to slow down a bit after our move to Melrose last year. We are looking forward to a trip to Germany and Austria in Sept. to visit family and friends.
Ward Elliott's photo was our first step at Winn Brook school. Attached is our next graduation from Belmont Jr. High in 1951. I think this is our final group photo as a
complete class since none was made in High School. Now we have a  big identification problem!  This was an elongated picture that required  left and right scans to get everyone in. (Thanks Fred. They are now on the Photos page. - JM)
From Nicole Huss Gastone
Thanks, Joe, for ....... keeping this site alive - even if I was very far from all of you at that time.  I have never felt closer to BHS!  I have just come back from Luxembourg and meeting my other high school friends.  Today Luxembourg votes on the European constitution and it is an important day for my country, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for a "yes". I am close to you in thoughts and will be closer even
as I am coming to NY on Tuesday.
From Joe Mazzei
Hi folks. Isn't it great  to see how a picture will stimulate interest. Here are two classmates trying to eliminate the question marks in the 1948-49 Winn Brook photo - the latest on the photo page. Also it stirred up some memories for Eric. Let's hear from more of you.
From Eric Marcus
Hi guys... Hope your summer holiday trip went well. The piece with Marvin is very interesting. I'm on my way to Bogotá, Colombia next week for a few days. Have not been there since '58 looking forward to seeing all the changes.
Winn Brook... my goodness that brings one back... when we looked out the window during the war years were those spinach or celery fields we saw?  Remember the produce (Boston lettuce perhaps) fields we drove by on the bus ride to and from school? and Mr. Foagerty the driver with his suit jacket, tie and felt hat... a nice man.
Best regards and enjoy the summer. Eric
From Janet Miller McKee
Hello Joe and Ward - Is Ginny Kenny there in the front row sitting next to Dottie Wynott?
From Rod McElroy
Between Scarfo and Nebiker is Bob Guerette. I believe between DiNapoli and Elliott, it could be Andy Centore. Sitting next to Kathy Hennessy - to her right - could be Margaret Crosby. We called her "Bing". Imagine that.
From Fred and Flora (Silvagni) Pennino
Hi All:
   Fred and Flora say "hello" to all.  I am getting ready for my Mom's 103rd birthday party, she is in a nursing home and doing well.  She is amazing plays bingo and still participates in activities-- and as she says about herself "I still have all my marbles." 
   It was wonderful to see all of you once again at the reunion.  Have a great summer, and if anyone is in  the North Shore area this summer drop in to see us at 65 Atlantic Rd.  Gloucester. 1- 978-281-1845.
Best Regards,
Fred and Flora
From Alan Beardsley
Sorry to take so long to get back to you but I still have a rather busy schedule.   Still working full time as a Senior Staff Mechanical Engineer at Raytheon. The pics are great. On frame No. 11,  from left to right, John Cantwell,   Nancy Beardsley (my wife),  me,  and Laura Bradford Merk.    
We're looking forward to a warm summer as I'm sure you are in North Carolina ?    I
believe.   We spent a week early in May at Nordic Village, a Luxury Mountain
Getaway Condo in Jackson, NH. Our two daughters and the four Grandchildren (2 each) are up there this week swimming in the three heated pools.
    Take care Joe,
    Talk to you later,
    Best Regards,
From Joe Mazzei
OK Judy, Thanks for asking. We've been in the new home for five months, and as noted before, "just loving it". Most of those punch list items have been tended to satisfactorily. We absolutely enjoy waking in the morning and looking out toward the conservation area, and seeing nothing but beautiful blue skies and pine trees.
   I'm active at our church. I was elected to our church council and have been chairing our Worship Committee. Life is indeed very interesting. I'm thinking of getting back into golf. Meanwhile, I have joined the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and will be quite active in that. I've always loved being on the water. So, that's what I'll do. There's a social side to this which Nancy enjoys, along with all of the other things around the home and beyond in which she takes pleasure.
   Next week we're off to CT. Our second grandson will be Baptized on Father's Day. We'll return to North Carolina for a couple of days, then head to FL to see our second grand daughter, and celebrate the first grand daughter's second birthday. We have four grand children - two boys and two girls.
   We'll stay around home during July. At the end of the month, we fly to Vancouver, BC for an Alaskan cruise and tour.
   We're trying to do all we can while we can. Having said all this, let's hear from the rest of you.
From Judy Games Wilson
   Our summer and fall plans are very family oriented.  Kerry and I have three daughters and five grandchildren.  We have a vacation home at the Cape, which is frequently overflowing.  We're always carting rafts, pails, etc., to the beach.
   Kerry grew up in Toronto, and we're all going up to our nephew's wedding in Sept..  How many days of school they'll miss is the hot topic on the kids' minds.  They love to go to Canada with its different currency and customs. William, age 10, loves playing hockey, and being in Maple Leaf territory is a thrill for him.
   To look far ahead, the whole gang gathers together again in November to visit Disneyworld over Veterans' Day weekend.  Another chance to miss school, oh boy!  I just love Disneyworld; growing up before TV, the cartoons left their mark on me.  I couldn't wait for the comic books to come out every month.
   Let's hear what you're up to.  Are all those projects that moving entails finished?  You're doing such a good job with the web site; it's really fun to check it out.
From Janet Miller McKee
I had a good visit with two of my sisters here in Dublin for a couple of weeks.   They flew back to Boston yesterday.  Now Ian and I are flying the same route on Friday and will visit my other sister Ruth in New Hampshire before going down to Connecticut to visit our son David and his family
From Mort O'Connor
Joe and Nancy, just stepped thru your web site. All worked as it was supposed to. And the pictures and notes really are a reminder of youthful memories.
  Some few of us decided that it is too long to wait five years to get husbands and wives together. So Mark D'Andrea from Belmont, Jack Hanrahan from Hopewell Junction NY, Bob Picariello from Pembroke Pines Fl will be coming to the metro DC area in a month to visit me and Chris Holland (He is part of this group of friends who have known each other from junior high days. but he didn't go to the Belmont schools.) Chris is in Vienna VA next door to Wolf Trap, and I live in Millersville  MD at the muddy end of the Severn River. Sailing is planned. Some wives are expected to venture out on the Chesapeake Bay. Golf is planned; probably guys only. A visit to the new Smithsonian Museum of the native American indians will probably bring all of us to the Mall. Will provide feedback to the site after the grand event..                    
From Nicole Huss Gastone
A short update on the time spent since I was in the US in October last.  In December I was in Istanbul, Turkey and then stayed in Paris and surroundings until March when I spent some time discovering the history and landscapes of Sri Lanka. In late April, Deborah Berman Beck (BHS '55) joined me for a week in Tunisia and stayed with me in Paris for some more time.  Early June I will spend two weeks in the south of France between Cannes and St. Raphael and plan to spend two weeks in July in New York and on Fire Island with Deborah.
Greetings from Cold Maine, 
We have been in Maine almost three weeks and do not believe we have had more than 3 days of sunshine.  The lake has been extremely rough all this time.  We wonder when spring will arrive.
 We leave for a trip to some of the National Parks flying into Albuquerque and taking a tour from there.  Hopefully the weather will be warmer and when we return to Maine spring will be here.
We had a good winter in WV and looking forward to a busy summer. 
MJ's 50 reunion is in September, so we'll look forward to seeing her classmates. Again it is nice to read the news about everyone.  Have a great summer. 
Bob & Mary Jayne Kolouch
HELP !!! We are trying to identify classmates and significant others in the photos taken at the 50th. Numbers have been placed at the bottom of each photo. Some names have been added to the block associated with the photo above it. Please help fill in the blanks and/or identify the classmates you can. Send the number of the photo and the names associated with it to Thank you....
From Ned and Carolyn Bunyon:
(Brian Caputo suggested that we inform  you all of Ned and Carolyn's email address: In the exchange of emails, here's the latest from the Bunyons and the Mazzeis)

From: Bunyon, Carolyn ;
Hi Joe  ...  I can bring home anything I receive to Ned.  How are you all doing?  Fine I hope.  All is well here in Belmont.  Say hello to Nancy    Thank you for all you are doing for the class.  Carolyn Bunyon
From: Joe & Nancy Mazzei
Hi Carolyn and Ned - ... glad to hear that all is well in Belmont. We should be going up to CT in a couple of weeks. Our third grandchild is to be Baptized on Father's Day. We are doing fine down here in the sunny South. It has been almost 6 months since we moved into the new home, and are loving it. ....  Joe   
From Carolyn Whitford Scott:
Before I moved, I donated my yearbook to the Belmont Public Library because
they were seeking yearbooks from all the BHS classes.  So if you ever need to refer to one, and do not have your own copy, they still have a copy of BHS '54 for your use.
- It was wonderful to see everyone at the reunion! I so often think how wonderful it is for me now to live in the town where I was born and to be the Director of Music (organist and choir director) at the church of five generations of my family, the church where my parents were married, and the beloved church of my childhood and teen years when I visited my grandparents here in Alfred, Maine.  What a meaningful circle of life and love for me. I feel truly blessed.
Re the New England Parody posted earlier:
Kathleen Hennesey Stoll reports:
We had inches of snow on daffodils and forsythia--spring is really late for us this year. More snow than ever--a record for Cleveland--well over 100 inches. "
Sandy Coit Stephen reports:
"Funny,  All the cold stuff applies to where I live. Lat N54.,,!!  ( though we had a great warm winter, except for a couple of weeks of -33."
A Question from Susan Bliss Alden
Has anyone done the 'who's who map' of our latest class photo?  I am stumped by many -- of our 50 something faces --, so do let me know if that's on the site and I'm missing it, too. We now have 7 grandchildren, congratulations on yours.  
A Comment from your Web Page Manager:
Please contact Janet Miller McKee and/or Elaine Garoyan Kasparian to identify yourself or others on the reunion photo, (i.e. front row, third from left etc.) I'll scan our photo, and post it on the Photos page when it's ready.
News from Janet Miller McKee:

Life for me has been busy since the reunion.  We spent Christmas and New Year with our eldest son and his family in Seattle.  And since then I have been over to England several times.  The latest was to visit the 2 other sons and their families.

Attached is a photo of me at one of my activities - weaving on my Swedish Glimakra loom.  And another photo of me standing beside some of my rugs for sale at an open air art and craft exhibition. (Go to Photos to see Janet's loom and artwork)

Hoping to hear from other classmates.  It was fun to read the article about Roddy and to see the photo.  I missed seeing him at the reunion.