Class of `54
Chat `07




Welcome to our Chat Page. If you'd like to extend greetings to classmates "on line", or give us some news about yourself, here's the place to do it. Just send an email to  to get your message posted. Listed below are items shared up to now.

From Nicole Huss Gastone

It was such a surprise to see Paris weather listed not so far from Belmont and to see that it was more or less the same, i.e. not really very warm.

A very happy Christmas to you and Nancy.  I hope that all is well with you and that you will be able to celebrate in the midst of your family.  I will have my children here and have just finished shopping.  Next step is preparing my "foie gras" for Monday night.

I am looking forward to being back in New York in January.   I do enjoy still being able to travel and hope that I will be able to do so for a while.
All my best

From Barbara Hird Grant

I do not remember what 53 and 54 did but I wonder if it mentioned in Yearbook. Unfortunately mine is in storage
so I cannot look. I would love to know too.

Good for Flora that she is doing substitute teaching at the Belmont Schools.  Must bring lots of memories. back.
Yes, a lot of us have our 50th college reunion coming up.  MIne is in June for Simmons where I went, also from our class, Midge Sutherland, Dorothy Luke, Sylvia Elso, Janet Higgenbottom . FYI Dorothy lost her husband, Olin Spivey 2 weeks ago--he had cancer and then staph pneumonia. Simmons honors the 50 year class by having special luncheon with the President of the college and all our trips, dorm and food charges are
paid for.  I am going but do not know if any other of 54 BHS are.
From Mona McLellan Calthorpe

Weather here is beautiful Joe.  Bill & I went to the beach yesterday & plan to go again on Mon when everyone else is frantic with the holidays.  We are only 1/2 hr. from Anna Maria Island in Bradenton so we take advantage as much as possible.  Yes, we have drought but I water my plants with a bucket but we have had a couple of thunderstorms this week so yeeeaaaaa!   I have always been a beach bum & love life in the slow lane.   I wear flip flops daily & I think I could do Key West full time!   Merry Christmas and Happy, healthy New Year. 
From Flora Silvagni Pennino
Another trivia question from the old BHS.  As I was leaving the now Wellington School last week I saw a sign in front of me that said "Gift of Class of 1953 and 1954."  Does anyone remember what that was for?  Was is for Mr. Harris and what was the gift?
From Rod McElroy
Had a delightful surprise the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Our two sons "tricked" us into going out to dinner with a preliminary stop at a wine and cheese party.  The wine and cheese party turned out to be a surprise for Gail and me.  We never did get to dinner! 

Former rowers, former rowers' parents, current rowers, current rowers' parents, some good friends, and a couple of rowing coaches against whom I compete had gathered together to present Gail and me with a trip to Henley-On-Thames, England, to the Henley Royal Regatta.  I will be returning 50 years after the Harvard Lightweight crew of 1958, of which I was a member, had won the gold medal there. So far five of my boat mates have said that they will be there, too. We will be there the first week of July 2008 shortly after my 50th reunion at Harvard.

How so many people kept that a secret for so long is beyond me.  It was a complete surprise and an absolutely delightful one.

From Steve Wasby
I wanted to add a comment or two to Mort O'Connor's Nov. 10 observations about possible ethnic prejudice and the world to which we were exposed.

I agree that, all in all, we had relatively little ethnic stereotyping, and that merit was the primary determinant, but it is possible that such stereotyping can affect someone's view of a person's merit. In other words, that such stereotyping  can be subtle doesn't make it any less real. Certainly, from my own perspective, there was very little --not none, but very little-- anti-Semitism, a few remarks here and there about "difference" (but not aimed directly at me).

Mentioning Mel Wenner and the trips that served to introduce people to other worlds:  Because there were so few public high schools that had soccer in those days (hard to imagine, when everyone now "does" soccer),  BHS went to play at Phillips Exeter, Andover, and Governor Dumner Academies --and regularly lost, because they had foreign students, who really knew how to play soccer-- and I know that part of those trips, particularly getting to swim in the Exeter pool and to have dinner there, was seeing the world inhabited by those from a social class above us.

Happy holidays (whatever you observe).

From Brian Rogers Caputo

Recently I was selected to participate in the "Reading of Names" of service members inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. This special event in November was to commemorate the Wall's 25th Anniversary in which those that died will never be forgotten. (My last active duty station was Vietnam).
From Barbara Hird Grant

Is anyone out there an "old book collector" or expert.  I received an old book from my cousin Faith Batchelder Cooper ( class of 53) that belonged to my father and grandfather. She majored in English lit at Radcliffe and my mom gave it to her when she was in college.  I remember playing with it when I was little.  It has a blue cover and is quite long and narrow.  It is the complete works of Shakespeare with a description of each of his plays.  It was published in 1862. 

Here's the spelling of the book title:



Inside Front:


Designed and engraved

Third edition with explanation

by C.A. Boettiger, v. Miltitz and Prof. Ulricl

Roberts Brothers
side note: for its age the book is in good shape

From Flora Silvagni Pennino
Hi Joe,
I am a substitute teacher for the Belmont Elementary Schools and it seems so odd going back to the Burbank School -- it brings back so many memories of childhood experiences in that school.  The Burbank has been remodeled but it has not really changed that much. It is so wonderful!

 The Wellington School, which is the old High School is another place full of memories.  Once in a while I will come upon a wall, or a sign that will bring back old memories.  I have tried to recall which of our classrooms faced Orchard St, does anyone remember?

I also have been at the Daniel Butler School, but I never attended classes there or I do not remember ever going into that school at all.

It is so wonderful to revisit these cherished places of our past.

(OK - Here we go with the memories. As best I recall, the first floor facing Orchard St. had Mr. Bettencourt's room. Then there was a small classroom next to his. I think it was too small to be anyone's homeroom. Were the Guidance offices next to that room, (Mr. Nagle and Ms. Morey)? I think next came the front door out to the plaza - which was the roof over some of the vocational shops - and Orchard Street.. Next were the offices, and Mr. Higginbottom's office. Next came the library, with maybe another classroom between the library and the offices. Shall we see who can recall the layout of the first and second floors facing Orchard St.?  -- JM)

From Mort O'Connor
I knew Bob Picariello very well in high school or so I thought. We hung around together with several other classmates; Jack Hanrahan, Dick Barone, Mark D'Andrea and Chris Holland ( a friend and neighbor of Jack). I don't recall Bob ever voicing his feelings on slights because of his ancestry.  As the son of a second generation Italian mother and a second generation Irish father, I realized the distance between the earlier generations of the Irish and Italians throughout the Boston area. If anything passed on to some of my class mates, it must have been
subtle. The makeup in classes generally was of merit, grouping by one's relative ability.

Certainly the sports selected the best players no matter how their last name was spelled. And we all recall what strong teams Belmont fielded while we were there.The only situation relating to me was of status; long after graduation, I found that a guidance counselor, (to remain unnamed) after an interview with me regarding my aspirations after high school, recorded that she thought my plans to go to MIT or Tufts to get an engineering
degree were quite high considering that my father was a fireman. To straighten the record, my step father was a fireman. And he strongly encouraged me to go to the best school that accepted me. So I threw out the Tufts acceptance and went to MIT. Since this snobbery came to my attention so much later in my life, it has been easy to put into perspective.

On another, more positive note.  One other reason that we perceived little prejudice was of the efforts of teachers like Mel Wenner. He took his teams to Rindge Tech and Belmont Hill to play basketball and some of his track team to the Perkins Institute for the Blind and many of his players to caddy camp run by the Cambridge YMCA. We did get to see that there was a world out there inhabited by many people different than the makeup of BHS. And please continue refreshing the memories of our Belmont school days.

From Don Osborne

Joe:  Attached is a photo of Don and Nancy Osborne with Lynn and Lee Tirrell.  This was taken in early October outside of the Tirrell's condominium in Attitash, N.H. (near North Conway). We had a great couple of days together sightseeing, walks in the woods and lots of good conversation and laughs when we were not watching the Red Sox win another game. This was our second annual get together since reconnecting after the 50th reunion.  We hope it becomes a tradition.

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From Janet Miller McKee
I liked the attachment. [Janet and Nicole - below - are referring to the Computer Grandma I attached to a 9/17 email to "y'all"]. That gave me a good laugh.  I forwarded it to my sons.  Tomorrow I'm scheduled to fly across the pond for a swift tour of New England and then on to the West Coast.  Might pick up a lap top on the way.
From Barbara Hird Grant:
Please add Barbara Oxner to the In Memoriam page. Her neme was among those deceased in our class who  were called out at the reunion.

Barbara and I were good friends in JR. and Sr. High.  She married Bob Greenlaw who left after 9th grade and moved to N.H. and then back to Reading.  They had 5 children and tragically she was killed in a car
crash leaving a year and a 1/2 old baby girl along with a 14 yr. old girl and 3 sons. This happened while I still was living in Belmont.

Glad you are back safe and sound.

I am enjoying my new granddaughter who is a delight and a true Gift of God.  She is 4 months now and cooing and smiling and laughing.  If only they could stay like that, huh???

From Nicole Huss Gastone:
It was good to see you back online, It was good to see you back online and with such a nice grandma, too.  I was sorry to hear about your car troubles but hope that all else is well.  I am just back from three weeks on your side of the Atlantic (NY, Fire Island, and Conn.) and really enjoyed it.  But I was also glad to come home to my family. In October, a friend from Washington will accompany me for a few days to Burgundy and in November I am off to Vietnam.  I am happy to keep "moving".
All my best
From Barbara Hird Grant
Shades of Jr. High.  I just remembered I had Miss OConnell for Math and Science, Miss Moore ( nee Mrs. Drake) for homeroom and Eng.and Social Studies.(7th)  8th( Miss Speight for Eng and Soc. Studies and Mr. Kelley for home room and math and science.  9th Mr. Bennett for Science and Miss Skahan for ancient history and Mr. Auciello for language, but who taught English??

Steve: we were in the same class. How could we forget the cooking class with Miss Files and the sewing class with Miss Smith.  And how about those Science reports we had to give to the whole class for Mr. Bennett.  I was terrified and my knees were knocking.  I remember doing one on how a furnace operated? Yeah, like I cared.  I remember Miss Cutting although I did not have her and years later I saw her a lot when she came with her mother to Dr. Jacobs office where I worked.  We used to chat about my husband who had her and hid in the clothes closet one day because he was trying to sneak out,  and my son whom she also had for English and Social Studies and liked to talk and visit during her class. 

We had lots of laughs. And who could forget Mr. Brayton for art--he yelled at me( innocent little me) for dropping a pencil when he asked for quiet.  Yikes!!

Yes, I agree with Mona, Miss Meekhan was a Tomboy type but she was nice.  I sure remember Miss CLeary because I tripped over one of those stupid mats under the pummel horse and broke my ankle. ( I had Ancient History after gym and Dotty Luke leaned over and said look at your ankle and it was badly swollen)

It sure is fun to reminisce way back when and I guess we are not as senile as  some think if we can remember so many teachers, huh classmates??? I apologize that my daughter in law spelled Phil --Phyll ( I did ask her to correct it, but I guess she had sent it already).

Some of other people in the church choir were Betty McLellan(53), Jean McLaren, Harriet Squires (55, )Sandra Henderson (? year) just in case anyone knows them.

Glad to see so many P.P's are responding. Keep it up Alan, Steve, Janet. How about you Brian. You must remember some of the couple of years there.

That's it for now.

From Barbara Hird Grant
We have 6 Ken Hird photos. 3 are shown below. The other 3 will be inserted soon. These photos are 60-65 years old. We just can't be as old as these pix! Can we?? Thanks to Barbara and Lynn Grant for scanning them, and emailing them to me.

From JM
Imagine what any one of us would have thought back then, if someone stated,  we will have equipmemt that could copy a photo, then send it around the world at the speed of light, and give the whole world access to view it within an hour from the time it was copied?

I guess we are living in times when all things are possible. Now, if only we could feed the hungry as well.

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From Mona McLellan Calthorpe:
I just read Barbara Hird's note on the gym teachers.     It really had tweaked my memory - I went to Kendall School but   in jr. high I do remember Ms. Meekham.  God almighty I had never in my life met a woman so darned big - she could have been a tight end for the NE Patriots.  (As I best recall, you nailed her description!! - JM). I do remember she had a great disposition and had a warm personality unlike Ms. Cleary from high school.  

That woman loved the lady jocks!  She loved Rita Szabo who could do summersaults & land on her feet.  Looking back, I realize she was  "a little different" (now called butchy). I know I did not fit into the gym category because I was not athletic.  However, I could do a mean vault over those stupid Swedish boxes we had in gym class.  Somehow, we tucked our chin in & survived.   Since those awful gym days I have done Jackie Sorenson aerobics for years, joined a gym, do 10,000 steps a day - oh if they could see me now!!!!  Burn baby burn!!!!
From Steve Wasby
I am having more trouble remembering jr hi teachers than either Payson Park or high school. It was definitely Ms. Skahan for Ancient History [ugh].

    Who could forget the principal, Mr. Vantura?

    Ms. Holbrook was so short that she needed several cushions to see over the steering 
    wheel (have I got her in the right school? I think I do).

    Not to be forgotten was Ms. Scannell (who lived on Payson Rd.), who taught ninth
    grade Latin; she was one of the few I went back to visit later (when I was in high
Come on, others, add to the list. Help those of us who are having braincramps.

From Barbara Hird Grant
Whoops: I forget(but just remembered )other people in the "other class at Payson Park. How could I forget Swede Nelson and Dixie McCarthy two of our HIgh School basketball team.   ALso Tom Murnane. And my apologies to Brian Caputo who I believe joined us in the 5th or 6th grade and was in the class with Jack Flynn, Nancy O'Neil, myself and Janet among others.

I sure hope this brings back memories to those who went there.  Do any of the members of the class remember Miss Kohler (girls P.E)?? I am sorry I do not know the boys' teacher.  I do remember Miss Meekham and Mr. Ruprect  from JR. High and of course, Miss Cleary and Mr. Wenner from High School.

Who could forget Mr. Briggs and his "Personality class" and the square dancing he taught the combined girl and boy gym classes????
Ok here is another challenge.  Who remebers all the teachers they had in grades 7-9?   I am not sure I can but I'll try.  Homeroom in the 7th grade was Miss Drake who became Mrs. Moore and I had her for English and Social Studies too.  I do not remember math and science teacher. I had Mr. Kelley for home room in the 8th and also for math and science and Miss Speight for English and Social Studies.  And how many rememember Miss Charron for music????

I had Mr. Auciello but cannot remember if it was for French  or not. I know he passed away within a few years of being there, does anyone remember? For some reason I have a block on who I had for math, science, English and Social Studies. Anyone remember 9th grade teachers?? I just remembered (and also spelled it right this time) who I had or Ancient History in Jr. High, (Miss Skahan I think) in the 9th grade.

I hope other brains are working better than mine.
From Barbara Hird Grant
Other than Mrs. Strangman, I didn't know anyone else in the first picture Janet M. sent. When was it taken?
(See Janet M's 7/24/07 comments below re that picture. JM)

Also follow up  the "other" K-6 at Payson Park I was not as familiar with but Mrs. Hurd was K, Miss Nemeroski was 3rd, Ms. Rolfe, 4th and Miss Bixby was 6th.. Maybe some of the other  class can fill in the blanks

I do know that Bob Picarello, John FLynn. John Hanrahan ( I think), BIlly Donahue, Nancy O'Neil, Nancy Peterson, Sally Strangman, Steve Wasby, Bob Oliver, Earl Plummer. Donny Mullins were in my class and Evelyn Erickson, Barbara Oxner, Ronny LeBlanc, Bob Kivelehan, Alan Beardsley, Richard Rolls, Allistar McLeod, Jean McLean, Nancy Toye were in the other class.  I know I have left out some and I do apologize,

Wow, Janet and Steve, you both have the same memories as I on the teachers. I do believe it was FITTON; and although I did not have her I remember Miss Rolfe.

Alan,  if I remember correctly Payson Park and Chenery were like the Red Sox and the Yankees, Butler and Kendall the same and that leaves Burbank and Winn Brook to  pair off.

Janet: Do you remember the day Duchess got out and dashed across the street and bit Peggy( Jean) McLean on the leg.  Your mother came out and gave her first aid, I think, or did I take her home to my house for the same? Duchess, by the way, for others  was a huge ?St. Bernard who really was a nice dog.

Do any of you remember Peter McGrath?  He was the bully who threw my winter hat in a tree on Pequosette Rd. ( where Steve lived).  I too remember his mother vividly.

Phil Martin's mother taught the Jr. Choir and Payson Park Church and Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Strangman and Mrs. Peterson all worked with the Brownies and Scouts.  Yes, Janet I also remember Mrs. Savage.
From Steve Wasby
Here are my suggestiions: 1st row, 2nd from left: Nancy Peterson; 1st row, 2nd from right: Carolyn Whitford?
2nd row, 2nd from left: Barbara Hird;  2nd row, 3rd from left: Nancy O'Neill;   2nd row, 4th from left: Marilyn Weeden;   2nd right, all the way on right: Martha Drisko.

(Do I get a semi-gold semi-star for that?) ((Don't know yet. We'll have to see how many agree with you - JM))

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                                       Who are these people?
I've moved this "famous photo" up. It is generating lots of memories, and subsequent comments. One classmate suggested that I ask the question above. - JM

From Janet Miller McKee
Yes I remember that Miss Rolfe's brother was Red Rolfe who played 3rd base for the New York Yankees
From Al Beardsley
Re:   Barbara Hird's Payson Park memorabilia. Being an old Payson Park student, the one thing that jumps out at me is one teacher that we had, Ms. Helen Rolfe I believe her name was.   

She often talked about her brother, Red Rolfe, who played baseball for Dartmouth College and then was a pitcher and primarily was a 3rd baseman for the NYY.   He played for the NYY from 1931 - 1942 and then became the Mgr for the Detroit Tigers 1949 -1952.    I seem to recall him visiting our classroom at one time. 

I spent many afternoons at the Grove Street playground playing baseball and we even had summer teams with the other playgrounds in Belmont, such as PQ (Pequosette), Winbrook, etc.

Occasionally, when I'm driving through Belmont, I drive down Falmouth Street to see the old homestead that I grew up in and the old neighborhood is pretty much still the same, only with new people. 
Best Regards
From Barbara Hird Grant
Hi Steve
Your memory of teachers in the P.P is excellent.  Yes, there were 2 Miss Hall's.   You and I had all the same teachers from K-6.  Miss Hall was indeed our 6th grade one and Miss Hall (quite a hefty lady if I remember) was the principal.  There was indeed a black girl and she is in the picture I am sending to Joe.

I do not think you were in the Maypole shot, perhaps you were out that day.  Yes, Miss McAUliffe got married the year after we had her and became Mrs. Good who stayed there for quite a while after.  She had a daughter Deidre who went thru Belmont
School system.
Best regards,
From Janet Miller McKee
Here's a bit more information about the photos I sent.
Steve Wasby and I had all the same teachers in Payson Park although I wonder about the spelling of Miss Fitten - was it Fitten or Fitton?  In 4th grade Miss McAuliffe married to become Mrs. Good - she was a wonderful teacher and I thought that change of name was so appropriate.  Miss Marcella McGrath in 5th grade came from Vermont - maybe Putney.  She did not think much of my singing ability and had me hold the flashlight for the Christmas (?) play.  The 6th grade teacher was Miss Hall.  There were 2 Miss Halls.  One was the principal and the other taught 6th grade.  Miss Hall the teacher was a smaller woman.  Miss Hall the principal was larger - at least in the eyes of a 6th grader.

In an earlier grade I was reprimanded for throwing snowballs and had to go and sit outside Miss Hall the principal's office and wait to be summoned.  Scary moments of anxiety.

Miss Hall the principal was the one who called my older sisters Ruth and Nan to her office to tell them that they had a new baby sister - that was me, born December 1936.  Ruth and Nan were in 6th and 5th grades.  They had many of the same teachers that I had when I came through the system.

Steve - I can remember your mother and father quite clearly and I can remember playing in your house on Pequosette Road.

The picture showing the Brownie leaders - that is my mother in the center, Sally Strangman's mother is beside her, and the other woman is Dorothy Savage.  They were wonderful leaders - I appreciate them especially as the years go by and we are now well past the ages they were then.  I'm not sure about any of the Brownies in that picture.

In the other picture I can recognize lots of people.  Will save that for another email.
Best wishes
From Steve Wasby
In response to Barbara Hird Grant: Yes, I was a Payson Park student, but don't remember any black classmate, even for a short time. I, too, was in Miss Fitton's kindergarten class, but don't remember the Maypole -- which only goes to prove that some of us have better memories than the rest of us (or some, like me, may have "less good" memories).

And, yes, we walked to school -- only a few blocks for me in elementary school, from Pequossette Rd., but Nancy O'Neill only had to go up the "back steps" to the playground level.  The walk to Jr Hi was of course longer, but even when we had the hill to contend with coming back from high school, it wasn't an "issue." 

I'm now trying to see if I can remember all my Payson Park teachers:

Miss Fitton (K); Miss Hope Bennett (1st grade); Miss Claire Smith (2nd grade) (who rapped my knuckles once, and who had one eye a different color than the other); Miss Claire Sawyer (3rd grade)(who sent me to the principal for calling John Hanrahan a "dirty Republican" -- don't ask me where that came from, but my saying it obviously offended her down-Maine sensibilities); Mrs. McAuliffe (4th grade), who was younger and left after marrying (because she was pregnant? Would have been the rule in those days);  Miss Marcella McGrath (5th grade); and [here I blank on 6th grade: help, someone!  Was there a Miss Hall?]
From Barbara Hird Grant
I read Janet's E-mail and saw the pictures.  I believe the one with Grace Navarro and Marie Crisafulli was when the Girl Scout troops from Butler, Chenery and Payson Park unified under one troop and Janet's mom was the leader and I believe, Mrs. Strangman
may have been her assistant. 

I truly did not recognize anyone in the first photo and would love to know if Janet remembers where and when it was taken.  The second one which I was in was taken by none other then my brother Ken Hird.

I have a lot of pictures of early Girl Scout and church choir photos and birthdays, etc. all taken by my brother and I also brought some to the Reunion and I know many saw them.

There's one of Miss Fitton's kindergarten class in which you can see Nancy O'Neil, Janet, Phil Martin, Kevin Sheehy, myself and others which I believe I can name, save one,and we are dancing around he Maypole on the lst on May.
From Janet Miller McKee

Joe - I'm attaching a photo, especially for Barbara Hird Grant.  I can't remember if I've sent this before. (It's "new" to me  :-)  :-)  -- JM

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From Barbara Hird Grant
Growing up in Belmont
I have nothing but fond memories of Belmont and all the many friends I knew at the Payson Park and then Jr. and Sr. HIgh School.  I did not know everyone in our class but certainly a good number.

I treasure all the dances, proms, church programs, Rainbow girls,Girl Scout, etc.
I remember laying wreaths on the Veterans graves as a Girl Scout at Belmont Cemetery and marching in many a Memorial Day parade as a G..S. 

I do not remember any particular prejudice against any race, color or creed although as someone said, there were not any African Americans in the system.  However, those who went to the P.P may remember a girl named Wilma who was black.  Steve,do you remember her--or how about you Bob P???  I believe she was just one of the kids
in the class (maybe third grade only???)  I know I felt safe in school and on the last day school each June while at the P.P. a bunch of girls and boys went to the pond behind Hittenger's Orchard on School St.(?) and fished for tadpoles,frogs, turtles, etc. and took snacks and Kool Aid and my mother did not worry about me falling in or getting kidnapped (at least I don't think she did) and we all had a great time playing hide
and seek and just plain having fun.  Does anyone remember that but

Comeon you Payson Parkers, let's hear from you. I thought it great that Marvin was our Pres and being Jewish did not matter, he was a good one.  I certainly don't ever remember kids being sent home for carrying weapons---does anyone????

Perhaps I was just naive,but walking to school was great when it was sunny and warm--from Grove St. to P.P and from Pine St to Jr. High and from Common St. to the Sr. High.   And in the rain and in the snow-- what great snowball fights we had on the way.   I was never bused, but I know that 2 areas in Belmont were because they were too far too walk.

My husband walked from Oxford Ave on the Cambridge line to P.P, Jr and Sr. High in all kinds of weather after doing a paper route BEFORE school with his dog running beside him and him sharing a bag of donuts with the dog.  Ah the memories!!!
Sorry to run on, but I just want to share my thought with everyone.
From Janet Miller McKee

Hello Joe - this from a very wet Dublin.  The rain has been pretty constant here for the past 3 weeks.  My news highlight took place back in mid-June, approximately when the rain started.  I was part of a group of Irish lawn bowlers who went to Wales to represent Ireland in the Women's British Isles Championships.

  The event was hosted by the Llandrindod Wells Bowling Club.  It was a big event in the Ladies lawn bowling world and I was proud to be part of the Irish delegation.  I got to wear the green jersey, sing the anthem Ireland's Call (like the rugby players)and parade around the bowling green - and then I got to play.

Unfortunately our team of 3 (Triples) got knocked out in the preliminary round - we lost to the English team who went on to win not only the Triples Crown, but also the Rinks (team of 4), and the Senior Internationals.  One of my sons termed it the English whitewash.  Nevertheless, it was a great week and being a spectator was almost as much fun as being a player.  A bit more relaxing at least. 

I'm attaching a photo of the British Isles group from Ireland.  I'm in the back row  2nd from the right.  (The other teams were from Scotland, England, Wales, and Jersey) That's my lawn bowling news. 

For knitting news and other miscellaneous bits I'll refer you to my blog:     

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From Joe Mazzei

The combined observations by Rod and Steve caused me to reflect on life in Belmont. I forget what grade I was in at Kendall School. It seems it happened around Halloween. One of our classmates - James Hanflig - was hit by a truck and killed while he was playing in the street near his home.

James was Jewish. But, I can't recall his religion ever being an issue. He was a friend. We had fun playing together. Then, he was gone.

This causes me to wonder. Where does discrimination get taught? I'm not thinking about the subject called Discrimination. I'm thinking about the act of using it. I just do not remember any teacher in the Belmont School system labeling any student by anything other than gender - boy or girl.

Perhaps discrimination is taught on the street. But, who brings it there? It seems that the answer is always the same. For whatever reason, hatred and discriminatory slurs tend to be taught, (overheard), in some homes by children who don't understand the significance of what was spoken and carry it onto the street without a thought about who it hurts. It seems as though discrimination - and hatred - are OK if it makes one better than someone else in some pseudo-ideological way.

We have come a long way to overcome blind hatred in this country in our life span. But, as a world, we have so much further to go. It seems now, "we the people" of the USA are the objects of hatred and discrimination from many other countries in this world. We are labeled as "those Americans". Children in other countries are taught, and grow up with hatred for us without knowing where we are, who we are, or what we do. I'm concerned that they may never learn that acts of hate and discrimination have a "back splash" that will bring them down, as well as their global neighbors.

From Steve Wasby
Rod McElroy commented on Bob Piccariello's remarks about discrimination against Italians, and observed that it was unusual to see a black skin in Belmont in those days. I can remember when Charlie Meyers had as a guest speaker in his Problems of Democracy class (have I got the coursename right?) one of the members of the Massachusetts Human Relations Committee, who was African-American. Some of us thought that had Charlie asked for permission, he might have encountered "difficulty."

To continue this thread, I would add that by the time I was in high school, there seemed to be very little anti-Semitism. (I don't remember any at Payson Park Elementary, either,  and the teachers gave me "equal time" at Chanukah (to explain the holiday).  As I remember, our high school class had about 15 Jewish students (myself included [NOTE: I am long lapsed]) by the time we graduated, the number having increased with the addition of some people who moved to town in the tenth grade or after. (There was a Hillel House, but the Temple did not come to Belmont until after we graduated.) And one can point to Marv Zonis being president of our class as evidence that "religion didn't matter." 

What did happen, I think, was that being Jewish made one "different," and in high school --more so in junior high-- being "different" can leave one not well regarded.

It should be realized that in the early 1940s, when we all were in elementary school, the discrimination against Jews was more obvious. My mother regularly told the story that, when she and my father were looking to buy a house in Belmont, real estate agents would thank her for telling them she was Jewish "because there are places we cannot show you." (If any of you remember "Gentleman's Agreement," with Gregory Peck, it was about religious restrictive covenants used to keep Jews out of suburbs.)
From Joe Mazzei
Robert Piccariello sent in his web address: . You can get to it by clicking on the link above - www. quest....  Or, you will find it on our home page under Links of Interest. Nice work Robert, on the book and the web site.
From Fred Merk
(Upon checking in with Fred, and sharing computer woes, some good news sprouted. I think we could use some. Don't you? - JM) read on...

Zoe 1st chp0057h Cropped RDM's repair reworked by FBM    72.jpg (225009 bytes)

During the time of my computer problems something nice happened....the  birth of our 4th Grandchild.  Zoe was born prematurely at 34 weeks in Atlanta GA. Laura and I visited the new Mom        (mother and daughter are doing fine). Zoe spent two weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit but is home now and is thriving.  I took the attached photo while Zoe was still in the NICU and my son (also a computer Guru) was able to digitally remove the ugly nasogastric feeding tube in her nose with Photoshop.
From Flora Silvagni Pennino
Yes, I do remember walking to school with Betty Doane, Andrea, Carol Brine, Louise Frizzell and others.

It was so long ago.  I even remember grammar school and playing with Betty on Clyde St.  We used to play school together at each others houses.  Carol Geggis lived across the street from Betty.  There were so many wonderful memories growing up in Belmont and Betty was part of those memories.   My prayers are with her family.
From Rod McElroy
I just read Robert's blog.  Fascinating!  Interesting and quite revealing that Bob and his family suffered the indignities of bigotry in lily-white Belmont.  Your forwarding it to the classmates is very timely in that I am reading A Murder in Belmont right now.  (My younger brother sent it to me, having listened to the book via books on tape.)  I can imagine how strange it must have been to see a Negro in Belmont in 1963.  Maumee, OH, a suberb of Toledo, is pretty lily white, so when we first brought our foster sons to our home 16 years or so ago I thought there might be an eye brow or two raised.  If there were, "it was done behind closed doors".

On another note, my younger son just left yesterday to take his St. Ursula Academy Varsity 8 rowing team to the Women's Henley Regatta at Henley-on-Thames, England - almost 49 years to the day that his old man raced at the Henley Royal Regatta.  (My invitation to go along must have got lost in the mail!)  The gentleman, who was the stroke of the boat I rowed in, lives in London and with any luck he and my son will hoist one or two for the 49th anniversary of one regatta and the birthday of another.  Good stuff.
From Robert Picariello
I Thought you might want to check out my new blog. It isn't fully completed yet, but my first blurb is in it. 
(To get to Robert's blog, just click on this: What an outstanding auto-bio! JM)
From Barbara Hird Grant
Condolences to spouses of Gail Knight Coburn and Betty Bjork.  The latter was a real shocker.

On the lighter side I have a new granddaughter born 5/9/07 and weighing in at 5 lbs 15 oz. Her name is Kathleen Jean Rosemarie Grant and her father is my youngest son, Scott who lives with me and now his girlfriend is with us too along with the  "little peanut" who is a doll.

On Sat. June 9 I spent several hours with Dorothy Luke Spivey and her husband Olin who live in Stillwater, Oka.  Their daughter who lives in Natick drove them up to Leominster and we had a great time catching  up on our high school and college classmates.  Dorothy and I were very close friends in Jr. and Sr. High and we both went to and graduated from Simmons College.  My son and I visited her in Oka. in 2002 when we went by Amtrak to CA. and stopped in OK..  Dorothy also went to visit with Judy Games Wilson in Belmont on the 7th.  She is heading back to OK Tuesday.  It was great to see her and we had a great supper.
From Kathleen Hennesey Stohl
No news is not good news, and things happen too fast at our age. Betty Bjork is really a surprise to me, because she has been so active it seems to me.

I continue to enjoy our class news--and congratulate Bob Picariello on his book--sounds like a good read, and maybe one I will share with my oldest granddaughter. She loves science fiction. I have made a point of reading what my grandchildren are reading, and I find what they read to be interesting and often challenging, and a relief from the nonfiction I usually read. I have found that reading the same books and listening and talking about what they address with the children is a wonderful way to build a relationship not based on just on my role as Grandma, but each of us as a person. With my oldest grandchild, I recently read "Dave at Night," met the author and read her book for children about writing is magic by Gail Carson Levine. She certainly set my granddaughter alive with ideas of publishing now! She wants to be a writer. Grandparents can make a difference.

Marv Zonis's publications are also of interest to me, and I thank him for sharing them with us.

My best wishes to all. Attached are my notes from one of Ms. Hornsby's classes--no wonder she made a difference in our lives!
(See Kathleen's notes at the bottom of this page)
From Rob Yacubian
Betty Doane Bjork passed on this morning at Maine Medical Center according to her husband, Al.  A celebration of her life will be held at some future time.

From Joe Mazzei
I had put a request out for Betty's email address because recent email notices were coming back stating that Betty's email address no longer existed. Rob responded with the sad news above.

The messages below include comments from you thus far:

From Janet Miller McKee
That is sad news indeed.  I'm very very sorry to hear of Betty's passing.  My sympathy to her family.

From Steve Wasby
I would hope that Rob would notify you (and through you, the list) as soon as the celebration of her life is set.    I so enjoyed working with her on plans for the Reunion; their house was a nice place at which to have meetings.

From Andrea Kazanjian Pogarian
Today Rob Yacubian called and told me that our dear friend, Betty Doane Bjork, died after a prolonged illness.   She was one of the first friends I made when I moved from Watertown to Belmont in the seventh grade.  We used to walk to the junior high school together along with Louise Frizzell, Carol Brian and Flora Silvagni.   

We also kept in touch for over fifty years.  We had a co-ed informal group in high school that we dubbed “Group Street” and had plans to all retire together to the same nursing home (the precursor of ‘assisted living’). 

Needless to say her death makes the fiftieth reunion of BHS more poignant and cherished than ever. 

Life goes on, but not the same.

 Andrea Kazanjian Pogarian

From Carolyn Whitford Scott
Bev Gram Farrell lost her husband, Jay, this spring, after a long struggle with lung disease. Jay was the oldest son of Dr. Malcolm Farrell, who was the Director of Fernald School on Trapelo Road in Waltham. Bev and Jay attended the Belmont Methodist Church and were known to many in the Waltham/Belmont area.

Mary Jayne (Proesch) and Bob Kolouch are in Maine for another summer. They will return to West Virginia in October.Carolyn (Whitford) and Jack Scott begin another camping season in northern Maine.

Carolyn continues her position as Organist and Director of Music at the Alfred Parish Church in Alfred, ME.

06/12/07 From Barbara Hird Grant
My sympathy to Bev Graham Farrell on the loss of her husband, Jay. I knew him and his brother as they attended the Belmont Methodist Church along with Bob Kolouch,his wife Mary Jane, Phil Martin, Lee Tirrell, Stan Brown and others I may have left out but only because I could not think of them  at this moment in time.
From Mort O'Connor
(Note: Mort sent me an email concerning the passing of Gail Knight Coburn. It has been almost one year since Gail died. But a loss is a loss, no matter how much later we become aware. Unfortunately, my computer breakdown further delayed Mort's message. His note below sums up the feelings many of us have who knew Gail. --JM)

Gail and her younger sister, Phyllis were my next door neighbors. I asked Phyllis for something for your site. Gail's son, Doug, sent the attached.

In addition to walking to school down Slade Street and tennis at the PQ playground, there are many good memories as neighbors. After she married Frank Coburn they moved about the country. Their last home was in Seattle Washington, near children and grandchildren.

There was an especially memorable time that we got together. Gail and Frank were
going to be in London just before returning to the states. I was going to London as the first stop on a business sweep through Europe. We arranged to meet on the only overlapping day. Had a great time at lunch in a down town London restaurant catching up. we walked out continuing an animated conversation until we were interrupted by a waiter from the restaurant. running up to us to give me the camera I had left behind.

Gail had gotten through a bout with breast cancer about 15 years ago. Most sadly, it reappeared 18 months ago. I miss her as a friend, neighbor and classmate.

Mort O'Connor

(Please go to our Memorial Page to view Gail's photo and obituary.)

From Robert Picariello

Hi Joe. The
following is the background and synopsis for Quest of the Falcon, an allegory that offers unique answers to two very timely questions foremost in the minds of most of mankind: 

Where is the moral depravity of man leading humanity & How are we going to save ourselves from ourselves?

 I started the book in the early 90's while trying to work myself out of a great personal depression that was ignited by a horrific relationship. Adding fuel to the depression was the plight of innocents throughout the world, i.e. the senseless ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Rwanda as well as the complete moral indifference of people, especially Americans, to the suffering of our neighbors to the south, Haiti. When it became evident to me that no organization or government on Earth is effective in quelling the suffering of mankind I put pen to paper and awarded the task to the human civilization of a distant planet. 

This is the synopsis:

 The people from Cerberus discovered Earth 1600 years before the birth of Christ. Their observations revealed that the moral fiber of Earthlings was decaying rapidly, and they predicted that Earth's civilization would spiral into a holocaust by the year 2050.

 Filled with compassion for the welfare of their fellow humans, Cerberus's government dispatched an expedition consisting of four talented educators. Their mission was explicit: prevent Earth's impending Armageddon by breeding a third generation of Earthlings they could train to become the guardians of Earth.

 In the early 2000's, the great-grandchildren of those alien educators form a federation devoted to protecting innocents and destroying evildoers. Led by William Falcone, the most gifted of all the descendants, this small band of twenty-first-century knights participate in a series of action-packed adventures as they struggle to fulfill their mandate.

 Joe, The book has just come out, but I have polled dozens of Quest readers and these are some of the comments:

"There is something in your book for everyone..."

"I was surprised by the amount of spirituality in your book..."

"I wish your book were true. We need aliens to save us..."

"It would make a great movie."

"Normally I don't like science fiction, but this one held my interest all the way to the end. I loved it."

If anyone would care to read the book, it is in soft cover. You can order it from Barnes & Noble, or my publisher at I hope whoever reads it out there will enjoy and get something from it.
Robert Picariello
(Thanks Robert - I can't help but feel pride for anyone who can hang in there as long as you have to "reach that unreachable star". -- JM)
From Nicole Huss Gastone
I will be on your continent the second half of May, visiting Western Canada.   Hope to make it to the US some time later. All my best to you and Nancy.  It's always such a
pleasure to hear from you.
   (Likewise!! JM)
From Fred Merk

Laura and I are well. We just returned from a 3 week visit to Tahiti (Moorea and Bora Bora) and New Zealand. There we visited a friend and then took a bus tour of North and South Islands......Fabulous! 
In June Laura's daughter Letty expects to present us with our fourth grandchild. Thus Cassy Merk, Jason Frederick Merk and Jennifer Linda Merk will have a new cousin.
From Barbara Hird Grant
I will be a grandmother again in May as my youngest and his girlfriend expect a baby...We will be taking care of it when she goes back to work, so I will see a lot of it.   Do not know sex so I refer to it as it. Mom does not want to know, but I wish I did.

I have reconnected with Sally Strangman (now known as Sarah Michunas) . She lives in Groton, so we get together with her husband for lunch on occasion. She ended up teaching 1st grade, although her first love was sculpturing.  She and I were friends in the old Payson Park along with Nancy O'Neil Eckstein and Nancy Peterson.

I was sorry to hear about Gail Knight.  She was a sweet gal.

Sure you can have all our snow and high winds and freezing cold anytime you want to come and get it. Now we are getting winter whereas other parts of the country already had it.   And look at N.Y. upstate. WOW.  We only got about 6-8" but the ice that formed was really bad for about 24 hrs.

Hope you did not suffer damage although it sounds as if it came very near you. People do not realized that the South does get snow on occasion. My friend lives in Corona, Ca and they actually had a few flurries come down and stay for about an hour and then melt and she couldn't believe it--she is N.E. born and bred.
From Janet Miller McKee
I'm pleased to announce that I have a new grandson.  That makes our 6th grandchild, 2 boys and 4 girls.   Our 3 sons are scattered, each with 2 children.  Seattle, Hartford, and London.  Good excuse to travel except travelling isn't much fun nowadays.  At least the new grandson in London isn't as far away as the grandchildren in the States.
From Al Beardsley
I retired last April and I just bought a new HP Pavilion desktop with Vista to replace my old HP Compaq.   I also signed up with Comcast High speed internet so I can get things done a little faster.  
Best Regards
From Carolyn Whitford Scott
I understand from good friend Bev Gram Farrell that Gail Knight died.
I don't know when and I do not know her last name.

From Joe Mazzei
Wow Fred,
   What a blast from the past. There are some things I'll never forget. If I remember correctly, we were in the 8th grade. All I can remember about that day was being scared to death, and stammering my way through this imaginary football game. I still remember wanting to crawl away to someplace, and hide for the rest of my life. I don't recall being ridiculed by our classmates. This must mean that we really were kinder people back then.
    Perhaps it was 10 years later that I took an Effective Speaking course at NU, and began to hone some oratory skills, which were further supported by various corporate workshops at NE Tel. and AT&T. Thanks much for the input Fred.
From Fred Merk
Hi Joe,
 Happy New year and congratulations on your election to Vice Commander. (I don't quite like the way that sounds!) and Communications Officer. In Nov. '06 I posted a story about Miss Cutting and Mr. Vantura. Here is another one which may be of interest to our class and to you especially since you were a part of it. Several of the teachers including Mr.Moore, Mr. Hamblen and Miss Cutting organized an oratory contest which was held in the auditorium of the old Chenery School. Attached is the list of participants given to me by Miss Cutting and I believe that this is a sample of her handwriting. She gave it to me because I was in her home room and she had urged me to enter. As you can see Sally Strangman came in first place with "The Highwayman" , Susan Parsons second with "Annabel Lee" and I was third with "Friends, Romans,Countrymen Lend me your Ears...." from  Julius Caesar. We were called to Mr. Vantura's office (for a nice reason) and he presented each of us with a book. I remember Sally got a story about horses and my award was about American
Pathfinders. Congratulations Bob Picariello for the acceptance of your novel!! It
seems that Miss Cutting had a positive influence on many of us.


 Mrs. Hornsby’s period one class extended from 8:43 to 9:30 and was primarily discussion. The secretary’s report was read and accepted. We then discussed five sentences on the Board. Grammatically there were correct, but verbose and redundant. The class was given a motto to apply—Say it clearly, say it briefly, and say it once.  

Mr. Bloom continued the discussion on “the Prisoner Chillon.” We concluded that this poem was not realistic and not to be taken completely accepted in rational thought due to the improbabilities. One of these improbable occurrences was the arrival of the bird as a symbol of hope in the dark cell. The result or theme of the poem was the survivor’s faith in God and his gratefulness for all things—big and small. Spiritual loneliness brought this about, because the human mind must have hope, love, and faith for this security to remain. In discussing the characters, we decided that all three had a love of freedom and courage to stand for their convictions. The reasoning behind each was different. The older brother was active physically and mentally, fought the restraints of society. Rather than adapt to society—or in this case imprisonment, he died dejected and beaten. We had considerable discussion of the actual validity of his death under the conditions described in the poem. The younger brother was a quiet, sympathetic young man. He accepted life and everything it brought, by trying to make the best of it for himself. He was full of love for everyone and everything. His health broke and he died, his only regret being that he could not share his peace with his brothers. About the oldest, we know only that he found refuge in God and live to find new freedom and new life. 

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner again was on the theme of faith in God and love of his creations. Mrs. Hornsby discussed this poem with us and her first question, “why the wedding guest was chosen to bear this tale. We decided that the contrast of the tale to the guest’s anticipation of the wedding’s merriments emphasized the tale and its importance. The mariner felt an inner compulsion to tell the story and relive his guilt, but he also wanted to teach others what he had learned by bitter experience.  

The albatross itself is a large bird and its real significance was found in the fact that it was the only living thing they could see, except fish, and therefore they identified it with good luck.  

The actual shooting of the bird seems unexplainable—the only possibilities even mentioned were the thrill, challenge of the crew or insanity. All of these seemed improbable.  

The mystical experiences he then went through were as punishment for this act. We noted the description of the board with Death and Life in Death and their dice game. We gave several living examples of life in death—meaning although physically handicapped, one can live to one’s full capacity and make the most of what one has, or give up. It is up to the person to decide from himself.  

The whole purpose of the poem is expressed in the lines:

“He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.”

Thus the importance of the death of the albatross was that he had killed another living thing. His curse fell off when he blessed all God’s creatures.  

Notice in the style of writing, the use of assonance” This hermit good lives in that wood.

Notice also the correction in the famous saying as found in this poem

“Water, water everywhere
Nor any drop to drink.”

Essays that were rewritten were collected at the end of the period.