Class of `54
Chat `08




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.
December 28, 2008
From Marge Whiting Ahlin
Here's a voice from the past. I am quite retarded regarding computers and e-mail, but have decided I must get with it- so am learning- slow progress - the old dog new tricks syndrome.

I have discovered this chat room and enjoyed reading all the newsy bits about old friends. My husband John (retired Prof-University of Maine)  and I live in Machias, Maine , and spend the winter months in Arroyo, Puerto Rico.

I retired from the real estate business in l996.  I am still busy with local theater group and the University of Maine at Machias Chorale. We have one daughter who lives in Texas.  We hope to leave for P.R. in a few weeks, as after owning our condo for 20 years, we are now hoping to sell this season. We've decided we would rather rent and not have the responsibility of ownership. Anyone interested in a 2-bedroom apt. on the beach??

I am hoping that the plans for a reunion come to fruition. It is such fun to see you all. Can't wait to  read more about  you all.  Happy New Year to all.   
December 26, 2008
From Steve Wasby
My brother reports as follows:
The U.S. News and World Report ranking of the top 100 public high schools in the country has two from Mass. - Boston Latin at 27 and BHS at 100!

Or, as he observes, "Take that, Newton and Brookline."

December 7, 2008
From Joe Mazzei
Good evening from chilly North Carolina. Yes, December (or Compressber) is upon us once again. December is the month in which we schedule more things to do, places to be, etc.. Then comes January, and we try to take a breather from the preceding month. Oh well... there will be no "Bah humbugs" heard from this part of the world. Life is good - compressed or not.

My job as flotilla commander of the US Coast Guard Flotilla in Southport, NC comes to an end in two days. All I can say is, "Wow - we made it!" It was a real busy year. We have 101 members, and a staff of 20 officers who are responsible for everything from verifying aids to navigation to recreational vessel examinations, and all in between. We made it through the year with no major casualties.

While all this went on, we managed to squeeze in some family life, visiting the grand kids in CT and FL, and hosting them when they all came to the beach this July. Life is still good inspite of the fact that our 401K is now something below a 201K. As they say, "You haven't lost a thing if you don't cash out." (Har Har Har).

I hope all of you are getting by as well as possible. Everyone stay well, so we can see each other next September (maybe?)

December 6, 2008
From Lee Tirrell
Life here in Sun City Center, Florida is good.  Certainly the decidedly warmer temperatures are a big plus when compared to our northern home in Burlington, MA.  Yes, Lynn and I continue to make the annual treks to and fro, but those trips also allow visits with two of our sons and families in Virginia (retired Marine Lt. Colonel, Rick) and Don in Atlanta (President of Pattillo Construction Company). 

Lynn (BHS 1953) and I just returned from Las Vegas and a week of Continuing Professional Education.  My CPA practice requires this to keep up to date with all of those IRS changes!   My limited vision, which is termed "legally blind",  has its limitations but the most important things in life are still intact.  The seven grandchildren are a very uplifting part of our lives as is the singing that I still enjoy.  Now, with the Christmas season on the horizon, our church choir is gearing up for a cantata and lots of special Sunday anthems.  I miss playing tennis and golf. 

I would be interested in a 55th reunion, but attendance would depend on the date...September sounds good.

October 24, 2008
From Nancy O'Neil Eckstein
Hi Joe,
Just a note to thank you for all you're doing to help our classmates stay in touch.  Elaine called me a few weeks ago and I told her about the death of Loretta Kadehjian Stephens. 

Lori and I were very close friends from 7th grade on...  We even roomed together while in grad school in Washington, DC.

We were both diagnosed with breast cancer around the same time in 2004.  Hers, however, was advanced and aggressive.  But she fought a good fight...even helped me plan my daughter's wedding on Cape Cod.  She died on April 24, 2006, just 12 days before the wedding.  I think of her a lot... but especially during October (the month we were diagnosed) and breast cancer awareness month.  I miss her dearly!

Elaine mentioned getting together next year.  Hopefully, I will get to go out to Boston for that.
October 21, 2008
From Rod McElroy
My boys (St. John's Jesuit High School crew) had a great race at the Head of the Charles Regatta.  We came in 14th out of 66 boats with a time of 16:07 for the three mile course.  That is the best place and the best time we have ever had.  Definitely a "Wow!"  It is always great fun to return to Nirvana.  It just does something for the soul.  What adds to the emotion of it all is seeing some of my former rowers participate in the regatta for their college or university and to have some already out of college seek me out at Newell Boathouse or on the Lars Anderson Bridge.
October 3, 2008
From Susan Parsons Cramer
Marion Schmitt Ellis tracked me down this week, and I am delighted to  join the BHS online community.  I never heard about any of the reunions, and I assumed that because I did not graduate with the class I was not on any list.  (I spent my senior year in England where my father was teaching.)

I have lived in Amherst MA since 2001.  I spent 30 years in Des Moines, Iowa, where I went to law school and worked in the trust department of a bank.  I have two sons - David, a computer expert who lives in Greenfield, near me, and Jack, a CPA, who lives in Chicago. Jack has a lovely wife and two children, age 10 and 8.  David married   two years ago at the age of 44, and now has a son adopted from Guatemala, who just celebrated his first birthday.  It is wonderful 
having a new grandchild nearby.

I am enjoying retirement and keeping busy with volunteer work in the tax and financial area.  I went to my 50th at Radcliffe last spring  and had a great time.   Sorry I mussed the BHS 50th, but I will definitely come to the 55th.

Reading the postings on this site brought back a lot of memories.  The teachers I remember best were Mrs. Sullivan at Chenery and Mr. Meyers and Miss Steuerwald in high school.  Amazing to think how the world has changed since then.
Blocks.jpg (73640 bytes)

[Susan - Thanks much for "checking in". Welcome aboard. JM]
October 3, 2008
From Marion Schmitt Ellis

OK, so Cookie outed me!!  I have an original of this photo on the collage I made for our 50th.  I remember that I got the role of witch because I could make my long hair into a fright wig effect and I had my grandfather's cane!  But I really can't remember what on earth the project was -- I presume it was a play.  It definitely was in Girl Scouts and had to have been in 7th or 8th grade.  I'm sure Cookie (that's Carolyn, if you don't remember -- one outing deserves another!) has the names right.  Judging from a different picture that is labeled, I think the last person is Lorraine Pizzuto.
October 3, 2008
From Carolyn Whiford Scott

Did you ever get all the names for those in the photo 7/31/07 other than those submitted by Steve Wasby?
I am pretty sure Marion (the wicked witch!) and I could figure out most of them.

Well, here goes re: photo reprinted 7/31/07 JM with red question "who are these people"?  (see Chat 07)

You will have to forgive my spelling. I gave my yearbook to the Belmont Library years ago and am sorry I do not have one now.

This is another Girl Scout project, I think. Marion will need to verify. I am quite behind on my reading. This question may have already been answered anyway.

top row l to r     Connie Hill, Barbara Hird, Nancy O'Neill, Marilyn Weeden, Joan Zorrigan, Marilyn Jester, Sally Strangman, Janet Miller, Martha Driscoll.

center   (wicked witch) Marion Schmitt and beside her Marion Midkiff

bottom row   l to r    Grace Navarro, Nancy Peterson, Lavinia LoCicero, Marie Crisafulli, Carolyn Whitford, not sure
October 2, 2008
From Barbara Spizio Campbell

Hi, going blind reading all the info sent to me, love it.   Marion Schmitt got in touch with me 2 weeks ago here in Phoenix, very surprised to receive the call. 

The very best to you and yours. Thanks,

[Barbara - Our pleasure to hear from you. It looks like our calling team is doing a great job. JM]

September 30, 2008
From Fred Merk
As you can see, success begins to start a chain reaction! As BHS 54 prepares to celebrate its 55th next year, we 'Old Folks' have been celebrating our 50th college reunions. Below is a photo of Rod McElroy, Sergei Snegireff and yours truly at our 50th Harvard reunion.

That is a great photo of Eric and Libia Markus on their 50th wedding anniversary!

Congratulations to you and Nancy as you celebrate your 48th on Myrtle Beach. Have a great time......

(Thanks Fred - You Harvard guys manage to stay in pretty good shape - JM)

    50th Reunion RM,SS,FM.JPG (88507 bytes)

September 30, 2008
From Ron LeBlanc
I thought I would drop you a line to tell one of my activities that keeps me busy.   In the past few years I've taken up ham radio and have established a very good station, with both a horizontal beam and a 30-ft vertical antennas.  The attached photo shows my current equipment configuration.  I also do lawn bowling and perform my poetry a couple of times a month at open mic sessions.  If you go to and enter my call sign W6BLT in the upper left corner (on the air I say, "whiskey six, bacon, lettuce and tomato) you will see my short bio.  Also, a list of my other "character flaws" besides ham radio.

   Me At Flex.jpg (201326 bytes)
(Ron - 73's from W4NQA - Whiskey Four Not Quite Active. For all of you non-hams, 73's is the code for "Best regards") JM

September 30, 2008
From Rod McElroy
Congratulations to my old "cruisin' buddy".
  How well I remember the Ford convertible, shutting off the ignition as we coasted down Clifton Street(or was it Prospect? I am having a senior moment!) a short distance, turning the ignition back on and getting a loud "bang"!  Ah yes, memories of good times!  Cheers, Eric. 
September 29, 2008
Congratulations to Eric and Libia Markus, celebrating 50 years of marriage.
Libia and I celebrated our 50th on August 8th this summer. The real date was the 20th of September 1958 in Maracaibo, Venezuela (We scheduled during the summer vacation so that the families with school children could travel).

Eric and Libia.jpg (46448 bytes)

August 4, 2008
From Nicole Huss Gastone
(Some of you may have received an "I want to be your friend" email allegedly from Nicole. It was caused by a virus that got into her Address Book. We exchanged emails. The following was her latest news. JM)

Dear Joe,
it's good to hear from you again. About this virus, there does not seem to be any damage as far as I can see.  There is only the fact that all my contacts received the same mail that "I wanted to be their friend".

When will all your functions allow you to come to Paris and live it up some?  I am trying to travel as much as possible as long as I can do so and have been in the US in January (East and West Coast), then to Oman, Turkey, south of France and Bali is planned for September.

Please ask our fellow Belmontians for me who will be in France this summer?
All my best to both you and Nancy.

(All I can say is, I agree with Nicole. Do all we can while we can. And have no should have..., could have... regrets. I'll see if I can get Nancy to "live it up" in Paris. JM)
June 19, 2008
From Flora Silvagni Pennino

A belated note, my Mom died on January 3rd at the age of 106.  She was a resident of  Meadow Green Nursing Home in Waltham.  She lived a long and very happy life and will be missed.

Fred has retired for the fifth time.  He was in charge of getting a bank building under construction and also the Bass Rocks Golf Club in Gloucester club house and both of these projects are well on the way to completion so he is taking  the summer to enjoy the beautiful weather and Gloucester.

We have an addition to our family, Lucy a chihuahua puppy she is a lot of fun. We rescued her from the shelter here in Gloucester in January. She keeps all of us on our toes and is sort of spoiled.

Our best wishes to all,
Fred and Flora
May 3, 2008
From Steve Wasby
Ruth Ellen Higginbottom died a couple of weeks ago at age 91. She was the last remaining sibling of  our principal, "Mr. George Higginbottom," and the aunt of our classmate Janet Higginbottom Rice, and our   friend "Buddy" (George), Higginbottom, both of whom live on the Cape full-time.
April 7, 2008
From Janet Miller McKee
Hello Joe - not much to report from Dublin.  Winter is almost over, despite the appearance of a dusting of snow the past couple of mornings. 

About 3 weeks ago I had day surgery to straighten 3 of the toes on my right foot.  I don't know if anyone remembers but I had similar surgery on toe no. 5 on that right foot when I was in high school. 

I had the operation in Mass General and was in the hospital 2 or 3 nights and then on crutches when I got home.  I can remember going on crutches to the Sunday evening youth group meeting at Payson Park Church, but I can't remember how long after that I had to use the crutches. 

Now 3 weeks post-op I am using one crutch.  The doctor told me it would probably be about 6 weeks before I would be dancing again.  I look forward to being more mobile - the most annoying part is not being able to drive.

(Hang in there Janet. We hope you'll be dancing and driving soon, but not at the same time .... :-)  :-)

March 22, 2008
From Barbara Hird Grant
It is nice to see links for Belmont, and the papers, etc.

Very proud that we such intelligent class members who keep us up on current world conditions and write papers and books.

Not much news from my side; just enjoying my beautiful new Grand daughter who is now 10 months. Of course, I also have 2 other Grand daughters (ages 15,13)and a grandson who will be 12 in Sept.

They are my son Doug's children.  He reaches the 1/2 century mark in April.  I had him during my senior years at Simmons so he was our class mascot so to speak.

Stay well, and keep up the great work.   GO SOX

January 28, 2008
From Janet Miller McKee

May I add my thanks to Sue's re your efforts to keep us all informed and up to date with news of our classmates.  And thanks Sue for the reference to Marvin Zonis's article.  That's a lot of reading!  I especially appreciate hearing the views of people I know.  The Irish Times is good for U.S. news and views but it is not enough! 

We have had a busy holiday season.  We were in Seattle for Christmas with our eldest son and his family.  More recently I was over in London saying goodbye to our middle son and his family - they have now moved to Hong Kong.  So our sons are spanning the time zones and we are here in the middle - Hong Kong son 8 hours ahead of GMT and Seattle son 8 hours behind GMT.  Connecticut son somewhere there in the middle also.  Life goes on here in Dublin with a relatively mild winter.  Lots of rain.

Best wishes to all.  Joe, stay away from those pneumonia bugs.

January 14, 2008
From Susan Bliss Alden

Joe, thank you for the time and energy you put in to keep us together.  We had superb snow and went x-c skiing nearly daily for a month, right out our door and into the fields and woods...then a big meltdown.  I even pruned the grapes while it was over 60.
(Susan, Thanks to you and all of you who have sent in the kind words over the past three years. Ordinarily, I don't reprint them. I enjoy doing this and don't want to pat myself on the back. But, this time around I want to respond by thanking you all for hanging in there with me. All my best... J.M.)

Here's a MUST READ by Marvin Zonis, a 16 page summary of world hotspots, players to watch, and possible outcomes.  It reads like a novel but unfortunately it isn't fiction.   Thank you, Marvin, for Elections, Anger and War: Forecasting 2008.  
(Click this link to pick up Marvin's summary)