Class of `54

Chat `18









Yorkshire Coast—12”X24” Oil

 From Joe Mazzei
January 14, 2018
Well… here’s a voice from the—once again—unseasonably cold South. In response to John Keane’s question below. I was curious about the thought that  Biblical scenes all took place in warm weather. Now this may be true. However, could it be that the Scribes had a problem writing in cold weather; so not much was reported, (now that’s a reach…)

Being the curious soul I am, I asked Google for the latitude of Jerusalem, (31.76N), then looked for a latitude close to this in the USA—Savannah, GA (32.08N). Savannah’s winter temps range in the low 40s to high 30s. Cairo, Egypt’s latitude (30.04N) and winter temps (low 50s), with lots of rain.

My imagination has me thinking, in Biblical times, winter may have been ‘hunker down' time; stay warm and dry, make new weapons, sharpen existing weapons. As for the Egyptians, they had to worry about how the Hebrews’ God would beat them this time. Anyway, there’s tons of history written about these times. Also, I tend to agree with John, it would seem that warm to hot weather existed for at least 9 months a year.

To inject a bit of humor, how many remember Jess Caine, a morning DJ on WHDH? After the 6 day war, (June 5—10, 1967), Jess asked a rhetorical question: “How is it the Israelis could win a war in 6 days?” His answer: “The weapons were rented.” (It was funny 50 years ago).

From Fred Merk
January 13, 2018
Hello Joe and Nancy,

After being away from my computer for a while I would like to respond to several recent postings on the BHS ’54 website. I appreciate the positive comment made by our Class Artist John Keane on Jan 2 about my camera. Also I would like to join other classmates in recollections of the Second World War. Rod McElroy’s remembrances of the war lead me to write about mine. I was a bit older than most of our classmates (should have graduated BHS ’53) and have vivid memories of the war.  On Dec 8 1941 I was sitting in Miss Small’s first grade class at Winn Brook School when Miss Burns, the Principal, announced over classroom loud speakers that the United States had just declared war on Japan following bombing of Pearl Harbor the day before. School was then dismissed.  As a 5 year old it was difficult for me to really understand what was going on. We were told that everyone had to help in the ‘War Effort’.  Yes.. we bought 10 cent stamps to lick and stick into War bond booklets. My sister Katharine (Katie) BHS ’50 taught me how to knit.  For a Church project the children were provided balls of yarn and our assignment was to make 6X6” squares. These would then be sewn together by adults to make blankets for our soldiers. How many GIs in the field were kept warm knowing that American kids were doing their part to help.  Another memory (painful) involved my friend and our BHS ’54 classmate Eric Markus. At home his parents normally spoke German. However when Eric’s friends were in the house, he would be very upset that his parents were speaking “the language of the Enemy” in front of them.

 We kids from Belmont Hill were bused to school.  Our driver, Mr. Fogarty, was a kindly gentleman...well  liked by his young passengers. Suddenly he became very sullen and quiet.  We soon found out why... his son had just been killed in action. With parental help we prepared a hand- made sympathy card which was signed by all of us. It was presented to him one day just before he opened the door to let us out. It was disconcerting for me to see this man uncontrollably crying as we exited the bus for school. Like Rod McElroy’s Dad my father was also an Air Raid Warden. When the sirens would start we had to draw blinds and turn off lights and remain at the top of the cellar stairs. He would leave the house and join other wardens in the street. The fearful mood set by wailing sirens and my Dad leaving the house made an unforgettable impression on me. Would some evil Nazi jump out of the woods and kill him?  During the war my father was Chair of the History Dept. at Harvard. He had become friends with a departmental assistant who was a Navajo Indian. One day he said that he had to leave Harvard to do “something very dangerous” in the Pacific. The mystery as to why... was frequently discussed at home. As it turned out… Navajo Indians were being recruited to serve in the war against Japan as ‘Code Talkers’. The Navajo language seemed to be the perfect option as a code because it is not written and very few people who aren’t of Navajo origin can speak or understand it.  The Code Talkers were in dangerous front lines of battle transmitting tactical information over radio. Fortunately he survived the war.

Another memory of great fear involved a beloved uncle. All we knew was that he was in California awaiting orders to be shipped overseas. My parents speculated that most likely he would be involved in the invasion of the Japanese Mainland…a bloody battle to be sure!  We had already lost another family member during the ‘Battle of the Bulge’ in Europe the previous year…and now this!

 Upon return home my Uncle told an incredible story. The troop ship departed San Diego on August 3 1945. On August 6 and 9 the United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan while his ship was still in mid Pacific. On Aug 15 the Japanese agreed to surrender.  The troop ship was ordered to turn around and come home!

My remembrances of WW II will end with an emotional experience I had about 20 years ago. My wife and I were in Pearl Harbor on the deck of the USS Missouri. We could look ashore and see the building over the underwater Memorial for the USS Arizona…sunk on that dreadful day Dec 7 1941. The Memorial represents the start of WW ll. On September 2  1945 the formal Treaty of peace was signed on the exact spot where we were standing and it represents the War’s end….
Best Regards,

From John Keane
January 8, 2018
Hi Joe,
t sounds like you and others are doing ok with the erratic weather.That is good.
Last week as I was standing in a foot of snow with the wind howling and the temp at four degrees,I had an odd-ball thought.....picturing all the biblical scenes, both Old and New Testament, and realizing they all are in warm weather.......Hmmm...There must be some humorous and respectful comments that could apply here?  Classmates ,any thoughts ?

From Ward Elliott
January 7, 2018
Stay warm for sure!  It’s 70 degrees and partly cloudy in Southern California today.  We’re a month into the rainy season with barely a hint of rain.  Great for walking around in T-shirts and shorts, not so great if it means the drought is back.  But here’s the California shocker that no one has noticed:  Harvard School of Public Health study announced last week estimates national early deaths from smog these days are 30,000 a year, 20,000 from fine particulate matter, 10,000 from ozone.  LA air basin has 5-6% of US population and probably has an average share of the PM deaths, 5-6%.  But its ozone levels, though 2/3 lower than when I arrived 50 years ago, are still among the worst in the land.  Best-guess estimates say almost a quarter of the combined 30,000 deaths are probably right here in the Basin, which would be 7,200 a year.  Backcast that 7,200  50 years to a population half the size of today’s, and starting with 3 times as much smog, and I come out with a cumulative 50-year death toll of 429,000 on my watch, a bit more than all US military deaths in WW2.  Who knew?  I need to check this out with the big boys who wrote the two leading smog-death studies to make sure I haven’t somehow added a decimal or two, but it sounds like a rather high price to pay for escaping Boston’s harsh winters.

On a more cheerful note, I notice in the Harvard Magazine a report from another Harvard alum that Rod McElroy was inducted into the “Man for Others Hall of Fame” of the St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio, for coaching the SJJ crew for 20 years.  Who knew?  Way to go, Rod!  The word is out.  Hope you’re still on the water when the weather is good.  Lake Erie?  Maumee River?  I’ve been off flatwater rivers for 50 years but remember my calm, majestic, canoeable Eastern rivers with great fondness. 

From Kathleen (Hennesy) Stoll
January 3, 2018

We are suffering not only from the cold, but lake effect snow here in Cleveland. and my son drove through it all from Cleveland to Chicago yesterday. My daughter in Washington DC was also safe. She teaches chemistry at Georgetown and her husband is a survivor so far at the EPA, He is a lawyer, no a scientist--that helps. Kathleen. -

From Mona (McLellan) Calthorpe
January 3, 2018
OMG there is snow in Tallahassee, Fl. today and the water fountains are freezing! I am further south near Bradenton & it was 52 here today & I put my heat up to 74!,

Haha but you know what- it won’t last long & hopefully we’ll be back to normal in a few days.  I was out today & had the seat warmers on in my car and for the first time in 13 years, had the heat on in my car! Yes I know, it’s a tough life!

(Under the heading of “snow in Tallahassee”, my son lives there and works for the State of Florida. He said that things were so bad in the area that they closed I-10 for a 10 mile stretch from the Tallahassee US-219 interchange 10 miles eastward. There were lots of accidents in that stretch. They also closed the flyover—what we called an overpass– over I-10 because there were lots of accidents on that US-219 bridge. Yep! Bridges do freeze before roads. JM)

From Rod McElroy
January 3, 2017
Wishing all the classmates a safe and healthy 2018.  2017 was a good year for the McElroy clan.  As far as 1943 is concerned (or any of the war years) I remember dad serving as an air raid warden walking though the neighborhood with his white steel "official" helmet on, mother folding bandages somewhere, next door neighbor's two sons going off to fight, and coming back intact, being very careful about installing the blackout boards in the basement windows and shutting off all the lights from the ground floor up when the air raid siren sounded, pinching ration stamps (I found a book of them just the other day), mixing the yellow dye with the margarine so that it "looked" like butter, crushing tin (not aluminum) cans, saving tin (not aluminum) foil, watching the "Movietone" news at the theater in Harvard Square and on New Year's Day when the whole family went to a Disney or Abbott and Costello movie in Boston (The latter may not have occurred until 1 January 1946, the more I think about rationing et al.)

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

From John Keane
January 2, 2017
Very nice shot of the beach and frozen foam. The abstracts in your composition relate really well, so you definitely have a feel for photography. You , Fred Merk, and Joe M. should keep us connected with your gems.

From John Keane
January 2, 2017
I continue to be amazed at what you have constructed , with access to different years, and a variety web sites that are of so much interest and easy to connect to. One could spend a whole day perusing around. It is an important gift to all our classmates.
Many Thanks,

From Caroly (Whitford) Scott
January 1, 2018
It was 22 BELOW ZERO this morning! 

From Harley Anderson
January 1, 2018
Thanks Joe for the update.  It is Cold  .-3   at the present time here in Hollis, NH. (@ 9:00 PM)

From Harley Anderson
January 1, 2018

May it be a year of good health with God blessing for you and your family.

Harley & Carole

From John Keane
January 1, 2018
Happy New Year Joe,
The continued snow and cold weather created a need for some greenery and summer air. Classmates in warmer climates are hopefully enjoying their winter season in shorts.
Best wishes to all for a good year of 2018.

Old Shooting Lodge—John Keane

Happy New Year—2018