Donnie's Updates

March 2019 - special update

MORE info. RE Dave Theiss et al. [sent March 16, 2019]

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You sure can still dance like you did 40 years ago when we were in high school,” said Dave Theiss upon complimenting my solo dance performance earlier that night at our 40-year class reunion in 2006. .He gently wrapped his arm around me and roared with laughter when I told him that my mother always told me that I was dancing when I was still in diapers

-- Donnie Martinez

In the 2006 booklet for the 40-year reunion attended by Davehe wrote the following when asked what was the craziest thing he did in high school:

While my summer job was at the snack bar for the swimming pool at Ft. Carson, the military lifeguards allowed me to bring groups of friends to swim (skinny dip) at night. One night in the summer of 1965, about seventeen (17) of our Widefield Class of 1966 finest male specimens were a bit too loud, a bit too naked, a bit too late at night and caught the attention of the military night guards on the adjacent parade ground. What followed is pure folklore.”

In that same booklet, Dave wrote that the death of my father in 1975 was the event that had the most impact on his life since graduation. When asked about the high-school class and teachers who influenced him the mostDave listed Glenn Driscoll(Assistant Principal and Counselor) and Speech class with Miss CzarneckiWhen asked to name his favorite song in the year we graduated in 1966, he wrote: Good Lovin by The Rascals.

When classmates were asked in early 2016 updates to express their interest in attending the 50-year reunion that yearDave Theiss was listed in the March 2016 update among the classmates who were interested in the reunionDespite his interest at this time three years ago, he was not able to attend the 50-year reunion after all.

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FEEDBACK from readers includes the below-listed entries that were submitted in response to information contained in previous updates.

Donnie, thanks for the update on Dave Theiss. He was a good person and a kind man. I know he will be greatly missed by his family. I also appreciate your interview with Warren Knight [March 2019 update about Flash Cadillac]. It was very good and insightful. I appreciate all you do for our class.

-- Mick Martin, Class of 1966

I'm saddened to learn of Dave's passing. Dave was one of the good guys in our class at WHS. Thank you for the news [January 2019 update] about the deaths of Charla McAlexander and our teacher Mrs. Adams. While I didn’t know Charla well, I did know her McAlexander family. In his later years, my Dad walked every day to the Kwik Inn to meet Mr. and MrsMcAlexander. Every week when I talked to Dad, he mentioned his meetings with the McAlexander parents. One of my biggest disappointments as an adult happened a few years back when I was walking with my Dad, we stopped by Mrs. Adams home. She knew Dad wellbut she had no memory of me. How is it possible that my favorite teacher could not remember me? Now I realize I was only one of several thousand students who passed through her classes. My dear God now has two of my favorite people in his arms.

-- Doug Allen, Class of 1966

 I always liked and respected Dave.

-- Mary Ashley Fuchsman, Class of 1966

I remember how Daves favorite group was the Beach Boys. He told some funny stories at our 40th reunion concerning skinny dipping at Ft. Carson and a bunch of them getting caught.

-- Bruce McAlexander, Class of 1966

Donnie, thank you for your email and informing of the sad news of Dave Theiss' passing. My son, Yael, and I did indeed link up with Dave in Clear Lake, Iowa following your putting me in touch with him. Yael had never met him before and I had not seen Dave since May 1967 when we graduated from the US Military Academy Prep School, then at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. Dave and I played on the football team there in the Fall of '66. As you pointed out, he went on to the Merchant Marine Academy and I went on to the Naval Academy in AnnapolisIn the end, neither of us made careers out of the military. Dave graciously gave us a tour of his business and the Surf Ballroom [historic rock and roll landmark in Clear Lake, Iowa] where "the music" died early one morning in Feb '59 when Buddy HollyThe Big Bopper, and Richie Valens died in a plane crash not long after singing their final songs. Dave has a booth at the Surf and I had hoped to visit him again there, but alas that is not to be..We also had dinner with Dave and his wife Patti on that trip Dave was a fine friend in 1966/67 and when we saw him last September, he still retained his welcoming nature. We are very sorry to see him go. All the best to you, your family, and the rest of your class.

-- Steve Wade, friend and former football teammate

Donnie, you probably don't remember me but I remember you and wanted to let you know that I really appreciate you keeping us updated on the happenings with our class and our classmates. So sorry to hear we are losing so many. Also thank you, Paul Snell, for managing our website.

-- Deanna “Dee” Scott VanGoethen, Class of 1966

[Note from Donnie to Dee:  Even though we have not seen each other since high school, please know that I do remember you when we were at WHS. I still remember your kind demeanor and warm smile whenever you acknowledged me.]

Thank you, Donnie, for letting us know about Dave’s deathI remember that he played on the football team at WHS, and it didn’t surprise me to read that he was such an active member of his community. I was surprised to read [March 2019 update about Flash Cadillac and Warren Knight] that you had taken dance lessons as a child and that you had performed at the Fine Arts Center. Wow! But then you have always been an amazing dancer and taught all of us the latest dance steps. 

-- Barbara Garrison, Class of 1966

Donnie, thanks for reminding me of your early ballet and tap dancing. And, how wonderful it was for you having a grandfather and two uncles playing guitars and singing Mexican songs. Was there any Mexican dancing to them with the family? How limber are you these days? I think we should all insist that you make a video showing us your moves, the splits and the others. It would be a riot for all!! What an interview [March 2019 update] you did with Warren Knight!! You nailed it!!

-- Cheryl Minehart Belt, Class of 1966

[Note from Donnie to Cheryl:  Indeed, there was Mexican dancing by me and the other kids in our family when our grandfather and two uncles played guitars and sang Mexican songs to us. Is this old man limber nowadays? Not like I was as a little boyThe only modern-day video of me dancing was the one in the May 2016 update sent to the 200+ people on our confidential email list.]

Our "family" of the Widefield class of 1966 is just learning of the passing of our beloved classmate Dave Theiss. Although I can only speak for myself, I'm sure I represent the entire class of 1966 and anyone who had the privilege of knowing him and his family. Coach Theiss was an inspiration to his athletes. MrsTheiss was an inspiration to her journalism students. I was one of her students for 4 years and often thought I should have told Dave how much she influenced my life. Dave was always top shelf. He lived his life always with integrity and love. Our hearts go out to his family. Please just know he was loved and respected by those of us who knew him.

-- Barbara Billingsley Massarano, Class of 1966

Posted on the funeral home’s online guest book

[Note from Donnie:  Barbara was the assistant editor and Ken Loveless was the editor of our high school newspaper for which Mrs. Theiss was the faculty sponsor.]

Our thoughts and prayers to his family. He was quite a character and my best friend. Too many great memories to share. I'll remember his gritty sense of humor and his determination to excel at whatever the task. Will pray the Lord will give the family and friends comfort in the days ahead.

-- Tom Nigbur, Class of 1966 (Tom’s wife Drinda was WHS Class of 1967)

Posted on the funeral home’s online guest book RE Dave Theiss

 

 RE: December 2018 update on the death of Linda Brown (Class of 1966) and not knowing the cause of the 1974 death of her sister Marlene Brown (Class of 1967).

Marlene passed away from a traffic accident. If I remember correctly it was on Fontaine Blvd. and Metropolitan Drive in Widefield. She was close friends with my sister Vickie. It was quite a shock at the time. I worked with Marlene at Farmers Insurance Company right after I was married, and my husband and Marlenes husband Jerry Frazee were in Vietnam. Jerry was in the Seabees, and my husband was in the Army.

-- Shirley Guinta Tafoya, Class of 1966

 

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March 2019

 UPDATE  MARCH 2019

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THE 50-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of FLASH CADILLAC will be celebrated with a performance on Saturday, April 20, 7:30 p.m., at the Fine Arts Center located at 30 West Dale Street in Colorado Springs. The nationally-renowned Flash Cadillac performing artists (one of whom is our Class of 1966 Committee member Warren Knight) have been playing traditional rock n roll since 1969Posted on our class website since mid-Februarythe event will be in a theater that holds only 400 people and tickets will likely sell out quickly. The admission is $40 per person, and all seats must be reserved in advance via online ticketingTo select a specific seat in one of the three sections of the seating chart and to buy tickets, click here!

Although Flash Cadillacs 50-year anniversary will be observed on April 20Warren notes that the bands first paid performance took place 50 years ago on March 7 at a Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) function sponsored by an SAE fraternity house in BoulderPointing out that the band earned $100 and all the beer they could drinkWarren estimates that the frat-boy entrepreneurs” (Warren’s words,not mine) cleared over $300 by charging $1.00 admission for each of at least 500 attendees and buying a couple of beer kegs for $50 or less at the FAC event.

Upon learning that the Fine Arts Center was the venue for the upcoming Flash Cadillac performanceI instantly reflected back to my own childhood performance at the Fine Arts Center. ,While a little boy growing up in Colorado Springs my Mexican American grandfather and two uncles used to play the guitars and sing Mexican songs to me and my young cousins. Mexican dances were the first type of dances that I learned to do. Upon becoming fascinated with the Russian ballet dancers performing on black-and-white TV in the early 1950s, I told my mother that I wanted to learn ballet. With tips made from the Mexican bar where my mother always worked, I took ballet and tap-dance lessons at Mary Ruth Dance Studio and performed with my fellow dancers in a few recitals at the Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs. Ballet made me so limber to enable me to do complete leg splits, back flips and front flips along with walking on my hands. Our classmate Bruce McAlexander vividly recalls to this day how amazed he was to see me perched on the school playground with my legs wrapped around my neck when we first met in our childhood years in Security.

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YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED to a gathering of the WHS Class of 1966 on Saturday, April 20, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at Poor Richard’s Restaurant (PRR) located at 324 North Tejon in Colorado Springs. The gathering will precede the above-described performance by Flash Cadillac at the Fine Arts Centerwhich is a few blocks away from PRR. If people do not want to gather at PRR and have another venue to meet for a meal that evening, by all means make the suggestionIf you do not plan to attend the Flash Cadillac performance and still want to join us for a meal, that certainly is fine. Please RSVP via email to:

WHSclass1966@Yahoo.com

Our events (meals, reunions, etc.) are always open to people from all WHS classes of the 1960sso please know that you are welcome even if you did not graduate with us.

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AN INTERVIEW with WARREN KNIGHT was recently conducted by meAlthough I have been overwhelmed by a flurry of nonstop activity related to a few situations that showed up in my life at the same time from January 1 through the present, only recently did I have a little extra time to circle back to Warren about the upcoming historically-significant performanceThe full text of the interview is enclosed below immediately after my sign-off section.

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COLORADO COLLEGE and the FINE ARTS CENTER began a formal alliance after it was approved by the boards of both institutions in August 2016. Following outreach that included listening sessions and a web-based comment process, the Strategic Planning Committee charged subcommittees to continue reaching out to identify strategic themes, goals, and initiatives to develop as the center and the college integrate their programs. Each subcommittee held community listening and small-group sessions to seek input. In all, the five committees held 40 meetings; and more than 800 comments were gatheredThe Strategic Planning Committee used the reports to produce one overall planFollowing another round of community feedback, the Oversight Committee adopted the plan in June 2017On July 1, 2017the center formally became the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado CollegeA four-year transition entailed focus on the museum in 2017, the art school in 2018 and the performing arts in 2019.

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TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and has been maintained since April 2009 by our Class Committee member and Webmaster, Paul Snellplease go to: www.1966whs.com

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This update was prepared by me.

 Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

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 INTERVIEW with WARREN KNIGHT by Donnie Martinez

Donnie: With Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids as the bands original name, when and why was the Continental Kids part eventually dropped?

Warren: “The Continental Kids were dropped from the name in 1976.   The name Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids was created in 1969 as an intentional throwback, modeled along the lines of classic band names in the early traditional rock format, such as Dion and the Belmonts, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Joey Dee and the Starliters, etc. It was a great name for us and stood out as descriptive, quite catchy and very memorable. However, following the release of American Grafitti in the spring of 1973 (our screen name was Herby and the Heartbeats) and the films subsequent enormous nationwide popularity, many Holiday Inn lounge bands were swept up in the fad to change their band names to Skid Mark and the Victims (or similar) and play oldies. We felt that the uniqueness and originality of the pioneering Flash and the Kids name was becoming diluted by association with all the groups jumping onto the Graffiti band wagon. So we made the decision to drop the Kids and proceeded as simply Flash Cadillac.

 DonnieA brief online bio noted that your bands name originated with a guy named Hughey Plumley, who enjoyed creating names for bands while he socialized at Boulder’s well-known café bar called The Sink. Tell us more about him. Was he a friend or acquaintance of yours or other band members? Did he play an active role with your band or any of the other bands that he named? Was he considered the founding father of your band or other bands? Besides his creativity with names of bands, was he a visual artist or performing artist on any level?

Warren: Hughey Plumley was a musician from Grand Junction who met Harold Fielden (our founding drummer) sometime after arriving in Boulder.  He did not play any role in our band (was by no means a founding father). I wouldnt know of any activity or performance history he may have had with any other bands. His first rendition of the name was Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kits in reference to the trunk-mounted spare tire storage assembly on the Lincoln Continental; we personalized it into the “Kids.” So in the spring of 1969, Hughey had a name but no band and we had a band but no name, so we stole his name for our band. My older brother Brianwho was a CU law school freshman at the time, personally drove the paperwork to the state capital in Denver to register the name as a service mark.

DonnieAs someone who was a dancer and music lover ever since learning Mexican dances and ballet long before moving to Security where you and I were grade-school kids and later on teenagers, I always perceived you as very academic and I never pegged you as a music-oriented person back then in the 1950s clear up through our high school years in the mid-1960s. Was my perception of you correct or did you secretly have a love of music and the performing arts all of our childhood and teen years together in Security?

Warren: Your outward perception of me from grade school on as an academic was only partially correct. I was actually both a student and an athlete: Bruce McAlexander and I were starting guards on our sixth-grade basketball team (the Bullfrogs) at North Elementary; I played intramural football and basketball at Sproul Junior High and freshman football at WHS, then varsity tennis, basketball and baseball. But there was also some artistic expression along the wayIn sixth grade at North Elementary, Ron Petty and I split the role of Pinocchio in the fall drama production (he and I were about the same size back then). In about ninth grade, I joined the choir at Good Shepherd EUB Church and enjoyed learning how to sing baritone and bass parts sitting next to Art Olson (my father Ralph would sometimes join us  he was a choir singer and clarinetist in his high school days in south Denver).  In addition, in our senior year at Widefield I was recruited by Mrs.Coffee to join the Choralaires madrigal group. And all the while, from 1957 on, I loved listening to and singing along to early rock on the radio, and later to album artists such as the Kingston Trio, Beach Boys, Beatles, Byrds, etc.  When I quit the WHS basketball team as a senior in the fall of 1965, I bought my first instrument – a used acoustic guitar – from Barry Thompson (or Larry Hazlett?) and taught myself to play in the afternoons after school. So the love of music and the performing arts was always there but was late in developing.   

DonnieWhen you and other band members moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s to get a break in the music scene there, was it really a place of who you know, not what you know like many performing artists encountered for many decades?

Warren: Id say yes. In February of 1970, after a memorable and wildly successful open-mic type free audition on a Monday night in Hollywood at the Troubador, we signed with a personal manager. So we dropped out of college at CU and moved to Los Angeles in March of 1970. That first manager revealed himself to be a crook, and we then signed with a legitimate manager in L.A. that summer. The who you know aspect came into play in 1972, when George Lucas was preparing for the movie American Graffiti. As it turned out, his casting director Fred Roos had been in that audition audience at the Troubador two years earlier, still remembered Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids, and recommended us to Lucas. We did a personal private audition in Hollywood for Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola (George’s mentor), filmed Graffiti in the fall of 72 at Mt. Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, CA and the rest is history.”

DonnieDuring your 50 years as a performing artist with Flash Cadillac, did you ever consider leaving the group? If so, why? If not, what factors kept you with the group for such a long time?

Warren: Only oncein September of 2001 following Sam McFadins unexpected death from a heart attack. Flash had lost Linn Phillips (Spike) to a heart attack at age 45 in 1993 and Kris Moe had retired from performing in 1996, battling ALS. So we had been a four-piece band for five years when we lost Sam just ten days before 9-11. After two months, with Dwights and Thumpers support, I decided to continue on a trial basis in order to perform some orchestra pops shows that were still on the books for the spring of 2002. We added Rocky and Tim to replace Sam,the pops concerts went well, and we moved ahead as "keepers of the flame."

DonnieWith the 1950s and 1960s music scene having an R&B component that was predominantly African American and the rock-and-roll component that was predominantly white, was that a coincidence or a reflection of the racial dynamics in that era? Which ways did both musical genres overlap?

Warren: Id say it was certainly a reflection of racial dynamics, but as a lover of traditional rock and roll, I loved and accepted both -- Clyde McPhatter and Buddy Holly; Ray Charles and Bobby Darin; Sam Cooke and Neil Sedaka; etc. The genres overlapped whenever good songs were recorded by talented artists.

DonnieWith the media periodically reporting on avid fans who travel all over the country to follow their respective favorite bands, does Flash Cadillac have loyal followers who go wherever you go?

Warren:  Not so much now, because were playing so infrequently and mostly just in Colorado.  Back in the day, fans would travel regionally to catch up to us.  For this special 50th, weve got fans/dear friends/family coming in from Arizona,California, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, Washington.

DonnieWhat is your absolute favorite oldies but goodies song from the era of the 1950s through the early 1960s?

Warren: Can’t really answer that one, Donnie – don’t have an absolute favorite.Even if I came up with a list of 30, or 50 or 100, I’d probably feel I was leaving something out.

DonnieWhat was the most unusual offer to Flash Cadillac from an individual or business entity? Was the offer accepted or rejected?

Warren: I suppose one of the most unusual offers was from Francis Coppola to fly to the Philippines to film Apocalypse Now. We acceptedAs it turned out we had to make two ten-day tripsfirst attempt in May 1976 was aborted by two pre-season typhoons and we all came back with amoebic dysentery; second trip in December 1976 was successful.

DonnieIf you looked in the so-called crystal ball, what do you see for the future of Flash Cadillac and similar performing artists who specialize in oldies music?

Warren: My crystal ball would show me a dissolution of Flash Cadillac in the fairly near future, owing to the fact that when Ive had enough, Ill end it.  Still love playing traditional rock n roll, but a 50-year career is plenty. Other artists may want to keep going; I expect therell be an element of demand as long as there are some baby boomers alive who bought records in the 50s and 60s.

DonnieWith the current year 2019 being the focus of the performing arts as part of the Fine Arts Center and Colorado College alliance that formally occurred only two years ago, do you feel honored that Flash Cadillac was selected as part of their focus on the performing arts this year?

Warren: Yes, I feel honored. Professionally speaking, Flash Cadillac, as Colorado Music Hall of Fame inductees in 2012, is certainly among the Fine Artists that they could present. On a personal and sentimental level, Im excited to be celebrating Flashs 50th in my home town, as it were, and on the Colorado College campus just two blocks from Armstrong Hall where my mom, Jean Knight, worked for so many years in the 70s and the 80s as receptionist in the admissions office[I could have attended CC tuition free, but at that time I was too busy running around the country playing rock and roll.]

DonnieHow are the pre-event ticket sales coming along? Is the event already close to being sold out?

Warren: Ticket sales are going quite well, according to Scott Levy, Performing Arts Director at the CSFAC [Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center]. Weve sold out the $50 VIP tickets and have only about 200 tickets remaining six weeks before the event. 

DonnieIs there anything else you want to add?

Warren: Three things: (1) I appreciate your insightful questions concerning the career and history of Flash Cadillac; (2) I always wished I could dance as well as you and Tom Shepherd at the junior high parties and dancesand, (3) The Bird Is the Word! (Trashmen, 1963).

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January 2019

OUR CLASSMATE Bruce McAlexander’s sister CHARLA passed away peacefully at home on January 1, 2019The funeral will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 10, at Pikes Peak Christian Church located at 4955 Bradley Road (about four blocks East of Main Street and Bradley Road) in Security. Founded in 1956, the church met in a small house on Morningside Drive and later built its first facility on land purchased on Aspen drive. In 2001 the church moved to the Bradley Road location, where it has been located to this day.

 

Born January 25, 1951, in Kansas, Charla McAlexander and her family moved to Security in 1956 when she was five years oldShe was raised in Security in the 1950s and the 1960s until she graduated from Widefield High School (WHS) in 1969. Although Bruce was the biological big brother of Charla, I was one of a few guys who had a big brother connection to Charla. She always was the little sister I would have liked to have when I was growing up in Security. I am the youngest of eight children, so I never knew what it was like to have younger siblings.

 

Charla was always fond of telling the story when she and I were in our teen years (she was 13, I was 16) when she wanted to learn how to kissTelling me that kissing was boring with boys her ageshe wanted to know if there was more to kissing than two people pecking their puckered lips. When I replied that kissing definitely could be more sensual than puckered lipsshe asked if I could show her what that was likeAfter our two-minute kissshe said she would never forget that technique and vowed to never again use the simple puckered-lips version used by boys her ageBy the time Charla and her classmate Joe Vallone (son of the Vallone Bakery owners in Security) began going steadyCharla taught him the kissing technique she learned from me. If I was running for public office in modern times, my candidacy probably would be destroyed if Charla disclosed the kissing technique she learned from me when we were teenagers in Security.

 

Charla married Larry Phair with whom they had two children, Lance Phair and Crystal (Crissy) Phair. She remarried in later years to Eric Bogren.

 

A few days before Charla died, I shared with Bruce a brief dream that I had a week beforeIn the dream, Charla and I were among several strangers walking around inside a brightly-lit cave when Charla walked up to a ledge far above the rest of us and she began waving to the rest of us who were standing on the cave’s dirt floor. Given that Charla was confined to a wheelchair the last eight months of her life, it was a bit strange that she was walking in my dream and she walked up to a ledge that was far above the rest of us. While dream analysts would have something to say about the symbolism of the bizarre dream, in retrospect it was Charla waving goodbye to me.

 

On the same day that Charla recently passed away on New Year’s Daylongtime family friend Sheryl Salmon Pyle (WHS Class of 1965) wrote the following:

My sister Darla and Charla were friends their whole life and I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not know the McAlexander family. TodayCharla went to meet her mom and dad and her BFF (Best Friend Forever) Darla in Heaven. Charla suffered greatly the past year as cancer returned to her body. Soon after she saw Darla for the last time, she lost her ability to walk and her husband and family did everything in their power to make the end of her life sweet. Please pray for this family as they have lost this beautiful woman. We have shed quite a few tears the past few months and some more today.”

 

Charlas husband Eric Bogren recently wrote: “Charla fought a long hard battle trying to beat a horrific cancer cell. Her treatments in Mexico did give her several more months to enjoy family and friends. If you recall, [in April 2018] the oncologist gave her only one month to liveI want to thank all of you for all the prayers for Charla. She is now at home with the Lord.”

 

In addition to being survived by her husband Eric, Charla is survived by her adult children Lance Phair and Crystal Phair Enriquez, her brother Bruce, her sister Claudiaand several grandchildren.

 

Please join me in extending condolences to the McAlexander family. For people who are unable to attend the funeral, condolences can be extended via email to our class website OR this email box and we will transmit them to the family. If you want to send an actual card via postal mail, address it to:

McAlexander

801 Hallam Ave.

Colorado Springs CO 80911

 

Please be sure to check our class website periodically for updates about the funeral. To access our class website, go to:

www.1966whs.com

 

Attached in JPEG format is a photo of Charla from the photo collection of family friend Sheryl Salmon Pyle.

 

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OUR LONGTIME TEACHER ALMA ADAMS passed away on December 23, 2018, in Colorado Springs. Known to many of us as Mrs. Adams when we were at WHS in the 1960sAlma Harris was born in March 1932 in Kansas and became Adams through marriage in 1954 when she was 22. In 1960 she and her family moved to Security, where Mrs. Adams lived the past 58 yearsThe teacher who taught English classes to many of us, Mrs. Adams continued her teaching career at WHS clear up to 1995 at which time she retired. After retirement, gardening and cats became her passions and she traveled to Europe and many parts of the U.S. She was preceded in death by her husband Van, who passed away in 1986. Mrs. Adams is survived by her son Todd and her daughter Holly, who was Mrs. Adams caregiver at the Adams family home in SecurityShe is also survived by her sister Hazel Skinner, brother Harvey Harrisgrandchildren as well as several nieces and nephewsMrs. Adams was interred next to her husband Van at Shrine of Remembrance in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

 

As someone whose first language was SpanishI learned English at public school in Colorado Springs before moving to Security with my stepdad and Spanish-speaking mother circa 1957It was not until high school with Mrs. Adams that I truly learned the intricate details of the English languageand it was only from her that I was fully able to hone English speaking and writing skills.

 

At the time of our 45-year class reunion in 2011, our classmates Bruce McAlexander and Barbara Billingsley Massarano paid a visit to Mrs. Adams at the Adams family home in Security.

 

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Respectfully submitted,

 

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

 

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December 2018

UPDATE  DECEMBER 2018

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OUR CLASSMATE BARBARA GARRISON and her spouse Brian recently became official Texans after being longtime residents of Pennsylvania for 23 yearsThey sold their Pennsylvania home about six months ago and have been on a journey in their Recreational Vehicle (RV), staying in campgrounds of national parks and other public spaces upon traveling all over the U.S. (and a small area of eastern Canada).Because their drivers licenses and vehicle annual inspections are due for renewal in Pennsylvania the first few months of 2019they decided not to be residents there anymore and sought a different state to be their new residenceTheir online research revealed that there are only three states (South Dakota, Florida, Texas) that are most friendly to people residing as a full-time RVer. Their research also found that,in addition to being RV-friendly, those three states have NO personal income tax.Upon deciding on Texasthey were required to take certain actions  get a mailing service for RVers, register to vote, obtain a library card, set up a bank account,patronize Texas businesses, file their Wills in Texas, obtain vehicle inspection and registration  to show evidence of their intent to live in TexasOnce they became official Texans, they were then free to get back to their RV lifestyle traveling all over the U.SThey recently joined an RV club, which has its national headquarters in Texas and which is devoted specifically to the well-being of people in the RV lifestyleAs part of being Texans living in the RVBarbara and Brian have been amazed at the large number of roadside trucks whose owners sell meals of all typesWith so many roadside trucks that are food-oriented, there is no need to hunt for a café or diner while traveling in Texas.

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OUR CLASSMATE RICHARD HOFFMAN reached age 70 in April this year,according to his email note sent to this WHS email boxNoting that his wife also turned 70 in early 2018, Rich said that their adult children sent them on a round-trip cruise from South Carolina (where Rich and his wife live) to the Bahamas as a gift for the 70th birthday. Considering the frigid temperatures in Colorado this month (December)the Bahamas sure would be a welcome relief right now

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OUR CLASSMATE LINDA BROWN was the focus of a recent inquiry from our classmate Cheryl Minehart Beltwho said, I wonder what ever happened to Linda Brown.”  According to the online archive kept in this WHS email boxLinda’s youngest sister Nancy Brown (WHS Class of 1970) sent an email note in December 2012 to state that Linda passed away from brain cancer in 1994Shortly after Nancy notified us about Lindas death, our webmaster Paul Snell added Lindas name to the ever-growing alphabetical list at the top of the In Memoriam page on the class website.

Linda Brown's sister, Marlene Brown (WHS Class of 1967) also is deceased. Marlene was the girlfriend of Jerry Frazee when we were in high school, and they were married for a few years after they graduated from WHS. Jerry Frazee re-married to Connie Hanson (WHS Class of 1967), and both Jerry and Connie were at our 45-year reunion event held in July 2011. According to the aforementioned email note from the youngest sister Nancy Brown, Marlene died in 1974. Based on that year as the date of death, Marlene would have been around the young age of 25 years old and there was no mention about the cause of death. While our classmate Linda Brown was relatively introvert despite being a very nice person, her sister Marlene had an opposite personality in that she was extrovert and more active in school activities (including being a pompom girl).

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TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and has been maintained since April 2009 by our Class Committee member and Webmaster, Paul Snellplease go to: www.1966whs.com

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OUR CLASSMATE Dave Larsen’s brother SAM passed away from cancer on October 10, 2018, in Pennsylvania at age 71Born February 3, 1947Sam spent most of his childhood and teen years in Colorado Springs and graduated from WHS in 1965Quite the academic achiever, he was in the National Honor Society all four years at WHS. In addition to knowing his own classmates in the Class of 1965, Sam knew several people in our Class of 1966. After high school, Sam served his country in the U.S. Navy for a total of 30 years, part of which was during the U.S. war in VietnamDuring his naval career, Sam eventually became a chaplain and retired in the rank of CommanderSam is the author of the 2014 book titled Gripped by a Global God: One Greater Than Jonah. A celebration of Sams life was held in early November 2018 in Pennsylvania.

To watch the 3-minute slide show that Sams brother Dave Larsen put together as a tribute to Sam, please go to our above-listed class website to see the announcement on the home page with directions how to view the video (with the Righteous Brothers1965 slow song Unchained Melody as a backdrop) directly on our website.

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OUR CLASSMATE Phil Martin’s brother RALPH passed away on September 8, 2018, in Colorado SpringsAccording to the public obituary, Ralph was born June 7,1951, in Kentucky and began working construction at the age of 14. He was in the WHS Class of 1969Ralph worked for GE Johnson Construction Company from which he eventually retired after 29 years of serviceHe was preceded in death by his father Calaway Penn Martin, his mother Marceline Martin Bane, and his brother Steven Bane. In addition to being survived by his brother PhilRalph is survived by his wife Gail Hinson Martin (with whom Ralph was married for 48 years)daughter Michell and son Brandon, stepsister Marinatwo grandchildren, one great grandchildand his companion pet EmilioThe memorial service was held on September 14,2018 at Evergreen Funeral Home in Colorado Springs.

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This update was prepared by me.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

a/k/a Butch, family nickname since childhood

a/k/a Don, presumably the adult version of Donnie

a/k/a Primo (Cousin) to dozens of my Martinez cousins

a/k/a Frank to older women saying I look like their idol Frank Sinatra

a/k/a Dee Dee, a fun name used by people to mean Dear Donnie

I don’t care what people call me, just call me.

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Aug. Social Event

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED to a social gathering of the WHS Class of 1966 on TuesdaySeptember 11, 1:00 p.m., at Crystal Park Cantina located at 178 Crystal Park Road in Manitou Springs.

Mexican hamburger for the gringo,” said our classmate Bruce McAlexander upon referring to himself and what he wants to eat at the Crystal Park Cantina, which specializes in Mexican food.

Our events (luncheons, reunions, etc.) are always open to people from all WHS classes of the 1960s, so please know that you are welcome even if you did not graduate with us.

So that the restaurant can make advance plans to put all attendees together, please RSVP no later than Sunday, September 9, to Bruce at (719) 685-1420 or via email at LeviMcAlexander1@Gmail.com

At this time 60 years ago, many of our classmates were getting ready to start our new school year at North Security Elementary SchoolAt this time 50 years ago, some of our classmates were getting ready to start their third year of college. Some of our classmates were in their third year of marriage or making wedding plansSome of our classmates were on the battle fields due to the U.S. war in Vietnam. Some of our classmates were still trying to figure out what they wanted to do with their respective lives.

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August 2018

UPDATE  AUGUST 2018

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 All WHS classes from the 1960s, 1970s and BEYOND are invited to attend a Rock ‘N Roll Dance Party/Concert on SaturdaySeptember 8, 7:30 p.m. at Western Jubilee Warehouse Theatre located at 433 East Cucharras Street in downtown Colorado SpringsSponsored by the WHS Class of 1968 as part of their 50-year reunion taking place that weekend, the event will feature the nationally renowned Flash Cadillac performing artists (one of whom is our Class of 1966 Committee member Warren Knight) who have been playing traditional rock n roll since 1969The admission is $45 for one person and $80 for a coupleMake checks payable to “WHS Reunion Fund” and mail to:

WHS Reunion Fund

c/o Sue Anderson

4575 Bell Flower Drive

Colorado Springs CO 80917

 Along with your checkplease include the name (s) of the people covered by the amount of your check. All names will be added to a list of attendees, who will be checked in at the door on the night of the eventThe doors will open at 6:30 p.mand Flash Cadillac will perform the first of their two sets starting at 7:30 p.m.

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EIGHTH GRADE is the topic and title of the new movie currently showing at theaters. Although it is rated R because of a brief scene that verbally refers to doing the nasty and because the f word is used a few times by a few teen characters, the film definitely is not about a romp in the hay. Using real-life teenaged actresses and actors instead of people in their 20s playing the roles of teens, the film is billed as a comedy despite almost all audience members (including me) not laughing on the night of my attendance at the theater.

The protagonist is Kayla, who is selected as Most Quiet among the various awards appropriately called “Superlatives (best athlete, most popular, prettiest eyesetc.) presented to students in their last week of 8th grade before summer begins and they prepare to start their first year of high school. Although quiet and shy at school and simultaneously displaying a bubbly persona on her YouTube channel, Kayla slightly steps out of her shell upon developing a crush on the 8th-grade boy who wins the Prettiest Eyes award.

It is noteworthy that the plot is set in modern times with cell phones and other modern technology used by young teens, but the personal and interpersonal dynamics are not much different from the early 1960s when we were in junior high schoolThe well-done film captures the mixed personality traits (awkward, doubtfulanxious, insecure, confused, uncertain, shy, curious, indecisive, uncomfortable) common to students in their early teens while in junior high school. One of the most touching scenes is a prolonged monologue delivered by Kayla’s single father, who raised her on his own.

Upon watching the film, I fondly reflected on our classmate Patti Kueck passing around a slam book that was popular during our years at Sproul Junior High School in Security. A journal of classmates opinions of one another, the slam book contained a sign-in page on which participants entered their names next to a specific number. Participants then used those assigned numbers to correspond to their remarks about classmates and topics listed throughout the slam bookMany years ago Patti gave me the original of her 8th grade slam bookwhich was on display at our 40-year reunion and which has been preserved by me as one of several historical documents from our school years in the era of the 1960s.

The film also prompted me to reflect on our classmate Bruce McAlexander always being fond of telling the junior-high story about the time I ended up in the after-school detention room (termed by Bruce as our introduction to prison) strictly supervised by Mr. Chambers (uncle of our classmate Terry Chambers) for several weeks after showing several guys a Polaroid photo of a nude female classmate, who selected me to show the photo to our classmate Joe Good as she had a crush on him.For the juicy details of that incident, see the July 2008 article titled Sproul on the Bruce’s Updates page of our class website OR see my article titled Fondly Remembering Our Classmates Joe and Jean on the In Memoriam page of our class website.

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 A 1960s HIGH SCHOOL BULLY recently APOLOGIZED to the victims, who were tormented by the bully and his accomplices all the way from grade school through their senior year in high school. It took 60 years after the bullying started in grade school for the bully to finally come forward and ask the victims (two sisters) to forgive him, as revealed during a live show with broadcast journalist Robin Young on National Public Radio (NPR) in May 2018[Due to not having a TV by choice, I listen to NPR programs on an almost daily basis on my old-fashioned General Electric radio.]

The nonstop harassment included shunning the two sisters — at school and on the school bus — by calling them names and refusing to sit next to them. When the sisters walked down the school’s halls, the bully and his friends would jump against the wall until the sisters passed and then laugh at them. I was just sort of following the crowd because it was the thing to do,” said the former bully on the NPR show.

As for the two outcast sisters who endured the bullying from grade school through high school, they buried their hurt feelings and never reported the situation to anyone in their family or to school officials. Day after day, year after year, the two victims would go home from school and just stay by themselves in their own little world.

I think it impacted in the way that it’s hard for me to make friends today,” said one of the sisters on the NPR show. “Its hard for me to get close to somebody. I feel like I don’t belong. Even today I feel this way.”

As one example of the isolation that faced the two victims, one of them showed her senior yearbook to the former bully during their meeting this yearStill in brand-new conditionthe yearbook did not have any signature or well wishes — not even one — from any of her classmates. There were some very difficult moments when we were talking, and this is one of them,” said the saddened former bully.

Acknowledging his guilt and feeling remorseful, ashamed and disgusted with his behavior long ago, the former bully carefully planned his remarks to issue an apology.Before he could deliver his remarks, the two sisters beat him to the punch by telling him that they forgave him.

 If we can make a difference in somebody’s life with this story, it’s been worth all of the effort,” proclaimed the former bully on the NPR show.

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TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and has been maintained since April 2009 by our Class Committee member and Webmaster, Paul Snellplease go to: www.1966whs.com

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OUR CLASSMATE Bruce McAlexander’s sister CHARLA has been facing serious health challenges the past four monthsToward the end of July, their oldest sister Claudia did a public post to announce that Charla (WHS Class of 1969) has become paralyzed on the lower half of her body. Three days later, Charlas husband provided more detailed information that is listed below.

Hello to all of Charla's prayer warriors. This is Eric, Charla's husband. She has not been healthy enough to update her last post due to her current condition. She wanted me to help her update all her prayer warriors on what is going on with her. In the middle of June, Charla started losing control of her legs. By June 21st, Charla was paralyzed from her rib cage down. She decided to call Hospice to come and help with her paralysis and not knowing how long she would live she thought this was the best thing to do. Their goal is to comfort a person at their end of life. My goal is very different than theirs. I am trying to save Charla from this terrible cancer. We are not sure whether her paralysis is caused by the full brain radiation or the brain cancer itself. Traditional medicine almost killed her after four full brain radiation treatments. They wanted to do ten treatments. The doctor told us if we didn't do any more treatments, she would be gone in a month. Her last treatment was April 20th. All ten treatments would only give her four months. I told him we elected to discontinue his radiation treatments. I took Charla to Mexico to do immune cell therapy. New Hope Hospital [located in Mexico in the city of San Luis Rio Colorado] first did numerous treatments to build Charla's immune system. They then removed 350 grams of blood, purified it, added a growth factor and incubated the cells overnight. This created millions of her own white cells.This was done twice. A few days before we left they removed from her hip bone morrow. The bone morrow was inspected and the next day seven hundred million stem cells were put back in her body. She has more stem cells than any of us. The attack white cells Charla has go right to the tumors and they along with the stem cells kill the cancer. This will continue until the middle of October. God willingwe will see a miracle and she will live. Charla is very strong and positive. She loves you all and she asks for continued prayers to help us.

Please join me in keeping Charla in thoughts and prayersOnline messages can be sent to her via Facebook (Charla Ann Bogren)If you are like me and are not part of Facebookcards and letters can be sent to her via postal mail at the address listed below.

Attn.: Charla

c/o McAlexander family

801 Hallam Ave.

Colorado Springs CO 80911

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 FEEDBACK FROM READERS includes the below-listed entries that were submitted in response to information contained in previous updates.

Donnie, thank you so much for sending information [July 2018 update] to everyone about Helena Spagnolini. Sorry I didn’t get to talk to you by phone, but I’m glad you got the information from Linda Nolin Weber and Bruce McAlexander. Here’s hoping you have some better days [with your health] and hope we can all get together for lunch sometime soon.

-- Lydia Romero Fine, Class of 1966

 Don, thank you for keeping me in the loop. Even though I did not spend all my years at Widefield, I did enjoy my classmates and the school

-- Donna Williams Humphrey, Class of 1966

Thanks, Donnie, for sending along this memory [mid-1960s booklet] of our classmates and their writings. Interesting and fun to read what was written then. I agree with Barbara Garrison (May 2018 update) that you are the glue that keeps us connected.Facebook is fine, but you keep us up to date on people and issues we share but which can be found no other place for most of us. Thanks so much.

-- Dean Otey, Class of 1966

 Donnie, thanks for the wonderfully written tribute (February 2018 update) to Rod Gilliland. It was interesting to learn a little more about him that I was unaware of when I lived in Security. When my parents and I came to the area in 1962 we moved into a house on Ponderosa Dr. (525). The house that abutted ours in the back was Rod’s. In the remaining 4 years there, I never once had any interaction with him or his family and really had no contact with him at school. But since I was a newcomer to the established group of Security kids, I sort of didn’t fit in very well and because of shyness never made much of a try. Sad. Your tribute helps me realize so clearly how easy it is to glide through life just missing people who whoosh by so closely with no actual contact. It is important to connect or to at least make an attempt! Hope your health has stabilized.Incidentally, Rod’s birthday was the day after mine! Yep70 is coming right up!

-- Larry Hazlett, Class of 1966 

 Don, as always, thanks for the updates. I appreciate all you do for each us. Stay well!

-- Mick Martin, Class of 1966

 Donnie, you are so generous to share with us [Class of 68] your recollections of our own classmates, as well as your Class of 66. I so appreciate your taking the time to do this, and especially loved your recollections of growing up with Frankie and Yolanda Lopez – and hitchhiking to see The Beatles! Wow! I am sad to learn that Frankies life ended in a violent way. I had not heard of the death of Larry Chavez [Class of 68], so was glad you included your info on his life and death. I remembered Larrys brother Greg Chavez [Class of 65] died in Vietnam. When Warren [my brother] visited me when I lived in D.C. years ago, we found Gregs name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall on the Mall. He died in 1970. Sad. Thank you for your communications and gregarious nature  it seems that Frankie had it right [about you being gregarious].

-- Carol Knight, Class of 1968

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 PEOPLE COMING FROM OUT of STATE to the Class of 1968 reunion event probably will do some type of sightseeing while visiting in Colorado. If you want something different beyond the usual landmarks (Seven Falls, Garden of the Gods, Cave of the Winds, Royal Gorge, etc.), you might consider a one-day roundtrip train ride in a little-known area hidden away in southern Colorado. Built in 1880 and almost unchanged since it was built, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TSR) is the highest and longest coal-firedsteam-operated, narrow-gauge railroad in the U.S.

The C&TSR train operates from June 1 to October 15 each year and departs daily at 10:00 a.m. for the 120-mile round trip between Antonito, Colorado, and Chama, New Mexico. [Antonito is an old-fashioned small town three hours from and 180 miles south of Security.] Through flat ground, hillsmountainsforests, curves, steep declines, the edges of a river and an old-fashioned rock tunnel, the train ride is stunning. At one curve, the loop is so tight that the train seems almost folded in half as it heads towards El Paso Cumbres (Cumbres Pass). With an elevation of 10,000 feet, El Paso Cumbres is the highest pass reached by rail in the U.S. All train passengers have access to the open-air observation platform (gondola), which provides unobstructed views and photo opportunities of the colorful mountainous landscape and the abundant wildlife (bears,elk, horses, deer and numerous species of birds) all along the train route.

The C&TSR train-ride fare is $99 per adult for a reserved coach seat. Lunch is included in the ticket priceA 25% discount is available (only between June 1 and September 2) to people who have an I.D. showing a valid address in Colorado Springs. For more information on the train ride, call 1-888-286-2737 or check it out online at www.CumbresToltec.com

 The Spanish word Cumbres means Peaks or Summits in English. The word Toltec refers to the indigenous American Indians whose empire flourished from the 10th century until it collapsed under the invasion of the Aztec Indians in the 12th century.

According to the written record about the history of my Martinez family in the geographic area of the C&TSR train ride, in 1876 two of my ancestors were in a horse-drawn wagon that left the family farm in Antonito, Colorado, and crossed Cumbres Pass to settle at Rio Navajo just across the border in northern New Mexico. The following year in 1877, they moved down the canyon to an area that one of my ancestors named "Agua Dulce" (Sweet Water) because of the sweet taste of the waterThe "Agua" (Water) part of the name was later dropped and the town name of Dulce remains to this day. My ancestors homesteaded this area by 1887, at which time the U.S. Government chose the site of Dulce as the headquarters for the Jicarilla Apache Indians who were natives of the nearby area long before the U.S. was a country.Brought to the newly-formed town of Dulce were Indians who were poor, sick and destitute, and my ancestors provided them medical assistance and home remedies. My family ancestors always maintained friendly relations with the indigenous Apache Indians, some of whom later became blood related to our family. Many of my Martinez ancestors are buried in the family cemetery in Dulce, which is down the road from Chama to which the above-mentioned C&TSR train goes. Our family had been in that same geographic area (northern New Mexico and Antonito) for many generations dating back to 1780, long before the area became part of the U.S. with the end of the U.S.-Mexican War in 1848. Our family left that northern New Mexico area in the 1940s as part of a big migration of Mexican American families who moved to Colorado Springs in search of a better way of life. The move was a transition from several generations of a monocultural rural way of life to a multicultural urban setting. In Colorado Springs our family settled with other Mexican American families in the Conejos district, which was called the "Mexican part of town" in those years. Circa 1957 I moved from Colorado Springs with my mother and stepdad to relocate a few miles south to a newly-formed subdivision called Security.

 

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This update was prepared by me.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

a/k/a Butch, family nickname since childhood

a/k/a Don, presumably the adult version of Donnie

a/k/a Primo (Cousin) to dozens of my Martinez cousins

a/k/a Frank to older women saying I look like their idol Frank Sinatra

a/k/a Dee Dee, a fun name used by people to mean Dear Donnie

 

I don’t care what people call me, just call me.

 

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July 2018

UPDATE  JULY 2018

 

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OUR CLASSMATE HELENA SPAGNOLINI has ended up in a nursing home as a result of being disabled. Her situation was recently conveyed to our classmate Lydia Romero Fine by Helena’s sister Arleen, who thinks that cards or letters would really help to lift Helenas spirits and brighten her days.

 

Anyone who has known somebody whose disability reached the point of nursing-home care knows that the transition oftentimes can be vast and awful for someone who has been mostly independent all of his or her life. The transition can lead directly to the type of loneliness that Arleen has described as facing Helena in her current situation.

 

As an independent person all of my life, my greatest fear always has been the likelihood of my health deteriorating to the point of having to rely on other people to take care of me. Although I can still live on my own despite my health challengeslurking in my mind is the unpleasant thought of totally losing my independence in the event of health deterioration.

 

Helena, her parents and siblings moved to Security circa 1959Helena was with many of us all through junior high and high school clear up until graduation at WHS. I remember her always being a very nice person with a warm smile despite being shy and not very talkative.

 

Please join me in sending a card or letter to HelenaEven if you did not know her personally, it would greatly lift her spirits to hear from you. It takes only a few minutes to send well wishes, which can mean a lot to our classmate who has reached a point in her life of being in a confined environment.

 

Helena Spagnolini 

c/o Arleen Spagnolini 

15620 North 25th Ave. Apt. H103

Phoenix AZ 85023

 

A photo of Helena can be found in the S section of the alphabetical list of senior photos that were emailed to everyone one year ago in July 2017.

 

Many thanks to Lydia for bringing Helenas situation to the attention of our classmates. Thanks are also extended to our classmates Bruce McAlexander and Linda Nolin Weber for using the email method to convey Lydias messages to me.With me having only an old-fashioned landline phone that does not have the long-distance feature and Lydia not having an email address or online access, people probably can imagine the communication difficulty that arose between Lydia and me. With two people living outside modern technology, the terminology communication gap certainly takes on a different connotation that could be the subject of a skit on Saturday Night LiveI thought about using the old-fashioned method of smoke signals to get through to Lydia, but fortunately Bruce and Linda were kind enough to act as liaisons through their use of the modern-day method of online communication.

 

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TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and has been maintained since April 2009 by our Class Committee member and Webmaster, Paul Snell,please go to: www.1966whs.com

 

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PLEASE do not TAKE IT PERSONALLY if you do not hear from me right away.As a volunteer in several nonprofit entities, I have only so much time within which to do my volunteer work as well as tend to my health challenges and other aspects of my personal life. Delays in my replies, in particular, are due to my long sleeping hours during which there is total relief from my neurological illness for which there is no cure. It is now thirteen (13) years that I have had massive nerve damage.With this neurological illness continuing to take center stage in my life each day,there cannot be very much so-called normal or routine activities on my part as long as a state of normalcy has not been returned to my life. As noted in my update in July 2013, another reason for delays in my replies is that I have been “slowing down” more and more since late 2012  it takes me forever to get something done.My doctors attribute the slowness to me getting older, not the neurological illness.

 

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This update was prepared by me.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

a/k/a Butch, family nickname since childhood

a/k/a Don, presumably the adult version of Donnie

a/k/a Primo (Cousin) to dozens of my Martinez cousins

a/k/a Frank to older women saying I look like their idol Frank Sinatra

a/k/a Dee Dee, a fun name used by people to mean Dear Donnie

 

I don’t care what people call me, just call me.

 

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June 2018

OUR CLASSMATE Ron Petty’s wife DARLA passed away in Colorado Springs on Thursday, June 7, 2018The memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday,June 16, at Pikes Peak Christian Church located at 4955 Bradley Road (about four blocks East of Main Street and Bradley Road) in Security. Founded in 1956, the church met in a small house on Morningside Drive and later built its first facility on land purchased on Aspen Drive. In 2001 the church moved to the Bradley Road location,where it has been located to this day.


Born November 24, 1951, in Corpus Christi, Texas, Darla Kay Salmon was raised in Security in the 1950s and the 1960s until she graduated from Widefield High School (WHS) in 1969. Once married, Ron and Darla Petty lived in Texas for many years. They and their three children moved back to Security in 1988. In 1999, Darla and her two sisters (Sheryl and Merrie Ellen) organized a reunion for people who graduated from WHS over a 40-year period from 1959 through 1999. Called a sock hop and held in the WHS gym, the event was successful with 175 people in attendance.


Attached in JPEG format is a photo of Darla and Ron at their wedding in the early 1970s.

 

I knew this news was imminent but it is, nonetheless, so very difficult to read and to accept,” wrote our classmate Vickie Hawes LessaShe went on to add: “Ron and Darla have been so heavy on my mind.  My thoughts of them and the accompanying sorrow have been unending. Please help take care of Ron. He will be in such a fragile state and will need a lot support from his friends and loved ones. It is very, very lonely when you lose the love of your life. Sending more prayers their way.”

 

Vickie's words say it all and I couldn't say it better,” wrote our classmate Gillie Walker.“Please keep us updated. For some of us, Bruce and Donnie are our only source.”

 

Always thanks of appreciation to Bruce and Don for keeping us updated on things,” wrote our classmate Rhonda Richards Shamburger. Have been praying for Darla and Ron and family for some time now. Have had Darla in my thoughts all day today. God bless her for putting up such a fight.”

 

In addition to being survived by her husband Ron Petty, Darla is survived by their children Matthew Petty (age 42), Philip Petty (age 37), Emily Petty Campbell (age 34),Darla’s two sisters (Sheryl Salmon Pyle and Merrie Ellen Salmon ODonnell), and Darla’s father Tom Salmon (owner of the trash-collection business, which he started in Security in the 1950s and which still exists albeit operated nowadays by his daughter Sheryl and her husband Joe Pyle)Darla was preceded in death by her mother Darleen Salmon, who passed away in 2003.

 

Please join me in extending condolences to the Petty and Salmon families. To respect their privacy, their street addresses will not be stated in this update nor will their addresses be posted on our website that is accessible to anyone in the public. For people who are unable to attend the funeral, condolences can be extended via email to our class website OR this email box and we will provide hard copies to the family.Because Darla always was the only one who handled the email address for her and Ron, it won’t do any good to contact him directly via email as he never has done online communications. If you want to send an actual card via postal mail, address it to:

Petty + Salmon

c/o McAlexander

801 Hallam Ave.

Colorado Springs CO 80911

 

Another online option is to express your condolence or share a memory via the funeral home. To sign in through Facebook OR your email address, click here!

 

Please be sure to check our class website periodically for updates about the funeral. To access our class website, go to:

www.1966whs.com

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

 

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February 2018

UPDATE  FEBRUARY 2018

 

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OUR CLASSMATE ROD GILLILAND recently passed away in Kansas, where he resided for many yearsOur classmate Denese Clark Bigelow had been a longtime friend of Rod, and four months ago (October 2017) was the last time she visited Rod at his home in Kansas. A very friendly and nice guy, he was with many of us from grade school through high school in Security. When we were youngsters at Sproul Junior High, Rod was the second boyfriend of our classmate Della Romero. She was the first girlfriend I ever had. She and I were in 4th or 5th grade at North Security Elementary School when we went steady. I bought her a ring at Simms Grocery Store, where her father worked, and Della proudly wore the ring on a chain around her neck. Throughout the time she and Rod were together in junior high and part of high school, Della and I remained good friends and had many good laughs.

 

Rod was one of many of our classmates who were featured in the “slam book” that was popular when we were in junior high and high school in Security. A journal of classmates' opinions of one another, the slam book contained a sign-in page on which participants entered their names next to a specific number. Participants then used those assigned numbers to correspond to their remarks about classmates and topics listed throughout the slam book. Listed below are some of the comments about Rod in the slam book that our classmate Patti Kueck Daniel had from 8th grade when we were in junior high in Security.

 

"Real cute and sweet.”

“A doll, lots of fun."

"Nut, but very cool."

"Good dancer."

"Nice guy."

"Wow, adore him. He's all Della's."

 

Attached in JPEG format is a modern-day photo of Rod. In case you forgot what Rod looked like when he was with us for many years at school in Security, his photo is among the online senior photos that were emailed in PDF format to all of our classmates in July 2017.

 

Rods father (who died in 2015) was only nine years old in the early 1930s when he and his parents and siblings moved from a small town in Kansas to the small town of Fountain, Colorado, where he learned the practice of “bartering” by using a horse-drawn wagon to haul fruits and vegetables from the Gilliland ranch to the dirt main street in FountainIt was there that he met Fountains grocery store owner, whose daughter Margaret later married Rod’s father in the early 1940s after they graduated from Fountain High SchoolBefore they started having childrenRod’s father joined the Marines to serve in World War II at which time he flew fighter planes (two of which were shot down with him inside).

 

Listed below is the obituary about Rodwhose funeral will be at 1:00 p.m. on February 13, 2018 at Mount Moriah Funeral Home in Kansas City followed by burial at the cemetery there.

 

In loving memory of Roderick Lee Gilliland who mercifully passed on February 8,2018. Rod we send you off to heaven with our love and caring and fond memories as full as the ocean. You were a precious soul so full of life and joy. Your life touched so many people and we will remember your wit, charm, and deep faith in your redeemer. Your life was cut short by illness, and your last years were tempered with failing health. But you are in your loving saviors arms now free of pain. 

 

Rod was born on August 27, 1948 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is survived by his loving mother Margaret, older brother Robert and younger brothers, Douglas and John.

 

Rod was a magical soul. He had a mischievous nature and often shared a lighthearted smile coupled with an ornery twinkle in his eye. His imagination was unlimited and expressed itself through his passion for creating art. He loved music, lots of rock, and soul. His gentle personality was committed to making amazing works with stained glass. He created poetry with his writing. He had so many friends and touched uncounted lives with his magnetic personality. 

 

Professionally, Rod was a successful real estate marketing professional. He had a talent for selling new homes and worked for years with his father and older brother to sell homes in many of the best communities in KC and Johnson County. 

 

One of his many passions was prison ministriesFor years he gave love and hope to those that were the least of our society. He spread God's love and message to those that needed it most. 

 

Rod, we will always remember your smiling beautiful face. Your spirit will carry on,and your soul is finally at rest with Jesus, your special grandmother Amy, your father Hudson, and your only son Jonathan. As a family, we will be reunited, I know, in your new home in heaven that will be as unique as your spirit. We love you Roderick.”

 

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ALMOST ALL of our CLASSMATES WILL BE 70 years old this year. A few of our classmates (Gary Storm, Roy Manuszak, Andy Stumpf, Lydia Romero Fine, Daryl Kuiper) already turned 70 in late 2017, and the rest of us will reach that old age this yearA few classmates (Starr Coakley Miller, Peggy Flynn Meredith, Glenda Windle Armstrong, Denese Clark Bigelow, Debbie Armknecht Allen, Andi Armstrong Crowner, and Bobbi Stephens Eberhardt) turned 70 last month. Bruce McAlexander will turn 70 this month. Shirley Guinta Tafoya, Ken Loveless and Barbara Billingsley Massarano will go next in March. Ron Petty and Paul Snell will be next in April. Linda Nolin Weber will turn 70 in July. The seven youngest classmates (Bruce Brian, Rhonda, Maryellen, Gillie, Doug, Warren Knight and yours truly) will have to wait until the last three months of the year.

 

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THE DEATHS of SIBLINGS are the reality that our classmates will be facing more and more as we grow olderMany of us went through the deaths of our respective parents over the past yearsbut now that they have been laid to rest there has been a new chapter with the deaths of siblings. Our longtime classmate Barbara Garrison recently lost her beloved younger sister Christina (WHS Class of 1968)and my oldest brother passed away last monthWith the death of a sibling, surviving siblings periodically look at one another and wonder aloud, Are we next?” It is hard enough to go through the grief process with the loss of parents, but the loss of a sibling brings the death issue closer home.

 

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TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and is maintained by our Class Committee member and Webmaster, Paul Snell, please go to: www.1966whs.com

 

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THE 2018 OSCAR NOMINATIONS are the focus of my essay, which is enclosed herein at the tail-end of this update immediately after my farewell remark “I don’t care what people call me, just call me.”

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THE ONE DOLLAR STORY is a very touching tale written by our classmate Bruce McAlexander’s father, who passed away in 2016Listed below is what Mr.Alexander wrote.

 

In the end of our crew training and being transferred to Lincoln, Nebraska Air Base to pick up a new B-17 Flying Fortress to fly to the 15th Air Force in Italy, each of us crew members signed a dollar bill to give to our closest of kin. I gave the $1.00 bill to my sweetheart wife, Bonnie Jean, who placed it in her knick-knack box where she kept her keepsakes. After the war we lived in WaldoKansas, and then OberlinKansas. Then in 1957 we moved to Security, Colorado and in 1966 we moved to 801 Hallam AvenueSecurity, Colorado, where I reside now. Bonnie Jean said to me the signed $1.00 bill was gone. In the meantime, we forgot the $1.00 signed bill.

 

Onto May 2, 2014

 

The doorbell rang at my home and my daughter Charia and friend Trish answered the door. A man was at the door and asked if they lived there when they were teenagers and they said yes. He said when he was a dumb and young 16-year-old,he broke into our house and stole this $1.00 billHe said: “I was saved and became a Christian and the Lord told me to return this signed $1.00 bill. This house is as pretty now as it was when I was a kid.” Charla and Trish stated the guy said he was a graduate from Widefield High School in 1974 and he lived in Georgia and was back here for his dad’s funeralCharla and Trish did not get his name, so I was unable to thank him for the wonderful gift he brought back to me and my wonderful family. When Trish and Charla brought the $1.00 bill into the room where I was sitting, the tears came. I remembered well the signers of the $1.00 bill.

 

I wanted to thank the good man for what he did. Trish got the school yearbook and looked to see if we could get a name. No luck. I pulled out the expired newspapers,dated April 20 to May 12 and went and recorded all the men that passed away or were born from 1936 back and all their surviving sons. When I came to Bobby-Gene Spradlin with 5 sons and the memorial service was at the local Catholic Church, I thought possibly I could find the person I am looking for. I again started looking in the school annual for names in the 1974 class. I found the name Robee Spradtn (spelled incorrectly). In the 1973 yearbook I found a Tom Spradlin, so I looked in the phone directory and looked up Bobby's number and a couple other names. The first name I called was wrong. The next number I called, a lady answered and I told her who I was and asked if she was a daughter to Bobby. She said she was his wife.She knew all about the $1.00 bill. I enjoyed the visit with your mother.

 

Thank you, Robee, so much! Robert, you are a special person to do what you did after 42 years. I would love to meet you and your wife, Amy.

 

(Excuse the errors, I'm 88 years old.)

 

Charles J. McAlexander (May 15, 2014)

 

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PLEASE do not TAKE IT PERSONALLY if you do not hear from me right away. As a volunteer in several nonprofit entities, I have only so much time within which to do my volunteer work as well as tend to my health challenges and other aspects of my personal life. Delays in my replies, in particular, are due to my long sleeping hours during which there is total relief from my neurological illness for which there is no cure. It is now eleven (13) years that I have had massive nerve damage. With this neurological illness continuing to take center stage in my life each day, there cannot be very much so-called normal or routine activities on my part as long as a state of normalcy has not been returned to my life. As noted in my update in July 2013, another reason for delays in my replies is that I have been “slowing down” more and more since late 2012 – it takes me forever to get something done. My doctors attribute the slowness to me getting older, not the neurological illness.

 

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This update was prepared by me.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

a/k/a Butch, family nickname since childhood

a/k/a Don, presumably the adult version of Donnie

a/k/a Primo (Cousin) to dozens of my Martinez cousins

a/k/a Frank to older women saying I look like their idol Frank Sinatra

a/k/a Dee Dee, a fun name used by people to mean Dear Donnie

 

I don’t care what people call me, just call me.

 

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THIS YEAR’S OSCAR NOMINEES

by Donnie Martínez (February 2018)

 

Just as I have done for many years, my picks for the Oscar Awards are now once again shared with friendsrelatives, activists, neighbors and people with whom I went to school. It is now thirteen years of my ongoing neurological illness for which there is no cure, yet my spirits continue to be lifted whenever my health challenges allow me to get out to a movie theater.

 

BEST ACTRESS NOMINEES are: Sally Hawkins; Frances McDormand; Margo Robbie; Saoirse Ronan; and, Meryl Streep. Ms. Hawkins is very good as a mute janitor who falls in love with and rescues a human-like sea monster while working at a U.S. government secret research facility in 1962, as detailed in the well-done film “Shape of Water.” Ms. McDormand is very good as a grieving mother whose unrelenting anger is directed at the police chief for not solving the brutal murder of the mother’s daughter, as detailed in the well-done film “Three Billboards.” Ms. Robbie is very good in her portrayal of the famous ice skater Tonya Harding whose career was tarnished in a sports-related scandal, as detailed in the true story “I, Tonya.” Ms. Ronan is very good as an outspoken Catholic high-school senior whose relationship with her strong-willed mother is marked by ongoing tension and heartbreak, as conveyed in the film “Lady Bird.” Ms. Streep is very good as the first woman publisher of a major U.S. newspaper and the tough decisions she made in standing up to President Nixon upon publishing secret government papers that exposed myths and realities of the U.S. war in Vietnam, as detailed in the true story “The Post.” Frances McDormand is my choice for the award, but I won’t be disappointed if the award goes to Ms. Hawkins or Ms. Streep.

 

BEST ACTOR NOMINEES areTimothee Chalamet; Daniel Day-LewisDaniel KaluuyaGary Oldman; and, Denzel WashingtonChalamet is very good as a 17-year-old Jew who has a romantic relationship with a 27-year-old man who is also a Jew, as conveyed in the film “Call Me by Your Name. Day-Lewis is very good as a 1950s upper-class man who designs dresses for high-society women and who becomes abusive in his romantic relationship with a working-class womanas conveyed in the well-done film “Phantom Thread.” Kaluuya is very good as an African-American young man who encounters racial stereotypes and a horrifying hypnotic procedure upon meeting the wealthy liberal parents of his young white woman partner, as conveyed in the film “Get Out. Oldman is very good as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who faced tough decisions about British soldiers trapped by the Nazi military at Dunkirk, France in World War II, as detailed in the well-done film “Darkest Hour.” Washington is good as an idealistic lawyer whose civil-rights principles are contradicted by his acceptance of reward money for locating the killer in a store robbery, as conveyed in the mediocre film “Roman Israel Esq.” Gary Oldman and Daniel Day-Lewis are my choices for the award, but I won’t be disappointed if the award goes to Daniel Kaluuya.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR NOMINEES are: William DafoeWoody HarrelsonRichard Jenkins; Christopher Plummer; and, Sam Rockwell. Dafoe is very good as a protective father figure who manages a motel in which poverty-stricken single mothers and their children are tenants, as conveyed in the well-done film “Florida Project.” Harrelson is very good as the police chief who is targeted by the rage of a grieving mother for not solving the murder of the mother’s daughteras conveyed in the well-done film “Three Billboards.” Jenkins is very good as a gay visual artist who is the next-door neighbor and accomplice of a mute woman janitor who rescues a human-like sea monster while working at a U.S. government secret research facility in 1962, as detailed in the film “Shape of Water.” Plummer is very good in his portrayal of billionaire J. Paul Getty who refused to bargain with the kidnappers of Getty’s grandson in 1973, as detailed in the true story “All the Money in the World.” Rockwell is very good as an overtly-racist police officer who is targeted by the rage of a grieving mother for not solving the murder of the mother’s daughter, as conveyed in the well-done film “Three Billboards.” Sam Rockwell is my choice for the award, but I won’t be disappointed if the award goes to Woody Harrelson or Christopher Plummer.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEES are: Mary BligeAllison JanneyLesley ManvilleLaurie MetcalfandOctavia SpencerMs. Blige is very good as an African American woman who assists her husband as caretakers of a white family’s farm in World War II, as conveyed in the well-done film “Mudbound.” MsJanney is very good as the abusive mother of the famous ice skater Tonya Harding whose career was tarnished by a sports-related scandal, as conveyed in the true story “I, Tonya.” Ms. Manville is very good as the sister of a 1950s upper-class man who designs dresses for high-society women and who becomes abusive in his romantic relationship with a working-class woman, as detailed in the well-done film “Phantom Thread.” Ms. Metcalf is very good as the strong-willed mother who has an intense and heartbreaking relationship with her outspoken Catholic high-school daughter, as conveyed in the film “Lady Bird.” Ms. Spencer is very good as an African American woman janitor who is the co-worker of a mute woman janitor who falls in love with and rescues a human-like sea monster while working at a U.S. government secret research facility in 1962, as detailed in the film “Shape of Water.” Mary Blige and Octavia Spencer are my choices for the award, but I won’t be disappointed if the award goes to Laurie Metcalf.

 

BEST PICTURE NOMINEES are: “Call Me by Your Name”“Darkest Hour”“Dunkirk”“Get Out”“Lady Bird”“Phantom Thread”; “The Post”“Shape of Water”and“Three Billboards.” Noticeably absent from the list are the films “Zookeeper’s Wife” (true story of a non-Jew who rescued non-Jews in World War II) and “Detroit” (true story of events leading up to the 1967 riots).

 

“Call Me by Your Name” is a mediocre film about a 17-year-old male Jew who falls in love with a 27-year-old male Jew, but the film fails to clarify to the viewer how the Jewish identity is part of the bond in the gay relationship between the two guys.

 

“Darkest Hour” is a well-done film based on the true story of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who faced tough decisions about thousands of British soldiers who were trapped by the Nazi military at Dunkirk, France, in World War II. With its focus limited to Churchill’s decision-making process in government venues far away from Dunkirk, this film is a nice companion piece to the “Dunkirk” film that spotlights the experiences of British soldiers on the battlefield.

 

“Dunkirk” is a well-done film based on the true story of thousands of British soldiers who were trapped by the Nazi military at Dunkirk, France, in World War II. With its focus limited to the experiences of the British soldiersthis film is a nice companion piece to the “Darkest Hour” film that spotlights Churchill’s decision-making process in government venues far away from Dunkirk.

 

“Get Out” is a well-done film about an African American young man who encounters racial stereotypes and a horrifying hypnotic procedure upon meeting the wealthy liberal parents of his young white woman partner.

 

“Lady Bird” is a well-done film about the tension and heartbreak in the stormy relationship between an outspoken Catholic high-school senior and her strong-willed mother.

 

“Phantom Thread” is a well-done film about a 1950s upper-class man who designs dresses for high-society women and who becomes abusive in his romantic relationship with a working-class womanThe film’s 60-year-old star, Daniel Day-Lewis, has stated this is his last movie.

 

“The Post” is a well-done film based on the true story of the first woman publisher of a major U.S. newspaper and the tough decisions she made in standing up to President Nixon upon publishing secret government papers that exposed myths and realities of the U.S. war in Vietnam.

 

“Shape of Water” is a well-done film that is visually stunning with an outrageously-themed plot set in 1962 at a U.S. government research facility at which a mute woman janitor falls in love with and rescues a human-like sea monster that a Russian spy also seeks to rescue for a scientific study.

 

“Three Billboards” is a well-done film about a grieving mother whose anger is directed at the police chief for not solving the brutal murder of the mother’s daughter.

 

For me to enjoy a movie, it must almost always have two main qualities: (1) it reveals events of a historical era unfamiliar to me; or (2) it is set in a geographic location or situation unfamiliar to me. Because they were set in locations unfamiliar to me and they had many historical details that I did not know until seeing the films, “Darkest Hour,” “Dunkirk” and “The Post” are my choices for best picture.

 

ABC will televise the awards on Sunday, March 46:00 p.m. Colorado time.

 

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October 2017

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED to a social gathering of the WHS Class of 1966 on Friday, October 27, 11:30 a.m., at Savelli’s Pizza Restaurant located at 301 Manitou Avenue in Manitou SpringsFrom downtown Colorado Springs, head west on Colorado Avenue until it turns into Manitou Avenue OR head west on Highway 24 to get there.

 So that the restaurant can make advance plans to put all attendees together, please RSVP no later than Wednesday, October 25, to Bruce at (719) 685-1420 or via email at LeviMcAlexander1@Gmail.com

 If you wish to view Savelli’s menu, which features several pasta entrees and several types of sandwiches as well as a wide selection of pizzas, click here!

 To our classmate Bruce Brian who said he would not be able to make it until 12:15,please RSVP and plan to attend anywayBy the time all attendees dillydally around getting from their respective cars into the restaurant and take more time to get seated as well as hem haw around about what to order, it probably will be around 12:00 noon. If Bruce Brian arrives at 12:15, that will be only 15 minutes after the show gets started when orders start arriving at the table and he will have plenty of time to order and socialize with attendeesBy the time everyone finishes eating and continues to socialize, it may not be until 1:30 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. before attendees start to hem haw around with farewells and once again dillydally around getting back to their respective cars to head home.

 At this time 50 years ago, some of our classmates were starting their second year of collegeSome of our classmates were in their second year of marriage or making wedding plans. Some of our classmates were on the battle fields due to the U.S. war that raged on and on in Vietnam. Some of our classmates were still trying to figure out what they wanted to do with their respective lives.

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