August 2018



 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.


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.


 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.


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:


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


 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


 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

 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.




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.