December 2011

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UPDATE DECEMBER 2011

 

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WHICH IS FOREVER – CHRISTMAS or STAMPS?  Upon buying “Forever” stamps in December, I was told by the clerk that I would have to add extra money to the stamps whenever the P.O. raises the prices. When I told her that Forever stamps never have needed extra money when rates increase, she said, “Christmas is forever, but Forever stamp prices are not.” Just as I was wondering which one is forever – Christmas or the stamps – P.O. power holders rescued me from my confusion and confirmed that I was correct that Forever stamps will not require extra money. Whew!

 

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OUR CLASSMATE KEN LOVELESS continues to recuperate from the major heart surgery he had last month. Instead of me providing an update on his status, let us hear from Ken in his own words how he is doing. Listed below is what he recently wrote.

 

Hello, Donnie. Thank you for inquiring as to my current health status following my recent heart surgery. It's amazing that only three weeks ago last Tuesday, I was in surgery, and today I feel better than I have in many, many years! I've experienced so many good improvements in so many aspects of my overall health....amazing best sums my physical and mental attributes! Without going into technical terms, let me say that I now am breathing stronger and my energy level continues to strengthen each day. My thinking is clearer and I'm more focused on priorities in life!

 

Donnie, I know you are battling some health issues, and I hope you find the success with them, as I have with mine. Our classmates’ support has also been some of the best medicine as we cope with the aging challenges. I've received emails, phone calls, and get-well cards that have kept my spirits up and my future promising. Thanks again for keeping our classmates updated and please thank them for me, and may their days be as bright as they've made mine. Donnie, you keep us connected, well informed, and I hope everyone recognizes the valuable role you have delivered over the years to keep us united. Take care, Donnie. May peace be with you.

 

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OUR CLASSMATE LARRY SNOW PASSED AWAY in Nevada, according to information recently provided by Greg Bruce (Wisley) from the Class of 1965. Greg was notified by John Wilson, our classmate Twila Wilson’s brother from the Class of 1967. Because Larry passed away the same month that we had our reunion five years ago, that explains why our Class Committee member Linda Nolin Weber (who had Larry on her 2006 search list) could not find him in 2006 and that explains why our Class Committee member Roy Manuszak (who had Larry on his 2011 search list) could not find him in 2011. Although Larry was definitely in our Class of 1966 all through high school, his inner circle of friends (such as John Wilson) were mostly from the Class of 1967. Listed below is the obituary that John Wilson furnished to Greg.

 

Larry W. Snow, 58, passed away July 13, 2006 at his residence in Pahrump, Nevada.

 

He was born Feb. 17, 1948 in Pueblo, Colorado. He spent his childhood in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, Colorado. He attended school in Widefield and Security, Colorado, graduating with the class of 1966. He resided in Pahrump the last few years.

 

He served his country in the U.S. Marines from 1968 to 1974. He was later a roofer in the construction business. He enjoyed being with his friends and having a good time.

 

Those grateful to have shared in Larry's life include his father Alvin Snow of Texas, sister Darlene Spears of Pineville, Louisiana, and grandmother Elsie Curtis of Eckert, Colorado. His mother Florence Young preceded him in death. Pahrump Family Mortuary handled the arrangements.

 

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DEATH and HEALTH CHALLENGES were two themes in the lives of several of our classmates at varying times this year. We are at a point in our lives when those themes will become more frequent. I very much like the insight that our classmate Pam Means Reilly offers (see the “Feedback” section below) upon noting that, with many of our classmates losing their parents through death, our women classmates are becoming the matriarchs of their respective families. I also very much like what our classmate Wilma Espinoza shares regarding the specific issue of losing a parent through death (see the “Feedback” section below).

 

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TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and is maintained by our classmate Paul Snell, please go to:

http://web.mac.com/psnell/WHS1966

 

Please note that you should NOT enter the standard “www” that is used at the start of many website addresses. In addition, please be sure to bookmark the new website address on your computer so that you will have it handy whenever you want to visit.

 

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A NEW MOVIE with a HIGH-SCHOOL THEME stars my favorite modern-day actress, Charlize Theron. Appropriately titled “Young Adult,” the movie features Ms. Theron in the role of a 37-year-old divorced woman named Mavis, who was among the “popular” crowd and was the Prom Queen when she was in a small-town high school. She is perceived by her classmates as a glamorous success now that she is an adult working as a teen-fiction writer and living in a big city. When she gets an email from her high-school boyfriend, Buddy (played by actor Patrick Wilson), announcing that he and his wife just had a baby, Mavis packs her bags and returns to her high-school town with her single agenda of rekindling her relationship with Buddy despite the fact that he is happily married. The plot thickens when she gets to know for the first time another high-school classmate, Matt (played by actor Patton Oswalt), who was not in her social clique when they were in high school and who remains physically disabled from a high-school incident in which he was the victim of a hate crime. At one point Mavis accuses Matt of "dwelling in the past" – a reference to his brutal beating by the high-school jocks who used a crowbar to attack him and left him to die – but it is Mavis who is dwelling in the past in that she is emotionally stuck on her high-school years. The public scene she makes with her tirade at the baby-naming ceremony demonstrates that, although Mavis is an adult in chronological years, her emotional development got arrested along the way and she is very much young as evidenced by her immature behaviors that can be attributed to her being an alcoholic. Once again showing off her superb acting talents, Ms. Theron captures the strikingly pretty and pathetic Mavis character.

 

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DOES ANYBODY RECALL HERSHEL DUANE CUDE JR.? Our classmate Marie George Torreano (known by her longtime family nickname Mimi) asked me in an early-November email note if I recall a Widefield High School guy our age (63) by that name. Mimi said she saw his name listed on a military website as being a Vietnam veteran. In my reply to Mimi, I told her that I don’t recall anyone by that name. I also asked our Class Committee members, but they do not recall him either. Mimi said she looked in her yearbooks from 1964 through 1966 and did not see any guy by that name. If any of you recall the guy, let me know.

 

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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 so much for your updates. It's like a trip home without the expense and hassle of a plane ticket. We recently lost my wife's mom. Even though she was 94 and in declining health, it still hurts awfully to lose a loved one. My prayers are with Warren, Meg and Rhonda.

-- Doug Allen

 

Please send my sincere condolences to Rhonda in the loss of yet another parent, her father. It is so hard to imagine that our generation is now facing the fact that we are the matriarchs of our families.

-- Pam Means Reilly

 

Thank you so much for the updates. I really enjoy reading all of the feedback from the reunion, it was a blast from the past! Thank you for the information [about the deaths of parents.] It's sad, but we all know we will be there someday too with the Lord. God rest their souls.

-- Danielle Andres

 

Don, thanks for keeping us posted on classmates' news. I appreciate your constant reminder to keep our parents' deaths in perspective. Last Thanksgiving [2010] I went to Colorado to spend a few days with my mom. I arrived on Monday before Thanksgiving and on Tuesday night she fell. I ended up staying in Colorado Springs until after December 14 when she passed away. I will likely go back in mid-December for a commemorative Mass at St. Dominick's. I haven't made a plan yet, but just this morning I was talking about it with my husband. I do feel blessed that I had my mom in my life for so many years. We had a very close bond and we shared many wonderful times together, including trips together to Spain and Canada and several trips to DC and visits from her once I moved to San Francisco. I recognize that many others lost their parents at a much earlier age. Mom was 89. Sadly, my dad was struck down on April 8, 1976, while he was taking his daily walk up Fontaine Boulevard in Widefield. He was only 59 at the time and it happened to be on mom's birthday. Rhonda, Warren, and all the rest, should know that the pain never goes away, but the warm memories do help a lot.

-- Wilma Espinoza

 

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IT’S OFFICIAL, I AM PERMANENTLY ILL. For the first time in the almost seven (7) years that I have lived with my neurological illness that consists of massive nerve damage, my doctors recently confirmed in writing that my illness is permanent and will be with me the remainder of my life. There had been a glimmer of hope in past years that I might recover, but this year’s written report wipes out that hope once and for all. Noted in the report are the “dysesthesias” (pronounced dis-thee-jus) that are an integral part of my daily experiences with this illness. Dysesthesias are far beyond the normal pain that all people feel from time to time. If you can imagine that there actually is something beyond the feeling of normal pain, dysesthesias are unpleasant abnormal sensations of pain. I still continue to sleep long hours each day as that is the only time period during which there is total relief from the various symptoms. In spite of the permanency, I continue my daily volunteer work at the college and at the nonprofit condos where I live. I also continue as the volunteer alley janitor for the neighborhood in which I live (yeah, I know it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it).

 

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THREATS and ACCUSATIONS were among the sub-plots in my life this year. In one situation, an incorrigible college student terrified me with his threats to harm me. He finally ended up in criminal court when he made similar threats against other people in two other situations on campus. On another occasion, an African American student called me a “racist” and later apologized. Fortunately, 98% of the college students with whom I interact are pleasant.

 

While at a movie theater this year, the theater manager yelled at me that I scared everyone in the theater when I placed my bulky handbag on the seat and left the theater to go to the concession stand to buy popcorn. Treating me like I was a hard-core terrorist, the manager angrily scolded me when the audience became terrified that my bag might have a bomb in it. Given the public hysteria and paranoia in our society ever since the 2001 terrorist attack on the U.S., I guess I am fortunate not to be writing this to you from Guantanamo Bay.

 

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THE CINEMA DROUGHT CONTINUED this year. Just as there was a cinema drought (a period of mediocre movies) for five consecutive years (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), the cinema drought once again continued this year in 2011. After seeing dozens of movies this year, only a few stood out to me. “Midnight In Paris” was fun and delightful to watch as it unveils the midnight excursions of a U.S. young man when he and his fiancé visit Paris. “The Skin I Live In,” the Spanish-language film (in English subtitles) by director Pedro Almodovar, was a visually stunning and suspenseful film. “Last Lions” and “African Cats” – both about the displacement and extinction facing lions – were well done. Leonardo Dicaprio was fabulous in his role as the FBI Director in the “J. Edgar” film, and Charlize Theron once again showed off her acting talents in the film “Young Adult.”

 

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS and HAPPY NEW YEAR. Before any of you waltz to your computer to type a note denouncing me for using “Happy Holidays” instead of the “Merry Christmas” wish, let me explain some reasons why I have used the “Happy Holidays” wish for many years.

 

(1) Whenever I prepare my annual personal newsletters in December to friends, relatives, classmates and neighbors, my newsletters do not get sent to Christians only. If Christians were the only recipients of my annual December newsletters, then it would be appropriate to use the "Merry Christmas" wish. However, every year my December newsletters are sent to a wide spectrum of readers – Christians; Jews; Buddhists; Muslims; American Indians. It is a bit presumptuous that everyone celebrates Christmas. For certain, not all people reading my annual newsletter celebrate Christmas. My Jewish readers celebrate Hanukkah in December. My Buddhist readers celebrate Bodhi Day in December. My Muslim readers celebrate Ramadan in December whenever that holiday coincides with their Muslim calendar. My African American readers often celebrate Kwanzaa in December. My American Indian readers do not celebrate Christmas. My naturalist readers celebrate Solstice in December. Out of sensitivity for all people's respective celebrations in December, I use the all-inclusive "Happy Holidays" wish except not with my nonreligious readers, who celebrate nothing in December. Although some Christians feel slighted that the "Happy Holidays" wish is somehow anti-Christmas, that is simply not the case.

 

(2) Although Christianity is the religion for an overwhelmingly majority of people in the U.S., that majority does not translate throughout the world. Indeed, Christian followers comprise about one-third of the world's population, with Islam being the world's second largest religion and Hinduism being the third largest. When percentages for followers of Islam and Hinduism are combined, they outnumber followers of Christianity. Christian-dominated governments continue to be the world's main power holders, so Christians hardly have grounds to be concerned about minority status and alleged anti-Christmas sentiment.

 

(3) When December rolls around each year and several different holidays are observed, it is important to remember that not everyone shares the religious persuasion of the majority in the U.S. As the supreme law of our nation, our U.S. Constitution binds all of us to protect each person's right to freedom of religion. Everyone has the constitutional right to believe or not to believe.

 

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OUR CLASS COMMITTEE consists of several classmates who volunteer their time, at one point or another, regarding issues pertinent to our class. Our Class Committee members are: Gillie Walker; Bruce McAlexander; Marcia Hagans Allin; Meg Hulsey Mailo; Ron Petty; Donnie Collier Martinez; Paul Snell; Mike Adragna; Bruce Brian; Linda Nolin Weber; Ken Loveless; Roy Manuszak; Mary Ellen Brada Manuszak; Jerry Moyers; Barbara Billingsley Massarano; Warren Knight. Other classmates are welcome to be part of the Class Committee.

 

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WE ARE VOLUNTEERS. Please do not ever take it personally if you do not hear from the Class Committee or the Website Committee right away. As volunteers, we have only so much time within which to do our volunteer work as well as tend to other aspects of our personal lives.

 

Delays in my replies, in particular, are due to me not being awake very much anymore as sleeping long hours is the only time period during which there is total relief from my neurological illness for which there is no cure. It is now almost seven 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.

 

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This update was prepared by me.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Donnie Martinez, WHS Class of 1966 Committee

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 El Aguila (The Eagle), a version of Gillie’s name for me.

 

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

 

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