January 2016



 “WILL THERE BE a 50-year REUNION?” That question was posed by Melinda Knight (wife of our classmate Warren Knight) to Gillie and me as the three of us were sitting together and talking while at the social gathering of almost 30 people at Fargo’s Pizza Company in October 2015. Almost at the exact same time, Gillie and I replied to Melinda’s question by stating, “I have no idea.” Besides the three of us, other attendees were: Bruce McAlexander; Ron Petty; Bruce Brian; Maryellen Brada Manuszak; Roy Manuszak; Paul Snell; Linda Nolin Weber; Lydia Romero Fine; Mike Adragna; Doug Allen; Warren Knight; Judy Sackhoff Lollar; Shirley Guinta Tafoya; Bob Cook; Steve Cox; Gary Galyardt; Richard Stroud; Lyle Wikner (Class of 1965); Dave Kindsfater (Class of 1965); Gary Lollar (Class of 1968); and, the spouses of five of our classmates. After eating our respective meals, Bruce McAlexander paid for dessert for the attendees and Warren gave all attendees a free copy of his Flash Cadillac band’s 1996 CD titled “Ghost of Christmas.”

 SOME TYPE of 50-YEAR REUNION has captured the interest of a growing number of classmates, according to Bruce McAlexander who recently put out some feelers. He and our classmate Ron Petty propose having a meeting at the end of February to see if plans can be put in place for a reunion that is what Bruce and Ron describe as “simple and cheap.” Gillie recently wrote that a meeting should be held sooner than February because “at this late date, it may be difficult to book a venue.”

 In response to Bruce’s outreach, the following classmates already have expressed an interest in attending a 50-year reunion: Shirley Guinta Tafoya; Patti Kueck Daniel; Twila Wilson; Bruce Brian; Rhonda Richards Shamburger; Warren Knight; Pam Rains Shuman; Joy Woods Haskell; Doug Allen; Mickey Martin; Linda Nolin Weber; Mary Ashley Fuchsman; Daryl Kuiper.

 If you are remotely interested in attending some type of reunion, please send an email to this email box so that you can be added to the list.


 IT WAS at THIS TIME 50 YEARS AGO in January 1966 that almost all of our classmates were roaming the halls of Widefield High School with the realization that it was only four months away before we would graduate and end up on divergent journeys in our respective lives. It was one month before, in December 1965, when we selected our classmate Candy Burdell as our Winter Ball Queen. We were only one month away from February 1966, at which time we selected our classmates Twila Wilson and Eldon Lee as Queen and King of our Sweetheart Ball.


 THIS YEAR marks TEN YEARS that I have been the volunteer coordinator handling email communications to our classmates. I remember well how it all got started. While taking an afternoon stroll down Security Boulevard during a full-weekend visit at the Security home of my longtime friend Renee (Class of 1965) and her mother in September 2005, our classmate Ron Petty was driving by and stopped to say hello as we had not seen one another for a few years. He asked if I would be interested in having lunch with him and Bruce at some point that weekend when I was staying with Renee and her mother. While having lunch with Bruce and Ron at an Asian restaurant near K-mart in Security, they talked about having a 40-year reunion in 2006 and urged me to join them in organizing the reunion. Neither one of them had experience with email, and I was the only one who knew how to use a computer (despite never having one) and I was the only one who had the email addresses of several classmates with whom I was in periodic contact. I hesitated to make a commitment to help Bruce and Ron with the reunion project because, at that point in time, it was the first year of dealing with massive nerve damage and my recovery chances were unknown at that time. Nonetheless, I agreed to give it a try. My first email announcement was sent to numerous classmates in September 2005 to let them know that Bruce and Ron were beginning to do the groundwork for a reunion in mid-2006. Between the time of my first email announcement in September 2005 and my second one in January 2006, my confidential email list kept growing by leaps and bounds as word begin to spread among our classmates. By the time of the first meeting of the planning committee in February 2006, it was clear that somebody was needed to do a computerized spreadsheet to handle the growing list of contacts I had accumulated. Because I did not have a computer and was not familiar with spreadsheets, our classmate Bruce Brian volunteered to do the spreadsheet task as a member of the planning committee. After he handled the spreadsheet project for three months, Gillie took on the task and carried it all the way through the July 2006 reunion clear up through the July 2011 reunion.

 From September 2005 through the present time January 2016, it has been a little more than ten years of being the volunteer coordinator handling email communications to our classmates.


 ONLINE ARCHIVES have been AMASSED by me in the course of being the volunteer coordinator handling email communications to our classmates for more than ten years. You probably already know that being a “hoarder” is one of the many (and there are many) stereotypes about older people. Living very simply with meager possessions and without modern technology at home, I definitely do not fit the “hoarder” stereotype at home. However, that stereotype definitely applies to me when storing online communications neatly organized in folders contained in my online archives. Being a “hoarder” with online communications came in handy when Gillie panicked in August 2010 upon announcing that the entire spreadsheet was lost when her computer crashed. A search of my online archives found the spreadsheet, which was forwarded to Gillie. 

 Speaking of my online archives, listed below are a few snippets about some of our classmates’ memories during our high-school years together.

 Pam Rains Shuman: “On our Senior Prom night, a group of six of us drove Paul Snell’s father’s brand new Oldsmobile up Gold Camp Road. We hit a rock, split the oil pan and had to coast off the mountain with no power steering or power brakes. We then pushed the car to the Broadmoor Hotel in our prom clothes.”

Steve Cox:  “I remember graduation night in the halls. While turning caps and gowns, everyone was exchanging their thoughts, hopes, desires, plans and saying good-bye.” About the craziest thing he did in high school, Steve once wrote: “Art teacher Michael Nevin sent Jerry Moyers and I to the office one day for locking Mr. Nevin out of the supply room. Instead of going to the office, we went to Giuseppe’s for beer. Miss French hunted us down and expelled us from school. How did she always know where to look?”

 Cheryl Minehart Belt:  “I remember getting shot at by the caretaker at the Broadmoor Hotel when Bobbi, Rhonda and I, with a few others, trespassed in the wee hours of an early morning to the lake’s island.” About the craziest thing she did in high school, Cheryl once wrote: “Danced with the devil.”

 Pam Means Reilly:  “In our senior year, I attended my first kegger and got drunk on 3.2 beer. My mother chewed me out for a whole week after that. My father laughed and said just don’t make a habit of it. I guess that is why I don’t like beer too much today.”

 Edith Freeman Smith:  “The only thing that stands out were the dress codes stating girls were not allowed to wear pants to school. Because I had to wait for a bus to transport me to the high school, I remember wearing jeans under my dress or skirt and removed them once we got to school. Nowadays, jeans under a dress is a fashion statement.”

 Mimi George Torreano [Known as Marie at WHS]: “I used a scooter of my brother [Ray George, Class of 1965] to impress a boy and crashed. I broke my wrist and almost didn’t have enough credits to graduate.”

 Suzie Gates Mitchell:  “One of my favorite classes was Home Economics. I had just finished making a dress I really loved with ruffled cuffs and red ric-rac trim. The first time I wore it to school was also the day in Chemistry, my least favorite class. We were mixing an acid with other liquids, and during the experiment I spilled the acid. It sprayed all over the dress, making thousands of tiny holes. My lab partner, Craig Snow, was very helpful with pouring water on me. The dress was ruined.” About the craziest thing she did in high school, Suzie once wrote: “Tried to play the French horn.”

 Gary Galyardt:  "As a senior, we were not allowed an excused absence to visit a college of our choice. On a day off we couldn’t pass up, four of us decided to visit Colorado State University (Fort Collins) in my car, a 1953 Studebaker Champion. The car crawled up Monument Hill, but flew down the back side. I heard a noise and saw a wheel cover in my rear-view mirror, then another, then another. We only found two of the three wheel covers."

 Wilma Espinoza Perez:  “I seldom saw my dad in a suit,” she once wrote about our graduation ceremony. “He wore one that night. That gesture spoke volumes about the importance of the occasion.”

 Dave Theiss:  “While my summer job was at the snack bar for the swimming pool at Fort Carson, the soldier/lifeguards allowed me to bring groups of friends to swim and “Skinny Dip” at night. One night in the summer of 1965, about seventeen (17) of our 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 night guards on the adjacent parade ground. What followed is pure folklore.”

 Sharon Breyer Grenz:  “In Spanish IV, Mrs. Girod was leaning against the tray on the chalkboard on the heels of her high heels when her feet slid out from under her and she fell (sat) on the floor. She was unhurt but embarrassed. We had to memorize and recite dialogs in Spanish. Daryl Kuiper and another male classmate recited the girl parts in very high, squeaky voices. The whole class was in stitches. In geometry class, our book would often present theorems with proofs and some with “Proof left to student.” On one of our exams, we had to do a proof and Perry Pierce’s answer was, “Proof left to teacher.”

 Bruce McAlexander:  “Along with several other guys, I dressed up like a cheerleader for our senior girls’ power puff football game and I popped my boobs (made of balloons) at the school assembly. Another memory is graduation night as we all threw our caps into the air and Carla Aber planted a lip-lock on me that wouldn’t quit.”

Barbara Billingsley Massarano:  “I guess the statutes of limitations have run out by now,” she once wrote in reference to the craziest thing she did in high school. “Sitting on the giant folding chair in front of the rental store on Cimarron Street like Edith Anne and waving to the traffic was definitely a stroke of genius. I almost broke my neck getting down. The police were not as amused as my friends who were driving around in my car (1959 Creamcicle Plymouth Fury). One time I allowed Twila to cut my goldie locks to ear level right before a Friday night football game. The haircut was not a pretty sight. What was Ron Skaggs thinking when he let Twila work on his hair? If Twila doesn’t mention her slumber parties under this heading [Craziest thing you did in high school], then shame on her.”

 Joy Payne Humphrey:  “I worked at the Kwik Shake and had great experiences with many people from all different school years and classes. I know my parents thought it was an awful place, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. Even though there were all kinds of rumors about the Kwik Shake being a “hangout,” I can’t think of any truly bad crimes or anything really awful happening. I remember the floods of 1965 when Pete Spiers cut his leg and the ambulance couldn’t get to him because of the flood waters. The waters did subside and all was well, right Pete? We all remember the floods that year and losing our Class of 1965 classmate [Ronnie White] whose remains were never found until 32 years later in 1997.”

 Kathy Simones Ferrier once wrote about the time it was her turn to feed the mice after school in Mr. Cantrell's biology class. Afraid to feed the mice, she didn't get the key from Mr. Cantrell. Because the mice weren't fed, the next day Kathy discovered that one mouse ate the other mouse and the only thing left was the tail. Kathy said she was "mortified" upon finding that in biology class.

 Shirley Guinta Tafoya once wrote that she forged the signature of Mr. Stenson (school principal) on a tardy slip and almost missed graduation because of that incident. Shirley noted that Mr. Stenson got a kick out of the incident, but Miss French didn't think it was funny.

 Lydia Romero Fine once wrote that she always shared her I.D. with Rhonda so that Rhonda could get in Gieuseppe's Bar. Lydia said she and Rhonda sat at the same table and the waitress never knew they used the same I.D. [Rhonda Richards Shamburger and Bruce Brian are the youngest ones in our class.]

 Glenda Windle Armstrong once wrote: "I don't think I did anything crazy. If anyone else remembers, remind me." A few sentences later, one incident she cited was "getting stopped by Deputy Ames [Sheriff] and having Judy [Sheriff Ames' daughter] in the car when we got stopped."

Stella Romero once wrote that she had "the biggest crush on Mr. Luna." She said she "absolutely melted when he called me 'Mademoiselle Romero' in French class!!" 

 Twila Wilson once wrote that her oldest brother and his "hood" friends never had any interest in "sosh" activities, yet they blew horns and pounded drums when Twila gave her speech upon running for Senior Class President. 

  Jo Ann Vallone Thayer (now deceased) admitted in our 2006 reunion booklet that she was one of the people who put the "for sale" signs in front of WHS when we were in high school. In that same reunion booklet, another classmate, Gerry Patterson Richards, wrote that she also put a for-sale sign on the front lawn of WHS. “Boy was Mr. Poole ticked off,” said Gerry. For those of you who often wondered back then who did that prank that infuriated school officials, now you know.

 Jean Puylara Cox (now deceased) once wrote, "That would be giving away secrets and names," when asked to describe crazy situations in high school.

 Ken Loveless also declined to talk about crazy situations from high school and once wrote that he will reveal them at the 50th reunion.


 SPEAKING of EMAIL COMMUNICATIONS, the very first email I ever sent was in April 1999 during a full-weekend visit at the Security home of my longtime friend Renee (Class of 1965) and her mother. For quite some time, Renee had been trying to persuade me to get over my longtime anti-technology view. “As much as you always enjoy writing, I think you’ll like email and you should at least give a try,” she declared on several occasions. During that April 1999 weekend visit, she let me use her email address to type my very first email communication. My very first email was sent to our longtime classmate Stella Romero, who was residing and working in Germany at the time. Within the same day, Stella responded to me via Renee’s email address. In addition to updating me about how she and her husband were doing as well as their plans to leave Germany and move to Arizona, Stella wrote that she was “honored” that I picked her to be the recipient of my first email communication. I was very impressed upon getting Stella’s written reply within one day. Renee merely smiled broadly and flashed her beautiful eyes at me when I naively asked, “How did that get all the way to and from Germany in one day?” After that first experience with email, I was convinced and eventually set up my own personal email box in early 2000.


 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

 The software that Paul used to build the website allows people to access the website through a regular computer as well as a smartphone or digital tablet. At the bottom of each page of the website is a link to a Facebook page that can be used by classmates who have Facebook and want to communicate and receive information through Facebook. Please be sure to bookmark the website address on your computer so that you will have it handy whenever you want to visit the website.


 PLEASE do not TAKE IT PERSONALLY if you do not hear from me right away. As a volunteer in several nonprofit entities (including the college campus), 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 (11) 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.


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

a/k/a Nitpicker Supreme, a title lovingly given to me by Gillie

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.