12/06/04 - NNHS Newsletter - Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,

   Yes, yes, I know that we don't all celebrate St. Nicholas Day.  Technically, I don't even celebrate St. Nicholas Day myself, except as a
wonderful time to sing more happy songs and put up more fun decorations, but it's such a great opportunity to use some awesome
clip art and songs and such!

   But we might as well cover the history of it for educational purposes anyway, n'est pas?

"Strictly speaking, the tradition of St. Nicholas is not synonymous with the role of Santa Claus in the U.S.. As practiced in many European countries, the celebration of St. Nicholas is separate from the Christmas holidays, and occurs during the 2 weeks prior to December 6th,
which is St. Nicholas's day. Sometimes St. Nicholas Day is the main holiday for gift giving, and not Christmas." 








   Okay, I gave up before I found the information I was trying to impart, so I suppose I'll just have to tell you myself.  In Colonial
Virginia, it was traditional to put up your Christmas decorations on December 6, St, Nicholas Day, and leave them up until
January 6, Epiphany, at which time they must be removed.  To leave them up after this day was to invoke ill fortune.  This period
of time was considered highly favored, and any activities begun during this time were especially blessed, so much entertaining
and many marriages took place during this month.

   I came upon this little nugget years ago during my days of isolation in the Midwest.  In trying to hearken back to my roots, I
incorporated it into my own family.  Now that I'm back in the South, this year I began a new version of this system, which worked
so well it will become my new tradition.  Henceforth I shall BEGIN to decorate on Thanksgiving night and FINISH decorating
by December 6.  This is much easier and far less stressful than trying to do it all in one day - especially considering the fact
of how much holiday decorating I always plan to do....

   There ya go - more than you ever wanted to know.

   Not that I'm stressed out or anything, but I forgot to mention four - count them, FOUR - birthdays:

02 - Ann Lillaston Wilson ('57)
02 - George Konstant ('65) of VA
04 - Howard Williamson (HHS - '63) of VA - 1944
05 - Melody Clendenin DeBerry (WHS - '66) of VA - 1947

   I am SOOOO sorry!  I invent myself a foolproof system for remembering birthdays, and then forget to take advantage of it. 
I suppose that means ashes and switches and lumps of coal for me this year.  Well, Ann, George, Howard, and Melody - I hope
y'all HAD a wonderful birthday!


From Ron Smith ('65) of VA - 12/02/04 (but just discovered today):

Mr. Ralph Oxner, father of Dr. Thomas (Tom) Oxner ('65 of AR), died Thursday, December 2nd.  Tom and his family
are on their way to NN from their home in Ark (I think) and will be here on Saturday to make arrangements. 


Ralph Odell Oxner

NEWPORT NEWS - Ralph Odell Oxner, 86, passed from this world on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2004. He was born in Jackson County, N.C.,
on Dec. 6, 1918. A veteran of the First Infantry Division, he fought in Germany during World War II. He retired as a welder from the
Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Oma Oxner. Survivors include
his daughter, Carolyn Oxner of Newport News; his son, Thomas Oxner and his wife, Karen, of Conway, Ark.; and two grandchildren,
Luke Oxner and Madeline Oxner, also of Conway, Ark. Mr. Oxner was a loving husband and father who was very generous of his time
in helping others. An accomplished handyman, he enjoyed repairing and restoring antique furniture, sometimes creating missing
pieces through whittling. But the real joy in antiques sprung from the fellowship of the many friends he made attending auctions and
assisting others in their repairs. Having been raised on a farm, Mr. Oxner was an avid year-round gardener. His vegetable gardens
were always prolific producers, and he enjoyed sharing his bounty with friends and neighbors. Visitation will be from 7 to 8 p.m.
on Monday, Dec. 6, at Peninsula Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held at Peninsula Memorial Park at 11 a.m. on Tuesday,
Dec. 7, by the Rev. Lawrence J. Biermann and the Rev. Russell Beck. Memorials may be made to the Parkview Baptist Church, 604
Hilton Blvd., Newport News, VA 23605.

Published in the Daily Press on 12/6/2004.

   Oh, I'm so sorry to learn of this!  Our deepest sympathies are extended to Tom and his family - and thanks for the alert, Ron.

   And while we're still in this context, a full obituary for Sally Madagan Sullivan's husband, John, follows:

John Fielding Sullivan

HAMPTON - John Fielding Sullivan, 69, died Monday, Nov. 29, 2004. Born in Alexandria, he had been a Northern Virginia
resident until moving to Hampton in 2001. While in Northern Virginia, John retired as life insurance agent in 1998 after 42 years.
He first worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, then retried from American General Life Insurance Company. His love
for the water and working with kids led him to the Alexandria Boat Club in Alexandria where he was a Crew Coach for 15 years.
With his many friendships and a knack for negotiation, he was responsible for developing Crew Teams for several different
high schools across the state, including the Woodbridge Program. He was also a Scout Master for many years. After moving
to Hampton, John and his wife, Sally, joined Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church where they both were very active
with the Church Community. His love for boating led him to The Mariners' Museum were he was a Docent. He is survived by his
wife, Sally; his children, John F. Sullivan Jr. and his wife, Stephanie, of Atlanta, Ga., Erin Elizabeth Byers of Tye River, Va.,
Heather Marie Taylor and husband, Mike, of Paeonian Springs, Va.; stepsons, William Wilroy Sammons III of Gloucester, Va.,
and Christopher G. Sammons and his wife, Robin, of Medford, N.J.; seven grandchildren; sisters, Nancy Cole and her husband,
Alec, of Winchester, Va., and Judith Clarke of Kinasale, Va.; brother, Dennis Kerr Sullivan of Springfield, Va.; and niece, Karen
Nelson and her husband, Dick, of Arlington, Va. The family will receive friends from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Roman Catholic Church. Immediately following, a Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at 7 p.m. Friends and family are
invited to gather 10 a.m. Saturday for a graveside service in Peninsula Memorial Park. The family wishes in lieu of flowers, any
expressions of sympathy take the form of contributions to the OLMC Church Building Fund, 100 Harpersville Road, Newport News,
VA 23601. Arrangements are being provided by R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home in Hampton.

Published in the Daily Press from 12/1/2004 - 12/2/2004.

   I'll add both of these to "Other Recent Deaths" very soon.

From Wayne Stokes ('65) of VA - 12/05/04:

Carol Buckwheat Darlin',
In the ever expanding category of "WHO CARES!?" ( about what I have to say, not what someone else said!), in viewing the excellent photo of Nick and Mary Mathews' "final resting place", I took note of the caption under the photo. Living in York County
since 1970, I know a "bit" about the unfortunate demise of Nick's Seafood Pavilion.
After Mary's death in 1998, "Nick's" did NOT close! It continued to operate under the provisions given to York County by Mary. 
Through a great lack of wisdom and foresight, which is in an uncountable abundance on our Board of Supervisors here in York
County, THEY decided to tear down a World Renowned Restaurant (too expensive to bring "up to code") and build a
Multi-Million Dollar
one of their "own liking", so that they could use "Nick's old space" for PARKING!!
My son's wedding rehearsal dinner was held at "Nick's" in the early Spring of 2003 and Linda and I, along with our family, dined
there a number of times; as late as late July 2003 ( I didn't mean to stutter!). A petition was circulating in 2003 in an attempt to STOP
the closing of "Nick's" at the end of November 2003 as was decreed by the Board.
The impact of Hurricane Isabel in September 2003 made that a moot point as it "totaled" the restaurant with sand and water
damage. The Board took quick advantage of this "Godsend" (in their view) and quickly advertised an auction of "most" of the
treasures that were within Nick's. They did keep "some" to display in "their new place"!
I know that everyone was sitting on the edge of their computer desk just waiting for this information, therefore I could not deny
them! Yeah, right!!
 I will now sit back and await an onslaught of a correction of any errors that I have stated! Be forewarned not to correct me on my
"Board abundance" statement. I personally know some of these people and have had the "pleasure?" of working with them on some committees!! It will test your sanity - even if you're like me and have none!!

   My, my, my.  I knew something of these machinations earlier.  Thanks for this fuller account, Wayne Honey!  Why do I keep
hearing Gomer Pyle saying, "Shame, shame, shame!"?

From Fred Eubank ('64) of TX - 12/05/04:


Many accolades to you for your continued great work on the Class of 65 web page and newsletters. One recent article from the

12/03/04 - NNHS Newsletter - Sleigh Ride

From Eric Huffstutler (BHS - '75) - 12/01/04:

The Nick of Sammy & Nick's has been deceased longer than 18-months!  Actually Nicholas "Nick" Theodor died
February 19, 2001 at the age of 55.  He came to America in 1969 and his first venture was The Steak Den Restaurant. 
He is buried at Peninsula Memorial Park.

Sam "Sammy" C. Canavos is still alive.   The partner he had many years ago when my mother worked for them in the 1950s
and 1960s was Steve (I think his real name was Vasiliki) Siokis who also passed several years ago in 1990.  I'll double-check
that :-)

Some people got Nick Matthews of Nick's Seafood in Yorktown mixed up with Nick Theodor but obviously two different
people.  Nick Matthews died in 1983.  Here is a link to their beautiful gravesite monument:



Iím wondering if the Sam "Sammy" C. Canavos Eric refers to is the same Sam who (I believe) owned and operated Samís U.S.
Restaurant in downtown Newport News in the 1950ís and 60ís. The restaurant was located at the corner of Washington
Avenue and 25
th Street, one block east of the Warwick Hotel, which was (and I assume still is in one form or another) located
at the corner of West Avenue and 25th Street. The Post Office was right across 25th street from the Warwick Hotel. The U.S.
Restaurant was demolished along with the Tidewater Hotel, the Warwick Laundry (where both my father and mother worked)
as well as other businesses (Brody Canter Wholesale, etc.) along 25th Street to make way for the NN City Hall in the 1970ís.

A little personal history--My father and mother would get me up around 5:00 am and take me downtown with them on school
days (no baby sitter or day care back then). We always ate breakfast at the U.S. Restaurant, and then I would go with my parents
to the laundry where they worked. I remember Sam as a very nice person who knew my father and mother, and always treated us
with respect. Around 8:30 my father would drive me to Briarfield ES, located on Marshall Avenue, and within walking distance
of where we lived on Decatur St. When the school day ended around 3:00 pm, one of them would pick me up and drive me back
to the Laundry where I stayed until they got off from work, usually around 5:00 pm, but sometimes as late as 9 or 10 at night.
For my first three years of school, I spent almost as much time downtown, playing around the Warwick Hotel, Laundry, and the
waterfront, as I did at home. I have great memories of the Warwick Hotel, the Soda Shop, and playing with Louis Graham, son
of the Hotel manager back then. Mr. and Mrs. Graham lived in a suite at the hotel, and I played with their son and daughter, often
roaming all over the hotel grounds. In the 4th grade, my grandparents moved to NN from North Carolina, and I didnít have to get
up so early any more, or get home so late. I ate breakfast at grandmaís house (also on Decatur St.), and then walked to school
with Ken Taylor, Clarence Point or Wesley Staude. Ken Taylor was in your Class of 1965. Of course when I started the 8th
grade at NNHS in 1959, I rode the school bus downtown.

By the way, what high school was BHS?

Thanks for your dedication and tireless efforts in keeping the memory of NNHS alive.

Fred Eubank
San Antonio, TX

   WOW - what a great set of memories there!  Thanks, Fred - and thanks for your kind words!

   BHS stands for Bethel High School.

From Jean Poole Burton ('64) of RI - 12/06/04:

I am happy to report that we have seen our first snowflakes today, which changed to freezing rain so there was no
accumulation.  I am supposed to take a trip to Boston's  North End tomorrow for a walking, eating, shopping trip
so I hope we can get there in the morning!  The Old North Church is there, where the lanterns ("one if by land and
two if by sea...") of Longfellow's poem are on display. Went to hear Handel's Messiah Sunday afternoon at Trinity
Church (old colonial church in Newport).  We have something called "Christmas in Newport" where the organizations
have events: concerts, dance performances, etc., each night of December, sometimes two or three events in one day. 
It is neat.  Many are free, some ask for a donation.  The Marriott in Newport has a huge gingerbread house on display
all month.  Y'all come!

   How neat!  Such fun for you - thanks, Jean!

From Janice McCain Rose ('65) of VA and Sarah Puckett Kressaty ('65) of VA - 12/06/04:

One picture says it all !


   WOWZERS!  I can't top that - thanks, Janice and Sarah!

   Y'all take care of each other!

                          Love to all, Carol


NNHS CLASS OF '65 WEB SITE: http://www.nnhs65.00freehost.com
PERSONAL WEB SITE: http://www.angelfire.com/weird2/cluckmeat

"I only have two kinds of days: happy and hysterically happy."


Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

Jolly old Saint Nicholas,
Lean your ear this way!
Don't you tell a single soul
What I'm going to say;
Christmas Eve is coming soon;
Now, you dear old man,
Whisper what you'll bring to me; 
Tell me if you can.
When the clock is striking twelve,
When I'm fast asleep,
Down the chimney broad and black, 
With your pack you'll creep;
All the stockings you will find
Hanging in a row;
Mine will be the shortest one,
You'll be sure to know.

Johnny wants a pair of skates;
Suzy wants a dolly;
Nellie wants a story book;
She thinks dolls are folly;
As for me, my little brain
Isn't very bright;
Choose for me, old Santa Claus,
What you think is right.

 "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" midi and Santa Claus image courtesy of http://www.links2love.com/jolly_old_st_nicholas.htm - 12/03/04

(A large framed and matted copy of this picture hangs in our dining room for this season,
a gift several years ago from our # 5 son, Nathaniel Harty of IL.)

"Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" lyrics courtesy of http://www.night.net/christmas/jolly-old.html - 12/06/03

Holly Bar Divider Line clip art courtesy of http://www.bravenet.com - 08/12/04

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