12/13/04 - NNHS Newsletter - The Most Wonderful Time


Dear Friends and Schoolmates,

   Have I mentioned that this is my favorite time of year?  I've never once kept pace with it in all its areas, but maybe that's part
of the fun and excitement.


   I was going to save it to the end, but I just can't do it.  And I was going to give it a huge fanfare, but having just
finished the pages, I'm too choked with emotion to do it.  Just go look at them, go see everything that's been found,
go see what hard work and persistence earned, and hard work and persistence reclaimed for you, and then tell me
if you agree with me that we should commission life-sized statues of Albert Dorner ('66) and Dave Spriggs('64)
for their heroic actions.  Thank you, Gentlemen!












   (I TOLD YOU!  I never throw anything away except by accident!!!)

From Jimmy Parker ('62) - 03/15/01:

I too observed the christening of the Forrestal ... from the top of the 
Shipyard Apartments. Do you remember that during the christening one 
of the Navy's Blue Angels crashed and killed the pilot?

   Yes, I do!

From Me ('65) - 03/15/01:

  My clearest memory was walking on the deck of the carrier, and feeling both awed and privileged to be there as a seven year old.
   I well remember the Blue Angels air show.  I remember having one of the pilots autograph my Ginnette doll's pink plastic baby carrier, 
having no paper with me.
   That must have been (the day) before the tragedy.

From Jimmy Parker ('62) - 03/16/01:

Dear Carol,
      Although I don't remember the date, the Blue Angels performed the same
day as the christening. The pilot that was killed crashed just off the
fantail of the ship.

From Me ('65) - 03/17/01:

   At the official Blue Angels site, I found no mention of fatalities.  There have, I believe, been 23 since their creation in 1946.  
But there was a picture of the 1955 team, complete with autographs:

   http://www.blueangels.navy.mil/hgal55-3.htm  (NOTE: This image is no longer available!)

   This may sound absolutely unbelievable, but I distinctly recognized the signature of the pilot who autographed my doll carrier.  
Remember, that was my favorite toy, and the ink stayed firmly attached for months, so I saw it every day, all day long.  The pilot 
my daddy and I met was the second from the left on in the picture, Lt. (jg) Ken Wallace, who piloted #4.

From Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 12/12/04:

Hi, Carol:
Thanks for the Newsletter alert! As for snowmen, don't worry it will not be in the 70's in the Carolina very long with the cold
front moving in this week.

   I'll say!  Look at this chilly forecast which just arrived from the Fayetteville Observer:

  Weather Forecast High Low
TUE Windy and colder 43 21
WED Sunny, but cold 43 23
THU Plenty of sunshine 54 33
FRI Partly sunny 56 33



When USS Forrestal (CVA-59) was christened, the famous Navy flying team, The Blue Angels, were performing.  During
the flight over the James River one of the planes just exploded and blew apart as it pulled up out of formation.
I was standing along the bank of the James River on the cliff overlooking the shipyard around Huntington Avenue and 64th
Street at the time. I was delivering groceries to customers of H & B Grocery at the time, and took a break to watch these
famous Navy aviators go through their paces.
What a shocking moment, and such a tragedy.

   (Joe had this answer for me 14 minutes after the question in the Newsletter was posted.)  You never fail to amaze me with your
meticulous detail!  Thanks, Adonis!

From Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 12/12/04:

My dad was a Quartermaster Second Class (E-5) assigned to USS ROBERTS (DE-749), undergoing overhaul in Newport News
Shipbuilding on that fateful day. We lived in Ferguson Park at the time, and I recall his coming home and giving me a twisted
piece of metal with a greenish tint. He explained that it was part of the exploded aircraft and that it had ended up on the deck
of ROBERTS.  It didn't occur to me at the time (I was eight) that such a memento was a bit morbid, considering that a pilot had
died.  I have no idea what happened to that piece of metal.

   Thanks,  David! 

From Chuck Ragland ('66) of VA - 12/12/04:

If my memory serves me, one of the Blue Angels crashed at the Forrestal launching. I've checked their website
but they don't mention mishaps.  

   AHA!  Thanks, Chuck!

From Me ('65) of NC:

   Yes, and that's one of the biggest mysteries yet!  Here is a letter I received from Bill Hardman of the Blue Angels organization
nearly four years ago:

Dear Carol,
List of Blue Angel fatalities from Sept. 1946 to Feb. 1967 reveals three show facilities; one at Pensacola, Fl.; one
at Jacksonville, Fl.; one at Ontario, Canada. No operational / training fatalities occurred in the Norfolk area during
this time period.

Bill Hardman, 03/21/01
Emil Buhler Research Library



   If anyone can explain this to me, I'd love to hear it.  Jimmy and Dave and Joe and Chuck and I didn't all just independently invent
this memory.  Nor do I believe we were all victims of a mass hysteria which produced such a thought.  David even had a chunk
of tangible evidence in his possession for many years.  Why, then, is there no official account or even recognition of this tragedy? 
Perhaps there is information available in the local libraries.  The first one to find official documentation still wins - something or other...






Christened - 11 Dec 1954 at Newport News Shipbuilding

Commissioned - 01 Oct 1955 at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Tragic Fire - 29 July 1967 - 134 crewmen lost - http://forrestal.org/fidfacts/page13.htm

Decommissioned - 11 Sep 1993 at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard

From Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 12/13/04:

You do know that there was more than one tragedy associated with that ship. Apart from the Blue Angel accident on Christening day,
in 1967 Forrestal was also the scene of a devastating fire caused by the accidental launching of an anti-aircraft missile from one of the jets
parked on the flight deck. What ensued was a series of other ordnance explosions and well as the burning of jet fuel which leaked to the
hangar deck.  It is a very famous fire and was the subject of fire-fighting training films which were shown to all sailors at least once.
Now-Senator John McCain's jet was enveloped in flames, and he can be seen leaping from the cockpit to the deck through the fire.


   Thank you, David!  I do remember that awful tragedy quite clearly.  Of course as a Naval officer, I'm sure it was more firmly
cemented in your memory than it was in mine, but it has remained with me nonetheless.

From Joanne Kates Roos of VA - 12/12/04:

Dear Carol
If there is any material I can send you to add to yours please let me know.  The background voice and music
I remember so well.  I can't think of the commentator's name, but he was a great radio personality on WGH,
I believe.  If you have his name, could you refresh my memory with it?  Many thanks.   
Joanne Roos

   Thank you so much, Joanne!

   And we have an answer for you:

From Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 12/13/04:

It is Bob Calvert .... "The Old Boob" ..... of course.

   Of course!  Thanks, David!

And from Tom Norris (HHS- '73) of VA - 12/13/04:

I concur ... the commercial was done by Bob Calvert. He did a lot of the old commercials, like the Nachman's one
I played for you last week. :-)

   Super!  We have three votes for Bob Calvert!  Thanks, Babe!

 From Kathy Pilgrim Clark ('63) of VA - 12/13/04: 

I was so happy to see the email you had from Joanne Roos.  She mentioned her sister, Sue Ann Bangle.  They are twins. 
When their mother (Ida Nachman's daughter) delivered them, Mrs. Nachman was sort of upset.  You see, she had gotten
layette items from the store...for one baby.  And she lamented that she couldn't duplicate them at the later date when she
needed doubles of everything.  So she initiated a program at Nachman's Department Store called Twin Insurance.  If
you bought layette items there and registered yourself, there was a bonus if you delivered twins.  Nachman's doubled your
purchases!  I'm sure it didn't happen so often that it hurt the store financially. 
When my mother was delivering my younger brother, there were many foreign interns (remember, Riverside is a teaching
hospital) coming in and out, listening to mom's belly, smiling and nodding.  She couldn't understand all the commotion and
there wasn't much English being spoken.  Knowing just how carefully my parents had budgeted for one more child, her
doctor didn't have the guts to tell her she was carrying twins!  When a Canadian medical student came in to have a go
listening to the dual heart beats, Mom asked him what was up.  He told her it was exciting to hear the heart beats of twins. 
My mom's only comment:  'I wish I had shopped at Nachman's'!

   What a charming story, Kathy - thanks!  I'm sure there's a lesson or two in there somewhere for all of us!

From Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 12/13/04:

I neglected to mention that my mother's cousin worked (at Nachman's) in the 50s and maybe the 60s. If memory serves,
it may have been the fabric department, because I have a strong visual memory of being fascinated by those counter-edge
mounted fabric length measuring devices, even as a 6 and 7 year old ... (engineers are born, not made).

Her name was Mary Alice Ring Price, but she most likely went by the nickname "Berta". Perhaps one of that group will
remember her.

  Perhaps so.  Thanks, Dave!

Also from Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 12/13/04:

I just saw the new (Rich's Hamburgers) page. I know where Rich's was located on Mercury Boulevard and cruised there
as well as McD's and Shoney's. Soon, I will capture an image of the structure, which survives, is surrounded by a chain link
fence, and now sells camper tops.

The burger joint which still eludes my memory is the one once located at the intersection of Jefferson and Harpersville. It had
a drive circling the structure, which made it easy to cruise thru and return to Shoney's. It was razed long ago and is now a car

   OHHH, that would be wonderful, David  – thank you!  Rich’s is one of my half-forgotten memories that doesn’t seem to be
forthcoming, though I’m sure I went there often.  Maybe someone will provide an answer for your Mystery Drive-In soon.  Anyone?

From Linda Lane Lane ('64) of VA - 12/13/04:

Greetings from Tampa.  It's cold here but not as bad a Williamsburg was.  Could the anniversary you're speaking
of be the fires at the oil storage downtown NN by the coal piers?  We were in Idaho at the time.  If this is what you
are referring to, it was all over the national news.  My Dad's cousin, Tommy Price, was a Captain with the Newport
News Fire Department and we saw him on the TV.  What a surprise that was, 2500 miles away.  I don't remember
any details.  Was anyone hurt?  I've gone through most of the things at my mother's house but I have not seen
anything about the fire.  I did find a letter written by my great grandmother to her daughter who was visiting a
sister in Roslyn.  It's dated and postmarked September 1912.  Think I'll keep that one for a while.
Hope all is well with you guys.  I'm down here in the cold air and sick as a dying dog with a Virginia cold.  I need
more Nyquil!

   So, Linda, you must be psychic.  No, this was going to be our NEXT mystery game.  In truth, I do not know when it occurred, but I
believe it was in the fall of 1956 for some unknown reason.  We'll be getting back to this Esso explosion story soon.  Thanks, Linda!
Take care of your self, and get well!

From Wayne Stokes ('65) of VA - 12/13/04:

Carol Buckwheat Dawlin',

First, you have noticed that I have tried to put more of a "southern drawl" on "Darlin' ", have you not?

   Yes, Wayne Honey, I did indeed notice that - thanks!  I do feel more at home now.

I am pleased that Rip Precious (Collins - '65 of TN) was able to understand my "Nick's of Yorktown" babbling, especially as
there were no pictures! He must have gotten "hooked on Phonics" somewhere along the way! He couldn't read while we were
in NNHS and he graduated from Ole Miss ( you don't have to be able to read there). I am surely proud of his new learned ability!
His wife probably taught him; she IS bright!! She's only made one mistake in her life. I can't tell ya what it is, but it has to do
with marriage.

Those friends that he sent to a place that no longer exists, probably (correctly) thought he was nuts, that's why they never said
anything. I could be way off here, but somewhere along the line, in all my ignorance, I would have probably asked one of 'em,
"How'd you like Nick's?". Did ya ever think of that, Precious?

   I'm so glad that you fellas have resumed your normal bantering.  Life just wasn't quite the same without it.  We definitely need
some merriment here!

Over the last couple of weeks I've been sitting hear "watching radio" and picking up on the little tidbits of information, whose value
has yet to be determined, that they share. As you probably know, digital cable has commercial free music stations covering just
about every music genera known to exist. I've been "watching the radio station known as 'Sounds of the Seasons' " and it is from
there that I have come to know certain things that I never knew before and seriously doubt that I need to know now.
Some of these "tidbits" leave a need to know an answer to the question that they present. I thought that perhaps you could help me
with finding some of the answers? I'll give you some examples of these "tidbits": "The first Christmas trees were suspended from the
ceiling"; now this makes me wonder what they did with the second ones? If they hung the first ones, did they shoot the second ones?
"Christmas tree Angels were introduced in the 1850's". Were they just there, anonymously before then? What did they do, just hang
around unknown until they were finally introduced?
Here are two in the same category:"4195 was the average number of gifts wrapped in each mall across the country in 1999". OK,
OK, what about 00, 01, 02, and 03? Did the guy who did the counting quit? I have a need to know! Are they still counting and just
running behind?
And then: "The average number of ornaments on a Christmas tree is 75". Now, how do they know that? I mean, does some elf run
all around the country breaking into every house just to count the ornaments? He could make a mistake, you know. How reliable is
this guy? Could it be 76 or maybe 74? This is important stuff and needs to accurate, right?
"St. Lucia is considered the 'Queen of Light' ". I didn't know that! That's enlightening.
"Only 9% of Americans admit to roasting chestnuts over the holidays". Admit? Sounds like something illegal. I bet ya there's a big
number of "closet chestnut roasters"; they're just afraid to "admit" it!!
These are the ones, to date, that I need help on; can ya help me?
Now this next one only proves what I've said for years: "In order to be a department store Santa you must take an intelligence test.
If you flunk, you're hired!"
To Wit: "Mother took me to see Santa in a department store and he asked me for my autograph!" - Shirley Temple
I think I'm watching too much radio.

   And speaking of merriment, I do believe I injured myself laughing at this, Wayne Honey!  You are a HOOT!  Thanks for the fun!
I have to go count the ornaments on my tree now...

From Rip Collins ('65) of TN - 12/13/04:


   WOW!  Thanks, Rip Precious!  That was very thought provoking.

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."


 It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

- Eddie Pola and George Wyle, 1963

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
With the kids jingle belling,
and everyone telling you,
"Be of good cheer,"
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

There'll be parties for hosting,
marshmallows for toasting and
caroling out in the snow.
there'll be scary ghost stories and
tales of the glories of Christmases
long, long ago.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
There'll be much mistletoeing
and hearts will be glowing,
when loved ones are near.
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

“It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” midi courtesy of http://www.walkthroughlife.com/midis/christmas/mostwonderful.htm - 12/13/04

“It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” lyrics courtesy of http://www.rienzihills.com/ChristmasSing/themostwonderfultime.htm - 12/13/04

Holly image courtesy of http://www.bruderhof.com - 12/10/04

Holly clip art divider bar courtesy of http://www.bravenet.com - 08/12/04

USS Forrestal (CVA-59) image courtesy of http://www.lancehatfield.com/photos.htm - 12/13/04

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