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Gail Edwards Baker's Newsletter
January 12, 2009


  On Christmas Eve rec'd this from Ronnie Seidman (61) "Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas! I am glad to see that you are still around and able to push on the keys and think clearly, or did your assistant take care of this for you? As Santa approaches I hope you asked for everything you wanted, because with the economy in the tank I am not sure what will be available in another year or so. I hope you guys have been doing OK, and yes Cindy and I have missed your News Letters. Not sure if I told you, but Cindy left the banking industry to help run our company, and she and I have been busy. Inspecting and Evaluating houses and property is good exercise for both of us, and we also meet a lot of nice people in the process. During January and February we normally only see the locals & natives on the Outer Banks, which is a relaxing period of time for us. Stay warm and well and we will think of you when the crowd shows up in DC for the big event on 20 January." As I told Ronnie "us FEDS" get the 20th off as a holiday since no one in their right mind would be anywhere near here on that day. It's unbelievable people are moving in with friends and renting their houses as far away as Winchester for huge sums of money just to come to watch. Apparently the economy is not hurting for the admirers of Mr. Obama.

As always good to hear from John Casteen (61) "-These newsletters are the kindest gifts I can imagine, and for many good reasons. To have one come on Christmas Eve is a double gift." He continues to be a nice man.

Vernon Townsend (62) responded to the newsletter with great news "I am sitting here in the living room, the sounds of Christmas cooking abounds from the kitchen. PS. I will become a "grandfather" in Feb., for the first time. My youngest son Nate and his wife, Lizzy are to become proud parents."

And Edgar Hudgins (62) wrote from Texas "THANKS FOR THE UPDATE EVEN THOUGH IT IS SAD TO KNOW THAT WE LOSTED JOHN AND DONNA. IAM DOING GREAT. IAM STILL WORKING ONE DAY A WEEK AT A GOLF COURSE AND PLAYING GOLF THREE DAYS A WEEK. LIFE IS GREAT. THANKS AGAIN FOR THE UPDATES." Plus Edgar has a new email address: Kay Newsome (56) wrote: " So good to hear from you. I cannot remember too many of the classmates any more. Guess it is age. When you get a chance send me Dorothy Bice's E mail address. We paled around several years. I remember her grandmother, a real sweet lady. Our grandson just got home from Iraq the past weekend. This was his second tour. Four year ago he and our son both were in Iraq. God blessed us, both got home safely. That was a bad year for us. You and your family have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year." Dorothy's email address was sent.

I should send out newsletters more often. I finally heard from some that hasn't gotten in touch for awhile. Bob Stanfield (62) wrote" I am reasonably healthy and doing well. I do need a double hip replacement, which will be done in January and March 2009. But, there's nothing exciting to say. I really like it that way. I hope you and yours are well. Best Wishes. Donna (Hahn 62) sat next to me in Miss Creadle's english class. Very pretty... and very mischievous. To hear that any of any of the '62 class passed is saddening, but Donna touched me a little more. She was a good friend" Attached is a picture of the Stanfield family this Christmas...l to r daughter Sara, wife Ann and son Daniel and of course Bob. Bob is going into the hospital on Monday 12 January for hip replacement #1. Cards of cheer can be sent to 12625 Brook Lane, Chester, VA 23831.

One of the Alexander Park kids (Joe Barnes '59) wrote: "Just a late note to wish all of you and your families a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a happy, safe, healthy and prosperous NEW YEAR. Hope this new year is better than the one now passing (thank God!) into history. There have been a lot of ups and downs this year. Let hope for more "ups" in 2009."

And then Joe's brother Gordon (Barnes '61) chimed in on my reply to the Barnes Clan "Hey, it was good to hear from you also. No, Faye (Barnes '62) dosen't have e-mail. She said they spend all of their time at the campground and they don't hsve a laptop so she cancelled it. Every one here is doing just fine. It was the first Christmas for our youngest grandbaby and those eyes had to be as big around as a tire. She was very excited, and since she is only 7 mths.old I can't wait until next year when she will have some idea of whats going on"

Was good to hear from Tommy Moose (61) and hear that sister Marilyn (62) is well. Also he wrote "Thanks for the Christmas greeting! Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. We did. As always Betty's (and Pam's) side of the family gathered at our house as we have done for a number of years even since Mrs Mason passed away. They total around 50-60 people and the walls of our humble brick ranch almost burst out, like wall to wall people, but we have a great time, Santa comes and the kids (some of which are now getting grown) really enjoy it. The real reason for the e-mail was to let you know that I (for one) appreciated you not being "politically correct". It really bothers me when people avoid saying Merry Christmas. Whether it's to be "politically correct", to avoid "hurting" someone's feelings, or just another effort to try to stamp out Christianity, it amounts to another reason why our nation is going down the tubes. How long will God keep turning His head, I don't know. Christ Birth is the real reason for this season, may our nation never forget or fail to recognize that." Tommy is married to Betty Mason (66) and brother-in-law to Pam Mason (62). Sounds as if he inherited the entire Mason Clan at least for Christmas. Since they all are a little crazy it had to be a wonderful and fun time.

And good to hear from Tommy West (57) in Louisiana "Thank you for the update Gail. Hope your new year is prosperous and -- important to mention for those of our age -- healthy." He is accurate as usual.

Another member of the Class of 57 Carolyn Barnette Wright wrote "Thank you for all the time you invest in keeping everyone up to date on news from the Cradock Classes. Hope you had a very merry Christmas and that the New Year in 2009 will be your happiest year ever".

Dee Cassidy (60) sent a note wishing me Happy New Year and I replied "where's the news" and she certainly came through "Well, Gail, you shame me for not giving you news when I enjoy receiving the news so much! So here is an update on the Cassidy family: Dee 1960, Sandy 1963, Debbie 1970, Eddie 1972. Eddie Cassidy retired from the Naval Shipyard effective Jan 2009 but his last working day was mid December. He was a tool designer and had 33 years of service. He is looking forward to traveling with wife Robin, playing golf with his sons, enjoying the grandchildren, and working on some projects around the house. Debbie Cassidy Coffman was promoted to Customer Service Manager with Sysco in
2008. Sysco bought out Doughties Barbecue in Portsmouth (remember them?) for whom Debbie had worked. She plans to work a few more years. She has 3 granddaughters that she dotes on and the oldest was in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with the Grassfield cheerleaders. There was a quick glimpse of her on TV! Debbie's husband Randy whom she met while working for Sysco is retired from the Coast Guard and just graduated from Old Dominion in December. He will be doing an internship counseling vets at the VA hospital in 2009. Sandy Cassidy Bolen retired from the governement five years ago. She remains active in church and singing with the choir and solo work. Creative and talented, Sandy does tole painting, scrapbooking, and crocheting. Her husband Dave retired from the navy yard early in 2008 and they have been adjusting to both of them being home! She has a daughter in Florida and they have made several trips there and kept the grands during the summer. She travels with sister Dee as well. Dee Cassidy Smith and husband Glen(would have been class of 1958 but joined the Navy to see the world, right!) continue to travel with the Telephone Pioneers Family Campers with trips to Williamsburg VA, Bedford PA, and Powhatan VA. With gas at $4 a gallon, we stayed closer to home. We took an Alaskan cruise in May and toured Washington state and Oregon before returning home. There were two luncheons with Cradock High School friends Pat Kay Key and Nancy Boylan Alford and teacher Dr. Harley Affeldt and wife Virginia this year, one in Danville in April and another in Durham in October. So good to stay in touch with these friends. We hosted a Forbes Family Reunion in Tidewater in July. Cousins Alan Forbes 1959 and Pete Forbes 1956 and their families attended. My sister Sandy and I took a riverboat cruise down the Danube River in November visiting Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary. Fabulous trip. Looking forward to going to Texas in February to visit with Glen's brother, Chick Smith 1955. He is still working and was promoted to President of J&J Maintenance, a firm with lots of government contracts. He is a retired colonel from the Air Force and loves working! He is going to take some time off while we are there and show us the Texas hill country. Good Lord willing, in 2009, we will still be traveling with the Telephone Pioneer Campers and have trips planned to Williamsburg in the spring, Lancaster PA & Bedford Pa in the summer, and Ohio and Michigan in the fall. We are exploring a train trip to the northwest states as well. God is good and we are blessed with family and friends. Happy New Year and good health and prosperity is wished for you in the new year. Love Dee ' Joan Spear Spunzo (58) wrote "Didn't know if you had these pictures already? Carolyn set them to me and I've had so much fun looking at them. If anyone has any pictures of the class of '58 (5Oth) I would love to see them. I was unable to attend because we were on a trip to Kansas to visit our daughter and family." Joan is talking about the pictures from the Class of 57's reunion that Bernie Kirsch (57) sent Janie to put on the website. Take a look. Anyone with pictures from 58 please send them to Janie for posting on the website.

Marie Abbott (63) writes "I am so glad you send out this email. I feel it keeps me in touch with good old Cradock and the days when we were young and had no trouble and thought life a bowl of cherries. I did not make it to the 63 class reunion. I'll tell them all about it at the 50th class reunion. Like one of your writers, I'm glad wrinkles don't hurt and my hair is a white as snow. I am beginning to slow down, not working as much but I hate to quit, what would I do with all those days off? Besides I have always loved nursing and Anesthesia, I'm affectionately know as OD Walker because my patients want to be sedated and I give them their wish. My other nick name is JJ, for jabber Jaws, that one I love, I was put in the corner of James Hurst in the first grade for talking, I have not changed. I now have three granddaughters, 6, 8 and 11. Little did my daughter know that she would have three teenage girls at one time. OMG, I couldn't do it when I was 30 so I'm sure I couldn't do it now. When they are at "Grammys" house I let them get away with murder, we stay up late and watch movies and have ice cream for breakfast. They like coming to my house! I am planning on moving to Leesville Lake this year, house not finished but I will miss Richmond as I have lived here for more than 25 years. Wish it was the old Cradock with all my friends from days gone by.Happy New Year"

Shirley Hewett (62) wrote on New Years Day "Yes, still working.With any luck, my granddaughter will finish next year (2010).I look forward to not having to go to work. I enjoy what I do, but am getting to old to do it much longer. How was your Christmas and New Year? Ours was fairly quiet. The children could not come from CA or Ohio. The only one home was the youngest and her daughter. It will be back to school on Monday. Other than that, things are going okay in Stephens City. Have a wonderful 2009"

I'm sure I've mentioned numerous times that Bonita Wood (62) is nuts! She is leaving on the 18th of January for 3 weeks in the poorest mountain section of Guatamala to deliver supplies from her church and work with the people there. Tried to talk her into the Bahamas but no she has to go do good! Pray they don't keep her.

Barry Cole (62) writes from Texas "Things are good here. We have not had any snow or rain for that matter here in San Antonio. We only had about 13 inches of rain all year. Seems like all the rain goes just East of us. I have had a bad cold for about 1 1/2 weeks now that just will not give up and go away. Day before yesterday it got up 83 degrees; today's high will be in the 40s, then it's supposed to go back up in the upper 60s and low 70s the rest of the week. How long are you going to work girl? I can not believe you are still at it. I had a note from Kirk Wood (62) a few weeks ago. Kirk said he was going to retire this year but the market took a big hit on him and now he will have to work a while longer. My oldest grandchild (Nadia) is in college now. Picture attached. Time is flying by too fast. "

Great to hear from Virginia Zerkle (61) "I am doing pretty good for a change. I called the Dr. who is head of the Univ. of Al. Med.Neurology Center the week before Christmas to let him know I was still living, since he was the one who told me I would not live 6 months and that was a year in Nov. I just let him know that my Drs are great, but, I know the ONE who is really taking care of me and if He chooses to take me tomorrow, it was okay. I am ready and my Pastor and family know how to handle everything. He said he knew Him too and I was definitely in good hands!!! I do have 2 blockages to my brain which they cannot operate on because of where they are located, so I have mini-strokes from time to time, plus I have a heart condition, so I take my medications, but, for the most part, I don't pay too much attention to the Drs when they tell me I can't do certain things, like keep my 2 little grandsons (now 2 & 4, or I can't pick one of them up, especially the little one. It seems wierd that we can possibly be the age we are and have parents the age they are. Mine have already passed on but, my daughter tells me all the time that Bill & I can move in with them and she and Craig can take care of us. I'll say, "Please, don't make us do that!, we love ya'll but we would never want to do that to you".

John Cannon (62) called Christmas Eve to wish me a Merry Christmas (at about 12:05). I threatened to kill him if he called me that late (or early again) and so New Years Eve he waited to call New Years Day because he said he was scared of me! As usual he makes me smile.

Several interesting and funny emails from Richard Huneycutt (60) but this one topped them all when he wondered if he had told me Happy New Year yet and shared the picture of he and Peggy Wooten (58). He also shared "A Retirees Thought for the Day......Peggy asked, "Whatcha doin' today?" I said, "Nothing." She said, "You did that yesterday." I said, "I wasn't finished."

Received Leroy Curtis' (61) January Newsletter: "Meanwhile Judy and I trust that you had a wonderful Christmas and a great start for a Happy New Year in spite of worldwide turmoil. Thank God our citizenship is in heaven! We were able to spend Christmas on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with children, grandchildren, and other family members. In spite of cold, rain and horrendous traffic during the trip back to Georgia, we had an excellent time. The New Year for us began in San Antonio, Texas at the annual NEXT conference serving as group leaders to young Christian adults who are seriously pursuing a deeper walk in Christ in a way that will change their everyday lives, thus changing families and communities."

Larry West (60) answered my query to "how are you?" with "Linda and I are blessed with good health even though we contribute to the welfare of a number of doctors. We do some things at the YMCA a couple of times a week."

I'm pretty sure Disney World will be closing down. Diana Rose (62)
who has been working there for over a year now and really enjoying it is leaving. She and husband Ed Pieroni (60) close on their house in Florida on the 25th and head back for good ole Virginny. Who says you can't go home?

Don Caffee (59) sent an email minus pictures of his granddaughter with his new email address: And Rita Hall (63) sent a new email address: Shorti Kay (61) finally recovering from shoulder surgery that resulted in many complications.

Kat Leary (62), Janie Norris (60) and I are helping the Class of 59 CHURCHLAND HIGH SCHOOL locate some of their missing classmates. No where near as easy as Cradock. Apparently everyone in Churchland didn't marry their cousins or next door neighbors! But we keep plugging along.


And Bernie Kirsch (57) continues with his news of the Class of '57 which is also posted on the Cradock website.

Happy New Year to all. Stay warm and stay out of DC this coming weekend. Total madness is expected with the City increasing by 4 to 5 million people for the swearing in.

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