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Gail Edwards Baker's Newsletter
January 27, 2009


  Gosh Gail got two newsletters out within a month. Pick yourselves off the floor. My resolution for this year was to get better at this communication "thingy" so here we go again. For starters we can't hold a candle to some of you but Northern VA has about 2" of snow and it is still coming down. Basically what this means to me is no doubt a 5 hour commute home. You might want to consider reading the newsletter on the website  Janie Norris (60) the webmaster is pretty quick putting it on there and it is much easier to view the attachments on the website.

From Marilyn Bazemore Chilton (58) and husband Tommy Chilton (56): "My mother, Isabel Bazemore, is still with us here in Lynchburg, VA at Heritage Green Assisted living. A recent visit to the doctor did not give her a good prognosis, however, so please keep her in your prayers. Our son, Bill, just underwent open-heart surgery at Maryview's new Heart Center, and is doing very well. Portsmouth should be proud of this amazing facility ... we can't say enough. I can't say that's all our news, but it crowded everything else out for the moment."

Bobby and Linda Martin Quinn (61) write from warm weather " Thanks for the newsletter. We always enjoy and look forward to the next one. It is cool here in sunny Florida today, but we understand its COLD where you are. It is suppose to be in the teens tonight in Nags Head. Have you rented out any sleeping spaces for the big event Tuesday? I know you are glad you can stay as far away from DC as possible. I think you have to be crazy to want to be there, of course I am a republican but would never want to be a part of such a crazy crowd. Bob is recovering nicely from shoulder replacement surgery done in November in Miami and we are leaving on the 26th for a 12 day cruise to celebrate his 66 birthday.
Wow who would have thought 66, seems impossible. Hope all is well with you and your family. Keep in touch."

Shirley Hewett (62) wrote "He (her husband) had to have emergency surgery for a rip in his intestine. He went to sit down at the computer to check his e-mail and got this awful pain in his lower intestine. He waited a while and finally we called the rescue squad to transport him to the hospital. He was in the ER for about 7 hours before he ever got to see a doctor; but when he did, things went quickly. He will be in the hospital for at least 7 to 10 days. He is doing much better (thank the Lord). I will try and keep you updated as things go on. Just keep praying Hadn't heard from Bill Diggs (56) forever so was glad to get this update "Thanks for compiling and sending the newsletters, keeping us informed of what's happening with our CHS classmates. I'm still around, having survived two cancers (only the good die young), and though SEMI-retired I still work weekends and holidays and when needed in broadcasting at WRJR 1010AM, WPMH 670AM, and WWIP 89.1FM studios in Chesapeake. Everything is so automated now, I have little to do but trouble-shoot if one of the stations goes off the air. They love me at Christmas time as I am available so everyone else can spend the holidays with their families. I have also missed the last two "Come Home to Cradock" get-togethers due to my weekend schedule. Maybe this year I will cut back on my hours as I will be debt-free in February, finally paying off all of my hospital co-payments and deductibles as well as my car payments and a few other things. For the past several years, I have been helping the coach at Denbigh Baptist Christian School with the stats for the girls' basketball team. They are my "family" -- lots of hugs and high-fives. They really keep me young (at heart). We didn't have girls basketball when I was at Cradock. That came later after Title IX (thank you, Richard Nixon). These girls really play a rough, physical game of basketball. I don't remember the guys' games at Cradock being that physical. I wish everybody well for a happy 2009."

This from Larry Hollowell (61) and I've fixed his email address BTW "I noticed that everyone has their name in front of e-mail address but me.
Just wondered why. I am still in Portsmouth haven't gone anywhere .I have two grandson one 8 and one four. I get the 8 year old on bus and off everyday. We do homework I have passed 1st and 2nd grade again am now working on third grade I don't remember doing the things that he is doing but I am passing so far. Hope you had a nice holiday."

Hope Saunders Slaughter (57) writes "Kent Saunders ('64) is my brother. He is married to Lorraine McKenzie ('65) who is Roland McKenzie's ('60) sister. Please share our prayer request with all those on your 'Admirals' list and please add Kent's e-mail address to your list also if you do not have it - also his twin and my brother, Karl -  < > Thanks so much, Hope Slaughter ('57)

And the email from Kent Saunders (64) "

Just wanted to say hi and let you know what is going on here. Lorraine's brother, Roland was in a serious automobile accident on December 26th. He was air lifted to Norfolk General where he is still in the Trauma Unit. He is in bad shape and I ask for your prayers. A car traveling south on Rt 17 bypass ran a red light going 55-60 mph and hit him in the driver side door of his little truck. He has a head trauma, fracture in his neck (C2), 5 broken ribs, pelvis fractured in 3 places, broken upper left arm, fractured left knee and he had emergency surgery that night to repair a severed diaphragm where his stomach was pushed up next to his heart. He is on a track so he can breathe. He is conscious and aware of where he is and who is there with him. It is by the grace of God that he is alive!!!

Always good to hear from Our Miss Liddle (Sara Liddle 56) wrote when she heard Kat Leary (62), Janie Norris (60) and I were helping Churchland High Class of 59 look for lost classmates "Hope all is well with you all. I don't know if you remember it or not, but Joan Beale Brennan taught at Churchland right after she graduated from college so she might be a good resource in locating some of the Churchland lost." World just gets smaller and smaller doesn't it? Kat, Janie and I are positive someone is writing our names on bathroom walls.

Good to hear from Linda Whitley (61) and know she is alive and kicking "Thank you Gail for the up date!
Have a wonderful New Year and may God Greatly Bless you and your family."

Donna Wiggs (61) writes from Lake Gaston "Sorry I missed sending you this before this newsletter came out but maybe you can include it in the next newsletter. Nancy White O'Shields and Donna Wiggs Vann hosted a Christmas luncheon on Sat. after Christmas at Donna's daughter 's house in Western Branch (Chesp, VA) for the local graduates of 1961. (Girls only!) We had 16 there and had a great time catching up on our retirement, grandchildren, and fun things we are doing that we always wanted to do! We had one rule, could not discuss aches and pains, so that made the sharing go faster as we went around the room. Many of us had pictures to share and we especially enjoyed being with Mary Jo Ditter (our most faithful luncheon attendee) who is having some medical difficulties. Nellie Houston Smith drove 10 hours from Severville, TN to be there. We also had Martha (Shirley) and Mary Lou Barnes(Harvey), Linda Whitley Wright, Carol Galford Edwards, Sandy Stephenson Vick, Kenny Tetlow  Watston, Ellen Overstreet White, Helen Simpson Lee, Gail Umberger Hess, , Janie Read Harrell , Marion Elder Price, Bonnie Kyle Zirkle and Mariane Church Clarkson present. Before we ate, 4 of Mrs Heath's students sang our blessing, Sandra, Mary Jo, Marion & Nellie. It was the most beautiful thing you have ever heard as God's children held each other's hands once again!" All the names mentioned are from the Class of 61. Do you guys (Cradock Alumni) realize how really unique you are? I'm willing to bet no where else is there a group of people that have stayed in touch with each other and I mean really in touch for 40 + years like we have. Not just Christmas cards, or the occasional wedding or funeral but we really care what each other is doing and are there for each other when needed. Donna later wrote "PS: I forgot that Patsy Parker was also with us at the luncheon. Yes we did take group pictures on Julie's stair steps and I will try to figure out how to load them on my computer and send them to you. Yes it is bitterly cold here today. No don't see Peggy Light very often. I did know that the campground is closed from end of Oct to April, so I hope she is away on a cruise or something. I see Pat Stelmack Chance all the time as she works here at the local Food Lion. Just love living at Lake Gaston! We were in N. VA over New years at my sister Kay's house as we three sisters celebrated the coming in of 2009 together in Haymarket, VA. It is beautiful in that part of the world but just too busy for me." Donna ought to be here the weekend of "the magic swearing in" if you really want to see busy.

Mavis Tompkins (52) wrote just to make me colder "
Gail, always look forward to your newsletters. So full of updates on our classmates. I am always hoping the class of 1952 would participate more. I hear from classmates but usually just some cute jokes they want to share. I really want to hear more about what is going on in their life. Yes, janie is amazing. She is a keeper......... I continue to go on the chs site often. It is wonderful & i still encourage the 1952'ers to go on.......take care, stay warm & be safe during the swearing in of our new president...... I will be safe & cozy at home watching in sunny florida.......

Nancy Whitlock (62) sent me an interesting article for history so she has to be feeling better. Good to hear from her.

Sandra Neatherly (62) writes "I'm going to be a great-grandmother in June. I can't believe it. My granddaughter (Todd's daughter) and her husband move from middle Georgia to Waycross, GA this weekend. That's where her husband is from." It is now time to reveal that Sandra flunked numerous grades. That has to be the only way she could have graduated with me since there is no way I'm old enough to be a great-grandmother. I always thought Sandra seemed to wiser than old of us. That comes with age, right?

Wrote to wish Nyoka White (61) a Happy Birthday and rec'd the reply "To catch up, I was in Peru (Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Lake Titicaca in December). Loved Peru but the altitude really got to me. When I arrived at a hotel one night, the clerk took one look at me and asked would I like oxygen brought to my room. Yes, please. Lot of guests at the beach house for the holidays (Christmas to you). Fun, but tiring. I am in the midst of deciding on new kitchen cabinets, flooring at the beach house. In the meantime, I decided to come to DC for the inauguration. I know I am totally insane but I am off to the mall this afternoon for the concert, and if I survive that, I will be back for the inauguration on Tuesday. I am putting on 2 pairs of pants, two pairs of socks, two cashmere sweaters, one down jacket topped with a long red down coat, and a fur hat (lest you protest about the fur, I picked the hat up in New Zealand a couple of years ago and it is made from possum road kill). I am probably going to resemble a cross between the Michelin Man, Santa Claus and Davy Crockett. I also have hand and toe warmers." After I watched the concert from the warmth of my sofa and using the pause button for bathroom breaks and I kept watching for you but didn't see you in the crowd and Nyoka replied "You did not see me because I did not arrive until 3:00 pm, so I was shunted a quarter of a mile away to the World War II memorial. Two friends and I did manage to worm our way to the front of the barricade. We had an unobstructed view of the Lincoln Memorial. Did I see Obama and Tiger Woods and Tom Hanks and L. Samuel Jackson and Usher and Pete Seegar and Bono and Beyonce, etc.? Yes. Did I SEE them. No. All I saw was Lincoln in the shadows plus a bunch of ants running around on the steps. Never mind. It was great out there. A really good feeling. Lots of goodwill. The coolest thing was that I walked down the middle of the Roosevelt Bridge to get back to the Virginia side. I have been in Washington since 1965 and I don't know of anytime that bridges have been totally closed to anything but foot traffic. There was a rosy sunset over the Iwo Jima Memorial in one direction. Turn around and all of Washington was laid out. Worth the trip. And I will be back amongst the throngs on Tuesday....I enjoy the newsletter and it is the first thing I open when it shows up. It just brings us all back to a time when anything in the world was possible. I remember Ms. Fitzgerald saying in an English class once (I was 16), "you will never be as great as you are now." I thought she was nuts at the time, but I have come to understand it."

Pat Gillette (62) writes "Thanks for the newsletter. I didn't get Christmas Eve's for some reason. Thanks to all who visited and sent condolences when my mom died in August. Marie Armistead (62) and I had lunch with Pearl (Zucker 62) on New Year's Day. We exchanged photos of grandchildren and gabbed a lot. It was great. I am expecting grandchild # 9 on Groundhog Day and # 10 on July 4th. My children always did like holidays. This will make 5 boys, 4 girls and 1 unknown. I get dizzy just thinking about it."

Phyllis Duggins (56) shared news from home "It was really good to get a nice news letter from you. A nice way to start the New Year out hearing about our classmates. You are so right any Govt. worker in their right mind will not be anywhere near DC next Tuesday unless they live at the foot of the Capital Bldg. I can only imagine what a time that is going to be. The pictures were great, the young lady is beautiful. It is really dreary here this morning, 43 degrees and looks like rain or whatever at any moment, they say we are supposed to have snow flurries come Thursday but I will believe it when I see them (and they didn't get any). You take care and I hope this New Year will bring you and your family lots of Good Health and Happiness .P.S. You may have heard already the Circle Restaurant in Portsmouth closed its doors on Christmas Eve for the last time. They really did a lot of TV. coverage about it and had a nice write up in the paper, it had been in operation for 60 years. They said that people called from all over everywhere to wish them well and they had over 700 people to come into the restaurant to eat and just to say goodbye."

Ronnie Seidman (61) moved from Spotsylvania County, VA (down the street from me) to get away from cold and bad weather. The first year he was in OBX it snowed, they had water spouts and hurricanes. We've had no snow yet in Northern Va this year. Attached are pictures from last week of Ron's deck in warm, sunny OBX.

Linda Frazier (60) sent us her new email address:  < > Thanks to her this gives me the opportunity to mention to you again. If you change your carrier and don't send me your email address and I get returned mail I immediately delete you from the list of addressees. So don't be surprised when you don't receive newsletters.

Shorti Kay (61) writes from beautiful South Carolina "Gail, I can't tell you how much I enjoy your newsletter. I can't help but but smile at each name from Cradock. I, like the rest of you cannot believe that I am actually 66 years old! They keep reminding me at work that's almost 70! I hope I can work until I die. I always take a copy of the newsletter to my mom and mail one to Patsy (60) Kay. Even though I never go anywhere on trips or do a lot of exciting things I really enjoy life. . Thanks again for the updates."

Karla Grant (63) sent me a note and I replied asking how she, her family and sister Doris (59) was since I didn't get Doris' usual Christmas letter (Karla and Doris are Alan's first cousins). Karla replied "we're both fine just involved. Doris says she is still going to send out New Years cards but we'll see. The holidays were hard being the first without Mama but we got though it OK. It was nice reading about everyone, in the newsletter."

Roy Ward (62) likes to rub in occasionally that he is now retired and living fat and happy in the OBX. He wanted to know if I was renting my house the inaugural weekend and then threw in that Kitty Hawk didn't even have street lights. Talk about rubbing salt into wounds. And no I didn't rent my house out but lots of people at work did.

Bernie Kirsch (57) and I were "discussing" the great job that Janie Norris (60) is doing as our webmaster and I'm only sharing this because I found it hilarious particularly the last part....."I wish that I could help her with that work, but I really have no qualifications in website management although I did receive an "A" in a graduate level class at ODU in summer 2005, in a course that required students as a final exam to design and develop and post a website. The course helped to renew my Virginia Teachers Certificate. Because of completing this course requirement, I continue to be qualified in Virginia to distort, twist, and freak the young minds of our children attending public schools with my vast knowledge." I'm still laughing.

And Don Caffee (59) who normally loves pulling my chain about my commute from Stafford to DC when his took him about 15 minutes on a bad day sent me pictures of his snow in Sanford, NC. "I believe the fluffy stuff has finally quit falling except for what falls from the trees. These pictures remind me of our years in Blacksburg. We've had our thrill. Now I'm ready for the sun to melt all this mess. :-)It's a good thing that D.C. didn't have this kind of weather today to interfere with the inauguration. It's been quite a historic day for everyone." Don sent several pictures but I chose this one to give you a real idea of the depth. It isn't supposed to snow there. Plus he added this which made made me smile "I suspect that no work will be done that day across much of the country. It will be just another Saturday for me - I have six of them each week since retirement - so I'll probably watch some of the events live. Others I'll catch on one of the hundreds of reruns on the networks. After next week what are the networks going to have for news? They've built up small wars as big as they can, picked at the imperfections of our leaders until it's boring to everybody, and nature hasn't given them a real good disaster to cover. I know! They can appeal for a bailout due to the tough times they will have to endure!"

Andrea Horton (62) up for a visit from sunny Florida wrote "Hi Gail, I don't envy you being in DC this coming will be a mad house and folks with any sense will get out...and watch it on TV. Thanks for the newsletter...good to keep up with old friends...I've run into several of our classmates on "Facebook".com lately. I am in Virginia Beach this week visiting my mother. I try to get here several times a year and help her with projects...I have given her lessons in "cell phone use", moved furniture, and taken her shopping in the last several days. Will return home to St Augustine, Florida next week...Also, always attempt to get together with classmates for lunch or dinner when in this area...Sharyn Short Downs (62) and Becky Ambrose Ware (62) and I will meet at Olive Garden in Chesapeake tomorrow and play "catch-up" ...Sharyn was going to call Janet Carprale Jones (62), not sure yet if she was able to get Janet on the phone...if anyone wants to join us on my next visit..just send an email with your phone number and we will contact you when we plan the next get is always impromptu and lots of fun. My most exciting time this past year was spending the month of October 2008 with relatives in England and meeting a cousin from Wales for the first time. We spent four days in London, went to Stonehenge twice, toured the south coast around Christchurch, Dorset and visited lots of cathedrals, pubs and ruins...even visited Horton, England and yes there is such a place...I have to say that retirement is the greatest thing I've ever done! Someone says "go" and I'm ready...have several trips scheduled this year and more to plan. I wish the best to all my classmates and thank God for my continued good health, family and friends...and our wonderful country."

Looks like all my pictures this time are of snow. Katherine Leary (62) had to share the one of her son Keith and grandson Andrew "tubing" You've just got to love the kid's face!

I was wrong (how rare that is) all my pictures aren't of snow. Vernon Townsend (62) send along the attached hiking picture and the note "your newsletter arrived just in the nick of time..I had many a good laughter's reading the comments of the replies from the "peanut gallery".I sense, from all, an excellent sense of humor~What a great bunch~! I quote, (this was one from Richard, this just cracked me up~!) "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." Still, the tears flow..Cute..thanks Richard` Still so very thankful, my health is excellent and, I enjoy daily walks all over the hills here in New Hampshire. I have lost 30 lbs this past year as a result, wearing cloths again that were hiding in the closet..thanks gawd, they are all coming back into style~!! Talk about a Bitter cold and, GAWD..It's to get even more so by week's end..Day before yesterday, I set out, driving to Va Beach and, the snow was the worse. Talk about traffic pile ups, accidents etc..Regretfully, I turned the burb around and, eased my way back home. Today the sun shines and, it's time for me to get in my daily walk..Here's a recent picture taken this past fall while out hiking/climbing one of New Hampshire's many mountains. My warmest regards to all."

David Hall (62) wrote that he is finally retiring 31 January. I made nasty comments back to him and mentioned all of his snow in his area. His wife Mary replied "Mary Hall, here! Rest assured that some of your high school friends have never lost their enthusiasm for snow and all the wonders that it brings! David lives for snow storms and the opportunities to get out in them. You may or may not remember a major snow storm in Tidewater in the late '70's -- the one where folks who attended the Barnum and Bailey Circus at Scope ended up spending the night with the elephants and the clowns. State police wouldn't let them leave unless they had four-wheel drive (long before that feature was fashionable)! The minute the first flake hit the ground, David was outside putting chains on our car, hoping for an opportunity to take to the streets. By late afternoon, Port Norfolk looked like a winter wonderland and the snow was still falling. Some poor man whose car was stuck at the foot of the (old) West Norfolk Bridge saw the smoke from our chimney, rang our doorbell and asked to warm up by the woodstove and then use our phone in an effort to get to his home in Churchland. Both his expensive leather shoes and his Burberry rain coat were soaked. David immediately told him no phone call was needed and offered him a ride. He drove him through Waterview to the foot of the Churchland Bridge, which was near his home. Some would praise him for his good deed, but I suspect his motivation was not totally altruistic! The man does love the snow. Be sure to mark your van. He looks for you every morning when he begins his channel surfing at 5:30 am." The last sentence refers to David making fun of my commute and getting stuck in snow and 1/4 of inch of ice last year and asked me to put a big sign on my van so he'd know whose tail lights he was seeing on the 6:00 news.

Great to hear from Kathyrn McCraney (62) "It is always a pleasure to receive the emails and I appreciate what you do to keep us informed.

Arnold Black ('61) helps his wife with her antique shop on High Street and asked me to give you his email address. Jesse and I continue to enjoy living in the Myrtles at Olde Towne apartment where we can lock the door and travel without having to worry about mowing grass or upkeep on a house. Retirement has been great for us. We are able to spend time with the 3 grandchildren, volunteer one day a week at the Naval Hospital, and help with the Friends of the Public Library book sale once a month. Our last big adventure was cross-country in May, stopping for a visit with Kent (brother Class of '59)and his family in Kansas on the way to California. After hiking in Bryce and Zion Canyons, Utah and Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon in California, I fell in a car wash and broke my knee cap. A few wires and screws installed by a great Orthopedic Surgeon and his blessings, we headed on to Monterey and down the coast to San Diego and turned back east to explore southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas before heading home. Eight weeks total with 5 of them in a brace made for an interesting trip, but we were certainly glad to complete it. Eight weeks of physical therapy has me back to 95% healed and hopes of hiking in the spring. A trip to Massachusetts in the Fall for our Air Force Reunion and a trip to Disney World with the grandchildren after Christmas has been great fun. We have the guide books stacked on the table ready for planning the next adventure." Again I'll use my favorite expression "I've never gotten hurt reaching for the control or a beverage while sitting on my sofa" Of course I'm big as a house but no exercising or broken knees!

Joyce Herron (62) is still working and doing double duty taking care of her Mom. Busy girl.

Al Thomas (62) keeps me supplied in jokes and after I received one today I replied I hoped he got 6 inches of snow in OBX and he in turn came back with "Six inches of SNOW??? Please!..... I sent the "Breath Right"
commercial to you because I thought you might want to get one for Allan.
(..... six inches of snow?)..... (You are a vicious woman!!)"

Priscilla Weyant (60) is still hitting the roads "We did some great trips last year. Cancun, Maine, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and in Aug. we went to Scotland, England, and Wales for three weeks. Visited some of his friends and family along with sightseeing. We better go while our health holds out. God has blessed us so much and we are also enjoying our two daughters and four grandchildren ages 6 and 8 yrs."

IF I OFFEND ANYONE....sorry too cute to pass up.

How Are a Texas Tornado And a Tennessee Divorce The Same?

Somebody's Gonna Lose A Trailer Until next time, Gail

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