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Gail Edwards Baker's Newsletter
May 25, 2010


To start with I feel terrible that I haven't gotten a newsletter out for way over a year.  I can give you all sorts of excuses but laziness would be at the top of the list.  I'm still working and for those of you who worked for the government (or are still grinding away) you know that the old GS system gave way to NSPS 4 years ago and it has been a trial but we were finally getting the hang of it and actually had started cutting down on the length of time required to put "stuff" into the system and good ole Congress decided to go back to GS.  To say my life at work is in turmoil would we a gross understatement.  Mom and Dad are still living with us and Alan continues to earn his wings by being the daily caregiver.  Mom had a third heart attack on the 14th and proceeded to contract an infection on top of it but she is now home and doing ok.

I hear from so few of you anymore perhaps that has also slowed down the feeling that I need to get out a newsletter and I apologize that seemingly the only time you hear from me is when another Classmate has departed for heaven (this is an assumption on my part).  We have lost numerous Classmates in the past year and even more parents.

Some of this news is going to be older than dirt.

Shorti Kay (61) continues to amaze me on a daily basis.  She is still working while coping with husband Rick's debilitating illness and Mrs. Kay is also now living with her.  She sent a picture of DO officers and I was really proud of myself because I could identify them all without having to read the names.  I had planned on forwarding it to all of you but the size would overwhelm a lot of your systems.

Charles Gould (60) recently sent me an exercise for "mature" adults and I had to admit to him that I wouldn't be able to do it once I had to put the Potato into the bag to lift.  He too is still working and has no plans to quit any time soon. 

George Williams (61) has moved his flower farm up to my neck of the woods (Nokesville, VA) and is largely responsible for me finally getting a newsletter out.  "We love it here and will sell cut flowers at the Manassas Thursday and Saturday farmers markets."

Around Christmas time I heard from Tom Nickelsen (62) who for real lives in the middle of nowhere.  "I have 5 neighbors on 60 acres surrounded by national forest. I have a 100 yard shooting range out of my back door. It is just one of my hobbies and tools. Game and fish have to be put down and a problem with black bears now and then. I have had electric for over a year and it made me gain 20 pounds;-) The good life just keeps getting better. I got 6" of the white stuff and looking for more today. My neighbor had a chimney fire but we kept it down for 20 minutes waiting for the fire dept. Nobody hurt and good end so all is good."  He is serious about just getting electricity.

I miss getting the Class of 53's hard copy newsletter in the mail.  They are a very active and close Class.  Fred Zerkle (53) sent this note not long ago "We live in a 55+ community called "American Village" in San Jacinto.
Just moved here in February. The grounds are beautiful, and the people we've met are wonderful. We are in walking distance of a WALMART, grocery stores, restaurants of all types, and a huge movie complex, and all is right with the world!
This is the first time we have ever wanted to live in a 55+ community, and we are really enjoying it.
We haven't been back to Portsmouth since April of last year, when Verna's mother died. I told Gary Keesecker yesterday on the phone, that I'd better start coming back more often to see old friends and classmates while they are still among the living. HA I enjoy your emails. when are you going to resume your class newsletter?"  Another one responsible for this messy newsletter.

Finally some good news after Larry Hollowell (61) scaring us with brother Sleepy's (57) problem while attending a wedding in Las Vegas.  "It was touch and go for several days he is getting over the hill. Still has to take dialysis on kidneys for a while. Thanks for all the prayers for him it was just Gods hands upon him that bought him out of this horrible situations."

Don Taylor (59) emailed today to let me know Clifford and Ernie (69) Freeman's Mom had passed away a couple of weeks ago and shared "I still believe that we all grew up in the very best of times era in good old Cradock.  It will always be dear to my heart.  Thinking back, a great deal of our friends in Cradock turned out to be very successful."

Kay Perdue (60) sent a note that the Class of 60 is planning a reunion 16 October at Elizabeth Manor and she is missing classmate Donald Weeks.  Can anyone help with information on him?  He was in Norfolk, VA at their last reunion.

Back in March when Bernie Kirsch (57) was looking for the origination of the Alma Mater John Casteen (61) took time out of his busy schedule to contact Mrs. Heath who verified the information that Bernie had was correct.  John always amazes me with all he has going on at UVA he takes time to assist us.  His retirement is coming up this summer but from talking with him sounds as if he will remain just as busy in retirement as he was working.

Tommy Chilton (56) wrote after I sent the request for info about the Alma Mater "I recall Mr. Booker giving a talk to the freshmen class during which he stressed the uniqueness of our Alma Mater.  He said there was a contest to write one, within the school I assumed, which a student had won.  I believe he named the student, but can't swear to it.  I also inferred the contest was several years earlier on Mr. Haga's watch.  When I later heard that Mr. Harrison was that student, it "clicked". Still later, Mr. Harrison himself told me he wrote it."

And then Don Caffee (59) answered "Tommy is probably right but I continue to help out in the search. He was a fantastic boy soprano.  Then puberty hit him and his voice dropped. I can't wait for you to put together another litany of happenings in the Cradock community but I know it takes a lot of time. We're gearing up for Holy Week at church.  I used to think that only the Catholic church did that but we Methodists must be running a close second.  Daughter and granddaughter returned home safely last night and had a wonderful time in DC."

Buddy Estes (60) was one of the classmates that Kay Perdue had lost touch with in the last 5 years so I was course went to straight to the expert, his wife Cindy Fitton (62) who wrote that they had indeed moved from the Keys to Clermont, FL  "Both of Bud's parents have passed away.  His Mom lived with us for 15 months then in an assisted living home for a little over a year and then had to go to a nursing home and from there went down hill.  Both of my parents live in Clermont in a 55 yr. old and above gated community.  Dad is 91 and Mom is 83 and she still drives.  We still have to help them from time to time.  I am thankful they live about 10 minutes from us and we are able to help them when needed.  I keep up with your e-mails and we have lost many class mates.  I can't believe you are still working.  The day I turned 62 I retired but I stay busy so I don't miss work just the money!! 

Vernon Townsend (62) has moved from the cold of New Hampshire to the middle of no where in Missouri.  He displays beautiful pictures of his area on Facebook.

I complain about not hearing from you guys anymore but lots of you are on Facebook.  Suzie Shinault (62), Suzanne Moore (62); Buddy Hornick (61); Andrea Horton (62); Pam Overstreet (62) and I know I'm leaving people out.  I'm just not bright enough to enjoy Facebook so I usually end up answering you via email.  My daughter Brandy had to set up my Facebook account.  As I age there is only so much space between the ears and technology just can't take up that space.  I'm still frustrated that cassettes went away.

The end of March Ronnie Seidman (61) made me giggle as usual when he replied to my Alma Mater request "I do not know my name half of the time, so how in the world would you expect me and the rest of these old folks to remember something like this.  I remember singing the song, but that is about it!  Hope all is well up there in Snow Land?  I thought about you guys every time I watched the TV, and  they indicted how much snow was collecting up there.  If it collected down here like that I would be trying to figure out a way to sell the white stuff.  We will be laying out on the Beach this afternoon, soaking up the rays.  We try to take advantage of the "No Tourist" periods, but I must admit, the bathing suits have gotten much smaller, so going to the beach in the Summer has turned out to be a real adventure. "

Martha Rea Butler (62) did her yearly pilgrimage to the Florida Keys and made husband C.B. plan his open heart surgery in time enough for her to allow him to go with her again this year.  She is the most considerate of wives.

I was so pleased to hear from Merlene Waite (62) "Gail, I've missed your emails. I have retired. Therefore my email address has changed. It is <> . I enjoy hearing how and what everyone is doing. It is so good of you to keep in touch with so many of us. I hope to come back to see Cradock someday. My children live in Texas, California, Alaska, and here in Colorado Springs. When I travel, I go to see grandchildren. I have one in Alaska I haven't seen yet. I was hospitalized for 53 days with bacterial pneumonia that left me unable to walk or do much of anything for awhile. I'm fine now, almost off oxygen, tire easily. Recovery has just been slower than I've wanted. Please change my email address. I'll try to keep in touch."  Ya'll remember to check in with Merlene once in awhile.

This is an old update from Nancy Whitlock (62) and I've heard from her since this and she is doing much better but this gives you an idea of what she went through.  "Here is an update on what I've been going through so far.  I went to Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC on Fri, Jan 29 for evaluation and several test.  It was an enlightening and informative and very hard day. It  also gave me and my family a couple of great surprises, as well as still, some uncertainties.  I will not have to have a lung transplant in time soon!  Thank you, God. The breathing test they did showed my lungs were in good shape as the pulmonary fibrosis is in the early stages. The Doctor also told me that he did not see any COPD. Thank you, God, again. I will have to return later on for a few more meetings and test with the pulmonary dept. So I would like to stay on your prayer list, but a couple of blessings are so great. My disease seems to be moving slow and that is good and my breathing numbers were good, so let's hope it stays that way until I'm at least an oldie, 80 ish Cradock High graduate and still moving along!! Please let everyone know I am doing OK right now. And thank all of my classmates who sent and are still sending cards, well wishes and prayers my way. It means a great deal to know that so many people care and it helps keep my spirits up."  Nancy thinks we have the best Class ever.

Got a real chuckle out of Edgar Hudgins (62) email back in the Fall "hello Gail. I thought I would say hello and let you know I had knee replacement on Oct 21.  So far everything seems to be working out doctor who is a great golfer said I should be back to playing golf in about five weeks. When you get old like me things start falling off.  Boy! I am not sure what will fall off if I make it to my 80's.  I might have to change my name to Edith instead of ed.  Well, maybe not my wife, kids, and grand kids would break my other knee."

Richard Huneycutt (60) continues to tour the country and I swear "dabbles" in everything possible.  He keeps me up with the Portsmouth news.

Had sent an email to Richard Flythe (62) last summer just to check if he was still alive and he replied " read all your emails.  And, they are appreciated.  Not a lot to report from Columbia, SC other than to note that the South Carolina Gamecocks beat the Wolfpack Thursday, but most must know as it was the only game on TV. Turner, our oldest son, became a Father on 12 August, a son Max Flythe.  All are doing fine."  And see I've been so late getting this stuff out that poor child has been under Richard's influence for almost a year now.

Shirley Hewett (62) went to California this past summer to visit with her daughter and "great-grandson" .Unbelievable isn't it?

I get a lovely letter from Leroy Curtis (61) and his wife once a month that is always inspiring and as I tell Leroy over and over again God truly works miracles seeing as what young Leroy was and what God turned him into.

Duke Brantly (62) and I commiserated over working and the man is retired!  He wasn't gone a week before he came back as a contractor.  He says  "I also come to work to rest, but only three day/week. The 4th of July weekend, I unloaded about 3,000 pounds of rocks and gravel to put on the creek bank and flower beds and yesterday unloaded 750 pounds of blue stone and laid out and cut for a walk in the yard. Boy, I really needed the rest today. What's up with you Littoral warfare ships people? I keep looking for the ships but don't see but one down here. Tell Obama to send some more money so you can build some more ships and keep people working. However, the repair money is drying up also. Hope we don't have to fight too many more wars, or we will be in trouble."

Want to jump in here to do a commercial for Janie Norris (60).  For any of you that have not checked out the Cradock website lately please do so  As webmaster Janie is absolutely amazing.

Al Thomas (62) sent out a web link that dealt with the 50's and T. O. Williams (55) replied "What a memory jogger!  They even had a '57 Ford convertible in these pictures.  (Only mine was classier--had a big V-8 and continental kit on the back and would outrun any cop car of the day--3-two-barrelled carbs, heads ground down 40 thousandths, and a supercharger.).  Thanks for a great show. Damn what fun we had!"  Now hopefully some of you know what he said because I sure don't.  

I'll try to be better but I'm not going to promise about the newsletters.  Each time I do one I ask you not to put off that phone call, visit or email that you keep planning on making to one of your classmates/ never know what tomorrow will bring..since my last newsletter just to name some we have lost Barbara Williams (53), Billy Affeldt (48) brother to our Mr. Affeldt (44), Marvin Bowman, Suzie Oliver and Sharon Hough from the Class of 57, Suzanne Bellamy, Burnley Credle and Dickie Johnson from the Class of 59, J.C. Shelton, Dennis Hooks and Charles Oakey from the Class of 60; Linwood Bridgers, Dickie Cutchins, Carol Hayden, Irene Holt and Diane Scott from the Class of 61 and Virginia Frazier, Eloise Stephens, Larry White and Jon Belding from the Class of 62.  And we continue to reach across the generations with the death of Kyle Gavin Class of 82 and son of Helen Mills Class of 1954.

On that sad note please stay in touch,


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