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Cradock Alumni and Friends Homepage

Cradock High Class of 1957
50th Reunion Issue

June 2007
Issue Number One
Editor: Marcella Shaffer Bingham
Assistant Editor: Bernie Kirsch
Distribution: John Butler

Cradock High School
The Class of 1957 entered our new school in
September 1954
As the first Sophomore Class

Note from the Editor:
"To be the Last and the First"

The Cradock High School class of 1957, as the last freshman class in the old high school, entered the beloved
and venerable old building on the first day of school in 1953 with both excitement and trepidation. Would we
be able to find all our classes? Would we like all our teachers? What if we have to Mr. Booker’s office? What
would happen if we forgot our locker combination?

Many of my fellow classmates had known each other from elementary school. I had just arrived at Cradock
two months before. I was a stranger and Cradock was going to be the tenth school I had attended. I worried
about being accepted and fitting in. I need not have worried. From the first day, our class’s warm and welcoming
ways, soon made me at home and I never again felt like a stranger. Very soon we all immersed in our classes,
reading Shakespeare for the first time in Miss Fitzgerald’s class, wearing those hideous blue one-piece gym suits, cooking uneatable meals in Home Economics, and cheering on our teams at the pep rallies.

That first year passed quickly, and before we knew it we were seasoned veterans of high school and ready to
move on to become the first sophomore class in our brand new two-story school. Now it was our turn to show
the lowly freshmen how things were done in high school.

At the first assembly, Mr. Hogan, our Vice Principal, instructed us in proper staircase behavior. He told us that
the stair on this end of the building was the UP staircase. That means we were to use those stairs to go UP to
the second floor. At the other end of the building was the DOWN staircase. We were to walk DOWN the DOWN
stairs and UP the UP stairs. It was one lesson we didn’t forget and heaven help you if you were in a hurry and
sneaked down the up staircase only to find Mr. Hogan waiting for you at the bottom.

The next three years passed by so quickly. Do you remember? The miles of pennies…Arsenic and Old Lace…early morning announcements…struggling through French in Mrs. Bruce’s class…football and basketball games…hoping
Miss Credle wouldn’t call on you in class…our fabulous marching band…club meetings on Friday mornings…
homecoming…the senior class play…senior baby day.

Faster than we could ever have imagine, our senior year arrived and we counted the days to June with pride
and yet sadness. The big day arrived, and the Cradock High School class of 1957 graduated. Promises were
made to keep in touch and we all went on our separate ways. Two weeks after graduation I was off to California.

In October, we will be together again at our 50th reunion. What happened to all those years! It is a time to
see old friends, to renew acquaintances, share old memories and make new ones. We have often marveled over
how we managed to keep our class friendships so close and enduring. It is pretty remarkable when you think
about it. Was it the times in which we grew up? Are we held together by nostalgia or does it reflect the
commitments we made to each other to maintain our friendships across the years and across the miles? Perhaps
the reason doesn’t matter. All I know, that I am proud to belong to this class of extraordinary people I have
come to know and love – and I can’t wait to see you all again!

- Marcella


People I’d like to see at the reunion:

Bill Jamerson… says he is looking forward to seeing everyone in October and would most like to see Robert
Copeland…Phillip Monahan – graduated from Fork Union Military Academy in 1957. He is looking forward to seeing
many classmates he has not seen or heard from in over 50 years. “Thanks for inviting me to the reunion”… Gary Hayes…says, “There are just too many I haven’t seen in a long time to center on one. But with those whom I had
the most contact day in and day out – members of the band – David, Eddie, Junior, Joyce, Pat M., Bernie…for Alma Brown Hall it’s Marvin Bowman, David Smith and Earlene Hodges…Johnny Butler wants to see “everybody”…Kenneth Combs wants to see Marcella Shaffer, Charles Buck and Kenny Lee…Joyce Bragg Costa…would most like to visit with Patricia Malone, Juanita Gift, Verelle Rowe, Gary Hayes, Ed McNew, David Smith, Bernie Kirsch and Angella Spivey…Earlene Hodges Lassiter looks forward to seeing Alma Brown… Pat Horan would like to know how Stephen Saffort is doing…Dorothy McFall Padgett looks forward to seeing Barbara Gilbert and Diane May.


And now a word from our classmates…

Sam Allen - sends a big hello from Paradise, CA. I want to thank you for the news from Cradock... Tell everyone
I said hello and enjoy reading about them. My wife Carolyn and I are in good health and very busy in our
retirement. We are both very involved with ministries in our church and the local area. I belong to the local
golf club and get out as much as possible. I was even a marshal at the A.T. & T. at Pebble Beach one year. It
was fun to see the Pro's and celebrities up close. We had a great time in Monterey and we are going back next

Varneda Kestner Meyer - my husband, Bart, and I are enjoying retirement. We have a place in Farmville, mom’s
and dad's place that we are fixing up. So we visit there quite often. We would love to see every one.

Ellen Tillery Trammel -My husband Harold died August 26, 2004. We had just celebrated our 20th anniversary
on the 21st. I still live in our home, which is located in a small farming community Belfalls. Texas. It is an old
house, built in 1930.

I retired in 2003 from Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas. I was Administrative Secretary to the Assistant Administrator of the Hospital/Surgical Director. Prior to moving to Temple, Texas I worked in a variety
of fields.

In the past, I have raised and trained many exotic animals. My personal favorite was my Serval, Talewa who
lived for 13 years in my home and was a real "mama's boy". Other animals I have owned are leopard, cougar,
bobcat, kinkajou, tamandua, white timber wolf (all just pets and uncaged, except the kinkajou had to be in a
cage at night, since they are nocturnal and he wanted to play). I have worked with cheetah's, lions, tigers,
spotted hyena. They cost too much and/or eat too much for me to own, but I really enjoyed working with them.

Gary Hayes - I just want you to know I appreciate your notes about what is going on back in VA. It's really sad
to hear of our dear friends and school teachers who have passed away. Mr. Niemeyer was a super teacher and
he is the one who had me convinced I wanted to attend VMI when I graduated. As a matter of fact, I already
had a letter of acceptance and room assignment when it became necessary for me to withdraw my application.

My appendix just about ruptured and I had to have an emergency appendectomy one week after we graduated.
As far as we knew, there went college with the added expense. I had no idea there was such a thing as a loan
to go to school, so needless to say it was "good-bye" VMI, hello USAF.

When everyone else was leaving for college, I just went downtown one day and enlisted and got Mom and Dad
to give their approval since I wasn't yet 18. I am now retired (after 22 years in the USAF and still living in
Oklahoma (10 miles SE of Tulsa in a suburb, Broken Arrow).

Alma Brown Hall -Married to Jim Hall for 44 years. Alma no longer works full time, but works with husband, Jim,
in his photography business; she is retired from Virginia Beach City Schools. She attended James Madison
University and received a Masters from East Carolina University.

Alma’s best memory of Cradock is the safe, secure environment, with teachers who were friends at CHS, parents
who were involved in school, activities, and friends who were always around. What a winning combination for being loved and protected as we grew up, in our small community of Cradock. That has meant more to my success in life than I could ever have imagined in the 50’s.

The best Cradock teachers were Cora Mae Fitzgerald, for her enthusiasm for teaching and her dedication to
influencing her “charges”, Alan Mandell, for his “no nonsense” classroom decorum and his high expectations for students; Phoebe Richardson, or her insistence on perfection and her own fastidious appearance, Elizabeth West,
or her story telling ability style of teaching that reached a climatic end when the bell rang today and brought
you back tomorrow with the anticipation for the next episode! Henry Carter, whose mild manner and boyish good
looks captivated us, and then his passion for reading British and Irish literature with a genuine brogue buckled our knees with laughter. What wonderful teachers we had as role models.

Hope Saunders Slaughter - Thank you to the reunion committee so very much for the time and effort and
resources you are expending to make our 50th Class Reunion weekend a fun and memorable event. Gene
(Robert Gene Slaughter, Class of ‘54) and I celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary December 25, 2005. Being
one of the first married students allowed to continue day classes at Cradock High made history in 1956. I can
hear Miss Ruth Credle say, “That Gene Slaughter (he was not one of her favorite students) did a good day’s
work the day he married you.” I probably should remind him of that sometimes!

I still have a special place in my heart for my hometown even though we have lived in so many states and in
Germany (Gene retired from the U.S. Army in 1977). We moved to our present home here in Currituck, NC in
1983. After his retirement, we owned and operated Olde Virginia Cabinets, Inc. in Suffolk for thirteen years,
and after moving to NC, we owned and operated Moyock Hardware.

Gene and I have lived here on the Currituck Sound longer than any place else and I have enjoyed living here
better than any other place. The sunrise unveils a “living masterpiece” each new day. We are truly blessed.

I did not attend college (just a few ‘personal-interest’ college-level courses) - but have discovered that education continues outside the classroom and far beyond.

Even though I may not remember names or recognize faces or be recognized, and find some events fuzzy, some vanished, I always enjoy being with my classmates. Yes. I will attend our 50th Class Reunion in October. Looking forward to seeing you all again.

Hope you enjoyed this issue of the Shipmate Class of ’57 50th reunion issue. Thank you to everyone who made
this issue possible by sharing a little bit of your life and memories with us. We are expecting to produce another
issue before the reunion so we’d like to hear from you. What’s been happening in your life, your memories, people
you would like to see. Keep in touch!

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