l am starting to assemble this column on Feb. 16th with a deadline of Mar. 2nd. I feel certain that you are all aware of the blizzards, which beset the Washington Metropolitan area starting on Feb. 5th. I have been shoveling snow for one or more hours every day since then and have proven to my own satisfaction that an 85+ year old body is not necessarily enthused with that much physical activity. To reward myself Betty and I will visit our children and grandchildren in Charleston, SC for five days at the end of this month.
We aren’t the only ones traveling as attested to by Rhona Gorder’s write-up of the Mexican Riviera Reunion Cruise Jan. 22nd to Feb. 1st.
Everyone who participated in the reunion cruise will concur that it was a great success. It was fun spending 10 days together reminiscing and generally having a good time. The cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas was blessed by picture perfect weather and the calmest seas one could imagine. We visited Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Ixtapa, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, choosing to partake of sponsored tours, go it alone, or just stay on board and soak up the sun! Of course, we had the usual great cruise food, fun entertainment and at 5:00 p.m. most nights met up in one of the lounges for happy hour before going to dinner
We are disappointed to report however, that the terrible weather in San Diego and much of California the week before the cruise stranded Helene and Walter Alt 2nd Co. and Muriel and Bill Pierson 10th Co. in Texas. Sadly, they missed the cruise as Southwest Airlines canceled all flights into San Diego due to the weather and they could not get booked on an alternate route. Joan and John Wilkie 14th Co. almost missed the boat as well as they were flying Southwest out of Phoenix. However, they were able to team with another stranded couple they discovered were taking the same cruise, rented a car and drove the seven hours into San Diego. The Bon Voyage Dinner held Thursday night also had some casualties as a result of the weather (33 attending instead of the 42 expected), but we know everyone was with us in spirit.
Cruisers included: Augie Albanese 3rd Co. and Patricia Conklin, Chris Christoph 12th Co. and daughter Kaycee McCarthy Joelle and Tom Dawson 18th Co., Robert Flood 18th Co. and Judy Tomelden, Rhona and Chuck Gorder 12th, Bill Ikard 17th Co. and Alda Durrill, Barbara and Warren Ortland 5th Co., Marilyn and Mike Rose 22nd Co, Walt Spangenberg 2nd Co., and Sonia Kazanijian Joan and John Wilkie 14th Co.
All the above attended the Bon Voyage Dinner on Thursday night and were joined by: Gerry Christoph, Patricia and Leonard Delling 12th Co. (who drove down from Los Angeles) Barbara and Pete Jefferson 20th Co., Lee Marsolais, Pat and Troy Stone 2nd Co., George Sullivan 12th Co. (from Northern California) and Linda Love (from Baja California) and Rhona’s son, Ashley McNally. Our travel agent extraordinaire Pat Russell missed the Bon Voyage dinner as she was trying to find ways to get the Alts and Piersons into town. We had a nice thank you plaque for her complete with class seal we were planning on presenting that night, but Chuck and Rhona will deliver it to her soon instead.
Ron and Jean Berg friends of the Ortlands attended the bon Voyage Dinner and came on the cruise. Ron is a retired Army Colonel but we did not hold that against him! Rhona Gorder’s daughter Helen, son-in-law, David and granddaughter, Bethany also cruised with us. Bethany was a big hit when she became the ventriloquist’s stooge during one of the performances and stole the show!
At the end of dinner on the last night at sea classmates sang “Navy Blue and Gold” and ended with a rousing “BEAT ARMY!” This was a very fitting manner in which to end this wonderful “tour of duty.”
Here are two of the pictures taken on the cruise. For those of you with computers who haven’t already seen them, there are excellent pictures posted by John on our home page at www.usna.com/classes/1948 and they are in full color.
Jan-Feb Cruise. People are: front to back left to right: Tom Dawson, Rhona Gorder, Alda Durill, Christ
Christoph. Bob Flood, Judy Tomelden, Joelle Dawson, Chuck Gorder, Marilyn Berg,Kaycee McCarthy,
Barbara Ortland, Sonia Kazanijian, Joan Wilkie, Mike Rose, Patricia Conklin, Warren Ortland, Walt Spangenberg, John Wilkie, Bill Ikard, Augie Albanese
There seems to be no way around having to express sorrow at having to report in each column the loss of Classmates and wives. We are in that zone unfortunately. If there is an up side there are only three to report this issue.
Benson, Bruce A. 15th Co. 8/15/24-2/8/10. Bruce has a good bio. in the 50 Year Book if you still have yours.
Two of our wives have also “crossed the bar”
Mary Clithero on 1/25/10
Mary Ortlieb on 1/30/10
Our condolences to their families.
For those of you who send me items you feel are worthy of Shipmate, don’t conclude that because your submission doesn’t appear in the next issue that I threw it away. I save everything I believe everyone would like and put it into the column when it fits. The following is an example. It was found and sent to me by Tom Hayward 21st Co. and though the football season is over, a damned good season it was too, I believe you will thoroughly enjoy this. It was written by John Henderson of the The Denver Post and he titled it “Anchors aweigh for one of the greatest college football towns”
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – One of my favorite parlor games among fellow college football writers is naming the most miserable disgusting college town in America. We also name the best.
The list under worst could be a big 12 roll call. Ames, Iowa; Waco, Texas; College Station, Texas; Lubbock, Texas. The appropriately named Starkville, Miss., gets a few votes, too. Just to tick off the appropriate people, I always add South Bend, Ind.
The best is just as well defined. Austin, Texas, tops nearly everyone’s list. Also up there are Boulder and Madison, Wis., and I like Columbus, Ohio, one of the underrated cities in America. But let me add another and put it way up there, a little past Boulder and challenging Austin as the best college town in the U.S. – Annapolis, MD.
I’m serious. I attended my first Air Force-Navy game Saturday, and a visit to Annapolis should be on every college football fan’s list. I’ve been to 69 of the 120 FBS schools and Annapolis is one of the most pleasant surprises of my career.
My political leanings are just to the left of Gandhi, so I don’t get misty-eyed watching military students marching in formation. Navy’s option offense is not part of this equation.But unlike the Air Force Academy, which is stuck in the middle of a frozen tundra between Colorado Springs and Castle Rock, the Naval Academy is smack dab in the middle of Annapolis. Its historic City Dock, rimmed with restaurants, bars and shops and boats bobbing up and down on the harbor, reminds me of some of the Greek harbors where I’ve hung out.
Replace the souvlake with crab cake, the ouzo with Yuengling beer and Greek fishermen with American midshipmen and you have game day in Annapolis. The state capital dates to 1649, and the downtown is lined with cobblestone streets and well-behaved Navy students too mature and disciplined to partake in public drunkenness. Unlike students in Lubbock.
Before the game, a trolley shuttled me between the beautifully renovated Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to the academy, which is just a short march from downtown. I walked around the 164-year-old “Yard” and its green-domed chapel, as sailboats plied up the Severn River.
After the game, I ate a bucket of mussels with a glass of Australian sauvignon blanc while gazing at fishing boats in the harbor. Try doing that in Ames, Iowa.
Two comments, while I am admittedly biased I think John got it spot on. I will also say he is right, or at least he would have been in 1942, about College Station, TX. I attended Texas, A&M before putting in some enlisted time enroute to Canoe U. I suspect I wouldn’t recognize College Station today. 68 years is a long time.
I have found it very interesting to read the responses, snail and email, to the discussion about the youngest member of the Class. We had a lot of “young” folks in our Class. On the other end of the scale I thought Jim Ahern 23rd Co. might have been our oldest with a birth date of 4/3/23 but then I remembered that Scorchy Smith 21st Co. did some research and sent me an email which I quoted in the Sept-Oct column. It showed Joe Kovacs 24th Co. was born on 9/2/22. That, I believe makes him our oldest Classmate followed by Jim Ahern then Ed Duncan 14th Co. 4/5/23. Unless someone else steps up I think that settles the youngest/oldest discussion.
I want to close with a request; we are approaching the two years to go mark from our 65th reunion. Everyone who has ever tried to do a 5-year reunion will, I think, agree that you must get started on the planning and arrangements by at least the two-year mark. I’m presuming that most of us would prefer that our 5-year reunions be here in Annapolis; however before anyone here begins that planning grind I think we should at least try to determine what kind of attendance we might anticipate. Even though the planners will, as usual, get excellent support from Eileen Proulx of the Alumni Assoc. and the local merchants build a lot of their annual planning with Academy class reunions in mind we must still remember that our Classmates in Annapolis bear the brunt of this effort. We here in the Washington Metropolitan Area try to help but we are 50 miles away so it is still the Annapolis folks who really carry the load. We do, of course, have the option of having a reunion somewhere besides Annapolis (see the beginning of this column). If you wish to take on the task in your hometown please step forward and let me know so I can run it past our Classmates.
BOTTOM LINE- Give me your thoughts. OK, I know we are no longer in our 70s and the reunion date is almost three years away but read the Class of ’40 column in current Shipmate. They are well into planning for their 70th and classes before them have managed it. Should we do any less?