THIS IS SURRATTS FOUNDATION E-NOTICE 2005-8 OF AUGUST 1, 2005
Here are some items that might be of interest:
1. FOUNDATION MAKES UNRESTRICTED GIFT TO SCHOOL. I
am very proud to report that, to commemorate the 2K5 events, the
Foundation just made an $1,100 unrestricted cash gift to the
School. We'll report back later on the use the School decides to
make of those funds. (You may recall that the funds donated to the
School after the Y2K events were used to buy badly needed desks for
2. A HISTORICAL EXCERPT FROM THE VFD. Here's an
excerpt from the Clinton VFD Old Timers' Club's "Historical
Collection of the Clinton Community" publication that was donated to
the Foundation Archive at the 2K5 events: "The Surrattsville School
was established in 1869, on a knoll at what is today the
intersection of Route 381 and Surratts Road. In 1906, the Board of
Education ordered that Surrattsville School be hereafter run as a
district high school and primary school combined at an additional
cost not to exceed $400 per annum. Thus, the second high school in
Prince George's County was established."
Copies of that publication, and the Club's "Historical Calendar of
the Surrattsville High School and Clinton Community," can be
purchased (for a mere $4 for the calendar and $5 for the booklet)
from Martin Padgett, 8545 Kentucky Ave., La Plata, MD 20646.
The Club also has a web site at
www.clintonvfd-oldtimers.org, and of course they're always
looking for new members who either were fire fighters or who have an
interest in preserving the history of fire fighting and of fire
fighting equipment and who enjoy picnics, trips, parades, community
work and other fun activities.
3. DETAILS ON CAREER OF CLINTON'S RACING HALL OF FAMER.
I received this nice email from Marion Smith Denton (70) in
connection with the observation in the last e-Notice about her and
her four brothers attired in "Smoker" Smith racing attire at their
Friday night Class-specific event: "Hey Henry: Dad was inducted into
the Drag Racing Hall of Fame in October 2003 in Henderson, NC.
(Check out their web site - under Henderson NC - go to hall of
fame racing.) He was cheered on by 500 participants at the
induction, and signed autographs to many fans that he did not know
still existed. It was a great week end for him, especially after
losing Mom in May of that year (she was his biggest fan and his
sweetie since 1st grade - over 60 years, married for 53). He was
the first person to go over 200 mph on a 1/4 mile track, plus many
other 1sts. He was nick named "Smoker" due to his "fire burnouts";
I think they put some liquid on the track - maybe moonshine!
Anyway, when he'd do the burnout thing he would have the stands
roaring. He also had the 1st all-women's circuit in drag racing,
and two men's circuits that traveled the U.S.. Marion"
4. REPORT ON GOLF OUTING AND 76 EVENTS. Here are
some details about the very successful Golf Outing, and some Class
of 76 events, that I received from Golf Outing Coordinator and 76
ORC Evan Vutsinas (76): "On Friday morning the Class of 76 served
the school by organizing the Surrattsville Golf Outing at the
Marlton Country Club. Through the sales efforts of Cindy (Thompson)
Vutsinas and Jackie (Toth) Wolfe, the net profit to the Foundation
was over $1200.00. Thanks go to Blaise Miller who donated a keg for
the golfers to enjoy when they came off the course. Dave Kelley
(Leslie Thomas' husband) won the 50/50 raffle and generously donated
much of his winnings back to the Foundation. Thanks Dave! The
Class of 74 (darn it!) team of Reinhart, Lenhart, Petrella and a
mystery golfer won the team prize. Jeff Lindley's mom was four
inches from winning the "closest-to-the-pin" competition.
Friday nights' turnout at Mama Stella's was outstanding and the food
and service were great too! The Class celebrated the June 10th
(2005) wedding of Mark Walker and Dawn McDowell (78) with a cake and
thanked Toni Trenda for traveling the furthest (CA) to see her 76
Classmates. A short sidebar to those of you who live near Clinton .
. . check out the House-Band at what used to be Shuler's Restaurant
(now "The Fishmarket") . . . some of us went there (Leslie, you were
too invited . . . :>) Friday night after Mama Stella's and were very
pleasantly surprised by the choices of 70s era rock and Motown
music. Watching Debbie Rice and Glenn Martin dance as well as
Bonnie Miller and Craig Bergeman was awesome too!
The 2K5 picnic on Saturday held a few surprises that made the trip
waaaaay perfect. The first surprise was the number of our teachers
that were present: Ms. Williams, Ms. Harris, Mr. Hersey, Mr. "Dutch"
Anderson and, BEST personal surprise, Ms. Grouby were there to
visit. I do think that seeing us makes them feel REALLY old. A
second eerie surprise came while on the Surratts junior high tour.
(Peggy Money Polnac drove us over in the school bus.) The gentleman
who gave the tour related a time a few years back when Don
Vanderhoof's daughter was a senior at the (now) private Christian
school. They were ripping out old, dilapidated lockers and from
behind one of them came an old, crinkled 1970 report card belonging
to a 7th grader named Don Vanderhoof. For some reason the document
was still unsigned!
Thanks again for a memorable time together! Respectfully submitted,
Evan Vutsinas (76)
5. REPORTS FROM THE BIG WEEKEND. Here are some other
reports I received from folks about their experiences at the 2K5
-Mr. George Hornickel, Director of the Grace Brethren Christian
School who kindly opened his building to visits by those of us who
attended school there, wrote "It was fun to meet former students as
well as teachers and to hear stories relating to their memories."
-Phil Gross (65) reports: "In case you didnt get a report from the
65 reunion Saturday, It was a smashing success, of course, thanks to
the usual hard work and planning by Judy Gordon and others.
Sometime around the middle of the evening, we noticed a few couples
in tuxes and evening dresses out on the floor with the rest of the
65ers. A while later we noticed a few younger folks in Hawaiian
shirts and straw hats joining the dancing. At some earlier 65
reunions, some 65ers had brought sons or daughters, and I recall
thinking that the maybe the 65 offspring were a bit confused about
the dress code. We soon learned that there had been a wedding
reception and another reunion (luau-themed, Mount Vernon, 85) in the
same hotel that evening. It turned out the 65 reunion outclassed
these other events as the party crashers just kept coming. At one
point, I was standing near the door as a group of beach-attired
85ers streamed in, and one of them turned to me and said, You guys
rock!. The DJ spiced the mixture by calling for alternate
shout-outs from 65ers and 85ers, and a number of 85 gentlemen (and
who could blame them?) were seen dancing with 65 ladies."
-Nancy Maynard (65) added: "I had a wonderful time and enjoyed
seeing everyone and, the teachers that were present. I'm a member
of the Class of 65 and I marvel each time we are all together just
how close we have all become in the 40 years since we graduated. We
had folks from all over the country and after the picnic, we went to
each of their previous homes and took a picture of each in front of
their homes. It was quite moving for them."
-Duane Johnson (94) reported: "I have to say I enjoyed the all
classes reunion. I do believe I was the youngest one officially
there, being the only member of the class of 94. I kind of wished
I had made it to the reunion back in 2000, but que sera sera.
Getting to see Mrs. Harris was nice, as she was a great help to me
around the time of graduation. One of the best parts of the reunion
was that my mother (Jeanette Johnson 62) and my sister (Jeannine
Dugan 89) were with me so we could all reminisce together."
-Mary Walter (51) reported: "Another wonderful Surrattsville
Reunion! Millard (48) and I enjoyed it very much. We got to visit
with his fourth grade teacher! Enjoyed talking to Shelby Lee
Oppermann (79) about the Archive display. It was all fun!"
-Marion Smith Denton (70) reported: "It was so unbelievable to have
all my brothers together. We had so much fun. We acted like some
high school kids - of course! Brother Hal and I walked into the gym
and yelled "take him down!" - all four of my brothers wrestled,
and of course Mom, Dad and I were their best fans. To walk the
halls and to see everyone - what an unbelievable experience. I
remember thinking I would not attend the picnic on Saturday -
because I could not remember anything from high school - but it was
unreal having those brain cells rejuvenated - memories immediately
started flowing and laughter was abundant. Thanks for those name
tags! Definitely nice to get out of my starched mother/Sunday
school teacher self. Many wonderful memories. That is what we are
here for - the memories - and may they all be filled with such joy
- and such laughter!"
-Wendy Barrett Miller (76) reported: "The Class of 76 enjoyed all
the events. Thoroughly enjoyed the weekend!"
-Marian Sellner Garber (44) reported: "It was great seeing some of
the folks from 'way back when'. I especially enjoyed meeting Mrs.
-Pat Becker Oles (71) reported: "I had such a blast. I was
literally transported back to high school and teen club. What a
simpler time it was back then. We probably had loads of teen angst,
but looking back at it now, it was blissfully innocent."
-Barbara Loveless Holtz (63) reported: "Saturday was delightful. My
Dad [Judge Ernest A. Loveless, Jr. (39)] enjoyed the day seeing many
old friends. Mrs. Hyde [Connie Middleton Hyde (36)] was pleased to
be the oldest returning alum."
-Carol Tisdale Whitsell (64) reported: "It was a perfect day. The
shuttle bus transportation from the New School to the Old School was
like taking a trip down memory lane. The representative from Grace
Brethren School was so knowledgeable and kind. It was nice to see
the old building in use and being cared for. The designated meeting
areas at the new school made it a perfect way to find classmates.
Mrs. Vivian Bounds Edelen [who turned 88 on July 30th!] was so happy
to see some of her former students, all of whom remembered her so
-Vivian Bounds Edelen (Faculty member from 1938 - 1942!) reported:
"What a wonderful day! Knowing that it had been 63 years since I
taught 4th grade at the old school, I had not expected to see many
former pupils. What a delight is was when five of them recognized
me in spite of gray hair and wrinkles! Now I look forward to the
Directory, and to the photo book to see if others I taught were
there. It was just a most memorable occasion for me."
6. A SIMPLE AND GREAT SAFETY IDEA. I received this
email, containing a very simple and sensible idea, from Laurie
Martin Roberts (76): "Hi Henry: Thought this sounded valuable for
you and those you care about. A campaign encouraging people to
enter an emergency contact number in their mobile phone's memory
under the heading ICE (In Case of Emergency), has rapidly spread
throughout the world as a particular consequence of last week's
terrorist attacks in London. Originally established as a nation-wide
campaign in the UK, ICE allows paramedics or police to be able to
contact a designated relative next-of-kin in an emergency
situation. The idea is the brainchild of East Anglian Ambulance
Service paramedic Bob Brotchie and was launched in May this year.
Bob, 41, who has been a paramedic for 13 years, said: "I was
reflecting on some of the calls I've attended at the roadside where
I had to look through the mobile phone contacts struggling for
information on a shocked or injured person. Almost everyone carries
a mobile phone now, and with ICE we'd know immediately who to
contact and what number to ring. The person may even know of their
medical history." By adopting the ICE advice, your mobile will help
the rescue services quickly contact a friend or relative - which
could be vital in a life or death situation. It only takes a few
seconds to do, and it could easily help save your life. Why not put
ICE in your phone now? Simply select a new contact in your phone
book, enter the word 'ICE' and the number of the person you wish to
7. D.C. TRAFFIC IN A NUTSHELL. I received this
too-true email from Dale "Rocky" Simon (69), of the fabulous
Hubcaps: "Hi Henry: Thanks again for all your efforts in making the
reunion the success that it was. We enjoyed our part in performing
at the Sock Hop. Here's a cute email. You may have seen before, but
anyone from SHS can relate! On the road again, Rocky"
-Rules of the Road in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area-
First, you must learn to call it by its rightful name. It is D.C. or
the District. Only tourists call it Washington.
Next, if your road map of Montgomery County is more than a few weeks
old, throw it out and buy a new one. It's obsolete. If in Loudoun or
Fairfax County and your map is one day old, it's already obsolete.
There is no such thing as a dangerous high-speed chase in D.C. It's
just another chase, usually on the BW Parkway.
All directions start with The Beltway, which has no beginning and no
end, just one continuous loop that locals believe is somehow
clarified by an inner outer loop designation. This makes no sense to
anyone outside the Beltway.
The morning rush hour is from 5 to 11 AM. The evening rush hour is
from 1 to 8 PM. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning,
especially during the summer on Route 50 eastbound.
If there is a ball game at the Redskins stadium, there is no point
in driving anywhere near PG County. Tip: Never say PG County to
anyone from Mitchellville, Upper Marlboro or Fort Washington.
They'll blow a vessel in their neck and go into a seizure.
If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended and
If you run the red light, be sure to smile for the $100 picture you
will receive courtesy of DMV. (However, if you don't go as soon as
the light turns green, you will get cussed out in 382 languages,
none of them English.)
Rain causes an immediate 50 point drop of IQ in drivers.
Snow causes an immediate 100 point drop in IQ and a rush to the
Giant for toilet paper and milk.
Construction on I-270 is a way of life and a permanent source of
scorn and cynical entertainment. It's ironic that it's called an
Interstate but runs only from Bethesda to Frederick. (Unless you
consider Montgomery County another state, which some do). Opening in
the 60's, it has been torn up and under reconstruction ever since.
Also, it has a Spur section which is even more confusing.
If someone actually has their turn signal on, they are, by
definition, a tourist.
Car horns are actually Road Rage indicators. Heed the warning.
All old ladies in Buicks have the right of way in the area of
Many roads mysteriously change their names as you cross
intersections. Don't ask why, no one knows.
A taxi ride across town will cost you $12.50. A taxi ride two blocks
will cost you $16.75 (It's a zone thing, you wouldn't understand.)
Traveling south our of DC on Interstate 395/95 is the most
dangerous, scariest thing you will ever do. There is nothing more
comforting then seven lanes of traffic cruising along at 85 mph,
bumper to bumper!
The minimum acceptable speed on the Beltway is 85. Anything less is
considered downright sissy.
The Beltway is our daily version of a NASCAR reality show. Strap up
and collect points as you go.
The open lane for passing on all Maryland interstates is the far
right lane because no self-respecting Marylander would ever be
caught driving in the slow lane. Unofficially, both shoulders are
fair game also.
The far left lanes on all Maryland interstates are official lanes
reserved for drivers who wish to talk on their cell phones. Note:
All mini-vans have priority clearance to use the far left at
whatever speed the driver feels most comfortable multi-tasking in.
If it's 10 degrees, it's Orioles' opening day. If it's 110 degrees,
it's the Skins opening day.
If the humidity is 90+ and the temperature is 90+, then it's May,
June, July, August and sometimes September.
8. MEMORIES FROM A HORNET. I received this great
collection of Surrattsville memories from John Curry (60). John
noted: "Here are my recollections from attending Surratts. Most of
my memories were jogged after touring the "Old School" building
during the Reunion weekend. I don't recall many of the person's
names from my encounters and it is probably better left that way
anyhow. These "stories" are from the span of time is from about 1957
to 1960. Thank you again for a very enjoyable reunion and walk
through the halls of my memories of school days."
- "Surrattsville High School Remembered". I remember little from
Surrattsville High School classes except for certain personal
awakenings. Like Colonel Young slapping a wooden yardstick on my
desk to retrieve me from some reverie during French class and my
history book falling to the floor with a redounding crash also
because of the same reason. I recall Mrs. Hollands dismay at my
frequent and timely absences from her classes because I was needed
to operate the schools film projector for some program. The
projector operators were under her guidance and schedule. Hey,
its not my fault! I also have recollections about two wonderful
young ladies from my class attempting to explain the dark and
mysterious process of diagramming sentences. Some things are just
too far out to comprehend. My fondest recollections are from art
class. Mr. Moon showed me how to look at things differently. He
helped me to see individual items that made up an entire object. He
stressed placement of items on layouts, symmetry and proportions.
Ive used most of what I learned in his class practically on a daily
-"Parking the Isetta": One of my classmates owned a small Italian
car, an Isetta. It is unique among automobiles because it was
entered from the front end only. There is one door that makes up
the entire front of the vehicle. The steering wheel also pivots
with the door when it is opened. Since it is a small compact car,
parking is fairly easy especially when several friends lift it up
and place it so the front-end is up against the school building. We
all waited around until the owner returned to discover his special
parking location. It was all in good fun and the car was relocated
to a spot more suitable for parking. Isnt school fun? "No Mohawks
at Surrattsville": During the mid to late 1950s, a hairstyle fad
developed. One of the students was sent home from Surratts for
sporting a Mohawk haircut. If you are unfamiliar with this trend
setting fashion it consisted of a clean-shaven head except for a
stripe of long hair extending from forehead to neck. I imagine this
style had its origination in a movie but I dont recall the driving
force behind it. I dont remember anyone else having the same
problems, but they may have been popular during the summer, after
school was dismissed. Boy how times have changed!
-"Beltless at Surrattsville": During the late 1950s, it was cool to
wear Sears & Roebuck blue jeans, better know as Roebucks. One of
the students was sent home because he did not wear a belt on his
Roebucks. It was announced that all males must wear belts. Well,
now we had a cause! Some boys purchased new Roebucks and cut off
the belt loops, before they were washed, so that the stitching did
not show. Gradually many of the boys showed up for school without a
belt on their loopless pants and the hall monitors/administration
did not know how to handle the situation. Eventually the rule and
beltless jeans faded from the halls of Surrattsville and passed into
-"Fun and Games at Surrattsville": The 1950s were innocent and mild
as I recall but some students needed a diversion on occasion. The
story, as I recall, concerns one of these free spirits who could not
resist the impulse to agitate. One female teacher was prone to
being very excitable and he decided to make this her special day.
This particular classroom was on the first floor and had large
windows looking out onto some evergreen bushes. Sometime during
class the student jumped up from his desk, exclaimed that he
couldnt take it anymore and proceeded to jump out of one of the
open windows. With this action the teacher screams Oh my God hes
jumped and runs out of the room for help. Well, being on the first
floor he did not go far but the effect was complete. The teacher
returned with someone from the office only to find the student
standing outside between the building and the bushes calmly looking
into the classroom. Several moments of uncomfortable silence
followed before everyone except the administration realized that
they had been had. What a great time!
-"Mr. Pryde was Cool": I was sitting with my friends during an
assembly where our Principal, Mr. Pryde, gave some announcements.
Nothing out of the ordinary except that his trousers were unzipped
showing a small portion of white shirt. He was unaware of his
condition and made his presentation. Shortly, after the assembly
but before we were sent back to class, Mr. Pryde, again, stepped up
to the microphone, this time totally prepared, and I paraphrase his
remark I wish to express my profound apology to anyone that I may
have offended. If you do not understand what Im talking about,
disregard my comment. There were now a sea of blank looks and
questions about what he had just said. Apparently these were the
students and faculty who did not notice his situation. I remember
thinking what a cool way to address the situation. Mr. Pryde was
-"Free at Last": I recall the day that I graduated from
Surrattsville High School in 1960. My friends and I were so excited
that the day had finally arrived where we were free of school and
all the requirements associated with getting an education. After all
the ceremonies were finished we ran out of the schools front door
and jumped into our friends Chevy convertible and shouted Lets
Go! With that exclamation the driver looked over his shoulder and
said Where? There was a long silent pause as we realized that we
had no purpose or direction in mind. The feeling of utter freedom
was too much for us to concern ourselves with what came next. We sat
quietly in the car for several minutes before it was decided to just
drive around and bask in the total release from teachers, rules and
school. I remember thinking to myself that I hope this was not some
hint at what was awaiting us down the road in life. Personally I
could not wait to leave the D.C. area and seek my fortune elsewhere.
Someone was asked what he most looked forward to upon graduation and
his response was Clinton, MD in my rear view mirror!
-"What Goes Around, Comes Around": I remember one incident during
Physical Education class that had a lasting impression on me. One
upper classman was part American Indian and showed his heritage
pride by wearing an Indian symbol on this gym shorts. One day a big
guy in his class took exception to his Indian heritage and punched
him in the face. The sound of the punch resounded in the room, but
the guy who was struck just stood there with his arms by his side
and stared at the fellow who struck him. Then a Phys Ed teacher
stepped between them and ordered the attacker to go take a shower
and leave the gym area. All went back to normal but we watched the
fellow who was struck because his face was red and swollen. We were
amazed at his courage to stand flat-footed and take such a punch
direct to the face. I graduated from Surrattsville High School,
joined the Navy, and the incident was long forgotten. That is until
one day I was driving on a military facility and came face-to-face
with the attacker from school. I was driving in heavy traffic and
was stopped by a military policeman standing at an intersection. My
window was down and I looked directly into the face of the attacker
from Surrattsville High School. We both recognized each other and
exchanged pleasantries. I drove off from the encounter and never
saw him again. I remember thinking Great, now he is in authority
and carries a weapon. Sometime later there was an article in the
newspaper about two military policemen who were arrested for
stealing a military safe containing millions of dollars. Our mutual
high school puncher was one of the policemen arrested. It turns out
that they were unable to even open the safe. The final chapter to
this story is that the safe did, in fact, contain a large sum of
money but it was in non-negotiable government securities. I thought
how fitting an end and did the fellow that was sucker punched so
long ago in our high school gym know the story?"
I'm sure many of you from all of the eras of Surratts can related in
your own way to most of those recollections!
I hope you're all staying cool and well-hydrated, and enjoying a
All the best, Henry Smith (71),
MANY THANKS TO THESE EARLY 2005 ANNUAL CAMPAIGN DONORS!
Steve Profilet (71)
Bill Harris (71)
Donna Rae Sturtevant Smith (70)
Henry Smith (71)
Teri Pepper Dimsey (77)
Pat Becker Oles (71)
Charles Perrygo (71), In Memory of Steve Kurtz (71)
Sandy Evans Lyon (66), For the Oral History Project
Norm Carmichael (65)
Linda Dorsey Blum (66)