THIS IS SURRATTS FOUNDATION E-NOTICE 2009-3 OF MARCH 1, 2009
Here are some items that may be of interest:
1. FOUNDATION ESTABLISHES PRESENCE ON FACEBOOK. Thanks to the suggestion of a number of Class-specific Official Reunion Contacts, the Foundation has opened a "Group" on Facebook. It is called "Surrattsville Alumni" and can be found by going on Facebook, entering "Groups," then entering "Search for Groups," and then entering "Surrattsville Alumni". You will know you are at the correct site if you see a color photo of the front of the "New School" when you get there.
(There are a number of Surrattsville "Groups," so using "Surrattsville Alumni" and looking for that photo will ensure that you wind up in the correct place. The url for the Surrattsville Alumni Group is http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49215776591.)
Please consider joining this Group on Facebook -- it's free -- because we will be posting information about upcoming Foundation events there.
In addition, a number of Class Official Reunion contacts have opened Groups on Facebook, many of them titled simply "Surrattsville [Year]" (for example, "Surrattsville 1970," "Surrattsville 1971," etc.) Please also consider joining your Class group on Facebook as a way to keep connected with your Classmates and news on upcoming Class-specific events.
[Ed note: Being of an advanced age, I resisted having anything to do with Facebook until about six months ago when some Surratts musician friends suggested I join to stay in touch with that crowd. Although my kids (and grandkids) have still refused to "friend" me, I can report that I haven't had any problems of any kind caused by my Facebook participation, and it seems to be a nice, free way to participate in the 21st century.
Laurie Martin Roberts (74) kindly passed along that Facebook users should double-check the identity of the person attempting to contact them through Facebook by closing any email suggesting that the user link-up with a Facebook user and instead going directly to Facebook.com to connect with that person. Details can be found at http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/08/07/elaborate-facebook-worm-virus-spreading. Leslie St. Clair (70) has pointed out that Facebook has various security settings you can use if you're squeamish about who can see any info you put on Facebook, and Leslie emphasized that "the FREE part is nice" versus some of the other web sites that let former high school schoolmates stay in touch.]
(To illustrate how Facebook can be used for an extended "community discussion," we've pasted at the end of this e-Alert the Class of 76 Facebook discussion about the "lost swimming pool" that Evan Vutsinas, the 76 ORC, shared with us.)
2. GET WELL WISHES. Former Faculty member Brenda Karns sent us this update: "Hi Henry: Dutch Anderson (former faculty) is recovering from a stroke. Dutch is doing very well and should be back home soon for anyone who might want to send him a card. Brenda"
I know we all wish Dutch a speedy and complete recovery.
3. PTSA CONTINUES GREAT EFFORTS. The very activist Surratts PTSA continues its extraordinary efforts on behalf of the great kids at Surratts. We received this recent update, and these kind words, from parent and PTSA Vice President Catherine Taggart-Ross:
"Hi Henry: Just thought I would drop a little note to let you know we are moving forward at Surrattsville. The PTSA recently purchased and started board games during the lunch periods - chess, checkers, etc.. It's amazing how the kids join in to teach each other the game of chess and the peace and quiet that results. The girls sit and watch the guys play and cheer them on. Of course we invite the girls to play but, so far no takers. Hopefully, we will have a chess club soon, and whenever you or any alumni are in the area please stop in and play.
Also, I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading all the delightful stories about Surrattsville and the Clinton area from alumni. I find myself wondering off in a dream state envisioning the events of the past. Please considered placing these wonderful stories in a booklet for sale. I know I enjoy the stories and I think others would too!
All my best, Catherine"
4. CLASSES OF 70 AND 71 CONSIDERING JOINT 40 YEAR REUNION. Members of the Classes of 70 and 71 who would be interested in attending a 40 Year Reunion on Saturday evening June 19, 2010 should contact Leslie St. Clair (70) at email@example.com so she can gauge the interest for this event.
5. MORE HYDE FIELD MEMORIES. Our items about Hyde Field have sparked a great amount of interest among our readers. (An interesting trivia note: On "Navy CIS" this week -- I imagine a number of you with Navy connections watch that fun program -- a private jet was due to land at "Executive Hyde Field" in Maryland!) Here are the latest emails we've received:
"Hi Henry: I'm Patricia Sanders (68), and I was thrilled with all of the discussion of Hyde Field. As a teenager, my big brother Mike and I fought like dogs and cats, but we always called a truce and set aside our differences with a single gesture. My brother would ask me if I wanted to take a drive over to Hyde Field and watch the planes land. We would sit at the edge of the field in silence, except for the sounds of the tall grasses buzzing with summer, and the sound of the planes taking off.
My brother died at age 49 of a heart attack, and I am now almost 10 years older than he lived to be. I treasure the memories of our time together, and all the discussion of Hyde Field brought back a lovely memory of a gentler, sweeter time. Pattie"
"Henry: I enjoyed reading all of the history of Hyde Field. Ironically, I had talked to Arthur C. Hyde about 10 years ago about selling some property he owned up here in Montgomery County. (Yes, I'm a real estate agent). He lived in Hawaii at the time. In reading the history I happened to call his brother Earl and asked about Arthur. Sadly, Arthur died about three years ago in Hawaii. In talking to Earl he was very happy that the airport had been operating all these years and really enjoyed all of the wonderful memories and comments people had of it. He said it brought back some wonderful memories he had not thought about for a long time. He asked me to mail him your Surratts News. Just thought you would like to know. Diane Wain Hayes (74)"
"Hi Henry: I do recall some far off adventures concerning Hyde Field. Bobby Padgett and I would hitch-hike from Surratts H.S. and go flying after school. It always seemed odd to me that we could go flying but did not have the means to get to the airport. Another of my observations concerned the speed of objects, namely our getting airborne. The runway paralleled a road and many times we were lifting off the ground and cars on the road were passing us and we were actually flying! It just seemed funny to me.
Bob had the use of an Aeronca Champion aircraft with a 65 horse engine. This aircraft was a “clipped wing” machine, that is, several feet of wing had been removed to increase the aircraft’s handling. It was a basic machine with no radio and only the minimum instrumentation. Its capacity was two people sitting in tandem. I sat in the front seat in order to control the brakes, power setting and switches. Bob would turn the prop by hand to start the engine and away we went. Our usual altitude was from 500 to 800 feet and we watched Clinton, MD zoom by as we practiced turns and basic navigation. If anyone remembers a little yellow plane circling overhead during the late fifties and finally during 1960 it was probably Bob and I boring holes in the sky. Ah, the days of carefree youth!
It was also rumored that some youthful night riders would help themselves to a quart of gas from several aircraft at Hyde Field and deposit it into the tank of a borrowed car in order to hit D.C. and cruise the town.
During one of these late night outings a parked car was observed between two Hyde Field aircraft hangars. It looked suspicious so the car headlights were flashed on the parked vehicle and sure enough several people were in the car. The offending car was chased around Southern Maryland until the chasing vehicle broke off the engagement and could not be located again.
You understand that these stories are merely Clinton, MD folk tales.
Anyone interested in “Big Iron” or military high performance aircraft could find some examples at Hyde Field. To name a few there was a P51 Mustang, P47 Thunderbolt and a P38 Lightening. This was my first introduction to these great old machines and I delighted in watching the P51 taking off and going straight up! That is quite a feat for a WWII vintage propeller aircraft. That airplane went faster in a pure vertical flight than we could going straight down in our little Aeronca Champ.
This has nothing to do with Hyde Field but Bobby Padgett and I skipped school to attend the introduction of the first Boeing 707 for Pan Am Airlines at National Airport. I don’t recall the date. I believe I took some photos of the event.
Another recollection concerning my aviation experiences concerns the Navy planes at Anacostia Naval Air Station. I would watch the aircraft take off and land from a bridge, whose name I don’t recall. (South Capital Street Bridge?) Some time later I ventured onto the Air Station to check into signing up and there above the doorway was a sign which read “Through this portal pass the best aviators in the world!” Well, who can argue with that? I signed on the dotted line and began another exciting four years of my young life.
John Curry (60)"
6. GIRLS SPORTS TEAMS, ETC. Here is the latest in our continuing story about girls sports teams back at Surratts in the dark ages before Title IX:
"Dear Henry: Regarding the girls sports teams. We had girls varsity basketball in the 50s. My sister, who graduated in 52, was on the team and they traveled with the boys varsity team to other schools such as Oxon Hill and Suitland and played their girls teams before the boys team played. They were very good and my sister Joan was one of the best - she was taught by my father. I don't have a yearbook from that class but perhaps someone else does. The only other girl that I can remember being on the team was Janet England. They won more often than the boys - as I remember most of their games - and I remember one game at Andrews Field with the Army or Air Force women who were rough and tough and we may have even beat them. But after my sister's class they stopped girls athletic teams and went with a boys junior varsity instead. Someone decided it was too hard on the girls. I was never sure if they just didn't like them showing up the boys or if they were old fashioned and didn't want them being involved in an "unladylike" activity. Patsy Seaman Mahood (54)"
7. ... AND MORE ON THE BOOMERANG. Patsy Seaman Mahood (54) also added a comment about our previous inquiry about the name for the Surrattsville yearbook, and shared this great poem from 1954:
" ... As for the Boomerang - I don't know when it got that name but it was the same back in the 50s and the idea is that you throw it (whatever it may have been) out and it comes back to you. Eleanor Riley, one of my classmates from 54, wrote a poem about the Boomerang that we had on the inside fly cover of our yearbook and I have included it here for you:
You leave school with a Boomerang
(And last, I too remember Hyde Field - not as well as some and not for it's history but because my father took flying lessons there - a hobby he never pursued - and my sister and I used to go with him and watch.)
Thanks for the news - I especially enjoyed reading about Uncle Jimmy since I was there for the appreciation night. Patsy Seaman Mahood (54)
[Ed. Note: We're wondering if any of our other readers were there for that special night honoring Uncle Jimmy?]
8. MONKEY FOUND. We received this email about the monkey alleged to have frequented the swimming pool at the Junior High: "Henry: In response to the lady writing in about the above ground pool: I don't remember that, but my good friend Peggy Lucas who lived in the big historical house in Surratts Gardens at the end of Juliette Drive had a pet monkey. They would dress the monkey in a diaper and baby clothes and it went with them everywhere they went on a leash. So, it's very possible she saw a family with a pet monkey around Clinton. They owned Lucas Beef. In fact, if anyone has any contact information for the anyone in the Lucas family I would love to reach out to Peggy. Thanks, Valerie Mays Wilson, (83 and Surratts Gardens resident from 1965 through 1990)
9. POSSIBLE 80/81 REUNION. The Classes of 80 and 81 are planning a possible reunion for June 2010. They need a contact person for the Class of 80. Please contact Teresa Blandford Pepper -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- to provide contact info.
10. CLASS OF 89 PLANS REUNION. The Class of 89 is planning a reunion. Please contact Debbie Owen Pell at email@example.com for information or if you have any contact information for 89 grads or members of their families.
11. 100 YEARS OF SURRATTS HISTORY (Con't). Here's the latest installment in our continuing celebration of the 100th birthday of the School. It's identified as an April 28, 1952 article from the Washington Times Herald.
"Mary Surratt's Verdict Likened to Russia Today. Although she's not around to enjoy the news, Mary Surratt has won further vindication as a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination 92 years ago next Sunday. Her latest champion is Domestic Relations court Judge Godfrey L. Munter.
In a talk before the Kiwanis Club at the Mayflower Hotel yesterday, Judge Munter asserted that Mrs. Surratt was held illegally and ordered hanged by the military commission which also doomed Atzerodt, Paine and Herold in the plot. "The commission lacked jurisdiction to try these civilians," the judge asserted. "It was just like Russia today."
As accused civilians tried at a time when martial law was not in effect, all the defendants were entitled to trial in open courts, he said. Of course, he noted, the Supreme Court ruling which affirmed that point did not come through until two years ago -- 90 years too late for Mary and her co-defendants.
[There are some Clinton residents] who still adhere to Confederate ideals, cling to the old name of Surrattsville and much of the mail received at the Clinton post office, located in Mary Surratt's husband's old stone building, is addressed "Surrattsville, MD."
For some reason the school has always been Surrattsville school, and there seems to be no inclination on the part of anyone to change it. Opened in 1904, the school soon burst its seams and blossomed, in 1910, into a larger frame building -- with six classrooms. In 1915, a furnace room was added and one of the school's most famous figures -- James T. (Uncle Jimmy) Hawkins -- was hired as school custodian. Uncle Jimmy remained a part of the school and friend of practically every pupil until his death two years ago.
The school, in keeping with its then dormant neighbor, Clinton, rested until 1925, when changes began to take place at a more rapid pace."
[Ed. Note: As previously reported in our e-Notices, recent scholarship suggests that Mary Surratt may not have been as blameless as previously believed!]
12. LOST SWIMMING POOL, CON'T. And here are some additional items we received about that previously "lost" swimming pool located at the Junior High:
"Henry: Thought this would interest you: I took swimming lessons at this pool between 71 and 72. It was near the bus lot which was much smaller then. The new lot is over the area the pool was on. More later, if I can. I will ask my father for more info. Hope this helps. Regards, Bob Wilson (78)"
"Henry: I remember the pool Jeanne was talking about. It was behind the Surrattsville Jr. High School in the parking lot. My brothers and I took swimming lessons there one year. I don't believe it was there for very long though. I don't remember the family with the monkey though (sorry). Monica Compton Korczyk (77)"
"Henry: With regard to the swimming pool item: One of the six (maiden name) "Anderson" girls - Terri Anderson McSorley (76) sent me the same info request. Unfortunately for her, she was one of the sisters claiming and laughing "No Pool - No Way". I set up a link on our Facebook page - "Surrattsville HS 1976 Alumni" for our classmates to chime in. Please enjoy their comments below. Evan Vutsinas
"Hi Henry: Great information about all of the airports. The lady that wanted information about the above ground swimming pool behind Surrattsville Junior High School. Yes it was there when I went to the school around 61 to 64 and was located just past the end of the field that we used for gym class. It was only up a couple years. I do not know if they gave lessons there or not, but I do remember the pool. Grover Stanley (67)"
"Henry: The pool was located where at the south end of the property of the old junior high school. The Surratts Swim Club met there and it was an outdoor pool and they provided lessons. Later in life of that location, the school buses parked there as a meeting point for all of the bus drivers. John Shultz (80)"
13. LOST AIRPORT (Con't). Here's the latest email we've received about our inquiry about the "lost airport" in Accokeek: "Dana and Henry: I received a reply from Joyce Dowling (http://www.accokeekmd.com) about my earlier airport inquiry. She directed me to http://www.pghistory.org/ at which I posted the following message: 'Does anyone know the history of the naming of Airport Lane?'
I recall as a kid there were numerous sites around the Washington D.C. area, some from the WWII era, used as manned observation posts with towers and after that there were also Nike bases for defense. Was there in fact an observation outpost in Accokeek that is associated with the naming of Airport Lane?
I will let you know of any reply I receive over the next few days/weeks. Best Regards, Jeff Thorne (70)"
14. POSSIBLE 2010 EVENTS. As previously noted, the Foundation Board is considering whether to hold any form of "All Classes/Faculty/Staff" events in 2010, either similar to those held in 2000 and 2005, or different in scope. If you would like to volunteer to work on such an event, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
15. FASHIONABLE ALUMNI BUMPER STICKERS/WINDOW DECALS AVAILABLE. As previously noted, the Foundation is now making "Surrattsville Alumni" bumper sticker/window decals available. (A sample is found at http://www.surrattsville.org/photos/index.shtml. Note that the actual size is 4" x 4" rather than the size shown on the web site, and they have a white background and green lettering.)
These stickers/decals are of the "static peel-off" variety, so they have "repositional adhesive backing," and attach, and detach, easily from bumpers and windows with no muss or fuss. The suggested donation for the decals is $2.50. If you'd like to show your Hornet pride by displaying one on your vehicle, please send your donation and your mailing address to Henry Smith at 815 Stoneleigh Road, Baltimore, MD 21212, and we'll mail a decal to you.
16. CLASS OF 64 PLANS REUNION. The Class of 64 is planning a 45th reunion in February, in the form of a three night cruise to the Bahamas! The Class reports that "all are welcome to join us." For details, contact Jaime Seaman (64) at Steprepp@aol.com or 954-316-7498.
17. CLASS OF 59 PLANS REUNION. The Class of 59 is beginning its planning for its 50 year reunion on June 6 and 7. Please contact Laura Owens at email@example.com if you have any information on 59 grads or members of their families.
18. CLASS OF 84 CONSIDERING REUNION. Class of 84 grads who are interested in working on, and/or attending, a 25 year reunion are asked to contact Gary Stallings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope this finds you all well and looking forward to the first hints of Spring!
All the best, Henry Smith (71), email@example.com
RITA BASTEK, mother of Ron Bastek (68) and Deb Bastek (71) passed away on October 2, 2008 following a massive stroke. She was 88. She and my her husband (who passed away in 2004) are best remembered in the Clinton area for their many years of involvement in the Surratt Society and tireless work in bringing about the Surratt House restoration (and donation of a number of furnishings). Rita was also very active in the North Clinton Citizens Association and a number of civic organiztions in the county, and was named one of the 400 outstanding women in Prince George's County some years ago (this was quite a tribute, as the listing - published in book form - went back to the county's founding).
MADELINE TATUM (68) passed away February 13, 2009 in Miami, Fl.
MANY THANKS TO THESE(EARLY) DONORS TO THE 2009 CAMPAIGN!
Steve Profilet (71)
Bob Marr (71)
Debbie Cox Marr (72)
Teri Pepper Dimsey (77), In veneration of my classmates turning 50 this year
T. Summers Gwynn III (64), In memory of BillGwynn (64)
Class of 76 Facebook Conversation Concerning The Lost Swimming Pool:
From: Terri Anderson McSorley (76): Hi Evan, I have a question for you! Did you attend Surrattsville Junior High School when it was around? Here's what I am trying to find out. A couple of my sisters swear at some point they had a swimming pool there and actually gave lessons. Is my memory that bad? Is this possible? I tried to google it, ask jeeves, and I can't find anything! Can you help a classmate out! LOL! - Terri
From: Evan Vutsinas (76) (Class ORC): Hi Terri: I didn't get to Clinton until January of 1970 (middle of 7th grade) and then 8th grade I moved to the "new school", Stephen Decatur. However, Cindy was in Clinton from 4th grade on and did Surratts junior 7th, 8th, and 9th. She is sitting next to me and doesn't remember an indoor pool or an outdoor pool on the Surratts Junior property. How about if I put your question out to the Class?"
[The following are the Class of 76 responses on their Facebook page.]
"I went to Surrattsville Jr. High for 3 years -- 7th, 8th, & 9th -- and I don't remember a pool. However, I am old, and my memory isn't as good as it used to be! Deirdre Taylor Gerber (76)"
"Yep..I concur. The Surrattsville Jr High did have an above ground pool. I don't remember which year though, or if it became a permanent fixture. It was located outside the Library doors. You could see the 7-11 from the deck. My sister and I took swimming lessons every day for a few weeks that summer. And does anyone remember them turning the Junior High lunchroom into a roller skating rink once a week? Andi Bowman (76)"
From: Terri Anderson McSorley, '76
"Thanks so much! I also went there 7th, 8th, and 9th grade and I can't remember a pool and a roller skating rink! OMG! The bad news is, me and my three older sisters are betting there was no pool and my two younger sisters are swearing they also took swimming lessons there! I know I am going to pay big for this one! Thanks for throwing it out there! I am anxious to see what year it was! Thanks again and thank Cindy! Terri"
"No swimming pool, no way. Mark Miller (76)"
"Hi Evan and Terri: My wife Nola and I both went to Surrattsville Junior. Not only that, my mother and father-in-law went there in the 50s. Based on what we have seen and heard we don't think there was ever a pool there. But, we could still be wrong. Bret Lovitz (76)
"It couldn't have been there when we were there, I'm scratching my head on this one, maybe later -- 1974 or so. If there was a pool there while we were in school we would have gotten in it - I know I would have. I'm still scratching my head! How about Teen Club Friday Night: lol. Mark Miller (76)"
"Evan: Yes, there was a swimming pool there. I also attended Surrattsville Jr. High. I don't remember what year. But I do remember riding my bike there at least two summers in a row. I also remember rolling skating in the lunch room when I was in junior high. Julie Hertzog Berry (76)"
"Evan: Yes, there positively was a pool out front of the Junior High! It was about 3-4 feet deep and was set up by Parks and Recreation for teaching swimming lessons. I took lessons there and became a lifeguard hoping to teach there, but ended up teaching at the one over in Oxon Hill. It was not a built-in pool. I can't remember how many years it was there, but I think when they built the indoor-outdoor facility at Pagett's Corner they started taking them down. Toni Trenda (76)
Terri Anderson McSorley responded: "LOL! How funny are these responses?! We are all having senior moments! Mark Miller, I am SO with you! I don't remember it at all, ever! But, Toni's response is very, very convincing! I, too, am scratching my head! Thanks Bret, for yours and Nola's response, too! More of us can't remember a damn pool, that is a riot! I will welcome any and all comments; as I said, I will never live this down if I am wrong! Pictures -- if any one has pictures, bring them on! Thanks again! Terri"
Another from Julie Hertzog Berry (76): "Okay; here is another story about the pool. If you know Les Gooding from the Class of 77 and his younger sister Frankie and I were riding home from the pool on our bikes. We liked going down a big hill in the neighborhood by the school ( we went real fast). Well, Frankie did not make it. She fell off her bike and lost a front tooth. I know they both can tell you that the pool was there. I think that was the last time we ever rode our bikes there."
"I have a friend who works at MNCPP. She is going to research the "temporary pool" dates for me and I will let you know what I find out. The pool was definitely there. I swam in it. Toni Trenda (76)"
Terri Anderson McSorley: "OMG! That would be great! I have a feeling I am losing this bet with my sisters! Yikes! How funny was all of this! Thanks to everyone for their input! Terri"
From Evan Vutsinas: "I hate to say it Terri, but if the bet was simply yes pool or no pool, you lose. If the bet was no pool during such and such time period, then you have a chance, small as it might be. lol. I'll keep you in the loop. EV"
From Terri Anderson McSorley: "Thanks for depressing me even more Evan! The bet was definitely "yes pool or no pool." Can't a girl hope that Toni, Andi and Julie are just having senior moments?! We are getting old you know! LOL!"
From Evan Vutsinas: "Classmates: Below is the final word from Andi Bowman on the Surrattsville Junior High Swimming Pool question. Thanks for all the input. Now, go take your memory pills! lol"
"Ev: I asked Carol Spriggs (from 75) who lived down the street from me on Pine View Lane about the pool. Her mom was Mrs. Spriggs (aka Sargeant Spriggs). See below; we're not crazy!
Andi Bowman (76)"
"Andi: We did take lessons at the Junior High pool and yes it was an above ground pool outside the library. We used to walk to our lessons. You and Beth of course were in a higher class than me, but we used to hang out there and swim also. However I do not know how old we were. OMG, I cannot believe I remember that. (This note was edited. EV) Carol"
Once and For All, from Toni Trenda (76): "Evan: Here is the note I received from my friend at Park and Planning: 'This is all I can tell you about the above ground pool near Surrattsville. One person I spoke with believes they were put up in 1968 or there about (there were several put up at the same time in different areas). They were not on Park and Planning property, but our staff managed the pools. Another person who worked for that Division when she came in 1977 said they were still up and remained up for another two to four years after that. The ones they put up out lasted their expected lifespan and when one started to fall apart and become disrepair, they used the parts to keep the remaining ones opened for a while. Hope you find this interesting.....'
I guess this means it was put up around 1968 and taken down when it started falling apart. I haven't pinned that down yet. Toni Trenda (76)"
"Hi Jeanne: I remember taking swimming lessons at that pool along with my brother Dwight Reed (81) and sister Dawn Reed (84) so you're not crazy. I was young (about 8 years old I think) so I don't know how long the pool was there. I also don't know anything about a monkey. When I see my mom next I'll look through albums to see if any pictures exist of the pool. Dwayne Coryell (86)"