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Hello Hornets:

Here are some items that might be of interest:

1.  REDSKINS SURRATTS PROJECT TO BE CELEBRATED.   As we reported in a previous e-Notice, the Washington Redskins' Fields for Tomorrow program, which renovates, upgrades, and maintains football fields at high schools in Washington, D.C. and Prince George's County, has adopted the Surrattsville field as its latest project.
On November 3, at 1 p.m., the Hornets and the Redskins will hold an event, at the School, to celebrate this new partnership.  The event will be held on the football field (or in the gym in case of inclement weather).  We're hoping that many of our readers will be able to turn out to help show Surrattsville's appreciation for this very generous gesture by the Redskins.

2.  SEEKING INFO ON INSPIRATIONAL FACULTY MEMBER.  We received this great email about yet another very inspiration Surratts faculty member from Becky Hurd Clary (77): "Henry:  I had a wonderful typing/shorthand teacher, Ms. Gloria Allen, during my junior and senior years at Surrattsville. She left school mid-year in �77 and never returned. As an adult, I can only assume that she fell ill with cancer or something like that and back then we didn�t advertise such private issues to students. She was my inspiration in school and in my career, and I�ve always wondered what happened to Ms. Allen. We had a great time in her classes -  she was the bomb!  She made us work so hard, with such impeccable accuracy in our work.  We used to go have pizza for class parties when we were especially well behaved. Any updates or closure to this story would be greatly appreciated.  It�s amazing how one teacher can touch a less than stellar student and make such a difference. I would love to thank her or her children for the impact she made on my life.  Sincerely,  Becky"

If you have any info on Ms. Allen, please send Becky an email at

[Ed. Note: Thanks to all of you who have sent in memories of inspiration Surratts teachers and staffers.  Naturally, we'd love to continue to receive items about that long history of inspirational Surratts personnel.]

3. ... AND ANOTHER GREAT FACULTY STORY.  Former Surratts math teacher John Riedesel informed us that John Gruber, Vice Principal at Surrattsville during the 1960s, died this past August.  He had been living in Arizona in his retirement.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Gruber taught science at Maryland Park Junior High. John also was kind enough to share this great memory that he prepared for a writing class about how Mr. Gruber figured in the kick-off of John's teaching career.

"A Gift from Heaven: "Riedesel, you�re the only one of my students who doesn�t have a job yet.  Go out and get a job!�  Helen Garstens, my Math Education advisor at the University of Maryland, was none too happy with me in the spring of 1960.  Of her dozen soon-to-graduate, prospective high school math teachers, I was the only one with no teaching position lined up.

I knew I wanted to teach in Prince George�s County, but I wasn�t sure how to proceed.  Even though I was 22 years old, I�d never gone through the job application process before.  All my previous summer and part time jobs had been secured through friends.

I did what seemed logical: I called the Board of Education personnel office, explained that I was a newly graduating certified teacher, and asked what schools in the county needed math teachers.  The person I spoke with must have been na�ve as I was; she gave me the names of two schools that were seeking math teachers.  I thanked her and hung up.  One school was a junior high, and I didn�t want that; so I hopped in my car and drove to the other one--Surrattsville High School in Clinton, Maryland.

�John Riedesel.  What in the world are you doing here?�  The man who greeted me in such surprise as I entered the building was John Gruber.  He had been my eighth grade science teacher in another school, and had since become Vice Principal at Surrattsville.  Our relationship in school had been a good one, but we hadn�t seen one another for several years. 

�Well,� I explained, �I�m graduating from Maryland U. this year in Math Education and I�m looking for a job.  I heard you had an opening here.�  Acting as if a gift had just dropped to him from Heaven, he put his arm around my shoulder and said, �Let�s go talk to Mr. Pryde.�

We went into the office, where I met the Principal, John Pryde.  Five minutes later I had the job which launched a career and calling that lasted 32 years.  I think there may be some truth to the saying, �It�s not what you know, it�s who you know.�

4.  ANOTHER FACEBOOK RE-CONNECTION STORY.  As we've previously reported, the "Surrattsville Alumni" group on Facebook (found at is serving as a great re-connection facilitator for members of the Surratts community.  Here's the latest report we've received from the field:

"Hi Henry: Regarding Facebook re-connections:  Becky Bowers Edwards and I (both 71) reconnected through Facebook and realized we live two hours away from each other.  So, on a recent Saturday I drove one hour Southwest and she drove one hour Northeast and we met in the middle, at an Applebee's restaurant, to have lunch and go over old yearbooks, scrapbooks, and photo albums, talk about the boys from high school, and catch up with each other.   I can now say that the Surrattsville Alumni car decal has traveled as far South as Plant City, Florida. Can anyone out there top that?  Pat Becker Oles"

[Ed Note: We'd love to continue to receive those Facebook re-connection stories (even if references therein make certain boys from the Class of 71 nervous!).  And we'd also love to receive those alumni decal spotting/travel stories.  Plant City, FL is definitely the current distance winner on the latter.  Note that those alumni decals can be ordered through the web site at]

5.  BOOMERANGS AVAILABLE.   The Foundation has a limited supply of yearbooks from 1991, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006.  If you'd like one of these yearbooks (which are available for $15 including shipping and handling), please send me an email to

6. ... AND YEARBOOKS SOUGHT.  Christina Sheehan,, is looking for yearbooks from 1995,1996,199, and 1998.  Please send her an email if you have any ideas on how they might be located.

7.  MORE MEMORIES OF SOUTHERN MARYLAND.  Here's another memory-provoking edition of Shelby Lee Oppermann (79)'s regular column for the St. Mary's County Times:  

"Memories of Golden Beach.  Wonderful, golden, carefree memories flood my mind when I think of Golden Beach in Charlotte Hall.  Days of walking a maze of tree-lined streets with very few houses, trying to find one of the three beaches.  It was so exciting to make that 45 minute drive with my Father.  I would put our hot dogs, buns, catsup, cans of coke, and a can of pork and beans in the green metal cooler. Daddy would bring out the also green two burner propane stove to check it. Then place it and some folding nylon webbed chairs and the rusted little three-legged round metal table with the big 70�s flower painted on it in the 30 foot long green Plymouth Fury, and off we would go.

Sometimes we would make a stop in Waldorf at what Daddy called �Hoochville�, and our only other stop would be at the funny shaped red carry-out on the corner of Rt. 5 and Golden Beach Rd for little extras, or the days we would just buy our hot dogs there.  It�s on the opposite corner from Fred�s Liquors. If anyone remembers the name please let me know, I�ve wondered for years. 

As we would make our turn, I would start to get excited.  In Clinton, where I grew up there is no water, unless you count the man-made lake at Cosca Park, and that might not have been made yet at this time, so this was a big-deal.  After driving down all the twists and turns on Golden Beach Road for what seemed like forever to a child in the big green boat, all of a sudden you would come around a slight bend and come over a rise.  Just as we would hit the crest I would gasp because all you see was water. Most of the time Daddy would stop on the shoulder for me so I could just soak it all in. I don�t know if he had to do this for my two older brothers, Bobby and Billy and my Mother, years before.  But, for me it was great.  I get that same feeling driving into Chesapeake Beach.

We would then find Dockser Drive and our little bit of heaven.  My parents bought the property in the mid 50�s, but never could afford to put a house on it.  By the time they could, other homes had gone up around them, and it wouldn�t perk. So over the years, my brothers before me, and then me put in a series of trails through the property.  Daddy didn�t do much of that, he just liked to get �camp� set up and sit in his chair and read.  He was the original laid-back man.  I would get a coke out of the cooler, noticing immediately that Schlitz cans had magically appeared, and would set off on a great adventure.

I would take a different road each time and visit with whomever happened to be in their yard or whatever dog was wandering around.  It was great fun figuring out new ways to get to any of the beaches.  I loved being alone and could entertain myself at the beach for quite awhile looking at crabs that washed ashore and poking at gooey jellyfish.

On the different streets there were all sorts of fascinating things to find as well.  One man told me about a graveyard right off the main road, and I went to explore there � that must have been the bad case of poison ivy time.  I found an abandoned house, that stayed abandoned for a couple of years where the toilet flushed.  How long is the statute  of limitations on trespassing.  It wasn�t breaking and entering, the door was open.  After a bit I would come back to �camp� and Daddy and I would eat our hot dogs and we would put our spoons right in the hot can of beans on the stove.  Daddy would have me search for sassafras and we�d boil up a pot of sassafras tea as well. Nothing better.

I hope some of the kids growing up there in the last twenty years have been able to experience the same wonderment I did. I do like simple pleasures. Simple pleasures for simple minds.

After my Father died in 1980, my Mother sold the property.  A few years later, I started having children, and when they were little took them by Dockser Drive and showed them the trace of our family�s paths through the woods.  They never met Daddy, or Pappy to them, but I have tried to make his loving, gentle ways known to them.  Even with my sons, when we would hit the crest, I could feel the catch in my heart and a little gasp would escape just for the simple beauty.

To each new day�s adventure, Shelby.    Please send comments to:

8.  FOUNDATION'S OFFICIAL 2009 ANNUAL CAMPAIGN OFF TO GREAT START.  The Foundation's 2009 Annual Campaign is off to a great start.  Remember: no gift is too small (or large) to help the Foundation, and because the Foundation has no overhead 100% of every donation goes toward the work of the Foundation.  A donor form is reprinted below, and is available for download on the Foundation's web site.  (This year's very generous early donors are listed below.)

And as previously reported, the Foundation now has a "button" on the home page of the Foundation's web site ( that makes it easier for our very generous donors to contribute to the Foundation using a credit card or paypal.  (Of course, the Foundation is still happy to accept donations in the form of mailed paper checks!)  A special request to our on-line donors: please include your graduation year/faculty years/etc. in your on-line donation form.

9.  MORE SURRATTS HISTORY.  Earlier this year, and throughout 2008, we published articles about the history of Surratts, to honor its 100 years of existence.  Especially in light of the upcoming Robert Redford movie about Mary Surratt, which should generate some additional interest in the history of Clinton and its surroundings and institutions,  we will be publishing some additional historical articles.

The following article is from the Surratt House archives, from an unidentified paper, is dated September 1, 1971"

"History Occupies Vacant House: The two-story white frame house stands among trees on Brandywine Road, less than a block from the center of Clinton in southern Prince George's County.  Just to the north is a small business center, housing a newspaper office and a dry cleaning store.  Across the street is a gasoline station.

The remains of a gravel drive curve around trees on a once spacious front lawn and passes in front of the wide porch.  To the east stands an old brick springhouse, long disused.  The rear of the property abuts a fenced-in, asphalt-covered storage area for pipes and heavy equipment.  Trucks come and go during the day.  To a passerby it seems like just another old house caught up in the rapid development of the county.

Part of U.S. History.  But this house is different.  It is a part of American history.  It is the Mary Surratt house.  A move is under way to make it a historic site.  A ceremony has been schedule there for 10 a.m., Sept. 24 by the Committee for the Restoration of the Mary Surratt House, which is hoping to raise money for that purpose.  The structure is now boarded and unoccupied.

Thomas S. Gwynn, Jr., of Clinton, chairman of the committee and assistant supervisor of supporting services for the county public school system, estimates the project will cost between $50,000 and $100,000.  He envisions the hall furnished with pieces from the 1860s and displays of mementos from that era.  He sees the Surratt House as part of a tour starting with Ford's Theater in the District where President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865.

Burned to Death.  Booth was supposed to have stopped at the Surratt house for supplies while attempting to escape.  His life ended a short time later when federal troops trapped him in a tobacco barn in nearby Virginia and set it afire when he refused to surrender.  Mary Eugenia Jenkins of Jenkins Corner in Prince George's County married John Harrison Surratt of Fairfax County in 1835, according to Gwynn's chronology.

The house, built in 1840, overlooked their 1200 acre corn and tobacco farm.  In 1850 they opened a country store in the house and made one room a tavern.  When her husband died in 1862, Mrs. Surratt leased the tavern to a retired District policeman and moved here with her two children to operate a rooming house.

Mrs. Surratt Hanged.  Booth happened to be one of her roomers, but Mrs. Surratt later denied she knew him very well or took part in the plan to assassinate Lincoln.  Nevertheless, she died on the  gallows because of that association.  On the night Lincoln was fatally shot as he sat in the theater's presidential box, Mrs. Surratt was at home.  She was roused from bed by federal troops at 11:30 p.m. and accused of being a co-conspirator in the shooting.

She maintained that she was innocent, but was taken to the Old Capitol Prison and then to the penitentiary where she was required to wear the same garments in which she was arrested until hanged on July 7, 1865.

Conflicting Testimony: She had been linked to the assassination by the tavern operator who claimed she had gone there on the afternoon of April 14 and left guns, ammunition and supplies for Booth.  Mrs. Surratt admitted visiting the house that afternoon, but said she went there to collect the rent from the tavern operator.  A military tribunal convicted her and passed the death sentence.  The government later halted military trials of civilians as a result of the case.

Three weeks after the assassination, the little community known as Surratts became Robeystown.  In 1878 the community's name was changed to Clinton.  That the community respected Mrs. Surratt, however, was illustrated by the fact that the residents refused to have the election district's name changed from Surratts, which it remains today.  Elementary, junior and senior high schools, as well as some housing developments and businesses, bear the Surratt name today.

The house was donated to the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 1965 by B. K. Miller of Clinton.  In 1968 the commission purchased the land on which the house is located and has submitted an application to have the house placed on the National Register of Historic Sites.  Earlier this month, the commission allocated $10,000 for the restoration of the house.  But, as Gwynn said, it will cost much more and the campaign to raise funds is underway."

[Ed Note: For you history buffs, I came across a great fold-out pamphlet called "John Wilkes Booth: Escape of an Assassin," that prominently features then-Surrattsville (with an interesting main street painting), Mary Surratt and the Surratt House, and that contains a great map and other information.  The pamphlet is part of a series called "Maryland Civil War Trails" published by the State tourism folks and can be acquired at or by calling 1-888-248-4597.]

10.  2010 ALL CLASSES/FACULTY/STAFF EVENTS.  Please don't forget to mark you calendars for the Foundation's third "All Classes/Faculty/Staff" events to be held over the long weekend of Friday June 25 - Sunday June 27, 2010. The schedule of events, which is similar to the schedule of the events for the great 2000 and 2005 events, is as follows:

-Friday June 25, 2010 - Golf Outing. 
-Friday June 25, 2010, 7 P.M. - 11 P.M. - Surrattstock III.
-Saturday June 26, 2010, 10 A.M - 4 P.M. - All Classes/Faculty/Staff Picnic and School Open House.
-Saturday June 26, Evening - Saturday evening will be set aside for Class-specific events. 
-Sunday June 27 - Sunday will be set aside for Class-specific picnics and other informal gatherings.

11.  JUNE 26 AND 27, 2010 CLASS-SPECIFIC EVENTS.  Please note that many Classes are planning Class-specific events for the evening of Saturday June 26, 2010, and some for Sunday June 27, 2010.  Please check in with your Class's "Official Reunion Contact" to make sure he or she has your current contact information and to get an update on any plans your Class has for the big reunion weekend.  (ORC contact information, which recently has been updated, can be found on the "Classes" page on the web site at

12.  SMALL WORLD DEPARTMENT.  We received this latest small world report from Pat McArthur (70): "Henry:  A coworker and I were chatting and she mentioned to me that her dad grew up in Clinton, MD. I just happened to mention (lol) that I went to Surrattsville and graduated from there in 1970. She called her dad, and he is a Surrattsville grad as well!  His name is Gene Wray Simpkins (62).  I don't live too far from where Gene lives.  He is in Ocean Springs, MS, and I am in Gautier, MS, which are neighboring towns. I would like to meet up with him and his wife (I think she is from here on the MS coast) and share stories of days LONG gone by!  All the best, Pat"

13.  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 at to provide contact info.

14.  CLASS OF 89 PLANS REUNION.  The Class of 89 is planning a reunion.  Please contact Debbie Owen Pell at for information or if you have any contact information for 89 grads or members of their families.

15.  WEB SITE SEARCH FUNCTION.  Recently, a number of our readers have used the Search function built into our web site ( by our great web master, Mike Gifford (84).  The search function is especially useful at finding otherwise obscure articles buried in the archive of over 100 e-Notices on the web site.  For example, if you search for the word "conspirator," you find articles from 2001 and 2005 about Mary Surratt's role/non-role in the Lincoln assassination.  We thought this function might be helpful to those of you who would like to find some reference you recall but didn't know how to start that process.

16.  HORNET COULD SERVE IN CONGRESS.  We just learned that Robert Broadus (90) is running for Maryland's 4th Congressional District seat (the area south from Fort Washington to Upper Marlboro and Bowie, and north from Silver Spring to Rockville and Germantown).  If Robert's bid is successful, we believe he might be the first Hornet to serve in the U.S. Congress.
17.  SURRATTS COOKBOOK.  As previously reported, Leslie St. Clair (70) and Diane "Cookie" Boyd (71) are putting together a Cookbook of Hornets' Favorite Recipes.  They're hoping that a number of you will submit recipes, and they'll break them down by category and have them bound and offer them for sale at the 2010 All Classes/Faculty/Staff events.  All proceeds will go to the Foundation.  If you have a recipe you'd like to share, please send it to Leslie and Cookie at

18.  FOUND RINGS STILL LOOKING FOR OWNERS.  Some of our long-time readers might recall the three unrelated -- but completely fascinating -- stories of folks who found Surratts class rings and went to the trouble to track down the Foundation and sent them to us.  (One was found on an elementary school playground in Germany, one in the sand on a Florida beach, and one in Southern Maryland.)  More curious still, all three of those rings were from the Class of 71.  (We must've had slippery fingers.) One is a man's ring with initials inside that look like "DLD," and two are women's rings with initials inside that look like "DMT" and "MTF".  None of these rings has ever been claimed.  Please send an email to if you have any ideas on their rightful owners.

19.  COMBINED 60-65 EVENT.  We received this update from Class of 62 ORCs Len Owens and Jerry Spence: "The Classes of  60-65 are working on a Combined Classes 60-65 Reunion with events on Saturday evening (dinner) June 26, 2010 and Sunday afternoon (picnic) June 27, 2010.  Locations still to be determined.  Please contact your Official Reunion Contact (contact info is on the "Classes" page of the web site at for more information.  Best Wishes, Len and Jerry"

I hope this e-Notice finds you well and having enjoying a great Fall season!

All the best,  Henry Smith (71)

In Memoriam

JOHN GRUBER, Vice Principal at Surrattsville during the 1960s, died this past August.  He had been living in Arizona in his retirement.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Gruber taught science at Maryland Park Junior High.

OTTIS T. YOUNG, JR. (48) died on the morning of July 4 in Canton, N.C. from inoperable lung cancer.  Ottis was an avid e-Notice reader and correspondent, and is survived by his sister, Nancy Young Weiss (54) and his brother, Robert Young (51).

CATHY LALLY FREITAS (73) died on October 11 after a 14 year battle with breast cancer that had spread rapidly in the last six weeks.  News of Cathy's death was related to us by her sister, Linda Lally Thomson (76).


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)
Ann Weaver Pelle (71)
Donna Rae Sturtevant Smith (70)
Henry Smith (71)
Jeanine Carroll Maclary (73), In Memory of Her Brother, James R. Carroll, Jr.
Vicky Simontacchi Young (57)
Linda Dorsey Blum (66)
Arvid Andresen (65)
Judy Gordon Mentlik (65), In Memory of Greg White (65), David Shriver (65) and Laura     Chovan (former faculty)
Ellen Talbert-Miller (61, former Faculty and Administration), In memory of Lillian Holland
Dan Bayne (71)
Tom Travis (72)
Sally Travis (72)
Rick Tazelaar (73)
David Kraus (65)
Paul Monaghan (59)
Coach Lew Jenkins (former Faculty, 1967 - 1993)
Helen Bovbjerg Niedung (54)
Judy Miller (70)
J. Paul Rickett (69)
Gloria Blandford Rickett (71)
Janet Goddard Sullivan (54), In Memory of Mildred Wheatley (34)
Melissa Gilcrest (69)
Jeanine Carroll Maclary (73), In Memory of James R. Carroll, Jr.
Patricia Becker Oles (71)
Valerie Parker Allard (73), In Memory of Cathy Lally Freitas (73)
Beverly Statler Thrift (69)
Dennis Thrift (71)