THIS IS SURRATTS FOUNDATION E-NOTICE 2011-5 OF MAY 1, 2011
Here are some items that might be of interest:
1. "THE CONSPIRATOR" OPENS NATIONWIDE. Here's the official synopsis of Robert Redford's just-opened film, “The Conspirator:” "In the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State. The lone woman charged, Mary Surratt, owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and others met and planned the simultaneous attacks. Against the ominous back-drop of post-Civil War Washington, newly-minted lawyer, Frederick Aiken, a 28-year-old Union war-hero, reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal. Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is being used as bait and hostage in order to capture the only conspirator to have escaped a massive manhunt, her own son, John. As the nation turns against her, Surratt is forced to rely on Aiken to uncover the truth and save her life."
[Ed. Note: We'd be interested in our readers' thoughts about the film, and especially your thoughts on where the film comes down on the age-old "probably guilty (and, if so, of what crime(s)) versus probably innocent" question. I saw the film, and it's beautifully done, and likely would be of great interest even to viewers without a Surrattsville background. The "Sir-rott" pronunciation does take a bit of getting used to, however. A high point: the setting of one scene at the Surratt Tavern. And the film carried a nice acknowledgement for Laurie Verge and The Surratt House Museum, as well. No mention of "The Surrattsville School," however.]
2. ADDITIONAL MARY SURRATT PRESS. In addition to the light being shone upon Mary Surratt because of the April 15 opening of "The Conspirator," that date's 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War has caused the Mary Surratt case to appear elsewhere in the press. For example, an article by Col. Fred Borch, III (ret), regimental historian and archivist for the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, in the April ABA Journal notes, in discussing the trials of Mary Surratt and the seven other defendants in the Lincoln assassination, that, "although there was sufficient evidence to find [all eight defendants] guilty of conspiring to harm the president, albeit to varying degrees – the legal significance of their trial by military commission was that the proceedings were unfair."
[The article also features the well-known, and extremely grisly, photo of Mary and three of the other defendants paying the ultimate price for their deeds, and notes that the sentences were three life terms for three of the remaining four defendants, and six years imprisonment for the final defendant.]
Sounds like Col. Borch comes down clearly in the "probably guilty" (or definitely guilty) camp of historians.
Also, the National Geographic TV Channel is running a very well-done one hour documentary on Mary Surratt called, not coincidentally, "The Conspirator," that borrows some scenes from the Redford film, and also has an archival photo array about Mary Surratt and the Lincoln assassination and trial on its web site at http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/episode/the-conspirator-the-plot-to-kill-lincoln-6469/#tab-Photos/27.
[Ed Note: I also note that James Swanson's Manhunt, a totally captivating read about the assassination and its aftermath, is now getting featured exposure in various retail bookstores, and the National Geographic special features another book, and its author, The Assassin's Accomplice, by Kate Clifford Larson, that I’m currently reading and that at least begins equally as fascinating as Manhunt. My public library also has The Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia, by Edward Steers, a volume that is loaded with Surratt, and Surrattsville and Surrattsville School, references.]
3. "THE CONSPIRATOR" REKINDLES SURRATT-RELATED MEMORIES. The opening of “The Conspirator” also likely has rekindled some Surratt-related memories in a number of our readers, like the following one contained in an email to the production company that made the film:
"Dear Meghann: Enjoyed Robert Redford's The Conspirator last evening. I can share with you (and to whoever you wish to forward) a personal childhood memory of the Surratt Tavern located in present day Clinton, Maryland. In 1965, one hundred years past the events depicted in Redford's movie … Picture a couple of 12-13 year old boys hanging around a very old and decaying vacant house on a summer night, listening intently and daring to peer into the cracked windows for sounds and signs of haunting (a well-known "fact" among all local kids). Something sounded which sent us running in a panic. Probably a squirrel. Time marched and I was later graduated from Surrattsville High School (Class of 1971). A few years later with college complete and military service underway, I returned briefly to the Clinton area. I was glad to see the old "haunted house" fully restored and maintained as a National Historic Site. I was eager to see how Surratt's Tavern would appear in the movie. Alas, the "flash back" scenes hinted at, but didn't show the structure. Pax/Love, Fred Altiere"
4. MORE MUSICAL MEMORIES. Here are some great musical memories we received, spurred on by Pat McArthur's (70) Beatles/Paul McCartney memories in the last e-Notice:
"Hi Henry! Just a little different twist on two different Ed Sullivan shows from my high school days: we were the first to get the box in our neighborhood, so everyone came to our house on Sunday night. When Elvis was on the first time, we girls were sitting there and making typical female noises, when my Dad arrived home from work (MTA in Boston). He saw the hip swaying of good old hip swinging Elvis, and promptly turned off the TV saying, 'No one watches that garbage in my house.' When the Beatles were on for their first visit, it was the same action, but it was, 'That is not music'. So much for my Dad being able to pick talent! Cecilia Smith (former faculty)"
[Ed. Note: I imagine many of our more senior readers remember clearly their first glimpse of The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.]
"Hi Henry: You asked if any Hornets saw the Beatles live. My sister Mary (74) and I (72) saw them in 1964. Although very young at the time, Mary and I were "Beatlemanics" to say the least. We had Beatle haircuts, and Beatle outfits--black stretch stirrup pants, black turtle necks, and Beatle boots--modeled after the "Meet the Beatles" album cover. Mom used Beatles paraphernalia as a behavior control tool; if we were good for a few hours or a day, we would get some Beatles paraphernalia. And we were good! We got Beatles records, posters, magazines, labels for our 45s, wallets, and more. Dad had planned a 1964 summer beach vacation to Atlantic City, NJ. About a week before we left, he told us that the Beatles would be performing in Atlantic City while we were there, on August 30 at Convention Hall. We went into MAJOR nag mode on Dad to get tickets to the show.
That weekend in Atlantic City was insane! The atmosphere was electric. Tons of girls running and screaming up and down the boardwalk. Dozens of people outside a hotel rumored to be where the Beatle's were staying, staring up at windows with drawn curtains, peering through binoculars. The evening of the concert, my Dad bought tickets to the show from a scalper on the boardwalk (paying a pretty penny I am sure) for Mary, my mom, and me. There wasn't an empty seat in the house with more than 18,000 Beatle fans crammed into the Hall. Nobody cared about the opening acts. When the last opening act pulled the guitar plug out of the speaker the crowd roared. The screaming never stopped from that point forward. It was unbelievable. Girls screaming, girls crying, girls jumping up and down, girls beating the back of the seats in front of them, girls screaming the name of their favorite Beatle, girls fainting. And when the Beatles would do that "ooooooo" thing, like in She Loves You, somehow the screaming would get even louder. The next day, we saw some girls carrying huge panels of wood down the boardwalk, allegedly pieces of the struck stage, screaming and pointing at a foot print on the wood panel, claiming it had to be a Beatle boot print. It was an awesome night to remember. I remain extremely grateful to my Dad for buying those tickets (even though money in our family was tight), giving us one of the biggest thrills of our life. Carol Meares (72)"
5. … AND SOME HIGH SPEED MEMORIES. And speaking of blasts from the past, we received this peek into Southern Maryland drag racing history from Bill Goldstein (83): "Henry: I received this from a former co-worker, and Surratts grad, Bill Richards (72). (Bill was one of my helicopter pilots while I reported traffic and breaking news on WTOP Radio, ABC-7 and WUSA-TV 9. Our flights originated out of Hyde Field. Bill was previously with the Prince George's County Police. He also worked security at Rosecroft Raceway until the June, 2010 track closing.) Another piece of area history. Bill"
"Ernie Stephens sent me this link. I thought a few of the troops may recall working part time there. Aquasco was a big deal to drag racers back in the 60s and 70s. PG closed it due to 'environmental concerns' which is a little suspicious being as they opened a coal burning power plant less than one mile away.
Some of the nation’s best raced at Aquasco. The Ramchargers are pictured and they were a bunch of engineers at Chrysler who made such radical changes to drag cars that people used to say look at those funny looking cars; hence the name "funny car". People may not know that Aquasco was to the east coast what Pomona Speedway was to California. One can only guess what would have happened had this track been allowed to stay open. http://www.atomicpinup.com/Aquasco_Speedway.html"
[Ed Note: I'll bet many of our more mature readers remember the WPGC radio ads for the Speedway that always began with "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, at beautiful Aquasco Drag Raceway!" We'd love to hear any racing or automotive memories spurred by this email from Bill.]
6. UPDATE FROM THE TSUNAMI ZONE. We received this update email from Mike Rumley (71): "Just a quick update on our son and his wife in Tokyo: they are all very tired of aftershocks and last week's quake got everyone there nervous. My son's in-laws are still in shelters and sleeping in boxes for privacy. There is no word on how long they will have to stay there, and the government there has no idea what to do with everyone until they get the nuke problem settled. They would like to go stay with other family but there is limited transportation from the tsunami areas. Quite a mess. Tokyo, where Matt lives, is slowly getting better. There is more food in the stores, but not like before the quake, and rolling power outages are still in effect. Thanks again for all of your concern and financial help; it was gratefully received. Mike"
7. ALL CLASSES REUNION PERFORMER RE-FORMS TEEN CLUB BAND FOR SECOND SET OF SHOWS. As we reported in a prior e-Alert, Jimi Simon (71) and his former bandmates in Teen Club regular "Slow Rush" re-formed to perform recently at the Greenbelt American Legion. By all accounts, that show was a great success, and was attended by a number of Hornets.
We received this email from Leslie St. Clair (70) about some upcoming repeats of that performance. "Hello All: Pete Sacchetti of Slow Rush asked me to let everyone know that Slow Rush has three upcoming gigs at the American Legion Post on Greenbelt Road in Greenbelt MD. I have video from the last show and I will post to youtube.com later today. Pete says: 'The Slow Rush Revival is back at Greenbelt American Legion Post 136 with the Return of Skeeter Boom Boom Barbarie, the prodigal son. Skeeter will expand the show with more soul music and rhythm and blues. Don't forget Jimi Simon will doing Elvis, Fats, Ray Charles and Mick Jagger. Pete and Steve Sacchetti will join them doing rock's greatest: Led Zeppelin, Joe Walsh and more dance music. The time is 8 p.m. until midnight and the cover is $10, and the dates are Friday April 29, Friday June 3 and Friday July 1."
Leslie adds: "If you get there before 7:30 you can order dinner, and the food is good. It was a great show when I saw them there March 11, with a good crowd. Bart Windsor's (69) magic show was so funny, and I still can't figure out how the money ended up whole in the center of a grapefruit, yet Becky Mann was holding a corner piece of it! Leslie"
8. ... AND SPEAKING OF ALL CLASSES REUNION PERFORMERS. And, speaking of All Classes reunion performers, Neal Dawson (73), the creator and visionary force behind the three "Surrattstock" fund raisers sponsored by the Foundaiton, and one of the co-founders of the legendary Butler's Orchard -- one of D.C.'s top bands in the early and mid-1970s (Butler's Orchard, along with The Tuesday Boots and D.C. Star, was a true standout in the long and storied history of Surrattsville bands) -- has relocated to D.C. and has rejoined fellow Butler's Orchard members Roger Owens (73) and Mike Mello (Bishop McNamara 71) in The Back Pages Band. Some of Neal's friends and fans might want to come out and see Neal perform with his new/old lineup this summer, starting with three performances in May. The Band's summer schedule is at www.thebackpagesband.com.
9. EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR THOSE IN THE SURRATTSVILLE COMMUNITY. In response to an item in our last e-Notice, Patti Dean pointed out that it would be great if others of our readers sent in internship and job opportunities like those paid Navy internships submitted last month by the aforesaid Neal Dawson (73). If you know of any opportunities that might be of interest to members of the Surrattsville community, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. SEEKING 54 CLASS RING. Don Dahl (54) is looking for a 54 men's class ring. If you have any leads, please send Don an email at email@example.com.
11. SAVE THE DATES: JUNE 24 AND JUNE 25. Thanks to the very active and organized Class of 76, the entire Surrattsville community is invited to "Surrattsville Night" at the Maryland Blue Crabs stadium in Waldorf on Saturday June 25, to be hosted by the Class of 76. A special outfield picnic area will be set aside for the Surrattsville community, and a single price will cover admission and food. Additional details will be published in future e-Notices.
In addition, the Class of 76 is planning some Class-specific events for Friday June 24 and Saturday June 25, so Class of 76 members should check out the Class of 76 Group on Facebook for more information about those events.
12. ALL CLASSES/FACULTY/STAFF DIRECTORIES AVAILABLE. Thanks to the herculean work of Pat Becker Oles (71), the Foundation's 2000 Alumni/Faculty/Staff Directory has been updated for 2010, and now includes fascinating "what I'm up to" paragraphs from those who submitted directory information. If you would like a copy of the Directory, send a $20 check payable to the Foundation to: Henry Smith, One W. Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 950, Towson, MD 21204.
13. "SURRATTSVILLE ALUMNI" WINDOW STICKERS AVAILABLE. Pat Becker Oles (71) also kindly handles the Foundation's "Surrattsville Alumni" window stickers project. Pat notes that the stickers are not the "static cling type," that stick to the inside of a window. Instead, they are the "stick to the outside type," that can stick on a window or bumper, and use "repositional adhesive" (meaning no sticky residue). Information about purchasing the stickers can be found on the web site at surrattsville.org.
14. CLASS OF 2001 PLANS REUNION. The Class of 2001 is beginning work on planning for its ten year reunion, to be held on Saturday June 4 from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., at a location to be determined. Please contact Jacquelyn Towns at firstname.lastname@example.org or Courtney Graham at email@example.com if you have any contact info on members of the Class of 2001 or if you would like further information. The Class also has a Facebook page called “The Official c/o 2001 Reunion Page,” which contains photos and information to date.
15. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
16. POSSIBLE 80/81 REUNION. The Classes of 80 and 81 are planning a possible reunion for June. They need a contact person for the Class of 80. Please contact Teresa Blandford Pepper at email@example.com to provide contact info.
17. CLASS OF 61 PLANS REUNION. The Class of 1961 will celebrate its 50th Class Reunion at the Colony South Hotel and Conference Center in Clinton. This three day event will take place on June 24-26. Classmates from other Classes who may be interested are invited to join the celebration. If anyone has any information on missing Class members (listed at the end of this e-Notice) or would like information regarding the reunion, please contact: Don Byroads at 301-475-0127 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Darleen Mabry Burgess at 301-449-7261 or email@example.com.
18. CHARITY MUSIC EVENT ON THE BAY. We received this email from Jackie Kaiser Macbryde (71): " Hi Henry! I thought that some of the alumni of Surrattsville would enjoy this, as we are so musically inclined. This is a great event and it is all for charity. Hope to see you all there! Jackie
Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival, Saturday May 21 and Sunday May 22, 2011, gates open at 10:30 a.m., music 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., Sandy Point State, Park Annapolis, MD. Featuring: Chris Isaak, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Mayall, Little Feat, Shemekia Copeland, Manzarek-Rogers Band featuring Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for The Doors, The Otis Taylor Orchestra, Ronnie Baker Brooks, The Lee Boys, Dana Fuchs, Mac Arnold and Plate Full ‘O Blues, Motor City Josh, The Patty Reese Band w/ Dean Rosenthal, Mark Wenner, and Tommy Lepson, The Daryl Davis Band w/ Nadine Rae, Del Puschert and Andy Poxon"
I hope you're all enjoying the Spring blossoms and the greening grass! Henry Smith (71)
SAM TAYLOR (72) died on January 5 of a heart attack. We received these inspiring and loving memories from Sam's sister, Laurie Taylor Gilman (68): "My brother was great, funny guy but he stumbled through life and fought drug addiction most of it. He was clean and sober for the last five years of his life. Those that knew him knew he was a kind and compassionate person and he would do anything he could to help anyone. He was the kind of man that would make friends with the guy walking around talking to himself who everyone was doing their best to avoid. Then he would come home and tell us "I met this guy today. It was really sad but he told me he used to have a house and he was raised on a farm …." Then he would tell us he was a real nice guy even if he was talking to himself. I think Sam is the only person I know who could have three ex-wives and still be friends with all of them and all of them involved in all our holiday gatherings, even with their new spouses and kids. He was a remarkable man. When he finally got clean he found the one job that was perfect for the real Sam: he became a grief counselor at Resurrection Cemetery, helping others make arrangements for their deceased loved ones. Several times he turned down promotions because he wanted to work with the bereaved, one-on-one. My own sister-in-law told me she didn't know how she would have made it through her husband's death without Sam's support and compassion. I know Sam treated her no differently than he did anyone else's family members. He was peaceful, happy and drug free when he died. He once said to me that Resurrection Cemetery resurrected his soul. I believe that whole heartedly."
MANY THANKS TO THESE (EARLY) DONORS TO THE 2011 CAMPAIGN!
Becker Oles (71)