APRIL 2009

CAPT W.E. Smith
19 Coachman Pike
Ledyard, CT 06339
Ph: 860.464.8425; Fax: 860.464.8425
E-mail: jdsbridge@aol.com

        As of February 21st, these classmates had indicated a definite interest” in attending our ‘53 Seattle mini-reunion (9/21 to 9/25/09): Darrell Babcock, Bill Bruinsma, Rick Cueroni, Dick Donnelly, Wendell Driggers, George Everett, Bud Grader, Kirk Greiner, Ralph Hill, Jim Irwin, Roger Madson, Ed Nelson, Hal Olson, Ted Smith, and Wee Smith and these classmates indicated a “possible interest” in attending it: Paul Arnold, Bill Clark, Clay Hughes, Joe Kelly, Bill Lehr, Bob Lynch, Bill Reilly, and Keith Schumacher.
We have received more than $250,000 in 5-year pledges for our ‘53 Endowment Fund from classmates to support the acquisition of Leadership 44s for the Academy’s Coastal Sail Training Program!
        This year’s CAPT Ernie Rowland Cadet Art Contest will be held April 14-22.

Misc. Bits and Pieces from or about our classmates (in alphabetical order):

        Darrell Babcock: “Sheila’s and my world seems to revolve around our grandchildren. One of ours has achieved a full scholarship at Colorado State in swimming. She is also a National Merit Scholar and has selected an engineering tract. There are two others in the wings with the drive and perseverance to achieve and succeed.”
        Barbara Bates
: “It is difficult to realize that so many years have flown by so fast and that so many of us have already arrived at that big 80 or are rapidly closing in on it.”  
        Dan Briganti
advised that Sue’s recovery from her broken leg is coming along slowly. They have both been uplifted and greatly appreciated the notes and cards that classmates have sent.
        Sandy Crouch
and her family are fine and she’s especially looking  forward to having her grandson, Ian, home from Afghanistan in March.
        Rick and Beth Cueroni
have enjoyed taking cruises so much, they’re going to take these four in 2009: April 9-19 (Bermuda); May 5-23 (Europe); July 23-Aug.  5 (Mediterranean); and Sept. 3-17 (Alaska).  
        Dick Donnelly and Meris Hatfield
: “In January we took a Cruise West trip through the Panama Canal and then up the Pacific Coast to Costa Rica. We then had an extension on land to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica before coming back to LaQuinta, CA on January 30th. We have a couple of short trips planned for March and April before we head back home to Bellevue, WA in early May.
        Ed Farmer
reported from Bangkok, Thailand that he’s “busy”. He moved into a new Condo in December and says “Now I can say I am truly an Expat! There are a lot of things I could say about my experiences but there are NO regrets. The problem you have to face is that you are a resident of a new country where extremely few people speak English. As a tourist you don’t get this feeling because you are isolated in a tourist environment. Adjusting your life into the Thai way of living is the big bump in the road.  You have to adjust -- or leave. And it is NOT a western-way of living. For instance, whatever we imagined Thai cuisine to be is not a reality. Cooking is not a Thai way of home life -- you either go out to eat or you order food brought in. The food is pure Asian ethnic and lacking in western appeal. My kitchen is considered a “luxury” to a Thai -- only a cook top, no oven, no microwave, several lower cupboards -- but NO upper cupboards, no hot water, no dishwasher, and only two power points, one of which is behind the refrigerator! And size?..about the area of a walk-in closet. I solved my problems by hiring a Thai live-in driver (with car) cum butler, cum house keeper, cum house manager, cum whatever! I have known him for two years and he has an outside job as a special guide and driver for tourists. The political situation here is ever calm -- although foreign news media like to make  the world think differently. Thailand is a relatively new democracy and people of opposing opinions have not quite figured out how to handle it. The opposition party that seized the Suvarnabhumi Airport late last year was a tragedy of immense harm to the country. Tourism alone will not recover for another two years. I have never ever felt threatened living here. And so it goes! Now you know a little more about me in this lovely country.” 
        For those who may have seen the NBC Today Show about the baby who was born with a foot in his brain, the neurosurgeon who successfully performed the extremely delicate operation was Dr.Paul Grabb, Jim and Shirley Grabb’s son!
        Bud Grader
is continuing the chemotherapy treatments for his brain tumor and says that “he’s doing as well as can be expected”. This spring he plans to spend some time in a Caribbean country for some intensive one-on-one refresher Spanish lessons. He also plans a trip to Sapoda, Spain.
        Hap Hazard
has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and has started an intensive 9-week program of proton radiation treatments that will be done in Bloomington, Ind. Hap’s advice: make sure you get your PSA checked regularly! On February 20th, Bill King joined the ‘53 “Octogenarian Club”.
        Bill Lehr
reported his hip repair has “gone well except I’m now so used to sitting around it will take some effort to start doing ‘chores’ again.” Gerry Lipsett (573 Spangler School Rd., Gettysburg, PA 17325, e-mail: byglip@gmail.com,  Tel. 717-359-7833) continues to make good progress in recovering from his broken neck. He is extremely grateful and appreciative of all the “get well” wishes he has received from classmates.
        Barbara Mann
visited a college classmate in Florida in February.
        On March 12th, Bob Schmidt joined “’53s Octogernarian Club”.
        Dave and Teresa Stryffeler
reported “All is OK with us and all 7 of our children and their wives and husbands, all 28 grandkids, and 2 great-grand kids. We spend our time going to sporting events that they are involved in.”
        Glenn Young
(gsy@ix.netcom.com) is still in Hobart, Australia on his visitor’s visa, living by himself, renting a house from his daughter, and dealing with Australia’s immigration procedures that require him to periodically leave the country. So, during the last 15 months he has made some interesting trips: twice to New Zealand, once to China, and once to Vanuatu. Glenn said “Never heard of Vanuatu? Neither had I until the travel agent suggested it. It is an independent nation consisting of a couple of hundred volcanic islands, most so small  they are uninhabited but with several big enough to support a small port city and an airport. Before WW2 it was the domain of French planters. During the war the U.S. military colonized it. In fact, the musical South Pacific was inspired by one of its islands. It has lovely palm edged beaches, extensive reefs for diving, good surf for surfing, an active volcano and a remarkably graceful and friendly native population. On the other hand, the capitol city is barely out of the thatched building stage, the roads and port facilities are what is left from the U.S. military WW2 building spree, and the natives would still be living a subsistence lifestyle except for the growing tourist business from Australia and New Zealand which are less than 3 hours flying time away”.