Roger Watson

Profile Updated: April 8, 2020
Residing In: Shippensburg, PA USA
Spouse/Partner: Patricia Colyott
Occupation: Insurance agent
Children: Scott 1969
Nicole 1973
Stacey 1975
Jessica 1978
Military Service: USMC  

Peter, Joshua, Benjamin, Will, Sadie and Julia - These include two sets of twins. Sure tough to see them get old - my oldest is 17 now. First one to soon be off to college. What is it about getting older that the years seem to speed up. It's like we only get 300 days while everyone else is getting 365.

School Story:

Many funny stories - sharable? Well maybe not so much. Suffice it to say our class has some very funny people!

Which Junior High School did you attend?


Which Elementary school(s) did you attend?

Williams Elementary School

Are you on


Do you have an alternate mailing address? or both work and would make acceptable backups.

Where were you when President Kennedy was shot? Describe the scene.

Returning from a visit to Newton South with a wonderful person whose identity shall remain secret since we were engaged in an unsponsored, unsupervised road trip.

Who was the person who most influenced your life? (For good or bad) What did they do to affect you? How is this influence affecting you today?

My grandfather and grandmother - I cannot blame them for my failures but whatever I have been able to accomplish in life can be traced back to their influence and love.

If you won a large Lottery prize, what would you do with the money?

Besides pay taxes?

What memories do you have of grade school or Jr. High?

These were the best of times. Outside of my family and a few others, I feel closer to my elementary school classmates than anyone. There is not much that I wouldn't do for them.

They were an incredible bunch of kids. Talk about being blessed.

Books or Movies that had a profound impact on your life

Battle Cry by Leon Uris

The worst moment of your life:

The deaths of many loved ones, close friends, and fellow Marines make this a plural statement, there have been many.

The BEST moment of your life:

The births of each of my children are hard to top and like the previous questions this is also a plural statement - these birth are closely followed by the births of my grandchildren.

Accomplishments you are most proud of:

My personal accomplishments are of little consequence, the accomplishments that have given me the most joy were those reached by people I was fortunate enough to be part of their lives. The people that my children have grown up to be in spite of me are at the top of my list.

Tell us all about your family; your parents, grandparents, siblings, children, g-children, etc. Who influenced you, who are you most like, which child is most like you, what have your siblings and children accomplished? Etc.

This will require more time and space than I have allocated. Like the credits, you might find in a book, I have been influenced by many, but I take full responsibility for who I am and what I have become. The good I will give credit to so many others but the bad that is all my own doing.

OK - the biggie: What have you been doing for the last FIFTY years?

Learning, growing, failing, learning, growing, failing and the beat goes on. I have learned more and grown more in my failures - so wow have I grown. I suspect that that will be my pattern until the day comes when I cannot fail anymore.

AND.... what have you planned for the NEXT 50...?

See above :)

What would you like to be most remembered for?

That I was able to make a difference in at least one person's life.

Who would you most like to see at this reunion?

The better question and the smaller answer would be who don't I want to see at the reunion.

Current Pet Peeve?

I can't respond to this - it is already difficult enough for me to cross the border into Massachusetts - If I made my pet peeve public I'd be hit with a lifetime ban.

When you were in High School, what did you hope to accomplish in your life? Did you meet your goal?

I looked to enter the Marine Corps and the go to college. After that well it was something of a crapshoot. I accomplished the first two and well I have been living the crapshoot ever since and loving every minute of it, well almost every minute.

What is your biggest regret abut your high school years?

I doubt I could reduce it to one regardless of how broad that might be. However, what sometimes haunts me are those that I hurt in some way - indifference, cocky, clueless about peoples feelings, judging people by my standard without regard for their standard. I'll stop but you get the drift.

The thought: You either hate losing bad enough to change, or you hate to change bad enough to lose covers most of my life and in high school, I didn't want to change and in so many ways I lost a great deal of what I could have had.

What is you biggest regret since high school?

I settled for jobs that paid the bills while not being willing to change to find the job that I loved or the profession.

Essay Question: "If I knew then what I know now...."

I would have dropped my focus on life being all about me and changing to focus on the needs of others, what I could do to help them succeed.

What would you like to tell today's High School students? (Before they start, during their high school years, or when they graduate).

Take ownership of all you do and who you are. Who you are and what you become is on you. Be quick to give credit where credit is due, be quicker to take responsibility for poor performance or failure. Learn from your failures because you will never learn as much from your successes. Look for the opportunity in every failure - it's there.

Did you ever skip school?

Has the statue of limitations on this run out? Is there security that will keep my grandchildren from hearing about this?

Oh yeah - it was one of my favorite pastimes - in fact some may say that I was majoring in absenteeism.

Where have you lived? States, countries, continents... did you move much?

Africa, Asia - MA, SC, NC, GA TX, IN, CA, ME, VA, FL and cameo appearances in many others.

Can you (still!) drive a stick shift? What kind of car do you have now? What was your favorite car that you owned? Did you ever get your dream car? Where did you get your license? (How many time did you have to take the test ?)

Absolutely. My favorite car was a 1990 Ford Taurus SHO that did a legitimate 140 off the floorroom. Many dream car was one that would never leave me standing and I have never been left stand - so ya I got my dream car many times over.
Got my license in West Newton on my 1st attempt.

Favorite food? Dessert? Do you cook?

Ice cream - it is one and the same. My cooking can best be described as survival cooking - you eat your failures, which are many, and when all else fails, well there is cereal and peanut butter along with what it works in all circumstances - Ice Cream.

Have you ever sung Karoake?

Everyday just about - some call it a shower.

Which college (or other higher education) did you attend?

University of Maine (Orono)

Which Reunions have you attended?


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Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Apr 10, 2020 at 3:39 PM

Posted on: Apr 08, 2020 at 6:18 AM

Things are a bit different in our world today since I last wrote anything on this web site. Since then, it seems that the Coronavirus has filled our lives. Perhaps, for many of us, we find ourselves living in fear and anxiety of contracting this virus or at least concern for our family and friends.

I am not writing to say we should ignore the virus. It's tough to ignore if you have it, but COVID-19 is only one of many things that rip out our hearts and rob us of life and those of our loved ones. Our lives will go on until they don't.

I want to encourage, ask, plead with you not to hunker down and take shelter from life. I do not believe I am to spend my life living in fear and anxiety of my coming death. It will get here when it does, and until then, I need to make the most of the time that I have. No, as far as I know, my death is not imminent, but I know, you know, it is not far away. So be it.

One of Theodore Roosevelt's most famous quotes expresses my thoughts better than I can.
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

Why am I carrying on about life, death, and viruses? I want to share with you a letter (email) that I received yesterday that made me realize how great a gift of life I have been given. I received permission from Debbie Bliss to share it with you.

Dear friends,

A new chapter has begun for David and I am really sad and ask for your prayers, for him and for me.

On Saturday morning he was incontinent twice and seemed unable to walk. He could stand up but he couldn't get his feet to move. I tried to get him to walk to the dining room and he kept saying "I'm coming" but his feet wouldn't move. He was leaning on his walker and I tried to lift one of his feet and he fell over backward and hit his head on the chest of drawers. Philip came over to help me get him off the floor into a chair for some breakfast and then he went back to bed. I called our health provider - it took over an hour for a nurse to call me back and she recommended that I take him to the Emergency Room. Philip helped me get him into the car and into a wheelchair at the hospital.

Because of Covid-19 I couldn't go into the hospital with him. They took him in from the sidewalk. The hospital was strangely quiet. Everyone is staying away as they await a deluge of Covid-19 cases, which hasn't happened yet. He has spent two nights in the hospital and had a cat scan and blood work. There is no physical damage apparent, but he still will not walk. A nurse told me that she and an aide tried to get him into bed from his wheelchair and it was such a procedure that she felt scared for him and for herself and the aide.

I feel I can no longer take care of David at home. Last week he became aggressive with a caregiver who has come many times and so she had to leave. The next day she came back and he wouldn't accept her again. So I did not get two breaks that I was counting on and I was overcome by a feeling of helplessness and I sobbed uncontrollably. He did accept his Friday caregiver, so I got a break for 6 hours. But he was unhappy and his tendency toward aggression has increased.

Aggression, incontinence and immobility are too much for me. I decided the time has come to put him into a care facility. I have arranged for him to go directly from the hospital to a small residential board and care with six beds. It's two miles away, run for 8 years by a retired nurse from the Philippines who is a Christian. He will be sharing a room with another man and there are 3 women patients there. I will not be allowed to visit him while the Covid-19 virus precautions are in effect. I took over some of his clothes and some photos and personal effects yesterday, along with a check for the first month plus deposit.

Then I came home and have been weeping on and off as I grieve the end of our time of living together. We have been married for 47 years and living in this home for 4 1/2 years. I had anticipated spending our sunset years together here in this lovely place with the expansive views that we both have enjoyed so much. I know he will miss me and being here in the comfort of our own home. I feel guilty for abandoning him. I feel selfish in making the choice to preserve my own quality of life, instead of giving him the ever increasing care he requires. His ability to care for himself had already drastically reduced - he could no longer bathe himself, dress himself, put himself to bed (he could still feed himself once I put food before him - and I would reheat it multiple times as he eats so slowly). I had increased his medication to try to control his aggression but he was still becoming more agitated. And now with incontinence and immobility I felt I would not cope. The caregivers who have been coming in have only helped with preparing meals and keeping him company - not bathing or changing him or helping him walk.

The grief is heavier than the relief at the moment, but I do believe it was the right decision.

I won't be able to visit him in his new residence until the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and hopefully that will give him time to adjust. When visiting is allowed again, I will be close enough to see him frequently.

So please pray with me for David as he is moved from the hospital to the care facility today, for his peace and protection and that he would be able to walk and interact in a pleasant way with the caregivers and other patients, especially his roommate.



I spoke briefly with David about three weeks ago, and I knew that my premonition from my visit with David and Bob Biederman, last summer, that I would never again see the David that I knew was now a fact.

David would not want my sympathy, and he would shake off any pity that I would spend on him. David was all about how he lived. David was my friend. If it is good enough for David, then it is good enough for me. I recognize that David is moving on to another stage of his life, and this one I can't share with him.

My dear classmates and friends, my wish for myself and you, is that we will be carried back from the battles of life on our shields, having given all that we have to offer.

May we live the rest of our lives not in fear but in the hope that we will make a difference in this life regardless of how short the time. Be strong, live well.

Semper Fi

Roger Watson added a comment on Profile.
Apr 08, 2020 at 5:11 AM
Roger Watson has a birthday today. New comment added.
Mar 12, 2020 at 3:53 PM

Posted on: Mar 12, 2020 at 4:36 AM

Roger Watson posted a message.
Nov 28, 2019 at 10:14 AM

Sometimes in our lives, we all struggle for many different reasons but that's life. Something else is also life and that's having friends and family. You have played a major part in my life somewhere along my path and I want to thank you. I would not be who I am without you, at least the better part of me. On this Thanksgiving, I felt that the following quotes express something that we have felt or maybe are even feeling now and this is a good reminder to focus on what is truly important in your life and mine. Happy Thanksgiving.

"What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I had realized it earlier." - Sidonie-Gabrielle Coltette

"Note to self: I won't let my grief, illness, losses or suffering blind me to the beauty and blessings that surround me. Without negating my losses and struggles, I must seize what joy I can and not let what I am going through overshadow all the good that remains." - Debbie Kay

Semper Fi

Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Nov 28, 2019 at 12:31 PM

Posted on: Nov 27, 2019 at 4:32 PM

I am 73 years old. Tomorrow I will be able to celebrate my 73rd Thanksgiving. As a New Englander, I have always felt like Thanksgiving is more of a New England thing rather than a national holiday. If you are not initially from New England, I suspect there would be an argument over that statement, but if you are from one of the six New England states, you know what I mean. The rest of the nation is lucky; we are willing to share it with them. They are so jealous they probably created Black Friday to distract the unknowing from focusing on our holiday.

As I grew older, I recognized that what I found myself most thankful for what had already happened. I was focusing on being grateful for what happened in the past. I also realized that the things I was offering thanks for were not guaranteed; there was nothing that I knew for sure would happen. Being a classmate of yours was not guaranteed, but I am thankful that I was. Heck, living in Newton, growing up in Newton in the late forties and fifties, was not guaranteed, but I was blessed to do it. My survival in Viet Nam was not guaranteed; neither was going to and graduating from the University of Maine. Marriage, kids, divorce, mistakes made, lessons learned none of those were guaranteed.

Reaching the age of 73 and having the opportunity of sharing a word with friends and classmates was not assured. Nothing in my life, wrong or right, good or bad, was guaranteed. What we think, what we say, and what we do, have consequences intended or not, but the results are not guaranteed.

Being thankful is not all about looking back; it is sometimes looking forward. Since death seems to be the only guarantee in life, all that we can say about the future depends on the time available. Given that, what are you thankful for in the future? I am grateful for the opportunity to change. We have said before that while we show gratitude for something in the past, we can't change the past. The present is what it is and cannot be changed. Only the future can be changed. I am thankful for that opportunity to change. It would be a shame to waste it.

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, my wife, Pat, and I will sit down for our steak dinner. I know it is a bit non-traditional, but it is our hand raised beef, and we are thankful that we have it. Friday, we will go traditional with some of our children and grandkids, but tomorrow it's steaks on the grill.

Food aside, we will be thankful for many things that have passed, Pat's sister's life, the incredible response from many of you to myself and my wife that none of you even knew with only one exception. The experiences that you and I have shared this past year is high on my list. We shared the sadness of the deaths of some of our classmates while celebrating the achievements of others. I felt a bond of friendships, a renewal of friendships, and even new friendships that I have not known in many years. Yet I am even more thankful for having the opportunity to see how we can grow closer together, how we can learn to help each other and lean on each other.

The opportunity to change, the opportunity to make a difference, is the only thing that we can be thankful for in the future. Let's not only put that opportunity high on our list of things, but let's go all the way and be thankful for the better persons we are about to become and the chance to make a difference for good in the lives of people that surround us.
Be blessed. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be thankful for not only what has happened, is happening, but for the opportunity to make good things happen. Thank you for being here. You've made me a better person.

Roger Watson added a comment on Profile.
Nov 11, 2019 at 3:36 PM
Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Nov 11, 2019 at 3:42 PM

Posted on: Nov 10, 2019 at 4:41 AM

I am not sure who fits the description but if you know someone who does wish them a:

Happy birthday, Marine!

Marine! Old breed? New breed? There's not a damn bit of difference so long as it's the Marine breed. - Chesty Puller

Semper Fi

Roger Watson posted a message.
Nov 07, 2019 at 11:05 AM

I so appreciate all of you that responded to my note regarding the death of my sister-in-law. I would/should respond to each of you, but I thought maybe you would allow me to respond to each of you with two poems that express a great deal about Vikki's death and my feeling for each of you.

Sometimes poetry seems to be a better vehicle for expressing feelings than simple prose. These poems accomplish that by expressing my feelings in words that elude me at the moment.

The first poem expresses what I would believe to be Vikki's feelings regarding her death. It is also an expression of how she lived her life.

The second poem shares my feelings for you and each of our classmates. I know that death has touched us all and will continue to do so until it is our turn. Until that time comes, then perhaps these will be the ties that bind us to each other.

Thank you for blessing me with your friendship.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye

My friend is all of these!

Friendship is to trust
Friendship is having the kindness to help
Friendship is giving to others without thinking
Friendship is being there when someone need you
Friendship can be just a smile that brightens your day
Friendship is giving more than you expect to receive
Friendship is listening
Friendship is offering your opinion when you think you need to
Friendship can be many things
Friendship is different for everyone
Friendship could be holding a hand for support
Friendship is lending your shoulder to cry on
Friendship is mellow
Friendship is giving back
Friendship is only taking that what you need
Friendship can be that voice of reason you give
Friendship could also be a boost of encouragement when it’s needed
Friendship stands the test of time
Friendship is show in many different ways
Friendship can be everlasting
Friendship is not always an easy thing
Friendship is hard to break apart
Friendship is strong
Friendship should never be taken for granted
Friendship is meant to be shared with all
Friendship is free and rewarding to share
Friendship can be unforgettable
Friendship is priceless to many
Friendship is a secret never to be told
Friendship is not having to say sorry but do
Friendship is not judging no matter what
Friendship is to share, the joy and the fear
Friendship is someone to run too when things are tough
Friendship is a hand to hold when things are so rough
Friendship is someone to laugh with not at you
Freindship is just knowing they are there
Freindship is very personal
Freindship is all of thes things and many more
This is are how I see friendship
To have a true Friend is the best thing to achieve
We all have one but it may take a very long time to find them.
Sumedha Parihar

Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Dec 02, 2019 at 3:08 PM

Posted on: Nov 04, 2019 at 8:53 PM

Today, my sister-in-law died. My sister-in-law’s name was Vikki, and she died in her sleep. We heard her death rattle around 4:55 a.m., and my wife pronounced her sister dead at 5:00 a.m. on Monday, November 4, 2019.

My wife hit her boulder in her path at the same time. My rock wasn't quite so big, but I stumbled over mine at the same time. We had a quiet moment of suffering for our loss. We were thankful Vikki's journey had ended, so did her pain. We reached out to each other to hold hands and begin helping each other around the stones in our paths.
Why am I sharing something as personal as a death in my family?
I have said several times that as a class, we are a family. I hope that by sharing my thoughts and feelings, you might feel encouraged to share yours as well.

I did the eulogy so many years ago at my grandmother's funeral. She and my grandfather were always there for me, as I have said before, I owe my life to them. I loved them so much.

The following was a favorite of my grandmother's and helped direct her along her path. It also helped Vikki. Maybe, just maybe, it will help us.

Lord! Give me strength just for Today.
To do the tasks that come my way. To say the word - to think the thought, with which real strength of soul is wrought.
Lord! Give me the courage to resist the urge to worry or persist in borrowing from future years, trouble unknown, or futile tears. Just for Today, Lord, let me find true strength and faith and peace of mind.

And for tomorrow, I will pray - when it becomes the new Today.

All of life's burdens are easier to deal with when shared by good friends. I know we all have troubles, and I know we have good friends. Let's ease each other's burdens, after all, what are friends for?

There’s no day quite like today. Let’s begin!

Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Nov 03, 2019 at 7:13 PM

Posted on: Nov 03, 2019 at 11:39 AM

I understand life to be a journey, a journey that can only be made on foot. No planes, cars, boats or even horse and buggy allowed. There is a path that lies before each of us, but each way is different. Some appear to be straight, others are windy, some have many intersections, and some are shorter than others. There are no two alike. Each of us must walk the path that lies before us.

There are times when our path comes to a bend, and once we walk around that bend, we can no longer see where we came from, where we were, we can't see behind us.

We come around the bend, and we can see that that path ahead is straight for a while, but we see another bend in the trail ahead. We see the curve, but we don't know what is on the other side of the bend. We can't look behind us and see where we were, and we can't go back. We can't look ahead and see what's coming, and we can't get to the other side of the bend without going through where we are now.
. All we can see is where we are, somewhere between the past and the future. You are in the now. You are in the present. It seems straight forward, but is it?

None of our paths is level. None is smooth. As much as we might wish it, life is not a sidewalk. Life is a path with strenuous sections strewn with rocks, and there several different kinds of rocks we will find on our way.

There are small rocks that are a nuisance. You step on one and slightly twist an ankle, but it's no big deal. You keep on moving. It's like getting a flat tire on your way to work or maybe missing your plane to take you on vacation. Maybe your child breaks a window in the kitchen. A pain to fix it. Yup, but it is just an aggravation.

As you move along on the path, you fall over a bigger rock. Maybe you break your wrist or an ankle, this will slow us down for a time, but we will continue on our way. Perhaps you need to move to find another job, or your car breaks down, and they tell you it is beyond repair, one of your children is failing school, challenging, yes, a pain, absolutely, A roadblock not hardly.

Another rock is a boulder. It is blocking our path, and it comes with some severe consequences. You lost your job. Your house burns down. You lost your license. One of your children is a drug addict and needs to be in rehab, and you are feeling responsible. Maybe your daughter or daughter-in-law or you have a miscarriage. You are unable to work, and you need to go on disability, or you need to apply for welfare to provide food and shelter for your family. This boulder is almost enough to make you leave the path, or at least sit down, and cry. How, why is this happening to me?

There is one last obstacle that may confront us on our journey. and there seems to be no way around, over it, or through it. It looks like we have come to the end of the path. We can't travel any further.

The death of a spouse, a child, or divorce can be a journey stopper. Maybe, a rape, perhaps your spouse, your child, or you going to jail for a crime that was committed. You have had your reputation ruined on social media, and you feel that you can never show your face in public or been falsely accused of something that you did not do? You have given up, loneliness, anxiety, despair brings with them thoughts of suicide. Taking your own life seems like it is the only way out. It might be you're told that you have ALS, cancer, or some other life-threatening disease. You know that your death will be sooner than later. You are all alone, and you do not want to die alone.

How do you get around this mountain right in the middle of your path? How do you deal with any of these small or significant obstacles that you encounter on your journey? It's your problem. It's your journey.

I have experienced many of these problems in my life. I suspect that each of you has experienced some of these roadblocks or similar ones. Why? It's life. Life is not promised to be a "happy" one. Life is a journey with moments of difficulty, challenge, steps filled with pain or despair, or loneliness. Yes, there are moments of happiness and joy sprinkled along the way, but damn, life isn't easy.

I have never been able to overcome the obstacles in my path with things. Toys, self-medication, money, vacation homes, travel, entertainment, or any other “things” have not helped me on my way. What about you? What has helped you negotiate your path?

Let me share my way of making the most of my journey - you and people like you! Yes, we each have our path, but often those paths run parallel to each other. The distance between us is just small enough that we can reach out and touch each other. We can grasp each other's hand, and your hand can help me over, around, or through my obstacle. I can do the same for you if you will let me.

The only way we can reach the goal of our journey is with each other's help. I just spent two hours on a phone call to Australia with Bob Biederman, unburdening myself with some of these path-blockers in my life. Trust me, it was a lot better than turning to things to try to level the path.

Time and distance should not change friendships. We each shared a part of our journey with each other at Newton High. Since leaving in 1964, there is a long path behind us, yet there is no looking back. We cannot change what has happened; don't waste your energy trying. None of us can tell the future. I might die as soon as I hit send. We don't know. Yet for now, we are sharing the present, and our trials and struggles may not be the same, but they are close enough that we can help each out regardless of the size of the obstacles.

We are not as unique as we think we are. She doesn’t have any problems. She has a perfect family, a perfect job, a perfect home, she if leading the perfect life. No way. Life is not perfect. I shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to any of you. Why? I know we have some of life’s problems in common and that we could help each other if one of us would reach out and only ask.

Thanksgiving is close at hand, and I will promise you that things will not be high on my "I am thankful list." What will be high on my list is you, each one of you. Thank you for sharing part of my journey. Maybe we will again. I can only hope. Share Thanksgiving with someone that needs encouragement. Maybe not food but letting them know that someone cares is a banquet. May every meal be a banquet!

Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Oct 27, 2019 at 10:40 AM

Posted on: Oct 24, 2019 at 5:41 PM

My grandmother and grandfather were the two most influential people in my life. Whatever is right about me as a person can be traced to them. The bad about me is on me.

My grandfather was 22 years older than my grandmother. He, as a first-generation German coming to the states in the 1870s, used to say that he got to the states just in time to see the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show in Boston. I cannot express in words my love for this man. My earliest memories as a three-year-old are of him. I am sitting next to him, he in his rocking chair and me in mine, he is smoking his corncob pipe and me smoking mine. Mine was what is now known as smokeless tobacco (it was empty). He would read Golden Books or National Geographic magazines to me. What he did, I would do my best to mimic him.

He died when I was five years old, of mouth cancer. He died at home with my grandmother and my mother caring for him. It was not a pleasant way to die. I cried for a week and would barely eat. I loved my grandfather. Without the drugs available to us today to manage pain, it was an incredibly painful way to die. He was eighty-seven.

My grandmother had five siblings, two brothers who stayed home to work the farm, and three sisters, who all went to college and ended up in professional careers. My grandmother was no exception. She graduated from Radcliffe and received her master's degree from Boston University in 1907. She spoke five languages fluently and taught school until she got married and had to give up her teaching career. She became a nutritionist working at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. I suspect she may well have overseen the preparation of the food served to some of your parents.

After her forced retirement, she began to work as a homemaker, today we would call it homecare. I have laughed at the fact that she did that until she was ninety-two taking care of the elderly.

My grandmother never learned to drive. She would get to work by taking a bus or hitch-hiking. Your mom or dad may have seen her on Washington Street and stopped and picked her up. She died at age ninety-six. She was eating lunch, bowed her head, and died. No pain, no suffering, she just died.

I have mentioned David Bliss' battle with Alzheimer's Disease before. The latest update: he's losing the fight. He no longer remembers his wife or kids. David is spending more and more time in his room, dislikes noise, and wants to do what he wants. He is getting to be a handful. The darkness is closing in on him.

As mentioned in my last post, my sister-in-law is dying of cancer. Her condition is rapidly deteriorating. Late last week, they discovered that one of the tumors on her back caused one of the vertebrae to fracture. Walking is becoming almost impossible. With her back and every other part of her body hurting, riding in a car is practically impossible at this point.

Let me ask you a question: of the four examples of death or near-death situations, which one would you choose. How would you like to die? When someone asks me how I would like to die, hands down, I want to go out as my grandmother did, bow my head, and it is over, no muss no fuss. I suspect most of you would have the same answer.

I went to high school with all of you. Some of us went to Warren Jr High, and a precious few of us went to Williams Elementary School together. I am not the same person that any of you might remember me as being. Over the past 68 years (pre-kindergarten doesn't count, and only Richard Evans knew me then) life has broken me, rubbed me, polished me, and left little of me undone. Nope, not the same guy you might remember. If you didn't know me then, no problem, that might work in my favor. I missed greeting and seeing some ninety people at our reunion, some ninety new people because, like me, you all have changed as well. For those of you, I knew back then I wanted to get to know the new you. I wanted to see how your life has been broken, rubbed and polished and who you are today.

It may be redundant, but when we look back, we can't change a thing; when we look ahead, we can only guess what's coming but who knows? That leaves just today. We are who we are right now. We are not who we were, and we are not who we might be, we are who we are right now.

Earlier I asked you, "how do you want to die?" Trick question. Those four people I used as examples I loved, or I love. Do you think how they died is what makes them valuable to me? Not hardly. It was not their deaths or their soon to be deaths that made them so important to me, it was and is who they are, what they have done, the input that they had into my life that has helped shape me to be who I am right now.

You may never hear that I have died or how I died, and you may not even care, and that's all right because I didn't have much positive input into your life. I do not care how my life ends. I do care about how I live my life today, right now. Pain and suffering are something that most of us will experience when we die. We know that whether we want to admit or not. Sometimes we spend time worrying about dying. How and when? Don't!

A better question might be what. What can I do to make this person's life better? After seventy-three years of experience, I have come to recognize that death takes care of itself; life requires tending. We need to manage our lives so we can have a more significant impact on those around us. Even in death, those four people I mentioned earlier impacted me. Both in their lives and their deaths, they have touched me and made me a better person. They are my role models. My question is, will I be, will I have been a good role model?

My grandfather and grandmother taught me about family, and what it means to care, what it means to sacrifice for another. David's spirit comes shining through, regardless of whether he recognizes me. He is still blessing me. My sister-in-law is more concerned about caring for us, doing what she can to ease her sister's pain, trying to ignore her pain in the process.

It's not how we die that's important but how we have lived, even though death, that makes a difference in the lives of those who know you. Whose life are we going to change? How will we change it, for better or worse? I am running out of time to help make a difference in people's lives. Tomorrow might not always come.

On a happier note, I would love to hear about your experience at our 55th reunion. If you can't be there, the net best thing is to hear about it from those that were there. There are many of us out here that are all ears.

Have a great fall!

Roger Watson added a comment on Profile.
Oct 10, 2019 at 11:10 AM
Oct 09, 2019 at 1:46 PM
Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Oct 16, 2019 at 12:09 PM

Posted on: Oct 09, 2019 at 1:27 PM

There are many great quotes about serving others. For Instance:

Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.
? Saint Augustine

Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.
? Les Brown

Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
? Martin Luther King, Jr.

The above are just three of many notable quotes the provide some instruction and guidance on how we can improve the lives of others. They are things that we should all practice. You have done that for me through your thoughts, words, and prayers for my sister-in-law and our family. I am greatly appreciative of your support.

I know you have gone through your struggles and difficult times with the support of family and friends, but perhaps not. It is my sister-in-law that has to cross the street. No one can do that for her. It is my wife that is struggling with the loss of her sister. While I and others (you for your support) can share the burden of her pain, it is still her pain. But, it is a lot easier knowing that family, loved one and friends are walking with you.

I am thankful for your support, but are there others in our class that could use the same help? Who are they? Where are they? How do we find them? What can we do to share their pain? I wish I had those answers so that I share with them what you have shared for my family. How can we be there for each other?

We started with some quotes about serving others, and I thank you for demonstrating, in example, what those quotes were saying in words. But there is a flip side to this that is painful for me. How many quotes do you know about "being served?"

One of the most significant examples of being served that I know comes from the Bible. I realize that some of you are not religious, are not Christians, but you will be able to understand what I am trying to say.

During Passover, Jesus and his disciples were participating in what has come to be known as the Last Supper. During the meal, Jesus stopped and began washing the disciples' feet. It was one of the most menial tasks a person could do for another. Many use this as an illustration to show Jesus' humility. What is frequently overlooked by many is the struggle experienced by His disciples in being served. How do you react to someone kneeling before you and washing your feet? How do you respond to being served?

As I read your comments of care and support, I found myself struggling with how to react. For me, it is far easier to serve than be served. It is similar to being unable to accept compliments. I expect many of us feel the same way. I prefer to care for than be cared for. Perhaps someday I will find the proper balance. Until then, thank you for all you have done for me not only in this instance but our time together in high school and here on this website. I would only ask one more thing of you,
hold someone else's hand as you have held mine.

I am something of a silver lining in every cloud type of person. Don't laugh. And with the disappointment of not attending our gathering, I was looking for the silver lining. Enter Lewis Watts. I cannot describe how happy I am to be able to have Lew bail me out, agreeing to keep our reservation at Mystic Lake/Spy Pond. Thanks, Lew.

I am excited to hear Lew's reaction to coming home to a place he hasn't been back to since graduation. Isn't this what reunions are all about getting to see and share. Lew's a retired art professor (or the more proper title, Professor Emeritus). For us, well, old Lew will have to do. As an aside, Lew is ubering and lyfting.

I hope you all have a great time meeting new classmates and rekindling relationships with others. As a couple of our classmates said to me, "I will look forward to seeing you at our next gathering." Ditto. I'll be waiting to hear all the great stories of Saturday's gathering.

Be safe and enjoy the time.

Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Oct 08, 2019 at 1:26 PM

Posted on: Oct 08, 2019 at 9:47 AM

Norma, I seemed to have been blessed with the innate ability to delete comments in the process of responding to them - ugh. I wanted to thank you for your prayers. I know my sister-in-appreciates them. Please tell your husband that I was looking forward to seeing him but I know he understands better than most. Semper fi.

Roger Watson posted a message.
Oct 07, 2019 at 4:50 PM

Peg, I managed to delete your comment but I wanted you to see my response because I appreciated yours.
Thank you. It sounds like you have dealt with perhaps more than your fair share death in your family. Yet, your strength and leadership will be passed down to your nieces/nephews, and O'Brien strong will continue beyond your lifetime because are modeling O'Brien strong to all your family.

I want to clarify that the weekend at Spy Pond or Mystic Lake, take your choice (Alan's all in on Spy Pond), is paid for. All you would need to do is enjoy the weekend. If you know of anyone come in from out of town (Lew) that have booked a hotel or something perhaps they might consider this instead. I would really like to see someone use it.

Roger Watson added a comment on Profile.
Oct 07, 2019 at 2:33 PM
Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Oct 08, 2019 at 2:46 PM

Posted on: Oct 06, 2019 at 3:46 PM

Over the past few years, one of my favorite sayings is: "life gets in the way." My usage of this phrase is to suggest some things that happen in our lives are unavoidable. A simpler, more vulgar expression would be "sh-t happens." When you reach the age of 73 years old, you are something of an expert in the ways of life and how there are just somethings that come with the territory and try as you might, you cannot side-step them.

I was never a great Beatles fan and even less a John Lennon fan. He has a song that was always a favorite of mine, and as a father, with one son and grandfather with four grandsons, it means even more to me today than when I first heard it. The song is "Beautiful Boy," perhaps you remember it; if not, here are the lyrics.

"Close your eyes
Have no fear
The monster's gone
He's on the run and your daddy's here

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It's getting better and better

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Out on the ocean sailing away
I can hardly wait to see you come of age
But I guess, we'll both just have to be patient
'Cause it's a long way to go, a hard row to hoe
Yes, it's a long way to go but in the meantime

Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It's getting better and better
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Darling, darling, darling
Darling Sean
Good night Sean
See you in the morning
Right again."

There are so many things those lyrics stir within me, that to explain them all, would be a book and not a simple comment to the class. The verse that I want to highlight today is

"Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans."

Recently, my wife's sister was told she has two or three months to live. "Live is what happens to you," and let me add "and to those you love." I know this is not unique to you or most of our class. We have all experienced it with our spouses, our children, our families, our friends, and yes, for most of us, our parents. Death has touched us all, some more, some less, but we have all been affected. What do we do? What should we do? How do we deal with it? There is no one size fits all way to deal with pain and grief. I wish there were.

My wife has seen her family all die. Her mom died at 47, her dad at 56, her brother was murdered at 33, his daughter died at 18, and now she is watching her sister die at 63. My wife has spent her last 15 years working as a hospice nurse. She is no stranger to death, but she wasn't preparing for this, she was "busy making other plans." Yup, life often happens, life often gets in the way, but you can't get away from it, that's life.

Okay, here's my problem. This coming weekend, my wife, and we were hoping her sister, were going to Boston. We rented a great AirBNB overlooking Mystic Lake in Arlington. I must have missed that memo; I don't recall ever knowing that Arlington had a lake. Talk about living a sheltered life. Reservations were for Friday through Sunday, departing Monday for home. As I am typing this, my sister-in-law is being admitted into hospice — the long way around to say that family takes precedence over friends, even my high school friends. I am not going to be able to make our 55th celebration.

I know my duty, and I accept my responsibilities to be there for both my wife and sister. There is no other place I should be or doing what is necessary for them both. I love them both. Another verse from "Beautiful Boy" says, "Before you cross the street, Take my hand." I am not sure there are many more meaningful lines than those. I am not sure which of us will cross the street first or where or when it will be. What I know for sure is that is what it means to be family or friend, "Take my hand, let me help you across that street." I would ask of myself and you that you reach out your hand and touch someone else. When you do, you may not know who is helping who across that street.

I have offered the weekend reservations for the AirBnB to an ex-son-in-law, but in case he cannot make, I do not want them to go waste, and I could have no greater pleasure than to know one of my classmates are getting some use out it. The weekend reservation is fully paid. Let me know, and if the booking is still open, I will give you all the info. It's a neat place.

Along the same line, since I can't make it to the reunion, if you know someone who would like to go who missed the signup, they could go for me. Please understand that I cannot be responsible for what happens if they are using my name. Let one of the reunion committee know or me so that there is only"one" of me. You all know better than I; you only want one of me.

I wish you all a great time. Since I cannot be there to keep my promise to meet five people I didn't know or know very well, would you all consider doing that for me? Be safe and enjoy!

Roger Watson updated profile. View.
Jul 30, 2019 at 5:33 AM
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Jul 29, 2019 at 3:37 AM
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Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 1:32 AM
I am holding twin grandsons Joshua and Benjamin - vintage 2004. Not quite so easy to do today.