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Aug
23
Aug 23, 2019 at 4:33 AM
Aug
16
Aug 16, 2019 at 4:33 AM
Aug
11
Aug 11, 2019 at 7:04 PM

Steve and I were classmates throughout elementary school at Burr School. He was a jolly young boy and classmate and we both dreaded the yearly weigh ins taking place in front of the whole class. It was not a happy moment.

Bob Biederman posted a message.
Aug
07
Aug 07, 2019 at 8:02 PM

Classmate Steve Glen died today in LA. He endured Parkinsons Disease for nearly 10 years. You probably didn't know him at NHS. He was a bit low key, but as an adult, he was as an incredibly hardworking gregarious guy. He was very much a people person.

Roger Watson updated profile. View.
Jul
30
Jul 30, 2019 at 5:33 AM
Bob Biederman posted a message.
Jul
27
Jul 27, 2019 at 11:58 AM

Going on and on. This mustn’t turn into some kind of cliché Best Bro exchange. Not one of you could spend a day with David Bliss and have anything but a loving response. Just not possible. Some folks make you angry. Others do the opposite. The point of my lengthy entry was to encourage you to find out what could be possible for YOU on October 12. You already know what a lovely man Roger is by reading his ongoing contributions here. It escalates when you give a farmer his first matzoh ball. Take a chance. At least sign up for the reunion. Whether you go or not you can decide then. Did you know that Helen Boyd rides motorcycles? Seriously. There’s lots of good stuff for you to discover. We’re 73. How many more years of Discovery do we have left? That’s the last of this little back and forth.
can't resist adding just this last snippet to share.
On a Sam Harris Making Sense podcast he was discussing the likelihood of life after death, consciousness, the multiverse etc.
   His guest was asked specifically about what he thought death was like. He dodged the question only to say it was the end of life. Kind of like when you are watching a dance and the dance ends. What happened to the dance?
   It was my thought that the essence of the dance was the tune to which you dance. You could always retain the tune quite clearly in you mind, just as we all can recall the beginning to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony or any number of overly familiar melodies. The tune still survives in our head. The tune can easily be remembered or recreated and another dance begun. The dance is the visible dynamic animation of life.

   The tune is what we think of as somebody’s life; easy enough to remember and recall in our head anytime we really try. That tune is what animates us and each of us has his own tune. You can draw out this metaphor to include certain specifics of music such as key, instrument or harmony to place against personality traits that are inherited, or acquired.
   Life is just a tune. We are all composers. Tunes end. No big deal.

Bob Biederman posted a message. New comment added.
Jul 27, 2019 at 11:33 AM

Posted on: Jul 26, 2019 at 1:08 PM

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam and Matzoh Ball Soup. Dave Bliss provided the prayer. I brought the soup and Roger Watson got us together at Bliss’ house in the near foothills of San Diego overlooking a beautiful valley with the cityscape just visible. Roger had maintained as much of a friendship as you can with Bliss given that Bliss had spent most of the last 30 years doing missionary work in South Africa. Roger was at his wedding about 35 years ago and then caught up at a reunion. He regretted missing a trip with Dana Mills, Frank Grant and David to visit Norm Walker before he left this world. That’s the kind of story you might hear at a 55th Reunion. Wonder how that trip went?
I had not spoken to either Roger or David almost ever. I played football with Bliss and certainly knew there was a big guy named Roger Watson back at NHS, but we never intersected until we collided on the NHS Class of ’64 Web Page and we’ve been swapping thoughts. This was our makeshift reunion of sorts. I wonder if you’re planning on coming to the 55th on October 12th?
   I took a two and a half hour drive down the California freeways for this one. It was well worth it if for no other reason than I had a head full of wonderful thoughts on the two and a half hour drive back to Long Beach at day’s end.
   Yes, it’s true. Dave held my hand and Rogers and sang “Jesus wants me for a sunbeam”. He has a gentle voice for a gentle thought and ate two bowlfuls of the now blessed Matzoh Ball soup. You may know that Dave is entering the Alzheimers journey and conducts himself with grace and love as he always did, just at a slower pace. He was an excellent focus for us as whenever he chose to speak Roger and I listened quite closely to get what we could out of a guy we always remembered as a genuine class leader for all the right reasons.
   If you go to a reunion looking to reconnect with old friends, it ain’t happening. The friends you knew at 17 years old are long gone with two or three lifetimes stretched between then and the 73 year old folks we are now.
I don’t much care for old people. Listening can be tedious, and talking a challenge because we’re all half deaf. But it can be good work if you can find it.
You may have some very old memories to share or listen to, but you do have the opportunity to meet a new person far removed from Elm St. and Building 3. It can be worth it.
The three of us shared a few of the usual stories about the First Wife, the Second Wife and the First Wife who became the Second Wife. Life does have its twists. We spoke a bit of our children and our expectations of them growing up as well as recognizing their expectations of us as Fathers. I think we all kind of broke even. I hope we did.
That’s what reunions can be, you know, expectations that need managing. Listening to Dave or Roger’s is far more pleasurable than spouting. It takes some work.
Roger is a respectful curious listener, showing he has spent time as a Minister as well as a Marine. He’s still got both of those people living inside a life as a Father, Husband, farmer and insurance agent. If you give him the opportunity, he shares, carefully, not wanting to offend sensibilities and much more interested in what you might have to say. That’s a plus. If you choose to come to our 55th on October 12th you will definitely see Roger. He’s making the trip because he has a few individuals he really needs to reconnect with
When that business is taken care of he’ll surely have time to listen to what you’d like to share, just no grandchildren stories, okay? That’s my thought, not Roger’s. It’s the kind of thought he’s gracious enough to filter out of conversations. But everybody has the most wonderful grandchildren stories. The three of us avoided that topic in favor of other more diverse mountaintops.
So how do you think life was like living a ministry serving broken men in one of South Africa’s largest prisons? Did Dave by chance contact you back in the 80s when he was founding an orphanage in that same country? Roger and his kids decided to help out as their Christmas present to themselves and the world. These are things you can find out at a reunion. Not really what you anticipate. Most folks avoid reunions because of the expected Boredom Quotient. If you come with a listening strategy it might work out better.
I heard we have about 45 people signed up so far and hoping for quite a bit more. I’m not sure why. You’ll probably only get to really meet 3-4 real people and have more than a hi, howyadoin? and get a refill at the bar; but don’t do that.
It’s a chance to meet some new people who might turn out to be a friend. Really.
Our classmates each have stories and you ought to try and pry them loose. It will be to your benefit, make you feel better. I think there are a few sane people left in this world and they’re mostly around 73 years old and hard of hearing, but see if you can get one or two of them talking about what they had hoped for over the last 55 years and what they actually got and how they feel about that. It’ll give you something to think about on your ride home.
Plan B is to hope that Carol Spurlock comes and graces us with a few songs, because you can be sure if she does, Dave Benjamin will be there to check things out. Then maybe we can have our own new episode of Forensic Files to consider. October 12th, right? Roger will be there. David isn’t able to make the trip, but I’ll share this with you. When you strip away all of the tumult and challenge that has brought David Bliss through this world and his memories seem to be fading, all that’s left is a heart full of love, just the way he started.
   So maybe attending our 55th at the Woodland Golf Club in Newton on October 12th might be a good choice. It will probably be a long trip for just 3-4 hours of opportunity. What else is going on in your life right now that would have you choose to miss this chance? The real payoff is not the 3-4 hours, but the good feelings you might get for many more days later. Can you travel? Take a chance. Make the trip. It won’t be a regret, unless you just skip it and go on with the same ole same ole.

Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Jul
26
Jul 26, 2019 at 4:17 PM

Posted on: May 01, 2019 at 9:32 AM

In an on-going effort to correct undeliverable email addresses, I called Mary Hendricken Martell to get a correct address for her. In making phone calls, I have encountered out of service phone numbers, or an invalid phone number and there is nothing more I can do. If there is a valid phone number then if I do not get an answer, I will leave a message asking the person to call me back after including a brief reason for the call. I left a message on Mary’s phone, and she was kind enough to call me back.

Many of people that I call are immediately suspicious of a scam and not without reason. Whether or not I reached them directly or they are returning my call many conversations started like this: Who did you say this was calling?" " Hi ________, this is Roger Watson, I am a classmate of yours from Newton High class of 64." The response then goes one of two ways: "I don't know a Roger Watson" or " hmmm I think that name sounds familiar, but I am not sure." There is nothing like few phone calls to old (emphasis on old) classmates to make you feel humble. Perhaps Leo Tolstoy had me in mind when he said "Perfection is impossible without humility. Why should I strive for perfection, if I am already good enough?" I am not quite good enough.

Mary Hendricken Martell and I had a great talk on the phone. (By the way, she was one of those who said that the name sounded familiar.) Mary thought my phone call was about trying to get her to come to the reunion. Mary isn't interested in coming to this year's reunion because at an earlier gathering she didn't feel very comfortable or that anyone cared if she was there or not. It saddens me to hear comments like that. I went on to tell her that part of the purpose of updating email addresses is so that if there is a need for getting information to the entire class email would be the method of choice.

In our earlier reunions, some of us may have been impressed with what we were doing, the amount of money we were making, or our titles, but at this point of our lives none of that matters. From my perspective, none of those things were important back then, and they are even less so now. I do not want to oversimplify but at this point in our lives, it is all about relationships, or it should be. Consider this: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Mary and I talked about how she had lost touch with some of her best high school chums. I told her that she should get on the website and look to see if some of her friends were on there. We decided it might be an excellent opportunity for touching bases with old friends and keeping up with both the good news and the not so good news of what is going on with our classmates. I know that we have some people who will go out to the website occasionally to see what is happening but don't comment or if they do, they don't say too much. I wonder if we are getting the most that we could out of the website as a way of staying in touch with each other.

We are trying to get some of our classmates to write a 750 to 1,000 or 1,500-word bio about the impact that NHS and their classmates had on their lives and careers. It is one way in which we can get to know each other better. We have people in our class who have overcome significant hurdles in their lives and have matured into people that we would all be proud to say we knew.

I would love to hear any ideas that you have regarding what could be done to make the web site more useful for you.

Mary, an orphan who went from one home to another until her parents chose her. She went to Weeks, and when the school board drew the boundaries for who would go to South and would go to North, she and one other girl came to the high school, separated from her junior high school friends who all went to South. I believe Mary said that she had a daughter and a son with three grandkids. She has been a widow for 34 years. For personal reasons or otherwise, she has been cut off from many of her high school friends. Now, after 73 years in Massachusetts, she is in the process of selling her home, moving to Florida and making a new start. I am not sure where she will end up in Florida, but I hope that she will be able to contact some of her Floridian classmates.
Mary's actions and attitudes are ones that I need to try and duplicate in my own life. She spent much of her adult life as a single parent. I was also a single parent, by divorce and not by death, I was likely in a better financial situation than Mary and after seven years raising my kids, I met a young lady who has been my wife for 31 years. Yes, there are some similarities between portions of Mary's life and mine, enough so that I appreciate much of what she has done, but it would be difficult for me to match Mary's determination and courage to start a brand new life in a brand new place at 73. She is a special woman in my book. And as unusual as Mary is, I know that she is not unique in our class. There are many of you out there that have faced challenges, sadness, perhaps even despair, that have found the strength and courage not to allow your circumstances to steal your life.

None of us in the NHS class of 64 should need to walk alone at this point in our lives. We all have a shared set of failures, pain, and suffering. We all need another person or persons to share this road (whether we want to admit it) until the way ends. We need to be there for each other. Yes, we will all die alone, but I would rather face life or death at this point in my life with family and those who know me best than with a bunch of well-meaning acquaintances or strangers.

To the Marys of our class thank you. For the Marys of the class who are struggling and could use some encouragement please reach out to some of your classmates. As Mary is showing us, it is never too late for a fresh start.

By the way Mary’s email is marymartell1946@yahoo.com if you would like to drop her a line.

Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Jul 26, 2019 at 2:58 PM

Posted on: Jul 25, 2019 at 3:34 PM

On November 2nd, 2014, I had the first seizure of my life, and that seizure led to a date in an operating room on December 22nd, 2014, with a brain surgeon. The surgeon told me that I had about an hour and a half to live if I didn't have this emergency craniotomy right now. I did, and I was home for Christmas and went back to work one week after my surgery. Fortunate? Absolutely.
Why am I sharing my medical history with you? Did you notice that my life or death surgery was about 7 months after our 50th reunion? That's why I am telling you not because of the surgery but because of the reunion. Now, I will not tell you that as I was laying on the operating table waiting to for the lights to go out and wondering if they would come back on again, that I was thinking of the reunion. Nope, not at all. Yet, it wasn't long after that I did begin to think of the people, I saw at the 50th reunion, and I was both glad and thankful I had a chance to see and spend a brief amount with those I could.
July 17th of this year I had the chance to go to San Diego and spend a long weekend with David Bliss. As a bonus, Bob Biederman came down from Long Beach and spent Thursday with Dave and me. I think Bob has some words of his own that he would like to share with you about our meeting. I just want to say that we jump-started celebrating our 55th reunion early and I am so thankful that I was blessed enough to have that opportunity.
Wherever you may be living now, it is likely, that as a member of the class of 1964 you received an E-vite to our 55th reunion on October 12th, 2019 at the Woodland Golf Club (formerly the Woodland Country Club). These festivities will begin at 5 pm with the official ending time at 9 pm. Unofficial ending time is of your own choosing. If you live in the Boston area or are going to be in the Boston area that weekend (as I am) I would really like to see you there. I am still looking to meet a minimum of 5 people that I didn't know in our class or some I knew of, but I didn't know. I think that many people there would very much like to do the same thing.
We recognize that many, and perhaps most, of you live outside of the "easy to get to Woodland" area and understandably, we won't have the opportunity to spend time with you. I realize that this is rather short notice, but what if you had your own 55th reunion? I am not suggesting that you celebrate our 55th reunion by yourself but, like what Bliss, Biederman and I did, get together with classmates living in your area and celebrate with us.
Perhaps, we could even have several reunions happening on the weekend of October 12th across the country. That would be cool. It might also be cool if we could have an event reporter or two who could share some of the highlights of your event on the website so everyone could share some of your celebration with you. There is no group too small to celebrate our class' 55th reunion wherever you are.
If you live in an area where there are several of you, agree to a time and place and send it to Helen and ask if she would publish it on the website so that if someone is going to be in the Florida area and that group has plans to celebrate our 55th they stop in and join the fun.
Perhaps for our 60th reunion, we can all plan on gathering together in Newton for a weekend celebration, but for now, I would really enjoy thinking that throughout this country people are gathering to celebrate our graduation from Newton High School in 1964 wherever they are.

I want to share with you why I feel this is so important that we get together no matter where we are just to share some good times and maybe some bad because all too soon, we won't be able to do that. When I flew out of San Diego early Sunday morning July 21st, I couldn't get beyond the thought that I just might have seen David Bliss for the last time. It may be the last time I see him alive or the last time that I will see him when he knows who I am. It was great to see Bob Biederman who I haven't seen in 55 or more years, and for all practical purposes we started a new friendship, but at the same time, I might just be saying goodbye to a very old friend of 55 years.
Are our reunions meaningful to me? You better believe they are. Wherever you are, whenever you can, find some classmates and celebrate our 55th year as a class family. If you are in the Boston area, please meet with us on October 12th at 5 pm at the Woodland Golf Club. Wherever you are and whoever you are with, "let the good times roll!"

Roger Watson posted a message.
Jun
13
Jun 13, 2019 at 4:12 AM

Hi Laura, I am glad you joined. It was a joy talking with you. It was a good thing that we didn't get around to talking about your occupation, I might have tried to keep you on the phone for awhile longer. Hopefully, some other time. Thanks again, for your time.

Roger Watson posted a message.
Jun
12
Jun 12, 2019 at 10:10 AM

I expect that among our class, many of us are parents, grandparents, and even some great grandparents. If you do not find yourself in one of those categories, you have likely found yourself in an environment where you are interacting with many people, be it school, work, or socially. If so, the following may be of interest.

One of the more popular topics of late is bullying. We have all been there, either as the one being bullied or the one doing the bullying. When we think of bullying our minds most likely jump to our time in K thru 12. But bullying doesn't stop there.

We see it in the workplace or even in our social circles. I won't get into the ins and outs of the psychology of bullying, but I believe that both the bully and the bullied have issues that need to be dealt with. Living in a man's world, most men have experienced hazing/bullying in some manner, most often it is physical. I cannot speak for women, but, I have no doubt it exists. Perhaps for them, it is more mental and emotional than physical. Regardless, bullying is bullying.

Wikipedia states that; "Bullying is the use of coercion, force, or threat, to abuse, aggressively dominate or intimidate. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception (by the bully or by others) of an imbalance of physical or social power. This imbalance distinguishes bullying from conflict.[1] There is no universal definition of bullying. It is widely agreed upon that bullying is a subcategory of aggressive behavior characterized by the following three minimum criteria: (1) hostile intent, (2) imbalance of power, and (3) repetition over a period of time.[2] Bullying may thus be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally, or emotionally."

I cannot explain it, but from the time I was six or seven years old, I have despised bullying. I can not even watch a TV show or movie where someone is being bullied. Having said that I would suppose that I am not exempt from being a bully. Perhaps I have intentionally or unintentionally blocked those moments from my life. I can only say I am sorry to anyone I have bullied, and I am ashamed of what I have done to hurt them.

My intent is not to make this about my "true" confessions but rather to change our focus about bullying being about kids to bullying be something that we have to deal throughout our lives and so the question arises - What are you, what we, going to do about it?

We have an obligation to ourselves, our spouses, kids, grandkids, great grandkids, nieces, nephews, relatives, friends, and associates to look at our own behavior and ask ourselves the question: Am I bullying someone? Am I a bully? After we answer that question, the next one is: Am I being bullied?

Once we have looked in the mirror, we need to look around us to see if there is anyone we know that is being bullied and ask ourselves, "What can I do to help?" What can I do? There is no easy solution, but two strands of a rope are stronger than one.

Please watch this short video and pass it on to someone you feel will benefit from it. I have sent it to my children and my grandkids as well as many friends (please include yourself as one of my friends). It is a simple video of one solution to bullying. It might give you some ideas. There are no viruses.

https://www.facebook.com/DumbTextss/videos/2280012128889512?s=65701970&v=e&sfns=xmo

I hope you all have a healthy, safe, and wonderful summer. Enjoy!

Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Apr
28
Apr 28, 2019 at 10:20 AM

Posted on: Apr 27, 2019 at 8:47 AM

Needed: A Caring Hand

Do you remember the old saying "A watched pot never boils?" I get it. When I was waiting to get my driver's license, to enlist in the Marine Corps without parental permission, and of course the day I could have my first legal drink. Those days, trust me, I was watching, and that pot never did seem to boil. Now, I am still kind of watching, but now that same pot is always boiling. Like the old egg timer (might be more appropriate than I want to think about) with that gentle, slow, steady trickle of sand we are used to seeing now looks like an Iraqi sand storm.

Sorry for taking a long way around to saying goodbye to another April and looking forward to May.

Some time ago I mentioned that we need a way to let people know when one of our classmates could use some support. To my knowledge, this is the best way of alerting you to someone that needs encouragement.

I have been trying to contact class members whose email addresses appear to be no longer valid. I made a call to Nancy Heffren because the invitation we sent her for the 55th Class Reunion was undeliverable.

After speaking to Nancy's husband briefly explaining who I was and the purpose of my call he gave the phone to Nancy. Nancy is one of my unknown classmates, and so it took a minute for me to describe the purpose of my call. After a brief conversation, she handed the phone back to her husband to give me their updated email address.

Once her husband came on the line, I asked him if everything was all right with Nancy. She had sounded weak and tired when we spoke. He said things weren't all right and that Nancy was diagnosed with full-blown Parkinson's disease. I asked him if I could share their email address and phone number with class, and he said, please do.

If you knew Nancy, or even if you didn't, during our years are Newton High, please contact her. I think both she and her husband could use some encouraging words. They live in New Hampshire. The email address is ravencost5512@outlook.com, and the phone number is 603-424-7623.
We all know how devasting Parkinson's is, and while we can't cure it, we should give them all the care and support that we can provide.

Thanks for reaching out to them.

Roger Watson posted a message.
Apr
26
Apr 26, 2019 at 2:59 PM

I realize that this isn't the norm but I know there are a number of our classmates from the Auburndale area that might be interested in knowing that Robert (Bobby) Cerra died April 8, 2019. He was a favorite kid of many of us. He has completed his journey on this earth, may he lay his burden down and rest in peace.

The obituary from the Boston Globe follows:

ROBERT L. CERRA Obituary
CERRA, Robert L. Retired Massachusetts State Police Sergeant, Monday, April 8, 2019. Devoted husband of Mary Joyce (Flanagan) Cerra, father of Robert Reno Cerra and his wife Mary (Hamel), grandfather to Katherine Rose and Abigail Rita Cerra. Son of the late Reno L. and Grace (Gorgone) Cerra, and a longtime Big Brother to Christopher Fenton of Worcester. A lifelong resident of Newton, he was a graduate of Suffolk University and the Massachusetts State Police Academy, where he later served as a guest lecturer. During his career with the State Police, he was assigned to numerous barracks throughout the Commonwealth, as well as the investigative division of the State Police targeting Organized Crime. After his retirement in 1994, he was employed as a security investigator for several Boston area financial institutions, and later served as an Assistant Director of Security for the Massachusetts Transportation Department. A lifelong member of Corpus Christi-St. Bernard Parish, the St. Vincent De Paul Society, the Big Brother Association, the Boothbay Historical Society, the Early Industries Association, and the V-8 Club of America. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts State Police Museum and Learning Center, and the Former Massachusetts State Troopers Association. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, April 13th at 10AM in St. Bernard Parish, 1523 Washington St. West Newton. Visiting Hours will be Friday evening from 4-7PM in the Burke & Blackington Funeral Home, 1479 Washington St., WEST NEWTON. In lieu of flowers, donations to SPAM (State Police Association of Massachusetts) Benevolent Fund, 11 Beacon St. Suite 700, Boston, MA 02108 would be appreciated. Burke & Blackington BurkeFamilyFuneralHomes.com

Roger Watson posted a message.
Apr 26, 2019 at 1:49 PM

Howard, thank you for joining the website. I just wanted to welcome you aboard. If you search through the class profiles, I expect you will find some old friends there. You might want to drop them a line to say hey. Like many things the more you use this, the more helpful it becomes.

It is nice to have you with us.

Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Apr 26, 2019 at 1:41 PM

Posted on: Apr 20, 2019 at 4:15 PM

The most influential people in my life had little or no influence in the world.

By now every member of the class of 1964 should have received an email invitation to our 55th Class Reunion to be held October 12, 2019, at the Old Woodland Country Club from 5 pm to 9 pm. If you haven't received that invite, please contact me (manyhandsfarm@gmail.com) or any other member of the reunion committee to add or correct your email address.
Helen Boyd and Robert Winograd have done a yeoman’s job of putting together a database for the class of 64. It would be great if we had everybody on the database, but that is wishful thinking. It would be nice if we were able to add as many members as would like to be included and to keep the information updated.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking to a classmate that had no email address registered with the reunion committee. I had never known her. She lived in Watertown, worked in Burlington and fulfilled a life-long dream and retired to live on the Cape. It was refreshing to speak with her not just because I had never met her but to learn about her and how she lives her life today. I won't call her a minimalist, but she is big into uncomplicating her life. She does not have email, she's not on Facebook, why, because she doesn't have a computer.
I told her that she is unique in my world - how does one survive currently without a computer? Sure, we don't know everything about a computer, but hey that's why God gave us grandchildren.

Our inboxes are overflowing with ads telling us how we can erase all of our wrinkles, or buy some new invention that will help us find the toilet in the middle of the night without having to turn the light on (I bought this, and I love it). Everyone is vying for our attention or perhaps better said our money. They tell us that people can track us, watch us and listen to us through our computers. Have computers led us into great information/technology age? Is the advent of the information/technology age just a massive scam to sell us something else we don't need, don't want, but buy it anyway, period?

My newly discovered classmate didn't quite convince me enough to trash two desktops, three laptops, three pads, and two smartphones. She did make me ask the question: Am I living a better life because of all the marvelous aforementioned "gadgets?" I don't think so. I envy her freedom. She is living "the uncomplicated life." She and I may have spent 20-25 minutes on the phone, and quite frankly that is the best 25 minutes I have spent on the phone in a long time.

Not long ago I wrote a note about Steve Carroll and his death and the impact it made on me. I commented that while I knew Steve, I played football with him for two years, I didn't know him. After 25 minutes on the phone with my classmate, I knew more about her and her life than I ever did about Steve's.

In that same note, I stated that I would try to meet five people that I knew but didn't know or didn't know at our upcoming reunion. I got a response regarding my note from Bob Biederman. Bob qualifies as one of those people that I knew but didn't know. I responded to Bob's comment and told him that I would love to meet him at the reunion. He replied that while he would like to, he would be in Sydney Australia. That little back and forth happened on March 15th of this year. If you asked me today who Bob Biederman is, I could not tell you everything about him, but I sure could hit on some highpoints.

Today, I would consider Bob one of my best friends in the class of 64 and one of my best friends’ period. If you do not know me, you will have to trust me on this; I do not take the word friend lightly.

Timing is everything. If we had known each other well in high school it is likely we would not have got along (it would be interesting for some of you who know both of us to hear your opinions), but that was then. If you want to know about the man, Bob Biederman read his book "Marbles." If you're going to know Bob spend some time communicating with him.

Where am I heading with this? Here are two people in our class, one that I didn't know and the other I knew of him, and that was it. In just more than a month I have made a friend and an acquaintance that has helped make me a better person because I am part of this class.

I realize that not everyone can attend our reunion, distance, money, other plans, health, life, in general, can get in the way. But phones, emails, Facebook, and this website are avenues that we can use to reach out to each other.

Titles, awards, degree, money, houses, fame, fortune do not make a successful person. The most influential people in my life had little or no influence in the world. Judging them by the world's standards, they were losers - no way would the world see them as success stories. The philosopher Seneca said centuries ago "Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness." What made these people special is that they lived by that simple rule and they practiced that rule at every opportunity they had.

If you want joy in your life, learn to practice kindness. Kindness is not dependent on our circumstances. What is the price of a smile, a thank you, a pleasant good morning or good evening? What is there that can prevent us from being kind? Only you and me. Frequently, on this web site, we read about people that could use a kind word, a note of encouragement or maybe even a phone call and the question I have to ask myself is “If not me then who? “

I mentioned that our classmate Jimmy Hoover was kind. It always made me feel better when I saw him, and his kindness came in the form of a smile. There is not one us in this class that could not show some kindness to a classmate (s), and there are none of us in the Class of 64 that has more joy than we need in our life. From the yearbook, from this website, from the small gatherings of classmates across the country, from the reunion, how you find them is not vital but someone(s) needs an act of kindness from you, and that is important for them and you and your joy-filled life. I know it is for mine.