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Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Oct
16
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.

Peg O'Brien posted a message.
Oct 16, 2019 at 11:10 AM

Hi Helen,

Hope you are doing ok. Not sure if you are aware of this class web site that the reunion committee setup 5 years ago. If not please signup, it is great to keep in touch with old friends and make new ones. Also on facebook there is a site about Newton and Newton Corner. Great old pictures, you should sign in to that as well. Let me know if you make a visit to the area so we can make a plan to meet.
Warm wishes Peg O'Brien

Sandra Janes Regan has a birthday today.
Oct
14
Oct 14, 2019 at 4:33 AM
Oct 14, 2019 at 4:33 AM
Bob Biederman posted a message. New comment added.
Oct
09
Oct 09, 2019 at 1:46 PM

Posted on: Oct 08, 2019 at 7:03 PM

Here’s a thought. Roger’s hope to connect with 5 new classmates might not be a lost cause just because of his family obligations. It could just as well be accomplished by five of us reaching out by email (or if you still have a telephone. Be prepared- -he now talks kind of ‘funny’. He’s developed just the hint of a gentle southern drawl with a generous sprinkling of ah sounds direct from his Boston roots. It’s kind of entertaining to hear).
If you were to share with him your own efforts at reconnecting, your experiences on October 12th, he’d be sure to offer a valued response. That’s kind of the way I found him. And he’s consistent. Who knows what your note or call could develop into?
   I’m quite certain that Roger’s wish was to somehow enrich his own life by being able to appreciate yours, and make your thoughts and memories a part of his own catalogue. That’s what we each have, and at this point, that mental reference barge can bring much comfort in a world growing both smaller and larger to our own detriment.
   My visit with Roger and David Bliss showed David moving too quickly down the road that Alzheimer’s demands. Roger’s immediate experience with the hospice of his sister in law accents that perspective. Just so you are clear, hospice is a celebration of life, albeit a bit late, but it’s not about death and dying. Roger’s wife Pat knows this and Roger will come to embrace it all that much more as the months pass. He’ll grow richer.
   With that in mind, he will most surely appreciate any of you reaching out to share your thoughts about the reunion he will miss. Make it all about you, because that’s what he’s good at and appreciates.
   You just never know what might come from it. Just reliving your own evening’s experience ought to be a plus. If it’s not, maybe you shouldn’t bother, though I’m certain Roger wouldn’t agree with that last.

Roger Watson posted a message. New comment added.
Oct
08
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 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
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.

Peg O'Brien has left an In Memory comment for Paul Cox.
Oct
06
Oct 06, 2019 at 4:33 PM

Paul was a really fun guy.  We worked part time together at Brighams before he went into the service.  We had a great group working and partying together.  Bob Brady, George Johnson, Billy Gifford, Nancy Stewart, Chris Woods, Jim Connors to name just a few.  Times were so much simplier then, you live at home, worked part time and hang out together as a family.  Lots of fun, laughs and beers, but never in trouble. We cared for each other and weren't afraid to show it.. .  To those who are no longer with us , thank you for your love and friendship.

Sep
24
Sep 24, 2019 at 4:34 AM
Timothy Weiskel added a video to his gallery. New comment added.
Sep
09
Sep 09, 2019 at 4:28 PM

Posted on: Sep 09, 2019 at 8:24 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 Glenn 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.

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.