Friday, December 27, 2013

Skiing – the First Rockies Year

West Slope - Sandia Montains
In the Fall of 1973 I moved to the Rocky Mountains.  I’d been wanting to move to ski country, someplace with a big mountain, for a long time (I wrote about my first five years of skiing here).  I’d skied in Vermont and Colorado and enjoyed both.  I was thinking that I would go somewhere in New England, since Mom’s family was around Boston and it was closer to Ohio than the Rockies.  While Vermont was the only state in New England where I'd actually skied, I had been in all the others in the summer.  I really loved my Uncle Tom's place on an island in a lake near Augusta, Maine

So, early in my planning I was really leaning towards moving to Sugarloaf Ski Area in Maine.  I had a college friend who'd skied there and spoke highly of it.  From the research I’d done (although to this day I have not skied there), there were a lot of things I liked about it.  It is a big mountain with long runs and a lot of skiable terrain.  I liked the lake and forest terrain of Maine.  I liked that it wasn’t too far from the ocean.  I liked the fact that it wasn't too far from some family.

I did love Colorado and there were a lot of things that attracted me to it, but all things considered I had chosen Sugarloaf.

Then why, in 1973 was I moving to New Mexico in the southern Rockies instead of either of my top two choices?  Because for the previous two winters I had often skied with an older couple Bob & Kay, who moved to New Mexico in the Spring of 1973.

Bob was an Air Force Lt. Col. who had been stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB around 1971-73.  Then he received a new assignment as the commander of Manzano AFB, near Albuquerque.  They knew that I was planning a move to ski country and offered me assistance if I was interested in New Mexico.  I visited them in June 1973, looked at the local ski area, Sandia Peak, and decided to enroll in the University of New Mexico (which was pretty close to their home) beginning in the Fall semester.

So in August I left Delco-Moraine and became a fulltime student at UNM (Go Lobos!) working part-time as a bus boy at a small but fancy restaurant several evenings a week.  My heart really wasn't in school though as I couldn't wait for snow and a chance to get a ski instructor job at the local ski area - Sandia Peak
Sandia Peak Base Lodge - site of Closing Party

While I was hoping to be just offered an instructor job, this didn't happen.  I had to go to through a tryout, but I was eventually offered a job.  A few days later I finished up my UNM finals and became a fulltime ski instructor.  I did keep my evening bus boy job as well.

I really enjoyed Sandia Peak.  I have never lived among friendlier people.  I got to know so many people at the ski area, the University, various businesses around town.  You were treated like family, always welcomed into homes and invited to events.

Lange "Comp"
I don't know how many total days I skied that winter, I'd guess close to 100, including a stretch of 75 days in a row.  During that time, in addition to Sandia, I skied at Taos, Santa Fe, Red River, Purgatory, Ajax, Vail and Sunlight.  I remember the day in late March or early April when I woke up at a friend's home in Durango, Colorado, knowing that I wouldn't ski that day -- the streak was over.

Lange "SuperComp"
When I came to New Mexico I had two pairs of Lange ski boats, my original "Comps" and the "Super-Comps" that I'd gotten in Ohio.  I also had two pairs of K2 Comps with Look bindings.

73-74 was not a winter of heavy snow in central New Mexico.  Many rocks were exposed at Sandia and I ended up pulling sections of the metal edges out of all my skis.  Here is another example of the friendliness and generosity of New Mexicans.  Sandia's Ski School Director, Tom Long, offered me the use of a pair of Spaulding "Numero Uno" skis, a local ski shop that I took my K2s to for repairs gave me a pair of Hexcel "Comps" free of charge.  For several weeks after my K2s had become unusable various friends and
Exhibition run at Sandia
acquaintances continued to offer me the use of skis.  I think that at one time I had five or six pairs of loaned skis at my home.

So I had an opportunity to ski many different skis over the course of that winter,  The only other equipment change I made was to trade both pairs of my Lange boots for a pair of used Tecnicas.  These were among the lightest ski boots on the market at the time and I was very happy with them.  Skiing with these boots and the Hexcels which were probably the lightest "competition-grade" skis available, made turning notably easier and quicker.

The other significant thing about my winter at Sandia Peak was that I met a number of people who worked for the Forest Service during the summer.  They encouraged me to apply.  I was offered a firefighter job with them only a few weeks after the ski season had ended.  Thus began my 30-year Ranger career.

And of course there was the closing day party.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Can I Go Too?

One summer when I was young, probably 1967 or 1968, I and a bunch of my friends and acquaintances from Butler High School went camping.

I’m thinking that this was in 1968.  This was just after we had graduated from high school and shortly before many of us would be leaving for jobs, various colleges or military service (this was during the Vietnam era), so it was a sort of last fling.  Most of the campers on this particular trip were from my “Class of 1968” but there were a number of "69ers” – the class behind us – there too.

Our camping spot was in a little depression, a glen or hollow, north of Kershner Road, between Dogleg and Fredrick Pikes.  You took about a quarter mile or so drive up a dirt road.  When you got to the spot, you’d have thought that you were a lot further from “civilization” than you actually were as you could see no signs of any homes or buildings. I’m not sure how we happened to get this spot, I think the land belonged to someone’s family or relative.

I'd guess we were camped just about where the yellow circle is.
The group was all guys and we were a pretty tame bunch.  Someone might have brought some beer, but I’m not sure of this (and if there had been any, it would have been 3.2 – the low alcohol content type).  There were definitely no drugs.

So we were talking and joking with one another around the campfire.  I remember that we walked over to an abandoned farm house which we’d been told to avoid.

I’m trying to remember who was there.  George Moore, Steve Schieltz, Larry Schieltz, Ron Stapleton, Jack Hopkins, Dale Dalrymple, Monte Henderson, Tom Hertlein.  There were quite few others.  I guess about 10 or 12 guys altogether.

I also remember that the Father of Nancy Knuge, a girl in the Class ahead of us, ’67, visited us.  They lived on Frederick and I guess he heard us or maybe saw the campfire.  He was very pleasant, stayed and talked for a while.  I’m sure he was just checking us out.

Anyhow, getting to the point of this story, during the evening we had used up most of the firewood.  A couple of the guys dragged a log into camp.  One of them decided to cut it into smaller pieces and began chopping it with an ax.

Well it only took him four or five swings before the ax ricocheted off the log and into Larry Schieltz’s leg.  A good sized flap of skin and muscle was seen looking through the large slit in his pants’ leg.  He wasn’t in a huge amount of pain, but it was obvious that he would need medical treatment.  There was a car parked quite close, I think it was George Moore’s.  A bunch of guys quickly piled into the vehicle.  The driver started the motor and the car began to move out.

Then a voice was heard.  Somewhat meekly, as though the speaker didn’t really want to bother anyone, but still feeling the need to have his say, he said, “Can I go too?”

All eyes turned toward the speaker.  Why did this person want to go?  Didn’t he know this was an emergency?  That there was no time for fooling around?

Many of us were stunned when we saw who the speaker was.  Yes, it was Larry!  Apparently the injury to his leg had slowed him down to the point where he was unable to move fast enough to get a seat before the car left.

The driver stopped the car and the other passengers sheepishly got out.  Yes, they had filled every available seat.  Larry got in and they went off to, I think, Good Samaritan Hospital.

They were back a few hours later.  The injury wasn’t serious.  They’d taken a few stitches and Larry was fine.

Probably the most serious and lingering injury was to the axe man – he was teased much after that and even got the frequently used nickname of “Hack.”   I remember hearing him addressed by that name by people who I’m sure had no idea why he was called that.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Best Baseball Players by Number?

I put this together in 2008, so there could be additions or other changes.

  Here is a link to a fan site discussion of this list.

0    Al Oliver,
1    Pee Wee Reese, Ozzie Smith, Billy Meyer, Bobby Doerr, Richie Ashburn, Billy Martin
2    Derek Jeter, Tommy Lasorda, Red Schoendienst, Nellie Fox, Charlie Gehringer,
3    Babe Ruth, Earl Averill, Bill Terry, Harmon Killebrew, Dale Murphy, Harold Baines,
4    Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Duke Snider, Luke Appling, Earl Weaver, Ralph Kiner, Paul Molitor, Mel Ott, Joe Cronin
5    Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Bench, George Brett, Hank Greenberg, Albert Pujols, Brooks Robinson, Lou Boudreau, Jeff Bagwell
6    Stan Musial, Al Kaline, Joe Torre, Johnny Pesky, Steve Garvey, Tony Oliva
7    Mickey Mantle, Craig Biggio
8    Cal Ripken, Yogi Berra, Joe Morgan, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie Stargell, Gary Carter, Bill Dickey
9    Ted Williams, Enos Slaughter, Bill Mazeroski, Roger Maris
10    Phil Rizzuto, Andre Dawson, Rusty Staub, Ron Santo
11    George Bell, Barry Larkin, Carl Hubbell, Jim Fregosi, Luis Aparicio, Paul Waner
12    Roberto Alomar
13    Alex Rodriquez
14    Pete Rose, Ernie Banks, Jim Rice, Kent Hrbek, Larry Doby, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Jim Bunning
15    Thurman Munson
16    Whitey Ford, Hal Newhouser, Ted Lyons
17    Dizzy Dean
18    Ted Kluszewski, Mel Harder
19    Bob Feller, Billy Pierce, Jim Gilliam, Tony Gwynn, Robin Yount
20    Mike Schmidt, Lou Brock, Frank Robinson, Pie Traynor, Don Sutton, Frank White
21    Roberto Clemente, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Warren Spahn, Bob Lemon
22    Jim Palmer
23    Kirk Gibson, Ryne Sandberg, Don Mattingly, Willie Horton
24    Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr, Tony Perez, Jimmy Wynn
25    Bobby Bonds, Mark McGwire, José Cruz
26    Wade Boggs, Billy Williams
27    Juan Marichal, Carlton Fisk, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Hunter
28    Bert Blyleven, Vada Pinson
29    Satchel Paige, Rod Carew, John Smoltz
30    Nolan Ryan, Orlando Cepeda, Tim Raines,
31    Greg Maddux, Fergie Jenkins, Mike Piazza, Dave Winfield
32    Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, Elston Howard
33    Mike Scott, Eddie Murray, Honus Wagner
34    Fernando Valenzuela, Rollie Fingers, Kirby Puckett
35    Randy Jones, Phil Niekro
36    Robin Roberts, Gaylord Perry
39    Roy Campanella
40    Don Wilson
41    Eddie Mathews, Tom Seaver, Joe Nuxhall
42    Jackie Robinson, Bruce Sutter
43    Dennis Eckersley
44    Henry Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Willie McCovey
45    Pedro Martinez, Bob Gibson
46    Jim Maloney
49    Larry Dierker, Ron Guidry
53    Don Drysdale
55    Orel Hershiser

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

He Walks Just Like His Father.

My Dad was a great storyteller.  He could make the most insignificant sorts of incidents memorable to all.

I can easily visualize Dad telling one of these stories.  He would get this great smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.  He would start off very seriously, but he could never maintain that long.  Pretty soon he'd start to giggle.  He got so much joy out of sharing these with those he loved.

Towards the end of his life Dad would tell his favorite stories pretty often.  Some of us thought this was an indication of minor dementia, that he'd forgotten he'd just told this.  Now that I've thought more about this though, I don't think that was the case.  I think he knew that he'd told the story recently, but that he got so much happiness telling his stories, and he knew that we got just as much joy hearing him tell them, that he could not resist.

In our family laughter can easily be triggered by just saying any number of short phrases -- "Turn Around?"  "Ma-TRO-Buis?" "Pull Over If You See a Good Spot" "He Knows the Near Way!" "Flat Tire"

One of the most famous though, is the story of the man who walks just like his Father.

Here is the story as Dad would tell it:

One summer we were driving up to Boston.  This was probably in the late 70s and only Kim & Bill were with us since they were the only kids still living at home.  On this trip we had decided to visit Marge's cousin, Jack Meade, who lived on Staten Island in New York.

Marge had met Jack, but Jack was about 10 years younger than Marge and the last time they'd seen each other was when Jack was just a kid, so Marge wasn't sure she'd be able to recognize him.  We'd never been to his house, so when we got to Staten Island we stopped at a McDonald's near the area where we thought he lived and called, telling him where we were.

Jack said he knew exactly where the restaurant was and that he'd be over to meet us in a few minutes.

So we sat there snacking, looking out the windows waiting for our guide to show.

After a few minutes a guy walked through the parking lot. He didn't appear to be coming into the McDonald's, just passing through, but Marge looked closely at him and said, "Bill, I think that's him.  He walks just like his Father."

So I quickly went out the door and whistled.  That got the guy's attention and he turned towards me.  "Hey," I said, "We're over here!"

He turned and gave me a quizzically look, but didn't say anything.  He looked about the right age, so when he turned and started to walk away, I started following him.  "Hey, Jack?" I yelled, "Where are you going?"

He turned and looked at me, so I started walking a little faster, then, so did he.  Next thing I knew we were running down the street.  When he jumped over a hedge and tripped, I was able to catch up to him.  He jumped up and took a swing at me, so I knocked him down again.

"Jack," I said, "What the hell's the matter with you?  I'm Bill Locker, your cousin Dolly's husband."

"What the hell's a matter with me?" he replied, "What the hell's the matter with you?  My name's not Jack and I don't have any cousins named Dolly."

Well, this embarrassed me a little, so I apologized to the poor guy and went back the the restaurant.  While I was gone, the real Jack had shown up, so we left and went to their home.


Now here's the way Mom and Uncle Bill say it happened:

The stories are the same until about the time your Nana said, "Bill, I think that's him.  He walks just like his Father."

The guy she said this about actually did come into MacDonald's.  Dad went over to him and said, "Are you Jack Meade?"

The guy said, "No," so Dad sat back down and waited until he did show up.

Monday, July 22, 2013

More From the Chronicles of Wasted Time

Since I wrote my last “Notable People” post I've remembered a few more.  I've been waiting some time to post this as I sincerely hope that this will be the last post of this sort.


In the Fall of 1992 I was finishing up my University of Nevada journalism degree by serving as an intern for two aviation magazines, Private Pilot and Kitplanes.  These magazines are both owned by the same publisher and, at that time, worked out of the same office in Orange County, California.

A lot of interesting things happened while I was there, but the most memorable thing was when an editor from each of these magazines and I were sent up to the Santa Monica airport to do a story on Dick Rutan and a new high-performance aircraft he was investigating.

Rutan is well-known for piloting the Voyager – the first plane to fly around the world without refueling.  It was designed and built by Rutan’s brother Burt and the aircraft is now displayed in the Smithsonian.

Anyhow, we flew up to the Santa Monica airport, met Rutan and the builder of the Berkut, an aircraft based on a design by Burt Rutan.

We took of in a three-plane formation – the Berkut, piloted by Rutan, a video camera plane and we were in a Grumman Tiger taking stills.

We talked with Rutan quite a bit as he and the designer were explaining the Berkut’s features to us.  The conversation was mostly technical and we did not share a lot of “small talk.”

Rutan was running for Congress in the election that fall (he lost) and he had somewhere to go as soon as we landed.  Until I was investigating this story online I had forgotten that I wrote the story that appeared in the magazine about this subject.


Sometime around 1990 I went to Ohio for an extended visit.  I decided to take my dog, Morgan, with me, so I purchased a travel cage for her.  Just before she was taken into the baggage I gave her a sedative so that she would sleep.  I had a couple of hour layover in LA and I made arrangements with the airline to have her brought out to the luggage retrieval area so that I could take her for a walk during this time.

Morgan & her daughter Muzo at McLeod Lake near
Mammoth Lakes, California
As I was walking through the LA terminal I noticed two blond young women cross the walkway some distance ahead of me.  As I neared where I'd seen them cross they came out of a shop and now I was close enough to them, about 20 yards, to see that they were twins and uncommonly attractive.

They went on their way and I mine.  I retrieved Morgan and let her out of her cage.  Putting the leash on her I headed outside to find a place to walk.  As I approached the door I heard a woman behind me say, "That's a beautiful dog."

I turned to thank her and saw that it was the twins.  I stopped and they gushed over Morgan for a few minutes.  We exchanged pleasantries and after a few moments we went our separate ways.

I'm not sure how long after this, but it wasn't long, these twins, their names are Sia and Shane Barbi, were on the cover of a major magazine and featured prominently in a story inside.  They also had best selling swimsuit calenders for several years around that time.


In 1974 when I started teaching skiing at Sandia Peak in the Cibola National Forest in New Mexico.  There was a Forest Service Snow Ranger working there named Pete Totemoff.  Some of my co-workers worked for the Forest Service in the summer (as I would come to do).  They told me that this Pete was a somewhat well-known character.  Sports Illustrated had named him one of America's top Skiers a few years earlier. 
He was one of the Forest Service's top winter sports experts and had laid out a lot of ski areas built on National Forests in Colorado and New Mexico, including Taos Ski Valley.  There is a run named for him at Taos.

He was also a top Fire Boss, being sent to put out forest and brush fires all over the Western U.S.

I skied with him a few times that winter although he wasn't at Sandia often.   Then, the following Spring, when I was hired as a Forest Ranger, he ended up being my boss's boss.  Again I didn't see him often as he was frequently gone on some other assignment.


I finished up my Bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Nevada, attending classes there from 1988 to 1992.  Bob Laxalt, the author of Sweet Promised Land, was associated with the J-School as he ran the University of Nevada Press.

Bob was the son of a Basque sheepherder and a very friendly guy.  His book is about his immigrant Father's return to his Basque country homeland in northern Spain after a fifty year absence. 

Bob and I got along well.  He knew I was a Forest Ranger and when we spoke he would "threaten" to come up to Truckee and show me some Basque Tree Carvings which would "knock my socks off."  (These carvings have a reputation for being somewhat risque.)

Bob was the brother of Paul Laxalt US Senator from Nevada and Reagan's campaign manager for his Presidential runs.


Click here and here to see the other posts about notable people.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day Tribute

On this Independence Day I think about the many people in my life who have served our country.  I am grateful for their sacrifice and willingness to serve.  For some of these people their military service was just a minor detour in life and maybe even a bit of an adventure.  Some found years of discomfort, fear and drudgery and others gave that “last full measure of devotion.”

My apologies to anyone I may miss.

Of course the first person I think of is my Dad, William Locker Jr., who served in the US Navy from 1947 to 1950.  This was very fortunate for me since he met Mom in Charleston, South Carolina where he was stationed.  It’s hard for me to imagine how they would have ever met if Dad hadn’t joined the Navy.

81st Division Emblem
Both my Grandfathers served.  Grandpa William Locker Sr. in the US Navy in the 1920’s and Daddy Con, Cornelius Callahan, with the 81st Division in WWI.

My best childhood friend David Bryant served in the US Army in Vietnam in 1967 & 1968.  He died there on February 8, 1968.

My good friend George Youngerman was an artilleryman in the US Army in Vietnam.  He was killed on April 1, 1971.

My cousin Daniel Meade, a Corporal in the US Army in Vietnam was from New York.  I barely knew him as he was quite a bit older than me.  He was killed the same day as David, February 8, 1968.

My Uncle Johnny Cranford, husband of my Mom’s sister Jo, served as a rifleman in the 45th Division in Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany from ‘42 to ‘45.  No US unit spent more time in combat than the 45th Division.

45th Division Emblem
My Uncle Bob Coehick, husband of my Dad’s sister Norma, served as an Army combat engineer in Korea in ‘52 and ‘53.

30th Division Emblem
My cousin Roland “Jack” Hale was fatally wounded fighting the Nazis in February of ‘45 while serving with the 30th Infantry Division.

Hawaiian Division Emblem
My cousin Vernon “Bud” Hale (Jack’s brother) served with the US Army’s Hawaiian Division.  He was at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii on December 7th, 1941.

James Tipton was the older brother of one of Dad’s best friends from his youth.  Jim joined the US Armed Forces in the late 30’s while he was still in his teens.  After finishing his training, Jim had the misfortune to be assigned to the Philippines Division.
Philliipines Division Emblem
His unit fought in the Battle of Bataan.  He survived the battle and then endured the Bataan Death March.  When he was liberated after the war he weighed less than 80 pounds.

 My nephew Mason Maxwell served in the US Army in Korea and Indonesia.  He suffered a permanent disability from injuries suffered during rescue efforts in the aftermath of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami.

US Marine Corps Emblem

My Uncle Tom Callahan served in the US Army from 1946 to 1948 in the Aleutian Islands.

My cousins Bobby, Mark & Craig Cox all served.  Bobby & Mark in the US Marine Corps in California during and just after the Vietnam era.  Craig was in the US Army sometime later.

I also wanted to mention my Uncle Reggie Whitby.  He did not serve in the US Armed Forces, but he contributed to the cause of freedom during WWII as a member of the Royal Air Force.

To each and every one of these fine men I offer my sincerest gratitude.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sense of Direction

I’m often accused of having a good sense of direction.  I usually have a feeling for which way North is.  I can usually find my way anywhere I’ve been before and sometimes even to places I’ve never been.  Here are a few stories about this.


Murlin Heights Elementary

When I started school in Vandalia, in 1956, the town was growing quickly.  There were so many new homes going in, and we were in the early wave of the “Baby Boomer” kids, so Vandalia didn’t have enough schools for all of us.  They were building a new school, Stonequarry Elementary, that I was scheduled to go to (at the southeast corner of Dogleg and Stonequarry Roads, it's now a church), but it wasn’t ready when the year began.

So I began school at Murlin Heights Elementary, but was only there for a few days. Then we were sent to Vandalia Elementary (VE) where our class was seated in the gym, with about three other classes.  The “classrooms” were divided by curtains hanging from ropes stretched across the gym.

Vandalia Elementary

We attended “VE” for a good while, not sure how long, but I remember that the first day we went to Stonequarry the weather was a bit cool.

I remember, very clearly, another thing about our first day at Stonequarry.  The School Bus picked us up that morning as usual and took us to VE where the students who attended that school were to get off, while those who were to go on to Stonequarry remained on the bus.  But for some reason, the driver decided that I and other boy, Rickie Heeter, who was my best friend in First Grade, were confused about where we were supposed to go.

Tommy Locker

We told him we were now at Stonequarry, but he insisted that we were VE students and had to get off the bus.  So there stood two six-year-olds, outside a school which wasn’t theirs, where none of their classmates, teachers or friends were, watching the bus drive off.  Rickie started crying.  I don’t remember feeling scared.  I knew where I was, I knew where I lived and I knew how to get there.  I told Rickie, “I’m going to get my Dad!” (At that time Dad worked the evening shift.)

Rickie Heeter
So off I went.  I had started walking towards my house before the bus was out of sight.  Our house on Spartan Avenue was more than a mile from VE and on the other side of US 40, at that time one of the Nation’s major east-west highways.  I think I knew the route partly because Dad worked evenings and, as we only had one car, we would sometimes walk from our house over to the library, which was then near the corner of Dixie & Kenbrook (Kenbrook was called Nelson at that time), very near VE.

It probably took me about a half-hour to get home.  My Dad’s sister, Aunt Norma, lived on Donora Drive, very near us, and I had to pass her house to get home.  She noticed me walking past and, realizing that I should have been in school, called out to me, “Tommy, where are you going?”

Our neighborhood was so new it wasn't on the map yet!
To get my Dad!” I responded.

Well, Mom and Dad were a bit surprised to see me!  I explained what had happened and Dad drove me back over to VE.  We found Rickie in the office, still crying (why we didn’t think of just going into the office initially I don’t know – we were six).  Dad took both of us to Stonequarry and explained the situation to our teacher, Miss Cole.

Stonequarry Elementary
One last memory of this event – Dad often told this story and he would say that I had “walked a mile and three tents.”  I couldn’t remember seeing any tents while I was walking home.  Sometimes when we would drive along the route I’d walked I looked for those tents.  Eventually of course, it dawned on me that he was saying a mile and three tenths.


One summer when I was 19 or 20 I drove with Mom and some of my younger siblings up to Boston for vacation.  Driving home it was getting late and I was pretty tired, having driven most of the way.  By this time we were just north of Columbus, maybe an hour and a half or two hours from home, but I was just getting too sleepy to continue.

I woke Mom up and told her that I was going to pull over and sleep for a while.  She said that she felt fine and would drive the rest of the way.  I climbed into the backseat and soon fell asleep.

At this time, the Interstate Highway system was not complete and to get on the Interstate from Columbus to Vandalia required several miles of traversing city streets.

In the backseat I felt the car turn and was suddenly wide awake.  I sat up and said, “We’re going the wrong way.”

Mom explained that no, we had just gotten to US 40 and we’d be home soon.  Just at that moment the headlights illuminated a sign very like this one.


In May of 1994 I visited my friend Mark in London.  Mark grew up in London and enjoyed showing off his city to me.

Late one afternoon he said to me, “There’s something  I want to show you over in the Docklands part of East London, down by the Thames.”

So we jump in his car and head from Hammersmith, west of London, towards the Docklands.  Now, we were traveling generally east, and since it was late afternoon the sun was right behind us.  We drove along, talking and laughing.  As Van Morrison says in Coney Island, “The Craic was good.”

Mark was driving, of course, but as we drove along I noticed that the sun was gradually moving from more of less directly behind us to coming in the windows on the left side of the car.  We were going north.

Now, I knew that we were north of the Thames when we started and that the Docklands were near the river, so it seemed to me that we were not getting any nearer to our destination, but it was Mark’s city and I assumed he knew where he was going.

But after driving another little while, Mark said, “I thought we’d be there by now.”

I told him that I didn’t think we were getting any closer to the Thames.  He was surprised and wanted to know why I thought that.  When I explained my reasoning he couldn’t believe it, “I’ve lived here all my life and never used the sun to help me find out where I’m going.”

"But Mark," I said, "we were north of the Thames when we started and we're going north now.  We can't possibly be getting any closer to the River."

We never did get to the Docklands and he wouldn’t tell me what he had wanted to show me.


In 1993 Mom and Dad visited California.  Accompanied by Bill we spent about a week driving around the state from Truckee where Bill and I were living then, down the coast to San Diego and back up through Bishop and Mammoth returning to Truckee.

We visited several friends and relatives along the way and we had been on the road several days when Mom mentioned that we hadn’t looked at a map the entire trip.  Then it became a challenge to complete the trip without using a map.

Over the years my career as a Forest Ranger had taken me to many nooks and crannies of California over the years -- going to fires in different places -- so I was pretty familiar with the road systems and the general “lay of the land” and we were able to do it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Butler High School Directory

During the 66-67 school year the Class of '67 made and sold a Student Directory as a fund raiser (click image for a high resolution view).

Here is a scan of the page my name was on.  When I recieved my copy I was dismayed to find that my phone number was wrong!  At that time our number was 898-2246.  So I want to take this moment to apologize to all the Butler girls who tried to call me during these days (and I know that was most of you!).  I wasn't ignoring you.  It was the fault of the Class of '67!  And really girls, you have no one to blame but yourself - my address was right so you could have come over.

I remember a day shortly after I had gotten this, my cousin (Beavercreek HS) and a good friend (West Carrolton HS) saw it in my room.  Both of them were really excited.  My cousin said, "It's better than a 'little black book'!"  My friend agreed with him, "You mean you've got the phone number of every girl at your school?  Oh my gosh, what I wouldn't give for that!"

After this, every time we were out in Vandalia and saw a good-looking female Butler student (in other words - any Butler co-ed!) as soon as we got back to my home they would rush to look her up in it .  Neither of them every had the nerve to call anyone though.

Page containing Scott McKnight's name as requested by his brother, Bruce McKnight.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Butler High Reunion Pictures

Click image for a high resolution copy suitable for printing.
Class of 1968 - 20 year Reunion

Class of 1969 - 25 Year Reunion

Class of 73 - 15 Year Reunion

Class of 1968

Class of 68 - 2003

Class of 1968 45th Reunion 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Vandalia, Ohio - 1954

This is the 1954 Vandalia-Butler Phone Book put together by the Chamber of Commerce.  We moved to Vandalia (751 Spartan Avenue) in May of 1955.

These are a number of photos that were in the book.  Click on the pictures to see a much larger version.

Everyone probably remembers the trapshoot.
Lots of us had our first job here.

ATA HQ - National Road at Helke Road
The Airline Shopping Center
In the early 60's my Mom worked as a beautician at the Cut 'n' Curl -
the second floor windows with awnings on the left.
Dayton Airport in Vandalia
Butler Township

Vandalia Town

The Last Day of May

Click image for a large resolution image suitable for printing.