01/19/05 - NNHS Newsletter -
Robert E. Lee's Birthday

Robert Edward Lee
(19 Jan 1807 - 12 Oct 1870)


Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   

   We have FOUR big surprises today!


1. Jean Toth (Class of '72 - somewhere...) of VA - 01/17/05:

We came across the stomping ground website on referral from a relative, and it is a real joy.  My wife is an "amateur
historian" of the Peninsula. and I feel would be a great asset to your archives.  Even though we are a bit younger than
you (class of '72) we still longingly remember the places mentioned.  She is a published feature writer in the Old Wythe
News, and is a former editor of several newsletters.  Me, I'm just a slob who remembers the good old days. and places.
and songs. and commercials...well, you get the idea.
Her name is Jean Toth.....
Her hubs,
Steve Toth

   Oh, goody!  Welcome aboard!  We look forward to hearing from you!

From Frank Blechman ('65) of Northern VA - 01/17/05:

Given that we got almost nothing in HS about King, racial equality, non-violence, or social change,
we should all spend the day reading King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail,"

   Thank you, Frank.  I had to run just after releasing Monday's Newsletter, and wasn't able to attach this in time, but a
two-day delay on the reading is still a good thing.  This is a long reading, but quite thought provoking, even if - or perhaps
more especially because - we're seeing it from a distance of almost 42 years.

   I'll have to say that the only discussions that I remember on such subjects (which is not to say that there were no more
which I may have forgotten) took place in Mrs. Clark's second year French class my sophomore year ('62 - '63), which
would have been concurrent with this letter.  In fact, I remember learning more of social consciousness in her class than
of French itself.

   I just realized that I had never made her page; I'll try to correct that oversight this week.

From My Niece, Shari, in VA - 01/17/05:

"If you want to be important - that's wonderful. If you want to be great - that's wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest
among you shall be your servant. That's your new definition of greatness - it means that everybody can be great because
everybody can serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know the second law of
thermodynamics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love, and you can be that servant."

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Spiritual and Civil Rights Leader

   Thanks, Shari!

From Mike Leonard ('68) of VA - 01/17/05 - SURPRISE # 1:

Hello, My Name is Mike Leonard and I graduated from NNHS in 1968. I have spent the last couple of days on your
web site and signed your guestbook. It is really an awesome site. I have a couple of things around the house that may
bring back some memories to our fellow Typhoons. I have an old WGH Top Thirty from September 15, 1963 and the
Platter Princess is Jane Coltrain (1964) who also happens to be my sister-in-law married to my brother Gerald (1966). http://members.aol.com/mikey0781/wgh.jpg
I also have an old cardboard poster for a concert at NNHS that I picked up in an antique store in Yorktown. It is
in pretty good shape but has a water stain down the left side. It says the show was OCT. 2nd, but does not give the
year. At the bottom of the poster, it indicates they are giving away a 1966 Honda 50 motor bike. Based on this, I
guess it must be 1965 or 1966 as the new model cars came out in the fall. Gene Loving was the MC. Does any of your
readers remember this show as there were a lot of groups there. I am amazed that I have no memory of it myself.  
I do have the photos of these items that I could email if anyone is interested, but I know with all the viruses around,
people are reluctant to download.
Thanks for your time and keep up the good work.

   WOW!  Thanks, Mike!  Its so good to hear from you!  Thanks for signing the Guest Book.  I like the way you filled in your
favorite places!  The Guest Book was created long before we even HAD an Our Old Stomping Grounds section, or that
might have been one of the questions!

   I have such a clear memory of the WGH Top Thirty list with Jane that you described that I thought surely we had it posted
somewhere on the page.  But its not on the WGH page or on Odds and Ends.  This means that unless I saw it in Fred Mays
('60 of VA)
collection, Im actually remembering my own copy from 40 years ago, and thats just scary.






   Wed certainly love to have copies of both your articles on the site, so (with your permission) Ive already snagged them. 
I'll post them later today - or this week - or sometime soon....


   We have several collectors onboard, so Im sure your poster will receive comments and answers.


   May I add you to our (hidden) mailing list, Alumni List, and Birthday Page?  Were always happy for new associations, and
as you see, were not fanatical about their class or even their school.  Were just all having too much fun to obsess over details
of that nature!






   I enjoyed meeting your brother at the Reunion in the fall, and of course seeing Jane again was a real treat!


   Thanks again!  We look forward to hearing from you again soon.

From Charlie Snead ('64) of NC - 01/17/05 - SURPRISE # 2:

More of THOSE Reunion Photos - I finally figured out a way to send them to you !
Happy New Year...you are a really nice person.

   WOWZERS!  Thanks, Charlie!

   I'm still working on these.  It might be more accurate to say that I'm "nice and slow"!  GIGGLES!!!  But I have finished most
of them, and here they are:




From Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/17/05 - SURPRISE # 3:

Source for all images:
Newport News: A Centennial History,  John V. Quarstein and Parke Rouse, Jr., City of Newport News, 1996.
I didn't realize I had this book until today.
That oughta keep you busy for a while.

   (And there were six wonderful old images attached.)

   WOWZERS!!  Thanks, Dave!  Still trying to keep me off the streets, hmmm, Dave?!?  GIGGLES!!!  Well, this certainly
did it!  These are fabulous!

   One of the images I'm saving back, because I'm doing some extensive work on that page, and don't want to bungle it further. 
Hopefully, it will all be ready by Friday.  The others are all posted:

http://www.nnhs65.00freehost.com/oddsends.html - fifth from the top (yes, of course they're in chronological order!!!)



http://www.nnhs65.00freehost.com/blue-star-diner.html - an illustrated 1996 article


   I'm sorry; what is that monstrosity in the background?  And why?  And who's responsible?  And is it too late to prosecute? 
Oh, that's City Hall.  I see.  Oops, did I say that out loud?!?  Oh, dear.....

http://www.nnhs65.00freehost.com/leggetts.html - a 1954 image (plus an ad from the 1960 Anchor from me)

http://www.nnhs65.00freehost.com/nachmans.html - the same 1954 image

http://www.nnhs65.00freehost.com/Y.html - a 1965 image

From Bill Gross ('48) of VA - 01/19/05 - SURPRISE # 4:

On Monday, December 29, 1952, when people rose to read the morning paper they found an article telling
of the destruction of the interior of Newport News High School by fire.  As stated by the Daily Press, the fire
was reported in the school at 10:10 PM, Sunday, December 28, 1952.  The fire started in the auditorium and
spread rapidly, being fed by the curtains, props, and seats.  The fire eventually spread to the roof at the rear
of the auditorium causing it to collapse.  The damage was confined to the center of the building, although
both wings did sustain a considerable amount of damage from smoke, heat, and water.  As of press time
on the 29th, the cause of the fire had not yet been determined although the police were investigating arson. 
In the December 30th addition of the Daily Press, it was reported that burglary appeared to be a motive for the
fire as an attempt had been made to open the safe in the Principal's office.  The damage from the fire was
estimated in excess of $500,000.  By the following day, the 31st, more information emerged about the night
of the fire.  It seems that some of the classrooms had been ransacked before the fire.  It was also reported that
the school would re-open January 12, 1953.  At the time of the fire the school was valued at $2,000,000 and,
insured as much, was satisfactorily covered for all the damages done by the fire.  Finally the Saturday, January
3rd addition of the Daily Press reported that three young boys had confessed to the fire as well as the Sherwin
Williams Paint Store
and the C&O Warehouse.  The boys, aged 9, 11, and 13, described the events of the night
of the fire.  First they broke the glass in a rear door to get in.  Then using a candle for light they tried to open
the safe.  When they thought they heard someone coming, they threw the candle down on the auditorium floor
and left by the back door.  The destruction of the auditorium caused problems for others than those of the school community, as it had been the community's meeting place.  Now other arrangements had to be made until it
could be rebuilt. 

For reasons that were never made clear, the renovation of the auditorium did not take place until two years later
in 1954.  It is safe to assume, however, that as other renovations and additions were necessary, they decided
to hold up all of the work until the total sum necessary could be obtained and all of the work done at the same
time.  The auditorium that burned was on the second floor and designed to hold 1250 people.  The new
auditorium was designed by the architectural firm of Carneal & Johnson of Richmond and did away with the

   WOWZERONI!!!  What a revelation!  I spent my whole life believing this was a deliberate arson by a
gang of disgruntled teenage delinquents, and instead, it was a bungled robbery attempt by three little boys!

   Thanks so much, Bill!


From Nancy Bigger Alligood ('56) of VA - 01/17/05:

Hey Carol,
I hope this gets to you.  THANK YOU for mentioning me and my travel agency in your newsletter today.  I do appreciate it.  I used to have
Brownie's e-mail address but cannot find it at the moment. If I had it, I would send her a nice e-mail.  If she chooses to book through a
travel agency in Boise, ID, that is her choice; however, if any TYPHOON cruise is booked in the future, I hope it will be booked through
me at
Warwick Travel Service in Newport News, VA.  (I got several responses from your e-mail today concerning Brownie's e-mail
to you.)
Again, thanks for mentioning me.  We TYPHOONS should stick together.
More and more cruises are going to go out of Norfolk.  A cruise terminal is being built by the City of Norfolk and will be completed in the
fall of 2006.  Not that that makes a difference.  That just tells you that more ships will be sailing out of Norfolk in the future  -  and we are
If anyone wants any more info, just have them e-mail me at n_alligood@warwicktravel.com
Thanks again,
Nancy Bigger Alligood (Class of 1956)

  Thank you, Nancy.  I have an advantage over most of you because I have your names right before me at all times.  I think we
often tend to remember people as high school seniors, and forget that they now have careers in all sorts of fields.  We often are
unaware of what they do.  For the main purposes of this page, that's wonderful, as it tends to be an equalizing factor, and reduces
any intimidation we may feel.  Maybe I just feel that way because I'm much more easily intimidated than most of you probably are. 
But I do think it's a nice thing when we are able to patronize one another's businesses when the opportunities present themselves.

   For instance, I have about as much chance of taking a cruise as I do of flying off to the moon on a broomstick.  On the other hand,
I have high hopes of purchasing some of Jerry Gammon's ('63 - of VA) altered Polaroid impressionistic photographs of Newport
News in the not too distant future.  My chances of becoming one of Howard Conn's ('65 - of VA) ophthalmology/plastic surgeon
patients are even more dismal than that of taking a cruise, but I may yet be able to buy one of Brian Beachum's ('72 - of VA)




From Thelma Spade Roberts ('57) of VA - 01/18/05:

I was sorry to learn of the death Deanna Steele Capps (57) brother, Ronnie.  Here is the Obituary for Ronnie, who passed away 1/17. 

Ronnie Edward Steele

NEWPORT NEWS - Ronnie Edward Steele, 61, passed away at Riverside Regional Convalescent Center on Monday, Jan. 17,
2005, after a long battle with cancer. He was a lifelong Newport News resident and a member of Westhampton Baptist Church.
Mr. Steele was preceded in death by his father, T.J. Steele. Survivors include his wife, Kathleen A. Steele; daughter, Lori
Steele Mason of Newport News; son, Joseph Edward Steele of Norfolk; two grandchildren, Brittany and Mackenzie Mason;
mother, Louise Ross Steele of Hampton; three sisters, Deanna S. Capps of Hampton, Judy S. Sutton of Hixson, Tenn., and
Sherry L. Steele of Newport News; and his brother, Thomas Wayne Steele of Newport News. The family wish to express a
special thanks to all who have cared for Ronnie during his illness. The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 19, at Peninsula Funeral Home. A funeral service will be conducted at noon on Thursday at the funeral home,
officiated by the Rev. Danny Owens. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 895 Middle Ground
Blvd., Suite 154, Newport News, VA 23606.

Published in the Daily Press on 1/18/2005.

   Ronnie Steele was a member of the Class of '61; his brother, Thomas Wayne Steele, was a member of the Class of '59.

   I'll be scanning his picture and adding it to all the appropriate places later in the day.  Our thoughts and prayers will be
with the family at this time.

   Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Thelma.

From Craig Miller ('63) of FL - 01/18/05:

Obviously, I was blown away by Tom Norris' (Hampton HS - '73) response to my query about one of my favorites,
Coach Palmer.  I was hoping for a few snippets of information about Coach Palmer, but never expected a complete
history!  Your "network" is incredible!
Your website is a treasure trove of NNHS history that would have otherwise been lost or forgotten.  What a blessing...
Thank you!

   Thanks, Craig!  Yes, isn't this fun?!?  It used to be that something would pop into our minds, and we'd mumble to ourselves,
"Wow, I wonder whatever happened to......."  And now we've assembled so many experts in so many different fields, that more
often than not, we have only to ask, and we can have a completely story, start to finish, with images and recollections from so
many others.  It's really quite an extraordinary thing!  I'm so thankful to have reconnected with all of you!

From Sarah Puckett Kressaty ('65) of VA - 01/18/05, 11:55 PM:

Hey!  As you can see from the time, it's late (waiting for something to come out of the dryer so I WON'T have
to iron it!!) so I read this particular newsletter.  I have had some aggravating problems with my email not coming
in (grrrr).  Most always in the reading I come upon something that jars my ol' memory!  I also remember singing
Bless This House
in our assemblies!!  Amazing what gets conjured up!!!  Well, I am trying to catch up and read all
these messages, etc.!!  Take care!  Looking for more snow this weekend!  Whoopie! 
Sarah Sugar

   Thanks, Sarah Sugar!  You know, up until a couple of years ago when we all began talking about The Olden Days, I had
forgotten that there were any assemblies other than pep assemblies!  So I'm still working on that one.....

   I cannot help you with your email problems, but I can pass along to you one of my favorite Susie Homemaker tips which
my sister, Eleanor Buckley Nowitzky ('59) of NC, shared with me more than twenty years ago.  Many times ironing can
be avoided if you simply return the wrinkled item (or two) to the clothes dryer with a wet washcloth for five to ten minutes. 
This is called fluffing.  With a wet towel, you may also fluff an entire load of laundry which you may have neglected to remove
promptly.  With a household of seven children, trust me, this became an invaluable plan.  Until they began moving out in 1990,
I spent several years doing seven loads of laundry a day every day.

    Y'all take care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER!

                          Love to all, Carol


NNHS CLASS OF '65 WEB SITE: http://www.nnhs65.00freehost.com
PERSONAL WEB SITE: http://www.angelfire.com/weird2/cluckmeat


"1861 Confederate March" midi courtesy of http://mariah.stonemarche.org/livhis/music.htm
and extracted by my # 5 son, Nathaniel Harty of IL - 01/18/05
Thanks, Nathaniel!

Early R. E. Lee Image courtesy of http://www.stratfordhall.org/rel.html?HISTORY - 07/23/04

Later R. E. Lee Image courtesy of http://www.stratfordhall.org/relchrono.html - 01/18/05

Large Confederate Divider Bar clip art courtesy of http://www.tennessee-scv.org/Camp1513/clipart6.htm - 01/18/05

Small Confederate Divider Bar clip art courtesy of http://www.geocities.com/garebel942/clipart.html - 01/18/05

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