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11/03/05 - NNHS Newsletter
If I Were a Rich Man

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   

   Today's song comes to you from    Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 09/29/05:

May I share the name of my favorite song for singing in the shower: "If I Were A Rich Man" from "Fiddler
on the Roof"
  which is one of my favorite movies. Tradition!!!
TYPHOON Regards,

Joe Madagan ('57) of FL

  And here you are, Major Madagan!

   I myself was rich once.    But then my daddy had that horrible automobile accident when I was three weeks
old which left him paralyzed for about a year, and somehow all the money dried up and was never seen again. 
POOF!  Gone with the wind...

   But, Boy Howdy, I surely did have fun for those first three weeks of my life when I was rich!  No, wait a minute,
I can't seem to remember that after all.....


   This seemed like a good time to rerun this:

From my Niece, Shari, of VA - 12/14/04:


HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!  That's a good one, Shari!  Thanks! 

Now that you mention it, there's a lot of merit there. 
We are required to bear one another's burdens, are we not? 
I'd certainly be willing to do my part.  WILD GIGGLES!!!


  From Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 11/02/05 - "Recommendation for Famous Soldier":

Hi, Carol:

My father-in-law, John Eugene Ellis served in World War II as a Coastal Artilleryman in the Panama Canal Zone. He was stationed at Fort Monroe, VA after the war, where he met Corine Floyd and married.

Here is a photo of him in U.S. Army uniform in 1944.

Born: August 18, 1919 in Franklin County, VA
Died: December 15, 1987 in Lakeland, FL
Police Officer, City of Newport News, VA
Superintendent of Sanitation, Department of Public Works, City of Newport News, VA (Retired)

(Here are two other photos) as he retired from the City of Newport News, VA as a police officer and head of the Sanitation Section, Department of Public Works.

Joe Madagan
1944 - Pvt. John Eugene Ellis Officer Ellis Mr. John E. Ellis    

   Oh, isn't he just so cute and squeaky-clean looking?!?  Thanks so much, Joe!  I'd be honored and delighted to add him to Famous Soldiers!  Of course, only the first image can be added because of The Rule.  Hmmm.  Wait a minute.  He is in uniform in the second photo as well.  Yeah.  All right, Joe Madagan, you've bamboozled me again!  Two pictures - but that's all!  The Army is not the Marine Corps!


   (As though I'm really going to argue with an Army Major - particularly the very one who helped me design, build, and expand the page - about who and what should and should not be included thereon!  But it's a great fun game, nonetheless!  WILD GIGGLES!!!)

   Thanks, Adonis!  I appreciate it!


    From Chandler Nelms (Hampton HS - '63) of MD - 11/02/05:


Your piece about movie star cards made me remember when we were small children and would buy ice cream cups (Pet, I believe) that came with flat wooden spoons and had a picture of a movie star on the under side of the cup lid. Do you remember those?

Chandler Nelms

   YES!  Yes, yes, YES!!!  I do, I really do!  That makes two things I remembered in one day!
Thank you, Chandler Darlin'!

  From Henry Hoyle ('65) of Northern VA - 11/02/05:

Tom Norris and Yvonne's sister Jeanne were in the same class -- HHS '73. 


Oh, my goodness!  Thanks, Cousin Henry!  
Jeanne Peters (HHS- '73) Tom Norris (HHS - '73)  

  From Ron Miller ('59) of NC - 11/02/05:

Carol --

I spent some time looking at the CRT images, and realized something. 3 of the images, with 2 labeled "unknown location", were taken at the same location -- photos of buses #91, 143, & 170, about 1/2 way down the page.

I think these were taken around 25th & Jefferson. If you look closely you can make out the "Atlanta Lunch" or diner. Seems I remember that place, for some reason. If someone can try to find that biz in the 1951 NN City Directory when they have a chance, the mystery will be solved.

   Well, I know a couple of people for whom that shouldn't pose too much of a problem.  Gentlemen?

   Thanks, Ronnie!


    From Tom Norris (Hampton HS - '73) of VA - 11/02/05:

Carol ...

Here is a picture of Lois Pilgrim's 3rd grade class at Robert Sugden School, spring of 1964. I am seated fourth from the left.

Guess I really am a baby, huh???? LOL



Yeppers, that's what I keep trying to tell you, Tommee!

Thanks so much for this image, Babe!  It's a classic!


    From Tom Norris (Hampton HS - '73) of VA - 11/02/05:

Carol ... here is a pic of me, circa 11th grade, 1972 Krabba (looks much nicer than the senior one), Janice Pratt McGrew (1967 Krabba), and of Shelley Speas, go-go boots and all, from the 1966 Krabba.

Enjoy ...


Tom Norris (HHS - '73)  Janice Pratt (HHS - '67)  Shelley Speas (HHS - '67)    
   Awwww, Tommee, you spoiled our Big Surprise!  I actually prefer the senior portrait to the junior, but that's strictly your call.  And we never actually announced Janice as a Newbie, nor listed her on the now ridiculously misnamed Alumni List.  May I assume that's a "GO" on both those???

   And thanks for the shot of Shelley.  What a great representational photograph of the times!

   You know, Shelley is going to mysteriously show up here one day, and wonder why on earth we've been talking about her behind her back - just as     Chandler (Nelms - HHS - '63 - of MD) did.  I'm glad we've all been saying nice things!  


   From Tom Norris (Hampton HS - '73) of VA - 11/02/05:

Hi all ...

Hutchens began as NN Auto Exchange in 1921, and is the OLDEST continuously owned Chevrolet dealership in existence (even more amazing, since the first Chevrolet was built only ten years prior, in 1911). The 1980-81 NN City Directory still lists them at 34th and Huntington ... seems that they moved to the current location at 12920 Jefferson in the 1980s.

I was away from the area from 81 through 85, and it seems they had moved by the time I got back.

Later ...


   Thanks, Babe!  That helps us determine to move up North a bit closer!  I've added that to the page, and amended the "Our Old Stomping Grounds" links as well:








  From Fred Field ('45) of CA - 08/2005:




Dr. Charles R. Wicke

NNHS Class of June 1945

Saturday morning was the time to head for the Street of Dreams. In Newport News this was three blocks of Washington Avenue holding four movie houses.  Plunking down a dime at the Warwick Theater allowed a frail child to enter a heroic world of daring deeds amid perfidy.  The feature film was invariably a "cowboy show" starring Buck Jones, Hoot Gibson, Roy Rogers or Gene Autry.  Accompanying this fare was the episode of a "serial," perhaps Buck Rogers in contest with the evil oriental-featured Ming - or Tarzan lording it over benighted Africans.  But first came the Kiddy Club.  At center stage a contemporary would belt out favorites of the moment: On the Good Ship Lollipop, invariably sung by a Shirley Temple look-alike rubbing her midsection while phrasing ". . . or you'll get a tummy ache," or Red Sails in the Sunset, rendered perhaps by a lad who demonstrated difficulty in reaching the low notes.

The more sophisticated fare at the Paramount Theater attracted an older audience with a higher ratio of girls.  Here one could see, for example, the "Road" pictures of Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour, as in The Road to Zanzibar (1941) and The Road to Morocco (1942).  The live entertainment before the picture was more sophisticated, too.  As the lights went down, the faint notes could be heard as if in the distance.  The music gradually increased as the organ slowly rose from the pit music matching movement. As if by magic, spotlights popped on, their beams lighting upon the slight musician and mistress of ceremony at the console. She accompanied the singer soloists on the sonorous pipe organ. Her name: Gladys Lyle.

Once a year the live magic show with Harry Blackstone, Sr., played at the Paramount.  The organ background that Gladys rendered added so much to the show that one year Harry persuaded her to go with him on the road: a real road.  And so she left us, and things were never the same.

At the other end of the strip the James Theater competed with the Warwick for the young viewer.  Here was experienced The Popeye Club, with the theme song I'm Popeye the Sailor Man and a Max Fleisher Thimble Theater Popeye cartoon with its feature.   Before the films it offered the usual singers interspersed with boxing matches between volunteer pugilists who, like the vocalists, received a free admission ticket for their performance.

The remaining cinema, the Palace, had no children's show, but depended on higher quality MGM movies to attract an older audience.  Shirley Temple, the most famous female in the world, starred there in pictures with the word "little" in their titles: In 1935, The Little Colonel and The Littlest Rebel; and in 1939, The Little Princess.  Members of the NNHS Class of 1945 identified with the cute curly-head as being of the same age: someone they grew up with.

Indeed, as we left childhood we gave up the Warwick and the James for the Paramount and the Palace.  Putting aside childish things, we began to wrestle with the mysteries of puberty.   Glandular changes produced new and mysterious longings.

The silver screen came to the rescue with a timely series of motion pictures that dealt with our problems.  Offering us didactic vicarious experiences at the Palace were the Andy Hardy films, considered by their producer, Louis B. Mayer, as his contribution to the strengthening of America's family values.

As adolescents we perceived the Hardy films differently from Mayer's intent.  Girls on observing the female leads saw the growing power of their newfound nubility.  Boys readily identified with Mickey Rooney's bumbling approach to dreamlike, chaste, co-stars such as Kathryn Grayson, Judy Garland, and Ann Rutherford in pictures with descriptive titles such as: Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939); Andy Hardy Meets a Debutante (1940); and Andy Hardy's Private Secretary (1941).  Lewis Stone played Judge Hardy, the sagacious father, whose "man-to-man" talks invariably resolved each impasse of Andy's misadventures with worldly ladies.  Oh that we could have fathers as understanding as Judge Hardy.  Oh that a boy could have a girlfriend as good-looking as Judy Garland.  Oh that a girl could become as lovely as Kathryn Grayson.

And then came that grand moment of revelation and, perhaps, confusion; an instant when life imitates art.  The fortuitous event came to pass on January 10, 1942.  Our freshman class had entered high school in September of 1941 a few weeks before.   On the following Friday afternoon the school newspaper, The Beacon, carried the headlines "Mickey Rooney Weds NNHS Grad."

A future member of the class of 1945 had to wonder who was the girl-wife of the story, Ava Gardner?  She was a member of the class that had graduated the previous year.  The older Potter girl, Virginia, the cheerleader, was her friend and had visited her in California -- she knew and could tell us. And she did.

Ava Gardner was from Smithfield, NC.  She had arrived with her mother and father, but soon after the father abandoned them. Her mother had to support herself and daughter by running a boarding house.  Ava had dated older, and presumably more sophisticated "apprentice boys" from the local shipyard.  In Hollywood she was working as a Goldwyn Girl while taking speech lessons in order to erase her southern accent.  Sam Goldwyn wanted to cast her in speaking parts.  But now Mickey Rooney -- Andy Hardy -- had married the beautiful girl next door, next door to us.

What was real and what was fantasy in all this?  As we viewed Ava's magnificent face in wide-screen color close-ups over the years and followed her stormy career, broken marriages, bouts with alcohol, those questions remained unanswered.  Fact?  Fiction?  That which had seemed to us simple and romantic on our Street of Dreams now appears to be more complex.


Dr. Charles R. Wicke is Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of Victoria, Canada.  In summer he lives at Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; and in winter at Cuernavaca, Mexico. Charles maintains a web site:  

From Fred W. Field - ". . Street of Dreams" was originally published in 1992 in the Classes of 1945 Newsletter.  This version is Dr. Wicke's May 2005 update.

In March 1946 I gave a copy of the original version to the late Parke Rouse, Daily Press feature writer. Parke quoted it extensively in his June 1996 article ,"Cruising Avenue of Dreams." Parke died March 5, 1997.


WOWZERONI!!!  Somehow I didn't even see that one coming!

 Thanks so much, Charles! 

And thank you, Fred, for sharing it with us!

I posted this essay here:


1942 - Mickey Rooney and Ava Gardner  

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

                          Love to all, Carol





If I Were a Rich Man

- Words by Sheldon Harnick; Music by Jerry Bock

("Fiddler on the Roof", 1964)


"Dear God, you made many, many poor people.
I realize, of course, that it's no shame to be poor.
But it's no great honor either!
So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?"

If I were a rich man,
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard.
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Yidle-diddle-didle-didle man.

I'd build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,
Right in the middle of the town.
A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.
There would be one long staircase just going up,
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show.

I'd fill my yard with chicks and turkeys and geese and ducks
For the town to see and hear.
And each loud "cheep" and "swaqwk" and "honk" and "quack"
Would land like a trumpet on the ear,
As if to say "Here lives a wealthy man."

If I were a rich man,
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard.
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Yidle-diddle-didle-didle man.

I see my wife, my Golde, looking like a rich man's wife
With a proper double-chin.
Supervising meals to her heart's delight.
I see her putting on airs and strutting like a peacock.
Oy, what a happy mood she's in.
Screaming at the servants, day and night.

The most important men in town would come to fawn on me!
They would ask me to advise them,
Like a Solomon the Wise.
"If you please, Reb Tevye..."
"Pardon me, Reb Tevye..."
Posing problems that would cross a rabbi's eyes!
And it won't make one bit of difference if i answer right or wrong.
When you're rich, they think you really know!

If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack
To sit in the synagogue and pray.
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.
And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all.

If I were a rich man,
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard.
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Yidle-diddle-didle-didle man.

"If I Were a Rich Man" midi courtesy of - 10/02/05
at the request of Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 09/29/05
Thanks, Joe!

"If I Were a Rich Man" lyrics courtesy of - 11/02/05
also at the request of Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 09/29/05
Thanks again, Joe!

Big Money Image courtesy of - 11/02/05

Twirling Dollar Bill clip art used to form Divider line courtesy of - 09/01/05

 Dollar Bill Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 08/12/04

Crab clip art courtesy of - 10/02/05

1942 Image of Mickey Rooney and Ava Gardner courtesy of - 11/03/05

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