see... we came to San Antonio from Brindisi. I fell in love with Kathy Keisor
, who had been in Italy with all of
us. She moved to Alaska. Then, I went friggin' crazy! I got to kiss
a few times in high school, as she and her brother Don
lived just a block away and across the ditch from our house. I know
Debbie will deny that we ever kissed, but I still have 8x10 glossies to
prove it! LOL I had a great career in drama during high school. I did
all the plays the school hard for the three years. In fact, Debbie and
I played Romeo & Juliet
with the San Antonio Symphony! The acting bug bit
me big time! While in high school, I was cast as a regular for two
years on a TV show called, "Swingtime." It was like a local version of
"American Bandstand." I was a featured dancer and performed skits on
the show, as well. I graduated pretty high in my class. (Not in
class ranking, I was just high!) I went to college until Henry
Kissinger signed the Paris Peace Treaty and the Vietnam War ended.
Seven minutes after the war ended
I quit college and went to Del Rio,
Texas, where Wolfman Jack
his start in radio. In 1973, I became the hottest DJ in border radio at
KDLK AM & FM
. Well, sorta'
hot. Well, kinda hot. Well, nearly hot. Anyway, I got married and
divorced in Del Rio. No kids, but not for lack of trying. Heck, we
wanted kids so bad, after we "did the do" I'd help her stand on her
head in bed and make the "stuff" run down! Anyways, one thing led to
another and that led to divorce. Hell, I was on-the-air doing my show
when the local constable walked in the studio and served me my divorce
papers!!! My fans called me the day the divorce was final when they
read it in the paper. Of course, I had to play Tammy Wynette's "D-I-V-O-R-C-E"
on my show! I was in
Top 40 radio at the time and moved to another station in town- KWMC
a country station. A few years
later, I moved to Kerrville, Texas and became assistant station manager
and on-air personlaity for KERV &
. While there, the host of a children's TV show in San
Antonio (that had been on for 26 years) asked me to join the cast. I
did. I became First Mate Mortimer
on the "Captain Gus Show."
did that for two years and then the show was cancelled. A year later, I
was offered my own TV show on KENS TV-5 the CBS affiliate in San
Antonio. I moved back to S.A. and did my show "Gobs of Fun"
for two years and at
the same time worked at the #1 country station KKYX
, where my real-life Uncle Joe Simpson
was the newscaster
during my show!!. I have been lucky to work with lots of movie and TV
stars. In 1987, I hosted a reunion and film festival of George "Spanky" McFarland, Tommy "Butch"
and Gordon "Porky" Lee
of "The Little Rascals."
had not all been together since 1946! In fact, all three of them have
spent the night at my house! Is that cool or what?? Sadly, they are all
dead, now, but I have some great pictures of all of us. After 10 years
in "show biz" I decided to get a "real job" and became the Public
Relations Director for the 57-store home improvement chain, Handy Dan Home Centers
. One time, I had to fly
to Manhattan to visit the corporate office and on the way back, I
stopped off at the Dakota Apartments where John Lennon
had been killed. By
chance, Yoko Ono
out of a limo and I got to meet her. After that, I became Development
Director at St. Gerard Catholic High School, where Linda's husband,
Pete, was principal. After nine years there, I took a crack at running
an advertising department for a major jewelry enterprise in San
Antonio. In 1997, I became the Public Information Director for
Somerset Independent School District, about 17 miles from my house. And
that's where I am today. Oh, along the way, I gained LOTS of weight-
got up to 452 pounds, have had 3-strokes and 1-heart failure. Damn!
Life has been a blast! Uhmm, that's all that I can think of right now.
I'll add more later, if something comes to mind. Love is all around
senior year in 1970... in a tux in 1990... and doing my TV show "Gobs
of Fun" in San Antonio, in 1982
shaved my beard when I turned 50. I've got more chins than a chinese
phone book! So, I grew it back.
writes... "Well, it has taken me 40 years to come
full circle. I remember back in June 1967, as I looked through the
airplane window at y'all, my friends, standing on the tarmack waiving
"Good-bye" as we left the beautiful country of Italy. I can see it so
clearly... Glenna, Frankie, David, Buddy... I cried for days... And
here I am today, talking to the my same friends... Our family got
stationed in San Antonio and Dad retired here. When Frankie and David
Thaggard both came to Air Force basic training in San Antonio, I
visited with them during their brief stay. (Frankie-- remember that
Bar-B-Q restaurant we took you to?) I have kept in touch with Glenna
all these years-she is my "bestest" friend and I love her dearly.
Glenna came to visit me in 1970 and came down again in 1980 to stand in
my wedding. My oldest daughter, April, and I went to visit Glenna in
Winconsin in 1986 and she again came down to visit in 2001. Pete and I
have been married for 26 years and have two daughters, April 24 and
Katie Rose 19. I am a breast cancer survivor and have two more years in
remission before I get the "thumbs up" from my oncologist. When the TV
show "The Wonder Years" aired on TV, I found myself thinking back to my
days in Italy and some of the best times of my life. I miss you all and
can't wait until I see you all in June! I have attached a Christmas
picture of my whole family-I'm in the red. See you all soon!!"
Back row: Pete
(just 10 days after his heart
(Tom's wife), Tom
(Bob's wife) and Bob
. Middle row: Clint
(Tom's son in the UT baseball
, and April
(Linda's daughter). Front row
(6 kids): Heather
(Bob's son), Jennifer
(Tom's daughter), Travis
(Bob's son), Grace
(Bob's daughter), Katie
GET A LOAD OF THIS!!
It's Craig Hammer, Clarence "Buddy" Williams
at some dance at
the San Vito AFB NCO club. Scroll down further and see the two
lovebirds. Ahhhhh, my sister's first love.
writes... "Well, I will try and be brief about
what has happened to me over the last forty years.After returning from Italy, we were stationed in
Massachusetts for awhile until my father retired in 1968. We
moved to Greenville, Mississippi where I graduated from HS. Since
we didn't live there long we didn't make any great friends or memories
like those in Brindisi. Upon graduation in May of 1969, I started
working on tow boats pushing barges up and down the Mississippi River
until January 1970. I tried some college (just to get my draft
deferment) but by March I was out of school and in the Air Force headed
to Lackland in S.A. After an
assignment in Little Rock, I was then off to Vietnam for fourteen
months. Just before my rotation back to the world I heard from Glenna Ansay and upon my return we
got together and attended a wedding for Pam Pfiefer in North Dakota.
It was really great seeing some of the old gang. About a year
later I was headed back again to southeast Asia for one more
tour. In 1974, I got out of the Air Force and into college.
I graduated in 1977 in Construction Engineering and went to work in New
Orleans. After moving around arround from project to project
for six years, I finally wound up in Anacortes, Washington with
two great kids Tara, now
27, and Weston 23.
It was here that I got divorced and my ex and the two kids moved to
Longview, Texas. A couple of years later I was sent to Denver
were I married my current wife of twenty years and we now have two
beautiful girls, Shelby age
14 and Allie age 12.
In 1994 I moved to Cleveland, TN where David
and I started a small construction company and have been here ever
since. My daughter Tara graduated from Texas A&M and is
currently working as a staff member for a Congresswoman from
Connecticut in Washington DC. My son Weston is graduating in May from
the University of North Texas and getting married on June 24th in
Denton, TX. I will be flying down to San Antonio the following
day for our reunion. I
hope to see most of you in SA that weekend. Dennis, I don't have any recent
pictures of me and the family but I will try and get some emailed to
you within the next week or so. Looking
forward to seeing all of you. Break out the Tequila." ---Frankie, it's
great to hear from you! This is really gonna be a blast in June! I hope
that everyone is making an effort to be here. Now, let's hear from Pam,
Glenna and Agnes and see what they've been up to!
Linda and Dennis, of course I remember you. That is the good thing
about my oncoming altzheimers... I can not remember what I
did last week but I do remember 40 years ago. LOL The
class picture (post on this website) really jarred some memories. Some
of the people I would remember as I would think back over the years--
you, Glenna, Debra Biehlke...
and others, not until I saw the picture, and the autographs on the back
of the picture, really brought it all back.. The only real group
picture I have is one my mom kept of our Little League baseball team
that won the Italian championship. The only other person in both
pictures is Craig Hammer. Debra Biehlke's brother "Jeep" is also in the baseball
that I will not be able to come to the reunion, I have a committment to
play in a golf tournament in South Carolina that weekend.
I will gather some pictures and send them.. I am looking at a picture
taken a couple of years ago when we were in San Antonio. My wife and I
went there.for a long weekend, great city.
someone asks me where they can go for a weekend to get away, I usually
tell them San Antonio
other city in the country should be allowed to use the term "riverwalk"
because San Antonio really did it right. We did the usual tourist
stuff, "Howl at the Moon" and some famous Mexican restaurant. I forget
the name but it had Christmas lights all over the inside."
just to catch ya' up on things, after
leaving Italy, we moved back to South Carolina where I went to
school and college. A couple of years after college, I came to
Florida for three weeks vacation and never left. I have been here since
1977. I live in Fort Lauderdale, have been married 26 years to my
wife, Maureen, and we have two children-- Kent and Kelly. Kent
graduates from the University of Central Florida this May and Kelly is
a junior at Florida State.
Coincidently, we reviewed
all of the pictures and memories that we had of Italy, just last year,
as Kelly was preparing to fly over there. She had planned a trip and
studied Italian everyday for two years and traveled over there and
France for two months by herself. It was a great experience
(but scary for Dad). She stayed in a town called Lecce for two weeks.
Lecce is only 12 miles from Brindisi. she said it was much bigger
and nicer than Brindisi. I dont think I ever heard of Lecce when we
lived there..Unfortunately, she only saw Brindisi to and from the
the train station. I will look for pictures and send them. My
wife thinks this is pretty neat, (me I am not so sure yet, the pictures
were pretty scary) so I dont know if I am writing because Maureen keeps
asking when I am going to or if Dennis is starting to worry about me.
I do travel an awful lot, so if I dont respond right away, I am
probably just not home, I will try to call you some evening in the next
couple of weeks. My cell number is (954)
646-2935. Talk to you soon". --- John, I can't
believe you came to San Antonio and didn't know we lived here! It would
have been a blast to see you! Yeah that place "Howl at the Moon" is
wild and the famous Mexican restaurant you went to was probably "Mi
Tierra." Thanks for bringing us up-to-date and I hope you'll stay in
touch. (By the way, forgive me for editing your e-mail. I just tweeked
it to make it flow better.) Now, tell Agnes to write us! Goodnight,
John-boy. [P.S. Anyone wanting to write to John just need to click on
his name at the beginning of this piece and you'll get the e-mail link.]