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Date Posted: 23:12:44 02/05/09 Thu
Author: Mike O.
Subject: Hello from San Diego

Sure is nice to hear from old friends. So many happy memories. Ruth, thanks for getting this site up and Bob nice team on contacting us through classmates.com. I've been on there for a few years and check every once in a while just to see new names. They all bring a smile to my face!
Ruth...how is Mary? Give her my best.
I've been livin the good life in San Diego since 1995 with my wife/life partner, Bev (34yrs). Have 2 children (1 here 1 in MA) & 2 grandchildren (in MA). I look in the mirror and see my older brother Tiger...he passed away in 2002. Where has the time gone? Hard to believe Peter H., Alan W, & Kathy D. are gone.
Now a small world story about my good friend and fellow military officer Vinnie Lee.
About 12 yrs a go the VietNam Memorial 1/2 wall came to San Diego. As usual I went to pay my respect to Vinnie, at the foot of his panel was an envelope addressed to 'Vinnie Lee, Dad" I took the envelope and opened it. It was a letter from his son, living in San Diego. I called Vinnie's mother and told her the story and she gave me his telephone number. We meet...I almost couldn't talk when he came to my door, he was an exact clone of Vinnie! We had a great visit and I told him neat/unknown stuff about his father as we were boy scouts together.
That's my feel good story for the class of 1963!
Let's all keep in touch and get together before too long.
Thanks to the A team for getting us all together...again.

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Replies:

[> Re: Hello from San Diego -- Ruth K, 01:10:56 02/06/09 Fri [1]

Hi Mike!

I was just about to contact you through Classmates.com, as I see you found me there and vice versa. Thank you so much for the update.

Your story about Vinnie brought tears to my eyes. The Vietnam Wall also came to Belfast, Maine, some years back, and I made a point of finding both Vinnie and Tommy Bonine and stood there for a very long time in tears. How wonderful that he has a son who looks just like him. Thank you for sharing this with us.

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your brother Tiger. He was an awesome person. He was in the Navy stationed in Machias, Maine, at the time I was going to Colby so long ago and came to visit me quite often. I considered him a very good friend.

For those who do not know, my sister Mary passed away in 1999 after a very long battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease, also called ALS, the most devastating form of MS. She spent her last 8 years at the Westboro Nursing Home when her condition advanced beyond my mother's capability of taking care of her at home. By the time she died, she was totally paralyzed, could not talk, and could only turn her head from side to side. She never complained once in all those years and was always so happy to see visitors and recognized everyone, even from many years past.

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[> [> Re: Hello from San Diego -- Diana W, 09:15:45 02/06/09 Fri [1]

I am saddened to learn about Mary's battle with ALS. She has always held a special place in my heart - I can still see her moving about our classroom. Meri W and I were talking about her last night and how much we loved her, and how fortunate we all were that she was sharing the journey.

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[> [> [> Re: Hello from San Diego -- Ruth K, 11:32:22 02/06/09 Fri [1]

Thank you, Diana, for your kind words. I remember that you were always so nice to her, and she so appreciated kindness and friendship from people who took the time to get to know her.

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[> Re: Hello from San Diego -- Diana W, 08:55:33 02/06/09 Fri [1]

Hi Mike, Good to hear from you. I'm sorry about Tiger. I love the news about Vinnie's son. I always pass my hand over Vinnie's name when I visit the wall in DC. Joanna has a very moving story about Vinnie, the wall and a very special gift, but I will let her share that with others. When the travelling wall came to Essex Junction, Vt a few years ago, volunteers were asked to read aloud, over a mike, for an hour, the names of those who were lost; Vinnie was in my heart the entire time.

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[> Re: Hello from San Diego -- meri wilson, 11:30:38 02/06/09 Fri [1]

Hi Mike,
I too was a good friend of Vinnie's - he was like a brother to me - especially when I felt a bit "out of it" - and soon after the Vietnam Memorial was opened I too found his name (along with a couple of other friends whose names were etched there) and cried. He was a crazy and good hockey player. I used to bum rides with him to go skating at the Worcester Arena (I'm a girl, so wasn't playing hockey except on ponds with my brother and Dexter Newton and Forbes Farmer) and he had two concussions early on and was warned that another would be big trouble. He pressed on regardless and continued to play (in all venues) It would be such a trip to encounter his clone in CA - or anywhere....his death was a big loss...so long ago - and now three of our classmates who loomed large Peter, Allan and Cathy. We are lucky that it seems that there are still so many of us alive and functional. Just getting back into the "Westboro" state of mind. Funny, I couldn't wait to escape from Westboro - too small - and now I find myself happily living in a town that is so much like Westboro back then. Guess you gotta get a perspective to find out what you want. Looking forward to meeting up with the class of '63 soon. best, Meri Wilson (Sumner)

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