Archive for May, 2008

Remember WWI?

May 27, 2008

I’m copying a group email discussion here because it’s interesting and deserves to be saved for posterity.  Hog began it with a link to a Washington Post article and a book reference, and MadDog continues it with a wonderful account of his latest research project involving WWI and some relevant book references.  Hog’s beginning email is at the bottom of this post:

Dear Mike, AKA cpthog,

Thank you on this Memorial Day for taking the time to inform us of a largely forgotten incredible catastrophe, WWI, which took place less than a century ago. I found the Washington Post article interesting, and it looks like Jeff Shara has written a fine book. And for personal reasons I must respond.

I’ve been poring over WWI things for the past several months. It all stems from the archival work I’ve been doing here at the Institute of Historical Survey. Late last summer I was assigned to compile a bibliography of the books that had been donated to IHS by Professor Charlotte M. Kinch, also known as Charlotte M. Davis.

She taught history at the University of Maryland, Emory University, and at the College of Santa Fe. She did contract work on the history of the AEF (American Expeditionary Force) for the U. S. Government’s Military History Division. She also had a research interest in the German Socialist Party (SPD) from about 1890 to 1924, specifically the SPD’s ideas concerning women’s issues and education.

Many of those ideas were published in a now defunct journal, Die Neue Zeit. Otherwise, most of Charlotte’s large collection of books dealt with WWI. These included a set of about 18 volumes that she collaborated upon that deal with gas or chemical warfare as it pertained to the AEF in 1918. These volumes are U. S. Military Government documents.



Sitges, Kentucky Bar n’at

May 25, 2008

Cpt. Hog 1970


In answer to MadDog’s query to Hog re Last Chance fire: Hog says he was in Spain? Does he remember Nancy and Moppy at the Kentucky Bar there? Here’s what Hog has to say:

Dee, Dog, et al,

Many stories generated from The Kentucky Bar in Sitges (too many for my poor typing skills to here relate).

I sorta recall a nice young lady (Nancy?) handing me a tonic after I’d been passed out at the bar for a short time.

Mostly I was connected to a crazy scot named Alan Smith. We traveled quite a bit after I got out, Sitges to Oktoberfest (in an old vw bus with no windshield wipers, stuffed with six $20/head fellow travellers. Alan had bought the van from a drunken departing GI in Germany for $50, I’d supplied GI plates negotiated from another departing GI in BA. The full story of that epic trip would be worthy of Homer, but I think he’s booked) and afterwards up to Amsterdam where the Dutch put ‘mayonnaise’ on french fries and drink beer from tiny glasses.


To fellow Baltans

May 24, 2008

You may think that nothing is occurring in your life that’s worth recording on the blog, but you’d be wrong. 

We need to stay in touch with each other and what better way than writing about what you’re doing….playing with the grandkids as Sipper wrote; waiting for surgery like Hannan; whatever it is, tell us about it.


Update from Sipper

May 24, 2008

MadDog wrote to Sipper which is the first part of this post, and Sipper’s answer is on the jump:

From: John Freyermuth
To: Robert Hamlin
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 12:32 AM
Subject: RE: Surfacing fm the distant past: Kerry Vandegrift, The FOOL. & RE: June28, 1900 – June 28, 1914

Do you remember a rubber chicken that was also a part of the display? A couple of years ago I ran across Lyle E. Boyd’s obit. It was a freaky thing to come across. He was a professional clown too.

I’m confused. Gleason or Al Gland might have smoked the plastic bananas, but not the Fool. Fool sold his bike to Pee Wee Herman. Kerry told me that he’d heard that Mike Rodgers set fire to the Chance. I’m thinking that that could be true. He also said that he’d been talking with you somewhat recently, which I doubt, unless recently is expanded to 30 years ago. He also said that Gleason stole his tennis racket.

Gleason was going to make a movie called Difficult Cyclist, i.e. Easy Rider II. I was supposed to play Lieutenant Ohio and ride Kerry’s bike into the canal in downtown BA. But the bike already belonged to Pee Wee Herman, who made the movie instead. Then Gleason ran off with Jerry Thompson’s mother, who wanted to be a movie star.Mike Hannan talked to the Fool today. He says that he convinced him that life is good.

Is it snowing there? It was 100 here yesterday, but today we had a cool-down to 97 with 60 mph dust storm. Carolyn is in Chicago now. She says its like winter there.

How are the Kinder? Do they still make ear muffs? I haven’t seen any since the 1950s when I lived in PA.


To MadDog from Sipper: (more…)

Hannan’s surgery

May 22, 2008

Mike originally wrote this to MadDog on Wednesday, May 21…

Hi John-

I have about 19 hours until someone I don’t know will cut my leg in half and put it back together with an artificial joint that is designed to do the job of the original. I am not properly prepared to die so that’s out of the question so I guess I’ll send out a sit-rep on Sunday to solicit as much sympathy as I can – the pain will no doubt be almost more than I can bear but I will claim bravery. After about 4 or 5 weeks of holding up heroically, I’ll claim that I beat the devil pain.

Oh, by the way ….Elizabeth and I quit smoking 6 months and 2 days (and 6 hours..but who’s counting) ago. We are proud of that – it’s the 5th or 6th time we have tried and by far the longest period of success. I’ll feel comfortable that we are non smokers next year at this time….maybe.

I called Kerry yesterday and talked with him for about an hour. He said that our calls have changed his attitude about living and says he is looking forward to speaking with everyone he ever met from the age of 6 until now. See…. we have once again spread the joy of life to another. I hope that’s true.

Hope all is well-


Remembering the Fool

May 22, 2008

This is from MadDog:


Got a recorded message on my voice mail today from none other than Kerry Vandegrift, AKA the Fool, one of the co-founders, co-conspirators, of/at the original BALTA tennis tournament held at the court outside the BA Fire Station in 1969. (Among others present in addition to Fool & Maddog were Hannan, Bill Maus, the Raven = Lance Boyer, Kutscher, and Armstrong. The semi-finals were rained out and we proceeded to take up the javelin toss, which was followed by the exploding hotdog event in the BA Post Gym.)

The message on my phone today said, “I don’t know if this is the right number, but in any case, if it is then you’ll understand when I say: One quick move by the enemy will jeopardize six fine gunboats.” That was all.

I called the number 215-673-9449, and the poor Fool answered. He’s had a pretty rough life! He survived the javelin throw at BA, Vietnam, the Last Chance, and now the deaths of his wife and daughter. He’s not in very good shape. He suffered a fall in February and is just now able to get around using a walker. He’s had both knees replaced. His wife, Arlene, died about a year ago. His daughter died when she was twelve. Now he’s all alone. I asked him how he got my number. He answered, “Information.” I told him it was nice to hear from him, and I asked him, “But why have you waited so many years to get in touch? Some of us are dead, or if not, then almost dead.” His answer: “It’s the first time I’ve been able to start thinking back on my life. I thought of you because you are crazy. I’ve been calling up people I knew in my old neighborhood when I was in grade school. I told my therapist that I wouldn’t be needing his advice anymore. My parting words of advice to him were, ‘Just remember this: When the cars stop, the lights have turned red. And when the trees wave their arms, then the wind is blowing.'”



May 17, 2008

The blog has been silent for too long.  I’ve missed all of you. 

For the good of the order, here’s an update containing Heidi’s new email address. i wrote to see if it applied to Dan as well, but I haven’t heard yet.

Pat did hear from Dan in the past two days, and he used the comcast address.  They sound like they are busy but having fun.  Dan mentioned that Aaron’s band, the SF Irish Pipe & Drum Band won first place at the Scottish Games in Woodland, CA…..first time an Irish band won 1st at a Scottish event.  You go, Aaron McCotler!

Pat and I are keeping busy.  With me, it’s mostly work and worrying about getting my Mom moved out here; with Pat, it’s staying ahead of the challenges of a working hotel kitchen. 

We don’t have any vacation plans this year, other than the reunion in the Fall….saving time to help with Mom’s move, etc.  What about all of you….want to tell us about what’s coming up for you?

Hog is talking about coming out for a long weekend this summer.  One of the plans is to go to the newly renovated Gettysburg National Park while he’s here.

Who all is planning on going to the reunion?  I know Heidi and Dan are going, and that Hog won’t be able to go…Pat and I are going, even if we don’t have any vacation time.  Who else?

Also, is anybody else contemplating retirement next year?  We are, and frankly, instead of embracing it, I’m a little scared of not working anymore!  Anybody have some advice, assurances?  However, not working does also have its charms! 

Take care.