Kudos: The Air Gardens were dedicated in October. They look fabulous, and you played a big part in it. Give yourself a pat on the back, because you truly deserve it. Photos and information about the gardens can be found in both of the class websites. (HERE)
Accomplishments: Rick Townsend is claiming the title of “last to graduate.” He completed a PhD in History of Ideas from the University of Texas at Dallas in May of 2021. His dissertation was on William Jennings Bryan’s use of Declaration of Independence and First Amendment rights to argue for government and societal reforms over his 37-year public career. If you’re a knuckle dragger who’s content with having ideas in the here and now, you’re probably wondering what the History of Ideas is, and who the heck is William Jennings Bryan? As opposed to the History of Bad Ideas, which is sponsored by Budweiser, Rick explains, “History of Ideas is the study of the intersection of concepts and culture.” Now you know. If Rick has erroneously claimed the title of last to graduate, you can wrest the virtual cup from his hands in next quarter’s issue.
Keeping in Touch: This is part of the never-ending task of keeping tabs on guys who strolled across the terrazzo with their hands in their pockets, a fighter crush in their flight caps, and traces of Mitch’s Mountain on their A-jackets.
Scott and Cindy Hammond live outside of Beaufort, SC and are enjoying a tennis/boating/flying retired life. He teaches glider flying and occasionally tows gliders with the club’s Pawnee at Ridgeland Airport. He tried to provide a photo for publication, but the best he could come up with was a picture of Jimmy Buffett in a g-suit when he gave the Margaritaville legend a ride in an Eagle almost 35 years ago. It’s a good shot of Jimmy, but a no-no for Checkpoints since it doesn’t contain a picture of a graduate. Scott could have sent in a photo of his carcass in front of a Piper Pawnee, but then the justifiable complaints would have been, “Why’s Scotty obscuring the view of a classic airplane?”
Steve Duresky is still hanging out on the Emerald Coast in Florida. You probably already knew that, so this is just a reminder to watch out for alligators and Steve if you’re in that part of the country.
Class representation at the First Responder Bowl in Dallas on December 28 included Al Piotter, Larry Fariss, Dick Webber, Jim Dearien, and Mike Matte. Not only did they get to see Air Force beat Louisville, they also got sunburns free of charge.
Wandering Souls: After several cancellations due to the pandemic, Vito Goyden and his crew of 14 children and grandchildren finally made it to Disney World. Everyone in the clan was vaccinated and boosted, and they all returned from the vacation COVID free. Unfortunately, two weeks later, his 6-month-old and 2-year-old granddaughters got Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection along with his daughter and son-in-law, his wife Jan, and himself. Such is life. We seek invincibility, but we’re happy with survival.
Jeff Chappell has traded wings for wheels. Starting from Utah, he camped and mooched off classmates Foster Bitton, Duke Duhachek, and Mike Gudmundson on the way to four days at the AirVenture in Oshkosh. In October he went to his 50-year high school reunion in Washington DC, saw his eldest grandson play soccer for Southern Virginia University, and then meandered around North Carolina. He also spent a day with former roommate Dave Cunningham and his wife, Debbie, in Virginia Beach, where Dave is a tour guide at a nearby aviation museum. In early January Jeff departed Salt Lake City with his camper in tow. He’s calling his planned 4-month adventure Snowbird Odyssey 2022. Phoenix, San Antonio, and Lakeland, FL are all on the itinerary, which includes visits with Sandy Terry, Jeff Hackett, Jerry Cooke, and Bruce Hopkin. He’ll head back north in April, probably doing hospitality checks on more classmates along the way. Since this edition of Checkpoints will be published in March, this is a heads up to any classmates that live between Florida and Utah; Jeff is on the loose, and he’s loving it.
While we’re on the subject of hobophiles, Tony and Cyndy Mahoney were suffering cruise withdrawal, so they booked back-to-back European river cruises that kept them on the road/river for 29 days. Their route of travel included Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, one cruise up the Rhine and another one down it, and a couple of non-stop flights between two European cities and Los Angeles. The crew outnumbered the passengers on both cruises, which meant the service was outstanding.
Wayne and Amy Willis win the prize for traveling to the farthest destination from their home. They winged their way to Hong Kong where they will serve an 18-month mission for their church. Wayne reported that his SERE training is paying off since their mission started with a mandatory one-week quarantine, during which they ate rice…lots and lots of rice.
If you don’t see your photo submission here, it’s because your mug appeared in CP within the last year, the picture you provided was of low resolution, or your name is Larry Fariss. You might find your submission on 75bestalive.org.