Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Memorial Service for Bee's Mom

I wanted to make everyone aware that there will be a memorial service for Bee's mom in Williamsburg, VA on November 9th. I realize that this is not close for most classmates, but there a number of classmates who live in Virginia, so if any of you could make it, I'm sure that Bee would appreciate it. As you know from the weblog or if you attended the reunion, Bee's mom passed away just a few days before the reunion last month.

Here are the details of the memorial service:


Memorial Service

In Memory of Mary Anne Harris

July 19, 1923 - September 24, 2007

Friday Evening November 9, 2007

7:00 P.M.

James City/Williamsburg Community Center
5301 Longhill Road
Williamsburg, Virginia 23188
Phone (757) 259-4200

Community Room A

Enter the community wing to the
left of the recreation entrance.

Those attending are welcome to bring
a pot luck dish to share.

Hosted by Bee Harris Darrow

Here is the obituary from the Times Leader last month:

Mary Anne Harris, passed away peacefully, Monday, September 24, 2007, at Hospice Care of the Visiting Nurse Association, Inpatient Unit, at Heritage House, Wilkes-Barre.
She courageously and fiercely battled cancer and other debilitating conditions.
Born on July 19, 1923, she was a daughter of the late Mary Helen Novoral Yesson and Charles Thomas Yesson.

She was a graduate of Edwardsville High School and actively planned class reunions.

She became a registered nurse at the Nesbitt Memorial School of Nursing and went on to become a lifelong member and treasurer of its Alumni Association.

She compassionately practiced nursing at the Nesbitt, Leader Nursing Home, Mercy Center and on private duty.

A devout Catholic, she was a member of St. Ignatius Church, the Catholic Daughters and St. Therese’s Altar and Rosary Society.

She married Joseph Thomas Harris in 1946 and widowed in 1969.

She is survived by her sister Irene Jorda; brother Charles Yesson; and eight of her nine children, Thomas Harris, Joseph Harris, Gerald Harris, Mary Jo Harris Consoli, Charles Harris, Bernadette Darrow, Therese Rieker and Vincent Harris.

She has 15 grandchildren, Gemma and Jared Harris, Lora Oliviera, Alisa, Kelly and Evan Harris, Owen and Ian Harris, Kevin Perrone, Melanie and Jacob Darrow, Kara Rieker and Brandon, Devon and Bethany Harris; one great-grandchild, Maggie Harris; brothers-in-law George Jorda and Gerard Harris; sisters-in-law Geraldine Petroskas and Viola Harris; nieces and nephews; daughters-in-law and sons-in-law; fellow alumni and many dear friends and neighbors.
Funeral will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday from the A.J. Kopicki Funeral Home Inc., 263 Zerbey Ave., Kingston, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 9:30 a.m. in St. Ignatius Church. Interment will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Carverton. Friends may call today from 6 to 9 p.m.
Donations may be made in her name to Hospice Care of the VNA. Published in the Times Leader on 9/26/2007.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Santiago Canyon Fires

As you all know it's been hectic here in some (many) parts of California for the last week. I was also thinking about Dave and Rob as the fires were burning. Good to hear Dave is safe but don't know how close Rob came. As for us, we moved to Foothill Ranch in July. We are in a fire zone backed up to Whiting Ranch. The Santiago fire was started by an arsonist. It didn't appear headed in our direction but I got a call on Monday 10/22/07 from a buddy that said it might be wise for me to head home. When I finally got there it was clear the fire would soon be at our door. Fortunately for us, it did not reach our house or any others in the neighborhood although it did come really close. We were told to evacuate Monday afternoon. Stayed at a friends place and were back on Tuesday morning. Other than a lot of ash and smoke, everything was fine. Here are a few pictures I took as I packed what I could and headed out. Two pictures show the fire across the street from our house (taken from our driveway). The other is what the street looked like as I was getting ready to leave. Our house is on the right just beyond the palm tree. The firemen did a fantastic job of keeping our neighbor safe.

Cheers, Joe Ziller

Monday, October 29, 2007

Class Gatherings

Since our 30th Class Reunion is a month past, several of us have had a few get-togethers at the Bakehouse. (I’m not the one having Reunion withdrawals, it’s Chuck Brennan that’s having them!) He tells us (Maryellen and I) at breakfast every Friday morning at the White House Diner which days he’s off from work the next week. We then pick a day, make a phone call or three and have plenty of laughs! Since, this is turning into a weekly thing, everyone’s invited.

Here’s my idea, if you’re interested in attending one or more, email me at and let me know. I’m going to start an email list so we don’t have to keep calling. I’ll just add you to the list and you’ll be notified weekly, then show up if you wish. If you’re going to be in town and want to join us, let me know and we can try to get as many classmates together as possible. The more, the merrier!

So far, we’ve had Mark Hession, Lisa Schwartz, Maryellen Finley Cusma, Joe Niznik, Joann Dula Post, Paul Reinert, Kathy Schultz, Beverly Yakus Cottle, Chuck Brennan, myself and our adopted classmate, Mark Kopicki in attendance. If I forgot anyone I’m sorry, no attendance is taken. We’ve had fun and stay until they have to clean where we are sitting (usually around 8:30 P.M.). Topics vary, for instance, we learned Mark orders “special bread” from New York for the diner! It’s good toasted!

No, joking now, if you think you might like to attend and join us anytime, email me and I’ll add you to the email list. We start arriving around 6:30 and stay until 8:30ish. The day of the week varies.

The “Three Stooges”, (as Chuck calls us) have breakfast at the White House Diner every Friday morning around 7 or 7:15. If you’re up and hungry feel free to join us! (Ask Mark for his “special bread”!) You can also see the picture of our Alma Mater that was presented to Mark at the reunion. (We are told Mark takes it down and cleans it every afternoon before he turns out the lights when he locks up.)

I think we had such a great time at the reunion we just keep meeting. We’ve shared a lot of laughs since the reunion.

Michael Kinney

Friday, October 26, 2007

San Diego Fires - Dave Serhan's report

I just got an email from Marguerite Long who was concerned about Dave Serhan because of the fires raging in San Diego. I emailed Dave and got this report from him:

Lee, thanks for the concern. My house is under the hour glass below. We were about 4 miles or so from the fire line. My brother in law who should have evacuated was about 1 mile away. I stayed with him on Monday. He lives right above the Poway red cross shown below. Was pretty hairy all day Monday. The fires close to us are out. Don't feel threatened now especially that all the fuel has burned up. Still, it's always a possibility. Now that the weather has changed, it's giving the fire crews a break and hopefully, a better chance to contain/extinguish. Take care. - Dave

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pierogies, part 2

I blogged previously about pierogies and lately Jim Sawchak and I have been exchanging email and he brought up the topic of the pierogi ladies who would come in and make pierogies at St. John's during Fridays in lent. We all loved those things! Terri and I have been experimenting with the recipe that I shared in that previous posting. Michael assured me that his mom made the best pierogies ever. Terri and I made them using this recipe about a week ago and we agree! I would encourage you to try this for yourself.

Mom Kinney's Pierogi Recipe

3 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 pint sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt


Makes about 3 dozen. Batter will be coarse. Knead until soft and workable. May have to add some flour while kneading.

Make dough into 3 balls. Rest on flour. Rub oil on top. Cover with towel and rest for 1/2 hour. Roll out a ball for cutting.

Use a doughnut cutter or tuna can to cut pierogi from dough. After inserting filling, pinch ends together. If ends do not stay together, wet between dough to make them stick. Lightly coat pierogi with flour to prevent sticking. Put completed pierogi on a cookie sheet sprinkled with flour.

Bring water to boil and cook pierogi about ten minutes or until tender in salted water. Do not boil rapidly as they might split. Dip carefully into warm water when cooked. Then strain in colander and rinse in warm water. Cover pierogi with melted margarine and onions which have been cooked in the margarine.


Potato filling: Shred about 1 cup cheese and add to potatoes that are boiled and ready for mashing. Add some of the margarine mixture to potatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Make into balls and chill so mixture is not sticky.

Cheese filling: Use one egg per 1/2 lb. of farmers cheese. Also add some margarine mixture. Then add salt and pepper to taste and some sauteed onion. As with potatoes, roll into teaspoon balls and chill.

Cabbage filling: grate cabbage, brown grated cabbage in a frying pan with salt, pepper and sauteed onion. These are harder to pinch because they are watery.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Here is the young man you are all praying for. I am HAPPY to say that the lump has gone down considerably! I saw it for myself. The weakening in my knees told me that my guardian angel was saying: "Give thanks, you dummy!" I AM giving thanks to GOD Almighty and all of our prayer partners. We're on our way out of the woods. Please keep praying that this lump will go away all together. I'll be updating our progress throughout the season. Lee, thanks for walking me through this, buddy. I'm still going to call to just "talk" sometime! Thanks everybody!!

P.S. Thanks GOD he's got his mom's good looks! (ha ha)

All praise to the truly LIVING GOD!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Here he is...the champion...

I could never figure out how 130 pounders could be put together this solid! Pretty intimidating... By the way, he's the one we're praying for. We hope he doesn't have this new staph strain. Please give your rosary beads a workout. Thanks...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mrs. Zabresky

Karen Leonardi called last night to let me know that Mrs. Zabresky passed away on Saturday. Many of us had Mrs. Zabresky for French class. She also taught typing, a skill I learned from her that I use nearly every single day.

Karen is related to Mrs. Zabresky and had seen her recently at a wedding. She said she was doing well at age 90 except for a little trouble getting around and needed some help. In reading her obituary, which I'll include below, she worked right up into her 80's as a substitute teacher.

At the time I took typing in high school, it wasn't obvious that it would be used for anything other than interacting with a typewriter so that I could type my own term papers. Little did I realize that it would be the method we all would use to interact with desktop computers, which weren't even available back then. Whenever I see an adult hunting and pecking at a keyboard, plodding along at a few words per minute, I silently thank Mrs. Zabresky for teaching me touch typing in high school.

Dolores Zabresky

Dolores Zabresky, of Harveys Lake, passed away peacefully at the Meadows Nursing Home on Saturday, October 13, 2007.

She was born October 26, 1916, and was a daughter of the late Howard and Mary Quinn Eckenrode. A graduate of Kingston High School and College Misericordia, she received a bachelor of arts degree in French and business subjects. Mrs. Zabresky taught at the former Bishop O’Reilly High School until her retirement.

After her retirement, she continued to work in the field of education as a substitute teacher for the Wyoming Valley West and Lake-Lehman school districts until 2001. She previously resided in Kingston and Forty Fort.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas Zabresky, who passed away in 1986; infant son Francis; sisters Sister M. Marcian Eckenrode, RSM; and Kathleen Cahalan; brothers Thomas, Howard and Eugene Eckenrode.

She is survived by her children Ann Tripp and her daughter. Katie, Harveys Lake; Thomas Zabresky and his wife, Mary, Forty Fort, and their children, Jon and Rachel Zabresky and Coray Mitchell Jr.; Kathleen Daskalakes and her husband, Dennis, Loyalville; Michael Zabresky and his wife, Sharon, Shavertown, and their children, Michael Jr. and Laurie Zabresky; four great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews.
The funeral will be held Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. from Maher-Collins Funeral Home, 360 N. Maple Avenue, Kingston, with a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. in Our Lady of Victory Church, Harveys Lake.

A private interment will be held at St. Ignatius Cemetery, Pringle. Friends may call Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Misericordia University, 301 Lake Street, Dallas, PA 18612; or to the American Heart Association, 71 N. Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701.Condolences by e-mail can be made at .

Published in the Times Leader on 10/15/2007.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rich Hometchko's Mom

I got this information from Arlene today. Rich's mom passed away on Monday. The viewing is tonight and the funeral is tomorrow. If you wish to send a card, Rich Hometchko's address is:

Richard Hometchko
13943 104th Avenue
Largo, FL 33774

Helen J. Hometchko, 82, of Swoyersville, passed away peacefully, Monday, October 8, 2007, at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, after a sudden illness.
Her husband is Joseph Hometchko. Together, Joseph and Helen celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on February 3, 2007.

Born February 23, 1925, in Swoyersville, she was a daughter of the late George and Mary (Onacilla) Kender.

Helen was raised in Swoyersville and resided there all her life. She and her beloved husband, Joseph, were both 1942 graduates of the former Swoyersville High School.

Though for most of her life, Mrs. Hometchko dedicated herself to being a homemaker for her loving family, she was employed as a seamstress for the former United Pants Factory, Swoyersville. Also, during World War II, Helen was employed as a telegraph operator for Western Union.

Helen was a member of Holy Trinity Church, Swoyersville, and its Confraternity of Christian Women, as well as a member of the Holy Trinity Quilters. She was active with the Swoyersville Senior Citizens and was a member of the Swoyersville Senior Citizens Bowling League. Helen was very active in helping with Holy Trinity Church’s Annual Bazaar and especially enjoyed helping cook goulash for the bazaar.

Helen greatly enjoyed cooking, baking and sewing. She was an avid traveler and took great pleasure in her travels. Helen was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend and she will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. Helen was preceded in death by four brothers and four sisters.

In addition to her loving husband of 60 years, Joseph, Helen is survived by her sons, David and his wife, Bonnie Hometchko, of Charlotte, N.C., Joseph and his wife, Ann Hometchko, of Largo, Fla. and Richard and his wife, Susan Hometchko, of Largo, Fla.; grandchildren Michael, Vickie, Kendra, Rileigh and Ashley; numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the funeral, which will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday from the Wroblewski Funeral Home Inc., 1442 Wyoming Ave., Forty Fort, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. in Holy Trinity Church, 116 Hughes St., Swoyersville, with the Rev. Joseph Adonizio officiating. Interment with Rite of Committal will follow in Holy Trinity Cemetery, Swoyersville. Family and friends may call today from 4 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home. The Confraternity of Christian Women of Holy Trinity Church will recite the Rosary at 6:30 p.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Helen’s memory to the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition c/o Doneckers Complex, 287 Duke St., Ephrata, PA 17522.
Published in the Times Leader on 10/10/2007.


Well, I finally got around to posting to the blog! I want to personally thank Michael and the entire committee for a wonderful reunion! I am sorry I missed Friday night's icebreaker (mostly because some of you knew people's name and I did not!) Kidding aside, it was a great night all the way through, and I am glad I attended. People have heard me say that I have always enjoyed our reunions, that's right folks, I am one of the 19 who attended all three! I remember the hard work involved in 1988, so my kudos to Michael and the gang! Great job, but the problem with that is we will expect you to keep doing it!!!!!!!!!

Everyone I see I tell them you have to go to the reunion and I am glad there were some new faces this year! I can't wait for the next one, but not that 50th birthday thing, not celebrating, nope can't make me!

PS hey John N. your picture looks like a mugshot!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Reunion stats

I wanted to echo the sentiments that Jay and Michael have posted here on the blog about the reunion. It was a great reunion, and special thanks to Michael for stepping up to chair it. Also, I want to thank the committee members who worked so hard to pull the reunion together. And last but not least, I'd like to thank those of you who were able to attend and make it into the success it turned out to be.

Terri and I had a wonderful time and it was great to see everyone there, including some of you who I hadn't seen in over 30 years. It's amazing how a reunion atmosphere can bridge that time gap and, in just a few seconds, it's like we've always been best friends forever. I think that some people may feel that they've completely lost touch with their high school friends and yet all it really takes to reconnect is a few hours at a reunion to reestablish these friendships. To me, that certainly seems like time well spent.

I was playing around with the spreadsheet I use to keep track of everyone and found that we had a higher attendance at this reunion than at the last one. We also had the greatest number of people returning from far away places. It seemed as if the number of spouses/guests declined a little with about 25% of us opting to bring along a guest this time. Perhaps it's an indication of how busy you know that you'll be talking with other classmates.

Here are some statistical observations about our graduating class, which had 176 members:

104 have made it to at least one reunion

And of those 104:

61 have made it to one reunion
24 have made it to two reunions
19 have made it to all three reunions

Number of Classmates attending reunions:

66 in 1988
49 in 2002
51 in 2007

It's not unusual for reunion attendance to drop off with time, so this increase in the attendance is something to celebrate. I'm not implying that attendance numbers are the only indicator of a reunion's success. I've just noticed that it's easy to talk oneself out of attending or procrastinate until it's too late. It usually only takes a little encouragement to move someone off the fence who's having mixed feelings about attending. Whenever I've done this, the person ended up thanking me afterwards.

I have the reunion pictures posted here. It requires the username/password which I generally send out in our emails. If you don't have it, please email me for it. In looking through them I realized that, although not everyone was there in person, many were there in spirit because we had the senior pictures cycling on a projector in the background so even if you were not there, you may still see yourself in a photo or two so please check them out.

If anyone who has any digital photos that they did not give to Bruce Cottle to copy at the reunion, please send them to me and I'll post more photos as I get them. Also, for those of you who are in the area, you can pick up a CD with these reunion photos at Mark Hession's White House Diner.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Reunion Recap from Michael Kinney

Here's a message from Michael:

OK, the reunion has been over for three days. I just felt like I should share my feelings about the entire process from beginning to end. First, I was able to make some new friendships with the members of our Committee. Second, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I must say I was honored that so many of you took the time out of your lives to attend. To see friends from Germany, California, Colorado, Rhode Island, Dallas, Harrisburg, Kingston, Virginia and everywhere else, made the weekend extremely special. You all attended this past weekend with 3 1/2 months notice! Thank you.

Seeing so many of my Classmates, some I haven't seen in 30 years, smiling and enjoying the company of our other Classmates, made every minute of planning, doubting, and tracking down fellow Classmates worth it. My only regret was, and still is, not finding the final four on my "Lost Souls" list.

I had many moments of doubt that we would have a reunion. Could we pull it off? Were we rushing too fast? Jay Tobias planted a seed in my head when he emailed me saying, "If only 10 people show up , they're the 10 I want to be with. They are the 10 that want to be there." Jay, 39 of our Classmates attended the Icebreaker hosted by Mark Hession. Fifty-one of our Classmates attended the Reunion. They all wanted to be there and were!

My hat's off to Mark Hession for all of his hard work and effort in hosting us. I still don't understand the magnitude of his undertaking, but Mark , you showed us you're an excellent cook and host! Thank you.

I heard someone remark after the Icebreaker that we didn't need a reunion on Saturday night because of the wonderful time they had. I had to comment that some of you couldn't make it into town for the Icebreaker and should be given the opportunity to share in the fun on Saturday.

I remember two phone calls on Friday. The first was early at Mark's for breakfast, Dave Serhan called and said he was in the airport at San Diego ready to board his plane, in less than 12 hours, he was with us at Mark's. The other phone call was to Chuck from Pat Balester in Missouri telling him he was at the airport ready to board and he was arriving at Midnight! Those two calls made Jay's words sprout in my head.

I apologize for running so long, but that's what I do.

I am assuming by the laughter and smiles I heard and saw both nights, that everyone had fun.

My second regret was not spending more time with everyone of you. Those I did spend the extra time with, thank you, you made my weekend.

I will admit I called three of you by the wrong name, but I'll just use the age card and leave it at that.

Again, thank you for attending, taking the time, and leaving me with great memories!

To our Committee, thank you again, a thousand thank yous would not, and could not, be enough.

Michael Kinney

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Few Thoughts...

What can I say??? How absolutely FANTASTIC was this weekend??? Let me give a few suggestions as to why...

1) I saw my dear friends Joe Ziller, Dave Serhan, and Bob Wanat.
2) I saw my pee wee football buddies, Sandy Scalzo, John Simonitis, Rick Leandri, Rick Atcavage,
3) Paul, Joey, Mary, and Kim. Can I really find the words???
4) Sue (The Shark) Klecha, my pool partner as long as she does me the honor...
5) The comittee... Mike, Paul, Chuck, Karen, Bev, Maryellen, Arlene, et al...
6) Lee... You are absolutely the MAN!!!

I consider myself the luckiest person to have been associated with all of you folks in our class. We WERE and ARE truly special!! I have never felt such a closeness with anyone as I have (and dare say, always will) with all of you. I wish that I could list everyone, because I remember something about every one of you. Ask anyone who sat at my table. They will vouch for me. I hope to see you all at the next reunion, if not at our birthday bash.

My next project is to go down the class list and publish a memory of each of you. (Robin already knows ours!)

Until then, I will try to keep bloggong and letting you know I'm out there.

I guess that my closing thought would be:

1) If you came, I loved seeing you and hope to see you again. And God watch over you all until we're together again.
2) If you couldn't make and wanted to, we truly missed you and hope to see you again soon.
3) If you decided not to come, we TRULY missed you and hope that you will give us another chance to make you feel welcome. Please let us know how we can possibly right any wrong that you fell may have been done.

I remember a time when the halls of O'Reilly rang with joyful sounds and the spirit of fellowship. Our time together here is way too short... Let's make the most of it..

I remain your friend, as always...