East High Class of “56"                                                                  NewsLink        

                 December, 1997 



Shirley (Grant) Robinette said Don Biddle stopped in at Roosevelt and talked with her for a while. Don wanted to thank Shirley for the Class reunion book she had sent to him. Don had lost his son previous to the reunion, and wasn’t socializing to much. Shirley stated that Don appeared a little more upbeat now. Maybe we can get Don to attend a dinner get together in the near future. We would like to see you Don!


Change of address for Georgia (Vergos) Larson. Georgia informs us that due to her husbands job they moved in May. Her new address is 2801 - Brook Ridge Court S.

Waukesha, Wi. 53188. Georgia had lived in Jackson, Tn. Thank you Georgia for keeping us informed. We hope others will do likewise.


Janeene (Miller) Carlise and Hazel (Harmon) Crocker ran into Denny Ross at the Happy Chef in Ankeny. Denny was back for his mother’s funeral. Sorry about the loss of your mother Denny.


Hazel (Harmon) Crocker and her husband Dean, both retired since June of 97 have purchased a winter home in Lady Lake, Florida. They plan on spending their winter months away from our Iowa weather. Congratulations to you Hazel and Dean. Hope you enjoy your retirement.


Jannene Carlise and her husband Larry spent some time with Barbara (Evans) Priest and her husband Gary this fall at the Priest’s summer cottage on Rangeley Lake in the western mountains of Maine. Jeaneene had some very beautiful fall foliage pictures from the area.


In November, Tom and Roberta Abbott went to Orlando, Florida with one of their daughters, Kelli and her husband Dan and their two grandchildren. They say they had a wonderful time with their grandchildren taking in Disney World which includes  the Epcot Center, Magic Kingdom, and MGM.


Pat (Jones) Mondike and her husband go deer and antelope hunting every year in either Montana or Wyoming. Pat enclosed a picture of her from a recent hunt in Wyoming with a trophy antelope that she hunted together with a short description of the hunt.


“On the afternoon prior to the hunt, we glassed the area and spotted many antelope ranging the butte’s  in large herds. On the following day we entered our hunt area at dawn and traversed the hills and valleys. I spotted my antelope at about 500 yards but could not get close enough for a shot. After several days I spotted him again grazing in high grass and began my stalk. When within 150 yards I shot my buck. My antelope is entered in the Safari Club International Record Book of Trophy Animals with a score of 84 4/8. We always take the meat home with us and eat what we hunt. We have also donated meat to various programs for the hungry.”






George and Martha Clark were in Des Moines in July to see George’s sister. They also spent a day with Larry and Margaret Fogelson. The Clark’s have lived in Mesa, Az. for approximately 18 years where George is a pharmacist. Previous to Mesa, they have lived in Taos, NM- Albuquerque, NM, and Denver, Co. after leaving Des Moines. They have purchased a lot near Show Low, AZ. where they plan to build a house hopefully in 1998. George plans to retire and move up there and try for part time pharmacy work in the area.


Jeaneene Carlise sent me a picture of her with her 25# Lake Trout catch on Lake Michigan at Sheboygen, Wi.














Larry and Margaret Fogelson celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary four months early this year by taking a Interior Passage Cruise in Alaska. We flew to Anchorage, bussed to Seward where we boarded the ship and started our cruise. Our first port was Sitka where we took a seaplane ride over the mountains, snow fields and glacier. We landed briefly on remote Blue Lake in the Mountains.

Other ports of call that we stopped at were Skagway, (where we rode the White Pass RR up through the same mountain trail  that prospectors trudged up in the late 1800's to start their 600 mile trek to the Klondike gold fields) Juneau, and Ketchikan. We had a great time. We plan to drive to Mesa, Az. in February , spend the month, and while we’re there, fly to LA to see our daughter for a few days. 








Shirley and Ray (Bud) Robinette are planning a January Caribbean cruise with a group of people from the Des Moines Elks Lodge, which includes Bucky Vaughan.


Nancy Rai Miller has had a booklet of Poetry published titled “Out of My Everlovin Mind”. She has dedicated the book to the memory of Miss Marie Engleen, one of her English teachers at East High. Nancy states that Miss Engleen taught her how poetry should be read. I have copied a short poem from her book to share with you, called the “Statues of the Desert”. It is about the Saguaro Cactus in Arizona. Having been there and seen them, I could identify with this poem.


The saguaro, twisted arms outstretched 

          beneath the desert sky,

abundantly growing from rocky floor to

         mountaintop so high;

     a home to the little cactus wren,

  and other creatures small, these living

statues sometimes grow to be so very tall.

      When outlined in the setting sun,

         they form a staggered line,

each one an individual and separate in design


Most of the poems in Nancy’s book were written from her experiences, or as dedications to friends, family and acquaintances. Congratulations Nancy, very well done. I would like to thank Jeaneene Carlise (Nancy’s cousin) for sharing it with me.  


The following is a excerpt from an E-mail from Tom Lettington to Tom Abbott.


So here’s my life story:

After the four years at Iowa State in NROTC, Kay and I were married and I left on the first of many 6 month cruises to the Western Pacific nine days later. When I returned, we finished what was left of a three year tour in Hawaii, where Paige (1961) and Drew (1963) were born.

The Navy flip-flopped me back and forth across the country with sea duty on the west coast and shore duty on the east coast until I retired in 1981. They gave me a chance at a graduate educations, and I took a Computer Systems MS program-smart move. They also sent me to Navy War College and a National Defense University back east. Experience tours prepared me for my second career after retirement. At sea I drove destroyers, and finished as Commanding Officer of USS Bradley. I was able to see a good deal of the Pacific rim including a year in Saigon, Vietnam during that fiasco in 1965-66. In 1967 we had Kristen.

After the Navy I went into the computer and networking field as a defense contractor and worked into the commercial end of things gradually. I become co-founder of ATMnet two years ago, and we are now up to 40 employee and $4M annual revenue as an Internet/Intranet integrated communications services provider.

Our motorcycles gather rust and dust from serious disuse! We (but especially Kay) enjoy bicycles more these days. Kay has done Ragbrai three times and I drove support and did parties the last time.

Retirement is planned to start January 1, 2000. Why not start off the new millennium the right way.


Fifty years in Coaching

When Bob Savage talks about his 50 years of coaching, he refuses to discuss one subject - the future.

   “Don’t ask me when I’m going to retire, ”

 said Savage, East’s softball coach who began coaching Scarlets’teams in 1951. “I just don’t know if I’ll ever make up my mind. That’s all I’ve ever done, is coach and play athletics.”

   Savage, who was inducted into the Iowa Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1969, began his coaching career at Eagle Grove Junior College in 1947. He switched to Eagle Grove High School in 1948.

   Three years later, Savage was persuaded by his wife, Ruth, a graduate of North, to take the football and baseball positions at East.

   Coach Savage had immediate success. The 1951 football team went 8-0 for the first time since 1920.

   “I respected (Savage ) as a coach and a person,” said Jack Terrell, a fullback on the 51 team. “It was fun to play, and nice to win each week.”

   Savage coached East football through the 1968 season, compiling a 102-39-6 record. The Scarlets won 11 city championships and were ranked in the top 10 in the state 12 times, finishing the season No. 2 in the Associated Press poll in 1955 and 1956.

   “If there’s ever a mentor, he’s the guy, said Dic Youngs, a quarterback at East in 1958 and 1959, who is a disc jockey for a Des Moines radio station. “He would slap you on the helmet if you would mess up, but 5 minutes later, he would put his arm around you and say, you’re the best I’ve ever had.” 

   Savage also had a 192-86 record as the baseball coach.

   Despite his accomplishments, Savage resigned both posts in 1969. “Football is a very hard job to stay with too long, “ Savage said. “I was just drained to be honest. I just wanted to relax, I just took it to hard I guess.”

   In 1972 Savage helped start East’s softball program, and served several years as an assistant coach.

   Savage was the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union softball coach of the year in 1994 after guiding the Scarlets to a runner-up finish at the state Class 3-A tournament.

    Savage has a 380-153 record as a softball coach, but admits he has mellowed. “I’ll accept things now a little more than I used to,” Savage said.

   Savage played softball in the 40's and 50's, and was inducted into the Iowa ASA hall of fame. The softball complex at East in named in Savage’s honor.

   “He probably had the biggest impact on my life,” said Liz Beckman-Frey, an East player from 1986 through 1990 and current assistant coach. “He  kept me on the right path and always had words of wisdom.”

   Savage has had by-pass surgery in 1986, an aneurysm in 1988, hip replacement in 1994, and a knee replacement in 1996, but none of these has limited his playing golf nearly every day during the summer.

   Savage is also the ASA commissioner for the Des Moines area.

East vs. Waukee: Gulf of Education

Exerpts from a Register editorial by Lovell Beaulieu.

   At the top of the stairs at the main building at East High School, the pivot points of nearly a century of student foot traffic are marked by small dents in the top step’s surface. Since 1911 when East was built, thousands of students have make that same turn . They have literally walked a hole in the ground

   About 15 miles west, students at Waukee High School took their first steps inside the new, state-of-the-art high school. The shiny new terrazzo floor seems well-suited for the 400 students enrolled there this year. (Waukee HS can accommodate 1600 students) At East 1,837 students are walking the halls.

   Many argue that buildings don’t make the school. Good teachers, students eager to learn and involved parents are the essentials of a good education. Maybe no school administrator will challenge that, but few dispute that an air-conditioned, computer-equipped building is more learner-friendly then one with no air-conditioning and small classrooms.

   “There isn’t any question in my mind that the physical environment has an impact on the learning environment” said Jerry Stillwell, principal of East. At East, 12 classrooms are too small, and teachers of math and English often can’t move around the class to work with students. East isn’t scheduled to get wired for the information superhighway until 1999.

   In the Gulf of Education, Waukee’s $10 million dollar High School sails like a nuclear submarine while East is more the time-tested battleship.

   In fairness to Waukee, they only want the best for their children, and are willing to tax themselves for it. The unfairness is that not every school child in Iowa, and in most places in the United States has the same option.

   In fairness to East, their teachers and administrators work just as hard and are just as talented as their suburban counterparts. East students are just as achievement -minded and studious as those a Waukee. And in a funny sort of way, they like the old school building.

   It’s time to open the ballast tanks of education funding so that all school districts can afford a nuclear sub.



Consider the Changes we have Witnessed!!


We were born before television, before penicillin, before polio shots, frozen food, Xerox, plastic, contact lenses, Frisbees and the Pill. We were before credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ballpoint pens. Before pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip-dry clothes.....and before man walked on the moon.


We got married first and then lived together.

How quaint can you be? In our time, closets were for hanging clothes in, not for “coming out of”. Bunnies were small rabbits, and rabbits were not Volkswagens. Designer Jeans were scheming girls named Jean, not $80 Levi’s, and having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with our cousins.


We thought fast food was what you ate during lent, and Outer Space was the back of the Ideal Theater. We were born before house husbands, gay rights, computer dating, dual careers and commuter marriages. We were before day-care centers, group therapy and nursing homes. We never heard of FM radio, tapedecks, electronic typewriters, artificial hearts, word processors, yogurt and guys wearing earrings. For us, time sharing meant togetherness.....not computers or condominiums. A chip meant a piece of wood. Hardware meant hardware, and software wasn’t even a word.


Back then, “Made in Japan” not only meant junk but was fighting words because of the War. We thought the term ”make out” referred to how you did on your exam. Pizza, McDonalds and instant coffees were unheard of. We hit the scene where there were 5 and 10 cent stores, where you could actually buy things for a nickel or a dime.

Reeds or A&C sold ice cream cones for a nickel a dip. For a nickel you could ride a street car, make a phone call, buy a Pepsi or enough stamps to mail one letter and two postcards. You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600....but who could afford one?

A pity too, because gas was 11 cents a gallon.


In our day, grass was mowed, not smoked, Coke was a cold drink to quench your thirst, not something to be snorted, and Pot was something you cooked in. Rock Music was a Grandma’s lullaby, and Aids were helpers in the Principal’s office. We were certainly not before the differences between the sexes was discovered, but we were surely before the sex change. We made do with what we had, and we were the last generation that was so dumb as to think you needed a husband to have a baby.


No wonder we are so confused and there is such a generation gap today.


At a impromptu meeting of the committee at the Happy Chef in Ankeny, the committee voted to donate $250.00 to the East Band

Booster Club to be used toward uniform purchase, and $250.00 to go to help in the  purchase of Boys’s basketball uniforms. The donation will be made on behalf of the Class of 56.


We will probably have our next dinner get-to

gether in March.


The next NewsLink will be in the summer, probably June of 1998. It will only be done on an annual basis from then on. So send me (Larry Fogelson - 3121 Twana Dr.-Des Moines, Iowa - 50310)  information for the next newsletter.


Larry Soloman gave me a $10.00 donation recently to help defray expenses for the cost of the newsletter. Several others have also made donations. It is our intent to mail the news letter to everyone starting next June in an effort to keep in touch as much as possible before the next reunion..


We could use donations to help defray the cost for envelopes, labels, printing, and stamps. Any thing you care to send will be greatly appreciated. Any carry over of funds will be saved and used as “seed money” for a start up fund for the next reunion.


Send your donations to:

Shirley Robinette

812 E. 22nd Court

Des Moines, Iowa 50317


My Sincerest Wishes for Everyone to have a very Happy and Prosperous Holiday Season and New Year.