Do you find ever yourself asking the question, "Gee, I wonder whatever happened to ______?" I wonder about different people from my past all the time. For some, I've tried Googleing their name. For others, I've tried Facebook. Often, I come up empty. What if I put together a page with their names on it? Perhaps someone will stumble across this page and know something about some of these people or places.
But as I worked on this project it evolved into a bit of an autobiography. I have been amazed at how much I have forgotten. Pondering these people and places has brought many things to mind that I have not thought of in many years as names and experiences that have been stored in seemingly unaccessible places in my brain have come to the fore.
If anyone out there in cyberspace knows any of these people or places, please send me an email at TB@USA.Com.
For clarification, I'm not a cyber-stalker or nutcase. I have always had a fascination with history, particularly my own. I also genuinely care about people and want to know how my friends, some of them very good friends, have fared after the passing of so many years. In the cases where these have been female friends, or past girlfriends, my motives, if I have any, are pure. I am a happily married Christian man and my dear wife, as they say, knows all!
Most Wanted List
|If you know the whereabouts of James Kaminsky please contact me TB@USA.Com.|
The early years in New York . . . (1963 to 1974)
Bowmansville Elementary School (Bowmansville, NY) and Sky Harbor Trailer Park in Cheektowaga, NY.
After my parents married they moved into a tiny steel-sided trailer at 28 Anna Marie Terrace in the Sky Harbor trailer park, off of Genesee St. in Cheektowaga. When I was about five they purchased an aluminum sided 12' wide mobile home that was kept in great shape until the elderly woman that lived there passed away (around 2000). It then changed hands several times and began to fall apart. From approx. 2006 to 20011 it was vacant. Late summer of that year, on the way back from a motorcycle trip to visit my aunt, I was saddened to see the lot empty. I spent an hour thinking and poking around the stones that had been the foundation for my childhood home for so many years. An older gal, Frances Schick, came to see what I was doing. She told me that the old trailer had been demolished on the spot a few months before. ( I would have given $$ for the single pane of glass on my old bedroom window that still had stickers I had placed there almost 40 years before representing the Buffalo Braves Basketball team, now the L.A. Clippers, and the NHL's Buffalo Sabres.) As we chatted we discovered that her daughter, Cheryl, had been one of my babysitters!
I vividly remember many of the friends and families who lived there: Elmer and Betty Luvender (their son, Jimmy died around age 50 a few years back), Bill Mumm, Tom and Mary Trent on Tammy Lane (daughter Corinne and son, John).
My childhood friends who lived there included Jay Bowers (who relentlessly picked on me) and David Musella. Jay's mom still lives in the same mobile home they moved into in the early 1970s. David, I believe, is on Facebook.
I went to Bowmansville Elementary School from 1968 or so until 1974 when we moved to AZ in the middle of my sixth grade year. Unfortunately, the school which was on Genesee St., no longer exists. I would love to know what happened to some of my teachers such as Miss Nicholas (kindergarten), Mrs. Fogerty (first grade), Mrs. Marcus (second grade), Mrs. Johnson (third grade), Mrs. Bloomquist (fourth grade), and Mr. Vince Tibollo (sixth grade). As for Mr. Tibollo, I recall him declaring to the entire class (after I had smarted off) "Tony, you have more crust than a loaf of bread!" When I invented and used a paper hand to ease the strain of keeping my arm raised while I waited for Mr. Tibollo to call on me, he said, "Tony, what is that??!!" When I told him, he was so amused that he pulled me out of class and took me across the hall to the other sixth grade class whereupon he interrupted both to show the other teacher what I had done!
Success! I've since had a few email exchanges with Mr. Tibollo who still lives in the Buffalo area.
I had lots of friends at Bowmansville Elementary who I wonder about. My best friend was perhaps Mark Latzer whom we affectionately called "Bozo" due to his wild hair. Mark lived with his family (sister, Terran) on Genesee St. Whenever I would visit the Buffalo area I would stop by Mark's old house, which had been abandoned. Sometime around 1998 we came into town and I was amazed to see that it had been torn down. There was no longer any hint that a house had ever stood there. I did hear from one of Mark's brothers a few years ago. He left me Mark's contact information but I lost it when the drive on my computer crashed. So if one of you come across this page again, please resend the info.
Paul Batt was another good friend. I believe he lived on Sugg Rd. Others whom I remember included: Jimmy Guido; Daniel Powell; Suzette Andres; David Hutter; Michael Marinelli; Cecilia Piggles; Francine Geyer; Virginia Stephenson. I pulled out a box of old letters recently and found some that were written to me by my sixth-grade classmates Rick Anna and David Schultz. I had learned that another friend from Bowmansville, Mark Phillips, had passed away years ago in a motorcycle accident.
I would love to hear from anyone who attended Bowmansville Elementary School or who knows anything about those that taught there.
Success! In the summer of 2006 I was pleased to find Thom Little who now lives in Oregon. His sister, Jayne (whom I also went to school with), runs a deli in Akron, NY. We stop by to say hello whenever we are in the area (she has the best breakfast sandwiches I've ever had).
In November, 2006, I received an email from Suzette Andres who found my page by doing a Google search of her name on my website (exactly what I had hoped would happen when designing this page). She sent me a wonderful email, an edited text of which can be read HERE. Sadly, I wrote back to Suzette twice, but never received a response. Did my emails not make it past her spam filter? Was there some other reason why she didn't reply? Hopefully, she will read this sometime and let me know.
Meanwhile, my dad worked for Kleenware (now defunct) and then started his own business, a small take out pizzeria called Pizza-A-Go-Go (located on Fillmore Ave. in Buffalo). Today the building is gone having been destroyed by fire sometime around 2001.
From my early childhood I often wonder about the Halla family. John Halla owned and operated a TV repair business (A to Z TV). He had a wife, Betty, and two sons, John and Bobby. Last I knew, they had divorced, John had died, and Betty moved to FL.
The early years in Arizona . . . (1974 to 1977)
Chaparral Mobile Village and Gilliland Junior High School, Tempe, AZ.
In 1974 we moved from a trailer park in NY to another one in AZ: Chaparral Mobile Village. My first friend there was a rather bookwormish-looking boy named Ben Dempsey whose family came from Grand Junction, CO. (Duke McDonald was another early friend that I was happy to see at our THS 30 year reunion)
These years were the most disoriented of my life. It was at this time that I began to use drugs and get into trouble (fortunately, nothing too serious). Some of my partners in crime were:
- Jeff Vance. Jeff's family moved to AZ from OH.
- Jim Brunner and Mike Brunner. Their family came from WI. I was introduced to motorcycle riding through them.
- Rob Weick. His dad was a printer and his mom worked for Dunkin Donuts. He had a brother named Steven Weick and a sister Jill.
- Tisha Morgan and her little brother Billy Morgan. They lived in a cul de sac toward the middle of the park and their parents drove a green Buick Riviera. If I remember right, Tisha and a friend called me on the telephone shortly after I got married. Sadly, I recently learned that Tisha had passed away.
- Juanita Ward. I believe she went by the nickname "Nina."
- Robin Burke. Robin had a brother with long blonde hair. I think his name was Richard Burke. I think she also had a sister named Michelle Burke. Both Robin and Juanita were in eighth grade when I was in sixth. Both thought I was a cute kid (if they could see me now!).
- Alice Rico. Alice had an older brother whose name I cannot remember. I do remember that he drove a mid-70s Ford Ranchero.
- Kathy Miller. Kathy lived toward the front of the park. She had a younger sister, Dianne. The double-wide she lived in was hit by a careless teenage driver while speeding around a corner. He was driving a little Chevrolet Chevette and hit the mobile home so hard that he knocked it off its blocks leaving the car wedged part way underneath with its back wheels about three feet in the air!
Success! I received an email from Kathy in June, 2012. She saw this page while looking for someone else and contacted me. I've since been in contact with her parents and her sister, Dianne.
- Kim Craig. Kim lived with her mother one street up from us.
- Renee Hill and Rochelle Hill. They were sisters about a year apart in age. Rochelle had a baby sometime around her eighth grade year.
- Tim Rondot. Tim's dad was the park manager. Tim had an older brother, Terry, as well as a sister.
- Debbie Pierce. Debbie lived near the side entrance to the park off Kyrene Rd.
- Jeff Lavender and Zella Lavender. Jeff could be quite a bully. He had a little Harley Davidson 90 cc dirt bike. Zella was the first girl I ever kissed (in the sixth grade)! Their dad was a trucker who parked his tractor by their home adjacent to the clubhouse.
- Johnny Ancich and Mario Ancich. They lived right next door to Rob Weick. Both were blond-haired, muscular California types. Johnny went on after high school to compete in olympic lifting. Mario became a Phoenix police officer.
* A few of these old friends have been discovered via Facebook. In fact, there's a Facebook page devoted to the old clan at the Chaparral Mobile Village.
The High School years . . . (1978 to 1981)
Tempe High School.
Success! I finally made contact with Vern, as well as his parents. I hope to be able to visit with them in conjunction with a future trip to Arizona.
Success! In 2007 I was contacted by a friend (or relative) of Anthony Cruz who told me that he works in a gym in Tempe, AZ. She said that she had told him about my webpage and gave me some contact information. Sadly, I lost the information in a computer crash. So if you are still out there, let me know!
Success! I found Ruben through his dear wife, Emma. I even had a phone conversation with him, which was a blast. He still lives in S.A. and I hope to stay in touch with him.
May, 2012 Update: I was going through some old cards and letters that I've saved through the years. I found a bunch of letters that I received from Teresa over the course of a year after she moved back to NY. I was shocked when I saw the return address: 92 Hollybrook Rd., Brockport, NY. Who would have though that I'd move to Brockport 20 years after she wrote me these letters. All I could piece together as I read through them was that she must have gone to Brockport High School, lived with her grandparents, and her dad was also in the area.
June, 2012 Update: This gets more and more amazing. I just had to figure out what had become of Teresa. I did a little detective work, searching public records, etc. I discovered that she had graduated from Brockport High School in 1984. One of the reunion websites also gave what I would later learn was her married name. After pulling some more pieces together I was dumbfounded to discover a match for a residence right around the corner! On a Monday I decided to take a motorcycle ride down the street, one that I've ridden down many times before. Approaching the house, I saw two men in the driveway. As I went past the house I saw a woman in the yard who certainly looked like Teresa. I turned the corner and pulled to the side wondering what to do next. I didn't want to come across like some sort of weirdo or stalker. Throwing caution to the wind I decided to go back. Turning the corner the three of them were walking down the street. I pulled over, flipped up my visor (they all seemed friendly) and asked, "Is your name Teresa?" With a puzzled look she replied, "yeah." Bingo! You can just imagine how shocked she was, not to mention her husband and (grown) son when I began to fill in the blanks. I'm still totally blown away by this providential discovery.
Success! A friend of Coach Cook's saw this page and contacted me with Coach's information. We have since become fast friends and I hook up with him every time I'm out in Arizona. (The first time we met after all those years we sat in a Denny's restaurant and talked and drank coffee for nine hours!)
The early employment years . . . (1981 to 1988)
Kentucky Fried Chicken (Tempe and Chandler, AZ), Redman Homes (Chandler, AZ), and Naturalizer Shoes at Fiesta Mall in Mesa, AZ.
When I was 15 I lied about my age to gain employment at the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Tempe on Mill Ave (no longer in there). The manager's name was Mike Shelby and he drove a mid-70s Toyota Celica. He once scolded me for something and I showed my displeasure by less-than-gently cleaning up a mess I had made. His response? "Tony, clock out and go home." I met with him a few days later and he told me I had an attitude problem. Fortunately, I didn't get fired. Some other managers I remember were Allen Lessard (a young guy with curly dark blonde hair; I might have the last name wrong) and another guy whose name escapes me. He was of a pale complexion with a small build and I remember he had a bad accident with a circular saw in his garage and nearly severed his upper thigh. Some of my co-workers were Mike Brunner (who once made "dishwater extra-crispy chicken" for a customer at closing time) and Vern Barlow (I have a great Vern story that is legendary). Then there's Lisa whom I took to my junior prom (she lived on Citation in Tempe and was a cheerleader at Corona Del Sol High School), Karen whose last name I also cannot remember and a gal named Susan who was the splitting image of Lisa Welchel on the Facts of Life. I'm sure I can remember more so I'll have to keep jogging my memory.
After high school I worked for a year or so at the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Arizona Ave. in Chandler. It's there that I met my dear friend to this day, Francis Martin.
My first "real job" was at the Redman Homes mobile home plant on Ray Rd. in Chandler. This plant has been closed for some time now. I started as a parts man and general gopher doing anything from filling orders to unloading the insulation truck. I was later promoted to quality control and worked on the final finish line. Gary Cooper was the other quality control inspector and later became head of the department. There are lots of folks that I wonder about who worked with me there. Leon Wood and Larry Mcguire worked Q.C. before Gary and I did. I really wish I could connect with Larry as I thought he became a Christian, perhaps through my influence. Ted Bush was plant manager and John Donahue was the big boss over everything. Alvin Wennes and his brother (Joe was it?) worked in purchasing. Alvin was the first atheist I ever met and I ribbed him more about his atheism than he did about my Christianity! I wonder whatever happened to some of the foremen I worked with there? Tom Bordick? Marvin? Others?
Sometime around 1985 I was laid off from Redman Homes and tried my hand at selling manufactured homes rather than inspecting them. I worked on total commission for Major Discount Homes, a division of Phoenix Mobile Homes, on Signal Butte and Apache Trail in East Mesa. This sales lot is also long gone. I wish I could remember the lot manager's name. I think it was Johnny. Nevertheless, he was a seasoned salesman who smoked cigars. His favorite saying was, "Buyers are liars!" This career choice didn't last more than a few month as I tired of driving all the way from Chandler while making very little money. I tried my hand at selling security systems. That didn't work. I even briefly worked at a full service gas station pumping gas and changing oil. I was there about 3 months and the station closed.
Then a friend got me a job at Naturalizer Shoes at Fiesta Mall in Mesa, AZ. I worked there for about five years under a manager named Chip Berkman. I wish I knew what happened to Chip and I would love to see him again. I also worked with some career salesmen: Bob Dysart and Harry Hum. Harry could sell shoes to a double amputee, he was that good. He moved to San Francisco before Lois and I married and when we stopped there on our honeymoon Harry showed us around town. He even bought us a Chinese tea set that we have to this day. I lost touch with Bob, but I do remember seeing his name on our caller I.D. right after I was on the local news for trying to save a drowning victim. If I remember right, that was early in the year 2000. Kathy Wessel was a really nice gal who worked nights.
Success! Chip Berkman's brother contacted me and gave me Chip's Email address. I wrote Chip once or twice. I lost his contact information in a computer hard drive crash, but have been blessed to reconnect with him on Facebook.
The early Christian years . . . (1981 to 1988)
So many of my recollections of this time in my life center around the college and career group at Grace Community Church in Tempe, AZ. This is where I eventually met my wife, Lois, through her two brothers, John and Jim. There were other good friends that I've lost touch with. As I've dusted off those old letters there are three gals that come to mind:
- Mary Moore. Mary was a dear friend who was a great encouragement to me.
- Shauna Sawyer. Shauna was a gal that I courted for a brief time.
- Christi R. Anderson. Christi was another friend that I often wonder about. She had a little boy named "Mitchell" that we used to call "Curley" (after the Three Stooges). I remember that Christi for a time lived in the Sunshine Village mobile home park on S. Arizona Ave. in Chandler. She also went on a mission trip to Kenya in 1984.
The College Years . . . (1988 to 1993)
Southwestern College, Phoenix, AZ.
In 1998 I enrolled at Southwestern College in Phoenix, AZ. I continued to work at Naturalizer until 1993 when my dad set me up in a part time swimming pool maintenance business. I was an older student than most, about 25, and had more friends among the faculty than I did the student body. Plus, I lived at home rather than on campus so I never really felt a part of things.
I met fellow student Roy Montez while at Southwestern. Roy traveled all the way from Casa Grande to go to school while at the same time co-pastoring a Latino church with his dad. I wish I knew how to get in contact with Roy.
Dr. Phil Schafran taught me Greek and Hebrew. We had lots of good talks and it was he who was responsible for my getting a special award as "outstanding student in biblical studies" my senior year. Joel Wilson was another prof that I liked. Joel sold me my first computer, an IBM XT clone with something like a 30 meg hard drive and a color EGA monitor. It was mine for $1500.00!
Success! In 2009 a friend of Dr. Phil Schafran saw this page and told Phil about it. Phil sent me an Email and we've been in touch. Phil now lives in the Vancouver area where he is involved in a ministry there.
If you among those listed below, or know any of these, please send me an email at TB@USA.Com.
free hit counters
counter set 7.25.09