This is a slightly abridged version of the Email I received from Suzette Andres on November 13, 2006. I have removed a few personal references to others to protect their confidentiality. I trust that Suzette would not object to my having published her post here.
What an absolute surprise to find your "Whatever happened to..." posting on the web! I've never Googled myself before today and was just bored and looking for something to do when I stumbled on your site. I remember you as one of my very first friends and one of the people who first gave me an appreciation for what a great sense of humor was. I see you mentioned the infamous "paper hand" incident of 6th grade. I know there are many more classic Bartolucci moments...for myself, I will always remember you telling me your birthday was Feb 2nd and then making a hysterical rodent face to indicate Groundhog's Day.
Do you know that every year I think of you on that day and have wondered where you are and what your life turned out to be? I even mentioned you to my girls as someone who was my good friend when I was their age. . . .
I gathered from what I read that you ended up being a pastor? I bet you preach a terrific sermon. No one could make me laugh like you used to and I remember getting into a lot of trouble trying to stifle myself once you got us all going. As for updates on any other Bowmansville alum, I've only stumbled across Mrs. Johnson (3rd grade) at a Garden Club meeting and she looks just the same. . . .
I think our Bowmansville group had a special bond of some sort. I think of all of them so fondly even after all these years. . . . In moving back here to WNY . . . I'm hoping to be able to give our girls the kind of grade school experience I had. You and the others there like Tom Little, Celia Pagels, Francine Geyer, Theresa DiGiacomo, etc...were some of the best friends I've had. We accepted and loved each other totally without worrying about things that didn't matter back then. If you ever want to reminisce about the good ole days at Bowmansville please email me back some time. I'm just so happy to know you're out there successful and hopefully living a wonderful life.
Here is my unanswered reply to her Email. Again, I have abridged certain portions for the sake of confidentiality.
I'm tickled that my idea of putting up a webpage so that people could find themselves on it (and thereby me) has worked. You are the first success story! Thanks so much for writing and filling me in!
I see you mentioned the infamous "paper hand" incident of 6th grade. I know there are many more classic Bartolucci moments...for myself, I will always remember you telling me your birthday was Feb 2nd and then making a hysterical rodent face to indicate Groundhog's Day. Do you know that every year I think of you on that day and have wondered where you are and what your life turned out to be? I even mentioned you to my girls as someone who was my good friend when I was their age.
Ya know, I was telling my wife, Lois, that my memories of Bowmansville Elementary are among my most precious in life. We had a group of little friends that started together in Kindergarten and went on through the classes to sixth grade together. It was a small school and we were a tight group, along with the faculty.
I, along with my wife, am surprised that folks like you remember me so well. I didn't realize I had that great of a sense of humor! God has blessed me with a profound memory of my early childhood and I remember so many people and events from about the age of 2 on. I clearly remember you (and as I told my wife, "Suzette was this tiny cute girl with curly blond hair"). It's so cool that you remember the paper hand. Tom Little (see below) remembered it also! Yeah, and I've told lots of folks about the groundhog impersonation, which I still do on occassion!
As for my sense of humor, the move from NY to AZ in the middle of our sixth grade year was traumatic. My parents were having marital problems; my mom became an alcoholic; I was in the earlier stages of what would be a long-battle with panic attacks and depression; the middle school I went right into was rough (my first week there a kid punched me in the mouth because I wouldn't give him my lunch money); puberty set in, I got ugly and became extremely introverted and self-conscious; and I started hanging around the wrong folks and, among other things, began smoking pot. My middle school years were among the worst of my life. God blessed, however, and my dad came to faith in Christ, then me (right after High School), and then my mom. As for my folks, I believe this saved their marriage (and my mom from her alcoholism).
As for me, I had a "bad trip" on some pot my Freshman year of High School and never smoked it again. I turned to sports and weightlifting (as you may have seen from my website). I still dabble in powerlifting and hold the local gym record in the squat.
In 1987 I decided to go back to school with the goal of teaching in a college or seminary, but felt God calling me to preach. I followed my B.S. with an M.A. and am slowly working on my doctorate in "Christian Intellectual Thought."
Lois and I married in 1989 (after dating for 5 years!) and we had, finally, our first and only child, Giana, in 2002. So we can relate to the "older parents" thing. I love it, though, and I think it keeps me feeling young(er).
Meanwhile, the older I get the more extroverted I get (and more of that strange sense of humor comes out).
Congratulations on being and staying married! It was 4 years ago that we moved here (just west of Rochester). I had lived in the Phoenix area from 1974 to 2002. My parents are still in AZ. . . . Giana is now 5 so she would fit right in with your gals! I love being a dad and she shares my weird sense of humor.
How long ago was your meeting of Mrs. Johnson? Did she remember you? My recollection of her is positive. . . . I would love to find out about Miss Nicholson (or was it Nicklaus?) and Mr. Tibollo. Do you remember Mrs. Draper and Mr. Corrall? How about the janitor Mr. Malone? . . .
Mark Latzer and Paul Batt were two of my closest friends. I especially would like to connect with Mark, but the few connections that I have had knew nothing about his present whereabouts.
Yes, life was so much simpler then. Did you read on my webpage that I connected with Thom Little? He lives in the northwest now and, among other things, plays in a band . . . And you mentioned Theresa. I met her a few years ago. She was, and I still think is, a hairstylist in Cheektowaga.
Thanks again for writing and I hope we can meet face to face sometime. That would be weird since the face I put to names is of the 10 year old variety! . . .
Write back when you can!
Your friend, too,