Thursday, March 22, 2007


Tom Pry

It’s not every day that I get a chance to spend part of my noontime with three lovely ladies, but such was the case yesterday, and I came back with proof:

Shown are (L-R) Peggy Betz Smith, Rebecca Van Patten Smith and Carolyn McBride Nokes,. Dorothy Latimer Johnson was supposed to have been there, but hadn’t made it by the time I had to go.

These members of the Class of ’64 were having lunch together at the Dixie Café before going out to several area cemeteries to lay flowers on classmates’ graves.

The Class of ’64 was an unusually close-knit one that shared a lot of “firsts.” They were the first to attend McRae Elementary School, and the first to spend all four of its high school years in the “new” high school, as opposed to the “old” one, located where Ahlf Middle School is now.

Nice project, and nice lunchtime companions who implemented it.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Contrived sentimentality makes me want to barf.

This that I’m about to share with you is either not contrived, or was assembled by someone with much greater skills than I.

Follow this link, with your speakers on. Read every word. This should strike a familiar chord with everyone who receives it, young or old.

Age-wise, I’m at the point in my life where I need this kind of understanding. I’m betting that most of you reading this can identify with it, either as an oldster or a youngster.

Take five minutes. You’ll be the better for it.

(And thanks to Irvin Van Patten for sending this to us).


Tuesday, March 13, 2007



Ernie's story about Sarah was a jewel.

I have either a prelude or a sequel story, depending on when Ernie's encounter occurred.

In 1983, I managed a maintenance and training group supporting the Army's TACJAM system built by my company, GTE Government Systems in Mt. View CA. We were at Ft. Stewart, near Savanna, GA.

I need to explain that the TACJAM system was built for desert use. It is a tracked vehicle carrying communication jamming equipment. Before Ft. Stewart, the systems had gone through a shakedown test in the near-desert terrain near Carson City, NV. Most of the maintenance crew had been there months earlier. We were participating in an OPEVAL (Operations Evaluation) for deployment to Germany.

Now for the story.

One of the maintenance chaps went on a week's vacation and, when he got back, he was accompanied by his new bride. When she was introduced to the crew, many greeted her in a familiar manner. Later all was explained. It turns out she had been one of the Kit Kat Ranch hostesses, and so many of the men were quite familiar with her.

Now there is a good part about this story as I learned later. She had had a pretty rough time growing up and had gotten in that line of work as a way of being wanted and loved. This is probably a reason many women become Kit Kats.

The maintenance chap had fallen for her and decided to take her out of that environment. I think she was comfortable with the situation and was accepted by everyone.

I hope they have had a good life.

There is another story about the Kit Kat Ranch. One of my neighbors was fond of taking dune buggies out into the desert area, again, near Carson City. There would be a group that would get together for a rally. One time, they had just finished their daily runs and were settling down in their RVs when a group of ladies appeared out of nowhere. Yep, those ladies were from the Kit Kat Ranch out drumming up business.

Too funny!



If Ernie had had his “druthers,” I’m sure he would’ve preferred the story to have a happy ending: Sarah in happy domesticity.

We’ll never know, of course. I will, though, refer you to Leon Uris’ “Armageddon,” with a somewhat similar situation. They fell in love and decided to get married on the simple grounds that the two of them already knew the worst about each other.

I think Ernie would’ve liked your story, Don.

Thanks for sharing. –tlp-

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Sunday, March 11, 2007


Our dear, departed co-founder, Ernie Simpson, was clean-living, but should never be taken for a prude. When it came to other people’s foibles and lifestyles, he was the soul of discretion and acceptance.

In going through my files, I found the following, which never made it into this blog.

I don’t know whether Ernie ever “sanitized” this or not but, just to be sure, I’ve changed the other gentleman’s name. Ernie would’ve NEVER approved of me causing someone else embarrassment.

Take this as just a smiling remembrance from a very special man: he loved sharing


The sales and marketing trip had been uneventful for both my traveling bud, George, and I, and we were anxious to get to the next stop and then soon back home. It was a nice morning, and we both were in a good mood, as we waited for the call to board the flight. George commented that he felt good about the day’s plans and was ready to get going. We both took boarding passes, and one was closer to the front of the plane, and the other was more to the rear. I asked George where he wanted to sit, and he said, ‘l’ll sit in the back.’ Fine. I took the pass closer to the front.

He said, ‘See that girl over there? I sure would like to meet her: she is really cute.’ I said, yea, right, fat chance of your getting to meet her before we left.

We boarded the plane, and I approached my assigned seat and was pleasantly surprised that the cute blond had the seat beside me. I took my seat, and George walked on by and glared at me as he went on towards the rear of the plane (like I rigged the seating or something).

We had our conversation, Sara and I. It was great. Then I realized, omigosh, here’s a chance to find out all I never knew about all this. So I asked her lots of questions, and she was delightfully cooperative in answering.

As we were making the final approach to land, I said to her, ‘You know my friend, George, is seated at the rear of the plane, and he commented to me earlier, when we were waiting for our flight, that he thought you were really cute, and he was hoping to meet you.’

She said, ‘I’d love to meet him!” She then told me her ride was going to meet her at the baggage claim, and I told her, “I’ll wait here for George, and we’ll be right along, I really want to introduce you two.” She said sure, and headed on to the baggage claim.

I waited for George to catch up to me, and he said, ‘You dog, you got to sit by that girl!’ I said, ‘George, I got to know her a little on the flight, and she is really cute and very nice, her name is Sara and I told her about you and she can’t wait to meet you.”

He said, ‘Really? Omigosh! Well, she is a knockout, and I was hoping to at least say hi to her.’ He rattled excitedly all the way to the baggage claim. Sure enough, Sara was there waiting, and I introduced them, and of course she handled it beautifully, the cutest, most charming young lady you’d ever want to meet. George was beside himself, with his good fortune and turned on his best charm. I hung back, and let him enjoy the moment. Finally our bags came, and the person picking her up came over. She said, “Well there’s my ride. Listen, you have my number and, if you’re ever in Carson City, please give me a call!” George says, “We sure will, I promise!”

She left, and he was so excited, and just went on about how nice she was, and really neat and all. As she turned the corner out of sight, I said, “George, there’s something I have to tell you.” He looked at me funny…I paused for effect, and said, ‘Sara…. is a hooker.”

He looked at me wide eyed, and shouted, “A HOOKER?!!!” You could have heard it over the whole airport.

I said yep, “Here’s a book of matches, with a map inside the cover to her place in Carson City, the Kit Kat Ranch…” Well, I’m not sure he ever got over the disappointment, but, whenever I wanted to get something over on George, I just brought up the story of Sara. I haven’t seen her since that day. Maybe she’s retired by now. I hope so.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007


Tom Pry

The Sunday Searcy Daily Citizen has a largish article on Jimmy Lewis. You might want to check it out at .

Have a great day!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Name The Faces 2

Oral Cranford's Recitials
(Double click on photo to enlarge)
Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6

Name The Faces

Well, I finally got around to posting some of my photos. I have several, so I will only post a few at a time. I will call these post "Name The Faces" in hopes everyone will join in and try to put names on the faces. I will also number the photos. Have fun, and send in your photos.
Billy Benz
(Click on photos to enlarge)
These two photos are from Mrs. Knox's Child Haven Kindergarten class of '49 or '50
Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3, April 20, 1951


Those Who Care might want to go over to and spend a couple of minutes reading my explanation for where I've been lately.

I'm home now.