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Old 09-03-2009, 07:50 PM   #1
ClaudiaTeller
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letter from a wel-met survivor

picture it: chinese buffet, carbondale, illinois, 2009. (it's not such a pretty picture, but it's all i've got.)

it was a monday night, and i was at my favorite chinese buffet in small town usa. originally a new yorker, i treated myself to a day-old sunday new york times and read while eating. since i lost my mom last year, i like to read the obituaries to see if i know anyone on the page. well, i read about this guy, mike, who was the founder of the wel-met camp website. duh, the what?!? oh my gawd, wel-met?!

when i went home, i got onto the site. i couldn't believe how mike described the camp in the intro . . . from the gorilla balls and gov't cheese to the fact that we didn't have horseback riding and tennis to the fact that we went back year after year just to see our friends and have a great time . . . it was everything i ever thought about wel-met. i was gushing out loud to myself, i was so excited to be in the throws of wel-met memories.

i started reading the names of people who are on the site. oh my gawd, i remember her . . . and her . . . and him . . . and i read a post of someone whose name i remembered. in her post, she asked, "where is so and so and so and so and so and so . . . ?" i was stunned to see my name. but, that's how the universe works; anybody ever notice that?

i called my dad, who now lives in florida of course, and told him about this. he got more excited than me. he reminded me of a phone call i apparently made to my parents one night from a phone booth during the western trip, and i was by myself. i had no recollection of it. the things that we remember . . .

okay. i was in barryville in unit 2 from 1964 through pioneers in 1968 and on the western trip 4 in 1969.

now, does anyone know what ever happened to big frank badone? i remember willie, the counselor, from unit 5 too. i believe that he used to have a three word expression that i can't repeat because the site doesn't allow profanity. the words began with the letters s..., f..., p.... does anyone else remember this?

i remember the peach baskets from the campouts, too, and i did not like welsh rarebit. i remember the 3 1/2 mile hikes to yulan and going to, i think it was a dry goods store with a soda fountain, and getting rootbeer floats, and then hiking back. i remember learning to live with less in every unit - losing the bathroom first, then the doors, windows, and lights and ending up in tents on platforms with spigots and outhouses.

wel-met really set a foundation for us to look outside of ourselves into the world. i'm grateful to the creators who stuck their necks out and gave us a sense of family and community, to which we did return, year after year, to see the same faces, work together, play together and learn to grow up to be decent human beings.

i'm not crazy about camping so much anymore. as a matter of fact i love not camping. but about once a year, i go and use an air mattress. what a difference technology makes.

i'm happy that i was lucky enough to experience wel-met - and barryville at that. i'm sorry, folks, but that was the best division. i'm grateful someone out there remembered me enough to ask where i am after all these years. wow, had no idea my little life could have an impact that someone would remember. but, that's how it goes, isn't it. all of us make a difference somewhere, to someone, somehow. God-willing and the creek don't rise, we are all better for it.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:36 PM   #2
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Your post does a nice job of summing up the experience of finding the site.
Funny how everybody has the same oh my g...d experience.
Its weird because today I was thinking about the fact that the request for registrations has been very heavy this week.
Most of the people are from the same era, then it hit me, the NY Times and the note about Mike.
It was very bitter sweet, lots of new people, lots of people experiencing the site for the first time, that wonderful
But then Mike and also the realization that a whole generation, one not far from me is checking the obituaries.
Then your post confirmed my speculation.
Time is a strip girl doing just for you!!!

So Welcome, it's all about finding your friends!!! So go and reconnect your friends.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:53 PM   #3
ClaudiaTeller
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it's amazing what we remember

i was so excited about finding the site and spilling my guts. i found a bunch of pix of what i thought was my western trip, #4, in 1969 but it turned out it's not the trip i was on. geez, maybe i'm tripping now.

i recognized pix of old friends that i know were not on my trip, especially since one of them was my beau from the previous summer. ooooohhhhhhh, i think i was on trip 5. does this ring a bell for anyone . . . two guys got busted for smoking pot, but they weren't sent home? or how about the fact that we met western trip 4 at the grand canyon campsite because i remember meeting my close friend from home there because our trips overlapped. that i'm sure i remember!

these senior moments sure creep up on a body.

Last edited by ClaudiaTeller; 09-04-2009 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:13 AM   #4
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I understand

I can only imagine your reaction to finding the site. My "memories" and experience of Wel-Met are a little different than some others' in that they are always somewhat "current"; another Wel-Metter and I married 22 years ago this month (best wishes only - no gifts please. Oh, ok, if you insist).

I do not presume that everyone's experience was as profound as it was for some, particularly those that only did a "one and out." (Like many things, it just wasn't for everyone.)

Reading the posts, it's clear that our individual and shared experiences, seasoned now as they are by what we've learned, or un-learned, or re-learned as we become well-settled in our middle age, have affected many of us significantly. Lifetime friendships, a way of approaching people and things, a collective experience that simply cannot be taken away or replaced by the technological developement of the moment.

Glad you found it. Embrace the warmth, and let it embarace you. Feels good, don't it?
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:52 AM   #5
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Well said Hank, thanks. I will share another wel-metism if there is such a thing. This might help that tripping thing Claudia, A good friend and western trip buddy Kenny Sapon had a funny reaction when we met again after 25+ years. We were talking and I was sharing memories I had of our experiences. He stopped me, gave me a big hug and said "you mean those things really happened". He went on "I have been telling those stories for 20 years and I wasn't sure if I made them up or they were real, wow I feel so much better knowing I am not making this shit up".

So good chance its all very real!!!
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:34 PM   #6
EricLiebes
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Sometimes the memories just don't agree. Alan Abbey & I share the same memories of a co-camper, but when we got in touch (though FB I think), that camper had very different memories (Including what the camper looked like then). Dates, names, locations all lined up but the rest did not. If I hadn't had Alan (who lives in Israel & we hadn't talked about this since about 1970) to confirm what I remembered I'd think I made it up in my head.

A lot of water (and smoke) under the bridge since then, you know. I do remember Hank, though, and have pictures to prove it.

--Eric
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:32 PM   #7
jmfeld22
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Hank

You are right on the money!

You and I have discussed that item a few times and when you talk about your family I hear the same as you have written - which is great. We all carry items of our experiences forward, good, bad or indifferent . . . it is the experience of the experience. The Wel-Met experience for me was tremendous - I still pack the same way as I packed the bus on the Western Trip (another unforgettable experience). It is wonderful that we were able to reconnect from this site.

Jay
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Old 09-04-2009, 04:51 PM   #8
HankCollins
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camp, again

our 13-year old goes to Eisner Camp, a camp under the auspices of URJ located in Great Barrington, MA. Kids come from all over, within and without the US; fortunately for us, it's only about an hour from where we live east of Albany.

He is so tight with his camp buds, which we understand compeltely; this summer we went to Edinburgh, Scotland so he could attend the Bat Mitzvah of a camp bud. (Confession - we're always stuck for where to go on vacation. When the invitation came in we said great, now we have this year's destination!)

warned him on the way in - don't expect to find your wife there, that only happens to the very fortunate few. (And, cousins of my wife's met at Eisner, as did the parents of one of his best camp friends. How bizarre is that?)
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Old 09-07-2009, 12:32 AM   #9
ClaudiaTeller
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some things don't change

well, i've been having some fun reading and posting. unfortunately, i've been posting to notes written several years ago. i hope they are picked up. this site is such a wild thing. wow, that song is now playing in my head and bringing me back to camp socials. maybe this is a girl thing, but i remember dancing to "whiter shade of pale" and "walk away renee."

it sounds like the camp experience passes down from generation to generation, and it's all about relationship. maybe your kids will be connecting with their camp friends in 2049. and who knows, maybe you'll still be around to compare notes with them.

Last edited by ClaudiaTeller; 09-07-2009 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:55 AM   #10
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When you add to an old post it will notify the thread starter and bring it to the front adding your post. That is if the thread starter hasn't changed their emaill address.

You can also use the contact member function to send emails.

Lastly do you have western trip pictures to post on the photo site?
If so i will make a 69-trip five spot for them
Let me know
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:05 AM   #11
stew
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To Claudia and Hank

Claudia - Your name does not ring an immediate bell but we were at Barryville at the same time (if you were on the 6 week plan). I certainly rememember the S- F- P- expression you refer to. Who do you remember from Barryville?

Hank - My daughter is a counselor at Camp Eisner. Ask your son if he knows Maura. He probably does.

Regards,

Stew
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:55 PM   #12
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Eisner

stew - I'll ask him. Last name?
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:17 PM   #13
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Camp Eisner

Maura Koenig
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:28 AM   #14
ClaudiaTeller
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to stew and david

stew,

i think i remember you. were mid-tall, dark brown hair, wore glasses?

i can't remember too many people though, a few faces: jill mendelson, nancy kravitz, mindy eisner, missy donner, lisa irving, jane fradkin, willie the counselor (the sfp guy), peter rothbart, bill(y) schacter, perry jacobs, a kid named sam from unit 4, cowboy rob (long hair, wore a cowboy hat) and frank badone. and you. these are the names that stand out to me from barryville. not many from the slew, stew.


david,

i don't know if i still have pix (a pox upon me, i know). i'll have to dig deep. if i have them, i'll enlist your help. thanks!
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Old 09-09-2009, 01:11 PM   #15
stew
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Barryville

Claudia-
mid-tall, dark brown hair, wore glasses
You've described many people, among them, me. Look at the photos on this website. 1969 Western Trip #4. You'll see me and no doubt others you know.



I recognize most of the names. Mindy was the first person I found on the Internet from wel Met and we commujictaed a number of times. Missy is on the Wel Met Facebook page. I sent her a message but haven't heard back. Bill was Oliver in the Unit 5 play.

jill mendelson, nancy kravitz, mindy eisner, missy donner, lisa irving, jane fradkin, willie the counselor (the sfp guy), peter rothbart, bill(y) schacter, perry jacobs,
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Old 09-09-2009, 06:04 PM   #16
Alan Alterbaum
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Stew,

You were on Western Trip 3 in 1969, as was Frank Badome. Claudia, you don't sound familiar, unless your last name was different at that time.

Alan
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:32 PM   #17
ClaudiaTeller
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i saw a western trip 3 picture of "stew" at the grand canyon with a girl diane. yup, that looks like the guy i remember. but, i couldn't find anyone who looked like frank badone. is it badone or badome?

i also saw a picture of sindy habib. holy cow, i can't believe she was on your trip! i've been thinking about her from time to time for years. we were pretty good friends in junior high school, went different ways in high school but got together long enough to sign each other's high school yearbook. i'd totally forgotten that she went to wel-met, and i think we were in camp together one year. do you know where she is now?

alan, i saw a picture of you as well. sorry, we're even, i really don't recognize you either. yes, my name is the same. i guess we missed each other's 15 minutes of fame.

i did recognize a bunch of people in the western trip 4 pix. it really seems like yesterday, but there are about 14,600 yesterdays. i counted.
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:40 PM   #18
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alan,

the mystery is solved. you went to narrowsburg all those years, and i went to barryville. that's why we don't know each other. the only time i ever went to narrowsburg was when we came from barryville that one year. hey, come to think of it, isn't that when someone put shaving cream into one of the counselor's jock straps? does anyone remember that? and was the counselor's name hy?
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:21 PM   #19
Alan Alterbaum
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Claudia,

There's a picture of Frank on the 3rd page of the Trip 3 1969 photos, 2nd one in from the left on the top row (It's the large group shot). Frank is dead center with the red bandana. By the way, I just checked the trip list and his last name is Badome.

Alan
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:12 PM   #20
Russell
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Frank Badome

Dear Alan and Claudia,
I have been reading all the posts about Frank Badome and I am pretty sure that Frank passed away many years ago. He was best friends with Marty Wax, Benny's younger brother. Frank was always a huge bear of a guy who was as gentle as a pussy cat.
I was on WT # 2 in 1969 and our trip was passed by trip # 3 somewhere out there in AZ. or Colo. Our bus would break down all the time stranding us in all sorts of places.
I was able to connect briefly with one of our old councelors, Marion Yellin who used to date Marc ? best friend of Mel Ockner in Pioneer days circa 1968 and Unit 5 1967 Narrowsburg.
I have a copy of my Western trip Itinerary with all sorts of notes on it and lots of photos that I will have to scan into this site when and if I ever get a chance.
Lunch with Benny and his Mom last week was as they say 'Priceless'
Russell
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:57 PM   #21
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All

Frank did pass away several years ago - he was married to a friend of mine from High School, Midwood HS. Her name is Jackie - she lives in FL and has one child.

Jay
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:27 PM   #22
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thank you for sharing about frank badome. although late, but still full, my heart goes out to his family and friends, those very past and those near present. just the mention of his name added joy to my newfound wel-met memories.
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:55 PM   #23
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Claudia - Yes, Diane Tonick was her maiden name. We actually have been in touch and she posted photos as well. I found Sindy earlier this year on Facebook. She's a veterinarian in LA. I'll forward her your message and tell her to go to this site to reach you. I'd like to see a photo of you, especially then (now too!) so I can put the name with the face. I didn't want to say unless I was sure, but I too heard that Frank had died, which was confirmed in the other message. Stew


Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaudiaTeller View Post
i saw a western trip 3 picture of "stew" at the grand canyon with a girl diane. yup, that looks like the guy i remember. but, i couldn't find anyone who looked like frank badone. is it badone or badome?

i also saw a picture of sindy habib. holy cow, i can't believe she was on your trip! i've been thinking about her from time to time for years. we were pretty good friends in junior high school, went different ways in high school but got together long enough to sign each other's high school yearbook. i'd totally forgotten that she went to wel-met, and i think we were in camp together one year. do you know where she is now?

alan, i saw a picture of you as well. sorry, we're even, i really don't recognize you either. yes, my name is the same. i guess we missed each other's 15 minutes of fame.

i did recognize a bunch of people in the western trip 4 pix. it really seems like yesterday, but there are about 14,600 yesterdays. i counted.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:29 PM   #24
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Sindy

Claudia - Here is Sindy's email address: sindydvm@aol.com She'd like to hear from you. Stew



Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaudiaTeller View Post
i saw a western trip 3 picture of "stew" at the grand canyon with a girl diane. yup, that looks like the guy i remember. but, i couldn't find anyone who looked like frank badone. is it badone or badome?

i also saw a picture of sindy habib. holy cow, i can't believe she was on your trip! i've been thinking about her from time to time for years. we were pretty good friends in junior high school, went different ways in high school but got together long enough to sign each other's high school yearbook. i'd totally forgotten that she went to wel-met, and i think we were in camp together one year. do you know where she is now?

alan, i saw a picture of you as well. sorry, we're even, i really don't recognize you either. yes, my name is the same. i guess we missed each other's 15 minutes of fame.

i did recognize a bunch of people in the western trip 4 pix. it really seems like yesterday, but there are about 14,600 yesterdays. i counted.
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:55 PM   #25
ClaudiaTeller
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stew,

thank you for sindy's email. glad she remembers, too. wow, never thought i'd be in touch with her again. feel those memory tingles . . .

a pox upon me, i don't think i have any wel-met photos. i might have some from the western trip (trip 5, 1969) but i'll have to dig around for them.
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Old 11-10-2009, 11:44 AM   #26
Donna Badome
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Smile Big Frank

To Claudia, Russell, Alan.....
Big Frank was my brother. It's nice to see you all remembering him....as we all miss him dearly. When he was only 35 Frank had a massive heart attack which led to a heart transplant - quite a miracle back in those days. He survived it beautifully and went on to see both of us his sons enter college. That was his great wish. He had a second one back in 2004 but died in 2005. Frank remained the bear of a guy you all remember. Big heart, a bit crazy, very funny and warm. He always had a lot of friends and family around him. I'm still close with Marty and Benny Wax (we all grew up on the same block in Queens) - my other big brothers and awesome guys. I remember that Marty was one of the first people I called when we thought Frank was dying back in 1988. He dropped everything and flew in from LA and Benny came down from Vermont. Frank loved his years at Wel-Met (didn't we all??). I got the link to this site from one of my friends back in the early days and told Frank about it. He posted back then too, it's somewhere in The Old Guest Book.
I remember the last day of his Western Trip back in 1969. We went to the old office to meet the bus and Frank was standing in the front window with that bugle in his hand, a red bandanna around his neck and long hair. He was happy and a very different guy than the one who left 2 months before.
That was Frank......
I haven't seen anymore pictures of him, but if you post any, please let me know.
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Old 11-24-2009, 01:17 PM   #27
stew
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More on Frank

I posted this as a separate thread but now realize that all the conversation about Frank Badome is here, so at the risk of being redundant, I'll post again:

Frank Badome's story

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Someone recently asked about Frank Badome and the first thing that came to mind was I heard he had died (maybe I read it somewhere on the website but I don't remember). All I know about Frank's Wel Met history is that we were on Western Trip #3 together in 1969.

Recently, and amazingly, I noticed the name of a Facebook friend of my cousin, who went to Midwood High (Class of 72). Her name, Jackie Eisen Badome got me to wonder, and I asked my cousin if she had a connection to Frank Badome. Bingo! Jackie is Frank's widow. My cousin asked her permission for me to write her which she gladly and graciously accepted. I wrote to Jackie that when I think of Frank "an image comes to mind of this large kid with a big smile, who ruled the roost on my Western Trip."

I got Jackie's permission to share what she wrote me about Frank. It's a sad story but Jackie and Frank had a great life and family together, and she continues to share memories on a Facebook page "Frankie boy we love and miss you".

Here's Frank's story, as told by Jackie:
Hi Stew,

Well...what can I say but I am so glad you went out of your way to find Frank, and instead found me. I have looked for his Wel met friends and his Jamaica HS friends but have not been successful till you. I did post something on the fb wel met page last year looking for anyone who knew him, but never got any response. He was the big kid with the big smile who ruled the roost in anything he did his whole life. I was lucky to have been married to him for 27 years. Frank had a heart attack in July 1988. Nine weeks later he had a heart transplant at Columbia Presbyterian. If you would have seen him you would never know he ever had a health issue. He had the most unbelievable outlook and life was to be lived and loved . And we had a great life together. Things were great until 2003 when his heart started failing and we were told he would need a second transplant. Everything has a shelf life, including transplanted organs and his was nearing it's expiration date. By then we were living in Florida, but he went back to Columbia and lived in the hospital for months waiting for a second transplant. That finally came in Feb 2004, but he never really recovered from the second one. He died in Columbia Presbyterian after a month in the CCu on a respirator..... I miss him terribly...... I do have 2 wonderful sons, 24 and 25 and for that I am thankful. My older son is a computer art teacher here in Palm Beach County and my younger son is an actuary in Boston.

I am sending you an invitation on facebook to the fb memorial I created for Frank. Please join it and I would love you to post that picture on it. Post anything else you would like. Please tell any other Wel metters I would love to hear from them too. Frank was a special guy....It's nice to know people think of him and remember him fondly. (When I'm gone they'll say "it's about time!!!).

I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family, it sounds like you will!! I will be with family here in Florida but I'm going to Boston (hey..I need to meet Joe when I'm there) and New York Christmastime. I haven't done cold and snow in years, I am little scared about that. If it drops below 75 here I think there is a chill in the air. Just like Syracuse, right????

Stew, again thanks for finding me. Frank loved his Wel met years and spoke of them often. He would have loved finding all his old friends on facebook. Thanks for getting him there.

Stay in touch,
jackie

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