Dear Members of the 419th,
The Waldreps have just returned from a 15 day "Highlights of Europe" trip and hence the delay in this issue of MuzzleBlast. Forty-five persons (mostly from Rome) left Atlanta on June 9 to tour Amsterdam, Oberammergau (where we attended the Passion Play), Italy (including Rome, Venice, Florence, Assisi and Stressa), Switzerland and Paris. On June 24 we returned, tired but satisfied; Jack states we walked 1000 miles, so I guess we are in good shape.
Since publishing the Winter MB we have lost four members. Paul Guten's daughter called to tell of his death the Friday after Thanksgiving. The MB of William P. Sanders was returned marked "Deceased". An E-mail from Joanne L. Shea told of her father Robert F. Shea's death on January 19. Joanne stated that her father was a very proud veteran who enjoyed reading each and every issue of the MB. Estelle Jacobs called that J.B. Pray had called them to tell of the death of Buford Martin on May 25 of Lou Gehrig's disease: Sincere sympathy from our group go to the relatives and friends of Paul Guten, Buford Martin, William P. Sanders and Robert F. Shea.
Thanks to all of you who have sent E-mails to us... Most were beautiful thoughts and wonderful laughter. Rose Lemberg sends quite a few to us; we hope she and Larry will be able to go to Wilkes-Barre the last of the month. We have high hopes of seeing them at this 50th reunion.
Jane Ober, mother of the Gebhardts, sent a nice note with her donation to the MB. We have added her to our list and hope she makes the reunion.
We had two letters from Charles and Ethel Mohn, as well as an Easter card. Charles has had surgery but so far the good news is they plan to attend the reunion.
Bob and Betty Willoughby sent a note with a donation to MB. Betty stated that they spend summer in northern Michigan and Bob, at age 77, is in good health and walks about 6 miles per day and rides his bike another 7 miles. That is stamina!
Malcolm Cohen wrote in March that Janet fractured her right arm and leg in July 1999 and followed that with a corneal transplant but all was well at the time he wrote. A donation to MB was enclosed.
Mrs. John Buckley sent a donation and asked that her name be removed from the
Pete and Millie Falko wrote a nice letter in late March. Millie has had 2 heart bypasses and Pete had to have his larynx removed and talks through a Servox machine. He states he sounds "like one of those talking computers". He stated after speaking to a little girl in the supermarket she asked "Are you an alien?" He told her he just smoked too many cigarettes when he was young to which she replied. "I won't smoke". Pete would like a map of the 419th's itinerary, so if you have one, please bring or send me a copy. Millie added a note which stated "Our `packaging' has really deteriorated but thank goodness we've kept our positive attitudes and senses of humor and we've got all our marbles". That is a wonderful outlook!
Sewell Corkran sent a donation and letter thanking us for the MB. They are busy with fishing, tennis and local politics. He spoke a few months back, he stated, to Chuck Pokorney a close 419th buddy he had not talked with in over 50 years.
Gerald and Laura St. Armand wrote that they were looking forward to their 58th wedding anniversary. They plan to be in Wilkes-Barre. Be sure to bring the cards, Laura !
A donation to MB was included in the letter of Saro and Eleanor Messina. They spent some time with their son, his wife, three grandchildren, and two great grandsons in Phoenix in April.
The note from Don Brown of Hdq. Btry. stated he would be having his second knee surgery on July 27. He was planning on being at the reunion but cannot because of the surgery. A donation to MB was included.
The only MuzzleBlast that was returned other than William P. Sanders, marked deceased, was Mrs. Marie Boyle. If anyone knows her address, please advise.
Ken Manning called and is looking forward to the reunion in Pennsylvania. Ken is always eager to attend and we look forward to seeing him.
Estelle and Noel Jacobs called while we were in Europe (our answering machine had about 12 calls on it) and they called back the day after we returned. Estelle said that Noel had been in the hospital but was fine now. They will be in Wilkes-Barre as will their daughter Rea Dawn and her husband Bill Poling. Estelle stated that J.C. and Eleanor Orange could not attend as Eleanor had broken her hip. Eleanor, we hope by now you are on the mend and we will miss you. Estelle also had spoken to Wanda Cluck who hopefully will join us at the reunion. Wanda, we may have a hot tub!
The 50th reunion of the 419th with Harold Laity (along with daughter Bonnie Porter) hosting will be July 27-30, 2000. The Best Western Genetti Hotel held rooms until June 27 but if you need to make a reservation, they might have a room available. Location of the hotel is 77 East Market Street, Wilkes-Barre PA and telephones are 570-823-6152 or 800-833-6152.
In thinking over our trip to Europe in which we saw great art of Van Gogh, Michelangelo and others I was amused to read that "in six decades, Norman Rockwell became the most famous artist in America. His work has been reproduced more often than Michelangelo's, Picasso's and Rembrandt's combined!"
Hope you had a great Fourth of July.
Jack and Juanita Waldrep
201 Greenview Road, S.W.
Rome, Georgia 30165-4307