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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Class of 1955

Bishopville High School

50th Reunion

How many can you identify?
Click on picture to enlarge

Posted by Picasa Seated Left to Right: Shelby Jean (Atkinson) Russell – Wilma (Lyles) Kelley – Mary (Watson) Powers – Lucille Beasley, Martha Jean (Raley) Hawkins – Margaret (Segars) Copeland – Pat (Monroe) Fields

Standing Left to Right: William Fields – Billy McCutchen – Horace Beasley – Harriett (Elmore) Foster – Wayne Davis – Ara (Woodham) Newman – Carol (Atkinson) Richardson – Charles Welch – Milford (Beasley) Kea – Joann (Boykin) Langley [behind Milford] – Terry Hancock – Kay (Rogers) Dunn – Pete Johnson – Richard McCaskill – Richard Newsome – Charles Skinner – Billy Patterson – David Copeland – Monroe Ray

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bishopville High School Class of 1960

William R. Bridgeman
LTC, USAR, Retired
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Rick Bridgeman Over North Carolina in '75

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It's not the name that makes the man...

Have you ever wondered why boys, when they grow into manhood suddenly drop the names they responded to in their youth? I mean, these were names when called that meant food was on the table!

Many of our school classmates had wonderful endearing names that will remain with us through the years. Some were earned, others acquired by some act or deed or whatever, and still others given to us by our own family!

Names like ‘Weeds’ who everyone knew as ‘Sammy’ Boykin is now just plain Sam! All the personality in the name has been removed! (Sam’s a big time building contractor, presently doing his constructing in Texas while living in Florida with his wife Helen.)

In Petaluma, California he is known as James; although some know him as Cleve, but to us… he is ‘Clebo’!

Then you have the witty Ralph McLendon who was known as ‘Shot’, and earlier as ‘Wally’.

Let’s don’t forget the lovable “Squeeky” who everyone recognizes as ‘W. C.’ Scarborough. (Was the ‘W’ short for William or Wilbur? What about the ‘C’… Claude maybe?)

There were others who answered to various pet names, and they will be remembered fondly.

My name was nothing special because it was not usual for the name John to become ‘Johnny’ or ‘Jack’. Much like ‘Bill’ or ‘Billy’ was the nick name for William or ‘Tom’ or ‘Tommy’ for Thomas.

It’s also important that we recognize how a name is used can determine the response it receives.

For example I remember the various ways my mother could use my name, and often did.

Whenever Miss Essie wanted me she would start with the normal, "Johnny, time to come in."

When she didn’t get a response she would add a tiny bit of emphasis, "Johnny, it’s time to come in now!"

If I didn’t respond again she would call, "Johnny Reames, can you hear me? It’s time to come in", with even more emphasis on the name this time.

And if I still didn’t answer I would soon hear the bone chilling, "JOHN DALTON REAMES!"

Needless to say, that was enough to send my playmates scurrying home and me hightailing it to the house as fast as my little feet would propel me. Bless her heart!

All this about names brings me to this one. “Dicky”

I had the absolute pleasure recently of re-establishing contact with a good friend and classmate of many years who many of you remember simply as ‘Dicky’. I’m referring to William R. Bridgeman, LTC, USAR Retired and known throughout the military world as ‘Rick’.

Rick Bridgeman has three sons; Gregg who is the oldest son and then there is the middle son, Wesley and of course the younger son Andrew. Then there are his daughters Alicia and Deborah.

Seven grandchildren complete his family for now. There’s Kaylee and Scott who call Gregg dad and Hallee mom. And of course there’s Jessica who comes running when her dad Wesley calls. Alicia and husband Bill have Amanda, Aubrey, Annalise and Jason. Deborah and BJ have not contributed to the clan presently.

Andrew is the single holdout when it comes to marriage but he is indispensable to Rick and Charlotte now that their health has deteriorated to the point that they require some assistance.

And now, in his words is Rick Bridgeman's story:

I was born in Sumter, SC on 31 Jul 1942 and I grew up in the nearby town of Bishopville. My childhood was unremarkable, but enjoyable. It was a fine time and place to come of age.

I left Bishopville after high school in 1960 to attend The Citadel. It turned out to be one of those situations where you say to yourself, “What have I gotten myself into?” Nevertheless, I stayed the course. I even made Dean’s List my last five semesters. (Anyone who knew me in high school will find that hard to believe.)

When I graduated in 1964, the Army had a trial program in which you could apply to skip the officer’s basic course, and go directly to a unit of your choice. Since I already figured I knew everything, I went that route.

Eight days after graduation I reported to the 11th Air Assault Division at Fort Benning, GA. That unit had been formed to test the concept of using helicopters to support combat operations. We worked with exotic experimental equipment like “terragators” and Belgian airborne vehicles. We also did a lot of trial loading aboard Air Force transport aircraft, and internal and external work using Army helicopters. We went on exercises that spread out all over the southeastern US. I even managed to overcome what turned out to be my abysmal ignorance and tendency to put my foot in my mouth, and contribute to the operation from time to time.

A month after graduation from the Citadel I married the former Gail Moore of the Ashwood community. We had gone together from our junior year in high school and all through college. She secured a teaching position in Columbus to supplement my meager Army income, and we settled happily into a small cottage in the old part of town during the next year.

I also went to jump school, and had my wings pinned on by an authentic World War II hero, my Division commander MG Harry W. O. Kinnard. If you don’t know who he is, He was one of the first Army paratroopers, and was Operations Officer of the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne.

When the Germans demanded surrender, he is the man who gave BG McAuliffe the idea to respond, “Nuts!”

In mid-1965 the Army determined that our tests were successful. So much so that they renamed our organization the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), and President Johnson sent us off to Viet Nam to try it out for real.

I went over with the Airborne Brigade of the Division, and rambled about the Central Highlands from the East China Sea to the Cambodian border for the next year.

I came home to an eight-month old daughter who didn’t trust me very much, and settled in to family life. After several assignments the Army sent me to the Airborne, Electronics, and Special Warfare Board at Fort Bragg, NC. I didn’t know anything about the Board at the time, other than it was a chance to get back on jump status.

I have always heard that you are lucky in life to find something you are good at, and that you like to do. It turned out that the operational testing of parachutes, air delivery systems, and Special Operations equipment was it for me.

This assignment gave me the opportunity to help get good equipment and procedures into the hands of soldiers, and keep bad equipment out.

It was the defining point in my military career because as a young captain I could actually see the results of my work which was published in Army Technical Manuals. As an added bonus, I also worked with and for some of the greatest people I have ever met.

After my tour at Bragg I was slated to go back to Viet Nam, but I had recently smashed my ankle so they sent me to Saudi Arabia instead.

I worked mostly out of the capitol, Riyadh, but spent time with the Saudi Airborne Brigade at Tabuk (T. E. Lawrence’s old stomping ground.) In fact, you could drive out in the desert and see blown up railroad tracks from half a century before. Of course, half a century seemed like a long time at the time. It doesn’t now!

After returning to the states, I spent another year wrangling my way back to the Board at Bragg. During this assignment I became Chief of Special Projects Branch, which tested Military Freefall systems and equipment.

I found this assignment to be more fun than before! By the way, when you strap on oxygen, a weapon, and an 80-pound rucksack before jumping at 18,000-feet at night you know you’re not in not your Mama’s sky diving club!

It was during this assignment that my mother was diagnosed as having cancer, and within a few months my wife was also. Gail put up a courageous struggle for two-years, but she succumbed to the disease in late 1975 leaving me with three children ages 10, 8, and 2.

Of course, my mother was not able to help me with the kids during Gail’s illness. However, the Army was understanding of my situation and assigned me to Lexington-Bluegrass Army Depot in eastern Kentucky, where I served as Director of Administration, later becoming XO.

Gail had extensive family ties in this area of Kentucky which included her mother, grandparents, and slews of aunts, uncles and cousins. In fact, Gail had one aunt, three cousins, one of the cousin’s wives, and one ex-wife who all worked at the Depot.

In addition, there were a number of folks at the Depot who attended Reverend Chambers’ church, and I’d known them for years. You could say that I had lots of help with the kids, as everywhere I looked there were people I knew.

While stationed there I met, pursued, and married the former Charlotte Freund of Winneconne, Wisconsin. She was a former schoolteacher who worked at the Depot.

From there I got out of the Army and went back to work for the Saudis. This time I ran a jolly band of mercenaries out of Jeddah. On the mission side I had men of 15 different nationalities, to include an old German panzer commander from the Western Desert, and one of the first Turkish submariners. I had three additional nationalities on the support side, to include Eretrians, Somalis, and Philippinos and interestingly enough, the vast preponderance of personnel problems I had were with Americans (Go figure).

The Koreans, on the other hand, were a joy to work with. I had seen their Tiger and White Horse Divisions in Viet Nam so I knew they were good. The only problem I had with them is they always wanted to give you presents and do favors for you.

There were interesting times there, what with the Iranian hostage crisis, a war between North and South Yemen, and the attempted takeover of the Grand Mosque. My youngest son, Andrew was born while we were there. I thought it was pretty cool at the time, but he doesn’t think so for every time he tries to get a gun permit now, and lists his place of birth as Saudi Arabia; bells ring and whistles go off.

I received an offer to come back to Bragg and the Board as a civilian which I accepted because the Board was where my heart was; it was home. There was no hesitation on my part even though the money was good in Saudi Arabia. The kids went to great private schools and we lived in a large villa while in the Middle East, but it was always in turmoil.

In my civilian position as the Plans Officer it was my job to monitor new developments, and manage a program known as the Five Year Test Program. This position required a lot of travel, but I able to make the qualifying jump with of my two oldest children when each went to Parachute School. We all jumped together several times later, while they were stationed at Bragg.

About the only excitement I had in later years was during Desert Shield/Storm. I came back on active duty with XVIII Airborne Corps. They needed someone who could run a Time Phased Deployment, and happily that person was me. I sent the Corps and supporting units out from 8 airheads, and six different seaports.

Once that mission was complete I went over for the show. I wasn’t alone. Deborah, my oldest daughter was also there, and was serving as a company XO in the 82nd Airborne Division. (She has since been to Iraq on a joint service DOD team searching for weapons, and is presently a LTC at DA.)

My oldest son, Gregg was also there, though his reserve unit was not activated, he volunteered to go over with an under strength Aerial Delivery unit from Tennessee.

After the war Gregg stayed for a year in Kuwait as an operations NCO. In the mid-90s he got out of the Reserves, but rejoined after 9-11 and has served in Afghanistan with 20th Special Forces Group.

After the Gulf War, I spent 3 ½ months redeploying the Corps. Besides airlift, it took 127 shiploads of cargo to get everyone out. I was on the last Corps aircraft coming home.

As time wore on, the old bones began to feel more brittle, and I became aware that the cuts and bruises were taking longer to heal. I listened to my body, and at the age of 51 made my last jump.

Overall, however, my health stayed pretty good. Then a few years ago Agent Orange began to catch up with me. Either it was that, or being downwind of the Khamishah chemical dump explosion. Anyhow, my insides began to fall apart. I developed diabetes, and began to have serious intestinal problems. My gall bladder was removed. I had a liver transplant in 2003, now my kidneys aren’t looking good at all.

I retired in January 2004. Looking back, I can recall lots good times and bad times. But I have five terrific children, and seven grandchildren (so far), and they are the true joy in life.

In the long run, I’ve lived my life as I chose, and I have no time for regrets.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Lee County Baldwin's and their spouses

Robert (Class of '63) and Ralene Baldwin

Jim and Betty Baldwin (Class of '61) Lowery
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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Betty Baldwin Lowery Class of 1961

Betty Balwin Lowery writes:

Sorry, we're going to have to miss this one. Son will be in Chicago working on doctorate, and daughter-in-law will be in Miss. working with on-going Katrina clean-up, so we have the granddaughter (2) and the granddog for that week. Please tell everyone hello for me and call if they get down (or up) our way.

Checked out the WEB site and thoroughly enjoyed it. Nice work! I was a little strange seeing Skeeter Nash's picture, after knowing him from the beach. Our oldest son and his played soccer together before his son was killed. A difficult reality for all. Wish we were meeting a little more often, now that we're getting a little older. I didn't know about the reunion at Graham's so missed that also. My husband's class from Rock Hill has a yearly "birthday" gathering in Ocean Drive one weekend in October, in addition to the reunion every five years. Many of them were college classmates of mine, so it's been a reunion of sorts for me as well. Seldom more than fifteen or twenty, but the Dutch-treat/DIY gathering gives us time to chat and get to know people who were not necessarily part of our circles when we were in school.

Jim and I have been married since 1964 and in Surfside since 1968. I retired in June after 33 years, and he sort of retired a year ago. He just moved "the ofice" home and brought tax season with him. I didn't miss all the paperwork and bureaucracy, but I did miss the kids, so I'm doing some subbing. (My principal, Dwight Boykin graduated from Ashwood-Central!) Twelve-year-olds are strange but cute.

We built a house on a mountainside in Valle Crucis near Boone a few years ago. Hope to be able to spend a little more time up there now. Our boys are grown and married, just the one grandchild. One son (Rad, 30) is here in Surfside, a CPA like his daddy, and the other (Trip, 33) is a minister in Nags Head.

Drove out to Wyoming to visit my brother Robert (BHS '63, I think) and his wife Raelene this summer and did all the tourist things going and coming. He began sheriffing in Rock Springs after he retired from the Marines. In case you don't have his email address, it is We all wanted to be cowboys when we grew up; he actually did it it--horses, cows, riding herd, gun on the hip, etc.--and loves it.

Here is my contact information:
Betty Baldwin Lowery
Home: 843-238-8897
Mountains: 828-963-7428
Cell: 843-340-4876

Friday, September 15, 2006

Carnival In Bishopville

This picture was taken from an undated post card.
It appears to be in the late 1800's or early 1900's.
What a grand event for the times.
Do you think any of your "Kinfolk" are in ths image?

Here is another event of the times!!!!!

Gathering of The Classes

We are gonna make a post card of our own!!

September 29, 2006 7PM at the Bishopville Country Club
315 Country Club Road

The overwhelming response to this event has forced a final change in location.
This is a good thing because everyone will have access to the clubhouse, wetbar, patio and pool areas so bring your dancing shoes and swimsuits!
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Monday, September 11, 2006

Brother and Sister .... Anne and Hank

Hank Martin wrote:

Great job on the site. Very informative. Great to see John Patterson and hear about him. He was in our original band called the Jaybirds. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at the reunion. It's been a long time. Are you looking for more bios and pictures of old friends? Would love to talk with you or send you some info. Attached is a recent picture I made for a performance at our friend Billy Lane's restaurant. Pizza Lane. I did it with my sister Anne. We called it "One Enchanted Evening" and did a large selection of old standards... that's why I had on a tux. Also a practice picture of sister Anne and me.

I still live in Nashville, but am in SC about 2 weeks of the month working with an old friend from Sumter in the medical field.......

Editors Note: I thought the picture of you in the tux was a bit too formal for Lee County Natives... sneakers and blue jeans is more appropriate... so I published the pic with you and Anne... ain't she a cutie!

You asked a great question about needing more bios and pictures, Hank... I certainly do...

I want to put as many pictures and bios on this site as time will allow. Spread the word among everyone on your contact list. I would love to hear from all of you.

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Reunion Response May Result in Another Change of Venue!!!

For the organizers, the excitement generated and the resulting response to the gathering of The Classes for the BHS reunion has been surprising. So much so that it is forcing them to take another look at accomodations ... stay tuned.

(I have insider knowledge that this is going to be a blast)

If you haven't sent your money to Daphne Jean.... you better call her now and let her know your plans!!!!!

Daphne Jean Muldrow Dickerson
1505A Willow Trace Drive
Florence, SC 29501
843-676-9552 Home
843-245-8431 Cell
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Life is Good

John Patterson
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Sunday, September 10, 2006

John L Patterson

Editor’s note: You know something? It never fails to amaze me how much information one can pack into a few minutes of time. As John and I talked I scribbled copious notes so that I could go back and write this article.
Well, it’s become a task in a task for I find that I need to take better notes if I’m to make sense of my chicken scratching.
I also feel I must inform my readers that I’m not a professional interviewer or writer and that fact will become evident as you read through this. At any rate, I hope you have fun. E-mail me; I would love to hear from you.
September 5, 2006 at 5pm precisely, I called my childhood friend John Patterson and we spent the next 31 minutes talking about his life’s adventures over the last 46 plus years.
Today you will find John along with his wife Kathy, enjoying life on the coast of Florida as he continues in his career of instructing high school students in the finer points of biology, riding his motorcycle and shagging. (It was the shagging that apparently impressed Kathy for they married in December of 2005.)
John tells me that our high school Principal and biology teacher, “Pug” Teal had the ability to make the study of biology interesting resulting in being the main inspiration in the decision to take his education to the next level.
Robert Muldrow Cooper who at the time was president of the Board of Trustees at Clemson College (University status was not achieved until1964) and was the grandfather of Caroline Beattie, John’s high school “steady” girlfriend. Yes, we used the term “going steady” back then and everyone knew that the “going steady” couple was off limits to everybody else until they broke up. With Mr. Cooper’s recommendation it was pretty much assured that John would be received into the Clemson College freshman class.
“I hated it”, John told me of the short time (a year) he spent on the campus of Thomas Green Clemson’s post civil war legacy to higher education here in South Carolina.
John left Clemson that summer and decided to go to the State of Washington based somewhat on the tales told him by the Lee brothers and in part because he wanted to do something different.
The Lee brothers in case you haven’t guessed are Bubba and Steve and they “thumbed” out to the State of Washington where they had summer jobs in the pea packing plant. John apparently thought this was the thing to do.
I think a little background is in order here for you see; John, George, Clebo, Bubba Lee and I worked as lifeguards during the summers of ’59 and ’60 at Lee State Park. So I’m guessing it was during this time that the seed planted earlier by the Lee brothers was taking root in John’s mind about the pea fields in the State of Washington.
So, gathering his courage he announced his intentions to his father “Pat” Patterson. Of course Mr. Patterson asked the usual questions a father would ask of a son who by all appearances had lost the ability of reason. However it was when John told his dad that he planned to do the same thing that the Lee brothers had done his father would have none of it. So Mr. Patterson “loaned” John bus money to Washington.
As sometimes happens to folks on trips, John’s luggage wound up on another bus and it wasn’t until 86 hours after he stepped aboard the bus that they were reunited. All this time John had no choice but to wear the same clothes and remain un-bathed and unshaven for the entire 3 day, 14 hour trip. It gets better folks.
John has arrived in Walla Walla, Washington without the promise of a job. Moreover, the Lee brothers had advised him not to come unless he had a job but John, not wanting to be denied the adventure of a lifetime walked headlong into an experience that he would be telling to all who would listen for years to come.
John tells me he spent the first night in Walla Walla with the little ole lady that the Lee brothers had stayed with in the past and would this summer, also. He was extremely thankful that he was able to finally clean up before turning in.
The next morning John walked to the pea fields where he learned that there were no job openings so he trudged back into Walla Walla realizing that he needed to find a job straight away.
As luck would have it, John spotted a sign in the window of a restaurant that read “Dish Washer Needed”. Without hesitating he walked in and asked about the job and was told it was his.
For the next 3 to 4 weeks you could find him pressed against the restaurant’s sink hand washing dirty pots and pans in Walla Walla, Washington, instead of working in the pea fields with the Lee brothers.
However his “luck” soon ran out after discovering that the reddish inflammation appearing on his arms and hands were the result of an apparent disagreement his body had to the detergent he was using.
John knew that his career as a dishwasher had come to an unexpected ending because of a bad case of dishpan hands.
Sucking in his youthful pride he did what many sons have done before. He placed a call to his dad with the news that his son had had enough adventure for a while and that he was heading home in the car of another kid from Laurinburg, NC. In addition; he would need a job when he got home.
Mr. Patterson arranged for John to work with Mr. Scurry’s (Susan and Bill’s dad) construction company so he, along with George O’Kelley. Butch Williams and another of Mr. Scurry’s employees worked over near Hartsville pulling waterlogged logs that had escaped from their moorings under the waters of Lake Robinson.
Determined to continue his education John transferred to the University of South Carolina with the intention of obtaining a degree in education. But that changed after he received sound advice from an aunt and uncle who were professors at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa that persuaded him to pursue a BS in biology. He continued on to grad school at Appalachian State and finished his master’s degree at Converse College. He had acquired his first teaching job at Spartanburg Day School where he taught biology for the next five years and worked his way into administration.
After over 30 years in the education field as teacher, coach, and administrator in various places, he may finally get to retire in a couple of more years.
John’s first marriage dissolved after 17 years but not before the union was blessed with a son, John, Jr. who was born in 1966 and a daughter Angela born in 1970.
The proud dad and now grandpa has three grandchildren (John, III, Kyle, and Jenna) from John, Jr., and four step grandchildren (Casey, Dylan, MacKensie, and Cody) from wife # 2. Kathy (present wife) has 3 grown daughters and 4 grandchildren (Kaitlyn, Nathan, Sarah, & Abbie).
Of course dad is hoping that his little girl Angela (35) will soon know the bliss of parenthood. He and Kathy sure have.
I thought I would mention that his two favorite hobbies are dancing and riding his Honda VTX 1300. Even with John’s two artificial hips you will see the happy couple on the dance floor shagging the night away.
If the weather forecast is promising they are planning to trailer his bike up for the reunion on the 29th of this month. These two Floridians hope they can find others who will join them in a ride through Lee County.
I have to tell you that it was really obvious to me during this interview, that John is very “pumped” about the prospect of seeing some people he hasn’t seen in quite a few years.
I’m sure the emotion is shared, John.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Reunion News - - Change of Venue

Daphne M Dickerson writes:

I just received a call from the County and we cannot have the reunion at the school. I have reserved the B'ville Masonic Lodge for the night. It is located at 509 Cousar Street. We will still have a great time and the same arrangements are in place. Some people are hoping to get together on Saturday. If u are interested, just let me know. That will be on your own. See u on the 29th. if you have not contacted me, please do so now. Thanks. Daphne Jean

For directions in the big city copy this and paste to your browser:,-80.236802&spn=0.016146,0.042572&om=1 Posted by Picasa

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