October 1, 2008

Dear Class of ’63,

Today, I received the most wonderful gift of affection from my class.  In the mail I found a card sent to me by Carol Thomas Krawiec.  Before I opened it, my mind raced ahead to the jokes Carol has played on me over the last 5 years we have been working on the class website together.  I just knew that inside the envelope would be some smart-alecky joke card.  However, upon opening the envelope, I found the most wonderful card carefully signed by my classmates.  Also, inside the card, was a letter which I temporarily placed aside so I could read the many signatures and notes written by my friends.  I was touched to realize that someone had taken the time to not only pass the card around the class, but was able to keep the whole affair from my view.  I was further surprised when I turned the card over and saw many more signatures on the back side of the card.  (See the card below)

When I finished reading the card, my attention turned to the folded letter that had been carefully placed inside the card.  As I unfolded the letter, to my surprise a check fell out onto the table.  As I turned the check over and attempted to focus my eyes, I was stunned at what my mind thought it was seeing.  In disbelief, I made further attempts to refocus these old eyes.  What I had a hard time comprehending was the number of zeros I was looking at after the “1”.  My eyes were telling me I was looking at a $1000.00 check but my mind was trying to deny what I was seeing.  I couldn’t comprehend why there would even be a check with the letter let alone one so large. 

With tears welling up in my eyes, it took several tries to get through the accompanied letter.  Only then did I understand what was going on.

After calming down a bit, I called Carol.  She explained to me how she had sent the class an email about the website asking the class how they wanted to take part in its support and how the class not only responded then but how many more took part the night of the reunion.  Carol also told me, and I would love to have seen this, how she was going around to some of the tables literally on her hands and knees, to keep from being seen, for signatures and to collect money.  As an old Navy Chief, I told her how I was a trained observer and that not many people are able to get anything over on me, but on this one I was totally in the dark.  I understand that Ron Mathews had a part in keeping me “out of the way” during the evening.  Ron, you and I need to talk.

I want to make sure that everyone understands that every penny of this wonderful gift will be put toward keeping the site running.  As most of you know, I have been able to keep things going on a shoestring, but as time moves forward, eventually I will have to re-write the entire website in a new web language and may have to find a new home for the site.  As for now, your wonderful gift will be placed in an account and used when it is truly needed.

Thank you all ever so much for the thought.  That, more than anything, means everything to me. 


Bill Passauer

P.S. At the end of the letter found below, you will notice that Carol signs off with “Your Second Wife…”  To those who don’t come to the mini-reunions, this will take a bit of explanation.  Since Carol and I have spent so much time together on the phone, via email and visiting while home in Oil City, at the last mini-reunion, I just started calling her my second wife.  And, well, since Ted didn’t seem to mind, it has just sort of stuck.  Sorry Ted…

Card Front and Back

Card Inside

The enclosed letter