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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hello from Saundra Weishner Reichel

Thanks so much for being in touch, as I have been so busy in the last several years with work in the public schools near Cleveland as a school psychologist at Lakeside High and as an adjunct psychology professor at Kent State University. I have also been teaching a parenting class for children's services semi annually. I spent the summer at Alvernia College and Penn State University, completing courses in biobehavioral health and marriage counseling, to acquire the credits to renew my license, since my daughter is the asst director of student affairs at PSU. Therefore, I have several email accounts and this one is my favorite, since it is my husband's old email account. The girls and I want to keep it, as he was an angel, always making us laugh...He was buried the day after Thanksgiving'06 with military honors in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, since he was in the army. I appreciate your condolences as well. My mother was 86 when she passed away last week...still in the canonsburg/houston area over the past 50+ years. Her family was from Bethel Park, so we followed her wishes to bury her in the Bethel Park Cemetery where the rest of her Hungarian family are interred.

But how are you and what are you doing in CA? How long have you been there? My mother's sister lives 40 miles south of San Francisco and every year my mother would travel there by train or plane with Isalys chipped ham and klondikes...My uncle, who was an engineer, worked originally for westinghouse near pleasant hills and later transferred to lockheed. They just loved Isalys. My 2 daughters and grandchildren and I were there a year ago in June. We took the kids to Disneyland and stayed at the Lemon Tree ( a good Australian spot).

I absolutely loved the CHS mail has been transferred to my PSU daughter since my husband passed away and I have been traveling. I had not seen the notice, however, until after I talked to Jean Balsama Romano after my mother's funeral...Jean and I walked to school together everyday from W.College street where I lived and we stood on the corner of the High school at lunchtime daily, keeping in touch routinely ever since we left CHS.

I graduated with a BA in communication with a minor in education and BS in business with a minor in psychology at Carlow College and received my MS.Ed in education with certification in School Psychology at Duquesne U while my kids were in school. Of course, i married Joe after my career was ended in a major airline as an EAL Flight Attendant, since we were required to sign a contract that we would resign upon I wore his engagement ring for 2 years on a chain around my neck. Talk about the epitome of discrimination! The average flight attendant worked only 18 months before they found Mr. Right and married. Later, we had 2 houses built in Peters Twp in the area of Crossgates during our 44 years of marriage, while I served as president of every level of PTA, Republican Women, Girl Scouts, etc, along with baking apple pies, until the kids went off to PSU and Joe retired after serving as a PT Police officer and lower court judge, while I began to work (he was a Pitt U guy, 8 years older than me and passed away at age 72), taking a position in the HS near the lake I love.

Our girls graduated from PSU and Kristen ( who was an insulin dependent diabetic since childhood)took a job with Conde Nast Traveler Magazine on Madison Ave in NYC as a promotion designer and my eldest never left 'happy valley' where she has been promoted to asst director of student affairs, directly under the dean at PSU. She has her masters in counseling psychology.

Now, how did I get to Australia...well, Kristen, my youngest, traveled there with her portfolio on vacation and took a promotion design position with Diabetes Australia since they love to hire diabetics, leaving both traveler and self magazine after 5 years in New York City.
This is where she met her soulmate and has been married 7 years, after a fairy tale marriage with her wedding photos in Darling Harbor at the Sydney Opera House. She now has 2 children including my grandson, who is 5 and grandaughter, who was 2 in May. They are the absolute joy of my life.

So here I am winding up at the end of my life as the bionic woman with crippling arthritis and a defibrillator and pacemaker implant, after open heart surgery ( all inherited from my father) with the opportunity to travel worldwide, when all my husband thought we would be doing is growing old on the porch swing with the grandchildren visiting. HA!

My daughters want me to live six months a year near each, soooo....Kristen currently lives in a 4 bedroom $800,000 home in the suburbs of Sydney, which is well over my head....while my other daughter, has a townhouse about an hour from Philadelphia.

So much for short stories...
Back to business....
I would love to see some photos from Hawthorne Elementary, where Gary Briceland, Judy Greer and I attended 1st up to 8th grade. Also, photos and booklets from previous reunions including the 5th year, which I attended, but I can't remember the others I went to, since I know we were in Hawaii during one reunion. It is really great that there is a year to plan so hopefully, many can go. I remember that 5 year reunion well, as I was expecting my first baby any day at that time. She was born late on 9/12.
I am amazed at how many of our classmates have relocated across the USA. My only difficulty living in Australia is attempting to drive on the other side of the road, and watching out for the kangaroo signs, which are just like the deer signs we have here.
I loved our high school years, decorating with streamers for the proms and the dances we had, the clothes we wore, not to mention the greatest music ever in history, in my opinion.

Well, it looks like I have updated you with all I can think of at the moment...incidentally, I liked that one idea on the web....who was it that mentioned a cruise...wouldn't that be fun? Our best cruise was on Celebrity Lines to Jamaica, Grand Caymen Islands, Mexico, etc where we renewed our vows at 25 years ( I think, as one year we celebrated our anniversary cleaning out our attic, as I forgot what day it was...sept 22, the same day and year Aurella Dobbs was married, with Jean Balsama as her bridesmaid). But Joe and I were planning to take a cruise on the Mediterranian, however, we didn't make it...why not plan there??? However, I know the price of petrol is killing the cost of cost us $4,000 each for Joe and I to travel twice a year to Australia since 2000. It is a loooong, costly trip, crossing the international date line which puts them a day ahead of us.

One last thing...I missed our favorite stop after school, (other than Isalys)..Jeffrey's drug store...does anyone have any photos of it? When I was in Canonsburg after my mother's funeral, I stopped at Citizen Bank and they were offering Tshirts with all the old Canonsburg memories on it, including Jeffrey's Drug Store. I think Tshirts with our old High School, Jeffreys, etc on it would be a great keepsake for a picnic at Town Park. Also, I can supply tiny australian kangaroos and koala bears for favors, if you like...I just need to know how many. You are also welcome to visit sydney, if you don't mind being wined and dined for 22 hours or 5 full length movies to get there..we are always welcoming americans, as they have the best surfing beaches on earth and driving around with the elevation changes, I feel it is alot like Pa., even though I like the flat roads of ohio, nevada, scottsdale (where my cousins live) and california best. I must say that this has been a terrific trip down memory lane and thanks so much for all you have prepared thus far...I loved all the photos of our town and events we shared!

Hugs, Saundra