Dik's Ravings

Dik Saalfeld '80
Washington correspondent
Fall 2004

Beta Theta's storied Class of '79 attended it's 25th Reunion in June. Class member Paul Weston, his lovely wife, Dreamgirl Leslie "Fritter" Dombrowski, and Mark and Mary Ochs hosted a picnic at the Weston's estate in Trumansburg to honor the occasion. Attendees included Chris and Jill Klyne, Ken and Anna Mary Lauricella, Bill Webster and Ann Ruhman, Jim Hanrahan, Mark and Shirley Johnson, Marty Putenis, Frank Koh, Bob Dores, Chris and Vickie Felden, Mark and Jodie Nestle, Nate Rudgers, Jay and Maria Hardenburg, Bob Comeau, Matt and Patsy Schiff, Chuck Smith, my better half Kelley, and me. Forgive me for not naming the approximately 6 million children also in attendance, but if you've seen one booger encrusted little urchin… whoa! Sorry! The kids weren't so little. Also, if I forgot your wife or gave her the wrong name, sue me. I got better things to do than take notes when I'm up to my elbows in cold cuts and potato salad.

click to enlarge
Class of '79 and hangers-on honor Hugh Gibbs, Kurt Dodd, and Lee Morton
Along the order of a cenotaph, we set up memorials to the late Kurt Dodd, Lee Morton, and Hugh Gibbs, who were remembered fondly with stories. Chris Klyne pointed out that one of Kurt Dodd's charming quirks was that he ate three lemon cream cookies every night. Chris passed around a package of Kurt's favorite brand, but most folks were more interested in Lee Morton's favorite evening snack, namely Pabst Blue Ribbon. We might be older, we might be grayer, but we - Dang. Where was I going with this?

[Ed.note: There are other Reunion photos here ]

Anyway, the Class of '80 Reunion is mere months away, and I encourage all members to contact me to get talked into going. Ralph Bischof. Tom Berg. Brad Smith. Joe Kulikauskas. Donzo. Chris Ashley. You know who you are. Jim Dake. Kevin Dean. Don't make me humiliate you in the Spring issue, sign up now! Kevin Ketchum. Chas Horvath. Yes, even Paul Schilling. Paul Lego. John Olsewski. Friggy. Monti. John Cosulich. Jeff Taub. Bring the old lady, bring the kids! Incidentally, I tracked down Paul Shilling, who lives in San Diego. He's a scientist studying crazy people; in his spare time he takes pictures of flowers and sells them for about what you pay for your kid's tuition, assuming the little monster still goes to that school for droolers and nitwits.

I got a call from Bob Montione '80 the other night. He was drinking beer in the hot tub. When I considered the notion of Monti sitting in warm water for hours on end while sucking down homemade brewskis, I made a note in my address book: "in case of visit, don't use hot tub." Anyway, Monti is a great dad. He recently gave his two kids a cuddly pet. "Cuddly," in Monti lingo, means "a frisky young python." He hasn't told the kiddies that the critter's favorite meal is live baby bunnies. He's going to surprise them. If you're a shrink specializing in child psychology, Monti's clan will help you make those boat payments.

Bill Gossman '84 notes that I've been writing about him lately without technically having communicated with him in years. He says "I'm now living in Seattle and am the father of 3 kids, a redhead, a towhead, and a knucklehead. All good kids, all under 7. Yikes. My wife has all the parenting genes - thankfully." Bill and I reminisced about the time I was on vacation in Playa del Rey, California, and, unbeknownst to either of us, spent a week living next door to him. While packing the car for the trip to the airport I glanced in an open door and saw Bill sitting on the couch. In typical guy fashion, I walked in and said "Hi, Bill." He responded in like fashion with "Hi, Dik," and we had a nice little chat, completely glossing over the fact that we had simply run into one another in one of the largest megalopolises on Planet Earth, thousands of miles from where we expected the other to be.

Tom Berg '80 is retiring from the Navy. This is gospel truth: when you retire, the Navy puts you in a program to help you adjust to civilian life. They teach you how to go out and get a real job, how to deal with civilians (don't use grenades to clear the line at the Piggly Wiggly, etc.), and what to wear. I may have made up that last part, but it would be a good idea, given the Navy's penchant for fruity white bell-bottoms and blue ascots.

Elsewhere in this rag you will read of the exploits of Ed "Chow King" Catto '84 and his engagement to erstwhile sweetie, Kathe Day. They were an item twenty years ago, then married other people and had families. They have come full circle. I roomed with Ed back then and participated in some racy and juvenile practical jokes, which may explain his two decade split with Kathe, as well as the fact that my girlfriend of that era left me with some happy memories and a handful of restraining orders.