Stuttgart, FRG, An Arrival

November 25th, 2010

In June 1982, my wife, young daughter and I left Dover Delaware on a Military Airlift Command C5  for The Federal

Packrod Spin, Fresh Water

Packrod Spin, Fresh Water

Republic of Germany, aka Bundesrepublicdeutscheland.   Or, West Germany.  We landed in Frankfurt and caught a train to Stuttgart where we were stationed.  I was in a virtual state of exhaustion and slept most of the way.  About 20 minutes out, a young Sergeant in our compartment woke me up and gave me some advice on locating an apartment. 

The big fear about Germany most of we young families feared was the cost of getting an apartment.  One month upfront, last month’s rent and a month or two deposit.  Additionally, the cost of the rent was often pretty high and the availability was low.  The Sergeant said Just walk around and look for windows without curtains.”  When people move, they take EVERYTHING!  Curtains, lightbulbs, cabinets.  You are renting 4 walls.  When you see an empty window, knock on the door and ask if it is for rent.”

Well, arriving at the train station about midnight, no one was there to meet me so, several calls and a half hour wait later, Captain Jack Spencer showed up a bit bleary, stuck us in his car and took us to the Hotel Krone in a small farmer’s villiage called Steinenbronn about 15 minutes south of Stuttgart.

Over the next couple days, we walked around the villiage and one day passed this two story house.  Low and behold! the main floor windows were all empty.  A lovey young blond lady was in the yard.  I asked her if the home was for rent.  “Du must mit mutti spechen” she said.  So, we all marched upstairs to meet Mutti, or more formally, Frau Wagner. 

 

To make a long story short, we moved into the home a week later for $400 to cover the next two weeks.  We paid 800 a month and enjoyed the home until we left a bit over three years later.  God certainly provided generously for us.  In all my time in Germany, I never met anyone who had found a home so easily and entered it so cheaply. 

 

The added bonus was the Wagner family.  They were wonderful people.  Mr. Wagner raised pears in his back yard from which he made a fine wine.  Mrs. Wagner was a very kind woman.  She told me one time she was concerned for my wife being out in the country in a small town by herself and not being able to speak German.  I still recall her specific words roughly translated:  “We Germans are a cold people.  It may be very difficult for your wife to be here and not speak German.  How about if I take some classes in a nearby town (I forget the name) and I will take her with me and she can take conversational German.”  For a number of reasons that did not work out, but, Over 20 years later I can still picture the circumstances of that conversation.  The Wagners had three children, Linda, the young blond lady who was married to a Helmut Schmidt and lived a couple blocks away, a son Thomas who still lived at home and was about 25.  Finally, there was the youngest daughter whose name I do not recall.  Last but not least was Pia, the Schmidts daughter who was of an age with my daughter.  They played together and went to kindergarten together for the three years.

 

So, thank you God for a great introduction to Germany.  Thank you, Familia Wagner, for your kindness, generosity and friendship during our sojourne in your country.

 

This is brought to you By Emmrod Compact Fishing Gear.  Emmrod fishing systems are the best compact fishing rods on the market. This compact fishing poles are versitile, unbreakable and break down for very easy carrying regardless of what you are doing.  Backpacking, survival packs, canoe fishing, kayak fishing, carry on your motorcycles or bicycles or keep them in your ATVs.  This is the perfect option for anyone who needs a fishingpole for those special occassions.   Http://www.MyCompactFishing.com

double tipped Emmrod heavy duty rod

double tipped Emmrod heavy duty rodEmmrod Compact Fishing Pole, Mountaineer

Wending My Weary Way Home to Kibalabag

November 24th, 2010
Enjoy the Emmrod Kayak King Fishing Pole for all your Eloika Lake Fishing

Enjoy the Emmrod Kayak King Fishing Pole for all your Eloika Lake Fishing

Packrod Spin, Fresh Water
Packrod Spin, Fresh Water

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Fishing Pole repair in the Spokane WA Area

November 17th, 2010

Greetings.

This is just a quick note to see who out there does fishing pole repair in the Spokane area.  I am not worried about my Emmrod Compact Fishing Rod systems as we take care of that internally. In general, I would like to know who you have taken your broken rods to to fix and how you have liked their service.

One of my clients has some old fishing rods that have broken tips–a problem you avoid with the non-breakable Emmrod rods!  Additionally and perhaps a bit harder, he has an old bamboo fishing pole and I am looking  for someone who does repair and refurbish work on old bamboo poles.  You can post a comment below or email me the information at compactfishing@gmail.com.

On a bigger question, does it make sense to include a directory for this kind of service on this site?  How many of you are looking for that kind of help?  As a business owner, I have a million ideas of how to improve my service floating through my brain all the time.  It is hard to know how many are worth the work in terms of building a better, more useful site.  I would love some feedback on that idea.

Thanks.

Dave Atherton

www.mycompactfishing.com

Philip’s question: Using 2 pound test line with Emmrd Compact Fishing Systems.

October 29th, 2010

Philip asked me if it was possible to cast a 1/8th oz crappie lure using 2 lb test line with the Emmrod System.  I have not had a chance to go out and try that yet because the weather here has been horrible.  Horrible from the point of view of going out in it to fish.  Actually, from the point of view of my garden and fields and getting drinking water next year and going skiing this winter (Not me, the effect of gravity on my rather heavy body is more than I can handle.), the rain and wind and coldness has been very good.

 

Here is what I have been able to find out by asking around.

–If you “shoot” your bait/lure out, forget anything under 10lb test line.

–If you cast, you should be fine, just don’t snap it out.  If you do, you will pop the lines, maybe even a 4 pound test line.  So, in the end, you should be able to cast with the emmrod using the lighter lures and lines, just practice and go gently in the lapping waves. I will try this when I can get out on the lake.

Ordering Emmrod Compact Fishing Systems from outside of the US

October 29th, 2010

Hi, I follow my hits on a daily basis.  Lately, I have noticed a lot of hits from outside of the US.  Additionally I have had a couple of orders from outside the United States of America.  I think it is about time for me to make a few p0ints.

 

1.  Ordering from Canada.  Looks like you need to figure in about 15 percent sales tax and add about 6 – 8 days for processing through Canadian Customs.  My order shipped just fine but was delayed for close to a week and my buyer had to pay those taxes.  He said his Emmrod compact fishing poles were worth it and he was pretty happy with them thus far!  I do accept credit card orders from Canada as I do not have to worry about the banks on them.

2.  Ordering from anywhere other than the USA and Canada.  Because we have had a consistent problem with credit card fraud and are not protected by the usage laws here for use in other countries, we can not accept credit card payment on your orders.  I am very sorry as there just is nothing more convenient.  I AM checking into Pay Pal as that might be an easier alternative.  In the meantime, I will ship to overseas destinations and accept orders from overseas with the following understandings:

a.  The payment has to be by a Money Wire to my bank account.  To calculate the full amount due, here is the general formula:  Merchandise + Shipping/handling/insurance + $13.00 Money order processing cost at my bank.    The actual cost of postage is really tough to figure and we would need to do individual costing to figure that out.  I would also include insurance in that calculation.  Shipping by DHL, FEDEX or UPS may be a better option.   I do look forward to receiving orders from overseas and will work to make your Emmrod Fishing Experience dreams a reality.  Email me with what you think you want to buy.  Also include a brief description of how you fish and what you fish for including the weight of the typical fish you catch.  With the high shipping costs, money wire costs and potential customs costs, I want to be sure you get the best pole for the fishing you want to do.

Thanks.

 

Dave Atherton, Authorized Emmrod Compact Fishing Pole distributor.

The Emmrod Compact Fishing Pole standard Rod System

October 6th, 2010
Emmrod Compact Fishing Gear Top Water Rod

Emmrod Compact Fishing Gear Top Water Rod

4 coil Emmrod Compact Fishing gear spinning rod
4 coil Emmrod Compact Fishing gear spinning rod
Emmrod 8 coil casting Rod.  Perfect for pan sized fishing. Ultralight Fishing at its best!
Emmrod 8 coil casting Rod. Perfect for pan sized fishing. Ultralight Fishing at its best!
Stream Master Fly Rod shown w/ handle
Stream Master Fly Rod shown w/ handle
double tipped Emmrod heavy duty rod
double tipped Emmrod heavy duty rod

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 1930’s Duane Markley’s uncle thought it would be great to have a compact ice fishing pole he could take apart and carry easily to his favorite fishing places.  He also enjoyed the idea of being able to make a few bucks selling them in his local market in the process.   He made the first spring operated compact fishing rod and from what I understand, it did pretty well.  Fast forward to about ten years ago.  Duane saw one of these old poles and thought to himself, “Self, I could do something with that!”  He approached his uncle and got his blessing to move forward with his ideas.

 

The first thing was to make a better connection.  The second thing was to patent the upgrades and changes.  He did both.  Duane thought there should be an easy connect application which would be transferable across several different rod options.  The connection should be simple, quick, and strong.  After looking around at existing technology he found an idea for a quick 1/4 turn, spring loaded connection which he adapted and  patented for the Emmrod Compact Fishing Pole system.  The rod has two teeth on each side.  These teeth fit into a slot on the housing on the end of the handle.  When pushed in, depressing a spring in the housing, you can turn the rod about 90 degrees at which point the spring pushes it back out locking it into place.  To remove the rod, reverse the process.  Perhaps 2 to 3 seconds to insert or remove the rod.  Additionally, he wanted the rod to be easily stow-able so in most applications, the coil on the rod fits over the housing on the pole handle or the handle itself.

Fast forward ten years to the present.  There are now five categories of rods which are pictured above.

This post will deal with the rods pictured in the second and third photos above.  That is to say, Spinning Rods and Casting Rods.

The original format for rods was the casting rod.  In truth, these still work well on virtually any rod handle in the Emmrod Compact Fishing Gear inventory.  But, because there are so many specialized types and ways of fishing and so many brands of specialized equipment, it soon became apparent the many benefits of the single eye casting, which we will talk about below, did not work in some instances.  First, specialty lines like Spider or Fire Wire are designed with a need for at least two eyes with an initial larger eye setting up the line for the final smaller eye at the end of the pole.  Without  that first eye to set it up, these lines just clumped at the end of the casting rods.  Duane is very customer oriented and immediately went to work designing a rod to deal with that issue.  Hence, the Spinning Rods.  Second, Trolling.  I will discuss that below in practices.

What makes Emmrod compact fishing poles competitive casters with standard six to eight foot poles?  Two things.  First with just one (or two when running the line through the coils) eye, the amount of friction on the line as it is cast is hugely reduced.  This permits the weight to carry the line much further than it might go with six to eight eyes.  Secondly, the spring assist in the coils compensates for some of the lost spring and leverage of a longer pole.  Add these two aspects together and Emmrod Fishing Poles using equivalent weights and lines will compete heads up with any six to eight foot fishing pole.

Sensitivity.  Depending on the number of coils, the Emmrod rods provide a graduated level of sensitivity which is appropriate to the targeted fish.  The more coils the more sensitive the rod is.  I will provide a weight chart below.  But generally, 4 coils is for those guys up to 25 pounds and 8 coils is for the little stinkers up to 2 pounds.

Trolling.  Over the years, the many fishermen using Emmrod fishing poles for trolling have used the rods in various ways.  Their combined wisdom indicates regardless of the type of fish or rod being used, you will have better control and better results by running the line through the coils then to the small eye at the end. Even though it may look a bit odd, especially with the casting rods, you will get better results.   Another huge advantage of the Emmrod Fishing Poles for trolling is the huge reduction in slack time.  The tip of a normal six to eight foot pole moves three to four feet back and forth.  The Emmrod Compact Fishing Poles only move about three to four inches.  As soon as a fish hits, the line is pulled tight and the coils react appropriately and against the fish.  This coil action and the lack of slack line results in a significantly higher hook setting rate.

There are four levels of rods defined by the number of coils in both the  standard casting and spinning rod family.  They are equal in this respect.  the coil/weight ratio is as follows:

4 Coil for fish up to 25 lbs.   6 coil for fish up to 10 lbs.   7 coil for fish up to 5 lbs.  8 coil for fish up to 2 lbs.

How does this play out in useage and which should you buy?  I think the basic rule is to err downwards.  For example.  If you occassionally catch a six or 7 pound fish, go with the seven coil instead of the 6 coil.  You really want the rod to be responsive to what you catch the most.  If you occassionally get  those bigger fish, you are likely usually catching fish under 5 pounds.  If you happen to catch a bigger fish, just loosen the drag and play the fish longer.  In the Inland Northwest Empire, I find the most common useage is for the Packrod or the Kayak King using the 7 coil rods.  This permits a lot of fun on the smaller fish and still has enough stiffness to handle the guys a bit over 5 pounds by playing with the drag.

PRICING:   All the basic casting and Spinning rods cost 20.00 each.  We permit you to pick the one that is most appropriate for your use.  The good news is, you can buy several rods and be prepared for anything. At $20.  a second rod tip is not a huge expense.  In this area (Inland Northwest Empire), I would recommend the 4 and 7 coil rod tips if you are going to buy two and want to keep them the smaller more compact versions. 

Tune in later for discussions on the other types of rods shown above.

  

Sponsored by Atherton Enterprises and Emmrod Packer Combo.  This is the original “Dock Shooter.”  Like most of the Emmrod Compact Fishing Poles, you can “shoot” your bait or lure when in those hard to maneuver spaces.  Catch those bass and trout you might otherwise miss! 

 <a href=”http://www.mycompactfishing.com/cgi/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=1-1130“>Check out the Emmrod Packer Combo</a>

 

  

 

 

Eloika Lake Fishing Report from Jerry’s Landing, Early September

September 15th, 2010

This will be short because I can not find my notes.  I will try to find them and get a longer report on here.  Trying to squeeze too much into too little!

 

Bottom line, it continues to be a strange year.  The good news is the bass are still biting and have moved in closer to the shore. There were a couple four pound bass photos on the wall when I went in just before going to the Colfax (Palouse Empire) Fair last week.  Those were recent catches.  Black was the lure color they were hitting on.

The crappie were a bit slow but still a few nice ones coming out.  The Perch were pretty good and some had been caught off of their docks there. 

 

Jerry’s landing is going into its last couple weeks of the season so hurry on up and take advantage of their great service and especially of their knowledge of the lake.  Free at the public dock w/ no info or $3. to launch from Jerry’s Landing with an instant fishing report.  You tell me which is the better deal!

 

Also, September 19th, the local Kayak Club will be having their annual whing ding deploying from Jerry’s Landing.

I need to encourage them to each get a Kayak King Emmrod Compact Fishing Pole  http://www.mycompactfishing.com/cgi/commerce.cgi?search=action&category=KAYA to enhance their Kayaking and Kayak Fishing experience.  Actually, I think the Emmrod Packrod http://www.mycompactfishing.com/packrod-compact-fishing-poles is probably even more convenient.  In either case, the 7 coil rod  is probably the best bet as it is gentle enough to give you a lot of fun on the small fish but tough enought to handle the bigger bass and perch you might run into.  Also, keep in mind, those big Crappie are really scrappy and a tougher tip (7 vice 8) is probably still a good idea.  A second Rod that is great is the Top Water Rod which is great for the top water lures and give you more action. http://www.mycompactfishing.com/product/top-water-special-rod/1-1128.php

Enjoy the weekend and look for a new report next week.  Thanks! Dave Atherton

Address:
N 41114 Lake Shore Dr
Elk, Washington 99009

Phone: 509-292-2337

Eloika Lake August 14, 2010

August 20th, 2010
Jerry's Landing Eloika Lake entrace

Jerry's Landing Eloika Lake entrace

Hello everyone.

 

I made a quick visit to Jerry’s Landing at Eloika Lake, Spokane County, Washington today. I wanted to take a couple photos of what was working. My photo for the crappie, sunfish and perch bait came out so fuzzy as to be worthless. I will try to replicate it later.   To the left is a photo of the sign at the entrance to Jerry’s Landing. Check them out. 

 

Here is the view from the driveway looking in at the resort.  The dock in the center is one of two docks they have where you can fish.  Based on the boats there, I think you can also make long term docking arrangements.  Give them a call and ask if that is what you need. 
Here is the store to buy bait and candy and soda and supplies at Jerry's Landing, Eloika Lake, Spokane County, WA

Here is the store to buy bait and candy and soda and supplies at Jerry's Landing, Eloika Lake, Spokane County, WAJerry's Landing, Eloika Lake, One of the two docks

I asked Lauri what was biting and here is her report.  The crappie and perch are a bit slow.  The bass are biting pretty well. Seems like the middle of the lake was one of the better spots for them.  Stop by and pick up supplies and get your boat in the water.  $3.00 is pretty cheap when you factor the fishing tips you’ll get into the mixture.  Why waste time when you can go directly to where the fish are biting? 

Fuzzy foto of the crappie, perch, sunfish and bluegill lure.

Fuzzy foto of the crappie, perch, sunfish and bluegill lure.

Sorry for the poor quality of this photo.   This has a very light weight of about 1/80th of an ounce on it and can be used to jig, reel in slowly, on a bobber or with a worm attached as well.  For the crappie, play it about two feet down.  For the perch, try about 4 to 6 feet down. This next photo is a great lure for the bass.    

First photo of this bass lure for Eloika Lake

First photo of this bass lure for Eloika Lake

  You can throw it out and drag it back slowly.  You do not want it too deep in the water.  A couple of inches should be adequate.Second photo of this bass lure for Eloika Lake…………………Here  is another photo of this bass lure for Eloika Lake which gives another angle.Great Bass Lure for Eloika Lake……………..Here is yet another option for Bass.  This plastic worm seems to work well both in the water and then on top of the lily pads.  In the later option, you cast the lure onto the lily pad and jiggle it.  The Bass will come up out of the water to get the worm.  I guess they might see some of the shape of the lure from under the water and combined w/ movement, it becomes irresitable. 

 

Great Bass Lure for Eloika Lake

Great Bass Lure for Eloika Lake

There you have it.  Another day fishing Eloika lake, Spokane County, Washington state.  I leave you with a couple more photos:Eloika Lake, Spokane County, Washington, looking south from Jerry’s Landing

Eloika Lake looking west from Jerry's Landing at the far shore

Eloika Lake, Spokane County, Washington, looking south from Jerry's Landing

Great plastic worm for bass fishing

Great plastic worm for bass fishing

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 Sponsored by Atherton Enterprises and Emmrod Mountaineer Combo.  Like the Kayak King, the Mountaineer is great for all those tight space fishing requirements.  It has an added perk in its adjustable handle.  This really helps those with arthritis and carpel tunnel syndrome. Check them out at <a href=”http://www.mycompactfishing.com/cgi/commerce.cgi?search=action&category=MOUN“>Emmrod adjustable Mounaineer compact fishing rod</a> 
Emmrod Compact Fishing Pole, Mountaineer

Emmrod Compact Fishing Pole, Mountaineer

Eloika Lake, Spokane County, Washington, looking south from Jerry’s Landing

Jump Of Joe Lake, Stevens County, WA

August 20th, 2010
Emmrod Compact Fishing Rods, Kayak King

Emmrod Compact Fishing Rods, Kayak King

Here is a page from the Department of Ecology.  I will be contacting the Jump Of Joe Lake Resort for a fishing report.  I like this little lake and found it a great place for kids to catch a lot of blue gill and sunfish. 

Enjoy the information.  Dave

JUMPOFF JOE LAKE — STEVENS COUNTY: 1996

Jump Off Joe Lake is located 10 miles from Chewelah and six miles northeast from Springdale. It is fed by an unnamed inlet, and drains via Jump Off Creek to the Colville River.

Size (acres)                         110
Maximum Depth (feet)                  25
Mean Depth (feet)                     13
Lake Volume (acre-feet)             1430
Drainage Area (square miles)       15.30
Altitude (feet)                     2031
Shoreline Length (miles)             2.0

 

Source of morphometric data: Water Supply Bulletins 42, 43, and 57.


VOLUNTEER-COLLECTED SECCHI DATA ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Date Temperature Water %Cloud Recent Secchi Lake (Y/M/D) (C) (F) pH Color Cover Rain Wind (ft) Ht(in) Abbrev. Comments ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ STATION 1 96/05/18 16.7 62.1 Lt Brown 0 20.0 0.0 96/05/30 0 16.2 0.0 FIELD VISIT--NO VOLUNTEER 96/08/29 0 18.5 0.0 FIELD VISIT ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
LABORATORY RESULTS ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Total Total Fecal Col. Bacteria Turb- Suspended Solids Phosphorus Nitrogen Chlorophyll (colonies/100 mL) idity Total Non-Volatile Color Date Strata (ug/L) (mg/L) (ug/L) Site 1 Site 2 (NTU) (mg/L) (mg/L) (Pt-Co) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ STATION 1 96/05/30 E 12 0.21 4.6 96/08/29 E 8 0.22 1.5 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ E=epilimnion composite, H=hypolimnion composite. Remarks codes: U = Below detection limits; J = Estimate.
SUMMARY OF VOLUNTEER SURVEY There was no survey response for 1996. FIELD OBSERVATIONS OF ECOLOGY STAFF Lots of surface scum observed during the summer field visit.
TROPHIC STATUS Estimated Trophic State: Oligo-mesotrophic Mean Trophic State Index (Secchi): 36N* (Oligotrophic) Mean Trophic State Index (Total Phosphorus): 35 (Oligotrophic) Mean Trophic State Index (Chlorophyll a): 42 (Mesotrophic) *The calculated TSI is an estimate. The Secchi disk hit bottom (B), entered the weeds (W), or there were too few valid readings (N), or the calculation was based on qualified data (J), or TSIP was based on spring data (S).
SUMMARY AND EXPLANATION OF TROPHIC STATE ASSESSMENT Jumoff Joe Lake is classified as oligo-mesotrophic. TSI and profile data support this classification. There were high concentrations of oxygen throughout the water column.
COMMENTS FROM 97/07/29 AQUATIC PLANT SURVEY Partly cloudy, calm, plants growing at 5 meters. Great plant habitat, diverse community - Chara meadows throughout much of littoral. Many huge goldfish, many turtles, ducks. Maximum depth of plant growth: 5.0M.
AQUATIC PLANT LIST (This list may be from multiple years and sources.) Ceratophyllum demersum (Coontail; hornwort) Chara sp. (muskwort) Elodea canadensis (common elodea) Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag) Myriophyllum sibiricum (northern watermilfoil) Myriophyllum sp. (water-milfoil) Najas flexilis (common naiad) Potamogeton foliosus (leafy pondweed) Potamogeton friesii (flat-stalked pondweed) Potamogeton pectinatus (sago pondweed) Potamogeton sp. (pondweed) Potamogeton zosteriformis (eel-grass pondweed) Ranunculus aquatilis (water-buttercup) Scirpus sp. (bulrush) Solanum sp. (nightshade) Typha latifolia (common cat-tail)

 


Data collected and provided by Washington Department of Ecology’s Lake Monitoring Program (Maggie Bell-McKinnon, phone 360-407-6124).

 

There is a great resort at Jump Off Joe Lake: 3290 East Jump Off Joe Road    Valley, WA 99181   (509) 937-2133  I had a great time fishing there a few years ago with my son.  We caught little sunfish and crappie and blue gills as fast as we could throw a line out.  It was more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.  Give them a call. Tell them Dave Atherton and Emmrod said to call.

 

Sponsored by Atherton Enterprises and the Emmrod Kayak King Combo.  Fishing from a Kayak, canoe, small boat or big boat, this excellent compact fishing pole is ready for all your uses.  Fine tune it to the fish you catch.  The combo comes with an open face reel. <a href=”http://www.mycompactfishing.com/cgi/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=1-1136“>Emmrod compact fishing pole Kayak King Combo</a>

Heaven or Hell? Highschool 41 years later.

August 13th, 2010

High School is not a happy memory.  In fact, I have often said prior to my first four years in Spokane, Washington, it was the worst 3 and a half years of my life.  I just attended my 41st year High School Reunion. I feared going and almost backed out at the last minute.  In the end, I went and am glad I did.

From Jan 1964-April 1969, I attended Faith Academy just outside of Manila, Philippines.  We returned to the Philippines in January 1964. My parents, brother and two sisters went on to Mindanao where we worked.  As there was no school beyond 8th grade for me to attend, I stayed in Manila to attend the boarding school for missionary kids, Faith Academy.  This school comprised kindergarten to twelfth grade.  I joined in the middle of my freshman year. There were 320 souls k-12 the year I graduated, 1969.

I never felt at home at this school.  Why?  I missed my family and all that was familiar to me in Mindanao; I was an interloper who jumped into the puddle at the middle vice at the beginning like a huge number of the kids who had gone to school together since they were little; I am old short and fat now–back then, I was young.  In a school where basketball prowess establishes social standing, I was swinging on the outhouse door.  I also made my share of stupid mistakes which aided the alienation.   Finally, I think the angst of being a teenager wore heavily on my psyche.  If all had been perfect, I would still have struggled.

Was High School all bad?  Of course not!  There were many bright spots.  Wrestling Coach Steve St. Claire was not a bright spot, he was a beacon!  He was a lighthouse on a distant stormy shore.  I do not know how many times he comforted me in my unhappiness. I do not recall him ever giving me much advice, he was just there to listen.  This continued into my adulthood where he and his wife, Dottie gave me advice and succor many times over the phone, in person and in letters. This still continues from time to time.  There were teachers who encouraged me greatly:  Miss Sommerville, my English teacher.  Mrs Brunemier, who thought I hated her as we butted heads often, apologized to me at graduation.  She had no need as most of our headbutting was because I never shut-up.  Mr. Musgrove and several others whose names escape me at the moment were kind and helpful.   While many of the kids were cruel, others were wonderful.  Annie and Glee Ritchey, Becky Eames, Joy Brown, Jim Long, Jay Kyle, and Paul Lavender are individuals who come quickly to mind.  There were very good experiences as well.  The Senior Play, wrestling (Finals for the league tournament: 2nd my Junior year and first my Senior year.)  Cross Country (Coach St. Claire said of me “Atherton, you are the only person I ever met that run’s slower than he walks.”  I treasure that to this day!  It was so true.)  There were some nice trips to Pinatubo mountain and the ocean.  I loved attending the Union Church in Manila.  I am sure many of the sermons derived from Barth’s musings have at least a sub-concious impact on me to this day. And finally, a trip to Carol and Emily Gordon’s home with my friend Paul Lavender has been a sweet taste in my mind on many occasions over the past decades. Included are the bus ride, the long hot shower where I used up the hot water, the time at the beach and just being in with a group of people for a while.

Yet, I left school very angry.  Angry at a couple individuals and certainly angry at Basketball.  I have long since lost my anger–but not yet developed love as demanded by Scripture for those who despitefully use you–for the individuals. As for basketball, I feel no scriptural need to seek its forgiveness or–regardless of what poetry in motion those big professional ball players are–develop an interest in or love for this sport. I shall enjoy hating it until I cross the great continental divide. I am sure “it” mourns my disdain.

I looked at my experience at Faith as a very dark umbrella overwhelming the few points of light underneath and that feeling has persisted for four decades.  I have tried to bury it, eliminate it, hide it and make it go away.  Unfortunately, it has been a zombie climbing up from the pit at the slightest tug of memory. It is so persistent.  This reunion has helped in many ways.  I would say the umbrella is still there. But, because the points of light under it have increased both numerically and in intensity, the umbrella is now a light grey and not so overwhelming.  The good is finally beginning to balance out the bad.  I am very thankful I went.  Here are some of the factors from this reunion which have brought me a measure of relief.

First and foremost.  Paul Lavender was a very good friend to me during our mutual sojourn there.  I do not know if he made a conscious effort to do so, but, I felt somewhat protected by his friendship.  He was a year older than I and I missed him greatly after he graduated in 1968.  For years, rumors circulated regarding his stint in Vietnam and his struggles after Vietnam.  Because Paul was going to this reunion, I could not cancel.  To see Paul happy and contented with a wonderful wife–no doubt a significant causal part of his contentment–was a great joy for me.  Thank you Helen Eyestone for having Paul publicly share the circumstances surrounding his receipt of a silver star.  For those who do not know, the silver star is functionally the third highest possible award one can receive:  Medal of Honor, two different distinguished crosses, then, the silver star. Much of the award process runs around rank and politics.  For an E5 to earn the silver star, you must really do something extraordiany because everyone around you is doing amazing things.  Paul, I am sure I join the three men whose lives you saved and their families in thanking you! But, no surprises here, you had already earned the Medal of Honor from me for high school.

Emily Gordon came up to me at the airport and gave me a hug and asked if I recalled pulling her out of the ocean.  We all dream of rescuing a beautiful damsel in distress.  Emily, HOW COULD I POSSIBLY FORGET!  Emily’s encouragement and friendship are a wonderful thing.

My class was pretty much AWOL from this event. Thanks Kitty for showing up.  You are still your sweet self after all these years.  I am happy for the joy you found in the later part of your (still young) life.  Great to see you and your Sis again.

Spending time with Paul Hendricks and his wife Linda was really great as we have a shared interest in wrestling and bees.  Look for a special blog on the little buzzers. Paul was THE man on the wrestling team during my Junior year. He had to eat a lot to break 115 pounds. He wrestled 2 or 3 classes above that. Only one wrestler stove off his prowess and avoided a pin. Of course, that was because Paul insisted on pinning him with the Banana Split move. I imagine that guy is still holding his crotch in agony at those tortured inner thigh muscles. 8.75 minutes out of nine being stretched as if you were on the rack. Congrats to you, who ever you were! You deserve a medal for toughness.

Being able to sit down with Coach Hardeman for a few minutes and discuss Faith was also healing.  He has given over 40 years (along with his wife) to this school, the Philippines and the kids of Faith. As the CMMIC in charge of basketball, we shared letters several years ago regarding my issues. It was good for us to talk in person. Thanks Tine for the time.

Finally, the many people who were friendly to me at this reunion and especially those who were younger than myself. A number were very warm to me–beyond the generalities of a shared experience–which led me to believe I may have touched their lives in someway during my time at Faith.  I choose to believe that and that relieves much of the burden of what I felt were pretty much wasted years. Never forget great roommates (Sandy, Rick, Kieth and one other who I did not see much.)

To those who I did not get a chance to sit down and talk with, Brian Boyce pops in my mind, I am sorry we did not have opportunity to talk. I would have liked to discuss your time in the service and your motorcycle which I happened to see as you were leaving. Your Dad was helpful to me as my dorm father. Thanks for sharing him with so many of us. I am sure that was difficult for you.

I have a friend of nearly 4 decades, Don (and I will protect his last name.) who says “No matter how bad things get, you can never loose your ability to laugh at those that are less fortunate than yourself.” While I disagree with that statement-as does he in reality-it is poignant in this discussion. As a teenager, I and likely most of us, was wrapped up in my own egocentric evaluation of the depth of my misery. The problems of others were invisible to me. I was amazed as I talked with or listened to others who I thought were very blessed–and we will not discuss individuals–who made my sadnesses and problems pale in comparison. While I missed my parents, I did not doubt their love. While there were some stresses between me and my siblings, we were not played against each other by our parents. While sometimes I felt left out, I sought out friendships outside of the school to augment those within the school. Others felt a total sense of isolation. In short, I can now rejoice my problems were really so insignificant. On the other hand my heart turns for those of you whose problems dwarfed my own. You all hid them so well!

Finally, Helen, Joni and all the unseen hands that helped put this reunion together.  Thank you so much!  Like an iceberg, the good time at the reunion is visible, the great mountain of work below the water level that supports the visible tip dwarfs the final performance.

A final PS goes to my wonderful sister, Debbie Warkentin.  I am so glad you came.  We see each other far to infrequently.  It was good to be together again and I really enjoyed our date into town.

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