Pat Kramer Class of  1967

 

Pat Kramer   Portrait by Jeff Fain


   Hi Jeff and Everyone, I've just finished catching up on about 7 of your last email messages. I don't read my email regularly at home, since my daughter is on the computer most all the time in the evenings when she is home. Honestly, after being on the computer most all day at work, many times getting back on the computer at home is the last thing I want to do. Other than at work, I am not in the habit of communicating via email. But, I want to echo the sentiments of several of the folks that have thanked you Jeff, for keeping the communication lines opened for all of us.

  I think I missed something. What was that about pledges for a cancer walk? Our family too was touched by breast cancer. My mother died almost 8 years ago after battling for two years. My cousin Rhonda, who also graduated from SW in '67 lost her mother several years ago. She actually died from lung cancer, but her long battle first began when she was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after my mother. It seemed she had beaten the breast cancer for several years. In my mother's case, it was so unnecessary, if only she had gone for treatment sooner. Since I was away most of the time, I don't know if she was in denial or what, but once she was diagnosed, it was already too late.

  Reading your messages is like a walk down memory lane. Jeff, I wish I had the memory you do. At 50, sometimes I find it hard to recall what I did last week, no less more than 30 years ago! My fiftieth was July 10. Using the word celebrated and my fiftieth birthday in the same sentence is difficult for me! I can't say that I am growing old gracefully. I still remember thinking how being 50 was ancient!

  Your email about your visit with Nancy Smith brought to mind a vivid picture of Nancy with her light brown hair, rather short and turned under. I remember Nancy as being very athletic and also very friendly. Nellie's mention of Ray Bare, Jim Goudie, Joe Gagliano, and Dennis Murphy brings back memories of my days at Riviera. They were all "Hunks" and most any girl felt lucky to catch their attention. I too, remember the square dancing and the line up. Like Nellie, I had my eye on Ray Bare, but my math was about as good as my memory is now! I can't recall that I ever had Ray as my partner. Funny you mentioned Steve Fillietaz(sp?), I don't remember him as a bully, but do remember that he was into track and field. He was my heart throb back then. As I recall, I was able to catch his eye for a while.

  Now regarding what I have been doing since graduation - Here goes - After graduating from SW, I was accepted at the U of M, and U of F, but had had enough of school. I wanted a break, but to appease my parents who had high hopes for their only child, I ended up at Miami-Dade. Honestly, I was afraid to leave the security of home. My Dad will tell you today, that I pursued an Mrs. degree. At Miami-Dade, I met Bruce Gibson, a '66 graduate of Coral Park, our rival school. We eventually married.

  I didn't adjust well to college life, it required one to study in order to do well, not so much so, in high school. I was involved in student government for a while, but the social circles, held more interest for me. My grades as they were, began to fall, as did my attendance. I guess it was inevitable, that I dropped out and got a full time job. Bruce enlisted in the Army and was sent to Viet Nam after we got engaged. When he returned in '70, we were married. Two weeks later, he was off to Germany. I followed, two months later. For me, it was like going to another planet. This was my first time leaving home. I led a sheltered life! What an experience though, we lived in Munich for about a year. We traveled through Austria to Italy. We saw the Vatican, the Roman forum, etc. While in Germany, I saw snow for the first time, since I was a very little girl. I acted like a kid. We made snowmen, snow butterflies, and had snowball fights, which I usually lost! Bruce reenlisted and we moved to Frankfurt, where our daughter was born. "We" spent 20 years in the military, most of which was time spent in Germany. Our stateside tours were generally short-lived. Over the years, we lived at Ft. Benning, GA, Ft. Campbell, KY, and finally at Ft. Gordon, GA, where we settled after Bruce's retirement from the military. Our son was born between assignments, while we were home in Miami.

  It was probably my association with the military that lead me to my career in the federal service. Finally, it was my career that brought us back to Ft. Benning, GA. We live in a small community called Fortson, which is north of Columbus. After approximately 18 years with the government, I was facing the possibility of losing my job because of government downsizing. Interesting term, isn't it? I was too young to retire, and too old to start over! As it turned out I was offered a promotion to a position, at the newly established SE Civilian Personnel Operations Center here at Ft. Benning. As the name suggests, we handle all personnel issues for Army civilians throughout the Southeast.

  In spite of what some people might think about government employees, I have earned every penny of my salary. Government downsizing requires that we do more with less. It's has been interesting and often rewarding work though. It was always rewarding to offer someone a promotion, or to make a job offer to someone who needed a job badly. They were always so excited to receive my call. The downsizing diminished those opportunities, and gave way to conducting reductions in force and making important decisions regarding the continued employment of those individuals unlucky enough to be caught up in the reductions, and to counseling those same individuals regarding severance pay, retirement, and the possibility of future placement within the government. It was no fun, since my capacity for empathy was great and I would imagine myself in their position. Some of these people I had come to know personally.

  Now, I'm working on a special project to deploy a relatively new automated referral system throughout our region. For those of you into automation, the commercial system is called Resumix. Army is calling it STAIRS. Good or bad, we've got it. DOD has bought into it and has mandated it use throughout DOD. I've been traveling a lot for training, meetings, and to brief our installations on the new system.

  We still visit Miami occasionally, since my Dad is still living in the home I grew up in. I must say that after being away for so long when I go back it feels strange. Although Miami has become so congested, I still love the area and love the Florida way of life. Those of you still living there please don't be offended, but I tell people Miami is a wonderful place to visit. There is so much to do and see there. But, I wouldn't want to live there. When I was growing up we never locked our doors, and now my Dad has a gun along with his alarm system. Someone had the nerve to break in during broad day light a few years ago. In spite of that, he says Miami gets a bad break in the news. If we ever go back, I think it would be to the central part of the state.

Bio Update 8/27/1999

To Email Patti

Wednesday, August 30, 2000