Pat Kramer Class of
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
Wednesday, August 30, 2000