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A Newsletter By, About, and For Graduates
of William Allen High School's Class of 1983

Issue 14 - December 2002

Where's the Feature Story?                                                by Annette Blanar

Believe me, I've been trying to write one since July, but all I have is unfinished works.

First I started a story about life (or lack of) in the Cayman Islands. I vacationed there this year with friends and spent all ten days searching for Cayman culture. With a couple of rare exceptions, all I seemed to find was materialistic Americanism. Questions came to my mind like -- "What is today's American dream?" and "How do other countries view America?"

In late October 2002, my husband and I separated, which did not provoke sadness but actually is a path to a potentially happier life for me. This life change led me to a lot of philosophical thinking, and I began a story about journeying through life. Questions came to my mind like -- "Do we take the time to really live or are our lives just spent robotically going through our days?" and "Why do we develop relationships with the people that we do?" Again, this work remains unfinished.

In December, I asked a friend what Christmas meant to him, and he replied that it was a purely Biblical thing. I'm not a religious person, but I do consider myself to be spiritual and do celebrate Christmas. His answer made me think about what Christmas means to me. To me, the whole Christmas season is a reminder of feelings like peace, kindness, comfort, joy, and charity, which our busy lives can cause to forget throughout the year. The story started getting complex when I began researching the beliefs behind Hanukkah and Kwanza to see if themes similar to Christianity (with which I am familiar) exist. Thus, I put the story on hold.

Each day in life gives us something important to think about. Recognizing those moments that can promote deep thought is the hard part. It is so easy to skim along the surface of life without ever taking the plunge into thinking about deep issues like:

  • who you are
  • why you here on earth
  • your role in making a difference in the world
  • what circumstances made you who you are
  • why the special people in your life are special
  • how your children will remember you when you pass on
  • what is/was special about your own parents

The questions are never ending. In fact, this whole story is full of questions.

Young children don't have problems asking questions. I've heard parents say that they are often bombarded with their children's pleas for knowing "why". Children don't seem to just accept that a bird flies; instead, they want to know why the bird flies. Even as adults, we still don't know everything about life, yet we often stop approaching life with the inquisitiveness of a child. Asking why can take our knowledge level and experience of life to a deeper level.

As this new year starts, we have many things to look forward to -- milestones in our own lives, milestones in our children's lives, our 20-year reunion, sunny days, and simply living another day. Asking why can make even the most ordinary things we encounter daily more special. Consider giving it a try!

Well, it looks like I have a feature story after all. Peace and happiness to everyone this year!

Annette Blanar is a self-employed technical writing consultant. Until now, she specialized in writing documentation for computer software and designing and maintaining web sites. With a divorce imminent in her future, she is using this opportunity to expand her writing, research, and editing skills into other areas. Some of her interests include grant proposals, travel writing, magazine article research and writing, and book deals. You can contact her at

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Mark your calendar for our 20-year
reunion to be held in 2003!

Saturday, July 26, 2003
The Masters at Shepherd Hills

If you haven't notified the reunion committee of your address, mail it to Gayle (Roth), 6612 Powder Valley Road, Zionsville, PA 18092, or enter it on The Connector web site,


Since High School     See e-mail addresses of classmates

Staci and FamilyStaci (Mattern) Kiefer - October 2002 - New!
After leaving William Allen High School in 1983, Staci remained in the Allentown area until she married in June 1986. In the fall, she and her husband moved to Monterey, California where they lived for over 5 years, then they moved to San Antonio, Texas for 1 1/2 years, while her husband completed graduate school. Their next move was to Honolulu, Hawaii for about 4 years, then to Fairfax, Virginia for another 4 years. Currently, they reside in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Staci's husband is Michael Kiefer (Parkland High School class of '82, Lehigh University class of '86). They have been married for almost 17 years; they married 1 week after his college graduation. He was commissioned into the U.S. Army the same day as graduation and is currently a lieutenant colonel in the Medical Service Corp. In addition to being stationed at the locations mentioned above, Mike has also served in Sinai, Egypt, and South Korea.

Staci and Michael have 3 children. Their oldest (Staci's stepson) Michael II is 20 and a student at Kutztown University. Next is their son Benjamin nearing 15 and a freshman in high school. Their daughter Cassandra is going on 13, a seventh grader.

They have been very blessed that Staci is able to stay home with their children. Over the years, Staci has been active volunteering with scout troops, churches, and schools. While in Hawaii, Staci worked part-time as the religious education coordinator at the post chapel, and in Virginia, she worked for the Air Force surgeon general's chief information officer as his executive assistant. Staci enjoyed working very much and learned a lot, but feels that her most important job is as wife and mom. These are the roles she finds most rewarding.

Annette and WinstonAnnette Blanar - December 2002 - Update!
The year 2002 brought some major changes to Annette's household. The biggest change of the year is that Annette and her husband Eric separated in October 2002, just shy of their 11th wedding anniversary. Basically, they grew in different directions that were no longer compatible. It is the best thing for both of them. Annette is doing fine, and, as soon as the divorce is final, she will close that chapter in her life.

The other members of the household have also changed. Two of the household cats, Abby and VanGogh, are now living with Eric. The third cat, Tesla, is living with Annette, along with a new addition -- a dog named Winston.

Winston is a 2 1/2 year Golden Retriever that Annette adopted from an area Golden Retriever rescue organization. He came well trained, knowing how to sit, stay, paw, heel, down, off, give, and take. Annette got him about two weeks after the separation and expects him to be a great companion. Once the weather gets warmer, they willing be taking regular walks, going to parks to play, attending area outdoor concerts, and going to obedience classes in the spring. One day, Annette would like to take him to area nursing homes as a therapy dog (visiting nursing homes to bring enjoyment to the residents).

The final household family member, Dr. Seuss the beta fish, went to live with Annette's mom in Allentown at Thanksgiving. One cat, one dog, and one fish was too much for Annette, and since her mom wanted a new beta fish anyway, it was a good match.

In other news, Annette took three trips this year.

In late April, she and her mom visited Annette's sister Carol and her fiancee Eric in Port St. Lucie, Florida. It was her mom's first airplane flight, and she loved it. They stayed on Hutchinson Island off the east coast of Florida in a room with an ocean view. It was wonderful to wake up to the ocean each morning. While there, they visited the Kennedy Space Center, went on a river boat tour at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, and played in the ocean. They basically toured the east coast of Florida from Kennedy Space Center down to West Palm Beach. The only bad thing was that Florida was having a heat spell. Annette found some afternoons were better spent inside the hotel room in front of the air conditioner with the patio door open to hear and see the ocean.

The second trip, Annette took this year was to the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman with friends in early July. While the resort was beautiful and the snorkeling was excellent, she found the island lacking in culture. It seemed very American, with little heritage. Plus, it was extremely hot! Annette doubts she'd return there.

Annette's third trip was to Los Angeles, California for the holiday season. Annette spent eleven days exploring the area from Malibu to Huntington Beach from the coast to the San Gabriel Mountains alone. While there, Annette visited the Getty Center museum and saw the 2003 Tournament of Roses Parade, but her two most memorable activities were a bit unconventional -- drawing views of the mountains and ocean from the Santa Monica Pier with a local artist and driving into the San Gabriel Mountains to the San Andreas fault. The fault doesn't look like anything special, but the scenery and complete silence way out in the mountains was absolutely spectacular. The whole trip was a great transition from Annette's old life as a married woman to a "separated and happy" free individual.

Annette is still working as a technical writer and web site designer. Business was slow this year due to the economy and several health problems that she faced. She hopes to stay self-employed throughout the divorce and after. She'd like to expand her writing, research, and editing skills into other areas including grant proposals, travel writing, magazine article research and writing, and book deals.

Annette remains very active with her volunteer work in the community. Sometimes she feels like Miss Penn Township as she is involved with the local library, adult education committee, and recreation department, writes a quarterly township newsletter, and maintains the township and other local web sites.

Tina (Scholler) Hertel - December 2002 - Update!
Tina has come home -- well, close to home. Tina convinced her family that Pennsylvania really is a good place to live, and they all packed up and moved! They now reside in Dunmore, PA (the Scranton-Wilkes Barre area). Their new e-mail address is listed on the class of 1983 page.

Tina still hasn't figured out what she wants to be when she grows up, but is currently a reference librarian at the University of Scranton. Her husband Mike is still helping people find jobs; he's an assistant director of career services at Marywood University.

Their daughter Michelle is already 9-years-old (yikes--double digits soon!) and loving fourth grade. Their other daughter Alyssa is 5 and thinks nothing is better than first grade. Both girls are looking forward to learning how to ski this winter. Tina and her family hope to buy a house in the next few months. Anyone interested in buying one in Bloomington, IN??

Kevin Houck - November 2002 - New! (Add to business page too, 610-799-6585)
Kevin Houck has a new business in the Lehigh Valley area named Diamond Brite Ultrasonics, which offers ultrasonic cleaning for blinds, shades, tools, golf clubs, and soon fire restoration. Kevin is the vice president of operations and one of the two owners of the company. Visit the ad on the business page of the Connector web site for the contact information.

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Since the last issue of the Connector newsletter, much has been added to the web site.

Reunion Information - You can follow the progress of the 20-year reunion planning. There is a link from the home page in the Class of 1983 Announcements section.

Contacts - There are now e-mail addresses listed for 59 class of 1983 graduates. The newest additions or revisions being: Carol Cope, David Winter, Debra Naus, Gayle Roth, Janice Zipf, Jennifer Ruddell, Mark Wilson, Andrea Helwig, Beth Connelly, Bryan Bumstead, Christopher Michael, Darren Gawlick, Edward Smitreski, Ernest Haller, Jim Schrayer, Jim Altieri, Kathy Scanlan, Lloyd Walters, Mary Lauer, Michael Kingcaid, Patricia Bruenen, Paul Edelman, Staci Mattern, Steve Miller, Kevin Houck, and Tina Scholler.

Businesses - There are 6 businesses listed on the business page of the site. The newest one is Kevin Houck's Diamond Brite Ultrasonics. If you want your business included, visit the business page to find out how.

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