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

Issue 1 - December 1995

By: Annette Blanar - Editor

Mark, Susan, Debbie, Jody, Cindy, Steve, John, Michael, Sandy, Jennifer... Whomever you are, if you are a graduate of Allen High School's Class of 1983, this newsletter is for you.

Welcome to the Premiere Issue of The Connector, a newsletter published by, for and about graduates of Allen High School's Class of 1983. It is meant to be a tool to keep in touch and network with fellow classmates. Issues will include news about Allentown, Allen High School and graduates of the Class of 1983, general interest stories by classmates, photographs, and business cards. Pretty much anything that is of interest to people in our graduating class or items created by our classmates. I personally would like to know what people I graduated with are doing because if I need something done, I would prefer to go to someone I know. If I need a plumber or an artist and knew that one of our classmates was a plumber or an artist, I would prefer to pay him to do the work than a total stranger.

Locating the names and addresses of all 600-plus classmates would be very difficult and mailing 600-plus copies would be rather expensive (my husband will divorce me if I spend too much money on this project). For these reasons, I will start the distribution by mailing the newsletter to people with whom I have kept in touch and those people that provided contributions to the current issue. I then encourage those people to make copies and pass the newsletter on to those people with whom they have kept in touch. Hopefully, through this pyramid of contacts we will be able to reach a large majority of our classmates. If you would like to receive a copy of the current or next issue directly from me instead of going through the pyramid network, just send me a self-addressed stamped envelope with your request and I will be happy to send you one directly. I want to provide this newsletter as a free service to our graduating class. I do not want to charge for this newsletter so this is the easiest way to minimize my costs.

OK, so far you know what this is about, why I'm doing it, and how it will be distributed. I guess the next point is when. I will distribute the newsletter semiannually on June 1 and December 1. The December issue can easily be enclosed in holiday cards to classmates with whom you have kept in touch. If I get a great deal of interest in the newsletter, I can change the frequency to quarterly. If interest is minimal, I can change the frequency to annually or not at all.

When I approached some fellow classmates with the idea for this newsletter, they pointed out to me that the idea would only work if people were motivated enough to copy the newsletter and distribute it to others and to make contributions to the newsletter including telling other classmates what they are doing which often makes people nervous. I considered these points before I even proposed the newsletter idea but decided that we wouldn't know if a newsletter would work unless we tried it. If I don't get enough support from other classmates after a few issues, then I'll discontinue it. Simple as that.

In closing, I am sending out a request for contributors - both regular contributors to write columns for every issue and occasional contributors. I am looking for short autobiographies of what you have done, what you have learned, what you are doing since you have left the halls of Allen High School. I am looking for photographs of classmates and their families. I am looking for business cards of classmates to include to promote the businesses that they are running. I am looking for articles published in other sources about classmates and about news in Allentown. I am looking for artwork and original photographs. I am looking for true stories you would like to tell your classmates about what you have done or an experience you have had. I am looking for a landscape photograph of the front of Allen High to incorporate into the title of the newsletter. I am looking for creative writings and poems by classmates. Is there something you'd like published but never had a source to publish you?

If you think this newsletter is a good idea and want it to continue, send something to me at the address on the second page. You can sent it by regular or electronic mail. Without your contributions, the newsletter will not be able to continue for long.

Well, enjoy this premiere issue. I hope to hear from you with you questions or comments (whether positive or negative) or your contributions for the next issue.

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Hess's downtown store, after being sold to The Bon-Ton in August 1994, is closing permanently on January 15, 1996.
Bethlehem Steel decided to shut down its iron and steelmaking furnaces and discontinue milling operations of skyscraper beams. About 1800 workers will lose their jobs as a result.
Allentown enacted a daytime curfew to curb school truancy. School age youths are being apprehended in the vicinity of Allen High School and West Park. The daytime curfew bars elementary and secondary school students from city streets and public areas between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on school days.

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By: Jed Rapoport

I recently found my copy of The Comus. I sat down and started paging through it, reliving as much of those now faded memories as I could. Of all the images in the book, the picture of myself had the most impact. Did I really look like that? Was that the hairstyle of the times? Was 1983 that long ago? I was shocked.

Since part of my job today involves research and writing, I took it upon myself to find some historical references that would put the passage of time into some perspective. Off to the library I went.

Guess what! We really did wear our hair like that. In fact, I found out a lot of things I forgot about 1983 and the 1980's in general.

The tight fit of Levi's 501 jeans was in fashion.
Sneakers were predominately white.
Preppies actually existed.
Proper office attire for men was still three piece suits.
The term "Politically Correct" did not exist.
Ronald Reagan was just nearing the end of his first term in office.
Rock groups like AC/DC and The Who were still in vogue with the hard rock set.
Rap music was still unknown.
MTV was new.
Michael Jackson was actually widely popular.
Madonna was relatively new and hadn't taken any of her clothing off, yet.
No one knew or cared who Rush Limbaugh was.
Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't count for much at the box office.
The movie ET--The Extra-Terrestrial was a big deal (I still haven't seen it).
Home video recorders were still a luxury.
An average home computer had 64K of memory and cost over $5,000.
Compact disks were new to the market place.
$20,000 would buy you a luxury car.
No one knew what an SUV was (Sport Utility Vehicle, i.e.; Ford Explorer).
You could buy a new home in the Allentown area for less than $60,000.
Herpes was a bigger scare than AIDS.
Cabbage Patch dolls were the top toy (Gee, nothing electronic?).
Sally Ride was the first American woman in space.
We still cared what the Space Shuttle was doing.
Gasoline cost $.90 per gallon or less.

We were just graduating from high school and none of us knew or cared about retirement savings, child care, mortgage rates, the next election, or taxes.

Now I know why when I look in the mirror and see a face sporting glasses, short hair, and just a wisp of gray, I don't make a connection to that picture in the Comus of 1983.

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The article on Brett Prager printed in this space was reprinted in this issue with permission of The Morning Call.

It is available in printed format only.

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Since High School      See e-mail addresses of classmates

Annette Blanar lives outside of Pittsburgh in Trafford, Pennsylvania with her husband and two cats. For the past 5 years, she has worked as a personal income tax preparer and instructor and has spent her free time maintaining the house. She has recently decided that time is running out to do some of the things she has always wanted to do someday. Thus, this newsletter is born. Her husband spends a great deal of time at a computer terminal. During the day, he programs imaging software for biological applications for a small company and in his spare time he programs shareware computer games for Microsoft Windows.

Kerry Moyer attended Penn State University and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in meteorology. He is married and currently living in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is in the final months of a two year postdoctoral appointment at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and hopes to continue teaching and or performing research in the earth sciences .

Carol Cope Mershon lives in Boyertown, Pennsylvania with her 8-year old daughter and her 4 cats. She recently returned to the workforce while in the process of going through a messy divorce. She is looking for a lawyer who works for free and wants to know if anyone out there has invented a way to put more time into a day.

Jed Rapoport is a consultant on antique and collector cars and a free-lance writer and photographer (amongst other things) based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He has no plans to see ET, is not married and has never been, owns his own home, and is actually thinner than when he graduated high school.

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Who were homecoming King and Queen?
Who won the Allen-Dieruff game in the Fall of 1982?
Who was president of Allen's TV and Stage Crew club?
Who was school principal?
Who placed first in the Voice of Democracy oratorical contest?
Who was the Canary Marching Band's drum major?
Who was voted class clown?
Answers will appear in the next issue.

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The Connector™ copyright 1996-, Annette Blanar,
graduate of  William Allen High School's Class of 1983. All rights reserved.
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