The Trumpet History

By Ellen (Lutter) Petersen, THS 1960, Executive Editor.
Including comments by Staff members and Others.
Page background is the background in the first Trumpet editions.

June, 2007

Here we are in 2007... I find myself looking back on some Trumpet history - not only about how The Trumpet came into existence, but how I first ran into the Owner and Publisher of this publication, Werner Feldhaeusser, in cyberspace. Many of our new readers are not aware of this Trumpet history, and I would like to share some thoughts and memories about this.
Werners vision of a web site for all THS alumni seemed to take shape after he attended the 40th Class Reunion for his 1960 Class. This was held on Staten Island on October 7, 2000.

The Reunion was a success, thanks to the efforts of a hard-working Reunion Committee - Mary Creagan, Jack Vokral, Joyce Appelt, Dorina Larsen Bauer, Veronica Springstead, Brent Lally and Tom Krane.

Reunions certainly stir up memories, friendships, stories and ... yes ... PICTURES! Werner did take many pictures at this event and promised the 60 Class that he would post the photographs he had taken on his web page. The pictures went online and, if I remember correctly, that is just about the time when I ran into Werner in cyberspace.

At that same time, I had just registered with the site and while scanning the 60 Class Directory there, I noticed that there was a small camera insignia next to Werners name. I immediately clicked on that (of course, I was remembering Werner as seen in the 1960 Purple Parrot Yearbook). The photo came up and there was this senior gentleman!

The first thing I did was to jump up out of my chair and run to my mirror ... gosh ... a senior gal was looking back at me - when did that happen? Shortly after that day, I connected with Werner through an email (other 60 alumni were ccd on that email too). Werner told us that he had his own web page and would be posting 40th Reunion pictures for the 60 Class members, and suggested we take a look.
Werner explained that he hoped others would want to participate in that web page (Werners vision!). One suggestion to us was that we consider writing up an article about what we each had been doing since June 1960 after walking off that THS stage with our diploma in hand. I did reply separately to Werner stating that, I had led a quiet life... which became the beginning of the bio that sits in The Trumpet for all these years now.
Werner was able to take a short writing - set it up - and make it enjoyable for all readers! This was the beginning of Werners kindness, not just to me, but to all 60ers and eventually to all THS alumni, from all years, and also pulling in other schools.
We are now The Trumpet! But heres what our second edition was:

From here we grew! Other people joined Werner, to become the Trumpet Staff, articles and Bios came in. One thing about growth though - it does bring change. Werners sense of humor really kicks in here ... Werner found it necessary to move the Staff into a wonderful new cyberspace building - issuing many of us nice corner offices (I still have mine).
The Production Department has always been in the basement and Werner decided to add a Security Division to protect the Trumpet files. He hired Ralph. For those who are new to The Trumpet, I must tell you that Ralph is a tarantula - complete with a helmet and AK47.

Werner releases Ralph if the files are threatened in any way. The entire staff has been issued ID tags that are scented, for their own good ... Ralph needs to know who is entering at all times! Ralphs Staff photo is at the right.

When our Co-Publisher, Lee Shake 57, joined our team (more from Lee later on), he added Fang to the Security Division. Ill leave it to your imagination to figure out what or who Fang actually is! Perhaps everyone would like to take a guess at this one. Please do send me a guess if you like!

Getting to know Werner over the years has been quite a trip! His sense of humor, and above all, his kindness, has carried this publication and Staff a long way. Werner is quite unique in his approach and with some of his sayings. For your enjoyment, I have put together a typical email that Werner might send:

Hi Y’all!

I wanted to let you know that I will not be answering emails from Monday to Friday (yes, I have a real job), but I will be around on the weekend - unless, of course, I am run over by a beer truck on one of these Georgia highways!

Ellen - before I forget, please drop a note to “John Doe” and ask him if he would like a position on Staff - I forgot his Class year - RATZ! Also, on the matter of a future Trumpet Bulletin Board ... keep at it ... it’s not rocket science ya know!



PS: By the way, I am aware of the “fur ball” going on between staff members - holy cow, I sure do hope they settle it soon between themselves!

Well, we went along smoothly for quite a while and then, because of rapid growth and also Werners job constraints, we seemed to hit a slump. The Trumpet had become quite time consuming and Werner was just one man with a family, a job, and commuted quite a bit ... oh yes, don't forget that I am technically challenged and unable to give Werner the assistance he needed.

Suddenly, it seemed The Trumpet was just sitting there - never changing month to month and emails were going unanswered ... WE WERE IN CRISIS MODE ... enter LEE SHAKE, 57! Lee, now our Co-Publisher, has been a blessing to us - giving us the oomph we needed and the assistance Werner needed in that basement Publishing Dept! (where it can be very dark and lonely!)

Here are some comments from Lee about joining this Trumpet team:

“It has been a remarkable journey for me, over a six-year period (2001-2007) to go from being a Class Editor/Contributing Editor - dependent on others to get my stuff published on The Trumpet - to the positions of Co-Publisher and Associate Publisher of Directories - doing for others as really wonderful people had done for me for over four years.

You speak of Werner’s sense of humor and his kindness (both of which are absolutely true). I tend to think of his constant effort to improve his own ability to manage this growing web site and the patience and forbearance he uses to encourage and help me to keep up with him. Werner has been able to upgrade his computers, and the programs used, in his effort to stay ahead of the curve as The Trumpet evolved and grew.

Werner has been able to pull me along with him from 2001 - 2005, and here it is 2007 and he is still doing it! I have spent most of my life in some kind of leadership role, but the leadership exhibited by Werner is something I’ll always be trying to catch up to. That is a humbling statement to make, and I have trouble being humble.”

I would also like to share some comments sent in by Staff members ... so appropriate ... after all, in June we do celebrate Father’s Day and Werner is truly the “Father” of The Trumpet! Ill start with a write up from our recently retired Feature Editor, Florence Bothwell Cosby 60. Florence is a gifted writer and her contributions to The Trumpet over the years have been such a blessing to all. Just click on the links below and enjoy stories from Florence!

Weekend At Wernie's

(Published in The Trumpet in June, 2002)

Weekend At Wernie's - The Sequel

(Never published before - written in December, 2002)

Now, here are a some comments from our Staff and others (in no particular order):
Arlene Spark, Special Features Editor:
“Werner and I met up in North Carolina sometime in late 2001 during the early days of the online Trumpet. He drove up from Georgia and I flew down from New Jersey for a weekend of reminiscing about our Tottenville High School days and to discuss this online Trumpet project of his that was quickly taking on a life of its own. During the weekend I remember how excited we were when the Trumpet hit-o-meter registered 10,000. Now it's around 106,000, demonstrating the enormous impact of what started out as Werner’s posting online the photographs he took at the Class of 1960’s 40th reunion.”
Pat Reischour, Associate Publisher for our Arrivals and Passings feature. Pat  expresses her thanks to Werner for being at the helm to pass along information at a sad time:
“Werner called me on the Saturday before Easter 2006 to tell me the very sad and unexpected news that Lynn Abrahamsen Turkus had just passed away the day before, Good Friday, April 14, 2006. I will always remember that phone call and how stunned I was to hear that Lynn had died. I so very much enjoyed my email exchanges with Lynn and I had looked forward to meeting her in person some day. I am so glad it was Werner who told me about Lynn’s untimely death. Almost immediately I sat down at my computer and prepared myself to make an entry for Lynn’s obituary in our Trumpet’s ’Arrivals and Passings’ column.”
John B. Baur, Special Features Editor:
“I remember Werner for his famous sayings, i.e. . .

’The difficult we do immediately . . . The impossible takes a little longer.’

I remember Werner for his editorial and technical dedication in helping to publish (in 4 parts), 'A Reunion of Memories,' working on this every other weekend for almost nine months straight.

I especially remember the magic he performed on:

Part 3. Open House, Garden Party helping Ellen and myself to coordinate the contributions of some twenty five Trumpet Staff and Readers.

But mostly, I remember Werner for his ’Warm and Fuzzies’ and his love and friendship.”

Carol Martin Bogaert, ‘56 Class Co-Editor:
“I see Werner as the ’superhero’ doggedly pursuing each of us to do our part to keep the Trumpet going. (I do mean that in a NICE way!)”
Dee Odson Whitman, ‘56 Class Co-Editor:
“Chances are, in this lifetime, we will never meet but I have found a very nice person here in cyberspace. Werner is a compassionate, kind, loving man - as evidenced by his concern for the Trumpet staff and friends. He never fails to communicate his feelings when the need arises. He always has a good word of encouragement for all of us. So, I look forward to meeting him at some time, in some place. I feel I am missing something by not knowing him any more than I do, but I thank him for his many kindnesses and his concern for all of us.”
Paul Perkert, Feature Editor, Interesting Facts:
“To All Our Happy Readers ... anyone who keeps a large spider (Ralph) in his basement as a pet, can’t be all that bad ... Werner was once contemplating driving to Florida with a tank truck full of Geritol - the market for this stuff is wide open down there.

PS Werner: It's time to renew your Viagra prescription - ha-ha-ha.”

Bob Streeter, ‘64 Class Editor:
“I’m reminded of the very long running but yet still contemporary (at least in my mind), Our Gang Comedies. Spanky and Alfalfa were the glue that held the group together. Werner is my Hero as was Alfalfa.”
Christine Sleight, '68 Class Editor:
“My first memory of Werner concerns his sense of humor. When he asked me to take care of the ’68 Directory, he told me the position came with a corner office. I countered by demanding an ergonomically correct desk chair. He came back with a suggestion that the maintenance staff could sand down an orange crate ... and back and forth we went. He drove a hard bargain, and eventually I agreed to take the job. I haven’t regretted it so far!”
Barbara Hagie Lewis, Subscription Manager:
“Werner, yes definitely the ’father of the Trumpet.’ When we started this endeavor, he was our guiding light. It was his innovation that got the Class of ‘60 together again, and it grew to so many other classes. What can I say, he is a genius. Thank you Werner.”
Bob Lund, Associate Publisher:
“Hmmmmm … I never knew Werner, but my brother did, and he said he was a nice guy in school. It seems he hasn’t changed. Originally, I found the Trumpet site through Lee Shake. I found his address on the Classmate site. Actually I am very grateful for the Trumpet site and proud of the people who have contributed over the years. It has gotten better and better. While I feel obligated to praise everyone, mostly I thank Werner for hanging in there and generating the staff that needed to be there to make it happen. Yes, he is the ’father of the Trumpet site.’ Love him.”
Johannah Hughes Turner, Literary Editor:
“I’ll always be grateful that Werner brought Ralph into our lives.”
Jack Vokral, 1960 Reunion Committee Representative:
“I recall our 40th anniversary celebration and all the steps leading up to it.

Several people took pictures and Werner, through some Emails, asked that we send them to him so they could be shared on-line.

I put together a spread sheet list of classmates with Email addresses, mailing addresses and phone numbers and Werner asked that this be included as well - this is the base for our contact lists today.

Then it started - the avalanche of notes, remembrances, new contacts, old pictures, comments, ’do-you-remember-when’ snippets, biographies - and so on - it never stopped.

But the key is that Werner took up the flag and kept it going – The Trumpet was born.

He ’hired’ staff, solicited continued input, asked for articles, upgraded to better and more sophisticated software, responding to non-THS inquiries, encouraging other classes’ participation, organized it all - among other things.

The highlight of all of this is that Werner gave the endeavor all his care and love - and continues to do so. He deserves all our love and appreciation for all the time and effort he gives.”

Jinnie Haugland, Contributing Editor and HR Manager:
“Werner has shown me nothing but kindness and understanding just in the short time we have been communicating! He is a very caring individual! I wish him the best in ALL his endeavors. And to my new friend ... STAY ...*warm* and fuzzy ... :o)”
Anita Sanchez Bosley, Research Editor:
“I remember Werner for bringing so many old friends who were out of touch back to together.”
Ian Etheridge, Technical Editor, Name This Tune Editor:
“Though a native of Staten Island, I did not attend Tottenville High School. It was via Citizen’s Band radio, in 1962, that I first met our esteemed Owner, and Co-publisher Werner. That was the start of what has become a 45 year friendship. So when Werner decided to attend the THS Class of 1960’s 40th. year reunion, I said I would go with him, as it had been many years since I had been back to Staten Island.

So I became involved with The Trumpet pretty much from the beginning. First as a proof reader, and shortly thereafter as The Technical Editor. I am sure Werner never imagined that what started as a result of posting photos on the Internet of the Class of 1960 reunion in 2000 would evolve into the outstanding high school alumni Internet publication The Trumpet has become. Of course, there were some growing pains as this evolution took place, and The Trumpet went from a ’one man show’ to what it is today. Chief amongst the growing pains was the fact that a new issue was not always published in a timely manner.

While Werner still spends countless hours a month on The Trumpet it would be impossible for him, or anyone else for that matter, to put out a publication of this quality by themselves. It is only through the dedication of the many people who have come on board as Trumpet Staff that make possible the publication of a monthly Trumpet. While every Trumpet Staff member’s contributions are important, it would be remiss of me not to mention a couple of the biggest contributors to the well-being of The Trumpet. Number one is Lee Shake, who if the truth be known, is the one who almost single-handedly publishes a new issue of the Trumpet each month. Number two on my list is Ellen Lutter Petersen whose tireless efforts, mostly behind the scenes, have greatly contributed to keeping the Trumpet moving in a forward direction.”

I’d like to finish by sharing some comments from one of our readers, Rev. Neal Frey, THS ‘65:


“Do you remember when you were in high school and you learned about the Petri dish in Biology class? This little Petri dish was introduced to you as a vessel in which you are going to watch something grow. If you put some sort of medium in this dish and kept it warm and introduce something living, growth will begin.

The Petri dish is made out of glass so that you can peer inside without taking the top off. When the student continues to take care of the dish and check it every day, it will become very obvious that it does not remain the same. Instead, the living matter will grow and begin to consume the entire dish.

That is your Biology lesson for today – simplified! Now, let’s compare this little Petri dish to your mind. When your eyes open in the morning and your thoughts begin to form about where the day’s activities will take you and who you will rub shoulders with, what direction do your thoughts take you?

We all have the choice about our thoughts. We can choose to think positively about our life’s encounters, or we can choose to think negatively. It is up to us and sometimes it is a battle, but a conscious effort and a little training will reveal the value of positive thinking. That old saying we’ve all heard is: ’If you don’t have anything good to say about somebody, don’t say anything at all.’

In our family, school or work place we meet people every day who display what they think about by what comes out of their mouth. Can you agree with me that it is so much nicer to spend time with someone who has a positive outlook on life rather than one who constantly complains, gossips, rants and puts others down?

Like the Petri dish, our mind can become a breeding ground for negativity and consume our thoughts. The first step to arrest this breeding is to learn to recognize a negative thought when it first comes into your mind. You might need a good friend to help you through this first step. Choose a friend that you can trust to be honest with you. If you haven’t ever tried to overcome poor thinking in the past, you will need some guidance. The second step after recognition is the decision to refocus your thought. If you have allowed an unpleasant thought about someone to come into your mind, willfully pick out something pleasant about the same person and begin thinking in a new direction. The next step will be a commitment that you make to yourself to change your thought patterns so that whenever an old way of thinking reappears, you will not let it consume your mind.”

Werner certainly has put his positive vision into that “Petri dish” mentioned above! We are now The Trumpet and I know we all wish Werner a Happy Father’s Day!
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