Dear friends, Good morning. The last ten days were busy. On Mothers Day, I learned what stay-athome moms are worth. Mighty Betsy and I celebrated my 50th college reunion... and lived to tell the tale. As of this writing (May 19), the Quakertown school board hasn't awarded a contract to its only [finalist] candidate for Superintendent. The board should come up for air and regroup (more on this later). The Pennridge-Quakertown Hall of Fame has six new winners. And last but certainly not least, the region lost two favorite sons, one 94 and the other 87.But first let's look ahead to next week.

Be sure to mark your calendars for May 30. The Quakertown Community Education Foundation presents "Walter E. Baum, Remembered," an afternoon exhibit of eight Baum paintings plus student art at the senior high school at Sixth and Park. Baum, who lived in Sellersville (1884-1956), is Upper Bucks County's most famous painter.

Dr. Martha Saxton, an art historian and author of "Walter Emerson Baum, Pennsylvania Artist and Founder of the Baum School of Art and the Allentown Art Museum," will give a fascinating talk about Baum. Saxton's excellent... I've listened to her lectures. The public is invited to the program at 3:30 p.m. (free admission). Plan to get there early because several hundred are expected. The event is free. M.B. and I'll see you there.

Mothers Day weekend... two items.

First, do you know what full time and part time stay-at-home moms are worth? Plenty! Jeanne Sahadi, a senior staff writer at CNN, interviewed 400 stay-at-home moms and working mothers to find out.

Sahadi identified ten tasks which mothers perform daily and ranked them by the hours that they spend on each of them during the week. The tasks are: housekeeper, cook, day care center teacher, laundry machine operator, C.E.O., facilities manager, van driver, psychologist, computer operator and janitor.

And the answer? Stay at home moms average 92 hours each week on these 10 tasks and should be paid $134,121 yearly. Working moms give 70 hours weekly to these jobs and should receive $85,876 yearly...

...Note this for the men in their lives. Ms. Sahadi assigned no monetary value for physical affection. Can you imagine what moms should be paid if she included that assignment too... that crucial arrow in their quiver? For more info, look on the Internet for the website Second item.

My 50th college reunion prevented M.B. and I from attending the annual Pennridge- Quakertown Hall of Fame so I called retired Quakertown coach Don Young for particulars. The Quakertown winners were Bucks County Court of Common Pleas Judge Kenneth G. Biehn, John S. Detweiler, an investment broker and community activist, and Shirley Neas Merring, QHS '53.

Biehn and Detweiler played on the 1956-1957 Bux- Mont Championship basketball team. They joined their teammate, Ed Becker who was initiated several years ago. The induction of Biehn and Detweiler mark the first time that the Hall of Fame chose two athletes from the same high school year. And it may be unique that three starters from the same basketball team have become Hall of Fame members.

Shirley Neas Merring won nine varsity letters in field hockey, basketball and tennis. Her basketball and field hockey teams were Bux-Mont Champions in 1951. After much success at East Stroudsburg College, Neas coached winning teams in basketball, hockey, and softball at Upper Perkiomen and Belvidere, N.J.

Neas, Biehn and Detweiler were joined by their counterparts from Pennridge High School. I'll write about Bob Clymer, brother of State Representative Paul Clymer '58, Alan Frick '67, and Joan Price '62 next week. Item.

Michael Ondra died at his Milford Township home on May 5. He was 94 years young. I remember Mike and his lovely wife, Nona, with great affection. He was an active aviator as his obituary noted (May 13). When I was a county commissioner 40 years ago, Mike would attend our weekly meetings and urge us to improve the Upper Bucks Airport where he kept a plane. He wouldn't let the county government forget that his airport deserved as much attention as the Central Bucks Airport.

Mike's obituary was filled with inspiring milestones. He emigrated from Eastern Europe at age two and left school after eighth grade to join his father in the coal mines of western Pennsylvania. His mother's moonshine activities created enough wealth for the family to buy a farm near Pennsburg.

During World War II, Mike was a crew chief for a B-26 bomber, which gave him knowledge to help Israel prepare its air force during its fight for independence in 1948. He and his family returned to America where he concluded his career as a flight engineer for Seaboard World Airlines the precursor of Federal Express.

You could write a book about the life of Mike Ondra. Item.

John Hoishik, Telford's able manager of 30 years, died recently at age 87. After he retired from his Telford post, John was a municipal manager for Perkasie, Pottstown and Limerick Township. He was a graduate of Perkasie High School and served in the Pacific theater during World War II.

John was a past President of the Pennsylvania Local Government Secretaries Association and a founder of the Telford Industrial Development Authority. He was active in local fraternal and community organizations.

John Hoishik and Mike Ondra were members of the Greatest Generation. Finally,

David Landis should stay another year. The acting Superintendent of the Quakertown school district has done a good job substituting for Jim Scanlon who resigned last fall. The Quakertown school board has been searching for his successor ever since.

A while ago, the board announced that it had finally narrowed the field to two candidates but one withdrew his/her candidacy. That left just one prospect to consider. I don't think that anyone would want to take the superintendent's position by default.

When you consider the 40- year track record of Quakertown superintendents, they seem to alternate in popularity...not that popularity should be the only measure of a superintendent's worth. Still, residents with long memories will recall that not all of the six superintendents who followed Superintendent Joseph S. Neidig were winners. (For you historians, the Superintendents who succeeded Neidig in 1958 were: George Ackerlund, Strayer, Jack Lawrie, John Holbert, George Taylor, and Scanlon.)

So here's my suggestion to the school board (as of this writing, May 19). Plead with David Landis to remain in Quakertown long enough to complete another search.

And while they're at it, I recommend them contacting our friend Carol Conger who served as a superintendent at several New Jersey schools and presently works with a superintendent placement firm. She's a no nonsense lady and knows her way around the public school arena. I'll reveal her phone number to anyone at the Quakertown school who's interested...after getting her permission first. Sincerely, Charles Meredith

comments powered by Disqus