We hope you are all in great health and doing super. For those of you going to Portland, Maine for the reunion.....it's right around the corner. Time to pack! We can hardly wait to see everyone and once again share those memories from long ago and share the smiles and hugs from all our Parks "family" of friends.
Our first order of business is extremely important. We hope those of you who are signed up for the reunion don't have to cancel for any reason.....but if you should find that something has come up and you simply can't avoid canceling ...... PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE HOTEL ...CALL BILL & SUE BIRDSONG AND LET THEM TAKE CARE OF YOUR CANCELLATION. This is really important to our shipmates. The Merry Manor Inn is absolutely packed and there are no rooms left. Everyone is being referred to the Howard Johnsons across the street ...it's a very nice hotel and really close .... but we sure want everyone in one place if we can. So if you will let us cancel for you we can start bringing those on our waiting list in to the Merry Manor Inn. The phone # for Bill & Sue Birdsong is 951-7895309. Thanks so very much.
To recap.....On Friday, Sept. 19t" we will have a van that will shuttle you back and forth to the town of Portland ...... what an awesome little town with a lot of really great tours you can take. Schooner tours, lighthouse tours, Duck (amphibious) tours, Casco Bay tours etc. The town has lots or eateries, pubs, antique shops, cobblestone streets and is a really neat place to visit for the day. The hospitality room will be open all day for those of you wanting to just "hang out". We will close the hospitality room about 4:15 and reopen about 5:15 for Friday night entertainment.. a murder mystery dinner titled "Politics Can Be Murder". Very timely and there will be a murder which each table will be asked to solve at the end of the evening. Be sure to wear your red, white, and blue shirts.
On Sat., Sept. 20th we start the day at 9 a.m. with our Parks mens meeting ...... please all shipmates attend this meeting. This will be in our hospitality room.
At 11 a.m. the busses will arrive to start loading for our bus trip.....first stop Len Libby Candy Shop where the 1700 lb. chocolate moose resides .... his name is "Lenny". Then re-board and on to Kennebunkport with a bus tour of "Walkers Loop" first ...... in Kennebunkport you will have time to get a little lunch (don't eat too much ...remember that lobsterfest).....then on to the town of York where we will have our Lobsterfest dinner at "Fosters". Also available is barbecue chicken or eggplant parmesan. We should be back to the hotel by 8 p.m. where we will all meet in the hospitality room for those infamous "sea stories". By 10 p.m. the '60-'62 group should be ready to relive the "bicycle story". You sure don't want to miss that!! Pull up a chair. Truly amazing officers in this group.
On Sun., Sept. 21" we will start this day with our worship service at 10 a.m. delivered by our Chaplain, Harry Brantley. This is great to attend and sooooo inspiring. During the day on Sunday the van will once again be available to take you back in to the town of Portland if you would like. Be sure to be back in time to dress for dinner and pictures. Our photographer will start taking pictures about 4:30 p.m. and the doors to the hospitality room will open at 5 p.m. Everyone will be seated and our great shipmates and friends, Bruce & Mary Borgschatz will take you out table by table to finish taking pictures. Thanks so much Bruce and Mary. Please have your picture taken even if you don't want to purchase a memory book. There is no charge for having your picture taken and no obligation to buy a memory book. Our banquet dinner will start with salads at 6 p.m. Lots going on during this banquet including our famous raffle. Last year we managed to speed this up by a ton. We have found a much faster way to get through the raffle and get you back to your time and drinks with your friends before we all say "goodbye" for another year on Monday morning.
IF YOU HAVE NOT SENT 1N YOUR ACTIVITIES FORM AND CHECK FOR YOUR ACTIVITIES PLEASE DO SO RIGHT AWAY!!!!
RAFFLE .... we really appreciate everyone who donates a raffle prize .... the raffle is our main source of income for the Parks assn .... this helps us to provide you with all the extras for the reunion, the mailing and printing costs of everything we put out including our packets of Parks info to newly found shipmates. So when you donate a prize or buy raffle tickets please keep in mind what a great help you are to your Parks assn. Remember to bring your stick on address labels .... its really easy to put these on the back of your raffle tickets and much, much easier and quicker for our officers to read the names. Anyone who can't make it to the reunion but would like to donate a raffle prize please send it to the Merry Manor Inn 700 Main St. South Portland, Maine 04106...,. PLEASE write "ATTN: DON HAGGETT and label it U.S.S. FLOYD B. PARKS.....Don will see that it is stored for us...mail a couple of weeks before the reunion. ...thanks!!!
For those of you flying or taking Amtrak.. ...the hotel does not run a shuttle ...... so get a cab to the Merry Manor Inn, pay the driver and get a receipt. Turn in the receipt to the front desk when you check in and they will reimburse you for your cab ride.
The memory books from last years San Diego reunion went out this week so if you haven't received yours by the time you get this newsletter please let Bill & Sue Birdsong know.
Our illness list ...... we just got a report about Edna Talbert (wife of George Talbert) and for once we got great news ...... her chemo & radiation has done amazing things .... her cancer is greatly reduced and gone from the lymph nodes around the esophagus.....we just know they are celebrating greatly. Way to go Edna! ! ! Captain Gene Erner will get the results of his latest scan soon and we sure hope the very same news for him. John Sindy is still dealing with his breathing problems but improved enough to make reservations to attend the Portland reunion ...... What a guy John!!...... Lois Robbins is still dealing with infection in these nodules from her rheumatoid arthritis.....this has been a hard year for Lois and she has spent more time away from home getting treatment than she has at home with Robby.....but this Parks lady never complains and what a great lady she is. Bob Canfield is getting better since the bleed in his brain from the chemo & radiation-they are still signed up for Portland and lets pull for them that they can make it. Shipmate Leon Whetzel has lost his wife Catherine and is now living in Camas, WA with his daughter. There are probably others that we don't remember right now so if you would all please just keep all Parks shipmates and their ladies in your thoughts and prayers it would be a great help to all who need us.
U.S.A. disasters ...... the Midwest floods were a terrible time for many and we haven't heard from many of you who were caught in them....Dave Lewis sent some pictures of a lot of destruction left behind. We heard from Clyde Williams that he is thankful to live on a hill and they considered investing in a canoe. He would probably just tip it over and we KNOW he would make Helen paddle. As for the CA fires ...... they are mostly out by now.... Robby was anywhere from 20-50 miles from them and had a ton of smoke ...... Al Crosby and Captain Erner were also in the clear but covered up in smoke. But everyone seems to have come through these things unscathed. Now we will keep all of you in "hurricane alley" in our hearts as you go through this hurricane season.
To those of you with email.....we will be taking a minimal number of lists (email, active, inactive, & deceased) with us to Portland as the shipping is so high and to take all that on the plane is out of sight... so if you would like any of these lists please let us know between now and the reunion and we will "attach" them to an email for you...... thanks so much for helping here.
We will bring the "Ships Store" to Portland for your shopping pleasure. Then during the month of Oct. Bill & Sue Birdsong will be regenerating with the surf & sand in Carpinteria, CA...... and of course lots of wine ...... haven't you heard its good for you????? Anyhow we will close the "Ships Store" during Oct. and reopen it in Nov.
For the '70-'73 group .... one of our great shipmates, Benny England, was cleaning out his garage and came upon a newspaper clipping from the Fresno Bee dated July l, 1973. It's a write up and picture of Captain Gene Erner and XO Joe Keeley ......the write up concerns the decommissioning of the Floyd B. Parks. Great article and picture. We have had copies made and will be bringing 20 of them with us to the reunion so if you would like one please see Bill or Sue Birdsong. No charge .... just a nice remembrance for you.
GOLF ..... ATTENTION GOLFERS ...... Tom Wyatt is putting together a golf game for Thurs. Sept. 18`h...... we mentioned this in our last newsletter but only 3 people have responded so lets try again... if you would like to sign up to play please contact Tom Wyatt at 352-465-1477 (home) or at 352-603-9353 (cell) or email Tom at mustan tg oma,bellsouth.net . Thanks for putting this together Tom.
REMINDER to our widows of Parks shipmates ...... you NEVER have to pay dues .... you don't owe a thing and the newsletters will continue being sent to you. We want you to know you are always welcome at the reunions and we would love to have you there. If by some chance you would prefer to NOT receive the newsletters then all you need to do is to contact Bill & Sue Birdsong and we can take care of that for you. But we sure enjoy having you as an Honorary member of the Parks assn.
To those of you who can't make it to the Portland, Maine reunion ...we will miss you and hope like crazy that you will put Sept. 2009 on your calendar and join us then. We hope to have another exciting location for that reunion. So save Sept. and plan your vacation.
For now everyone stay safe and healthy. Let us know if you have any questions or problems and we'll see if we can help in any way. Take care and we'll see a lot of you in just a short time.
Bill Birdsong (secretary/treasurer) 951-789-5309
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
James "Robby" Robbins (Great Advisor) 530-283-2165
From The Chaplain's Corner .................
It looks like we'll have the biggest crowd ever for our annual reunion. Portland, Maine promises to be one of our best locations et. There will be much to see ... and do ... and I've never met a lobster I didn't like!
What a way to begin life as a U.S. Navy warship. It was a bright sunny day in May of 1945 in Orange, Texas when the wife of Major Floyd B. Parks broke the traditional bottle of champagne against the bow of the Gearing class destroyer named in his honor. The Major had been killed in the Battle of Midway and was awarded the Navy Cross (posthumously).
In commission until 1973 PARKS became a part of naval history, having excelled in war and peace. Many gallant officers and men are honored to have been a part of that history. It was a place where seamen could become petty officers, and ensigns could become admirals: PARKS will remain forever in the hearts and minds of those of us who served aboard her.
Lois and I look forward to seeing you in Portland. Dues have been paid, reservations have been made, and the lobsters await their fate! Is this a great country, or what?
TAPS: Since our last newsletter, we have lost three more PARKS family members: Jesse J. Parker 1949-53, Charles W. Fuller 1966-69, and beloved wife Catherine Whetzel. May God rest their souls!
"For all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.". 1 Peter 1:24, 25 (NIV)
For God and Country!
Harry W. Brantley, MS, MA
Master Chief Yeoman
U.S. Navy (Retired)