I sent an e-mail to Hal [Williams] the other night thanking him for letting me know about Mrs. Edwards. I was a freshman with the class of 1968. Hal and I were room mates for one quarter in Band Company. I told Hal that Mrs Edwards could even make a fat boy like me look pretty good in a uniform.

I was on academic probation when I left NGC in June 1965. I went home to LaGrange, got a job in one of the cotton mills and waited to get drafted. I had no interest in going back to college at that time.

The draft notice arrived the week before Christmas 1965. I then went down and enlisted in the Army, becoming a draft dodger in a legal manner. I was sworn in at the Atlanta Center on January 5, 1966. My classification was Regular Army, Infantry (Unassigned). Completed BCT at Harmony Church, Fort Benning in March 1966 and went to Advanced Infantry Training (11B10) at Fort Jackson, I took my fatigues, jump boots, and khaki's from NGC with me to Fort Jackson. Whenever we had to stand an inspection or stand guard mount, I wore my NGC uniforms. I never had to stand guard duty. A couple of my friends also wore my jump boots when they had to stand guard mount.

Later, the Army did me dirty by sending me to Artillery OCS at Fort Sill instead of my first choice of Infantry OCS at Fort Benning, only 40 miles from home in LaGrange. However, I put my NGC uniforms and jump boots to good use in Artillery OCS, too.

I appreciate the good work that Mrs. Edwards and her employees did on our uniforms. I have learned over the years to appreciate that one year at NGC, too. I did not accomplish very much as a student. However, I was well prepared for the life of an enlisted man in the Army. I don't think I would have made it through OCS had I not attended NGC for that one year.

I was a 2nd LT in Bravo Battery, 2/321st FA in the 82nd ABN DIV during the Summer of 1967 when the members of the Class of 1968 were going through Summer Camp at Fort Bragg.

I considered going back to NGC in 1971 when I got off active duty. However, I already had both a commission and a retirement, too, as a CPT due to wounds incurred at FSB Ripcord on July 23, 1970.

It was easier for me to learn to yell 'War Eagle" than to stop yelling 'To Hell With Georgia" which I learned from my Dad who was a big Tech Fan. My wife wanted to go to Grad School while I completed my BS degree so we went to Auburn. Later my father-in-law taught me about trout fishing. That made me think going back to NGC would have been a pretty good idea.

Tom Austin
Tom Austin 1964-65 (class of 68) on MRS EDWARDS and NORTH GEORGIA COLLEGE. Tom was a freshman in Band Company.
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MORE ON FSB RIPCORDR I P C O R D R E P O R T
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BOOK ON RIPCORD
RANGERS LEAD THE WAYRobert Wages '69 had the fuel oil tank at Mohawk Carpets in Dalton painted with the shoulder patch is 173d Infantry Brigade (Airborne), the only unit to make a combat jump in Vietnam. The 173rd's Sky Soldiers earned: 13 Medals of Honor. 32 Distinguished Service Crosses. 1736 Silver Stars. And 6000+ Purple Hearts. There nearly 1800 names on The Wall belonging to 173d heros. Mr. Wages has good reason to be proud.
Robert Wages '69 steps up, demonstrating (at his place of work) his lasting esprit-de-corps and his loyalty to his unit.
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Tom mentions FIRE SUPPORT BASE RIPCORD. Rembert Rollison NGC '66 is remembered by many, including more than one author. There are a number of books on RIPCORD, one of the monumental efforts undertaken by the army. Many heros emerged from there as well as the creation of many nightmares. Clicking here will take you to WIKIPEDIA's article on FSB RIPCORD.
And, at some of their urging, I went to the Class of ‘67’s reunion; the first “function” I had attended in over forty years without the security of having Gary Stahlberg on my arm to be there in case no one remembered or even talked to me. I really was terrified when I arrived in Dahlonega that Friday night ... the night of the great FIVE HOUR TRIP TO WAL-MART WITH KIRBO. But everyone (well, everyone I got to see that night who wasn’t WITH ME AT THE WAL-MART) was so kind, and seemed happy to see me, whether they really were or not.

Most of all, I appreciate all the guys who danced with me and “took care” of me Saturday night. And, a special thank you to their wives for being kind enough to share them with me for a just a little while. And, on a personal note, I would just like to add that Alan Dunaway is one great “dancing fool.” Can that boy move, or what??!

Of course, I would have preferred it had Kirbo put a picture of me on the website later that wasn’t a close-up of my butt, but then, as I’ve already stated, he IS a dog!! However, my snappy matching red shoes did look good!!

The ‘67 reunion led me to all kinds of wonderful things: I found “the world’s best college freshman roommate,” Caroline (Pounds) Taylor, again; renewed lots of long-ago friendships, ran into an “old” upper classman who dumped me when I was “young and in my prime” (lucky for him Kirbo gave me his number and TOLD me that I had to call!!); and found new friends who have stayed my e-mail “buddies” all these many, many months later!!

So, as I sit here today, writing this post for the website pages, I owe my being here, and therefore still being able to come up with (at least) a few witty “quips,” to all the great people from the best college on earth, NGC!!!!

AND NOW, BACK TO THE FUNNY STUFF!!!
REMEMBRANCES and STORIES
I am a frequent recipient of comments from those who did not remain at North Georgia College until graduation. They often mention how the months or years at NGC mean "everything when I think of my college years." This page is for those thoughts as well as our own remembrances, and stories.
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Return to the Professors and FriendsPage
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H O M E
Although there are many reasons why I’m glad I attended North Georgia, I’m going to talk here about one that will come as no surprise to those of us lucky enough to have known people in the Class of ‘67. Even though I graduated “With the class that was so fine; hail to the Class of ‘69!,” the Class of ‘67 will forever hold a special place in my heart. That’s because they saved my life---literally---and I don’t think a single one of them is aware of that.

As some people may know, I lost my husband, Gary, on January 10, 2007, within a span of only four months, to five different kinds of cancer, all extremely aggressive, and all linked to “herbicide exposure” in Vietnam.

After Gary’s death, I appeared to be OK to everyone here, but I really wasn’t OK because I woke up one morning in early September and thought that Gary had just died. I could not, (and still don’t to this day), remember anything that had happened from the moment my husband died until I literally woke up that morning in September.

When I “woke up” and discovered that months had passed, and that I couldn’t even remember Gary’s funeral, to say that I was beyond confused and afraid would be a tremendous understatement. I felt SO lost, alone and disoriented that I just sat here all day, every day, and did absolutely nothing. I was, in effect, paralyzed, not physically this time, but mentally. And I almost never slept.

One night I was half-heartedly checking my e-mail to see if I had a message from either of my children. That’s when I saw the message that someone had sent about the ‘67 reunion wine tasting evening; it gave the proper procedures for wine-tasting. Attached to that message was one from Kirbo about “how to tell if you can [score] with a woman by what she drinks.” Needless to say, Kirbo had ended the list with a statement to the effect that, “... and, well, if she’s drinking Tequila, then you KNOW you’re gonna get lucky.”
When I read that, without even thinking, I typed, “Kirbo, you dog. I cannot believe you are still alive,” and that started a long, eventually many- people-involved, banter back and forth between a bunch of us before the ‘67 reunion. In fact, somewhere along the line, Kirbo, (who is still a dog, but a better dog than he was when the whole ‘Kirbo, I’m going to choke you to death on the steps of Lewis Hall’ nasty situation took place soooo long ago!), actually called me on the phone.

What I would like for everyone to know, and hence the reason for this particular contribution to both the ‘69 and ‘67 pages, is that the North Georgia people, I think, literally did save me. When I began “whamming” all those guys every day, and sometimes several times a day and half the night, I was suddenly “Vee Venable” again---the NGC girl who was funny and a little bit smart, and who could “give it back in spades.” (No one ever got the best of me back then; I was a real little smart-ass and I knew it!!)

All of a sudden, I did have an identity: I was Vee Venable, and I took no prisoners!! Maybe I had skipped over a lot of intervening years, but at least I was someone I KNEW. That girl was irreverent, never met a verbal challenge she didn’t like, could hold her own no matter what kind of disgusting remark some “pathetic cadet”-- (who, I might add, are all STILL in awe of the “ladies of Lewis Hall”) might make--and, may I say, it took SOME of them quite a lot of heavy thinking to come up with a reply to my snappy, and very quick, comebacks!! [Wootsie, Ted, Bob ... well you guys know who you are!]

Every day I began to look forward to opening my e-mail so I could see what they had come up with next to TRY to out-do me. Soon there were tons of people involved. I was alive again. I could go to the store; I could watch T.V.; I could walk into Gary’s game room without screaming. I even began sleeping a few hours at night, no matter that they were, and still are, just before dawn.

Until I accidentally “fell in” with Kirbo and the rest of that crowd, I truly had seen no reason for living. LIFE, as I had known it for most of my adult life, had ceased to exist. My children don’t live nearby; many of my siblings are gone; I have almost no ties to Macon, Georgia, anymore. We hadn’t lived here long when Gary got sick, and most of our friends were “couple” friends.
Another Reason Why I’m Glad I Attended NGC
Linda (Vee Venable) Stahlberg
By the way, I learned much later, when I attended grief therapy, about a phenomenon that often happens to the “newly widowed.” Not so slowly, all of those “couple friends” begin to drift away. The wives begin to think, “Oh, oh. Now she’s alone. Maybe she’ll come after MY husband,” so they go. And, the men all think, or are afraid, that their wives will think THEY will ‘go after’ you, and they all stay away. Ladies, I swear that I speak the truth, as I have found it to be.

Case in point: on Mother’s Day, 2008, Macon experienced the worst night of tornadoes in our history. We were declared a national disaster area; FEMA set up headquarters near my house. Out here by the lake my neighborhood looked worse than a war zone; trees, fences, complete houses were there one minute and gone the next. We were without electricity, water, everything -- even cable! -- for over eight days. NOT ONE PERSON, other than my family, EVER called, or checked to see if I was even alive. I’ll tell you, it’s a bitch trying to lug fallen trees off your garage by yourself!!

In any event, had it not been for that entire bunch of “overgrown lunatics,” most of whom probably didn’t even remember the skinny, strawberry blond dolt with whom they were whamming back and forth each day, I have no idea what would have become of me. I truly had begun to entertain frightening thoughts prior to seeing Kirbo’s “insulting remark about us Tequila drinking women” in my e-mail that night.

So, without any of them knowing it, I owe a lot more to North Georgia College than just my fine education and fond memories of “youth and days gone by.” I owe the Class of ‘67, and especially Kirbo (dog that he is!), Buddha, and a man who also became one of the best friends I’ve ever had, Don Tompkins (“Tick” to everyone else), whom I will miss forever, an undying debt of gratitude. Just by being “NGC guys,” well, Dixie and some of the other girls, too--you, with your hysterical comments, weird senses of humor, unbelievable stories -- I mean, really, has any one man really “known,” in the Biblical sense, that many women? -- but most of all with your time and “E-“ attention (no matter how gross or far-fetched it sometimes was!), -- you guys gave me a wonderful gift, and that is the knowledge, and belief, that I could, indeed, be more than “a lost, lonely, frightened widow whose “life” had ended.” You guys made me laugh, and think, and look you all up in yearbooks, and believe that just maybe, I could exist, and live, once again on my own.
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