Leonard Peters


Here we are 50 years since we were just 17 or 18 years old. We were the smartest people in the world, or so we thought. Most of us certainly knew more than our “old” parents did. Who among us knew where we would be this very time in our lives? Who among us could even imagine the close friends we would lose along the way of this journey?

Think about our parents and what they saw in their lives: airplanes, cars, radio, television, movies and the atomic age (just to name a few). Think of the hell they went through during the Great Depression only to come out stronger on the other side. This truly was the greatest generation!! Richland/Hanford truly was a Godsend to many depression era people. That was really the start of our lives.

Just about all of us came from other places: Kansas, Colorado, Alabama and all the other states. Yet we lived and grew up in Richland, a government town. It was truly a “Leave It to Beaver” community. And what did we see in our lifetime? Just to name a few; television, birth of rock and roll, microwave ovens, men on the moon, polio vaccine, discovery of and advancements in DNA, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall and who shot J.R.

I don’t know if you noticed but we are getting older. No that’s not correct, we are old. Do you remember when your folks were this age? Weren’t they old? A man once said, “An old-timer is someone that can remember when a naughty child was taken to the woodshed instead of the psychiatrist. Isn’t that the truth!

Speaking of the “woodshed,” as you may, or may not, know that growing up I was an extremely shy person. Why? I don’t know, was it because I was taken to the woodshed to many times? I could tell many stories about my “troubled” years (junior high). Running with the likes of Joe Wilson, Buddy Tadlock, Jerry Hatcher, John Lambert, and God rest their soul Jerry Eldridge and Jim Cranmer. I must say we/I visited the police station a few times my junior high years. Jim Cranmer saved my butt one time when a cop accused me of a dastardly deed. Just a few days before “the incident”, I was caught yelling obscenities on a pay phone in Uptown at about 9:00 PM. I was so involved with my speech, I didn’t see the cop walk up and stand just out side of the phone booth. He took my name and address and said, “If there are any complaints, I know where to find you.” To make a long story short and getting back to Jim Cranmer, we were coming back to school from the Ag farm. There was a car pull over getting a ticket and someone yelled out of the bus ‘you dirty %$#* @*&)!$’. The cop jumped into his car and pulled the bus over. To which the driver said, “What have you guys done now?” The cop boarded the bus and guess what? It was the same cop that caught me just a few nights before cussing up a storm on a pay phone. He saw me in the back seat of the bus and started yelled, “you did it, I know you, and you did it. I said, “I didn’t do anything.” He called me a liar. At which time Jim said in a loud voice, “He didn’t do anything, leave him alone.” When we got back to Chief Jo, the cop, Jim and I went to Mr. Skove’s office. Jim did confess. One thing I will never forget is walking through the mixing area by the school store (which was full of kids) and bless his heart Grant Ross, whom I really didn’t know put his hand on my back and told me not to worry everything will be OK just tell the truth. Like I said there are many stories like this which I will not bore you with. I’m sure we all have good yarns we could spin. If you see Joe Wilson, ask him about the scavenger hunt in the Stilt apartments.

Getting back to my shyness, my wife Mary “Mike” Hartnett asks me if I had any girlfriends in school. The answer is yes, but I was too shy to ever ask them out and they never knew it.

When I was about 20, I thought I needed to meet a nice young girl. You all remember the Lonely Hearts Club? Well I found an ad in the back of a true-life detective magazine. I sent my picture and 25 cents and waited for the girl of my dreams. For about three weeks, every day I would run to the mailbox to look for a reply. Nothing. But one day a letter came from the Lonely Hearts Club. I was thrilled; I smelt the letter expecting perfume but nothing. I felt the envelope and could feel a picture inside. I could hardly wait to open the letter. Upon opening said letter my picture fell out, the one I had sent them. Well I just thought they returned my picture, that nice I thought. I opened the note that was inside the envelope and it read, “We’re not that lonely!” So now you know why I am so shy.I am amazed at the number of ladies in our class that are concerned with science. I hear a lot of talk about the effects of gravity. I didn’t realize there was that much concern or interest about the laws of gravity. I worked at Battelle for a number of years and never did see any of my female classmates working in the physics department. I do think it great they are so concerned about the laws of nature. I would like to talk to them about the first and second law of thermodynamics.

Talking about our age, I was visiting with a man that went to his 60th reunion. I think he was from Portland. He said every reunion since the 10th, a group of 5 men would get together for dinner the evening before of the reunion. The conversion went something like this:

10 year: They would ask one another where do you want to meet for dinner? They discussed it and agreed on Joe’s Bar & Grill because they had topless waitresses and a good live band. So they met for dinner the night before the dinner.

20 year: They all got on the phone and thought, let’s go back to Joe’s place. They have nice looking waitresses, the food it very good, and you won’t go away hungry. So they met for dinner the night before the reunion.

30 year: They were in there late 40s now and again called one another to figure out where to have dinner. They decided Joe’s place again. The food was good and reasonably priced, good band that plays the oldies and just a good place to go.

40 year: Same thing. Late 50s now and thinking about retirement so they wanted a good place to discuss IRAs and pensions and SSI and so on. One suggested Joe’s place, they got rid of the band and have just a piano bar with soft mood music. So they all agreed Joe’s is it.

50 year: They lost one of their members so really just wanted to go for maybe a glass of wine and an appetizer. They don’t eat near as much as they did 30 years ago. One spoke up and said, “Joe’s is good for me, and they have plenty of handicap parking spaces and a wheel chair ramp.

60 year: They E-mailed one another and didn’t know where to go. One said, “What do you think of Joe’s Bar & Grill we have never been there.”


One last thing, people have asked about my farming. The last moneymaking adventure that Mike and I went into was a micro-brewing company. We put just about all our retirement into it. I did research before buying it and read anything I could get my hands on. One thing that struck me, hops were the main ingredient and a major cost. To save money, we thought we would buy 50 kangaroos to make the hops for us. We went under within six months.


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