BOB LUTMAN'S SPEECH FOR THE CLASS OF 1961 AT THE 2001 ALUMNI BANQUET AND PROGRAM
Thank you, Randy [Eppenaur, host of the program, for the Alumni Association].
It's an honor and a privilege to represent the Class of '61 here tonight. We got together at City Hall and had a great visit this afternoon. Many thanks to Kay [Hutchison] Williams and Rachel [Jones] Boatright, Kay [Marriott] Thuvnel and Mary Margaret [Williams] Gerlt for putting that together for us. We had a great time.
To Jim [Ballard] and Bill [Shick], to James [Burris] and Jerry [Downey], to Skip [Hughes] and Ralph [Ruiz], to Sharon [Sunderland] and Deon [Barnes] – [all deceased]. We miss you guys.
To the Classes of 51, 41, 31 and all those 1's back there. I never knew you could be so old and still look so good.
To the Classes of 71, 81 and 91. I offer you this proof that they don't make music like they used to: "I met him on a Monday and my heart stood still. Da doo run run run. Da doo run run."
To The Class of 2001. I pass along this wisdom about the tasks of life, from Yogi Berra: "The hardest part of all is starting. Except the really hardest part is finishing."
My Mom, Winnie Lutman, could have told you from my letters how tiny my handwriting is. My boss at General Electric, Bob Brugge said to me after I'd been working there about a year, "You're the only person I know who can write his life history on the back of a postage stamp." I thought about that and I didn't know if he was talking about my handwriting or my life. I had already decided I wanted to travel, and I for sure didn't want to be able to write my life story on a postage stamp.
Some of you know about our travels -- trying to see as many of the world's 10,000 birds as possible. But there are some places I've been you DON'T know about -- and even my wife Sharon doesn't know about. So get ready, Sharon.
In Israel, at an afternoon tea of Jewish Mothers, who believe that chicken soup can bring even the Dead Sea back to life. I was there.
In Bombay India, in front of a Wendy's hamburger stand, where religious fanatics chanted, "Where's the belief?" I was there.
In Jerusalem at a Wailing Wall Rally to save the wails, I was there.
In Tokyo at a reunion of Japanese Kamakazi Pilots, I was there.
And in Miami at a Cuban Yankee Go Home rally, I was there.
To the graduating seniors, I want to tell you something I learned about life. It's called the Romesberg Principle and it goes like this: Life is simple. There are only two parts. Part One, figure out what you want to do, and Part Two. Do it. If you are already a Part Two person, congratulations. You're in rare company.
SPEAKING OF RARE COMPANY-- DO YOU KNOW THAT SOME OF THE MOST FAMOUS PEOPLE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD… NEVER GOT A DIPLOMA FROM VERSAILLES HIGH SCHOOL?
You can look it up!
George Washington's dentist who said to George, "The teeth look good, knock on wood", never got a diploma From Versailles High School.
Quasimoto who said to his mother "Get off my back" never got a Versailles diploma.
General Custer, the first man to wear an arrow shirt, never got a Versailles diploma
And King Solomon who said to his thousand wives, "Who hasn't got a headache" never got a Versailles diploma.
Here tonight are gathered a rare group of people who DID get Versailles High School diplomas, on a spring evening 40 years ago. Who are these people in the Class of '61? Well, here they are -- in thirds: Woolery, Williams, Williams, Williams, White, White, White, Ware, Vaughan, Vaughan, Turner, Thompson, Tankersley, Sunderland, Somka, Shreck, Serville, Sebaoun, Scott, Schultz, Scholl, Schenewark, Ruiz, Ritchie, And Ritchie.
Ah, but some of the BIGGIES of the world, never got Versailles diplomas. Moses who said to the children of Israel at the Red Sea, "Wear the galoshes, I never did this trick before." Never got a Versailles diploma
Steven Spielberg's mother, who said to ET, I don't care how good a friend you are to Stevie, you have to call collect," never got a Versailles diploma
Lot, who said when his wife was turned into a pillar of salt, "Salt I got, popcorn I need," never got a Versailles diploma
And Adam who said "I got more ribs, you got more women?" Never got a Versailles diploma
We in the Class of '61 remember what a great practical joker Randy Cox was. Now a friend to famous musicians, Randy once took Ray Charles to a Marcell Marceau concert. That wasn't enough so he went over to Stevie Wonder's house and rearranged all his furniture.
But you say, "Bob, come on, tell us some more famous people who never got a Versailles diploma."
Noah's wife who said to Noah "Don't let the elephants see what the rabbits are doing,",never got a Versailles diploma
Amelia Airheart, who said "Stop looking for me, see if you can find my luggage," never got a Versailles diploma
The Invisible Man's wife who said to Invisible, "I don't care how it looks to the neighbors. Don't stop," never got a Versailles diploma.
And Jack the Ripper's mother, who said [At this point, I broke up laughing, but managed to recover] "Jack, how come I never see you with the same girl twice", never got a Versailles diploma.
Ray, Ray, Poindexter, Palmes, Palacek, Moritz, Milburn, Martin, Marshall, Marriott, Lutman, Lehman, Lammert, Kreiling, Kodadek, Jones, Jones, Hutchison, Hughes And Huffman. Another third of my classmates. Class of '61.
But I have STILL MORE famous people who never got a Versailles diploma:
Bill Clinton, who said to the Pope, "Next time, bring the missus," never got a Versailles diploma
Dan Quayle, who said, "It's wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago," and who also said, "I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix," – Dan Quayle never got a Versailles diploma.
King Henry the Eighth who said to his lawyer, "Forget the alimony I got a better idea,",never got a Versailles diploma
And Nostradamus, who predicted he would never get a Versailles diploma [motioning to the crowd to join me in answering], never got a Versailles diploma.
After I left Versailles, to make my way in the world, I didn't think about it very often [actually quite the opposite]. But slowly, over the years, I have come to treasure it. Now I love to tell people that I'm from Versailles, and that I have a Versailles diploma. Others aren't so lucky.
Red Buttons, who for $20 rented me the idea for this speech [bought a CD on his website], never got a Versailles diploma.
My own FATHER, Claud Lutman, who said, "Vote NO on everything," never got a Versailles diploma.
Joe Theisman, former Washington Redskins Quarterback, who said, "Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is somebody like Norman Einstein." - Joe Theisman never got a Versailles diploma.
And Steven Wright, who said, "Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of that song?" Never got a Versailles diploma.
Jim Dornan's from the Class of '61 and a great humanitarian. He and Emma are currently building a halfway house for girls who don't want to go all the way.
[Here, my wife Sharon, turned the video camera back to the row behind her.]
[Randy Cox, Jim and Emma Dornan, Susan and Paul White. Jim Milburn partially visible between Randy and Jim. Mike Jones' wife Janell partially visible beyond Paul.]
[Randy, Jim, Emma leaning forward, Susan, Janell and Mike Jones. Jim Milburn again partially visible behind Randy. Paul White's blond hair visible behind Susan.]
But Believe it or not, there are STILL FOUR MORE famous people who never got a Versailles diploma.
W.C.Fields, who said, "I always keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--, which I also keep handy," never got a Versailles diploma
Mahatma Ghandi's mother who said to Mahatma [Indian accent], "Eat a cookie, who's going to know?" never got a Versailles diploma.
Doctor Spock who said "Never raise your hands to your kids, it leaves your groin unprotected", never got a Versailles diploma
And St. Francis whose own FATHER called him a sissy NEVER -- got a Versailles diploma
Holmes, Hester, Hart, Harrison, Hall, Hagerman, Hagerman, Gerhart, Gerhart, Gaul, Gates, Fry, Ferguson, Ferguson, Fahrni, Dunnaway, Downey, Dornan, Cox, Chapman, Burris, Brown, Branch, Bowline, Bennett, Baxter, Barnes and Ayres. THOSE are the men and women who DO have Versailles High School diplomas -- FROM THE CLASS OF 1961.
I leave you with the driving directions Yogi Berra gave to his pal Joe Gariagiola, to get to his new house: IF YOU COME TO A FORK IN THE ROAD, TAKE IT.
Next: The Cake Auction
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