By Dennis Martin
If you are from outside Winter Park, plan on attending next year’s 50th reunion, and have never seen the “Tiffany Museum” – shorthand for the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art – on Park Ave, you should take time to see it. It houses one of the largest collections of Tiffany artifacts. It is closed on Mondays, so plan accordingly. Sneak a piece of donut inside and eat it, so you can say you had breakfast there.
Neill and Annette (Kilgore) O’Brien have been the lynchpins of our reunions . . . always there, always behind the scene, organizing, suggesting, making posters and displays, holding meetings at their house. Occasionally there will be WPHS Memorial Day – when most of the WPHS classes going back to the ‘40s set up a table in Central Park on Park Ave — and there will be Neill at a table with a display representing our class of ‘67. A block down from the park, Neill’s family used to run O’Brien’s Pharmacy on Park Ave, across from the old Colony Theater.
At one of our reunions – I think the tenth – a show of hands showed that there were four pairs of students in our class who had married each other. Mine failed after 12 years, although I still talk to Carol (MacCartney) Long about once a week – mostly child and grandchild talk now. The O’Briens are still going strong today – lynchpins in another respect.
My dad died almost 30 years ago. Studied to be a Catholic priest, until he met my mom, which he said was more fun. Got an MBA at Rollins. Worked at Martin Marietta. If I brought home 5 As and a B, he’d get upset over the B and ask me what went wrong. He was a quiet, brooding man. Not the complimentary type. My dad worked late and was seldom able to make it to the track meets that I was in. During my two years of running track, he may have made it to a couple of weekend meets. Just sat in the stands quietly watching.
Today you hear about “helicopter parents”. Usually the term refers to parents who drop in unexpectedly on their son or daughter away at college – dorm room, classroom, cafeteria, sometimes even arguing with their child’s professors about grades. My dad was more of a stealth drone parent – doing things quietly behind my back. Apparently my dad had already called the principal of WPHS and told him that I was one of the students behind The Other Side (the rebel newspaper we put out in our senior year). He did that before the principal called me in and asked me if I knew who was behind the paper, and I said I had no idea. Thanks dad.
Sometimes on a Saturday morning, my dad would come walking in the house around 9 a.m., usually with a newspaper in hand and a pack of cigarettes. The rest of the family was awake, wondering where he had been. Now the yard behind ours was in Seminole County, so we lived as far north in Maitland as you could get and still be eligible to go to WPHS. My dad had closer places he could have gone on Saturday morning to get a newspaper and a pack of cigarettes. But he would go to downtown Winter Park, and have coffee at O’Briens Pharmacy. Occasionally he’d see Coach Mosher there, but more often he’d sit alone looking at the wall above the counter. Put there by Coach Mosher was a board on the wall with the current WPHS Track & Field Records. Beside the 880 relay time: Martin, Stukey, Sias, Hatcherson.
Two years after high school, I broke my neck and hip in a car accident, spent 8 weeks recovering at Emory Hospital with even more time in bed required at home, then wheelchair, then crutches. But when my parents first drove me home – in prone position from Atlanta to Winter Park in the back of their station wagon – and they got to our house, they realized that they had no way of moving me from the car to the house. So, my mother called Coach Mosher who promptly brought over a stretcher from the high school. My dad and Coach moved me into a hospital bed already set up in the living room. Although I wasn’t his athlete any longer, and the 880 relay time had already been broken twice, Coach was still my coach.