Sacramento Revisited - 2011

Return from Sacramento to Memphis Home

June 24 - 27, 2011

Updated July 26, 2011. Please visit again.

By Lewis Nolan

California's Marin Ballet Senior Faculty teacher and retired, standout ballerina Leslie Crockett with Bay Area student Olivia Hornstein



Sacramento Revisited – 2011

Return from Sacramento, CA to Memphis Home

June 24 – 27, 2011



Part 1: Flights to Sacramento

Part 3: At Sutter Lawn with Swimmers

Part 2: Sac High Reunion, Cemetery

Part 4: Flights home to Memphis


- Updated July 27, 2011


Photos taken by Betty Nolan during  her  visits with husband Buzz Nolan’s Sacramento High School classmates, several former members of the Sutter Lawn Tennis Club swim team he coached in the early 1970s, the graves of family and friends at East Lawn Cemetery and commemorative Rose Garden/Vietnam War Memorial near the California State Capitol are posted at in various albums registered under Lewis “Buzz” Nolan’s email address. Email for instructions how to access the pictures. 




June 27, 2011 – Monday – Travel from Sacramento, CA to Memphis through Houston, TX


Betty and I have really enjoyed being with my two brothers and some of my old friends during a long weekend in the capitol city of California and are now prepared for the long flights back home to Memphis. We enjoyed our last breakfast of the trip (paying $14 cash) in the Courtyard by Marriott restaurant on the property that is now mostly occupied by the University of California at Davis branch that holds its medical school and related facilities on what had been the state’s fairgrounds when I was growing up a few miles away in the 1950s.


Fortunately, the schedule for the flights home gave us a free morning to relax and prepare for the long journey with reasonable leisure instead of having to rush around like we did for the trip out here. On the instructions of the motel staff, we used a facility computer and printer at no charge to print our boarding passes in the lobby. We left the motel shortly after 10 a.m. after paying out bill of $567 for three nights including $190 for meals and drinks. We then drove 20-to-30 minutes to the Sacramento Airport on farmland on the outskirts of town. Being a Monday, the airport was busy but we returned the rental car from Alamo (a luxury Lincoln for parts of four days, $160) without a hassle.


Our Continental flight departed on time just after noon; the Boeing 757 plane was mostly full. There were no snacks provided on the flight although snacks and light lunches were sold from a cart. Soft drinks were provided at no charge and Betty packed some packaged nuts and granola bars in our carry-on luggage. We arrived pretty much on time at the huge Houston airport, where we enjoyed subway sandwiches at a Schlotzsky outlet ($16). Our connecting flight on a smaller, regional Continental jet departed on time at 5:50 p.m. and arrived in Memphis at 6:45 p.m. Total flight charges for out-and-back airline rides for the two of us amounted to $1,040. Fortunately, we happened to bump into our longtime friends Heard and J. J. Murphy in the baggage return area and got a ride home from them, treating them to a good dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant.


Other charges included $150 for the high school reunion dinner, plus $15 for two glasses of wine and another $100 or so for such miscellaneous expenses as gasoline, photography services for a souvenir booklet and parking. The grand total of money spent on the trip that I kept track of amounted to $2,277 – which I think was worth the pleasure I got from seeing so many people who were important in my life over half a century ago and introducing my much-loved wife of 43 years, Betty, to them.


Once at home, it took several days to unpack and write various emails and cards to some of the people I’d seen and organize and write my trip account segments. I think I’d like to do it all again if my high school alumni group should put together another reunion and my Sutter Lawn swimming associates would like an encore lunch gathering.


Among those I had hoped to see at the Sac High reunion but didn’t was the magnificent ballet star Leslie Crockett. We were never a couple even though we were classmates and good friends at both Kit Carson Junior High and Sac High. For a while my steady date in high school was one of her fellow dancers who later roomed with her in San Francisco. While in my teens, I had taken some ballroom dancing lessons at the Crockett Dance Studio operated by her parents, Deane and Barbara Crockett in East Sacramento.


Leslie, her parents and her sister had all been principal dancers at the famed San Francisco Ballet Company and were important founders of the Sacramento Ballet company and school. After dancing professionally and then teaching for 13 years at San Francisco Ballet School, Leslie went on to join the senior faculty of the Marin Ballet school in the Bay Area in 1995. She has been married to famed sculptor Al Farrow for many years; some of his work is on display at the de Young Museum after being purchased by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The couple live in San Rafael, CA and both travel fairly extensively on business-related trips. Leslie has served as an adjudicator for several ballet festivals across the U.S. and for several years traveled as a member of the professional, National Touring companies that produced the Broadway hit musicals “Hello Dolly” and “Mame.” She received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for Choreography and one of her ballets, “Sonata Due,” was selected to be performed on the Gala Evening at the Pacific Regional Ballet Festival.


In short, Leslie is the one classmate (from a Sacramento High School class that started with over 1,000 members and graduated more than 500) I know whose lofty achievements have received national acclaim and attention. She has always enjoyed – as have I and many others - her superb good looks and gracefulness.  (I’ve been mystified for many years as to why some of our truly outstanding classmates – yours truly among them – didn’t have whatever it takes to become major captains of capital or holders of high public office.)


Leslie and I have been in loose contact by sentimental emails for several years. I was disappointed to learn that her ambitious plans to attend the reunion were regrettably cancelled by the painful condition of sciatica caused by a damaged nerve in one of her shapely, dance-conditioned legs. She said in late July, 2011 that “I will be SEMI retired starting in the Fall.”


Following is an email I sent to Leslie once I was back in Memphis, her response to me.


July 1, 2011


Lovely Leslie - Always great hearing from you. Glad Maridee seems to be doing OK. I think somebody told me she changed her plans and didn't come because of serious illness. I certainly hope you are right and whoever told me that was mistaken. Much more, I hope your health is improving and am among those sorry your beauty and graceful presence didn't add to our class 50th reunion festivities.

On the chance I didn't mention it earlier, my notes indicate the following were among the 146 in the announced attendance since they had paid the advance fee of $75 for the dinner (number I think includes guests like spouses):  Gerald "Buzzy" Chernoff (whom I did not see); Bruce Fletcher; organizer of so-so quality of event, I thought, Richard Lattimer; Dennis Ghisletta (who was drafted by a major league baseball team but didn't play due to injury); Nancy Hoos, onetime girlfriend of Bob Reid who now is married to a youngish man with facial hair who looks to be in his mid30s; Kathy Howell (still rather aggressive and loud); Pete Price (who didn't graduate with us after his father, D. A. John Price pulled him out in senior year and enrolled him in a private school after he and others including yours truly were caught in a massive truancy crackdown that resulted in several of us driving to Roseville for summer school to graduate on time); Bob Reid; Doug Sykes, a great athlete and fellow David Lubin-er alum who got an M.A. in history from Cal-Berkeley, I think).

The food at the pretentious Arden Hills Club way out on Fair Oaks Blvd. ($75 for buffet service, with pricey wine and cocktails served for fat fees separately) was OK but not great. A DJ played hit songs from the 1950s and early 1960s. I didn't see anybody dance. But there were lots of knots of classmates talking here and there. We left a bit early and didn't stick around to collect whatever prize was awarded to the alumni who traveled the farthest.

Among the missing were Merry Millward, Marty Klinefelter, Judy Sherman, Leslie Crockett, Vicky Perry, Dan Dittman, Harry Singer, Bob Zanders, Ed Nannini and Dick Hyde.

Among the deceased listed on a poster were Jim Hunt (who "stole" Diana Doody from me in junior high (she didn't come either, or if she did I didn't recognize her), athletic incompetent Elwood Orr, baseball standout Robert Belden; Eddie Sizemore and my date for the senior ball Judy Wessler, a tall and lanky looker who was brave enough to ask me in a HS hallway to take her to the blowout dance.

It's a shame you couldn't make it because with your great looks (said with respect bordering on awe) you would have been far and away the belle of the ball since quite a few of the females in attendance (other than my Betty, of course) have way-plumped up to the point they were mostly unrecognizable. But nametags in large type along with small photos clipped out of the senior annual  helped identify those present. There were not but a very, very small number of African-Americans there and only a few Asians.

I continue to look forward to whenever I can see you and meet your amazing husband. By the way, a secondary reunion of members of my old Sutter Lawn swimming team that lesson teacher Bob Reid (now a successful heart transplant patient and retired director of the California Arts Commission) and I taught and coached had a small lunch at the club in my honor. Among those who showed up was my onetime star swimmer, Nancy Mee, now a glass sculptor in Seattle with impressive works around the world. Her husband is a multi-media artist, Dennis Evans, also of Seattle with lots of stuff in important museums and collections whom Al may know personally or by reputation. Dennis and Nancy married in 1980 and both graduated from U of Washington.

I'll soon send you a copy of a travelogue I've started work on plus a website URL for pics taken by Betty when I can get to posting them. If you've their addresses, please send me the emails of Merry, Maridee and any others you think might be interested in seeing my pending account. A number of us paid extra to have our pictures posed and taken by a professional photog for a future "brochure" containing pix of attendees. Depending on quality, I may send you a copy whenever it comes out, provided of course that it can be copied and we're not blinking or flashing a bird when the shot was made.

Love, Buzz


July 1, 2011


Hi Buzz,

     Sounds like you had a great time in Sacramento, especially with your “veteran” swimmers at Sutter Lawn.  I didn’t realize that you had brothers living in Sac---must have been lovely  to see them.  My father (or I should say, his ashes), are at East Lawn Cemetery too.  My mother has her space there as well, but she is still going strong at 90!!

     Was a little surprised to hear that our “old gang”, for the most part, did not show up.  I very recently reconnected with Maridee Hayes and she said she was not attending.  We did have a great “catch up” conversation, after a couple of emails.  She is an artist (painter) and is living in Napa.

     Am looking forward to your travelogue and pix.

     love, leslie

On 6/28/11 7:21 AM, "Lewis Nolan" <> wrote:


--- On Mon, 6/27/11, Lewis Nolan <> wrote in an e-mail:

From: Lewis Nolan <>
Subject: Back home after enjoyable trip to Sacramento
To: "Casey Nolan" <>, "Caroline Nolan" <>, "JoAnn Cardon Glass" <>, "Kitty Boren" <>
Cc: "Betty Nolan" <>, "Bob Reid" <>, "Nancy Mee" <>, "Peter Anderson" <>, "Beth Leonard Schatz" <>, "Robin Anderson z9Hayes" <>, "William Bill Nolan" <>, "Barbara Fackenthall" <>
Date: Monday, June 27, 2011, 10:36 PM

Dear ones:
It's just after 10 p.m. on Monday, June 27, 2011 and Betty and I arrived safely home after a fun but uneventful flights home in Memphis after our long weekend in Sacramento, CA to attend the 50th Reunion celebration of my High School graduating class of 1961. We had a good time with my longtime friend and onetime business partner Bob Reid and others involved in the swimming business at Sutter Lawn Tennis Club. The high school class reunion turnout was 146, a bigger number than I had expected. There were only a few present whom I remembered spending much time with other than Bob Reid and Pete Price.

But my onetime star swimmer I coached in the early 1960s, now celebrated glass sculpture artist Nancy Mee of Seattle and during her AAU swimming glory days our team sweetheart, surprised me by showing up for the Sutter Lawn lunch. It was a joy seeing her in the midst of such smashing artistic success with an important show coming up. It was also great having a fine dinner with my two younger brothers still in Sacramento, Pat and Bill Nolan, both now retired and enjoying life like yours truly. Decorating several graves of family and old friends now buried or entombed at East Lawn Cemetery near the old family home on 41st Street in East Sacramento was a solemn but richly rewarding experience.

Seeing a bunch of former classmates and several onetime swim team enthusiasts - after a half-century of being apart and some now with their own families - was a somewhat emotional thrill thrill for me and I'll always be grateful to Bob Reid and Peter Anderson for pulling the event together. Amazing how many of us have expanded our waistlines and raised our hairlines but continue to maintain keen interest in one another's progressions in life. I'm proud to say I've learned that nearly all our hotly competitive swimmers have done very well so far now that they are in their 40s and older; they generally reacted with admirable pleasure upon seeing recent photos of our very good looking, new grandsons.

Betty took a bunch of photos at the reunion dinner and also at our small lunch gathering of veteran swimmers at Sutter Lawn while a club tennis tournament was underway. I plan to write a travelogue fairly soon and post it with some pix and will let you know when it is available.  

Cheers and regards, Lewis "Buzz" Nolan




(Continue with Part 1, Flights from Memphis to Sacramento  /  Return to Nolan Travels)