Earl Weideman’s Island

Back in wonderful, magical Watertown, New York in 1970, i gained a close friend named Earl Weideman. He was a teacher in the town where his family were long time residents. i was a sports writer and then sports editor of The Watertown Daily Times.

Somehow, we connected, probably through John Johnson, my Vanderbilt friend who got me my job, and then Earl and i ran around together frequently. He and i met for drinks at a nice bar downtown when i was accosted by a young woman when she found out i had taken part in the pizza rating contest two writers had conducted and written about in the paper. She was distressed that her favorite pizza joint finished last. We had to leave the bar. The story had run six months earlier.

Earl was the guy who celebrated the birth of my daughter Blythe with me. Back then, the dad was not allowed in the delivery room. They rolled Kathie out with Blythe just after she was born at 9:35 p.m. After i spent a brief time, all that was allowed, with them, i met Earl for a celebratory drink, which lasted way too long into the morning.

Shortly before Blythe was born, Earl took Kathie and me by boat out to the island his family owned in the Thousand Islands chain at the confluence of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Earlier in the year, he had offered to drive us out to the island on the ice that formed each winter. i declined and probably would have done it the next winter, but my life had changed course, and i was back in the Navy before the next winter.

This photo was taken in front of the cabin’s fireplace. i am imitating Art Metrano, the deranged magician who frequently performed on “The Tonight Show” humming “Fine and Dandy” while displaying his fingers as if they were jumping from one hand to the other.



Earl was a perfect little goofy for being a school teacher. i wanted to remain his friend and stay in contact because he was so much fun and good hearted. But the Navy and life away from Watertown took over. We lost contact even though i thought about him a lot.

So when i was scanning this photo for filing and organizing, i decided to look him up on the internet. Earl died in 2005 after retiring two years earlier from his teaching position at Beaumont (California) High School. i could have been spending time with him easily as Beaumont is about eighty miles east of Los Angeles, roughly 120 miles from my home. His son apparently lives here in San Diego.

He has been gone almost a dozen years. i am suffering from delayed sadness. But boy, did we have fun together in Watertown a long time ago.

i won’t forget him.

4 thoughts on “Earl Weideman’s Island

  1. Mr. Jewell-

    I came across your blog post after Googling Earl’s name myself on a random April Sunday night. Earl and my Dad worked together at Liverpool HS just north of Syracuse in the late 1970s, and remained close friends after Earl and his wife and young son (Casey, who still lives in the Los Angeles area) moved – and Earl lived – until his passing in June 2005 (my father passed two and half months later). Earl returned to CNY about once or twice a year to visit, and always remarked how me missed the changing of the seasons and the colors of Upstate NY.

    By the way, what also intrigued me was your reference to Vanderbilt, as I, myself, am a Vanderbilt graduate of the Class of 1999.

  2. He must have been an amazing man to know personally. I too was looking him up. He was my elementary principal, and later my history teacher. He was a great influence, and I wished I listened to him more than I had. Thanks for posting your memory of him.

  3. I have many fond memories of Mr. Wideman. He was my homeroom and social studies teacher at Case Junior High School in Watertown, New York during the period of 1967 to 1968. Random thoughts…him bringing a small TV in to our home room to watch the World Series, having “a happening” during class…I got to put items on the overhead projector…his not liking to be around his father when the TV show “The Big Valley” was on due to his father’s proclaiming of Barbara Stanwyck to be the most beautiful actress…Mr. W. was a fan of Raquel Welch who was starting to make a name for herself…so many more…a part of my growing up

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