I HAVE HEAT !!!!
After flushing several different ways without any luck I decided to go directly to the firewall (no issue with bypass) and flushed both metal tubes of the heater core. I also had an old metal cooking skewer that I bent at a 90 degree angle and loosened some crud. After about a 20 minute pulsating flush (crimped the garden hose in my hand) of the tubes and the actual hoses I buttoned everything up making sure to replace the spring clamps with the more conventional hose clamps, topped off the coolant, let it run up to temp - which took a very long time Hmm? - with the expansion tank cap off to clear any air out of the system and lo and behold I have HEAT!...Let's hope it stays that way through the winter.
Thanks for everyone's input...is the slow time it took to come up to temp enough of a warning sign for a new t-stat? It drove the rest of the day and normal operating temp.