The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 147

Arthur Engoron
April 26, 2024

Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,

Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 147.

According to Substack, in the first 24 hours after publication, Newsletter # 146 was viewed 2,710 times, was “liked” 18 times, and received seven comments. In all, 4,734 email addresses received Newsletter # 146.

All underlined text is a link-to-a-link (or, occasionally, an email address). Clicking anywhere on underlined text, and then clicking on the link that pops up, will get you to your on-line destination (or address an email).

The Usual Words of Wisdom

Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (Class of 1963), you can regale yourself with the first 146 Newsletters (and much other Wheatley data and arcana) at

Wheatley School Alumni Association Website

Also, thanks to Keith is our search engine, prominently displayed on our home page: type in a word or phrase and, wow!, you’ll find every place it exists in all previous Newsletters and other on-site material. I use it frequently; it works usually!

I edit all submissions, even material in quotes, for clarity and concision, without any indication thereof.  I cannot and do not vouch for the accuracy of what people tell me, as TWSAA does not have a fact-checking department.

We welcome any and all text and photos relevant to The Wheatley School, 11 Bacon Road, Old Westbury, NY 11568, and the people who administered, taught, worked, and/or studied there. Art Engoron, Class of 1967

The Class of 1985 40th-Year Reunion is Scheduled for June 21, 2025…..That’s 2025, not 2024

Wheatley Class of 1985 40th-year reunion webpage

For further information contact Jared Goldstein, JAREDG@PIPELINE.COM.

San Francisco Bay Area Wheatley Reunion Update

Writes Larry Rosenthal (1965): Laura Herbst (’74) and Mark Lauria (‘61) will be joining “Larry Weiss (‘73),  Lizzy Lynn (‘64), Peter Siegel (’66), Roy Nierenberg (’63), Barry Gordon (’65), Rich Weissman (‘72), and yours truly (’65), at The Third Annual (?) Unofficial San Francisco Bay Area Wheatley Reunion Potluck—TTA(?)USFBAWRP-- Sunday May 26, 2024, 12:30 - 4:00, in my Berkeley back yard. Interested Wildcats, please email me at”

‘Hood History

Club Drive and Pebble Lane, an iconic corner, directly across from the Roslyn Country Club, back in the day.


1960 - George “Dixie” Howell - Tributes

Writes Mary Jayne (Johnson) Haas (1960) - “Hi, Art, Ken Martin sent us an email telling us the very sad news that George ‘Dixie’ Howell has passed away…..and that if we wanted to send a note of remembrance we should send it to you.

As we began the decade of our eighties, I think we understood that we were beginning years of loss.  As the people we love began to pass away, we haven't been shocked, really, but it seems way too soon… it does now with George leaving us so quickly……

George was such a quiet presence during our young years.  He had throughout his life a soft-spoken kindness—a voice that made you lean into to make sure you heard what he wanted to say.  George was one of those people who was easy to be with, easy to smile with…..very easy to like!

Reconnecting with him through the Class of 1960 mini-reunions, we found those same comforting qualities….even more so!  George had become a Buddhist!  Isn’t that perfect?!  I know as his illness descended on him quickly and fiercely, he remained peaceful….heart and soul.

The wonderful part of his story was rediscovering classmate Lucy Mullman!  Once again, a reunion set the stage for their long conversations, thus finding a perfect fit between two very different people! These last years that were full of companionship, shared passions, and quiet joy should have been shared for many more years…..but as we know, ended too soon.  I’m so glad they’ve had these years!

George will be so missed…..I know we’ll all remember this very special man.”

Writes Ken Martin (1960) - “Our ranks continue to dwindle, as George ‘Dixie’ Howell has left us to sow his unique brand of joy in other fields.

Dixie became a pillar of Wheatley’s 1960 Class. He captained the football team and was treasurer of the General Organization (i.e., the student government). Dixie assumed the role of a school leader, although he never intended to be one-it was thrust upon him. From my perch, he did so with no evident signs of leadership or charisma. Instead, George, from the get-go, made his way through life with a quiet, humble, thoughtful, and kind demeanor, without a trace of hubris. It is those traits I remember best, and which contributed to his many successes on the roads he travelled.

One way I evaluate a person’s legacy is by adding up the memories they left. Dixie did so in spades. Oh, such memories!

There was a Friday night back in the days when Dixie and some of ‘the guys’ were contemplating what to do the next evening. After deep soul searching, we challenged ourselves to see if we could hit every bar on the north side of Hillside Avenue to the Nassau and Queen’s County line. Even now, a daunting, yet exciting proposition….

Since he was the only guy with a car, and a driver’s license to boot, Dixie drove. For the younger Wildcats reading this, in the late ‘50’s, the legal drinking age was 18, and many bars didn’t proof you. Off we went in his 1949 Mercury, a classic vehicle with countless memories of its own. We accomplished our mission. Seeking more thrills (?), a month later the group upped the ante and traveled the same route, but this time to the 179th Street subway station in Queens, a far longer excursion. We, a bunch of Wheatley teenagers from the Classes of ‘60 and ‘61, made that one too, again..…by the grace of God.

Another night, probably our sophomore year in college, while home for Christmas break, Dixie hosted a party in his parents’ house. After the bash, several guys slept on the Howell’s living room floor. In the early morning hours, I, a light sleeper, awoke to a disturbance, only to view him standing and urinating on a television set placed on a coffee table. I yelled and jumped up, as did some of the other fellas. We stopped him from doing further damage and asked him-why Dixie? With his ever shy and mischievous grin, he replied that he hated televisions and all they stood for. I’ve often felt he threw the first punch from us, the looming Luddite generation, toward technology’s encroachment upon our well-being.

So many fond recollections. As I sit here reminiscing about my friend, I recall a summer day when he and I were driving in Dixie’s old Triumph TR 3 heading to Sag Harbor. We were young, with the top down, the warm wind blew in our hair, and we hadn’t a care in the world. The road ahead appeared endless to us and in certain respects, it was. It was.

After Wheatley George enrolled at Cornell, where he studied for two years. College didn’t sit well with him, and his fierce independent streak led him to drop out. He headed west, to Montana, I believe, where he became a cowboy. Yep, one that rode horses and herded cattle. Quick, readers, how many Wheatley graduates ended up as cowboys? Dixie always broke the mold.

Not encountering the truth he was seeking, Dixie left the West and joined the Peace Corps. After initial training, the government posted him to Afghanistan. Dixie loved the place. When not working, he hiked and traveled throughout the mountains and valleys of that vast country. He recently told me that he created many friends on these journeys. My imagination sees him walking down a dirt road and entering a village, where people greet him. His aw-shucks demeanor and natural innocence is welcomed by the villagers. And they become friends. Fast ones. Dixie Howell had an aura about him that people instantly trusted, both in the halls of Wheatley and in dusty Afghani villages.  

Somewhere in Afghanistan, his inquisitive mind and restless soul turned to Eastern religions, as he continued to seek the truth. This quest was a lifelong one, which I suspect circulated in his consciousness on his deathbed. Dixie’s searching eventually brought him to rural Vermont, where he lived in an ashram. There, he met a girl from Canada. They married and had three children-two daughters and a son. Dixie Howell became a loving father

He and his family initially settled in Eastern Canada (Nova Scotia, I believe) and then moved to Vancouver Island. Throughout these years, he was an accountant. Dixie’s wife died young, leaving this world approximately twenty years ago.

In 2010, the Class of 1960 celebrated our 50th-year reunion on school grounds and in the Wheatley Hills Golf Club. Class president Jack Langlois, who spent most of his professional life in China, attended. Unfortunately, the good Jack suffered from cancer and passed away a few months after the reunion. Touched by the event, he bequeathed us a monetary gift to continue other yearly reunions. Thus, was born the Class of 1960’s annual “mini” reunions, held at different venues on the East Coast. We have gathered every year since our 50th (except for Covid cancelling one event).

Florida hosted our first mini. Dixie flew in from Canada. I had not seen him in over thirty years. The three-day bash was outstanding. There were approximately 30 attendees. Once the two of us were standing alone, and I asked him, “Dixie, have you observed any girls from our class who have caught your eye?” He replied, “You know Martino, Lucy Mullman looks right good to me.” Lucy, single for several years, was in attendance. They mingled throughout the mini.

George flew back to Canada…..but always quick to act, returned to New York and spent Thanksgiving with Lucy. And a love story for the ages was born. Hollywood could not have scripted it better! Two lonely Wheatleyites from the Class of ’60, one captain of the football team, the other captain of the cheerleaders, meeting and falling in love. They married a tad later and shared thirteen years of happiness with each other. It was a touching romance, which I’ll remember to my last breath-with a warm smile on my lips.

Ah, Dixie, my man, my dear friend, how I am going to miss you! The way you talked, slowly, softly, with your own inimitable drawl and always the master of the understatement. There were so many times you would comment on something, and I would say WTF is he talking about, but after your thoughts registered, I would do a double take and say, ‘Yeah, got it, right incisive, I finally understand.’ You were one of my smartest classmates. I welcomed your analysis, always laced with truth.

And how you could laugh! On countless occasions, I witnessed you telling a story and for reasons known only to you, you began laughing, which grew exponentially into a crescendo of guffaws, often preventing you from finishing what you started as you howled away. And of course, your infectious laugh spread to all assembled, who were soon experiencing their own convulsions while not knowing what was funny.

 So, my dear friend, may our kind Lord grant us the day when we play another football game, to be followed that night by a blowout at Bickey’s Barn, off Hillside Avenue, with those beautiful girls in their high school sweaters teasing still while we sip our beer and listen and dance to “Rock Around the Clock” and other tunes. And as we both know, Dixie, music never ends. Never….

Writes Jay Cummings (1960) - “Sorry to hear about the passing of Dixie Howell, another from the Class of ’60…..RIP”

1961 - Jerry Mintz - Writes Mitch Shapiro (1970) - Hello Jerry, I just read your essay in the Wheatley Alumni Newsletter, and I found it endearing on several levels.

Watching the eclipse must have been quite an experience; your observations were as good as what I heard through my phone listening to CBS commentators on their streaming platform.  My wife  and I were traveling home from Florida in our Motorhome and well…of course she was not really able to watch it even though I held the phone up for her…..being blind does have some advantages. Having been able to see when I was younger, I could visualize what you saw while I was listening.  There unfortunately was no such experience on I-95 near Savannah  GA.

So, with this email, I say, ‘Thank you for the story… truly was interesting.”

With warm regards, Mitch”

1964 - James Paley - Memorable European Trip with Gary Briefel, Jim Lerner

Writes Jim - “I much enjoyed Gary Briefel's reminiscences of our classmates and growing up in the Country Club…..but there was one notable (to me) omission from his posting that I would like to add to supplement Gary’s narrative.

In the summer of 1963, Gary, Jimmy Lerner (1964), and I embarked on what can only be described as the trip of a lifetime. Gary's father, as I recall, was an importer of musical instruments and had made arrangements for us to travel on a Yugoslavian freighter to Genoa, Italy. Gary’s maternal grandparents lived in Naples, and we all thought that visiting them would be fun. I don't know how my parents allowed me to do this, but I vividly remember the excursion, which had us stopping in Casablanca and Tangiers en route to Genoa. The last words I remember my mother saying to the captain of the ship was that under no circumstances was he to allow “the boys” to leave the ship in Casablanca. 

Literally the moment we docked in Casablanca, the three of us said, ‘we're outta here,’ and we disembarked, telling the captain that we would meet up with him in Tangiers. We proceeded to take a bus to Rabat and then an overnight train to Tangiers, arriving at about 5 o'clock in the morning, and walking through some very desolate, impoverished neighborhoods—indeed, the most abject poverty I had ever witnessed. When we arrived at the dock in Tangiers (walking, of course) we were so exhausted (having been up all night) that we lay down on the pier and instantly fell asleep. We were sleeping on the dock when the freighter pulled into port, and we then boarded the ship and continued on to Genoa, from where we took a train down to Naples. 

I don't recall exactly how much time we spent in Europe, but I do remember that we spent time in Ischia, Italy, before visiting Switzerland, France and England. We certainly did a lot of traveling, and my only regret was that I was unable to be in Washington, DC on August 28 for the March on Washington, during which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed a crowd of approximately 250,000 people in what was perhaps the most significant civil rights demonstration in our country’s history. The trip was memorable for me as a 16-year-old traveling with two friends throughout Europe. Best regards, Jim”

Writes Gary Briefel (1964) - “Thanks, Jim, for sharing your memories of that unbelievable trip. I would only add that when we arrived in Tangier in the early morning, we had no idea how to get from the train station to the port, and there were no maps or anyone to ask for directions. We started wandering around (three teenage boys in bermuda shorts with cameras around our necks) in that desolate neighborhood) and were totally lost when out of nowhere a small child appeared and without having any conversation we followed him. Unbelievably, he took us to the port and the exact dock where our ship was due to arrive. We gave him the small amount of change we had left and he vanished. Miraculous!  Gary”

1965 - Jeffrey Orling - Looking for Local Westchester Wheatley Wildcats

Writes Jeff - “I don't know any Wheatley Wildcats in my area (southern Westchester) and likely I wouldn't recognise someone from Wheatley now.….after 60 years!  I am open to get-togethers, such as dinners, with local Wheatley people. You can contact me through Art.

1966 - Steve Hanft - “Hello Art: This might be a question for the newsletter:   I've been wondering lately if we had a Wheatley fight song that we sang in unison at football games and other sport events. Also, did we have a Wheatley loyalty song or chant (about how great Wheatley is, how it improves us and changes our lives for the better, how much we love the faculty, the building, etc) that we sang sometimes in assemblies or other occasions?”

1967 - Art Engoron and Legendary Columbia Dean Roger Lehecka

Pisticci Restaurant, 125 La Salle Street, NYC, Monday, April 22, 2024

1968 - Sandra Brodkin Dreis - Published Poet

Writes Sandy - “Dear Arthur,  I figure it's time to contribute to the Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter and to announce the recent publication of my poetry collection, "Cultured Pearls.” My high school English teachers are to blame...

Mrs. Auerbach, Mr. Metzger, Mr.Ouchi.

I began writing poetry early, when I was still a young student at the North Side School. My family had moved to Brown Street in Mineola from Bayside, Queens in April of Third Grade--an awkward time of the year to be "the new kid with wild hair."

My brother, Richard Brodkin (1967), was a year ahead of me. Our neighbor, Richard Belmonte (1965), blew smoke in my hair on the school bus. Early on, like most kids, rhyming verse was all I knew. Even back then, humor and death were of great interest to me. My dad was funny at times, and he liked telling jokes he stole from my uncle, while my mother cried a lot because her mom, Grandma Gertie, had terminal cancer. These opposing themes stuck with me, I suppose…..

Which leads me to my outrageous self-promotion.  ‘Cultured Pearls’ is now available on at Sandra Brodkin's "Cultured Pearls" and Kelsay Books.

Published in January 2024, it's an eclectic poetry collection: portraits of artists, friends, and family who remain vivid characters. ‘Dry-docked in New Jersey’ a second collection, will be out in the Fall.”

Biographical Information - Since 2000, Winston Salem, North Carolina has been home. She is a native New Yorker and graduate of Wheatley High School and Hofstra University, with a multi-faceted career in the Performing Arts. She has modeled skiwear, danced in the music video "Beast of Burden" with Bette Midler and Mick Jagger, modeled skiwear on Oprah, and served cups of stale coffee as a waitress on "The Edge of Night." Sandra has choreographed for theatre, film and television and served on the roster of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) as Teaching Artist in Residence in Dance.

Sandra taught Creative Drama for the Winston Salem/Forsyth County Schools for 12 years on the Arts Connection Team. Now retired, she's a member of Winston Salem Writers, and she volunteers in the senior community as The Snappy Tapper.

Her main commitments are environmental and human and animal rights causes. “Ecowarriors: Book One: The Bluffs of Baraboo" (2016) is a work of Young Adult Fiction and her first novel. This eco-thriller, set in Wisconsin, received a 2015 Nautilus Silver Award.  The Kirkus Review wrote: “An engaging, light-hearted read that offers a profoundly powerful message about the environment.”      

Sandra has a close knit family. Daughter, Haley, is a singer/songwriter living in Los Angeles. Jillie Bean, her Jack Russell Terrier, keeps her in shape.

1968, 1972, and 1978 - Todd Strasser, Winnie Holzman, and Dan Paisner - Podcasts

Writes Daniel Paisner - “Arthur - Readers of your wonderful newsletter might enjoy a dueling-alums podcast conversation. Recently I interviewed Wheatley's own Todd Strasser (1968) for my podcast, "AS TOLD TO: The Ghostwriting Podcast," featuring conversations with writers and other creative types on what it means to write and create in collaboration.

Todd's readers know him as one of the publishing industry's most prolific Young Adult novelists, but he also wrote a number of novelizations of hit movies like "Home Alone," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Jumanji" - which is a kind of collaboration.

We cover a lot of good ground, including some very specific Wheatley memories; Todd's reflections on what it was like to grow up in the Roslyn Country Club with a bomb shelter in his backyard; and how he got his start by writing X-rated fortune cookies and PG-rated soap opera fare. 

"AS TOLD TO" is a production of the Writer's Bone Podcast Network... the podcast, currently completing its third season, was recently highlighted in a New York Times article on ghostwriting, and it has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly and on C-SPAN. Todd is the second celebrated writer to join us from Wheatley's hallways... television writer and dramatist Winnie Holzman (1972) appeared on the show in our second season and talked about her work on the influential television shows "My So-Called Life" and "thirtysomething," and writing the book for the long-running Broadway musical "Wicked."

Must be something in the water on Bacon Road.….

Here's a link to the conversation with Todd Strasser:

As Told To: Episode 63: Todd Strasser on Apple Podcasts

Show As Told To, Episode 63: Todd Strasser - Apr 22, 2024

Here's a link to our conversation with Winnie Holzman: 

As Told To: Episode 34: Winnie Holzman on Apple Podcasts

Show As Told To, Episode 34: Winnie Holzman - Feb 13, 2023


1970 - Mitch Shapiro - “My daughter recently gave birth to a baby girl…..Lily Sarai, at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson…So I am officially a grandpa!”

1982 - Sharon Lebowitz Becker and Cynthia “Cindy” Kaufman - Back in the Day (720×960)

L-R - Sharon, Cindy

1994 - Sandeep Singh Tuli - Life After Wheatley

Writes Sandeep - “After Wheatley, I attended NYU, majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Math and Computer Science. After a short stint in research at Columbia University, I attended medical school. Now I am a practicing physician, board certified in radiology and nuclear medicine, with expertise in oncologic imaging. I am back in the district with my two kids, and Ihave taken up cycling for last 5 years.  I'm participating in an upcoming NYC bike tour.

Here’s a 2018 photograph of myself and my siblings in New York City .

Front Row - L-R - Sandeep Singh Tuli (1994), Annu Tuli Singh (1990), Krishma Tuli Arora (1997), Sonu Arora (Krishma’s husband)

Second Row - The Tuli family's cousin

Fan Mail

Faculty (Carol Vogt) -  “Thank you for all the good you do publishing the Newsletter.”

1964 (Jim Paley) - “Thank you very much for Alumni Newsletter # 145 and for helping alumni to reconnect. I always enjoy reading about the past and future exploits of our classmates.”

1965 (Bob Halper) - “I enjoyed the recent newsletter, especially Sue Sand’s and Jerry Mintz’s pieces.”

1965 (Jeffrey Orling) - “Once again.….a big shout out to you, Art, for doing these Newsletters.”

1966 (Steve Hanft) - “I love love love the Newsletter. Thank you so much for the time and care and good spirit you and Keith Aufhauser (1963) invest in producing it. And to the former students who write in - it's good to hear their voices, especially from people I knew or knew of.”

1967 (Jill Simon Forte) - “Another enjoyable read from Memory Lane 🙂✌😊☮️.”

1968 - Ken Gallard - “Art, you’re prolific…..You’re WAY faster at producing these Newsletters than I can read them!  I hope that in the next month I can begin to catch up.  I'm sure there is lots of interesting stuff in there, but life intervenes.  I'm probably close to ten issues behind.  Yikes! I'll get there…..I'll get there.….Thanks!”

1978 (Dan Paisner) - “Many thanks for your efforts, Arthur.”


That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 147.  Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.


  Arthur Fredericks Engoron, Class of 1967