The Wheatley School Alumni Association # 155

Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 155.

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According to Substack, in the first 24 hours after publication, Newsletter # 154 was viewed 3,197 times, was “liked” 11 times, and received three comments. In all, 4,729, email addresses received Newsletter # 154.

The Usual Words of Wisdom

Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (Class of 1963), you can regale yourself with the first 154 Newsletters (and much other Wheatley data and arcana) at

The 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 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 2024 San Francisco Bay Area Wheatley Reunion - Sunday, May 26

The Group

Please note that Alice Wilkins, 1966, was erroneously reported to be 1964 in Newsletter # 154.

Barry Gordon (1965)

The Sports Section

Writes Susan Meltzer Long (1982) - “Dear Art, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Loretta (‘Lori’) (‘Mama’) Wilson Roux.  I cannot say it better than Gwendolyn (“Wendy”) Mcclure did: ‘Mrs. Roux was one of the most influential people in my high school career at Wheatley.  She was fierce - and she loved us all and believed in us and truly brought out the best in us.’

However, I felt I must write in after seeing today’s post from Tami Smith….  Her team was not the last team to win a Field Hockey Championship.  In fact, in the fall of 1981, our team won the State Championship.  I was the high scorer that year.  It was a defining moment for me, as I’m sure it was for the other members of the team.  

After leaving Wheatley I attended Columbia University, then went on to the University of Vermont for medical school.  This was followed by five years in Wilmington North Carolina for a surgical residency.  Since then I have been practicing General Surgery in Buckhannon, West Virginia where I live with my husband and four of my seven children (the others have left the nest).

Interestingly when I attended the Wheatley 50th-year reunion, in 2006, I got to see Mrs. Roux, along with some of the members of our winning team.  Sadly, she didn’t remember me.   It reminded me that when you mentor people, sometimes the ones who take away the most from you aren’t the individuals that you notice or remember…. 

Sincerely, Susan Meltzer Long, MD FACS (Fellow, American College of Surgeons)


Writes Peter Sultan (1989) - Art, I just heard about the passing of Loretta (“Lori”) Wilson Roux.  I had Mr. Daniel Walsh as a gym teacher; I believe that he taught and coached at Wheatley for 50 years. My sisters had Mrs. Roux and loved her.  Anyway, one day I was performing a surgery and the nurse anesthetist at the head of the operating room table chimes in and asks me out of the blue “did you go to Wheatley?” to which I responded “Yes, how did you know?” She said her mom was Mrs Roux, and I replied “yes I remember my sisters really enjoyed learning from her and playing sports with her as the coach.” The nurse figured out I had gone to Wheatley because Mrs Roux read the Wheatley Newsletter, where I had been mentioned a few years ago.  Small world, huh?! Peter”

Wheatley 1964 Soccer Team

Alma Mater - The Definitive Answer

Writes Steve Nelson (1958) - “To end any confusion over the lyrics to the Wheatley Alma Mater, here they are as printed in the program for the first commencement, in 1958.

“May loyal hearts in memory

Forever praise thy name,

Our ALMA MATER noble and true,

For endless years the same.

So Veritatem Quaerite,

May e’er our motto be,

Our ALMA MATER Wheatley High,

Hail to thee.”

I don’t understand why it didn’t say “School” instead of “High,” since that wouldn’t affect the rhyme scheme or the meter. Maybe after all these years it ought to be amended, assuming anyone sings it anymore. Steve Nelson, 1958”

Writes Art Engoron (1967) - The attribution, published in Newsletter # 150, of Alma Mater to “Godfrey Wills, 1959,” was obviously incorrect, as were the lyrics published therewith.

Writes Scott Frishman (1967) - “The most recent version of the Alma Mater above is correct. It ends with, ‘Our Alma Mater, Wheatley High, Hail to Thee.’ I can sing it in my sleep. Go Wildcats, Scott”

Writes Steven Krakauer (1972) - “Hi Art, I recall Dr. Wills telling us in choir practice that he wrote the Alma Mater, and that he knew that 'High' was wrong. I don't know why he didn't re-write it. Anyway, fun fact - he graduated from Northwestern with Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello). Not worth the column inches to drag it out any further.....Steve


Writes Art Engoron (1967) - For two reasons, I am reprinting half of what I printed from Jimmy Seaton in the previous Newsletter (# 154). First, I mis-identified him as ‘1973,’ when he actually graduated in 1967……the same year I did, which I well knew (me dummkopf). The other reason is the Paul Giarmo (1976) responds to Jimmy (below).

Wrote James Seaton (1967) - “Hey Art, Your note about the East Williston train crossing reminded me of a ‘spooky’ experience I had. It occurred at the East Williston train station. As I was riding my bike and approached the train crossing, I thought to myself, ‘I’ve never seen these gates coming down before. Wouldn’t it be amazing if a train came along right now?’  At precisely that moment, the bells started ringing, lights started flashing, and the gates descended.  But then…..there was NO TRAIN!  After a minute or so, the process reversed: lights and bells and the gates went back up…but never a train at all. Like I say….’spooky.’ Best, Jim”

Writes Paul Giarmo (1976) - “Dear Art, I think I can explain James Seaton's (1967) ‘spooky experience’ with the ‘missing train’ at the East Williston LIRR Station.

Freight trains routinely activated the crossing gate signals at Hillside Avenue while switching freight cars along the various industries located on Sagamore Avenue between Roselle Street and Jericho Turnpike. About a dozen companies were located in what railroaders called ‘The Hole’; including Latham Lumber, (now Riverhead Building Supply), and Windsor Fuel. These rail sidings were very active from 1926 until the end of freight train service on the Oyster Bay line in 1979.

As a huge railfan, I used to watch the train crews delivering freight cars to these industries, (if I recall, usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays), and the long lines of traffic these freight moves would cause on Hillside Avenue as the gates would raise and lower repeatedly as the locomotive would move over the gate actuator. So I think this was the scenario that James was referring to. 

Also,  eastbound electric trains from the city would ‘deadhead’ up to the East Williston station, then crossover (switch), to the westbound track for the return trip to Jamaica. But to do so, the electric trains still had to cross Hillside Avenue to use the crossover, which was just north of the thoroughfare. The train crews had to work quickly to minimize the traffic delays. 

I still remember watching the train conductors throwing the switches allowing the trains to change tracks. Only electric trains had to do this, as the third rail ends just north of East Williston. Diesel trains would continue north all the way to Oyster Bay, as they didn't rely on electricity for power. 

Sadly, the beautiful old East Williston train station, built in 1887-1888, was torn down on December 11th, 2004.  Sadly, there is only one daily electric train nowadays. There used to be half a dozen.

Responding to Bob Holley's (1958) account of the six historic homes on East Williston Avenue: (1) The 6th house location, at the corner of East Williston Avenue and High Street, (the second Pine house), is not a vacant lot. Sometime in the 1960's, a new house, facing High Street, was built. (2) Bengeyfield Drive was built sometime in the 1950s, not the 1960s.

And finally, Mark Harvey (1975), mentioned a ‘Valentine Mansion fire that occurred in the Rosewood Section of Albertson in the mid-sixties. Well, I don't know about a mansion in that area, but if a fire occurred there it would have to have been before October 1963, when the Town of North Hempstead approved a site development plan for the land. I know this because my family moved into a brand new house on Valentine Drive in September 1965; and our street, along with Heathcote Drive and Croyden Court, made up the three blocks of the ‘Rosewood’ development.

BTW, I found the article on the girls' field hockey team very interesting. I still wonder why that team was discontinued, especially with all the success that they enjoyed. I remember watching them practice near the outfield of the baseball field when we were on the football practice field nearby. Did girls soccer replace field hockey?

That makes two teams that Wheatley no longer fields: football and field hockey. Just sayin'.. 

Paul (‘Spirit of '76’) Giarmo” 

A somewhat different explanation:

Writes Steve Rosenthal/Roselaren (1967) - “The gates at the East Williston Long Island Rail Road Station often closed with no train crossing because East Williston was the end of the electrified line, the train crews often adjusted the position of the trains after they arrived, and the cars would sometimes overrun the trip point for the automatic gates even though the train did not cross Hillside Avenue.”

Missing Team Query

Writes a 1964 Graduate - “Is there any history of the Wheatley Crew Team?  ‘The boys in the boat’ from old Westbury?” The team practiced in Oyster Bay and raced against the Army and Navy and Ivy League college first-year crews at the New York Athletic Club facility in Pelham Manor. The Wheatley team might even have won the state championship. Coach Irwin August led the way.”


L-R - Art Engoron, Karen Bartscherer, David Israel, at Pearl East, Northern Blvd., Manhasset, Sunday, May 26, 2024


1964 - Steven Simmons - Appreciating Wheatley

Writes Steve - “In response to Art’s call for submissions, and with some trepidation, here goes: I think back on my days at Willets Road School and Wheatley with great fondness and much gratitude. In my neighborhood on Percheron Lane, Gary Briefel (1964), my brother Andy Simmons (1966), and others played innumerable games of stickball, rode bikes with baseball cards on the wheels to sound like motorcycles, and roamed around as the ‘Night Raiders’ causing mischief. Teachers like Ms. Gordon in third grade, and Mr. Visco in sixth grade made immense and everlasting contributions to our lives. Wheatley teachers like Mrs. Feindler, Dr. Lineweaver, Dr. Zoros , Ms. Kennedy, Dr. Ambach, Mr. Hansen, and many others offered superb teaching and support – showing me how to write decently, analyze problems, appreciate science and history, and love good books. In the 1990s I set up an awards program to recognize outstanding Wheatley teachers, administrators, and staff, and it is still going strong today. Lessons from my Wheatley education have stayed with me throughout my life.

After high school and college I went to law school, but I never practiced significantly. My eclectic career began with becoming a professor at the University of California, teaching and writing about constitutional and media law, and then working at the White House under Jimmy Carter for 4 years. After that I entered the cable television business by starting my own company modestly named ‘Simmons Communications.’ I got lucky there and ‘caught the wave,’ as they say. After selling the company I was able to take six years off to be with my young kids, and in my free time I also learned to sculpt and to write children’s books. I dived back into cable with the advent of the Internet, and I have been at it ever since – blessed by the same excellent management team I hired 20 years ago. A while ago, I switched to Chairman, letting my more talented President become CEO. Another stint in government occurred for 8 years when President George W. Bush nominated me as a Governor on the US Broadcasting Board, overseeing the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. It was part-time but very interesting and an opportunity to contribute. I have just finished my eighth children’s book (see Steve Simmons's Books Website)) and gosh knows how many sculptures (see Steve Simmons's Sculptures). I am blessed with my five children and their children, and my wife of 45 years, Eileen. Gary Briefel, Jimmy Lerner, Jim Jerome (all 1964) and I meet once a year, and I have also been in touch with Kathy Warren (1964). I stay very active in sports and play lots of golf, including with Jim and Gary, and tennis, kayaking and biking. A far cry from our Wheatley track and soccer team days – but great fun.

My wonderful brother Andy, who went to Willets Road and Wheatley, tragically passed away over a decade ago. He will forever be missed. And I deeply mourn the death of Stewart Fox (1964), one of Wheatley’s outstanding graduates and best friend of mine for decades. He was one of a kind and loved Wheatley, like I do.

Go Wheatley Wildcats!!”

1965 - Edward Nolan - Tour Guide

Writes Art Engoron - On Sunday, May 26, 2024 I joined a tour of the working quarters of the Gorgeous Phipps Mansion in Old Westbury Gardens led by a knowledgeable, gracious Ed Nolan. Old Westbury Gardens Service Wing Tour

Fan Mail

1959 (Tracey Lanthier) - ❤️

1961 (Richard Kopelman) - “Art, Newsletter # 154 is the best one yet. It touches all the bases of what makes Wheatley so special. Thanks for your hard work. 👍

1964 (Susan Obrant) - ❤️

1964 (Steve Simmons) - “Thanks very much for all you do for the Newsletter and for all Wheatley alumni. Truly amazing.”

1965 (Jeffrey Orling) - “Thanks Art, Always a joy to read!”

1965 (Louise Kampa Triano) - ❤️

1967 (Steve Rosenthal/Roselaren) - “In praise: that all your good work on the Wheatley Newsletter and community actually leaves you time for a day job is amazing.”

1967 (Dan Silver) - “Keep up the good work.”

1968 (Ken Gallard) - “I enjoy this stuff, for sure!”

1970 (Jane Madison) - “I love all the information about East Williston history. Thank you, Art, for a wonderful Newsletter that is always full of so many interesting things!” ❤️

1974 (David Caine) - “You are a mensch for taking the time to publish a wonderful monthly newsletter.  The stories shared by the various Wheatley Alumni are fascinating, coupled with interesting facts.  First class to you!!”

1976 (Mary Costello Willis) - ❤️

1976 (Paul Giarmo) - “Thanks very much once again, Art”

1982 (Susan Meltzer Long) - “Thanks for all you do with the Newsletter.”


That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 155.  Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.




  Arthur Fredericks Engoron, Class of 1967