The Wehatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 163

Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 163.

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The Usual Words of Wisdom

Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (Class of 1963), you can regale yourself with the first 162 Wheatley School Alumni Association 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

Berkshires-Tanglewood Summer Schmoozefest Suggested

Writes a Wheatley Graduate - “I wonder how many Wheatleyites spend all or part of their summers in the Berkshires, and if anyone might be interested in gathering one afternoon or evening at Tanglewood. Everyone could bring their own food and drinks.”

‘Hood (Culinary) History

Writes Janet Gohlke Dyer (1962) - I think that I will jump on the Rudy’s bandwagon. My mother always bought potato salad there, both kinds.  She never made homemade potato salad.  I have continued the tradition, and have never made it, either.  I make a great macaroni salad, though.  At least you don’t have to peel potatoes.  Having grown up on Rudy’s potato salad, I really don’t like potato salad with egg or mustard.

I also remember Italian Gardens.  One time after I got my drivers license, I was sent to pick up a pizza.  My father asked me to get extra oregano.  I didn’t know what oregano was, but the table had a shaker with red stuff in it.  Thinking that it was oregano, I sprinkled lots of red pepper on the pizza.  Needless to say, my father wasn’t thrilled.

I also remember great parties at the barn, but never knew its name.  I danced for hours.  My kids were appalled that I drank beer at 16.  I remember our paper licenses that made it easy to change your birth date.

I read all the newsletters, although I don’t know most of the people.”

Writes Jill Simon Forte (1967) - “The delicatessen memories made me laugh. I was always a girl that loved food, so I’m sure I ate at each delicatessen and restaurant that was around 😉😆. My husband, Bob Forte (1965), took me to the Howard Johnson’s on Willis Ave for our first date 😆. Someone mentioned Wetson’s. Bob took me there on other dates (I got lots of burgers and just kept eating, hahaha). I’ll also never forget Slow Boat to China, a great place! Over the years I bet that Bob and I went to every restaurant nearby.😉

Writes Susan Goldfeder Weiss - “Besides Rudy’s Deli, many people frequented Andel’s on Roslyn Road. I wanted to give them a shoutout, although they are closed now.  I can’t speak to the potato salad, but the lox were good!”

Writes David Pinter (1968) - “In response to Ken Gallard:  There was a Wetson’s on Northern Blvd. I had an afternoon & summer job there. It was a poor person’s McDonald’s……you checked your health at the door if you chose to dine there. Since I knew how to check a circuit breaker & change a lightbulb, I was definitely on my way to  being promoted to manager. Eventually, decades later, I did obtain my “Master Electrician” license in NYC.

Writes Bill Meyn (1974) - “Fine dining in the old neighborhood:  Burger Square - 15 cents a burger?  No extra cost for a ketchup pack that you could stomp on to squirt ketchup on the ground, Jimmy's Pizza in East Williston was cheap but good,  Great  pizza has to be thin crust with a crispy edge and just the right amount of grease that drips off the edge when you pick up a hot slice.  A step up from all that was the Mineola Diner, complete with juke box carousels at the counter.  (Below is a Wiki photo, but it does look like the ones I remember).

 

Alma Mater

Writes Jeffrey Mester (1980 - Class President) - “I read with interest the input by Doc Wills’s daughter and step-daughter about the Wheatley Alma Mater ‘controversy.’ Prior to reading their letters, truthfully, I did not care one way or the other.

I have always been proud to tell people that I went to The Wheatley School. When I got to the University of Virginia, it was clear that my writing skills were ahead of the rest of the first-year class, not because of my natural talent, but rather because of my teachers at Wheatley. (Shout out to David K. Israel). In fact, I give partial credit to Wheatley for my serving 4 terms, 12 years, on the Chappaqua Central School District Board of Education. I knew what a terrific public school could do for its students, including giving them a leg up in life. 

So, while I am immensely proud of The Wheatley School, I never care what anyone calls it. ‘The Wheatley School,’ ‘Wheatley High,’ or just plain ‘Wheatley,’ they're all good or good enough. 

However, after reading the letters, I think the very reasons Doc's children give for not changing the lyrics are the reason why they should be changed if there is consensus among the stakeholders. It is/was a collaborative effort. That is why it should not be static. The great thing about the origins of the song is that it was dynamic in its writing. 

The effort to change it is not malicious, but, rather, is because so many of us are proud of the Wheatley School and want to see it reflected in the Alma Mater. 

Call it what you want, it will always be one of the great public high schools in the country. 

* Link to the 1980 Wheatley graduation program with the Alma Mater wording of "Wheatley High"

To Fence or Not to Fence

Writes Jeffrey Mester (1980 - Class President) - “Installing a fence around North Side would be a mistake. For all 12 years of my School Board experience, I served on the Facilities Committee. There are six schools in the Chappaqua School District. None of them have a fence. Two of the elementary schools have wooded areas adjacent to the grounds and no fence. One is literally in downtown Chappaqua, with no fence.  We studied the issue. Our security consultants gave us all sorts of recommendations, but none were a fence around any of the schools. 

Statistically, a student is more likely to die in a bus crash on the way to school than in an incident in the school. A fence is ‘security theater’ that would have little effect on a motivated bad guy. It is a mental salve for anxious people. 

Having said that, it was my understanding that NY Education Law gives school districts an exemption from local zoning laws. Any construction only has to be approved by the State Education Department. Schools generally want to be good neighbors and will often work with the community and close neighbors on any project. I am not a lawyer, but I think the East Williston Union Free School District will prevail in its legal fight. However, as we know, being legally right does not make it the right thing to do. Jeffrey Mester”

The Sports Section

Writes Paul Giarmo (1976) - “Well, Art, as seen in recent news, Wheatley has yet again demonstrated its determination to kill the football program.

Last week, while looking at the athletic offerings on the district website, I noticed that the football program is now merged with Herricks High School instead of with Carle Place High School. This, after 17 years with our next door neighbors to the south.

From 2007 through 2023, Wildcats and Frogs joined together to form the WildFrogs Football Team, and along the way they played for the Conference 4 County Championship in 2016 and the semi-final in 2017. It was a good fit for the two schools, as is the Wheatley-Carle Place Boys Lacrosse Team, which began in 2008.

In speaking with an administrator from Wheatley, I found out that there were apparent tensions between the two school boards and athletic directors, which didn't surprise me because on the Wheatley side, there has been plenty of resistance to football, even in the Athletic Department. And they can deny it all they want, but I've attended 99% of the football games played by the CPW WildFrogs since that first game in Sept. 2007, and the Carle Place fans, coaches, and administrators have been more than welcoming to me and the Wheatley players, while the Wheatley Athletic Directors and coaches have literally chased me out of the stands because of my 'over-exuberance.’

The people of Carle Place have treated me like one of their own. Four examples:

(1) the 2017 and 2018 football players and coaches all chipped in and bought me a Carle Place/ Wheatley varsity jacket. I love it.

(2) the family of one of the football players had a sweatshirt custom made for me with our slogan, ‘CPW on the Attack,’ printed on it. (Guess who first coined the phrase?).

(3) A very talented Carle Place artist, whose brother played on the team, actually painted a mural in the hallway of the school in my likeness. Complete with red hat and green shirt.

(4) To this day, I am referred to as ‘Superfan,’ not just by students, but by several coaches and administrators from Carle Place. They don't know my official name, but they know me as ‘Superfan.’

I mention all this not to blow up my ego, but to illustrate my point that the good people of Carle Place have treated me extremely well for all 17 seasons, while the people at Wheatley wouldn't even let me make a speech to recruit more football players.

That a school as renowned as Wheatley will not support a decent football program is very sad. Soccer, basketball and baseball field quality teams, yet the Wheatley administration has relegated football to second-rate status, disregarding tradition.

As I have mentioned in the past, Wheatley is the ONLY school in Nassau County without its own football teams. Even the two Great Neck schools, without football for five years, are now rumored to be joining forces with, ironically enough, Carle Place.

Wheatley needs the return of a quality football program, which is nowhere near Bacon Road at present. I have even volunteered to coach at Wheatley, but apparently I am not being considered. I know that I could do better than the back-to-back 1-7 seasons that we've suffered through.

I would love to read a response from ANYONE at Wheatley about their plans for continuing the football program. It would appear that Wheatley's 'powers that be' are winding down the program, just like they did in 1991. I would be happy to debate any Wheatley administrator about this.

Thanks for making it through my version of ‘War and Peace.’ And thanks for letting me get this off my chest, Art. It's been long overdue.

(By the way, Board of Education President Mark Kamberg and I have known each other for close to 20 years. We were neighbors for more than a decade, he on Heathcote Drive and my family the next block over on Valentine Drive.)

Paul ('Spirit of '76') Giarmo

The Administration

Writes former Wheatley Principal Rick Simon - “Hi Art:  The end of June saw the retirement of one of the greats. Karen Klapper started at Wheatley in 1999 as an English teacher and served as assistant principal from 2005-2024. She was the heart and soul of Wheatley - down to earth; hard working; student-and-teacher centered; loyal; and most important, she continued the Wheatley Way. I hired Karen four times…as a replacement English teacher; as a tenure track English teacher; as the English Curriculum Associate; and, in 2005, as the successor to Jim O’Brien. Wheatley will miss her dearly. Welcome to the ranks of the retired.

Sincerely, Rick Simon, Wheatley Principal 1995-2008.

L-R - Clare Lowell, retired Wheatley English Curriculum Associate; Karen Klapper; Rick Wilson, retired Wheatley English teacher; Rick Simon

Faculty

Writes Roger “Roddy” Nierenberg (1965) - “About Colin Bentley, the stern Assistant Principal of Wheatley: I’d always sensed his presence, cruising through the corridors like a shark looking for its next prey. Several times a day our paths would cross; then my instinct for self-preservation would steer me far away from him. The only words I’d ever heard him utter were reprimands and commands, snapped out in crisp, staccato sentences that left no doubt that you’d better shape up. He was Wheatley’s ‘bad cop,’ a role he played so convincingly that he seemed to have been born for it.

Mind you, he was not mean: never sadistic or cruel. He simply took it upon himself to quickly squelch any snot-nosed arrogance, self-important swaggering, or smug or disdainful posturing before it could escalate into hostility, anger or conflict. The result was that Wheatley, populated by its 500 pubescent adolescents in the throes of confusing emotions and impulses, was a pretty peaceful place.     

I had my own run-in with Mr. Bentley when I was in 10th grade. Toward the end of each lunch period a group of my friends and I would routinely organize an informal basketball game on the court just outside the lunchroom. It was the highlight of the day for me - unleashing pent up energy and offering a healthy outlet for normal teenage aggression, with no teachers telling us what to do. When the bell rang and we raced inside for the next class, I happened to encounter Mr. Bentley. “TUCK IN THOSE SHIRTTAILS, YOUNG MAN!” he barked at me.

Fast forward approximately twenty-five years. 

I had just completed conducting a concert with The Jacksonville Symphony on tour in Orlando, Florida. A stagehand stopped me on the way to my dressing room, saying there was someone who wanted to meet me. Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw, sitting across from me, Colin Bentley. I always love connecting with people and places from my past, but this was particularly gratifying, because I could see in his eyes that he had been moved by the music. We reminisced about Wheatley, the teachers that I loved, the students that he remembered. But I made sure to remind him about the ‘shirttails’ incident, and we both had a good laugh.

As we parted he asked me if I would autograph his program book. I pondered a bit and then wrote:

‘To Colin Bentley, from whom I learned how to discipline an orchestra.’”

Writes Gary Matthesen (1968) -  “I see so many alumni write about Dr. Wills, so finally, on this hot early summer day, I have to add my story. Long after graduation, I ran into Dr. Wills at a place called ‘Steer Barn,’ back then on Willis Ave. I decided to go over and say hello. I introduced myself and said that he was my music teacher in 7th grade, adding ‘I hated music!’ He looked a bit startled and replied, ‘Well, maybe it's not for everyone.’ I said, ‘No, I’m not here to give you a hard time. I wanted you to know that my bachelor pad roommate started teaching me basic chords on guitar. I liked it and got good at it quickly. Three months in, I was teaching a guitar workshop in an outpatient psychiatric hospital. My biggest regret is that I didn't sponge you dry back then for all you would have taught me so freely.’ To this he replied, "Well, I’m glad that you came around eventually.’ That was so kind of him.”

Graduates

1961 - Peter Calderon - “ Champion of Spain - 2024 Veterans epee and saber (silver in foil!) 70+”

1966 - Steve Shakin - 1966 - Classic Video

Writes Steve - “Art, This video was taken in 1954 by my my mother with a 16 MM Revere movie camera. The subjects are Wheatley Class of 1966. It is the annual 1st Grade Circus held at Willets Road School, in the fenced-in area by the bus circle. Mrs. Visco's and Mrs. Hughe's classes. Some of the people I recognize are listed below.

Bobby Eastman - Derby Hat

Karen Weider - moved

Steve Shakin, me, clown

Larry Fox

Eliza Berman - ballet dancer, flute

Please ignore the last 20 seconds, about a trip to Florida.”

1967 - Art Engoron - Family Photo

That’s my father, Malcolm Wilson Engoron, and my mother, Edna June Fredericks Engoron, at the wedding of David Juris (1979), my first cousin once removed, in Florida in 1990.

1967 - Carl Wirth - Unconventional Political Conventions

Writes Carl - “Some say I ended the political party system at Wheatley, but I beg to differ. In the spring of 1966, the two parties were to have their nominating conventions for the next student government (“G.O.,” “General Organization”) President. The favorite son of the UPD (“United Progressive Democrats”) party was Larry Weiss, and he was the favorite to win the Presidency in the fall. The two major candidates for the EGO (“Effective General Organization”) party nomination were the friendly Arthur Engoron and the funny Carl Wirth. The UPD convention was held first and nominated former junior high G.O. President Seth Bardo (who had done an excellent job as president as a 9th grader). A group of graduating seniors in the EGO party looked at their choices and knew something must be done. They convinced Larry to switch parties and run for the EGO nomination. On the second ballot he secured the nomination over Wirth and Engoron. A group of frustrated juniors, thinking that the outgoing seniors should not dictate who the nominee should be, began a write-in campaign for Carl Wirth. A primary was held with the three candidates. After much debate it was held that graduating seniors should not be allowed to vote in the primary. When the vote came in Weiss had won and Wirth had upset Bardo to become the runner up candidate for president. A column appeared in the Wildcat proclaiming that Wirth's second place finish had hurt the establishment that ran the school. Some thought that it reflected that Wirth was from Mineola; others that it reflected Wirth's religion. It was probably because he had only served as a representative to the G.O. legislature and had pushed for new pencil (an ancient writing instrument) sharpeners in the classrooms. That fall in the general election Wirth won the presidency. The party system had crashed. Was it the upset win of a former write-in candidate? Was it the party switch of Weiss? Soon both UPD and EGO would disappear. Within two years the G.O. would disappear. All four of the candidates went on to bigger and better things. Engoron went into law, and Bardo, Weiss and Wirth found careers in education.”

1968 - Hilary “Lori” Wallach Marshak - “Because my family’s house backed up on the Willets Road playing fields, we always had balls coming over the fence into our backyard. The bus entrance to the blacktop is the way we walked to school. The stone front entrance always seemed to me like a miniature, enchanted castle entrance. 

The little fenced-in playground was where I would meet whoever was my 5th or 6th grade boyfriend. Later, the fields offered a dark and quiet make-out spot. 

I was a ‘walker’ and went home for lunch every day, envying the kids who got to eat lunch in the cafeteria. I would take my sandwich into the room where the housekeeper, Maggie, was watching ‘Love of Life’ and learned a lot.

BTW, ‘Don't Fence Me In,’ as sung by Ella Fitzgerald, was my father's favorite song, and I played it at his funeral. I always thought it was referring to some regret about  life in the suburbs.”

1970 - Amy Levenson Morse and Nancy Simel - Get-Together in Alaska

Writes Amy - “Hi Art!  Recently I had a wonderful time reconnecting with Nancy Simel.

When planning a two-week-long tent-camping extravaganza in Alaska, I noticed via social media that Nancy lives in Anchorage, which was my entry and departure point. I reached out in the hopes that I might have time to reconnect, knowing that it was somewhat complicated by the fact that I was traveling with two friends. 

Well, Nancy welcomed us all with open arms!! She was so kind as to pick our straggly bodies (that’s what 2 weeks of tent camping can do to you
🤣) up from the airport and brought us back to her home for a lovely visit with her husband, Warren, after giving us a brief tour of the city. 

We were not close friends way back when, but you’d never have known it, as the conversation flowed so freely, reminiscing as well as learning about what we were up to currently. I hope that our paths cross again in the not-too-distant future, as she has friends in Seattle, which is where I now live, and she visits from time to time.

I’m so grateful for her hospitality, the chance to learn about each other,  and the common roots that Wheatley provided; lapses in time seem insignificant when the opportunity to reconnect arises.

L-R - Nancy Simel and Amy Levenson Morse

1973 - Edward Ryder - Our Man in France - “On a sultry Saturday in Brittany, France, memories of Wheatley language teachers Aline Desbonnet and Joan Feindler came to the fore.

How so? In 1970, they convinced my parents to send me to France as a summer exchange student. I would live with a family of lawyers in Dunkerque, then their son, Francois, would come to East Williston.

L-R - François Senlecq, Eddie Ryder (1973), and Barbara Ryder Newcomb (1975), August 1970.

Fifty-four years on, Francois’s nephew, Vianney Senlecq, married Jeanne.

M et Madame Vianney (Jeanne) Senlecq at their civil marriage licensing ceremony.

Francois, a cardio-thoracic surgeon, was a proud uncle.

While for Franco-American longevity, nothing tops Lafayette and George Washington, 54 years after Aline and Joan convinced my parents to put me on a TWA 707, l’amitié entre nos familles continues. The friendship still flourishes into subsequent generations like a Versailles garden.

1974 - William Bosshart - “Wo Hop on Mott Street, in Manhattan’s Chinatown! The great debate has always been whether to ead upstairs or downstairs. When I worked across from the Federal Reserve building in lower Manhattan, I'd occasionally walk to Chinatown. Beef Chow Fun was $1.60!”

1975 - Richard Tanner - “A (very) short film I wrote and act in got accepted to a film festival on Long Island and will be screened on July 13th, 2024.

https://liife2024.eventive.org/schedule/midnight-madness-presented-by-vinegar-syndrome-6643df78ff504e0083c67c4e

The film will be part of a ‘midnight show,’ no less……shades of ‘Rocky Horror’!  LOL.  Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend.

Best, Richard

1982 - The Prom Committee

May be an image of 8 people, bangs and people smiling

Fan Mail

1958 (Barbara Newman) - “Thanks, Arthur, you provide a great service.”

1961 (Deborah Kerstein Brosowsky) - ❤️

1962 (Barton Freedman) - ❤️

1963 (Janet Dubin Ruyack) - ❤️

1964 (Richard Ilsley) - ❤️

1964 (John Sullivan) - “Thanks for publishing the Newsletters.”

1965 (Roger “Roddy” Nierenberg) - “I, like so many others, appreciate what you’re doing.”

1965 (Jeffrey Orling) - “HI Art, Thanks for you hard work and a pleasurable read... The essential history of Wheatley, Best, Jeff, Mt. Vernon”

1967 (Barbara Smith Stanisic) - ❤️

1968 (Susan Goldfeder Weiss) - ❤️

1968 (Nancy Lagin) - ❤️

1970 (Amy Levenson Morse) - “Thanks, Art, for spearheading this awesome Newsletter as an opportunity to remind ourselves of how lucky we were to have attended such a forward-thinking school. We greatly appreciate what you do.”

1972 (Judith Oppenheim Darrah) - ❤️

1974 (Gregory Cave) - “Thank you once again for the Newsletter.  Every issue brings back another set of memories from that wonderful school I was privileged to be part of. Peace and love ❤️

1984 (Gina Potenza) - “Thank you, Art”

Closing

That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 163.  Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.

Art

  Arthur Fredericks Engoron, Class of 1967

  WHEATLEYALUMNI@AOL.COM

  ARTENGORON@GMAIL.COM

  WWW.WHEATLEYALUMNI.ORG

  646-872-4833