The Wheatley Alumni Association Newsletter #31: April 9, 2019

Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,

Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 31.

Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (1963), you can regale yourself with the first thirty newsletters (and other Wheatley data and arcana) at  Relatively new, and also thanks to Keith, is our handy-dandy search feature:  type in a term or phrase and find it in all previous newsletters and other on-site material.  Wow!

Conversely, if you are completely uninterested in Wheatley matters, please ask me to remove you from my distribution list.

I edit all submissions, even material in quotes, for clarity and concision, without any indication thereof.  I do not censor ideas, which may not be, and often are not, the same as mine.


Gerry Friedberg Pagliaro – Greatest Rewards

Writes Gerry – “I just read the Newsletter # 30 article about Tim Clarke, and I remembered the full scale model of an old man, looking very much like teacher Mr. Joe Fradkin, that Tim wheeled into the art room.  ‘Was that his first ‘puppet’?  The whole class roared.

Teaching at Wheatley was fantastic.  I had the cream of the crop of talented students.  I can’t mention one without leaving the others out.  My greatest pleasure and reward was hearing that some entered the art-teaching profession or became professional artists.”


1958 – Anita Silvers – Deceased


Anita Silvers on the San Francisco State University campus.


From the New York Times – “Disability rights advocate Anita Silvers dies

By Neil Genzlinger New York Times News Service - 3/25/2019

VOICE FOR DISABLED —Anita Silvers, a philosophy professor who was a leading voice in the interpretation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, arguing that disability rights should be viewed the same as other civil rights and not as an accommodation or as a social safety net issue, died on March 14, 2019 in San Francisco.  She was 78.

San Francisco State University, where Silvers taught for half a century, said the cause was pneumonia.

Silvers was already a well-regarded scholar with an expertise in aesthetics in the 1990s, when she started to focus increasingly on disability law and definitions related to it.  She knew about disabilities firsthand: She had polio as a child, and the disease left her with limited mobility.  The Americans With Disabilities Act had been passed in 1990, and Silvers began to examine how it was being interpreted, whether philosophically, in the courts or on her own campus.

Silvers wrote or co-wrote numerous papers on the subject, arguing that a fundamental flaw in many interpretations of the act was measuring people with disabilities against an idea of ‘normal.’

‘Progress depends on constructing a neutral conception of disability, one that neither devalues disability nor implies that persons with disabilities are inadequate,’ she wrote in a 2003 paper published in the journal Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics.  An earlier paper, published in 1994, was subtitled “Equality, Difference and the Tyranny of the Normal.”

Anita Silvers was born on Nov. 1, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York, to Seymour and Sarah (Rashall) Silvers.

‘She went to Girl Scout camp in 1949 and returned with a severe case of polio,’ her brother, David N. Silvers [Wheatley 1960; Lost], said, “which required her to spend over a year in an iron lung,” the respiration device.

The disease left her with partial quadriplegia. She was angry about her limited mobility, her brother said, but was also determined not to be constrained by the condition.  He illustrated that determination with a story about a cross-country trip.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree at Sarah Lawrence College in 1962, she earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1967 and was hired to teach philosophy at San Francisco State.  She needed a car to drive to her new job.

‘If you’re profoundly disabled and you go cross-country in a car,’ David Silvers said, ‘the logical thing to do is to get a Ford or a Chevrolet, because if you break down you can get parts.’  Instead, he said, she bought a British car, a Rover.

‘That to me is a microcosm of what she was all about,’ he said.  ‘If she wanted a Rover she would get a Rover, regardless of whether it made sense in terms of her disability.’

Silvers’ brother is her only immediate survivor.”  “Anita attended The Wheatley School, Old Westbury, NY and was in 1958 salutatorian of the new school’s first graduating class.”

[[[Does anyone have contact information for Anita’s brother David, Class of 1960?]]]

1961 – Tim Jerome – Starring as Henri Matisse


1962 – David Friedman – Master of the Mallets

Writes Art – “Saying that ‘David is an accomplished musician’ is like saying that ‘Babe Ruth was an accomplished baseball player.’  Check out the following:

1962 – William Jerome (L) and Jay Samoff (R) – Hanging out with Art


1967 – Art Engoron (R) – Looking Lawyerly



Writes Art – “Recently I received an email from a Wheatley graduated who, asking to remain anonymous, bemoaned his terrible experiences at Wheatley.  I responded, in part, as follows:  ‘Hey -----,  Nice to hear from you.  Thanks for the heartfelt thoughts.  I  remember you at Wheatley.  You did not seem miserable, or even unhappy, but you never know what goes on in someone else's mind.

People often assume (probably understandably) that my alumni activities come from a desire to "boost" the school or because my own experiences there were so wonderful.  Actually, they come from wanting to keep connected people who meant a lot to each other and to add perspective to their lives.  Also, I get a "kick" out of presiding over this small world, and I've benefitted from the personal connections it has engendered.  I would want to, and probably would, run the alumni association of my high school no matter what or where that high school was.

Over the years, many people have told me that their Wheatley years were horrible, the worst time in their lives, scarred their psyches, etc.  You were/are not alone.  My own experiences at Wheatley were mostly positive, although there were  significant personal, academic, and athletic disappointments that rankle to this day.  And I do think the school was and is a terrific place.....but obviously not for everyone.’”

1967 – Amy Pastarnack Hughes and Leslie Gail Metzger – Friends Forever


Writes Amy – “Leslie was on Long Island visiting from South Carolina and we met at The Milleridge Inn for lunch.  It was so wonderful catching up with someone that I have known since kindergarten!  Great reunion!”

1968 – Donna Brescia – Brescia in Beantown

Writes Donna – “Greetings from Boston!  Nice to read Nancy Lagin's memory of our pledge of allegiance debacle.  I, too, refused to say the pledge, and I was a ‘Refusenik.’  I finally agreed to stand when others said the pledge - didn't agree to the ‘hand on heart’ thing.  Years later, as a teacher in the Cambridge Schools, I was told that the students had to say the pledge each morning.  SOS!  I told the kids in my class that this was a prayer that we always said to hope that everything we were saying (‘justice for all’) would come true in our nation!”

1968 – Kathy Kram – How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

My son, Jason Kram Yeager will be performing solo piano---jazz and classical—at Carnegie Hall on April 24th  of this year.  Here is more info about it.

1971 – 50 Years of Skiing


L to R – Paul Cunningham, Dwight Devon, David Byer, Mitch Perlstein, Mark Greco, Kyle Jerome, Burt Dezendorf, Alan Wallenstein.  Writes David  –Hi Art.  Attached is a picture from February, 2019, from ‘The boys’ annual ski trip to Vail Valley, Colorado (also known as ‘Devonland’).  I’m happy to report we’ve been skiing together for over 50 years, and no one has changed one iota.”

1971-72 – Richard Weissman (R) (Class of 1972; Graduated Early in 1971) – Manages the Richard Norris Weissman Charitable Fund


Rich Weissman and his husband, J.D. Horn (L in photo) (international best-selling novelist of fantasy fiction), reside in their homes in Palm Springs (CA), San Francisco (CA), and Black Butte Ranch (Central OR).  Rich, an NYU undergraduate and Ph.D. program alumnus in statistical analytics (after having lived in Israel after graduating Wheatley), was in the financial industry in NYC and then Oregon for many years, and then created a cloud technology start-up in financial risk management data modeling systems, which he sold in 2014.  He is now retired and manages his Charitable Fund, focused on ensuring human rights and access for all minorities, including LGBTQ people, women, people of color, religious minorities, immigrants, and others, as well as promoting animal rescue and rights.  Rich has two daughters who both recently graduated law school, passed the California bar, and now practice in S.F. and L.A.  Rich is involved in musical theater (typically visits N.Y.C. twice a year to binge Broadway) performing as a vocalist, contributing writer to HuffPost and his own blog, and supporting progressive political groups and candidates.  If you live near Rich, or if you want to learn more about his Charitable Fund, feel free to contact him at 

1973 – Bonnie Greenberg – Two Wheatley-Related Movies

Writes Bonnie – “How funny that a Wheatleyite [Michael Garin, 1964] was involved with the film, ‘Free Solo,’ that beat ‘RBG’ for the ‘Best Documentary (Feature) Oscar?!  That’s pretty extraordinary: two Wheatley alum involved with films competing for the same Oscar.”

1983 – Nicholas Smith - Deceased


Christmas Morning, 2017, Florida


Writes Susanne, to whom he was married:  “This photo, of us and Tebow, our beloved Chihuahua, was taken on our very first glamping trip to Ithaca NY in October snowed and never went above 30 was rough.”

Fan Mail:

Faculty (Gerry Friedberg Pagliaro) – “Thank you, Art, for keeping us all in the loop.” 

1961 (Patricia Kirk Hefferan) – “Very poignant as so many of the early attendees at Wheatley look at their mortality.  There is a sense of a life well lived.  Many express lengthy friendships and memories of their years in high school.  We all have had ups and downs, but we made it through.  Well done.”

1965 (Richard Rogers) – “I love the Newsletters.....keep up the great work.  Your efforts on our behalf are greatly appreciated!”

1965 (Roy Winnick) – “Thanks, Art.  Always nice to touch base, however briefly, with the past.”

1966 (Glen Greenbaum) – “I enjoy your newsletters and like to hear what's going on in the Wheatley world.  Keep up the good work.  You are greatly appreciated.”

1966 (Suzanne Stone) – “Every one of your Newsletters is so heartwarming, nostalgic and enlightening.  Thank you - again and again - for keeping us Wildcats a small yet international family.  Bless you – Suzanne”

1967 (Arthur H. Brown) – “Thank you for the great job you do putting out this newsletter, which lets me know what and where our classmates are.  I was friends with Laurie Schiller, 1968, and through you I finally got in touch with him.  Thanks again, Arthur H. Brown”

1967 (Peter Kaplan) – “I really enjoy the newsletters.”

1967 (Joe Sciortino) – “I appreciate what you do for our schools, teachers, and alumni, and your work in collecting the myriad exchange of opinions, career accomplishments, families, and, yes, obituaries to keep us all connected.  Ultimately life is all about relationships, and you're keeping ours alive.”

1967 (George Short) – “Amazing how you pull everything together for The Wheatley School.”

1967 (Dan Silver) – “All of your efforts continue to be greatly appreciated.”

1968 (Donna Brescia) – “Thanks so much, Art, for connecting all of us.”  

1968 (Kathy Kram) – “I read the entire Newsletter, and I am so grateful for your effort and fine work to put this together.”

1970 (Susan Blumberg Lande) – “Love the newsletters!  Thanks for all your work.”

1971 (Merrie Sesskin) – “Another enjoyable newsletter, thank you!”

1974 (Gregory P. Cave) – “It's while reading these newsletters that I appreciate that I went to one of the best public schools in the nation.  I truly am blessed by having the Wheatley experience behind me.”


That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 31.  Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.


Arthur Fredericks Engoron

The Wheatley School Class of 1967