Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,
Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 34.
First item up is an email from Larry Rosenthal, 1965, about a Wheatley gathering on the West Coast next month. Please respond directly to him if interested.
For years I’ve wondered why there’s never anything in the Newsletter about alums out my way getting together, and now I’ve finally decided to light a candle rather than continue to curse the darkness.
You are cordially invited to the First Annual (?) Unofficial San Francisco Bay Area Wheatley Reunion Potluck, Sunday September 15, noon-4 PM in my Berkeley CA back yard.
Fellow Berkeleyan Peter Siegel (’66) will be there, along with Roy Nierenberg (’63) from neighboring El Cerrito, and Jonathan Silver (’65) from just-up-I80 New York City. I have no idea whether there will be 12 Wildcats interested in joining us or 120. My yard will hold 50, so for this year that’s the limit…RSVP ASAP. If the response is large, next year we can see about having the Alumni Association run this and moving to a site that will accommodate all. Meanwhile, if you’d like to attend, please email me…also please let me know whether you will be bringing a partner.
Next order of business is the usual: Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (1963), you can regale yourself with the first thirty-three newsletters (and other Wheatley data and arcana) at http://www.wheatleyalumni.org/ Relatively new, and also thanks to Keith, is our handy-dandy, super-duper search feature, prominently displayed on our home page: type in a term or phrase and, voila, you’ll find it in all previous newsletters and other on-site material. Wow!
Meanwhile, 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 often are not the same as mine.
1958 – Edward Brown – “First Class”
Writes Ed - “As a member of “The First Class” (’58), Mr. Boyan was my first principal and Mr. Wathey was my first gym teacher! Good to see they’re both still kickin’.
As for Bobbie Kaufman – a shame as one more of our class goes away. I saw her at our previous reunions and she was great. Luckily, I have pictures of those events in scrapbooks that I pull out and look at from time to time. I guess it’s no great surprise, but our great Class of ’58 is indeed dwindling down. I wonder if we will be able to get together for one more reunion. I certainly hope so.
And I have to say that Babs (Barbara Newman) looks great. I had a “silent crush” on her all the way back then. (Maybe I shouldn’t have been so “silent” back then.)
My best to all.
Ed (or as I have been called, “Little Eddy Brown”)”
1958 – Cynthia (“Cindy”) Messing Frank – Wonderful Wheatley
Writes Cindy – “I am from the first graduation class, 1958. We were lucky enough to be the top dogs for 2 years as were taken from Mineola High School. My Wheatley years were wonderful. I’m still in touch with several of my classmates. My joys were cheerleader, literature, drama, sports, and chorus. My 1958 yearbook got lost during a move. If anyone has one or knows how to buy one, please contact me at 302-584-4986. I remember fondly Mr. Wathey, Ms. Bodnar, Mr. Loring, and the drama teacher whose name escapes me. He was my first teacher crush. Follow your bliss. Cynthia Messing Frank. (Cindy)”
1959 – Matt Sanzone – More from Matt
THE WHEATLEY STORY
Chapter Two: Tenth grade
I simply had to swipe the yearbook name for this chapter, not only for its symbolism for the school, but also for all of us Wheatley newbies as we embarked on the maiden voyage of this great school. Although the first weeks and months seemed at times disconnected from what would become routine and familiar, the early going was a bit rough. Classrooms were still unfinished, the library was the cafeteria, the gym was the auditorium and the football field was still a potato field. Teachers danced in their classrooms around construction workers as though they were part of the lesson. Everything was brand new: science labs and equipment, books, athletic equipment, desks, chairs, every piece of what a school needs to function was brand spanking new. All told, there were no excuses for what was expected of us academically as well as socially.
You had to feel badly for Mineola High School. Not only did Wheatley poach all of Mineola’s best athletes (eventually producing undefeated football and basketball teams) but clearly took all of the brain power that now populated the nearly completed school. And, by the way, and this is not meant as an afterthought, we were gifted with a brilliant assembly of faculty whose teaching enriched the entire school curriculum. Men and women with academic degrees from Columbia, Harvard, CCNY, Cornell, Ithaca, Cortland, NYU, Hunter, Le Sorbonne, to name a few, led the teaching staff. Wheatley was like Lake Wobegon, where “all the women are strong, the men good looking and the children above average.”
The new school dwarfed Willets Road School, which seemed almost like a one-room school house as I look back. As tenth graders, we were definitely the small fish in this large pond, while the ‘Mineola” transplants took charge early and often and not always in what one could describe as model behavior. The mettle of both Dr. Boyan and Mr. Wathey was tested rather regularly, and they more than distinguished themselves as the leaders of the new school.
The first football team played its games at the Willets Road School and was very successful, losing only one game. A few of us stopped in the coaches’ office after the game to talk with Jack Davis and Bill Lawson, our coaches. We found them sitting in a darkened office commiserating and looking quite glum. I guess we had to do better next year. This was also the year that a wrestling team was to be formed, and the sport was introduced to me. Mr. Lawson was the coach and though a great football coach, his wrestling knowledge was nil. Nevertheless, we endured losing all of our first-year meets, but I was determined to learn.
The track team also practiced and competed at Willets Road, and it was there after one practice that I “stumbled.” Following practice as a few of us were walking through the school, we spotted a case of Coca Cola sitting atop a table through the open door of the faculty dining room. Without any thought of consequences several of us helped ourselves. It didn’t seem like stealing. The door was open, the Coke sitting on the table, and we had that after-practice thirst! Mr. Lawson didn’t see it exactly that way, and if you ever had the privilege of having him as your coach, you would know how his booming voice could wither you when you made a mistake. Amplify that a few decibels for this infraction. We were found out, and we all owned up to it; he suspended us from the team for a week. It could have been a lot worse. Truthfully, I was horrified and embarrassed. I, of course, adhering to my long standing practice, sharpened over the years through my Catholic school education, did not tell my parents. Double jeopardy didn’t appeal to me, so I just hung around school before heading home that week. There was his threat that we offenders would not receive a “track letter,” which would have made us ineligible for the iconic Wheatley sweater given to an athlete who earned three letters. I had my football and wrestling letters but not the track one. I was so relieved when I did receive the sweater that spring at the athletic banquet for two reasons. One, I coveted the sweater and believed I had earned it sans one week of suspension; and secondly, my father. who attended the banquet with me, would have wanted to know why I didn’t get one? Explaining that one was too complicated to ponder. I’m not sure what became of that white sweater with the large red W holding its place on the left panel that I, and the other “awardees,” were so proud to wear to school. My Mom saved everything “Wheatley,” but that item probably became another casualty of the “box of stuff” long gone.
As a new school, the student body was tasked with some very important decisions: We voted on the school colors, red and white. Were there choices? I don’t remember. We chose a school mascot, the Wildcats. Same memory blank. I do remember class elections, the school newspaper (The Wildcat’s Roar), and of course, “Aurora,” Miss Bodnar’s pride and joy which was to be published the following year. Classmate Nan Bauer was a major force in “Aurora’s” birth. Mr. Storm, our quirky but brilliant English teacher, led the school’s drama productions of “ Our Town,” more of which I will tell in the chapter on my senior year.
Even though there was a definite cacophony in the early months of its opening, fine tuning the school as the days and weeks passed had its effect, and it became evident that planning, committed leadership, and forward thinking were guiding the enterprise. And they got it right without computers!
*The following is dedicated to Mr. Loring and Ms. Knapp, with a smile.
*The History Teacher
Trying to protect his students’ innocence
He told them the Ice Age was just really
A chilly Age, a period of a million years
When everyone had to wear sweaters.
And the Stone Age became the Gravel Age,
Named after the long driveway of time.
The Spanish Inquisition was nothing more
Than an outbreak of questions such as
“How far is it from here to Madrid?”
“What do you call a Matador’s hat?”
The War of Roses took place in a garden,
And the Enola Gay dropped one tiny atom
The children would leave his classroom
For the playground to torment the weak
And the smart,
Mussing up their hair and breaking their glasses.
While he gathered up his notes and walked home
Past the flower beds and white picket fences,
Wondering if they would believe that soldiers
In the Boer War told long, rambling stories
Designed to make the enemy nod off.
1960 – Everyone – Graduation Photo
Note a young Melvin Rosenstein, science teacher, front-row-middle
1960 – Renee Gershen Nadel
“I was particularly sad to learn of the death of Diane Cohen-Alpert. I was friends with her throughout high school and college. Then we lost touch. If anyone in the group has a contact for her daughter, Maylee, or her brother, Andrew (a year younger than Diane; he attended private school), please let me know.”
1961 – Wayne Herrschaft - Deceased
Died in January of 2019. Lived in North Carolina. Sister Donna Herrschaft Reichman is “Lost” (contact information would be appreciated).
1966 – Gathering of Gals
Writes Beverly Berman Hornick – “This was taken in Sarasota, FL in May 2019. From left to right that’s me, Charline Krakauer Fredericksen, Eliza Berman Brady, and Janet Lagatutta Maffei. Fun times and great memories thanks to Wheatley and beyond.”
1966 – Angela Di Benedetto – Fun Times at Wheatley High
“My name is Angel Di Benedetto, aka Angela. I’d like to share my story about the time I enrolled at Wheatley, fresh from a city school.
My Italian immigrant parents were seeking a better life for my brother and me by moving our family to Long Island, where the air was cleaner, schools were better, neighborhoods safer, and houses had large backyards in which to play.
So off to Old Westbury, where hairstyles were more combed out “Flip” rather than the teased-up “Beehive.” Dress was more designer… who ever heard of Danskin and patent leather Pappagallo shoes? Sweaters mohair rather than leather jackets. Style, twiggy, babydoll-mod, rather than beatnik black.
Some of our Wheatley gals sunning in the school yard.
L to R: ?, Amy Gruskin, Debbie Bond, Harriet Shanes, ?, ?, Pat Edwards, Gail Goetsch.
This rather dark and exotic girl, looking more like Amy Winehouse, had quite a lot of adjustments to make and truly felt like a fish out of water. There was this initial perception that I might be some “bad” girl who was there to steal the boys away from the girls. So not true! While I might have looked tough, I was more shy, and I held back from knowing what my community of friends could be.
Not to mention that the curriculum was more challenging than city schools, which placed me in classrooms for those needing “just a little more help.” This ended up being a blessing, because I met the most fun group of kids who continually made me laugh. Poor substitute teacher, Mrs. Trantum. We certainly did challenge her, and she was always so kind and patient. Little did I know that someday she’d be my mother-in-law….but that’s another story.
As time went on, my classmates began to accept me more as one of them and less as some foreigner from the city. And it was a good thing I could dance. I recall attending Friday night recreation at the gym and won the “mashed potatoes” dance contest. For some reason, from that Monday on, things at school shifted in terms of my popularity. Even so, I was mostly on my own and hadn’t yet met my tribe.
One day on the bus to school, I casually met a girl named Nanci Wasserstrom.
Although we were on the same route, we usually just smiled at one another rather than speaking. Then one day while warming myself on the radiator at the entry where the bus drops kids off, Nanci came up to me and officially said “hello.” From that point on, we were inseparable, even claimed we were sisters. Thru Nanci, an entire world of new friends opened up for me. She guided me on how to iron my hair, apply make-up, and shop for clothes.
Thru Nanci, I met a world of other teens. Often skipping class, we’d meet at the Mineola Diner. Some of the kids were older, so they had cars, so of course we’d venture to drive-ins, outings to Jones Beach and parties at Nanci’s family pool in Roslyn. Eventually I got my license and bought a 1960 T-bird, which gave even me great freedom to cruise. And, of course, it was black, which satisfied my city girl.
As 1964 rolled around, my life turned around and perhaps for the first time, I felt part of a community. It was thru these kids that I met my first boyfriend, Wheatley hurdling champion Stan Grom, 1963.
Besides Nanci and I, some friends we hung with were; John & Lenny Bertani, Billy Bonell, John DiGiovanni, Andy Dreier, Pat Edwards, Gail Goetsch, Stan Grom, Amy Gruskin, Charlene (Schotzie) Krakauer, Frank Lamitola, Teri Lauricella, Steve Metten, Billy Nuebel, John Passarella, Francine Reich, Linda Rignel, Kenny Rosanski, Harriet Shanes, Warren Yoder. Forgive me if I left anyone out.
It was thru the luck of meeting Nanci that my world opened. It wasn’t just a shift in my self image that helped me feel as if I fit in, it was the circle of friends that meant so much. I feel so fortunate that my parents had the wherewithall to move us out of the city to Long Island, and then to land in a school district that provided me a solid base in which I matured to the confident person I have now become.
By the way, after 56 years (yikes) Nanci and I are still the best of friends. In fact we just spent time in LA, and although we live on two different coasts, we’re committed to seeing one another at least once a year.
Nanci Wasserstrom Smith, 1966; Stanley Grom, 1963; and Angel Di Benedetto, 1966, in the early 1980s.
Six in 2006
Back Row – John Bertani, John Palazzo, Andy Dreier – all 1964
Front Row – Linda Rignel Bertani, Angel Di Benedetto, Nanci Wasserstrom – all 1966
Me now, with my Yorkie pup Pearl
Angel with husband Richard Corbeil and their Yorkies.
Thanks, Wheatley friends!
1967 – Arthur Engoron – Final Decision + Fun Lunches
With Amanda Hartman, Class of 2019 – July 30, 2019
With Elizabeth Stone, Class of 1963 – July 31, 2019
With Mitch Stephens, Class of 1967 – August 1, 2019
Oh, and here’s a photo of me and my Summer 2019 staff, on the portico of 60 Centre Street, New York, NY
1967 – Peter Kaplan – Pete’s Latest Milestone
Peter turned 70 on July 12, 2019. A large party at La Palma in Port Washington, L.I., included classmates Kenny Hare (front row, second from left, in light blue shirt) and Scott Frishman (front row, fourth from left, in blue shirt with squares). The birthday boy is in the back row, middle, wearing a white shirt. Peter’s sister, Susan, 1964, is to the right of Peter, wearing white. Peter’s son, Jeremy, 2002, is in the back row, far right, with dark hair.
1970 – Frank Faruolo – Deceased
Frank J Faruolo III passed away peacefully on July 21, 2019 in Long Beach, NY.
Frank was born to Frank J Faruolo, Jr and Jacqueline (Taliaferro) Faruolo in Manhattan on April 8, 1952.
Frank grew up in Albertson Downs and East Williston; he excelled in sports, ultimately focusing on golf, competing in many amateur golf tournaments and obtaining a zero handicap.
Frank loved his family and friends, and he was a friend to all. He loved sports and music and was a forever optimist for the Mets and Jets. Frank’s kind, fun-loving, and positive nature will be remembered and missed by all.
Frank is survived by his loving family, sister Donna (Ted) Gillen; brothers John (Angela), and Edison (Nestor); his nephews and nieces Ted (Kristy), Jessica (Edward) Landon, and Caroline Gillen; John (Lindsey), Mark (Sara) and Nick Faruolo; and great nephews and nieces, Marya Landon, Leo and Lincoln and Lola Faruolo, cousins and several close friends.
Frank was predeceased by his parents, Frank and Jacqueline, and step mother Lois (Fasso) Faruolo, brother Thomas, niece Maryanne Gillen, and nephew Matthew Faruolo.
A small family gathering will be held at a later date. Please remember Frank by forwarding the kindness he showed to others.
1974 – Elizabeth Bennett Zippelius – An Appreciation
Writes Pamela Hirschhorn, 1978 – “I was saddened to learn through the newsletter of the passing of Beth Bennett. Beth was Aunt Eller in “Oklahoma,” which was my first production as an 8th grader at Wheatley in 1974. Beth had a great sense of humor and was able to bring so much to the role and to the production. I’m attaching some photos from “Oklahoma” that I thought would be of interest.
1974 – Mark Lebowitz – Accidental Death
According to the Suffolk County Policy Department, Mark was driving westbound in Bohemia, NY when his car crossed the service road around 6:45 A.M. on July 22, 2019. Mark was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife, Diane, was transported to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
After Wheatley, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts with a major in chemistry from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He then went on to earn his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine.
Mark continued his training at Beth Israel Medical Center, where he completed an internship in internal medicine. He completed his residency in ophthalmology at the SUNY Health Science Center in New York, where he later became Chief Resident. He finished his fellowship in cornea and anterior segment surgery at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.
Mark A. Lebowitz, MD was the managing partner of KLM Eye MDs and medical director of the Brooklyn Eye Surgery Center, both located in Brooklyn, New York.
Mark and Diane Berson Lebowitz were married in 1982. Prior to the accident, they lived on East 61st Street in Manhattan, New York.
1975 – Great Looking Group
1975 – Eric Asimov – Chief Wine Critic of The New York Times
1976 – Paul Giarmo – Wheatley Football
Writes Paul – “I write to highlight the lack of participation in, and support for, the football program at Wheatley by the Administration and the Board of Education.
As many of our fellow graduates are aware, Wheatley joined up with our former rival Carle Place to field a football team beginning in the 2007 season and even played for the Conference 4 championship in the 2016 season.
While several Wheatley football players have achieved All-County, (and in one case All-State) honors, there have simply not been enough Wheatleyites on the Carle Place/Wheatley "Wildfrogs" team to generate the level of interest in the sport the way it used to be when we were students. Considering the fact that we are the ONLY public school district out of 56 in Nassau County that does not have its OWN football team, one would think that the Administration and the Board of Education would have made a concerted effort to recruit more student-athletes to the sport and to improve Wheatley's totally inadequate athletic fields and facilities. But that is not the case.
In fact, while every other school district has been improving and expanding its athletic facilities, Wheatley has done nothing; ignoring all but the most basic maintenance on its fields and infrastructure.
This lack of interest, this lack of pride by both the Administration and the student-body at Wheatley is shameful and a disgrace to the district.
As the so-called "Wheatley Football Historian,” I know first-hand how different things used to be here on Saturday afternoons in the fall. I have had the honor of speaking with several members of the famed 1957 varsity football team (gridiron gods in my opinion); who achieved a remarkable 8 wins - 0 loses record in Wheatley's very first year of varsity football competition. And by the way, these gridiron greats recorded 4 shutouts along the way, against schools that in many cases were 3-4 times larger than our little home on Bacon Road.
While the football teams declined over the years and eventually faded away by 1989-1990, they were still a source of pride for Wildcats, past and present. Unfortunately, many students have no idea that Wheatley once fielded its own teams, and the ones that do know don't seem to care. In fact, even the school newspaper gave no coverage in 2017 to the so-called "Homecoming Game" played at Wheatley, which resulted in a hard-fought victory against a very tough West Hempstead football team. Furthermore, there wasn't even the usual pep-rally on the Friday before the big game!
As a proud member of the mid-seventies teams that helped rebuild the football program for its eventual return to varsity-level competition, my teammates and I are disgusted with the way the District fails its student-athletes by neglecting its athletic facilities.
When I emailed my concerns to the Administration and Board of Education, I received no comment at all. This is a perfect example of how apathetic (if not downright hostile), the Administration of the East Williston School District is to its football program and its student-athletes.
As a final point, I will tell you that I attend every football game, and in the past 12 seasons, I have never once seen the Superintendent of Schools in the bleachers (even during our championship game in 2016, played at Hofstra). Is it any wonder then, that I can't even convince the Administration to show some pride and buy some red Wildcat goalpost protectors for the one game a year that we host football at Wheatley?
1958 (Ed Brown) – “Thanks for the newsletters. I find them fascinating.”
1958 (Cindy Messing Frank) – “Thank you for all you do.”
1959 (Beth Davidson) – “Thank you, Matt Sanzone, for the wonderful memories!!!”
1960 (Renee Gershen Nadel) – “Hi Art, Thanks for supplying us with the latest Wheatley news.”
1961 (Patty Kirk Hefferan) – “Great Wheatley paper. Incidentally, I loved Matt Sanzone's take. I was not the only one discomfited by my experiences there, but I guess that is true everywhere.”
1962 (Carol Keister McCormick) – “Thanks Art. So good to hear that Mr. Wathey is well and going strong. Carol.”
1963 (Elizabeth Stone Matho) – “Clearly the great newsletters take quite a bit of your time, energy and devotion.”
1965 (Susan Wechselblatt Firsenbaum) – “Hi Art! Just finished reading the latest Wheatley Newsletter, # 33, and realized that I don't think I ever thanked you for all your efforts in putting out such a great compilation of info and facts regarding our fellow alumni from Wheatley. I always find it interesting to read about others who attended and what they have been up to over the many years since then. I especially enjoyed reading today's "installment," although I didn't know many of those mentioned. Still, it is great to hear about the accomplishments of others and learn the history of the land and people who lived and worked the land where our homes were back in the day and before we lived there. Thank you so much for doing what you do to keep us all a part of the Wheatley Family.
1966 (James (“Jimmy”) Carillo) – “Thank you for leading the alumni group. I appreciate your efforts and cannot fully express my gratitude.”
1966 (Suzanne Stone) – “Thanks for another heartwarming & fascinating newsletter - and for always citing my fan club kudos!”
1967 (Michael J. Cave) – “Thanks for all your hard work for the alumni.”
1967 (Scott Frishman) – “Great newsletter as usual!”
1967 (Robert (“Judge Bobby”) Scandurra) - Judge Artie, another masterful newsletter, loved hearing about fellow wrestler Dr. Jimmy Carillo and will now email him. Also Ken Martin, Doug's brother. I've followed the career of Sam Presti, Steve and Rhoda’s son, extraordinary!
1967 (Jill Simon Forte) – “Thanks again for another enjoyable breakfast readðŸ¥°”hail to thee.”ðŸ˜‰
1968 (Lois Hegyi Goldstein) – “You have done amazing work publishing these newsletters all these years. When I check my emails and see the ones from you, yours are the first ones I read. Keep them coming!”
1969 (Ken Gallard) – “Hi Art...Wow! Great Newsletter. This one was very varied in content and fascinating regardless of the year of the class member writing. Even though I didn't know many of these folks, it still was tremendously interesting. All the best, Ken”
1969 (Gerry Gersh) – “Most prolific edition (and compliments) yet!!! Damn Rosenthal looks ageless, exactly the same! Can’t believe Susan Obrant is my neighbor. Favorite quote: ‘We looked that evil and pernicious hour-glass right in the eye, stared it down, and won again. For now.’ Thanks again Art.”
1971 (Merraine Sesskin) – “Thank you, Art.”
1972 (Patty Bennett Millerioux) - “Thanks for all that you do. I scour the newsletters for info going back before my time about principals, teachers & older siblings of my friends. I love receiving the newsletters.”
1975 (Susan Rotholz) – “Thank you Arthur for your devotion and your providing a welcoming common place to be in touch with our Wheatley friends and their lives. What interesting, beautiful and touching newsletters. X Susie Rotholz. 1975”
1975 (Matt Schuster) – “Thank you Art!! The precious time and effort you have spent doing what you’re doing for countless and most grateful alumni is priceless. We all are connected through our childhood and our memories of that period in our lives are just as relevant and constructive as what we are doing in our lives today.”
1976 (Paul Giarmo) – “I just want to say what a great job you do keeping us all in touch - I don't know how in the world you do it, given your busy schedule. Thank you very much for everything!!”
1978 (Pamela Hirschhorn) – “I want to thank you for publishing this wonderful alumni newsletter. As an attorney in private practice in Mineola, I’ve enjoyed reading about the cases you’re hearing as a Judge. I’ve also enjoyed reading about the accomplishments of Wheatley alumni. Thanks again for all your hard work.”
That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 34. Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.
Arthur Fredericks Engoron
The Wheatley School Class of 1967
Arthur Fredericks Engoron
The Wheatley School Class of 1967