Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,
Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 35.
First item up is a final reminder about the September 15, 2019, noon-4PM pot-luck gathering in the Berkeley, California (think “West Coast,” “Bay Area”) back yard of Larry Rosenthal (Class of 1965). Last I heard, he had some 20 or 30 people signed up, with a capacity of 40. If interested, please contact him ASAP at LARROS99@GMAIL.COM. Sounds like a gas!
Next item up is the usual - Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (1963), you can regale yourself with the first thirty-four newsletters (and other Wheatley data and arcana) at 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.
1959 – Matt Sanzone – Even More from Matt
THE WHEATLEY STORY
Chapter Three: Eleventh Grade
The title of this chapter is not meant as a pun or play on words because Dr. Boyan’s first name is Norman, but I would have to confess that after weathering the storms and stress of opening the school the previous year, both he and Mr. Wathey had their “games on.”
The schedule featured a floating period that served to make each day a bit different and a break from the typical routine delivery of classes. The library found its home and was actually a library and the cafeteria/study hall spot served us well. Study hall in that area was interesting. If you thought that there was a silence expected in the library, well study hall was more of the same. You had to be “studying!” There were no games or casual conversation permitted. We were expected to have our books open. Although a smuggled copy of Mad Magazine inside a three ring binder worked for me, comic books were verboten, and if you could hear a pencil drop, that raised the head of the teacher in charge. Mr. Cautela supervised my study hall, and he was all business. And yet through all of the school’s seriousness of purpose, it found the will to allow the 1957 World Series to be broadcast over the school’s PA system after the school day ended. I have a fairly clear memory of this as I was serving an after school detention for some infraction (probably late to class,) an affliction suffered by most high schoolers past and present, and found myself rewarded by listening to the game. Unfortunately, the Yankees lost to the Milwaukee Braves, four games to three.
The highlight of that fall’s semester was the football team’s undefeated season. The team played on its new home field, which was no longer a potato field full of furrows, tractor prints and divots. From the very first day of practice, Steve Perlin, our quarterback, took over as the team’s leader, and it came so naturally to him. We of course took our cues from our coaches, Mr. Davis and Mr. Lawson, but Steve just inspired us. He was a born leader, and what he achieved in his brief time was amazing, a legend in the class. His portrait is one of many in the storied class of 1958, Wheatley’s first.
I played shoulder to shoulder with two great friends, Don Kleban, aka Bomber, and Mike Stapleton, who was also my wrestling team rival. We helped deliver an exciting victory over Seaford High School, on a gray October day. I think the score was 7-0. Upon our return to Wheatley, as part of the celebration, we threw all the coaches and Mr. Wathey into the shower, clothes and all. I’m not sure about Dr. Boyan, but if he was in the locker room at that time, he also went in. Mr. Davis had a routine that year in which he would light up a cigar after each Wheatley victory, and that cigar went into the shower as well! The cigar was meant to motivate us. He kept one dangling in the window of his PE office each week.
Later that fall after the celebrations about our undefeated season had faded somewhat, a group of faculty men became somewhat tired of the teams boasting and challenged us to a game of touch football to which we readily agreed. Naturally this was spurred on by teammates Steve Perlin and the loquacious Eddie Kritzler. This would be a piece of cake, or so we thought. After all, the teachers were “old!” We met on a Sunday morning at the Willetts Road School for the game, if what turned out could be called that. Most of our team was there, and there were a good number of faculty. Mr. McCormack, Mr. Tierney, Mr. Cautela, Mr. Pagliaro, Mr. Storm and, of course, Mr. Davis. There were many others that I fail to recall. Well, I’m sure you can guess who won the contest; it wasn’t even close. The “old” guys completely humiliated us young studs! And let me say, a few of the teachers couldn’t resist a bit of “trash talk” to rub it in. I think Mr. Storm and Coach Davis got in some pretty good jibes!
That winter the basketball team won its championship and the wrestling team plodded along. Mike Stapleton and I battled for the starting spot on the wrestling team which he usually won. Mike also went on to distinguish himself for his service in the Marine Corps and later as a New York State trooper, receiving many commendations for his heroic work and leadership.
The “Sock hop” tradition began, and this provided some winter diversion for us. On one of those evenings, Don Kleban and I concocted up a story only idiotic teens would be capable of conceiving, let alone executing. Don was angry at his parents and wanted to make them worry, so this is the plan we formulated. I was to call Don’s home after he left for the dance to inform Mrs. Kleban that I had talked to Donald (her reference) and he told me that he was running away and that I saw him board the bus headed toward the city. She thanked me and I completed my part of the plan. Don was going to sleep at my house that night anyway, so it seemed to make sense. Off to the dance we went. When it was time to leave, as we walked toward the front entrance of the school, there stood Mrs. Kleban, hands on her hips, glaring at the both of us. I, being a good friend, quickly slid away, leaving Don to meet his fate alone. Well, upon me ending the “he’s running away phone call,” Mrs. Kleban called my parents, who told her that Don and I were headed to the dance. Parents: they are always smarter than we think!
In the spring, “Aurora” undertook its maiden voyage, and it was an unquestioned success. Thank you Nan and all the staff, especially Elsie Bodnar! We poured over its pages and photos that chronicled the birth of our school, relishing every memory, as we eagerly sought out our favorite teachers to inscribe their names into it. I lost that yearbook as a result of a break-in to my car. Fortunately, I was able to purchase another one at Wheatley’s awesome 50th birthday celebration. Thank you, Art.
The first senior prom and senior dinner were held, but I should not be the one to chronicle those events, as I was neither an observer nor a participant. There are a few good stories about those celebrations that surely a member of the inaugural class should tell! My recollections were second-hand, but they were unique. I’ll await a brave ‘58er to write those stories.
My perceptions then, as a junior in our school, were that I lived in a sheltered place, buffeted by a robust, sometimes boisterous senior class and a friendly, fairly reserved, at that time, sophomore class. Our class didn’t attract any attention as we observed what was around us. I don’t think we had any intention or inclination to mirror the class of ’58. That wasn’t going to happen, nor could it happen. They broke the mold. Our class was polite, hardworking, serious about most things and not a group that sought attention or one to make waves. We were a quintessential fifties generation, sprinkled with a bit of rock ‘n roll and a modicum of rebellion. Those other personalities were for the classes of ’58 and ’60.
On Being Perfect:
“In the third grade, a nun stuffed me in a garbage can under her desk
Because she said that’s where I belonged. I also had the distinction
Of being the only altar boy knocked down by a priest during mass.”
1960, 1961, 1962, 1963 – Wheatley Wildcat Women Having Fun
(L-R) – Louise Sobin Hersh (1962); Janet Cohen Eder (1960); Ellen Litwin Fingerman (1963); Deborah Kerstein Brosowsky (1961) – Celebrating Ellen’s 50th Wedding Anniversary to Barton Fingerman, at La Coquille, Manhasset, NY
(L-R) – Ellen Litwin Fingerman (1963); Janet Cohen Eder (1960); Deborah Kerstein Brosowsky (1961) – in Delray Beach, FL, February 2019
1960 – Richard Braunstein – Old Westbury to Santa Monica
Writes Richard – “I never graduated from Wheatley, but I would have been in the Class of 1960 had my parents not uprooted me in 1957 to Santa Monica, California, where I went to Junior High for the 9th grade in the same school that OJ Simpson was at the night before, at his child’s recital; then high school graduation in 1960 at Santa Monica High, four blocks from the beach. I believe in the 8th grade we were the first class there, my teacher, as I recall, was Mr. Sherman. I remember many of my classmates from then and have made contact with a few of them through my social media account. Kindest Regards, Richard Braunstein”
1961 – Peter Calderon – Fencing Here and There, Then and Now
Writes Peter – “The best formula for staying active and alive is to spend time with the "youngsters." Fortunately, I get my dose when training with the Princeton fencing team. I just garnered two silver and one bronze medal at the European Master Games in Turin, Italy-- of course in the 70+ category (I was the oldest fencer!). I participate in all three weapons: epee, foil and saber. When I worked at the World Bank, my best vacations were built around my official business trips to various parts of the world. Now, I use fencing tournaments to organize my travel!
As a footnote, I took up fencing in November 1960 as a high school senior when Wheatley decided to form a fencing team and join the Long Island circuit, which included the two military academies. I had just finished the tennis season where our tennis team, coached by Gordon Ambach (later Commissioner of Education for NY State), finished second to Garden City in the State championship. I remember the ride back in the school bus after losing the match-- the same day I think that the Yankees lost game 7 of the World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates -- when some of the players were fooling around and making noise and Gordon reminded us that we had just lost and had best shut up.
There were already two students with fencing experience, and they needed a third to form a team. One of the two coaches was the father of my best friend, and he got me to agree to join with the following line: "You know, Peter, fencing is a special sport; it's not like baseball or football. You can still do it in your 30s!" I was able to let him know 15 years ago that I was still at it at the age of 60. This is one example of Wheatley's sanguine influence on my life -- in addition to Howard Storm and Peggy Meisel, who were responsible for my becoming an English major and honing my writing skills. Four months after touching a foil for the first time, I won the Long Island high school championship -- of course, beating one of the military guys in the final (the anecdotes continue: this fellow (Kolombatovich) eventually became a top official in US fencing whom I would run into at the national tournaments, where he directed the referees; he died untimely last year; his father was a "white Russian," as they call them over here in France, and was a fencing master and, among other jobs, trained the singers to fence at the Metropolitan Opera. I went on to continue fencing for 4 years at Princeton University, and in 1964 we won the NCAA championships in a major upset. This was one way to get additional respect from my Princeton classmate, Bill Bradley (the basketball star), with whom I took training meals at Princeton Commons during Freshman and Sophomore years. 35 years later, when living and working in Paris, after Bill had decided to challenge Al Gore in the Democratic presidential primary, I organized a fund raising campaign for him with the Paris-based US expatriate community. After Bradley dropped out and disappeared, I ended up going to the Virginia primary convention as a Gore delegate!
1961 – Patricia Kirk Hefferan – More on Wheatley (not having) Football
Writes Patty – “When I told my husband about my high school and mentioned that we didn't have a football team he virtually blanched. Pete played Rugby in South Africa and is a dedicated fan. He said, ‘C'mon Patty, every high school has a football team.’ I replied firmly that Wheatley no longer does. When we went to a Reunion he toured the school with me and asked the principal about the reality of not having a football team. He found out then the truth of it all as the principal replied ‘No, we don't have football here. If anyone wants to play football we refer them to Carle Place.’
I am so pleased to hear someone else speak directly to this issue. I went to a few football games at my husband's old high school and it was great. So much fun and good spirit. Even the Greeks combined athleticism with education. It fully rounds one out. I played volleyball for 15 years after high school and just loved every moment of the excitement of competition. We were always second place and always in pursuit of #1 but never made it. A point or two always separated us.
I think the Board's refusal to consider football is a form of elitism. Go team!
1961 – Eugene Razzetti – Gene Remembers
Writes Gene - “Sorry to hear about the passing of classmate Wayne Herrschaft. Wayne had a gift for producing amazing pieces of precise machine components in Mr. Cautela's metal shop. Looking forward to Matt Sanzone's next chapter, which will cover my freshman year. His last chapter was great, especially reminding us of my favorite teacher of all time: Mr. (Warren J.) Loring.”
1965 – Henry (“Hank”) Alpert
Writes Hank – “I read Wheatley Newsletter # 34 as national news was unfolding and affecting me. I was brought back to the Winter of 1963/64; a couple of months after the assassination of JFK and just before the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Our School Superintendent, Neil Sullivan, had been asked to become the Superintendent of The Prince Edward County School District in Virginia, to reopen a public school system that had been closed as a result of the United States Supreme Court’s “Brown vs Board of Education” decision, outlawing deliberate segregation in public school. The district had decided to close after the decision; rather than to integrate. The white students went to private or parochial schools during that period, while the African Americans had almost nothing.
Dr. Sullivan reached out to Wheatley that winter to be part of the work to be done and we responded. The Prince Edward High School Varsity Basketball team and their cheerleaders were bused to East Williston for a charity basketball game against our team. In addition, we opened our homes to the students as our guests.
The Friday night they were visiting we had a ‘standing room only’ game in the Wheatley gym to raise money for their school. Our starting team of Mike Roman, Ward Seibert, Richie Terris, Kenny Yagoda and myself had to be benched due to a County rule regarding the number of games we were allowed to play in the regular season. However, our remaining teammates did their best and we won the game.
The next night, Peter Till and his parents hosted a party for all of the players and cheerleaders from both teams. I still remember the packed basement recreation room and the joy we all had dancing together. I kept for years thereafter the letter sent to me from one of the players. It meant the world to me. It was a week of such friendship, caring and commitment. The entire East Williston School District opened their homes, wallets and hearts to help. I loved being a part of it.
For the record, I cherish my years at Wheatley. In fact, I moved back to the District in the late 70’s so that my son, David (Class of 1993), and daughter, Brooke (Class of 1997), would hopefully experience something close to what my sister Ellen (Class of 1968) and I were so fortunate to have.”
1967 – Art Engoron (L) and Bobby Scandurra (R)– Cape Cod, August 19, 2019
1967 – (L-R) Marshall Jablon, Robert Hecht, Peter Kaplan, and Scott Frishman – Golf Guys Have a Great Day
Writes Scott – “We recently played golf in Larchmont, NY, and then Marshall’s wife Marsha joined us for dinner. Nothing seems to be as fun as a day with ‘old’ and ‘old’ friends.”
1967 + 1969 – Ed Goldstein (1967) (L) – Ed Curland (1969) (M) – Johnny Rutenberg (1969) (R)
At the Curland Family Summer Celebration in East Hampton.
1969 – Deborah Willard Goldenberg – Thinking Back
Writes Deborah – “Although I join the ranks of the Wheatleyites who have positive thoughts about their Wheatley experiences, I often wonder how honest I am. In other words, I always felt like the outsider looking in. I always wanted to be in the in-crowd, but never was. Privately, I hated what 'you' had little control of. I apologize!! I was too shy. I also had little control of what was steering my life. Even though I lived at home, C. W. Post helped me develop into who I am today. Whoever knew me in those years, I would like to know what you thought of me - Deborah Eve Willard.”
1970 – Robyn Gayle Goldberg Wolowitz – Deceased
Writes Abby Raeder – “I was in the Class of 1970. My best friend during high school, Robyn Goldberg Wolowitz, recently passed away of bone cancer in Florida. Here is the funeral home announcement: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/north-lauderdale-fl/robyn-wolowitz-8823400
Robyn was my childhood friend. We forged a friendship despite our differences. Laughter was the glue that held us together.
Robyn was my ally through our awkward high school years. We bonded over our love of fashion. We dressed up for high school. No outfit was complete without matching shoes and bags. Robyn continued that tradition for the rest of her days. When she walked into the room, you knew it. With her uproarious laugh and her over the top sense of style, she caught everyone’s attention.
A typical high school memory would be cutting out of school early to hop a train to Manhattan. We hailed a cab to take us straight to what we thought was the epicenter of style, Bergdorf Goodman. We wandered the glitzy departments dreaming of becoming an elegant lady one day, that polished lady who was a Bergdorf customer. The afternoon was capped off by lunch in the Edwardian Room at the Plaza. We didn’t live small.
Robyn grew into that stylish lady we dreamed of as kids, and she continued to live large with great panache.
Thank you, Robyn, for being my high school buddy. We shared a formative time for which I will always be grateful.
Know you are missed.
Abby Raeder - http://abbyraeder.com”
Writes 1970 Class Correspondent Jane Roeder – “Dear Classmates, I’m sad to share the news that our classmate, Robyn Goldberg Wolowitz, passed away on August 17, 2019 after battling a rare type of cancer (of the lymphatic system) that currently has no cure.
Anyone who grew up on Sherwood Lane or played with Robyn as a child will remember her amazing collection of Barbie and Ken dolls (13 and 9, respectively, as I recall). Actually, I think she had a Skipper doll, too!
Some of us were friends with Robyn on Facebook. In her photos, she was always smiling, and her love of fashion was still evident in her beautiful, colorful, and elegant dresses.
One of these days, I’ll be writing you with happier news. For now, it’s hard to believe 2020 will mark 50 years since our graduation!
1976 – Paul Giarmo – Back to Matt
[[[Editor’s note – Paul was a wide receiver and the backup quarterback, and # 88, on Wheatley’s 1975 Football Team]]]
Writes Paul – “What started the ball rolling on the topic of Wheatley football was a letter I wrote last year that appeared in the August 3, 2018 edition of ‘The Williston Times’ chronicling the improvements made, and the expansion of, athletic programs at six local high schools, and the lack of adequate facilities at Wheatley, as well as the lack of school spirit and participation in the football program. I included some remarks about the lack of a response from the Board of Education and the Administration. My primary motivation was simply to make our fellow alumni aware of the sad state of the District's athletic infrastructure (or lack thereof); and how it has negatively impacted participation by the student-body in the athletic program. I hope that the message will finally get through to the Administration and that improvements such as an artificial turf field, electric scoreboard, press box, adequate bleachers and bathroom facilities will finally appear at Wheatley. I have been petitioning the Board for over 13 years toward this end; and no progress. Hopefully you'll be able to make it to one of Carle Place-Wheatley football games this year - I'd love to meet you and some of your teammates from that famed '57 team! Best regards, Paul”
Matt Sanzone responded as follows:
“Paul, If you don’t mind, I’ll use bullets to respond:
1. We probably played a JV-type schedule against fledgling programs.
2. We practiced at Willets Road School, where we played our games.
3. The field was laid out north/ south. The south end backed Wheatley Hills Golf course.
4. There were no bleachers of any kind.
5. I don’t and can’t remember the teams we played except for the final game, a loss to Sea Cliff High School (the future “North Shore HS”)
6. We lost to Sea Cliff. This was important because Mr. Davis told us we would open next season against them. We didn’t get to play them again, however. The score was close but that is about all I can recall. We had no blocking sled or blocking dummies that first year, so we did much live contact.
7. I don’t have any photos of that team. I don’t have my yearbooks with me so I can’t check. The only ones I have are the ’59 team and one of Mr. Davis and Mr. Lawson. I also don’t have any film except the Wheatley/Seaford game. There must be a trove of film somewhere, but you might check with the class of ’60 about that.
8. Many of the Mineola transplants played JV at Mineola, including Rick Perlin, Don Kleban, and Michael Stapleton.
9. They must have finished the track that year because as a junior, we competed and practiced at Wheatley. As a sophomore, we did practice and compete at Willetts Road sans a cinder track.
10. If I were a contestant on ‘Who Wants To Be a Millionaire,’ I’d probably phone a friend to check the accuracy of my responses.
1976 – Ted Lipsky – More on Wheatley Football and Building Character
Writes Ted – “I would love to respond briefly to the letter from Paul Giarmo.
Paul, thank you for writing your letter. I had no idea that Wheatley completely dropped football, highly disappointing but not a surprise, or that they even played for a Championship. What an accomplishment!
I find it very sad that most children today are dropping out of sports by age 11. There have been many articles published on this recently, and given the breakdown in societal and familial values in recent years, and the increase in bullying, prejudice, and violence, I think these articles clearly show that the problems in this country and the world as a whole that we are witnessing on a daily basis go even deeper, and I am very concerned about the future for our children and grandchildren.
I participated in many sports as a kid, as did my son, and I can factually state that ALL children need extracurricular activities to keep their minds and bodies active and sharp. The fact that the school administrators do not take action, nor attend these events, is just another example of apathy, and that people are more concerned with themselves and are too narcissistic, rather than participating and guiding the path our children are taking. I, for one, was highly involved in every aspect of my son’s life while he was growing up and influencing him and driving him to do more, expect nothing, and desire to earn more, but maintain his freedom of thought and desires to do the things he wanted to do; but sports, in his case practicing and competing in Karate tournaments, was his outlet, as well excelling in school and going to religious school. Today he is a Lawyer and hopes to publish a Science Fiction Trilogy that he has been formulating and working on for the last 10 years. Even though his mom and I were not together, we jointly made sure that he lived by a single set of rules and those rules were based on the values my parents, children of World War II and members of The Greatest Generation, taught me and my three older brothers.
Paul, as to your topic, I think we as a united group of Wheatley alumni should demand that the school reinstate all “Team-Oriented” programs like Football and have other Team programs available, as they teach the children character, how to win and lose, as this teaches dignity and grace, and not receive participation medals or ribbons. In life there are champions and there are others that do not win, but competition is one of the healthiest things that the soul and a growing child desperately needs, including the desire to drive for continual improvement in everything they do, not just academics.”
1979 – Brett Merl - Deceased
“On September 23, 2014, Brett Merl, CEO of Legal Club of America, died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack at his Florida office. A trusted business partner of New Benefits for 12 years, Mr. Merl was also active in his community, sponsoring youth hockey programs and supporting breast cancer research.”
1981 – Robert Walzer – Riding the Rails
Writes Art – “Until he recognized me, from photos like this in the newsletters, on the Long Island Rail Road, Robert Walzer and I had never met. We had a lively conversation about politics, and he took this selfie.”
School District News:
The Friday, August 30, 2019 Great Neck News reports that East Williston schools had the highest proficiency rate in math among the North Shore School Districts, with 87% of students scoring “at a proficient level.” Other schools were at 81% (Herricks and Great Neck); 79% (Roslyn); 60%( Mineola); and 47% (Sewanhaka). In English Language Arts East Williston had an 80% proficiency rate. Other schools were at 80% (Great Neck); 78% (Manhasset); 74% (Roslyn); 72% New Hyde Park-Garden City; and 63% (Port Washington). Not too shabby!
Faculty (Phyllis Johnson Satter) – “Arthur, I always love reading your accumulation of news of Wheatley grads, even though I rarely know any of them. But I feel as if I do! Funny? I taught at Wheatley 1963-1966, my first teaching job, and I loved it and the students. Little did I know then how rare a group they were and that they would always rank among my most rewarding classes! So even though I rarely stumble on a familiar name I do not wish to unsubscribe. Phyllis Johnson Satter (also known as ‘Madame Johnson’)”
1959 (Matt Sanzone) – “Art, Thanks again for creating a voice for all Wildcats, clearly a labor of love.”
1960 (Richard Braunstein) – “I enjoy the newsletters and appreciate receiving them every month or so.”
1960 (Wilma Krauss Royall) – “Thanks for keeping us Wheatley alums in touch and up to date :-)”
1961 (Gene Razzetti) – “Great newsletter again.”
1961 (Peter Calderon) - “The Newsletter is wonderful but always comes with some sad news.”
1964 (John Sullivan) – “Many Thanks for all you do - very much appreciated.”
1966 (Nanci Wasserstrom) – “I want to thank you for all your hard work with this. It’s greatly appreciated.”
1967 (Scott Frishman) – “Always a great read to hear about our schoolmates. Thanks for everything you do!!!
1968 (Kathy E. Kram) – “Wonderful newsletter, Art!! I loved reading it!”
1971 (Jonathan Sporn) - “Thank you for all the work spreading Wheatley news.”
1977 (Nanette Asimov) – “Thanks for the exceptional newsletters.”
1978 (Pamela Hirschhorn) – “Great issue, Art! Thank you. Best. Pam”
1979 (Diane Rustin-Corey) – “I appreciate your Herculean efforts in keeping former Wheatley Wildcats up to date on people’s lives and experiences.”
1999 (Shawn Swift) – “Thank you for all of your continued efforts. I am always amazed at your thoroughness and attention to detail.”
2004 (Kavneet Sethi) – “Thank you! Another great newsletter.”
That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 35. Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.
Arthur Fredericks Engoron
The Wheatley School Class of 1967