Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,
Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 43.
I hope you and yours are all safe and healthy during this unprecedented, turbulent, difficult time. I am not aware of any Wildcats or their families suffering ill health due to the current Covid-19 pandemic … but that does not mean that there aren’t any.
I have postponed indefinitely this year’s Wheatley School Alumni Association NYC Luncheon, and I will keep you posted. Already 31 people had responded affirmatively, and one person sent a check (which I have not negotiated).
Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (Class of 1963), you can regale yourself with the first 42 Newsletters (and other Wheatley data and arcana) at http://www.wheatleyalumni.org/ Also thanks to Keith is our handy-dandy, super-duper search feature, prominently displayed on our home page: type in a word or phrase and, voila, you’ll find it in all previous Newsletters and other on-site material. Amazing!
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 am a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union, and I do not censor ideas, which often are not the same as mine (although I do filter out the occasional personal attack, if it goes beyond mere disagreement or criticism). Particularly given the current political climate, with its deep divides, please remember that I am not taking sides or advocating for or against any thing or any one, I am only forwarding what people send me.
Please let me know if you will permit me to publish your email address along with anything you send me. If you do not indicate either way, I’ll assume that you are “opting out” (i.e., that you do not want me to publish it).
I welcome any and all photos relevant to The Wheatley School and the people who taught or studied (and in some cases, both) there. Currently, I am particularly looking for photos of the 1960s Physical Fitness Teams. The Marine Corps photographed the teams at certain area competitions, and the team members received copies. Please help me find and publish them.
I (and The Wheatley School) have a copy of every Wheatley Yearbook, 1958 to 2019. But for people who don’t and want to, please donate your unused, unwanted Aurora’s to me. I’ll even pay postage. Please note that by doing so you’ll be authorizing me to do whatever I want with them.
More Responses to the Holocaust Letter of Viktor Glaser (Father of George, 1965, and Tom, 1968)
1960 - Helen Kritzler – “I started reading Viktor Glaser’s letter again. But I couldn't. Somehow it’s only recently that I realized that I was born during the war, in 1942. The war had always seemed like “history” to me. That the Holocaust happened during my lifetime wasn't real. Now that I'm 77, I see it wasn't that long ago. That most of the Jews in Europe (6 million) were murdered in about 3-year’s-time seems almost impossible. The minute detail that the Nazis went to in order to discover who was Jewish was unbelievable, as was the extent of the hatred and the sadistic treatment and torture. That humans are capable of such horrendous behavior sickens me. My parents wouldn't buy German cars either, but they had no idea what was going on until after the war.”
1961 - Patricia Kirk Hefferan – “Reading through Newsletter # 42 took me quite some time. I was so overwhelmed with the outpouring of responses to Viktor and Daisy Glaser's towering life story. I take some degree of comfort in these responses. Nazi Germany was an atrocity so huge that ever to forget would be an atrocity in itself. Tragedy continued to haunt them with George's tragic decline and death. My family experienced three suicides in my lifetime: my father, my grandmother's sister and my mother's sister. Such deaths represent overwhelming losses. Some people and some families seem destined to live with the pain and suffering of stunning loss.”
1965 – Peter Altschuler – “For all those moved by Viktor Glaser’s account, I would recommend the harrowing but ultimately uplifting account of Holocaust survival “Remember Us” by Martin Small. In print (https://tinyurl.com/uktxlfb) or as an audiobook (which I recorded: https://tinyurl.com/sjcw46p), it is a remarkable, riveting, and restorative tale of survival. http://www.gorboduc.com”
1965 – Marc Messing – To Tom Glaser - “Having just read your father's letter, my mind is now swimming with recollections of your family, and it will take me a little time to reconcile them -- particularly the stories your mother used to tell of her childhood -- with the letter. Thank you for letting us read it.”
1966 – Diana Rubinger – “Dear Art, As always, I want to thank you for the amazing newsletter (# 42), and to thank our classmates for their sincere, thoughtful comments. I believe that many of us who read Viktor Glaser's letter were touched to the core. My grandparents, who fled Russia in the early 1900's, never spoke of their experiences; nor did our relatives who survived the concentration camps. My father refused to purchase German products until late in life.
My husband and I traveled to Warsaw and Krakow, Poland, to honor the lost community of Polish Jews. Today, all of us must be vigilant to the rising threat of anti-Semitism, and never forget. Thank you, Tom, for sharing your parent's story, and thank you Wheatley classmates for your responses.
On another note, it is so nice to hear from fellow classmates and teachers. Mr. Ewing, was one of my all-time favorite teachers, and I took memories of his teaching style into my classroom.
1967 - Scott Frishman – “I thank you and Tom for giving us the opportunity to relive what his father and many others went through. Never again!!!”
1967 – Dan Silver - “Art, thank you and, especially, Tom Glaser and his family for sharing the translation of Viktor Glaser's deeply affecting letter.
Three sentences from different parts of the letter stood out for me, and I hope I do not presume or intrude if I offer my own brief thoughts on them:
‘…however God liked it.’
We must forgive Viktor, whose perceptions were no doubt acutely affected by his personal sufferings & unspeakable losses, and by the monstrous cruelty that beggars the imagination—that he witnessed and endured before, during and after his sojourn in Mengele's Auschwitz. Because it was not God who ordered his life & environment through those horrendous, unfathomable years—it was the Nazis, and whatever malevolent Evil they spawned, morphed and suckled in their own pestilent characters, then harnessed and unleashed among the cowed, complacent & complicit German citizenry—and their willing partners.
‘But no matter what happens, what is most important is that we survived.’
That sentiment speaks clarion volumes for itself.
‘The overall situation is resolving quickly, and soon life will be like it was before the war.’
I can't help but admire the optimism in that conjecture (and likely he could not have landed in a place more conducive to and justifying of it than the "Country Club" section of Roslyn Heights); even if, in the context of Viktor's remarkable letter, it seems simultaneously heroic & desperate; and to me, reflects an expectation vainly—dreadfully—beyond impossible.”
1968 (Joan Edelstein) – “Viktor Glaser’s letter is such an important testament to history that should NEVER be forgotten. Yasher Koach (‘may it be a source of strength’) to you, Tom, for sharing your father’s words.”
1969 – Madlyn Nathanson – “Hi Tom, Maddy Nathanson here, Class ‘69. Pebble Lane. When I was quite young, in the ’50s and early ’60s, my mother, neé Margret Maier, used to attend discussions at your house about Holocaust experiences. I think I was pretty oblivious to it at the time, but as an adult my mother told me about it. She and her immediate family came from Stuttgart either in ’36 or ’37. We all grew up skiing around the Country Club community on snow days…or sledding on ‘suicide hill.’ I believe my brother David, Class of 1967, may have played bridge at your house quite often, along with Ben Ross and Dan Silver and others. Rambling on here, but getting back to what I was saying, I was always terribly aware of the holocaust and what a horror for our parents and grandparents, and as a kid I felt traumatized by stories, photos, scrapbooks and even airplanes overhead at night. I’m very grateful that they all made it safely from Naziland. Not a day passes that I do not think about all this. I live in Connecticut with my husband, who is an immune-biologist at Yale, and I teach musical instruments and play in various musical groups … at least, that’s what I’ve done for last 30 years.
Many thanks for sharing Viktor's letter.”
Tom replies as follows: “Hi Maddy, Thank you so much for your comments. All of these responses mean a great deal to me. I remember overhearing my father talking about his experiences, but I don't remember any discussions as such. I would hear some of his stories from the next room, as I was just a young child and too young to actually be told all about what happened. I am so glad that I finally got to have this letter translated so I could know the whole account of what happened from beginning to the end. Even though it is extremely hard to read, I have read the letter many times, each time getting something more from it.
I live in Vermont, with my wife, Jill. We just retired last June. We sold our Auto Parts Business after running it for 46 years. We also have a condo in Florida.
Be well, Tom”
1969 - Deborah Willard Goldenberg – “Art, As I read the positive responses to Viktor Glaser's letter I thought I would pass along to you my family's encounters with the Hitler’s SS.
Both my parents were victims the Gestapo. My Mom & Dad fled their beloved countries because of Hitler. Dad was born in Vienna, Austria, and Mom in Prague, Czechoslovakia. I don't know if my Mom knew the Glasers when she in Czechoslovakia, but they became close friends.
My mother and her mother, of the Resek family, boarded the last train from Prague allowing escape to FREEDOM. The train stopped at the border. The SS boarded the train. They demanded that the Czech conductor arrest all the Jews on board. The Czechs always hated the Germans. The conductor DECIDED TO STALL – ‘Where do you want to start, middle, back, or front?’ The train could not keep to its German schedule. THEY LIKE BEING PERCISE. So THE SOLDER replied, ‘WE'LL GET THEM OF OFF THE NEXT TRAIN.’ And they did.
Unfortunately, Mom's first cousin was on the next train. As the train departed, EVA WATCHED TROUGH THE WINDOW WHILE HER FATHER WAS BEATEN TO DEATH. She never heard from her mother again, either.
As concentration camp prisoner, Eva decide to steal a potato. The guard demanded, ‘Did you steal a potato?’ Eva, certain she was going to die anyway, stood & stared him the eyes. ‘Yes, I did - I'm hungry.’ HE WALKED AWAY. SHE SURVIVED THE CAMP & BECAME A US CITIZEN.
The Willard family survived Kristallnacht, November 8, 1938. The germans had already taken the family's printing business. WHAT ELSE COULD THEY WANT? They trashed the apartment, then demanded that my DAD & HIS SISTER clean it up, both INSIDE & OUTSIDE. MY GRANDPARENTS WERE ARRESTED.
As they were being processed, A HIGH-RANKING PARTY OFFICER APPROACHED. They listened as one of their former employee stood up for them. ‘Let them go, they are good people.’ The SS did.
My father’s parents & sister lived in Holland. My father had escaped to England. In DECEMBER 1939 my grandparents and aunt left by boat for ENGLAND. AFTER taking on more passengers, INCLUDING, COINCIDENTALLY, MY DAD, on DECEMBER 11TH the boat departed from England for the US. When the family met onboard by happenstance, my aunt & grandmother exclaimed, ‘A MIRACLE!’ Many years later my aunt explained that for her protection, they told her nothing of their plans.
I personally believe that during WW II there were no miracles, just people trying to stay alive.”
1970 (Janet Oppenheim Gordon) – “Tom, I just read your dad’s incredible letter. I remember knowing that they were in concentration camps, but I guess I was never really aware of all their horrific experiences...or I guess I just forgot. I remember your parents well, especially your mom, who was so thoughtful and kind. It was wonderful seeing you and Jill at the Wheatley reunion many years ago. Alan and I are retired and are in Florida for the winter. I LOVE retirement and Florida in the winter. I hope that everything with you, Jill and your family is good and that you are healthy and enjoying life. Thank you for sharing Viktor and Daisy’s incredible story.”
Coach Dan Walsh – Fondly Remembered
Writes Gregg Brochin – 1994 – “I ran track for Coach Walsh (I was one of the captains my senior year), and I congratulate him on his retirement. I still run (or use an elliptical - my knees can't quite handle the pounding like they used to) a few days a week, and I credit him and LR (the cross-country coach) for instilling in me a strong sense of the value of hard work, a great lesson that has served me well in life.”
1960 – Joanne Festa – Husband is a Honey
My husband, Henry, born in Latvia in 1937, had a young childhood filled with anxiety. Because his country was between Russia and Germany, war was all around them. During those years, his very strong Mother protected her three sons by running from place to place trying to escape the War. As the ‘front line’ moved back and forth in Latvia, Mother, who spoke German, Russian some English and Latvian, was able to protect her family. Unfortunately, his father, a High Ranking Soldier in the Latvian Army, was killed. Henry’s family was sent to an American Displaced Persons Camp in 1945, where they remained for five years. With all the necessary documentation required, his family was able to come to AMERICA by boat in 1950. When they arrived in New York Harbor, all Henry saw was buildings and cement. He told Mother, “I want to go home.” My Honey is a warm, kind, gentle, loving man. We married in 1981. Mother and I became loving friends and remained so until she passed in 1987. (Latvian tradition is to refer to parents respectfully as “Mother” and “Father” not “Mom/Dad.”)
“We Turn Not Older with Years, but Newer Every Day.” By Emily Dickinson
1961 – Martin Stuart Mahler – Deceased
Writes the 3/8/2020 South Florida Sun Sentinel – “Martin Stuart Mahler, 76, of Parkland, Florida, passed away peacefully in the arms of his daughters on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Cherished father of Robin Mahler Weisman (Scott) of Brookline, Massachusetts and Allyn Mahler Smith of Parkland, Florida. Beloved grandfather of Sydney and Zachary Weisman and Cooper, Dalton, and Brady Smith. Known as ‘Marty’ by his many devoted friends and loved ones, he had a passion for life, a warm and generous heart, and gregarious personality. A world-renowned and pioneering Periodontist for many years in New York City, he also had a great mind for business and real estate. Marty will be remembered for his strength of spirit, gratitude for family and friends, impeccable golf swing, and hearty laugh that could brighten anyone's day.”
Writes Classmate Gene Razzetti – “Marty was one of the perpetually most happy kids in the class. Always a smile and good word.
The last time that I saw Marty was at our 40th-year Class Reunion. While most of us guys looked like our fathers by then, Marty had not changed at all. Dark-haired, very fit, and good-looking. The Reunion was a blast, thanks to our hard-working committee, which awarded trophies (Wheatley drinking mugs) for various ‘accomplishments.’ Steve Bond won a trophy for having travelled the greatest distance to attend (from France). I shared an award with Tim Jerome for the highest number of relocations during our careers (25+ and still counting). Last came the trophy for (wait for it): Most Divorces. Marty easily ‘won’ with THREE; and accepted the award the way a movie star accepts an Oscar. He thanked the ladies that made it possible; stated that he had worked very hard to get the award’ and said that earning it had cost him a great deal of money.
None of us were really trying for that one. We all laughed, applauded, and congratulated Marty, secretly thinking, ‘better you than me.’ RIP, Marty.”
1963 – Keith Aufhauser – Small World Story (“We are Everywhere”)
Writes Keith – “I sometimes meet, for my chemical business, with John Oakley, Class of 1973, for whom, I just discovered, Art Engoron (1967) effectively acted as matchmaker, as John and his wife, Lauren Karasyk, also Class of 1973, fell in love while helping to plan Wheatley’s 10/15/16 60th Anniversary Celebration.”
Writes Lauren – “John and I met in Aug/Sept/Oct of 2016, just weeks prior to Wheatley’s 60th. John proposed in November, moved in, and we got married on May 20, 2017. We live in Florida and are blissfully in love.”
Mitchell Ditkoff – 1965 - Author
Writes Mitch – “I recently reconnected with Bob and Jill Forte, after a 57-year hiatus. Jill and I lived across the street from each other on Stirrup Lane. Bob and Jill recently read my new book, Storytelling for the Revolution; loved it; and thought you might want to mention it in an upcoming Wheatley newsletter. Here's what other people are saying about the book. The power of storytelling is a topic I am very much into these days. Besides writing about it and leading workshops for various organizations, I have also been leading Wisdom (storytelling) Circles in Mexico, the US, and Australia. Here's what people are saying about them All the Best, Mitch.
PS: I am in Australia now working with an Islamic school. Speaking of storytelling, here's the story of how that collaboration came to be.”
1966 – Richard Jalonack – From Days of Yore
Writes Ricky – “I enjoyed the writings of ‘Mr. Ewing’ in Newsletter # 42. I knew him as ‘Earl the Pearl.’
I particularly remember one night with him and some other guys … of course I can't remember who those other guys were. We spent a long time in the East Hills Tavern on Glen Cove Road. While Charlie the bartender served ‘The Boys,’ I managed to drink seven (7) shots, count them, of Southern Comfort through a swizzle stick. I was OFFICIALLY plastered.
Earl took a few of us wayward children back to his house, just to make sure we were safe, and not a problem for our parents. After becoming best friends with his toilet bowl, I fell into a VERY deep sleep. Some might even call it a coma. The next day, when I awoke, I was not my usual cheery self …due tell!
This little story is just one among many of my ‘ill-spent youth.’ Sometime after that I volunteered for the Army, but that's a whole 'other story. At 72 I am about to exit my ill-spent youth; hopefully I will remember some other stories.”
Writes Earl Ewing – “I remember Ricky Jalonack, but more from the year 1968-69 when I substituted at Wheatley while I got my master’s degree. Those were my days at East Hills Tavern, a common place for Wheatley Alumni to hang out from 1967-1970. I vividly remember being there and watching the New York Mets in the 1969 playoffs. I substituted for Mr. Elito Bongarzone, who taught physics, for a long time that year. Wheatley’s indefatigable Mrs. Erma Bogert, math teacher, was the major reason I got my position teaching in Garden City public schools, but that's another story. Oh, and yes, ‘Charlie’ was the bartender.”
1967- Arthur Brown – Classic Photos
Writes Arthur - “I recently found these two photos when cleaning up my parents’ personal effects. Please ask if anyone knows who these people, including the teachers, are? In the 1954 photo I am in the center of the second row, in the checkered sweater. In the 1955 photo I am in the center in front of the teacher in the bow tie (the one on the left). Many thanks, Arthur”
1967 – Arthur Engoron – Decision
1967 – Helene Feiner – Taking Precautions
Writes Helene – “Hi All, Here’s my dog, Django, and myself practicing good hygiene; wearing a ‘cone of shame’ to keep our paws/hands away from our faces. I’m using the time to finally read Moby Dick while drinking vodka quarantinis. I hope you are all doing well and managing to stay healthy and amused!
1967 – Robert Scandurra – Member, 1961 East Williston All Star Little League Baseball Team
Writes Bobby – “Bottom row, L to R: me, Chuckie Bell, Dennis Zacharkow, Drew Orione (with mascot, “little boy” Higgins), Jimmy DeGroat, John Miller, Scott Geery. Top row, L to R: Larry Hanft, Richard Price, John Warde, Peter Quandt, Sean Higgins, Freddie Hanft, Dennis Pensa. Coach on left is Clint Miller and coach on right is Mr. Orione. I believe we lost in the Nassau County FINAL game to Rockville Center.”
1972 – Janet Schaffel – Retiring Doctor
Janet Schaffel, who co-runs one of the last remaining women-run OB/GYN private practices in Washington, consults with a patient.
1975 – Beth Greenapple – Remembered by Brother David Greenapple (1979)
Writes David – “I thank Ed Ryder for memorializing my sister, Beth, in the most recent Newsletter (# 42). In the painful, emotional process of preparing her eulogy, I spoke to many friends and family who knew her, and from each person the same words came out to describe her: ‘loving,’ ‘warm,’ ‘engaging,’ ‘bright and lifting spirit.’ She touched the lives of many, and over 420 people supported her in her battle with cancer by donating to her cause. We'll all miss her, and our family appreciates you noting it in the Newsletter.”
1975 – Daniel H. Weiss – Author
Writes the publisher of “In That Time, Michael O'Donnell and the Tragic Era of Vietnam,” “Through the story of the brief, brave life of a promising poet, the president and CEO of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art evokes the turmoil and tragedy of the Vietnam War era.”
Miscellaneous – Must Have Been Something in the Water
Dan Engoron and Sara Weiss married on June 16, 2012. Lauren Karasyk and John Oakley married on May 20, 2017. They all graduated from Wheatley in 1973! That class also had eight sets of twins (apparently a Wheatley record): Jody (Coletta) and Laurie (Schwartz) Blumberg (of Concord Street, EW); Barbara (Widder) and Judy Cooper (of Hastings Road, OW); Dan and Gerry Engoron (of Bengeyfield Drive, EW); David and Scott Gilmore (of Carriage Lane, RH); Merri and Randi Korn (of Westwood Circle, RH); Fran and Kenneth Moskowitz (of Bass Pond Road, OW); Jeffrey and Leslie Rosenblatt (of Howard Street, EW); and Gary and Peter Simel (of Bengeyfield Drive, EW). Wheatley has had at least three set of triplets: Andrew, Matthew and Michael Lee, Class of 2001 (of Roslyn Road, EW); Crystal, Jake, and Kayla Barroca, Class of 2016 (of RH); and Cara, Dean, and Evan Mattioli, also Class of 2016 (of High Street, EW). All nine are MIA, so please submit (in confidence) any contact information. After all, there are nine of them, so, statistically, someone out there probably knows where at least one of them is to be found.
Faculty (Steve Ehre) – “Dear Art, What a wonderful edition?! The many responses to the Viktor Glaser letter moved me. Having created this huge endeavor, I hope you are taking to heart the many accolades that you are receiving. They are richly earned, and you should bask in them. Steve (Ehre), Classes of 1965-96.”
Faculty (Dan Walsh) - “A belated thanks for sharing my ‘Wheatley History.’”
1959 (Peter Galloway) – “Thanks for all the work you do on this. I enjoyed the most recent issue (# 42) in particular, especially the meaningful comments about Viktor Glaser’s letter.”
1961 (Patty Kirk Hefferan) – “ I doubt that any other school newsletter could come close to this kind of energy and dedication. Warm wishes, congrats, and praise to Keith and to you. My life will be forever touched by these newsletters; the previous one (# 42) was something special.”
1963 (Barbara Gottesman Miller) – “Art, I so enjoy the newsletters, they make me feel a part of a very big family. Thank you.”
1964 (Jay Roth) – “I very much enjoy getting your wonderful newsletters, and I encourage you to continue a publication that shares historical information and rekindles fond memories. Thank you.”
1964 (John Sullivan) – “Thanks for your ongoing dedication to all things Wheatley.”
1964 (John Vanasco) – “Hi Arthur, Thank You for all your work on the Newsletter.”
1965 – (Mitch Ditkoff) – “Thanks for the fine work you are doing with the Wheatley Newsletter. I really appreciate it.”
1966 (Rick Jalonack) – “WELL DONE.”
1966 (Suzanne Stone) – “Dear Art, I did not think it were possible, but your newsletters get better and better. I hope a Wildcat book and movie are in the works!!! Thank you again for continuing to make our Wheatley Lives Matter! Stay safe... Warmest wishes, Suzanne”
1967 (Arthur Brown) – “Dear Arthur, You are doing a GREAT job keeping all of us up-to-date.”
1967 (Lauren Jacoby) – “Thank you, Arthur, for all of the time and work you put into this!! So grateful.”
1967 (Jill Simon Forte) – “Thank you again, Arthur, for your wonderful work in keeping our Wheatley memories alive.”
1968 (Peter Barrow) – “Thank you always for the Wheatley updates, but especially now. Community is so essential now that we’re apart.”
1968 (Tom Glaser) – “Thanks again for all you do.”
1968 (Dulcie Wiesenfeld) – “Thank you for the terrific newsletters. I hope you know how much they are appreciated for the content and all your work.”
1969 (Donald Cohen) – “Thank you for all you do.”
1969 (Jim Wallach) – “Art, I love getting the Newsletters. Thanks.”
1971 (David Byer) – “Thanks for all you do.”
1975 (Douglas Aibel) – “I appreciate all the fine work you are doing.”
1976 (Victoria Berta Ballou) – “Hello Art - I really enjoy receiving the Wheatley Alumni Newsletters. Thank you for compiling and editing them. It is a lot of work and much appreciated.”
1977 (Nan Asimov) – “Thank you, Arthur. So appreciate your doing this!”
1978 (Pamela Hirschhorn) – “Thanks for the shout-out, Art! Great issue, as always.”
1978 (Liat Jarkon Horlick) – “Thank you for this incredible opportunity to stay connected with our Wheatley family.”
1980 (Neil Tabakin) – “Art, Many thanks for the work you do. I enjoy these newsletters.”
1983 (widow of Nicholas Smith) – “I think you are pretty great for doing these newsletters.”
1994 (Gregg Brochin) – “Thanks so much for doing the newsletter. It is a lot of fun to read.”
That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 43. Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.