Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,
Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 45.
Let’s start out with some Long Island Good Cheer (courtesy of Ike Evans, 1965):
Speaking of Good Cheer, here’s some from Vancouver, BC, Canada:
And here’s Pete Seeger introducing Bob Dylan (at the 1964 Newport, R.I. Folk Festival), who proceeds to perform a classic Mr. Tambourine Man:
I hope that you and yours are all safe and healthy during this unprecedented, turbulent, difficult time. Below you’ll find the “Coronavirus Story” of Hilary Wallach Marshak, 1968, and remembrances of the Class of 1967’s beloved Joanne B. (“Jojo”) Gordon, who passed away last month.
Now for the usual words of wisdom: Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (Class of 1963), you can regale yourself with the first 44 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 anywhere it exists in all previous Newsletters and other on-site material. Amazing! I use it all the time.
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 (at least not herein), 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 submissions, including photos, relevant to The Wheatley School and the people who taught or studied (and in some cases, both) there.
Other Responses to the Holocaust Letter of Viktor Glaser (Father of George, 1965, and Tom, 1968)
1967 – Arthur (“Art”) Engoron – Another WWII Story
Writes Art – “Victor Glaser’s Holocaust Letter can be read as uplifting or depressing … or both. A friend sent me the following link to an uplifting video about the experiences of four Jewish prisoners of war whom the Germans captured during the Battle of the Bulge …and the non-Jewish officer who saved their lives and the lives of many other G.I.s. It is a moving, well-done 14:23, and the story may resonate with you in our time of much-lesser privation and isolation, but, also, togetherness.” https://player.vimeo.com/video/198357872
1968 - Martha Cornfield Fea
Writes Martha- “After reading the amazing Holocaust story of Viktor Glaser, the father of Tom Glaser (1968), I was sorry that I never asked my grandparents the many questions I could have! And with each generation more and more is lost. We all have a story. My grandchildren, who are between the ages of three and ten, are not now interested in our history, so I’ve begun to write it down. This way if the time comes when they are interested, at least they will have some information.
1972 - Linda Kaufman Schroeder
Linda – “With deep sadness I announce the passing of my mom, Gita Kaufman, age
87, on March 8, 2020. Tom Glaser’s recent journal in Wheatley Alumni
Newsletter # 42 regarding Victor and Daisy’s ordeal brought back memories of my
mom‘s history as a Holocaust camp survivor. She, her sister, and her mom
lived in Prague. The Nazis captured them and sent them to Theresienstadt
Concentration Camp; they were very lucky to have survived those unimaginable,
horrific years as children. Till her death, my mom was very reluctant to
talk about any of her terrible childhood memories, as they were too deep and
intense to share.
After escaping and moving to America Gita met my dad, Milton, and they had 52+ wonderful years together, living on Shelter Lane in Roslyn Heights and raising me and my twin sisters, Barbara and Cindy (1982). Milton died peacefully at age 90 in 2012. My sisters and I were there with my mom in Florida to help her make an easy transition during her last few days of life. Mom, you will always be missed by your daughters, sister, family and friends.
Kaufman ... Rest In Peace, Mom: 1932-2020 . You were always a survivor
throughout your life . You will never be forgotten.
One final shout-out goes to my 1972 classmate Jacqueline Obrant Millstein… Jacqueline, I was saddened to read of your breast cancer ordeal, and I am so glad you survived this awful disease with a good sense of humor through it all. What a strong woman you are! I have so many fond memories of our childhood friendship. Wishing you continued good health 💕”
Administration – Principal Walter Wesley Wathey – “Mr. Wathey is Fine!”
Writes Walter Jr. – “This Wes Wathey, oldest son of Walter W. Wathey. I was speaking with my Dad today and playing some Wheatley trivia and we need your help. A lifeline if you will.
I remember driving into the city sometime around 1966 or 67 with my Dad and three Wheatley students to appear as contestants on the quiz show “It’s Academic” hosted by Art James. We were wondering, who were the Wheatley students, which schools participated, who won, etc.? My Dad is well and turns 96 in June.
Writes Linda Caterino (1967) in response – “Dear Wes, First of all, I live in Tempe, AZ and I taught at ASU, just like your dad. I was the Training Director of the School Psychology Program from 2005-2017. My husband was Dean of the College of Education and a Regents professor there, too.
Many years ago my mother and I went to visit your dad at his office on campus. I am so glad that he is doing well. He was a wonderful principal.
Larry Weiss, Steve Rosenthal and I were the It's Academic contestants. Larry and Steve went to Columbia College and I went to Fordham University. We became the contestants after an audition at the studio. They asked us questions and the producers picked the top three respondents.
The first round of questioning was conducted at Wheatley a few days before. The moderator had chosen some pretty off-the-wall questions (one I remember was, “How many packs of cigarettes in a carton?” -- I didn't know and I still don't). Mitch Stephens and I were eliminated. I think he spoke to your dad, and we were allowed to go to the audition in the city. So if not for Mitch I wouldn't have made the team.
As for the show, Wheatley won its first game. I think the school was awarded a set of encyclopedias. In the next round we came in second out of three teams.
Interestingly, a girl in my dorm at college came up to me one day and said that she was on the third- place team, Albertus Magnus, a Catholic school in New City, Rockland County, NY. She recognized me from the show, and later we became friends. I don't remember the names of the other schools.
While we weren't long-time champs, at least we won once and upheld Wheatley's honor!
Best regards to your dad.
William (“Bill”) Stevenson – Rock Star
Writes Matthew (“Matt”) Sanzone (1959) – “Bill Stevenson was a rock star, and he changed my life.”
Writes Arthur (“Art”) Engoron (1967) – “Mr. Stevenson is running a fifth-grade gym class on the grass fields behind the North Side School. Probably attempting to boost my self-esteem, he chooses me as one of the captains of what will be four “two-hand-touch” football teams, naming my team ‘Engoron’s Eels.’ The captains are to take turns choosing teammates from the other boys. I get to choose last, but to make up for that I get two choices in a row. After the first two captains choose (I don’t remember whom, perhaps one or both Hanfts and/or Bob Rico), I decide that if the next captain passes on John Warde, I’ll choose him and Bobby Scandurra. Of course, wouldn’t you know it, the third Captain chooses John. I choose Bobby and, also, Larry Baum, another good athlete. At that moment I had it all figured out: Larry would quarterback; Bobby would be wide receiver; and I would be running back. When we started to play I quickly realized the fatal flaw in my grand game plan: there was nobody much blocking up front. We were quickly demolished. The moral? The difference between victory and defeat often lies in the trenches.”
Writes James Maxfield (1969) – “Reflections on Bill Stevenson: Mr. Stevenson was my Phys. Ed. teacher at North Side, and his was by far my favorite class of the day. He taught me everything from gymnastics to high jumping to soccer. Being a sports nut, I loved it all. I can still hear his voice, calling kids "tiger." In high school he was my wrestling coach and during my senior year (1969) he gave me a ride home every day after practice because my house happened to be on his way to the expressway, which he used to commute to his home further out on Long Island. We talked about anything and everything during our rides in his little red Volkswagen. Growing up, Mr. Stevenson was one of my most important role models and mentors. I'm sure he was to many others as well. That was a great picture of him in the last edition. It brought back a lot of fond memories.”
“Bullet Bob Bernstein” – Buddies with Wes Berkowitz
Writes Wes – “Recently I had the pure joy of talking with Bob (‘Bullet’) Bernstein to say “hi,” check in on him, and catch up. He’s living in Levittown with Gisela, his soulmate of 31 years. He’s staying safe and doing a lot of reading, but he misses going to the gym 4-5 times a week. He’s in a book club with fellow Wheatley Social Studies teachers Carol Vogt, Matthew Haig, Claudia Moyne, and Glenn Pribek and former Wheatley Assistant Principal Thomas Cautela. His granddaughter is in her first year at UNC Chapel Hill.”
1959 – Matt Sanzone – “The first male teacher I had was in 9th grade at Willets Road. I was a Catholic school lad. The first day in science class, classmate Andy Carduner asked Mr. Lineweaver if he believed that “science was still in its infancy?” Right then and there I knew I was in trouble!
1961 – Timothy Jerome – Outed
Writes Tim – “Thank you, Gene Razzetti, for outing me. Now I’ll have to give in to those long-suppressed yearnings to open my big mouth and brag about myself. But here goes: I left my Yonkers apartment and have been huddled down in Maryland with Judy Schaffel Rubin (1961) since March 16th with no end in sight for which – I admit – I’m not entirely unhappy. I leave behind a pretty good career, having performed in about 18 Broadway shows - 1 Tony nomination, 15 films, and plenty of other stuff in theaters around the country – which accounts for the Most Relocations Award. I also run a not-for-profit arts service organization - MainStreet Musicals - which maintains a Library full of professionally vetted musicals for regional presentation and development. (Check it out at http://www.mainstreetmusicals.org/library.shtml.) My company is about to launch a project called Audio/Stages. We’ll be making a series of “radio musicals” adapted from the shows in the MainStreet Library. I grew up loving radio drama. As a kid, I used to listen to a portable tucked under my pillow when my folks made me go to bed - and learned to make them working at WBAI Pacifica in the mid-seventies. So I figure, for the foreseeable future at least, it might be nice to have an alternative to TV and computer screens. Think of it as "Theatre of the Imagination.” So… there you have it. What’s missing? OH! Judy and I would love to have a sailboat again.”
1961 – Richard Saletan – Stoic From Beginning to End
Writes Leonard Jacobs (1961) – “About Rich Saletan: One day in Mrs. Rago’s Art Class, in 1959 or so, I and some of my extremely crass friends (probably Dicky Safft, Marty Mahler, etc.) dumped an entire gallon jug of blue paint on Rich’s head. We thought it was hysterical, but Rich just sat there unmoving, without showing any reaction at all. His stoicism was remarkable, which probably accounts for why he was able to put up such a strong front, with dignity and grace, when suffering from what must have been a horrendously painful disease. I’ve mentally apologized many times over the years for being such an idiot and for not being a better friend to a very good guy. RIP, Rich.”
1962 - Virginia (“Ginny”) Vogl Vivinetto – Other Tributes
Writes John Cilmi (1962) – “The item in Newsletter # 44 that prompts me to write is the one about Ginny Vogl by Jeff Jacobs. I, too, have many fond memories of her. When my family moved from the Bronx to Mineola in 1952 I was eight years old, and I entered the third grade at North Side School. Being the “new kid” in school wasn’t easy, but Ginny was an instant friend. She lived around the corner from us on Congress Avenue while we were on Brown Street. As a city kid I had not as yet ridden a bicycle and my parents presented me with my first one soon after we arrived. I wheeled it out into the street and while I fumbled with it Ginny mercifully appeared and taught me how to ride. That kind act is my earliest memory of someone reaching out to be my friend. Over the years that followed Ginny appeared at other pivotal times and was always kind, fun and supportive. I had no contact with her after moving from Brown Street shortly after graduating from Wheatley, but I still think of her fondly, and I'm sad to hear of her passing.”
Writes Carol Keister McCormick (1962) – “Art, I remember Ginny Vogl fondly. She was a lovely girl, and I am very sad that she died too young. firstname.lastname@example.org”
1964 – Stewart Fox – Living on the Hudson Shore
Writes Stew – “After a 40 year career as a Thoracic Surgeon, I retired 3 years ago and moved Upstate. I now live in Saugerties, N.Y., on the shore of The Hudson River. My 2 daughters and 2 granddaughters live very nearby, and my brother (Larry, 1966) has a home about 30 minutes away. My son and his 2 daughters live in Massapequa, which brings me back to Long Island for occasional visits. The only classmates with whom I keep in touch are Steve Simmons and Jim Jerome. On occasion I also get to see Jim Lerner and Gary Briefel.”
1965 – Phyllis Brasch Librach – Life in St. Louis
Writes Phyllis – “I had a career in journalism that included working for Conde Nast Publications in the City and Gannett in Westchester County. In 1978 I moved to St. Louis, where I worked for decades as a news and feature reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I left almost 20 years ago to trade deadlines for hemlines. I started my own business designing and manufacturing plus-size prom, wedding and evening dresses after I failed to find a prom frock that rocked for my curvy teen-age daughter.
Some six years ago she gave up teaching Spanish to join the business, managing the website and the wholesale accounts (stores that buy our product). I also have a son who is an acupuncturist specializing in women's health. My daughter lives around the corner with her husband and daughter. My son, his wife and two children live in Zionsville, IN (suburban Indianapolis). My husband, a St. Louis native, went to NYU for an MBA and had a career in commercial real estate.”
1965 – Glen Hammer – Big Bash At the Roslyn Country Club in 1961 (59 Years Ago!)
Writes Glen - Let’s start with the guys, from left to right:
1. Roger (“Roddy”) Nierenberg
2. William (“Willy”) Lamparter
3. Thomas (“Tommy”) Ivey
4. Kenneth (“Ken”) Yagoda
5. Anthony (“Tony”) Napoli
6. Me, Glen Hammer
7. Mitchell (“Mitch”) Ditkoff
8. Malcolm (“Rusty”) McNeill
9. Edward (“Eddie”) Byrnes
Gals, from left to right:
1. Martha Weissberg
2. Wendy Weiss
3. Caren Putterman Bass
4. Beverly Messmer(?)
5. Priscilla Paulsen
6. Gail Wittkin Sasso
7. Elizabeth (“Liz”) Stein
8. Marilyn Sherwin(?) Barbara Saunders(?)
9. Ellen Forman
[Editor’s Note - Can anyone help us find Beverly Messmer?]
1965 - George Glaser – Self-Described
Here’s George in his own words:
Writes Tom Glaser (1968) – “Thank you, Art, for including George's summary. I know he had so many good friends at Wheatley, and I thought they might want to know a little more about his life after he graduated. Keeping his memory alive means a ton to me, as he was not only my brother, he was also my best friend and hero. I often wonder what he could have accomplished if his life had not ended on September 14, 1977 at the young age of 30.” You can reach Tom at TOMPGLASER@GMAIL.COM and 802-343-2451.
1965 – Class Photo – Willets Road - 1955
Row 1: Barbara Levine, Gail Witken, Wendy Weiss, Carolyn Stoloff
Row 2: Richard Strauss, Steve Weil, George Glaser, Joe Rapaport
Row 3: Mark Bagdon, Roger Nierenberg, Steven Zenker, Donna Nausbaum
Row 4: Gary Weiner, Patt Gemson (?), Karen Kaduson, Tommy Travis
Standing: Carl Bauer, Mark Messing, Roger Morris, Stephen Philipsen
Side Row (front to back): Ellen Foreman, Susan Volpe, Ilene Lippman, Barbara Nassau
1965 – Dennis Bruce Aufhauser Remembered – With Daughter Kim
1966 – Kindergarten - The Willets Road School
1954 - Kindergarten
First Row - ???, Joy Glaser, ???
Second Row - Kathy Walsh, Perry Gershon(?), Arthur Brown (1967), Bobby Eastman, ???
Back Row – Harvey Cohen, Linda Rignel Bertani, David Hurvitz, Jane Pullman, Alan Orling, Mitchell Kushner, Karen Wieder(?), Suzanne Stone
1966 – Kindergrten – The North Side School
Left to Right
First Row - ???, ???, ???
Second Row - ???, ???, ???, Jeff Weitz, Bobby Bussert
Third Row - ???, ???, Debbie Davis, ???, ???, ???, ???, Jeanine Brescia, Ken Distler
Fourth Row - ???, Jimmy Carillo, ???, ???, Nancy Hundertmark, Gail Goestch McDevitt, Lisa Eileman, ???
Teacher – Ms. Berger?
1966 – Harvey Cohen – Enjoying Life in Florida
Writes Harvey - I have lived in Port St Lucie, Florida for the past 17 years, after retiring from teaching Biology for the Sewanhaka Central High School District for 32 years … total teaching time 35 years, including teaching summer school and GED. Married 48 years, with one daughter and son-in-law, one grandson. Enjoying life.”
1966 – Laura Gordon – More About the Family
Writes cousin Barry Gordon (1965) – “Laura's mother, Anita, was from Puerto Rico, a Sephardic Jew who married my uncle Danny, an orthodontist who did my braces gratis since my father paid for his dental school (Danny also did the teeth of violinist Isaac Stern). Anita's sister was a Miss Puerto Rico who wound up as a guidance counselor at the Bronx High School of Science.”
1966 – Neal L. Kirby – Go West, Young Man
Writes Neal – “Hi Art, As we are now adding sequestering on top of being retired, I find myself with more than enough time to write. So, a brief bio since June 1966: Went to Syracuse after graduation; BS in Marketing (though I started as a biology major - go figure). My parents had moved to California December 1968, so I visited in the summer of 1969. Decided this is the place to live, so immediately moved to CA after graduation in June 1970, and have been here (southern CA) ever since.
I spent my first 22 years in banking/finance and finally realized how bored and unsatisfied I was. My second wife, Connie (she’s a retired speech and language pathologist), who I was dating at the time (1990), suggested I go back to school and get credentialed as a science teacher, as science was still my passion. So, went to school at night, and after 18 months I earned my teaching credentials and an MS Ed. I had the joy and privilege of teaching middle school science until I retired in 2016. I have two children and six grandchildren from my first marriage, and Connie and I have a 24 year-old daughter who is a biomedical engineer in San Francisco. Also, I'd like to add my voice in thanking you for publishing Viktor Glaser’s Holocaust letter. Many of us had parents that not only fought in the war, but lost entire European branches of our families.
Art Engoron asked if the name “Kirby” is Anglo-Saxon. Definitely not! … although I did once have an inkling to change my first name to ‘Nele,’ the original Celtic, just to really mess with people. “Kirby” is pure Jewish … Russian and Lithuanian (“Goldstein”) on my mother’s side and Austrian (“Gelitzianer,” the term given to Jews from Galicia, who were considered “lower class” than the Ashkenazi Jews from the rest of Europe) on my father’s. His original family name was ‘Jack Kurtzberg,’ and as a kid he went by ‘Jack’ or ‘Jackie.’ When he first started drawing comic books and illustrations, in the late ‘30’s and early ‘40’s, he had to use different pen names to make a living, due to the nature of the industry at the time. When he and his partner Joe Simon created Captain America in 1941, which took off immediately, he was using the name ‘Kirby,’ and he immediately changed it to that. The rest is history.
I definitely remember the night most of Northside burned down! I was in fourth grade at the time. They bussed us over to the high school for most of the school year.
On a lighter note, I found my old Kindergarten class picture from North Side School, which I hope might be fun to share. I remember a lot of faces, but unfortunately very few names. That's me, third row, third from left. I see my friend Jimmy Palantino in the middle of the row.
Left to Right:
First Row - ???, ???, ???
Second Row - ???, ???, ???, Marilyn Carmody(?), ???, ???, Barbara Hogarty(?)
Third Row - ???, ???, Neal Kirby, ???, Jimmy Palantino (my good friend at North Side), ???, ???, ???
Fourth Row – Robert Stang(?), ???, ???, Charles Trantum, ???, ???, ???
Far Left – Seated ???, Standing ???
Teacher – Mrs. Burger
The next photo is me in my 7th grade classroom (I taught grades 6-8) about 4 weeks before the end of the school year in 2016, when I retired.
The big question is how the hell do I get a haircut?! My daughter says just let it go to a full-on mullet!
Please feel free to share my email. Best regards, Neal, email@example.com”
1966 – Second Grade – North Side
Here you go, Art. There are one-and-a-half boys whose names I don’t recall, and they both moved away long before Wheatley, as did a number of other kids in this picture. Here are their names, which I’m 99% sure are accurate:
First row, left to right—Ginny Burch, Francine Reich
Second row—Nancy Cantor, Sue Sand, Donna and Rowie Pratt
Third row—Mary Jane De La Rosa, Carolyn Mingus, Nancy Ballentyne, Debbie Simmons
Fourth row—Robert Fried, Neil Clark, Rod [?], Teddy Pasternak
Back row—Rod Keillor, Mark Swickle, Peter Solow, Barry Luzzi, Robert Hill, Miss St. Leger (who married mid-year and became Mrs. Hurd), Steve Metten, Bobby Blackeby, Gary Schwartz, Bruce Wenninger, No Idea.
From Virginia (“Ginny”) Burch Dean
1967 – From 1962 Yearbook – Photo Taken in 1961
Front Row – Arthur Engoron, Merrill Stanton, Lois Ertel, Dan Abby
Middle Row – Billy Wilson, George Edwards, Brian Feldman, John Telfeyan
Back Row – Cheryl Clark, Lynn Glassman, Angela Mallon, Laura Jarett
1967 – Scott Frishman – Then and Now
Writes Scott – “I remember Laura Gordon (1966) very well, as she lived around the corner from my friends Bruce Orvis (1967) and Steve Asquith (1967). She had twin brothers, Marco and Freddy (1970), so multiple births certainly runs in her family.
I much enjoyed Carl Wirth’s letter in Newsletter # 44; whatever he writes brings a smile to my face. I vividly remember voting for him in that G.O. election and when he ripped up his G.O. card. I also remember using mine at the Roslyn Movie Theater and The Rascals concert in the Wheatley Gymnasium (thank you, Helen Sparks!!!). I think the card was also good at a few stores in Roosevelt Field.
I am sitting on our balcony in Highland Beach, FL, where we spend the winter. Nice breeze, things could be worse. Gotta go have my pastrami and tongue sandwich.v We ordered our Seder meal from Ben’s (which delivers) and I added pastrami, corned beef and tongue for a treat. My Cholesterol will suffer for a few days. (Oy, I tasted salt all day yesterday😊).
I know this was long winded, but what else do I have to do.
Stay in and stay safe, my friend. I understand that Great Neck has not been so great. My sons are in Manhattan and Detroit, respectively, not great either🤞🙏.”
Please send my best to all Wheatley graduates and tell them to please, ‘Stay in and Stay safe.’”
1967 – Joanne (“Jojo”) Gordon Sampson - Deceased
Writes Rachel Sampson, Jojo’s daughter – “Dear Art,
It is with great sadness that I am writing to tell you that my mother, Jojo, passed away on Friday, April 24, at 71.
She had a rapidly progressive atypical dementia that took away her quality of life quite suddenly over the last 6 months. It all began late October. She went peacefully and I was with her through it all.
I remember how happy my mom was to attend her 50th-year reunion in 2017. I live in Berlin, Germany, but I was here in Connecticut with her when she corresponded with you to fashion my Aunt Leonore’s (1973) obituary that I know she really wanted to share with your community.
In the jumble of words she expressed in the last weeks she often said “Willets Road,” which was sweet.
Immediately below is the obituary my brother and I wrote.
I hope you and your family remain healthy.
Obituary by Her Children
Joanne Sampson (née Gordon) died peacefully at Connecticut Hospice on April 24, 2020, in Branford, Connecticut, at the age of 71.
Joanne is survived by her daughter Rachel (Berlin/NYC); her son Matt, daughter-in-law Nicole, and grandchildren Stone (a college grad) and Lily, now 11 (Brookline, MA); and sister Mimi (1965) (Medford, MA) and nephew Joshua Gordon-Rachman (Chittenango, NY). She is preceded in death by her parents Gus and Addy Gordon (Roslyn Heights, NY) and sister Leonore Gordon (Brooklyn, NY).
Joanne was born on March 12, 1949, in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Roslyn Heights. She graduated from Colby College in 1971 with a degree in French and earned a master’s degree in Special Education at NYU in 1972. After graduation she worked with autistic children at Kings Park State Hospital on Long Island. She moved to Boston in 1973, where she married and worked in the Boston Public School system. Over an action-packed 14 months in 1978–80, Joanne welcomed Matt and Rachel into the family and set about nurturing them in the Jewish traditions and in reading and learning in general. In 1981 the family moved to Norwalk, Connecticut. During her 40 years in Norwalk, Jojo worked as an early childhood educator in a number of Jewish institutions, including Temple Shalom and the Conservative Synagogue in Westport, CT.
We, her children, remember her as a caring, silly, and generous mother who encouraged us to pursue our goals, championing them at every turn. She was a devoted mother first and foremost, and she was dedicated to her grandchildren and grandpets. Her family, friends, and community members admired Jojo for her extremely loyal, patient, and compassionate spirit, always ready to give with her heart, her time, and her words. She was a fierce advocate for social justice and often volunteered across Fairfield County for causes in which she believed. Joanne was an accomplished baker, her sour cream coffee cake and honey cake eagerly anticipated at holiday meals. She was an active member of Temple Shalom in Norwalk, CT.
In this time of Covid-19, an intimate Zoom funeral officiated by Rabbi/Cantor Shirah Lipson has already occurred. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Parkinson’s Foundation at parkinson.org. We specifically thank Dr. Ebony Dix (Yale University) for devoting a huge part of her head and heart toward our mom’s care in the last months of her life.”
Writes Mimi Gordon (1965), Jojo’s sister – “I am so sad to let you know that my sister Jojo died, peacefully, on 4/24/2020, with her daughter Rachel Sampson holding her hand. Jojo had been quite ill for about six months. She left me; two loving children, Rachel and Matt Sampson; two grandchildren; and sister-in-law Myra Kooy, widow of Leonore Gordon (sadly, deceased). A funeral service was held at her home Temple in Norwalk, CT, and a Shiva service via Zoom followed.
Writes classmate Merrill Stanton – “I was so sad to hear that Jojo had passed away. We grew up around the block from each other, and I will always remember her voice and gentle nature. I am so glad I still have some messages saved from her over the years. A truly lovely person, with the biggest heart, who will be missed by all who knew her. My sincerest condolences to her family.”
Writes Art – “Rachel has a Facebook Page with lots of photos, https://www.facebook.com/rachel.sampson.54, and you can see the lovely resemblance.”
1967 – Jack Wolf – From The Farm to Medical School and Beyond
Writes Jack to
classmate Danny Quaranto (who graduated from Cold Spring Harbor High School
after his family moved) – “I thought you might have known the Schwartz
family. Gary (1968) and I played poker with Jeff Rothstein (1965) back in the ‘60s. Gary lived on Ludwig Lane down the block from you, near
the corner of High Street, close to the Berkans.
Gary married his classmate Terry Lauricella who lived near North Side. They both hung with the tough crowd but then became hippies. I actually lived with them and their kids for several years, along with 20 other people, and visited them in VA after they left “The Farm.” Gary was a carpenter. Terry was very sweet.
My sister Wendy (1964) was friends with your sister Jayne (1964). I hope she is well.
I spent my twenties doing the hippy thing from Haight Ashbury to the Farm, with time in Denver, CO, and Northern California. I dropped out of college at 18 and only went back to City College in Jamaica when I was 30 and had left the Farm and had two kids and drove a cab in NYC. I went straight through three years of college, then med school in Chapel Hill, NC, where I am now, then a Family Practice. My father was a leftist, but Art can attest to my more moderate politics, including “back to the land” and simple living. We were as poor as church mice on the Farm - some of us are now reminiscing about wheat berry winter when that was our only bumper crop and an entire winter’s diet. You might be able to relate. It was fun and I still keep up with those folks from The Farm. It was a great adventure. Part of the reason I became an MD was from having worked on one of the Farm Projects, a free ambulance service in South Bronx. I still live modestly and embarrassed my kids to no end driving clunkers and staying out of the consumption culture. I became committed to dancing some 25 years ago, and now I am mostly retired from the MD but dance as much Salsa as possible.
Wheatley times were very cliquish in their way; each group - Jews, Catholics, and Protestants - hung with their own. In EW it might have been somewhat because the Catholic kids often went to Saint Aidan’s in Williston Park, but there was also an unstated segregation. We had no blacks or Puerto Ricans within miles. I think as we got older we mixed more and the ethnic identities meant less. My best friend now is a Puerto Rican guy who grew up in East Harlem, but it always strikes me as strange that as kids we were worlds apart. Each group tended to push their values and separateness on their kids, but the 60s were good in destroying some of that. It really didn't matter what you came from if you shared the same goals. My life likely has more in common with you and Scott Geary (1967).
When I came off the Farm I worked as an auto mechanic and cab driver but didn't see much future in it. The Farm had taught me discipline, and so I put my nose to the grindstone. My idealism was that I would care for the poor and not go the country club route, which I pretty much kept to; but medicine is such a hustle in the US it wears your idealism down, and temperamentally I always preferred dancing, and now that is most of what I am doing.
1967 – Art Engoron – Article About Decision
1968 - Hilary (“Lori”) Wallach Marshak - Coronavirus Story
Writes Lori – “I want to share my Coronavirus experience and learn about yours. I live alone on the Lower East Side of New York. My mother, Suni; my sister, Susan; and my brother-in-law, Jim, all live together within a 10 minute walk of each other. My daughter, Emily, and her husband, Jason, live right across town with their 2 kids; and my son, Jacob, his wife, Alex, and their two kids live in Inwood (the northern tip of Manhattan). This proximity has not been helpful since I began sheltering in place on March 18, the last day I saw clients in my office. My children insisted that I stay at home and were worried that I would get Covid 19 from exposure to them and their children, so they banned me from their homes (in the nicest way). Although I was still in denial about my vulnerabilities (age, rheumatoid arthritis), as so many of us boomers are, I felt the same way about my own mother, and I stopped visiting her for our weekly dinners. So that was the date that I last touched anyone.
I became aware of my coronavirus symptoms on or about April 10. Before you ask, NO, I did not get tested, and that question is somehow annoying - tests are still not widely available, and three different doctors told me to stay home unless I couldn't breathe. I always feel a bit of skepticism, as if without a test you couldn't know. Like a pregnancy test. But the proof is my symptoms; headache, fever, muscle aches, loss of smell and taste, low oxygen saturation (92), fatigue, mental confusion, sore throat, and cough. Differential diagnoses are welcome.
It is tough to get food deliveries from Fresh Direct, etc, at this time, but my building, a middle-income Mitchell Lama, has bought staples like rice, beans and fruit, along with masks, gloves and hand-sanitizer. I have plenty of food, but no energy to cook it, and all I can taste is texture and temperature, which has meant a lot of warm canned soups and cool yogurt and ice pops.
Surprisingly, and gratifyingly, my health advocate and main support has turned out to be my ex-husband, in the form of checking my blood oxygen level and temperature 3x a day by phone, and making me laugh - a mixed blessing as I end up in a coughing fit.
Writing is difficult because of the shakes and my inability to concentrate; organizing projects is impossible due to my fatigue. I can read - but I can't focus for long. TV mysteries and movies that do not require sustained focus are good, too.
Having a prolonged phone conversation with anyone take a lot out of me, which effectively cuts off even more contact with people.
Financial worries abound. It is more difficult to do telehealth sessions, both for my clients and for me, so my psychotherapy business has dropped by half, and the egg-matching agency is defunct. Fertility clinics have cancelled any new cycles.
So what's the good news? En la cama y en el carcel se conocen los amigos. I am never bored. I see people lining up outside my window for the food bank; I see the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges; I see indelible sunsets even though I live on the East Side; I see the cherry tree buds blossom and fall, the changing colors of the flower garden the City planted as a flood control barrier, first yellow and blue, now red and orange.
I am getting to the other side of this and I am happy. I hope all of us are well. As my children say, ‘You're tough, Mom.’ I want them to see me that way always.”
1970 – George Nierenberg – Filmmaker
To all those supporters and followers of my work, I'm excited to let you know that my film, NO MAPS ON MY TAPS will be broadcast on TURNER CLASSICS MOVIES (TCM) on:
Monday, May 11th at 8:00 pm and at 10:45 pm.
IT WILL LIFT YOUR SPIRITS!
1973 – Robert (“Bob”) Valicenti – Memorably Meeting Guitar Legend at Wheatley
Writes Bob – “Mark Lubin's post, "Jazz Legends Play at Wheatley," in Newsletter # 44, moved me. I was there, in the auditorium, when Les Paul sat down on a bar stool on the stage, along with John Paul (“Bucky”) Pizzarelli. After the show I walked up to Les Paul and introduced myself. A few days prior, I had purchased the guitar of my dreams, a sunburst Les Paul Standard. It was the last one on the floor at Sam Ash in Hempstead. I told Les Paul about my new guitar, and how much I loved playing it. He was such a nice person and he was so impressed that I enjoyed music so much. I just happened to have brought the sales receipt with me and he autographed it, along with adding a kind note. I won’t forget that moment for the rest of my life.”
Fan Mail, Coronvirus Thoughts, and a Few Miscellaneous Comments
Staff (Wes Berkowitz) – “Hey Art, Great newsletter as always! I don’t remember if I ever shared with you that I wrote a book on helping parents navigate the college admissions process. My 33 years at Wheatley made it possible. The book is on Amazon both in paperback and Kindle editions. The updated edition has photos of several students on the cover. Because of my love for Wheatley and Wheatleyites, I offer free college advice to any and all alums. I hope all is well by you my friend. Best, Wes”
Faculty (Steve Ehre) – “Hi, Art! Again, thanks so much. You know how much I love to read these newsletters, and see the photographs and THE NAMES!!! Steve Ehre (1965-96).”
1959 (Matt Sanzone) – “Hi Art, As always, a terrific newsletter. Thank you.”
1961 (Len Jacobs) – “Great posts! Thanks, Arthur. I really enjoy your blog.”
1962 (John Cilmi) – “Thanks for all you do. I always look forward to your newsletters, especially now that face-to-face contact is temporarily (please!) unwise.”
1964 (Bruce Buhrow) – “Thanks for your continuing upkeep of this Wheatley information.”
1964 (Stewart Fox) – “You deserve a great deal of credit and gratitude for your dedication to this endeavor. Keep up the great work.”
1964 (Jayne Quaranto Greene) – “Thank you for the newsletter.”
1965 (Barry Gordon) – “Thank you for your continuing effort in getting the Wheatley news out!”
1965 (Glen Hammer) – “Great job on the newsletter, as usual!”
1965 (Vicki Seltzer Brach) – “Thanks so much, Art. I appreciate all the hard work that you put into these wonderful newsletters.”
1965 (Roy Winnick) – “Thanks for all you do!”
1966 (Harvey Cohen) – “Hello Arthur, I enjoy reading the Newsletters. Although I have never attended any reunions, the information you provide is enlightening. Thank you for your publications.”
1966 (Lawrence Fox) – “Your newsletters are simply fantastic and so much fun to read and reminisce about long bygone days. Thanks for all your terrific efforts. They are much appreciated, especially during these appalling times. Wishing that you stay safe and healthy. Best Regards, Larry
1966 (Rick Jalonack) – “Keep up the good work.”
1966 (Neal Kirby – “I really enjoy reading your newsletters each month, and I appreciate your taking on the task.”
1966 (Janet LaGattuta Maffei) – “I can't tell you how much I love to read your newsletters. It is so much fun to see all these old friends and see what they are doing or have done with their lives. Wheatley was a wonderful experience and a great place in which to grow up. I was never a great student … you know the old adage, “she never lived up her potential.” I sometimes look back on my life and realize that I was really smart, but I lacked self-confidence … except in my social life! Thank you again for all the lovely news about my fellow Wheatleyites.”
1966 (Allan Silver) – “Thank you for another terrific edition. It is the first email I read when it arrives.”
1966 (Karen Wattel Arenson) – “Thanks, Arthur. Good newsletter, as always. Class of ’66 does it again … more Thank You notes than any other class! (As we can’t meet in person, we have to compete where we can.) Although I didn’t move (from Levittown) to Roslyn Heights - and Wheatley - until 10th grade, I enjoyed seeing some of my classmates in their early years. Some are even recognizable! Stay safe, Karen”
1967 (Scott Frishman) – “I look forward to the Newsletters; they help make the day worthwhile.”
1967 (Merrill Stanton) – “Thanks Art! Your vision and dedication to keep us all connected is so meaningful in today’s times.”
1968 (Martha Cornfield Fea) – “The Wheatley Newsletters are amazing; I love when I see that one is in my inbox. You do a great job on them and everything else. The hours you must put in to it all! Thank you for keeping so many of us in the loop. Also, I wish everyone good health and peace during the crisis in which we now find ourselves.”
1968 (Tom Glaser) – “I always enjoy reading them, like everyone else.”
1968 (Laura Steinberger) – “I just love your emails. Thank you for keeping me in the loop. Be well and in good health. 722MARGOT@GMAIL.COM
1972 (Linda Kaufman Schroeder) – “Art, thank you so very much for all the hard work and care that you put into the Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletters… I, like many, look forward to reading all the Wheatley updates, and I appreciate your dedication, your professionalism, and your continuously taking the time to provide updates/news/humor 😎”
1973 (Todd Glickman) – “Thanks, Art, for the great work on the updates! Feel free to publish my email, firstname.lastname@example.org – there are many of us here in the Boston area. And ‘see you on the radio,’ WCBS Newsradio 880 weather.”
1973 (Bob Valicenti) – “I very much enjoy reading these newsletters. Thank you so much for all that you do to keep us connected.”
1974 (John Cullon) – “ I really enjoy your Wheatley updates. Thanks for doing this.”
1978 (Valerie Gomes) – “Thanks Art. Stay well. Val”
1979 (Wendy McClure) – “Hello!!! Sure you can print my email address! GWENDOLYNNELLI@GMAIL.COM.”
1980 (Mitchell Teisch) – “Mitchell Teisch. Alive and well.”
1988 (Soraya Mosleh-Brooks) – “Thanks for everything you do! email@example.com”
1997 (Kristina “Kristy” Fiorillo Saxena) – “Thank you very much for the enormous amount of work that you put into these newsletters! Your labor of love is appreciated.”
1999 - (William Corrigan) – “Great stuff; the story about the Class of 1998 was perfect! Stay safe! Best, Will”
2004 (Kerry E. Nienstedt Wystrach) – “Absolutely love reading through these Newsletters and looking at all the photos! Thanks so much for all your hard work on these updates over the years.”
The highly-touted movie “Bad Education” is about the Roslyn School District embezzlement scandal of the early 2000s. Which reminds me (Art) that several years ago, during a transition period, someone recommended that my son attend a Roslyn public school (which he eventually did). My first reaction was, “He can’t attend a Roslyn school; they’re our mortal enemies.”
That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 45. Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.
Arthur Fredericks Engoron
The Wheatley School Class of 1967