Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,
Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 48
Public Service Announcements
The Wheatley School Alumni Association’s two main activities are publishing the Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter, of which this is a prime, or at least typical, example; and maintaining The Wheatley School Alumni Association Website,WWW.WHEATLEYALUMNI.ORG . Readers of the former are always generous with positive feedback, included in the Fan Mail (etc.) section towards the end of every issue.
Alas, the Website seems underappreciated and, worse still, underutilized. Its many informative pages include: a chronological list of every Principal in the school’s history (in the Longevity Department current Principal Sean Feeney has one year to go to match his immediate predecessor, Rick Simon, and six years to go to match all-time champion Walter “Wes” Wathey); a list of Missing In Action graduates, for whose contact information we are searching (please help); a Public Directory of the email addresses of graduates who have opted to be listed (please join); Class Histories (please submit); an In Memoriam of those who have passed (please mourn); detailed reports on Wheatley’s 50th and 60th Anniversary Celebrations (please read); and lots of other goodies (please enjoy). I am responsible for all content (and I have taken a few lumps over the years); and I’ve had two wonderful Webmasters who have been completely unstinting with their help and mostly unsung in their efforts: Ken Distler, Class of 1966, and Keith Aufhauser, Class of 1963.
If you have extra time on your hands – and these days many people do -- I humbly suggest that you help us find those who are lost and/or write a Class History. The former can be done simply by scanning the list and seeing if you know the whereabouts of anyone (but for extra credit you can use any number of on-line search engines, such as, most obviously, Google); and the latter is surprisingly easy using two simple tools: your yearbooks and Wikipedia (just plug in the year, like this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967). I wrote the 1967 Class History more than a decade ago; and I think it has stood the test of time, so you can use it as a model. http://wheatleyalumni.org/class_histories.htm Just to give you a little flavor, it starts out as follows:
A General History of The Wheatley School Class of 1967
Life Before Wheatley
Most of us were born in 1949, the same year as Emanuel Ax, John Belushi, Richard Gere, Gloria Gaynor, Maurice and Robin Gibb, Billy Joel, Mark Knopfler, Patti LuPone, Archie Manning, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bruce Springsteen, Meryl Streep, Twiggy, and Tom Waits. Harry Truman was President of the United States, and he “lost” China. The first Volkswagen Beetle arrived on our shores. Rodgers and Hammerstein's “South Pacific” opened on Broadway. Jerome Robbins conceived “West Side Story” (as a Catholic-Jewish conflict set on the Lower East Side and entitled “East Side Story”). George Orwell's “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” were published. The New York Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series, four games to one. Twelve countries formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (“NATO”).
See? Nothing to it; easy as pie.
According to Wheatley's first Principal, Norman Boyan, the Board of Education that created the school did not like the name "The East Williston School District Senior and Junior High School," so they chose a name that existed in the area; thus, "The Wheatley Hills Golf Club" and "Wheatley Road" and "Wheatley Avenue" (right across from the North Side School). Principal Boyan remembers that at meetings of school officials out-of-district administrators, thinking that “The Wheatley School” must be a private school (and who can blame them, with a name like that) called him "Headmaster Boyan," a title he obviously never had!
Wheatley is an English surname that in Old English meant "from the wheat meadow.” Alternative spellings include Wheatly, Whatley , Whitley , Wheetley, and Wheatleigh (none as nice as the real thing; and much harder for cheerleaders). The now fairly common surname and its derivatives probably arose from one who farms wheat . The surname "de Wheatley" ("of Wheatley") was in use from around the 12th century, and ascribed to some of those that came from the town of Wheatley in Oxfordshire, England, which was founded approximately 956 AD. Around the 12th century the custom of adopting a father's name, or his profession, as a surname became prevalent. Another theory holds that the ancestry comes from a John Wheatland, a wealthy land owner in Surrey , England. “Wheatland” was then corrupted into “Wheatley,” “Wheatleigh,” and “Wheatly.”
More Wheatley History
Writes Kathleen Gaffney Velsor (a Professor of Education at SUNY Old Westbury) – “ My uncle, Dr. Matthew Page Gaffney, was a retired school superintendent when he went to Harvard to teach. While he was a faculty member there he worked as a consultant for the elementary school districts that were interested in creating a Jr. and Sr. High School. When I was maybe 12 or 13 he came to visit my family in Tarrytown, NY. During my research on “The Underground Railroad on Long Island” I became friends with Leon Rushmore, a direct descendant of Elias Hicks, whose mother grew up in the Valentine Hicks Home, site of the former ‘Maine Maid Inn.’ Leon was on the committee that worked to organize the smaller districts; he passed away in the late 1990s. Uncle Matt was later hired to bring together three small elementary school districts into the Cold Spring Harbor School District. My father, Dr. Matthew Watson Gaffney, was later hired to be its superintendent, which is how I ended up on Long Island in 1966.”
Tom Suozzi and Lester Lionel Wolff
Writes Philip Christensen (1962) – “Tom posted this Photo on Facebook in honor of our oldest living former member of Congress. At the time, Lester was celebrating his 101st birthday. Lester was a light in dark political times.”
Writes Jerry Mintz (1961) – “In the 1960s Lester Wolff used a paper I wrote about youth as a discriminated-against minority and their rebellion against it. So did James Farmer. ”
Writes Steve Cohn (1965) – “In 1964 I was one of the students who worked on the first Wolff-for-Congress Campaign. Lester was running against a staunch conservative, Steven Derounian, a Barry Goldwater supporter who had been in Congress for 6 terms. A small army of students across the district went door-to-door conducting a survey about people’s attitudes on various issues. We also left campaign info about Wolff at each house. The election was very close, and Wolff later stated that he didn’t think he would have won without the efforts of ‘Students for Wolff.’”
Writes Jon Silver, 1965 (Faculty Member, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law) – “When Cardozo opened in the fall of 1976 it had no clinical legal education (CLE). The only students were first- year; and many law professors were dubious about the value of CLE. But Lester Brickman, a Founding Faculty member, was gung-ho about how valuable CLE could be if done properly; he knew, and was impressed by, Barry Scheck (B.A., Yale., '71; J.D., Berkeley, '74), from CLEO, a fledgling pro-clinical legal education project. Throughout that first-year, 1976-77, Lester kept Barry's name in front of us as someone we should hire to begin CLE at Cardozo in 1977-78, and we did. By Summer 1977 Barry wanted a second; he nominated Larry Vogelman, and we interviewed and hired him. Barry, Larry and their Criminal Law Clinic students began right away to litigate on behalf of allegedly innocent, but convicted, prisoners. Then came DNA evidence. I remember one 8:00 a.m., though not which year, Barry came to my office and told me about this brand-new kind of evidence, “DNA,” that could conclusively prove in some, primarily rape, cases that the defendant could not be guilty. Barry was, and is, gold standard clinical legal education faculty; his success began right away; he converted CLE doubters into believers. Eventually, Barry's clinic morphed into The Innocence Project; Peter Neufeld joined; Larry Vogelman departed; and O. J. Simpson was charged with double-murder. We at Cardozo knew Barry would be hired to the "dream team" because he knew more about DNA evidence than anyone in the country, perhaps in the world. Barry's daily presence on television brought great publicity to Cardozo, and to the fact that the Criminal Law Clinic/ Innocence Project had proven that many people convicted of crimes were innocent. And so Barry, Larry, Peter, and many others made history.”
Writes Donna Kenton (who regularly volunteers there and once showed me around their surprisingly extensive offices) - “In 1992 Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck founded The Innocence Project at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law to exonerate, through DNA evidence, the wrongly convicted, and to reform the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. The IP Policy Department works with state and federal governments and prosecutors and police departments to change their laws and practices.
"The Innocence Project's mission is to free the staggering number of innocent people who remain incarcerated, and to bring reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment."
The Usual Words of Wisdom
I hope that you and yours are safe and healthy during this unprecedented, turbulent, difficult time.
Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (Class of 1963), you can regale yourself with the first 47 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 every place it exists 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 in publishing material I am not taking sides or advocating for or against any thing or any one, I am only distributing what people send me.
Please let me know if you will permit me to publish your email address along with anything you send me, or just standing alone. 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). Scores of alumni email addresses can be found on the Wheatley Public Directory, http://wheatleyalumni.org/PublicDirectory.htm
I welcome any and all text and photos relevant to The Wheatley School and the people who taught or studied (and in some cases, both) there.
Walter Wesley (“Wes”) Wathey – Alive and Well in the Grand Canyon State
On June 18, 2020, on his 96th Birthday, Principal Wathey dictated the following loosely transcribed message: “My very best wishes to the alumni, I’m proud of you all – teachers, lawyers, Hollywood big-shots, etc. I can’t speak highly enough of Wheatley’s outstanding alumni. I was Principal for 18 years (1961-1979), and I enjoyed every minute of it. I appreciate the alumni Newsletter so very much. I’m sad about losing people, including Sheldon (“Shelly”) Maskin, a good man, honest and true; I liked having him on the staff. I would enjoy hearing from any one of you, so please feel free to call me at 623-214-3557, and I’d be glad to talk to you. You can also email me at WESWATHEY@COX.NET. I won’t be able to email you back, but I’ll appreciate reading what you wrote.”
Writes Art Engoron – On June 18, 2019 I telephoned Principal Wathey and left him a voicemail. He responded in kind as follows: “Hi Arthur, this is Wes Wathey calling back; unfortunately, I was out of the house when you called, but as soon as I got in my wife told me that you had called and that I should call you back, which I am doing. Thank you for remembering my birthday. We celebrated rather quietly, but my family was here, and that is what’s most important to me at this stage of the game. I am now 95, pushing towards 100. Do you think I’ll make it? I don’t know (laughs). I enjoy the Newsletter; it’s insightful, it’s clear, and it’s a history we’ll never forget. Please keep in touch. Bye, now.”
Sheldon Maskin – Remembered by Jane A. Madison (1970)
Writes Jane – “I was saddened to hear that Mr. Maskin died (http://www.wheatleyalumni.org/BlogPost/Blogpost-20200202-40.html). He had a profound impact on my life. In the spring of 1970 I was a senior with no plan after graduation. I had not applied to any schools and there didn't seem to be anyone concerned about that. Mr. Maskin was my guidance counselor, and he met with me to find out if I wished to take some job placement tests. When he sensed my reluctance, he asked about enrolling in summer classes at Nassau Community College. He called the school and found out that summer school registration was ending that day. He piled me into his MG, paid my admission, and set me on my academic path. I graduated from NCC in1973 and enlisted in the Air Force. Over the course of my 22 year career, I continued in school, earning a B.S. From Park University and an M.A. from St. Mary's in San Antonio. When I retired from the A.F., I went to work for the Veterans Administration and obtained a Ph.D. in counseling from St. Mary's.
I never forgot the man who cared so much, and in 2006 I was able to track down his telephone number in Florida. He was not there and I left a phone message. Weeks went by with no word until I had a message from him. When I excitedly called back he apologized for the delay. He had an old-school tape machine, and he was able to hear my name but not my telephone number. He said he called every Madison in the telephone book until he reached my younger brother, Tommy (1983), who gave him my number! He remembered that day and said that if he drove a student now he would be in trouble for that. I sent him a graduation announcement and he replied with a lovely card.
I continue to "pay it forward" by going the extra mile for my clients, as he did for me. Jane”
John Pagliaro – Deceased
Writes Gerry Friedberg Pagliaro - “And so Wheatley loses another one of the original teaching staff. John loved teaching and loved all of his students, and it was apparent that the feelings were mutual. John and I were married for 43 years and co-taught classes in Wheatley’s School Within a School (“SWS”). After working in real estate on the North Fork of Long Island we moved to Florida. He became active in local government, first on the Town Code Enforcement Board and then running for and winning a seat on the Town Commission. He will be sorely missed by so many. Gerry. GERRYGGP@YAHOO.COM”
1958 – Steve Nelson – Wheatley Pre-History
Writes Steve – “In Wheatley Newsletter # 47 Steve Rushmore recalled that before Wheatley was opened, kids from East Williston went to Mineola High, and kids from the Roslyn Country Club went to Roslyn High. That was mostly the case (except as noted below). He also writes that the motivation for building Wheatley was ‘status’ and ‘quality of education’; to some people Mineola and Roslyn didn’t make the grade. But the real driving factor was the growing population of Long Island.
Sometime around 1952 the Roslyn School District announced that due to lack of room, they would no longer take Country Club students, who began attending Mineola instead. But that was only a short term solution for a couple of years, because Mineola was also having space problems. The only answer was to build a new high school.
The last group to attend Mineola was what became the first graduating class of Wheatley in 1958. By the time Wheatley opened, in the fall of 1956, what might have been the Class of ’57 were already seniors at Mineola. So it was decided that the kids from East Williston and the Country Club would finish the year there and graduate from Mineola. Meanwhile, the Class of ’59 didn’t go to Mineola, where they would have been only for a year before Wheatley opened, and took 9th grade at the I.U. Willets Road School.
So my class of ’58 did 9th and 10th grade at Mineola, where we were terrorized by a gang of four brothers (three big lugs and a troublemaking runt) who ruled the roost, and where the gym teachers mocked the Jewish boys as “no-necks” (referring to a piece of anatomy we were missing). Then for two years we were effectively seniors at Wheatley, since during our junior year there was no senior class. What a great time!
With our unique path through high school (and winning sports teams to foster school spirit), we developed close bonds as classmates which continue to this day. ”
[After being told that Walter Wathey had turned 96, Steve added as follows] – “Wow! 96! It’s great to have some founders of Wheatley still with us. My class, as my classmate Ed Brown recently noted, are all pushing or over the 80 mark. I was the youngest one in the class (having skipped 6th grade) and turned 79 three weeks ago. Incidentally, in my speech at Wheatley’s 50th Anniversary Celebration I called Mineola a ‘Blackboard Jungle’ (after the notorious film). Someone from the East Williston School District took exception to my characterization, but that person never went there as a student in the ‘50s. Ask anyone in my class what Mineola High School was like, and they’ll tell you, especially the ‘no necks’!”
1961 – Stephen Bond – An Appreciation by Peter Calderon (1961)
Writes Peter – I recently read Steve Bond’s obituary in the NY Times and was shocked and greatly saddened. Although I hadn’t been in touch with him these last 15 years, we were neighbors in Roslyn Heights and close friends at Wheatley. If my memory is intact, we were together from 3rd grade through graduation. I remember collaborating with him in Mr. Mel Rosenstein’s Chemistry Class.
Steve and I were the two international lawyers from our class. Steve attended Brown and I went to Princeton. After that we found ourselves together at Columbia Law School. Steve took the right courses in the international area from several brilliant professors at Columbia, did extremely well, and landed a prestigious Federal court clerkship upon graduation. He had an unusually successful career in international commercial arbitration in both the public and private sectors. We found ourselves together in Paris during 1997-99, when Steve headed the ICC and I was sent by the World Bank to Paris as an advisor to France’s bilateral development finance agency. I met his Italian-born wife but don’t believe that I met his children.
I’m perplexed that Steve chose to have heart surgery in Paris, although of course I’m not aware of the circumstances. As I myself have lived six months of the calendar year in France since 1997, and as I’ve had my principal residence in Nimes since 2001, I rely on French doctors for many interventions, including arthroscopic surgery on my shoulder; however, I’ve left the more serious surgery, such as lung surgery at Sloan Kettering in 2016, for US doctors and hospitals.
I’ve often thought that our companions during our formative years know who we really are, as distinguished from friends acquired later, when we’ve developed our personas.”
1961 – Peter Nelson (Steven’s brother) – Careers, Work, and Ideas
Writes Peter – Dear Art: I occasionally read your Wheatley Newsletter, and I was saddened to learn of the death of Steve Bond—a man with a terrific dry wit and lively intelligence. My wife (Virginia) and I last saw Steve, who was with his wife, in a Paris restaurant in 2002. I remember the conversation much more than the food, but that’s what I would expect after an evening with Steve. Unfortunately, we did not get in touch again, but I will miss him, nonetheless.
On those occasions that I’ve read your newsletter, I always have a chuckle at your exhortation to “send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.” A linear recall of my life is not how I would like to be remembered. After careers in neuroscience and computing, and then in social science and psychology, I would rather people recollect me for my work and ideas. So here is a link to a paper (as yet unpublished) I wrote a few months ago, while thinking about conspiratorial ideas (they are not theories), paranoia and social media. https://www.socsci.biz/resources/Digital-Neuro-Amplification-7.pdf
‘I believe that ideas such as absolute certitude, absolute exactness, final truth, etc. are figments of the imagination that should not be admissible in any field of science...This loosening of thinking seems to me to be the greatest blessing which modern science has given to us. For the belief in a single truth and in being the possessor thereof is the root cause of all evil in the world.’ —Max Born, 1954, from his lecture when receiving the Nobel Prize given for ‘fundamental research in quantum mechanics, especially in the statistical interpretation of the wave function.’
Best to you and your readers, Peter Nelson, Personal & Business Coaching, Social Science Research Consultant”
Bruce Blom – 1962 – Up on Albertson Downs
Writes Bruce – “During the 50s, living in Albertson Downs, the name sounding a trifle more exclusive than “Albertson” by itself, my older sister (+8 years) attended Roslyn High while I attended North Side. She remembered when Wheatley was being built and referred to it as “that snooty school.”
The portion of the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway bounded by Roslyn and Argyle Roads, Bengeyfield Drive North (or what was to become it), and the LIRR tracks was a favorite haunt for the Albertson Downs kids. We accessed it by going through a gated, wire fence (hardly a deterrent), across a large field (long since populated), under the power lines and up to the Parkway. The roadway itself was in fairly good condition and the trestle over the railroad tracks was still present (but has since been removed). At the Roslyn Road end there was a concrete abutment that had supported a bridge and which was an excellent place for the “gang” to congregate and do whatever it was we did at that age.
My father worked in Manhattan and had to go to, I believe, East Williston to catch the LIRR to the city, Albertson not being a stop at the time. I accompanied him to the newly built station, and we awaited the very first train. Soon enough, a worker emerged from a small shack near the crossing gates and hand-cranked them into position. The train approached but kept on going, never stopping. So much for not getting the memo!
For a number of years my mother was Eleanor (Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt) Whitney’s secretary. The fringe benefits were rather unique. Eleanor told my mom, “If I die on the South Shore move my body to the North Shore before you tell anyone!”
About ten years ago I happened to be back in the area and had to make a mandatory stop and see what had changed, if anything, in the old neighborhood. While a lot had changed in the surrounding neighborhoods, the VMP was still there, much as I remembered it, the one exception being that the railroad trestle had been removed.
Bruce Blom ’62, email@example.com
1962 – William A. Cerillo – Photographed Then and Now
Above – With Lester Wolff
Below – With His Caregiver
Writes William – “Hi Art! I am a member of the Wheatley School Class of 1962. I wish to join the countless other graduates who thank you for keeping the Wheatley spirit alive. You and I met at my nephew’s wedding in Central Park in 2012! [Editor’s Note – I officiated at the Central Park wedding of Andrew Scott Cerillo, Bill’s Nephew, the son of Mary Lee Holley Cerillo (1963) and Bill’s brother Andy Cerillo. After a rustic ceremony we lunched at the Central Park Boathouse, the only time I have ever been in such splendor.]
My living room contains what I call my “political life”: photographs of me with politicos— Governor Nelson Rockefeller, in whose successful 1966 campaign I worked, in a paid capacity, with expense account no less. Also, me and then-Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield. And a picture of me with Lester Wolff in his DC office, taken in April 1965. I was part of a Colgate University Washington study group comprised of the top 10 political science students and a professor. I had the good fortune to work as an intern in Congressman Wolf’s office during the semester-long Colgate study group. In fact, I remember names of the people on his staff—Art Peltz was his administrative assistant; Evelyn Carson was his secretary; Bruce McCarthy handled press matters; and there was a young lady, Rita, but I can’t remember her last name; and Jerry was his legislative assistant, again I can’t remember his last name. I might be self-congratulatory that I remember so many details, now over 55 years later. No Alzheimer’s, perhaps?
After graduating from Colgate I graduated from Cornell Law School in 1969. My legal career started at the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department, followed by two years at Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, Alexander & Mitchell (unfortunately during the height of the Watergate affair). I then joined the General Counsel’s office of the Federal Trade Commission. Next I was recruited by a large Chicago firm, McDermott, Will & Emery, where I was promoted to partner in 1978. When the firm opened an office in Washington, D.C. I promptly transferred myself to be back in Washington. In 1985 I joined a large Phoenix firm (O’Connor Cavanagh) to bolster their antitrust capability. In 1988 I moved to San Francisco and joined a mid-sized insurance law firm, Kornblum & McBride, where I remained until 1998, at which time I retired. I left North Beach where I had been living and moved back to D.C., where I had a residence for many years. Despite my love of Washington, I missed the wonderful California climate, so in 2003 I moved back to San Francisco.
I assume Mr. Wolff doesn’t look as dapper now as he did then; but speaking of myself, I can state that I, unfortunately, don’t look at all now the way I did in 1965. In 2017 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which made me wheelchair-bound. And in 2018, I was diagnosed with cancer near my spinal cord; I underwent 21 rounds of radiation in June and July 2018 and spent over five consecutive months in a hospital in Pacific Heights near where live, which is San Francisco; then a rehab center near the ocean; and then two months in an assisted living facility in the East Bay before returning home. So far the radiation appears to have kept the cancer cells under control. However, the radiation also damaged the nerves that connect my brain with my right arm, thereby leaving my right arm totally useless. As a result, since November 2018 I have had home care assistance for 10 hours a day, seven days a week. I assume San Francisco will be my final resting place!
Anyway, keep those Wheatley newsletters coming, Art, and take care of yourself. Bill Cerillo”
1965 – A Bumper Crop of Serious, Successful Musicians
Writes Ike Evans (1965) – “In the mid-1960s Robert Pearson directed the Wheatley Band; Salvatore Signorelli directed the Wheatley Orchestra; and Dr. Godfrey Wills directed the Wheatley Chorus. Florence Saxon taught Homemaking and her daughter Michele (“Shelly”) and I were classmates and ended up being two of the several musicians that we had in that class. Roddy Nierenberg conducted the Jacksonville, FL Symphony for a time and is now up in Stanford, CT running a program called “The Music Paradigm” (www.musicparadigm.com ). Shelly went to Julliard and then directly into the NY Philharmonic for more than 40 years. Richard Cohen played French horn with the Toronto Symphony for about the same time. Stephanie Baer played viola in the pit of the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera for almost the entire run. Andy Zoob played with the Peter Nero Trio, including once at the White House, but met an early death in the '80's. (He and his twin sister Elizabeth (“Liz”) transferred into Wheatley from Friends Academy.) And I was in the United States Marine Band ("The President's Own") for my professional career.
1965 – Eliot (“Ike”) Evans – Small World
Writes Ike – “After reading ‘The Underground Railroad On Long Island’ I began emailing with its author, Prof. Kathleen G. (“Kate”) Velsor. Turns out she taught art at Wheatley and Willets Road in 1982-83! She even knows Lynn Walsh (1964). Small world!”
Peter Till – 1965 – Waxing Eloquent about Wheatley
Writes Peter – “In light of the events of the last several weeks and the range of emotions in response to the unnecessary deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, you might share my remarks from the fiftieth-year reunion of the Wheatley School Class of 1965. In late 1964, Wheatley experienced one of its finest hours. We know that today’s statements of solidarity are not enough; rather, they are only a first step on a long and difficult journey. But for the Wheatley community as a whole, history can now confirm how we then stepped forward.
As Delivered by Peter W. Till:
‘The Class of ’65 was not a hurricane of humility. Rather, we were a cauldron of 252 personalities. How do we explain the vast accomplishments of this class? I suggest that we embrace “The Greatest Generation,” our parents.
- They saved, and with the GI Bill bought homes in this community.
- Along the way they insisted that The Wheatley School was the vehicle to further their and our “American Dream.”
- My “immigrant” parents were preoccupied with the basic opportunity to work, have a roof over their heads, and even drive their car wherever they wanted, without scrutiny.
That left me to learn about America... in the Putterman (Stephen 1960 and Caren 1965), Seibert (Barre 1959 and Ward 1965), and Alpert (Henry 1965 and Ellen 1968) family homes, just to name a few. And BTW, St. Patrick’s Day at the Hogarty House (Patricia 1965 and Barbara 1966) on Roselle Street in Mineola was something else.
- Max Putterman, a son of the Bronx, was a highly regarded player in the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball organization. A dignified guy who just loved every aspect of life -- but especially his baseball.
- At Ward Seibert’s house there was Mr. Seibert’s obvious “seriousness of purpose...” after a day running the Chase Manhattan Bank. His persona was palpable.
- And most unforgettable was Herman Alpert’s Brownsville, Brooklyn booming voice. He repeatedly insisted that his “boy,” Hank, and I feel that there was nothing we could not accomplish.
Also delivering a colossal impact was Superintendent of Schools Dr. Neil Sullivan (Roger 1961 and Michael 1963). In so many ways, we were naive about life outside of Long Island. But one of our finest hours was the school’s exchange program with the segregated Prince Edward County, Virginia schools. In 1964 some of my neighbors on Brown Street, Mineola, where I lived, were not too pleased with the prospect and presence of a large contingent of African-American children at our very, very modest home for a party honoring the exchange program. My father explained that gathering by saying “don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” The Prince Edward County students’ visit was Dr. Sullivan and my father’s vision of America. I was so proud of my parents’ decency. I was so proud of our decency. We were all left concluding that each of us does well when we all do well, that we all ache when one of us is in pain. Those selfless acts became a beacon of fearlessness for the Class of 1965.
Fifty years later, riding on the shoulders of our parents, honoring that journey is appropriate; SEEMINGLY ALWAYS BELIEVING IN ONE HEARTBEAT AND ONE VOICE.
So please now allow the courage and dignity of those days to wash over each of you once again, with the hope that with age comes wisdom, with wisdom comes respect, and with respect comes honor.
Congratulations... to the Class of 1965... surely one of The Wheatley Schools anchors of pride.’”
1966 – Jay Keillor – Condolences from Classmate Glen Greenbaum
Writes Glen – “My sincere condolences to Charlie Trantum and Jeff Knetzer, best friends of Jay Keillor. Although we lost touch over the years it was great to see you guys as a group at the last reunion. Jay will be remembered by me as an athlete who always gave his all and who could be counted on to perform his best. Although we had the worst football team in history, I remembered those years and games fondly and wouldn't trade them for anything. Jay never said a bad word about anyone. Sorry for your loss, guys. May he rest in peace.”
Glen also writes – “ Bill Stevenson was my favorite coach. He called me ‘Tiger’ when Frank Brescia would punch me in my thigh after each move performed during wrestling practice. Finally I kicked Frank in the face as he was only 60 pounds heavier, and I knew if I gave him my best he would leave me alone. He did, and I gained his respect. However, I read in one of your Newsletters that Mr. Stevenson called many wrestlers ‘Tiger.’ And here I thought I was the only ‘Tiger.’ Ha ha! What an ego?! Great memories. (I'm glad I can still remember:)”
1967 – The “It’s Academic” Team – Lawrence Weiss, Linda Caterino Kulhavy, Steven Rosenthal (L-R)
They even look smart! Photo provided by Steve Rosenthal.
1967 – Richard Rasmussen – Another Fan of Coach August
Writes Dick – “Hey Art, Greetings from your former neighbor on Bengeyfield Drive in East Williston - and thanks for the memories!! I was a member of the Wheatley Cross-Country Team in 1965 and 1966. Your recent emails brought back fond memories of former teammates like Joe Cilmi, Tim Boland, Paul Riefberg, and Rick Vlahov. And let’s not forget arguably the greatest long distance runner in Wheatley history, Paul "Flea" Ingrassia.
I was not a member of the 1967 Cross-Country Team, having graduated that spring. This may have been the most successful team across all sports in Wheatley history. They won the New York state Cross-Country championship, and Paul Ingrassia was the individual winner. Wow, what an accomplishment!
I was glad to see coach Irwin August mentioned in recent publications of your newsletter. Without doubt, Coach August was one of the greatest individuals I ever met. Yes, he taught us all the fine points of long-distance running. Even more importantly, as a mentor of young men, he instilled in us the values of God, family, country, and hard work. How disappointed Coach August would be with America's landscape today were he to see a tiny segment of the population getting so much attention as they try to undermine these values.”
1967 – Carl Wirth – More on Mandatory High School Term Papers
Writes Carl – “I informed my high school’s Class of 1979 that the school now required 10-page term papers for graduation. The month of May comes, and I now have 75 papers to read and grade so that seniors can graduate at the end of the month. Along the way I read Tim's paper on Child Abuse...a little hard hitting and almost professionally done. Two days later I read Tom's paper, and it seems like I had read something like this before. So I match up the two papers...word for word...the same. So I bring in both of them and want to know, “What gives? I have to fail you both.” They admit to cheating but tell me they didn't think I'd catch them because they had copied it, word for word, from Hustler Magazine, and they knew I wouldn't think they would use that as a source. Well, after explaining I'd have fail them, they begged for another chance. Knowing neither would go further in education then high school, I allowed them a second chance so that they could graduate and have that diploma. Their subsequent papers were awful, and they both got D's (a grade I really hate). One student now paints houses; the other works on cars and makes more money than I ever did teaching. HA! Carl”
Class of 1968 and Beyond – Wheatley’s Cross-Country Team – State Champions
Left to Right:
Sitting on ground – Warren Nadel (manager)
Standing on back of bus – Paul Riefberg; Fred Distler
Sitting or kneeling on bus – Sidney Mikelbank (legs over windshield); Richard Vlahov (#2); Steve Shukow; Andrew Krakauer; David Hechler (partially obscured); Michael Nelkin (kneeling, hanging onto roof, partially obscured)
Standing on Bus – Robert Tatem (looking down, with ski cap); Laurence Schiller (# 17) (holding flag); Bob Bush (partially obscured); Paul Ingrassia (# 1); Joe Cilmi (sunglasses); Tom Forero (partially obscured); Howie Laskau (looking away) (# 7); Scott Smith; Jack Walsh
Sitting on shoulders – John Mok (holding flag) (on Joe Cilmi); Richard Lowenthal (on Jack Walsh)
Writes Paul Riefberg (1968) – “ In 1966 we won the county meet but lost the state meet, held in Binghamton, to Pleasantville, by the slim margin of 143 to 148. In 1967 and 1968 we won the state meet. In 1967 in Buffalo Joe Cilmi finished 8th overall; in 1968 in Sunken Meadow ‘Flea’ Ingrassia was the overall winner.”
Writes Paul Ingrassia (1969) – “ Hi Art, Thanks for posting the photograph. Paul Riefberg and I have stayed in touch, and I recently spoke to Bob Bush and Greg Fitzpatrick. My Cross-Country teammates were not only the friends of my youth, but also my true family back then. A warm hello to all my brothers. I also had the opportunity to speak with coach August shortly before his passing. In his 50’s he went to medical school and specialized in psychiatry. He was still practicing in his 80's. He told me that those Cross-Country teams would always own a part of his heart.”
Writes Steve Shukow (1970) – “The Cross-Country Team in those years was absolutely frickin’ awesome!! We won the State Championship two years in a row, 1967 and 1968. I was the number 5 finisher in 1967 and number 3 finisher in 1968, when Flea, Bob Bush, and I finished 1-2-3 in the county meet, which was unheard of. Flea was our rock, our inspiration, and the whole reason we did as well as we did (finishing 1st in the state race in ’68). Coach August was our amazing fearless leader, task master, & hill finder (which is tough to do on Long Island!). He created an atmosphere and camaraderie where we were able to work through all the pain & miles while hysterically laughing at the same time. I was honored to be among such a great group of guys.”
Writes Bob Bush – “The photo above was taken right after we won the Nassau County Championship in November 1967. The order of finish was Paul Ingrassia (second), Joe Cilmi (third), Bob Bush (fourth), Rick Vlahov (sixth), and Steve Shukow (ninth).”
In November 2004 the 1967 and 1968 “Boys Cross Country” Teams were inducted into The Wheatley School Athletic Hall of Fame. http://www.wheatleyalumni.org/hall_of_fame.htm
Boys Cross Country
New York State Champions
Boys Cross Country
New York State Champions
In 1985 Paul Ingrassia was inducted individually.
Cross Country, Track & Field
1968 - Andrew Paul Forstenzer – Walking, Thinking, and Remembering
Writes Andy – “My Dad, had he lived, would have celebrated his 100th birthday on June 14, 2019. Born into a wealthy German-Jewish family, he escaped the Nazis at the age of 18 with just the clothes on his back and started a new life in Queens, NY. Years later, as a Captain in the US Army fluent in German, French and English, he was one of a small group of US soldiers to attend the signing of the D-Day peace treaty in Reims, France on May 7,1945.
He died on Veterans Day in 1992. Mom, a native Long Island girl, celebrates her 99th this coming August.
My sister Ellen (Class of 1965) died in 1980 while scuba diving in Martinique. Thinking about my father and sister, I decided beginning June 15, 2019 to walk at least one hour a day, every day, for 100 days, not just for the exercise, but also to give me time to reflect on their lives and my own. This pledge was later extended to a full year through June 14, 2020. Over these 366 days just completed I walked 2,713 miles, averaging 7.4 miles a day, and never less than 4 miles a day - equal in distance to walking from my current home in Hamilton, NY (next to Colgate University) to my condo in Sarasota, FL and back (idea for next year?).
Included in my thoughts were my years at Wheatley: in no particular order, T-Groups; the re-modeling of the library to a central and open location; lunches at long tables in the cafeteria; walking across the central quad between classes instead of around the halls; a very hot graduation ceremony in that same central quad; sweating in the small (“Auxiliary”) gym during wrestling practice with Mr. August; memorable basketball (not too many) and soccer (many more with Shep Messing, 1967 in goal) victories under the coaching, respectively, of Sheldon Maskin and Bill Stevenson; watching with amazement the speed of Paul (“Flea”) in Cross-Country; Ricky Vlahov running quarter miles around the track and Doug Colucci challenging national distances in the triple jump on our way to a division Track & Field championship; a 1968 graduation dance in the gym with a young Billy Joel performing as part of a local band; Wheatley in the national headlines on the issue of school prayer; US News & World Report ranking Wheatley the top High School in America one year; cheerleaders from Prince George’s High School, in Virginia, at a varsity basketball game at Wheatley (I believe in 1964-65); a wild on-field celebration after the football team scored a touchdown - even though we lost the game (not having scored a touchdown in the season and at least one prior season); unlimited one-on-one pre-gym class basketball games against David Pinter; Varsity Club and student council meetings; and numerous conversations with classmates, with many of whom I still stay in touch to this day. A some-what fading Wheatley sweater still hangs in my closet as a reminder of these valued days gone by.
At 70 I enjoy the memories, and having goals, even minor ones, is still good …and being able to achieve them is even better. I plan to continue walking - maybe focused more this year on the future for when (if ever) I plan to retire, and where and how best to continue to help my family and friends better navigate this troubling pandemic and politically charged world.
I am the General Counsel of Preferred Mutual Insurance Company. With two unmarried daughters, a 99-year-old Mom, and a self-employed wife, I may never retire.
Here’s a photograph of me and my family in Maine last Labor Day. On my left (your right) is my daughter Arin, 32; in the middle is my wife of 45 years, Debbie; and on the far right is Alix, 27.
Wishing all continued good health and friends and memories worth celebrating. Walk on! Stay safe! Andy”
1968 – Ken Gallard – South-West Cowboy
Writes Ken – “Hi Art... I finally had time to devote to the most recent newsletter (# 47). A few interesting things, certainly... But ultimately the piece on David Perlin is particularly compelling. Obviously he’s someone devoted to the crisis at hand and at serving his fellow humans. A moving piece of material (the video) to see the lives he and his team are helping to save and change. Wow.
What a scenario there in NY?! Crazy—and scary--stuff. Hey...even here in New Mexico we are a bit scared, though our governor has done an excellent job in keeping things reasonably under control. Only 35 cases in all of Taos County (twice the size of Rhode Island). So not a particularly intense threat, but we are not being cavalier or careless. Taking all the recommended precautions. The protocols for engagement are pretty strict in this state
Last week (Thursday, June 18) when getting ready to transport Danny and Blue, my two horses, up to the ranch from down where they winter (close by our other house), I went over with my buddy to pick them up. The main river that carries the runoff from all the winter snows in the mountains runs through their pasture. So at this time of year that water is super cold and REALLY moving. But the horses will cross the water at times just to "get to the other side.” So I whistle for the guys and they are on the other side of the river from where they need to be. Three of them (including Danny) respond and two of them coming ripping across the water. Blue is nowhere to be seen...which is unusual, as when one or two of them get excited they usually all get pumped. So I go looking for Blue. I hike down to the end of the property, but I don't see him. Then I look down in the river and there he is lying on his left side completely submerged in the water. He has slipped on the rocks and fallen. All the water is running over him from the top of his head to the end of his tail.
I AM TOTALLY FREAKED OUT!! And I hated myself for getting them excited by whistling for them, causing Blue to rush his river crossing. Hence, over he went. He was struggling to get himself out of the water and I was just about ready to jump in with all my clothes and boots on. What I would have accomplished had I done that is up for debate. It probably would have made things worse. So I run back to the bridge in the opposite direction to get to the other river bank. When I get there, the other 3
horses are standing there having coaxed Blue out of the water. But he is not standing on his left rear leg-- he has it retracted like a landing gear. I AM FREAKED YET AGAIN! But with horses, it is often good to try to walk them (gently) out of their challenges. So that's what we did and made the 1/4 mile trek to the trailer. My buddy whose trailer we were using is a legendary horseman and he looked at Blue's leg and couldn't see anything structurally wrong. So we figured we'd give it a shot and drive up to the ranch. Forty-five minutes later, the boys all get out of the trailer and lo-and-behold, Blue's walking pretty OK. Hmmmmm....So I give him some anti-inflammatory and hope for the best. Next day he is getting around like nothing happened. And he's been fine ever since. Go figure. But I am SOOOOOOOOoooooo grateful that he's OK. I figure maybe he's just playing the sympathy card. It worked!! And he remains just fine now 10 days later. Whew!
(Blue with a friend, two years ago)
Anyway...not the typical story you'll get in your in-box anytime soon is my guess. Stay safe and healthy. It's a must!! All the best, Ken”
1968 – Sidney Mikelbank – The West Coast is the Best Coast
Writes Sid - “Hello Art, I’m living with my wife of many decades in a national forest near Yreka, California.”
1968 – Laurence Dana Schiller – “Wheatley Sports” is Not an Oxymoron
Writes Laurie – “Hey Art: Carl Wirth’s piece on sports really brought back some memories. Carl was a stitch. First, the Trollycarls. I pitched for one of the softball teams that played against them and I used to put a newsletter, handwritten with colored pencils on the bulletin board in Wheatley’s ‘100’ wing, across from the bathrooms. I still have all of them packed away somewhere, as I would replace them each week with new NEWS about the softball teams. I was a bad softball player, so they had me pitch because I couldn’t do anything else well. Good thing I managed to be a good fencer!
Second, the football team. So, I was in the band and we played at the games. I was a clarinetist but played alto sax for the marching band because it made more noise and we were a small band. We were a really fantastic concert band, but not very good at marching. I recall that we did not win a single football game my 9th through 11th grade years, but finally we beat Friends Academy my senior year, which led to a blowout party. I could be wrong, but I think we only scored one touchdown my sophomore year (the 1965 season), and I distinctly recall that we missed the extra point. We also had a punt that literally went backwards over the punter’s head. Please, if you played on that team and have a different memory, let me know. It could be the fantasy of old age…
I remember two other things about football season. First was the day we came out to the field to find that some folks from Roslyn High School had burnt an “R” into the grass of our field before we played them. Ouch. Second was the halftime show when we were marching and desperately trying to keep straight lines. Suddenly, the slide from a slide trombone flew past my head. Someone behind me had lost control of it and it flew by. True story. I can still picture it landing on the grass several feet in front of me, and me blithely marching right on by. As there were few fans, I don’t know if anyone else even noticed.
Finally, I participated in two varsity sports, Fencing and Cross-Country. There weren’t many fencing teams in Nassau, but we always did well for what we were. I was on the Cross-Country team my senior year because Jack Walsh told me it was fun and a great way to get in shape for fencing. Dr. August was the coach and he was tough but always scrupulously fair. We never lost a dual meet that season (1967) and were county and state champs. Dr. August had a few rules. First, pass ‘em on the hill and you’ll never see them again. Second, never quit a race. Third, sprint the last 100 yards (races were 2 ½ miles back then). Fourth, there were 30 runners and 24 numbered shirts. You got the shirt number of where you finished in a race. And fifth, last guy in had to hold up a sign that said ‘Have Fun’ as we did our warm-down. I was always proud of the fact that I never held that sign, and despite beginning the season as one of the 6 unnumbered runners, I finished with number 13. And I really was in good shape for fencing season. I wasn’t fast, but I finished every race. Dr. August taught discipline and grit and I have always remembered it and used those lessons in my life. RIP Dr. August. Good memories. Laurie”
1969 – Craig Artim – Memorable Phrases
Writes Craig – “Two score and several years ago, I ‘pre-retired’ to Sarasota, Florida and, not joining the Circus, I’ve been selling coconut heads to tourists ever since. To wit (at least I hope so), speaking of a young lightweight wrestler by the name of Frank, we found ourselves at a weekend wrestling tournament in a foreign locker room and quickly realized there was no toilet paper available (much like now). But before we could panic, Frank opened his duffle bag and said those immortal words - ‘nickel a sheet guys, nickel a sheet.’
I see the name ‘Carl Wirth’ (1967) and am reminded of his famous words – ‘Get your pinnies in the bin!’ - after football practice. Which motto Joel ‘Bucky’ Buchalter (1969) continued during his stint as manager. But it’s Cat Davis’s words which ring true all these decades later – ‘If I haven’t taught you anything else, just remember, don’t steal the hub caps, steal the car!’ Always dream big. Irwin August’s advice came in handy many times – ‘Pass them going uphill, it will demoralize them!’ And for the grapplers out there, who can forget the sage teachings of Bill ‘Bear’ Stevenson, who coached, ‘the only time you start a roll is at breakfast, never at the start of a wrestling match.’ Of all the knowledge gained at Wheatley, who could ever forget the words of wisdom from the inimitable, loquacious and bodacious DKI (David Israel) – ‘Ye blocks, ye stones. You worse than senseless things’? The spaghetti-eating tiger ate the spaghetti the spaghetti-eating tiger way! Or words to that effect. Sweet memories all.”
1970 – 50th-Year Reunion – Wheatley’s First Class-Wide Virtual Reunion – 6/20/20 – Organized by Jane Roeder and Joseph “Rocky” Elterman
(Technical note – The names are published as is, without checking or corrections; Cathy is “Gerson,” not “Garson”; I apologize if you need to scroll horizontally to see everything/everyone.)
Writes Mindy Spier Cohen (1970) – “I hope your newsletter will include a recap of some kind, or maybe some words of praise for the organizers, Jane Roeder and Joseph “Rocky” Elterman, and for all the participants. If you want some comments from attendees, here are mine...
My expectations were not very high, because it’s not easy to stay muted when you’d like to be able to react to things people are saying, it’s not easy to have small-group conversations in a crowded Zoom room, and it’s not easy to keep flipping screens to see everyone else. BUT, as it turned out, none of that mattered. It was so rewarding to hear what every person had to say, to hear about how we all felt about the neighborhoods in which we lived, to reminisce and to compare how our schools affected who we grew up to be. Respect was paid to the exceptionally large number of classmates who are no longer with us, and words were said about the present state of our country and the world, and our role in it all. It was especially wonderful to reconnect with people who wouldn’t have traveled to attend an in-person reunion. It was possible to have a few side chats, but I ended up limiting that in favor of being attentive to the large group. Many people didn’t want the evening to end - it was a huge success! Thanks to Rocky and Jane for making it happen.”
1970 – Joseph (“Rocky”) Elterman – Wheatley’s Profound Effect
Writes Rocky – “ Here's the funny thing. I only arrived in November of 1969. My family had moved from New Hyde Park all the way to East Williston. Yet, the impact of my experience in that short time on my subsequent life and career is immeasurable. It seems that the Wheatley community has had that effect on more than a few others, right?”
1970 - Jane Roeder – On Rocky Elterman
Writes Jane - “ Wow! How amazing that you became our senior class president right after moving into the district, Rocky. That says a lot about your ability to adapt to new environments, as well as Wheatley’s inclusive nature. Janey”
“The Paper of Record” Recognizes Virtual Reunions
1970 – Mark Vedder – Athletic Wear Memorabilia
Writes Cathy Vedder – “I managed to go through several trunks and pull out Mark's old ‘athletic wear.’ Varsity sweater; the red ones, I believe, are from football; & the shredded grey one was from the 1968 Physical Fitness Team. I think Mark would have wanted me to share these. He loved those Wheatley years, being one of the Choppess, and a member of all the sports teams that would take him on. I even have wrestling head-gear, somewhere. I know he had a lovely, very pretty girlfriend all through, named Janet O. Wish her the best & many happy memories of these early years together with Mark. My best to all. Happy 50th Anniversary! Sincerely and Love, Cathy Vedder”
1972 – David Perlin – Distinguished Doctor
Writes Robert Vincze (1975) – “Thanks, David Perlin, great.”
1972 – Jean Walsh – Joins the Judiciary
Jean is the sister of Lynn (Class of 1964), Kathy (Class of 1966), Jack (Class of 1968) and Alison (Class of 1970) (deceased). She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, with B.A.; and from the State University of New York at Buffalo, in Amherst, New York, with a J.D.
Her legal career began in 1981 at the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, where she served as an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) for 13 years. She was a Deputy Bureau Chief of several senior trial bureaus including the Homicide Bureau. Jean left the Bronx DA’s Office to become an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she investigated and prosecuted a broad range of federal criminal cases and argued appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Jean left the US Attorney’s Office to join the New York State Office of Inspector General. She served as Deputy Inspector General and Special Counsel to the Inspector General, conducting investigations of corruption and fraud within state agencies committed by state employees and state officials.
Thereafter, Jean left public service and entered the financial services industry as an Associate General Counsel and Principal Rule Counsel in the Market Regulation Department of the New York Stock Exchange. As a market regulator she wrote rules for electronic trading platforms and the trading floor. She then became Vice President/Senior Audit Manager in the Corporate Audit Department of the Bank of America.
Jean returned to public service as the Executive Deputy Superintendent of Banks for the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) (formerly the New York State Banking Department). In 2016, Darcel D. Clark was elected District Attorney of Bronx County, and she appointed Jean as an Executive ADA and Chief of the Investigations Division. In December 2019 New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio appointed Jean as an interim Civil Court Judge. She is currently sitting as a Criminal Court judge in Kings County. She is a former Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary of the Criminal Justice Section and currently the Chair of the White-Collar Crime Committee of a prestigious bar association.
Writes Art Engoron (1967) – “Jean, Welcome to the Wildcat Judges Association, Bacon Road Lodge. The membership consists of Barbara Newman, 1958; Neil Firetog, 1965; myself; and Alexander Tisch (1989), all at one time or another New York State Supreme Court Justices); my friend and classmate Robert Scandurra, former First Justice of the Barnstable, Massachusetts Probate and Family Court; Jane Deutscher Fishman, a Broward County, Florida County Court Judge; Laurie Woods, a Senior Administrative Law Judge in Brooklyn; John Mulrooney, a Social Security Administration Civil Law Judge; and if I left anybody out please let me know, and I’ll publish an addendum ASAP. BTW, we are all still alive and kicking.
1973 – John Oakley and Lauren Karasyk Ryan Oakley – Nice Digs
Writes Lauren – “We went to the wedding of my nephew, Seth Ryan (Rex Ryan’s son), in south central New Jersey on July 6, 2019. That was the mansion house for a portion of the party. It’s our summer residence; our winter residence is in Bonita Springs, Florida.”
1974 – Fred Lombardo – “Rockin’ Out in AZ!”
Writes Freddy – “My wife and I have been living in beautiful Prescott, Arizona for 24 years now. I do on-premise sales and marketing for Hensley Beverages. I also play part-time Rock Star. My latest band, the Tone Kings, performs twice a month in clubs and casinos and at golf courses. I’m still rocking out on drums at 64…keeps me young!!”
1976 – Paul Giarmo – Wheatley Football Maven
Writes Paul – “Dear Art: I really enjoyed Issue #47, particularly Carl Wirth's recollections about Wildcat football, my obsession. Carl is correct that the Wheatley Varsity Football Team lost 16 games in a row, going 0 and 8 in 1965 and 1966. (The 1965 junior varsity team also finished 0 and 8).
However, Carl can relax because that "feat" is far from the state record for consecutive losses. Ironically, the Wheatley varsity teams of 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983 compiled a record of 24 straight losses before the '84 football team notched a victory against Friends Academy late in the '84 season. And that's not even the record, although certainly nothing of which to be proud.
I believe that the Long Island record for consecutive losses on the gridiron is jointly held by Great Neck South and W.T. Clarke, each with 26 straight losses. Clarke is a surprise, as they have been a football powerhouse for decades; in fact they gave us our first ever football loss in the '58 season after Wheatley won its first 11 games between 1957-58. Some time I'd love to hear Matt Sanzone's recollection of that game.
Anyway, hard to believe that the ‘65-66 teams had such a hard time, given the sheer number of players on those teams. I wonder if there is a photo somewhere of the '66 team, since it was missing from the 1967 Aurora yearbook. I'd love to see it.
Speaking of photos, I felt a surge of Wildcat pride while looking at the 1964 junior varsity football picture that Charles Trantum sent in; all in stunning Wheatley red. (My condolences to the family of Jay Davison Keillor.) I wonder if Mr. Trantum could tell me what that team's final record was.
I wish we could still field our OWN team, especially since we are finally going to get a turf field with adequate bleachers, a press box, and (finally) an electric scoreboard in the near future, all on the site of the old football field, which hosts one game a year for the combined Carle Place-Wheatley Wildfrogs. The old wooden scoreboard was removed in 1991. Can anyone tell me if it was actually built by some of Tom Cautela's wood shop students? Just curious.
1977 – Glenn Gerstner – More on the Motor Parkway
Writes Glenn – “Hi Art, at one time the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway ran right through my backyard on Shortridge Drive. The Pembrook Development that Ed Roman (1961) wrote about was built in 1952-53. The houses on the west side of Shortridge had an extra 100 feet of property in the backyard, which was the right-of-way for the LILCO power lines overhead. It wasn't ours, but we could use it, and it came in handy for touch football and whiffle ball games, which were not possible on the typical 50x100 lot on which most of us in Mineola grew up. Near the back fence were two odd triangular shaped concrete posts, never removed, that, it turns out, were primitive guard rails that once had wire strung between them.
The Motor Parkway continued south through the undeveloped lot near the end of Roselle Street, still under the LILCO high tension wires. I sometimes wonder if those posts are still there in my old back yard or anyone else's on Shortridge Drive. Regards, Glenn Gerstner”
Mark Jay Epstein – 1982 – Deceased
Mark Jay Epstein, seen in 2016
Writes Newsday – “Mark Jay Epstein, a prominent Melville attorney who was active in politics, the Long Island Rail Road, and several community organizations, died of a heart attack on June 11, 2020. He was 55.
Epstein, a tenacious and thoughtful personal injury attorney, devoted himself to others, friends and family. He was chairman of the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council, a commissioner of the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission, and chairman of the Suffolk County Jewish Advisory Board, among other accomplishments.
‘He put everybody before himself,’ law partner Michael Jaffe said. ‘It was always for people, and people’s rights and people’s ability to thrive and have a good life.’
Epstein, born July 3, 1964, to parents David and Terri, grew up in Roslyn Heights, ex-wife Lynn Epstein said. He graduated from American University, where ‘he was influenced in politics and how people can make a difference in the world,’ she said.
Epstein graduated from New York Law School in 1989. He was admitted to the bar in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. Epstein worked as a defense attorney in insurance law and as a police union attorney before joining Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein. The National Trial Lawyers Association named him one of New York’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers.
He earned a spot in the New York Law Journal’s Hall of Fame for Highest Settlements/Verdicts after winning a $5 million settlement for a client. He also was on the board of directors of the National Trial Lawyers Association.
Epstein often was able to give clarity to complex issues and show other attorneys their blind spots, Jaffe said. He also was ‘honest as the day is long.’
Epstein became active in politics decades ago, raised campaign funds for Democratic candidates, and attended the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee convention.
‘He knew everybody,’ Jaffe said. ‘If you saw the pictures of his office in downtown Manhattan, every corner of every wall has a picture of him in politics on it,’ including photos with former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Epstein rode the LIRR into work regularly and became chairman of the commuter council in 2011. He ‘focused on issues that riders cared about deeply,’ including on-time performance and more waiting room hours.
‘Mark was a fierce and tireless advocate on behalf of LIRR commuters,’ LIRR president Phillip Eng said. “He was dedicated to creating a better LIRR, and he challenged the LIRR’s leadership to strive for excellence on the system that he loved and rode on every day. His passion for the region was unparalleled.’
Epstein joined the Suffolk Human Rights Commission in 2008. Other members were ‘always impressed by the thoughtfulness that Mark brought to all our discussions,’ said Rabbi Steven Moss, former chairman of the commission.
‘He didn’t speak a lot,’ Moss said. ‘That is because he wanted to make sure that when he did speak, he said something significant, which he always did.’
Epstein, who also was part of several Jewish groups, ‘brought the Jewish sense of justice and ethical behavior and concern for the fixing of the inequalities of our society’ to the commission, Moss said.
Lynn Epstein, of Melville, said her former husband of 15 years ‘was always amazing at knowing how to speak to people about what was important to them.’ He also was a hard worker who loved to tell jokes and take his two sons, Noah, 19, and Aaron, 15, to sporting events and movies, she said.
Epstein also is survived by his mother, Terri, of Melville; his father, David, of Florida; his stepmother, Brenda Epstein; and his sister, Elisa Epstein Indek, of Plainview.
Epstein had a virtual funeral and a small graveside burial at a local cemetery, Lynn Epstein said.
1988 – Celebs
Writes David Mahaffey (1988) -
I keep forgetting to mention a couple of fellow Class of 1988'ers that are now celebs:
Tony Katagas: movie producer, won an Oscar for Twelve Years a Slave. He was one of the producers and he was up there on the stage at the Academy Awards, statue in hand. And if you haven't seen the movie, rent it. It's worth it. He's done a number of other films, too. Just Google Anthony Katagas, producer.
Rick Hoffman: You'll recognize Rick from a variety of acting roles, including Louis Litt on the TV drama series “Suits.” And now as the ethically challenged black market organ donor doctor on the series “Billions.”
Fan Mail, E-Mail Addresses, and Miscellaneous
Administrator (Norman Boyan – Wheatley’s first Principal, 1955-1959) – “Art, Great Report. Even though I never knew most of the folks, I still enjoyed learning about many of them. I still feel a sense of pride about my association with Wheatley. Be well. Norm”
1958 (Robert Schnipper, MD) – RSCHNIPPER@YAHOO.COM
1960 (Susan Martin Rosenzweig) – “Really Interesting Newsletters.” SROSENZ@COMCAST.NET
1961 (Jeanne Messing Sommer) – “I will always think of everyone I knew at Northside, Willetts Road, and Wheatley as my second family. Jeanne Messing Sommer – JEANNESOMMER10@GMAIL.COM
1961 (Bari Mittenthal Mears) – “Thank you again, Art.”
1964 (Diane Nissenfeld Moore) – “Art, As always, good to see the newsletter, and thank you.” DIANE.MOORE244@GMAIL.COM
1965 (Steve Cohn) – ““Hi Art, Thanks for creating and maintaining this network of connections.”
1966 (Deborah Bond Berk) – “I’ve received emails from classmates….means the world to me. I hope you know how much we value what you do.”
1966 (Ken Distler) – “Art, I found Charlie on Jay touching and lovely. I’m certain that I’m far from alone in thinking each of your newsletters a treasure.”
1967 (Scott Frishman) – “Art, You are truly amazing!! I so look forward to the newsletters; they always make my day. I enjoyed Mr. August as my Cross-Country coach, and his enthusiastic prodding made me a better athlete and person. Please keep sending us these glorious newsletters, as it gives us something to look forward to in these extremely trying times. Your friend,
1967 (Ilene Kornblath Rosenbaum) – “Thank you so much for all that you do! I really enjoy the Newsletters, and I read every one! Great job.” IKRHOME@GMAIL.COM
1967 (Ronald Pierce) – “Thanks Art. It was very nice getting the latest newsletter. Lots off interesting information. It is hard to believe that it is now over 50 years since we graduated. Ron”
1967 (Dick Rasmussen) – “I enjoy reading each edition of the newsletter and really appreciate all your hard work.”
1967 (Joseph Tartaglia) – “It was great hearing from the Class of 1967. Thank you, Arthur, for the awesome newsletter you put together for us, all the time. A Big Hello to Carl Wirth, a friend and neighbor! Joe Tartaglia”
1968 (Gail Buck Cannold) – “Art, I love reading the newsletter, even though I only spent my senior year at Wheatley, 1968. as difficult as it was changing schools after going through the Roslyn school district from 1st grade to 11th. I have distinct memories of Wheatley. My 1st cousin, Gary Schwartz, graduated from Wheatley in 1966. He did indeed marry Teresa (not “Terry”) Lauricella. Keep up the good work, xox, Gail”
1968 (Andy Forstenzer) – “Keep up the good efforts. You’ve brought a whole community together over a long stretch of time. Your work is most appreciated.”
1968 (John Mok) – “ Your newsletters are always enjoyable to read, especially when one is self-isolating at home. Thanks for distributing the nostalgic 1967 team photo from Paul Riefberg.”
1969 (Carol Pistocchi Strouss) – “Thank you so very much for all the hard work of putting together these informational letters throughout the years. Living so far from NY, they help to bring back fond memories. I love hearing about the lives, successes and memories they have held onto for so many years. I am the oldest of my seven brothers and sister, all of whom are still alive and kicking, and I enjoy the information about friends that you are able to gather. My sincerest regards to you and thank you again. Carol (Pistocchi) Strouss, RN, Class of 1969, Snohomish, Washington.
1970 (Jane Madison) – “I always look forward to reading the newsletter. The many subjects covered make me laugh and sometimes cry.”
1970 (Steven Shukow) – “ Great job on the newsletter!! Having great fun keeping up to date on everyone!”
1970 (Mindy Spier Cohen) – “Hi Art! Thank you for continuing to do so much to keep us Wheatley alumni together. Thanks for all you do, Art!”
1970 (John Weiss) – “ Thanks for all the work you and Keith have done to help people remember. You two are doing an outstanding job.”
1972 (Liz Diamond) – “Thank you so much for sending us these delightful newsletters. I so enjoy reading them and hearing about all our teachers & alumni.”
1972 (Robin Freier Edwards) – “Thanks for keeping the newsletters coming - I love getting these updates and stories. So many great memories.”
1974 (Freddy Lombardo) – “Great Job, Art – I appreciate all the hard work you put in to keep everyone updated on Wildcat things!!”
1976 (Paul Giarmo) – “ Thanks so much for all your work in making this newsletter so enjoyable to read, Art. We all appreciate it!”
1976 (Jennifer Karp Colbert) – “Thanks, Art!!”
1977 (Nanette Asimov) – “Thanks so much for your wonderful newsletters. All best, Nan.”
1977 (Glenn Gerstner) – “Thanks for all the work you put into the newsletters.”
1977 (Doug Smith) – “Thanks for all of your good work on this project.”
1979 (Gwendolyn (“Wendy”) McClure) – “Thank you for your service in creating this newsletter!! 🌹🌹🌹 I Loved and laughed at Steve Ehre’s memories!! And thank you for publishing Julie Paine Hamilton’s fuller obituary in Newsletter # 46! That meant a lot to me!!! ♥ ️ 🙏💕🧚🏿 ♂ ️ 🎼 Wendy ’79 GWENDOLYNNELLI@GMAIL.COM
That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 48 – Part 1 of 2: Administrators, Faculty, and 1958-1969. Stay tuned for Part 2 of 2, 1970 to the Present, which will include news about Wheatley’s first virtual reunion, about the untimely passing of Mark Epstein (1982), and about various other comings and goings.
Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.
Arthur Fredericks Engoron
The Wheatley School Class of 1967