Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,
Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 49.
Public Service Announcements
Class of 1969 (Belated) 50th Year Reunion
The Class of 1969 is holding a virtual (belated) 50th reunion on Saturday September 12, 2020 at 7:30 pm EDT, via Zoom. Bill Kirchick and Mark Goldberg are coordinating the event and have created the following website that contains a wealth of information on the event and where classmates can register:
So far over 50 classmates have registered. They are asking that all classmates register, whether you can attend or not, as they are creating a class list of everyone who registers.
The Fate of Hildebrandt’s is Up in the Air
First came the following notice, from Hildebrandt’s itself: “It’s with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce Hildebrandt’s will no longer be in business within the next few months. Unrelated to COVID the landlords of the building have decided to sell it and the new owners will be creating something different. It’s been 93 years of this amazing place and 46 years in our family. Although we don’t want to part with it we are grateful for the memories and love built around this wonderful place. We have decided that we will be selling anything inside including our phone booth!”
But, then again, maybe Hildebrandt’s is not closing (at least not now). You can read all about it here (and doubtless elsewhere):
Customers Save Long Island Village’s Historic Restaurant After Learning Building Was For Sale – CBS New York
Several people, including Steve Rushmore (1963), Rick Kaplan (1964), Eliot “Ike” Evans (1965), Ken Gallard (1968), Howard Davidson (1972) and Brad Adgate and Edward Ryder (1973) chimed in about this.
Steve reminisced – “Many fond memories- I was always jealous of the Little Leaguers who played on the Hildebrandt’s team because they got free ice cream every time they won. I played on Rudy’s Delicatessen (down the block) - I didn’t even get potato salad when we won.”
Rick commented – “There probably isn't an alumnus or current student who doesn't have great memories about this institution on Hillside Avenue.”
Ike says - “We should get the whole Wheatley community behind this one.”
Eddie wrote (before the situation took a turn for the better – “An institution of almost a century will soon be gone. A landlord’s greed and avarice portend the end of a local legacy.”
Yet More Wheatley History
Writes LeAnne Grillo – “Dear Art—A number of years ago I was in Antigua, Guatemala for work. A group of us were walking back to our hotel after dinner, and I was talking to Andre van Heemstra. Andre was personnel director of Unilever in the Netherlands at the time, and he was recounting a story of how he had lived in Antigua as a child when his father was a diplomat and how his family had had to flee Guatemala in the middle of the night during a coup. They ended up on Long Island. I casually asked where on Long Island and he responded, "East Williston." I was surprised to say the least. I asked him where he lived—it turned out that his house was torn down to build the new Wheatley School. Small world. Best, LeAnne” [Editor’s note – sharp-eyed readers will no doubt notice that Wheatley is situated in Old Westbury, but lies within the East Williston Union Free School District.]
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 48 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. I do not have a fact-checking department, and I do not vouch for the accuracy of what people tell me, although occasionally I correct, or refuse to publish, errors or falsehoods that I notice.
Please let me know if you will permit me to publish your email address, snail-mail address, and/or telephone number, 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 any of your contact information). 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 and/or studied there.
Aaron Kuriloff – A Retrospective of His Ground-Breaking Artwork
William “Bill” Stevenson – Superman in the Flesh
Writes Alma Stevenson – “That’s Bill posing as ‘The Man of Steel,’ and I am the pumpkin next to him. He made both costumes. At one athletic competition Bill decided to let his team in on a big secret that he had kept hidden from them. That is when he quickly removed his jacket and the boys saw the Superman shirt. Of course, they were all laughing, etc. That was Bill, always trying to remind his teams that no matter what, playing on a team should be fun.
Billy really enjoyed being with youngsters and teaching them all kinds of sports and games. He was an expert at analyzing how a technique could be improved to get better results. On our honeymoon in the Poconos, he helped a bank teller who had never used an archery bow how to do so correctly. Bill was a natural athlete and could hold his own in most sports. Anyway, Bill was such a good coach, this fellow honeymooner beat him in a competition. Bill came in second. He never forgot that.
In the Poconos there were several of these honeymoon places to go in the 50s and 60s. Everyone was on a week's honeymoon and they had all kinds of events scheduled for us. I entered Bill in several of these athletic events. He would come in second or something because he was athletic but not necessarily skilled in any one particular sport. After a while he told me, ‘No more!’ He was always a competitor but also taught his players to be good sports, no matter what, and just keep their mouths closed when things did not go in their favor.”
John Pagliaro – Remembered by His Students
Writes Gerry Pagliaro – “I have been getting multitudes of email from John’s former students. I only wish that he could have been around to have read them. He lived for Wheatley and for his students. I am happy that he will be so fondly remembered.”
John Pagliaro – Remembered by Colleague Steve Ehre
Writes Steve - “Art: When Gerry Pagliaro notified me that John had passed after a long illness, I posted the news on FB. I was gratified to see over 150 responses from my friends on FB…many speaking highly not just of John but also of Gerry. Those comments were greatly appreciated. I was honored to speak at his Zoom service, which was a celebration of his life; we did not mourn in the traditional sense. Among other things, his Grandson wrote and performed a beautiful song written just for John.
I knew John Pagliaro for 55 years! That’s a LONG TIME! When I first came to Wheatley in 1965, he was already, even at his young age, an ‘Old Timer,’ having been among the first hires, right out of college, for the new Wheatley School. My first few years I didn’t interact with him much as he was in the Jr. High wing, and I was in the Sr. High wing. John was then the team leader for the 7-8th grade Social Studies group (we had team leaders back then). His name back then was “Mister Pagliaro.” As times changed he became ‘JP.’ His nickname/greeting for almost everyone was, ‘Hey, Tiger’…and always with that big smile!! One item of note is that I don’t think I ever heard, from students or teachers or parents alike, one bad word about John. Everyone liked him as a person. He was genuine and caring, and he loved teaching…seriously loved teaching.
Over the years he did many things at Wheatley. He started the Photo Documentation course, played a mean clarinet in the Wheatley Dixieland band, taught a course with Gerry on the Native Americans (do those great paintings on the window shades still exist in Room 104??), started the Wheatley HS Jacks Team (yup…Jacks…they had shirts made to prove it), and later was a teacher in the ‘School Within a School.’ He also coached Jr. High Soccer and always talked about the Messing brothers (Marc, 1965; Shep, 1967; Albee 1970; Roy 1976). As the head of the Model UN Club, he and Gerry took a group to Russia, which was a highlight for many. I personally think it was just a way for John and Gerry to have a sneaky getaway.
My best times spent with John were on his beautiful 32ft O’Day sailboat, The Serendipity. I am pretty sure that John learned much of his sailing prowess from Stewart Doig (Social Studies Teacher), who was so good at it that he actually built his own boat from scratch! We would take off right after school at 2:45 and run down to Amityville and set sail on the Great South Bay. After a bit, he let me control the helm. I still have pictures of me holding on to that big helm while heeling way over. Wine and cheese and talks about everything under the sun while sailing on the Bay is a cherished memory.
Later in life, after John and Gerry left LI for Florida, we would talk regularly on the telephone about books and politics…and his volunteering to count baby sea turtles. He also became a City Commissioner, with an ongoing battle about sewers. The turtles and sewers were items I never let him forget as the highlight of his life, and that his parents were so proud of him for that. John and I laughed and joked about everything under the sun…jokes and laughter and talks always felt good and at home. Well, John is truly home right now, and I will miss him. A Wheatley original…loved that guy! Bye, ‘Tiger!’”
John Pagliaro – Remembered by Linda Caterino (1967)
Writes Linda – “Dear Arthur, I was so saddened to hear of Mr. Pagliaro’s passing. He was such a kind and wonderful teacher. I learned so much in his class and not always the material that was in our books. I remember that he told us of the Japanese internment in Arizona at a time when we were never taught to question our government. I think of that every time I go to the museum here in Arizona. He was fun and also thoughtful. I’m sure that everyone else felt that he took a special interest in them, but I certainly did! I was so thrilled when he asked me to attend the parent teacher night and greet each parent and record their names! I thought it was such an honor for a junior high student. He was just a consummate teacher- the best! Linda Caterino”
John Pagliaro – Remembered by Art Engoron (1967)
Writes Art - “In September 1961 I entered Wheatley as a 7th grader, and John Pagliaro was both my homeroom and Social Studies teacher. I remember him as articulate, strong, and fair, and I still recall some of what he taught me about Long Island history. Fast forward to October 2005, the month my wife and got married. We drove out to the North Shore of Eastern Long Island to spend the afternoon with John and Gerry. After a lovely lunch in a seafood restaurant we chatted for hours on a winery estate. The topic turned to religion, and one of us was sure that God exists; one was confident that God exists; one was confident that God does not exist; and one was sure that God does not exist. (Of course, I’m not going to say who thought what!) That gorgeous day was one of the sweetest of my life. John was a classy guy from start to finish. His passing is an institutional, and personal, loss.”
1961 – 1964 – 1966 – 1968 – 1972: The Brescia Bunch
Writes Donna Brescia (1968) – “Greetings, Art - The Brescia family is mostly doing well. Tom ('61), an oncologist, passed away in 1976. His son has 5 kids. Frank ('64), a retired teacher, is enjoying his 4 grandsons. Jeanine ('66) is a psychologist and has 2 adult children. I ('68) am a property/event manager for Emerson College, but forgot to have kids. Charles ('72) has 2 adult sons. Our mom, also named “Jeanine,” taught for many years at North Side and just celebrated her 100th birthday.
Jeanine and I live in the Boston area. Charles lives in London. Mom still lives in her home and has been working in her garden. Our cousins, the Petrettas, sadly have all passed away. Joanne ('68) passed away in 1977, Elaine ('71) passed away in 2015 and, sadly, Lisa ('76) just passed away from Covid-19. My fourth "brother," Arthur Haf (’62), a veterinarian who spent a lot of time at our kitchen tables on Brown and Charles Streets, passed away in 2015.
I read with great interest the stories of Tom Glaser, son of Holocaust survivor Victor Glaser. My dad was a liberator of Auschwitz. Forty years later my mentor in the housing/community building world was a social worker who had spent 3 yeas in Auschwitz. When I showed her a video of my dad talking about that horrible day when they went into the camp, she turned to me and said; ‘I remember the day the Americans came in and saved us.’ Just amazing how things work in the world. Take care and best regards, Donna Brescia”
Writes Art Engoron (1967) – During the 1960-1961 school year I was at North Side in Mr. Foerschner’s class. He took a long paternity leave (I think his wife had twins, or their sixth kid, or something), and “Mrs. Brescia” substituted for him. She was as sweet as could be and still managed (unlike some other substitutes) to control the class (including its chief rabble-rouser, me).
1961 – Gene Razzetti on Tim Jerome
Writes Gene – “Tim's love and talent for the Theater go way back. As a member of Wheatley's Stage Crew (Head Curtain-Puller), I watched Tim perform in ‘The Crucible’ our junior year and ‘The Man Who Came to Dinner’ our senior year. Tim was hilarious as ‘Banjo’ in ‘Dinner.’ Nobody can be funny in ‘Crucible’ - you're lucky if you don't want to shoot yourself.”
1961 – Peter Calderon on Tim Jerome
Writes Peter – “Congratulations, Tim. You pulled it off at a difficult time. We’re proud of you!
1962 – Arthur Haf - Deceased
Arthur passed in 2015.
1963 – Mary Lee Holley Cerillo – Fabulous Foto
1964 – Marilyn Bardo, Nancy Gittleson, Meryl Moritz, and Beth Sack – Best of Friends
Writes Marilyn – ““Hi Art, After eagerly reading each newsletter, I decided that the Class of 1964 was under-represented and could use a bit more exposure. So here we are, four women willing to take up the mantle.
Beth Sack, Meryl Moritz, and I have been friends since kindergarten, and Nancy Gittleson (Iannotti Hodson) joined us when we headed off to Wheatley. We have all been through so much together that it would take a book to do all the stories justice. Here are a few highlights from our lives:
Earlier editions of the newsletter made mention of the Vanderbilt (“Old”) Motor Parkway. That brought back memories of Meryl and me in 8th grade sneaking out from my home in Albertson to smoke and meet our respective boyfriends, Tom Ivey (’65) and Willy Lamparter (’65). Both have unfortunately passed away.
Although none of us live near each other, Meryl, Nancy, and I make a point of getting together several times a year to renew and enjoy what have become lifelong friendships. Beth and I have been best friends on and off since kindergarten. We speak at least once a week and spend a few days together at each other’s homes whenever possible.
These friendships are very precious to me and I cherish them greatly. They have helped to sustain me—in good times and bad—for almost 70 years.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the Wheatley men in my life: my brother, Seth Bardo (’67), my dear friend Steve Morris (’64), my brothers-in-law John (’58) and Andy Halper (’65), and of course, the love of my life and husband of 17 years, Bob Halper (’65).
My email address is MARILYN.BARDO@GMAIL.COM, and the others can be reached through me.
Nancy, Marilyn, & Meryl, April 2019, NY Botanical Garden
Meryl, Nancy, & Marilyn, September 2019, Bannerman’s Castle
Marilyn & Beth, January 2017, Women’s March
Beth & Marilyn, February 2020, Dominican Republic
1964 – Steve Lewis – Pastoral Poet
Writes Marilyn Bardo (1964) – “Steve Lewis is a teacher and an accomplished author, as well as the father of 7 children and 16 grandchildren! The following poem appears on his Facebook page.
1964 – Barbara Shire - Deceased
From “The Professional Skater” magazine –
1967 – Robert Silverstein – Fighting the Good Fight
Writes Bobby – “July 26 marked the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I had the privilege and honor to serve as the chief counsel to the sponsor of the ADA, Senator Tom Harkin. Below is a link to a short story about the final passage appearing on ABC news from 30 years ago. The guy sitting next to Senator Harkin on the floor of the Senate is a younger version of me.
Robert ‘Bobby’ Silverstein
Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville PC
1501 M Street, N.W. | Washington, DC 20005-1700 | Direct: 202.872.6754
Fax: 202.785.1756 | Bobby.Silverstein@PowersLaw.com | www.PowersLaw.com”
1968 – Asoka Bandarage – Updating Her Major Academic Work
Writes Asoka (an Exchange Student who lived with the Berley Family: Karen (1969); Lisa (1970); Peter (1971) and Barbara (1975)) – “Greetings Dear Friends, I hope this finds you healthy and safe during this difficult time of pandemic and global upheaval. I am excited to let you know that a new edition of my 1983 book, Colonialism in Sri Lanka, will be published on September 14, 2020, including a new chapter, “Neocolonialism in Sri Lanka.’
The first edition was a mammoth undertaking based on collecting and analyzing large amounts of primary data, and formed the basis of my PhD and subsequent career. In this tumultuous year, I wanted to both reintroduce this socioeconomic analysis and case study of British imperialism to the world – it remains as relevant today as it was in the 80s – and to add a snapshot of Sri Lanka's beleaguered sovereignty in 2020. The past is prologue.
For more information please see the links below to the book's webpage and an introductory video. Please feel free to circulate to anyone you think may be interested.
The eBook is available for pre-order (link below). I will send an announcement in early September when the paperback is available for order.
Thank you very much for your support.
1968 – Gary Kenton – Memorabilia and Memory
Writes Gary – “Hello Gang. I moved recently, and all kinds of things turned up, including these two tickets for major Wheatley events. I don’t recall any specifics about the 1967 Varsity Review, but I do remember thinking that the Vagrants were good. Should anyone doubt the authenticity of the ticket, there’s a handwritten note on the back that says, “Call Andy to make sure practice is at 2.” Well, Forstenzer, is the game on? Gary Kenton Greensboro, NC”
Writes Art – “I never heard of ‘The Rich Kids,’ but ‘The Vagrants’ were a Long Island “blue-eyed soul” band, heavily influenced by the aforementioned Young Rascals, featuring Leslie West on guitar and vocals. Leslie was born ‘Leslie Weinstein’ and grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, and Lawrence and East Meadow, Nassau County. After The Vagrants he formed ‘Mountain’ and, subsequently, ‘West, [Jack] Bruce and Laing.’ None of which has much to do with Wheatley, but does arise from Long Island, and West was (and maybe still is) one of the greatest Rock & Roll guitarists ever. Does anyone out there remember the concert?
1970 – Mitchel Shapiro – Helping the Hard-of-Hearing
Writes Mitch – “Hi Art, There is so much to say…and then again, it’s hard to say it all! Recently, I joined the zoom 50th class reunion and found quite interesting the paths my fellow classmates have traveled. It’s hard to believe from listening, the many things I missed out on during my time in school. I was ‘un-involved’ as a student, didn’t have many friends, was a shadow of sorts, not knowing, not being.
Working and looking forward to doing so in the family business consumed me; also, looking to explore other possibilities like working as a groom in the harness and thoroughbred racing scene became part of my life. I studied restaurant management at Miami-Dade Junior College for one year and got a job offer to work in Atlanta GA. I started going blind; worked at supermarkets, a horse farm in Versailles, KY; and went back to work in the family restaurant/catering business. In the 1980s I developed my landscaping skills, learning at and operating two large greenhouses while also working behind the scenes helping to run day-to-day operations of a massive catering operation.
All the facilities were sold off one at a time, with the Swan Club being sold last, in 1994. I stayed with the business, but left the following year. During this time I helped put together the Class of 1970 25th-year reunion there. At this juncture of my life, things were uncertain: divorced with two young kids; my son now 34 and my daughter almost 31, I had no clue what to do with myself. As a person who at that time was sight impaired and hard of hearing, my thoughts were who would hire me, what will I do with my life? Well, lo & behold, I didn’t have time to sit and feel sorry for myself; instead, I got involved with a charity that was looking for a cure of my vision & hearing disorder and got into public speaking on behalf the charity. I expanded my speaking to overcoming obstacles and started my own not-for-profit in 2004. In 2019, we officially changed our name to ‘Help America Hear Inc.’ providing hearing aids to men, women & children with limited financial resources to obtain them on their own. I’ve now been in the not-for-profit sector for almost 30 years, receiving no personal financial gain.
I remarried in 2014, to someone I met on match.com. I asked my wife, Donna, why did you marry me? Is it because I’m good looking & sexy? She said No, you promised me you’d never look at another woman….*lol*..so much for the blind jokes eh? I also did a short stint doing stand-up comedy…my basic message is to do as much as you are capable of doing, challenge yourself to do things you’ve always wanted to do and then some. Look for the positive, and as I always say, “Your greatest weakness is your greatest strength”
Again, I look back to my Wheatley years, knowing now, what I didn’t understand or realize then…I heard some talk about a sensitivity class or club that I wish I knew about, although at that time I didn’t know what advocacy was. Being a person who was differently abled, I was shunned a lot and found it difficult to function in the school environment. But that was the past, what counts is the journey I went on. Each of us travels on a different path…some take the road less traveled!
BTW, my dad played basketball in college with Walter Wathey! I found this out in later years and explains how I graduated from high school.
Founder & CEO
Help America Hear Inc.
Our Signature Programs
Help America Hear Program
Help America Hear Scholarship
The John Thomas Golf Classic
Play Charity Golf Support Us in 2020. Click here.
Monday, August 24th at the Huntington Crescent Club, Huntington NY
Request Mitch to Motivate & Inspire
Business, Civic or Social groups
****Help America Hear Inc. Is a New York State registered 501c3 not for profit corporation formally Foundation for Sight & Sound
1971 – Neil Rosenberg – Tales of Two Terrific Teachers.
Writes Neil – “Hi Art, I’ve written up a few memories of two of the teachers from my time at Wheatley.
I had the privilege of having Reuben David Workman for Social Studies in 10th grade. His impact on me took time to settle in, but settle in it did! He was a unique individual in many ways. A man of short and stocky stature, he had a certain “fire” in his eyes, and he made it clear from the outset that his primary goal was to help us to develop the ability to think critically, to create a concise thesis statement and then defend it vigorously. For the longest time it seemed odd and a bit over-the-top, but eventually his methods began to take hold. I remember his example hypothesis that “public support for private schools will undermine public education.” Pretty heady stuff for a 15 year old. And, amazingly, still relevant today.
After a few false starts, I began to understand what he was talking about, and, better yet (with some prodding), I started to form for the first time in my life a coherent statement and then work on backing it up with research and data.
His energy was palpable, his vocabulary immense, and his connection with students was unmistakable. To this day I use those methods in my own work and teaching, each time is a nod to Reuben’s fine example.
I was saddened to learn that he passed away in 2009, it was a hope of mine to reconnect with him one day, if only to thank him. Wheatley was indeed lucky to have an instructor of his caliber.
The other instructor of note is Elito J. Bongarzone.
“Bongy” (as his students called him) taught Physics. And a lot more. I have many recollections of his impact on me and other students. He had an acid wit, knew how to handle the “bad boys” (his term),and was supportive of anyone who showed even the slightest desire to learn.
Story 1: After Wheatley I was an undergraduate at MIT and was wrestling with a particularly thorny math problem. You’d think MIT would have all kinds of help for these situations, but this was not the case, at least not for me. I happened to be visiting Wheatly during a break, and made a bee-line for the math department to see if they could help. As it turned out (no names please) the problem was mystifying to them as well. Then, as I was wont to do at that time, I headed down to Bongy’s classroom to bother him. He welcomed me in, asked how it was going, and on a lark I told him about the math problem. Like a well-oiled machine, he quickly broke it down into its components and taught me a method of solving it. Then, true to form, he gave me ANOTHER similar problem to solve, and then guided me to its solution. I learned more math in that quick session than I did for the rest of the term at MIT.
Story 2: The school had acquired a small Data General minicomputer, which it parked down in the Audio-Visual office. It had a teletype, tape punch, and reader, and ran the Dartmouth version of Basic. It was the first computer I had ever used, and because it was not well-known, I had almost exclusive access any time day or night. It captured my imagination, and I started to spend whole days ginning up programs to solve and graph equations, compile data, and develop algorithms. To say I was obsessed would not be an exaggeration. Here’s where Bongy comes into the picture. On one parent-teacher night, my Mom expressed concern to him about how much time I was spending on this odd endeavor. His instincts were good; he assured my Mom that it was a phase that would pass, and she was comforted. Of course it didn’t pass, and in fact computers and software would later become the basis for one of my careers. Thanks to Bongy for defusing what could have been a difficult situation.
Story 3: Bongy would occasionally segue from teaching Physics to advising us on various important life-skills. I remember at one point he talked to us in an impassioned way about how easy it is to HAVE children, and how truly difficult it is to be a good parent. It seemed strange at the time, but it’s one of those things you think about later. Much later. He also talked about driving safety (lamenting the “marshmallow” suspensions in the current cars), going to college and lots more. He was as much a mentor as a teacher to us.
Many years later I tracked him down in Arizona -- I called him to thank him for how much he had taught me. Incredibly, he remembered me. He was modest as always, and we wished each other well. Best, Neil”
1971 – Jonathan Sporn – Grateful Reminiscences
Writes Jon – “Arthur’s encouragement to submit a report of myself, before being the subject of an obit notice, resonated with me recently. I’ve been working 3 days a week, and I’ve decided to fully retire next July after more than 35 years of practicing medical oncology. Looking back can’t help but make me think, “What a long strange trip it’s been,” and bits of Wheatley experiences have continued to play a role in the trip, including many of the things that have given me great pleasure over the years.
Much to the chagrin of my brother Seth (1974), as a New Englander I’ve strayed from my roots as a Mets fan, and I’ve found baseball bliss in the stands at Boston’s Fenway Park for several games a year with my sons; much more in touch with the old-time feel of a park than sterile Shea Stadium ever was. The apex of my on-the-field baseball experience was as a senior at Wheatley, where I had a good season, which greatly surprised Mr. Jack Davis, who was fond of reminding me that my throws to first base from third base were so weak that they had “hang time.” But being part of the team just cemented for me the joy in baseball that I’d always had as a spectator.
Enjoying music remains a big part of my life, with my tastes pretty solidly frozen in the late 60s/early 70s. Classmate Bob Belsky and I were regulars at the Fillmore East for a wide variety of bands, at the Garden to see the Stones during the “Gimme Shelter” tour, and at the Metropolitan Opera House, where we saw The Who perform “Tommy.” I still drag my wife to occasional shows by aging rock gods, and I was able to have special nights a few years ago with Seth and my son Scott seeing The Who on their 50th Anniversary Tour.
Growing up near NYC allowed access to theater, and I’ve always continued this. A life-changing experience senior year was a field trip organized by Mr. David Israel for his Poetry class to see the Peter Brook production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which opened my eyes to the power of theatre to get at the audience’s inner world. Classmate Judy Slutzky was a theatre booster and led to my only onstage experience, as a nonspeaking juror in a Wheatley production of, I believe, “The Crucible,” during which Gregg Suss admonished me for not staying sufficiently in character.
My family has a second home in southern VT, which has provided an environment of peace that has helped me get through stressful years. I had my first experience with life outside the NYC sphere of influence when I spent two years working in Denver after college. My initial hosts there were, among others, Classmates Dwight Devon and Burt Dezendorf, who allowed me to crash with them while I was finding a place to live, and turned me on to the virtues of a more laid-back lifestyle.
While following my father’s footsteps into a career as a physician may have been predetermined, somehow something must have targeted both classmate Neil Cohen and me to wind up in the same subspecialty of medical oncology. When we get together, our partners are always amused and amazed at what clones Neil and I are in terms of how we react to things.
And my sons, now 35 and 36, still shake their heads in wonder at the day they saw Wheatley listed in US News as the #1 public high school in America. I have no particular plans for retirement, but I think between family and assorted interests I’ll figure it out. Just grateful for having grown up in the time and place that we did, and for all the people and experiences, including Wheatley-related, that have pointed me along the way. Jon Sporn, Wheatley 1971”
1973 – Bradford (“Brad”) Adgate – Run for Your Life
Writes Brad – “After reading about the 1967-68 championship cross-country squads, I thought I'd contribute with my own memories of the 1972 season. Although we didn't win any championships, it was Dr. August's last time as the Wheatley cross-country coach, and he made it fun and memorable for us.
The 1972 Wheatley Cross Country Squad: Running ten miles or so every day after school for a few months can be mundane to say the least, so Coach August was always trying to make workouts and even meets more fun. As captain of the 1972 cross country team, I have three distinct memories of our workouts and meets. While the 1972 squad did not win the New York State or even the county championship (losing to Floral Park), similar to the 1967 & 1968 championship teams, Wheatley had a competitive squad with several elite long-distance runners, anchored by P J O'Connor, Billy Ryan and Tony Fleck.
In 1972 Coach August came up with the Madman Marathon, in which we had to run to Roslyn Harbor following any road route of our choice. We had to fill a test tube with water from the harbor that August said he would give to science teacher Okey Ryan to make sure it was saline and not tap water. We also each had to pick up another item from downtown Roslyn. I had to collect garbage from the cannon at the Clock Tower; one teammate had to get a ticket stub from the Roslyn Theater; and another teammate had to get the autograph of the barber from Pete's Place. Then we raced back to Wheatley again following any route. It was a lot of fun and we all got a good ten-mile workout in.
That year we also had Costume Day; it was a meet against our archrival Carle Place (and Oyster Bay). Coach August loved to get under the skin of Ogilvie, the Carle Place coach. Anyway, the two other schools were in their regular cross-country uniforms (presumably) getting mentally prepared for the race and we came out of the carryall in Halloween costumes, looking more like the audience from "Let's Make a Deal" than a high school cross country team. I remember Bill Tatum came to the starting line with a cast on his leg (he was recently injured), as the starting gun was about to go off, Tatum yelled, "Wait, stop! I can't run with this on" and ripped the cast off. Ogilvie was furious with August while the Oyster Bay coach just laughed it off. The Carle Place team was totally deflated, soundly defeated and on the drive home August just said, ‘Well, I think we got to Ogilvie again.’
Earlier in the 1972 season we actually ran to the meet at the Air National Guard Station on Harbor Hill Road in Roslyn (about four miles from Wheatley) and the famous hill ‘Charley Monster.’ (Coach August was always on the lookout for hills, no small feat on Long Island.) It was a non-divisional "pre-season" triangular meet against Roslyn and Mineola. The runners of the other two schools were incredulous that we ran to the meet. I remember a Roslyn runner finished first, a Mineola runner finished second and Wheatley had the remaining ten finishers, winning handily. We were about to hop in the carryall for the presumed ride back to Wheatley and Coach August said to us in front of the other schools, "Where are you going? You're not finished with your workout yet!" So, we started running back, and when we got out of their sight, August was there with the carryall and told us to hop in saying, "Well, they won't be bothering us this year."
1972 was also the last year Coach August coached the varsity & JV Wheatley cross-country team. They were great memories and 48 years later, I still enjoy running for fun outdoors, just not in a Halloween costume, with any test tubes and certainly not as fast.”
1973 – Eugene Mario Martone, Jr. – Deceased - December 10, 1955 – November 25, 2016
Writes classmate Eddie Ryder – “I was so sad hearing of the passing of my friend Gene Martone. He was a man of good humor, a perpetual smile, and kind words. I will always remember us playing hockey into the wee hours of the morning at the rink. May he rest in peace. December 1, 2016”
1974 – Ilene Swickle – Another Wildcat Adjudicator
Writes Ilene – “I was a hearing officer for the State of Florida for 22 1/2 years, retiring in 2012. The official title of the position was "appeals referee.” I guess if the State had actually called us ‘judges,’ they would have had to pay us a lot better. During my career I presided over approximately 30,000 disputed unemployment compensation appeals hearings.
1976 and 1978 – David Eysler and Pam Furst-Eysler – Proud Grandparents
David and Pam (“Nana & Papa) are proud first-time grandparents upon the birth of Owen Pierce to their son Gavin and daughter-in-law Kate on April 23, 2020.
1976 – Paul Giarmo – Wheatley Through the Ages
Writes Paul – “Hi Art: I had always wondered why there was no Wheatley Class of '57, until Steve Nelson ('58) explained it in his article. So for two years the '58 class was king of the hill on Bacon Road. They deserve it, since they had the best football team in Wheatley history (8-0). Bruce Blom ('62), answered my question about what high school students living in Albertson Downs attended prior to Wheatley's opening in 1956. I had always assumed it was Mineola High School, but he mentioned Roslyn. As I lived on Valentine Drive in that section from 1965 to 2013, I found that quite interesting. By the way, Bruce, the old "trestle" over the LIRR tracks was removed in October 1984; and Albertson Station was never closed, it has been in continuous use since the 1880's. Andrew Paul Forstenzer's ('68) recollections of the "wild celebration " after the football team scored its only touchdown of the ('65) season; and Laurence Dana Schiller's ('68) mention of a "slide trombone incident" during halftime made me laugh, although the burned "R" on our field at the hands of the Roslyn Bulldogs not so much. I wonder if those ruffians were still referred to by their original nickname, the ‘Hilltoppers’ back then.”
1979 – Lisa Petretta - Deceased
According to a cousin, Covid-19 caused Lisa’s death.
1982 - Craig Vogel – Fond Memories of Wheatley, and After
Writes Craig – ‘Hi Art, Reading your closing line of ‘Please send me your autobiography…’ has prompted me to forward this to you.
I have only fond memories of my years at Wheatley, and The Newsletter has provided me a chance to recall and relive some of them. As I’ve enjoyed seeing so many student and teacher updates, I thought that it was time to share what I’ve been doing.
After graduating Wheatley in 1982, I spent the next 14 years on Long Island (7-Year Medical Program at NYIT/NYCOM in Old Westbury, an Internship, and then 6 years training at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola (Medicine and then Cardiology).
For the last 20+ years, my wife Amy, our 2 sons and I have been living in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Wheatley was such a great school environment and provided such a great foundation. I always hoped that our children would have a similar high school experience. Josh graduated UCF in Orlando and has been living/working in NYC, while Matthew who also graduated UCF is training to become an airline pilot. Interesting that he chose this career as I soloed at age 16, before taking “Drivers Ed” at Wheatley. Although my Father (Jerry) passed away, we are very fortunate to have my mother (Harriet) living nearby in Florida. My brother Gary (Wheatley 1984) lives in CT, and my brother David (Wheatley 1987) lives in Westchester, NY.
Immediately below is a TV Clip/Interview which describes a career highlight of mine, a Medical Mission to The Bahamas last September, immediately following Hurricane Dorian.
I would welcome the opportunity to hear from fellow Wheatley Alumni, Teachers and Staff. (email@example.com). Good health and best wishes, Craig Vogel, D.O., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.P.”
1983 – Anne Strano - Deceased
Anne’s married name was Anne Strano Fox. She passed away in June 2019, leaving behind her mother and sister (married name “Miller”), both named “Joanne”; husband Michael; and two children, Fiona and Declan. Her father, Alfred, and her younger sister, Susan (1985) predeceased her. Anne graduated from Wellesley College and was residing in West Chester, PA.
Fan Mail, Coronavirus Thoughts, and a Few Miscellaneous E-Mail Addresses and Comments
Faculty (Steve Ehre) – “The Newsletter is a GREAT amazing undertaking.”
1958 (Steve Nelson) – “You do a great job in dealing with all the information you have to process.”
1962 (Marty Gettleman) – “Thank you for all that goes into the newsletters, and all the memories, good and some not so good. Please keep up the good work!! Marty”
1964 (Marilyn Bardo) – “Many thanks and much admiration for your efforts in keeping up ‘The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter.’ All the best and thank you for doing what you do so well!”
1964 ( Vivi Cilmi Kunz) – “Thanks, Art. Great job, as usual. Stay safe. Vivi Cilmi Kunz”
1964 (Jayne Quaranto) – “Jaynemarie3@gmail.com”
1964 (Davida Tunis Philips) – “Thanks, Arthur, for all you do to keep Wheatley alumni in the know.”
1966 (Diana Noble Rubinger Olmert) – “Love your newsletters.”
1967 (Joe Tartaglia) – “Thank you for all your hard word in putting together the newsletter! I enjoy keeping up on all the news!”
1967 (Corinne Zebrowski Kaufman) – “Hi Arthur, I always enjoy reading about everyone. Thank you for another great newsletter. Best regards, Corinne”
1968 (Donna Brescia) – “Thanks so much for your hard work on the fun and wonderful Wheatley newsletters, which keep us all connected - I look forward to them!”
1970 (Jane Roeder) – “Love reading your updates!”
1970 (Mitch Shapiro) – “Thank you for the Wheatly Alumni Newsletter. Always a great read, bringing back memories of the faculty and students with whom I became friends. I remember many of the names of fellow students & also have a visual of their faces. Again, I enjoy reading about all the things I didn’t know. Keep up the great work.”
1970 (Mindy Spier Cohen) – “I look forward to every Wheatley Newsletter.”
1971 (Neil Rosenberg) – “Thanks for what you do.”
1971 (Jon Sporn) – “Thank you for all the work you do in hosting this forum, which reminds us of our shared experiences and culture.”
1972 (Robin Freier Edwards) – “Thanks so much Art. Always a joy to read these newsletters. Your hard work and commitment is so appreciated!”
1972 (Julie Frohman Badion) – “Thank you for your stellar newsletters.”
1972 (Jean Walsh) – “Sincere thanks for including the information about my judgeship in the Wheatley newsletter. I loved the part about the other judges. That was great. I know how much time, thought and love you put into these newsletters, and it is greatly appreciated by all of us.”
1973 (Brad Adgate) – “Although it goes without saying, you’re doing a fantastic job connecting & updating the Wheatley alumni with these newsletters.”
1973 (Charles Nash) – CHARLIE@N-KLAW.COM
1974 (James Elefonte) – “Thank you for doing such a good job keeping us all informed.”
1975 (Peter Blumberg) – “Thank you.”
1976 (Paul Giarmo) – “I still don't know how you do it all …and so well, I might add. I thoroughly enjoyed Newsletter # 48. I love all the history and personal recollections on Wildcat life, Art. Thanks for putting it all together for us alumni!”
1978 (Pam Furst-Eysler) – “Thank you for putting all the info. and updates together for all the Alumni to see!”
1979 (Amy Gould) – “What a bright spot in my day to receive your newsletter. Keep up the good work.”
1982 (Rob Marino) – “Nice job with Mark Epstein’s obituary.”
1982 (Craig Vogel) – “I just received another edition of the Wheatley Newsletter and of course enjoyed reading it. Thanks for giving so much of your time and effort for all of us in putting together ‘The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletters.’”
1983 (Claudia Reinhardt Johnson) – “I love the newsletter! Your humor is clearly evident. I enjoy reading about Wheatley’s history. Thank you.”
1998 (Sonia Dandona Hirdaramani) – “The website is great.”
That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 49. Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.
Arthur Fredericks Engoron
The Wheatley School Class of 1967