THE WHEATLEY SCHOOL ALUMNI ASSOCIATON NEWSLETTER # 79
Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 79.
According to Substack, just over 4,600 “Wheatley People” receive every issue, and Issue 78 was viewed 3,162 time in the first 24 hours.
Note - Anything underlined is a link-to-a-link or an email address, and anything not is not, because Substack will not allow publishers to underline anything else.
The Passing of Walter Wesley (“Wes”) Wathey, Wheatley Principal 1961-1979
Writes Walter Wesley (“Wes”) Wathey, Jr. - “I am saddened to report the death of my father on 9/24/2022. He had been in failing health for about a month and died peacefully in his sleep. Below is an obituary I wrote. My Dad was so proud of the graduates that Wheatley produced over the years. He will be missed.”
Walter Wesley (“Wes”) Wathey, 98, of Surprise, Arizona, formerly of Woodbury, NY died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his family on September 24th 2022.
Born in Brooklyn, NY; survived by his wife Joan (nee Catena) of 72 years; sons Wes ( Jan ) of South Huntington, NY, Scott of Surprise, AZ, and Drew (predeceased by daughter-in- law Bernadette “Dede” Wathey) of Phoenix, AZ; grandchildren Christopher ( Caroline), Kimberly, Kevin, and Lauren; great grandchildren Reese and Campbell; many nieces and nephews.
He taught his three sons a love for all sports, especially baseball. A passionate Brooklyn Dodger fan, his knowledge of New York baseball history and trivia was seldom matched. He loved all his grandchildren, culminating each Summer with trips to Disneyland.
He served as the Principal of The Wheatley School from 1961-1979. He worked as the Director of Institutional Studies at Arizona State University from 1984-1997.
Wes was a proud World War II Veteran who served during the D-Day invasion at Normandy. He suffered a severe leg injury and received two Purple Hearts.
He earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education from New York University. While at Wheatley he matriculated at Columbia University in the Doctoral program in Education.
He was admired and loved by the many graduates of The Wheatley School during his tenure. “He was completely immersed in all aspects of Wheatley, from participating in the school’s theater productions to attending the many Wheatley Wildcat sporting events each year,” according to his son Wes. “He would invariably meet Wheatley graduates in his travels and was very proud that they all would have positive comments about their Wheatley experience.” Upon his retirement in 1979 a Wheatley High School leadership award was established in his name.
A private ceremony is planned for a future date. The memories and tributes are starting to trickle in.
1961 - Carol Jalonack Blum - “I remember him from when he was the principal of North Side.”
1961 - Gene Razzetti - “Mr. Wathey was always modest and understated. The on-line obituary says that there is already a "leadership" award in his name, which I assume is for students. I suggest a school district "academic" award for teachers/principals in his name. This would be an appropriate time to make that happen.”
1963 - William Frankfort - “Let’s raise a toast to a great principal."
1967 - Art Engoron - “The first time I laid eyes on Mr. Wathey he was walking outside my classroom at North Side. That afternoon I told my mother I saw the man who ‘owns’ my school; of course she set me straight. As a student at Wheatley from 1961 to 1967, ‘Mr. Wathey’ was the only Principal I ever knew. He was the person most responsible for making Wheatley the incredibly great school it was and still is. In 2006 he graciously attended Wheatley's 50th Anniversary Celebration. In 2007 I formed The Wheatley School Alumni Association, and he and I continued our friendship. Every year he would telephone me on my birthday in May, and I would telephone him on his birthday in June. These calls were not just perfunctory; we would chat at considerable length about everything…..or, as he once said, everything except “politics, money, and religion.” That he lived incredibly long and incredibly well is a minor condolence to the sadness I feel because he is no longer with us.....except in our hearts and memories. Wes Jr. tells me that “Wathey” is of English and Irish derivation. I think his dad once told me it was partially Welsh.
1971 - Theodore (“Teddy”) Silver - “At the Wheatley School Mr. Wathey was, of course, a figure of high authority, but he bore the position with kindness, gentility, and humility -- committed to the welfare of his students and the school itself, of course. As for students who at one time or another (or many times) found themselves "in trouble" with one more of the teachers, Mr. Wathey did not reflexively take the teacher's "side" (or so it was always reported to me). He listened to the student and seemed, generally, to believe that no student was ‘as bad as all that.’
He had a gift for diplomacy; all matters of controversy (large or small), with which he was involved underwent fair and peaceful resolution.
Further, Mr. Wathey was the quintessential ‘good sport,’ willing/happy to make appearances in our musical productions (as a football player (Good News- 1970); as a clownish dancer (Fiorello -1971)) -- in such manner as, for the moment, had him shed any cloak of authority and (with dignity) demonstrate before the students, that he was, after all, an ‘ordinary guy.’ His performances brought standing ovations.
He rejected all forms of (unnecessary, outmoded) rigidity. When, in 1970 (believe it or not), a controversy arose as to whether girls would be permitted to wear pants/"slacks" to school, pursuant to faculty vote, there came about a rule (once again, believe it or not), that explicitly restricted the girls’ rights to do so. Mr. Wathey declined ever to enforce the rule, and (quietly) it was forgotten.
I have only lately learned that on D-Day, Mr. Wathey was among those heroic men who stormed the Northern French beaches, and thus played a critical part in saving western civilization (together with so many others of his generation, including others on Wheatley faculty).
Implicit in all that I’ve written is this: Mr. Wathey was well-loved by all of Wheatley for all of the many years in which he served it.”
1974 - Gregory Cave - “He was a very decent gentleman, well loved by many.”
The 40th-year reunion of the Class of 1982 will be held on Saturday, October 22nd at the Strathmore-Vanderbilt Country Club, in Manhasset, NY. Contact Maria Reyher Meredith at email@example.com for more information.
The Covid-belated 40th-year reunion of the Class of 1981 will be held on May 6, 2023 at Hendrick’s Tavern, https://www.hendrickstavern.com/ in Roslyn. Cocktails and appetizers start at 6:00; Dinner is at 7:00; there’s an open bar from 6:00 to 10:00. FYI, there’s a hotel next-door. https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/lgarsup-the-roslyn/. The cost is $170 per person. Checks should be sent to Alan Littman at 22 Overbrook Lane, Upper Brookville, NY 11545. Email Alan at ALAN.LITTMAN@NFP.COM for further information and/or to indicate interest.
Responses to the “Warning Label,” and the Accompanying Essay decrying censorship, in Newsletter Issue # 77
Paul Hennessy (1960) - “The dynamics of political discussion are interesting, especially in these divided times.
Amanda Hartman (2009) - “Thank you for your thoughtfulness in presenting both sides of the political conversations and people's feelings about it.”
The Usual Words of Wisdom
Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (Class of 1963), you can regale yourself with the first 78 Newsletters (and other Wheatley data and arcana) at
Also, thanks to Keith is our search engine, prominently displayed on our home page: type in a word or phrase and you’ll find every place it exists in all previous Newsletters and other on-site material.
I edit all submissions, even material in quotes, for clarity and concision, without any indication thereof. I do not vouch for the accuracy of what people tell me.
We welcome any and all text and photos relevant to The Wheatley School, 11 Bacon Road, Old Westbury, NY 11568, and the people who administered, taught and/or studied there. Art Engoron, Class of 1967
1961 - Charles (“Charlie”) Hill - Thoughts on Patriotism
Writes Charlie - “I thought I would provide some input to the back and forth on ‘patriots’ from what could be an interesting, if not unique, perspective (i.e. my own exposure to patriots); and certainly a lot more interesting than a biography of my life.
I tend to agree with the statement of my classmate, Gene Razzetti, in Newsletter #77 that ‘An authentic “patriot” like an authentic “hero” does not recognize it in himself/herself, let alone boast about it,’ as I see a difference between being ‘patriotic’ and being a ‘patriot.’ I make this distinction because my family has been fortunate to be in the company of patriot/heroes, particularly over the past 20 years—who raised a bar that I could never get over.
Soured over the way the Vietnam war was fought and ended, I vowed that if ever I had kids and we got into a similar war, I would send them to Canada. Well, we have gotten into wars similar to Vietnam, and I did have kids (four), but the Canada trip never materialized. When our oldest, Trevor, was a junior in High School he announced out of the blue that he planned on going to West Point—which he did and is now a Green Beret Colonel.
Trevor’s military service following his graduation from West Point has had a huge impact on our family and faith. He had multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, including three commanding a 12-man direct action Special Forces A-team. At least three times (that I know of) he was spared death in Iraq, with each incident invoking a more implausible miracle. With the first, he and several members of his Special Forces team, along with a group of Iraqi soldiers, were ambushed by a group of terrorists. All except Trevor were hit with gunfire. When he returned home, he commented, ‘Prayers work.’
With the second, a high explosive mortar round landed and exploded 20 feet from him, well within the kill radius. However, it was a dud, and only the detonator exploded, failing to trigger the high explosive that would have killed him. He actually captured that incident on video from a helmet mounted camera.
With the third incident, a terrorist rammed his tanker truck into the Humvee that Trevor was riding in at a closing speed of almost 100 miles an hour. Two of his men were killed instantly as the tanker truck blew up and the Humvee pinwheeled into the desert; but somehow Trevor and the team’s medic miraculously survived the crash. However, the Humvee, coming to rest on its side, burst into flames with ammunition cooking off and Trevor trapped inside, beating out the flames surrounding him with one free arm.
Two of Trevor’s men, who had been following in another Humvee, were stunned that Trevor and the medic had survived the crash. While 50-caliber machine gun bullets cooked off in every direction and aware that a self-destruct charge could detonate any second, they risked their lives to work furiously to right the vehicle and free the men. After unknown minutes of maneuvering, they pulled Trevor and the medic out of the flaming vehicle—and 30 seconds later it blew up, sending out a brutal shock wave and bits of metal at the survivors.
Trevor spent several weeks in the hospital recovering from third degree burns and neck and head injuries; but never told us about what happened until he returned home six months later with a purple heart. We also now know that he began suffering from survivor’s guilt; and wondering why he had survived when two of his men had been killed. He was eventually to find out.
One of the two men killed was Brett Walden, who had had countless combat deployments and was one of the Green Berets who had been inserted into Afghanistan on horseback shortly after 9/11; and had been scheduled to retire in six months. He left a widow and 12-year-old daughter; who our whole family adopted and maintain the closest of relationships (to the extent that I am called ‘papa-Charlie’ and my wife is ‘mama-Linda’).
Trevor’s questions about his own survival were answered in 2016, which proved to be a very traumatic year for us. First, the expected daughter of our #2 daughter died in the womb two weeks before scheduled delivery. This was followed by the birth of the son (Hudson) of our #2 son with severe medical problems, including a malfunctioning liver. After several surgeries failed to correct the problem, the doctors determined that he would need a liver transplant to survive.
Since infant livers are rarely available, Trevor immediately volunteered to be a live donor; but the transplant couldn’t be performed until Hudson gained sufficient weight to survive the operation. So, after 8 months of anxiety, Trevor returned from a deployment in Afghanistan and the transplant was successfully performed in July 2017.
The event received widespread media coverage, principally by the Seattle affiliate of ABC and the ABC Sunday World News Tonight during which Trevor (for the first time that we heard him) articulates his survivor’s guilt and how this opportunity to save his nephew’s life explained why he did not die in Iraq. I’ve attached links to both below—or google “Green Beret saves nephew’s life”.
Trevor wears a bracelet with the names of over 30 comrades who have made the ultimate sacrifice. One recent addition is the quiet recognition of the sacrifice of an extraordinary and brilliant warrior who spoke a half dozen dialects of Arabic and four other languages; and who survived cancer only to be killed in a suicide bombing in January 2019 in Syria, along with three other Americans, while gathering intelligence to track the remnants of ISIS.
Joe Kent had been a member of Trevor’s 12-man Special Forces A-Team in three combat tours in Iraq from 2003 to 2006; and they maintained the close relationship to be expected of men who spend years fighting for each other and sharing in the loss of teammates. It was then that we met and got to know Joe, who subsequently retired from the Army after 20 years of service and was then recruited into the CIA for covert special operations.
In 2014 Joe married Shannon, a navy Chief Cryptologic Technician who enlisted after 9/11 and was in combat before women were officially permitted; and they became the parents of two boys.
You might be thinking that Joe was one of the four killed. You would be wrong. It was Shannon, who was deployed to Syria. It was Shannon who was operating undercover when a suicide bomber detonated a bomb that killed her and the three other Americans. It was Shannon in the surveillance footage, now on U-tube, showing her walking down the street and engulfed by a fireball when the bomb is detonated—a horror that Joe and his boys will forever have to live with.
Shannon had only been in Syria for two months when she was killed, leaving behind her 6-month and 18-month-old boys, while Joe was deployed covertly in North Africa by the CIA.
When her body and the bodies of the three others were brought home to Dover Air Force base, former President Trump was there to meet them. I have no wish to get involved in a debate over President Trump’s performance or character. However, I do understand that some of what goes on does so out of sight; and this was brought home to me in the reports from Trevor, as he was also present.
Trevor and another former member of his A-team traveled to Dover Air Force base to be with Joe; and witnessed the extraordinary kindness and compassion that the President gave to the families. He spoke with every family member, many of them privately if they wished, including Joe, with whom he spent 30 minutes. Trevor was particularly impressed that the President had taken the time to learn and absorb all the details of the backgrounds of all the victims to the extent that he could converse with the family members about their fallen heroes well beyond the usual ‘I’m so sorry for your loss.’ He also had several cabinet members and senior military commanders and the head of the NSA with him to talk with the families. This was all done out of sight of cameras. There was no photo op to put in the newspapers. And the only reporting on this you will probably ever get is what you are reading here.
A memorial service for Shannon was held at the Naval Academy Chapel, the first time a non-graduate was ever honored with a memorial in that chapel in its history. Close to 2000 attended, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Chief of Naval Operations and the Director of the NSA. Over 200 Chief Petty Officers attended and all left a gold anchor from their shirts in a gallon glass memorial jug for Joe. Ironically the same NY Times reporter who covered Shannon’s death had been embedded with Trevor’s A-team at the 2nd battle of Fallujah in 2004 and put Joe’s picture on the front page. Now it was his wife Shannon’s picture on the front page of the NY Times:
It is tragic that Shannon was in Syria at all. Why she was there and why the Navy would expose such an invaluable asset to a suicide attack is best answered in the following excerpts from a moving tribute from her cousin:
‘These last few days, I have vacillated between having literally no words to describe the size of this loss to the world and, conversely, overflowing with superlatives to describe how extraordinary Shannon was...
Watching Shannon charge through life was like constantly cheering for the winning team because, despite some setbacks along the way, she was never daunted by anything and she so often fought and ‘won’ that this loss literally seems impossible…. When she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer (cancer with a little ‘c,’ as she called it) she practically took it in stride, knowing that, even though she likely got the cancer from the burn pits in Iraq, she was luckier than other veterans with far worse prognoses.
Oh, and in the middle of having cancer (and shortly thereafter), she was working full-time, maintaining 4.0 GPA while obtaining her Masters in Psychology, having her second baby, remodeling her home, planting a massive garden, creating gorgeous artwork, supporting her husband, Joe, and all the people she loves during their own trials and tribulations (myself included), AND being a completely loving, devoted (and, when Joe was deployed, sometimes single) mommy to two beautiful boys under 3. As if that weren’t enough, in the middle of all of this, Shannon applied for and was accepted into an extremely competitive PhD program whereupon completion she would have been a psychologist helping her fellow veterans with PTSD. That PhD program also would have made her a commissioned officer in the Navy and kept her home with her sweet babies for at least 5 years; a privilege well-earned after several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Upon hearing this, some might ask how Shannon even ended up in Syria if she worked so damn hard and did everything right? The answer is that the Navy had an unfair and completely arbitrary regulation regarding “physical fitness,” pursuant to which Shannon was deemed medically unfit to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS), but somehow perfectly medically fit to deploy to a war zone. The next question is naturally, “how was she medically unfit?” Well, she achieved a rating of outstanding on her Physical Readiness Test, so that wasn’t it. No, you see, that cancer she likely got from Iraq; the same cancer whose ass she kicked while ably carrying the world on her shoulders? That made her unfit for OCS, and the Navy wouldn’t grant her a waiver so that she could attend this prestigious program.
This next part is what makes Shannon so uniquely Shannon: rather than just complain about this obvious injustice, she…took the fight to Washington... She met with congressmen and senators and prepared a white paper for the Navy’s medical board... And, SHANNON WON! She changed the regulation! She texted me that day, “I changed the Navy,” almost in awe of herself (umm, join the club, kiddo). However, by that point, it was somehow too late for her to benefit from her own hard work and determination. And she was a good sailor, and she followed orders, and she deployed to Syria, and now she’s gone…
…Shannon was athletic and physically tough to such a degree that she stood shoulder to shoulder with the men in special ops, and, perhaps even more miraculously, they welcomed her there.
I don’t think I will ever stop bragging about my sister-cousin/best friend, Shannon Kent, because it has been an absolute honor to know and love her and to be loved by her. Out of all the gifts she’s given me over the years, the one I cherish above all and will carry with me all of my life is the gift of EXAMPLE. She has shown all of us that just about anything is possible. My greatest hope is that I can find a way to channel my overwhelming grief and rage over this immeasurable and senseless loss into something positive and meaningful in her honor. S he has shown me it’s possible and I can think of no better guiding light than my Shannie.
My god, I love you, Shannon. I don’t know how any of us will go on without you, but your strength is such inspiration…
And just like that…I have no words again.'
Now a ‘Gold Star’ spouse with the responsibility of raising his two young boys, Joe resigned from the CIA and moved to Washington state to be close to family. He is now running for Congress, having defeated the incumbent in the primary; and, as a so called ‘MAGA Republican,’ is being labeled a ‘semi-fascist’ and a so-called ‘threat to democracy.’
One of my lasting memories of Wheatley was meeting with classmates in the lounge area after lunch and freely discussing political and social issues. Everyone’s opinion was respected, and there was no fear in speaking one’s mind. Based upon what I have seen written in these communications, I have to wonder if that tolerance of different opinions has evaporated.
There was one comment in Newsletter #77 (apparently intended to discredit the views of a classmate) that the NY Post was “essentially unreadable” and that of the 10,000 Wheatley graduates it was “reasonably certain that not more than half a dozen of them” read it. bIf that is true only 5 more need to be identified. I read that paper when it leaned to the left and read it now that it leans to the right (along with a variety of other left and right leaning sources, including the Harvard Gazette, whose bias saddens me). Had I not read the NY Post going into the 2020 election, I would have been convinced by the suggestions of President Biden and 51 former intelligence officials that the information on Hunter Biden’s laptop and the emails from his partner, Anthony Bobulinski, were all Russian disinformation.
I would also miss columns by Bjorn Lomborg, who just used the UN Climate Panel’s computer model to determine the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act on future temperature; and found that its $400 billion investment in climate change would reduce the projected temperature at the end of this century by only .0009 degrees F; and Steven Koonin, the former Under Secretary for Science in the U.S. Department of Energy under former President Obama, who surfaced unreported substantive flaws in the UN’s climate computer models (upon which much of the world’s climate policy depends) that cast doubt on the accuracy of their temperature projections—information that cannot be found in almost any other media outlet.
But back to Trevor’s remembrance bracelet. The last name, I believe, is that of Darren Baldwin, West Point ’98. Trevor was called on Christmas Eve last year that Darren had succumbed to the long-term effects of Traumatic Brain Injury, suffered in 2004 from two IED explosions. Google his name and see the ravages done to his body inflicted by the TBI as he tried to rehabilitate himself and continue his service as a Green Beret; and see his wife who gave up the best years of her adult life to care for him, knowing that there would be no happy ending, as he spent the last 10 years of his life unable to walk and the last seven unable to speak.
Writes Gene Razzetti (1961) - “I particularly enjoyed Jeff Jacobs's comments about his parents, whom I was privileged to meet while I helped Jeff's big brother, Everett, rebuild the engine of his 1953 Hillman. The parents would peek into the garage and cheer us on, but likely walked away thinking, 'No way will that piece of crap ever run again.' It ran, and Ev got at least one semester out of it.
And on the subject of parents, I credit my father with creating the first TV 'remote.' He could be in any part of the house and yell 'Shut that thing off!' It went off, as if automatically."
Writes Glen Greenbaum (1966) - “Can't stop laughing at ‘Homeschooled’ by Jeff Jacobs (1963). I thought I was the only one taught that way.”
1964 - Marilyn Bardo - Dinner With Husband and Friend
L-R - Art Engoron (1967), Marilyn Bardo (1964) and Robert Halper (1965)
Writes Art Engoron (1967) - “On Tuesday, September 27, 2022, I had dinner with Marilyn and Robert, wife and husband, at Tres Sorelle in Tribeca, Manhattan. A wide ranging conversation and hearty food made for a lovely occasion. Bob wrote me as follows: “A lot of laughs, a lot of good stories, a little education, and an inexpensive dinner in a quiet restaurant to boot.”
1965 - Robert Halper - Dinner With Wife and Friend
1965 and 1967 - Bob Forte (1965) and Jill Simon Forte (1967) - Brunch in Wesport, CT
L-R - Bob, Art, and Jill
Writes Art Engoron - “Last month a friend and I had brunch with Bob and Jill in Wesport, Connecticut. After we sorted out who is a Vegan, who is a Vegetarian, who loves meat, and who does not eat refined sugar, we had a terrific time talking about subjects old and new. Bob and Jill’s marriage, 50+ years is inspiring.
1967 - Jill Simon Forte - Appreciates Newsletter Contributors
Writes Jill - “As always, I thank everyone for the memories (which are more enjoyable than when I was actually attending Wheatley 🤣, except when I hooked up with Bob 😉😊).”
1970 - Robin Halpern - Artistic Inspiration at Wheatley
Writes Robin - “My artistic side began to emerge during that time in my life when I attended Wheatley. I remember my very first art class there with teacher Aaron Kuriloff, specifically an assignment that inspired me to splatter bright red India ink to create a ‘bloody’ explosion of images depicting what may have been a promo for a film.
Although my most recent solo art exhibit ended on September 25, I’m happy to share the link to my website in case anyone would be interested in seeing the images from my latest show at the Longyear Gallery in Margaretville, NY.
ROBIN HALPERN'S WEBSITE
They can be viewed in the section called Recent Work ALTERED STATES 2022. And feel free to wander about my website to see what else I’ve been creating over the years. Comments always welcome…..I can be reached through the contact section on the website.
1970 - David Packer - Highly Recommends Book
Writes David - I have my own political views, but without asserting false equivalences, I have to say there is plenty of ignorance among politicians and political viewpoints to go around. May I suggest a Wheatley tradition to mitigate ignorance in all its forms. Wheatley prepared all of us well. I highly recommend a book that you can find on Amazon:
America’s Most Sustainable Cities and Regions: Surviving the 21st Century Megatrends: Day, John W., Hall, Charles, Roy, Eric, Moerschbaecher, Matthew, D'Elia, Chris, Pimentel, David, Yáñez-Arancibia, Alejandro: 9781493932429: Amazon.com: Books.
It really is a good read as well as transformative in your view of the world. For full disclosure, I was the publisher, but don’t hold that against the brilliant authors. I don’t stand to make a penny, directly or indirectly, from sales of the book. Happy reading, even for all you know-it-alls out there. I was one of you before I met these authors.”
1971 - Robin Hack Silverberg - Scholarship Money from the Edward Ouchi Estate
Writes Robin - “I have been President of the Wheatley Scholarship Fund for a long time. As we were getting low on our investments, and fundraising has become very difficult, we thought we would be winding it down after this year. However, in our mail came a letter from a lawyer in Michigan. The wife of legendary Wheatley English teacher Edward Ouchi, who predeceased her, passed away and left a bequest in her will that is a percentage of the estate, which was sizeable. So, our students will see a few more years out of it. More goes on behind the scenes than anyone thinks.”
1971 - Theodore (“Teddy”) Silver - As described by Brother Jonathan, 1965
“Teddy stands out in the crowd, always did, as I reflect on early years, but in a thoroughly amiable and cheerful way that, perhaps, was less noticed at Wheatley; I don't really know; I went off to New Haven as he entered Wheatley. Teddy graduated Yale, '75, UConn Law, '78, Yale Med., '84(?). He’s a Professor of Law at Touro College School of Law. His explanation of Hamlet, recited to me over the phone, in a few paragraphs, is fit for the Yale Review. Like my father, the world is his 🦪 oyster.”
1972 - Photos From the Class’s 50th-Year Class Reunion (click on link)
Here are some miscellaneous photos:
L-R - Esther Fortunoff and Seth Katz
L-R - Donnis Gomes Newman; Martha Heffner; Suellyn Karben Giserman
L-R - Karen Berko and Lilly Marazzo
L-R - Front Row - Janet Schaffel; Robin Frier; Mary Vachris: Sherry Goldberg: Liz Diamond
Back Row - Rich Weissman; Donnis Gomes Newman; Jim Vincze; Howie Levin; Seth Katz; Suellyn Karben Giserman; Steve Krakauer; Jeff Asquith; Gail Biggs Russo; Eric Entine
L-R - Lillian Marazzo Anderson, Jeff Asquith, Mary Vachris, Martha Heffner Pollack, Janet Schaffel, Maris Dobrow Rosenberg, Richard Weissman, Jackie Obrant Millstein's husband, Jackie Obrant Millstein, Eileen Kent
L-R - Gail Biggs Russo, Mike Russo, Martha Hefner, Janet Schaffel, Maris Dobrow Rosenberg, Steve Krakauer
L-R - Richard Weissman, Jeff Asquith, Janet Schaffel, Sherry Goldberg Gottlieb, Donnis Gomes Newman, Eric Entine, Mary Vachris, Suellyn Karben Giserman, Gail Biggs Russo, James Vinzce, Steve Krakauer
Thanks to Gail Biggs Russo, Martha Heffner, Seth Katz and Janet Schaffel, Mary Vachris, and Rich Weissman, principal organizers and photo archivists.
1972 - Memories Compiled by Jackie Obrant Millstein
Writes Jackie - For our 40th-year reunion in 2012, I created a memorial book to recognize those classmates who had passed way too soon. Ten years later, I chose a lighter subject. I asked everyone from the Class of ’72 to share a memory from their high school years. At 68, we might not remember where we left our glasses, but the gaffes, pranks and humiliating experiences of 10th through 12th grade was etched clearly in our collective memory. Enjoy!
Lilly Marazzo Anderson - A vignette of Teddy Bossis: I recall an incident in Mr. Brandt’s Social Studies class. It’s after the opening bell, and we are all seated waiting for Mr. Brandt to arrive. Seizing the opportunity, Teddy Bossis takes center stage, in front of the black board, and begins to imitate a teacher. Chalk in hand he speaks and instantly we get the teacher’s identity. Everyone is laughing when Mr. Brandt arrives, but Teddy just keeps teaching!
In a gesture of approval, Mr. Brandt takes a seat by the windows. Quickly he too is laughing, because now Teddy’s props are both the pointer and the chalk!
Like a future Saturday Night Live skit, Teddy is perfectly imitating the phrasing, vocal variety and speech nuance, of the well-known Wheatley Teacher.
The multi-talented Teddy made everyone’s day. Rest in peace Teddy. Now if I could just remember the name of the teacher...
Jeff Asquith - “My first girlfriend was Jackie Obrant. We went ‘steady’ in 6th grade. We went on one date to a movie – me with my friends and she with hers, and sat in separate areas of the theater.
I remember John Fives knocking me down from behind in the hallway. He apologized saying “Sorry, I thought you were Jeff Sarment!” Another time, I was walking past the math room, where Mr. Taslitz was holding Scott Kracke by the collar with his feet about a foot off the ground. If that had happened today, Mr. Taslitz probably would have been fired on the spot.
My thoughts of Wheatley cannot be complete without recognizing Julien Hoffman, who passed at the age of 58 from pancreatic cancer. We were “brothers from a different mother.” Although we lived 900 miles apart (he in Boston and me in Chicago), we never went more than a few days without talking. Julien andI bet on everything, every week! Mostly football and baseball. I miss him every day!”
Ellen Kandell - “From 1966-72, Wheatley girls wore skirts and dresses to school. Pants were only allowed if the morning temperature dipped below 45°. Jeans, however, were totally forbidden for both sexes.
Several of us decided we were going to buck that rule. One winter day, about a dozen of us left for school in blue jeans. When we arrived at Wheatley, we all got called to the main office. Our group was too big to fit inside the principal’s office, so Mr. Wathey came out to the waiting area. He scolded us, threatened to call our parents, threatened some vague consequences for our rebellion, and sent us back to class.
We broke the NO JEANS rule and no consequences followed. We probably took some courage from the anti-war protests and the power of collective action. From there I wondered what else can we could do.
Seth Michael Katz - “In 7th grade (the last 7th grade at Wheatley), I was on the Junior High Soccer Team. I was getting bar mitzvahed September 23rd (together with Marc Geller). My brother had a band that year, and his drummer (from Roslyn) was dating one of the most beautiful girls in school, Jill Ostrower (‘68), who knew me through my brother Peter (1968). The team was waiting for the bus to take us to the game that day, when Jill, who had heard I was getting bar mitzvahed, came up and asked if she could give me a kiss ‘for my birthday,’ which she proceeded to do in front of the whole team! I was on Cloud 9, and of course the team thought I was the sh*t...
P.S. I scored 2 goals that day, and we won the game 5-1.
Ilene Kent - “IT’S DONUT TIME: During the basketball season, as Treasurer of the Class, the task of purchasing – and selling – donuts at the game that night, fell to moi. At a certain hour, off I went in my mom’s station wagon to the Dunkin’ Donuts on Northern Blvd (it’s still there, 50 years later!). I’d walk in and they’d have my donuts ready for me. I also remember this sleazy guy who eyeballed me up and down – knee socks, saddle shoes, and all.
You could always find me outside the gym selling them for maybe 25-50 cents. Can’t remember if I ever actually saw a game or not, but it was fun and a very good memory.
Jacqueline Obrant Millstein - “10th grade – en route to biology lab. The mod hairstyle (from London) was to make a ponytail on top of your head, roll it into a bun, secure it with bobby pins and place a velvet bow in the front. Not hard to do, but I had very fine hair and the bun kept collapsing. So I stuffed a tissue into each side and voila – a perfect bun. At the time, I had a mad crush on David Backel (I was so sad when I found out years ago that he died). As I rounded the corner, running at top speed so as not to be late, he was coming towards me. The two tissues flew out of my hair and landed on the floor by his feet. He very politely (or so I thought) picked them up, stared back and forth at my very flat chest and asked if I needed them back. Over 50 years later and I still cringe.
Donnis Gomes Newman - It was an experimental class taught by Mr. Brandt, 9th grade English and Social Studies combined – two periods back to back. Sherry Goldberg and I just happen to glance at each other across the room and we both lost it to uncontrollable giggles.
Mr. Brandt asked us to share with the class what was so funny. We had no answer because there was nothing tangible. After a while he sent us outside the classroom and told us to come back in when we were ready.
We tried, we really did. We sat in the hall with our backs to the wall of the classroom. We even attempted to re-enter after the period changed and immediately took ourselves back out. Mr. Wathey happened to walk by and we knew we were for sure in real trouble. That actually made us laugh even more. He looked at us for a moment and told us to try and do our best and walked on his way.
Thank you Mr. Brandt and Mr. Wathey for being so kind to two 15-year-old girls. We never did make it back in!!!
Martha Heffner Pollack - Athletic Woes: Gym was my least favorite class. I don’t remember learning any usable athletic skills. However I can share a few lasting impressions. Who can forget those awful red rompers the girls had to wear in gym class which made us look so frumpy? You would think that shorts and t-shirts had not yet been invented.
The ridiculous gymnastics routines we created, complete with sound tracks. What were they thinking? Well that’s why it’s called ‘phys ed,’ not ‘higher ed.’ I believe Maris Dobrow Rosenberg and I created a brilliant routine to the strains of “Thus Sprach Zarathustra”.
Being surprised that the girls on the track team and other extra-mural sports teams actually took showers in the girls locker room.
And finally, trying to run a mile around the track... exhausting – unless you were on the track team. See above.
Gail Biggs Russo - I ran lots of things, like props & costumes for the musicals (during Brigadoon, I made sure the boys in kilts sat like girls), the Bookstore and the Animal Room, where I was late for physics class because of a yellow rat snake I was handling.
Random memories: the lecture about Mendel and the pea plants for genetics. Having fun while dissecting a fetal pig in Advanced Bio. Attending Outdoor Education Week at Camp Joule away from school and teaching the lower grades. Finding the dirty passages in the Bible for the “Bible as Literature” class.
The library turning into the Science Wing and the library moving into the middle of the school. We raised monies for a greenhouse by selling plants and recycling newspapers.
The teachers: Ms. Hanley (English), the head of my local Girl Scout Council, who figured out that I was slightly Dyslexic, and the not so good who I won’t mention here. Details? Contact me. We’ll talk.
Mary Vachris - One of my most embarrassing moments at Wheatley happened in Mel Rosenstein’s chemistry class. I had chemistry the last period of the day and was already dressed for an away field hockey game. Our uniforms were short red skirts and black Danskin-style shirts. Towards the end of the lab, during Mr. Rosenstein’s famous “cleanup time,” I spilled sulfuric acid on the front of my shirt, which began to disintegrate. I wasn’t worried about harming my skin. I was more upset that my bra was showing. So instead of pulling the emergency shower chain in the lab, I ran to the gym and hopped into the girls’ shower.
Needless to say, I wasn’t in full uniform for that day’s game. Since I was the goaltender, it didn’t really matter. The next day when I returned to chemistry class, Mr. Rosenstein gave a lecture about lab safety and said, “Mary knows that a lack of safety can take the shirt off your back.” At least he didn’t say “front.”
Jim Vincze - “I wrote a comedy page ‘The Behemoth’ and posted it anonymously in the gym locker room. Mr. Morely, a fantastic new wrestling coach, came to Wheatley. He was about my height and was top ranked in the world. His nickname became the “Mighty Midget” and several cartoon appearances followed chronicling his misadventures.
One day Dr. August and Mr. Morely cornered me in the locker room while pointing at a freshly pinned up caricature of the ‘Mighty Midget.’ They both asked, ‘Who would do such a thing? If we find out who it is we will have him expelled and or kill him on the spot.’ Well, I couldn’t ‘fess up to my creation (wanting to live past lunch time), and they let me go. Later, at wrestling practice, Mr. Morely was my wrestling partner and during the ensuing practice death would have been a less painful ending!
I certainly enjoyed sports and extracurricular activities, at Wheatley. What set us apart was great people trying different things, making friends, and making a difference. Best to all Class of ’72, Happy Fiftieth!
Richard Weissman - Picture it: Wheatley. 1969.….While frantically dashing through the corridors, dodging others in the awkward hallway dance, I had an epiphany: roller-skates!
So the next day, skates in tow, I whooshed by classmates and faculty with quizzical looks but surprisingly without reprimand. I recall Mrs. Schleihauf asking me to distribute a hand-out. I gracefully skated the room and she was speechless.
At the day’s end, I foolishly zipped down the hallway full throttle by Administration. The front desk staff spun their heads in unison, as if watching an auto race, and chased after me. I knew the drill. I skated into Mr. Nixon’s office, taking the offender seat (I had visited it before for various infractions).
I told him I thought skating was a prudent way students could navigate, given time issues. He was not amused and took away my skate key. My career in alternate transportation development at Wheatley came to an abrupt end. If nothing else, I can say that I skated through high school.
Donna Filler-Wilensky - “As some of you might recall, Ms. Schmerzler was a petite, Spanish teacher at Wheatley. Some of her students talked about her possibly being beyond her prime. Because of this, she was the focal point of a number of comedic (to the students) events that occurred in her classroom.
One such event was when some of her students (names withheld to protect the innocent) placed a photo of her face on top of the body of a Playboy centerfold and hung it on the classroom door for all to see.
When she approached the classroom and saw the creative collage, she screamed and yelled hysterically and told all of us students to hide under our desks!
To Wheatley’s class of 1972: Thanks for the memories!
Contributors in alphabetical order: Lilly Marazzo Anderson, Jeff Asquith, Ellen Kandell, Seth Michael Katz, Ilene Kent, Jacqueline Obrant Millstein, Donnis Gomes Newman, Martha Heffner Pollack, Gail Biggs Russo, Mary Vachris, Jim Vincze, Richard Weissman Donna Filler-Wilensky
1972 - Carl Feidner - Deceased
Writes Gail Biggs Russo. - “We just heard that Carl Feidner from our class passed away 10/4/22. He had open heart surgery the day before. Here’s what his niece, Kellie Di Chiara, said about him on his Facebook page: ‘My uncle, Carl Philip Feidner, passed away today at the age of 68. He loved music, especially Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. He also loved photography and travel. When I was a kid, he always had his guitar and camera with him. As we got older, and started to learn, he was there to teach us and share in our interests. He was one of the smartest people I knew. His shelves at home were filled with books on any given subject. He loved his dogs, Rusty and Chief, with all his heart and was the best dog dad. We will miss him so much.’”
1974 - Grade 7 - Mrs. Arluck’s Class - 1969
L-R - Front Row - Laura Frankfort, Laurie Cohen, Jeanie Metzger, Jessica Hill, Donna Baldasano, Lorraine Kryle, Sarah Barnett
Middle Row - Jay Perlstein, Karen Strom, Melanie Artim, Lisa Schilling, Susan Cilmi, Pam Sweeney, Carol Iverson, Cliff Gaines (in front of student teacher), student teacher
Back Row - Mrs. Arluck, David Kandell, Lenny Steinhorn, Mitch Cutler, Michael Caputo, Bill (“Buzz”) Bosshart, Glen Hill, Jon Gelberg, Floyd Leeson
Writes Bill Bosshart - “Debra Copeland and Linda Jordan Samuels graciously lent a hand with the identifications. Of course, any errors are mine completely! Best Wishes Always, Bill (“Buzz”) Bosshart
1976 - Four Friends After All These Years
L-R - Lisa Kozupsky Pritchard, Abbe Levine, Margie Glantz, Jennifer Karp Colbert
L-R - Abbe, Jennifer, Lisa
TRIVIA QUESTION + ANSWER+INFO (one name was omitted last issue)
Willets Road School teacher Mrs. Owens (some sources have her as “Miss”) taught about the yellow-bellied sapsucker. Scott Frishman and Robert (“Bobby”) Jacobs (1967); Tom Glaser, Susan Goldfeder Weiss, Hilary (“Lori”) Wallach Marshak, Lois Hegyi Goldstein, and Paul Riefberg (1968); William Diamond and Debra Segall (1969); and Rick Lowenthal and Mindy Spier Cohen (1970) answered correctly.
Offspring (Walter W. Wathey, Jr.) - “Thank you for all the work you have done and continue to do for The Wheatley School. My Dad was so happy to receive your newsletters! In his last few months, it was the only thing that he read.”
1961 - Jeanne Messing Sommer - “Thanks for doing this.”
1961 (Gene Razzetti) - “Art, another great newsletter.”
1963 (Keith Aufhasuer) - ❤️
1967 (Marshall Jablon) - ❤️
1967 (Jill Simon Forte) - ❤️
1967 (Barbara Smith Stanisic) - ❤️
1969 (Madlyn Nathanson Flavell) - ❤️
1972 (Janet Schaffel) - “Thanks for all you do.”
1974 (Bill Bosshart) - “Arthur, keep up the good work. We all thank you for it!”
1974 (James Elefonte) - ❤️
That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 79. Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.
Arthur Fredericks Engoron, 1967