Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,
Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 88.
According to Substack, in the first 24 hours after publication Newsletter # 87 was viewed 2,785 times, was “liked” 13 times, and garnered six comments (all positive).
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The Young Rascals Concert at Wheatley
Writes Peter Altschuler (1965) - “I'd graduated by the time the Rascals performed at Wheatley (though I do remember a performance by Judy Collins in, I think, 1965), but the mention of the Rascals and Cream together has a bit of a back story.
The Young Rascals were playing at a club on the Upper East Side called “The Gordian Knot,” where they were heard by Murray the K. Murray then used them as his ‘house band’ at a few personal appearances, introduced them to Sid Bernstein (there are other claims about how the band and Bernstein connected), and set them on their way to bigger things (though I'm not sure a gig at Wheatley would qualify as particularly huge).
At his last New York rock 'n' roll show (at the RKO 58th Street Theater) in 1967, Murray booked The Who and Cream for their first U. S. appearances on a bill that included the Young Rascals.
That gave both the Rascals and Cream at least one thing in common, but it reveals something about Murray, as well.
L-R - Bobby Darin (Born Walden Robert Cassotto), Murray the K, Jerry Wexler (co-founder of Atlantic Records).
The least important thing about the Radio Hall of Fame DJ was his moniker as ‘The Fifth Beatle,’ a label he grew to despise. It detracted from the things he'd accomplished before -- co-writing ‘Splish Splash’ with Bobby Darin; staging all those rock 'n' roll shows at the Brooklyn Fox Theater; rising to the top of the radio ratings in New York, the most important music market in the country at the time -- and after the four lads from Liverpool arrived on the musical scene. The most important (and least prominent) thing Murray was known for was the ability to spot and promote talent. He insisted on supporting Black performers over the White singers who did cover versions of their music. He gave a break to one of the band leaders at his Fox shows, a guy who wanted to be a singer named Bobby Vinton, and he discovered acts in clubs (apart from the Rascals) like The Lovin' Spoonful and Richie Havens. Plus, he could pick hits better than most.
Dionne Warwick once told me, ‘If it weren't for Murray the K, there'd be no Dionne Warwick.’ When I asked her to explain, she said that her label had just issued her latest record, which they were sure was destined for #1 (Dionne had had Top 10 songs but hadn't cracked the #1 spot). Murray wouldn't play it. He claimed the ‘B’ side was the hit, and that's what he put on the air. ‘What was the 'B' side?’ I asked her. ‘The “B” side,’ she said, ‘was “Walk On By.”’
Murray's 1965 TV special, ‘It's What's Happening, Baby’ was MTV.….15 years before MTV.
When WINS switched to all-news, Murray was the program director and prime time DJ on the first commercial FM rock station, WOR-FM, setting the pattern for FM rock for decades to come.
He introduced Bob Dylan at a Forest Hills Tennis Stadium concert, the first all-electric ‘Bob Dylan Concert’ (as opposed to Dylan’s appearance at a certain famous folk festival). And, yeah, he was at John and Yoko's Bed-In in Montreal, too.
Is there a direct connection between Murray and Wheatley? Sorta. He was my father.”
Writes Shirley Vogl Quarantello (1967) - My best friend, Lynnie Sparks, had a house in Westhampton beach, and I spent many days hanging out with her there. The Rascals played at a local bar there called The Barge on Dune Rd (if my memory is correct). That was how she was able to connect with them. Fun fact: her house there had a neighbor named Oleg Cassini, who designed many clothes for Jackie Kennedy.
Writes Ken Gallard (1968) - “Say Art.….Sad to hear of the passing of Rascals’ drummer Dino Danelli. I was (and still am) a big fan of the Rascals. I do remember their Wheatley concert and how psyched I was at them playing for us. I didn't know the part of the story about Cream cancelling. Yikes! Anyway.….while the Rascals were billed as a band from New Jersey, the fact is they spent much of their time on Long Island: Hempstead, and some of our neighborhoods as well. When they started to experience success, they bought some exotic cars and would have them serviced by a guy named "Dutchy," who was on one of those side streets off Jericho Turnpike across from the Sheridan Bowling Alley. So I would see them periodically either at Dutchy's or at times when they would stop by Carvel on Glen Cove Road when I was working there. I always gave them free ice cream! Great stuff.….All the best, Ken”
Writes Melanie Artim (1974) - “Hi Art, The Young Rascals! Dino! I must have dashed/snuck into the gym when I accompanied my parents to pick up my brother Craig, who would have been in 10th grade in 1966(?), and I would have been 11, and I remember the packed gym, all the people bunched up in front of the band. They were playing the last song and Dino threw one or both of his drumsticks into the audience and yes, I nabbed one. I still have it somewhere….. Either I am embellishing or this is true: I managed to get him to autograph it. Or someone who stood in for him signed it. Rest in peace, Dino.”
Writes Deborah Klein (1971) - “'Art - I loved the Rascals remembrance - the screaming throughout the concert - you would have thought the Beatles had come to our gym!”
Writes Art - “Here they are performing Good Lovin’ on The Ed Sullivan show:”
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Writes Steve Ehre - Culture Critic - “With the closing of Phantom in April, with Chicago being a revival, and Cats closed, that leaves The Lion King (which opened in 1997) and Wicked (which opened 2003) as the longest running shows in Broadway history!!! The book for Wicked was written by Wheatley alum Winifred “Winny” Holzman (1972). Congrats to her, although I much preferred the work she did on Thirty Something……a classic that ran for many years (every episode was discussed at length by Ms. Carol Vogt and myself in the Social Studies office), and on My So-Called Life…..a great show…..with a classic Christmas episode! (It sadly only ran for one year because the new young star, Ms. Clare Danes, wanted out.”
1961 - Jerry Mintz - “Alan Fox, from Roslyn High School, used to play at the Roslyn Country Club and went on to a great career in tennis and was the coach of Pepperdine. Anita Shukow (mother of Steven, 1970, and Allen, 1972) got me a job when I was a teenager as an umpire at the US Tennis Open in Flushing Meadows, and I used to umpire for Alan and Larry Nagler (1958).
1962 - Susan Fox Lehman - Hi all! I remember the Jeromes, Jay Roth, Jay Samoff, and the Orlings, especially Merry (1961), who wanted to be an actress and was always reading a book during lunch time. Their mom was an artist who made jewelry. I am still married to Steve Lehman, who graduated from Wheatley in 1959.”
Writes Art Engoron - “And here’s a recently received photo of Merry (at the Brooklyn Caribbean Day Parade:”
And one with Jeff and his wife Elsa:
1964 - Jay Roth - More Praise
Writes Classmate Michael Garin - “Jay’s sister Susan Roth (1969) is correct, her brother Jay would never toot his own horn, but I am happy to join her in attesting to Jay's enormous contribution to the film and television industries as well as the high regard in which he is held by his peers (including this fellow Wildcat). Michael Garin '64”
1965 - Nancy Wechselblatt Hirsch - Life During and After the Roslyn Country Club.
Writes Nancy - “In a recent alumni newsletter mention was made of the now defunct Roslyn Country Club. Several years ago I went to visit it and was so disappointed to see the neglect of the pool and tennis courts, although the mansion itself is still a catering venue. I heard talk of it possibly being turned into a park but that never happened. I have such fond memories of ‘The Club,’ as it was a neighborhood hangout. It was a great facility to have if one did not go to camp. Even on rainy summer days it was a place to see people, chat and play shuffleboard or ping pong. In winter we played in the woods and went sledding. The best part was that I worked there as a lifeguard for several summers. Some other Wheatley alumni worked there as well, including Billy Rutenberg (1964), my sister Susan Wechselblatt Firsenbaum (1965), Neil Penkower (1966), and Shep Messing (1967).
After college ( Buffalo State, BS; Queens College, MS) I taught elementary school in Brentwood N.Y. I then moved to West Nyack, NY with my husband and two sons. I substitute taught and worked in private education. I had the opportunity to learn a new skill set and became an import/export traffic coordinator. I worked for an international book shipping company and an international German glass company. I left the education field to my older son, who teaches high school history, and his wife, who teaches elementary school by day and is a singer songwriter at night. My other son is a computer/technology associate director for a company that services financial institutions. I have four wonderful grandchildren who I absolutely adore. My husband of 52 years and I are retired and we are enjoying a quiet life due to Covid precautions. Keep well fellow Wheatley Wildcats!”
1965 - Jeff Orling and his Westies
Writes Classmate Barbara Ashley - “I got a kick out of the photo of Jeff Orling on his boat and seeing that he has remained loyal to Westies all these years. I remember him in the 1970s walking his three Westies down the streets of Manhattan without leashes!! ….. quite a feat with strong-willed terriers. All it took for them to behave was an occasional ‘Come-on girls,’ and they’d snap to and continue to obediently troddle down the street behind him!”
And some photos of Jeff:
Sailing at Newport
Relaxing on the grass at Newport.
1967 - Mara Danziger - Parisian Vignette
Writes Mara - Steve Weil (1965) lived next door to me on Candy Lane, in Westwood Circle. During my stint at I.U. Willets I spent a lot of time with his sister, Wendy (1967). Big brother never acknowledged my existence (of course, that’s what big brothers do to little sister’s friends), until our paths crossed when I was standing on the corner of a street in Paris, of all places. He was on a motorcycle and I was about to cross the street….in 1970! To this day, I find that scenario - a 15 minute conversation between neighbors who had never chatted before - very funny.
Here’s a photo of me and Wendy that I just came across:”
L-R - Wendy Weil, Mara Danziger (both 1967)
1967 - Bobby Silverstein - Remembered by Ellen Alpert Aronow
Writes Ellen (1968) - “It was heartbreaking to learn of Bobby's passing --- it is hard to imagine a world without him. I have so many wonderful memories of Bobby and the times we shared in high school. When I think of Bobby I think of his fundamental kindness above all, a kindness that was deep and sincere. The last time we spoke, he talked of the happiness his family brought him and how meaningful that was. Bobby was the best of us. He made a difference in so many lives, and I send my heartfelt sympathies and love to his family, friends and many loved ones.”
1968 - Laurence D. (“Laurie”) Schiller - Hall of Fame Inductee
Writes Laurie - “Hello Art – I don’t generally toot my own horn, but I wanted to share my career-affirming event, which would never have happened had I not joined the fencing team at Wheatley in 1965 as a 10th grader. I was inducted into the Northwestern University Athletic Hall of Fame on September 16th in a wonderful ceremony.
I started fencing at Wheatley largely because my brother, Lanny (’65), did, and I figured I could do it better than him. My brother stopped fencing when he left Wheatley, but here I am, 58 years later, still involved in the sport. Mr. Phillips, who was my 8th grade social studies teacher, was our coach, and we were Nassau County Champions at least one year. I fenced for four years at Rutgers, where I was decidedly mediocre on a mediocre team, but was Co-Captain in my senior year (1972). In graduate school at Northwestern, where I got my Ph.D. in African History, I started working out with the club they had there, and when my wife and I returned from our field work in Kenya, I took over as coach in September 1978. Over the next 38 years I took a club team to full varsity and ended up with four conference championships, many individual champions, 34 All-Americans, 2 National Coach of the Year awards, and 11 Conference Coach of the year awards. For the last 16 years of my career, my women’s team finished in the top 10 at the NCAA’s every year. I retired in 2016 as the 2nd winningest coach in my sport in the NCAA. As an administrator, I was our Conference Commissioner for 15 years, served eight years on the Board of USA Fencing and 14 years on the NCAA Fencing Sport Committee. It was a very rewarding career, and being inducted into the Hall of Fame was the crowning recognition. But, none of it would have happened if not for the Wheatley fencing program.
While coaching, I was lucky enough to work 40 years as an Adjunct professor of history at Northwestern, which is a great university. Oh, did I mention that Northwestern is also the WILDCATS? Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat…
1970 - Laura Nathanson - Girls Wearing Pants to School? Sacré bleu!
Writes Laura - “Here’s a memory of Principal Walter Wathey: At the time (circa 1969), girls weren’t allowed to wear pants to school. Hard to believe now. My mother used to have us cut off our long underwear to wear underneath our skirts, so we wouldn’t freeze while waiting for the bus to arrive on early winter mornings. One frigid day, my sister Maddy (1969) and I, and Diane Berg (I think), decided to wear pants to school (I think at my mother’s urging, or at least with her support). We were called into the principal’s office. Our mother was also called in, and I remember Mr. Wathey was very reasonable as we explained our position. So easy. Treated us high school students like rational equals and not subordinates. And from that day forward, the policy was changed, and girls were allowed to wear pants to school. Best, Laura”
Writes Mitch Stephens (1967) - “Great story! Wheatley was an enlightened place.”
1970 - Mitch Shapiro - At the Barefoot Peddler, Greenvale, NY, December 20, 2022
L-R - Mitch, wife Donna, friend Art
1973, 1975, and 2007 - Daniel and Stacey Engoron, Sara Weiss Danzi Engoron, and Daniel Weiss - In front of a David Hockney Painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.
L-R - Daniel Engoron (1973), daughter Stacey Engoron (2007), wife Sara Weiss Danzi Engoron (1973), brother-in-law Daniel Weiss (Sara’s brother) 1975, and Sandra Jarva Weiss (Daniel Weiss’s wife).
1973 - Charles Nash - “Here’s a photograph of where I spend slightly less than one-half of each year working remotely.
1973 - Denise Paine Radow - Adding Spanish to French and Italian
Writes Denise - “I'm getting ready to leave for my second winter in Mexico, fulfilling a long-held dream to study Spanish. Last year I took 10 weeks (200 hours) at Oaxaca International School; this winter I'll dive more deeply into the subjunctive and other twisted tenses at the same school. Very glad to be leaving Oregon winter for Oaxaca, an enchanting city of public art, deep history, welcoming people, and perfect weather. Big appreciation to Wheatley's Romance Language teachers (in particular Mr. Fradkin, Mme Desbonnet, Mrs. Feindler, Signora Briefel), who gave me such a great foundation in French and Italian that learning Spanish has been a pleasure. Looking forward to reconnecting with my 1973 classmates next October!”
1974 - Bill Meyn - Remembers the “Good” in the “‘Hood.”
Writes Bill - “The Good Humor Man in my neighborhood would jingle out ‘Mlle from Armentieres’ on his Good Humor bells. My neighborhood was once known as Birchwood, consisting of Shortridge Drive, Crandall Drive, Pembrook Drive, Greentree Road, Tredwell Road, Rex Ct and Jay Ct. We had a birch tree in our front yard that may have been the last one in the neighborhood to die off from some kind of tree blight in the early 1960s. At one time there were brick entry signs with ‘Birchwood’ in lettering on them at Jay Court and Rex Court. (Now there is a different place known as ‘Birchwood Court’ in Mineola). The Carmody family had a Long Island Press paper route for this little community. The route was small and easily walked in an hour - maybe only 100 papers at most. For a few years I shared the route with Gerry Carmody (1975). His dad, Mr. Carmody, was a sports editor for this now-defunct newspaper. Gerry and I would ride the train to Shea Stadium and get cheap seat tickets, compliments of the Long Island Press. We saw many Mets games when they were losing 100 games a year. Bill Meyn (Northside, I.U. Willets, and Wheatley through 9th grade in 1971)”
1974 - David Zazula - “Clover Lane is a storied block in the RCCC. The Cohen’s were across the street from the Siegelman's, Hershcopf’s, & Gimbel’s. The Gelberg's were next to them. The Ellison's were a few houses up the block, across from the Soll's. My family was at 61 Clover, at the other end, where the Wolf's, Helsels's & Harwood's resided. We were kindred spirits to Pebble Lane, where cutting through the backyards were well worn paths. Daily baseball games were always going on, as well as football and basketball. A magical time.”
Faculty - Steve Ehre - “Art, and crew: Thanks for all you do. I love reading what our small school has helped produce.”
1959 (Stuart Sanderson) - ❤️
1960 (James Turco) - “Thanks for another look into the past. Glad to see that Paul Keister (“Bick”) is alive and kicking and relishes the old times like I do. Best of the holiday season to all.❤️”
1960 (Dale Weinstein) - ❤️
1962 (Susan Fox Lehman) - “Thanks for keeping this going.”
1964 (Jay Roth) - “I read the newsletter whenever it arrives and greatly enjoy and appreciate your efforts. Roslyn and Wheatley are embedded in my childhood and teenage memories. You refresh them with every edition.”
1965 (Leslie Rakoff Cohen) - ❤️
1965 (Nancy Wechselblatt Hirsch) - “We all appreciate you.”
1967 (Arthur Brown) - “Dear Art, Many thanks for all your hard work keeping us up to date. I fondly remember Doc Wills and Wes Wathey, the best principal ever.”
1967 (Robert M. Jacobs) - “Another great Newsletter.”
1970 (Gregory Fitzpatrick) - ❤️
1970 (Laura Nathanson) - “I greatly appreciate your efforts in bringing these newsletters forth and keeping us connected.”
1970 (Mitch Shapiro) - “The Newsletters are always of interest.”
1970 (Wendy Strickman Hoffman) - It's always a lift to see a Wheatley newsletter in my inbox. I have great memories of the school AND my neighborhood and reading it brings it all back. Thanks for your and Keith's dedication to keeping it going.”
1970 (Rick Summers) - “I enjoy the Newsletters.”
1971 (Mary Demelas Bonsignore) - ❤️
1972 (Sheri Nathan Risolia) - ❤️
1973 (Charlie Nash) - “Thank you, again, for putting together and sharing with all of us the Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter! I am amazed at some of the accomplishments of my fellow Wheatley School graduates!
1973 (Denise Paine Radow) - “Thank you, Art! This newsletter is bright spot in my inbox, always.❤️”
1974 (Melanie Artim) - “Add me to the list of people who thank you for doing this and do not understand how you find the time, given your heavy-duty ‘day job.’”
1974 (James Elefonte) - “Thank you for all the work that you do to keep everyone informed in the Wheatley Newsletters. Happy Holidays to you and your staff.❤️”
1974 (Bill Meyn) - “Your newsletter is a wonderful memory jogger for all of us.”
1974 (David Zazula) - “I love the Newsletter. Thank you so much for doing this.”
1978 (Elaine Schattner) - “Thank you for all you do for the Wheatley community. Over the years I've enjoyed reading the Newsletter.”
1980 (Glenn Gould) - “Thanks, Art, for all your good efforts in keeping the Wheatley community connected.”
1981 (Gyll Gates Sbrocchi) - “Wheatley was like attending a private school. My parents still live in East Williston, and my sister Kim in Roslyn. We have the best memories of our high school years. Thank you for the Newsletters.❤️”
1993 (Antoine Delgrange) - “Dear Art, I am very grateful for what you are doing. Thanks to you I have managed to visit our school and, most importantly, to see again Gloria Oliver, my dearest Spanish teacher, 30 years after.…. The visit in October was such a highlight for my family and me. I will never forget it. MERCI :-) Antoine Delgrange, 11th Grade Junior Year 91/92, now living in Geneva Switzerland.❤️”
That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 87. Please send us your autobiography before someone else sends us your obituary.