The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 93
New Section: "The Wheatley School Alumni Association Forum/Soapbox"
Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,
Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 93.
According to Substack, in the first 24 hours after publication Newsletter # 92 was viewed 4,287 times, was “liked” nine times, and received three comments (all positive). Three people opted out of receiving future Newsletters because of the strong political opinions being expressed therein.
All underlined text is a link-to-a-link (or, rarely, an email address). Clicking anywhere on underlined text, and then on the link that pops up, will get you to your on-line destination.
The Usual Words of Wisdom
Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (Class of 1963), you can regale yourself with the first 92 Newsletters (and other Wheatley data and arcana) at
Wheatley School Alumni Association Website
Also, thanks to Keith is our search engine, prominently displayed on our home page: type in a word or phrase and, mirabile dictu, 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
Editor’s Note - New Section, New Format
Writes Art Engoron (1967) - In an attempt to balance the divergent views as to whether strong political opinions belong in a high school alumni newsletter, and to consolidate that debate with actual strong political opinions, I am creating, on a trial basis, a section called “The Wheatley School Alumni Association Forum/Soapbox” and placing it at the end of the “Graduates” section,” just before the “Fan Mail” section, where, I hope, people will be able easily to skip over it if they so choose.
Writes Rick Simon - “Dear Art: A shout out to Wheatley retired physics teacher extraordinaire Paul Paino, who is now the Science Research Director at St. Anthony’s, a high school in South Huntington, Long Island. Paul was not only a great science teacher, he also coached girls varsity soccer and boys varsity baseball, with great success, at Wheatley and after. I recently saw, on News 12, Paul and a student of his who had just won 25K as a Regeneron National Finalist and now competes in DC with 40 other students for bigger prizes. I had the good fortune to inherit Paul as one of the many great teachers at Wheatley when I served as principal (1995-2008). Well done, Mr. Paino!”
1958 - Ed Brown - “Art (and all other Wildcats reading this!), I find that reading these Newsletters is very moving. As a member of ‘the First Class’, The Class of 1958, I am enormously proud of the institution that we established. The Wheatley School has been recognized from time to time as the ‘finest public high school in our Nation.’ And it continues to this day traveling this very lofty road.
But, of course, it is not unexpected that as I read these periodic Newsletters there are increasingly fewer and fewer “appearances” of people from that ‘first class’, or for that matter, from any of those classes that followed closely behind us. Time, naturally, moves on, and there are decreasing numbers of my class around. But I still feel this great pride in what we accomplished, and how well Wheatley has done over these years. Thank you, all, for your continuing efforts to maintain our Great Institution.”
1960 - Paul Keister - “My father was the Sports Editor of the New York Post, which back then had one of the largest circulations of any newspaper in the Nation. His press pass got us into any sporting event that he wanted to attend, as the venue hoped for good coverage. He also owned his own advertising agency.
His passing at a relatively early age changed my whole life. I would have attended William & Mary (dad’s school), but I had to go to William & Mary, Norfolk Division, which became Old Dominion University when W&M divested itself of the college. That was so I could live with his older brother, who was wonderful and a bachelor (until he married at 63 years of age!). His help and guidance was wonderful, but I still had to work my way through collage, as my mom did not make enough money to pay for it and raise my sister and brother. It took me 7 years to graduate, including my time in the army (as I did not take a full load of classes one semester due to having to work a full time job!)”
1964 - Susan Obrant - “I loved Wheatley……the school, the teachers (from English to Science, to Language to Math). I became an Artist but never took Art in school past 8th grade, as I was in Honors Programs. I learned to think visually and not produce a repeated generic work. We had bomb scares for not participating in “beneath the desk BS for the atomic bomb.” Our instructors were global and often came to us after being in Universities. A finer education than college! Wheatley forever! Oh, and a Mr. Hanson, who warned us of demagogues!”
1965 - Cathy Ann Fields Lehrhoff - “Hi Art……Just wanted to say “Hi.” Life is good on the East End. Thinking of all my days at Wheatley. So wonderful, with great friends. My husband and I are semi retired. I’m involved with all kinds of animal care……A passion, if you will. My husband is an amazing golfer and wonderful man. We are still in love❤️. Amazing! Love to all!”
1967 - Henry Pullman - Football Fun at Yankee Stadium
Writes Henry - “Art, In the midst of the free speech debate, angst over gun violence, etc., I am, nonetheless, writing about a long gone (but not forgotten) radio disc jockey? Art, I thought you and others might find this bit of personal history mildly interesting.
My parents were friendly with a woman from the old neighborhood (around Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx) nicknamed “Pansy,” who was the sister of Art Modell, then the principal owner of the Cleveland Browns. Modell was able to get my father and a few close friends season tickets for several seats at the old Yankee Stadium (this was well before The Meadowlands) for NY Giants football home games. From my Willets Road years through Wheatley days, I reveled in my good fortune to see many Giant victories (the team was anchored by Y.A. Tittle, Sam Huff, Frank Gifford, etc.) and enjoy the camaraderie of my father’s friends and their sons (Steven Weil, Wheatley Class of 1965, and Seth Reiback, Roslyn H.S. class of 1966). And yes, I was there for the 1958 NFL championship game when the Colts beat the Giants in sudden death overtime. Reportedly, that game, televised nationally, helped catapult the NFL toward being one of the most popular sports in the country.
For at least a couple of years, Murray Kaufman had seats an arms-length or two away from us, and I would often note that he had guests from the music world (chances are Johnny Mathis was there a couple of times, as was, I believe, Dion DiMucci. There were not enough seats for all of his Teenagers, or even Runaround Sue.) After a Giants touchdown, my father and his buddies would toast the team and pass the flask, sometimes to Murray and his guest. I had to resort to hot chocolate. Those were the some of the most enjoyable days of my youth.”
1969 - (Michael Lorenzo) - Feeling the Love
Writes Mike - “Greetings Art- I want to express my gratitude for posting the information about my recent health issues. I'd like to say something to everyone who has responded with such generosity and compassion. Also, a special thanks to those folks mentioned in the post responsible for bringing this to the attention of our Wheatley grads: Jane Roeder, Mark Goldberg, Billy Kirchick, 'Doc' Steve Lansky, Lynn Greenbaum, Bobby 'The Boy Wonder' Orgel, and more…
Howdy y'all! Time for an update on ol' Lorenzo's progress. Hard to believe I've been out of the hospital for 18 days, and I'm happy to say I am doing quite well. I've been getting excellent home care from family and friends. A nurse comes out to my home once or twice a week to make sure I'm doing the routine as outlined by my doctors. Despite my rebellious nature I am actually doing what I am told (wow!). I've been getting daily IV infusions of antibiotics and medications for almost a month, and my final day is Friday Jan. 27th! There's an ongoing regimen of medications and 'food' that is administered through a feeding tube into my stomach because I can't swallow. But don't wince or cringe, it's actually quite a sexy look for me… All of the care, the food formula, the extremely expensive medications and everything else is being paid because of the very generous donations that I have received. None of this would have been possible without your help. I am equally grateful for the incredible outpouring of support, concern and love offered in your messages. The response to the fund raising has been incredible - and I'm blown away with the support from my friends and classmates from Wheatley, many of whom I've known since grade school and my years at Wheatley. Many of you I have not seen or spoken to in ages, and I want you to know how deeply I am touched by your kindness. For the most part I have measured out my life in terms of goals and accomplishments, trials and tribulations, missteps and successes, and the pendulum of sadness and incredible joy. What really resonates with me at this moment is the power of love and compassion, and the sacred bond of friendships and special connections that are timeless. Thank you, my friends, for the love….. We've been hearing the song for decades - ‘All You Need is Love.’ Well, it works!”
1971 - Stephen Linde - Tennis Courts Saga
Writes Stephen - “Art, thank you for providing the photos of the beautiful tennis courts at Wheatley in Newsletter #92. When I was a student at Wheatley in the early 1970's, the tennis courts were in terrible condition, but the Board of Education refused to include money to fix them in the budget. At a district budget meeting, a budget amendment to provide funds for the repair of the tennis courts was proposed. The Board representatives told us that if the voters passed any change to the budget, fiscal calamity would result. We were told that the Board's ‘experts’ looked at esoteric issues like ‘real estate taxes’ and ‘equalization rates,’ and for that reason, the amendment should be rejected. Fortunately, the voters did not listen to the ‘experts,’ and the amendment to provide the funds for the tennis courts passed. The courts were repaired, and, of course, fiscal armageddon did not occur.”
1971 (Jane Sherry) - Passing of Her Mother, Janet Sherry
Writes Jane - “Hi Art, I’m sure that many Wheatley alumni remember my mother, Janet, described in my blog.
RIP Janet Sherry Dec. 24,1922-Jan 22, 2023
My Mom loved a good party! She and dad hosted many fun ones. They had dinner parties, costume parties, and had some wild cocktail parties with beautiful platters of hor d'oeuvres Mom would prepare. Those were the days of Lipton instant Soup for onion dip, clam dip and cheese and cracker plates, which never did seem to go out of fashion.
Although mom stopped drinking cocktails in her 80's, she still honored the cocktail hour by having her cheese and crackers with grapes every evening before dinner, having her own little party, which she continued for the last decade of her life, even by herself, after dad died in 2013.
She created elaborate birthday parties for her four kids in those early years of our childhoods, with decorations and festive paper plates with matching napkins and cups. She'd place little gifts, which were called 'favors,’ at every place setting for each of our friends.
She came from that generation where women would all pose like starlets with their knees held demurely together and off to the side, holding themselves with great posture and looking directly at the camera.
Mom contributed to the war effort during WWII while stationed with dad in San Angelo, Texas, before he was shipped overseas as a flight instructor, which she absolutely detested...Texas that is, not dad being a flight instructor.
Over the years she told funny stories about her time in Texas, especially about being Jewish on the Army base. It was unusual for people to see a Jewish woman working as the secretary in the base's office there in Texas. And she told funny stories about the many snakes she saw, including the snakes which lived under the stoop of their housing.
One of my favorite snake stories was years later, when they were living in Boca Raton, FL, where they lived together for 35 years, and where mom lived for 45 years! One time in Boca, she was about to pick up what she thought was a piece of brightly colored jewelry off the floor of the living room and realized in the nick of time that it was a Coral Snake.
Janet Sherry was a very efficient woman with great style. She managed the complicated schedules of her four children, Linda, Richard (“Rik”), Jane and Brett, who were born respectively in 1947, 1950, 1953 and 1963!!
She was also unusual for her generation because although we grew up in a suburb of NYC, instead of being a housewife, she commuted with my father every day to work in his commercial art studio in their Madison Avenue office. She was the secretary, bookkeeper and major domo for him and his staff, but she was really the one who kept everything organized and running smoothly. They were a great team.
We kids were lucky to have mom's mother and father, Helen and Ben, living with us for many years. Grandma would take care of us, cook for us, and be there after school to give us snacks or tell us to put on a sweater before we went out the door to play! Well, that was mostly grandma telling me to wear a sweater, as she took a break from playing cards with her lady friends, all of them chain smoking cigarettes and drinking copious amounts of coffee.
Funny that memory. Mom used to say when she still lived on her own, that she had no interest in playing cards, even though her mother was an avid canasta player. But in her last year and a half in her assisted living home, she became a card shark, where she won at poker and all kinds of card games, the names of which I'd never heard.
Soon before mom and dad left the commercial art business in New York City, they opened up a plant store in our hometown of Roslyn, Long Island, near the famous clock tower. Mom ran the store and dad consulted for plants for peoples' homes and still worked in the city. Dad always had a green thumb at home and now he put that to great use at their plant store, Earthbound, which always felt like a forest of plants in lush green arrangements.
That was when they first discovered their love for orchids and made some good friends in the orchid community. Their love of orchids traveled with them to Florida. I remember so many phone calls where dad or mom would brag about the new blooms that opened on their orchid plants.
After the plant store business, they left the cold northeast for the warmer climate of Boca Raton, which at the time, 1978, was so newly developed that many of the roads weren't even paved. Brett, who was 15 at the time, went down with them to finish high school in Florida, leaving many of her friends behind, and yet she has been able to stay in touch with many of those Roslyn friends for all these years.
Mom was a very social creature and loved hearing stories about her friends, the people she met in business, and total strangers alike. She certainly loved telling her own stories about their cruises and their fun times when they lived in Roslyn. When mom and dad first moved to Boca Raton they owned a gift shop in Fort Lauderdale, called Sherry's Bazaar, for a few years. Mom and dad pulled off their work in great style with the items they chose for the store and, of course, made many new friends along the way.
Mom always kept in touch with those lifelong friends of hers from Long Island, from their cruises, and from their customers, many of whom also ended up living in the Boca Raton area.
Once mom no longer worked, she segued from throwing parties to enjoying restaurant luncheons with her friends or even by herself in local restaurants. She 'collected' lots of favorite waiters and managers, too, who all adored her. She'd walk into the restaurant where owners and staff would greet her with a hug and a kiss, and where they always knew her preferences and would spend lavish amounts of time at her table chatting. She would always remember the details about their lives and would ask after their families, their children. She always knew who was staying with the job and who'd been offered new ones and were going to move away.
I used to tell mom that she would live to 100 and she would always say, "Oh God, don't say that!". When mom was hospitalized a few weeks before her birthday on Christmas Eve, Linda joked that surely mom was going to hold out for the 100th birthday bash Brett and her husband Jeff were planning for her, and sure enough, she rose to the occasion.
She had a great send-off almost exactly four weeks before she left us all behind, departing this life. She was surrounded with love at her party, organized by Brett and Jeff, and all but two of mom's grandchildren and all but one of her great grandchildren were also there to celebrate with her! You can see how utterly thrilled she was to be surrounded by her loving family, with a huge smile that has echoed through so many of the dozens of photographs in her century long life.
What a blessing for Mom to be on the planet for a century of life and 70 years of loving the same man! Such a privilege to be surrounded by so much love before the end of her life and throughout her final days.
Mom valiantly faced one health crisis after another in the last year and a half. She had such determination, she wasn't going to let her infirmities stop her from continuing onward and mustered up the strength to somehow keep recovering, overcoming great pain and challenges.
Janet Sherry, our mother, died in hospice care on Sunday, January 22, 2023, in the dark hours of the morning on the new moon, the first day of the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit. Her death came after a life well lived and a full century of adventures. She always gathered her friends around her and kept up life-long friendships.
We girls remember times of laughing hysterically at some silly thing, each of us feeding one another's laughter until we'd be practically crying tears of hilarity. Brett tells me she's continued that tradition with her own girls!
Mom, like Dad, had a great sense of style and would never venture out without first having matching jewelry, hand bags and color coordinated clothing. And on her last day on the planet, Brett face-timed with Linda and me showing us Mom in her bed in the hospice. She was curled up sleeping peacefully and someone had put her hair in a ponytail with a pretty band, and I realized even in death, she looked fabulous, dressed in her prettiest nightgown.
Regardless of the ups and downs of relations between mothers and their children, once they have departed, one cannot help but feel a terrible and strong sense of a huge void opening up; something deep and meaningful is missing, no longer there.
Mom will be missed by her children, her six grandchildren, and her five great grandchildren, as well as by her few friends who are still happy to be alive, by a host of new friends she made in her assisted living facility, Sonata Boca, and by the dozens of waiters and restaurant chefs, owners and managers she befriended in the 45 years she lived in Boca.
She is survived by her children, Linda Sherry, Rik Sherry, Jane Sherry, and Brett Northrop; her grandchildren, Jesse Sherry, Nick Mulrean, Nicole Walter Kahhan, Micah Sherry, Katie Northrop Niday, and Ryan Northrop; and her great grandchildren, Emma Sherry, twins Hannah and Nate Sherry, Leighton Sherry, and Brenna Walter.
RIP Janet Sherry 12.24.1922-1.22.2023
1972 - Esther Fortunoff - A Newsday “Face of Long Island”
1981 - John Hughes - A Life Well-Told
Writes Stephen Ehre (Faculty) - “I never knew John Hughes, ’81, but I was very moved by his beautiful letter and appreciate his taking the time to write to us all. He is one of the many reasons we love(d) the teaching profession. At Wheatley we didn’t reach every student, but it was not for a lack of trying and caring. Jackie Hennelly and Art Kinas (and many others) would be very proud of you, John.”
Writes Ellen Solow Holzman (1964) - “I found John Hughes’s letter very moving. In my time at Wheatley as a teacher I definitely encountered lost souls like him, and I tried to help as much as I could. I especially like his mention of Jackie Hennelly, because when I started teaching at Wheatley, in 1989, she was very much my mentor. I can still hear that joyous deep laugh of hers. She helped me see how to have fun in the classroom. I have a suggestion for my fellow alumni: how about a mention of a teacher who made some sort of (I hope favorable!) impression or difference in your life. I’ll start: Peggy Meisel inspired me as a student to look deeply into literature, and as a teacher to bring into my English classes a wide range of materials.”
Responds Larry Weiss (1967) - “I was deeply moved by the message, in Newsletter # 92, from John Hughes ‘81, whom I never met.
I have spent approximately half of the 55 years since graduating Wheatley studying and teaching about China, and the second half as a private high school Head and then Head of School at two preK-12 independent schools in Brooklyn.
Of the thousands of students for whom I was ultimately responsible over the decades, I very rarely encountered a student or alum as forthright, self- aware, and courageous as John Hughes presented himself to be in discussing with all your readers his ultimately successful struggle with alcohol.
Given my decades of work in school leadership, I was also deeply moved by John’s description and recognition of Wheatley Principal Mike Glennon’s positive response to meeting John in 1989 at a self-described key point in John’s recovery.
Wheatley remains the great school we all experienced because it continues a valued tradition of enlightened, caring, and innovative leadership by its teachers and administrators.”
Writes Mitch Shapiro (1970) - Art…….John J. Hughes, Class of 1981…..What a story!! He really took the bull by the horns with his life. He’s someone from whom the young people of today can learn something……perseverance, overcoming obstacles and, of course, making something with the life you can lead! The choices he made overcoming an addiction that could have killed him over time are just amazing, to say the least.”
1969 - George Meyer - Spotlight on the Rascals
Writes George - “With all the talk about the Rascals concert, I remembered I worked the ‘follow spotlight’ that night. Many years later I met Rascals guitarist Gene Cornish at a studio at which I was working, and we talked about the concert. Good Times! And look what I found in an old shoebox:
1975 - Bruce/Benjamin Dreyer and Richard Levy
Writes Richard - “My 1975 classmate, Benjamin Dreyer, is the Copy Chief at Random House and author of one of the best selling and most entertaining books on grammar and usage - Dreyer's English. The book is filled with stories from his childhood in Albertson, including multiple amusing anecdotes about his teachers at Wheatley and the East Williston School District, as well as inappropriate grammar on a sign at the Jewish Deli in Albertson.
I moved to Roslyn Heights (what a shame about the Roslyn Country Club) in 6th grade and met him in my 7th grade class. His first words to me were, ‘Hi, I'm Bruce Dreyer, my parents wanted to name me Benjamin, but because my cousin Benjamin was born a few months before me, and because Jews can't have two living relatives with the same name, they had to name me “Bruce” instead.’ After graduation I next met him at the 50th anniversary of the high school, where his first words to me were ‘Hi, I'm Benjamin Dreyer, but in school I was Bruce Dreyer because I couldn't be named Benjamin because my cousin took that name before I was born, but he died and I changed my name to “Benjamin,” the name my parents originally intended for me.’ These were honestly his first words to me on both occasions. However, the reason I mention Benjamin is that I don't think more than a handful of Wheatley alumni know about him or his superlative book with amusing Wheatley anecdotes, and I think many would enjoy it, as I did. But the story needs to come from Benjamin himself (hint, hint). Richard S. Levy, M.D.”
1981 - Barbara E. Schwartz - A Yankees Fan in Massachusetts
Writes Barbara. - “The note ‘send us your autobiography before someone else sends us your obituary’ made me think what I would say about my life post-Wheatley. I graduated in 1981 and found Wesleyan to be a great match of a school and environment for me. I then moved to Boston and worked for over 30 years at a homeless shelter. Most of the time I ran a therapeutic after-school program for homeless children. I also had a private practice counseling kids, adults and couples. I loved my work but recently left the agency just to do private practice, in which I do clinical supervision as well as psychotherapy. It has left me more time to spend with my partner of 35 years, read, hike, watch sports (still an obsessive Yankees fan despite all the years in Massachusetts), and work on issues of race and justice. Every summer he and I go to a national park and hike, and that is usually the year's highlight. In 2008 my amazing brother, Joe, died from ALS, after living with it for 13 years, and my mom died the same year from a long struggle with Parkinson's.”
Barbara E Schwartz, LMHC, Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor
58 Medford St., Arlington, MA 02474
(617) 549 2048
The Wheatley School Alumni Association Forum/Soapbox
Writes Stephen Ehre (Faculty) - “Dear Art, I am happy to see that I don’t have to ‘rant,’ as so many of Wheatley’s finest have spoken up for sanity. I did want to add, as a 50+ year member of the American Federation of Teachers, that the Union does NOT dictate what the Nation, State, or Local schools must do. School districts follow Federal, State and LOCAL rules and regulations, apart from any AFT beliefs. Randy Weingarten had little to do with closing a single school or masking a single child (and saving some children, and the lives of many, many teachers).
Writes Steve Nelson (1958) - “The issue of political comments in the Newsletter is generating a lot of response, pros and cons. Some feel it belongs in the Newsletter as a reflection of who the commenters are, and that they have a right to express their opinions. Others feel that they read the Newsletter to learn about former teachers, classmates, etc. They don’t want to read political commentary, but can’t help coming across it. A very few have even asked to be removed from the Newsletter distribution list because of the political commentary, which is unfortunate.
I don’t like seeing our Wheatley community so divided over this issue. Perhaps to resolve this dilemma, I suggest you create a section at the end of the Newsletter for those who want to read and write about politics and public affairs. Call it The Wildcat Forum or some such. You can promote its existence at the beginning of every Newsletter, so readers know it’s there, but when people come to that section, they can decide whether they want to continue reading or not. I myself might or might not read and/or write for it, depending on my mood at the time. I write newspaper Op-Eds and letters to the editor, and I have had many published, but I don’t expect them to run in the sports section. Everything in its proper place.
You can ask readers to submit commentary specifically for that section. Of course, as the editor you’ll still have to decide what belongs where (or nowhere), but that’s what you have to do to earn the big bucks and perks that go along with the job.
Writes James Turco (1960) - “Hi Art, I totally agree with James Paley (1964), and I, too, will resist commenting on the outlandish assertions of others!”
Writes Peter F. Wolf (1960) - “In my (imaginary) new career as an investigative reporter, following my explosive new findings in the Lindbergh kidnapping case, I have uncovered startling new information in the Jay Cummings’s case. Lest you hold your breath too long, let me disclose: Jay is actually an Antifa agent! On the other hand, it might be an AI Chatbot presented as a Jay Cummings, unbeknownst to him. Or maybe he is really George Santos. We are working on that.
Yes, knowing that no one in their right mind - though that leaves out a lot of people- would believe the collection of fantasies in the Wheatley posting, this was a small preliminary test run whose purpose was to arouse the conscience of the conscious into protecting us from imagination gone wild. It seems to have worked, given the number of irate responses to Cummings’s post. It is suspected that Cummings (or whoever that is) will share his findings with unnamed Democratic operatives, who are working on a nationwide strategy to protect democracy in this country (and, strangely, France).
On the other hand, it is possible that the original post is a plant by nearby high schools - think Herricks, Mineola- who feel their status has long been diminished by Wheatley’s reputation for graduating members with good critical thinking skills.
Well, if none of this is true, Jay is still in the running for the 2023 award for the most nonsense in one paragraph. Time will tell.”
Writes Rhoda Kalkin Schneider (1961) - “Art, If you hadn't published another Newsletter today, I was going to add to my comments about George Soros funding 40 million plus dollars to get liberal DA's on his payroll elected in numerous Democratic cities to insure that criminals get leniency and very often are back on the streets the next day.
I also want to add that George Soros is the most dangerous man in America. He is intent on remaking the country in his liberal image, from our foreign policy priorities to undermining our criminal justice system. Soros hired people in masks with guns, Molotov cocktails and various ammunition to start fires and looting and to instigate the masses.
How about the police cars blown up with Molotov cocktails, cities burned? Or how about Ashli Babbit being shot and killed by an unidentified Capitol police officer? It seems to me that most liberals do not want to read or listen to anything and to be objective.
When Biden took the troops out of Afghanistan, not only did he leave millions of dollars worth of our defense equipment there, he left Americans there to suffer. His planning sucked.
I only wish all of you liberals would open your eyes to what is going on in our beautiful country but I know I am typing this to deaf ears.
Jay Cummings remarks are not ‘nonsense,’ nor are mine!
Writes Peter L. Nelson (1961) - “Dear Art, I’ve been reading the ongoing political brawl appearing in your Newsletter with some amusement, knowing that these fights were also a part of those halcyon Wheatley days. A third faction in this dispute seems to be asking us to cease and desist, their voices crying out, ‘Leave my sweet high school fantasies alone. I don’t want my dream childhood besmirched by all this negativity.’
In fact, the reality of life at Wheatley in the 1950s, and until I graduated in 1961, was intense division and animus across ethnic, religious and political lines. I’d say racial, too, except that during my Wheatley years there was but one Japanese exchange student and one black student, both present for rather short periods of time.
I recall there were parents of German descent who decorated their homes with Nazi memorabilia in the post-war era, and even some who forbade their offspring from fraternizing with Jews. I also remember Irish- and Polish-descended students who were openly and virulently antisemitic and Italian classmates who would not have me as a friend because I wasn’t Italian. It also cut the other way; I witnessed my Jewish father prevent my older brother from dating Hildebrandt’s daughter, because she was of German descent.
I remember there being an intense divide between those who saw themselves as liberal Democrats and those who identified as conservative Republicans. There was a very strong division that always came out at election times. Neither side appeared to feel they were part of the same community, showing animus similar to today’s.
Any cursory examination of American history reveals intense racial, ethnic, religious and political divisions that have led to segregated communities, gang wars, and civil war. The American ‘fabric’ has always been rent with deep divisions and the Wheatley student body is no less representative of those same forces—always under the surface—emerging into the open regularly. So, if we want to recall the genuine Wheatley of which we are a part, we should acknowledge fully who we are and eschew highly edited and polished pictures of the past.
Dr Peter L Nelson, PhD - ‘Skepticism is a virtue.’”
Writes Gene Razzetti (1961) - “Art, my thanks and respects to Tim Boland (1967) for describing, quite accurately, the proper ‘where and when’ of opinions, such as those recently expressed in the Newsletter.
I suggest that strongly held, defensible, opinions and recommendations should go straight to our lawmakers, who have a duty to take action when it is needed. Venting frustrations in newsletters written for other purposes powers a ‘centrifuge of snark’ – wasting time, depleting energy, and further raising stress levels. For example: communicating with your elected representatives, asking them to continue investigating Dr. Fauci’s interaction with the Wuhan Laboratory, is to stay focused on a critical issue for America. Calling him a ‘mad scientist’ is not. Best to all, Gene."
Writes John Cilmi (1962) - “Hi Art, I respect your position regarding censorship, but I'm one of those voting for keeping politics out of our newsletter. There are so many ways that we're exposed to strong, and often vitriolic, opinions. Until now we could look forward to congenial and respectful information about our classmates and a brief respite from the barrage of political insanity so prevalent now. It's too bad that has evaporated recently.”
Writes James Lerner (1964) - “Hi Art, I agree, for the most part, with my old friend Tim Boland (1967). There are appropriate spaces for political commentary but the main body of this newsletter is not one of them. Maybe a separate section for a forum would be more appropriate. I thought the many attacks on Jay Cummings were unnecessarily mean and condescending. These subjects are way too complex for a paragraph or two. I agree with many of Jay's opinions, as do probably half the country and at least 5% of Wheatley alumni. Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton would be on Jay's side regarding the 2nd amendment (although it didn't work out well for Hamilton).”
Writes Bob Halper (1965) - “Jay Cummings certainly seems to have aroused a lot of ire, but I fully support your position to share whatever you get.”
Writes Liz Zoob (1965) - “Dear Art, After reading the back and forth on the matter of what you choose to publish, I finally feel motivated to weigh in on the subject. First of all, you, as the person who got this whole newsletter enterprise going (thank you!!), have the right to decide what to publish-- that is a given. And of course we readers have the right to decide what to read and what to skim over. For myself, as a proud member of the obnoxiously-labeled "woke indoctrinated mob," I'm not crazy about reading anyone's right-wing rants. But suppressing all political rants to keep the newsletter "apolitical" is a problematic notion; as Howard Zinn said, "You can't be neutral on a moving train." And unfortunately, the world is a moving train, with two new mass shootings in California just in the past week; new Covid variations sprouting up while people scream about public masking; and QAnon folks legally infiltrating our government. I could go on and on. Pretending that we can carve out spaces where we ignore political realities is a supremely political stance, one that can only come from a place of-- dare I say it?-- privilege.
There's no reason to indulge in ad hominem attacks, but not all opinions are worthy of equally civil responses. Here's another quote for you, this one from James Baldwin: “We can disagree and still love each other, unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.” Whoops, does that smack of ‘critical race theory’? CRT is a ‘cross-disciplinary examination, by social and civil-rights scholars and activists, of how laws, social and political movements, and media shape, and are shaped by, social conceptions of race and ethnicity’ (Wikipedia). It is not a subject taught in progressive elementary schools in order to lower self-esteem and promote guilty feelings in white children.”
Writes Claude Levy (1966) - “As Art makes a clear distinction between what I’ll call the political side of the Newsletter and, to simplify, the news about the grandkids, it’s very easy to skip the first part if you’re not interested. I think the best way to sum up the ‘politics-in-a-newsletter’ issue is Donna Bloom Cave’s, ‘If you don’t want to see it, don’t read it.’”
Writes Bob Jacobs (1967) - “Hi Art, You've earned a new nickname-Lightning Rod Art! I particularly liked Tim Boland's piece - a thoughtful and well-written essay from a fellow 1967 graduate.”
Writes Bill Kirchick (1969) - “Hi Art—boy, you really hit a sensitive nerve among our fellow schoolmates. I for one have really enjoyed the give-and-take. Some arguments are more persuasive than others, but overall I have found them interesting and enlightening. I do want to ask Jay Cummings one question: why is he holding back from us? Why doesn’t he tell us how he really feels 😊.
Now for my two cents: I abhor reading on the Internet anonymous comments. If people are too cowardly to put their name on what they say, they shouldn't say it. That is my way of saying you shouldn't quote unattributed Wildcats. Yes, I too like free speech (to a degree), but I think those who engage in it should stand behind what they say. Regards, bill k//
Writes Jane Sherry (1971) - “Hello Art, These days, ‘cancel culture’ and wishful thinking are everywhere, including in your newsletter. In my not so humble opinion, many baby boomers were a huge disappointment who gave up on a cultural revolution for the lure of becoming a comfortable yuppie, in support of maintaining the status quo. Obviously many are fine people who haven’t given up on those early dreams of making change in the world, even as others on this list bemoan political division and debate.
I am so tired of political correctness and ‘playing nice’ to avoid unpleasant discourse. Yes, it would be best if people could refrain from personal attacks, but if all anyone wants from your newsletter is to foster more sentimentality than already is rampant in our culture they should form another group as Patricia Koenig Franzino (’75) said they did on facebook. Why on earth should you “Keep it light” in this forum?
If they’re not happy with your policy of free speech (Yay Art!), then go somewhere else, learn to use the delete key. Wheatley wasn’t an idyllic time for everyone, and to see through those rose colored glasses at our own history is just sad. It’s good to rub up against one another, polish off those rough edges and see what shines beneath the superficial gloss. Respectfully, Jane Sherry”
Richard Levy (1975) - “Perturbed by some of the recent vitriolic and polemic postings of late, I opened Issue # 92 with some trepidation. While I too consider myself to be a firm supporter of all First Amendment rights, I was admittedly ambivalent about whether the alumni newsletter was an appropriate forum for airing strong political opinions that primarily served to agitate all readers. Given all of Art Engoron’s efforts to start and maintain the Newsletter, I respect his right to decide what should be published. Today, to my surprise, I could not have been more pleased with the content of the most recent newsletter, despite inclusion of a disturbing defense by Mr. Cummings. The articulate, well-reasoned and non-pejorative responses to the issue of the appropriate fora for political discourse reaffirmed my pride in being among the alumni of The Wheatley School. I must recognize that it was the horrific original posting by Mr. Cummings and the firm stance taken by Mr. Engoron that engendered this mature discussion. Art was right; I enjoyed and learned more about my fellow alumni by reading about their thoughts on this issue than I would have if the Newsletter were restricted to remembrances and updates from people, most of whom I don’t know and will likely never meet.”
Writes Jodi Levine Kornblath (1973) - “Hi Art, I have never been on any social media platforms. The Newsletter is the closest thing I participate in that allows me to stroll down memory lane without joining Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. However, today, with the ‘tribalism’ that is so prevalent in our social media, perhaps it was only a matter of time before personal opining became part of this forum. I do not envy your having to navigate this latest newsletter controversy. I think that you have handled this as diplomatically and fairly as anyone could. My concern is that this will get worse and make it too difficult, emotional and, frankly, sad for you to want to continue. We should not be putting you in this position. I think that the alumni need to consider the impact of these diatribes on your ability/desire to keep this newsletter the enjoyable experience it is meant to be. We should all be grateful for the work you do and not make that work any more complicated or difficult than it already is. I hope that others will think of you before they submit things that seem only to be causing controversy and upset. I wanted you to know how I, and I imagine others, feel.”
Writes Amy Rothbaum Patalano (1975) - “What is happening with this newsletter? It went from being a monthly update of good news/bad news to weekly political ranting and insults. Not nice. Enough.”
Writes Steven Starr (1975) - “The free speech debate is encouraging. We are not Twitter; we are a village, and a village without a town commons is not a community. With our commonly held roots and geography, I have absolute confidence in our respective abilities to scan/dismiss opinions as we see fit, and to still have affection for each other from whence we came. After all, this is Wheatley. And we are all Wildcats. Forever.”
Writes Ted Lipsky (1976) - “Replying to Tim Boland (1967): While I agree with your sentiments, I have seen some vanilla comments on various topics by alumni being interpreted as offensive political comments by others, although in reality they are just opinions with which someone may disagree. My suggestion is to chill, relax, and enjoy the content, and if an opinion or a story impacts our country, or the community, or a former classmate, then just bypass it. How does that sound?
I loved growing up in the Roslyn Country Club Community, attending Wheatley, playing sports, hanging out with amazing friends, competing against many people who were better than me academically and athletically and many who weren’t, and being taught how to think critically in the Union Free School District #2, rather than being told what to think. Free speech and a love for my country by pledging allegiance to the flag was a hallmark I shall never forget. Many may disagree with this sentiment, and that is fine. God bless all my former classmates and the amazing teachers I was lucky enough to learn from, including how to stand up for myself, and what I feel must be protected at all costs, like our freedoms. Let’s also not forget that Trump gave us energy independence in less than 4 years, which Biden destroyed with a stroke of his pen on Day One in office. Biden is a disgrace that kicked off a worldwide recession, supply chain problems, and persistent inflation, and brought us back to the pain of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. We need another Ronald Reagan to get us out of the mess these over-spending liberals created.
I feel for Patricia Koenig Franzino (1975) and her thoughts and comments and wish she would stay on and just go past comments of others as even if I disagree with people who are submitting thoughts, I love to hear them and sometimes debate them. I wish her well and hope I am not offending her by using ‘her,’ but in today’s sick world you never know.
For the record, in case people do not know, I love America and do not believe in nor do I subscribe to globalization. That would be America’s undoing. The world needs a strong independent America that is exceptional on every level and must stop supporting wars and nation building as it has failed everywhere under Bush 43 and Obama. Trump ended that for four years and kept China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, and Ukraine under control. There were no new wars under Trump. For the record, I could not stand Trump, but his policies were great for America, and it took a virus from Wuhan China to end the prosperity and kill millions of people.
To Jay Cummings: WOW! I think you are about to be flamed, but everything you wrote is true, except your point about inflation at 7%. It actually reached over 9.1%, and anyone who goes into a grocery store can see the reality of Biden’s terrible policies, and he must be voted out. The terrible thing is that the Republicans today are more of a ‘uniparty’ with the Democrats, and they must also be voted out. We need term limits to end the DC sewer corruption.
Biden is a total failure, and looking at his totally unqualified cabinet that was put in place to check boxes along with a VP who is a failure proves that. I am 100% in favor of a meritocracy and not hiring quotas. Throughout my career, in telecommunications, I have hired the best people for jobs, many of whom had no educational qualifications other than high school but tons of technical experience, and I will continue to do that until I retire. Some of the dumbest people who thought they were better than they actually were came from Stanford, Harvard or Penn with their MBAs, and I did not hire s single one of them. I hired people who came from technical institutes that knew how to build things from the ground up and how to make things work and not discuss them in pointless endless meetings where we discuss what we need to meet on rather than getting things done. One of my mentors always said to me, ‘Hire the best person without regard to race, skin color, sex, nationality, or religion,’ and I did! Out of more than 100 hires only one in my career did not work out.
Charlie Nash (1973) said it well.
Mitch Shapiro (1970), thank you for the laugh. I also hit some trees.
Administration (Rick Simon) - “Thanks for all you do. Just came from watching Wheatley boys basketball defeat Locust Valley. Fun time. Met the new principal, Joseph Wiener. Nice to be back. Rick (Wheatley Principal 1995-2008).
Faculty (Karen Bartscherer) - ❤️ - “As always, a great newsletter. Providing a place for Wheatley grads to share memories, updates, life stories, and other news and comments is such a special gift, Art and Keith, sustaining, and in some cases perhaps reawakening, bonds made long ago. Thanks very much for the time and effort you put in; it is meaningful and appreciated.”
1958 (Ed Brown) - “Thank you, Art.”
1958 (Steve Nelson) - “I appreciate all the work you do to bring us the Newsletter. It’s not that you don’t have a challenging ‘real’ job on top of that.”
1959 (Tracey Lanthier) - “Nice job. I enjoy reading about the school.”
1963 (Martin Kay) - “Please keep up the good work that you do.”
1963 (Jeanne Langlois Kull) - ❤️
1966 (Claude Levy) - ❤️
1967 (Larry Weiss) - “I appreciate, as always, your exceptionally dedicated and talented work on behalf of Wheatley and all its alums.”
1969 (Paul Ingrassia) - “I enjoy hearing about old friends……thanks.”
1970 (Jonathan Gold) - ❤️
1970 (Cameron Kane) - ❤️
1971 (Wayne Peiser) - ❤️
1971 (Jane Sherry) - “Kudos!”
1973 (Jodi Levine Kornblath) - “Thank you for all of your hard work.”
1975 (Amy Rothbaum Patalano) - “Thank you for all your hard work keeping us Wildcats in touch.”
1975 (Wendy Zacharkow Herbel) - ❤️
1981 (John Hughes) - “Thanks for all you do.”
1981 (Barbara E. Schwartz) - “Cool thing you are doing, thanks. I share all the Newsletters with my dad, and he enjoys them, too.”
1983 (Bernadette McCrave Quinn) - ❤️
2007 (Ran Zhang) - ❤️
That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 93. Please send us your autobiography before someone else sends us your obituary.
Arthur Fredericks Engoron, Class of 1967
My three heroes - Mr. Joseph McCormack, Nayib Bukele, and Ted Lipsky.
While I would not be for government censorship enforced by law, in nearly every case, citizen censorship is something we all do, and we all agree with. We decide who to interact with, who to invite over, who to engage in discussions with. In the internet age, where anyone can have access to everyone, the censor is each of us, on the properties we create. We too often lose sight of normal human behavior when we interact online, but a brief reflection can be enlightening and help remind us of what is appropriate and what is not.
I wrote more about it in more detail recently: https://csempathy.substack.com/p/censorship-is-free-speech-its-good