I Wish I could be there to celebrate our 50th with all of you. As you read I’ve started a trip that will take my wife Claudia and I nearly half way around the world to Armenia — that’s where our older son, Yevgeniy (26) is serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I’ll report on the trip in future posts. But I’m sad not to be with all of you. So let me share some thoughts.
The people we miss. I want to take a moment to reflect on the many losses we’ve had, Larry Boresen, Sylvester Land (see Memorial Day Post), Tommie Nelson, Jim Argyros, Ed Lietz, Teddi Lungren, and others I fear. All of these people touched our lives — and especially Chickie Seneck (Walsh) who left us more than a year ago. I found a beautiful picture of her. You see it as well as some wonderful tributes at this link. Chickie was a truly kind and loving person. I got to know her a little bit in senior year and have to admit I had a bit of a crush on her. But it was really through correspondence and her role as the “person-who- held-us-together-more-than-any-other that I discovered her. We shared some great and stories about life on St. George Avenue — she lived there for a while, and I worked at Gold Bell Bakery for a summer.
Chickie Seneck -- she holds us together, still.
From her obit: Chickie was a brilliant woman who took pride in being extremely active in the communities she lived in throughout her life, as well as bringing old friends back together on a regular basis, organizing class reunions. A proud, involved Democrat in politics and a fierce competitor on the softball field, these were the joys in her life. Chickie also loved to dance and you can bet she is dancing on still; “carpe diem.” That’s Chickie.
A few funny stories — Larry Boresen for starters: Us Jewish kids at ACHS formed a basketball team, it was Steve Weiner, Mike Zimring, Arnie Silverman and me. You can see the problem, only four of us to play in the Union County Jewish Center League and our first big game was with Anshe Chessed Synagogue in Linden. This where Larry Boresen came it. Funny thing he didn’t look Jewish — tall blonde, blue eyes, rather Scandinavian. The AC team took one look at Larry and immediately protested that he was a ringer; I think they were far more concerned with his height than his ethnicity. They did let us play and as I recall routed us.
And Ed Lietz: I remember health class with Mr. Rothenberg. He was kind of young and feeling very awkward about teaching us guys about “the facts of life.” So he would write something on the board like “nocturnal emission,” and someone would yell — oh you mean “wet dream.” And “Intercourse” — well you know, what someone yelled. It was clear we knew about as much as he did. So Mr. Rothenberg then comes out with this gem, “of course guys are more interested in ….. er… sex than girls.” At that point Lietz shouts out, “Yeah, but I know these girls in Elizabeth Port..” The whole class broke up.
Tom Nelson: Mr. Rice (see story)
was famous for giving the same tests and finals year after year. So there were lots of copies floating around. On the day of our history final, Tommy gets up after 5 minutes and hands in his test. Mr. Rice looks it over, says — yep, you got them all right, 100, and oh, you get extra credit — it’s typed. (The last bit may be the kind of exaggeration that happens as stories — like fine wine age.)
I had many happy moments at ACHS — especially following our incredible basketball and football teams (See story about our Thanksgivings
) and playing Charlie’s Aunt
in the senior play. Debating with teachers Clarkin (too authoritative), Besson (too deep), Doscher (too conservative), and so forth, the day we rolled the typewriter rollers down the floor in typing class and got caught red-handed by Ms. Whitenack. The day a bunch of us “kid-brother-napped” my younger brother Fred in the hall and forced him to take a seat in Mr. Gold’s Calculus class. Mr. Gold was not happy. But he had a heart like his name, and after several weeks, he rescinded the zero’s he gave us perps for the marking period.
And I’ll never forget Ms. Spring — what a kind soul and great teacher. I remember being terribly bored when the class was reading Beowulf out loud in olde English. So I drew a pretty nice picture of a lake and a tree right on the desk (smooth and light colored composite) with a pencil. She noticed that I was not paying attention and wandered to the back of the room where I was sitting. She looked at the picture, looked at me, about to say something critical (I could tell), but she had second thoughts and walked away without a word. Maybe she remembered what it was like to be young and romantic?
New Gym: Wow and the first day we walked into the brand new gym. It was like walking into heaven– real glass backboards, and you could play two full court games at once or four half court games! I really think this helped inspire our 26-0 1961 record. Thanks for this and everything Mr. Arminio — Ralph. I hope somehow you can feel our love and admiration. You too Virge, Casey, Orian, and the rest.
Please send in your stories and comments and have a wonderful time at tonight’s reunion. I’ll try to make it, “If only in my dreams.”
Doo-Wop: In August 1957, some 54 years ago our family moved to Roselle. The first few weeks of classes, I felt like a fish out of water. One day after school, I wandered out into the school yard feeling kind of blue. But I heard some singing, really fabulous harmony. It was four Black guys, clearly upper upperclassmen and they were fantastic. When I heard them sing, “That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love” I felt a magical transformation. This was my kind of place. I walked away with a happy heart. I wish I knew who their names. But it brings to mind how much the diversity of students at Abraham Clark High School contributed to our experience. Unfortunately, Whities and Blacks and whites didn’t socialize much except in class, in athletics and at official school dances. We all had our own parties and places to go. I think we all lost a great deal and wish it had been different.
The Lar-Kings: I happened to be at my sister in-law’s birthday party this past spring and they had a Doo-Wop group known as the Larkings. I asked them to sing two of my favorites: The Story of Love and The Book of Love.
Have a go, click below: Pardon my less than wonderful camera work.