Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Remembering the Forest Hills High School Years 1964-67

I entered Forest Hills High School (FHHS)in September 1964.  At that time close to 90% of the students were Jewish.  Since the school was overcrowded there were three sessions for the sophomores, juniors, and seniors.  I was accepted for the “Special Science Program”.  I remember fondly many teachers who really stimulated the students.   There was Saul Geffner and Morris Wigler who taught chemistry.  Harvey Pollack was an excellent physics teacher.  Lucy DeVivo taught biology.  Oh, I hated dissecting frogs, so I majored in chemistry.  There was gold ole Miss Sullivan who taught Geometry that was a bore.  I later took advanced algebra with Miss Mercaldo.  Bernard Plotkin was the calculus teacher in my senior year.  That was really tough, but it helped me when I got City College, the next year.


My fellow students were very competitive.  I remember Uzi Bar-Gadda who was really a whiz with physics, but had no personality.  I think I googled him once and found out he became a Professor at Stanford.  Corey Lerner was the valedictorian and became a cardiologist.  He is a distant relative of Karen.


My best friend back then was Roy whose parents were friends of my Mom and Dad.  I remember our senior year when we walked down Saunders Street toward school each morning.  We would toward school and talk about the WMCA and WABC surveys.  I have kept in touch with him to this day.


There was also Paul Vernon.  I remember going to basketball games with him on Tuesday and Saturday nights.  Back then with a high school ID we could see a doubleheader in Madison Square Garden for $1.25.  That is not a typo!  One dollar and twenty five cents.  Back in those days Carl Braun likely made $10,000/year.


Over the years I have reconnected with some FHHS students.  In the early 1970s I went to some singles dances with Larry Wirfel. Sadly, he passed away in 1984.  In 1992, there was a big reunion near JFK Airport of 1967 grads for the 25th anniversary.  I just wasn’t in the mood to go. In 1998 there was a regular online chat with graduates of 1967-68.  I reconnected with Mike Seidman who now lives in Suffolk County.  There was a small reunion with mostly 1968 grads.  I reconnected with Frances Cohan whose mother played Mah Jong with my mother in the 1960s.  Fran would often walk her dog on Saunders Street when Roy and I passed by.  Sadly she died of breast cancer in 2000 at age 50.  I also became re-acquainted with Phyllis Silverman who was a fellow camper at Wel-Met in the 60s.


In 2002 there was a reunion of about 50 1967 classmates at a restaurant on the West Side.  I talked to Alan Mayer who was an excellent writer for the school newspaper called The Beacon.  Very recently I did a search on Facebook for FHHS 1967 grads.  I found Alan Mayer and Tom Bunzel who also wrote for the Beacon.  I also made friends with Judy Gerber whom I also become reacquainted with through Mike Seidman.


Those were the days.



Anonymous said...

Great writing Bruce. I was never interested in attending class reunions either. The few I was close to, I still maintain a friendship to this day.


Anonymous said...

I loved reading your nostalgia piece on FHHS. While my memories aren't quite as intellectually stimulating, I did make life long friends there. I remeber Miss Sullivan's class and Miss DeVivo's and the naps I took there. Hope all is going well with you and your gang.

phoenixellen said...

Enjoyed reading your FHHS memories. I don't remember too many of my teachers there...but, I, too, had Miss Mercaldo...and I enjoyed Mr. Lucas for Biology. I've reconnected with a few friends from there, and one of them, Lewis Zimmerman, went back there to teach--History, I believe--and he's been teaching there for many years now.

Frances Cohan was a friend of mine since birth as we lived in the same building until I was 7 and our mothers were best of friends. My mom, of course, also played Mah Jongg with Fran's mom and your mom, as you wrote to me. I still speak to Frances' younger sister, Irene at least once a month. She and her parents now live in Florida.

The memories of our youth are what we grasp at now as we are now the generation that our parents used to be. Thank you for bringing back so many great memories, Bruce. I appreciate it greatly.

Personal-Journals blog