THE CELEBRATION CONTINUES
One of the events that gets a lot of mentions in our reminiscences is of course The Junior Musical. Most of the class participated in one way or another, and it always brings back good memories. Thanks to Anita Lindholm Smith and Lydia Lockridge Morrongiello, we have images of the program cover and cast and acknowledgent pages. Anita also went the extra mile and got her LP recording of the play converted to MP3 files which you can click on and listen! The sound quality is not bad, considering it was recorded live, over 60 years ago. I will also send those MP3 files out to all via email. In the meantime, check out the program pages, and give a listen to the music.
Well, since the Bayou Flute has made an apperance, let's hear from one of the "stars," Clem Lagala. He tells me has written something between a short story and a novella. Here are some great excerpts. It's written in a very lively, engaging manner. Kind of reflects Clem's personality. Long, but worth the time!
After having many conversations with friends over the years about Chappaqua, schools, classmates and others, I thought it would be entertaining to write all these anecdotes down so others could reminisce and enjoy them as much as we did.
A lot of what you will read is absolutely true , but some, not so true. None of the names have been changed, so those of you who want to sue me, you must know, everything is in my wife’s name! Be aware some of the characters herein described have passed on to better things, but those old days were probably some of the best times we had. Have fun, contact old friends and talk about old times as you remember them.
The Chicken Coop
Even thought Chappaqua was an affluent community, its schools did not actually reflect this until the 1950’s. Some of us original Greeleyites started school in one of two places. Kindergarten attendance depended upon where you lived. If you lived west of the railroad tracks, you went to the Kipp Street school. If you lived east of the tracks, you started in the Chicken Coop. Of course there were exceptions to this rule, like how you were going to get to school. If you lived a mile or less, you either walked or your parents took you there.
The Chicken Coop was a wooden, two room schoolhouse built behind Horace Greeley High School after WWII. The High School was built during the Roosevelt administration by the WPA in 1933. What a majestic building it was and it left some great memories for those of us who went there. It became the Robert E. Bell middle school in 1957 when the new high school was built on Roaring Brook Road near the Readers Digest.
Some of the original students at the Coop, if I remember correctly, were Peter Kennedy, Jim Granger, Peter Davidson, Dave Williams, Sue Grafflin, Asher Sellner, Bruce Mygatt, Fred Chambers, John Cobbs (there’s a name from the past) and many others I’ve forgotten. I remember skipping down King Street with Jim Granger to get to school. We used to like the autumn best because the Horse Chestnut trees along Center Street that led to the High School would provide us with ammunition to bombard people, cars and buildings with the nuts.
I really don’t remember school buses in those days, but I’m sure they existed because most of the students for the Kipp Street school lived quite a distance from there. I think Ken Nye, who lived on Kipp Street was closest.
Top of the Hill
After attending Kindergarten in the Coop, the next step in our development as scholars was to get to the top of the hill. That was where most of us attended first, second and third grade. The school sat at the top of King Street and was later to become the town hall. It was an ominous looking grey four story building, whose future was not good. Years later it was bought by Holmes and Kennedy and partners and torn down to build something else.
I remember being in Mrs. Kiley’s first grade class along with Marcia Duncan and David Richards and others. This is where a lot of us learned to write. We were taught manuscript (printing) not script, (which I considered “writing”)
When we completed first grade and moved on to second grade, some of us were privileged to be in a class that had a British exchange teacher, Miss Colby. She was very strict and believed in punishment, but I don’t believe I ever saw her hit or kill anyone.
The best part of the school day was recess. We’d all run down the stairs and out the back door to the playground. This was not your ordinary playground. No swings or merry go round. No slide or see saws. We had dirt. A flat half acre of dusty dirt. Boy, we had fun!
A girl in our class, Lynn Hyatt, had a grandfather who had a farm bordering the back of the playground. I don’t remember him raising anything but Peacocks. Beautiful, but noisy birds. If you were lucky to be at the fence first, you might find a Peacock feather on the ground. But if you were like some of us and an innocent bird was closed enough, you’d pluck one right from the source. Our exchange teacher had her hands full with the likes of Wally Higgins, Billy French, Peter Davidson, Kennedy, myself and other incorrigibles.
Marbles, Crickets and “I Like Ike”
In the early fifties, the Chappaqua School District population was rapidly growing. The decision was made to build another Elementary school on property the town owned on Quaker Road. Because it was situated across the street from Roaring Brook Road, Guess what it was called? It opened in 1951 at the height of the Korean Conflict. This was not a war but a Police Action declared by the U.N. The school housed kindergarten through fifth grades.
We started there in the third grade in Miss Joslin’s class on the second floor. She later got married and became Mrs. Boudreaux but will always remain Miss Joslin, because we couldn’t spell Boudreaux.
Our Principal was Miss Edith Sliker, a very big and strict, but fair, women who struck fear in the hearts of us delinquents. She had a small desk and chair in the hallway outside her office. If you misbehaved and were sent to the Principal’s office, she would make you sit in that spot forever, or until she thought you were scared enough to do whatever you were told.
President Truman’s term in office was coming to a close and elections were soon to be held. We, as children, had no idea of what the political process was except for what we heard our parents say about the elections and candidates. Chappaqua, being mostly Republican, was flooded with campaign signs and buttons. We all had an “I Like Ike” button and wore it proudly. We really didn’t know who Adlai Stevenson was and what the Democrats were about.
Every Wednesday we had dancing class. Mr. Richards and Mrs. Holsapple (Mary’s mom) were the instructors. They really must have had nerves of steel to even try to teach a bunch of nine and ten year olds the Foxtrot. They would demonstrate the steps, then we’d try it. If we made a mistake, he’d use the little clicker (cricket) he had to get our attention, or to change partners. We’d line up in the hall outside the auditorium in pairs. Girls on the right, boys on the left.
Again, the best part of the school day was recess. The playgrounds at Roaring Brook School were a thing to behold. We had swings, merry go rounds, slides, basketball backboards and hoops that were only six feet off the ground. We played basketball like we were in the NBA. We also had a baseball diamond that had real bases, not someone’s mitt on the ground.
We’d draw a two foot circle on the ground for our Marbles court. Most of us had a bag full of marbles containing peewees, boulders and shooters. It was very competitive and you could win or lose your entire fortune in one shooting. Another pastime and fortune maker was flipping baseball cards. Idea was face up or face down, you had to match to win. Years later, my mother threw out 2 shoeboxes full of baseball cards my bother Mike and I accumulated. Worth a fortune today!
I can really say that the fifth grade was somewhat uneventful. Mr. Lindsay was our teacher and sort of kept us under control because we’d be moving back to HGHS where our middle school years would begin. We all took our hits and to this day, if you see one of us, expect to take a little crap about the past.
I forgot to mention our sojourn into the realm of Cub Scouts. Our Den Mother was Mrs. Granger, who also had huge amounts of patience to put up with the likes of her son, me, John Maloney, and assorted other incorrigibles. Most of the time, all we did was play baseball in the Granger’s front yard.
A short story about John Maloney. There was a rumor going around for years that he had dropped out. It was said he became a drunk, lived on the Bowery and slept in the gutter. I became very interested in finding out about John, so I did some research. I found he had worked for a respected publishing house in Manhattan as a very successful book editor. I have no idea how the rumor of his bad behavior got started.
There was another rumor that Paul Deignan, another classmate, had robbed a liquor store in Los Angeles and was doing time in a California Penal Institute. Not true. I think he’s a scientist somewhere. (Ed. Note: Paul passed away earlier this year after a distinguished engineering career.)
Changing classes, Little League and Apples
When we hit Junior High, (sixth, seventh and eighth grades) we all felt grown up. We were with the big kids at HGHS and were changing classes. Actually going from one room to another for different subjects. I remember I made friends with a kid named Gordon White. His family moved into town, stayed for a year or two, then moved again. He was a southern kid and a really good kickball player who, when he spoke, you would pick up half of what he said because of the accent.
Our Homeroom teacher in the seventh grade was Mr. Thrasher. He was sort of a mild mannered Clark Kent type of guy, until he got riled. One day, us incorrigibles got to him and he shouted “my name is Rex Thrasher, do you know what Rex means?” Of course we didn’t and the silence was deafening. “It means King” he shouted. From then on for about a month we all ran around calling each other Rex.
Some of the extra curricular activities we participated in were almost criminal. Peter Davidson and I would steal apples from this little orchard on Bedford Road just down from where he lived. We’d tuck in our shirts and unbutton the top three buttons and load up. When I got home, my mother would ask where I got the apples. Of course I lied and told her
the lady who owned the property (I think she was an actress) said we could have apples if we helped clean up the orchard. I’m lucky my pants never caught fire!
I’ve always loved sports especially Football and Baseball and they have played a big part in who I am. The Chappaqua Recreation Commission, headed by Bob Francis, who also drove a school bus, started the Little League Baseball and Football programs to keep us kids out of trouble in the summer and autumn. We had baseball teams all named after animals. I was on the Owls. But we also had the Lions, Bears, and Tigers. To supplement the cost of the program, they had us kids go out and sell “Bonds”, which never matured. The kid who sold the most bonds would win a new Baseball Mitt. Best thing, we all had neat uniforms supplied by the town.
Little League Football was another story. Actually it was the developmental stages of high school football. We all learned the basics like blocking and tackling, carrying the ball and basic formations. Bob Francis was friends with our high school coach, Mark Whittleton, “The Whip” as he was affectionately called (but not to his face). Stories about him are to come later.
Of course we had kids of all sizes and shapes. big, small, talented and totally unskilled in athletics. But I must say, all the volunteer coaches (mostly Fathers who were interested) gave everyone a chance to play, both Football and Baseball. Some of the more talented players like Jim Granger who was a Fullback, Stuart Finlayson, who appeared to be a barbarian, Phil Bender, who was a lineman because he was big, and others, got to play more. Contrary to Baseball, where the uniforms were provided, in Football, you had to have your own equipment. My father had a customer in Scarsdale, the Couffers, whose son was older than me, but had all this equipment. It was hand me down, but was first class. All our teams were named for the Ivy League schools, you know, Cornell, Princeton, Yale and the rest. I was lucky to be on Princeton because my second hand jersey was their school colors, orange and black. We had a huge amount of fun playing ball in the mud after school on the rec field across from the High School.
In the eighth grade, it suddenly dawned on us that we’d be in high school the next year. So, inevitably, we became wise guys and know it alls. The schools were becoming very crowded and it was rumored that a new high school was to be built. Most of our teachers were being tested every day with some of our antics. As eighth graders we were required to take non academic programs. These included Shop, Music, Home Economics and Physical Education. When my turn for Home Economics came around, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to have to take that girly class.
The only redeeming factor was you got to bake cookies. My partner in the cooking portion of the class was Will Risley. Miss Gorman was the teacher, a very nervous old maid who also ruled her class with an iron fist. When it came time to learn to bake cookies, Will and I were like two guys just out of jail. She explained the recipe for the dough and how to bake it in the oven at a certain temperature for so long. But, DO NOT EAT THE RAW DOUGH! Guess what we did? She caught us and threw us out of class. We wandered the “Halls of Greeley High” for the rest of the period.
Another pastime was thinking of things to do after school. Jim and I and sometimes Bruce would walk up King Street and dream up things to do. Not always things that got thirteen year olds in trouble, but were somewhat borderline. Before they moved out to Hardscrabble Road, the Mygatt’s house on Highland Avenue had a garden in back that contained some rows of corn. This became very important on our road to smoking. We had bought these corn cob pipes at Murray’s Five & Ten next to a landmark in town, the Central Bar and Grill (to appear later). We got the bright idea that corn cob pipes were meant to be smoked with corn silk. We raided the garden and picked all the dark brown silk from the cornstalks, put it in our pipes and lit up. After coughing, gasping and choking for a half hour, we figured we’d have been better off smoking pine needles!
Steve Walsh and I were just a couple of guys who did not have older brothers or sisters to learn from, so we got in trouble on our own. Davidson, Mygatt, Granger, Kennedy and some others all had older brothers. Steve and I each had two younger brothers to pass on all this knowledge and experience.
As eighth grade came to an end, we had to look forward to split sessions of school, hanging out in the village, lunch on our own and having more spare time than any person is entitled to. This gave us the opportunity to dream up some of the coolest adventures you could have without a drivers license.
Toe Heel, Toe Heel, Butter Wedge and the Kitch
Our Freshman year began with split sessions. That meant some of us went to school in the morning and some in the afternoon. Ideally, you went to classes in the morning so you had the rest of the day to goof off. Construction of the new high school had begun and the design was similar to a college campus layout. It even got some ink in Life magazine. We enjoyed the schedule of split sessions, but were looking forward to attending the new school next year.
Our social lives began to change. We no longer were just a rowdy bunch of reprobates. Interacting with girls and social gatherings started to play a part in our spare time activities. I remember an all school dance was coming up and everyone was excited about attending. I didn’t know how to dance, even though I had attended Mr. Richard’s dancing classes.
Plus, you knew you were not going to do the Foxtrot. My buddy Phil Bender offered to teach me the Lindy, the dance of the time. Rock and Roll was really taking hold, so to be cool, you had to dance. We were at his house, had some music on the “Hi Fi”
and we began. “Toe heel, toe heel” he’d chant and demonstrate. Being fairly coordinated, I grasped these moves pretty fast. Not exactly Arthur Murray, but passable.
I got up the courage to ask Lynn Norton if she would go to the dance with me and she said yes. Of course, it wasn’t a real date because she met me there in the auditorium. After all these years, Lynn still insists I wanted her to lead when there was a slow dance. She and I were good friends all through high school. Because of the split sessions, some of us were able to leave school at lunch time. We’d all leave for home or lunch in the nearby stores. Across from the Chappaqua National Bank was a strip of stores that met some of our needs.
On the corner, across from the Mobil station, was Steere’s Delicatessen. The home of the famous Butter Wedge. This fifty cent masterpiece was a half a loaf of Italian bread loaded with butter. Another dime and you could get a soda. Also in this strip of stores on the other end was the luncheonette, affectionately known as “The Kitch”. You could get an order of French Fries and a Coke for about seventy five cents.
To this day, I think those fries were the best tasting I’ve ever had. Of course you had to put ketchup on them to really get the rush!
About this time, with the encouragement of Tommy Stevens, I thought I’d try smoking again. Not the corn silk, but real tobacco. In those days you had a choice of regular or king size, filtered or non filtered cigarettes. My father smoked Chesterfields, which I’d steal once in a while and choke. There were also Luckys, Camels, Old Gold, Pall Mall and Philip Morris. Philip Morris had an advertisement with a Midget in a Bellhop uniform running around shouting “ Call for Philip Morris”.
Some of the filtered cigarettes don’t exist anymore. Kent, which came in regular size and king size were very popular as were Winston, Newport (with a hint of mint) Parliament, Old Gold and Marlboro. I remember the first time I smoked a whole cigarette, Kent shorts, I got as high as a kite. I thought this has to be the greatest thing ever. Of course the effect wore off later.
Another popular lunch spot was Viscomi”s Diner, next to Foster’s Texaco station in the center of town. Mr. Viscomi’s signature dish was Spaghetti and Meatballs. Because I’m Italian, I was never in the place, even though I lived in Chappaqua most of my life, preferring the home cooking of my mother and grandmother when it came to Italian food.
Railroad Station, Moving and Mischief
The Chappaqua Railroad Station played a big part in the image of the community. Every morning, hundreds of fathers left by train or car to work in New York City or other places. The station had a waiting room, restrooms, Station Masters office (Dave Williams’ father) and a huge parking lot. There was no charge to park your car all day. This was an open invitation for abuse and trouble. Some of my schoolmates took this opportunity to enhance their driving skills. They’d walk around the parking lot looking for a car with the keys in the ignition. If a father was late for the train, sometimes they’d forget to take the keys. This was the golden opportunity to practice Indianapolis 500 maneuvers.
The 1957 school year began by everyone moving into the not quite completed new Horace Greeley High School. The buildings and parking lots were done, but none of the landscaping or athletic fields were finished. The Football and Baseball teams still played all their home games on the fields downtown at the old school. It appeared to me that classes were secondary to the move. Set up and organization of the day to day operation of the school was number one priority for everyone, staff, administration, faculty and students.
It took most of us quite a bit of time to get use to the layout. Getting lost was part of the game. One afternoon, Phil Bender and I were helping Mr. Davis, an English teacher, with the move. We had to use the restroom, so off we went. In each wing, the restrooms were by the entrance to the building. Girls on the right, Boys on the left, except for “D” building. Phil and I go busting into the left bathroom and suddenly notice no urinals. What the…?
We barged in just as Miss Barry was exiting a stall. Boy, was she surprised and boy, were we in trouble.
School was starting in the new buildings and also, some new students joined our ranks. Bif Fowler came on board and started to hang out with Phil, myself, Steve and some other notables. Another character who arrived on the scene was Jim Hands. We’re good friends to this day.
The Asian Flu spread like wildfire through the school, affecting every part of our days. The varsity football team lost half its members to illness so Coach Whittleton promoted about five or six of us Sophomores on the JV to the Varsity team. If I remember correctly it was Mygatt, Ben Lewis, Bif, Dick Howe, Peter Corbino/Berg and myself. I remember really taking a beating in the Pelham High School game.
More about the “Whip”. He was a righteous man who always gave you the benefit of the doubt, but insisted on all his players giving 100%. He nicknamed me “Gooch”. Probably the highlight of his coaching career was the 1957 undefeated, untied football season. The premier player on the team was Tommy Gilburg who went on to star at Syracuse University and then the Baltimore Colts. Quite an accomplishment for a small school of less than 500 students.
My years playing football and baseball for Coach Whittleton were some of the most gratifying times of my life. Years later when my brother Mike moved to San Diego when he worked for Merck Pharmaceuticals, he attended some civic function and ran into the “Whip’s” daughter, De De. After the Whittletons moved to California, she got into politics and became a State Representative. Mike found out Coach was still alive, but frail. She said she remembered the Lagala boys and her father would love to see them. Mike said “Clem will be out at Christmas and we’ll get in touch”. This was in June. Unfortunately, He died before I got there. Sad.
The school year progressed in a normal manner. We all got into attending classes all day. Now, when you changed classes you had to go outside. It was nice, except for the winter time, dragging your coat around all day. We all had these little cubbyhole lockers that barely held books, much less coats. Wardrobe was important. The clothes you wore were almost like a uniform. Khaki pants, blue, yellow or pink button down shirts, white socks and brown or black loafers were some of the items. We didn’t stray too far away from the Ivy League look. Girls also had certain garments that were required attire. I’ll let you ladies determine what was appropriate at that time.
The summer between our Sophomore and Junior years was uneventful. Many of use started to work to earn some money. I was working for “The Boss” (my Father) at the garage so I got to drive a lot. Steve was working at a resort in Kennebunkport as a life guard. I believe Kennedy was a Soda Jerk at the Rexall Drugstore next to the liquor store. I’m sure that not all of us had to work, but it sure made the summer go by fast.
Quite a few of us turned sixteen, so we all got our Junior license. This opened up a whole new horizon of things you could do, if your folks would give you the car. This also meant you could take Driver’s Education and get your “Blue Card” so you could drive at night at seventeen years of age. Our Instructor, Mr. Brightbill was strange, not in a bad way, just a little crazy. The Driver Ed. car was a Plymouth with dual controls. At any given time, Brightbill would slam on the brakes and scare you to death. It was an experience.
Armonk, Singing and Girlfriends
Driving led to the discovery of Armonk and booze. There were about 15 bars in the town of North Castle (Armonk). Our group’s personal favorites were “The Willows”, “McClaren’s”, “The Ox Yoke” and the “Log Cabin”. In our year book, Risley is quoted as saying “McClaren’s makes the best Hamburgers”.
The drinking age in New York at the time was 18. The legal age in Connecticut was 21. I’m willing to bet that at any given time half the people in the bars in Armonk were young Connecticutians. And, the other half were illegal drinkers from New York. Everyone had two forms of ID. One legal and the other borrowed from an older relative or friend.
There were two ways to get to Armonk, over Haight’s Cross Road off of King Street, or from Mt. Kisco via Bishop’s Flats. We’d race along the Flat, which was a two lane , straight flat road that you could drive wide open for a couple of miles. Once you got to Armonk and your favorite watering hole, the preferred drinks were of course beer, Seagram’s Seven and 7 Up and Rye and Ginger. You learned what to drink from what your folks drank or what your friends drank. Very few exotic cocktails.
One afternoon, Phil Bender and I had my folks station wagon, the most common means of transportation in Chappaqua. We were on our way to Armonk by way of Bishop’s Flats. John “Booky” Davis was behind us and decided to race us. When we reached the end of the flats at about 75 miles per hour, I couldn’t make the turn and crashed into the trees. Phil and I both wound up in the hospital and my parent’s car was totaled. Phil left Greeley not too long after that and he wound up his high school career at Trinity Pawling Prep. But when he came home guess who did he hang out with? That’s right, Fowler, Lagala and others.
Let’s step back for a minute and talk about “Booky Davis”. He was Chappaqua’s version of “The Fonz” from “Happy Days. He had a following and you always had a good time around him. He lived in Millwood, along with guys like Louie Polacari, Bill Irwin, Tom Mackey and Bill Fisher, nice guys all. Two people who lived in Kisco Park were very cool, both Murphys. Pat, who was a great looking girl, and Ed (Swede) who hung around with me, Walsh and others. Really good basketball player.
I must say, it really didn’t matter where you lived in Chappaqua. You fit into a social group of your own making. There were no minorities living or going to school in Chappaqua. No Blacks or Hispanics. The closest we came to a minority was an occasional Asian. We Italians were here before the Wasps so we didn’t count.
It is traditional that the Junior Class put on a musical to benefit the Chappaqua Dads Club. Jimmy Layden, who was a musical director in NYC and had an orchestra, and Lee Benjamin, who was a Drama teacher (taught at Greeley at one time) would produce a musical like “Brigadoon” or an original composition they wrote together. Our class was lucky to get an original called “Bayou Flute”. I would guess that 90 percent of the class participated in the production in one way or another. I know that Larry Johnson, Allan Cambell, Peter Heerwagen and Will Risley were all stagehands. Clayton Fisher and some of the other techies were the technical staff (lights, sound and curtains), but almost everyone got involved.
I was picked to be one of the principals because of my good looks, saviors fare, outstanding singing voice and physical acuity. (if you believe that, I have some swamp land to sell you!). I don’t think I can live down singing about a Pink Cloud. The female lead was Anita Lindholm, extremely good looking and boy could she sing!
Spring brought another baseball season. The ball fields at the new High School had not been completed, so we still practiced and played on the Rec. field downtown. We were allowed to drive our cars to practice because it was after school hours. This gave us a lot of opportunities to create some interesting situations. One afternoon a few of us decided to stop by “The Central” for a quick beer. Jim Dunn, the bartender, never asked for ID so we were golden. We’re all sitting at the bar in our baseball uniforms having a beer when we noticed Coach Don Hess parking his car right in front of the bar. We all took off out the back door next to the railroad tracks. Whenever Dunn did recognize something was wrong, he’d say “hit the road!” and out we’d go.
When school started and football training began, a lot of the fooling around stopped. I never really smoked so that was not a problem. I would sneak a smoke from Tony Kilburn once in a while, he returned to Greeley from private school. I think he went to The Gunnery? His brother Peter left when we were Juniors, although they both still claim the class of 60. Tony and I hung out a lot together and had some adventures after high school.
“ It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”
It seems like it was just yesterday, we were all looking forward to being Seniors. Fowler, Walsh, Risley, me and the rest of the crew, all thought we were BMOC. We had a lousy Football season, only winning four out of nine games. Rye and Tuckahoe really beat us up, but we survived.
As Seniors, we were required to have a Parent, Student, Guidance Counselor conference. Our Counselor was Dale Remaly. I think he hated mediocre students. Both Kennedy and myself claim he told our parents not to waste their money to send us to college. We “weren’t college material”.
One night about two in the morning, Fowler and I decided to paint our class numerals in the parking lot. Big white 60 with a pink cloud hurdling a stanchion.
With Spring came baseball. I was a catcher and to this day I attribute my bad knees to squatting behind the plate
I guess about ninety five percent of our class went to college. That’s not to say we all graduated. I can say most of us reprobates graduated and have been somewhat successful, contrary to what Mr. Remaly thought. When I left Chappaqua to go to college and a whole new environment, I often thought of all the fun and excitement that little town had given us. It’s changed a lot through the years but will always make us laugh when we get together and reminisce.
I never really thought I’d get all this down on paper. I guess my memory has served me well. Most of the anecdotes are 100% accurate, according to my recollections. If you remember some of these differently, write me, call me or see me and we’ll remember together. There are some things that happened that I will never divulge, so some of you can relax. Be good, be healthy and remember, never leave port on a Friday. Regards,
Another veteran of The Bayou Flute, Gay Mayer...
The picture from Roaring Brook – spring field day brought back some memories. It was after the Korean War was over—I can still recall listening to Armed Forces Radio broadcast the news.
But this was also the time of the polio scare – and I have one good friend who was in an iron lung for 6 months. He died a few years ago from pneumonia. The symptoms were always obvious when he spoke for any length of time. And the Milbank Home was where very sick kids went to recover. Seems like we had regular reminders about “public health”.
Since then we have lived through numerous hurricanes, floods, fire, a tornado at our factory in NJ, the gas shortage where there was no heat and civil unrest. We have watched Watergate. We perhaps learned something from the Cuba missile crisis. We mourned the death of JFK. Each of these was a “moment in time” with a beginning and an end. Today as I write this, I wonder how we are going to measure the end of this pandemic. And I am wondering about what signals will be the ones that we can trust? It is a bit frustrating, confusing and a cause for a great deal of anger.
I am so fortunate to have a partner- Mary- who is level headed, smart and very aware and sensitive to the world under our feet. She does keep me focused on so much more than what I see or read by being sure I look around as spring takes over from winter here in Boulder. We have taken to walking or hiking together at least 20 miles a week. And it has been fun to spot bald eagles, golden eagles, pelicans, warblers and fly catchers. And one of my favorites has been the mountain blue-bird – first spotted with snow still on the trail.
Speaking of snow – Boulder recorded over 12 feet of snow this winter – a record. Sadly the ski areas have all been shut down and I do miss that exercise. The stay at home order continues and this has had a pretty serious impact on the small businesses that our kids, nieces and nephew all own. The idea of getting back to normal remains a real challenge. And we really do wonder about our granddaughter who was accepted in the Class of 2024 at Tufts back in Boston. She was so excited when she got news of early acceptance back in December. So much has changed in these few months.
Our big indulgence at the end of 2019 was to take the entire family to the Galapagos. The stock market had treated us well and it seemed like it would be ever harder to get all 10 of us in one place on a matching calendar. So off we went on Christmas Day. It was very special for sure – jot just sharing time with family – but learning about this very special part of our world. It was a great way to celebrate the start of a new decade and such a pleasure that the 3 generations get along amazingly well.
Such much still to learn. I am so thankful for the wonderful teachers we had starting at King Street who taught us all how to think.
Peter Corbino sent the image above, and there is a great story to go with it. Thanks, Pete!
(Ed note: if you are looking at the picture on an IPad or a tablet, you probably won't be able to see the edges. It's a limitation of this web builder. On a PC or MAC, shouldn't be a problem. but I felt like I had to enlarge it to show the detail Peter outlines so nicely.)
An image of the top of a coffee table my mother painted. This table was in my parents house until my step-fathers death in2002. The table now resides in my home in Falls Church, Va.
A number of things classmates may enjoy. Will Risley lived in the house at the very top in a lovely “carriage house” with the green car and numerous workers and ladders. The well known “Kittle House” is on the upper right with a couple sitting at a table with a heart over them. (My mother and step-father). Just below the Kittle House to the left is Jack Corbino about to dive in the the Mt Kisco CC pool. For those of you living in Lawrence Farms South my uncle’s house is in the far upper right. You will note the Japanese Beetles hanging around his roses. Some of you may remember the horses in the field. There was also lovely place where they lived indoors, I guess called a barn. ( long ago demolished I suspect). Jeff Henschell lived in a house not far from where the people are playing tennis-middle right.
The most prominent house (lower middle) was the “Gate House” where I lived until 1949. You may see my mother mowing the lawn and me chasing a rabbit and a cat up a tree. The Gate House was a guard house for Mr Moses Taylor who lived in the mansion a little below and to the left of Will’s home. Below the Mansion lived a terrifying Great Dane that chased me as I traveled by foot back and forth to Will’s house. By the way if you don’t know about Mr. Taylor; Google him. He was very wealthy.
The road on the bottom is “Armonk Road” which went between the Bowling Alley and Armonk. How many bars were in Armonk when I was 15? I hit them all with Ballantyne, Davidson, Stephens and Larry Johnson. OMG
My last few years until moving to Washington DC was living right below the Great Dane. The oak still graces that beautiful piece of property even though some of the land was developed further.
Carolyn Grieco and a good story about 4th grade, among other things.
My family came to Chappaqua in 1943, when I was just an infant, as my dad was given the opportunity to manage the Gristede’s store there, moving from the Bronx. I know Dad grabbed the opportunity to provide a better life for the family, and I am ever so grateful.
Favorite haunts in addition to Gristede’s were The Little Store, Murray’s Five and Dime, Cadmen’s drug store (I loved the perfume aroma there, before such a thing became taboo), the Cigar Store on Greeley Ave, where I bought comic books, the wonderful library. Such a lovely village back then.
Special teachers were Mr. McGuire (still with us at age 95), Mr. Thrasher, Mr. Siczewicz, Mr. Price, Miss Kurson, Mrs. Halper, Mr. Visca, to name a few. Of course we all owe a debt to the primary teachers who taught us to read and write — MANUSCRIPT, no less. We were blessed with extraordinary teachers, a fine education. I bet he was: there were others of course. When I was in Mr. McGuire's class, I had a big part in a nice play we put on at assembly, "The Princess Has a Birthday." I remember that the production kept having to be delayed because many of the cast came down with the measles, one at a time. By the time a firm date was set, I came down with the measles, too, so Darryl Reiner played the part, with Miss Chippanelli singing the solos and playing the piano. Jeepers!
Girls’ sports were almost non-existent, but I was delighted to be on the Cheerleading squad in my senior year.
SIXTY years since graduation — unbelievable.
Ed note: There's the picture of the cast that Carolyn sent. Holly Thomas, Will Risley, Peter Corbino (Berg), Carolyn Grieco, Peter Holmes
Swede Murphy makes his appearance.
I didn’t arrive at Greeley until Jr. year; but I liked it so much that I did a PG year. We grew up in Kisco Park which was in the Town of New Castle ,hence Greeley and not Fox Lane. (Thank God.) Despite my late arrival, I had a wonderful time and made friends who are still close today. Steve Walsh (Bear) and I and our families took many vacations together until Steve’s untimely passing; and we still see Susan today when we are in Fla.
Peter Kilbourne and his wife Natalie(Class of 61) see Jayne and me many times each year and we take several trips together every year. We were in Texas in the fall and were scheduled to go away in May; but that trip has been canceled.
Ed Stark was my favorite teacher and that tells something about my academic interest at the time. I was on several Sports teams; but wasn’t much of a factor. However I enjoyed the friendships that were generated in that regard . As a matter of fact my son Todd was a classmate of Bruce Mygatt's nephew and we saw him at his nephew’s wedding in Fla. in 1993.
Sue McKinley Carpenter brings us up to date.....
Here is my story since our 55th in Colorado.... After an absolutely fun gathering in Estes Park, CO it seems hard to believe we are now talking about our 60th graduation year. I know there is a treasure box of old photos hidden somewhere in our attic, but it hasn't shown its self yet. So, from life experiences since our last get together... Ann Nye, Bonnie Phelps and I were met by our amazing host, Reid Reynolds. We went a few days early to get acclimatized and that worked very well. As we drove to Estes Park, Reid, did we sing a few songs from Bayou Flute? I sure know we were happy and excited about seeing everyone. There have been many reports about that reunion, but I will send along some pictures in case they haven't been included before.
Since that reunion, I have had a few health issues... a deep melanoma removed from my temple (luckily it was found before nodes were involved) so although the surgery was extensive, I did not have to have chemo. Then on Christmas Eve this year, on my way to sing in the midnight service in choir, I stopped in the road to leave some maple syrup for our neighbor... the short story is: i did not put the car in park, stepped out of the car as it was moving forward and my left leg went under the car and got run over... the Christmas miracle was that it ran over my calf (not my total knee or my ankle which would have been disastrous).... I will keep on eating ice-cream forever because it did not break a bone.... just a very nasty 10 inch long gash in the skin. 4 1/2 months later I am completely healed.... Because of the location of the wound, I could walk with no problem and had very little pain. Whew! Our other biggest excitement of 2019 was celebrating our 50th Anniversary in Donegal, Ireland at a family farmhouse, turned into a B and B. Charlie and I were there for three weeks while family and friends came and went. It was truly a magical event.
Charlie continues to turn wooden bowls (oh, yes, remember the one he did for our 50th?) and make maple syrup (oh, yes, remember the terrific pancakes we had in Estes Park?) His swimming has been curtailed as we are following the rules and staying quarantined. I continue singing with our choir, serving on numerous church committees, and attend the Senior Citizen Declutter Class with the hope of making progress. Don and Sarah still live in Victor, Idaho and run their Avalanche School (American Avalanche Institute) while Janine continues to be a motivational speaker while supporting Veterans and Bob continues to progress with his film/documentary about the Native American game of lacrosse and how it has evolved and the role played by the wooden stick.
After our boys left home, a young man lived with us and he has become a general surgeon in Ohio. He and his wife just had a baby girl on Mother's Day so that was another bit of excitement.
There was a great bond between one another at our 55th and, it proved, that it doesn't matter how many years have passed, those of us who are able to get together have a wonderful time when we do...
Dave Lyons: Church “Thread of Life” in Chappaqua - How the Congregational Church of Chappaqua shaped some of my life:
Parents joined Congregational Church when we moved into Chappaqua during my 4th grade.
Went to summer church camp in 7th grade and 8th grade
Mother became Congregational Church financial secretary for Reverend Ken Nye in about 9th grade/1954
Ken Nye, Jr. graduated with me in the Horace Greeley class of 1960.
My mother died in December of 1960 just after I started attending Lehigh University. Funeral in Congregational church.
In May of 1965, I married Joanne Fay (Horace Greeley Class of 1961) in the Congregational Church and Rev. Nye officiated.
Jeanne and my picture was taken with Chris Sale February 29, 2020 at the Red Sox Spring training site in Ft. Meyers. Ironically Chris was telling us how he was really very sick with the flu and pneumonia several weeks before which delayed his spring training start. A month later he said that he may have had had the Coronavirus.
Tony Kilburn checks in.....
(That's Jan hard at work and a couple of her watercolors.)
I remember Larry Casso and Harry Glass, co-owners of Squires in Chappaqua for their hard work and commitment to the community. They were like a lot of parents as they understood hard work was the "way to get ahead". As I remember it, they had owned a bar in Yonkers and sold it to start or acquire Squires, still one of the best men's clothing stores in my memory. Anway, Larry was a little League Football coach for the Dartmouth team that I was on and he really liked to encourage all of us young fellows to try to do what we could. The bigger boys on the team seemed to be the best ones, and I was always hoping to end up as a big boy like them at that time. the smaller of us were hopefully the fastest, and could just run away from the bigger ones, but alas, you had to hold the ball and catch the ball, and this was definitely not going to be in my future. My lot on the field was as an inside guard, which is what I played when in high school before returning to HGHS as a senior. I learned about teamwork, and common objectives playing football and have happy memories even if I cannot remember the scores any more. Larry was a kind and fair coach and I remember his kind of football as being fun. Larry also played a musical instrument in, I think, his band and they played at lots of dances for us teenagers. I knew that while I could miss a beat or two, Larry would not.
I also remember Toni Paks, our art teacher, who was extremely nice to all of us non-artists. Toni spelled her name incorrectly (as I am a Tony) and was quite young and new to teaching. Despite her lack of height, she was a powerful presence in front of a group of unruly teenagers She went on to be a life-long teacher I have heard and I am sure she had great influence over many aspiring artists. To the non-artists she demonstrated balance, color, shadows, tone and energy in paintings. I was lucky to have her as one of my memorable teachers. As an adult, I married Jan Weymouth from Bangor Maine who has become a very successful watercolor artist and teacher of art, too. Jan has recently spent her winters doing oil paintings which is a new passion for her. Jan has a gentle softness in her paintings, and has generated a national following, all from our little town Damariscotta on the coast of Maine. Lucky us for being here! I have included a couple of photos of Jan's artwork for you to see and her website is jankilburn.com if you would like to see more.
Debbie Moslander Baxter's memories and a nice story...
Memories from 60 years ago??? I can hardly remember for two seconds where I put my reading glasses!! And — where is my cell phone? However, I am comforted that my long-term memory is still intact, and those Greeley memories remain vivid. Those were such important years for learning and maturing, and I cannot think of a more lovely place to “grow up” than the little Quaker hamlet of Chappaqua!
My family moved to Chappaqua in November of our freshman year. I arrived in time to share in the half-day sessions! I was on the early shift and my sister and brother attended school in the afternoon. I am glad I experienced the Bell School. What a beautiful building. An early Chappaqua memory occurred my first week at Greeley when I was scheduled to take the bus home. All those yellow busses were lined up in a row and after inquiring, I climbed on the one headed for Treeholme —— but I should have been on the bus going to Hillholme. I realized my mistake when instead of going up King Street the bus turned in the opposite direction. I was rescued by Doug Hoeft who lived in that other “Holme", and his Mom drove me home.
I was active in the Drama Club and discovered that I loved to make people laugh. Plays like “When our Hearts were Young and Gay” had some pretty funny scenes and I was hooked. Mr. Sweet served as the club’s director and was kind enough to allow me to play many parts. I loved being on stage and felt sad that I was not one of the actors in our Junior Musical. However, I am totally unable to carry a tune so knew that my proper role was weaving Spanish Moss into the screen forming the backdrop for the performance. Sally Holland’s mom who was from a southern state provided bags and bags of it. Now George and I live in the land of Spanish Moss!
We were the first class to attend and graduate from the brand new Horace Greeley High School. We started there as Sophomores. I remember Mr. Bischoff’s classroom. He had suspended glass shelves along all his windows on which he put plants which really made the room feel homey. On our first day of geometry class he gave a little speech about understanding the emotions and worries inherent in being 16 years old. What a heartwarming and empathetic man he was — on top of being a great teacher. Math was definitely not my forte but he had a gift for teaching, so I thrived.
The school cafeteria! Lunch time! Spanish rice which I heartily disliked! And trying to find a place to sit — for an adolescent that can be stressful. One of the tables was always so crowded with the same girls that I wondered how so many could squeeze in. I usually sat elsewhere and learned an important lesson: Being a tad independent and brave can open doors for new friendships and experiences. A valuable lesson that has carried through my life.
Winter snow turned the Chappaqua hills into a wonderland. Looking down from the heights of Devoe Road toward the Congregational Church, its lighted steeple, and the snow covered trees — what a beautiful sight! I remember bundling up to go ice skating on Millwood Pond, behind the Children’s Home. I am definitely a warm weather person, but I do miss the fall foliage and the snow on distant hills in our little town. St. Petersburg where we live is pretty flat!
I feel so grateful for having begun my maturing process (still ongoing!) in Chappaqua with all of my Greeley classmates. I have stayed in touch with some and lost contact with many others. I am grateful for the opportunity to let our long-ago friends know we have not forgotten them.
Doug Weiss, with his usual lively commentary...
It’s difficult to find time to write something for this newsletter. I am much too busy watching grass grow, counting birds and similar pastimes as Marianne and I are “safer at home”….but I’ll try. I’ve discovered “you know you’re from Chappaqua if you remember” on Facetime…and surprisingly while I can’t recall what I had for lunch, I recall some of my “early years” pretty well. Not Alzheimer’s…I had a terrible lunch that I don’t want to remember…(enough of trying to inject humor into our situation today…)
I remember the long bike rides to Armonk and almost to N White Plains….and of course riding into town which was easy…it was downhill….getting home, not so much fun. I remember lightning bugs everywhere at night which I never saw when later in life when I lived in Ct. Larry Caso and Squires, Don Roane Texaco, the little horse chair at the barber and so on. I have memories of the steam engines that were later replaced with diesels…..and riding the train to NYC alone for the day at age 12 or so….eating at the automat across from Grand Central. There was a great bakery in Pleasantville which made a wonderful 7 layer cake. Cadman’s of course and using their phone to call home…and Elman’s stationery and Murray’s 5&10. Schools…I went to them all….Kipp Street, Roaring Brook, the old Greeley downtown, the King St. School next to the little store, and of course the new Greeley. I don’t think I remember a single teacher before high school, although I recognize some of the names when people comment on Facebook. Barlow, Bischoff were the most memorable…but I was a science/math geek. Faint memories of Mr Visca who is never mentioned by anyone…because I liked to sing. I never took shop but I knew Ed Stark and John Behonek from my 2 summers with Roll ‘n Roam visiting the 48 states, Canada and Mexico. Many of my close friends in high school are still around although we’ve never kept in touch. Asher Sellner (deceased) was my closest friend…we parted ways…he married the girl I had dated for three years….after we all went to college. My high school dating social life was in Mt Kisco and then in Katonah….so I never really hung out in Chappaqua.
Overall, I enjoyed the freedom and safety of growing up in the 50’s….there was so much you could do on your own….how times have changed.
Dick Howe sends greetings and a quick update
Just a short hello to all our Chappaqua friends from the Vero Beach, FL. contingent! Bob “Fox” and Judy Holmes, Tom and Sue Stephens and Patsy and me. Unfortunately, haven’t seen Bill and Lisa Holmes, but according to Bob, they are here and well. Fortunately, during the pandemic, FL. restrictions have been relatively light in our Indian River County area. The ocean, beach, biking and kayaking on the river have been a Godsend even during restricted times. Walmart, Lowe’s and take out dining have also been a good source of entertainment!
Everything is now pretty much back to normal in FL. Patsy and I will be heading back to KS. end of the month, the rest of the “snowbirds” back to Maine and Vermont sometime in June. Thankfully all is well with us and hopefully the same with you all. Cheers, Dick Howe.
Ps: I read “You know you’re from Chappaqua” religiously on FB. Really enjoy it. Also, Tom should be sending “family” pics of our last night together this year in Vero!
John McKelvey and a special memory....
This is the first time I have ever sent in anything about activities related to my HGHS experience. Jim Buckner and I were the first 2 chairs of the trumpet section of the high school band.
It occurs to me that this weekend is the 60th anniversary of the last Memorial Day parade in Chappaqua when which Jim Buckner and I played taps in the center of town as the band got to the bottom of King Street.
We did taps annually for 4 years ending in 1960.
I decided to bring this up after the CBS news said that there is a movement this weekend for buglers across the country to play taps at 3pm.
(A current picture will have to wait until we get back to Washington and I get a haircut, as I am currently “stuck” in Hawaii, awaiting clearance to leave and get on an airplane.)
Some more data on why taps is very important to me. I did my medicine/cardio training in the army where active and reserve duty lasted 27 years. Then 6 more years at American Lake VA. I treated Vietnam soldiers, POW’s, veterans, WWII and Korean War vets. I Also had cardiology practice in Tacoma from 1978-2002.
So now when I hear taps I can’t hold back tears.
Ed. note: Since Jim has a role in this entry, I've included his pic too.
You may have noticed that one of the recurring subjects of reminiscences is Dancing Class. This next item appeared in the newsletter about 20 years ago, so I figured this might be a good time to dust it off and reprise it here, as we close out the this page.
Lots of our classmates have mentioned their memories of Dancing Class. I remember it too. I didn't start until 6th grade. By then of course, boys were supposed to hate the very idea of doing things in a proper way and "politeness" and all of those other things that dancing class represented, especially associating voluntarily with girls. But, on the afternoon of the very first dancing class, two of my buddies and I had confessed to one another that in fact we were really looking forward to it. We even knew who we wanted to ask for the "first" dance. We congratulated one another on our wise choices ( secretly rejoicing that we were all interested in different girls) and even talked about why we had developed such interest in these particular young ladies. (Interestingly, even though all the girls in question were pretty enough, none of us cited beauty as a reason. In one case, it was because she was so smart; in another because she was such a good softball player; in another just because she seemed "so nice.") Well, anyway, the fateful evening arrived. Boys and girls arriving at the Roaring Brook School; the smell of cologne and Brylcreme; the sight of girls in dresses and white gloves; the unlikely spectacle of 6th grade boys in jackets and ties. Nervously, we gathered in the cafeteria and then in line in the hall and then finally in the gym. Until that moment, I thought I knew what the words "lady and gentleman" meant, but at the first sight of our instructors, the terms took on a whole new meaning. Mr. Richards was so resplendent in his tux, with the shiny lapels, and Mrs. Holsapple, so slim and elegant in a black dress and high heels, that it seemed that the gym was now a beautiful ballroom. With hearts beating fast, the boys asked the girls for the first dance. (My friends and I were lucky enough, that evening, to get to our hoped-for partners first. The girls seemed happy with their dancing partners too.) Mr. Richards gave us our first instruction. Mrs. Bowen began her wonderful playing on the grand piano. We all danced, working around the big circle, changing partners each time Mr. Richards clicked his little "cricket." When that first dance was over, we stood and, as instructed, applauded the music, the clapping of the girls strangely muted by their white gloves. And, as I remember, over the weeks we learned more in that class than just dance steps: By watching Mrs. Holsapple and Mr. Richards we learned about courtesy and grace and manners and any number of other things. Each week, my friends and I again confessed to one another that we were looking forward to the next week, and the next first dance. There are worse things a kid could do than to be in dancing class.
That closes out this page. More memories to come, as well as images of our graduation program on the next page.
You can navigate to it from the page menu or just click on the blinking eye.