Wheatley Alumni Monthly Newsletter

Number 16:  December 31, 2017

Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,

Welcome to the Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 16.  Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (1963), you can regale yourself with the first fifteen newsletters (and other Wheatley data and arcana) at WWW.WHEATLEYALUMNI.ORG.  Alternatively, if you are completely uninterested in Wheatley matters, don’t hesitate to ask me to remove you from my general distribution list.

The “news” below is set forth in faculty-first, parents-second, then-graduation-year order, rather than the old lives-then-deaths (of which I have reported several in here) order.  Of course, that does not mean that the material is in descending order of importance, and I hope that you will at least read the missives from Judy Berkan (1967), who lives in Puerto Rican, towards the middle of this muddle, and from Brian Lonegan (1970), honoring Billy Nuebel (1965), who fought and died in Vietnam, at the bottom thereof.

Once again, I have allowed myself the liberty of light editing, without any indication thereof.

Finally, I note that as I write these lines, a large swath of the country, essentially the Northeast and Midwest, is gripped by what seems (to me at least) to be an unprecedented cold wave, considering area, temperatures and duration.  Whatever happened to global warming, some ask?   Global warming is characterized not just by more heat, but by more energy; thus, by more “weather extremes.”  In any event, at this very moment, I am wearing six layers of clothing on my upper body, two on my lower, and a scarf;  and I am in a heated house; but I am still freezing, my fingers barely able to type (one can only wonder what other people are suffering).  Ah, but duty calls.

[However, before we begin in earnest, a word from our sponsor:  Save the date!  The Sixth Annual Wheatley School Alumni Association NYC Lunch will be held on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, from (probably) 12:30 to 2:30.  Location and price to be announced.  If interested, please let me know, so I can add you to the burgeoning “Lunch Distribution List”]   

Faculty – Robert Brandt
As a member of the faculty of The Wheatley School for some 35 years, I witnessed very little turnover of my colleagues.  I began in 1962-63 (in the 6th year of the school’s existence), first as a student teacher and following that as a permanent substitute.  I went on to graduate schools and returned to Wheatley as a member of the faculty. We were all relatively young and "grew up together.”  For the most part, they literally became the most constant adult contact I had for that period of time.  For 9 to 10 hours a day, 180 days a year, they were my companions, friends, mentors, and co-commiserators.  Their lives touched mine and mine touched theirs.  And I thought of them as Family.  We shared our joys and our pains, our triumphs and our failures.  We rejoiced in each other’s lives and were shaken and pained by illness, personal tragedies and by death when it came.  Though apart now, following retirement and moving, they remain a major part of my life's tapestry, woven into the core of my being.

Wheatley was not just a school.  It was a community of scholars learning together, so the "younger" scholars became more than just faces; they were also part of the tapestry of our lives.  Though the "print and the pattern" of their connection began when they entered the classroom for the first time in September, it didn't end when they left in the June at the end of their course of study but continued throughout their years at Wheatley, and often beyond.  They were not only members of the community found in "space and time," but of the community still present in heart and mind, often being re-united after time apart to reminisce, catch up, and to share our lives. 

Once, sometime in the 1990s, as I was sitting "hall duty" by the main entrance to the school, a group of "older persons" arrived.  They were a bit gray-haired, and I assumed they were older parents or even grandparents visiting the school.  I asked them if I could help and was greeted in turn by my name.  It turned out they were former students come by to check out their former school.  At that moment I recognized that time and separation wrought changes but also maintained connection on both sides.

Your newsletter is adding to the unfolding tapestry, adding more depth and color to the stories of those who have touched my life, and it touches me deeply with both joy and sadness at the same time.


Bob Brandt

Parent – Esther Weinstock Birnbaum
(Esther is the mother of Gerald, 1970, Leonard, 1973, and Donald, 1977, Weinstock) - I love reading the newsletters and remembering all you kids.  Of course, who could forget the Bengeyfield Bombers, Danny and Jerry Engoron, Peter and Gary Simel, and all the other wild “kids” who grew up to be wonderful, responsible grownups, husbands, wives, parents.  I knew so many of the “kids” from the neighborhood, Temple, PTA, my husband’s office, the Boy Scouts, etc.  I am so happy to read your articles!!!!  Thank you!

Esther Weinstock Birnbaum.  Delray Beach, Florida.

PS:  I knew so many kids because living in a “small town” is so friendly and nice.  Also, from being in my husband’s office, I got to know a lot of kids.  Sadly, times have changed and you no longer see the “gang” playing in the streets to wave and say “hi” to.  Funny, I found out that the podiatrist I use in Florida lived in Mineola and used to bike by our house, at the corner of Roslyn Road and East Williston Avenue, on the way to the Roslyn duck pond!  Anyway, it has been fun reading about many of my children’s classmates.  You do a great job and I am sure you keep the memories going for so many classmates!  Thanks.

1959 – Winifred Jacoby Breines – Watercolor Artist

1960 – Susan Eisenberg Plosky - Deceased
Susan Eisenberg (which means “Iron Mountain” in German) Plosky died in 2015 after a long illness (according to Steven Plosky, a retired dentist, her widower).  Brother Theodore (“Ted”) Eisenberg (1965) predeceased her in 2014 of a sudden heart attack.
Writes Jay Cummings (1960) - Always so sorry to hear about a passing.  Our times were very special, so innocent and respectful of others.  Time goes by so quickly.  Wheatley seems like yesterday where memories are so fresh in our minds.  But that’s life, so live every day to the fullest and stay healthy.  I’m still doing commercial real estate brokerage in Manhattan and playing a lot of squash at my health club, often beating people in their 50’s.  Also, I’m still doing basketball trick shots.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB2G5QGW56Y 
My best email address is jaycummings@webtv.net
Jay 212 753-0856

Jerry Mintz – 1961 – Author and Ping Pong Player

Writes Jerry – “My new book, School's Over: How to Have Freedom and Democracy in Education, has now been officially released!  In the pre-release it has quickly gone to #1 in its New Release category on Amazon.  It is important that we build on this momentum to become an actual best seller.  This will definitely get this book out there to an audience beyond our network.  It will help more people learn about the importance of learner-centered education and it will help promote our movement

This book has a lot of new information about what is happening in the USA and around the world with educational alternatives, including alternative schools, democratic schools, and other learner-centered approaches, including homeschooling and unschooling.  There are also a lot of new and sometimes almost unbelievable stories.  So if you are interested in getting your own copy, this would be a good time to order either the print version or the eBook

I also teach and play table tennis.  I help an Olympic coach train people, and I've been in the top ten in the country for my age.”

Thank you!

Jerry Mintz

1961 – Bari Mittenthal Mears – Animal Lover
I well remember both Mr. McCormack and Mr. Rosenstein.  They taught my two worst subjects, but they were amazing teachers who put up with me!  I was an animal lover back then, as I am today, so I would not dissect an animal in biology.  Got a D in lab!  Didn’t care! 
And poor Mr. McCormack had the worst time convincing me, which he never did, that if you take a number and keep dividing it in half, you will never get to the end. So in a room, he said we could never reach the wall!   I demonstrated this by walking half the classroom over and over until I was flush against the wall.  He said I was not there mathematically because the numbers would go on into infinity!  Well, I clearly was there in reality!  It was an ongoing joke or legend between us.  I still remember that (and I still am lousy at math).

My animal-lover website is PACC911.org
Check us out!



1961 - Camille Napoli Cannizzo – Attended McCormack Wake
Hi guys, .........I did go over to Mr. McCormack's wake......I brought your "silly story" with me, Bari, in an envelope for them to read later on, and they were very touched that I was there.   His daughter, Joanne (one of 7 children!), came up to me and said she heard there was a student from Wheatley at the wake......I explained that I was not one of his students, but I admired him as a teacher and he was well-liked and respected at Wheatley.
PS.....I also ran into Mr. Cautela, who still lives in Levittown, and I promised him and Mrs. Cautela to meet them at the IHOP in Williston Park (the Defranco brothers, who own it, graduated from Wheatley), with my brother, Chuck (1960), and his wife Barbara Johnstone Napoli (1971), for breakfast.  A bit of gossip: Barbara used to have a crush on Mr. Cautela!!!!...........I think he said he is 87 now!!!

1962 – DAVID FRIEDMAN – Amazing Mallet Man
David Friedman - Generations Trio
New album coming out in April, 2018: “Thursday”
David Friedman - vibes
Oliver Potratz - bass
Tilo Weber - drums
December 2017 shows:  Berlin, Hamburg, Munich

Malletmuse Records is an independent jazz label from Berlin, founded in 2017 by American vibraphonist David Friedman (http://www.david-friedman.de) and German drummer Tilo Weber (http://www.tiloweber.de).
The label will be releasing music of David Friedman's working bands, such as the Generations Trio with Oliver Potratz (http://www.oliver-potratz.de) and Tilo Weber, Duo Élegance with Peter Weniger (http://www.peterweniger.eu), and the Generations Quartet with Clara Haberkamp (http://www.clarahaberkamp.de), Joshua Ginsburg (http://www.joshginsburg.com), and Tilo Weber. As David is an active member of the international music scene, Malletmuse Records will also present music from David's future collaborations.

Videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-B-9iAFWrQlZdvVM5yb7DQ
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/malletmuse/
Website: www.malletmuserecords.com
Phone: +49 (0) 176 78243679

1965 – Cliff Montgomery – Lifelong Athlete
“After graduating from Wheatley I earned my BA and MBA on a tennis and soccer scholarship at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.  I was voted All-South in both sports and proudly served in the US Army Reserve from 1969-1975.
For 20 years I did Human Resource work for General Electric, including living with my family in Belgium for five years and leading HR for GE Plastics’ European business headquartered in The Netherlands.  Later I was the Senior Vice President of Human Resources & Administration for Teva Pharmaceuticals Americas located in North Wales, PA.  I was also VP of HR for The Quaker Chemical Corporation of Conshohocken, PA, working in China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Venezuela.
I am currently a certified Executive and Career Coach.  My website address is below.    I am a published author; my most recent book, Q&A with the Career Coach,is available through Amazon.com.  I remain active all sports, including triathlons (having completed the "Escape From Alcatraz" in March 2013), golf, general fitness, and tennis (having played in the US Open from 1967-69).  I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa in September 2014.  I have two grown children and currently live with my wife Karen on Seabrook Is., South Carolina, where we moved in September of 2016.

1965 – Robert Stern – String Player Extraordinaire
I’ve been playing jazz gigs in the Hamptons with two spectacular musicians: Peter Martin Weiss (bass) and his wife Jane Hastay (piano).  Turns out, Peter is Wheatley Class of ’77!  We’ll have to play the Eddie Lang/Joe Venuti tune “Wild Cat”!

1967 – Judy Berkan – Reports from Puerto Rico (her home)

Update from the tempest (9/23/17):   I'm safe, but even in the privilege I live in things are quite bad.  The only telephone service which (sometimes) works is ATT, and I'm told that they won't allow other providers to access their antennas.  About 30 towns are totally incommunicado, and many friends (both here and abroad) are hysterical trying to get news of loved ones.  There have been deaths from flooding and from mud slides.  We don't know the numbers.  There's very little diesel fuel on the island, and it’s only being used for emergencies.  Very many roads and streets are blocked by downed trees or building parts.  Parts of the metropolitan area look like bombs have hit, and I shudder to think what's happening out in the countryside.  Flooding is still happening in a lot of places, as some of the dams are still being opened.  Evacuations are urgent now to avoid further disasters.  There are almost mile-long lines for the few gas stations still with gas, and they are being guarded by cops with long-arms.  Yesterday there was a great spirit of community and solidarity as we cleaned away trees and garbage.  Today there's a lot more tension in the air.  I think people are realizing that "esto va pa largo," and that serious civil disruption is a real possibility.  Those like me with respiratory problems are having attacks, with little hope of making it to an emergency room because very few are open, and those that are need diesel fuel, which is not available, for generators.  Food is still available, but I don't know for how long, and what the chaos and civil disorder will be once it becomes scarcer.  There still is no power.  No water most places.  No internet.  Those who occasionally have service (like me) get more info from outside of Puerto Rico than from here.  This has been a storm of massive consequence, and the coming months will be extremely difficult.  I wish I could be more positive and talk about the resilience of the people (in which I believe and have seen over the last 40 years) and the great hearts and solidarity of the Puerto Rican people (ditto), but this is a devastating situation, the likes of which none of us has ever seen.  Abrazos a cada uno de ustedes que han expresado su solidaridad y amor.  Let's hope this all works out.

Update - Day 98 since María, 111 since Irma:  I always promise a short letter, but this turned out long, and I feel like I have so much more to report.  I'm going to talk today mostly about utilities, because this continues to affect our lives on a daily basis.

- about 40% of 3.5 million people remain without electricity - we don’t know the exact number.

- In small towns out on the island, there has been a major effort to provide power, at least to the center of town, which certainly is important, even if those residents don't have power (and in some places, water) in their homes.  Thanks to whoever is still decent in directing the power authority, and to the committed union workers (UTIER) and people from outside (e.g.: Con Ed workers, they've been to my office and were incredibly accommodating and professional, but unfortunately, they were the bearers of bad news).  Every little bit of progress, especially in the remote towns, makes a real difference in the lives of the people).

- my office is still without power.  My computer died last week, probably due to the ups and downs of the generator.  Noise is very hard to deal with, the fumes are sickening, hot days are unbearable, no microwave, no fridge, bad lunchtime eats, still open only a few hours a day, trying to keep up with deadlines.

- This, unfortunately, is also the case with a lot of small offices and small businesses in the metro area.  Many attorneys have simply closed shop.  The lack of electricity - beyond the lack of comfort - means a great expense in gas or diesel and in the maintenance of the "planta," yet we still get bills from the power authority; I guess they think that some people will pay for no service.

- traffic lights are few and far between, as are street lamps.  It may be years.

- the Tourist area seems to be up and running, so if you can do it, please come to PR.  If you don't want to stay in the tourist strips, you could also stay in the magnificent Old San Juan, or at least visit it and spend your money in small local businesses.  A visit to hard-hit towns will show a different reality here, more than 3 months after the storm hit, but tourist dollars would still be helpful. 

- now on to water (which, as you will see, also involves the lack of power).  We still have no guarantee of safe drinking water.  Most of us have water, but mine often comes out brown, with a strange sludge.

- As is customary, no one is telling us the truth.  The EPA tells us we can drink the water, but I, for one, don’t believe it.  The (translated) headline in today's main paper is: "Trucks carrying polluted water,” with the sub-heading on the first page: "The lack of power keeps the Water Authority juggling things so that used waters [i.e. with fecal wastes and such] do not enter the sanitary system and don't end up in the treatment plants."  

- According to the Executive Director of the Estuaries Project for San Juan Bay, "there is a direct relationship between power and the quality of the water."  Although there certainly has been some improvement of late, there are still 64 inoperative pumping stations.  This means that trucks must carry contaminated water to the treatment plants.  The Water Authority says they're dealing with potential contamination, but again, I remain unconvinced.  According to the paper, FEMA has promised generators, but the Water Authority is still awaiting 425 generators from the federal agency.  

- related to this --- the fact that needed supplies STILL sit in containers on the docks.  I don't know if it's local bureaucracy or corruption, or some federal or local authority setting priorities, but this is a true scandal.  I also don't know if supplies brought in by FEMA are on the docks waiting, or if it's just other supplies.  Again, the lack of information, as well as the mis-information, are terribly harmful and undemocratic.

Sorry if this is somewhat boring.... talking about power and water all the time, but I want those of you who don't live here to get a sense of daily life.  This has led to wide-spread depression (the health kind, not the economic one, which is also here), as well as a total sense of abandonment.  This is still happening to us, yet the feds just passed a tax bill which hurts Puerto Rico specifically, and have proposed an aid package that  pays very, very little attention to Puerto Rico and the sister islands of the US Virgin Islands.  

The people of Puerto Rico are really hurting.  Our patience is thinning by the day, hour, minute; we are sick and tired of the lies, incompetence, lack of organization, etc.  But, Mr. Trump, we ARE doing A LOT to "help ourselves."  The community organization and solidarity on the island is great, but the gravity of this situation is simply beyond our ability to fully recuperate on our own.   

- for those of you who have asked, and those of you who want to contribute, remember MariaFund, Taller Salud, Casa Pueblo, Caño Martín Peña, community organizations that are truly connected to the people.  You should also consider donating to the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (of which I'm a Board member, appropriate disclosure, though I have no financial interest).  The CPI has done great investigative work getting out information that the government(s) want to be kept quiet.

One good thing - the escombros (debris) were finally removed from our street last week, after three months.  Notwithstanding this, every rainstorm (like the one this AM) causes the water to accumulate.  A few days ago, I accidentally placed my foot in an uncovered hole filled with water, and hysterically washed my shoes and my feet with disinfectant.  Oh, this new normal ...

Abrazos yet again.  Thanks for your support and solidarity.  JB (Jude for Wendy S; Perd for Wendy W and Margie - you all know who you are)

1967 – Art Engoron – On the Bench

That’s me with two 2017 summer interns.  The handsome dude on the right is Ethan Ruby, son of Kenny (1970) and nephew of Douglas (1965) and Leslie (1971).  The woman on the left grew up in Great Neck, where I now live.

1967 – Corinne Zebrowski Kaufman – Music Aficianado
Corinne, a Long Island, North Shore music aficionado, suggested that I distribute the following about My Father’s Place redux.  https://www.newsday.com/entertainment/music/my-fathers-place-roslyn-reopening-1.14963599

1968 – David Pinter – Philanthropist

David writes:  “The City Parks benefit at B.B. King’s was a great success.  Although I didn’t see any Wheatleyites there, I did get a couple of emails commending the program.  We had a large turnout.  Both Woody Mann (1970) & Virginia Wade were terrific.  That’s Virginia, showing me some love.  She has been a great friend, as has Woody.  I’m a lucky guy.  BTW, I heard from Ken Yagoda, who lived around the corner from me on Concord St.  We played golf together about 20 years ago.

1969 – Dennis Briefel- Deceased

From Sabrina Briefel – “My uncle, Gary Briefel (1964), suggested I reach out to you about the passing of his brother and my father, Dennis Briefel.  My dad and uncle attended Wheatley as students and their mother, Liliana Briefel, was an Italian and French teacher there.

Dennis was the most amazing father, had a very successful career in the music industry, and anyone who knew him adored his warm personality and infectious smile. His obituary ran in the New York Times at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nytimes/obituary.aspx?n=dennis-briefel&pid=187629637.

The funeral was at:
North Country Reform Temple
86 Crescent Beach RoadGlen Cove, NY

Burial was at:
Pinelawn Memorial Park
GPS Coordinates: 40.746573, -73.406897
2030 Wellwood AvenueFarmingdale, NY

The family will be hosting Shiva at the home of Dennis' brother and sister-in-law (296 Sterling Place, Apt. 19, Brooklyn, NY 11238) on Sunday, 12/31 in the afternoon.
Thank you for passing along these details.

Warmest wishes,
Sabrina Briefel

1969 – Sylvia Kahan -  Pianist


The Society for Jewish Folk Music was founded in 1908 by composition students in St. Petersburg who, during the late-19th-century wave of nationalist composition (exemplified by Sibelius, Grieg, and Dvorak), wished to promote expressly the flourishing of Jewish music. The Society, which remained in existence until the advent of World War II, fostered the creation of a large repertoire of beautiful compositions in many genres.

For more info: Dr. Dan Auerbach | 490 Howard Ave., Suite #2A, Staten Island, NY 10301, 973-615-7394

1969 – Jeffrey Perrone – Excellent Idea
Sorry to hear of Mel Rosenstein’s passing.  He definitely made an impression on me, and I still sometimes think of his “let’s get this room ship-shape, fore, aft, port, and starboard” that he used at the end of every class.  At the end of the year a couple of other students and I bought him a bosun’s whistle.  I had assumed he was long gone, or I may have attempted to contact him sooner.  Makes me think it would be useful for faculty willing to be contacted by their students to make their contact info available.  That way instead of remembering someone like Mel fondly, I could have expressed it to him in person.  That’s something I did manage to do with Dr. Irwin August a few years ago.  [Editor’s note – I forward all teacher-fan-mail to the teachers.] 

1970 - Erica Pasewitz Viscuse - Deceased

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my wife, Erica Pasewitz Viscuse, whose almost four-year battle with cancer has ended.  She had been in declining health in recent months, especially after one of her recent scans showed that the cancer that had been previously removed had returned.  We have been together 35 years and married 31 of those years.  I loved her dearly and will miss her very much.  Please keep her and my family in your prayers.  Vincent Viscuse”

1972 - Robert Biancavilla – Baker (and Suffolk ADA)
[Editor’s note – These, especially the first, are well worth watching, but it seems you’ll have to shell out a few bucks, unless you already subscribe to Newsday.]

1972 – Mary Anne Roeder - Deceased

Mary Anne Roeder
June 7, 1955 – September 27, 2017
Mary Anne Roeder, 62, of Roslyn Heights, NY passed away on September 27, 2017 in Rochester, Minnesota.  She is lovingly survived by her daughter, Kristen Roeder Petrillose of Bedford, NY (Anthony); sisters Jane Roeder of Long Beach, CA; Nancy Zolezzi of East Williston, NY (Joe); Carol Roeder of Bell Canyon, CA (Dudley); brother John Roeder of Louisville, KY (Michelle); nieces Maria, Ashley, Lauren, Claire; nephews Joe, Sean, Nick, Travis, Van, Jack, Charlie; and grandchildren Elsa and Joseph.

Graduating from The Wheatley School in 1972, Mary was originally in the Class of 1973 but doubled up her class work during her junior/senior year to graduate a year early.  Mary earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Adelphi University with majors in History and Education in 1987 and a Master of Science, also from Adelphi, in Teaching English as a Second Language in 1996, while teaching third grade at PS 157 Grove Hill Elementary School in the Bronx.  With a life-long passion for education, Mary most recently tutored the child of her apartment neighbors and was enrolled in Creative Writing, Beginning Arabic, and Leadership classes at Rochester (MN) Community and Technical College.
Mary was an avid fan of cats, Russian arts, languages, and, of course, teaching – especially teaching children how to read – but her ultimate love was for her family.  When her daughter Kristen was born, a beautiful thread of unconditional love was woven throughout four generations.  This thread would flower to become a beautiful tapestry throughout the large but close-knit Roeder-White family, including cousins, extended family, and neighborhood friends. 

Family and friends gathered at Weigand Brothers Funeral Home in Williston Park on November 3.  A memorial service was held at Nassau Knolls in Port Washington on November 4, followed by a reception at the home of Nancy and Joe Zolezzi.

1972 – Michael Solow – Appreciation of Mr. Brandt
I saw a quote from Bob Brandt in a newsletter, which made me want to write a tribute to him, because he changed my life.  I had Mr. Brandt for 8th grade Social Studies.  At that time, my transition to Junior High was not going well.  I had been one of the popular, sporty kids in grade school, but things had changed at Wheatley.  I’d grown apart from my friends and hadn’t successfully made new ones.  I was depressed. 
As a result, I was starting to go off-track.  One symptom of this was evident in Social Studies.  For the whole first term I hung out in the back row with these two punk kids who couldn’t care less about learning.  Before the term ended, Mr. Brandt held short one-on-one meetings with every student, out in the hallway.  I sauntered out there when my name was called and probably sat down with a smirk on my face. 
But once there, I received the chewing out of my life.  In short, Mr. Brandt told me that he knew I was a smart kid, but that I was wasting my time and his by hanging out with a bunch of losers and not learning a thing.  He insisted I sit in the front row, pay attention, and straighten out.
Properly chastened, that’s just what I did, going from a C student to an A student.  And I kept to that path. 
Thank you, Bob Brandt, for turning me around at a critical point in my young life.  I am forever grateful!

1974 – Leesa (f/k/a Lisa) Goldsmith – Deceased


(Text by Debra Copeland, 1974 Class Correspondent)
“I sadly, regretfully inform you of Leesa’s passing on November 7, 2017.  As some of you may be aware, via Facebook, Leesa was struggling with end stage renal failure, for which she was undergoing dialysis 3X / week.

After Wheatley, Leesa attended secretarial school.  During her adult life, Leesa lived on Long Island, St. Croix, and Florida.  It was in Florida that she had two daughters with her husband.  Jennifer and Jamie and their kids were the loves of her life.  When her marriage ended, Leesa returned to New York.

The Goldsmiths (her parents) were vacationing in Lake Tahoe and decided to move to Reno, NV for their retirement.  Leesa followed with her daughters.

Favorite things:  her Todd Court and Bengeyfield Drive friends; her best Reno buddy, Pat; working out on the uneven parallel bars in the Wheatley gymnasium; Sushi; “The Tide” Bar & Grill.

The Tide is in Reno, Nevada.  Leesa was the “Norm” of “Cheers”’ at The Tide.  When she walked in, everyone shouted her name – seriously.  I happened to be visiting Reno last January and was witness to the shouts and hugs she received from The Tide gang.  They adored her, were concerned for her well-being.  It was good to see.

More recently, Leesa had plans for her future.  She wanted to return to New York.  It was her vision to spend her retirement with one of her best friends, Andrea B.  But, a daughter in Reno and one in California made her re-think her location, as Reno was in close proximity to her family, and plane flights were extremely hard on her physically.  (As a matter of fact, Leesa booked a chair for dialysis on Long Island so she could make our 2014 reunion – that was an effort).

If you followed Leesa on Facebook, you would have seen that she was proud of her girls and adored her grandchildren.  Spending time with her family and bar-b-q-ing with friends were her greatest delights.  Family and friends stated that she was an ‘old soul’ who would give you her last dime.

On Monday, November 6th, Leesa went for her dialysis appointment.  On Tuesday, Leesa did not wake up.  Now she’s free of bodily pain and earthly encumbrances.

Rest in Peace:  Born Lisa Goldsmith, June 1st, 1956 / passed Leesa Goldsmith Gates, November 7, 2017.”

1975 – Richard Tanner - Activist
“Let me add my thanks, as well, Art.  Fascinating to read about other alumns and faculty.  After last year's presidential election, I felt the need to devote at least some of my creative energies to projects with a strong political/social message.  (It was either that, or move to Canada.)  To that end, I formed the Creatives Collective Corps, to attract others -- both in and out of the entertainment industry -- interested in doing the same.
I'm pleased to share the initial results of that collaboration, produced under the aegis of my production company, Misery Loves Co. 
If what you see resonates with you, I encourage you to post/tweet/SHARE with anyone you think might feel the same (or not).
To be apprised of future videos, please feel free to SUBSCRIBE.
And if you know of anyone who might like to contribute (in any way) to future videos, send them my way!
So many of you, at the last reunion, asked me to "Let us know what you're up to!"  I hope this helps answer that question. :)
Looking forward to seeing all of you at the next one -- if not before.

Richard Tanner

1977 – Linda Watnick – From the Beginning
Linda says that Donna Maxfield Chimera (1960) told her that “the powers that be” debated whether to name alma mater “Wheatley High School” or “The Wheatley School.”  Fascinating!   Doesn’t the chosen name sound so much more elite, privileged, and private?!  This may have changed all of our self-images, and our lives!

1978 – Joanna Faber and Julie King - Authors
Joanna Faber and Julie King, both Wheatley Class of 1978, co-authored a book, How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen, which was published by Scribner in January 2017.  It has been a best-seller on Amazon, and translated into several languages, including Chinese.  They  recently returned from a trip to China, where they led a 3-day Advanced Training for "How To Talk" parent trainers.

Julie King
Parent Educator

Co-author with Joanna Faber of How To Talk So LITTLE Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2 - 7. 
Available now at Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2iufxsn
#1 Best Seller in Communication and Social Skills on Amazon
Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Bob Koenig, 1980 – Mineola and Levittown Maven

[Editor’s note – “Koenig” is German for “King,” so we have two Kings (Julie and Bob) in a row!]

Hey Fellow Wheatleyites!!  After graduating in 1980 I was involved with many of my interests and likes.  I worked in several Pet shops (remember the Pet Cove from 7th Grade at Willets Road?), and I got more involved in music and writing songs!  I thank Mr. Ron Metzger for getting me to write poems.  I was very reserved and quiet in School, so for me to get in front of people on a stage and sing and play was quite unlike my ways in Wheatley.  My band, the Keys, ended up on National TV (Dance Party, USA) in 1988 (special thanks to Caroline Bock, wife of 1980 Wheatley Alum Richard Bock, for getting us this gig) and some other shows, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwtn2Kr1CYU  I also wrote a theme song for a comic book https://www.firstcomicsnews.com/femforce-theme-from-the-issue-50-flexidisk/ .  And I issued some Solo CD's with a mix of Rock, Country and Folk style music.  I worked on tributes to my Hometown, Mineola  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTH6lYbs7T4 and Levittown, where I’ve been very active in local civic groups, and putting my degree in Americana and Popular Culture to work.  And check these out:

1983 – Takemi Ueno - Musician
At the Dec. 7 Doctors' Orchestra concert, I learned that my stand-mate, Peter Howard, also graduated from Wheatley (in 1970)! 

Class of 1997 – Frisbee!

This treasure was found at the Monterey, MA dump a few weeks ago.  Somewhere there is a 38-year-old Wildcat without his or her Frisbee!

Appreciations (hey, that’s one way to get your name in here!)

1960 (Joanne Festa) - Thank you, Art, for your dedication to Wheatley and all the news, good and sad.

1961 (Peter Calderon) - As usual, a wonderful newsletter.  It's inspiring to learn how our alumni have shined and contributed to making a better world.  Greetings from France.

1961 (Alfred Culliford) - Arthur, thanks for the recent newsletter.  The new format made it a very easy and enjoyable read.

1961 (Bari Mittenthal Mears) - Thank you Arthur.  And I echo my classmates Judy Rubin and Camille Cannizzo on the great job you do each month.  Thanks for the time and dedication to this.

1962 (Carol Keister McCormick) - Thanks for keeping us up to date on fellow Wheatley-ites.  When I read some of the obits for class members I feel lucky to be alive and healthy (so far).

1965 (Ray Christian) – Well done, Arthur.

1965 (Ellen [“Ellie”] Senft Kochek) -  Thank you for ALL that you do for Wheatley and the alumni!!  I know that you spend a lot of energy keeping us all "tied together.”  BIG THANK YOUs.

1965 (Clifford E. Montgomery) - Thanks for keeping us all connected.

1964 (Steve Morris) - Keep up the great work!

1966 (Ricky Jalonack) - All I can say is WOW, nice job.  You are truly "The Mayor of Wheatley”!

1966 (Diana Noble Olmert) - Always a pleasure to read about our classmates.  We are so lucky to have you, Arthur!

1966 (Sue Sand) – Thanks for your work keeping us informed and connected.

1966 (Karen Wattel Arenson) - Thanks for the newsy newsletter.

1967 (Richard Mark Friedman) - Great newsletter!!!!  Enjoyable to read, albeit there were unavoidable obits, but that's life, and nothing can be done about nature taking its course.

1967 (Scott Frishman) – Great stuff!

1967 (Joe Sciortino) - Keep up the great work of keeping us in touch with news about classmates - it is truly amazing how divergent the careers and lives of our small class has been, and continues to be.  We all were truly blessed to have grown up in an area that valued education and service to others.

1967 (Merrill Stanton) - Wow!!  What a newsletter (the 14th) ---just great :) Thanks!

1968 (Joan Carol Edelstein) - Thank you so much for the enormous amount of work you do so well in providing all of us with this loving gift.  I so enjoy reading the newsletter and never take your efforts for granted.

1968 (Susan Goldfeder Weiss) – I, too, want to thank you.  I love getting the newsletters.

1968 (Hilary “Lori” Wallach Marshak) – Nice work!

1969 (Steve Metzler) - I enjoy the work you do on the newsletter!  Thank you.

1969 (Penny Rakoff) - Thanks for all your work!  What you are doing is very important and increases our quality of life!

1969 (Dorothy Samuels Silver) - Art-you’ve topped yourself with this edition (the 14th)!  Thanks!

1969 (Dorothy Silver Samuels) - Chalk up another terrific issue (the 15th)!  Know that your care and effort is much appreciated.

1970 (Rosemary Biancavilla Clayton) - Sincere thanks for all your time and effort spent in creating a wonderful sense of digital community for the Wheatley School, for all who have come and gone, both those present and those no longer with us.

1971 (Merraine Sesskin) – Thank you!

1971 (Larry Shiller) - I love reading these.  Thank you for your hard work on behalf of Wheatley.

1972 (Henry Noble) - Thanks for the news.  I think Mr. McCormack was the basis of a character in “The Wonder Years,” written by Robert Stevens, a Wheatley graduate (1972).

1973 (Coleen Higgins) - Truly the best sendoff ever! 😂

1973 (Edward Ryder) - Nicely done.

1974 (Jon Gelberg) - Thanks for all the great updates!

1975 (Richard Tanner) - Let me add my thanks.  Fascinating to read about other alumns and faculty.

1976 (Tom Behan) – Thanks for the memories.

1976 (Carol Ann Dondiego) - Thank you for ALL your hard work in putting out this Wheatley Newsletter.

1977 (Patrice “Tracy” Dwyer) – Thank you.

1981 (Georgia Ann Valicenti) - Thank you for all the hard work you put in these newsletters.  It’s greatly appreciated, but more importantly you remind us all of how special and privileged we were to be a part of Wheatley, with such a wonderful group of administrators, faculty, staff, and students.

1994 (John Lianoglou) - Thanks for the work you do on these newsletters.  I noticed Mr. Brandt wrote in.  I’ve thought of him a few times over the years, wondering how he’s doing, hoping the answer is “great,” and how far he pursued his interests in iconography (which, back in 1993, he once told me was what he figured out he wanted to do “when I grow up,” as he phrased it).

1997 – Vijay Sidhwani - The newsletter was wonderful to read through.  Although I graduated in 1997 and don't know all of the people mentioned, it still is great to read about those who graced the same school that I attended.  Thank you for keeping us up to date on events in the lives of those who attended Wheatley.

Guidance (Wes Berkowitz) - Wonderful newsletter, Art.

Somebody asked me how many people named “Sarah” graduated from (or attended) Wheatley.  Here they are, thanks be to Excel.

Last Name


First Name

































































I count 20 (and I will consider other “trivia” questions for inclusion).

Finally, Brian Lonegan (1970) sent the following to honor William George (“Billy”) Nuebel, Jr. (1965), who, as far as I know, is the only Wildcat to have died fighting in Vietnam.

“Perhaps a little note honoring Billy Nuebel the next time a newsletter is issued would be good.  Fifty years ago, on November 15, 1967, Billy gave his life serving with the 7th Calvary in Vietnam.  He was just 20 years old.  He was five years older than me (he was my sister Maureen's age), but I remember him as this tall lanky blonde guy walking down Wheatley Avenue in East Williston, probably around 1964.  To me he seemed to have charisma and to be a leader of sorts.

For some reason I was thinking of him recently and realized it was 50 years ago he passed.  I did a little research and was able to find out some information about his military service (see attachment).  Norman McBride, a guy Bill served with, wrote the following:  ‘Bill was a genuine hero.  He died trying to rescue a wounded Cav trooper and friend.  We were surrounded and it was a very bad situation.  I watched Bill get hit in the chest and die very quickly.  Bill was a friend, one of the band of brothers and one of the bravest men I knew.  He'd only been there one month when he died, but he'd made a major impact on his platoon and could be counted on when he was needed.  God Bless you, Bill.  May your soul rest in peace.’ 

Anyway, I was just thinking of a fellow Wheatley graduate and decided to pass this information on.
Brian Lonegan (1970)”


Well, Wildcats (if any of you have gotten this far), that’s it for this issue.  Remember, send me your bio before someone else sends me your obit.
Feedback, positive and negative, welcome.

Arthur Fredericks Engoron
The Wheatley School Class of 1967

Editor's Sign off

That’s it for now. Additions, corrections, and submissions welcome.