APRIL 1, 2022

Hi Commentators on the Weequahic Scene:
Al-Tariq Dunson (88) comments on passing of WHS coach:
We recently lost one of my best teachers and a great track coach. Owsley Sweeney coached Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field at Weequahic High School from 1976 to 1992 when he retired. He was very highly respected by his athletes, students and staff at the school. Mr. Sweeney is in the picture, below, with his daughter. Mr. Sweeney, you will be greatly missed. Al-Tariq
Marc Little (69) seeks an ID assist:
I just read about the passing of Joe Simons. I lived next door to a family of Simons (I thought their last name was Simon). My family lived at 897 Hunterdon Street (we moved there when I was three years old in 1954), directly across the street from the front of the Peshine Avenue School Playground. The Simons (or Simon) family I remember had two brothers, Joe and Jerry. Their address was 899 Hunterdon.
Their mother befriended my mother and treated her like a daughter. I had a friend who lived in that building (a three-story, six-apartment dwelling) whose name was Nicky Pfeiffer. Another person who lived in the building was an older woman by the name of Mrs. Fishman, the grandmother of Lorrie Axelrad Cohen (64). I believe Mrs. Fishman was a Holocaust survivor.
Anyway, the "Joe" in Mel Rubin's (56) post reads like it could have been the "Joe" I remember when I was a little guy in the early to mid '50s. If any of our readers can clarify, please e-mail me at marccurtis.little@gmail.com.  Marc
Responding to Thomas Brown’s (71) article on Mike Swangin, WHS’s hero victim of the Vietnam War:
Bob Clark (64)
I grew up with Mike since we lived in the same neighborhood and played ball together often. Mike was an Assistant MG man with a two-man team in the M60 when he was KIA. Yes, Mike was awarded a Purple heart and other ribbons but, as far as I can remember, he was not awarded a Silver Star. 
He did love basketball and was damn good. We played on the K of C youth baseball team for two seasons with he at 2nd and me at 3rd. We were both also with the Golden Knight Drum and Bugle Corps and members of Blessed Sacrament Parish on Clinton Avenue and Van Ness Place.  
I arrived in Vietnam three months after Mike's loss serving with the 11th ACR in 1967 and 68. Nobody could ever speak of Mike without a smile as he was so well liked by everyone at home and around our school halls. His brother, I believe, became a Catholic priest, but I don't know what happened to the rest of his family. Thank you for mentioning Mike and take care.  Bob
Brenda Allen O'Neil (64)
I remember Michael Swangin. I thought about him when this uprising was taking place in Ukraine. To me he was the quietest person and soft spoken that I can remember. I recall it being devastating when the news brought that Michael was killed. I didn't know his brother or sister. A reserved young man didn't get a chance to live. He has been dead much longer than he was alive. May he continue to rest in peace, may God rest his soul. Brenda
Jac Toporek (6/63)
There were probably a number of my classmates and Weequahic grads who served with US forces in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in the 60s. Ernie Bethea may have been one, but I cannot identify for certain any others from the Class of June, 1963. I believe Ernie did return home; his location at this time unknown and his story untold. A very bleated grateful acknowledgement from a fellow Weequahic alum who benefited from the heroics of all who served in South East Asia.
Arthur Niedermeier did not graduate WHS, but was my classmate at Peshine Avenue School, Class of June 1959 in picture, below, sitting on the ground to right of the banner). Not sure to which high school he went or even if he went to a high school. He lived one short block away up Meeker Avenue, so there was plenty of time and opportunity to join in neighborhood good times and enjoy our front yard, Weequahic Park.
We lost touch after Peshine, but the reminder of our friendship was unfortunately a tragic one in the form of his obituary in the Newark Star Ledger as a victim of the Vietnam War. Gone, but not forgotten. Art is honored at Art Niedermeier Obituary
Thank you for the research assist from Peshine/WHS classmates, Carole Heller Shapiro 2nd row, 4th from left), Dawn Knight Gaskin (4th row, 3rd from right), Clark Lissner (43rd row, 3rd from right) and my brother Nor Toporek (3th row, 5th from right). I am standing 3rd row, 3rd from right.  Jac

The essay memories of Ray Drake (1/50) and Warren Bratter (1/60) drew attention from W-alums:
Steve Bogner (66)
I very much enjoyed reading Warren Bratter’s recollection of his friend and teammate Ed Barker. I interacted with Ed’s younger brother Joe during my years at Weequahic. He, too, was a great guy but transferred to Barringer for his senior year. The men in Warren’s reunion picture, Jerry Fields, Danny Enzer, Warren and Ed, were all athletes I looked up to as a kid. They were excellent role models. Warren is a gifted writer and longtime college professor. I would encourage him to submit more stories about his Weequahic and athletic experiences. Steve
Berthe Weissman Nathanson (6/59)
First, I would like to thank Warren Bratter for his beautiful tribute to Ed Barker. Warren, I love your writing and it was good seeing you a number of years ago when we met at Bergen Community College. Your piece also reminded me how much I liked Ed Barker. He was always friendly with a warm smile, a really nice guy. Thanks so much for writing about him and your lasting friendship. It was also nice hearing about Sam (Skuratofsky 59) who was my neighbor on Shephard Avenue. I’ve seen pictures of him on emails, too, and yes, he looks great and very happy.
I wish I could have attended the last reunion but I no longer live in New Jersey and don’t drive that far anymore. My husband and I moved to Massachusetts in 2018 to be near our daughter and her family. I’m still in touch by phone, email, and zoom with several of my Weequahic friends, especially my fellow Starlets. I actually get to see some of them when I go to Florida where several live or spend the winter. 
I would love to hear from any of my old friends from the Classes of June 59 or January 60, as well as others I knew from other classes. My e-mail address is bcnathanson@verizon.net. Berthe
Richie Geber (6/63)
Enjoyed reading your posts. I am a few years behind you but, as I read your post, I could again visualize you taking a kickoff (I think against East Side, and taking it to the house for our only six points of the game. I think the final score was 36-6. If it’s any consolation we did beat Central. Richie
Ron Citron (6/50)
Adding to Ray Drake's list; the Blue Bird Barbershop on Clinton Avenue near the corner of Osborne Terrace. Coming home from overseas, I'd get "clipped" by Joe the barber. "Hey Joe, I can see that I'm getting sparse' in the back, I’d say. “Nah that’s just a reflection," Joe responded. He was a great guy, a great barber and great diplomat! His last name was Grenata.  Ron
Brenda Allen O'Neal (64)
I remember Bennie Price (son of owner of Jack Price Furriers) who was among the many listed in Ray Drake’s comment. He used to come into Tillie's Restaurant that was located at 979 Bergen Street. Newark, NJ. His brother was a dentist. I used to work there after school cleaning off the tables and the counter and washing dishes and/or placing them in the dishwasher. Then, I used to open up sometimes on Saturday mornings with Tillie’s son Ronnie. He would pick me up very early in the morning (5:30am) to set up for breakfast when Tillie wasn't there. 
Tillie also taught me to cook corn beef and also brisket of beef. It was funny; Tillie used to say, “You want me to make you a sandwich.” But I would ask for boiled ham all the time. After she asked me why did I eat that all the time. I explained we couldn't afford boiled ham at home, so my mother would buy pressed ham. I always said that when I get older, I'm going to buy boiled ham. Tillie responded that she wanted me to try the brisket tonight, “You will love it.” It was put on rye bread, Pechter's Rye bread came in the brown paper. It was the best. From that day on, I ate brisket of beef. It was delicious. 
Then I learned how to work the grill. Tillie’s also had man there named Sonnie who would work the grill. A lady waited on the tables, whose name, I think, was Ellen. She would wear her red lip stick and had those pin curled bangs. There was also another lady whose name I can't recall her that also used to wait on tables. 
I learned well while working there and it was a lot of fun. I worked at Tillie’s until they moved to Elizabeth. Those were days. One more thing, Tillie made the best rice pudding, too.  Brenda

The WHS NOTE is emailed to you by the WEEQUAHIC HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION for the CLASS OF 1963 ASSOCIATION and editor, Jacob Toporek.


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