Hi Good-Timers at Weequahic High,
Updating the messaging network:
Sunne Brandmeyer writes of husband’s passing:
I'm sorry to have to report that my husband, Gerard Brandmeyer (1/51), has died. His classmates may remember Gerry for a couple of things. He was a Catholic (a rarity in that neighborhood), an albino (snow white hair was also rare) and he was legally blind.
Since this alumni bulletin has gone online, I have enjoyed reading it to him. He didn't have the experiences that I read about; no special place for bagels or knishes. We often laughed about how different his experience was from that of the majority of his classmates. The one thing he shared with their memories is the excellent education that Weequahic provided. It stood him in good stead for the rest of his career and life.
Gerry attended Fordham College for his BS in Economics and went on to University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) for an MS in Labor and Industrial Relations and finally a Ph.D. in Sociology at UCLA. He taught at UC Riverside, San Francisco State College and the University of South Florida, where he retired in 1996.
Since retirement, Gerry enjoyed RV travel around the US, finally settling in Louisiana in the winter and Montana in the summer. He is survived by me, his wife of 57 years, one son (Ivan), four grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Sunne
Birthday bash invite, Class of 1960:
The Class of June 1960 will have an 80th Birthday Celebration with a brunch on June 5th at the Old Mill Inn in Basking Ridge from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Unfortunately, our 60th Reunion scheduled in 2020 was postponed due to Covid. For further information, contact Harold Klein at email@example.com.
Deborah Williams Lee (70) seeks a Weequahic alumni assist in locating a friend:
I am trying to locate Arnold Harris, Class of 1970. I think we ran into one another in Chicago in 2002 at Water Tower Place but I did not make the Newark connection at the time. When I realized who he was, he was gone. We lived on Chadwick Avenue. Arnold, my brother James, my sister Kathryn and I were all friends at Peshine and Weequahic. He had two brothers, Bruce ad Robert, and a sister named Sharon.
Arnold and I went to a Sly Stone concert in Wichita, Kansas in 1971. He was in the Service and I was on my way back to school in Salina, Kansas. That was the last time we spent any time together. I would love to know how he is and what he has been doing since 1971. I would appreciate any feedback sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deborah
Michael Botnick (68) shares an offer:
I found my mother’s 1939 Year Book from Maple Avenue School. It’s possible that it’s from two different years as the page sizes are different. So, it might contain 1938 or 1940 as well. If you know someone who went to Maple during those years, email me and I’ll look to see if there is a picture of them, I can send to you. Michael (Botkant@gmail.com)
Lorrie Axelrad Cohen (64) replies to Marc Little’s (69) inquiry:
II write in response to Marc Little’s comment about living at 897 Hunterdon Street in Newark and the elderly lady that lived next door. Marc referred to Mrs. Fishman as my grandmother. She was actually my grandmother, Odes Korman’s, roommate. My grandmother was totally blind and did not speak a word of English. As a child, I vividly remember visiting my grandmother frequently and her telling me in Yiddish many times how kind and helpful the Little family was to her and Mrs. Fishman. That speaks a lot about your family, Marc. Lorrie
Warren Bratter (1/60) once more travels down forgotten alley ways of memory to record one “neighborhood soul” who has been of interest to the WHS public and many commentators cited in past editions of the “WHS Note:”
I remember the day I first saw him. I was 13, although I can't tell you now the day or the month. I'd walked up Vassar Avenue, not sure if I was going to jump off at Greenspan's house or just head for the Chancellor School Playground. I hadn't started going out with Fern, yet, so I walked past her house without stopping. Instead, when I reached Aldine, I cut across the high school lawn, and, staying on that side of Chancellor, made a right by the gas station on the corner and headed up the street for Syd's to see who was hanging out. When I reached Untermann, I crossed the street.
He was standing there down the street from Phillip Roth’s house on Summit and to the right of Syd's entrance by Herbie's Trophie and Sporting Goods Store. Now, seeing someone standing outside Syd's was, of course, of and by itself not strange. Guys always used to stand outside b’essing, arguing, or pitching quarters. But I remember that as I looked at him to see if I recognized who he was, I realized that there was something unusual about the clothes he wore. It was spring, although I'm not sure if it was March or April, but on that warm spring day, although I had on a long-sleeved cotton shirt but no jacket or sweater, he was wearing a woolen plaid waist-length coat, red pants (I'd never seen a pair of red pants before) and a funny hat from under which his medusa-like jet black hair emerged on either side of his cheeks. His face was flushed. He was talking to himself. Even as I approached him, he didn't look at me or stop his monologue.
I opened the door to Syd's, checked the booths on the left. Some of the older guys were there; Bart Bralow, Mitch Geller and Neil Zahn. As always, they were locked in conversation and didn't acknowledge me. I looked over to the juke box by the column on my right, and then to the pinball machine against the back wall where the Mogelefskys and Shantang were banging away on the now tilted machine. None of my boys, Enzer, Fromkin or Zupko, were there. So, after going over to the fryers and saying hello to my Uncle Mort, I walked to the grill to ask Mamou about him.
Mamou, who would later mentor me in all things legal and illegal, was talking with Roth. "That's Abbie,” he said. I can't remember now whether he told me whose son, brother or cousin he was, but he did say that he was, in the language of that time, "crazy." From that day to my last days in the neighborhood, Abbie was a part of my life. I don't mean to say that I took care of him any more than anyone else did. But this man of indeterminate age, who was always fed by my Uncle Morty and protected by the “big boys” (Feinblatt, Zupko, Mamou, Ronnie Rosen, Eddie Roth) and looked after by us “little guys,” not only made me sad, understand something about life's cruelties, but also made me conscious of what living in a place of shared values meant. I often asked my parents about him. They were apparently not aware of who he was. Abbie was part of my adolescent world view.
I knew this, though, about the people amongst whom I lived. No one would let any harm come to Abbie. No one would play practical jokes on him or force him to smoke a cigarette, to drink alcohol or do anything to him that could be considered cruel. He was, in his way, a part of us. He was clearly developmentally arrested. He was noticeably physically infirm. Yet, as I got older, as we all got older, Abbie didn't seem to age, although there were moments when his body betrayed him, when he did fall and injure himself and had to be taken to Beth Israel by one or another of the “big boys.”
Abbie, whose last name I never did learn, has remained a part of me all these years, a symbol of the power of our neighborly Weequahic solidarity. He remains one, in spite of the many temptations that there might have been to ridicule and ostracize him, we all took the opposite direction as all of us, young and old, cared for and protected this neighborhood soul. Warren
More marvelous Mosque memories:
Mel Rubin (56)
The Mosque was originally built as a meeting hall for either the Masons or Shriners. It was known for its outstanding acoustics. Channel 13 was broadcast from there. “Uncle” Fred Sales had a show reminiscent of Howdy Doodie sans the puppets. It featured the “peanut gallery” where neighborhood kids would attend. They later ran a dance show similar to American Bandstand, which was based in Philly.
In our senior years of college, my wife Sharon and I took a course in Music Appreciation while attending different colleges. We went to see (and hear) a classical concert at the Mosque and were awakened by the applause at its end. So much for class! By the way, Sharon and I first met at our junior year’s picnic at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside, NJ. Later, we started dating after attending a Purim Festival at AABC in Irvington. We then went to her Hillside prom and my Weequahic prom. It stuck, as we are approaching 62 years of marriage. Mel
Jack Lippman (50)
Adding to the comments about the Mosque and that wonderful link describing its history is the fact that during the Second World War and the accompanying gasoline shortage, Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook, a cabaret/nightclub on Route 23, the "Pompton Turnpike," shut down and relocated to Newark in that upstairs ballroom of the Mosque.
It was known as Frank Dailey's Terrace Room. Incidentally, "Pompton Turnpike" became the title of a piece played there and elsewhere by the Charlie Barnet Orchestra, popular in those days. Jack
Ron Bruguiere (6/53)
In December 1960, when I entered the world of show business as an usher at NYC's Alvin Theatre during the engagement of "Wildcat" with Lucille Ball, little did I realize I'd be managing the bus tour of "Carol Channing and Twelve Gentlemen Who Prefer Blondes," Our final performance, on April 15, 1962, was at the Mosque. Ron
Iris Lauer Talesnick (6/53)
I too took dancing lessons from Hortense Greenwald and remember the recitals; however, I don’t recall having to do cartwheels. I had a peppermint stick costume but wasn’t very agile. Hortense lived to the age of 100. Iris
Discussing the W-District:
Susan (Oaklander) Leon (1/58)
I lived a few blocks from Bialystocker’s on Clinton Avenue. It was next door to the A&P, which was the first supermarket in our area. Along that strip of stores was Sherman's Dress Shop and Freidenberg's Drug Store, on the corner. Temple B'nai Abraham was on the next block. Those of us who grew up in the fifties in the Clinton Hill section, well remember these establishments. Susan
Jacqueline Kaufer Klein (66)
I just want to say to Alan Ginter (64) that I appreciated what he shared about his Chancellor Avenue memories. I understand the childhood dreams like slipping into the keyhole in Alice in Wonderland to another time and place that now seems more like a dream, but so precious to us that we can.t bear to let it go.
Thank goodness, when we read this weekly newsletter, there are other witnesses who remember. We can find comfort and joy in that. Thank you to the producers for making these sharings possible; especially for those of us who live far away, but still remain connected here. Jacqueline
Arthur Schechner (49)
We lived on Renner and Elizabeth Avenues. My brothers and I would walk down Elizabeth Avenue to Meeker Avenue and on to Sabin’s almost every Sunday for a hot dog. We never went to Millman’s, which shared a common wall with Sabin’s. My father did not permit us to go into Millman’s because they had a liquor license. He said such a place was just too dangerous for us to go into alone. Arthur