October 24, 2010

Division grads share memories of their high school yearbooks

By Frank Barning
My 1960 copy of Perspectum is like a family album to me. We look so young, so innocent. Some of the inscriptions that classmates and teachers penned in my yearbook are fascinating. Several wished me luck in college, a few consoled me for being undervalued by coaches, and a few mentioned the several years we shared the same homeroom.

Miss Eisenhauer, a fabulous teacher, wrote: "Best wishes to a sincere and industrious student." That meant a great deal to me. Mr. Kalinowski asked if I were going to continue French in college. Years later, I ran into him at a Mets game and gave him a positive answer to his question.

John Mulligan and Bill Stanley both referred to the time in a junior varsity basketball game that I drove to the wrong basket. John called me "Wrong way" and Bill wrote, "Remember the time you went the wrong way with me chasing you."

Pete Cybriwsky mentioned some of the good times we shared and concluded: "These bring back memories of our past and a continuing friendship in the future." Pete died in his 20s.

The late Sterling Morrison wrote: "Don't forget the good times we had here." He was one of the founding members of the rock group The Velvet Underground. His music lives on, despite his passing in 1995.

John Reardon captured a personal lament: "To the best first baseman who ever rode the varsity bench." That should be chiseled on my tombstone.

Yes, my 1960 yearbook, Division Avenue High School's first, is a family album to me.

Readers of this blog who attended Division Avenue High School were asked the current status of their yearbooks.

Alice Nutini Pecoraro 1961: My yearbook is long gone, since 1969. It was a difficult year. I had to move and couldn't take anything that didn't fit in a car with my three (at the time) children. I'm sure we have all had some difficult times. When I saw Roberta Landry (1961) a few years ago, she brought the yearbooks of 1960 and 1961 and we had so much fun looking at them. My sister Ann was with us. She went to Levittown Memorial.

Marilyn Monsrud 1963: I have a four-year series...starting with the first graduating class, 1960, and ending with my class, 1963. Nothing like a yearbook to help clarify the memories. They say a picture is worth a thousand works, and it's so true with yearbook photos. It's also great to see photos of old classmates as they look now (as posted in Facebook) and then looking that person up again in the appropriate yearbook. As far as I can see, the years have been kind to DAHS grads. Must have been something in the potato field dirt!

Sandy Kelly Mincher 1961: My story is not very noteworthy but it has caused me great regret as well as an important life lesson.

When I went away to college, in Oswego, NY, I ended up staying in that small city after graduation. I liked the slow pace, friendly people, and snowy winters. After a few years my mom asked me to go through my stuff at home and take what I wanted to keep. I never thought about my yearbook being among the less important things I had left behind. Being a procrastinator, I kept putting this chore off until I completely forgot about it.

The time came, of course, when I became nostalgic for the treasured memories of my school days in Levittown. When I asked my mom where my yearbook was she told me she had thrown out all that stuff when she moved. I was devastated, but realized it was a consequence of my habit of procrastinating. One of many lessons I have learned the hard way.

Diane Dewey Adolpho 1961: I do not have them but sure wish I did. I had mine stored in a shed in Hawaii in the back of my mother-in-laws house and we had some very bad rain storms and the shed got flooded and the box my yearbooks were in got totally ruined and the books just weren't able to be saved. That was many years ago.

Ann Crescenzo Fazzino 1961: I still have the 1960 and my 1961 yearbooks. They are packed away in our attic closet with all my special memorabilia. The last time that I perused both yearbooks I laughed, I cried, and enjoyed reading all the great comments. What makes many of the comments more meaningful today is the fact that many of our classmates aren't here any longer. What they personally wrote to me has much more meaning. I don't believe that I will ever throw away my yearbooks. I cherish both of them as they are filled with wonderful memories of Levittown's first and second graduation classes at Division Avenue High School.

Dr. Michael O'Boyle 1960: Mine was destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Our house in Galveston, Texas took on 4 feet of salt water, we were not able to return for about two weeks, so pretty much everything in the house below 4 feet, especially books, was trashed. We did have good insurance, moved back after repairs about 7 months later. I like to view it as a learning experience. One bit of advice, keep an inventory of your possessions, especially big ticket items, in case you ever have to make a claim ( It's very arduous to do this after the fact; pictures or a video of your things, invoices, are of great help).

Sandy Adams 1960: Yes, I do have it! It’s not in A-One condition, but it is intact. My kids got a hold of it once when they were very young – oops!

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