November 20, 2010

The story behind the story of the boxing matches at Division Avenue High School

John Kinstrey pleads not guilty to skimming funds

By John Kinstrey
Class of 1961

These posts to your blog have continued to open up my, and I’m sure many others, “remember when” files, and I have enjoyed every word of them. However, having said that, I now can plead “not guilty” to skimming the funds from the Cassidy/Kohler fight-of-the-century (see November 16 and 17 blog posts).

When I first read Jon Buller’s recollection of said event, I honestly could not recall anything of the who, what, when, how or why regarding the money. That is until I read Jack Jacobsen’s total recall of it and the synapses began to fire again. So here’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it:

In the fall of 1959, a bunch of us juniors and seniors (Albaum twins, Caldarero, Bernhardt, Bonacci, Burner, Tanner, Zaretsky, Kinstrey, Gurr, Rutner, Stanley, Cassidy, Bruce (Billy type) and some others who need to ”fess up”, decided we wanted to be Explorers – BSA type Explorers – and go camping in a foot of snow in upstate New York at the Onteora Boy Scout Reservation for Operation Igloo. In order to do that we needed a charter, sponsors, and adult supervision before we could become a validated Explorer Post – which was nothing more than a “cover” for a bunch of testosterone laden, “I-dare-you”,… “hey-guys-watch-this“ adolescents.

Well, thanks to two “teachers-with-good-intentions”, Messrs. Vinny Nava and Earl Langdon we were saved. Unfortunately, the Boy Scouts of America weren’t so lucky.
Anyway, in order to fund this operation we were expected to get involved in community projects: rake leaves, sell candy bars, cut grass, etc., basically come up with the bucks ourselves. Surely, these people were kidding. Nope. Bucks, lots of bucks. What were we to do? Real work was not an option.

That’s about the time the girl, whose affection was sought by both Bobby Cassidy and Tommy Koehler, shows up and… Bingo! We had a plan. We had a meeting in accordance with Bob Bonacci’s Rules of Order. Voted on recommendations and agreed on a fundraiser… ok a boxing match. And we didn’t even have to break a sweat. Thanks to our adult leadership, they got DAHS to let us use a classroom every Wednesday night; the wrestling room was just a hallway or two away.

So, if it will help to allay any consternation on the part of former classmates, the money was used to offset the cost to each of us (as well as some parents, I’m sure) and was given to BSA to pay for operations and salaries of some of the paid personnel at the Onteora Scout Reservation.

And, by the way, Jack Jacobsen, whose sister Judy was one of the most beautiful girls on the planet to my 14 year old eyes, was one of the three guys who, in the summer of 1957, formed the singing group, The Three J’s. We never wrote a song, sang a song, and weren’t even sure we could harmonize, but we were gonna be great. We started with matching white bucks. But suddenly, Johnny Robinson, who’s dad was a professor at NYU, moved away, I discovered girls and Jack, well,… his feet went from size 9 to 11 before Labor Day, the bucks were history and the Weekly Top 40 was out of reach.

Defense Rests!

Love ya’ll. It’s the way we talk down here in North Carolina.

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