January 20, 2011

Q&A with Gary Parker, 1962 grad, has wonderful memories of his high school years; he starred in three sports and played at Hofstra

1962 senior prom photo with Marilyn Monsrud '63; Gary with his daughter Deana and three grandsons.

Where did you live in Levittown, when did you move there and where had you lived before:

We moved to Levittown in 1951 from Oceanside and resided at 35 Church Road just a block away from Division Avenue High School and three blocks away from the North Village Green.

What were some of your earliest memories of Levittown:

I started grammar school at Summit Lane and then middle and high school at Division. Every chance I got I would be playing sports behind DAHS and the North Green (touch football, stick ball, baseball etc.) and organized baseball.

In Little League I played for the Lions Club. Pete Cybriwsky was our pitcher and I played third base and we were the champions. During the years of 1953 through 1962 I played against and with a great group of athletes and friends. I would name them all but I don’t want to leave anybody off the list. Anybody from that era who you can think of who played sports, I had the honor of playing with or against.

Was attending Division Avenue High School a good experience, any teachers you really enjoyed: The best teachers were Mr. Langdon, Mr. Reggio, Mr. Peyton, Mr. Jewell and Mr. Amen. I know I’ve left many a good teacher off but unfortunately with age my memory isn’t so sharp.

You had quite a sports career at Division, three sports (football, basketball and baseball), always a starting player. How did you have time for all this and school too. Was it a burden or just a lot of fun and glory:

It kept me out of trouble because I had just enough time to do my homework. I tell anybody who has children going to school to get them involved in sports and this will do two things; they will be too tired to get into trouble and they will develop character by associating with fellow athletes.

Any particular Division sports memories that stands out in your mind:

I’m a freshman playing varsity baseball game against Great Neck North and I'm on second base and we get a hit up the middle and I take off and round third base and am heading home, but the catcher has the plate blocked. I go with an airborne slide at the catcher's glove, kick the baseball loose, and the next thing I know he is beating on my back. A teammate of mine pulled that catcher off me, and that player was the late Pete Cybriwsky! He was taking care of the freshman. Pete was a great athlete and person.

Tell us a non-sports highlight of your high school years:

At that time my girl friend was Marilyn Monsrud, class of 1963. Her mother, Ruth, was the best thing that could happen to a teenage boy. Ruth and my mother became best friends and Ruth was like my second mother.

After high school you attended Hofstra where you played varsity football and baseball. Did you have a scholarship and did you enjoy the experience:

I had a full scholarship except school books. My freshman coaches were great and it was down hill from there, a lot of politics even at that level of play.

Is there anything you would like to mention about jobs you have had:

I spent 30 years with Federation Department Stores as a suit (manager) and 10 years at Sears as a sales associate.

Is it true that Wolfman Jack was your half brother? Anything you want to tell us about this relationship that would be of interest:

Even though he was my half brother (same mother) we always were 100 percent brother to brother! He was a very talented and loving person and a great disc jockey. He was elected to the Radio Hall of Fame, and is the only disc jockey to have various songs about him including “Clap for the Wolfman". He played himself in American Graffiti and the sequel.

Where do you live now, and how long have you been there:

I live in Marietta, Ga. I’ve been here over 30 years. For awhile, I lived in California.

In semi-retirement, what do you do keep busy? I recall you telling me that you have been a school crossing guard in recent years:

A great job, no bosses around you, just wonderful children and parents who appreciate you for looking after their children. I play golf, take care of our property and my wife’s family farm.


Anonymous said...

From Merrill Clark, class of 1962

I enjoyed reading Gary Parker's input. Gary and I were classmates and teammates in the early days..........Lion's Club Little League Baseball........wherein his Dad, Gordon, was our coach. Anyway, glad to see input from folks in our class ('62).

Marilyn Monsrud Frese said...

Gary is the defination of the 'ALL AMERICAN GUY"! He was the focus point of my high school days and almost every one of my DAHS memories would include a reference to him. His mom Roz was a sweet and funny lady (and made a great leg of lamb dinner!) and I remember his grandma too. And his dog- a dalmation- what was his name??? I don't think his dad Gordon was too fond of me- he wanted Gary to concentrate on school & sports exclusively, no time for girls! My love of football today has much to do with Gary- you can't be a quaterbacks girlfriend without really learning a lot about the game!!!

Karl said...

Gary, if memory serves me, we played on a "Pee Wee" league football team together. Your dad said that if we won the championship he would take the team to a NY Giant football game. Well, we won the East Coast championship and he made good on he promise and took the team to a "Pre-Season" game. Even so, my dad was very jealous anyway.