August 2, 2011
Old Levittowners make Las Vegas a travel destination: Part 1
By FRANK BARNING
One of the bonuses of living in a popular tourist destination, Las Vegas, is that a steady stream of old friends come to town. Not everyone cares to get together, as I have sadly found out in the six years we have been here, but a vast majority do and that has added an interesting dimension to my life. There was even a mini (12 of us) class of 1960 reunion here in April 2010.
Years ago when I was working for the National Collegiate Athletic Association in New York City, we were told that our branch would be closed and all of us would be transferred to the home office in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. My wife's best friend hold her that no one would ever visit us. "It's been nice knowing you, but I am not going to Kansas," Vivian was informed. I quit the job before the transferred occurred.
For various reasons, not everyone who visits gets photographed. I regret not taking pictures of my classmate Warren Zaretsky and Michelle Fromm-Lewis class of 1963.
I really appreciate the flow of friends and acquaintances from my Division Avenue High School days. Here are some photos of visitors.
* Jim Anton, cigar in hand, is a regular visitor. The class of 1961 graduate lives in the Los Angeles area, about a four-hour drive. When Jim informs me that he is coming to town, he is encouraged to bring along Shirley, his charming bride of 46 years.
* A surprise visitor in 2009 was my classmate Jim Healy, who is shown among the flowers at the Bellagio Hotel's stunning conservatory. He is a great story teller and we shared memories of the season we played together on the junior varsity basketball. He called me "Slinky" and Jim was dubbed "Spider".
The team coached by Mr. DiMaggio wasn't very good, but we had a good time. Teammates included Artie Kornfeld of Woodstock fame, Mike Caldararo, Bill Stanley, John General and Jerry Reichert. Slim while in school, Jim looked like he was at his old playing weight. He is an attorney and in the wine business.
* Lillian Smith Handleman, class of 1962, was in town with her husband Joe. They have grandkids in Phoenix, about a five-hour drive from Las Vegas. The Handlemans live in Connecticut and have a ton of grandchildren thanks to their blended families. Lil has written some of the best stories to appear in our blog.
* Russ Green and Larry Bory were best friends in high school and among the academic elite in our class. To identify them, Russ is wearing the dark shirt. Both have visited on business as well as for the reunion. Green, who lives in Santa Barbara, graduated from Cornell and Larry from Trinity. Recently married, Larry lives in northern Virginia.
* The blog is rotten with pictures posted of my classmate and best friend Don Davidson. That's us in front of the Eiffel Tower, which is part of the Paris Hotel and Casino complex. Don is a regular in Vegas mostly to visit the Barnings. He lives in the San Diego area, a five-hour drive away.