September 1, 2011

The Flame brought hot news to Division Avenue High's student body; April 1960 edition

Click on pages to enlarge


I don't remember when The Flame was first published, but by the time the April 1960 issue shown here was distributed, the staff had a nice mix of students from various Division Avenue High School classes.

My 1960 classmates sort of dominated activities in the first few years of the school, probably because we were always considered seniors since we would become the first graduating class. The staff of The Flame shows the beginning of passing the torch (pun intended) to the classes that followed. For example, two class of 1961 students had key roles, William Davis (publisher) and Pat Jacobson (business manager). The writing staff had a nice mix, too.

The library club story was written by Lillian Smith, class of 1962, who has contributed some of the best articles to appear in our blog. The students in the photo are Ira Selsky, class of 1960, and Iris Orenstein who was in the second graduating class. Ira and Iris, a coincidence?

The page of advertisements is interesting in that some of those companies were very familiar names in early Levittown and probably none still exist. Herbert Richheimer Inc. was a construction company that did a lot of the expanding of Levitt homes. Its signs were often seen in front of remodeling jobs.

Wilfred's Coffee Shop, in the Mays shopping center a short stroll from school, was owned by the parents of the class of 1962's Linda Kaiser. It was a popular after-school hangout. The Kaisers must have been patient souls because most of us had very little spending money.

The photo on the ad page is of 1961 classmates Kathy Rees and the late Mike Fitzgibbon. The telephone numbers start with either PE or WE. Can you remember what they stood for? PE was for Pershing and WE for Wells. You might also recall that many of our home phones were on party lines, a term that you no longer hear. Some of us listened in on the conversations of our neighbors. Hey, we didn't have the internet and we were too young to read juicy novels such as Peyton Place and A Stone for Danny Fisher.

And finally we come to the front page. The photo is from a talent show. The lad in the middle is Larry Bory, class of 1960. He is also listed in the story about scholarship winners.

About the show, Bory commented: "That was the Junior Show. I played handsome Larry Van Doren, the playboy in this 1920s sketch. To my right are Sue Giberson, (don't remember) and Corinne Norgren. To my left are Lilette Levy, (don't remember) and Fran Newman.

"There were at least a dozen songs and sketches. One was Carole Arneson as a drunken weather girl. Russ Green as a JD with leather jacket. Dewain Lanfear played his father. The final skit was a spoof on the football team coached by Jelly Gem (Corinne Norgren). All the team members were girls and the cheerleaders were guys, Russ, Dewain, Jim Anton and me."

As I recall, the dragon masthead was drawn by senior Connie Drakos whose art is seen throughout the 1960 yearbook. It's too bad that a flame isn't coming out of our mascot's mouth. Maybe Connie was like I was and didn't understand the subtle connection between dragon and flame.

Thank you to Barbara Wittenberg Taylor, class of 1960, for sending us her copy of The Flame for inclusion here. Your blogger would like to see other early editions of the publication.

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