February 2, 2012

Memories were triggered with the discovery of this photo from 1958

Click on pix to enlarge


Precious few photos have survived from my Levittown days, 1954-1966. Believe it or not, my mother tossed them in the trash when she and dad moved to California in 1985, along with my baby pictures and other treasured family memories. You read about people going into burning homes to save photo albums at incredible risk. Yes, I have had to do some therapy over what mom did.

So when this picture was found in a box of old personal memorabilia recently, it was an important discovery. It was taken behind Division Avenue High School in the spring of 1958, our sophomore year. Shown are the infielders on the junior varsity baseball team coached by Mr. Robert Simes, one of our math teachers.

From left to right in our baggy uniforms are Steve Patascher, Richie Lohman, John Reardon, Richie Bernhardt and yours truly. It is truly amazing that three of the five of us all lived on Hyacinth Road. Lohman and I lived virtually across the street from each other, the Lohmans at #11 and the Barnings at #10. Reardon was at #66. Our 1960 classmate Ed Gifford, not a baseball player but an excellent wrestler, lived at #13.

Others on the JV team included Mike Caldararo, Artie Kornfeld, Jack Leahy, Doug Gibson, Jim Beebe and Stu Ronk. Gibson and Patacher eventually graduated from Levittown Memorial High School but nothing has been unearthed about Ronk who did not finish at our school.

A few readers of the blog have asked why I have put in innumerable hours creating Early Levittown and Beyond. There have been nearly 500 entries since I started this in July 2010. Maybe the reason is that my mother threw away the photos of my youth and I have had a desperate need to connect with those happy, care-free days. And it's cheaper than therapy.


Mr. Simes' obituary...

Robert L. Simes of Smallwood, a 10-year area resident and a retired teacher for the Levittown School District in Levittown, LI., died Thursday, December 19, 2002, at the Achieve Rehab and Nursing Facility in Liberty. He was 80 years of age.

The son of the late James and Mary O'Brien Simes, he was born August 23, 1922, in Rhode Island.
A World War II veteran of the Army, attaining the rank of sergeant, he served from 1943 to 1946. Mr. Simes was a member of St. Joseph's Church in Mongaup Valley.

He is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Cathy and Michael Lorino of Smallwood; a brother, Ralph B. Simes of Honesdale, Pa.; a sister, Vivian Schomer of Connecticut; three nieces, Peggy Simes, Janet Crawford and Eugenia Hyman; a nephew, Jeremy Schomer; and two grandchildren, Robert and Brandon Lorino.


ktray said...

Frank, even though I graduated '68 you keep bringing up many of my favorite teachers. Going from Honors Geometry (98 on the Regents) to bonehead math by senior year I was in a space foreign to the study of math. As senior year was ending and clearly flunking the course, Mr. Simes said, "Kenneth it will neither do Levittown Division Avenue H.S. nor yourself any good to flunk and force you to go to summer school. You and I are more alike then you might imagine. Good luck,on your adventures." In this case, grade inflation was the right thing to do and I left DAHS and got on with my life.

Larry Bory said...

Wow! 500. Good work Frank. I gove you a lot of credit for creativity and persistence. Will write a piece soon about living near Hempstead Turnpike.

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