Tim and Mitch Lavey are shown "guarding" early
Ed Lavey was a wordsmith, storyteller, poet, artist, photographer and teacher.
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By JEFF PEYTON
Class of 1961
My childhood friend from up the street, Bob Vitrone, and I took Kevin Byrne to Yankee Stadium. It was a doubleheader in 1961 and we watched Roger Maris en route to 61 home runs poke one into the right field stands. Not long ago, Kevin’s reflection on that day was published in Newsday’s “Thanks for the Memories” column.
“My favorite memory of Yankee Stadium was my first trip there as a 12 year old in 1961. Jimmy Piersall was in center field for the Indians. Two men jumped onto the field and ran toward Piersall. He fended them off and kicked one in the rear as he ran away. The crowd went crazy. Mickey Mantle was standing on second base with an umpire laughing,” according to Kevin.
From Armand Tarantelli, who was like a brother to my dad, I learned to drive. Both were long-time
I couldn’t hit or throw a baseball accurately in high school, but I played Pony League and as a catcher could stop most pitches and took many a throw from the outfield standing my ground at the plate. Pete Cybriwsky asked me to catch him for several weeks in preparation for tryouts with Yankee Rookies. Perhaps he asked others. Pete saw something in me that I was struggling to see in myself.
I took his friendship with me to NYU where I made the freshman team. I hit .400 that year, batted fourth in the line up, and played third base. Few would ever know or care, but at one of the reunions Frank Barning brought the subject up. He had stumbled over a record of my private achievement while looking through some old score books when he was the sports information director at Hofstra.
Pete wrote these words to me in my father’s 1960 yearbook. “Jeff, You are one guy in next year’s class that this school will be proud to graduate. You’ve got the intestinal fortitude of a warrior and a heart that is kind and aware of others. Thanks for letting me be your friend.” Pete, who died way too young, was early
Ed Lavey was my friend and a friend to many—a soul teacher. I loved seeing him walk through the door of my house, with a broad, warm smile and a pipe that radiated friendship. I walked by the Laveys’
He and beautiful Arlene and their boys, Tim, Mitch and Robin were often at the house. We sat around the kitchen table in regular reunions well into the 1960s. Ed had a deep and enduring effect on our small circle of friends, which included Pat Calderwood, Daria Marusevich, Jerry Reichert, John Fitzsimmons, Allie Greengold and Wally Linder. He made us question our way of looking at the world. Ed was close friends with the Fitzsimmons and Sandy Limouze then the Dean of Kings Point, and several school principals and a school superintendent, and Tom and Ann Thibadeau, (Bart, Paul, and Susan’s mom and dad). Tom taught English in
In the early 1970s, after I was discharged from the Army and life swept me off
When you get into a conversation about great teachers, you necessarily move into terrain related to the reality of school itself. We all tend to romanticize the experience, kind of like we do when reflecting back on time in the military, but in my first hours in the Army my mind exploded with memories of elementary school. In terms of what one is free to do and what one is not free to do, in terms of the herding yelling, control, authority, and
the threat of punishment, both experiences collided. I may have gotten more out of playing in the catacombs and the underground tunnels of
I have always questioned the value and legitimacy of formal education. And some excellent teachers I have known feel that way, too. In high school, I can recall my gaze affixed for weeks through the window on a man, maybe it was two, atop the
The thing about early
I recall the day in October of 1949 when I stepped out the front door of
We never heard the explosion, but for sure we are all outward, far-flung stars in the wake of our own big bang.