Click on autograph page to enlarge
"No wise man ever wished to be younger."
- Jonathan Swift
By FRANK BARNING
June 9, 1960 was a memorable day for me. It was my 18th birthday, so by law I could now be a patron of my favorite bars. Almost magically I was legal at the North Village Green bowling alley's (Bowlder Lounge) and the watering holes on Hempstead Turnpike near Hofstra College. Three months later, my freshman year at Hofstra began.
June 9, 1960 also stands out because it is inscribed in fountain pen on one of the first pages of my copy of Perspectum, the first ever Division Avenue High School yearbook. That day, yearbooks were distributed and there was much excitement in the halls of our school.
Dewain Lanfear was the editor-in-chief and I was co-sports editor with John General. Many of us on the staff had been involved in the planning of the yearbook, which was extensive because there wasn't a previous volume to use as a guide nor something upon which to improve.
Fifty-two years later, one of my favorite features of the "Pioneer" yearbook were the two pages for autographs. We did not request fellow seniors to sign here. Instead, we asked 1960 classmates to put an inscription next to their senior photos and looking at those in my copy sort of gives me an idea that people thought I might become a sports writer or announcer.
I filled up the first of the two "Autographs" pages with 43 signatures. Page two has only two. Most had great penmanship. After all these years, I am still in touch with several, mostly through Facebook. Many are on my "Early Levittown and Beyond" blog mailing list. Sadly, at least three are deceased. Many of the 43 are fresh in my mind, yet some I hardly knew.
So Happy Birthday to the first Division Avenue High School yearbook, a gift that keeps on giving. And thank you to those signees who are still in touch more than a half century later.