For displaced, misplaced, and nostalgic ex-Brooklynites

TEACHERS WHOM I REMEMBER AT MIDWOOD HIGH SCHOOL


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Posted by Nate Goldman on Friday, July 26th 2019:

The first teacher who comes to mind was Mr. Dave Fried, who taught Physical Education. I first met him in 1958, when he we had him for Physical Education, at the Midwood Annex, on 18th Avenue, just to the west of Ocean Parkway. He was then about 29 years old. At that time, he was very pleasant. One time, he lectured the class about not laughing at a janitor, who was bringing his bike to school. Fried told the class that it was the best exercise in the world. Also, he told us that when he was in the Army (during the Korean War), he made it a habit of carrying a small notebook in his pocket, along with a pen, to take notes if necessary; he was commended by his commanding officer for doing that. Personally, I think that it is a good idea, to do so. In later years at Midwood, I saw Fried's tough guy side. All of the tough characters in the gym class, were intimidated by him. If he saw them fooling around he would yell at the top of his lungs "HEY, GET AWAY FROM DAT WINDOW, YA JOIKS", and they would freeze in their tracks. A classmate told me that he saw Fried at a reunion in 1981, which I missed, because I didn't know about it. I found out that Mr. Fried passed away in 2003, at the age of 74. Prior to his death, he had been a Physical Education consultant. Regarding the Spanish teachers that I had, two outstanding ones were Mr. Tholfsen and Mr. Kassoy. They were my teachers at the annex, although I believe that I also had Mr. Kassoy at the main building in 1959. He commented on how it was no longer dark when we got outside, (when the days were getting longer), as we were on the PM session (because of overcrowding), and were not dismissed until 5:40PM. There was a Mrs. Carajohn, a Science teacher, who was also very good. In addition, there was Mr. Zutler, a Science teacher, who was not very personable, and who used to like to berate students, and yell in class. Mr. Rosenberg was the Band teacher, and he would supervise us at the Football games, where we would march out onto Wingate (Midwood Field), as well as at the away games, where the Midwood football team played. Also, he led us up 5th Avenue in Manhattan, at the Columbus Day parade, in 1958. In 1960, he along with the Chairman of the Music Dept., Mr. Chancy, had the Band perform at a dedication of a new wing of Beth Israel Hospital, in Manhattan. At that dedication, we saw Mayor Wagner speak. The band also played at periodic concerts, especially the Spring concert. Mr. Rosenberg led the band and orchestra with his baton. At the last Spring concert, some members of the band and orchestra, were too busy playing vollyball in the gym, and the time escaped them. As a result, they were absent for portions of the concert. Mr. Harry Parver, who was my home room teacher, and also my Chemistry teacher. Mr. Alexander Doscow, who was my Physics teacher, and my home room teacher. Mr. Grabanier, Miss Marion Mulhern, and Miss Marion Shapin were all English teachers I had a Mr. Kussin for Social Studies in 1958. He was a fine gentleman. The last time that I saw him was in 1975, on a visit to Brooklyn. I was walking past Midwood with my wife, when we encountered Mr. Kussin, who lived a few blocks away. A few months before graduation, I was walking down the hallway, minding my own business, when all of a sudden, I felt a strong tug on my right arm, and I was pulled out of line. It was the first and only time that any physical force was ever used against me by any teacher, in the NYC public school sytem. It was the Chairman of the English Department, Mr. Schlakman. I never had any contact with him in my life, but I knew who he was. He just stared down at me and stated "Do you know why I pulled you out of line". I had no idea. Then, he stated "Didn't I talk to you before". I stated "no", and that was the end of that encounter. The more I've thought of that incident over the years, the more that I've come to the conclusion that he knew that he never spoke to me about anything, as we never met. He just want to show his authority. I believe that he was a disturbed, perverted individual. He never apologized, and I regret that I didn't complain to the principal, Dr. Bernstein, or the Assistant Principals, Mr. Dank, or Miss Shore. Today, if a teacher used physical force on a student for no reason, such as the above, just to show his/her authority, they would be in hot water, and face legal action. However, in those days, they got away with that garbage. The above encounter never would have occurred, if I had graduated a month earlier in January, which was an option at that time. All I had to do was double up in English, and I would have said "hasta la vista", five months earlier. The previous Spring, our home room teacher stated "All of you who are graduating in January, please come forward". I didn't know a thing about that option at the time, and I should have spoken up. Unfortunately, our so-called guidance counselors never apprised me of that option. I spoke to other graduates over the years, who also told me that they too, were never apprised. Last, the actual graduation ceremony was a joke. I should have skipped that ceremony, and pickup up my diploma afterwards, as I saw someone else do. It was a very hot day, and the ceremony was held outside. I should have realized that in advance, as I had been to the prior ceremony a year before (as I was with the band), and I remember that not only was it hot, but people were fainting. I only went back to Midwood four brief times since my graduation to visit. Once was in December, 1961; another time was in June, 1962; the third time was in December, 1964, when I last saw Mr. Parver. He was very nice to me, and we enjoyed our brief visit. I later found out that he was living in Century Village in Boca Raton, where he passed away in 1996. The last time that I was at Midwood was in 1965. I drove by there in 1995, on a visit to Brooklyn. I saw some teachers coming out of the building on the way to their cars, which were parked across the street. Some of them looked like they had a chip on their shoulders. Some members of my graduating class went back to the building in 2011 (the 50th anniversary), but I had no desire to go back. There was a new annex built right across the street, over the old parking lot, where we used to play softball, and where I used to leave my bicycle. Do any of you have both good and bad memories of your respective high school careers, in Brooklyn.

Reference ID: BK95900



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