*Members: If you have any announcements that you would like to post on the ROBS web site, please contact Nick Siciliano at News2@robsny.org. Announcements will be posted each month on this page.
If you miss any previous month's announcements,
you can view them at the Archives page of this web site. You can also read more news in our Newsletters. In addition, if you have
your own web site, and would like to share it with other members, let us know and we can include the link on the ROBS site.
William Lapp, who was a retired administrator in the Brentwood School District, passed away on March 28, 2016 at the age of 82. Friends may call at the Bryant Funeral Home, 411 Old Town Rd., E. Setauket, NY. Visiting hours are Friday 2-4 & 7-9pm. Funeral Mass is Saturday 9AM at St. James RC Church, Route 25A, Setauket. Interment to follow at St. James Churchyard Cemetery, Setauket. Newsday Notices
SAD SHARING POSTED 4/4/16
On March 23, 2016, Beula (Vincent) Perry passed away at her home in Florida. When she retired, Beula was the Choir Director at Brentwood High School. During her career in Brentwood, she had also served as Assistant Coordinator for Elementary Music, and was the Chair of the High School Music Department. Beula also spent many years as the Producer and Vocal Director of the Brentwood High School Musical. Her impact on her students will always be a guiding force in their lives.
Arrangements were private.
SAD SHARING POSTED 4/12/16
Dolores A. Herrmann, a retired teacher, from North Elementary, passed away on April 4, 2016. View online obituary.
DONATING BLOOD POSTED 4/3/16
Help save a life today by donating blood to those in need. The following are scheduled local blood drives:
April 16th - Habitat For Humanity - 2111 Lakeland Ave, Ronkonkoma - 9AM - 3PM
May 7th - Central Islip High School - 85 Wheeler Road, Central Islip - 9:30AM - 1:30PM
WORDS OF THANKS FROM CLAUDIA AND JEFF POSTED 4/11/16
The following is a note from Claudia DeBellis:
We thank all of you who have called and written to us about the sudden death of our son, Darryl. It has been very, very hard and we know it will be for a long time to come.
Your loving wishes are more helpful than you might know. Some have asked where they could donate in Darryl's memory. Darryl was an enthusiastic reader, so if you like:
The Stanford Free Library
14 Creamery Road
Stanfordville, N.Y. 12581
Please mark the check:
"For the Building Fund, In Memory of Darryl J. Spahn"
Claudia & Jeff
BARNES & NOBLE BOOKFAIR POSTED 4/3/16
On Sunday, April 17 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm the Brentwood Historical Society will be sponsoring a Bookfair to help restore the Modern Times Schoolhouse. The speakers will be Brentwood retired teacher and author Letty Sustrin and Town Historian George Munkenbeck. Please view the flier for further details.
How are we doing?
We'd like to hear from you. Please visit our
Letters to the Editor Pagewhere you can share your views and comments
Why did we do it? What was our purpose in taking on such an open ended “History Project”; for which we evolved a script of questions and got answers from over 150 subjects for two decades?
We couldn’t answer the question in 1994 when people would ask “What are you going to do with the interviews?” All we could say was that for educational purposes we had to document our record now or lose the chance to preserve so many poignant accounts, funny stories and touching tales told by exemplary educators. We knew these dedicated public servants might shortly, for reasons yet unknown, be leaving Brentwood for good.
So, we decided to let time sort out the details. We began scheduling appointments. We asked questions and listened saving for generations the essence of what it meant to have been an educator or employed, in this large public school system during the second half of the 20th century. Brentwood remains an exemplar to all others; a diverse microcosm of America reflecting 124 districts on Long Island while simultaneously resembling thousands across the U.S. We’ve accomplished something here to be proud of. Whether we were interviewed or not, ours is a claim of service that few professionals in the State of New York or elsewhere have positioned themselves to share in the way we have. INITIALLY the practice of sitting with a subject for an hour and giving them a hundred percent focused attention seemed somewhat daunting to a number of friends and colleagues. So much so in fact that many declined our repeated invitations to speak with us as they left careers or retired from full employment. Despite all assurances that we were not about investigative journalism or invading privacy, they deferred. Now, twenty years after we began, some are saying they may be ready. “Better late than never” we say. However, to all among you who were willing to share not only your classroom experiences and personal stories, but precious memories from your lives along with your fondest hopes for the future, we say “Thanks”. Thanks for allowing us to continue the process by paying it forward as we share these interviews with the Brentwood community and countless professionals and researchers near and far. Through an acceptance of ROBS offer of collaboration with Archivist Dr. Geri Solomon and The Long Island Studies Institute at Hofstra University our History Project lives on in academia as well as in the collection of the Brentwood Public Library, thanks to Director, Thomas A. Tarantowicz.
Enjoy unlimited visits to www.robsny.org where you can watch and listen to segments from featured Interviews in the ROBS History Project Section on our Announcements Page each month. Return here to listen and learn again and again.
THIS MONTH'S FEATURED HISTORY PROJECT
Harriet Pepine - Elementary Teacher Interview Bio: Aug 10, 1998
Harriet whose maiden name was Asch, was at the time of this interview on August 10, 1998 a divorced single person. She had three children, Matthew who lived in Portland Oregon and was employed as an Assistant Professor of Science and Technology and had no children. Her daughter Marcy, who studied education at Boston University was working as a Real Estate Appraiser at the time. Her youngest son Allen, was living in Orinda, California outside San Francisco as an Assistant Professor at Berkley in the Research Division. Harriet’s former husband Leonard Sachs was Creator of the well known Mark Country Day School in Bay Shore where she had once worked and her children had spent many hours surrounded by the stimulation and nourishing environment of that private, highly successful school. As with many children raised in the same family, each of her children has their own style. The boys loved science as can be seen by their career choices and all three shared a love of education and research. Harriet described herself as not liking to work under pressure. A procrastinator she was not. She described her 2 grandchildren Rebecca and Sarah (7 yrs and 4 back then) as strong minded young women with whom she visited on 3 or 4 occasions a year.
Born in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, during the Great Depression Harriet was devoted to her mother who was very food conscious of preparing healthy meals with little money. Her father was a salesman of restaurant supplies. She had no memories of ever being hungry but getting a new pair of shoes was a big occasion. When we talked about celebrating family holidays she recalled having had the impression that Thanksgiving Dinners were only for Christian People because her family never had turkey for dinner. She described herself and her siblings as being creative, even to the point of making their own monopoly game. They learned to share and to cooperate when they lived in Flushing Queens to where they moved after moving from Brooklyn. They played sidewalk games, built forts in the snow for hours during heavy storms and played stoop ball in good weather. She has memories of parts of Brooklyn, and of her brother and sister. Harriet was the baby by a year and a half. She remembered her mother as being a hard worker who made all the children’s clothes by hand. She was a separated, responsible single mom who was dependable, strong minded and domineering. Harriet lived at home when everyone went to college. She remembered her grandfather as being tired much of the time and her oldest sister sick with Crohns disease. She was a constant reader of books and enjoyed watching Kraft Theatre on their black and white television set. She remembered her father being warm and loving toward her.
Her sister enrolled in Queens College and Harriet remembers admiring her for her choices and academic achievement. Her mother’s brother was good to their family and Harriet remembers him as being a kind and sweet uncle. Her husband Lenny was her inspiration. He used to tell her how she would make an excellent teacher.
They moved to Brentwood in 1957. While living in Great Neck the family had raised Scotties. Relocating to Flushing they moved near a park that had a pond where she did a lot of ice skating. Once again she recalled the snowfall of 1946-47. She was her mother’s helper until she got a job. She worked in Andy’s Specialties and at Bloomingdale’s as a wrapper. She worked in the tube room. Cashiers sat at desks to make change and send it back up to counter girls through pneumatic tubes that were positioned overhead. Her first real job was at 16. She next worked at B. Altman’s.
While hers was not a religious family they did celebrate Rosh Hashanah every year. As a teen she loved to read, to play games and go to the theatre in Manhattan even if was only for standing room $3.00. She didn’t begin wearing slacks or long pants until the mid seventies when it was fashionably acceptable to do so. Ballet lessons in the city were affordable. It was something she enjoyed.
Harriet was an early riser, a day person as opposed to being a night person, she loved the Spring but especially appreciated Fall colors. Her first school experience was in Brooklyn and she remembers her teachers as being nice people. She remembers 8A and 8B, her Brooklyn summer school which was a play school. She attended Flushing High School and Queens College where she got her BA and then earned her Master’s Degree from Hofstra. She matriculated to C.W. Post where she added Special Education to her list of certifications and accomplishments
She lived through the years of the polio scare and remembers several teachers: Mr. Golda, the French Teacher she admired, and several Math teachers that were especially kind and helpful. She began teaching in 1970 when Tom Hastings interviewed her for a Kindergarten position in Pine Park. She was there for about 4 months before she moved to 1st grade and then on to 2nd grade. Herb Black became her Principal. After having spent so much time and gained so many years of experience in the Private School, she was surprised when she came to Brentwood and discovered the high caliber of teachers that taught there. She had a problem finding another school but ultimately ended up at Northeast when it was at full capacity. There was little in the way of supplies but she accumulated small amounts each year as supplies accumulated over the years. Yes, she said, Graduate School could have provided more training to teachers to help them be prepared for the teaching of reading. No matter what approach they used 1/3 of the class would do well, a middle group would eventually catch on and one group always seemed to lack the phonics background necessary to read no matter what approach was used. “Too many of our kids”, Harriet said, “lacked exposure to books, writing and reading and didn’t spend sufficient time reading”. Computers may or may not help introduce kids to the magic of books. She was a Building Delegate and represented the BTA for one year during her tenure. She remembered the strike vote taken at Colony Hill those many years ago. She retired in 1991 after 21 years of service to the district. There did come a time when she felt her energy level ebbing and in fairness to herself and her students decided it was time to leave. She had always given her best and chose not to do any less. Her last building
assignment was Northeast
Since retirement she has been traveling mostly to see family but also to visit countries like Turkey, and France, Spain in Europe – where she always felt safe and learned lots of history. Travel opened up a whole new world to her where she didn’t know what to expect, she had a wonderful guide and lots of fun. Since then she’s studied Bridge, learned to use a computer and volunteered to teach literacy as a volunteer for Suffolk County. One of her students has been a 42 year old young man whose goal is to get a commercial driving license.
She also served as ROBS Treasurer from 1991 – 1998 and enjoyed a special friendship with Dorothy Zuckerman and Ruth McCalla for as long as they both were active with the organization and afterward. She spoke highly of ROBS as a cohesive group filling a real need. In the community. “Retirement” she said, “is marvelous”.
When she was much younger Harriet remembers reading Nancy Drew, and the Bobbsy Twins. She confesses to still loving comedies At the time of the interview she was still enjoying mysteries like those of Patricia Cornwall.
She misses the children and their enthusiasm. She misses the teachers with whom she worked. She doesn’t miss all the preparation, the worries and the responsibilities. The classroom was her domain and she always did the best she could while accepting limitations over which she had no control. At the beginning of the year or after a vacation students would arrive unstructured and it took time and patience to get them back into the routine of the classroom. When looking into the future Harriet said she only expects the stress on teachers to increase. Acknowledging that teaching is an art she said all the stress on kids and teachers exacts a terrible toll. All undue pressure on teachers and on kids over recertification and meeting academic standards effects the optimum performance of them both.
When asked directly about new teachers she had met, Harried said simply, “They are marvelous”
You can also view any of these past interviews by visiting History Project Interview Archives :
Baker Bernhardt, Ruth
Baker Bazata, Eleanor
Laub, Dr. Herb
Sustrin, Letty and Sheila
Walker Lloyd, Shirley
The Town Crier" was set up a number of years ago so that the retirees of the Brentwood School District could have an email center to stay in touch. Since I began to send out all sorts of information, retirees from all over the country have sent me their email addresses. Some have asked, "Do you have any idea where so and so is?" Others have sent proud news of their accomplishments, their family news, photos,etc. and sadly, we often get bad news. Many retirees whom I have never met write me to thank me for keeping this connection going, as everyone remembers the Brentwood years with warm feelings.