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  IN THE NEWS                                                                          FEBRUARY 2013

No General Meeting

February 21
Executive Board Meeting
Meeting Dates

POSTED 2/2/13

The lollowing article appeared in the online edition of the Islip Buletin:

The beauty of life’s dramas
Story By:  LIZ FINNEGAN, Editor

31 January 2013
ISLIP—It’s not every day that an ordinary business becomes a part of something as renowned as the Academy Awards. But then there’s nothing ordinary about Racine’s Salon de Beauté and Spa, which is located at 341 Main Street in Islip, especially every third Monday of the month. That’s because since 2002, the salon has opened its doors on that day to women and even men undergoing cancer treatment to offer them any service on their menu free of charge. And as a result, it has brought comfort and companionship to hundreds of people who face a dreaded diagnosis, and the resulting unforeseen drama that takes over their lives.
Read more>>>>>>

View Monday at Racine Movie Trailer

POSTED 2/13/13

The lollowing letter was published in Newsday.com, Feb 12, 2013

"Letter: Liberal Arts Important to Career"
By Judi Weissman

     Kudos to Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz for addressing an educational trend that bodes poorly for America's future ["A liberal arts education is still relevant," Opinion, Feb. 10]. At a time when young people don't capitalize the pronoun "I" and are perfectly content to substitute "l8r" for later, the thought of diminishing the importance of liberal arts should scare all of us.
     As Rabinowitz reminds us, it is surely imprudent to push students "to pick a major based solely on perceived or projected career potential." I remember many years of telling my seniors to find something they love and then aim to do it for a living. Is this always possible? No, I understand that it is not. However, I strongly believe that when it comes to career advice, we should still do everything possible to avoid trying to put a square peg into a round hole. If that occurs, everyone loses.
     Thoreau famously reminded us that "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." Educators, parents, career counselors -- all of us -- should help young people identify and then pursue their personal passion rather than suggest they sacrifice their dreams for a career they never truly wanted. Buildings are strongest when their foundations are solid and well built. We should look at liberal arts the same way; it's the strong base that will uphold all future education. View Article Online 

Published in NYTimes.com
February 19, 2013
     A question came to mind as school bus drivers prepared to start their engines on Wednesday on 7,700 public-school routes in New York City and end their monthlong strike: Why are most school buses yellow?
     Why not some other color? Why not burnt sienna, like a crayon? Why not light-medium robin’s egg blue, like a jewelry box? Why not magma orange, like a Lamborghini?
     The answer is Frank W. Cyr, a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, who became known as the “father of the yellow school bus” for research he led in the 1930s.
     Dr. Cyr, who died at 95 in 1995, had traveled the country, surveying pupil transportation in an era when school buses cost $2,000 apiece but differed widely from manufacturer to manufacturer and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some states had safety standards; some left the task to local school districts. “In many cases, standards have been set up by more or less hit-and-miss methods,” according to an account that Dr. Cyr oversaw. Read More
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February 25, 2013
"Reclaim the Dream"
Special Retiree Regional Meeting

Support VOTE-COPE with your voluntary contribution. Download the VOTE-COPE Contribution Card here.

by Tom 0'Connor 2/04 

     Some of us, (all retired high school teachers who meet for breakfast each month) were talking on February 5th about a local news story involving a school district that was hiring a company to bring in drug sniffing dogs which, if I heard right, were to be used in school buildings to root out drug users.
     This news, of course, is important for several reasons, not the least of which is from the civil liberties perspective, which raises the question of how far school districts and their employees should involve themselves in crime detecting activities, a role for other government agencies. Also, this was not the first time I had heard about a school district being tapped for help in making the work of other governmental agencies successful. Back in the past — perhaps in the 1970's or 1980's — the administration of the high school where we taught decided we would participate in an effort to sign up 18-year-old male students for the selective service draft. I believe we had someone in the school administration who was serving as an officer in the reserves at the time and that perhaps he had a role in this effort. Anyway, the administration asked us (each teacher with a senior homeroom) to sign up eligible male students for the draft. We refused. The administration did nothing. Incident over. Another poker hand played out.
To return to the subject of dogs in schools, Brentwood Public Schools contracted with a company which was to supply highly trained dogs to patrol the school district's many buildings, ensuring their security and safety against all intruders. I recall an assembly we were all required to attend in the gym of the Sonderling High School Building. This was a demonstration of these specially trained and vicious animals. First, a handler came out onto the gym floor with a big dog on a chain. Then, the handler put a thickly padded sleeve onto his arm, released the dog, and then went through a series of moves, perhaps to demonstrate the dog's prowess and frightening nature. All this was quite convincing to any sane person (who probably would never think of trying to break into a high school in the first place). How this dog demonstration was taken by a few in the audience who might have considered it a challenge, we can only imagine.
     The upshot of the guard dog experiment, according to rumor, was that a short time after the company was contracted to provide the animals, a check was done of all the school buildings in the district. Only a few of the buildings were being guarded by ferocious animals like those used in the demonstration we saw in the gym. The other 20+ buildings?
They were inhabited nightly by big, friendly mutts, the kind that go up to a stranger and lick his hand. According to the rumor, this marked the abrupt end to the guard dog experiment. It was said that the custodians' union threatened to strike because of the nightly messes its members had to clean up throughout the district's buildings. There were other, more far-fetched rumors including one that had teenagers showing up at night outside the high school with air rifles, positioning themselves outside either end of the longest building, and alternately peppering the windows with shots, in an effort to cause the dogs to race back and forth from one end of the building to the other to investigate, causing them to become exhausted.
     Who can tell how this most recent "drug-sniffing dogs in our schools" experiment will result? We do know, though, how the watchdog solution ended many years ago in Brentwood. Not well. Perhaps we expect too much from man's best friend and too little from man, himself.

                             * * *

This article is from the Writers' Group collection.


No General Membership Meetings in Jan or Feb

February 5, 2013
Executive Board Meeting

March 21, 2013
Lower East Side Experience

For information visit
RC 21 Website: http://ny.aft.org/rc21

Sheila & Letty Sustrin
Children's Books Authors

John M. Sherin
Local /Regional
(Jigsaw Maps)600
Geography Manipulatives


Complete Team Building Kits
Teaching Cooperation/ Collaboration
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)


Alida Thorpe
Island Vision Photography, Inc.

Rick Mundy
Watercolor Prints of L.I., Adirondacks, NYC...

Gloria Hannemann
Hardwood Flooring and
Home Improvement


Elmon Kazandjian
NYC Art Gallery

Rose Marie Brousseau
Brentwood Rotary Club

Ronda Brooks
Children's Social Skills Groups
Rich Graziano
Mr. Graziano's Science Class
Academic Enrichment and Remedial Websit

Why did we do it?
     What was our purpose in taking on such an open ended “History Project”; the one for which we’ve evolved a script of questions with corresponding answers from over one hundred and fifty dedicated volunteers for nearly two decades?
      We couldn’t answer the question in ‘94 when people would ask “What are you going to do with the interviews?” All we could say was that for educational and informational purposes we had better document our record or lose any chance to preserve innumerable poignant accounts, humorous stories and touching tales told to us by exemplary educators and dedicated public servants, who shortly and for reasons unknown might soon be leaving our Brentwood for good.
     We decided to let time sort out the details as we commenced making appointments to ask questions and simply listen. Listen we did as this project evolved saving for subsequent generations the very essence of what it means to have been an educator or employed in a large student centered public school system during the latter half of the twentieth century. Brentwood remains an exemplar to all the others; a diverse microcosm and accurate reflection of the approximately one hundred and twenty seven neighboring school districts on Long Island and the thousands across this country. We’ve accomplished something here, something we can all be proud of having been part of, whether we were interviewed or not, ours is a claim of service that few other professionals in the State of New York are positioned to share in a like manner.
     INITIALLY the practice of sitting for an hour with the Subject of our interview and giving them one hundred percent of our focused attention for that period of time seemed a little threatening to many of our friends and former colleagues. So much so in fact that many declined repeated invitations to be interviewed as they left careers behind or retired from full time employ with the District. Despite all assurances that this was not to be about investigative journalism or invading their privacy, they’ve deferred. Until now, almost seventeen years after we began, some say they may finally be ready. We say, “Better late than never”. However, to all those among you who were willing to share openly not only your classroom experiences but personal stories, precious memories from your lives and fondest hopes for the future, we say thanks for allowing us to be able to continue the process of giving as we now are able to share interviews with you, with the community and with countless regional professional educators and researchers through tentative acceptance of ROBS offer of collaboration with The Long Island Studies Institute at Hofstra University.
      You can now enjoy unlimited visits to www.robsny.org/ where you’ll see and hear segments from the History Project Interviews featured here in the ROBS History Project section on the Announcements Page archived each month thereafter for those wishing to return again and again.


Shirley Hodges

English Teacher
     I’m here with John Sherin and we’re going to be talking about some of my experiences as a teacher in Brentwood High School. I retired in 1980. My Middle name is Marie, though I seldom use it and haven’t for a long time. My maiden name was Krall a fairly uncommon name I sometimes use in conjunction with my married name. My parents traced through about seven generations of family migrations coming out of either southern Germany or northern Austria around the Lake Constance area into Pennsylvania and then Ohio and then Kentucky and then Missouri and Oklahoma and Colorado and then Wyoming where I was born and Louisiana where my children were born. I have personally lived in ten states. The others were part and parcel of our western migration as an American family of immigrants as the country moved west. I never had a nick name perhaps because I didn’t have that kind of a sense of humor. Our family research occurred prior to the advent of the personal computer.
     I was born in Laramie, Wyoming. My parents moved almost immediately to Colorado, east of Pueblo and my father was a farmer there for several years and then came the depression and that was not good because we could look out and see the sand storms on the plains during the depression and my mother hardly had a day that she didn’t have someone coming to the door asking for food and most of them willing to work at something. And then finally (this was Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath time), and some of those scenes were not exaggerated, they were very real. I remember one trip we made. We went up to Colorado Springs and that area up in there, and I was looking down in the canyon and there was a railroad freight train going through full of corn, yellow corn and the various hobo’s were sitting in the yellow corn. It was one of those images that just stayed with you.
     It was in the thirties and Roosevelt had just been sworn in and was doing his best to get things back on track after 1932. Peter Jennings had a special on the 1930’s air on national television just this past week.
   Our own family didn’t suffer too much. I was an only child to begin with and my father was a very successful farmer. He didn’t own the property. So as it happened my two grandfathers died within a week of each other, one in Oklahoma and one in Missouri and my mother’s Missouri family knew that my father was the only one that could come to Missouri and do something which was raise black Angus cows, something he already wanted to do. That’s why we left in 1934 and went to Missouri.
   As a Midwestern girl I had an interesting high school because there were two neighboring counties where we lived at that time. The farm was in one county and there were two options for schools. One was in that county and another in the adjoining county. The problem was that the one in the adjoining county was by far the better school system but there were no busses to transport students. The fields and the weather were not conducive to a fourteen year old driving back and forth so I got to room and board close to my school for four years of high school. They would bring me in on Sunday night or Monday morning and come and get me on Friday. I had two or three homes that I lived in because this was not a common thing. The next to the last one was in the home of the Principal of the High School. There were about thirty students in the graduating class. I did have benefit of being able to participate in all the organizations and at graduation being fourth or fifth in my class, I got to make a speech and this was important.
      My landlord and landlady for that year were insistent that my folks send me to college and I have them to thank for the opportunity of going to South West Missouri State College in Springfield. I graduated in 1938 from high school.
      I have lived here on Long Island (my tenth state of residency) for many years. My husband was a pilot in World War Two, he was a Ferry Command Pilot in England for two and a half years but we didn’t meet until after the war was over. He was my flight instructor. For a little while there I got to fly. I had been working as a Secretary in the Airport at Springfield Missouri and that was how I got to meet him when he was looking for a job. He got the job and I got him.
     Will Hodges was his name. He had tried after the war to get funding support from the government to open a flight school under the G.I. Bill but was turned down when Harry Truman refused his idea based upon his own belief that veterans ought to be using that benefit for cars and houses and things and not for learning to fly.
After that we moved to Louisiana and Will went to work for Standard of California for seven years during which time we were very productive – we had three sons. The oldest is Wayne, the middle son is Lance and Wilton is the youngest. They are all living, all have families. Wayne graduated from Connetquot High School, He went to his guidance counselor and told him he wasn’t a very good student but he was an excellent swimmer and loved to surf. His first letter home from college said “Is this heaven or what?” because he was in Honolulu Hawaii and loved to surf and that’s where he stayed ever since. He did graduate from HU, and he also had the good fortune, or bad, to meet a gentleman who took him fishing in their boat which capsized in the pass outside Honolulu, and they were in the water for fourteen hours, were not saved by the Coast Guard because it was during the afternoon and night and the most dangerous time of it was when they got very close and they could always see the lights from Honolulu the fire flies appeared and that was when it was particularly dangerous because where there were fire flies there were fish hunting them and the sharks were hunting the fish. It looked as if they might not survive their fourteen hours in the water if the sharks found them first. But they did not.      
     Wayne is married and has four beautiful children, four grandchildren. None of them are married now. There are two sets, twenty four, twenty one, twelve and eleven. At the present time he is employed by the State of Hawaii as an inspector of construction that belongs to the state. The middle one was Lance and Lance quit during his senior year in January because I was going on sabbatical leave and he was going to Europe and we went together and never saw each other again until we saw each other on the plane when it was time to come home.

We didn’t know we were coming on the same plane. He had applied for two or three different schools, and when he got back from Europe, we had been gone for about six weeks, he was accepted at Syracuse. He has what I think was the first diploma that shows he graduated from the Newhouse School of Communication. He wanted to go into the field of communication and for a year and a half he camped on ABC’s doorstep, ultimately he was with Good Morning America, he went to Yugoslavia and covered the Olympics over there not as a news person but in his capacity which was as a money management person.    
      He was with All My Children for a long time. Then Disney came in not too long ago and did a lot of cutting back and then he went with Worldcom until CBS bought Worldcom about three weeks ago so now he’s looking for another position. He’s been very successful and is respected in his industry for his talents. He lives in Babylon and is married with three beautiful children who I get to see often and it’s wonderful.
     The youngest one I told you about is Wilton (Fuzz to mom) and is married to a New Zealand doll and they have no children and the best of their story is when they married they went back to Fort Collins where he was supposed to do four years but he didn’t graduate because they didn’t like some of his grades and things. He went into the Navy for six years and then when he came out and they were married the two of them went back to Ft. Collins and he worked outside for three years so she could get another degree and she went for three years so that he could get another degree which was official this time. They both are commuters to Denver and highly successful in their fields. He is an electrical engineer and he has a friendly appointment as a state representative of the electrical engineers society – he’s going to be upset since I don’t have that exactly right. She was wined and dined by Price Waterhouse, worked for them for a long time and then went with one of their competitors.
     A Brentwood story: Do you remember Jim Pepperling? One day I had come in frustrated by whatever problem I was having at home because my father lived with us for a while back then. Jim had stopped, looked at me and said, “Shirley, why do you want to teach?”, and I said, “well I’m determined that my three sons will have a college education and when they graduate they can start their married lives without owing anybody a cent”, and they did. I think it’s a great story for us here because of always feeling the importance of a good education. “One cannot possibly imagine how you are going to use your education. It’s so important.”
     Were there any family traits that you’ve seen coming to the fore as your family grew? “I can more easily think of talents we didn’t have at all. Music is one. None of us are musically talented at all. Wayne and I both liked art”. I went back to Hofstra after I started teaching here and worked on a Masters and got about forty-five credits toward it. The Chairman of the Department at that time insisted that I write my paper for English and I wanted to write it in The Humanities so it never got written and I got the same raise in salary whether I wrote that paper or not.
     My mother was French and Irish but she had that kind of dignity that goes with French designers, and ladies who were always meticulous in the way they dressed and presented themselves in the morning with fashion and makeup even when we lived on the farm. She was an excellent seamstress, kept me in nice looking clothes all the time even during that depression. She was also the one who insisted and helped and coached me in the way of public speaking because we would go into Pueblo Colorado every Saturday and my father would go to the baseball games which to this day I still follow and she and I would go to the movies. She wanted me to be able to speak in public so by the time I was in high school I was on the debating team and had become confident as a public speaker just as all kids from the mid west were expected to achieve competence.
     My father was the seventh of nine sons out of eleven children and two daughters. My grandfather had been highly inventive. He lived near Mangla Dam on the Missouri River. He owned a grist mill where people brought their grain to be ground. He also ran the post office and owned the grocery store and my grandmother with eleven children was quite busy. I eventually found out she finally did get help with the children. I think by the time my father came along, he and several of his brothers left home to work with the Union Pacific Railroad in Colorado. Ultimately he went out at sixteen to try to get a job and one of his two brothers who were already there said, “Oh No, Never happen. Go home and come back in two years”. My grandfather was not well and he was told that he should get away from the Mill. So they moved to Oklahoma. Most of the kids were already grown and had moved on by then. By the time of World War One there were a total of three brothers working for the railroad. I think he worked for the DNRG first and then for the Santa Fe until I was born.
     I had graduated from college in Springfield Missouri, and I was going to teach. I had a marvelous teacher in training who taught me to make a lesson plan that stood up to Fred Weaver, Harvey Brickman and Ross Herzog who said “she’s the only one who knows how to make a lesson plan.” I was told “You’ll make a great teacher” No, I said. I don’t want to teach. I’d had enough of kids and wanted to do something to help with the war effort. I went to Kansas. As it happened in the little town out there was an agricultural station and they needed a secretary. I spent a year and a half in western Kansas in the real west with tornadoes and the Union Pacific railroad, cows and horses. There were some Austrian POW’s that had been placed there who insisted that we know they were Austrian. They had a radio on and that’s how I learned when Roosevelt died. I took a beating that day having come from Missouri regarding what Harry Truman was going to be like as President. He was not a popular choice.
     I remember Pearl Harbor and the beginning of the war. It occurred prior to my going to Kansas where I had been for a year and a half. I had a friend who was in the news for a local radio station in Springfield while I was working for Russell Stover. I got to know Mrs. Stover personally. I was working and my friend was working and it was on a Sunday in the newsroom KWTO and it being Sunday his boss wasn’t there and he was just doing his thing as he picked up the story on the wire. Anyway, he called his boss and then he called me. It was a shock. You just couldn’t believe it.
     I recently made a list of the people who I thought had profoundly influenced me. I got up to twenty-two men over the years who I felt had been major influencers in my life one way or the other. Then I started searching for the names of women, given that we are living during a time when men and women are seen as being on equal footing in so many areas. Working from present day backward I would have to say Beryl Knott was at the top of that list, Fran Cairns was the Department Head and did a wonderful job. Beryl was one of the most lovely people who ever was.
     Fred Weaver was Principal. Fred and Fran Cairns hired me and Fred tried to get me to go to one of the Junior high schools to teach Spanish when he found out I had been substituting in Spanish when I was in Georgia. I was hired in the spring of the year and I started in September. Fred had his big faculty meeting and he said, “Not one of you has more than 150 students”. Well I had 150 students and it was my first real day of teaching. I had two twelfth grade classes, one eleventh grade and two tenth grade classes.      The tenth grade students were darling kids but they weren’t quite grown up. One day they would be deadly serious and the next day they would be silly as could be. It was very difficult trying to make lesson plans and have them work. It just didn’t happen. And Fred on the other hand was not quite certain about me. My very first visitation came with Fred and Harvey Brickman because I was forty two and they wanted to see how I was doing. They saw me that day and then another day, and another day and Fred would be there by himself and Fran would come in and finally one of the visitations (Fred would take a yellow legal pad and write all the way down on one side, then turn it over and write all the way down on the back. Fran put a little P.S. on the bottom before she signed off on it and said “her accent does not seem to be causing a problem” because I had lived in the deep, deep south for twelve years prior. So from then on they were pretty easy on me. It didn’t seem to be too bad. But just before I retired I was on cafeteria duty with a mass of humanity pressing against the door behind me to get out and this young lovely male voice said, “What part of The South did you live in?” I’d been teaching here for eighteen years and they were still worried about my accent.
      Beryl Nott was the Assistant Principal in the Ross Building and was dearly loved by the faculty and she and Fran Cairns were very good friends and had been for a very long time. How I came to get the job started when my husband decided we were leaving Louisiana. He had taught flying to the military in North Carolina and Georgia as part of a government program because the academy in Colorado Springs was not yet fully active. Eventually that particular government program closed out and we knew it was going to and he wanted to go with the FAA. He had applied for it and it took some time for them to get the right people in the right places with the FAA. So he was hired up here at Lindenhurst and the old FAA office was there where he had a very successful career eventually becoming Head of General Aviation for the North East Section from Boston to West Virginia. When we first came here with three little kiddies and no money because we’d been out of a job for six months waiting for the FAA to hire him, I found a nice little job going to work for Suffolk County Savings and Loan in Babylon and we arranged having the kids taken care of until I got home late in the afternoon. One day a fellow came to work who had been a bank examiner and he and I had the same lunch hour and he said, “What are you doing here working for this bank when you could teach?” I think I was getting twenty-five dollars a week or something. It was terrible. He said if you can teach why are you here?  

      I said I had a life certificate to teach in Missouri but I didn’t know what that would mean here. He said he had an aunt (almost an aunt) over in Brentwood, Therefore, Beryl Knott became the reason I was invited to sit for an interview with Fred Weaver and Beryl Knott for a position with the District.
     The first year I taught I had my husband drop me off in the morning and I got a ride home in the afternoon with another teacher. The next year I bought a car. Elmon Kazandjian didn’t know how to drive so I picked up Elmon and drove her home. Of course I still smoked in those days and she hated it with a passion and her husband smoked as well. She only taught for two years and she was out to here pregnant and Fred would say, “No. You can’t quit now. It’s only five more weeks till schools out. He managed to keep her the whole year. She was a marvelous teacher.
      One of the homes I had lived in while I was attending high school was that of the local pharmacist. They had two sons and as far as they were concerned kids had to go to college when they finished high school. Being one of the favorite young ladies in the senior class, they told my folks I really had to go to college. My parents thought I was going to teach in the local country school which was only a few yards from my back door there, the state changed the rules that year so that there was then a requirement in order to teach in the country school which was K through eight, you had either to have two years experience teaching or two years of college. I had neither so I wasn’t going to be able to teach there like my folks had hoped to have another income so my friendly landlord and landlady said, no way. The helped me get two or three jobs in Springfield. At one time I was a Nanny, and did two or three hours in the public library, I remember my first job working at the local drug store for twenty-five cents. I was there for two hours on Saturday afternoon. My first year in Brentwood I earned about seven thousand dollars.
     Beryl Knott was such a strong influence in the high school’s early years because she had an amazing ability to communicate with the Spanish members of the community here. There was one young man in particular, I don’t recall his name, but he had been a leader of that group and she got him on her side and from then on there were no problems. She didn’t have problems. Mr. Weaver, who is still with us and actively teaching today was a very strong Principal. Hired for that reason, he was fearless. If someone was sent to his office they did not want to go. Now he didn’t beat them but he would just push them against the wall and they stayed there until they were petrified. If I could I would like to defend Brentwood High School because I have always felt and have never changed my mind since one of the important newspapers on Long Island gave Brentwood a bum rap on two or three occasions; a really bad rap. We made the front page with the heavy black headline and on one occasion it was rather frightening really that the word was in the newspaper that the conflict was between elements in the community and that it was racial. Well it was. There was a bloody fight. The police came in and all the rest of it. But the next day when we talked about it, Everett Reece the guidance counselor was wonderful. He had gotten to the black leaders in the community and had spoken to them saying I don’t want to see a group of you come in to talk with me. I want to see you one at a time. That’s it. And they listened to him and stayed out of the way and when this crowd of white kids came in to settle this thing once and for all, there was no one to fight. Fortunately the local police and administrators were in on seeing that nothing occurred and they hauled quite a few off that day. The next day in class Mrs. Hodges learned that was not the way it was. The way it was, was that these two brothers had sold some drugs to one of the black fellows and he hadn’t paid and they tried to settle it with knives in the lobby of the Sonderling Building. And that wasn’t the only time that the newspapers gave us a bad rap. I can’t tell you the number of times a person would say, “Oh, you teach in Brentwood?” It’s a good place to teach.
     Yes, I worked with some wonderful people and I think my perspective was compounded when I began working with the union and Jack Zuckerman. At one point I was Chief Delegate for both buildings for two years. Herb Laub, who I worked with could raise some interesting questions that were not necessarily easy to solve and he did this often times right before I was going out of the building to go home. In the teacher’s lounge he was forever on my case about smoking. I really needed to quit smoking. It wasn’t healthy for me. In 1981 I had survived being a chief delegate and all of that for all those years I had retired then and there was a commercial on television about smoking where the man blows smoke through a handkerchief, do you remember that? I sat on my sofa and watched that and said that’s what’s happening to your lungs and I quit smoking just like that. I never smoked again; cold turkey.
     A few months later, I was at an antique show and I looked up and here’s Herb Laub on the other side of the table. And I said, “Herb, I did it. I quit smoking.” I had never seen anyone with long legs like his jump right over the table. It was payback for being a chief delegate I think. There were a lot of times when we took some knocks for taking our conventions to Canada. I think it was twice. A lot of people said, “You’re New Yorkers. What are you doing having your convention in Canada.” Well the Concord was booked that week and we did have some meetings at the Concord.
     The Planning Committee Meetings that we had eliciting the most laughter was the series we had here about plans for construction of the Sonderling Building. We met in the main office of the BTA on Motor Parkway and everyone was there. Then with each subsequent meeting we had fewer and fewer people in attendance because we had begun to realize that no one on the other side was listening to anything the teachers were saying. One example was that they were planning to put the Home Economics suite on the second floor. It was not until they realized that the only way the teachers could carry the supplies they would need to work with students like groceries etc. was to carry them in from the back and bring everything up the stairs to the second floor. We finally got them to listen that that was not a good idea. You had to have the Home Ec. suite on the main floor which of course we got and that was good. And then there were some other things that were never quite resolved. We also had met with the student council president He was a bright boy and a strong leader for them. His position was that twelfth grade social studies classes were no longer necessary. It came down to a meeting at central with the whole board and Jack Zuckerman was there fighting for the need for continuing Social Studies in the twelfth grade. This young gentleman got up and he absolutely wiped us out. From that point on we had only twelfth grade electives. Mary Ruffino was also one of those people who deserved honorable mention for her contribution to the district during those times of growth of the union and the district.
     What I have been involved with for something like ten years now is Dowling College. We had lived in Oakdale for some time. I got to meeting people in Dowling and I liked them. I joined forces with a volunteer group once I retired from Brentwood, help connect with people who had things to give away that we could sell and while donating the proceeds to our jumble sale at the Carriage House on campus.
     At the time I retired I had eighteen years in. My husband had already turned down two opportunities to retire. We decided to retire together. Shirley lost her husband in 1996. They had been married for just short of fifty years They traveled a lot, even traded homes for one year with a couple from England. They had a wonderful time. Shirley spoke of her love of reading and listed several of her favorite books about the Southwest including “The First American.”      When asked to name the one thing that most frightens her she said, “Nothing”. What important advice would she offer to first year teachers she said, “Listen”. What gave her the most pleasure? ….. without hesitation she added “Being challenged.” As we left her interview she indicated that when she had been diagnosed with single cell cancer in 1997 she had been successful in efforts to achieve full recovery.

You can also view any of these past interviews by visiting History Project Interview Archives :

Barbara Mascaro
Beverly Carpenter
Edward Hannan
Eleanor Baker Bazata
Evelyn Sekac
Florence Koehler
Franklin Spencer
Ivy Rosenthal
Jack Zuckerman
Joan Lange
Joseph Purcell
Karen Scharf
Ken Moss
Lorraine Sopp
Lynn Desoto
Marcy Fiore
Mike Fasullo
Patricia Stuhler
Pattie Monsen
Rich Curio
Richard Mundy
Ron Pace
Ruth Baker Bernhardt
Shirley Walker Lloyd
Wally Balinski


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THE TOWN CRIER -  MarilynDePlaza@aol.com

Marilyn De Plaza
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.

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