Saturday, December 22, 2007

Teacher's Pet 2004

But back to the 1958 era. I've gathered together some PS 177 memories. Evidently some of us were teacher's pets and some weren't;
Perrins was the green toothed, alkie instructor of our third grade class. She performed the litmus test and then was stumped over how to interpret the paper turning green. She became confused and rageful. If memory serves correctly she hung Reginald Wiggins out the window by his heels until Ms. Lipman -Eleanor Lipman that is, the ass't principal - rushed into the room and saved him. It was about this time that Peter Levine revealed that 'antidiestablishmentarianism' was not only a part of his spelling vocabulary but that it had been filed in the word of moderate difficulty section of his brain.

Ok, I've always meant to add to this list: Skipped kindergarten, so no teacher for that year. (I got my library card at age 4 at Chathan Square because I could read and write,) First grade: Miss Bosser; Second grade: Mrs. Grant? Third grade: Mrs. Wachspress (aka Mrs. Wash and Press), who may have been the only teacher to experience a rat running through her classroom (or at least while I was in it.). Fourth grade: That's when they formed the special IGC (Intellectually Gifted Children, known to the other kids in the school as the Idiots Gifted to Chatter and the International Garbage Collectors. We were put in with the 5th grade new IGC with Mrs. Perens, a very old lady (at least to us 4th graders). 5th grade: Mrs. Perens, who became ill and I think later died. Our substitute became our permanent teacher. Remember her name: MISS VIGILANTE! She was young, and had a hell of a temper. When she didn't think we were learning the state capitols fast enough, she threw chalk and erasers at us. I guess it worked - - I still remember most of them pretty well. Amazing what you coukd get away with back then. Sixth at PS 177 was with Mrs. Meyer, I think, though I may have her and Mrs. Grant confused. I remember sixth grade quite well, because of the presence of Carlos Alejandro and Leo Martinez keeping it so lively.

And of course this was Esther Lapping. Was she an assistant principal? I remember as very old, very mean, and with kind of [avert your ears, squeamish ones] long dangly old-lady boobs. We used to joke that she had to carry them around in a shopping bag! (Not to her face, but we were still pretty mean...)
So, some questions for the gang: What ever happened to the beautiful stained glass in the auditorium when they demolished the school?
Does anybody know what happened to Sol Press and his daughter Lori Press? He was a remarkable man - he made our 6th grade class read the NY Times each day. No WONDER I was reading at 12th grade in 6th grade! He was also the camp director for Camp Madison-Felicia, one of my favorite leftist settlement house camps on earth (and Whoopi is an alum, too) which sadly, no longer exists. His daughter was a camper with us, and a nice human being. I felt sorry for her - - she got to go to school in Riverdale. Do you know my brother was once interested in dating a girl from Riverdale and her mother wouldn't let him because he was from the LES?

You had them right the first time, Mrs. Grant was 2nd grade and Meyers was 6th grade, missing from the list is our 4th grade teacher - Mrs. Hommell, reddish hair, fair skinned, she was the first of our I.G.C teachers ... Vigilante was feisty, I thought she hated me - always telling me I needed a haircut, but she gets credit for setting us up with penpals in Huntington and eventually organizing that trip to Long Island .. back then the LIE only went as far as exit 43 (Syosset), not far from where I live now ..sometimes when I pass a school in the Huntington area I wonder if it's the one we visited in Spring, 1962? of my favorite recollections of the auditorium was that great red stage curtain with the word A S B E S T O S embroidered across the top, guess if 177 ever burned down, that curtain would have been the only thing remaining ...Sol Press...I had two close encounters with him, the first (probably 5th or 6th grade) when he sent a monitor to bring me to his office..what did I do? there must be some mistake?? turns out I really was in a bit of trouble but at the expense of my freedom of speech..Press was bent out of shape when I arrived at his office over a composition I wrote about 177 in which I stated that it should be preserved as a historic seems he was active in a movement to have it torn down and replaced with a modern, safer structure which he described to me in no uncertain terms, I really struck a nerve with my preservation ideas and was out of my league in that debate ....the better encounter was in the 6th grade when I was called down along with seven girls and told we were accepted into the S.P. program, I was especially honored to be the only boy in the school to 'make' S.P. and smart enough that day to keep my mouth shut about preserving the old school as a landmark.


Norma Kramer said...

I was a student in the same class as the author of this article.I'm guessing it was written by Howie Silverstein. My name is Norma Kramer. These memories are very dear to my heart. I will definitely attend the reunion on April 6th with my crew; Tina Pappas, Elinor Birnbaum and hopefully, Eleanor Milgrim. Hope to see some other old friends like Bruce Bueller. I will search through my archives for pictures from my school days at P.S. 177. Signing off for now.

tilzdesign said...

very much enjoyed reading your memories at PS 177.....they were my memories probably were in my class.... girl friends and I were the ones to go to the Principals office with you!!!Hope you are attending the Reunion Luncheon!!

Anonymous said...

I remember the Glee Club as directed by Mrs. Lapping - boy was she mean but boy did we giggle. Her big song was "Yellow Bird, up high in banana tree..." What I also remember about her is that on the day Kennedy was assasinated, we were all huddled in our class rooms, knowing something was wrong and it was she that came in and told us what had happened. Then we were let out early.