Reading posts on the Lincolnwood Time Machine Facebook page and unearthing Lincoln Hall yearbooks I thought were long gone inspired this blog. Many of you already read my blogs on Lincolnwood, although the first one has more views than part 2. I would like this one to serve as a forum for people who went to Todd, Rutledge, and/or Lincoln Hall to share their own memories of Lincolnwood Schools. In retrospect, my personal experiences and education at Lincolnwood Schools was more positive overall than Niles West. I couldn’t wait to graduate from high school early in January 1976, although I did attend the June 6, 1976 graduation ceremonies with my classmates. At Lincoln Hall, I had a few phenomenal teachers I count among the best ever, even including the professors I had at the Rhode Island School of Design. At the end of this blog, I included a tribute to some Lincolnwood classmates (Lincoln Hall class of 1972 only) we lost too soon.
Random Memories from Todd Hall to Lincoln Hall
I remember sitting on top of the slide in Miss Musgrove’s kindergarten class when they announced that JFK had died, but at age 5, didn’t understand the enormity of this tragedy. I clearly remember when Bobby Kennedy was fatally shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles because my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Schatzman canceled the regular lesson and turned the television on in her Rutledge Hall classroom that morning and periodically throughout the afternoon. I can picture myself sitting on the floor with my classmates watching the broadcast and remember the touch-and-go gravity of the situation. By age 10, I was better able to comprehend the enormity of this Kennedy tragedy and recall crying.
- Steve Morton injured himself goofing around outside Todd Hall on what I guess was a bike rack outside the entrance and needed stitches in his head.
- In first grade, I was waiting outside for the morning bell and twisting a loose tooth. It fell out and I had blood and spit in my hands, but they refused to let me inside because the bell hadn’t rung yet.
- At the beginning of the second grade school year, a few bratty boys made fun of me and called me Hurricane Betsy after the intense and destructive named hurricane that brought widespread damage to areas of Florida and the central U.S. Gulf Coast in September 1965.
My fifth grade teacher Miss Patterson wasn’t popular, but she was perceptive. She must have had an inkling I liked Rob Foytek because she told me to write cursive like him and my handwriting miraculously improved from that day forward! Some kid in our class pulled a prank and put a pincushion down on her chair.
- I loved the way the cafeteria ladies sloshed chicken noodle soup on PBJ sandwiches and made the bread soggy.
- In fifth grade, a few of us girls were spying on the boy’s bathroom during recess from the playground (you could see in from a certain spot) and some random fourth grader gave us the finger when he caught us.
Fads: Hot cinnamon sticks, Giant Sweet Tarts, Klik Klaks, Footsie toys, Op-Yops, brightly-colored plastic jump ropes, saving gum eraser shavings.
The Pink Dress: I don’t remember the racy side of this book – must explain why there was a long waiting list at the school library.
Island of the Blue Dolphins: Based on the true story of Juana Maria, a Nicoleño Native American who lived during the 19th century, this beloved book won the Newberry Medal in 1961 and was adapted into a 1964 movie. Written by Scott O’Dell, it tells the story of a 12-year-old girl named Karana stranded alone for years on an island off the California coast.
Yours Till Niagara Falls: This Scholastic offering was originally published in 1959 and was chock full of clever and silly verses and puns meant to use in autograph books.
Remember the bathroom incident I shared at Rutledge Hall? Well, apparently the Lincoln Hall Yearbook editors couldn’t get enough of potty humor, as evidenced by multiple pics of boys sneaking into the girls bathroom. If they had actually done so, they may have been horrified, since I recall walking into stalls many times when a girl had her period and didn’t flush – gross, right? I recognize one of the Kerbel boys and are the left and right photos of the same boy – perhaps my neighbor Chris Sanders?
The fossil hunt in Miss Bornarth’s class was probably my favorite field trip of all time. My sixth grade science fair project was on fossils because I was really into earth sciences back then. In fact, the fossil hunt inspired this poem I wrote a few years ago.
The Fossil Hunter
A trek to an abandoned stone quarry
Sixth grade biology field trip, blazing sun,
Pick and goggles, melting Snickers
Sweet tooth always trumps science.
Thoughts wander to the Badlands
Playing Cowboys and Indians
Kindergarten cap gun long lost,
Tooled leather holster traded for a dream.
Tap, tap, tap goes the pick,
I love fossil hunting,
Unearthing treasures of eons past.
With every discovery of
Ancient ferns and trilobites,
Mind wanders to the primeval.
- The tricycle race when David Eisenberg and I placed in the top three on the last day of seventh grade. I mentioned him in my recent Lincoln Village blog.
- Lisa Sostrin made a prank call to my house in seventh grade, pretending to be a boy I liked. She had such a distinctive voice, I immediately knew it was her, busted her, and started laughing.
- Student teaching with my friend Stefanie Newman for Marcia Talcott or Talbot (sp?), a sweet and cool art teacher at Todd Hall who lived at Sandburg Village in Old Town. I recall feeling like quite a big shot when I taught in my kid sister’s Todd Hall class.
I went “steady” with Jim Berggreen in eighth grade. He gave me an ID bracelet that he hand scratched his name into. It somehow got lost in my house or thrown out by a sibling or my mom. He never called me at home nor held my hand, but he did defend me gallantly when Todd Chapman threw a softball at me unprovoked, while we were standing against the fence during recess. I dated Jim for a few months during our junior year in high school, but we had absolutely no common interests.
Most Unique Yearbook Message Award Goes to Bonnie Goldberg Bazley
Hall of Fame Science and Math Teachers
As already mentioned, I greatly enjoyed Mrs. Bornarth’s sixth grade biology class. But my two favorite teachers were Mr. Polster (math and science) and Mrs. Schaefer (science), both of whom made these subjects a true joy. I was lucky enough to be taught by them in both seventh and eighth grade. I loved when Mr. Polster froze all sorts of fruits in dry ice and threw them carefully across the room as we watched in amazement as they shattered. And Mrs. Schaefer taught sex education in such a cool, hip way that was the polar opposite of that freaky teacher Ms. Wise at Niles West who sat on her desk with her legs spread.
My one regret is that Mr. Polster recommended me for IA2A algebra at Niles West and I found out the hard way a great teacher makes all the difference. I really struggled in this freshman year algebra class with Mr. Petit, and it seriously brought down my grade point average.
Here’s to You Mrs. Robinson
With her silver Corvette Stingray, false eyelashes, and mod outfits, this sixth grade teacher gets my award for the grooviest teacher ever. She was also very nice and made learning fun.
In sixth grade, I had Mrs. Shullenberger who was one of the sweetest, genuinely down-to-earth teachers. She appreciated my artistic talents more than my athletic abilities after I designed artwork for a dance concert she directed.
The most infamous gym teacher was Mrs. Carr – don’t let that sweet, innocent face fool you. She threatened to rub gum in the hair of any girl she caught chewing gum in her class. And she followed up on this on at least one occasion I know about. The poor girl had to get most of her hair cut off. Let’s see a teacher try to get away with that today!
- I remember when we competed for the Presidential Physical Fitness award and I performed well in everything but the 660-yard run. I barely managed to squeak by in enough time to get the award and I felt like throwing up afterward.
- Who remembers climbing those awful thick ropes and getting burns attempting to reach the top. My friend Stefanie managed to do so, but I only made it about three-quarters of the way up.
The Most Innovative Teacher Award
Jim Grigsby was an arts educator and choreographer as well as a celebrated performance artist. He studied music at the Juilliard School, dance at the Martha Graham Studio, and design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art, N.A.M.E. Gallery, Columbia College, P.S. 122 in NYC, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. I ran into him at the Art Institute of Chicago when I took classes there in the Young Artists’ Studio program the summer after eighth grade. When my mom was on the board of the Friends of the Lincolnwood Library, she booked Mr. Grigsby to perform for an artists’ lecture series back in the late 1980s.
Hall of Shame Teachers
Miss Katzourakis was the worst art and music teacher I ever had and a harsh disciplinarian. I’ll never forget when she spelled out her name phonetically: Cat + Zoo + Rake+ Kiss. Her class was the first time I didn’t get an A in art and I also got in trouble due to the antics of Robert Shaw who sat next to me. He was making me laugh which she didn’t allow and after one warning, banished me out to the hall. Mr. Rossi was teaching math class right across the hall and even though I was just standing there quietly, he hauled me into his class and made me say what I did wrong in front of eighth graders. I was so mortified and also thankful I didn’t have him as a math teacher later. Forgive me if you adored one or both of these teachers.
Hall of Fame Student
It’s not surprising that Ira Levin is internationally known for his versatility and virtuoso musical talents. As a young boy, teachers scolded him for scoring music instead of paying attention to the classroom curriculum. Anybody who grew up with him likely recalls his extraordinary talents as a gifted pianist!
Ira is currently the music director of the Theatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro. He was the artistic and music director of the Theatro Municipal of Sao Paulo as well as the principal guest conductor of the Theatro Colon in Buenos Aires, making him the only foreign conductor to have held leading positions in all of the largest and most important opera houses of Brazil and Argentina.
In Memoriam ~ Lincoln Hall Class of 1972
I’m sure additional individuals have passed away, including those that went on to private high schools after Lincoln Hall. Please feel free to add names in your comments and if they were in any of my Lincoln Hall yearbooks, I’ll photograph and add their pics.
Top row, left to right
Ivy Chaplik 1958 – December 20, 1974 ~ Ivy tragically died with her father in a plane crash on winter break on route to their Florida vacation home. Her mother was already waiting for them with their cousin Larry who was visiting. Her sister Elynne was planning to join them the following day on a commercial flight. Elynne has written many poignant pieces about this tragedy, including the book My Gift of Now. Ivy was in my Niles West chemistry class at the time of her death and I’ll never forget when they announced her death and everyone started crying. After the plane crash that took her life, Ivy’s mother and sisters created the Ivy Lynn Chaplik Humanitarian Award at Niles West. Lincolnwood resident Rob Kadota, who lived a block away from me, was recipient of this award in 1977.
Vicky Lehner Pollans August 21, 1958 – August 8, 1994 ~ Thanks to Lincolnwood historian and good friend of Vicky’s mom, Barbara M. Smith, I confirmed that she passed away from a brain aneurysm at age 35. This was less than three months after she graduated from DePaul University and two weeks before her 36th birthday. Her mother passed away in 2007 and her father in 2018, which is how I discovered her married name. I was good friends with Vicky in junior high and remember her family was quite religious and strict. I wasn’t all that surprised when she rebelled in high school. She was a beautiful girl – and what a tragedy that her life was cut short.
Dr. Mitchell Tarczynski July 2, 1958 – December 17, 2009 ~ Who knew this somewhat gangly kid would grow up to be an extraordinary research scientist with a doctorate in biochemistry? I had a little crush on Mitch in sixth grade when we sat together in Mrs. Bornarth’s class. This sounds really odd, but children do kooky things, so it has to be taken in context. Mitch demonstrated to me how if you rubbed your hand vigorously repeatedly, that you could actually draw blood. Given I liked him, I tried this at home and of course it worked. Silly messages from pals in my sixth grade yearbook confirm this crush.
Second row, left to right
Ian Goldman July 30, 1958 – December 22, 2010 ~ My mom was friends with Ian’s mother Shirley, who predeceased him. I also remember his sister-in-law Deborah Coolidge from RISD. Sadly, Ian died at Northwest Community Hospital of a brain tumor. I remember when Ian found out I liked him in junior high through the grapevine – he was so sweet and mature for his age, gently telling me that his girlfriend was Susan Ash.
Patty Rosen Petersen June 22, 1958 – May 22, 2017 ~ This is my closest friend from Lincolnwood that passed away. We were friends in junior high and all through high school. I got together with Patty and our mutual close friend Joan Krause Prosniewski several times in more recent years. Patty fought a valiant battle against aggressive melanoma, including undergoing several clinical trials before succumbing to the disease. I’ll never forget the eighth grade graduation party she co-hosted with Andrea Linn at Gabby Hartnett, her famous New Year’s Eve parties during college, or the fact that she took me out on the town for a bachelorette party with Joan before I got married in 1981, even though she wasn’t invited to my wedding. The space was limited to a small number of guests so I couldn’t invite everyone on my list.
Dr. Michael Ganz March 30, 1958 – February 25, 2019 ~ I remember Mike as a very slight boy in grammar school. Sadly, he died of a heart attack just shy of his 61st birthday. He established the Ganz Allergy and Asthma Clinic in 1998 in Racine, helping thousands of patients in his distinguished career.
Third row, left to right
Debra Baron Pomerantz December 20, 1957 – August 13, 2020 ~ Marla Lampert informed me that Debi lost her life to bile duct cancer last year and fondly recalled how Debi was her first friend when she moved to Lincolnwood in the middle of fifth grade.
Alex Lafita February 5, 1958 – October 21, 2020 ~ On Facebook, Larry Goldstein shared that his good friend Alex had died after a painful, 35-year battle with multiple sclerosis. Larry said Alex was a combination of John Belushi, Rodney Dangerfield, and Carol Burnett. I didn’t know him well, but he was very friendly and remembered me when I ran into him in Chicago around 1978.
Gail Albert Duran April 27, 1958 – December 12, 2020 ~ Gail’s friend Debbie Deer announced she passed away on Facebook. I remember Gail from grammar school more than high school as a down to earth, sweet, and friendly girl. She was obviously compassionate, serving as a member of the Women’s Leadership Committee at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
Last row, Left to right
Steven Stein-Grainger 1958 – December 25, 2020 ~ Sandy Beyda Lorie shared the sad news about Steve passing away Christmas morning at home with his beloved partner Jae at his side. He was battling Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP), a rare disorder of the peripheral nerves that causes gradual increased sensory loss and weakness related to loss of reflexes. In grammar school, I remember Steve had a great sense of humor and drama that obviously served him well in his career, like this Santa greeting.
Dr. Steven Rosenberg 1958 – January 4, 2021 ~ On Facebook, Larry Goldstein shared that Steve died after suffering for some time with multiple health problems, including several bouts of cancer, I believe. I’ll never forget how generous Steve was at Rutledge Hall. His dad was a furrier and he would bring little mink tails to school and either give them away or have kids compete for them.
I found the 30th Niles West High School reunion book and discovered additional Lincolnwood classmates from the Lincoln Hall class of 1972 and Niles West class of 1976 who passed away.
Steven Cohen 1958 – March 2003 ~ While his obituary didn’t state the cause of death, classmate Sindi Wasserberg Lash informed me that Steven died instantly in a horrific car accident, leaving behind a wife and four children at the age of 44.
Debra Kaufman: 1958 – January 2004 ~ From her obituary, it appears that Debbie passed away from a brain tumor and she is buried in the little Lincolnwood cemetery New Light on East Prairie next to Rutledge Hall.
No information available for these Lincolnwood classmates, but they were listed as deceased in the 30th Niles West reunion book.
Robert Kellman ~ Thanks to Sindi Wasserberg Lash for sharing the sad news that Robert died by suicide.
I welcome any comments and memories readers would like to share about Lincolnwood Schools, from any class.