Lincolnwood Schools – A Trip Down Memory Lane

 

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.

 

 

Todd Hall

  • 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.

Rutledge Hall

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.

 

That is my magic marker drawing of a Navajo Indian above John Rudnik’s head – second kid from right, top row.

 

  • 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.

Popular Books

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.

Lincoln Hall

 

 

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.

 

Mrs. Bornarth, Mr. Polster, Mrs. Schaefer

 

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.

 

 

Physical Education

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.

Second Photo

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.

Michael Prinz

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.

35 Comments:

  1. Sindi Wasserberg Lash

    Hi Betsy,

    Loved reading your blog! What a trip down memory lane!
    A couple of corrections: Steve Cohen did not have MS. He was killed instantly in a horrible car accident. Rober Kellman, unfortunately, took his own life.

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful memories!

    • Hi Sindi – Glad you enjoyed the blog – and thank you so much for the corrections. I made the revisions to the text.

  2. Sheryl Stern Levin

    Hi Betsy, I was in your 5th grade class (top row, 4th from left), my last year in Lincolnwood before my family moved to Skokie. I remember what a hard time we all gave Miss Patterson and I believe she left the next year. Strangely, she seemed a lot older to me back then than she appears in the class picture. I was sad to read about the classmates we have lost, some of whom I was unaware of such as Vicky Lehner, who I was friends with back then. I always enjoy reading your posts about Lincolnwood. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Betsy – you have an amazing memory! I probably couldn’t have recalled one or two things from my Lincolnwood school years but you brought a lot back! Thanks!!

    • Thanks, John and pleased you enjoyed this blog. I remember you since you lived less than a block away from me on the same street!

  4. Stefanie h Newman

    Oh goodness…so many memories and so many of mine intersect with yours. Do you share my annoyance with the “artistic” class photographers who decided to take a photo on an angle? I have to squint to see the folks who are on the receding side. My memory of Mitch Tarczynski. He committed a minor misbehavior in 5th grade. Mrs. Denhart said “that’s a no no” and he answered “it’s a yes yes !” It struck me then as so whimsical and today I would call it subversive, but not smart alecky. Anyway, I don’t know if quick quips presage future brilliance, but I am not surprised he became a scientist.

    • The straight-on photo in kindergarten is definitely better, but I’m more annoyed with myself for using ball point pen on Maurice Dayan’s hair. And I also ruined my fourth grade school photo by writing each person’s name over their photo. I couldn’t find a thing online about Palomar Photographers. Interesting incident involving Mitch Tarczynski. So, do you remember your success climbing that rope?

  5. Betsy that was fantastic! Thanks for putting that together. I hope you are doing well!

  6. I enjoyed cascading down memory lane as provided by you and your wonderful recollections. Thank you.

    • Hi Ken: I’m glad you enjoyed my recollections of our grammar school days – hope all is well with you.

  7. Larry Goldstein

    Great blog Betsy…

    You have an amazing memory and a true gift in relaying those memories to all of us who were connected to growing up in Lincolnwood. I loved the fossil trip as well. I also had Mrs. Robinson – liked her and thought she was nice. Years later when I worked at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange our paths crossed again. Her husband worked there, and she came down and worked for him. I approached her, reminded her of our interactions in her class, and she claimed not to remember me, (which personally I didn’t believe). She went on to ignore me whenever she saw me and was very rude. I was disappointed. I had Mr. Dziedzic in 7th grade for LASS and he ranked as my favorite teacher.

    It’s scary, my connection to our classmates who have passed away. Debby Kaufman and Mike Prinz both lived within a block of my house near Estes and Kilpatrick. I played with Mike Prinz on his block of Fitch along with his neighbors Eddie and Earl Slavin and Robert Shaw. I had a huge crush on Vicky Lehner in 7th grade. Unfortunately, she did not feel the same way about me, yet I would frequently walk my dog by her house near Pratt hoping to see and talk to her.

    In fifth to seventh grade I was very good friends with Mitch Tarczynski. We would go garbage picking at the factories along Lincoln near his home. We would find a lot of science stuff at the Becker-Dickinson factory. We played at the train tracks, behind Lincoln north of Touhy, as well. One day we found a tree there that was 100% covered with tens of thousands of monarch butterflies. It was amazing. We returned the next day and they were gone. I later watched a documentary and now believe they were headed south on their yearly journey to Mexico.

    From about first grade on, Ian Goldman and I were great friends. I spent so much time at Ian’s house, played at the canal on McCormick and had so much fun hanging out. He was a very special and kind person. I was small and Ian, with his metal toed boots, always defended me.

    Steve Rosenberg and I played behind Steve’s house. His home backed up to high tension power lines. We could hear the buzzing and I always question if his growing up near them was responsible for his brain cancer. All through high school I hung out with Ian, Steve Rosenberg, Alex Lafita and Steve Cohen. We all did a lot of crazy things and would frequently get in trouble together. Alex, Steve Rosenberg and I rented a home together near Peterson and Kimball for three years in the early 80’s. The Hell Hole, as it was called, was notorious for wild parties. It was the hangout for so many of our classmates including; John Dulleck, Maurice Dayan, Bobby Mittel, Barry Bass, Ira Hochberg, Mike Perlman, Ted Loiben, Jim Lyman and so many others. I am deeply saddened and affected by the early loss of most of my closest childhood friends. I really enjoyed reading your blog Betsy and thank you for writing it.

    • Thanks for sharing such personal and touching memories of your close friends – both those you lost too soon and others still with us that you remember fondly. I really felt sad for you that you lost both Alex and Steve within such a short period of time. Somebody told me around our 10th NW reunion that Steve Rosenberg had leukemia – don’t know if that’s true, but brain cancer is horrific. I worked in the field of neurosurgery for seven years and know what a devastating diagnosis this is, more often than not. Sadly, three of our classmates lost their lives to a brain tumor. Thank you for your kind words about the blog – very glad you enjoyed it.

  8. Betsy: Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful memories of growing up in Lincolnwood. I enjoyed the stroll down memory lane.

  9. Love your blog Betsy. Jim Bergreen was my neighbor in Lincolnwood. I got bit by his dog more than once.

    I have wonderful memories of Todd, Rutledge & Lincoln Hall.

    Bob Kellman and I were close friends. I still miss him to this day. He and I became close friends again after running into each other at Geneva National Golf Club. I loved playing golf with him.

    • Hi Rob: I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. I didn’t know you lived near Jim – I went to his house once and was not fond of that attack dog! Very sad about Bob Kellman – and sorry for your personal loss of a good friend.

  10. Marla Lampert

    Betsy! This is amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to revisit our grammar school days. I moved here in the middle of 5th grade and remember SO MANY of the kids, the teachers and the experiences that you have written about. What is crazy is that I can look at those pictures and my feelings of being right back at Rutledge or Lincoln Hall come rushing in. I sadly wanted to add one more name of a classmate that we recently lost. Debi Baron Pomerantz. She passed away from cancer, here is her obituary https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/debra-pomerantz-obituary?pid=196641306. Debi lived across the street from me and was my very first Lincolnwood friend. Thanks again for keeping us all connected. Stay well!
    Marla

    • Hi Marla – So glad you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. I’m very sorry to hear about Debi – I remember running into her at Northbrook Court with my daughter – must have been 16 years ago – she recognized me first and was super friendly. I will add her to the In Memoriam section.

  11. Bonnie Bazley

    Oh boy, this was great (except for my loony note in your yearbook). I loved the class photos. Sad to learn about classmates I wasn’t aware we had lost, like Debbie Kaufman who was one of the most gentle and sweetest people I ever knew. I can hear her quiet voice to this day. I hope someday my class photos surface, but I have a feeling they disappeared when my mom moved to Florida and sold our Lincolnwood house. It’s such a treat for me to see everyone’s class photos. Thanks for sharing all your memories!

    • Hi Bonnie – I’m glad you enjoyed this blog and hope all is well with you. I beg to differ – for an 8th grader, I think your note was pretty clever. You included the E in Betsey Johnson’s name (typo overlooked!) and referenced the anniversary of D-Day! How many kids at that age even knew about Betsey Johnson!

  12. Bonnie Bazley

    I should have added, it’s Bonnie Goldberg, for those who don’t recognize my married name.

  13. Nancy Panik Hoffmann

    Betsy, I am in awe of your memory and attention to detail – I truly appreciate all of your efforts. Thank you for honoring each of our classmates that passed away.

    Yesterday, I drove by Patty’s home in Arlington Heights and thought about the fun times we shared together both at her home and also spending time up in Michigan going skiing at Indianhead Mountain. The Rosen New Year Eve’s parties were the very best and it always seemed to snow that day.

    Thanks again for all your efforts!

    • You’re welcome, Nancy. I recall a ski trip in high school to Lake Geneva and both Patty and Stefanie Newman were skiing beautifully down the steepest hill (not much of a challenge compared to Indianhead Mountain, of course). I didn’t know how to stop and hit a fence like a klutz, although no injuries! Patty was sweet, generous, and kind – hard to believe it will be four years in May that she passed away.

  14. Hi Betsy – Just came across your blog. Thanks for taking the time to put it together. Hope you are well.

    Here are a few of my stray memories from this time: I moved to Lincolnwood from the South Side in 1968. My first impression at 5th grade recess was of everyone playing with yo-yos. I think I was the only kid that didn’t have one. Your fifth grade photo provided a flashback to my photo of Miss Pocklington’s class. It had the same distorted appearance because of the angle shot. In our photo, Bobby Mittel is closest to the camera and has an enormous head that is four times the size of the teacher’s, who is in the back left corner.

    In 6th grade, I did a short stint as a juvenile delinquent, along with Ira Levin and Danny Spielman. We tortured poor Miss Davis, to whom I would like to apologize if she ever reads this. However, after my report card from that time appeared at my home, my dad had a talk with me and my academic career immediately started to get back on track.

    At Lincoln Hall, Mark Schwartz had just gotten new eyeglasses and wanted to show us that they were shatter-proof. He went up to the gym balcony and threw them down to the gym floor below. They broke into a million pieces, but stayed in the frames. I guess that was a successful test!

    I was in Mr. Polster’s science class. But he placed me, David Friedman, Linda Spak and Candice Goodman in this little back room behind the class. We were supposed to work through a book and teach ourselves while everyone else learned directly from Mr. Polster. It was that weird era of experimentation in teaching. Does anyone else remember “Living learning workshop”? I didn’t do it, but I’m guessing it wasn’t successful. It was another case of the “go teach yourself” philosophy.

    Anyone else remember the first Earth Day in 1970? They had us march around the big field in front of Lincoln Hall.

    I don’t have any of my own “Hall of Shame” nominations, but remember in 8th grade how Miss Ohnstead (Mrs. Murray) told some real whoppers in class. My favorite was her theory that girls that wore miniskirts all developed an extra layer of fat in their thighs to protect them against the cold.

    • Hi Doug – Good to hear from you – hope all is well. Thanks for sharing your memories – quite a few are remarkable and very funny. Your 8th grade teacher sounds a little off the wall. Mrs. Urban was strict and rather mundane, so we didn’t have many laughs in her class.

  15. Elynne Chaplik- Aleskow

    Thank you for your comments and memory of my beloved sister Ivy Lynn Chaplik.
    The Ivy Lynn Chaplik Humanitarian Award at Niles West is still in existence.
    Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow

  16. Hi Betsy:

    I remember sitting in front of you in Mrs. Boening’s third grade class from 1966-1967. I recall taking a Gray Line Bus tour of Chicago and seeing the Sun-Times printing presses once.

    I think we were also in fourth grade together with Mrs. Schatzman from 1967-1968. I remember when RFK was shot as we had those big clunky TVs 📺 on like a moving platform. I thought, what is going on. We were watching his progress, but he soon died.

    I lived about 150 yards south of Jim Berggreen. He might be living in the San Diego area now. I retired from the Army in 2010. I have done a few Pawn Stars episodes on the History Channel, so keep watching.

    • Hi Larry:

      Good to hear from you. Yes, we were in Mrs. Boening and Mrs Schatzman’s classes together. The difference between those two teachers was like night and day – Mrs. Schatzman was a wonderful teacher. Thanks for reminding me about the Sun-Times field trip – I had forgotten about that. Given the Pawn Stars episodes, are you living in Las Vegas now?

  17. Lawrence Kagan

    Thank you. My wife and I just travel to Las Vegas. I live in Park Ridge and Washington, DC. That 1967 Sun Times trip was with Greylines. I remember the bus driver kept repeating, “Keep the faith baby.” My first experience with street dialogue. You were friends with that other pretty girl 👧, Myra Segal. It’s with great sadness that Mark Stoller died in 2009. He lived at Arthur and St. Louis when his family moved to Lincolnwood in 1968 from Chicago.

  18. Lorri Kanter Otis

    Hi, Betsy,

    Hope you are well.

    Thank you for all these memories. You have terrific recall for detail!

    I actually found this blog when I was looking for information on James Grigsby. I was in the “Living/Learning Workshop”, in the summer after 6th grade and in 8th grade. It was amazing, because James Grigsby was such a fantastic educator. Sad to see he is no longer with us, along with so many of our classmates.

    Thank you for your blog, and the wonderful tributes to those who have passed.

    • Hi Lorri – So nice to hear from you and glad you found the blog and enjoyed reading it. Yes, Jim Grigsby was an amazing teacher – especially for junior high. It is very sad that so many of our classmates have passed away, and I didn’t even include NWHS friends that grew up in Morton Grove, Skokie and Niles.

  19. Samuel Spitzer

    Thank you for this blog. One of my earliest memories is sitting in the kitchen with Ian Goldman. He was my first friend. I have some sweet memories of Lincolnwood itself, almost none of Todd Hall except for Miss Musgrove. I was thinking about her yesterday and was sad that I had no pictures of her because I had destroyed all of my school photos. I remember there were rabbits in the room run by Miss M, and I remember the class piano.

    Ms. Musgrove was the one soft spot for a bright kid on the spectrum thrown into the maw that was school district number 74, for anyone even slightly different. The Cerino Twins beat me at Todd and they were still beating me when I graduated from Niles West, amongst many others. It takes a village to ruin a life.

    I see names in these comments that I loathe to this day, people who taunted me, people who made my life a living hell, for nothing. I had two good teachers at Niles West, Charles Anderson, and Jim Knaak. Both very kind, very bright men. I have since spent a life afraid with my back to the walls in restaurants or any public place, and those blows still resonate as chronic pain in my body after six decades. Good job people, way to work together.

    Shirley Goldman was always kind to me, although Albert abandoned her at her hour greatest need.

    Kagan, one of my clearest memories is of you and Alan circling me on the grass at recess, in front of Lincoln Hall, clapping and taunting, before you tripped me to the ground over your brother’s back, remember, fun, huh? Then Alan straddled me, his knees pinning my upper arms. and proceeded to rhythmically slap me back and forth across the face, well within sight of “Coach” Mau who everyone seems to still love. Just a bigger bully. Hall of Shame indeed.

    I went into those “schools” an extremely bright musical little kid and came out wrecked for life, 13 years later. It has been 60 some years of depression, loneliness, homelessness, and pain. Congratulations to all the abusive soulless “people” at those nightmare schools, mission accomplished.

    • Sam – Your name didn’t ring a bell because you’re a year younger. I did know a few kids younger than me, either because they lived in my neighborhood or had horrible reputations – like the Cerino twins. Looking at their pictures in the old Lincoln Hall yearbook brought back memories of those thugs. It must have been difficult for you to share this and I thank you for doing so – your story should stand as a cautionary tale to all the bullies out there who think this behavior is OK. As you mentioned, bullying has lifelong consequences including depression, anxiety, loneliness, homelessness and pain.

      It’s heartbreaking when any child experiences the physical and emotional pain of bullying and cyberbullying (today). According to current statistics, nearly 30% of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying. Far too often, nothing is done about this because teachers and parents turn a blind eye and this is extremely sad. Bullying of any kind is never acceptable and is reprehensible.

      I’m so sorry and feel sad that kids I grew up with in Lincolnwood bullied you and ruined your life. I was subjected to taunting in 7th grade by girls for a brief period of time – it was emotional abuse rather than physical. I sympathize with your situation and hope you can find some inner peace. While it won’t change your years of pain and turmoil, perhaps one of your tormentors will read this and apologize for the horrible damage they caused.

      • Samuel Spitzer

        Thank you so much Betsy. It was daily and senseless. I would try and reason and that seemed beyond their ken…just fists, teeth or whatever.

        I loved so many things about Lincolnwood. The bonfire at Halloween, all the American Legion guys cooking hotdogs, tables of wax paper cups full of coke. Our milkman making sure we got milk during the 1967 big snow.

        I lived on Albion across from the Goldmans. I feel banished from the neighborhood. I was flying back to help my mother, now dead, move after my father died and sold the house. My neighbor came up and said “I don’t think you are flying today.” That was Sept. 11, 2001. So I never got to say goodbye to the house my folks built in ‘52. I planted a tree there I couldn’t visit – it was a twig given to me by Heidi Rogoff, a sugar maple, now huge. My aunt gave my mom peonies for the yard when they were married, so fragrant, lilacs as well, but all gone to me.

        I wracked my brain to understand. My folks didn’t have a clue, probably willfully. I mean, I would have pulled my kid out of school if he came home with a wrist full of teeth indentations from Lincoln Hall. Joey Weiner bit my wrist until it bled after attacking me in the upstairs loft at the gym.

        I lived at the Milk Pail, wonderful store – coming in, bread on the left, produce on the right, those great inset deep wood coolers, the cow up on the shelf. It had a particular smell. The pickle barrel in front of Wally’s. Returning pop bottles there.

        Mrs. B at Dairy Queen was very kind to me and that was fun. I had some older sisters, turned out to be nightmares too, but all the older kids would hang behind DQ at night. I saw this once or twice and thought they were so cool.

        I remember Greg Katchubik? That’s the phonetic spelling – he was killed when he fell out of a bus, I think in the early 70s? He took me to DQ one night and I was worried because I had no money. He bought me whatever I wanted. Nice kid – the nice ones seem to go first.

        Michael Spagoletti terrorized me – he was killed in a knife fight in college when he picked the wrong fight. My last memory of the Cerino twins was when I was about 20, finally went to college (my parents wouldn’t send me until three years after NW) only to be forced to drop out by them after 1.5 semesters. Thus started decades of low wage work. In any case, I was back near the shelter in the big park, as we called it then and the Cerinos were sitting on a car, and they threatened me even then. If I felt like being kind, I’m guessing their home life was probably hell, but you don’t pay this abuse forward.

        I thought my comment would be banned, thank you so much Betsy for being kind. It’s with a sort of sweet heartache that I read your blog. Such a mixed bag, Air Raid sirens, sonic booms, decorations on light poles up Devon during Xmas, going up Devon to Levinson’s. Fine’s Meats freaked me out – they had giant tongues on display and I remember saying to my mother “Those are somebody’s tongues!!” to zero empathy, since she was a carnivore. We spent a lot of time at Kenilworth Inn – they always brought me this ice cold glass stein of root beer, so fun.

        My block was fine, people knew each other. My Dad worked with Jack Sostrin, so I knew Lisa peripherally, and I think she had a sister, Roberta? GG Rowell lived over on Christiania, Charlie Sure was crusty but kind, Deborah Toporek lived up the block. She lost her mother early – I wish I’d known how to be kinder to her.

        I remember ice skating at Drake Park, and one of those ancient death merry-go-rounds at Central Park. Good slide there. Thanks for the reminder of the slide in Miss Musgrove’s class – that was neat. I miss the alleys, dark with cinders – secret roads all.

        I wrote a book based on that childhood, if anyone would like a free pdf, just comment. I am currently working on another edit, a novel is never really finished unless you have a ton of editors. I tried to make it work out right, at least in fiction. It’s Lincolnwood as I remember, and as I wanted it to be. Otherwise, here it is:

        https://www.amazon.com/Mirabella-Crow-Learns-Samuel-Spitzer/dp/0985238038

        I tried to somehow reconcile all of it. Watching Shirley Goldman die while good old Dr. Goldman left her. Ian’s death hurt, but we’d fallen out of touch. The beauty of the elm trees, then coming home to a street denuded, and I felt it like the death of friends. Going to Hacker’s vegetable stand to buy 13 ears of corn for a buck, and a 10 cent pop in a maze of a machine where you had to slide the bottle through a path. And trying to not get hit in dodgeball, what an insane “sport.” On and on, and it all blurs and mostly, I just feel loss.

        I have tried and tried to be able to visit once more, but the pandemic put the nail in that coffin. I want to say goodbye to my tree and that house, so wonderful and so dark as well. I guess life doesn’t really work out, it just ends, like a book.

        I remember Herman Orlov, every time I’d walk into his store he’d open a white paper bag and fill it with candy and hand it to me – he was friends with my folks. We went to Doral, and the Nut Kettle in Lincoln Village, and Kiddieland with those tickets and cotton candy and the Tilt-a-Whirl, pedal cars, the train, funhouse mirrors and who thought it would be gone. Bain’s Hardware was always fun and yes, Wieboldt’s basement. My first stuffed animal came from Howard Juvenile. So many mom and pop businesses, it was like the world had color and flavor.

        I remember the water fountain in Proesel Park – you could put your thumb over one of the four pipes and increase the flow. The American Legion was magic – Al Cohen taught me to play poker there, getting a miniature bottle of coke for free. Marine World, you had a picture of it, that started a craze. Heathkit was neat inside. Shopper’s World, god knows how to describe that one. I could go on and on.

        One thing about my brain wiring, experience sticks eidetically in my memory. I can still smell burning leaves in the alley at dusk on a crisp autumn breeze.

        Anyway, thank you again, although a lot is painful, I still miss my home terribly. It was the only one I ever really knew.

  20. Lawrence Kagan

    I apologize Sam. My full name is Lawrence or Larry Kagan. I don’t recall this incident, but I was clearly wrong, so again I apologize for this type of behavior.

  21. Lawrence Kagan

    Well, as I mentioned, I’m not proud of this behavior. Both Sam and I socialized with the late Mark Stoller (died 2010). I wish Sam had brought this up to me so we could have discussed it back in the 1970s. Sam was a good guy and there are no excuses for bullying behavior – by myself or anybody else.

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