Sunday, August 16, 2015


Welcome to your updated blog edition. Summer is drawing to a close as many from our Class of '70 look forward to our 45th year reunion on the September 19th. Our blog includes some cool memories provided to us by way of Doug Hart and Charlotte Enik/Klecan. Much of the success this site has enjoyed over the years is due to the many classmates that have contributed to the effort and for that I say thank you!

This month we enjoy a team photo of Fords Junior High football team back in 1966. The El Dorado cover and some pages from the ALL Hi News. Our contest winners are announced that will enjoy the Tommy James concert on September 15th. Finally, two of our classmates and one talented and unselfish musician are profiled. I hope you enjoy the read...sit back, grab your coffee and enjoy the music.


Classmate highlight...

This gentleman's middle name should be "Director". I’m speaking about our classmate Peter Wright. Peter has left his imprint on New Jersey through his successful and highly respected municipal government career. This positive and friendly classmate is often remembered by his fellow Barrons as the Baron mascot, sharing that duty with fellow alum, Jimmy Petersen.

“Rich, it was fun to be our mascot, especially during our memorable undefeated senior football season. There was no clear guidelines, just show up and help keep the school enthusiasm going strong. I do remember both Jimmy and I climbing the field goal poles after one of the games.”

Today you will find Peter working hard as the Director of Recreation for Mendham Township, NJ.  He plans, implements and directs recreational and leisure activities for a community of 6,000  In addition, he oversees the operation of park development, marketing, and evaluation of services/programs offered.  Last but not least he coordinates efforts of the various civic and conservation groups in the restoration and upkeep of historic trail systems and award winning facilities. Peter graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science degree and along the way he obtained his Masters in Administration in 2000 from Fairleigh Dickinson University. In addition to his many awards of recognition Peter was awarded the Frederick C. Sutro Memorial Award in 2008. This highly respected award was presented to Peter by the New Jersey Recreation and Park Association recognizing his outstanding lifetime service the parks and recreation profession.

Peter is one of three children having lived in Jersey City til he arrived in Woodbridge his freshman year. During his time at WHS Peter was the captain of the cross country team. As with many others we have profiled, he is in agreement with them that his experience gained from the athletic experience was invaluable in rounding out his WHS education. Some of his best friends in high school were Dave Barnes and Charlotte Enik. On occasion he will run into Bennett Singer today. "Back in school I wish I weren't so damn shy with the girls. I did take Flo Hutchinson to the prom, I hope she is well. It would be nice if she attended the reunion but I am looking forward to seeing everyone. The last one I attended was our 20th so I know this will be a fun evening for me."

Today, Peter is a father of two and his beautiful lady of seven years, Karen, is also a WHS graduate from 1973. This summer they will be touring Tuscany, Austria and Switzerland. During Peter's free time you will find him on the golf links throughout the Garden State. Before kids my game was in the low 70's...once becoming a dad it changed to the 80's. Also Peter officiates at the local little league and soccer games.

Throughout my career I learned that great customer service creates customer loyalty. I have been blessed with my career handling various aspects of the Parks and Rec community. When I retired from Bernard Twp as their Director of Parks, Rec, Community Pool and Golf I touched when they decided to honor my efforts by naming their new water playground "Pete's Puddle". To drive by it almost daily I am still reminded of those wonderful people I had the pleasure of working with for so many years. I am lucky man.

Pete, I happen to think those of your former classmates that get steal a few minutes of you and Karen’s time at the reunion will be the lucky ones.

Rock out on the 15th...

Recently I asked our alumni if they were interested in winning a pair of free tickets to see Tommy James perform at the PNC Bank Performing Center on September 15, 2015. The question posed to the Class of '70 was who made the best case to be awarded the tickets. The response was more than I ever expected. Both Charlotte Enik/Klecan and Ray Ruiz were deemed the winners and each will be taking a guest to the show on the 15th of September, courtesy of Tommy and his amazingly kind manager, Carol Ross. In addition, Carol has arranged for them to receive an autographed copy of his autobiography, "Me, the Mob and the Music". Last but certainly not least...Tommy has invited Charlotte and Ray back stage to personally meet each other. Congratulations to Charlotte and Ray! All of us from the Class of '70 thank Tommy and Carol.


El Dorado...

All Hi band...

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Tommy James...

Tommy James is an American pop-rock musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, widely known as leader of the 1960s rock band Tommy James and the Shondells. His music was widely known and enjoyed by many of us during our WHS years. Tommy sat down with us recently to share his story of musical success. First question to Tommy was "Why would you agree to take time out of your schedule to contribute to our high school blog?" "Actually Rich I took a moment to view your site and was sincerely impressed that you and your class have gone to the extent that all of you have in order to stay close with each other. I was flattered to think that you felt our music was a part of your high school days and I am happy to lend any effort to support your class along with my appreciation for their support throughout the years. I say this because have attended some of my high school reunions and in fact, I have a few tight buddies from high school that we speak weekly.

Successfully combining the bubblegum with the psychedelic Tommy James and the Shondells held a huge presence with their music of the late sixties. Offering up the right blend of  rock ‘n’ roll and pop Tommy sold more singles than any other artist during that period. We’re talking about 14 top 40 hits between 1967 and 1969, many of which, 45 years later, are still played on the radio. Hits like Mony Mony, Crimson and Clover, I Think We're Alone Now, Crystal Blue Persuasion and Hanky Panky are just a few to mention. All of these songs, which epitomize great pop music of the late 1960s, are now widely used in television and film and have been covered by a diverse group of artists from Billy Idol to Tiffany to R.E.M. Just as compelling as the music itself is the life Tommy James lived while making it.

His life and career is chronicled in the new book; Me, the Mob and the Music. James announced that deals are in hand to turn the story into both a film and a Broadway play. Martin Scorsese approached James about making a movie of the book shortly after its publication with Barbara De Fina producing the film. It was evident when James first met Morris Levy, the head of Roulette Records, that he was willing to strong arm others when necessary. Those signed to Roulette were there to produce money for the company, having their needs met only when it pleased Levy. Asking to be paid meant intimidation; to survive, those under contract to Roulette needed to find a means of generating income that did not involve the record company, such as personally booked tours. While a Roulette artist had great creative control when recording for the company, the lack of payment for those efforts was difficult to take. Tommy estimates the company owed him $30–40 million in royalties he never received. Roulette was a front for organized crime, also functioning as a money laundering operation. In the early 1970s, Levy was at the wrong end of a mob war. Tommy had to leave New York for a while to avoid a mob hit, which explained why he recorded an album in Nashville in 1972. He did not feel comfortable writing his book until all those deeply involved with the record company had died. It was only after Roulette Records and Levy's Big Seven Music publishing company were sold (the record company to an EMI and Rhino Records partnership, the music publishing company to Windswept Pacific Music which was later sold to EMI) that James began to receive the appropriate royalty checks from sales of his records.

In speaking with Tommy I asked if we could address some of the less publicized notes of interest along the way and he welcomed my request. Some insight that some may not be aware of is Crystal Blue Persuasion was inspired by not a psychedelic trip one evening but rather by a poem handed to Tommy by a young fan in Atlanta. It was a Christian poem inspired by the Book of Revelation and contained the phrase "crystal blue persuasion." I knew I wanted to use the it somehow in a song and Eddie Gray came up with the opening riff and it was exactly what I wanted, airy and ethereal with a Latin feel. Crystal Blue was the hardest record we ever made and one I am most proud of.

Realizing that I am a photographer Tommy said "I have a story that you could appreciate. We just finished our second album (It's Only Love) and our manager told us he had scheduled a studio photo shoot for us with a young lady just starting out and we would be her first subjects in a studio setting. He cautioned us to be patient with her and he was doing it as a favor for a mutual friend. The young lady, Linda Eastman, did a fine job and we used her work as planned. Little did I know that some fifty years later I would be speaking with her former husband and sharing that story with him for the first time. As it turns out, last month I opened the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction show with Joan Jett. During the reception afterwards I met with him and shared the see, her husband just happened to be Sir Paul McCartney and the late Linda Eastman eventually
married Sir Paul and we all know the rest of the story.

One more story involved his appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Touring with the Beach Boys at the time Tommy sat with several of them one Sunday evening a week before Tommy's first appearance with Ed. The Beach Boys having preformed on his show many times were invaluable in sharing insight to Tommy on what to expect...what they were not prepared for was as they watched together at the end of the telecast Ed promoted the next week's headliner and said, And next week on our show, for all you youngsters...Tony Jones and the Spondells. We hit the fall laughing but internally I was scared to death not knowing what the coming week would bring. Ed had his routine and that consisted of sitting off stage throughout the show with a small B&W monitor and a glass of scotch that was continually refilled. Eventually we performed our new hit "Crimson and Clover" without a hitch. We took a deep breath and realized we had reached a major milestone by appearing on that iconic show.

Tommy still tours and will be at the PNC Performing Center September 15th. "Rich, I look forward to meeting some of your classmates after the performance as my guests." I asked him what music does he listen to today..."that's easy, jazz. My beautiful wife Lynda and I enjoy living in Cedar Grove so I can relate to your Jersey roots. I am familiar with Woodbridge and I can understand the continued pride you and your classmates share having shared that school experience during those memorable years back then.” 

I’d like us to be remembered for being experimenters. We connected with the fans. Fans and the good Lord have allowed my career to go into four-plus decades. This is an industry that maybe gives you two or three years. I look out at a concert crowd now, and I see three generations of people. I’m very proud of the Shondells and what they did, and what we were able to do together to make music that has lasted all this time.

In closing, Tommy shared with me that his white leather boots and Nehru jacket is on display at Cleveland's Rock n Roll Hall of Fame but the membership list does not include Tommy and the Shondells. The more we learn of this gentleman and his body of work we have to believe it's just a matter of time before he is inducted into the Hall. Tommy, we thank you for your music and your time shared with us.

Fords Junior High School...

9th Grade Football Team (1966)
(Click on Photo to Enlarge)

Classmate highlight...

She has all the DNA of a "Jersey Girl". Brash, opinionated, honest and best of all...a kind heart. Cindy Hathaway/Prokop is her name and although she resides in Utah she will always consider Fords as home. This hard shelled, soft centered friend of mine allowed me to profile her as our last alumni to be featured on our final WHS blog update.

Cindy and her husband Jerry,of forty four years, moved to Utah twenty five years ago due to his employment with Chevron. Today she is extremely happy to have her two daughters, Sandi and Lisa, living nearby along with their five grandchildren. When asked, Cindy replied. "Rich, my life is purposely centered around family and being a grandma. Experiencing the love from grandchildren is the absolute best thing in life. In fact, I can't wait til October when I become a great grandmother. Life is good, actually, I have been blessed with my family all along this journey."

Today Mr. and Mrs. Prokop can finally set aside time for themselves. Jerry can be found on the golf course while Cindy enjoys her bicycle riding and daily exercise routines. Both of them can always be counted on to be on the sidelines cheering on their grand kids at their games. In addition, Cindy is an avid Kindle for this "old school" girl.

I asked Cindy if there was any experience from high school that her classmates may not know about her and she laughed. "Rich, I guess at this point in time I can share the "Art of the Deal". Cindy went on to explain... "I had one class and instructor that I sincerely despised, Mr. Koury. I made a point of being disruptive on a daily basis. I tested his patience with my constant joking around and annoyance. It was no secret to my fellow classmates that I thought he was the meanest instructors to walk the hallways of WHS. One day in the middle of the class he stopped his instruction and called out "Hathaway, come with me". He took me out to the hallway and I was petrified. I stood there with my back to the lockers when to my total shock he began to speak to me softly. He said to me. I want to make a deal with you. I just spoke with Mrs. Barney (steno/typing instructor) and she told me that you are without a doubt the best typist in the building. Here's the deal that can NOT be repeated to anyone. I am applying for another position and need my resume to be typed. If you agree to handle that, not tell a soul along with turning in your homework AND shut up in class I will assure you of a passing grade for the rest of the year. A deal?...a deal!" Cindy will tell you that she not only handled her end of the deal but she grew to respect him, changed her ways in his class and graduated considering him to be one of her favorite instructors along the way.

When asked about her WHS girlfriends she mentioned several and added one or two descriptive words for each. Pat Navalany: fun and trustworthy, Patsy Ann Korbel: quiet and kind, Pat Dillon: neighbor and dear friend, Marie Zelinak: funny, outgoing and one very strong woman.

Not having a desire to attend college Cindy concentrated on the WHS business courses. "Mrs. Barney was instrumental in shaping my career direction." In her sophomore year Cindy was handling part time secretarial duties for a law firm with fellow classmate, Sally Lund. Eventually that law environment helped lead Cindy to become a paralegal in 1990 and a legal secretary for the Legal Aid Society in Salt Lake City. Her love of research began with the legal aid society and continues today with her tireless research involving our WHS alumni data base.

Looking back Cindy has very few WHS regrets. She wishes she was more involved in the school events. This girl from Fords loved her summer beach time at Seaside Park. Her return in September to the Garden State will center around time with her sister, the reunion and of course, Seaside Park. "I'm looking forward to asking our reunion DJ if he'll be able to work in my laundry list of song choices by Billy Joel. Music in my world begins and ends with Billy Joel. Anyone that has a problem with that please take it up with my fellow Joel fan, Dougie Diem". We spoke of her first car being a 1962 Chevy, first school crush was Kevin Short in 8th grade followed by her first kiss in 8th grade with Mark Mandelberg. When asked to share her first "romantic heartbreak" her reply was "never experienced one".

Having gotten to know Cindy by working together on the blog I am honestly impressed with how unselfish this girl is with her time. She is heavily involved with the Utah Food Bank. She best describes her time with the Food Bank as a humbling experience that would keep anyone grounded when you realize you play a small role in helping those less fortunate. In addition, she and Jerry volunteer for MDS's yearly fundraiser at the local Boy Scout camp by painting cabins and tree trimming. Last but not least, you can find her morning and afternoon's serving as a school crossing guard.

For those of you that know Cindy through Facebook we see the direct side of her when it comes to Washington politics, especially her disdain for Mitt Romney. In closing, let me share with you the soft centered side of this girl that makes her special. After gathering material for her blog profile I said, let me ask you a personal question: "Why do you put this extra effort into family and volunteering for others?" Cindy explained to me that she came to a point in her life that she needed to step back and view how she was spending her God given life. "I don't often speak about this Rich but years ago I lost my brother...he was murdered and to this day it's still an unsolved homicide. I had a choice to go forward being bitter and angry. I refused to allow that to steal from my life and the happiness I was afforded by my loved ones and friends. For me, I draw happiness from digging in my heels and simply helping out others whenever possible. Trust me's not one sided, I too draw from it as well."

In a few weeks many of you will gather at our reunion. This bigger than life young lady will be front row center in the yourself a favor, grab a hug from her. In fact, please do me a favor...give her one from me as well, she's good people.

Closing thoughts...

It has been a sincere joy to have created and worked on this WHS site of ours. It has afforded me the chance to both reconnect and make new friends over the past five years. I can only hope all of you have enjoyed this shared journey half as much as I have. I thank all of you that have contributed along the way. What started out five years ago with an email list of a few dozen we can now smile knowing that nearly fifty thousand people have taken the time to visit our WHS blog. We have much to be proud of since our days spent together back in 1970...I wish all of you nothing but the very best going forward! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Welcome to your May update of the WHS '70 blog. We're pleased to profile two outstanding alumni that not only have impressive career credentials but excel in their humility and kindness. Cindy spent time with Sue Macaulay and I with Michael Clayman. In addition, we have several items provided to us by Charlotte Enik Klecan that are certain to provoke a smile or two.

Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy the tunes...hopefully you'll agree that we've given you a good read to start the month of May.

Your Blog Team

Nearly forty five years ago...

Classmate spotlight...

Senior Hooky Day...this classmate stayed in class. While many of us opted for the sands of Seaside Heights Michael Clayman elected to stay with his studies. That decision should not come as any surprise to us because it is indicative of his quiet and unassuming character.

Today, "Michael Clayman, MD" prefers simply the moniker of "Mike". By all rights of respect, given the dedication to his education and career accomplishments we would agree at least the inclusion of "Dr." would be appropriate. Not so with this humble and soft spoken classmate of ours. Allow me to share some of his bio to date: Mike is the co-founder of Flexion Therapeutics and has served as their President and CEO, since their inception in 2007. Previously, Mike had a lengthy career at Eli Lilly and Company, where he was Vice President, Lilly Research Laboratories, and General Manager of Chorus, Lilly’s early-phase development accelerator. During his career at Lilly, he also led its Global Regulatory Affairs division; the Cardiovascular Discovery Research and Clinical Investigation, Research and Development at Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, a medical device subsidiary of Lilly; the Internal Medicine Division; the Lilly Clinic, Lilly’s dedicated Phase 1 unit; and served as Chair of Lilly’s Bioethics Committee. Prior to his tenure at Lilly, Mike was an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where his research centered on the immunopathogenesis of renal disease. Mike is the recipient of the Physician Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health. He earned a BA, cum laude, from Yale University and an MD from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Following an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco Moffitt Hospitals, our fellow WHS classmate completed clinical and research fellowships in Nephrology at the University of Pennsylvania.

With all that said, in speaking with Mike he downplayed his accomplishments and was sincerely interested in learning more about us...his former classmates. Mike was raised in Woodbridge, the son of a dermatologist. He is one of three boys, brothers Rob and Ralph, both with extremely noteworthy careers themselves in law and medicine respectively. He considers himself very fortunate to have had a family that invested the importance of a good education. One WHS biology instructor in particular, Wayne Jordan, inspired Mike. It was Mr. Jordan that jump started Mike's interest in biology and the medical field. That passion for learning began in WHS and has shadowed Mike to this day. His interest in continued learning has led him to center his research efforts on the "bench experience" rather than the "bedside".
his polite gentleman enjoyed his Woodbridge Senior High experience, especially his time involved in the sports programs. With all of his career accomplishments Mike is both quick and proud to mention he was a member of the 1970 undefeated football team (played center). "Rich, although I recognize the importance of the education we were taught in the WHS classrooms, the additional education I gained from those coaches went far beyond simple x & o's on the clipboards. They taught me a balance of integrity and commitment to the effort, applied to football then and beyond WHS. I have tried my entire life to practice what those fine men taught us back then."
When asked about any particular memories of our senior year he recalled how incredibly loud the Brooklyn Bridge was during the senior prom. Although he hasn't kept up with former classmates as well as he wished, with us reaching out to him for this feature he hopes to set aside time to reconnect with others.
As mentioned earlier, Mike is the co-founder of Flexion Therapeutics, located in Burlington, MA. The company is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel non-opioid pain therapies. If you would like to learn more about his company please visit:

Mike and his beautiful wife of thirty years, Patti, now call Gloucester, MA home. They were blessed with four sons. Sadly, they lost their youngest, Max, six years ago. We spoke of life, our blessings and our challenges along the way. Mike pointed out to me, as other alumni have in the past, how fortunate we are to have grown up when we did. "Rich, the world changes and we all adapt the best we can but I consider myself so fortunate to have experienced my youth, and that includes our shared school experience, when I did."

When free time presents itself Mike and Patti escape to San Francisco. It is the city where they first met and a place they hold dear. This summer they look forward to some quiet time bicycling through Tuscany. When it comes to sports you would expect this Massachusetts resident to be a diehard fan of the Patriots, Celtics, etc.. No, his favorites are Peyton Manning, the Colts and Pacers. However, this classmate of ours uses quiet discretion about his sports loyalties when in the company of Bostonians.

In closing I have to share how impressed I was having had the opportunity to speak with Mike and learn of the Michael Clayman of 2015. In many ways he is still very much the same polite and shy classmate we remember. What impressed me was his humility and dedication to the effort he spoke of learning, not in the universities and graduate schools he attended, but those WHS football coaches and his family. He continues to be passionate about improving the welfare of his fellow man and I believe it's safe to say we all are very proud of this classmate of ours. 

Thank you for your time "Dr. Mike."

Do these bring back some memories...

Thank you to Charlotte Enik Klecan for providing these.

Classmate spotlight...

I had the pleasure of catching up with and learning about one of our classmates since our days at WHS, Susan Mccaulay. Susan has been very successful as a musician and lawyer.   Please read on!

After high school, Susan attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she studied piano. Susan had always thought she would pursue a career in classical music, but as the saying goes, “Humans plan. God laughs.” When Susan graduated from Oberlin in 1974, about the only thing she could do with a music degree was to go get another music degree – a Masters or a Ph.D. – but she was kind of burned out after four years of practicing three to four hours a day. Susan decided to take a year off before going on with her musical training.

Somehow, that year turned into six, and instead of attending graduate school in music, Susan ended up as a law student at Loyola U. of Chicago School of Law. She put herself through law school working as a computer programmer – you didn’t need a degree in computer science back then, and being able to type fast really helped - and went to work as an attorney for the Burroughs Corporation (now part of Unisys) right after law school.

The ‘80s were an intense time in the world of corporate law, and Susan became more and more involved in the financing aspects of the work she was doing. She eventually took the leap into the world of financial services law, and joined a large commercial finance company now owned by GE Capital.   She also got her Master of Laws in Financial Services law, as well as a Master of Liberal Arts degree in the Humanities from the University of Chicago, going to school at night and working during the day.   Susan knew by then that she would likely never return to music as a profession, but she did continue to perform with a local orchestra, playing an occasional piano concerto and filling in any gaps in the percussion section, teaching a piano lesson now and then, accompanying soloists, and playing keyboards in a band for several years.

By the mid-‘90s, Susan had landed at the Chicago office of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, a New York-based mega-law firm. It was a great place to work from a professional standpoint. She got to work on deals you’ve probably read about in the paper, the largest of which involved the sale of assets to the tune of just over $2 billion. Susan also had a number of opportunities to travel, both on business and for pleasure, and over a period of about 15 years, she was able to visit every continent except Antarctica. Susan continued with her music whenever she had the chance.

In 1992, Susan heard from a friend that in China there were thousands of baby girls who were being abandoned, or worse, solely because they were girls due to China’s one-child policy. Susan had always wanted a family, but had been so busy for so long with her career and travels and music that she hadn’t paid a lot of attention to when or how that was going to happen. When she heard about the situation in China, however, she knew right then and there that she would adopt a baby girl from China, whether or not she ever had a biological child of her own.

Several years later, Susan was ready, and went through the application process, which involved a mountain of paperwork, interviews, home studies, more paperwork, and what seemed like endless periods of waiting. Finally, she received word that the Chinese government had approved her and was offering her the opportunity to adopt an adorable toddler who was living with a foster family in Jiangxi Province. Susan couldn’t say yes fast enough. In late February 2000, she left for China, and on March 5, she met her daughter for the very first time, in a dingy hotel room in Nanchang – her very own baby girl, who she named Lauren. She changed Susan’s life forever. As soon as they got back to the United States, Susan switched her status at her law firm to part-time (meaning she ONLY had to work 40 hours a week), and began her application to adopt another baby girl from China.

In 2001, Susan moved to a mid-size Chicago firm, where the travel was less and the hours more reasonable, and soon got the call she’d been waiting for. Her second daughter was a chubby-cheeked baby girl named “Ocean Jade,” who was living in an orphanage in Hunan Province, which is immediately to the west of where her older daughter was from. Her younger daughter, who she named Anna, was placed in her arms on March 10, 2002, this time in a hotel elevator lobby in a city called Changsha. Her daughter Lauren, who was then 3-1/2, was there with Susan to welcome her.

Time has flown by since then. Susan eventually left big-firm life to hang out her shingle so that she could spend as much time with her girls as possible. Susan’s solo practice grew beyond her ability to manage it alone, so earlier this year she joined the firm of Culhane Meadows. Fortunately, it’s a cloud-based firm, so she still gets to work from home most of the time.

Susan’s daughters are the light of her life. Lauren is now 16, and will be getting her drivers license next week (gulp). She is an artist as well as a musician, and played competitive volleyball (made the Freshman A team) up until the year, when the time commitment got to be too much. Her younger daughter Anna is in an academically gifted program, and is a talented writer, having already won several awards for her short stories. She is also an accomplished gymnast. Susan still considers herself a musician, but she doesn’t perform as much anymore. Time is definitely at a premium.

Susan says WHS seems so long ago in some ways, but not in others. Up until her parents died in late 2009 and early 2010, Susan and her daughters came to Woodbridge 4-6 times a year, and she always had fun showing her kids the house on Grady Drive where she lived until her family moved to High Street in 1962, the schools she’d attended (although she was saddened to find that there was nothing left of Strawberry Hill), the Woodbridge Pond where she skated, places she’d held summer jobs, the Big White Church. Loretta Keating and Susan are still friends, and see each other whenever they can, although they live 800 miles apart. And mostly through her, Susan still keeps up with Betsy Trautwein and Susan Baumgartner Elbin.

We contacted Loretta Keating for her thoughts on her long time friendship with Susan. Susan and Loretta met when her family moved to High Street at the end of 1962. It did not take Loretta very long to figure out that she was extraordinary.   She could play anything and everything on the piano. In the sixth grade, she was so far ahead in reading that she was her own one-person reading group. She could play Bridge. You get the picture. But she rarely talked about herself, and the thing I remember most about the time we spent together is how much we laughed. Sometimes we would laugh so hard neither of us could talk. And we have continued to laugh a lot throughout the years. I treasure our friendship, which now includes her lovely daughters, and I think it might be about time for a visit to Illinois!

In talking with Susan, I asked if she had any regrets. Susan immediately answered that she did not because what she did at the time was exactly what she wanted to do. Susan tries to instill in her daughters the same idea. She encourages them to look at the whole person, not what you see on the outside. She loved physics with Doc Lane and participating in our WHS Band. Susan hasn’t made it to a reunion yet, and unfortunately can’t come this year either, but there’s always the 50th! She would love to have a picnic in Merrill Park next time, like the ones the Woodbridge Fire Dept. used to have every summer. Susan never, ever gets dressed up any more, so a picnic is what she wants!   (A girl after my own heart in that I also hate to get dressed in anything more than jeans!!!)

Susan, thank you for taking the time to talk with me and for allowing us to profile another WHS 1970 graduate.   Your success has been amazing and we are all glad you have found such happiness. Hope to see you at the 50th!


A step back in time...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


We welcome you to your latest Blog update. This month we are especially pleased to highlight two former classmates, Bea Davis-Braswell and Charlotte Enik-Klecan. We're sure you will enjoy their stories.  You'll see an example of 3rd grade art, well known folks born the year we graduated and some yearbook booster comments that will make you smile. We had hoped to also include a feature of one of our well known musicians from the 60/70's but unfortunately that will be pushed back to next month due to a death in his musical family.

Please turn up the music, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the read!

Rich, Cindy, Chris and Diane

Classmate spotlight...

Watch out Mr Ruiz and Mr Russomanno, this girl knows her baseball. In fact, she has issued a challenge to both of you for a test of Bronx Bombers trivia at our September reunion. We're speaking about our fellow classmate, Charlotte Enik-Klecan.
Charlotte's home turf was Strawberry Hill, having attended classes starting at School #3 before moving on to School #11, Barron Avenue Junior High and finally our shared time at WHS. "For some reason I was perceived as shy and reserved back, not so much! I have so many fond memories of the friendships throughout my school experience. There was Alan Cannizzaro, Dennis Ottaviano, Nancy Hopta and one in particular, Christine Gill, who's friendship I was blessed with that began long before my first day of school". We reached out to Christine and she shared with us: "Charlotte and I were best friends for what seems like forever. She is always in my heart. She is my sister. We have known each other since we were little kids, always going to the playground together, playing jacks, going on the swings and everything that kids do. We were always together! We hadn't seen each other in years and when my mom passed on in 2006, Charlotte was there!! What a great and happy surprise! She always cared about me and the people around her. She wasn't afraid to try new things. She is brave and a truly good soul. Unfortunately we haven't seen each other since 2006 but I know that we would pick up where we left off. Our friendship is the kind that you don't need to see one and other, but we know that we are always there for each other. I just love her. Right now I am honestly getting teary eyed. Charlotte is a hoot. She always has a smile on her face and could talk to anyone. She is so down to earth and grounded. Understanding, caring, funny and a wonderful daughter, sister and those lucky enough to be in her life". In addition, Nancy Hopta-DiCarlo wrote: "If there were a dictionary that matched a face with a word, then a photo of Charlotte Enik would definitely be listed under the word “FRIEND.”  Chotsi and I have been friends for many years, although we lost contact for a while after graduation. Thanks to one of our past reunions, we reconnected.  She and I shared many experiences in school including wonderful vocal music concerts with Mrs. Musacchia and screaming our lungs out at football games.  Chotsi is, without a doubt, one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met.  I’m so blessed and thankful to be able to call her my good friend!  Love you,Chots".
Anyone that has the pleasure of knowing Charlotte will say Christine and Nancy's words were heartfelt and point on. When asked about her nickname of "Chotsi" I was told a shortened form of it is credited to our classmate Nancy Hopta-DiCarlo. "Thinking back on our WHS days I remember when the day arrived allowing us to wear blue jeans. It certainly was different times back then. I think of how much I appreciate in hindsight my typing classes. That simple class was most significant for me in the business sector".
Not letting the grass to grow under her feet, Charlotte landed her first job the Monday after our WHS graduation. It was at the Woodbridge Town Hall as an assistant to the City Clerk. Several years later Charlotte began her twenty year career with Eastern Airlines as a reservation agent. After Eastern she served as a customer care manager for Scholastic Books. Today she joins husband of nearly forty years, Ed, in retirement. Home is Monroe Twp. and their two children, Stephanie and Eddie reside in Strawberry Hill. Stephanie teaches 2nd grade at the Mawbey Street elementary school and Eddie enjoys his career with the United Way.
Embracing the benefits of retirement both Charlotte and Ed plan to expand their love of travel. On the schedule next up is a trip to Tampa to check in with her Yankees during Spring Training (be careful Tony and Ray, don't be suckered into a big wager on her challenge). Also on the calendar is a trip to Hawaii to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Along the way Charlotte will bring along her camera. Our talented classmate has always enjoyed photography and her work has been recognized in several impressive competitions.
We spoke of past reunions and how much she is looking forward to our next reunion. "Rich, I can't fairly explain how much I enjoyed our last reunion. One aspect of the evening that was bittersweet was learning of those classmates that have passed. It only reinforced the importance of making an effort to attend. I am so glad I set aside time to be there and I can only hope others will do the same. I assure all of those that may be considering attending...please do, it was a special experience".
We played a word association game. Here goes... Rock & Roll or Country? Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Thick or Thin Slice? Thin plain. Mountains or Beach? Seaside then and Belmar now. TV or Book? Emily Dickinson.
Looking back into the yearbook you will find under her photo an interest in dancing. When I pointed this out Charlotte was quick to say "oh yes, me on the dance floor, I'll be the first out there!". I guess she was right, this fellow classmate of ours is 180 degrees from that shy and reserved girl we once walked the WHS hallways with.
Charlotte, thank you for sitting down with us and one last me a dance my friend.
Memo to Ray & Tony: Brush up on your pinstripe history.

Back in the day...

Gary Mehes received this Get Well card from Alan Cannizzaro when their 3rd grade class from Strawberry Hill (Mrs. Pape, School #3) had an epidemic of chicken pox. The two headed person was traced from scissors, perhaps to show the "before and after" face of chicken pox.

Pocket change...

Classmate Spotlight...

One of our student spotlights this month is a Sewaren girl, Bea Davis Braswell.  Many of us are Facebook friends with Bea and love reading about her starting so late in life!  I laughed, Bea started out by saying “just in case no one remembers me, I was the co-captain of the WHS Drill Team”.  I do believe all those who knew Bea, cannot forget her.

   After graduation, Bea began working for the telephone company in Perth Amboy.  Being somewhat of a restless soul, Bea wanted to travel so she became a flight attendant for United Airlines based out of and living in New York City.  During a time of her flight attendant days she caught the attention of a magazine mogul and he offered her a job with his company.   This was the beginning of a series of jobs in the corporate sector.  In 1976, Bea landed a job working at the DeVry Technical Institute in Iselin, New Jersey, where she met her husband John, who is currently a supervisor at United Cerebral Palsy.  They have been married for 38 years, have one daughter, Kym, and five beautiful grandchildren.

    In high school, Bea was good friends with Chris Elisko, who passed away too early, and Beth Goodale.  Beth and Bea still maintain contact, but not as frequently as Bea would like.  Bea still maintains friendships through Facebook with John Carvana,  David Muse, and Sharon Melvin.

Bea’s biggest regret is that she did not have the confidence in herself to attend college right out of high school. She always wanted to be a doctor and now thinking back on it, if she had the right mentor ship, she believes she would have pulled it off.  Other than that, she enjoyed every second of her youth and her experience at WHS.  Bea also plans on trying very hard to get back for our 45th reunion. When John Carvana learned of Bea's Blog feature he asked to include the following: "I've known Bea since we were in junior high school. I thought then, as I do now, that she was one of the cutest girls I'd ever seen. Always loved her big smile and her genuine "perkiness". We liked each other but since Sewaren was too far from Iselin, we didn't actually "date", however, she was my girl at the Woodbridge Junior High School Junior or Prom (I think that's what it was called). Had it not been for Bea, I may have never met my best friend of 50+ years, Gary Morton. We were both a bit smitten by Bea and I won her over (of course) but Gary and I remained friends throughout. Actually, the three of us have remained friends all these years. I think the world of Bea. She has become a strong spiritual role model for me and I'm sure for others. We haven't seen each other in years, but she's someone that always has a special place in my heart. Got mad love for ya, Bea! Namaste!"In 2000, Bea took a course at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York to study Holistic Health Counseling.  It was there Bea discovered she had a gift for counseling, so at the young age of 50, she started college and obtained a Bachelors in Psychology from Ottawa University in Phoenix.  After being a part of social work for a period of time, inclusive of a job as a Case Manager for Child Protective Services, Bea decided to pursue her dream of a Master’s Degree and work with children.   She began that pursuit at Capella University.  Due a series of “stops” and “starts”, she finally succeeded in that degree after five years.  Bea is finally at the internship stage and currently works as a Child Therapist at an inner city facility in Phoenix, AZ.   Bea states it is a crazy time of her life.  When most of our classmates are winding down, Bea is just getting started!
Bea is also a Reiki Practitioner and Holistic Health Counselor.  Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that promotes healing done by “laying of hands” and is based on our “life force energy” flowing through our bodies.  If your life force is high, you are more capable for being happy and healthy.

Bea enjoys cooking, soap making, sewing and decorating.  Bea and her husband love to travel and their biggest wish is to become beach bums in Key West!  However, she acknowledges that both of them need to slow down first.

Thank you, Bea, for allowing us to profile you.  It was great talking with you and  I hope your beach bum days in Key West happen for you and John.



Want to Feel Old?...

All of these fine folks were born into the world the year we graduated...

A Step Back in Time...

We decided to take a glance at the end of our Baronet yearbook to check out our collective booster comments, if you recall, most of us sold these for a dollar per in order to reduce the cost of our annuals. Many of them reflected the sign of the times back then and although tempting we decided to hold off from sharing the many listings for our alumni's undying love for their boyfriend/girlfriend at the time.

A few of your Booster comments:

"Then Came Me and the World Rejoiced", Kiss Me You Fool, I'm Waiting", "We met at the A&P", "Mash the Potatoes and End the War", "Draft Beer...Not Students", "May John Lose His Drumsticks", "47 Hamilton Ave, Seaside", "McDonald's is My Kind of Place", "My Mother, The Attorney General", "God Bless Our Boys in Vietnam", "Robby Has a Cold, Black, Wet Nose", "Support Mr. Nixon", "I Ain't Got Nothing to Say", "Thank You for Letting Us to Wear Pants", ""Finally Grew Up - Took Long Enough", "Remember the Pueblo", "Ignorance Prevails", "I'll Never Forget Mr. What's His Name" and "This Thing is Costing Me a Dollar".

Monday, February 23, 2015


Welcome to our latest Blog update. We are pleased to present you a few Classmate Profiles that feature some very special folks. Cindy was able to sit down with Bob and Gloria Moscarelli while at the same time Tony Russomanno shared time with me.

We would like to do a sincere shout out to Doug Hart who was very kind to share with us some very cool photos that we've highlighted in this month's update. Thanks Doug!

Grab a cup of coffee and a soft chair...we hope you enjoy!

The Blog Crew

No deflategate here...

WHS Football Coaches: Al Meravi, Sam Lupo, Dick Miglecz and Cary Hamrah
OFFENSE: Standing; 42 Doug Hart, Kevin Short, 19 John Huttenberger,
Kneeling: 83 Mark Smith, 75 Richard Webb, 67 Anthony Silakoski, 58 Michael Clayman, 62 Paul Cuntala, 71 John O'Toole, 30 Lee Slicner
DEFENSE: Standing; 84 Steve Starrick, 44 Thomas Welter, 31 Al Kinal, 85 Thomas Kumpa, 83 Mark Smith, 42 Doug Hart
Kneeling: 75 Richard Webb, 61 James Russo, 57 James Davis, 71 John O'Toole and 53 Tony Russomanno
A huge thank you to Doug Hart for providing the photos.