Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Foreign Place (for me) in North Plainfield

East End School. To me, as a Stony Brooker, East End School was like the dark side of the moon. You never just happened to drive by it like Stony Brook or West End. It was tucked in the middle of a bucolic residential neighborhood. Tiny streets that were a challenge for a VW bug. I mean, how could a school bus get through? But there was something peaceful about it, as evidenced by this photo I snapped in November. Just look at's beautiful. Real Americana. As a student, I really only experienced it as a Little League ballplayer. And it was definitely a foreign experience. If anyone has other thoughts about the East End mystic, lemme know.

The North Plainfield blog goes on hiatus until the week of January 5. Time to head south to Florida, go fishing, go swimming, catch some flicks, read a few books, and hoist one or two frosties.

Happy New Year. Here's to our health and happiness.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The More Things Stay the Same....

....the more things change....uh....stay the same. The Howard Johnson Motor Lodge is still there on Route 22. Familiar orange roof. Swimming pool. The white noise hum of North Plainfield highway traffic. However, the Howard Johnson restaurant is gone, replaced by a Rite Aid. pharmacy. So it's not like we could have had our reunion meal at HoJo's even if we wanted to.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

About the North Plainfield Historic District

Here's an example of a wonderful home from North Plainfield's historic district that I referenced in the previous post. Does anyone who is going to the NPHS Reunion live in this area? Or have they ever lived there? Just wondering....

Good Marketing in North Plainfield

One of the pleasant surprises from my early November trip to North Plainfield, NJ, was seeing the improvements in some of the neighborhoods. There were some inevitable declines (Somerset Street and Plainfield's Front Street), but it was great to see how so much has held up in 40 years. Especially noteworthy was the intersection where Rockview Terrace and Rockview Ave. meet. It's now called Washington Park Historic District (my emphasis). That struck me as very clever. There's a cluster of about two dozen houses that are knock-out gorgeous. Some have big porches, scary gables, strange angles and offbeat colors. The street resembles sections of Savannah, Georgia.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Image from Gary Garwacke

Gary Garwacke sent me this image late last month. I think he snapped it with his cell phone. I asked for a better photo but for the moment this will have to do. I also got an email from him the day before Thanksgiving. He asked if he and his family could come up to my family's Manhattan apartment. "Wow," I thought. "That's very friendly. Maybe too friendly." Afterall, I had a dozen family membes visiting and I haven't really socialized with Gary 1968 or 1969. And besides, my apartment is on the East Side and doesn't overlook the parade route. And that's what I told Gary....but that he's welcome to come in and watch the NY Marathon which he could see partially from one of my bedroom windows. Gary replied that he was only joking!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pictures from Joe Harari

I continue to receive a trickle of email correspondence. Joe Harari, who is Vet in Spokane, WA, has been sending some great dispatches from the West Coast (read this wonderful interview with him). This morning I received some images from him. The picture at the right shows Joe (in cap) taken at Spokane zoological park (seems natural that Joe would be there). Here's the interesting part: the young man in the middle s Jarod Munzer, Bob Munzer's son. He happens to work there and is training to be a big-cat zoo-keeper. I'm assuming that it's coincidence that Jarod is working there....although we need the back story on how Jarod and Joe wound up in Spokane of all places.

I'll post more Harari pictures later in the week. Would be nice to have some other images and correspondence. I'd be glad to hear from the class of 68 and I know some of you are reading this blog.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Response from North Plainfield Grads from Email Blast (Part II)

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I continued to get positive feedback about the email blast about the blog. Joe Harari wrote that "NP never looked so good." That's why I posted the picture to the left, which looks like something out of a New England prep school. The old track looks pretty good....I must admit. Marc Lerner sent me a batch of emails from California where he works as a doctor. Another Californian, Steve Miksis, also sent me a note. And Joe Ricci wrote what I assume is a thoughtful and kind note -- it was mainly in Spanish. I guess I'll have to wait until May to get the translation.

If anyone has any JPEGS from any of the previous reunions, please send them my way. And I would love to hear from the class of 1968.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Response to Email Blast (Part 1)

Thanks to those of you who responded so quickly (and so late at night) to the email blast alerting you to the existence of this blog.

Didn't know there were so many email-obsessed night-owls out there. Paul Auerbach was one of the first responders (I think it's in his professional genes...he works at the Stanford University School of Medicine Division of Emergency Medicine). He's going to try to make the reunion if professional and family obligations don't conflict. (Isn't it so annoying the way that happens?) That's Paul on the right in this photo snapped at the play he was in at Duke in his Freshman year. He sent it to me 5 years ago.

By the way, it's also worth reading Paul's excellent blog and one of his books Field Guide to Wilderness Medicine.

I'll be posting more responses to the email. Hope to hear from more of you. Send images. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Where We'll Be Reunioning (if that's a word)

In case you forgot, we'll be meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Lincoln Highway in Edison, NJ. For those of you who went to the 2004 reunion, it was clean and functional, and was perfect for everyone's pocketbook. It's not likely erase one's memory of say a romantic weekend on the Isle of Capri, but compared to HoJo's on Route 22, it feels like a Four Seasons. If you've got any photos, from the last reunion there, please send to me at and I'll be sure to post ASAP.

I'll keep posting images of my visit to NP a few weeks ago when the weather was warm and sunny, and bright orange and yellow leaves fluttered in the warm late autumn New Jersey sun. The Garden State truly felt like the Garden State during my visit.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Welcome to the NPHS Blog

Welcome to the blog about the 2009 NPHS class reunion. I've created this blog because we probably need a central point to gather, collect information, post memories, dish and be kept up-to-date about our classmates. Kinda like a virtual Chubby's. I drove out to NP mid-November to capture some images of the hometown so I'll be sharing them in the months to come. In the meantime, be sure to visit this site where I'll try to keep everyone posted about who's coming, who's missing and any other information pertinent to the reunion. I'd love to post images of followers of the if you've got any then and now photos (or anything special from your journey) please send them to

By the way, the photo at the top of the blog was snapped at Washington Rock and it looks out over North Plainfield. It's my 50,000-foot view of the town. The image on the above right is looking at NPHS from Stony Brook School, across the mighty Stony Brook (natch).

More on my recollections on the return visit to NP to follow later this week.