Thursday, April 30, 2009

See You Saturday Night

After more than 100 posts on this blog, it's almost time for the Saturday night NPHS reunion. Be sure to visit this blog Sunday and through next week when I'll be posting pictures and video of the reunion. And if anyone wants to send me any photos, here's my address: See you Saturday!

Favorite NPHS Memories

The results of the final NPHS blog poll are complete. Here's how we voted on our favorite NPHS memories. 53% said friends; 15% voted for HoJo's (presumably the restaurant, not the motel shown above); another 15% voted for graduating; 7% preferred the dances and canteens; 7% said cruising Greenbrook Ave. No one voted for classes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wanna Learn More About North Plainfield?

Then read "Images of America: North Plainfield," by Mario Caruso, Bruce Ryno and Joann Kobler. Parts of it are available online at Google. The book includes photos of places on Somerset Street (see Somerset School above taken in November) as well as chapters on early history, floods, fires, churches, schools and the five free Bruce Springsteen concerts performed on the NPHS lawn during the summer of 1974. (Uh....maybe that last fact is wrong.) The chapters I read online are terrific and I especially enjoyed looking at the ancient maps.

How to See North Plainfield Better

Wanna see more details in the photos I've posted? Just doubleclick the left side of your mouse to see an enlarged photo. So if you doubleclick on this image of the North Plainfield Municipal Building, you'll see Derek Jeter in the court paying his traffic ticket for double parking on Somerset Street. (Just kidding!)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Info About the May 3 Breakfast

A few blog readers requested more information about the Sunday morning North Plainfield High School reunion breakfast May 3 at the hotel. Here's what I have. Cost: $14. The buffet breakfast starts at 9 a.m. and runs through noon. (Question to self: does anyone who isn't a teenager eat breakfast close to noon?) Bloody Mary's? Bloody unlikely. If you have more questions, I suggest you contact Gerry Garatino Burns ( or Janice Hansen Lake ( See you at breakfast. (For me, that means 9.)

More Cregar Artwork -- Circa 2009

My former neighborhood, childhood friend, and artistic collaborator John Cregar knows the joys and sorrows of blogging. I.E. -- it's hard to come up with stuff every day. So in response to my post a few weeks ago when I wondered who was visiting the blog from Eastern Europe (yes, we were getting some blog visitors from there), John produced his vision of who might be visiting this site from the eastern part of Europe. If you look very, very carefully you can see that the newspaper some of the characters are holding says "NPHS Reunion." Thanks for the cool artwork John! Nice to be working with you again!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Last Minute Signups for NPHS Reunion

The North Plainfield High School Class of 1968 continues to generate attendees to the May 2 reunion. The latest to sign up: Randy Blaine and Bruce Brokaw. Also, Dale Schwart Hosfield will be joining us for breakfast on Sunday, May 3.

Think Twice About Wearing Blue Jeans Saturday

I'm hearing vague rumors of attendees thinking of wearing blue jeans to the Saturday night NPHS reunion. I certainly don't want to be in the role of the fashion police, but think carefully before making such a decision. Few people at our stage in life can get away with svelt look of bell bottoms (left) that was really the hallmark of our generation. Basic black will really do. Remember the poll we took last month when 11% of women said they'd wear a pantsuit and a whopping 55% said they'd war whatever makes them look tall and slender. So if blue jeans work....then it's your choice.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our Back Pages (Tunlaw to Be Specific)

Here's a story from a 1965 or 1966 issue of Tunlaw about the NPHS Freshman dance "Happiness Is...." I love that Richard Muglia is listed as "supervising" the dance. I'm not sure what that means although I'm sure he did a great job. Don't remember anyone getting sick from the punch. Vaguely remember the band the Ultimates. Didn't 9th grader Barrie date 10th grader Martha Huff? Playing lead guitar will always get you all the chicks. To me, the name of the dance -- "Happiness Is...." -- just drips with irony. "Happiness" and "Freshman year in high school" just don't belong in the same sentence. It's just an awful time when your body goes haywire, math becomes impossible, you have to learn a foreign language, you're years away from driving but you're too cool to ask your parents for a ride...and did I mention that math becomes impossible?

R.I.P. Marie O'Brien

Just received news that former North Plainfield High School English teacher Marie O'Brien died Tuesday. (Read the obit in the Courier News.) She had a 59-year career at NPHS. I remember her vaguely as someone who loved the English language, and as a teacher who was stern, intimidating, and wouldn't tolerate sloppy writing or behavior. I think she scared the crap out of me....probably because of my sloppy habits at the time. Her mantra, according to the News obit, was, "The more you write, the better you will become." Gotta love a person with that motto. It's especially relevant to me as someone who just wrote his 100th post for this blog. John Cregar wrote me that he visited her 18 months ago and she was busy reading the biographies of every American President in sequential order. Wow. That's a true scholar. I wonder if she completed that task before she passed....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Huge Attendance from NPHS Class of 1968

More classmates from the North Plainfield High School class of 1968 keep signing up for the May 2 reunion. It's one of the largest reunions ever. Altogether 60 classmates are coming; 20 are bringing guests/spouses, which brings the total up to 80. Thirty-nine people representing the class will be at the breakfast on May 3.

Here's the list so far: Steve Abbruzzese, Ed Adams, Lorrie Allen Jairdullo, Jim Antonisse, Bill Bennett, Barbara Brodzik Tomalo, Jonathan Brown, John Burke, Nancy Campbell, Lou Carlucci, Joe Cioce, Rick Coleman, Kathy Dame Schmedes, Irene Dec Sheredos, Angela DellaVentura, Bob Dietrick, Rosemary Fineberg, Maggie Gabler King, Gerry Garatino Burns, Gail Gilbert Spinner, Chuck Gomer, Jeff Grand, John Greco, Susan Henry Martin, Tom Hughes, Adrienne Jacobs Graubard, Effie Karpodinis Judge, Bob Kelley, Karl Krawitz, Janet Krehn Okray, Susan Krisburg, Barbara Kuhne Harwell, Linda Loalbo Chehade, Carol Martinez Weber, Roberta Meiser Specht, Bradley Musson, Jim Nazemetz, Judy Nazemetz, Jerry Ott, Robert Polskin, David Schmedes, Linda Shebey Leugers, Bob Sheredos, Michael Silveri, Patti Smith Dandeo, Tommy Sullivan, Bill Thompson, David Thompson, Nick Thul, Jeff Tuorto, Nancy Waller, Mike Watson, Kathy Weiss Greco, Doug Williams and Ted Zukowski.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

NPHS Class of 1969: Who's Coming?

Classmates from North Plainfield High School Class of 1969 who are attending the May 2 reunion at the Crowne Plaza (left): John Benassu, Colleen Bersch Brown, David Billman, Dennis Cecchini, Jan Cooper Leah Lamb, Jolaine Dow Peace, Suzanne Dumont Millan, Nancy Eddy Hanna, Alan Feigenbaum, Steven Fila, Edward (Ned) Fitzgerald, Gary Garwacke, Beverly Gaston Kochard, Mark Goldstein, Barbara Green Elbeze, Marilyn Gross Stillman, Janice Hansen Lake, John Hieb, Karen Hultburg Pirozzi, Helen Jenkins O'Keefe, Leo Kopsaftis, Karen Kretschmer Kochanski, Marc Lerner, Michael Maresca, Janet Medinets Doctofsky, Carl Mehlhorn, Kathy Miller Senna, Carol Mingione Greene, Jack Muldowney, Robert Munzer, Wendy Perslin Trimarche, Emily Polskin Zylber, Howard Polskin, Joseph Ricci, Robin Roselle Oratio, Richard Senna, Beat Steiner, Andrew Thomson, Joyce Triol Blanding, Frank Vastano, Robyn Waldron Massey.

There are 41 1969 classmates attending and they are bringing 18 spouses or guests. We've heard from 42 classmates who unfortunately are unable to attend. Thirteen ads have been purchased. Ka-ching! Our classmates are attending from all over the country: Arizona, California (3), Colorado, Delaware, Florida (4....and I bet at the next reunion there will be more from Florida), Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, New Jersey ( surprise there), Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Remembering Seaside Heights

Seaside Heights was our Riviera. Sun....sin....let the fun begin. If you were a central Jersey kid in the late 60s, mid-April (now) is when you'd be thinking about heading to the "shore" for the weekend. So check out this 15-minute promotional film about Seaside Heights that was produced in the late sixties. It will bring back some memories.

Rockin' Down Route 22

Bill Thompson (class of 1968) wrote a response to the "I'm with the band" post from April 2 about the NPHS band truck rockin' down Route 22 (above). I thought I'd share it with everyone: "I don't know how well the band "rocks down Route 22" now, but I do remember when it rocked in two different buses during the late 60's. Especially when one Michael Rosco Scavone was in the drum section. He'd start playing Bo Diddley songs and get the whole bus involved. It literally "rocked" down the highways." By the way, the photo I snapped above was taken while I was driving toward North Plainfield from Scotch Plains.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Reading This Blog -- Who's Out There?

Using a Google tool, I'm able to track basic information about what countries and states visitors to this blog are coming from. I can even go a bit deeper and learn what cities they are in. I know that visitors from 10 countries have visited this blog. The vast majority are from the U.S. -- no surprise there -- but I'm also receiving hits from Ireland, Morocco and the country of Georgia. The blog has received traffic from roughly two-thirds of all U.S. states. New Jersey, New York and California are the big traffic drivers. But there are some cities with a lot of traffic and I don't know who's visiting from those locations. So if you know who's in the following cities, please let me know. Copaigue, Long Island; Walden, NY; Westlake, CA; Rocky Hill, NJ; Dallas, TX; Minneapolis, MN; and Covina, LA. I'm just curious....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It's Track and Field Season at NPHS

If there's any area of the high school that seems completely untouched by time, it's the track. In fact, it looks better than it did in the late sixties. I think it's beautiful the way the curve of the track fits into the hill (on the Route 22 side, where I was standing when I took the shot). Furthermore, the track is framed on the straightaways by the brook and the school. The far end of the track opens to the great front lawn of the school. The result is something cozy and inviting, and perfectly integrated into its surrounding. Additionally, the school deserves big points for the upkeep.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ancient Artifact from a Long Time Gone

So it's been 40 years almost to the day since I registered for the draft. The fact that I kept this piece of paper -- heavily freighted with history and emotion -- is proof that I didn't burn it. And why would I? Young men received this document upon turning 18. While it was just a piece of paper, it was as powerful as a sorcerer's potion. It meant that you might be snatched out of your comfortable suburban existence and transported to an Asian rice paddy where your life might be on the line. But it was also instantaneous proof that you were 18 and therefore it gave you the magical ability to be served in bars where the drinking age was 18. I love that it has my weight -- 140 pounds. In the 40 years since I received the card, I gained 15 pounds, almost two inches and a ton of wisdom.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Attendance From NPHS Class of 1968 Exceeds Prior Reunion

This just in: from the Class of 1968, new reunion attendees include Nancy Campbell and Chuck Gomer and his wife. (Chuck is a Professor of Pediatrics and Radiation Oncology, and Vice Chair of Pediatrics of Faculty Development at USC Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.) That makes 72 attendees representing the North Plainfield High School Class of 1968, a total that exceeds the 2004 reunion. And we expect more classmates to sign up in the remaining 23 days until the reunion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Additions for the North Plainfield HS Reunion

From the NPHS Class of 1969.....Steve Fila. That makes 58 attendees representing the class. From the NPHS Class of 1968.....Laraine Cox Reedy and Ted Zuchowski. That makes 69 attendees representing the class. Altogether -- so far -- there are 127 coming to the reunion dinner. There's food, booze and music. I'd say that makes for a pretty good party.

Auerbach Update

Paul Auerbach is still on the fence about attending. However, just last week it was announced that Paul had been named the Diver of the Year by the Diver Alert Network (see press release). I believe he was in Secaucus last week to receive the award. Here's what the organization had to say about Paul, who is a tireless champion of dive medicine and currently a professor in the division of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University: "His belief in the connection between health and environment and that 'doctors must also be environmental stewards,' particularly in areas where cultures depend on the ocean, clearly show that his passion and dedication to dive medicine and dive safety has grown into a global outreach."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Great Note from Karen Von Tish Andronici

On Friday, I received a wonderful email from Karen Von Tish Andronici (left at the 2004 reunion). The following is the edited version:

I am enjoying the blog and the walk down memory lane that it provides. Loved the prom picture. At our junior prom, “Ebb Tide," there were about 6 of us girls with the same dress except in different colors. We looked like bridesmaids in a rainbow wedding in the pictures.

As an update, I still live in Medford Lakes in a log cabin in the woods - home in the loveliest sense of the word. I work in central administration for the Mount Laurel School District as the Director of Human Resources and Professional Development. I read, garden, bike, play tennis and just took up golf – and play badly.

Some of our classmates might remember my mother since there were always kids in and out of the house. She is still alive and well (lucky for her kids) and lives on her own in Toms River. My brother John, class of ‘64 is out in Wisconsin and my sister Eileen, class of ‘71 is in Ocean Township, NJ. All are well and also in education.

Karen will not be at the reunion due to a conflict in her schedule but I'm sure she'll be following the updates and will want the full download (probably posted here) after the reunion.

Results of Women's Fashion Poll for the Reunion

So ladies, what are you wearing to the North Plainfield High School Reunion for the Class of 1968 and 1969? I mean, we all can't look like Twiggy (left), circa 1967. We took a poll on the blog to find and and this is what we discovered. No one intends to wear a skirt. Just 11% said they'll wear a pants suit. About a third indicated that a dress will be fine (betcha we'll see a lot of black), and a whopping 55% boasted that they'll wear whatever makes them look tall and slender!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Polskin Video Tour of North Plainfield

Last November, I shot some video footage of North Plainfield and Plainfield. I finally got around to making a rough cut, which I've posted today. It's set to the music of Bruce Springsteen's "My Hometown." I thought it was appropriate to have Springsteen's music in the video, because in my opinion, he's the finest poet ever to emerge from our home state. As you can see, it was shot on a glorious fall day. There are some images of Front Street, which is almost totally unrecognizable from the days when we roamed downtown Plainfield. I also shot North Ave. in Plainfield where there were many factories including my father's clothing factory. This is far from a polished video (please excuse the rough edits), but it's meant to give the flavor of North Plainfield to those of you who have not been to our hometown in a number of years.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'm with the Band

So when did the marching band get so cool that it warranted its own wheels? I happened to see the band van when I drove by late last year. But I'm still baffled by it. Can't they fit everything in just a regular bus? I guess the band has some political clout because they go now go rockin' down Route 22 in style now.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Another Poster from the 1966 Kicks Dance

Here's another John Cregar poster for the November 11 (1966?) dance Kicks (named after the hit song of the same name by Paul Revere and the Raiders). Wow....Paul Sincavage was a big target for John. The glasses, the hairline, the long angular face must have been tailor made for an artisit like John. Wonder how John fared in Sincavage's history class...