Jan 29, 2011

City & Country Then: David's Album

These are pictures of City & Country School's class of '62, my grade school class.  A class who chose for its motto upon graduation, "When in danger or in doubt run in circles scream and shout".  The school is located in New York City in the West Village between 12th and 13th Streets and 6th and 7th Avenues.  There were about 20 of us in that class who were together for most of our childhood -- a few came or went along the way.  Most of these photos I found in my mother's photo album.  The originals are mostly 2x3 or 3x4 prints, some are badly faded or stained.  Some had been trimmed with a scissors.  I scanned and restored them in Photoshop in 2008 and 2010.  A few I hand colored in Photoshop  when I was scanning and restoring them.  I suspect most, if not all, of the classroom pictures were taken by Sylvia Miller, our rhythms teacher.  The picture of Kim's birthday party came from his sister Kerry's photo album.  The graduation pictures in the Big Yard I believe were taken by Danny's father Joseph Patelson.  The yearbook  pictures we took of each other and the two color pictures of field day 1961 (an event organized by the class of '61) were taken by me.  Even then I had a strong interest in photographing. 

XIIIs - Rhythms Class - 1961-2

Rhythms Class

Rhythms Class

Boating in Rhythms Class.
David needs to pee to the amusement of Danny and Greg 

Kim's Birthday Party. L>R David, Kim, George, Robert

IXs - Play about the pioneers - 1957-8
Johnny, the class favorite, at the center of attention.

IXs - Play about the pioneers - 1957-8
Karen and Kim

IXs - Play about the pioneers - 1957-8
Johnny and Kim, George and Robert in background

Play - Danny and David

 XIs - Rehearsal Cortez Play - 1959-60 -- Maybe -- or it might be a XIIs rhythms class - 1960-61
Front to back: Debbie?, Jill, Lisle, Martha, Janie?, Jane. David, Greg 

XIs - Cortez Play - 1959-60
David, Danny, Oliver  

XIIs Jane, Janie and Janet with IVs - 1960-1

XIIs - Greek Mythology Play - 1960-1

XIIs - Greek Mythology Play - 1960-1

XIIs - Greek Mythology Play - 1960-1

The City & Country and Dalton School orchestras giving a concert in the Dalton library around 1960-62;  Channing Robbins conducting.  Channing conducted both school orchestras and gave us music lessons.  I remember once at a Broadway show going up front to talk to Channing during intermission, he was playing in the orchestra.   I am in the back row between the two bookcases in left of the photo, Karen Gilmore is next to me on my left and Henry Hinrichsen, Martha's brother who attended Dalton, is two rows directly in front of me.  We are all playing the cello and all studied with Channing.  Lisle Kulbach (back to camera) is playing the violin, she is directly in front of the girl at far bottom right of the photo who is also playing a violin.

The City & Country and Dalton School orchestras giving a concert in the Dalton library around 1960-62.  Channing Robbins conductor.   Sybil Totah our singing teacher is standing in back and sitting just to her right is my father.  Robert's mother is sitting in the first row on the far left side of the photograph.

Stuyvestant Town, 1957.
Photo by Luigi Lupas, an in-law on my mother's side, who painted Lyndon Johnson's official presidential portrait. 

Wheelbarrow Race, Martha and Jill in the Lead.  Classes of '61 and '62.  Field Day 1961
Pairs, standing first:  Karen, Lisle; George, Kim; Robert, John: Debbie, ?, Janet, Diane; Cara, Jane; Martha, Jill. The Hays brothers ('61) are just to the right of Martha and Jill, and Cynthia Beer on the far right. 

Sybil Totah, singing teacher and Cynthia Beer, Xs & XIIs teacher.  Field Day 1961

XIIIs - Being a Sewing Machine in Rhythms Class - 1961-2

XIIIs - May Day Rhythms Class - 1962


Danny and David.                    The Grange Fair, Yorktown Hts., NY, 1956

Marc Geltman ('61), Danny Patelson, David Lebe, Marc's mother Mary Geltman and Mark's sister.      
The Grange Fair, Yorktown Hts, NY, 1957
Notice the City & Country T-shirts on Marc and his sister.  I'm holding up a butterfly for the camera, I was deep into my lepidopterous period here, also I was weird and didn't like orange pop.  Mary Geltman later became the VIIIs teacher.

David, Marc, Danny.   I'm wrapped in my butterfly net.                                                                     Goldens Bridge, NY, 1957

This photo brings me back to a place and time in my memory that feels like perfect happiness.  It was taken on one of the porches of the summer house that Danny's parents rented from Ottilie.  Ottilie was the school cook who made us hot lunches everyday and ruled the lunch room.  I don't remember that much about her lunches except that I thought they were pretty ho hum but I was a fussy eater, Lisle remembers adoring them.  I do remember meals like like meatloaf, mashed potatoes and stewed tomatoes.  You could look past the steam table into an open kitchen and watch the food being cooked.  It seemed to me an exciting and clamorous operation.  The one big hit I remember everyone liking was white buttered toast that we covered with cinnamon and sugar poured from mug sized stainless steal shakers, though that may have come with omelets, perhaps as a compensation.  Ottilie's house was in Goldens Bridge, NY a few miles from Katonah and about a half hour from our little red bungalow in Yorktown Heights.  Goldens Bridge in those day, as I remember it, was not much more than a railroad crossing.  There was a tiny general store, a tiny post office, a garage and on the other side of the railroad crossing about a half dozen old farm and victorian style houses.  Ottilie's house was past all this, a mile or so out of town.  The narrow paved road there crossed the railroad tracks, curved between the few houses, passed into the woods where it became dirt and then it climbed a hill to a sandy parking area below where the house was perched on a patch of treeless hill top.  There was no landscaping or lawn, just rocks, scrubby grass and other wild plants.  The house itself was a dark green two story clapboard box with porches on three sides. The back porch was a double-decker and faced west where one could watch the sun setting over the Muskoot Reservoir from the top deck.  I called Danny's parents Uncle Joe and Aunt Nell though Joe was really only my father's first cousin.  Nell, who sometimes played the piano in rhythms class for Sylvia Miller, kept that old summer house as clean, and the floors as polished, as she did Patelson's, their famous music shop on 56th street behind Carnegie Hall.  Though here you couldn't run and slide on the floors, like you could in the music shop, since the boards were too old and didn't fit together tightly enough.  

There was one other house on that hill.  The land dipped slightly then rose again and at the very top was a small single story house sitting in the middle of the woods.  it was as if the woods had just grown up around it, there didn't seem to be any way it could have gotten there.  It was always dark from the tree cover and the inside didn't feel to me all that different form the outside, just darker.  As far as I can remember there was no electricity or running water. The Geltmans (Marc '61 his younger sister and parents. Mary, Mark's mother became the VIIIs teacher after our time at C&C) would sometimes rent this house for a few weeks,  thought I don't know if it also belonged to Ottilie. When that Geltman's were up I'd sometimes go and stay with the Patelsons for a while and Marc, Danny and I would hang out together. At least I know this happened in '57 since there is photographic evidence.  There were always things do to and adventures to be had there.  We could go down to the reservoir or explore the woods looking for colorful mushrooms and maybe find a box turtle to bring home if we were lucky.  Somewhere up on that hill there was a house that had burned down long ago where the daylilies that had been planted there had spread to make a small field and we'd pick large bunches to bring home.  Danny had his toy trucks to play with and I would collect butterflies or under Nell's direction we would collect moss and rocks and sheets of mica and build miniature landscapes in pie tins. I remember one night the three of us boys sleeping in one large bed on the lower back porch where the picture above was taken, maybe that very same night.    


Page from yearbook

These group photos for the yearbook were printed by us in a tiny closet of a darkroom in the front of the science classroom, just off the big yard.  Lisle remembers that our science/photography teacher was Lee Udell a man I don't really remember at all, though I remember much of what we did in his class, especially the photography.  This was my first darkroom experience and I loved it all, though the most exciting part was loading film onto the developing tank reels.  This is because the only place dark enough to do this job was in the coal cellar of the 13th street building, behind the ceramics kiln.  This intriguing  space, where almost no one went, was dark and slightly creepy and seemed not to have seen much change since the mid ninetieth century.  Its greatest allure however was that it was usually absolutely forbidden to students.  In on order to work in that room we needed to scavenge chairs and a table and set up a work space, moving aside forgotten boxes of stored supplies.  Quite a few of us were working on this project, there was much coming and going and often several of us would find ourselves in there at the same time.  Naturally -- it was an easy step -- we turned this ancient coal cellar in to a secret clubhouse.  We seemed to find quite a lot of time to go there and not just during science class.  The room was soon stocked with illicit food, I remember a table cloth and paper cups, bottles of soda and of course cigarettes and ash trays as well.  All hidden away in the old boxes when we left the room.  The most famous incident, remembered by many of us, was the time Jill climbed up the coal shoot, push open the manhole cover and went out onto the sidewalk.  Then she realized that the only way in, without being found out, was to slide back down to shoot.  Unfortunately there is no photographic documentation of this event and as my memory is incomplete, I can only imagine how Jill must have looked after such an adventure and wonder why no one questioned her appearance.  How our club house avoided detection is another mystery.  Perhaps it was discovered but it was thought best not to take notice?  After all we'd soon be gone.  

Photos taken of each other for the yearbook

Danny Patelson___________________________________ Lisle Kulbach
Greg Danalow__________________________Johnny (now John) DeWind 
Jane Sherlip______________________________________Michael Marks
Robert Dressner______________________________________Jill Spiegel
Karen Gillmor__________________________________Martha Hinrichsen
Denise Field______________________________________Janet Goldstein
Debbie Cousins_____________________________________Cara Gendell
Oliver Gillham____________________________Janie (now Jaine) Bevans
David Lebe___________________________________________Kim Allen
Janet Kauffman____________________________Janie (now Jaine) Bevans

Graduation, Jean Murray pinning Janet (top) and Lisle

Group pictures in the Big Yard after the ceremony

Martha with her parents, Evelyn and Walter Hinricksen
(back left; Tom Bevans)

Danny with his parents, Nell and Joseph Patelson

Official Graduation Picture
Jean Murray, principal and Fern Cohen, XIIIs teacher sitting
Yes, Fern is clearly pregnant and still teaching, still a bit scandalous for 1962, even though she is married

Flyer for the 50th anniversary fair, the year after we graduated, 1963


  1. David, my darling step daughter who spends to much time on the internet some how found this lovely, thoughtful review of a few idleic summers at Goldens Bridge with you Danny Padleson and I.I have not thought of these times in 60 years but your vivid description remembering of these times brought it all back and tears to my eyes.Thank you for this remembrance of things past and the pictures of my family and you. sincerely Marc Geltman

  2. Marc, glad you found my blog. I think about those times surprisingly often. About 10 years ago our class started reconnecting and we’ve had several reunions since. Kerry Allen has joined us several times, you probably remember her brother Kim was in our class. Lisle Kulbach says hello and joins with me in wondering what has become of you and what you are up to these days. You might prefer to scroll up and use the more private email form, in the right hand column near the top of the page.