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By Mona Raskin

Class Reunion

On 9/11/09 Mr. Raskin and I found ourselves on a flight to New York!

When we arrived at J.F.K. we couldn’t help but notice that we were surrounded by dense fog and rain. Somehow, the gloomy weather did seem appropriate since this particular day was the 8th anniversary of 9/11.

In 2002, while on a visit to Westchester County for a family occasion, my son, Dr. David Lawrence managed to take us on a tour of “Ground Zero”. Strange too, it was also rainy. Never the less, many people carrying their umbrellas were tearfully touring this shattered area, which we now refer to as “Ground Zero”.

All the above I couldn’t help but stop to reflect upon.  However, this time, our journey to the east coast was for another special event!  It was for a high school reunion! My alma mater, Eastern District High School, located in Brooklyn, New York. Since, I was unable to attend previous events; I felt that while I still had the energy, I should try to make it this time!

The affair took place at Fiorello’s Restaurant located in New Hyde Park, Queens, New York. Organizer’s Sal Catania and Arlene Markus were there to welcome us with a friendly hug!

Sal Catania was my classmate since elementary school, P.S. 122.  Eventually, we both later attended Eastern District High School.  Sal’s goal was to become a teacher! He did successfully reach that profession!

Arlene Marcus was a bright student. Her ambition, to become a “Journalist”. But she too, became a teacher!

While we were conversing, another couple, Francine and George Leavitt arrived. They brought their camera as well and we do want to thank them for sending us some photos as well!  Oh yes, Francine became a teacher also!

It wasn’t long before other guests sauntered in. We soon entered the banquet room, which by the way, was adorned with interesting photos and posters of our old neighborhood and of our high school. In addition, lovely dinner tables were decorated neatly and before long we all gathered for three-course dinner, which included a platter of a variety of fish… Later, we all enjoyed a huge desert of strawberry short cake!  Our table included Francine and George, Irwin Dubno, Danny Zelkowitz, Florence Weitz Berman.

Following dinner, Sal suggested, if any guests would like to comment on their past experiences while at Eastern District?  I did mention that while at school, the teacher that inspired me was an English teacher, Mr. James O’Brien, brother of actor, Edmund O’Brien… Quite often recorded Shakespearian speeches made by Edmund O’Brien were played for the students. Yes, I still remember them and was truly inspired by this particular class and teacher!

Well, another former classmate, Milton Furst, (another Californian) and former teacher spoke about his teaching experiences. Sal followed with his experiences at school life, as well.

Well this all this would not be complete without some other brief conversations with our other guests.

Ralph Schiff, who brought his yearbook to this even, had a message from me, wishing him success in the future.   He became an Electrician {local 3}

Robert Singer, once a redhead, mentioned I was once a blonde! Oh! Well! We do change!

William Skodis, his goal was to be a Baseball player. He became one for a while with Cardinals and minor leagues. We had a mutual acquaintance. A young man from another school, whose father as the manager of prizefighter, Rocky Garaziano. Although this young man had the same ambition as Skodis, he was unable to achieve it!

Charley Steinberg, Charley’s goal was to be an artist. He wrote a charming message in my yearbook, to my Mona Lisa, pretty as a picture!

Well Charley since then this shy young man has truly become “Bolder”!

Irwin Josephs, before, I sign off, I want to say it was nice meeting you and your wife and connecting with you over the Internet!

Sal & Arlene, thank you both for the fantastic time and effort in putting this affair together!  You truly made this Californian happy! Whenever, I stop to reflect on this event, it surely will be a very pleasant one!

Mona (Pike – Lawrence) Raskin


  1. Thanx for emailing me the article re:EDHS 60th Reunion. It was a great read. So happy you did attend and hope we will stay in touch now that we had the oppportunity to meet again. We will soon start planning our next Reunion and will keep you informed. Whenever you come East, be sure to let me know and perhaps we can meet. Fondly—Arlene

  2. Sol, thanx 4 sending me this article. However, I have received it 3 or 4 times now. Just wanted 2 let u no that it did come thru. U don’t have 2 send it again. I enjoyed reading Mona’s article and I printed it out 2 share with others. Arlene

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