Class History

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Written by Jack Levine in 1960, the following Class History is of uncertain pedigree and even more uncertain distinction. It was mercifully lost before it could be printed in the Yearbook (or perhaps Jack, who was the business manager of the Yearbook, realized the impact it would have had on business). But it has recently come to light and is printed here, without further comment or apology. The more self-absorbed among you can search for your name using your browser's "Edit > Find in Page" command, thereby avoiding the tedium of reading about all your classmates.


In the fall of 1947, the Penn Charter Class of '60 was born with a dozen or so little savages, eight of which have had the courage to remain with us until this year. The first of these, and this list is not given in order of importance, was Jim Arrison, fresh off the Philadelphia Cricket Club's golf course. Jim was promptly admonished by kindergarten council member Glenn Williams for the outlandish madras diapers he was wearing. It seems that Jim was out of dress, a practice which he further perfected each year at final examination time. These two lovelies were followed closely behind by Fred Schoen, who was on all fours, and Rudy Kriebel, who was hanging onto Fred for dear life. It appears that Rudy had accidentally thrown Fred into reverse and that Fred's transmission was totally wrecked. In later years, we find that the situation became somewhat reversed as Rudy, with the aid of his great pink chariot, became proficient in the art of speed-shifting and Fred, with various miscellaneous aid, became rather expert at destroying four-speed boxes. Next upon the scene were Jim Buckley, who wandered in carrying a bottle of hair repellent for his legs and a genuine Indian water pipe for his recreation, and Larry Cucinotta, the Mafia's answer to Peter Gunn. Larry had already made history by being the first person ever banished for life from Gallard's Ballroom, and he was about to receive a patent for his revolutionary new advancements in the design of brass knuckles. Tony Duffy, Vitalis' answer to Charles Antell's Formula #9, was next to roll through the door after recess. He was followed by Bill Finneran, who had snuck home undetected so that he could finish painting racing stripes on all of his friends' kiddie carts. This group formed the first nucleus of the Class of 1960.

In the first grade, our original eight were supplemented by four new members. Dick "Elvis" Berlinger, definitely not to be confused with earlier Berlingers, and John Churchman, definitely not to be confused with anyone, were first on the scene. They were followed by George Hemphill, who had spent the night snowed in at the 309 Drive-In, and Joe Silvaggio, who stopped in on his way home from a grade-B horror show.

And the second grade, believe it or not, was even less productive. Our first newcomer was a human mix-master in the form of one Jack Levine. Unaccustomed as he was to public speaking, or just plain talking for that matter, "Twitch" went on to stardom in latter years as the greatest filibusterer in the annals of Mr. Faber's tenth-grade history class. Next to arrive was Allan Schneider, who paraded in with a sword in one hand and the scales of justice in the other. This was our first glimpse of the class conscience, later destined to become the Community Government's answer to King Solomon.

Peter Kressler and George McVaugh were our two third-grade (no pun intended) arrivees. Upon their entrance, Pete became a lasting and steadfast friend of Dr. O'Neil, from whom he learned most of the French he now knows, while George went at once to the chemistry lab where he has now been industriously searching ten years for a cure for his stiff neck.

1951, and the fourth grade, brought a decrease of 90% to our class morale. The prime reason for this was the coming of a walking ego whose name was Steve Brooks. Steve's arrival on a nine-year combination wrestling-acting scholarship seemed to affect all of his new classmates in one way or another. He and Richie Allman, who immediately started to prove that you could play better ball by breaking training, promptly organized what became known as the "Fourth Grade Protective Organization." Their first victim was poor Jeff Schwartz, who became so frightened and harassed by their bully tactics that he fled Penn Charter, never to return. Soon "Brooksie" began to fashion himself as more or less the eternal snowman, but the results he produced were more abominable than anything else. His first would-be victim was Miss Roberts, with whom Pete Kressler had been so unsuccessful the year before. Miss Roberts went off and got married; but, as for Steve, well we're still waiting. Roland "Whiskey" Christy,, whose savoir-faire, even in the fourth grade, astounded most interested observers (or disinterested most unastounded observers, as the case may be), promptly took up the tutoring of newcomer Alex Frazier in the ways of the world. It appears that Roland's teachings had a profound affect on Alex's outlook on life. Ample testimony to this fact are Alex's recent social crises. Right behind Alex tottered ever-thirsty George Ingersoll, who had accidentally overshot the Hi De Ho, and explosive Bob Davis, who promptly realized that he was not quite up to the shattering emotional experience of school. Bob went on to slow recovery in Scotland, returning only so that he could graduate.

Fifth grade produced, among other things, Charles "Weapons" Harmon, who immediately began converting all loose objects into lethal devices. Miss Welte spent an entire school year in constant danger of being liquidated at any moment. Charlie was accompanied by Jim Rowan who had come on a bet. Since then, Jim's relentless purpose has been to make up the money he lost.

Due to the notoriety which the Class of '60 had thus far attained, only one newcomer dared to enter in the sixth grade. This brave soul was Jack "The Fence" Connor, who merged his Frankford vice ring with the class's already successful organization.

A new population boom was first to strike our class in the seventh grade. Fresh from his latest Abington escapade came Merrill Ambler, who had been shaving since infancy with no visible results. Following right behind him and gazing with amazement at the tree trunks growing from the pores on Merrill's legs was Herb "The Box" Johnston, who immediately started his five-year campaign for the Literary Society. His first visible results came with the bribing of "Porky" Alan McFarland, who had already succeeded in getting his pudgy little fingers on the financial pulse of the Class of '60. You may remember that it took Alan only two months to railroad through the impeachment of incumbent class treasurer David Beaber, who immediately fled the school in sheer terror of Alan's well-paid and efficient henchmen. Next on the scene was "Cinerama Shoulders" Charlie Lom, who at 6'2" and 102 pounds presented a formidable figure on any basketball court. Because of the great heights to which his gazelle-like legs could carry him, Charlie was promptly nicknamed "Stuffer" by his envious classmates. Following in Charlie's shadow, as indeed he did with most, and fresh from an affair with one Princess Summer-Fall-Winter-Spring, came Doug "Howdy Doody" McDowell, America's foremost puppet. Chuck Douglas, a 4F 4-H chicken farmer from Jarrettown, was next to stroll in. He was accompanied by a combination lunch-bag / garbage-disposal unit in the form of Rich Prickitt, whose eating prowess is surpassed only by his ability to entertain the chorus on its numerous road trips. Seventh grade's last arrival, Bob Ward, noting with jealousy that Rich appeared to be slightly large in the arms, promptly embarked on his famous five-year plan of body worship.

Re-entering after an unsuccessful earlier attempt at Penn Charter, Dave Kevis led the group of new hopefuls in the eighth grade. Dave quickly adjusted once more to P.C. life; that is, until his first encounter with Messrs. Connick and Schlegel who, according to our constantly persecuted classmate, were on a perpetual vacation from all reasonable forms of discussion. And besides being intellectually and culturally stagnant, Mr. Schlegel was always right. As Dave deposited himself in a corner and calmly proceeded to tear out all of his hair, Rich Rulon, who even at the tender age of twelve was as frustrated a lover as they come, came on the scene. Our only warning was a cloud of dust and a hearty hi-ho Silver, and it was not until just this year, when word leaked out that our hero had been bleaching his hair, that the sterling Rulon myth was shattered. Right behind Rich came John Shoemaker, mounted upon his sturdy log-log-duplex-decitrig slide rule. You will remember that it was John's faith-shattering proof that the square root of -1 is equal to 0 that first drove Mr. Linton to the bottle. Last through the big red door was Clem Clarke who, believe it or not, had gone to see "On the Beach" because he thought that it was supposed to be a big cook out.

Leading off the ninth grade was Dave "Birdlegs" Bishop who, on more than one occasion, had been mistakenly identified as the cover girl for Kiwi Shoe Polish. But it was the winning smile and warm eyes of Jeff Bahls which had the most potent affect on the tertia version of the Class of '60. All were impressed by Jeff's thoughtful participation in our lunchroom and recess conversations. Jock Deasey was also one of our ninth-grade arrivees. A method man from the word go, Jock was always lending support to P.C. dramatics. Bill Holmes, whose naive smile is second only to his naive mind, and Joe Loughran, the non-thinking man's Julius Caesar, inspired all with their unique brand of conversation. Mike Rauch, who must have gotten into Penn Charter either on his sister's merits or his brother's reputation (these seem to be the only logical explanations) was next to arrive. He was followed by five miscreants from the Meadowbrook School, all of whom have managed, by hook or by crook, to remain with us until today. The first of these was John Scherer, who survived merely on the merits, and in some cases, reputations, of his female friends. Dave Scott arrived second, which in itself is a miracle considering the fact that he had just flown all the way from Havana, Cuba. Coming third, after losing his first race to the P.C. parking lot, was Al Swenson, who had already begun to fashion himself as heaven's gift to humanity in general and Penn Charter in particular. "Chap's" overwhelming friendliness and loyalty, especially to members of opposing teams, have often made many regret that he didn't send himself C.O.D. But then again, his car did lend prestige to the school. Fourth was Tom Wriggins, whose remarkable resemblance to a gigantic panda bear doll quickly tipped off the fact that he was full of stuff. John Goldschmeding walked in last. "Tex" is impossible to cut up because he's such a nice guy.

With the beginning of 1957, the Class of '60 entered the home stretch. Jim Chambers, who had been a "Playboy" undercover photographer since the age of nine, entered P.C. in the tenth grade. Ed Fischer, who, like Bob Davis, had been frightened off in his first attempt to crack the Penn Charter myth, was also a 1957 arrival. Carl Schnabel entered on a combination wrestling-whaling scholarship, but as soon as he realized that the fish weren't biting, his outlook on life sweetened decidedly. Sam Francis, Penn Charter's answer to Willis Wayde, was our next-to-last tenth grade arrival. Our final student addition of 1957 was Jim Morrison, belovedly monikered by the rest of the school with the affectionate and very expressive nickname of "Tiny." "Tiny" later emerged as a respected member of the P.C. community. No one knows this better than a certain member of the junior class whose indiscrete actions quickly felt the force of the Morrison wrath. Our final new member was class advisor Mr. Maroney, the last surviving member of a notorious South Seas rum-running ring. Having more bounce to the ounce than any previous class advisor, Phil proved a strategic addition to the group.

Slithering Chuck Bader became the first new member of the eleventh grade. Following carefully in Chuck's mighty wake was Bill Barnhurst, whose dry, often unintelligible humor was a source of constant amusement to his buddies. Old newcomer Chuck Coleman's first friend, for obvious reasons, was "ol' crackerbarrel" George Ingersoll, and together they embarked on a two-year campaign to maintain school spirit. Last to make the scene was Joel Sunderman, who had accidentally gotten separated from his vocal chords.

Our last year at Penn Charter was a relatively mild one, at least as far as new additions were concerned. Bob Warren, who believe it or not had just escaped from a school for delinquent flute players, cheerily greeted us after the summer. Charlie Smith, who had been unsuccessfully attempting to hide in the middle of the senior hall, tried to sneak undetected into Mr. McVey's room. After having the living daylights scared out of him, he immediately sought permanent refuge in Room #22 under the protective guidance of Mr. Barker. The final blow came with Bill Blodgett, who must have set some kind of record by missing every Monday for three straight report periods. Realizing that the Class of '60 now had everything, Dr. Gummere barred the way for any other hopefuls.

Well, there you have it -- the Penn Charter Class of 1960. Perhaps we weren't the smartest class in our school's history. Maybe we weren't even the most athletic. But then again, it all depends on whether you walk to work or carry your lunch.

Respectfully submitted,

Jack John Levine -- Class Historian