Art Diamond

50 years. Where has the time gone?


According to our class list, The Wheatley Class of 1960 has spread to at least 24 states and 3 foreign countries. Since I am unable to come to the reunion forgive me for my wordy, self centered letter. I wrote this mostly for myself but this may trigger some memories among our alumni.


In 1955 my family moved to Roslyn Heights and I lived in Westwood at the fringe of our school district: my next door neighbors all went to Roslyn High. Susan Rappoport, Stuart Flome, Marilyn Silverstein and Jeff Paverman were neighbors and classmates. I entered Mr. Sherman’s 8th grade class at the Willets Road School. A juke box in the cafeteria played all of the latest rock and roll music (for free). Our classes were arranged alphabetically. The highlight of that year was a class plane trip to Washington, DC. On my bus route I met Harvey Dobrow, who was also in my homeroom. He and his wife Diane have remained life-long friends.


It was time to name our new school. Wheatley High School? No! It had to be The Wheatley School so it would sound more sophisticated and, perhaps, more exclusive. In most of the oral interviews I’ve had over the years, most examiners assumed I went to an exclusive private school. My school bus route now wandered through Old Westbury passing by magnificent estates and open tracts of land suitable for polo fields and fox hunting. The Phipps estate later became the LI Botanical Gardens and the Bernard Baruch and Marjorie Meriwether Post estates became college properties.


Wheatley had small class sizes and an excellent dedicated faculty. There were 9 students in my German class and 13 in my Physics class. We were middle class and white (I am not always PC) with college in our sights. Many of our teachers had advanced degrees and several had their PhD’s. Drs. Schmerzler and Scheinen for Spanish and German, Ms Knapp and Mr. Doig for history (who can forget his annual civil war display?),Mr. McCormack for math, Mr. Rosenstein for Chemistry,  Col. Hawkins, Ms Bodnar  , etc. And, who can forget Ms. Tinkatella (?sp) for typing.


The teacher who influenced me the most was probably unknown to most of our classmates. Dr. Colin Bentley, my senior year physics teacher and our assistant principal, just came from Chaminade H.S. where he had been voted the best or most popular teacher. Dr B helped us prepare for college by treating us as adults. He was tough but fair. No homework assignments-just get the work done and be prepared for anything. When we entered the usual ‘Senior Slump’ he berated us to finish high school in an honorable way and made us feel guilty if we abandoned our studies. I neglected all of my other classes but kept working in Physics until the end. We also enjoyed his ‘war stories’.


After reading John Moncure’s letter I am again reminded how young I was compared to the rest of the class. My April 1943 birthday put me at the bottom of the list along with Howard Penkower (and a few others). To some degree this put me at a social disadvantage; I didn’t get my permanent drivers licensed until eight weeks before graduation. Fast forward through college, medical school, internship and residency in diagnostic radiology. As I remember, the draft board in Great Neck burned down and many records were totally lost. But they found me. During the Vietnam War, I was a ‘drafted’ as part of the Berry program and I became a LCDR at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital for from 1972 –1974. In 1978, a job opportunity brought us to Southern California and we have remained here ever since. For 40+ years my interests and expertise in radiology has centered primarily on interventional procedures (angiography and angioplasty procedures, etc.) and as a breast imaging specialist (diagnosis not treatment). I have been semi-retired for 10 years and do consulting at breast centers around the US including the lower 48 and Alaska. I now use the internet for screening mammography interpretation (telemammography see ). It has been very rewarding professionally. Kendra, my wife of 40+ years and our 2 children, have also enjoyed living in CA. No grandchildren yet but I am hopeful.


I am sure most of our classmates have had one or more medical diseases (indeed some of our classmates have unfortunately died). In 1955 I was erroneously diagnosed with a ‘heart condition’ which limited my involvement in all sports activities including gym. As an adult I have had no limitations and have swam, scuba dived and play tennis and golf. But perhaps the MD’s were right after all. In 1986, after 12 years of almost daily jogging, I suffered a heart attack as I finished a 5 mile run. Fortunately, I was diagnosed and treated within 90 min and have no permanent heart damage. Angioplasty saved my life and quality of life. You can’t outrun your family history. Just ask Jim Fixx. Quite a wake-up call at age 43.


Several years ago, I was watching a fund raising TV special on KCET, our public television station in LA. There was Al Jerome, President and CEO asking for money on television. This prompted me to renew our friendship and the Diamonds and Jeromes have seen each other periodically ever since. After reading our class list, I discovered that Kenny Goddard and I live about 2 miles apart here in Palos Verdes, CA. We are planning a get-together. And, Richard Braunstein, who moved to CA in 1956, called to say hello from Palm Springs. There are other transplanted Wheatleyites here on the West Coast that will be contacted as well.


There you have it. Let me hear or read your story.

Arthur (Art) Diamond