Wheatley 1960


         I think of my life as a series of “braids”, some simple 3 braids and others the complicated 6 braids of bread. I started with my birth “braid”, my Mom, Florence and my Father, Morty. As my Mom braided my hair as a little girl, I learned about my family history, my family values and my place in my community. Although I felt very shy, Mom pushed me to call my neighbors, Susan Borger and Diane Rubin. It was really hard to do. I did join our “Little Ladies” group (Susan Borger, Diane Rubin, Joan Morris, Helen Kritzler, Chickie Kaufman, Arlene Smiegel and Diane Cohen). Hope I didn’t leave any one out. My Mom was the ultimate volunteer as she guided our Girl Scout troop to the highest ideals. We had to finish every requirement to earn our badges. Little Ladies fit right in for me as we collected money for charity and had lots of fun making decisions about our little world. That was the beginning of volunteerism and early friendships.

         My father’s braiding taught me about the importance of learning and patience. My education, another braid, continued after Wheatley by being part of the New College at Hofstra. Our classes were modeled after the English system, and I completed my BA in Mathematics in three years. I continued on to earn a MS in Ed and Mathematics. My father’s patience helped with the arrival of another braid, my brother Ira. (Class of 1965) and then truly grew with my meeting Allan Abrams at the ripe old age of 13.

         Another “braid” entered my life when I met Allan, known as Farmer Al, a “staple” member of the community. I met Allan through Rita Abrams, his first cousin. Allan went with me to the Wheatley Proms, football games and basketball games. Often, I had to babysit my brother, Ira, who came on many dates with us. That took a lot of patience on his part!! I still felt very shy, but Allan taught me to be independent and to speak up. Now, he needs patience and tolerance because he taught me too well. I learned the cooking “braid” for baking hollah from my mother-in-law, Flo Abrams and the joy of international cooking from my Mom who was always looking for interesting cuisines from her travels. My grandchildren tell me that I bake the best Hamantashen in the World, and they all are part of my grandchildren’s cooking school. Allan and I have blended two families together, and I learned the more complicated “braiding” of three children, Roberta, David and Joshua, then their spouses Lew and Sandra, and onto the youngest braids of Maxwell (15), Madison (13), Isaac (12), Megan (almost 12) Reid (10), Charlotte (5) and Madeline (3).


After college, Allan and I moved to New Jersey in 1967 and another braid was added as I became an active volunteer in my community. I have enjoyed the pleasure of leadership training through the National Council of Jewish Women. During my years with NCJW, I started an afterschool program for special needs children, a shelter for battered women, and I also was trained to produce and direct a cable network program for NCJW. I continued on with the United Way Allocations Committee for Bergen County, NJ and then to head Planning and Allocations for the UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey.

During this time, Allan’s true love of animals came alive when we started our miniature animal farm in northern New Jersey. Although we are less than 40 minutes from Manhattan, we have the best of both worlds, sophisticated NY and idyllic Saddle River. I never dreamed that I would become a farmer’s wife. Yes, another skill was added to my life. I can help shear sheep, feed calves with a half gallon bottle, and help with horse breeding and foaling. Who would have thought a shy girl from Roslyn Heights would ever deliver horses and collect fresh eggs.

Allan’s retirement 4 years ago brought us to the Polo Club in Boca Raton, FL. With his retirement, I thought life was over as I had known it, but Allan got into playing golf and I started getting involved in my community. I love it here, and in-between FL and NJ, we travel the world and have a great time. An added bonus to traveling has been looking up classmates around the world. I visited Elgen Van den Elsakker in Buenos Aires, and several classmates around the states. I even joined the guys, Gerry Litwin, Harvey Dobrow and Peter Wolf for dinner after the last reunion. I get together with my Florida classmates, Renee Gershen, Jane Brody, Phyllis Ditkoff, Maddy Ardell, Toni Barckman, Diane Orloff, Marilyn Silverstein and last year Marge Levy and Ronnie Trager.

We had an exceptional class of great people. I love hearing from all of you and feel like the news keeper of the class. Let’s keep it going until our 60th.


Elaine Kent Abrams