My Becoming of Age -- my Teenage Years and early Twenties
I define my teenage years as beginning when I reached 9th grade and turning 13 years old. This was a pivotal time in my life. My Dad had leukemia and I was just beginning to realize that something was really wrong with his health yet not yet fully understanding the ramifications of that illness would have on my family. I recall that at least once a year he would be admitted to the hospital for a blood transfusion. Upon returning home he would be tired and required much rest and took numerous medicines. All of the medication he took made a lasting impression on me throughout my life. While I take medication I have always done so judiciously and as for the last resort. My Mom commented often that Dad should not take so much medicine and it has stayed with me all of my life. 1959 was very much a pivotal time in my life. I turned 13 and in the Jewish religion, I was to be regarded as ready to observe religious precepts and be eligible to take part in public worship. I studied intensely for 1 year in order to do a complete Sabbath service and read from the Torah and also a Haftarah. The Haftarah reading follows the Torah reading on the Sabbath. The Temple was full of my family and friends and I was really nervous. As an aside, my dad took me to Diamond Brothers for my first suit. It was a hand tailored 3 piece suit, that I had to return 3 times for the fittings. I really felt like a grown up and for the rest of my life I would say ” if you can’t impress them with what you know impress them with the way you look”. I believe that I was flawless in conducting the service, at least that what I was told by all. That evening the dinner party was held at the Walnut Park Plaza Hotel in the Ballroom. I do not remember what was served but I do remember there was much caviar and it was the first time that I was exposed to the delicacy. There was a dance band that played 50’s music so I concluded that this party was as much for my parents, family and their friends as it was for me and my friends.
AFTER SCHOOLIn high school, I played Bass in the school band which I really enjoyed as the music teacher like jazz and that was my first introduction to that musical type. But as I have already mentioned my dad was not well and our deli was open 16 hours a day and I was expected to work when not in school. When I was in the 11th and 12th grade I was enrolled in the work-study program where I went to school until 12 and then left to work in the deli. This set my graduation date back a semester as I was not taking a full load. Although, this was a sad and difficult time in our lives I now have many fond memories of those 2 years. I recall often going out to eat after the store closed with my mother and brother. While I was always close to my mom, my brother and I grew much closer after my Dad’s passing. Ice cream and pizza were our favorite places to go.
My mother was the youngest of 7 sisters. She was raised by her sisters as her mother died during childbirth and her dad died before my mom was born. The sisters were their own best friends and had an unshakeable bond. Their husbands knew better than to interfere with what the sisters wanted to do collectively. We celebrated all holidays as a large family either at one sister’s house or more often in a private room at a restaurant. We celebrated both secular and religious holidays. Those family celebrations are some of my best memories because as I left for college things changed.
I graduated from John Bartram High School after spending 3 summers at Overbrook High( Wilt Chamberlin’s) school. My last 2 years at Bartram I went to school part time and worked the deli which resulted in my attending summer school to be able to graduate with my class. Bartram was a large urban school so my graduating class was large. I graduated in June 1964. I left for Emporia, Kansas in August.
I had 2 jobs while in high school. On one I sold programs on Sundays during football season at the Philadelphia Eagles games. The programs were 1.00 and I made .05 cents for each program sold. I was given 100 programs and if I sold them all I made $5.00, but I got to watch all the games from the sidelines. The year I worked the Eagles won the championship. The other job I had was on Saturday’s at the Camac bath and Health club. This job involved folding sheets and towels for the club. I was paid 1.25/ hour. Camac was a unique place. It had 5 floors the top two being a hotel. To belong you had to be recommended by a member who belonged and gives 2 references. The first floor was lockers with an attendant. a small cafe, foot doctor tanning rooms, 15 different kinds of massage tables (Swedish, Russian), 4 different steam rooms. Go down a floor and there was a full basketball court. handball courts, racket ball courts, a fully equipped gym 2 different hot tubs and a swimming pool. The third floor had a sleeping room and shower facilities. So during my junior and senior years in high school, I was working 40+ hours/week. This was a big reason I went to a college outside of Phila. If I would have attended college in my hometown and also worked in the deli I do not think it would have ended well for me. I give my mom and brother credit for picking up the burden of my leaving although Paul reminds me continuously of my abandonment of him to work the store without me.
“I graduated from Kansas State Teachers College with a BSE in Education in1968. I received my MS in 1969 from KSTC. The 5 years I spent in Emporia was the most enriching, beneficial and personal growth years to that point in my life. I just turned 17 when I left home to attend college in Kansas. I had never been further than 60 miles from my house so to travel 1500 miles to another state was daunting. My mom asked me “”are you going to take your car”” and I replied, “”don’t be silly mom they don’t have roads in Kansas they travel mostly by horse””. I got my knowledge of Kansas mostly from watching Gunsmoke on TV. My first year in Kansas was very difficult for me, it was the coldest place I had ever been, probably because I had to walk everywhere. Everything seemingly was different from what I routinely experienced growing up. For example, on my first Sunday, I tried to find my every Sunday breakfast of my life, lox & bagel. No store or restaurant had ever heard of lox and bagel. In my sophomore year, I moved into a 2 bedroom brand new apt. complex called the Villages. My roommates were Jim Janez, Dick Stokes, and Joe Finley. My roommates and I got along well and for this year and the next four, I really enjoyed being a student in Emporia. We split the house duties. I prepared and cooked dinner which helps prepare me for life as a bachelor later on in life. Academically I finally felt very confident that I was capable of doing well in my classes and I was enjoying the rigorous of college academic work. My grades improved from my freshman year and I mostly was a B student as an undergraduate. As a junior I pledged a fraternity, TKE, and moved into the fraternity house. Also, my brother followed me to Kansas enrolling at KSTC and also pledging TKE. One of the major reasons I pledged TKE was many of the men were from the East coast. New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey were well represented. I graduated in 1968 and my draft number came up in the 300’s which meant that I could enlist but I would not get drafted. I made a promise earlier that if I did not get drafted I would stay in school for duration of my required service time. I received my MSE from KSTC in 1969. I enrolled at East Texas State University(Texas A&M) for a doctorate in 1970 which was conferred in 1973. “
“Upon finishing my MSE degree in 1969 I was married to Linda Carol Anglemyer in Yeadon, Pa. on June 8th. We took our honeymoon in the Catskills mountains in upstate New York. We spent the summer in Philadelphia with my step-sister Esther Savedow at my stepfather Martin Savedow’s house/store. My father Soloman Schwartz died on 8-2-1963. My mother remarried Martin Savedow 10-12-1968. Rabbi Charles lacks, married both my mother and Martin and Linda and me. Spending the summer with my step-sister Esther created a strong bond that is everlasting even though a distance has separated us since that summer. In August of 1969, Linda and I left for Commerce, Texas where she was working to finish her BSE degree and I was beginning my doctoral program. In order to support both of us, we were the managers of a brand new high rise dorm with a hotel operation, Whitley Hall. Also, I had a teaching fellowship in which I taught 2 classes per semester. We lived in the dorm and also had most of our meals in the cafeteria. This was a very exciting time for us. Texas was so different from either Phila. or Kansas. We made friends with other members of the doctoral program, who all were considerably older than us and other students who were living in the dorm. We both worked many hours running the dorm and studying our coursework. I was on a fully paid scholarship so our living expenses and cafeteria meals were paid for. For excitement, Linda and I would drive on the weekends to the Hypermart store in Big Springs, Texas and walk the aisles admiring the merchandise. About once a month we would buy a meal as we hated the cafeteria food having been raised in a deli food in a dorm cafeteria has difficult to get used to. Both Linda and I graduated with our degrees in 1972 and we returned to Emporia, Ks where I was offered a position with Emporia State University. My first position responsibilities included teaching 2 graduate classes in tests and measurements and as the administrator of the public school statewide testing program. chased We both loved being back in Emporia, Ks it was such a welcoming community. We purchased our first house as Linda and I was getting ready to welcome our firstborn into our lives. The period of time between 1972 and 1979 was the best of years. A second child was born in 1973 and all was well with our family.”