20 years later

Geek, Life

In commemoration of my 20-year high school reunion, I thought I’d post this piece, verbatim from June 1985. I’m sure it’ll be of absolutely no interest to anyone out there other than man_size, eyehawk, comfortslut, thamesrhodes, larrondo, and al_monster… or any other graduates of Music & Art/LaGuardia from that era.


This is a collection of memories I have assembled from my four years at Music and Art High School and at LaGuardia High School of Music and the Arts. Though some of you may ask yourself why I did this, and some of you may, “Oh, it’s that weird Josh at work again,” I will just say that I did this because it was nice bringing back some of the things and it will be nice looking back at this some time and saying, “Gee, that was a great four years.” Because it was, you know. I made so many friends and did so many things that I will always treasure. But mostly, I did this because I hope it will give some of you some pleasure looking back at some of the things we shared…


First day at the castle on the hill, I’m a minority in my Official Class • How does Ms. Meilselman see through her hair? • Three friends on the first day: Andrew Prince, Miguel Rivera, and a little black kid named Vivien Mor-ris • Orientation with Mr. Klein and an authoritative Mr. Cooney • something about moving to Lincoln Center in September of 1981. I believe it • SP 1 with Ms. Perelman—what a bitch! • That Jennifer Lui sure is a good artist • sophomore friend Kent: ”Never wear the same clothes two days in a row.” What a concept! • math with GeMar from 104. That kid sure looks like Dean Curry! His name’s Gideon Greenberg • Oh Hey! Miguel, Andrew; you guys ever hear of a game called Dungeons & Dragons? No? I’ll teach you • There’s Kelly from 104. And Nelle from Thoreau-in-Vermont • “Josh, I’d like you to meet my friend Kimberly D’Angelo.” Boy, she can talk! She sure is nice though • Amy and Julie • walking down the hill with Richard Horne (when and where did I first meet him?), Kim, Kelly, Amy, and Julie • a silent Josh on the train one day—is he suicidal? • a late pass on Hallowe’en • Josh the obnoxious, hyper one is almost thrown out of the school by dear English teacher Ms. Godsberg. Oh God! • similar sentiments from General Science teacher Ms. Adler • first term is finally over!

Made it to Honors English with Ms. Wartur • Kassan’s cornyness and insults. Also, crazy Kwabla Banks, little Keri Farrow (my fellow victim), and great comic artist Bill Lamb • Boom! “Who dropped one of their mother’s biscuits?” • Hey, Randi! You like M*A*S*H too? • snapping sessions in the back of Kassan’s • throwing razor blades • loud gospel-singing kids stomping by science • a little round brown kid running up: “Hey! You like Wolverine too, Josh?” Who is this fellow? • sitting with Delmo, Phil, Denes, and James O’Neil; talking comics. Delmo sure loves Superman! He even brings a Superman lunchbox to school, and a Supes thermos filled with steaming rice • phhht! “Oopl” • Hembeck is great! Lemme borrow those books, Phil? • “I feel sorry for those real tall people!” • I can ink Phil’s comic if I prove I can draw • maybe after the summer…


He said yes! Inking Lightman sure is fun! I’m using this neat kind of pen called a rapidograph • New kids in Official: Michael Hueston, Eric Waldman, and Gina Cole. They all draw comics! They even make little books out of them, some with colors! • suddenly, inking Lightman isn’t as much fun • “Delmo, tell Phil that my pen keeps messing up on the paper” • Can I join Paradox? Maybe… • Design with Kwabla, Eric, Todd, and Karen • three different Design teachers • I’ve got an idea! I’ll make my own comic! I’ll write it and draw it myself, and I’ll call it Spectro! “Sure Todd, you can ink this figure! Boy, he’s good! Let me try and copy his inking style!” • Todd invites me to sit with him, Mike, Eric, Danny, Kevin (what a shmuck!), Eric, and this funny kid named Dean. Gina and a kid named Socrates (?) sometimes, too • “Orville” • “Nose” • “Hitler Youth” and “Smurf” • “Ape” and “Monkey Mike” • “Okay, Josh. You can help Todd ink Power Comics.” • “Sure, Eric. I’d love to ink Roguestar.” • “Marry me, Valerie!” • “Marry me, Kim!” • That girl Emily sure is beautiful! • A Delaney Card for Halloween • The Crest team • Prosecutor of Medea versus Richard as defense • Walking down the hill with Richard, Kim, Kelly, Amy, Julie, and Tom Manno from biology.

Second term is finally here! • Oil Painting with Phil, Del, and Dean • Toothbrush head • Poetry with Ms. Lechner—I’m sitting right behind Emily! • What? Eric secretly threw me off Roguestar? What a shmuck! It was no good anyhow! • “Kill Roguestar!” • D&D in the lunchroom with Phil, Frank Cordero, Eddie Wilkerson (“Staircase Nose”), and Wyeth Folwell • “Pain me!” • Only Phil, Kim, Richard, Gideon, and Vivien know • “Bitch!” “Bitch-and-a-half!” “I’m a bigger bitch than you are!” Bitch Brothers • “Wanna throw down?” (As the sweaty sweatbands hit the floor.) • reading Judy Blume porn under the desk in science • Suyapa and Menudo • breakdancing and electric boogie from Todd and Juan • “kangol” in big snow letters • a black Hitler named Mr. Bing • black tape for eyebrows • “Hi, Mr. X!” • blackjack in official • Rayski: “Don’t you be dissing me! “ • Phil’s the first friend to come over to my dad’s • going to Del’s with Todd and Phil. Pork and beans, and a TV showing—what else? Superman II • Asterix with Phil • videogames with Todd and Eric • Danny and Kevin too • Star Wars quizzes with Robert Williams • lunch outside and frisbee • often on the phone with Kim • cutting school to see Return of the Jedi. What a movie!!! • cutting school to see Superman III with Eric, Mike, Dean, and Todd. Delmo wouldn’t even cut for that! • “Stop scratching your head, you white fuck!” • Blade is completed by Josh and Todd.


Couch-selling Smurf • Drama with Ms. Masson. And Emily • volleyball with Phil, Emily(!), and Greg • “Jasper” • “Hey, Sahgent!” • John Lepp has green elbows • Basic Printmaking with Eric, Mike, Kwabla, and Karen (beautiful maiden). Eric and Mike soon disappear • lunch with Del and Ed • Editor-in-Chief of Hembeck Press • a train pass for Hallowe’en • eggs, pennies, and Ballbusters • Glenn, Eric, and Del in Ceramics • saved from death at the hands of Cesar by Laura Toro • Vivien inherits millions and tells of his imminent departure for England • Glenn and Jonathon Hoffman showing off their “electronic boogie” • Calculus with Mr. Mahoney and coffee on my notebook • Vivien lends me his Walkman. There’s music besides the Beatles! • Mr. Hirschhorn: dumpy pants ‘(knees at his shins), hands in pockets, sweaty face, and monotone interrupted by Boom! • A Ronin and a Boris calendar for the forever-departing Vivien • Larry O’Neil is a sick fellow! Nicer than I originally thought, though • Roller-skating with Rachael, Debbie, and Vivien • Star Wars painting on my jacket • This is it! A hug for Vivien and he’s gone.

Second term is here • guess who’s back: Vivien! • Josh Neufeld and the Seven Stooges • Advanced Drawing with Mike, Dean, and Phil • Blade #2 is well on its way • Book portraits of Phil and Emily(!) • an Alan Alda freak named Reema Khan • an all-around beautiful person named Adrienne E. Laws • notes in Sherman’s Chemistry and Gernant’s American History • Michael Hyden and the school bathroom • Gym with Mike and a beautiful girl named Mira • Leonard Finch • Pete • Pico • A beautiful, Emily-like little girl named Lisa Sulzberg. Could anybody live a more tortured life? • constant notes and tattoos from Reema in drama • monologue in House of Green Leaves • sleepover at Reema’s with sad Adrienne. Oreos under cover and between legs • Iceman with Adrienne. • Service in English with Richard and Kim • Giants-Mets games with Richard • late-term frisbee during lunch (and other periods) • Trev and Mr. Just (that boy could dance!) • more bothering of Iris, Penny (from 104), and Debbie Branker in Calculus • Melly Mel! • Oh God! Emily asked me to do her drama scene with her!!! • Dean outside the window of drama every day. “Stop! People’ll think I’m gay!” • tape in Jacob’s hair • Dean the bike thief • slam Phil’s hand in the car door • Dean and Eric’s massive brawl and three-day suspension • Frank and Melissa Rivera in Sherman’s Lab • Vivien’s not talking to me! Why? • “From now on I look out for numero uno—me!” Huh? • Phil’s lips: “Yo man!” • Josh’s designed ties • two heads tall • a visit to Marvel on the Press’s behalf • another one for the same reason: this time it’s Jim Shooter • We’re really moving! • “Jamoney” • Joe Gazoo • six pieces of toast • battles on the 1 train • Big Apple’s 3-for-a-dollar • Star Wars games all over school. Me as Luke • Dean and Boba Fett • ‘Bye, seniors and Maureen! • We’re officially seniors now! • See you at Lincoln Center in September!


This *$%$@#$* is it? This prison? This insane asylum? • exploring with Phil and Larry (wearing a “Joshbusters” shirt) • All right, Dean, I admit it; Prince is fresh! • AP English with a tyrant • The drama and instrumental ones are all right, but those dancers are shmucks! • Global History with the dreaded Mr. Roth • that commie Marc Auerbach • saving Grace and Christine’s life from the horny bum • Hallowe’en as a LaGuardia i.d • Eric the mixing master • Art History is a lot of fun! • Fuzzy is my neighbor! • Oh no! Oil Painting with Bing! • Are you talking to meee? • August Ninth! • History with Lisa but no classes with Emily or Adrienne • nowhere to go when you cut • smelly lunch-room with all cold food • getting to know Mira: she’s quite a girl • Dean and Mira; what’s with them? • On-and-mostly-off relationship with Vivien/Keith • Prince is really fresh!!! • Hey! Bing isn’t so bad! In fact, he’s a lot of fun • Larry working as assistant to Howard Chaykin! Wow! • what’s this? Dean as Bill Sienkiewicz’s assistant? God! • A string of weak parties • “Reema Khan, Reema Khan; Reema Reema Reema Khan!” • which college? • “Did you know I got a 1320 on my SATs?” • lunch with Mike, Phil, Dean, Eric, Vivien (so?), Claudia, Frank, Mira, and others off and on • Blade #3 by myself • Dean and the twelve steps to alcoholism • watching movies at Larry’s with him, Dean, Mira, Itchy, and Roger • graphics assistant next door to Upstart • Bill is kinda snotty, Denys Cowan is moody (he likes Prince!), Howard is… skip it—I can’t describe him—and Walt’s a real gentleman! • I’m going to Europe! • Typing three times for COSA Bing—he and I are real pals now! • Denes, you’re a real three-dimensional guy! • the term ends quickly.

Me and Bing behind Ms. Stember’s back. Murray’s our accomplice • a visit to DC to apply for jobs. • no more with East Village Enterprises. Mark, you shmuck! • Del and I leave our portfolios • some more weak parties • After Todd’s, Mira becomes my teach-er • “Josh, my idol?” • that Elizabeth Garrett is fine! Too bad about her and Javier • Jungle Thighs • still nothing with Emily or Adrienne. Or Lisa this time • Bing’s secretary • Co-loving President Andre/loving Co-President Andre • WPLJ Album Rapper • When is Around The World In A Day coming out? • 4-D • Erictheist • a chubby • The Prince Concert!!! • Ms. Goldberg is the greatest! • Mr. Bing is the greatest! • lunch with Mr. Gethers, Troy, Levin, and Bing • Mira’s birthday party and pool at Julian’s ‘til two A.M. on a Sunday • Trev the Furrier • John’s party and dancing with a fourteen/fifteen-year-old • New Coke is wack! • Mike Hyden and a girl in John’s bathroom • Phil, me, Mike Hyden, Mike Calson, and Dean sleeping at Dean’s when nice daddy’s not home. • Junior Amy • Prince is totally and completely fresh! • weights with Melissa Rivera (not going out with Frank anymore) • Fffffffft! with Wyeth and Charles • “Jason fell!” • Leonard Finch reappears • Two contacts in one eye • Kim doesn’t want to go at all, so I ask Melissa to the prom. • Mike does it first • Ms. Piggy for Sociology • Grace is starting to look real nice • some more lunches from Levin • softball with Richard, Shannon, and the Crest Team • Robert Gross isn’t so bad • saying Grace with Andre • softball with Mike, Dean, Eric, Robert, Denes, Trev, Larry, John Lepp, Jonathon Hoffman, Richard, Shannon, and the Crest Team, along with a bunch of girls • Hey! all of a sudden, girls like Jane, Adrian, Nina, Cora, Leah, Ruthie, Jennifer, and others are talking to me! • What happened to Adrienne? • Reema and Kimberly as best pals • things are getting crazy! • too much typing! • finally—our yearbooks! Pass them around • Grace-ful kisses. Yum! • the Prom with Melissa. And a forced dance with Elizabeth G! • Iris’s query: “Why are men so fascinated with women’s breasts?” • A new Prince video? He’s different! He’s happy! He’s white! • GRADUATION!!! A spiffy Jim Haspiel and an endless barrage of white jokes • my mom and dad meet Bing and Goldberg • it’s finally over • there’s a lot to remember • don’t ever forget…

24 thoughts on “20 years later

      1. Sulzberg, Emily
        Was Lisa Sulzberg a short blonde chick from Riverdale?
        Also, is the Emily you mention, Emily Katz?
        If yes to both, those two were smokin’ back in the day.

  1. The Neufeld Chronicles
    Impressive. Those girls (Jane, etc.) never talked to me…
    You know one thing that made me sad senior year? Mr. freakin’ L. The nerve. I don’t know how public a forum this really is, but he had no business… getting into my business.
    But you always made me happy!
    Thanks for the trippy trip.

    1. Re: The Neufeld Chronicles
      You’ll have to refresh my memory about Mr. L – if you care to. I seem to remember something inappropriate but i’m fuzzy on the details.
      it’s funny – i don’t know who i wrote this for, other than myself. i’m embarrased by the idea of pretty much anyone else reading it, but i didn’t realize that until after i posted. now it’s out there.

    2. Re: The Neufeld Chronicles
      He was just seeing how inappropriate it could get, I think. It never went there, but I spent the rest of the year making difficult efforts to avoid him.
      The one line I always remember was, “you’re 16, I’m 40, what would people think?” Yeah, exactly, people would think, “eeeeuw.” Now look how close 40 is and please don’t tell me anybody’s dating a 16 y.o.

    1. the best picture EVER
      if i didn’t know it was real, i’d swear it had been warped and distorted in PhotoShop! it’s ironic — in this photo, the most “normal” looking one is… Eric, the Couch-Selling Smurf!!!

  2. Oh, God. Oh, GOD! Think about it. Many of those teachers were younger than we are NOW. And they were ALL freaks. For fucks sakes, my MATH teacher MARRIED one of my CLASSMATES!

    1. For fucks sakes, my MATH teacher MARRIED one of my CLASSMATES!
      ooh, which one was that again? i vaguely remember hearing about that…
      WAS IT MR. MURPHY?!?!

      1. Nope. His best buddy Mr. KAPLAN. Married Isabel, (can’t-remember-her-last-name) sister of Lali.
        I actually dated him briefly after college when I ran into him in Central park. Until I realized that he was no-joke-certifably-insane. Like, as in, needed to be committed.

  3. Wow. It’s great to get these snapshots. There are lots of things in here I should remember but don’t. Dean and Eric got into a fight and were suspended? Anyway, hello.

    1. i can’t believe you don’t remember the big -eric brawl!!! i think it was sophomore year. the funny thing was they were both friends again by the time “security” came down to suspend them both for fighting. but then i think they started fighting again later that evening over at ‘s house. too much testosterone.
      how ya doin’? you blog freaks me out. so much talent and so much vitriol. whew.

  4. You’ve just been there so you have a feel for what’s happening on the ground
    but I’m somewhat concerned that rather than resulting in a more democratic Arab world, it will end with greater fundamentalist Islamic clerical states as we see in Iran and Afghanistan. The secularist dictators have managed to block the rising tide of Talibanesque elements, but it could lean that way.

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