Jim Valkenbergs Memories

Since this is being written for a Mahwah High School class directory I should talk about that a little. Frankly, high school is somewhat of a blur to me. It almost seems like a different life. When contacted by Gloria Klaschka-Pease in early 2012 I was tempted to leave those memories behind as they have been for almost 50 years. But I was drawn to the words Gloria wrote and the thoughts of actually seeing how some of my classmates actually turned out. I found myself looking through the 1963 Keneu (can hardly believe I found it) and wondering how I actually got away with 4 years and did almost nothing. Gloria told me that “there was a kinship that time could not erase” and urged me to consider attending the 50-year reunion in 2013. Although my memories of those 4 years in Mahwah are faded and weak, I think she is right. I enjoyed looking at the class directory Gloria has on-line and actually was saddened at learning of some of those classmates that have passed on. There is a feeling there, someplace deep and finding it is certainly more pleasurable than I would have imagined. Here are a few of the memories that come to mind…
I remember Jim Bengaff. If one can have a “best friend” then Jim was mine before Mahwah and during our high school days. I have seen him a few times since graduation and know he has two beautiful daughters and several grandkids now. I know his wife died very young and can only imagine the pain. He lives in Vermont and I live in Nevada and the odds of actually seeing him again are long… but in Vegas we sometimes bet on long odds and maybe he’ll come to the 50-year reunion.
I remember Barry Fowler and playing football in his back yard and his Mother’s cookies.
I remember Spanish Club and wish I had paid more attention. I could use it now!
I remember Sally Ahrens & Merry Monaghan (my picks for the 2 prettiest girls in class),
John Lisack’s accordion, and Gigi Jordan who didn’t go to Mahwah but did attend grammar school in Allendale. I had a childhood crush on her.
I remember Karen DeGraw and her beautiful singing voice.
I remember Dottie Wilson… how could one forget the police chief’s daughter.
I remember Jack Curzon… we stood at the same bus stop in the morning for years.
I remember Karen Horton who’s Dad had an electronics store or a TV repair shop or something like that.
I remember a pool table in Art Klein’s basement.
I remember Bob Kiehl’s big house.
I remember Pattie Thurston and Susie with the wonderful freckles (or was that Skip Kelly with the freckles?).
I remember Cal Eriksen (because he lived close to Bengaff)
I remember the public swimming pool in Allendale with the raft in the middle and how you could get under there and pretend no one knew.
I remember little league baseball and Bob Tamagny’s Dad who said I couldn’t throw hard enough to pitch… he was probably right.
I remember Mr. Deer’s science class and how I never knew why he left Mahwah so suddenly.
I remember Mrs. Eddy’s English class… she was very kind.
I remember Mr. Filardo’s Driver’s Ed class on the back roads in Mahwah… whew… that was close!
I remember Mr. Herold’s mnemonic device to help us remember the 12 major nerves in the brain … “On Old Olympus’ Towering Tops a Finn And German Viewed All Hops”… but except for Olfactory, I have no idea what the other nerves are!
Then there was Miss Klug’s chemistry… that’s all I have to say about that.
Now that Gloria Klaschka has kindled my Mahwah spirit (just a little) I am enjoying the memory of those long forgotten times and find that there were some good things after all. I hope to thank Gloria in person in 2013.

Jim Valkenburg

** No thanks needed! Just buy me a cherry coke and fries at Doc's Sweet Shop Jim!
If you would like to respond to Jim's Memories and share some of your own with him, his contact information is:: Jim Valkenburg
3685 Willow Bend Ct.
Las Vegas, NV 89121
(702) 434-9858 Home
(702) 460-8139 Cell


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