Alumni News


Karen Kaufman Polansky, FRHS 1963, and husband Steve hold their new
grandson, Aiden Mark Shap.  You can reach Karen at


Karen Ferrand Carroll, Class of 1970, internationally known artist "Ferrand" will be relocating to the Hawaiian Islands from their current home in Connecticut. Her husband, a former COO of a large New England financial institution will accompanying her. Their children, Khristine, an international marketing executive and Kraig, a well known actor/entrepreneur, have assured them they will be visiting more frequently in the beautiful State of Hawaii.

Looking for a Good Read????

Dr. Alice (Ali) Botein-Furrevig (Class of '66) is an Associate Professor of English and Literature at Ocean County College in NJ. Also a free lance lecturer and writer, she shares the following: There are not too many books (at least I haven't come across any) that take place in the "old 'hood," but I have discovered an absolute treasure! A playwright and award winning novelist living in Jerusalem, author Naomi Ragen, grew up in NY (I am not certain, but I believe she might have lived at some point in Rockaway since the novel is partially autobiographical). Her popular books have been translated into Hebrew. I just finished Chains Around the Grass, a compelling and beautifully written memoir that traces the bittersweet lives of the Markowitz family living in the low income projects of Rockaway in the 50's. You might also want to  check out her other novels, a few of which focus on the ultra-orthodox community and the conflicts between the strictness of that world and one's search for happiness and selfhood within that insular life. Covenant, Ragen's most recent work, focuses on a family living in Jerusalem under the daily threat of terrorism.  Enjoy!!!!! You can contact Ali at

The Magical Peninsula Called Rockaway
 A Wonderful Essay by Michael Spudic

Betty Brass' Granddaughter on TV

This news comes to us from Betty (Shapiro) Brass, Class of 1949, about her talented granddaughter, who has appeared on many TV shows and her daughter has written a book as well.  Such a talented family!

My granddaughter, Steffani Brass, will be on "The 70's Show'  on Wednesday night, January 14th at 8 PM on Fox TV. Check your local guide for channel. She plays the part of 'Colette/Little Jackie'.

Also, her Mom, my daughter Debbie Brass-Vaughn has written a children's book which will be in B. Dalton and Barnes and Noble in the next few weeks. The name of the book is 'Sneaky Secret Steff in Ask Audrey'You can read about it in the following URL:

A New Hobby For í63 Graduate

Thought Iíd share this tidbit with some of my fellow alumni.  While decorating my new house, I started making some small signs with cute sayings.  Friends of mine said I should try selling some on e-Bay.  I thought nobody would buy them but listed a few.  And they sold!  So I made some new ones and they sold too!  I wonít make the mortgage payment but itís found money and I love what I do.  Take a peek at some of them.  If you search on e-Bay by Seller and then type in Noodles886, youíll see some of my stuff.  Iíve even sold some other items I had in the house that I was ready to trash.  Itís a great idea for anyone who wants to put some extra spending money in their pocket.

Sharon Shardin Dwyer


Terrorism, a poem by
Susan Marcus Rauch, FRHS 1969

Cara Sherman, age 8, Felicia Richard age 8 (of Burr Intermediate School), Dana Sherman. age 6 (of Northridge Primary School), decided on their own that they wanted to do something to help in the World Trade Center Relief drive. They decided to open a lemonade stand on the corner of Scholar Lane and Coconut Dr. in Commack.  Mrs. Lisa Sherman, of Coach Realtors, had 60+ American flags left over that she used as promotional material throughout the year.  She donated the flags to the children so that they could sell them to passing motorists.  The girls raised $171.00. Even the ice cream man stopped and donated $10.00 and gave each girl a free ice cream for her efforts. The donations will be given to the Burr Intermediate and Northridge schools in Commack, which will in turn be given to the WTC Relief Fund.. Even our youngest are affected and want to help in any way they can. It was the girlís own idea to do this wonderful thing and we are all very proud of them.

Lisa Maskin Sherman is a alumni of FRHS, class of 1977 and the daughter of  FRHS grads Vivian (Gertzkis) Maskin, class of 1956 and the late Chester Maskin, class of 1952.  Her husband Al is also a FRHS grad, class of 1973.


Below is a note I received from Rhonda (formerly Robert, who underwent sex reassignment) Donat, FRHS '53, who was in Uzbekistan at the time of the terrorist attacks.

I joined the Peace Corps at 66 years of age and was living in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In light of recent terrorist activities here and abroad, and a concern about my health, I returned home and I would love to go back again.  I was learning Uzbek and Russian and was to teach English at the National University in Tashkent for two years.  I have a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics, Ohio State U, in 1980.  I've been retired since 1993 and enjoy my 100-year-old home in Columbus, Ohio. I enjoy cooking, solving cryptic crossword puzzles, reading New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly, genealogy, and studying languages.  OSU has a program that allows people over 60 to audit classes for free.  I've taken a year of Sanskrit and Czech, brushed up on second-year Russian, and took two years of Latin.  I sing in three choral groups, one is a Catholic Latin Mass choir, one an English Mass choir and one a secular group called the Mendelssohn Lidertafel .  I toured Austria with the latter group in June.  We gave concerts there and sang at some Masses.  In July, I went on my own to seek out the ancestral homes of my ancestors in Bohemia.  In August, I left for Uzbekistan with the Peace Corps.  I am doing some writing now.  I've had an interesting life and have a lot of stories to tell before I get too old to remember them.

Congrats to Marc Speiser, FRHS 1955 for NOT letting
this one get away!



Teddy Stein, eleven-year-old son of Ralph Stein (1961) was invited by the Johns Hopkins National Talent Search to join their program for kids scoring in the ninety-seventh or higher percentile on math and verbal tests.  He gets to take college courses in summer 2001!  His dad still needs his fingers and toes to add and subtract.
This was received from Howard Brody, '54...what a beautiful piece and it speaks volumes about the connections we have to our Rockaway history and friends:

Friendship is a strange thing... 
We find ourselves telling each other the deepest details of our 
lives...things we don't even share with our families. But what is a 
friend? A confidant? A shoulder to cry on? An ear to listen? A heart to feel? A friend is all of these things and more. No matter where we met, no matter how long we've been together...I call you a friend. A word so small, yet so large in feeling, a word filled with emotion, a word overflowing with LOVE.
Truly great things come in small packages. Once the package of friendship has been opened, it can never be closed. It is a constant book always waiting...waiting to be read...and enjoyed. We may have our disagreements...we may have our disappointments...we may argue...we may concern one another...friendship is a unique bond that lasts through all tribulations. A part of each of us goes into our friendships...our humor...our experiences...our tears. Friendships are foundations...necessary for life...and love. and me...
You brought another friend 
and then there were three...
We started our group...our circle of friends...
there is no beginning...there is no end. 

Even though I don't speak to you all  everyday... or even as often as I would like to...You have all crossed my path of life in one way or another...some of you I've only bumped into... some have walked a while with me... and some of you will continue to walk with me...but DON'T EVER THINK FOR A SECOND that since we aren't in constant contact...that I don't think of you all... because if it wasn't for coming across all of YOU... who knows? I would a be a completely different person...and...well...I'm happy with how I've turned out so far. 

Thank you.


Here's a URL sent to me by Sharon Shardin Dwyer '63. Check it out if you want to see some really good humorous illustrations!

Thanks to Suzan Posner Weisser, Class of 1964, for sharing this:


 We sit and we type, and we stare at our screens.
 We all have to wonder, what this possibly means.

 With our mouse we roam, through the rooms in a maze.
 Looking for something or someone, as we sit in a daze.

 We chat with each other, we type all our woes.
 Small groups we do form, and gang up on our foes.

 We wait for somebody, to type out our name.
 We want recognition, but it is always the same.

 We give kisses and hugs, and sometimes flirt.
 In IMs we chat deeply, and reveal why we hurt.

 We do form friendships - but - why we don't know.
 But some of these friendships, will flourish and grow.

 Why is it on screen, we can be so bold.
 Telling our secrets, that have never been told.

 Why is it we share, the thoughts in our mind.
 With those we can't see, as though we were blind.

 The answer is simple, it is as clear as a bell.
 We all have our problems, and need someone to tell.

 We can't tell real people, but tell someone we must.
 So we turn to the 'puter, and to those we can trust.

 Even though it is crazy, the truth still remains.
 They are Friends Without Faces, and odd little names.


(If anyone knows the author, let me know so I can
give him/her the proper credit.)

This article, received 9/17/99, is from a former Arverne resident and 1976 graduate of Lawrence High, Elisa Bachrow Hinken, who has never lost her Rockaway ties:

I have had a rare and special opportunity to be "reunited" with some old friends listed as alumni on your website (which, by the way, is the absolute best I have seen so far); a lot of work and love went into this project, which is much appreciated.

One of the people I have been in contact with is Susan Needleman Maxwell in
Apollo Beach, FL.  Our moms were the best of friends when we lived in Rockaway.  Though we moved away from each other went we were 12 or 13, we shared very special times together.  Now we reminisce and talk about our own children.

Another friend is Carol Karp Martens.  Carol and I worked as volunteers at the Peninsula Volunteer Ambulance Corps. (now defunct).  Carol met her husband Joe there.  Again, a friendship renewed. Although Carol tells me Joe is not feeling very well, it is so good to keep in touch with her again.  She lives near another alumni, Jackie Sherman.  She was also a volunteer at PVAC.

We wonder how others have endured life's little twists and turns.  Sharing stories and renewing friendships is really what it is all about.  I am very thankful I have had the opportunity, with the help of this website, of course, to be able to do this. 

Thanks again, Carol and Skip!

Elisa B. Hinken

MedMal Nursing Consultant Services
(a division of MedMal Consultants, Inc.)

I received a lovely poem from Sharon Shardin Dwyer, Class of 1963.  It's called "My Special List," and is about how your life is shaped by your friends.  If anyone knows the author, please let me know and I'll give him/her credit.  Click on the link to it:

My Special List

This is also  from Sharon (Shardin) Dwyer:
I signed onto America On-Line as a subscriber on 12/29/98.  Friends of mine told me about Keyword: Babyboomers and I immediately checked it out. I was amazed by the amount of postings and subjects that were there.  I didn't really think I'd find anyone but decided to search and eventually post one of my own.  Since I grew up in Brooklyn, it seemed the most logical subject to search.  My first day of searching, I found a posting about "PS 191" where I had attended elementary school.  In the content the person talked about "Mrs. Nathanson's 6th Grade Class".  Wow, I thought -- I had that teacher in the 6th grade, too.  But I still didn't know what year we were talking about.  I wrote back, giving the year I had Mrs. Nathanson.  A couple of days later, I received an E-mail from girl saying we were in same class. We exchanged names and found out we did, in fact, know each other.  She has kept in touch with another 6th grade classmate who I was very friendly with. Since that time, we have had Buddy Chats, exchanged photos (I still have 6th grade class picture), and are talking about a possible reunion.  It's amazing, but the BABY BOOMERS BOARD really does bring old friends together!

And those 2 girls were not the only people I've found!  When my family lived in Brooklyn, we used to go to Rockaway Beach for the summers.  So I posted "ANYONE GO TO ROCKAWAYS FOR SUMMERS" in the Brooklyn board.  I heard from a guy who had a bungalow around the corner from us during the same years we were there.  His age matched my older brother's and it turned out they were good friends.  I even wrote to this guy in later years when he served in Viet Nam. We've been Instant Messaging each other frequently and it turns out he told me a secret!  He wanted to ask me out when he returned from Viet Nam but thought I considered him another "brother".  And then I told him a secret....I was disappointed he never asked me out because at the time I wanted him to!.  But that's many years ago and a lot of water under bridge.  We're both happily married but it was interesting to find out.

I also found a girl that I was friendly with during my Rockaway Beach summer days.  She answered my posting, too.  We are also corresponding frequently and searching for more old friends.  We compare notes whenever we get messages.

But the best thing that has come out of being on the internet is being able to find old FRHS friends.  I found a friend from elementary school and junior high school in Brooklyn and then eventually FRHS.  In fact, she was also in my 6th grade class and knows the two girls I found!

1/24/99  Guess Who I Ran Into in Cyberspace...
The Internet is a strange and wonderful place.  One day in 1996 I was feeling nostalgic and surfed around for Rockaway-related sites.  I found Reunion Hall and entered my name.   Then I went to see who else was on the list.  Imagine my surprise when I found my first husband's name listed directly above mine!  I hadn't seen or heard from him since 1975!
Just for the heck of it I decided to drop him a line.  He was a nice guy -- we just weren't right for each other.  Anyway, we caught each other up.  I had  remarried about ten years after we split and am still with my second husband.  He, on the other hand, remarried fairly quickly, had three kids, and divorced after a number of years.  And I'd caught him just on the verge of his third marriage!  I told him he was an eternal optimist.

Anyway, I went to the Reunion.  He wasn't able to go, unfortunately, so I didn't  get to see him,  but I did run into a couple with whom we'd socialized when we were married.  I went over to say hi and started to mention what I'd done when he said, "I know.  He called me the same day and said 'You're not gonna believe what just happened.'"

I still chuckle when I think about what must have been the expression on his face when he got my note.

Sue '68

Message from Sharon Sherman, Class of '68, 7/24/98
This site reminds me that Far Rockaway was a really special place to
grow up. A small town isolated by all the water yet still part of that
exciting big city.

I live in Syracuse New York. I am still committing my life to the cause
of social justice.  I am Executive Director of the Greater Syracuse Tenants
Network and involved with the New York Citizens Utility Board, Fair Housing
Council, Recycle First and other issues.

By the way, my sisters, twins Ann Taub (Sherman) &  Ellen Sherman
(1970), and Lynn Sherman (1974?) all live on Long Island. Last August my father took all 16 members of the family on a cruise.  I have two daughters Rebecca (19 years) and Johanna (10).  We also are in contact with our first cousins the Zimmermans, Danny (1966), Alice (?) and David(?) who lived in Arverne.  I would love to hear from my classmates and neighbors from aroundOceancrest Blvd. and people who attend Temple Emanuel.  Sharon's e-mail address is:

A Story About the Internet and Finding Family Information

Follow up:  Estelle finally meets her cousin in Paris (see below)

3/22/98:  One of the great things about the Internet is finding out what's going on with your friends right now, this very moment.  Last Sunday I was talking (on ICQ) with Estelle (Wiesner) Markow, FRHS 1959, and she was so excited because she was talking to a truly long-lost relative on the phone, found via the internet.  I could actually feel her excitement and encouraged her to do an article about it for the newsletter, so here is what she sent me:

"I don't remember how long after I got my computer in December, 1996 that I decided to look up FRHS.   I guess I was feeling a little bit more confident in my knowledge of the WWW.

How exciting it was when I found the site and was able to go into my year, 1959.  I was specifically looking for two people; Karen Simmons, a very close friend of mine in those years and Marcia Taks, another good friend and the one who introduced me to my husband of 36 years, Steve.  I was delighted to find Karen's name and e-mail address and we started corresponding immediately. She also had been looking for me for some time and it's been a great reunion.While perusing the names I came across another friend that I grew up with, David Selikowitz.  He was now living in Paris and I e-mailed him right away. He responded and we've been corresponding as well.

I don't know why, but talking to David made me think of an aunt my mom had in Nice, France.  I had met this aunt when I was a child when she came over on the Ile de France.  She stayed with us for a while and she had a daughter living here who was a war bride.  I knew she would no longer be alive but I remembered them talking about family there.  I looked through the papers I had taken when my mother passed away in 1984 and there was a letter written by her aunt.  It was all yellow and half torn but I was able to get the name and address from the envelope.  I e-mailed David and asked him, if he had a minute (he's a very busy guy), would he look up this name and address in Nice and see what he could find.  He said he would and that was that.

A few weeks later I got an e-mail from David telling me he found my family and would tell me more as soon as the facts became more clear.  I was happy but nervous (I don't know why).  That was on Wednesday March 11.  On Sunday, March 15 David called me from Paris and told me he had a phone number for me and that my family was waiting to hear from me.  I started to shake.  Would these people think I'm crazy?  Oh well, if they did, they wouldn't be the only ones......   Sooooo, I picked up the phone and called Paris and spoke to my cousin Jacques.  He was very receptive but we couldn't figure out the relationship.  The name I gave him for my mom's maiden name was nowhere in the family of his grandmother who would have been the aunt my mom talked about. He said he would talk to his father and see if we could find the missing link. We knew there was a relationship because of the names I mentioned (in other words, he didn't think I was bonkers).

Jacques also is on line and that night we spoke (as we have every night since).  He got in touch with his dad at his home in Miami (one of three) and they figured out that the person my mother called her aunt actually was an aunt by marriage.  Her uncle was the relative and he is Jacques' grandfather. So, after driving ourselves nuts it turns out that his grandfather and my grandmother were brother and sister.  His father and my mom were first cousins.

It's been so exciting for me and for him.  I think the best part of it is that he's just as excited about the whole thing as I am.  He's a few years younger than I, married, three kids, great business.  He has a super sense of humor so I know he's gotta be a member of my family."

Steve and Estelle "Stelli" Markow

Our Visit To Paris

After talking to my family in Paris for 2 years, Steve and I decided it was time to meet them.  They come to the states throughout the year for business, but going to Paris seemed like a lot more fun than seeing them in Michigan.  We decided to make a vacation out of it and made plans to spend three weeks traveling in Europe.

For weeks before September 6, 2001, the day we left, Jacky and I would e-mail, talk via phone, and ICQ.  We were like 2 kids going on an adventure. The day before we left he wrote, ďIíll be at the airport wearing a sport coat and sunglasses, like many French men do.  Iíll be smiling like no French man ever has.Ē  And he was.  The vision of him standing there, grinning from ear to ear, has never left my memory.

After many hugs, kisses, and tears, the three of us got into his Jag and sped away through the city.  The drivers are crazy.  I never thought Iíd make it home.

From the moment we met, it was like we knew each other all our lives.  There was no awkwardness at all.  We are so much alike itís incredible.  All of the children and grandchildren came to see us.  On Sunday, Jackyís dad Henri, my momís first cousin, came to meet us.  He lives in a castle, yes a castle, in Angiers on the French countryside.

We spent four incredible days with my newfound family and our relationship is getting stronger by the day.

We left Paris for Vienna on September 11, 2001.

If it werenít for the FRHS web page and the Internet, none of this would have taken place.  We are so grateful.

Thanks Skip and Carol.

--Estelle (Wiesner) Markow (1959)

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