Magazines for the Principal – for David

Last year on this blog I wrote about my friend and former teaching colleague David Fried and his passion for sports,  especially NCAA basketball.   (See MR OCTOBER,  March 14, 2014)   Sadly David died some months later,  much too soon.

Jane Addams Vocational HS in the South Bronx where David and I met,  and where I worked for almost 30 years,  was historically an all-girls school.  When by mandate all the city’s vocational high schools became co-ed,  Jane Addams continued to attract a large majority of female students because of the trades we taught – practical nursing,  cosmetology and business skills.

But working there as school librarian,  I was determined to make the library appealing to our small contingent of male students as well.  I ordered books and a number of magazines that I knew teenage boys would like –  Motorcycles,  Popular Mechanics and Science Weekly,  Musician and Black Beat,  Chess,  Games,  and of course several sports magazines.   And I also ordered the English Journal,  Science Teacher and some other pedagogical magazines for the younger faculty who were still studying for their graduate degrees.

David was our principal then and I put my new magazine list in his mailbox hoping to impress him with my efforts.  I attached a memo asking him to check the magazines he would like routed to him before I put them out in the library for the kids.

Knowing David,  I wasn’t surprised to get my magazine list back that very same afternoon,  initialed in his inimitable hand.   The only magazine he had checked was Basketball Digest.

David – consummate educator,  keen intellect and ready wit,  sports fanatic,  tennis ace and friend – may you rest in peace.

Dana Susan Lehrman

9 Comments

  • Re: Magazines for David: It seems we all had at least one teacher whom we remember long after graduation day. Mine was Miss Elizabeth Sullivan. She was a "different" teacher. She wore loud makeup, was often seen going to the movies alone, didn't "hang" with the other teachers in the lunchroom, could be seen sitting by herself, a book in hand. She wasn't particularly liked by my classmates; she didn't smile much, didn't interact much. But one day she asked me to stay after class. I agonized over what I might have done wrong. She was blunt. She said, "You have a gift. Don't waste it. Most students will write what they think I want them to write, you don't write to impress me. You write BECAUSE YOU CANNOT STOP YOURSELF FROM WRITING. It's like the ballerina in The Red Shoes who couldn't stop dancing when she put on a pair of red ballet shoes. At first I really didn't understand what she was saying. And then she reached in her drawer and handed me a little gold box. Inside was a gold medal which was awarded to me from the city's mayor's office. We had all been given the assignment to write an essay entitled "Why Newark?" (We were living in Newark at the time.) My medal was the prize for the "second best essay." I still have it. A few days later I came home to find a typewriter on the dining room table, a gift from my father. He would introduce me to his friends as "my daughter, the writer." I dedicated my first published book to a teacher who cared. My Miss Sullivan.

  • I once had the almost exact experience. My brother was on leave from the Navy. We forgot our key after visiting friends. We had a large front porch with windows into the house. One window was slightly open so my brother pushed it up and we climbed inside. In the meantime a neighbor had seen us climb in and called my mother to tell her I was sneaking a sailor into the house. My mother came downstairs and opened the door and let me and my brother in. The neighbor was still at her open window. I waved goodbye to her but still remember the confused look on her face.

  • David is a big loss. I saw him as a man with a keen intellect and a big heart – unfortunately a rare enough combination. I miss him.

  • Hi Dana–thanks for including us. Really loved David and his lovely wife. He said he decided to get married after he spent some time in our Poconos getaway.

    He was so passionate about sports, and I loved the way he dressed for official “games.” I truly believe that working with the teachers, etc. at JA were the best years of my working life.
    Blessings on all of you!!!!

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