JWG (jwg) wrote,

Form III at Fieldston

My first year at Fieldston was in Form III - 9th grade. Fieldston is a day school, part of the Ethical Culture system. It has a very nice campus - in imitation of some prep schools and clearly in competition with them. The Quadrangle looks about the same now -although the trees are bigger and some of the buildings look just like I remember them. It is bigger now - about 150 in a class insead of 90 and the athletic fields and buidlings are completely different now.

I and a few other students started that year, the rest had been there the two previous years and then many in either Filedston Lower - next door, or Ethical Culture in Manhattan. I didn't feel any problems with acceptance.

My English teacher was Louise Slipper. What I remember most about her was that she encouraged recreational reading and there was a notebook with pages for each student where we recorded what we had read with a few comments. For a while it was a competition for some of us to see how much each could read. And it was a good way to find out about other interesting books.

History was with Stanley Elkins - I don't remember what period of history it was, Math with Georgia Elgar, and French with René Spodheim. Miss Spodheim was quite a character. I remember one day when Peter Goldman and I were clowning around she uttered: "Jean, Pierre: Qui est le singe?". (Singe is monkey). And who can forget the sentence from the text book?
"J'entre dans la salle de class, Je regarde autour de moi, Je regarde les élèves et le professeur; Je dis "Bonjour" au professeur; Je prends ma place."

I took Fine Arts with Phillip Held. I remember how much fun it was making linoleum block prints. I made one of subway trains and printed it in lots of different ways. And there was Chorus with Bernie Werthman and Ethics with Ies Spetter.

Phys Ed was interesting. The boys were divided into 4 teams, named Lewis, Adler, Kelly, and Elliot (after founders of the school). The scheme was called LAKE. Shirt color for Lewis was blue, Adler was red, Kelly was green, and Eliot was yellow. I was on Kelly. We played football, soccer, field hockey, swimming. basketball, baseball, track, and did tumbling. Not that I have ever been much of an athlete, but it was a good program with exposure to lots of activities and emphasis on team work.

First verse of the school song:
Oh grassy banks and wooded ways,
Oh hillsides echo with our praise;
Iam cantate, jubilate;
shout giant oaks that touch the sky,
Ye massive rocks below reply, Iam cantate, jubilate;
Iam canamus, jubilamus, gaudeamus
Tags: fieldston, nostalgia, personal, reunion

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