Chapter 2 from the Novel, “Autumn Winds Over Okinawa 1945 by Dr. Pelham Mead (c) 2010, Xlibris Publishers.

Chapter 2- Arriving in Okinawa on Aug. 30, 1945

Early on the morning of Aug. 30, 1945, I could see the Kerama islands with binoculars from the bridge of the USS Antietam CV-36 aircraft carrier. Captain James Tague had called me up to the bridge to give me my temporary transfer papers that would eventually allow me to be processed for discharge. The Captain handed me the binoculars and said, ”Look out there, Chief, those are the Kerama islands that are to the west of Okinawa.”

(USS Antietam CV-36 circa 1945)

“Thank you Captain,” I said and then took the binoculars and scanned the horizon to see many little green islands on the horizon. It was for me, a thrilling sight because now I knew I would be able to get off at Okinawa, and return to Hawaii and then home to Stamford, Connecticut.  My mind drifted off for a while reflecting on all that I had seen and done in this terrible war.

I had enlisted in the Navy as a Naval Reservist on full time status on July 8, 1941 before the US entered the war.  At first I was responsible for “Search and Rescue” in Jamaica bay on Long Island in a small rescue boat. We would retrieve flyers when they crashed in the Jamaica Bay or surrounding areas off Long Island’s south shore that were in the approach path to Floyd Bennett Field. When I wasn’t doing Search and Rescue, I spent time training as an aviation machinist’s mate while at Floyd Bennett Field on Long Island. I was six months too old to become a Navy flyer so I became an aviation mechanic. I always regretted not becoming a flyer but I did get to put in a lot of training hours flying at Floyd Bennett Field for search and rescue operations. This allowed me to at least get a pilot’s license that was important in testing out how some of the planes flew after they were repaired.  My wife and son (born in June 1942) lived at home with my mother-in-law in Baisley Park, Queens, New York, and a borough of New York City.

It wasn’t until four years into the war (August 1944) that I got a transfer as Chief Petty Officer (E7) aboard the newly commissioned aircraft carrier Antietam CVS-36 (commissioned Jan. 28, 1945). I had put in a request to be transferred to the front in the Pacific to see some action rather than spend the remainder of the war state side-fishing pilots out of the water.

USS Antietam CV -36 at sea 1945

The Antietam was designed after the Essex class (long hull) fleet aircraft carrier. With a displacement of 27,100 tons and a length of 888 ft. she could reach 33 knots top speed. I was transferred in the summer of 1944 to go aboard when the Antietam was launched on August 20,1944. It was built in Philadelphia, and I had to take a train to the Philadelphia Naval yards to get there in time for the launching. I would be in charge of airplane mechanics that would take care of around 100 planes. I remember how shocked I was when I first saw how really huge the ship was while sitting in the Philadelphia Naval yard.

It was a day I will always remember. I was nervous with sweat and excited at the same time that I was finally getting to see some action.

After many shakedown cruises and repairs and crew training, the ship was finally commissioned on Jan. 28, 1945. Eventually, the entire crew aboard the Antietam would total around 3448 men.

As of now my enlistment was up, and the war was over as of August 15, 1945 when the Japanese surrendered. It was a great moment for me when Captain Tague thanked me for my service as Chief Petty Officer. I finally started to feel like I had accomplished something in this war.

The islands that surround the western coast of Okinawa dotted the horizon that day. Tokashiki-shima Island, a rather large island, was off to the left on the horizon, and Rukan-sho, a much smaller island was to the right as we approached from the south of Okinawa. The islands looked like small patches of green ovals, much like lilypads on a large pond. There were many other small islands on the horizon that I could not identify as the USS Antietam CV-36 steamed toward the captured island of Okinawa.

General Douglas McArthur signing the treaty Sept. 2, 1945

The treaty would be signed on Sept. 2, 1945 in Tokyo Harbor on the battleship USS Missouri, but the Antietam would not be going there for the signing because a mechanical problem back to Guam had forced us to drop out of the fleet that was headed toward Tokyo for the signing ceremony.

Right after the U.S. planes dropped the Atom bomb on Japan on August 6 and 9, 1945, the Russians took advantage of that opportunity and invaded Manchuria.

The situation was tense in the Yellow Sea off China and Manchuria. We were redirected to stand off the coast of China in the Yellow Sea after joining the Seventh Fleet at Okinawa, instead of going into Tokyo Harbor for the surrender signing.

When I learned of this at an officer’s briefing, I decided I did not want to leave my wife and son at home for another two or three years while I remained off the coast of China. I talked it over with some of my friends, and since the war was officially over my enlistment was also over so I could return to the States, and my family. It all sounded like a good plan.

That was all behind me now for my only thought was “Thank God it is over…the war that is.” Smitty, a sailor and good friend, a Mechanic’s Mate 1st Class was supposed to meet me at 11:00 hours to let me know if he was going ashore on Okinawa. Being a Chief Petty Officer was a big responsibility with roughly 1:00 airplanes to repair on the ship. I learned to take it in stride even when we got the “ninety day wonder fly boys” onboard who crashed the planes into the deck trying to land.  Ninety days was definitely not enough time to learn how to fly, let alone land on an aircraft carrier. They were either crashing into the sea or crashing into the deck. I kept up my flight hours just in case we needed experienced pilots, instead of these rookies.

“Smitty” Charles Johnson Smith, had put in for a transfer to Guam, and wanted to get off at Okinawa to fly back to Guam. Beauvard Browne, “Brownie” another Seaman 1st class, was the first to make up his mind to “cash in his chips,” since his enlistment was also up.  He wanted to be discharged from the Navy right away before the ship headed into the Yellow Sea for another tour of duty.  Like myself he was an older guy in his late twenties.  I was 28 at the time, and a few years older than most have the 18 and 19-year-old sailors on board.  None of us wanted to stay on the USS Antietam patrolling the Yellow Sea because that duty would mean not getting back to the States for two or three years or more. It was either get out now, or stay onboard and risk becoming involved in a battle station situation that could go on for a long time off the China coast.

I went below to look for Smitty to see if he had news from the Executive Officer Alderman or Captain Tague about going ashore and leaving the Antietam forever. Smitty was a humorous guy I had got to know well since he was assigned to my crew. He was short, 5’6” and had a sun bleached crew cut with a short mustache. He was always being teased about his nose that had a small bulb on the end of it and it was always red. His Irish heritage showed in his temper and redness in his face when he got worked up over something. He was always cursing about something whether it was good or bad.

            We were still steaming toward the western side of Okinawa where we would anchor in Haguchi Bay near the 9-mile long beaches that were so heavily bombed before the invasion. I found Smitty putting in some zzzzs in his hammock.  The Executive Officer J.D. Blitch, said that he would know sometime today whether the Captain had given permission for me to go ashore with Smitty, and Brownie and another guy named Lincoln.

            Smitty had been sleeping all morning after doing the night watch. He was eager to get home and so was I.  “Chief, do you think we will be in Okinawa before dark?” he asked.

I wasn’t sure how to respond. “Captain Tague had said he expected to drop anchor by 1430 hours. I’m not sure,” I told Smitty. “Maybe we have two hours left in port, somewhere around 1400 hours.”

            “Did you pack up your duffel bag?” Smitty asked.

            “Yeah but it was a son of a bitch getting all that junk in one bag. The Captain wouldn’t let us take our sea chests, you know,” I said.

“Yeah, all my tools are in my chest. I hope they can ship it back to the States someday.”

Just then, Brownie came down the ladder. “Chief, it looks like I am going to be joining you guys going ashore tomorrow.”

“That’s great,” I said.

We all began to slap one another on the back, for it seemed like a great moment. Little did we know what we were in for on Okinawa?  Another sailor Lincoln Hallard was also going to be leaving with us. The Captain would be providing us with a launch to take us to the beach while the Antietam remained anchored in the bay.

The Antietam had survived the war, and fortunately arrived too late to do battle with the “divine wind,” the kamikaze Jap pilots who carried one big bomb, and flew their planes into our ships. We heard all about the battle of Okinawa from radio communications while we were in the Pacific.

Now we were approaching the end of August, and the typhoon season in Japan. So much had happened so fast over the past year on the Antietam that it seemed like years ago since I boarded. Who would have ever thought we had a bomb like the A-bomb? Who ever thought that we would actually use it against Japan? Strange, I thought, war was more than playing the chess pieces of life and death; it was a story of long waiting hours with little to do. It was a story of constant drills and training to turn a bunch of raw recruits into seasoned sailors. It was a story of accidents like a sailor walking into a plane propeller and having his body spewed all over the ship. It was a story of horror when some sailors misfired a round and blew themselves up. What did we need battles for?  We could kill ourselves without the enemy’s help.

            I often had nightmares of being attacked by a Jap kamikaze and having it dive right into the deck and sinking the Antietam. Sleep was a luxury that I learned never happened in a war, especially on an aircraft carrier where you had to constantly worry about being attacked by planes or submarines.

 I had packed my sea bag packed already with all I could jam into it. My leather flight jacket and metal seaman’s chest would remain onboard to be transferred back to the States whenever possible after the Manchuria hostilities had ceased.

I said goodbye to some of my crew and some of the officers I got to know while I was stationed on the Antietam. The following day I would be leaving as their Chief and someone else would be taking over after a long year of sailing together. It would be a sad parting since we had grown very close during that time. We played poker all night the last night before I left. I won $355.

On August 30th at about 13:00 hours after a briefing by Captain Tague, Rear Admiral A.C. Davis took over and made the USS Antietam the flagship of the Task Force 72 including the Interpid and the Cabot. The USS Antietam was to support the allied occupation forces by a show of air power with planes over North Chin and Korea.

Later on I went back up to the command tower to see if Okinawa was in sight yet. I will never forget when I first saw Okinawa that dreaded afternoon. I was standing on the command tower searching the horizon for the island with my own personal pair of binoculars that I had bought in Hawaii. Yes indeed, it was lying there on the horizon a few miles off. It looked like a long green pea pond in a sea of blue and white water. Almost like a sparkling green paradise island. A fog was rolling in and a light misting rain had begun. The sun had ducked behind some clouds, making the day suddenly very dark. As the USS Antietam steamed closer I could see the beaches and palms trees. Well not really palm trees; rather burnt stumps that were once palm trees. A green ridge covered with heavy vegetation rose across the middle of the island like the backbone of a lizard. The island was only 60 miles long and two miles wide at some points and seven miles wide at its widest point.

            As we approached anchorage in Hagushi Bay, which was north of the capital city of Nahu, we went to general quarters. The devastation of the 84-day battle of Okinawa back in the spring of 1945 was apparent with the beaches full of debris from Jap plane parts, boat parts, and bomb craters. I could see that the once pristine white beaches were now black like burnt toast. Bombed out buildings lay along the edge of the beach as a testament to the savage battle. An American flag waved in the wind and rain over an Army headquarters tent on the island back from the beach near a clump of burnt out palm trees stumps. A black cloud moved over the island as if to signal that this was a place of death. As the Antietam moved into the harbor area a stench of ammunition, burnt wood and an undefined acid smell pervaded the air. I couldn’t get over the complete look of devastation on the island from the sea. It was as if all the armies and navies of the war had dumped their garbage on the beach. What a mess!

            It would not be until 11:00 the following morning on August 31st that Smitty, Brownie, Lincoln and I would be allowed to go ashore in a launch.  I will never forget going down over the side 65 feet or more on a rope cargo net holding a 80-pound plus duffel bag. One of the ship’s boatswains sounded the boatswain’s pipe as an act of respect as we left the ship. It gave me a chill in my spine that I was leaving my floating home and preparing to return home. Dropping over the side of the ship from the elevator was like the drills they used to do in Navy training camp in 1941. The drop over the side was steep and my duffel bag strap was digging into my shoulder numbing my arm completely. Each step down the cargo net was painful, but I finally made it to the bottom into the waiting Launch with a small outboard engine. Smitty could not climb down with his bag, so he yelled, “Chief, catch my bag, it is too heavy.”

            Like a fool I said “OK” and I reached out to receive a crushing force on my arms from a duffel bag, which must have weighed 200 pounds. “What do you have in this bag, stones,” I yelped. Just the four of us, Smitty, Brownie, Lincoln and myself went ashore that day. My crew was on the deck waving to me as we headed for the beach. I looked back and waved with a twinge of sadness to see my floating home fade behind us in the distance.  We took an extra bag of mail for the Army and Navy guys on shore. Little did we know that the Navy had pulled out of Okinawa and was preparing for the surrender signing in Tokyo Harbor and rounding up any stray submarines who did not hear the war was over.

What have we learned about General George Washington?

General George Washington 1776.

Did General Washington make some mistakes in the Battle of Brooklyn?

What would have happened if General Washington was forced to surrender at Brooklyn in 1776?

What was the numerical advantage General Howe had in troops over General Washington?

How did General Howe do an an end run or flanking movement around General Washington’s troops at the Battle of Brooklyn.

How did General Washington escape Brooklyn?

What did Admiral Howe do to chase Washington?

Why didn’t General Howe capture General Washington with his superior troop advantage.

In addition to British troops, what other mercenaries served under General Howe?

How many ships did Admiral Howe have anchored in New York harbor in 1776?

What happened to General Washington at Fort Lee?

Sample Online Lesson Three

by Dr. Pelham Mead (c)2021.

Online Lesson Plan Template

Lesson 3Teacher Name112020


We love the look of this professional lesson plan just as it is. But we also think you should have choices. To easily customize this template and make it your own, on the Design tab, check out a wide range of options in the Themes, Colors, and Fonts galleries. Or, to use your school colors, tap Colors and then select Customize Colors. To replace any placeholder text, such as this, just tap it and type.

OBJECTIVES1-Learn the life of Alexander Hamilton.1-Watch the Broadway play called, “Hamilton.”
INFORMATIONIn class Discussion. Who is Alexander Hamilton and what was his contribution to the 13 Colonies?What are the names of the songs in Hamilton? Who sings the songs? Make a list and submit when finished. Discuss.
VERIFICATIONFederalism vs States Rights.Hamilton supported Federal control of the colonies and established what part of the government?Federalism and States rights exists today with President Trump. What are five States rights issues the President Trump had tried to override?Racism and Hamilton. What country was Alexander Hamilton born in? How did he get an education?How did Hamilton feel toward slavery? Where did Hamilton live?Is his house still in existence? Where is the house located if it exists? 
FAST FORWARD PROJECTWhat President was responsible for helping to pass the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in the 1960’s?What does the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provide for. Discussion.Would Alexander Hamilton approve of the Elementary and Secondary act? Is that act a form of federalism or not?
SUMMARYDiscussion.Who wrote the play, Hamilton?What type of song style is used in the play?Who shot and killed Hamilton?Was the killer ever tried for his crime?Who was the killer’s daughter?Hamilton Puzzle tg solve.One week single person project.Find a free crossword puzzle app on the internet and create a 20 word cross-word puzzle using 20 names or terms from the Hamilton bio or play.Create answer sheet and submit both to teacher in one week.No pasting or cutting or copying.
Requirement 1Requirement 2Requirement 3Resource 1Resource 2Resource 3Add your notes here.

Using an Essay and Daily Diary for Writing Skills in online Teaching.

Sample lesson Plan for American History Revealed

By Dr. Pelham Mead

In this lesson you want to get your students to work on writing and how to properly write an essay.

Go through each step online with your students and have them read to the class what they wrote. Begin with the Thesis and expand to writing an outline. First sketch the outline modules and then flesh out what will go in each module. Emphasize 

ESSAY Assignment

Explicitly teach appropriate writing strategies using a Model-Practice-Reflect instructional cycle. Explicitly teach strategies for planning and goal setting, drafting, evaluating, revising, and editing. Instruct students on how to choose and apply strategies appropriate for the audience and purpose.

Follow these seven tips to teach essay writing to your children.

  1. Refresh on basic writing skills. … 
  2. Start with a thesis. … 
  3. Show them how to write an outline. … 
  4. Encourage them to read. … 
  5. Practice lots. … 
  6. Use technology to help your child. … 
  7. Online tools can help teach your kid essay writing. … 
  8. Conclusion.

A Simple Daily Journal Template: Yesterday, Today, Check-in

When you journal — just ask yourself these 3 simple questions:

  1. What happened yesterday?
  2. What am I doing today?
  3. How am I feeling?

That’s it.

Recap what you did Yesterday, organize what you’re doing Today, then do a quick emotional Check-in to clear your head.

You’ll feel different immediately.

In a time of newsfeeds, notifications and endless to-do lists, it’s so rare that we actually pause and ask questions that force us to slow down.

There’s no right or wrong way to fill in this template. Make your entries as long or as short as you’d like.

How to get the most out of this journal template

The Yesterday, Today, Check-In daily journal template gives you the structure, but you actually have to follow through consistently to feel the benefits.

A personal trainer can give you the perfect workout routine, but it’s useless unless you actually do it 🙂

So here’s a few tips to help you build a small journaling habit, and actually get use out of the template:

Tip #1 — Attach journaling onto an existing habit
Journal immediately before or immediately after something you already have an existing habit for. Some things you could “piggyback” your new journaling practice onto: brushing your teeth; eating breakfast; arriving at work.

Tip #2 — Pick a journal format that gets out of your way
What’s the fastest and easiest way for you to answer those three questions? Pen and paper? Voice recording? Using an app like Day One or Journey?  Sending an email to yourself? Using a simple text editor? Pick whatever format has the least friction to get those answers out of your head.

Tip #3 — Journal rain or shine
This is the one where most people fail. Journal when you’re sick, when your head hurts, when you’re on vacation. It just has to happen, even when you only have time to scribble a short entry.

Build on the habit over time.

Just as a yoga beginner may start out with basic poses then move on to more difficult ones, you may want to increase the complexity of your journal prompts over time.

The Junior High

A typical Junior High School

The Junior High

Written by Dr. Pelham Mead (c) 2013

(Kakiat Junior High school-1960–2000) Note all names of the real teachers have been changed to avoid law suits.

by Dr. Pelham K. Mead III

Disclaimer: This story is based on the true story of Dr. Pelham Mead and his 31 teaching years at Kakiat Junior Hifh school, Spring Valley, New York. The names in the story have been changed to protect living and surviving teachers today.

Chapter 1– Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL

The name Kakiat came from a local Native American tribe that used to live near the High Mountain town on the Canadian border in New York. When the High Mountain school district began to explode in student population in the 1960s, it was decided that an additional Junior Hifh school needed to be built. At that time, there were only two Junior Hifh schools, Pomona Junior Hifh school and Spring Valley South Junior Hifh school. The students at South Junior Hifh school were overcrowded in their school, and they were on double sessions for a few years. The board of education of the High Mountain school district put before the community a bond approval to build a third Junior Hifh school. This bond issue was meant to deal with the overcrowded conditions of the existing schools. 

The Spring Valley South Junior HiGH school students’ population was being split in half to reduce overcrowding. Half of the Spring Valley South Junior Hifh school students would go to the new junior high and the other half would remain were they were. The Spring Valley South Junior high students were allowed to vote for the name of the new junior high. The choices were 

  • •       Central High Mountain JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL 
  • •       Washington JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL 
  • •       Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL 

The students in South JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL did not want to go to the new JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL; so as a spoiler, they chose the worst name they could. The name they chose was Kakiat, a name for a once-existent local Native American tribe.

In 1959, the then current assistant principal of South JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL, Raymond Chisamore was to be transferred to the new Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL when it was finished in 1960. He was given the choice of the teachers he wanted to bring with him, so he chose his best friends, who were all department chairmen. They were all older men in their late fifties, and early sixties. This seemed like a good base from which to start a new junior with experienced teachers. Actually, few teachers transferred, only administrators that were selected by the new principal. All the rest of the teachers were hired as new teachers. 

In 1960, seventy-five teachers were hired in the High Mountain school district to begin work at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. In 1967, fifty more teachers were hired at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. The hiring frenzy was to meet the ever-expanding student population expansion in the 1960s. Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL started with 600 students, and by 1975, its population had doubled to 1,600 students in the one building built for only 1,000 students.

When the fall of 1960 came about, the construction was not completed; however, the district moved the students into the unfinished building anyway. Construction delays caused the problem of not having the building finished on time. While teachers were teaching in their classrooms, workers were drilling and nailing walls together in the next classroom. 

Bang, bang, mmmmmm, bang, bang. “And that, students, is why the Indians surrendered to the white man,” said Mr. Torres. Every day during first period, social studies, English, and science classes, the hammering would start usually in the middle of a lesson. Teachers were used to being drowned out. They complained to the principal. “Mr. Chisamore, is there something you can do to stop the hammering during the day?” asked Mr. Torres. 

“No, Mr. Torres, I am sorry, but the work has to be finished now rather than later. Bear with it for now,” said Mr. Chisamore, the principal.

The noise problem made it difficult to teach without distraction. Teachers learned to write notes on the board in advance of when the drilling started. Once the drilling started, no one could be heard. A positive note was that none of the students were noisy or could talk among themselves because they could not hear one another.

The auditorium was half finished, with the seats not completely installed. Technically, it was illegal to occupy a building that had not been finished, but the district had no plan B in case the building was not completely finished. Somehow the school district managed to avoid being fined by the local building code inspectors.

No sooner had Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL been built than it became overcrowded, and an extension wing was planned for and built in 1967. A small gym was started in 1968 and finished by 1970 to accommodate the increase in student enrollment. A lot of problems developed with the heating and air circulation systems in the new extension, requiring more construction and repairs to be made. Some classrooms lost all heat and were as cold as the outside weather in the fall and winter of 1967. Teachers had to move classes to the cafeteria or auditorium or library when the classrooms had no heat. 

A fire was started in a closet in the large gymnasium when a worker with a blowtorch accidently ignited the insulation in the ceiling while he was welding metal braces under the roof. Fortunately, the damage was limited to the storage closet, and the fire department was able to get to the fire fast enough to prevent serious damage. The real damage was water damage to the gymnasium flooring and a few dozen fried footballs and basketballs. 

The boys’ locker room had showers but no hot water until the plumbing was fixed. In the 1960s, it was normal to give out soap and towels to students to shower after class. It was mandatory at that time. When the 1970s came in with the concern for individual liberties, students’ rights, and many lawsuits, it was determined that students’ rights were being violated when they were required to take showers. So the mandatory use of showers was abandoned and adopted as a district-wide policy. Showering after physical education class was strictly voluntary.

 Eventually, a shortage in funds caused the expensive free towel and soap program in physical education to also be dropped. Eventually, only the sports teams would use the shower rooms. The end result was that the physical education students went to class smelling and sweating. Not many teachers were happy with that conclusion, with students sitting in their classes sweating and smelling.

Every four years there was a threatened Teacher strike because the Board of Education wanted to save money by not giving raises and benefits.

The teaching staff grew from 70 teachers initially to over 120 teachers by 1975. Many part-time teachers also joined the teaching ranks, and teachers who traveled from one school to another. Paraprofessionals came into use and were known as “teacher aides.” They needed only two years of college to be eligible for the job. The district used to have team teaching, but paraprofessionals provided a cheaper approach than two paid full-time teachers to one class. For a few years, there was a program allowing a special education teacher and a mainstream teacher teaching a mixed-ability group of students, including special education students. Budget considerations would eventually cause that excellent program to be discontinued. The teachers’ union fought against the use of paraprofessionals and lost

Community voting on public bond issues was always difficult because the majority of the High Mountain school district was represented by Jewish private schools called “yeshivas.” The private yeshiva population grew from seven thousand students in the 1960s to fifteen thousand in the 1990s. The Jewish community had to be courted by the superintendent of High Mountain school district in order to secure their support of the public school budgets. Many trade-offs had to be offered to the private school community, such as universal busing, used textbooks, used school furniture, and special professional services. The Jewish community voted as a block against the expansion of the public school bond issues by busing Jewish voters to the voting poles. No public referendum could be passed without getting the Jewish community vote. The Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parents were paying both for yeshivas for their children to attend and for public school tax. Under New York State law, the High Mountain school district superintendent was legally responsible for all public and private schools within the borders of the High Mountain school district. Therefore, yeshivas had to meet New York State Education requirements or they would not be certified. The High Mountain school district was one of only three major Jewish districts in New York State that had a significant number of students attending yeshivas (1990: 10,000 students; 2012: 20,000) instead of public schools. This meant that the formula for repayment to the High Mountain School from New York State did not include the private yeshiva students. The public school system of High Mountain did not get any revenue from New York State to offset the cost of carrying thousands of yeshiva students who were not in public school. This also included Catholic schools that had a much smaller number of students. This lack of funds from New York State would eventually cause the High Mountain school district to develop a major shortage of funds to pay for the school budget every year. The shortage of funds developed into

  1. a)  Threatened teacher strikes 
  2. b)  No teacher contracts for three years or more 
  3. c)  Cutting back in hiring new teachers 
  4. d)  Cutting back in sports programs, such as elementary soccer, softball, and basketball 
  5. e)  Reduction in teachers and support positions
  6. f)  Closing of schools
  7. g)  An increase in Orthodox Jews on the public school board whose agenda was to protect the yeshivas at the expense of the public school

Concerned parents had to form their own sports associations to provide sports for elementary school children. This community sports program eventually grew to include junior and senior high students that could not qualify for the school teams.

The 1960s were a turbulent time in America, with the civil rights movement taking hold, Black Powerradicalism in student organizations, and the anti–Vietnam War movement. Coupled with the drug generation and the antiwar movement of hippies and beatniks, the 1960s and 1970s were troubled times in American schools and Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. These problems trickled down to the local level, with students mimicking what they saw on TV and what was happening in the media. 

Student protests were the thing of the day. Fake bombing calls were also the fad of the 1960s and 1970s generation. Fake bomb calls came on a daily, if not weekly basis, and the entire school had to be evacuated every time. No one was ever caught. This fad went on for years until a principal from another school district had had enough of the fake bomb threats and decided not to evacuate the building. After that, many other school districts followed suit and made changes in their fire alarm systems with a yellow detection spray, video cameras, and a new approach to bomb threats. Twenty years later, bomb threats would be a thing of the past, just as the Vietnam War became a thing of the past.

Some teachers were considered militant when it came to anti-Vietnam policies, and that was unfortunate because they affected the minds of the children they taught. Militant teachers painted their rooms with psychedelic colors and logos to mirror the slogans of the times. Some of the militant teachers had long hair and dressed in blue jeans, and wore T-shirts with logos like “No war” or “Peace.” Militant song groups appeared on the music scene and could be heard in the militant teachers’ classrooms. One social studies teacher even had a toilet in his classroom for some unknown reason. The administrators did nothing to have it removed for fear of violating his civil rights. The administrators were useless in being able to stop the militant teachers’ activities. The antiwar issue divided the faculty, but no one would support an administrator trying to make a stand “for or against the war” or “militant teachers.”

The term “politically incorrect” came into play. Black students could no longer be called Negro students. “Black or Black Americans or African Americans” became the buzzwords. The word “nigger” was the ultimate insult for black students especially when a white student or white teacher used it. However, it seemed OK for one black student to call another black student a “nigger.” It became known as the “N word” for white teachers or white students. There was a lot of racism during the 1960s and 1970s, and many teachers tried to straddle the line but did not succeed. Expressions such as “your people” from white teachers or white students smirked of racism. Black parents and black students were very race conscious during these turbulent years. All of these issues translated to problems at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL as in all schools in the United States. 

Teachers at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL had to be especially careful in their language and how they treated black students with regard to how they treated other students. The sensitivity of race issues was on the surface and would not go away. Many teachers got into trouble when they used language that was misinterpreted by black students. Black students would often run to administrators and tell false tales to get a teacher they did not like in trouble. The sensitivity of the racism issues during the 1970s and 1980s made teaching during these years difficult. Teaching during these turbulent times was no picnic. 

Politics was everywhere in the 1970’s and 1960’s.

One paradox was the militant teachers, twenty years later, cut their hair short and became part of the mainstream society, as if they were never militant in their lifetime. It was amazing how some militant teachers became moles for the administrators, after fighting the administration for so many years. It demonstrates how a teacher can go from one radical philosophy to the opposite administrative philosophy over a period of ten or twenty years. It shows that in time, you either conform to the rules and policies or get out. If a teacher wanted to make it to retirement age, they all had to change over time and become more liberal or conservative in their philosophical approach to teaching and issues of society.

Chapter 2 – Big-Breasted Ronnie Bronson, the Female Physical Education Teacher

Public school in New York traditionally starts one or two days after Labor Day in September. The day before that is the annual Superintendent’s Conference in which all teachers, administrators, and staff personnel are required to attend. In the morning, the superintendent of schools makes his speech on the condition of the district, and important considerations such as student enrollment increase or decline. After 1970, the enrollment peaked at Mountain High school district, as did other school districts in the northern part of New York State. The three junior highs were packed with 1,600 students each in buildings that were designed for only 1,000 students. Before Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL was built, the high schools had so many students that they went on split sessions in which the seniors and juniors came in at 7:00 a.m. and left at 12:30 p.m. The sophomores and transfer students came in at 8:00 and stayed until 1:30. This allowed the two high schools Mountain High North and Mountain High South to fit in more students over a shortened day to allow for sports in the afternoons.

In the afternoon of each superintendent’s conference, each school had a faculty meeting in their own building with the principal setting the agenda. This was the opportunity for the tenured older teachers to check out the new younger teachers that were mostly just out of college and a few young transfer teachers.

The principal would usually welcome all the teachers back, and then he would introduce all the new teachers to the faculty and staff. 

Fall of 1968 Principal’s Welcome Speech

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to KakiatJunior High. I hope you had a satisfying and enjoying summer vacation. The other administrators and myself came back in August to set up the new course schedule, and assign teachers to all the classes. This year, we have gone from 80 teachers to 120 teachers due to the increased enrollment over the past summer. I want to introduce my two assistant principals, Mrs. Weiser and Mr. Dumfound. Mrs. Weiser, as you know, is in charge of the guidance department and scheduling. Mr. Dumfound is in charge of the school budget, purchasing of supplies and inventory in the school. Does anyone have any questions so far? 

“Mrs. Ella Weisenfeld will be one of the new science teachers,” added Mr. Chisamore. 

Bill Seeker leaned over to his friend Dick Nipp and said, “She looks like she lifts weights,” and they both laughed quietly. A few wisecracking older male teachers in the far back corner of the library were commenting to themselves, as Principal Chisamore introduced the new teachers. 

Mr. Baldeen aka Ray Chisamore 1960-1970, Kakiat JHS Principal.

After ten more introductions, the new physical education woman teacher was introduced. “And I have the pleasure of introducing Mrs. Ronnie Bronson our new women’s physical education teacher. Mrs. Bronson, will you please stand,” said Mr. Chisamore. 

“Holy crap, Dick, did you see the tits on that woman? Wow, she must be at least a 46 triple D cup, and she has the guts to wear a sweater,” said Bill. 

Dick laughed and said, “You are right, Bill, she really has a big set.” 

So began the era of Mrs. Ronnie “Big Chest” Bronson. It may sound like a sexist statement; yet, in fact, Mrs. Bronson was happy in making a statement about her physical attributes to the entire faculty. Whenever she came into the teachers’ café, all the men would get whiplash turning their heads so quickly to watch her enter the room with the luncheon tray held outside her large breasts. She always dressed well in sweat suits and sneakers, although once in a while, she would forget, and wear shin-high boots. 

The physical education department chairman, Gerald Levitus, was an elderly guy who always treated the women physical education teachers as second-rate teachers. He was a chauvinist from the old school style of thinking. He made sure the women always got the old physical education equipment, and they never got any new physical education equipment. He was a throwback model of the old days of male dominated physical education programs. He had inherited the department chairperson position when the previous chairperson moved up to the high school to become football coach. 

The new smaller gym in the back of the building was called the “girls’ gym,” and they were sent back there to conduct their classes. When the boys played basketball, they got the larger front gym, known as the “boys’ gym.” Ronnie changed a lot of that old-style chauvinism. For the first time in the history of the Kakiat Junior high school, Gerald Levitus, the department chairperson, brought some new volleyballs and new basketballs over to the women’s physical education office to get on Ronnie’s good side. He was fawning over her, so it was embarrassing for the rest of the staff. Ronnie played him for all he was worth. Even though Gerald Levitus was married with five kids, it seemed to make no difference to him that he favored Ronnie.

It was the fall of 1968, and it looked like it was going to be a most interesting year. Having a female physical education teacher that was actually pretty good looking and not “butch looking” in the physical education department was a real novelty. The stereotype for a female physical education was not good in the 1960s because many teachers did nothing to enhance their physical appearance in the job setting. It was difficult to look sexy or good-looking in a sweat suit.

During the 1960s, the gym classes were separated according to gender. The female physical education teachers took attendance in all girl classes and played only girls sports. The boys, likewise, sat in lines of all boys and played only boys sports taught by male physical education teachers. There was no such thing as coed physical education or coed sports during the 1960s in all the schools in New York State. 

It wasn’t until 1972, that a Federal Title 9 program “declared that all girls programs receive equal status in instruction and sports.” In addition, the Federal government required that physical education classes become coed, and instruction become coed and equal. The biggest impact of the new Federal Title 9 ruling was that the women physical education teachers had to learn how to teach boys’ sports, such as, football, soccer, softball, track and field. The second major impact was that women physical education teachers were now equal to the men and, therefore, had no special protection from men with respect to seniority on the job. Women who went out on pregnancy lost six months or a year in seniority when they came back to the job. In the past, they were protected because the male physical education teachers did not teach girls in the 1960s or before.

The equipment changed, too, when girls received equal instruction along with the boys. It wasn’t possible to have girls playing touch football with rubber footballs or leather footballs. They would break a nail or a finger trying to catch the hard balls. So the decision was made to use a soft foam ball called a Nerf football. They also came in a smaller easier making it easier to throw.

Likewise, soccer on a coed basis had to convert to using a Nerf (foam) soccer ball to avoid injuries. Girls weren’t forced to play with the boys, but they had an option to play soccer or football with the boys rather than the girls. The tougher girls choose to play with the boys, and the less aggressive girls choose to play among themselves. Field hockey and wrestling were considered not suitable for a coed curriculum and were dropped from the curriculum. The field hockey program was dropped because there were not enough field hockey sticks to equip an entire physical education program of 1,600 students. Wrestling was too physical, and society was not ready to see boys wrestling girls to the ground and pinning them.

New teachers usually had mentors to help them learn the policies and procedures in the school. A mentor showed new teachers how to write a lesson plan and how to complete their weekly course lesson plan. The department chairperson evaluated this weekly lesson plan each week. Gerald Levitus, the physical education department chairman, appointed himself as Ronnie’s mentor and made an effort to show her how to teach boys’ sports. The obvious reason for his mentoring was for self-gratification with working with a sexy woman.

Gerald Levitus had been teaching for ten years at the time, and he personally demonstrated techniques of teaching and handling large classes of forty-five physical education students to Ronnie. He seemed infatuated with her even though he was a married man. It seemed to puff up Sam’s ego to be working with such a good-looking female teacher. Ronnie followed Sam’s lead in learning how to teach all sports on a coed basis. No one else in the women’s physical education department got any special attention. The other women physical education teachers had to fend for themselves and copy what the other male physical education teachers were doing with Nerf football and Nerf soccer. Many of the physical education teachers developed an attitude toward Ronnie since Gerald Levitus was treating her like a favorite. Ruth was one of the physical education teachers that had done her fieldwork at Kakiat Junior high school and was hired afterward from New York University. She was a pleasant teacher who often did not get along with Gerald Levitus. She was well liked by all of the girls in the school and stood as an example of what a proper mentor and a teacher of physical education could be.

Ronnie became the fashion expert of the school. She wore outfits that would always accentuate her large breasts, and she loved the looks she got from all the male teachers. She was the first teacher in Kakiat Junior high school that could teach in a sweater indoors and not break a sweat. Ruth and Elise simply tolerated Ronnie and her fashion statements. The gym was always hot from the skylights, and being close to the school boilers, it was impossible not to sweat in the fall and winter months. T-shirts worked best indoors and sweat suits or matching warm-up suits were good for outdoors. The physical education men traditionally wore gray or blue physical education instructor pants with a black or white stripe down the sides of the pants. The physical education women wore matching sweat suits. Ronnie was the exception and wore whatever she wanted to wear. Sometimes, this included a skirt and heels, instead of sneakers. There was no standard issue physical education uniform for women at the time, although some women chose to teach in warm-up uniforms.

Elise Greenberg was oldest woman in the physical education department in her late fifties. She had a major drinking problem and missed at least one day a week due to her drinking problem. What made things worse was she would come to school wearing heels and a skirt even when the classes were going outdoors. She was a sight to see when she went outdoors, and she always got stuck in the mud with her high heels. She wore the big set of gym keys on a lanyard around her neck with a whistle connected to it, since her dresses had no pockets. She looked more like a substitute teacher that did not know what to wear when teaching physical education. Elise Greenberg had been at the Kakiat since it opened in 1960, having transferred from Spring Valley South High Junior high. She had been divorced and had a lot of personal problems that she brought to the job. 

For some reason, she and Mr. Chisamore were personal friends and were often seen eating lunch together. This in itself was unusual, since none of the teachers ever ate at the same table as an administrator. There was a distinct, invisible barrier between the administrators (principals, assistant principals, dean of students, and department chairpersons) and the teaching staff when it came to eating during lunchtime. Peer pressure from other teachers frowned on teachers being friendly in the lunchroom with administrators. Many teachers chose to eat in their own classrooms and avoided eating in the staff cafeteria. Some teachers chose to eat in the teachers’ lounge where no administrator dare go for lunch.

Anyone team-teaching with Elise always learned to take the class attendance, rather than depend on Elise to take attendance. When the class went outdoors, Elise would eventually follow at her own pace. Her drinking problem really affected her performance, but no administrator bothered to do anything about it. Eventually, she had the highest absence rate for any teacher in the entire school (1969–1970). One day in May, she was called to the principal’s office. The principal “made her an offer she could not refuse.” She would retire at the end of the academic year or the district would bring her up on charges of “dereliction of duty” and prove that she was an alcoholic in an official hearing. Elise was old enough to retire, but in those days, there was no retirement incentive, and the retirement pension was very low. She decided to retire rather than have the district embarrass her in public. The administration forced her out of job despite her tenured position.

After the Federal Title 9 act was put into place in 1972, taking out eighty girls and boys at one time was a real challenge for some of the men and women physical education teachers. The classes were supposed to be split into two classes of forty-five students each, but for convenience, the physical education teachers grouped the whole coed class together. This meant that eight rows of ten students, in alphabetical coed formation, would be sitting on the gym floor, waiting for one teacher to take attendance. This inefficient method of class management came about because the other teachers used the extra time to go to the bathroom or pour themselves a cup of coffee in the office, while one teacher took the attendance. 

In the 1960s, the new physical education teachers had illegally large classes of eighty to one hundred seventh graders, and Gerald Levitus had small classes of twenty to thirty ninth graders. Gerald Levitus was allowed to schedule all the best classes for himself. The standard procedure was for the education schedule to be turned into the assistant principal for approval during the summer prior to school starting that fall. Department chairmen also got an extra period off to supposedly supervise their departments’ teachers. This meant most department chairmen taught only three to four classes a day, depending on the size of the department. Physical education had six full-time teachers at the time, three men and three women. This allowed for Gerald Levitus to have one free period off each day. He used this free time during the eighth period to go outside and prepare the soccer field or baseball field when he was coaching these sports.

Mrs. Ronnie Bronson was selected to be the cheerleader coach because she was the only person in the school interested in coaching the girl cheerleaders. Many male teachers made it their business to drop by the gym after school to watch the tryouts for the cheerleading team. Watching Ronnie jumping up and down for the girls, and her huge breasts practically knocking herself out from bouncing around, was a sight to see.

The process of selecting cheerleaders was an exercise in overt racism in the 1960s and early 1970s. Seldom did a black girl ever make the team in the 1960s and early 1970s. What Coach Ronnie wanted was an all-white girls cheerleading team that could do all the typical rah, rah, rah cheers with no black emotionalism or jive talk. She was instructed by the principal and the department chairmen of physical education to keep the cheerleaders an all-white team of girls, but to go through the motions and make it look like all girls had an equal chance. 

Racial prejudice was built into the cheerleader selection system for many years.

The administration at the time felt the black girls did not represent the entire white student body at Kakiat Junior High, and should therefore be kept off the cheerleading team. Historically, in the 1950s, Mountain High school was cited by the New York State Board of Education for racism in the placement of black students all in the same school. They were ordered by court order to provide racially balanced schools or have their charter removed. They never really removed the racial barriers and racial attitudes by the 1960s and 1970s.

Panels of white male and white female classroom teachers were asked to volunteer to help select the fifteen-girl cheerleading squad. Naturally, the pretty little white girls always performed the appropriate cheers, and the black girls always added clapping, and stomping, and body language that the white teachers did not understand. This went on for many years until change finally came to the cheerleading program after many parental complaints in the early 1970s and the Federal Title 9 law.

It was a month into the fall of 1968 when some of the students and teachers noticed that history teacher Joe Bigone was hanging around after cheerleading practices. He was also seen up on the hill during football games where the cheerleaders were cheering from the sidelines. Many suspected that Joe and Ronnie were a number despite the fact that Ronnie was married and Joe was single.

Young couple in a field

On a crisp cold day in October day in 1968, around 11:00 a.m., the fourth period boys’ physical education class was walking up the hill behind KakiatJunior High to get to the football field, at the top of the hill where they played touch football. At the top of the hill was a huge tar gutter to allow the water to drain down the side of the hill and prevent erosion. Physical education teacher Mr. Wise was leading eighty boys up the hill when they approached the gutter at the top of the hill. One of the students turned to Mr. Wise and asked, “Coach, what are those teachers doing in the gutter?” 

gymnastics collection 2

Mr. Wise had just come over the rise in the hill, and as he looked down the tar gutter, he could see two teachers lying in the gutter in a tight embrace. He answered the student in a matter-of-fact tone by saying, “They must be practicing gymnastics logrolls or something.” They both laughed. Then the other students noticed the teachers lying in the gutter. The students and the teacher all laughed, especially when they realized it was Mr. Bigone from the history department and Mrs. Ronnie Bronson from the physical education department. When the two teachers realized that almost eighty students were standing on the hill looking at them, they got up and brushed themselves off and walked down the hill as if nothing had happened. 

Later that day, both teachers were called to the principal’s office. Gossip spread around the building the both teachers were romantically involved. Students would come up and actually ask Ronnie: “Is it true, Mrs. Bronson, that you and Mr. Bigone are in love?” Ronnie would blush and, of course, deny it, especially since she was married. It certainly was the talk of the school in meetings, lunches, and department meetings. 

One evening, Mr. Wise was walking to his car after coaching the boys’ cross-country team practice. The sky was already dark at 5:00 p.m. in the fall. As he approached the teachers’ parking lot, he noticed someone getting out of a VW bus in the back of the parking lot. It was a woman, and she was pulling up her pants that were down around her ankles. She got out of the backseat of the VW bus. Sure enough it was Ronnie Bronson. Mr. Wise ducked down, as he opened his car door, and peeked over the back of his car to see Mr. Bigone getting out of the other side of the VW bus. Mr. Wise laughed to himself. He could not believe that they were making out or having sex in the faculty parking lot in the early evening. He did not tell anyone the next day and kept his little secret to himself.

Every day in the teachers’ cafeteria, it was a real show as some of the male teachers tried to flirt with Mrs. Bronson by offering to take her lunch tray, offering her a seat by them, asking if she wanted their dessert, and on and on. It didn’t take long for many of the female teachers to start getting annoyed about the male teachers fussing over Ronnie. Soon, the female teachers began talking about Ronnie behind her back. Gossip travels fast in a small school of 120 teachers, and the gossip of the day was always “Joe and Ronnie.” 

One day an art teacher, named Mr. Goldblatt, spotted a Volkswagen camper bouncing back and forth outside in the faculty parking lot near the art classes. It seem strange that the VW camper was bouncing up and down, so he went outside to get a better look and out came Joe Bigone and a fourteen-year-old girl straightening her clothes. Of course, he reported the incident to the principal. Joe’s excuse was he was helping the student with her history homework in his VW bus.

The Mrs. Ronnie Bronson gossip came to a head during Christmas season of 1969, when the teachers had their annual Christmas at Goldfarbs Hotel nearby. Because most of the teachers were Jewish, the party had to be both a Hanukah party and a Christmas party. It was a Friday night and most of the teachers went home and showered, and dressed up, and met at Goldfarbs Hotel at 8:00 p.m. for the party. Kosher rules had to be enforced, but the Christian teachers did not mind, and went along with the special requests by the more Orthodox Jewish teachers on the faculty. 

Ronnie appeared at the party without her husband, whom no one had ever seen. Joe Bigone appeared at the party without a date also. Couples were mingling everywhere, and the president of the teachers’ union announced that the district had hired 300 teachers that year and that 24 new teachers were at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. It was a good time in the High Mountain school district. The district was growing by leaps and bounds, and hundreds of parents were moving out of New York City after the citywide teachers’ union strikes the year before. The parents from New York City had enough of teacher strikes and wanted a better education for their children, so they moved upstate to find better school districts.

Teachers Dick Runner, Bill Better, and Bob Delcon were all sitting around a table having some beers and mixed drinks with their wives when Ronnie and Joe walked by hand in hand. Dick’s wife leaned over to him and asked, “Who are the two sweethearts, honey?”

“Oh, they are two new teachers at KakiatJunior High this year,” Dick said. “Job Bigone is the new history teacher, and Mrs. Ronnie Bronson is the new physical education teacher. I believe she is married; however, no one has ever seen her husband,” Dick added. The other wives at the table also looked at the couple with interest. Dick tried to change the subject. “Well, it is a really great night isn’t it, sweetie?” 

Ronnie and Joe danced together all night. Her large oversized chest crushed against his chest. It was quite a scene. Most of the teachers ignored them, except the wives. They seem to be concerned about the young couple. Around 11:00 p.m., both Ronnie and Joe disappeared from the party, and no one noticed that they were gone. Too many of the teachers had a little too much to drink, so their vision wasn’t too great anyway.

A few minutes later, Ronnie and Joe were in his VW bus, stripping off their clothes and kissing one another. “Oh, Joe, I love you,” said Ronnie. 

“I love you too, Ronnie,” said Joe with a great deal of passion. “I love when you get naked too, sweetie,” Joe whispered. They laughed together while taking their clothes off.

The VW bus began to bump and jump around as Joe Bigone loosened his male fury on Ronnie. Joe was pulling, kissing, and sucking those huge breasts. Life was good, until there was a knock on the door of the VW bus. It was the principal, Mr. Chisamore, and he did not look happy. Joe quickly tried to put his pants back on as he opened the door. Ronnie was still putting her bra on as Mr. Chisamore stood there saying, “Joe, what the hell are you doing? Mrs. Bronson is a married woman, and this is very inappropriate in the parking lot to be having sex. I want to see you on Monday morning first thing.”

“OK” was all Joe could think of to say. Ronnie was too ashamed to say anything.

Monday morning came, and Mr. Chisamore wrote Joe Bigone up for “conduct unbecoming” a teacher, better known as a 3220a petition for grounds for dismissal. This meant that after a district hearing Joe could be fired. Actually, since Joe did not yet have tenure, he could be fired without a 3230a petition for dismissal; however, the principal, Mr. Chisamore, overreacted. After the meeting with the principal, the union rep informed Joe that they would provide a lawyer free to defend him against being fired. Ronnie and Joe were not seen together in the school from that day on. Ronnie was not brought up on charges, because the district used her as a witness to frame Joe. She was let off with just a letter of reprimand in her file.

It was months later in the spring of 1970 when Joe was formally charged in a 3220 dismissal hearing. The administration wanted to make an example of Joe Bigone to all of the teachers, so they took the extreme measure of filing a 3020a dismissal action against Joe Bigone. The assistant principal, Mrs. Blackweed, made a major mistake and tried to add poor evaluation records to Joe’s professional records before the hearing. She did not know that Joe’s union lawyers had already photocopied all his evaluations and files that the principal had put in Joe’s file during the years Joe worked at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. 

When the evidence was being introduced against Joe Bigone in the 3220a hearing, the poor teaching evaluations signed by Mrs. Blackweed appeared. The defense lawyers realized these documents had been added after the fact and challenged Mrs. Blackweed on the stand under oath in court. The district lawyer asked for a short recess when he suspected that the assistant principal, Mrs. Blackweed, had added poor teaching evaluations after the fact. He met with Mrs. Blackweed in the hallway and informed her that he suspected she added the evaluations after the fact, because the defense lawyers had the complete file of Joe Bigone, and the evaluations by Mrs. Blackweed did not exist at the time the files were copied. 

The hearing began after a short recess, and the district lawyer made Joe Bigone and his lawyer a generous offer because of Mrs. Blackweed’s illegal and incompetent behavior in this case. They offered Joe Bigone tenure and a cash settlement in exchange for Joe Bigone agreeing to leave the district in two weeks. Joe’s lawyers advised him to take the money, tenure, and leave the district as requested. He accepted the offer, and the arbitrator was informed that the case had been mutually settled. Mrs. Blackweed received a letter of reprimand for her illegal actions that compromised the district’s position and forced them to settle in favor of Joe Bigone.

A substitute teacher was hired to fill out his position for the remainder of the academic year. Ronnie took the news a little hard, but in the meantime, she had heard rumors that Joe was knocking up some of the female students also. After he was fired, it came to light that he had gotten a pretty fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, Amanda Greenwald, pregnant. He left New York state since he had lost his teacher’s certification. The following year, gossip had it that he got another teaching job in Vermont at an all-girls school. That must have been interesting.

During Easter vacation, one of the women physical education teachers named Nina ran into Ronnie at the local mall. They had lunch together when Ronnie admitted that she was separated from her husband and that she wanted a divorce. That gossip spread around the school as soon as the vacation was over. Ronnie only lasted a year, and after a poor final evaluation at the end of the year, she left for another school district.

School children and their teacher in a high school

Chapter 3 – School Politics

There were five principals between the years 1960 and 1998 at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. Two will not be mentioned because they were short-term replacements. The first principal lasted ten years, the second principal lasted seven years, and the last principal seventeen years. All three retired after serving as principal of Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. The first principal, Mr. Chisamore, was “old school,” meaning he was from the “old style” of running a building. Everything was by the book, and formal rules were the way to go for him. Originally, he was an assistant principal at another building. He had transferred from the oldest junior high in the district to this new building in 1960. By the time he became principal, he was already in his late sixties. He brought with him his buddies from the other junior high to serve as department chairmen with a relatively new faculty. Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL opened with 90 percent new teachers hired from NYC or just out of college in 1960. 

The first year at KakiatJunior High was very difficult because the building was still unfinished. Many of the classrooms were not finished as of opening day on September 5, 1960. Five years later, in 1965, an extension to the main building was build to house the ever-increasing number of students. A pool was supposed to be built in the inner courtyard of the building extension, but the community voted it down in a bond proposal. The population doubled every year, with students transferring from New York City schools to the High Mountain school district where parents believed they could get a good education for their children, instead of teacher strikes and gang violence.

By 1970, the first principal, Mr. Chisamore, was gone due to gang fights and bad publicity created in the community. The school board pushed him out, thinking he was too old in his late sixties to take control of a junior high. He was forced to retire.

In the fall of 1970, the second principal, Mr. Tom Balls, was hired. He was a physical education teacher previously and also an assistant principal until he was fired in a school district somewhere in Vermont. When he applied for the Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL job, he had been working in a shoe factory in Vermont for two years. The school board wanted a puppet they could control, and he was just the man. 

Tom Balls was a man in his forties with no leadership ability at all. He simply did not know how to please the teachers’ union and get his own way at the same time. He fought the teachers’ union at every turn and lost. He did not appreciate the power of informal structure at a school and thought that he could control everything by formal rules. He did not have any friends on the faculty, and few of the teachers had any respect for him. During Tom Balls’s seven-year tenure at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL, all hell broke loose with the loss of control of the students and a lack of overall school discipline, drug problems, internal politics, threatened teacher strikes, and other administration problems. 

The fact that the teachers union almost went out on strike three times in the early 1970s showed that there was a big gap between the administration needs and the teachers’ needs. Threatened teacher strikes were bad for business, bad for the parents, bad for the students, and bad for the atmosphere in the school system. Everything began to break down when Principal Tom Balls applied foolish formal rules. After each contract renewal with the teachers, the benefits in health insurance begin to shrink. The cost of living far exceeded the amount of pay the teachers were getting. All of these problems transferred back to the principal and the staff attitude at the time. Many teachers stood up against the principal and refused to do what he asked. He tried to fire them, but the teachers’ union protected them, and he lost all the battles. 

The principal, Tom Balls, also had a poor relationship with the president of the PTA. The PTA lost a lot of members because of his lack of support to PTA- sponsored events. To gain the respect of the student body and the faculty, Tom Balls arranged a judo and karate demonstration in which he demonstrated judo and karate with some of the teachers and students. Basically, he made a fool of himself. Many teachers who were not sure about the new principal were now convinced that he was a fool.

At the Halloween party, Tom Balls was seen trying to impress some of the new female teachers, even though he was married. He hung around one young teacher the whole night, and she tried to get rid of him. All of the teachers noticed his behavior and that became fodder for more gossip around the school.

At the Christmas party for the teachers, Tom Balls got drunk and made a fool of himself by calling another teacher names. No one forgot that embarrassing and immature occasion at the teachers’ Christmas/Hanukah party. After two years as principal, Tom Balls has lost all credibility with the teachers. He often had to take attendance at faculty meeting because more and more teachers simply did not come to the meetings anymore. He also tried to use the security guards as his spies around the building. That put the security guards in a bad position with the teachers who never trusted them to begin with. 

Eventually, with the tensions of no teacher contracts for three years, pending strike threats, no salary increases, the union reps took over the school on an informal basis. They called the shots on whether teachers were going to attend after-school sports events or volunteer for extra assignments. It was a “work to rule,” slow down, and the word “professionalism” went into the garbage can. The board said the teachers should volunteer to do more with no pay, and they called that “professionalism.” They insisted on faculty meetings going beyond two hours on a school day after hours, or coming into “back to school night” to volunteer their time to meet with parents without additional pay


When teachers “worked to rule,” all the extra free services are thrown out the window. It is amazing how much free extra stuff teachers do, like paying for classroom supplies out of their own pockets, or buying a pizza for a class that did well on a test, or taking a student home who had missed the bus, or cleaning up when a mess was made in a classroom, and the list goes on and on.

Finally, after seven years of total decline, Tom Balls retired to Florida, never to be seen again.

The third principal, Mr. Mat Baldeen, came to KakiatJunior High in 1977, after seven years of decline in the reputation of the school. He came from a New York City school in Brooklyn where he was a social studies teacher who joined the ranks of administrators as an assistant principal. Coming to Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL would be the biggest challenge of his life. Mat Baldeen was an overweight, bald Jewish guy with a great sense of humor. When he first arrived, he was shunned by many of the teachers because of the bad experiences they had with the previous principal. He had his work cut out for him.

Enrollment dropped 50 students a year beginning in 1977 and continued into the 1990s to an all-time low of 440 students. The faculty dropped from 120 teachers over thirty years to only 48 teachers, with a lot of part-time teachers. Five threatened teacher strikes had occurred over the thirty years. It was a bad time for education in the High Mountain school district.

The first thing Mat Baldeen did was make changes formally and informally. Bad old habits and rules were dropped. The sign-in procedure for teachers became more relaxed than before. Teachers were treated with more respect than before. The security staff was changed, and their attitudes changed, as well as their job functions. They were no longer used as spies for the principal. The organization of the front office changed, and the swing gate was removed, and the general appearance of the main office became more inviting. Faculty meetings changed, with teachers’ union pre-meetings having less and less to complain about. Some older teachers were forced to retire, and many new teachers were hired to replace them. 

A principal’s cabinet was formed for the first time in the history of the school. It consisted of one person from every department, and one security guard and one custodian, as well as one parent representative. The security guards, custodians, and parents had never been asked before to participate in any committee or governing group in the school. It was a brilliant stroke of genius to help improve the communication within the building. It was also a first recognizing that the custodians, security guards, and secretarial staff were considered on the same level of respect as the teachers and administrators.

The duty of the principal’s cabinet was to make new and positive policies for the school and seek out new ways of improving the school learning environment and community image. Teachers offered to volunteer their lunchtime to supervise a “lunch time detention room” for students that misbehaved during the lunch periods. That was another precedent, with teachers volunteering. The one catch in an agreement between the teachers and the principal was they would volunteer so long as the principal never made it mandatory. A few years later, Tom Baldeen broke his word and tried to mandate teachers to supervise the “lunch room detention room,” since volunteers has begun to disappear. The union fought this mandate and won, and that was the end of the “lunch room detention room.”

The principal’s cabinet worked very well for a few years. Teachers and staff felt they had a say in things for the first time in many years. The school applied for the New York State outstanding school award in 1986 and won the recognition in a ceremony at Albany in the spring of 1987. It was a major positive step forward for Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL.

Entrance to old school building

With every principal comes politics both formal and informal. The teachers’ union has a certain degree of power in representing teachers in conferences with the principal and demanding changes that the teachers wanted. Every principal handled union reps differently, and for each of the three principals of KakiatJunior High, the politics differed. With the first “old school” principal, he ignored the union reps as best he could. He seldom kept them informed and tried to fire teachers without proper documentation. The second principal, Tom Balls, lost all control of the faculty, and the union reps were basically running the school with informal control. Whatever the union wanted, the teachers’ union got at that time. 

When the Tom Balls wanted teachers to sign in before 9:05 at the beginning of the day, the teachers’ union said there were legitimate exceptions, and signing in at 9:05 exactly could not be required. To prove the point, all the teachers were asked by the union reps to line up outside the school, except those on bus duty, and wait until 9:05, and then enter the building and sign in on the attendance sheet. The whole process took thirty minutes, and many teachers were late to homeroom, so the student attendance that day was very inaccurate. Tom Balls gave in on the “sign in at 9:05” issue, and the teachers’ union won that battle.

         During the monthly faculty meetings, the teachers’ union got an 20 minutes to meet with the teachers before the principal could come in and run the meeting. More was done during the union portion of the meeting than the principal’s portion of the meeting. Coaches were always excused from faculty meetings since they were out on the fields coaching at the time of the meetings or were in the gyms. Much of the plotting and informal undermining of the administration took place during the union faculty meetings.

         Politics always came into place when things went wrong. Whenever there was a problem, the principal would try to create a rule after the fact. When teachers were told they could not close their doors, they put a matchbook in the doorway. When the Tom Balls began peeking in the small door window at teachers in their classes, the teachers put up artwork made of paper to block the window view. 

One long-haired teacher had a real toilet in his classroom, and all the windows were painted in psychedelic motifs, peace signs, flowers, stain glass designs, and skulls. No one was ever forced to take down their classroom artwork no matter how weird, except on “back to school” night when the parents came in to hear about the school and their children’s progress. Then the posters were taken down, the toilet hidden in a closet, and the window artwork cover plastered with paper class work. It was a big game to the teachers and administrators to hide the real class environment from the parents.

There were very few black teachers in the 1960s and 1970s in Kakia tJunior High, mostly because it was too expensive to live in the Mountain High community. Racism also played a part in preventing black teachers from being hired. At the time, there were mostly all-Jewish teachers on the faculty and very few black teachers. Out of 120 white teachers in the early 1970s, only four were black. White administrators were afraid of black teachers and black power, which was the popular theme in the 1970s. Rather than ask for problems, the white administrators did not hire black teachers. 

There were two male black science teachers, two black female teachers in English, and one black female music teacher at the time in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was impossible to fire a black teacher, or the NAACP would be at the building in a heartbeat. White administrators were afraid to fire poorly performing black teachers for fear of being called a “bigot” and getting fired after community outrage ran its course. 

         Poorly performing white teachers had a different standard and could be easily harassed, and constantly evaluated in order to create a file of information to support the administrators firing a teacher at the end of the year. One harassed teacher was a business teacher in his early sixties, whom the principal, Mr. Baldeen, did not like. Mr. Baldeen thought the teacher’s teaching was out of style, and since he was already in his sixties, he wanted to force him to retire. He sent in the two assistant principals on three occasions in just one month to evaluate the teacher (that was technically illegal by union standards). The poor man was so stressed that he had a heart attack in the classroom and died. No administrators were brought to bear for causing his heart attack, but the teachers all knew the real story. It was a sad time in Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL history.

Politics were in play when it came to getting tenure or salary promotions. Being appointed to the position of department chairman was all about politics and staying in favor with the principal. Department chairpersons were the submanagers that helped the principal run the school and were therefore considered administrators. They had to be loyal to the principal or the supervision structure would fall apart. Department chairmen were picked for their loyalty; that meant they were always “brown-nosing the principal.” It was called “kissing ass” by all the teachers. If you didn’t want to “kiss ass,” then you will never got promoted to a department chairperson position. It was a plain fact of the game of teaching and administration. 

There were two rulebooks in education at High Mountain school district. First, there was the administrator’s rulebook pertaining to other administrators, and what they could get away with. The second book was the teachers’ rulebook, which was completely different and had to be formally written down in a large handbook. The teachers had more rules, formal and informal, than the administrators. Administrators could “do no wrong” was the political thought at the time? The teachers were “always wrong” in the administrator’s book, as in

  • •   Teachers were wrong when a student complained that a teacher was mistreating or abusing them in class. 
  • •   Teachers were wrong when a student made up a story about a teacher to get even for low grades. 
  • •   Teachers were wrong when a teacher was accused of abusing a student without any evidence to the contrary. 

Just being accused of a case of misconduct with a student meant you were guilty before being charged. Teachers had to be on their guard both for students who made up stories and administrators that made up stories.

         When the assistant principal in charge of class scheduling was assigning teachers to classes, she always held grudges and favored her friends. She could give a teacher a “killer schedule” with three classes in a row and a late lunch. She could make sure that a teacher did not get the last period of the day off, so they could not leave early for coaching at the High School, for instance. The teachers’ union did not allow four periods in a row to be taught; however, a teacher could sign away his/her rights and teach four in a row to get out of school earlier than other teachers. Many a new science teacher faded a few months into the fall from having multiability classes such as:

  • •       A below-level science class first period 
  • •       An on-level science class second period 
  • •       An earth science regents class third period 
  • •       Science lab in the third period 

Each of these tracts required a separate preparation and a separate lesson plan to be written each day each week. Some new teachers spent the entire weekend each week writing their lesson plans to keep up with the stress of preparing separate level lessons.

Politics and favoritism went hand in hand at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. Those who “kissed ass” got easy duty assignments, such as hall duty where they sat and worked on their paperwork or bus duty before school. The worse assignments were lunch duty where food fights occurred, and physical fights between students were a weekly happening. Teachers attempting to break up fights usually got injured themselves.

One day, a teacher walked into the teachers’ cafeteria after café duty with peaches sliding down his tie after a student food fight. It was a sight to see, as the peaches continued to slide down his tie onto his white shirt. He even had some peaches in his hair. All of the teachers could not help but laugh. The poor teacher was totally embarrassed.

If you wanted to be removed from lunch duty, you had to work hard doing a poor job. Teachers always came late to lunch duty and left early. Everyone tried to do the worst job possible, without being cited at the same time. Reading the New York Times was always a technique that pissed off the assistant principal. Sitting down while on duty was another no-no. Eating on duty in the lunchroom or drinking coffee was also not allowed. You just had to come late and leave early to make the assistant principal think you were the teacher from hell in the lunchroom. Usually, it took a year to convince the assistant principal that did the lunch duty assignments that there was no way they wanted you in the lunchroom because you did everything wrong. It was, after all, a typical game teachers and administrators played during the course of a school day.

Bus duties were assigned every six weeks before school and after school to assist the administrators in controlling the students getting on or off the buses and in preventing fights or accidents. Every six weeks, the teachers could be assured that they would get bus duty on top of their daily duty period. If you did not show up, you got a bad memo in your file. A stack of bad memos could lead to a poor evaluation at the end of the year. This was how the administrators kept teachers in line with the threat of being fired.

There was the story of the potential Olympic girl skater who never came to physical education classes and passed. Politics often came into play when the girl’s parents were friends of the superintendent. While at a social party with the superintendent one night, the girl’s parents asked him to allow their daughter to miss the first period of school every day and to be excused from physical education classes to attend skating lessons. They told the superintendent that she was an Olympic hopeful and attending skating lessons every morning from 5:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. was critical to her success.

The superintendent agreed to help out his friends and also requested the principal to give the girl an automatic passing physical education grade. The principal then told the physical education department chairperson to tell the teacher assigned to the girl to put down a passing grade, even though the girl never showed up for class. This was a violation of the district attendance, state education policy, and district grading laws. The superintendent demanded that the schoolteachers cooperate, and that was that. All of the physical education teachers refused to give the girl a grade and left her name with no grade on the grading sheets. The principal had to add the grade since he could not force the teachers to fill in the grade because they told the union rep of the violation. This is an example of everyday politics flowing downhill as they always do in schools. 

Politics came into play depending upon whether the parent who came into school to complain was a community activator, a lawyer, and white at the same time. Poor parents from Haiti got treated differently than parents who were professionals and white. Indian and Chinese parents were also treated poorly unless they were community leaders with some power. What was called “smoking pot” for one student was called “misuse of medicine” for another student by the administrators when it involved a black student and a white student, respectively. When teachers caught a student smoking marijuana or using it or selling it, the principal usually called in the parents for a conference. When the white parents came in for the meeting, they brought a lawyer and threatened to sue the principal, the teachers, and the district. They usually bluffed the principal out of his position of “no drugs in school” and got a lenient sentence for their child. When it was a black student or a Haitian student caught smoking pot, then the parents who were usually poor came into the meeting with no lawyer, and their son or daughter was deemed guilty automatically.

When nurses turned in a student for drinking or smoking in school, they would not sign a statement to that effect because they were afraid of being sued. Administrators often drove students home, so as not to make it a “federal case.” Many drug abuse cases of white children were covered up when it involved wealthy parents. Black students and other minorities were turned over to the police. It was an unequal system of justice from the beginning. 

         Politics could make or break a school, and in the case of KakiatJunior High, and with poor management, the reputation of the school went rapidly downhill during the 1960s and 1970s. During the 1970s, a school student news reporter wanted to publish a story on gang fights in school, but Principal Tom Balls blocked the article from being written by telling the advisor he would be fired if the article were published. The student writer went instead to the local newspaper outside the school and got his story published. The story about gang fights in the school was something the community and the superintendent were unaware of at the time. When the superintendent saw the article, he was most upset and notified the principal, Tom Balls, to come to his office immediately. Mr. Balls’s future from that point on with the district and the superintendent was tedious.

Unfortunately, the community people reading these stories actually believed the stories and gossip. It was a sad thing when many good teachers in the High Mountain school district were afraid to work at KakiatJunior High because of its poor reputation in the community.

         Despite the attempts by the administration to control the politics at Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL, nothing ever worked. All the teachers at Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL were branded as militant and radical by the administration. The teachers were the “soldiers in the cold trenches,” and the administrations were “the captains in the warm headquarters.” Teaching can be a very isolated career once those doors are closed; the teachers are in a world of their own. Administrators used to be teachers, but for some reason, they forgot what it is like teaching in a classroom and showed the teachers no sympathy.

80% of the students in 1967 were Jewish.

A Jewish Community

The High Mountain school district had a population of 70 percent Jewish students in the 1960s through the 1980s; many of the teachers were also Jewish. Teaching seemed to be a career that many Jewish college students seemed to prefer, if they were not pursuing a career as a doctor, dentist or other high paying professional position. Teaching was considered a profession, but it was last on the list of professionals because of the low pay scale. There were many kinds of Jewish teachers, some were liberal and never made a big deal of their religion to students or colleagues. Others were Orthodox Jewish teachers who often wore a little Jewish hat called a yamaka to make a statement that they were Orthodox Jews. 

The Jewish teachers made it a point to use “Yiddish Jewish expressions” with one another to exclude the non-Jewish teachers from understanding what they were saying. This was their way of being cool wise “Jewish.” The Jewish teachers also made it a point to take off for all Jewish holidays large and small, even if they were not in the school calendar. For small holidays, they took personal days. Non-Jewish teachers were Christians or Muslims; mostly, they were called “goyams.” At teacher parties, the Jewish teachers made it a point to demand that the food be kosher even if they did not practice eating kosher diets at home. The Jewish teachers who preferred Hanukah tolerated Christmas. 

There wasn’t any real tension between the Jewish teachers and the Christian teachers at work, but in private, many Christian teachers resented the hypocrite attitude by many of the phony Jewish teachers. At funerals for Jewish teachers, all the teachers show up to show their respects. Often, some Christian teachers offered to participate in the twelve-men reading prayers. During shiva when the survivors of the deceased Jewish teacher sat grieving for a week, they welcomed Christian and Jewish teachers alike to visit and have small snacks and tea and talk about the deceased person. It was a good idea for togetherness.

Eventually, the Jewish teachers’ children would at some time turn age twelve and would have a bar mitzvah or a bat mitzvah for a boy or a girl, respectively, in a coming-of-age ceremony. Jewish teachers would invite almost all of the faculty friends and family that they could afford. Thousands of dollars were spent on these religious occasions, and the parties were lavish and overbearing. These religious social events bonded the Christian and Jewish teachers more on a personal basis and a professional one, too, over time.

Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL was “a cast of characters” from different religious backgrounds that blended together over time. For better or worse, they merged into one cohesive faculty over a period of forty years of the life of Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. Some teachers stood out as the best and were always fondly remembered by their students. Other teachers, their students easily forgot. Some teachers were leaders who weren’t afraid to give “their all” for the school, faculty, and students. Some teachers actually taught effectively, and other teachers just got by. The system was never perfect, and politics always played a part. The cliché’ was often said that “if you play ball and do not make waves, you could survive a career as a teacher.”

Joe Hughes and Renee’ Torbin teacher romance in school.

Chapter 4 – Sex in the School

         There are three types of students in JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL: the oversexed, the undersexed, and those that did not know the difference. Generally, the ninth-grade students had the most hormones pumping and were, of course, the most physically mature compared to a seventh grader. A seventh-grade girl had to really be physically well developed in the chest area in order for a ninth-grade boy to notice her. Seventh-grade boys were still playing with yo-yos and masturbating at home with Playboy magazines. 

Eighth-grade boys were the freaks of physical development. Some would be five feet tall, and some would be six feet tall with hair growth on their faces. It was the growing spurt year in eighth grade. The girls, on the other hand, developed physically in sixth grade, and by the time they got into seventh grade, they had full-grown breast and shapely legs. It was a confusing age of sudden growth for junior high students.

Makeup was a must for all girls, regardless of age. If parents did not allow makeup, the girls would put makeup on in the bathroom of the school before classes started. Miniskirts were in fashion in the 1960’s and 1970s, and tight jeans in the 1980s, for girls. The miniskirts were so short that a teacher standing in front of a class could not help but notice the girls’ underwear or shorts under the miniskirts. A male teacher had to remember to keep looking up. Female teachers just ignored the field of bloomers. It was impossible for a girl with a miniskirt to sit down. They had to cross their legs to hide what lies beneath. Boys were constantly distracted by the amount of leg in the isles in classes. It was a battle of the hormones for boys. Sometimes girls’ miniskirts were so short that they had to be sent home to change into something more modest.

One day during a faculty meeting in the school cafeteria after school, a girl in a miniskirt walked by in the hallway outside the meeting. Her miniskirt was so short that when she walked behind the eleven-inch-wide board that joined two glass partitions, it looked like she had nothing on from the waist down. Even the principal who was facing the hallway stopped for a second as the girl walked by, unaware of the visual trick the eleven-inch board was providing by hiding the girl’s very short miniskirt. The faculty all turned around to see what was going on and laughed when they saw the girl walking by with what seemed to be no skirt.

When attending health education classes, most students thought they could have sex without protection and have no problems. Some had weird ideas of what sex really was. Girls were usually more knowledgeable than the boys, because girls would tell one another about sex and sexual encounters they had. Boys were on a different planet when it came to sex. They main object in life was to have sexual intercourse with a girl and ejaculate or play with their yo-yos. Sex meant little more than satisfying a physical desire for boys.

Many boys never had their fantasies come true, because they had no clue how to approach a girl or what to do on a date. Going steady was one way to seek security by giving a girl a cheap ring or bracelet with their initials engraved. This signified that they were going out together or going steady, and that the relationship was monogamous. If you dated a girl or a boy more than once, you may be considered “going out with one another.” 

Girls sent notes to one another in class talking about their dates and problems with their new boyfriends. Boys, on the other hand, never sent notes talking about their love life or dating. That was considered “not too cool.” Strangely, many students believed that it was easier to engage in oral sex to prevent pregnancy. The truth, however, is once a girl engaged in oral sex, regular intercourse was the next thing she would want to experiment with. Boys were more than willing to engage in any kind of sex to satisfy their hormonal desires. One year during the 1970s, over a dozen students were caught having oral sex in the school building or behind the gym after school. It seemed to be a sign of the times with a “sexual revolution” going on in society in the 1970s.

There were a few girls that got pregnant; however, pregnant girls were not that uncommon. Girls got pregnant usually with older high school students or an older boy in the community. Getting pregnant was still a major taboo in the 1960s and 1970s. One day, a girl would be in school, and the next day, they were gone. The district, once they learned of a pregnancy, transferred the girl to an alternative school in the district. All of the major conduct problem students and the pregnant girls were housed in this facility. Many girls hid their pregnancy by wearing loose clothing and hiding their morning sickness. 

One large black girl qualified for the boys’ football team on a Title 9 federal equality ruling. She passed the physical test and the football skills tests knocking most of the boys to the ground with her flying tackles. She had a mean spirit and was very muscular and powerful at 165 pounds. Many of the football players were afraid of her temper and strength, but wouldn’t admit it.

Her classroom was the “emotionally handicapped self-contained classroom” that came under special education. In these self-contained classrooms, a teacher and an assistant worked with only ten to twelve emotionally disturbed students at a time. Emotionally disturbed meant that the student tested as being intelligent but violent, with a history of attacking a teacher with a knife or weapon. Many of these children came from New York City street gangs that were assigned to group homes in the suburbs.

The black girl’s name was Wanda. She had been a member of the Corona Debs girls’ gang in Long Island City, New York. She was arrested for assaulting a teacher at William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City. The courts transferred her Upstate New York to a group home in the High Mountain school district. All of the students in the emotionally disturbed class feared her because she was physically very intimating. If anyone talked back to her, she punched them in the face. Her reputation around the entire school was well known.

One day when she was in the “emotionally handicapped physical education class,” the physical education teacher challenged Wanda to a one-on-one basketball game. Amazingly, she beat the teacher by two points in a twenty-one-point game. That night, after that very strenuous one-on-one basketball game, Wanda delivered an eight-pound, three-ounce baby girl at 2:00 in the early morning. 

What a shocker! No one had a clue that she was pregnant. Even the physical education teacher was shocked. She always was a big girl and wore loose clothing. It was impossible to tell if she was pregnant or just fat. Wanda’s uncle Billy seduced her at her home when her parents were working. He used no protection, and she got pregnant. A month after the delivery, Wanda came back to school with her little baby girl, as if nothing had happened. She showed the baby to the office staff and the teachers, never appearing to have any shame. She never came back to KakiatJunior High because she had no one to watch her baby. She quit school after her child was born and went to work at a local grocery story while her grandmother watched the baby.

The greatest sexual stigma of all is teachers having sex with students. This occurred on a rare basis, but rumors swirled all the time that some young male teacher was banging the hell out of some beautiful busty teenage girl who was under sixteen years of age. Sex with a child under sixteen was a felony, and the adult could be sent to jail, and in the case of teachers, they could also lose their teaching license.

One incident branded all the other teachers as well. Most of the teachers lived normal lives and never got involved with their students sexually. But it only takes one teacher to make it seem teachers were having sex with their students. After all, it was the 1970s, the “age of free sex” and “social revolution.”

One night, a custodian was cleaning a science classroom after school hours around 6:00 p.m., when he heard voices coming from inside a science prep room. He knocked on the door but there was no answer. He continued knocking, but still no answer. Afterward, the custodian left the classroom and continued cleaning down the hall. Inside the science prep room was social studies’ Joe Bigone, who emerged pulling up his pants, with a beautiful fifteen-year-old brunette, who was adjusting her bra under her shirt. 

Apparently, they were both fooling around in the prep room. The custodian saw someone leave but did not recognize the teacher or student from the other end of the hallway. That did not stop him from gossiping to his buddies that he thought he saw a teacher and a student sneaking out of a classroom after school hours. This made for great storytelling during the custodian dinner break in the teachers’ lounge. They all laughed at the story. Eventually, the story in various forms got around the school.

Romances between teachers were not illegal, but often discouraged by the administration. The district makes it a policy to not allow married couples to work in the same building, thinking that they might be demonstrating their love for one another on the job.

One romance between a male teacher in the special education department and a female teacher in the math department sparked a major problem one year. It seems a fellow female teacher in the special education department was jealous of their romance, so she called in the “district supervisor of special education” to do an evaluation of the teacher. The teacher was informed of the pending evaluation and passed the evaluation with flying colors. Then the word got out who called the district supervisor of special education. The whistleblower had her payroll check stolen from her mailbox, and that was the last time paychecks were put in the mailboxes. That incident had a domino effect on office procedures and the way paychecks were distributed.

After that incident, every teacher had to sign for his or her paycheck with the principal’s executive secretary. The romance continued to the point the even the principal became aware of it. The two teachers would sit on one another’s laps in the teachers’ lounge and make everyone else in the room uncomfortable.

Late in May of 1981, a custodian was opening a cleaning closet in the far building extension hallway of Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL only to find the special education male teacher naked, having sex with a naked female math teacher. “Oops, I am sorry,” said the custodian, as he opened the closet door. 

“Please don’t tell on us, Mr. Brown,” Sam Shine, the special education teacher, begged. 

“Oh my god, I am so embarrassed,” said Sally Fine, the math teacher. 

“We were just fooling around,” said Mr. Shine. 

“I am sorry but I have to tell my boss or lose my job,” said Mr. Brown, the custodian. Mr. Shine and Ms. Fine begged for several minutes, as they put their clothes back on. It was most embarrassing for everyone involved.

The custodian reported the incident to his supervisor, and the following day, both teachers were placed on paid leave for “conduct unbecoming.” Since they had no tenure, they were summarily dismissed immediately after a hearing with the director of secondary education. Both teachers went on to work at another school district farther Upstate New York the next year, and their extra sexual activity was expunged from their record in exchange for their resignation letters. The gossip mill passed these stories about the two teachers for many months until the end of the school year. Some teachers said that Ms. Fine, the math teacher, was giving the special education teacher, Mr. Shine, blow jobs every day during her lunch break in her back coat closet. 

Who knows if the stories were true, but it made a great story just the same. The special education teacher’s name was Jeffrey Smarts. The expression that developed out of this incident was called “Jeff ring a teacher” or “don’t Jeffrey me.” It was a very personal and very funny expression that only the teachers knew about.

Because of the paranoia of being accused of having sex with a student or another teacher, teachers were often warned to be careful. Teachers and administrators were instructed never to be in a room alone with a student. A male teacher should never be in a classroom alone with a female student, and a female teacher should never be in a classroom with a male student. Teachers learned to be naturally paranoid when it came to touching students or getting too close. 

Because of a few isolated incidents with teacher–student sex scandals, all teachers were on alert. It was difficult not to notice the female students unbuttoning their shirts down their chest or wearing miniskirts that left nothing to the imagination. Once a student made up a story about the teacher doing something sexual, he or she was instantly guilty. Many times, students were vindictive because of poor grades in a class, and they turned on a teacher by making up a story how the teacher had sexually abused them. It was the way the administrators handled the problems that made things worse, by violating the teacher’s rights and believing the student’s story until it turned out to be a hoax.

Portrait of a Teacher Standing by a Map of the USA in a Classroom

Chapter 5 – The End-of-the-Year “Teacher Parties”

         Every academic year the teachers’ union reps were allowed to run a lottery called a 50/50 lottery every other week on pay day. If a teacher bought a lottery ticket for $2, they could win 50 percent of the entire pot of money collected. The other half of the pot of money collected went into a fund for the end of the year teacher parties. 

Administrators were invited to the parties, but not allowed to enter into the lotteries. By the end of the year, the union had usually collected over a thousand dollars from these lotteries. They used the expenses to pay for the party room rental, the food, and the DJ or whatever entertainment was being provided. Sometimes, there was an open free bar included in the catering, and sometimes not. It depended on the amount of money collected and the relative cost of the room and catering.

There were three or four major teacher parties that really stood out in the three-decade period from 1970s to the late 1990s, and here is what happened at them. The first party started at a local hotel and then moved to a private party at one of the teachers’ houses that had a pool and lots of room to handle a large group of teachers from Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. That party was called the Ninos art teacher party. The second party occurred in 1976, the year of the bicentennial celebration, and that party was known as the 1976 bicentennial party. The third party, worth mentioning, took place in a motel party room with a revolving door entrance. That party was called the revolving door party. There were about thirty years of annual teacher parties, but the 1970s and 1980s were the best parties, because Johnny C. and Dick Runner planned the parties.

The Ninos Party

The party at Ninos’s house was a party to top all parties. After the regular district teacher party was over at a local hotel, all of the KakiatJunior High teachers, but not administrators, were invited to Ninos’s country estate in the northern part of Mountain High estates. Her house was beautiful, because she worked as a teacher and her husband was a lawyer; they had plenty of money. One of Ninos’s friends was a music teacher who was well liked but who happened to be a lesbian. Ninos’s husband was an old school Italian guy who did not like lesbians. When he found out that this music teacher, called Paula, was bringing her lesbian lover called Pam, he blew up. Ninos and her husband had a big fight before the party over the two lesbians coming to the party. Fortunately, before the party had begun, he calmed down, and when Paula arrived with her lover Pam, he ignored them. 

The Ninos’s party started after 11:00 p.m., and almost all the teachers had several drinks at the previous party and were all a little high. Teachers were told to bring swimsuits, but few felt comfortable changing into a swimsuit with everyone else in formal dress attire.

The excitement for the evening began when one male teacher, after consuming many alcoholic drinks, decided to take off his clothes, in front of all the men and women, and go swimming in the pool. This then escalated to another male teacher pushing Johnny C. into the pool. When he hit the water, his swim trunks slid down his butt to his ankles. When he surfaced, he had no swimsuit on, and everyone laughed except his pregnant wife, Sandra. Pushing and shoving everyone into the pool commenced, and some still had on their dresses and suits on. It was a mess, but funny as hell. 

Some of the men grossed out the women by pissing on the bushes when they could not longer hold their urine. Everyone was drinking beers and mixing that with liquor drinks. Boilermakers were the most popular drink of the night, consisting of pouring a shot of liquor into a glass of beer and chugging it down. Some of the beer was dispensed by a pressurized one-half keg with a hose which led to hosing one another with the beer and having chugging contests to see how much a guy or woman could drink of the beer without stopping to breathe.

In a matter of a few hours, everyone was stone drunk. Then the food was served. The eggs and bacon were undercooked, and many of the teachers got sick.

Teachers were throwing up on all the bushes everywhere. The two gay women were in the bathroom having sex. When Ninos’s husband found out, he freaked out and threw them out of the party. Everyone was embarrassed for Betty Ninos due to her husband’s behavior. The party went on to 4:00 a.m. anyway.

Johnny C. and Sam Smarts were so drunk that night that they had to get in the backseat of their car and have Johnny C.’s pregnant wife drive home with the other teacher’s wife. Both of the men threw up in the back of the car. The wives were not amused. As a matter of fact, the wives were cold sober and pissed off beyond measure.

The next day, the grade 8 math final exams were to be given at 9:00 a.m., and some of the teachers were assigned as proctors for the test. The following morning, Bill Lockeed, who had been to the party the night before, had to get up early to go to school. He was supposed to proctor the eighth-grade math test that morning. As Mr. Lockeed drove down the road from his house, he stopped at each and every stop sign, opened the doors, and threw up on the ground. By the time he got to Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL, he was dry heaving out the car windows. 

The math 8 final exam began at 9:00 a.m. sharp, and 230 students were in their seats ready for the grade 8 math final exam. Mr. Lockeed had to excuse himself first and went down the hall, from the cafeteria where the tests were being administered, to dry heave in the custodial sink. This went on every thirty minutes for four hours. Bill Lockeed had never been so sick in his entire life. They made no contribution to the proctoring of the test, and could not even remember what they did afterward. Fortunately, there were four other sober teachers proctoring that day. After the math 8 final exam, Bill went home for the rest of the day and went to sleep, hoping the hangover would go away. 

Bill swore afterward that he would never drink again. Ninos’s party went down in teacher folklore history as the raunchiest party in the history of Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. It was not a typical example of teacher behavior after school hours, but it did represent a time when teachers who were under a lot of pressure with threatened teachers’ strikes and administrative harassment needed time to “blow off steam.”

Revolution Bicentennial

The 1976 Bicentennial Teacher Party

The year 1976 was the bicentennial of the liberation of the American colonies from the British. The teachers’ “end of the year party planning committee” decided to order Bicentennial Award Plates to hand out to teachers as mock awards. The only catch was the awards were bogus and were meant to embarrass teachers rather than award them. It was all in the atmosphere of good humor.

The end of the year teacher party came about on a warm summer night in June 1976. Everyone was excited to witness the Bicentennial Award Plates being awarded to undeserving teachers. It was an open bar that night, and everyone had plenty to drink. One of the teachers was planning to do an exposé humor dialogue on talking on an imaginary phone conversation. This routine was made popular by comedian Bob Newheart at that time. The dialogue was all about an assistant principal that made some questionable comments on the phone about some discipline problems that occurred during the past year. The stories were derived from inside information that the teacher had learned about over the past year. After “five scotch on the rocks,” drinks, the funny dialogue was delivered to many loud laughs, and the assistant principal took it all in stride. 

Next came the Bicentennial Plate Awards. For the Teacher of the Year Award, the union reps gave an award to a teacher that was hated by everyone on the staff. She was a language teacher, a department chairperson, and she was not present at the party. 

Various other awards were given. The Most Friendly Teacher of the Year Award went to a couple suspected of carrying on a secret romance; the Triangle Award to three teachers, two men and one woman, involved in a romantic triangle; the Missing Truck Insurance Award to a Custodian who purposely left his van on a Harlem street in New York city so it would be stolen. The truck was a “lemon,” and he could not get the dealer to take it back. By having the van stolen, he could collect the insurance for the defective Ford van. The custodian did not think the award was so funny, however. 

Every imaginable way to embarrass a teacher was made up in some kind of award. The teachers laughed until they had no voices left. The alcoholic drinks helped too, with the open bar for drinks. The night ended with many of the teachers buddying up and having a designated sober driver drive them home. 

Businessman Walking Through a Revolving Door

The Revolving Door Motel Party – 1980

There was nothing special about the planning for the revolving door motel party except that the open bar was to close at 11:00 p.m. When the DJ announced the bar would be closing at 10:30 p.m. instead of 11:00 p.m., there was a big rush to the bar to get the last of the beers and liquor drinks. The teachers drank an average of five to eight beers in the last thirty minutes of the party. The heavier drinkers had at least five to six scotch or whiskey drinks in a half-hour period of time. 

The end result was when the party was over after 11:00 p.m., many of the teachers walked through the revolving door, instead of pushing the door around. It was the funniest sight imaginable to see everyone piling up in the revolving door. They were so drunk that they were unable to get out of the revolving door. Some were falling down, and others came back out when they entered the revolving door. 

Outside in the parking lot were twenty or more teachers throwing up all over the bushes and dry heaving their stomachs out from drinking so much alcohol in such a short period of time. The party committee never planned this to happen. Parties were never again booked at that motel with the revolving door, and future commitments for parties demanded that the parties end no earlier than 12:30 or 1:00 a.m. due to the mistake made at the revolving door motel party.

By the late 1980s and the 1990s, the end-of-year teacher parties were no longer a big affair. The faculty had decreased in size from 120 teachers to less than fifty teachers. The teacher vs. administration had gone from good to bad. A major contributor to the planning of the parties passed away in 1991, and after his passing, the parties were never the same again. The faculty was so small and divided in the 1990s that the parties had been reduced to small get-togethers. The craziness of the 1960s and 1970s was gone and so was much of the school spirit.

Teacher parties at the end of the year were a highlight.

Chapter 6 – Money

         As the cliché goes, “Money walks and money talks.” This cliché was especially true at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. The school budget was the major money source at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. The teachers were not aware that 10 percent to 15 percent of the budget was added into the budget, just in case the board of education cut 10–15 percent, after the budget review. The assistant principal’s power came from the fact that he was in control of the budget for the entire school. This was subject to the approval of the principal who had never done a budget in his entire lifetime. A lot of “goodies or special projects” could easily be buried in the budget under titles like “miscellaneous science lab materials,” “general computer supplies,” and the like. 

Each year, in February, a budget form was sent around to the department chairpersons to make out a supplies request form for their department. Mistakes were often made. One social studies teacher made a mistake with some additional zeroes that the assistant principal did not discover until the day the item was delivered. The social studies teacher wanted to order 100 paper clips, but made a typo and ordered 10,000 paper clips instead. They were boxes, not individual paper clips. 

When the beginning of school began in September, a large eighteen-wheeler truck pulled up in front of Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL, and the driver delivered case after case of just paper clips. Ten thousand boxes of paper clips to be exact were shipped. They filled up the entire front hallway. It was most embarrassing when the assistant principal checked the cases of paper clips to find that there were 10,000 boxes of paper clips. It was too late to send them back.

Supplies went out on bid; so if you did not make an item specific, such as a “Spalding rubber football XL high quality,” you got a rubber football that was so cheap that it did not have a bladder, and usually leaked after being used a few times. Department chairmen learned to write specific descriptions that were hard to find a substitute for. If they just put down twelve footballs and twelve soccer balls, they got crap from China or some other Third World country, made out of plastic rather than rubber or leather. 

Textbooks were the largest annual expense, and renewal of new textbooks was on a rotating basis. Every three or four years, a complete new set of textbooks would be ordered for an entire department.

In health education, the budget was small that books written in the 1950s were still being used in the 1970s. These books were worn out and often without full book covers. Sex education was two pages of content, and AIDS hadn’t been discovered yet. The books spent more time on auto injuries and accidents than controversial issues like sex, dating, anatomy, diseases, smoking, cancer, and death. There was not enough money in the budget for health education books so they were never ordered until the mid-1980s.

The annual health education budget was $500 a year. It was impossible to teach health education using the textbook, since it was so outdated. It wasn’t until 1985 that new health education textbooks were ordered because the district-wide health education curriculum committee had rewritten the entire district health education curriculum. 

AIDS was the major curriculum being developed at the time. Unfortunately, the AIDS curriculum by New York State in 1984 was rejected a year later by the High Mountain school district. The district AIDS curriculum was implemented, and it lasted only two years. The district AIDS curriculum was abandoned due to lawsuits by Hindu and Muslim Indian parents that did not want sex education for their children or the discussion of AIDS and sex-related illnesses. 

It seemed like every year the AIDS curriculum kept changing due to new information available each year. The students has no idea what AIDS was really about until the school got its first HIV-positive student in the late 1980s. This was a strictly confidential piece of information that the counselors made the teachers involved sign a special HIV confidential information form. That had to promise not to identify the HIV-positive student or talk about him to anyone. 

The word got out about the student being HIV positive, and despite the confidentiality measures taken by the staff and teachers, all of the students in the Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL knew about the student having HIV/AIDS. A lot of parents complained at school board meetings about having an HIV-positive student in school with their children, but nothing was done. Very few students had the guts to hang around the infected HIV student. Fear and lack of knowledge kept teachers and students away from personal contact with the student.

The principal, Mr. Baldeen, always seemed to have money for awards and special projects. The source of his money was from two illegal slush funds. The first account was from money paid to the office for schoolbooks that were lost or destroyed. Textbooks usually cost $50 or more depending on whether they were new or used. If students did not pay for their lost books, they were not given their grades and could not graduate until they paid up. This money was supposed to go back to the district general fund; however, some of it was diverted into a Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL club account at a local bank. Thousands of dollars sat in this account for the principal to use whenever he wanted, and no questions were asked. Only a few hundred dollars was sent to the central district office to be returned to the general account. Neither the superintendent nor the board of education has any idea that this practice was going on at the time.

Pop machine

The second illegal slush fund of the Principal Baldeen was from the soda machines in the school. The head custodian arranged for a soda distributor to set up four machines in the building to sell cans of soda at one dollar a piece. The profit was fifty cents on a can and was returned to the custodian who in turn split the check with the principal for the commission on the sale of soda for the month. 

The PTA was never aware of this arrangement nor was anyone in the school district. The Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL students lived on sodas. They bought a soda for breakfast before school and bought a can to take on the bus for the ride home every day. The profits each month was in the thousands. The principal and the head custodian shared the profits for more than a decade. Eventually, the PTA forced the soda distributors to sell water and fruit juices which they thought were healthier than soda which was full of sugar. This had no effect on the profit the principal and the head custodian made each month in commissions on juice sales.

Eventually, the head custodian fell into disapproval by the principal, and their friendship dissolved. The relationship got so bad that the principal filed the paperwork to fire the head custodian one summer. Someone in the administration office who was a friend of the head custodian saw the termination paperwork to get rid of the head custodian and called him at home to tell him the principal was planning on firing him. The head custodian came back from his vacation to see the principal, and a big verbal fight ensued in the principal’s office with yelling and cursing heard around the entire front office area. 

The head custodian threatened the principal that if he was fired, he would “spill the beans” on the illegal slush fund money that the principal had been receiving for the past decade. Over ten thousand dollars was sitting in a Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL account in a local bank, separate and distinct from district funds. Come the end of the summer, the head custodian was not fired, but he was transferred to North Mountain JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. The entire slush fund went to the principal after the head custodian left.

Money drove the budget requests from department chairpersons and gave the assistant principal more power than the principal. An assistant principal asked the principal if he could have a new Apple laptop computer, and the principal said no. When the budget came out that year, an Apple laptop was included for the assistant principal, and the principal could do nothing about it since the superintendent of schools already approved the budget. That is the power of the assistant principal in charge of the school budget.

Money and its availability directly affected the sports programs and the school budget. When the community voted the budget down for the school district, the district went on an austerity budget that meant no sports programs and extracurricular clubs or activities. Often, the district would bring the budget vote up again, and if it still failed, they would try to get the community to pass a supplemental budget just for sports. On several occasions when the budget was voted down in the Mountain High school district, the parents and boosters of the football program and the marching band program did their own fund-raising to keep the programs from being dropped at the high school level.

The football team had the largest sports budget of any of the sports in the school. The pads, helmets, and uniforms cost a fortune. Old shirts had to be reconditioned and passed down to the eighth-grade football team and the seventh-grade football team. New helmets and new uniforms were purchased every year, and they were always a Champion brand or some other major brand of equipment. The image of the school was at stake, as well as the safety of the players, so if the equipment was substandard, there was a greater possibility for a lawsuit that could cripple the school district. No expense was too great for the football teams.

Soccer teams, wrestling teams, girls’ softball, and boys’ hardball teams all got new uniforms every year for the ninth-grade teams, and the old uniforms were reconditioned and handed down to the lower grade level teams. Junior Hifh schools did not have as big a budget for sports as the high schools did, and they had to make due with older uniforms sometimes.

There was very little in the budget for intramural teams since the majority of the funding went to the sports teams. Intramural teams did not need uniforms, and if they did, they had to buy their own uniform. Intramural gymnastics was a perfect example. The gymnastics team at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL grew from ten students to fifty students in just three years, and then to 110 students in ten years. The female gymnasts had to buy their own leotards, and male gymnasts had to buy white gymnastics pants from local sporting goods stores. The boys would buy their own white gymnastics pants and shirts, since their uniform was standardized. The girls’ leotards had hundreds of colors and designs and sizes, so in their situation, each girl filled out a form with their sizes, and the coach got a discount for them by ordering one large order of leotards for all the girls. 

The uniforms were initially for the PTA annual gymnastics exhibition held each year for the parents. This gymnastics tradition spread to doing exhibitions at local elementary schools and other high schools in district and outside of the district. When equipment was needed, the school had no budget to buy equipment, so money was always an issue. During the first years of the program, the gymnastics coach held a spaghetti dinner for the parents of the gymnasts. At this dinner, he gave out trophies for the Most Outstanding Gymnast, Most Improved Gymnast, and Most Valuable Gymnast for the year. The gymnastics coach paid for all the trophies out of his own pocket. To make sure there was an emphasis on participation over competition, he awarded every member of the team a gymnastics team pin specially designed by a local trophy store.

The gymnastics coach also took the opportunity to tell the parents that the gymnastics equipment at the school was substandard and out of date. Much of the equipment was used equipment handed down by the senior high school. The side horse alone dated back to the early 1950s. He asked the parents to help raise funds or donate funds to help the team buy a new balance beam. This approach worked, and money made the difference. There was no school budget for purchasing gymnastics equipment at the time since KakiatJunior High had the only exhibition and competitive gymnastics team in the entire county.

One of the parents, Mr. Goldstein, donated stick on emblems for the team to sell as booster awards for the Kakiatgymnastics team. Those stickers lasted ten years, and every gymnast’s parents bought dozens of gymnastics shields at a dollar each. The money was saved to purchase one new piece of gymnastics equipment each year.

By 1970, the parents of the KakiatJunior High gymnasts helped the team buy a set of girls’ uneven parallel bars for the school, raised from fund-raising efforts. Every year after that, a new piece of equipment was purchased until Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL had the best gymnastics equipment and program in the entire High Mountain school district. The gymnastics team even sold bottles of soda at the teen center for a few years to raise money for equipment. The coach of the gymnastics team contacted some of the major gymnastics manufacturing companies to send field equipment to be used during gymnastics clinics for schools in New York State. Many of these balance beams, vaulting horses, and specialty crash-pad mats, remained at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL for many years before they had to be returned to the manufacturers.

This is a perfect example of parent support and the success of an intramural and extramural gymnastics program that served over 3,000 students in the twenty years of its existence. Between 1970 and 1990, the Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL Gymnastics Exhibition team performed more than sixty shows at every elementary school in the High Mountain school district. They also performed for ten years at the local mall prior to the “back to school sales in late August.” They produced over a hundred New York State boys’ public school champions and USGF girls’ state champions. One male gymnast went on to the 1980 Olympic trials, placing eleventh in the nation. Three female gymnasts qualified for the Junior National Championship in 1976, and one female gymnast became the USGF Regional 1 all-around champion. For all of the other gymnasts, they had the honor of participating in a highly rewarding sports program that emphasized participation for everyone regardless of talent or ability.

Money came into play with school field trips. A certain amount of money had to be set aside for buses to take students on field trips to NYC museums, special educational exhibits, and other worthy educational trips. School trips were always controversial because they had to be initiated by interested teachers who went along as chaperones and were not paid extra for the trips. Administrators could not force school field trips on teachers. They had to let the teachers come up with the idea for a field trip so that many other teachers were willing to accompany these full day trips. Getting an administrator to allow a field trip usually involved “kissing up to the administrator with some favors.” It was always the “one hand wipes another” game or “quid pro quo.” 

Sometimes, a teacher got a special discount group ticket to a NYC Broadway show that was educational in nature or a story being read in the English classes like Les Miserables, which was a story being read in the ninth-grade English classes. In order to get funding for the buses to take the students into New York City, the teacher had to do favors for the administrators. These favors were either informing on their fellow teachers to the administrators or taking unfavorable duty assignments like cafeteria duty.

Money determined the difference in what a student wore or didn’t wear. There was a disparity between the rich students and the poor students in what they wore to school. The richer students all wore high-fashion, high-end jeans that cost over sixty or seventy dollars each. In the 1970s, a sixty-dollar pair of jeans was very expensive. Students that didn’t have a lot of money wore knockoff jeans or unknown name jeans. Girls spent the most money on dresses, miniskirts, sweaters, jackets, shoes, and makeup. Boys tended to dress down when it came to their clothes. 

The rich students bought Saks Fifth Avenue shirts, and the poorer students bought Kmart $5.99 T-shirt specials. Richer students would wear real leather jackets to school or $250–$400 down feather ski jackets to school. Poorer students wore layers—sweatshirt hooded over sweatshirt or a ski vest over a sweatshirt. Sneakers varied between the traditional white tennis sneakers that were cheap in price or running shoes that cost over $100 each. Money determined the difference in cultural values of the students also. Some poor students thought it was OK to wear $120 basketball sneakers and used clothing at the same time. It was all a matter of cultural values and “being cool.”

Seventy percent of the students at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL were on the free lunch program in the 1960s–1990s, called Title I program. The Title I program had the federal government reimbursed the states for students below the poverty level for lunches and breakfasts. The states reimbursed the individual school districts to allow for free lunches and breakfasts for low-income students. The poor students had to eat what was being served for the day. Both breakfasts and lunches were served for the poor students. 

The richer students purchased their own food at the cafeteria or brought their own brown bag lunches with corn beef sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, deli prepared sandwiches, or ethnic food such as fried rice, rice ball, Chinese soup, and other foreign foods prepared at home. Pizza was the most desirable food and could be purchased for only seventy-five cents a slice, and almost everyone could afford that. Some students were always borrowing money from their friends who had money. Junior high students had no clue when it came to money. “If they had it, they spent it.” Saving money was not in their vocabulary. Some students grubbed off of other students’ food every day of the week. In most cases, their parents never took the time to fill out the Title 1 free luncheon food assistance program, and their child went to school every day with no money and no lunch.

Money was the reason for so much theft in Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL, especially in the school hall lockers and the physical education locker rooms. Students were always being robbed of money when their lockers were left open or unlocked. When one student flashed some money around they got for their birthday, it was inevitable that someone would attempt to steal it in the physical education locker room or the hall locker if they knew where it was kept. 

One year, a band of seventh-grade Haitian students were caught in the girls’ bathroom by a security guard, dumping a pocketbook’s contents down the toilet. They had been stealing other girls’ pocketbooks during lunchtime and splitting the money between them. Nine girls were involved in this scheme, which was surprising considering they all came from Catholic school the year before.

Junior high students were very careless with money as evidenced by the hundreds of petty thefts each year of student money or valuables, like watches and jewelry. Money was a desirable commodity. Junior high student could never have enough money. Lost and found had hundreds of coats and hats and other clothing each year collected from careless students.

Chapter 7 – Extracurricular Activities

Beginning in the early 1970s, the local recreation department teamed up with Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL to provide what they called a “teen center” on Friday afternoons and evenings. One of the teachers, Johnny C., was the director, and he hired all of his teacher buddies to help him supervise the center. Basketball, floor hockey, table games, and soda drinks were available. Most of the students stayed after school for the teen center, and had their parents pick them up at 9:00 p.m. It was a great program that kept the Junior High students busy on Friday nights and on trips on the weekends rather than hang out a the local mall.

What made the teen center particularly memorable were the field trips to Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees play baseball. Usually, these field trips took place on the weekends. The students would meet at 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL, and the school would provide yellow school buses to take the students to the stadium. 

Yankee stadium was a day’s ride south of Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL, and with yellow school buses, it was even slower, since they could not go over 60 mph. Come the day to depart, hundreds of eager Junior High students were waiting for the buses to arrive. For each bus, two or three teachers were assigned to supervise that bus. Johnny C. loaded the buses and off they went to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. They got on the New York State Thruway, down past Harriman, past Nyack, and then over the Tappan Zee Bridge. The buses continued down past New Rochelle, until one of the buses had a flat tire. The bus driver pulled over at an emergency stop on the New York State Thruway and radioed the other buses and the dispatcher that he had broken down and would need another bus or someone to repair the tire. The four buses continued on to Yankee stadium, and one of the buses stayed with the bus with the flat tire. 

An hour passed by, and the dispatcher said the replacement bus was coming from Long Island and would take forty-five minutes or more. Rather than wait that long and risk being late for the baseball game, it was decided to illegally put everyone on the other bus and double up all the students and have some students stand, since they were only thirty minutes from the stadium. Meanwhile, another bus was running low on gas. Someone had forgotten to fill up the tank with gas. That bus had to get off at an exit and go into Whitestone, New York, looking for a gas station. 

Only two busses made it on time. The bus seeking gas wasted another one-half hour finding a gas station. The bus doubled up with students was over an hour and a half late to the stadium. Fortunately, they had left early enough not to miss the game which started at 1:00, noon. Johnny C. had all the tickets with him, and his bus got there first, so he sent his busload to the ticket office with two teachers to secure their seats. Eventually, the bus that had to gas up arrived, and an hour or so after that, the bus that was doubled up with students arrived. All the KakiatJunior High students were taken to the group ticket window and admitted to Yankee Stadium. 

The game ended around 4:30, and everyone was ready to leave; however, after a head count one student was missing. So the search began for the missing student with no results. Johnny C. decided to load the buses and have the stadium PA system announcer tell the park that the Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL buses were leaving. Finally, the missing boy appeared. He had been in the bathroom with a bad case of the runs.

The buses departed at 4:30 with the replacement bus. They got on the Major Deegan expressway north and then worked their way over to the New York State thruway that was closer to the Hudson River. They were on the road for about thirty minutes when tragedy struck again. One of the busses was overheating, causing the bus to pull over to the side of the road. There was no emergency pull over available, so the bus driver had to pull onto the grass where the bus sank in the wet muddy grass under the weight of forty-five students and teachers. 

Again, the radio call went out, but the other buses had continued on north and were our of walkie-talkie range. The bus driver called the dispatcher, and he called a tow truck to get the bus out of the muddy grass and to repair the radiator. The students had to stay on the bus until the tow truck arrived after almost an hour. They were not very cooperative, singing, clapping, and jumping around the whole time. When the tow truck finally came, the students all had to get off the bus, and stand by the woods off the side of the thruway. Eventually, the tow truck managed to pull the bus onto the roadside and put some fluid in the radiator. 

It had already gotten dark, and the temperature was dropping to the low 50s. The students boarded the bus, and they headed north to Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. The parents waiting for the bus were beside themselves. Some had called the New York State troopers, and they were out looking for the bus too. Finally, over an hour after the planned arrival time, the last bus arrived. This was a typical teen center trip. Nearly all the trips the teen center took the buses for some reason got lost or broke down. Johnny C. had a reputation with his friends that if you wanted to get paid for supervising a field trip, you had better be prepared to either break down or get lost on the way.


Friday evening Ski Club at Kakiat Junior High.

The ski club also left on Friday nights, and their problem was always with the weather. Sometimes the weather was clear and cold, until the bus headed north into the mountains where it just happened to be snowing. The bus usually climbed over a local mountain as a short cut, but when it was snowing and icy, the bus had to spend an extra twenty minutes going around the mountain and taking an alternate route.

One such snowy evening, the bus for the ski club headed north only to run straight into an ice storm where the cars were all sliding off the road. They made it to the first exit of the New York State Northway that had a gas station and turned off the Northway to see if they had pay phones. Fortunately, they did have pay phones, so the ski club advisors decided to stop and let the students call their parents to come back to Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL to pick them up in about forty minutes. The bus had to turn around and creep slowly over icy roads back to Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. A potential night of skiing was wasted.

On another snowy evening, the bus made it to Albany, New York, where it broke down on the railroad tracks right in the middle of town. When the tow truck arrived fifty minutes later, the tow truck driver accidently put a hole in the gas tank while jacking the bus up to repair a flat tire. So the students got to eat all they could at a deli across the street for another hour, while the bus company sent another bus. The ski club usually arrived around 6:00 p.m. at the Gore Mountain Ski resort, but on this night, they arrived at 9:00 with only two hours of ski time left. It was an almost wasted night. The ski resort felt sorry for the students, so they gave them free passes for the remainder of the night.

Not to outdo the teen center in horror stories, the ski club was used to bus problems and other problems like first aid emergencies, because there was always the element of risk in skiing. Usually when a student was injured, the ski resort would call the parents for permission to take the student to the local hospital if a leg is broken or something. One cold and freezing night in January, a student smashed into a tree, and a branch went through part of the ski boot. The ski patrol brought him down to the first-aid shack, and the ski advisors were paged on the public address system. “Will the ski club advisor for Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL please report to the first-aid shack?” came the announcement.

The parents of the student were out for dinner that night and could not be contacted by phone. The only choice was to take the student in the bus to the local hospital. After all the KakiatJunior High students were done skiing, an announcement was made to start loading the bus early. After the bus was loaded with students, the student with the boot problem was loaded by the ski patrol with his leg in a cardboard splint. 

The hospital was only five miles away, so the ski club advisors had the bus driver take them and all the students to the local hospital. This was in the days when there were no cell phones. When they got to the hospital the student was when it was permissible to take a student to an emergency room with parental permission. Meanwhile, the rest of the forty students waited on the bus. The parents were again called by the hospital, and they finally got through, and received permission to treat the boy. 

After a half hour, some of the students had to go to the bathroom, so they were allowed to line up at the one, and only emergency room bathroom. The boys on the bus could not wait on the long line, so without the advisors’ knowledge or permission, they went over to the bushes at the edge of the parking lot and peed on the bushes. They all thought that peeing on the bushes was very funny. The ski club advisors did not hear about it until after the ski trip was over. Numerous phone calls had to be made on one pay phone to tell the parents that they would be late coming home. Keeping forty junior high students on a bus with nothing to do is like herding buffaloes into a small room. The doctors splinted the injured leg properly, and the ski club bus was on its way home.

One Friday night, a science teacher from another JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL and a friend came aboard the ski club bus as chaperones, and they had a bottle of peach brandy under their coat. The ski club advisor did not know that they had brought alcohol on the trip. The science teacher and his buddy drank the peach brandy all night. When it was time to leave, they were very drunk. They managed to get on the bus without being noticed and slept all the way home. The bus arrived back at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL at the usual time of 11:30 p.m., and the skis were unpacked, and all the cars left including the ski advisors. 

The science teacher and his buddy were still in their cars warming the cars up. For some unknown reason, the science teacher decided he could not drive or see for that matter, since he was so drunk. He asked his buddy to drive him home, and he obliged. When the science teacher arrived home, he fell asleep until the next day. The next day, he and his wife were supposed to leave for Florida for the midwinter vacation. He got up, feeling a wicked hangover and looked out the kitchen window for his car. Surprise, no car was in sight. He put on his shoes and ran out the door looking for his car. Then it dawned on him. He had his buddy drive him home, and his car was still in the faculty parking lot at Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. 

He woke up his wife and explained he was under the weather the night before and left his car at the school and had his buddy had to drive him home. Well, his wife drove him to the school, and there was his car sitting in the parking lot with the engine still running. His wife “freaked out,” cursing and carrying on that the car was still running with the keys in the ignition. Someone could have stolen the car easily but luckily that did not happen. They took his car home, and his wife drove to Florida and did not talk to him the entire way.

For a few years, the ski club went to a local ski slope thirty minutes away from Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. Great Gorge was a full hour away and more expensive for lift tickets. The arrangement with the smaller local ski slope did not last long because the weather was always too warm, and even artificial snow could not be made for some bad winters. The local ski slope eventually went bankrupt after three seasons. For only $35, a student could get a full season pass with no weekend privileges. It was a bargain, and night skiing was like being free since the cost was so low. 

One of the problems, however, was that some high school students who used to be part of the Kakiatski club were allowed to come on the bus to the local ski area. They brought with them lots of marijuana, which they smoked at the back of the bus with the windows open on the way to the slope and the way back. The ski advisors sensed something was wrong when the bus was so cold and the windows were open at the back of the bus, with the temperature outside around twenty-two degrees. One of the ski advisors went to the back of the bus to see why the windows were opened. He noticed a self-rolled cigarette thrown on the floor, which looked like a marijuana cigarette. He picked it up and examined it to determine whether it was a regular cigarette or a marijuana cigarette. It was definitely a marijuana cigarette. 

There was a “no smoking” school policy and a “zero tolerance law” regarding drug abuse in the school district. The ski advisors stopped the bus and informed the students on the bus that they would be cancelling all the ski trips on Friday nights unless someone confessed on who was smoking marijuana and who brought the marijuana on the bus. After fifteen minutes, a group of junior high student came forward and told the advisors that the high school students were responsible. When the bus got back to Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL, the high school students were told never to come with the ski club again, and for the rest of the season, all high school students were banned from the Kakiat JUNIOR HGH SCHOOL ski club trips.

On a midwinter school holiday, the ski club was planned to go to a more challenging mountain in the Northern Catskills of New York State. This Mountain was called Hunter Mountain, and it had beginner to advanced slopes. Unfortunately, the day of the trip it was raining. The deposits had already been sent to Hunter Mountain and the coach style bus reserved for $500 for the day. The advisors gave the students a chance to vote on going or cancelling the trip. Everyone voted to go because no on wanted to stay home with his or her parents.

So off the bus went to Hunter Mountain in the Catskill Mountains. It was several hours before Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL ski club got there. The rain was a downpour, and a fog was covering the top of the mountain. This was the first time anyone in the club had gone to Hunter Mountain, including the advisors. After the lift tickets were given out, the rental ski students went into the rental lodge to get their skis. Those that brought their own skis unloaded their skis from under the coach storage compartments. The ski patrol handed out garbage bags to the students before they hit the slopes. The students tore holes in the black bags and pulled them over their heads to fit over their ski jackets. Ski jackets are waterproof; however, they can get wet and damp in a downpour of rain.

Even when the students got to the beginner of intermediate slopes, they could not see the tops of the ski lifts, which disappeared into the fog at the top of the mountain. The snow was wet and slippery and very mushy. The ski advisors skied the beginner slope a few times to warm up and then headed to the intermediate slope but the line was too long, so they took the quad lift that went three-fourths of the way up the mountain. Sitting on a quad lift with the rain splashing in your face was quite an experience. 

The advisors made jokes about falling off the lift and having no one to find their bodies until spring. Finally, through the fog there seemed to be the station for getting off the chair lift. Out of the fog came a huge white hill and a little building that was packed down for skiers to stand up and ski off the lift. It was very steep, and both advisors skied off and fell at the bottom of the ramp. Wiping themselves off, they could not see where the top or bottom of the mountain was due to the heavy rain and fog. Their strategy was to work across the mountain and to follow the downhill signs. The fog was so bad, they had to ski from tree to tree and then stop. There was some fear of skiing off K-27, a dreaded advanced downhill slope.

It took over an hour to get down the mountain. The visibility was zero on the mountain. It was a scary trip down the lift trail. They did not know they were at the end until the snow trail became flat. The Hunter Mountain lodge appeared out of the fog in front of them. It was time for a break, so they went into the lodge and camped out in front of the huge fireplace in the lodge. Dick Runner took off his ski boots, and water came flowing out of his boots. Mr. Medley did the same, and his boots were just as wet. Fortunately, everything was waterproof except the wool ski hats. They had to lay the boots, hats, and gloves close to the fire to get them to dry off. It was a hell of a rainy day for skiing.

After lunch, they took two more trail runs and then quit for the day with a hot rum drink to warm them in the Hunter Lodge. It was more of a survival day of skiing than normal skiing. Fortunately, there were no student injuries, and the students, despite the rain, had a good time socializing and skiing. 

The bus was very quiet going home. Everyone was exhausted, and they all fell asleep, as well as the advisors, Dick the Runner and Bob Medley. The ski club was started in the early 1970s and had several club advisors, and it lasted into the 1990 until Dick and Bob retired, and the program died with them. It was all about leadership and the desire to enjoy skiing, since all the advisors were volunteers not paid, except Dick who ran the entire program.

the vector musicans silhouettes set

The Annual Student Talent Show

Each year, the Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL student council would run a talent show to raise money for a senior (ninth grade) picnic. This was the opportunity for the characters in the faculty to show their true colors. One year, four male teachers formed a singing group and sung oldies from the Motown era. The students loved it, because they never really thought their teachers could do anything other than teach. Johnny C. was in the group, as well as the English department chairperson, a social studies teacher, and a physical education teacher who played the guitar. Many students had exceptional talent in music, tap dancing, singing and acting, and the annual talent show was their chance to show off.

The teacher vs. student softball game each year at the ninth-grade picnic was another opportunity for the characters to come out. The two lesbian teachers from science and music always starred on the softball games, much to the amazement of the students. Most of the younger men of the faculty played in the softball games and usually pounded homeruns beyond the outfielders. Several of the teachers had been outstanding college athletes when they were in college and were the mainstay of the teacher team. The students never won a game in all thirty years that the ninth-grade picnic was run. It was still a fun game.

Another athletic event every year was the teacher vs. student basketball game to raise money for the yearbook or student picnics. Here is where the student basketball players had an edge over the teachers. Basketball requires much more conditioning than softball, so the students often lead in the score in basketball. Thanks only to a few teachers taller than six feet that made a difference for the teachers in being able to feed the tall teachers over the height of the students. 

The students beat the teachers every other year depending on their basketball player talent. For the teachers, elbowing was the move of the day and fouling under the basket by throwing their weight around over the lighter student players. The teachers always had lots of injuries and substitutes were very important. Again, the two lesbian teachers were right in the mix, shooting shots and passing the ball as good as the men. Funny thing is none of the woman physical education teachers ever played in softball or basketball games for whatever reason. The reason might be that they were way out of shape physically and unable to play basketball with good players.

Basketball the sport of choice.

Chapter 8 – Teacher Stories 

Cannabis leaf

Piping Monkeys 

Some of the funniest situations occurred in the classrooms. The first story is about a social studies teacher who was talking about AIDS and how at the time in the 1980s, they thought the disease began in Africa by people eating green monkeys. After the teacher got done reading about this AIDS research, he asked the class, “What does this tell us about AIDS and green monkeys?” 

One black student at the back of the class quickly raised his hand and said, “I have the answer, this shows us that the people in Africa were piping them monkeys.” There was a silence in the class for thirty seconds, and then the entire class and the teacher laughed. (“Piping them monkeys” became one of the funniest teacher stories told over and over every year.)

Teacher Bicycle Riding Stunts

Two teachers from Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL, who were buddies, were bicycling through a local upstate river town one Saturday. One teacher was fiddling with his bike odometer when suddenly a car started backing into him right in the middle of town. It was noontime on a Saturday, and the entire town of Troy had restaurants that were full of tourists having lunch. The teacher’s bike flipped upside down, as he squeezed only one brake lever. He landed on his butt right in the middle of the street. A policeman came running up asking if he was OK. He said he was fine. Meanwhile, his friend on the other bike was laughing uncontrollably. The tourists sitting, having lunch, thought it was all part of the entertainment in town, and they got up and clapped the clownlike stunt. Embarrassed, the teachers rode off. The uninjured teacher laughed for the rest of the twenty-mile bike ride.

That next Monday morning, while in his classroom, Mr. Smith overheard his fellow bicycle friend talking in the classroom next to his. What he heard was: “This is the topography of the Hudson River, the Palisades, and here in this little river town of Piermont, Mr. Smith flipped his bicycle last Saturday. Right here is where I have a flag tacked on the spot where the accident occurred.” The class all laughed loudly at the story. Naturally, that story spread around the school in no time with many students asking Mr. Smith if he actually flipped his bicycle in the middle of Main Street at the little river town of Troy.

Richard Flynn the night-mare student of the 1970’s.

Richard Flynn, an Out-of-Control Student

Student discipline in the 1960s and 1970s was difficult for teachers, because they were not forewarned in advance of troublemakers or students with special needs. There was a major lack of communication between the administration and the teachers. One such student, called Richard Flynn, was causing every teacher in the school problems by speaking out in class and fooling around all the time. He started speaking out in a science teacher’s class. The teacher asked him to leave the room, and Richard refused. Finally, when the teacher indicated that he was going to lift Richard out of the chair, he got up and headed to the door. 

The teacher followed, and as Richard got to the door, he told the science teacher to “fuck off” and gave him the middle finger. The teacher, who was right behind him, grabbed Richard by his shirt and lifted him off the ground and banged him into the wall. Richard’s body hit the light switches, and the lights went off dramatically as Richard bounced off the wall. In the 1990s and 2000s, that would have been reason enough for that teacher to be fired even if he was right. It is just another example how discipline rules change over time.

Soul food never worked out for the black students.


A teacher was sitting in homeroom waiting for the late bell to ring, and a female student was standing in the doorway. A boy student came along, and out of the clear blue, without any provocation, he coldcocked the girl right in the doorway. It was such a brutal punch to the jaw that the girl fell to the floor. The girl was stunned and partially unconscious. The teacher jumped out of his chair and ran to see if the girl was all right. He asked her if she could see his hand in front of her and if she could breathe OK. She said yes. The teacher got up hurriedly from attending to the girl and quickly grabbed by his shirt collar the boy that had punched her. 

The teacher was very angry with the student, and he held the student by the collar all the way down the hallway until they got to the assistant principal’s office. When the teacher got to the office, it was then that he realized that the student’s feet were off the ground and that he had held the student up in the air all the way down the hallway. Fortunately, the assistant principal did not make a big deal of it. 

The student was expelled from school for a week for assault. The reason the boy punched the girl was because she was his girlfriend, and he heard she was seeing someone else at the same time. The parents of the girl sued the school and the parents of the boy, and settled for an undisclosed amount of money years later. 

Tough Love

A female social studies teacher was in her classroom when a student burst out with a string of curses. The teacher took the student outside in the hallway and slapped him lightly in the face, and told him never to talk like that in his class every again. Strangely, that student became best friends with the social studies teacher for the rest of the three years he attended Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. In today’s times, the social studies teacher would have been brought up on child abuse charges and eventually fired. In those days, it was called “tough love.”

ADD (Attention Deficient Disorder) Students

Two seventh-grade boys began school one year with a long discipline record from their elementary school. The guidance department warned the teachers of these students that they were going to be a problem in class due to their past behavior. Every teacher that had these two students in class ended up sending them to the assistant principal for detention. They were constantly in trouble, fighting during the lunchtime, arguing in class, and throwing spitballs in class. They simply could not sit still. 

After many guidance conferences, the psychologist recommended that the parents come in for a meeting. It was decided that both boys were ADD (attention deficient disorder) and hypoactive (the opposite of hyperactive). They were given amphetamines, which would normally speed up a person’s body, but in the case of these two boys their chemistry was radically different. The drug actually calmed them down. The change in their behavior was like night and day; they were less hyper and very quiet in class after being given the medication. This was an example of drugging a student to correct their behavior problems. This became the norm in latter years with parent approval for students classified as hyperactive and hypoactive.

Surround and Drown

School Fire

A female English teacher, who was very creative, had many paper projects hanging in her classroom. Some of the projects got crumbled and were tossed on the radiator by the window where there was a space between the radiator and the wall. This did not seem like a smart idea because the paper could catch fire from the radiator. One day, in the middle of second period of the day (10:15 a.m.), the papers next to the radiator burst into flames from the heat, and the classroom was engulfed in flames from the floor to the ceiling in a matter of minutes. All the students rushed out of the class, and the teacher quickly called the office for the fire department on the intercom, before the room filled with smoke and flames. All the computers melted down to piles of plastic, and the desks burned to the metal frames. 

The fire department has to enter the building from the second floor outside classroom to get to the inside classroom, knocking down the outside wall and windows with an axe on a ladder. Water was everywhere, and most of it poured through the floor, destroying a lot of books in the library that was on the first floor underneath the classroom. This was the first time Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL had a real fire. Everyone was evacuated, and all the students and teachers had to stand outside in forty-degree cold weather for two hours before the fire department finished. 

The next problem that occurred was the students were not allowed back into the building because of the smoke. The school buses had to be called early, and the students all had to go home without their coats and books. The second floor of the building was a disaster area after the fire. The two rooms that the walls were broken down by the fireman had to be closed up with plywood, and the classes had to be relocated for the entire semester. The smell of smoke lasted for two months. Hundreds of library books were destroyed from water damage, and the library was closed due to water damage for the rest of the school year.

Arrows in bullseye of target

The Live Animal Archery Unit

The physical education classes were outside in the spring on a nice warm day in an archery unit. The targets were placed fifteen yards away on the high hill behind the gym, so that the arrows, if they missed, would stick in the grass on the hill. The physical education teacher instructed the students to stop shooting when he blew the whistle. Safety procedures were reviewed, and the teacher demonstrated how to shoot an arrow. One day, while a class was shooting at the targets, a daring squirrel decided to run across the hill behind the targets. 

Before the physical education teacher could blow his whistle and stop the shooting, the entire class aimed and shot at the squirrel as it ran across the hill. Fortunately, no one hit it, but it was a very scary and funny moment, and ten arrows stuck in the grass and not in the squirrel.

Sperms with Shields

In a health education class, the teacher was teaching about sperms and eggs and how they get fertilized. He drew some chalk pictures on the blackboard showing the eggs and sperms. He was talking about spermicide and how it doesn’t always work to prevent fertilization, and in a moment of humor, he teased the students by telling them the sperms had little shields to block off the spermicide. No one questioned that statement. 

When the test came up on reproduction, a fill-in-the-blank question asked “how a girl could get pregnant, even after using a spermicide.” Several students filled in “by the sperms having shields.”

Teachers needed to stay in touch with parents.

Chapter 9 – A Cast of Characters

Sometimes, it is hard to believe how many different kinds of people comprise a faculty in a school. There certainly was a cast of characters on the faculty at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL over a period of forty years. Unfortunately, the staff dwindled from declining student enrollment from 120 in the early 1970s to less than fifty in the late 1990s.

The Fine Arts Department

First, there was the art department chairperson who was an older man with a mustache that took up his whole face. Many teachers called him the “mole” because he would always run to the principal and tell tales. He was the teacher who “spilled the beans” on Joe Bigone after he saw Joe getting out of a VW bus with a student. Every time there was a secret going around the faculty, this was the guy who ran to the principal to tell the story. No one in the teachers’ union trusted him.

The other art teacher “was one of a kind, with creativity and personality.” She personally cut and put in the tiles on the floor in the entrance to Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. It was a head of a Native American Sioux chief wearing a feather bonnet. 

She had the students make hand puppets every year, and they went to the elementary schools and did little puppet shows for the younger children. Every fall, she set out a major display of student art work relating to a fall theme with pumpkins, corn stalks, wooden fences, hay bales, gourds, and Native American crafts with beads. She was a beautiful woman and very forceful but kind at the same time. The students loved her. She also had a mouth like a truck driver when she was with other teachers in the teacher lounge or in a meeting. She loved to curse rather than use proper English. 

One such incident was when she came into the teachers’ lounge all upset one day. “That fucking kid was looking up my dress the whole class. I had to tell him to stop it several times, the horny little bastard. Can you believe those kids?” she exclaimed. “I have to remember to cross my legs in front of the class all the time or the little bastards all get hard-ons in class,” she went on to say. Everyone in the room laughed and laughed at her vulgar but funny cursing story. She was a very liberal and funny woman and a real character on the faculty.

The Library

The librarian was a nice lady, who was married to the director of the music program until they retired early and took an RV, and drove around the United States. Normally, the personnel requirement was that husband and wife could not work in the same building. They were single teachers at first, and later on got married while working at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. Amazingly, there was never any sexual story to tell about the two of them.

The English Department

The English department has a nice black lady, a white Italian department chairman, and mostly all white men, and white women in the department. One such male white teacher, Mr. Paulie Padwa, was severely obese (500 lbs.) and often fell asleep at his desk. Amazingly, his students just talked among themselves while the teacher nodded off. 

On his desk was a large jar of hard candy that seemed like a good idea for students that needed a candy reward. The only problem was that the candy had melted and stuck together in a giant glob of candy. It was impossible to remove the candy from the jar. When this obese teacher had lunch, he would bring a salad in number ten giant size jars, big enough for five people,, and eat the entire salad. Then he would drink a quart of soda, and then break out the cookies, and pastries he loved to eat. He had the best diet in the world; eat whatever you want so long as you eat salad with it. He survived the first two principals, but the third principal made it his endeavor to have this teacher retired or fired. Prejudice against severely obese teachers was a common practice in the 1970s and 1980s.

Notice after notice, piled up in this teacher’s file. He was even threatened with being fired, but he s never changed. Finally, after a bout with poor health and adult diabetes II, he took paid sick leave for several months and retired early because he could no longer teach. Sadly, he was a nice man who could not control his appetite or his weight that was around 500 pounds.

Another English teacher, Mr. Wilson, had a stomach problem and used to eat dozens of antacid pills a day. He also complained of respiratory problems due to the ventilation in the new extension building, but was never able to prove his case. Several teachers, over the years, that worked in the extension building all died of lung cancer or emphysema. It may be a coincidence or it may have been a real problem with the ventilation in the extension. Years later, Mr. Wilson had a heart attack in his forties. Maybe he really didn’t have stomach problem, and his stomach problems were just masking a heart problem.

The English department chairman, Mr. Francis Cartoone, was well liked and often had teachers eat lunch in his prep room instead of in their own rooms or the teachers’ cafeteria. He was one of the few department chairpersons that were not part of the “old-school group.” He inherited his position after the original English department chairperson retired. Many an interesting discussions ensued in that prep room. Everything was discussed—from politics, to students that were troublemakers, to antiprincipal discussions. 

Mr. Cartoone, the English department chairman, had a great tenor voice and often sang with other teachers in the student variety shows. In the early 1990s, he helped to frame the technology grant proposal that earned Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL $200,000 in computer technology grant money. He was always a leader in the school and active in coaching teams as well.

The black lady in the English department was another sweet person, who tried to do the right thing, especially with black students, but she could not communicate with them on their level for some reason. Maybe the reason was that she was too smart for the black students. She was one of the teachers who burned out early in the 1980s and retired to enjoy life outside of a school. She had been divorced and had a daughter who attended college. To pay for the daughter in college, she worked beyond the usual retirement age until she finally got tired of school politics and retired. Many of the students, black or white, liked her, and she was a very popular teacher and a good mentor to many students.


The Science Department

In science, there was the young lesbian teacher who was a bit butch but pretty at the same time. She taught science and coached the track team at the high school. Several of the men were attracted to her, only to find out she preferred women instead. She was however, an excellent science teacher that commanded the respect of her students. Eventually, she would run into trouble with the principal when she requested permission to leave early so she could get to the high school that she left earlier for track practice. The principal denied her request because he did not want to set a precedent with other coaches that wanted to also leave early for high school coaching duties. Eventually, she transferred to the high school in the middle of the year to replace another teacher who had left, screwing the principal that refused to let her leave early by leaving him with only a replacement sub teacher for the remainder of the year.

The science department chairman was one of the old school older teachers who came over from South Mountain High Junior High with the first principal in 1960. He was one of the old guards that did little actual work. The department chairpersons were all men and all in their late fifties and early sixties. They were supposed to do evaluations of new teachers and approve each teacher’s weekly lesson plan. Instead, they played cards a lot in a locked room with no windows on the door. 

The science chairman, Samuel Moonski, taught a light load of only three classes a day instead of five classes a day. Often, he would leave school early to go shopping for food for his home. He was caught coming back to school once with all the food on his backseat. He was one of those department chairmen who took advantage of their freedom and lack of supervision by the principal and often left school in the middle of the day and came back before the school was over. He was not well liked by his science teachers because he never did any work, nor did he support any science teachers that had problems with certain children.

One older science teacher, George Morehouse, was always a show at the faculty meetings. George would always have to get up and object to a motion or lose his temper over some unimportant item on the agenda. He was actually funny in a way, because the teachers never got used to his actions. The principal, on the other hand, thought he was a “pain in the ass.” Before he became a teacher, he was a pharmacist in a former life. He was actually a marathon distance runner, and he and Dick Runner ran thirty to fifty miles a week. George participated in several New York City marathons also. Not bad for a guy in his sixties that had never run before in his life. 

He retired when his wife was seriously ill with cancer in the 1980s. He was the only science teacher at the time certified to teach earth science. He passed the torch to his fellow teacher, Dick Runner, who had to be recertified in earth science. The incoming department chairman was not certified in earth science and was unable to grab these treasured classes.

Dick Runner was another extraordinary science teacher at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. He worked his way up the ranks, starting with teaching below-level basic science students in his first few years of teaching. Eventually, he inherited the earth science program from George Morehouse. George was an outstanding baseball athlete in Albany State University and loved to compete in any sport. He coached the football team for a while, ran the science club, the ski club, worked at the teen center, and got involved wherever possible. 

Eventually, he became a baseball coach at the high school level in addition. Dick was a highly motivated teacher as demonstrated by his classroom and the many demonstrations set up around the perimeter of the class. The students all loved him, and he returned their affection with a deep concern for their success in earth science. Dick was the first teacher to start the field trips to the Schooner on the Hudson River for ecology. He took many summer training courses in science and ecology and rapidly advanced himself to a master’s degree plus sixty credits that was a difficult thing to do while teaching full-time. Dick’s leadership and personality were one of the reasons for the many successful years at Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL.

Teachers had on average 32 students in a class.

The Social Studies Department

The social studies department chair was another one of the “old guard” who had collected the largest collection of overhead transparencies regarding social studies for grades 7–12 in the entire district. He was a bald heavyset man that was a state park policeman in the summers. His big bid for technology was collecting commercially made overhead plastic transparencies that he used with an overhead projector. That was the extent of technology in those days.

Unfortunately, all of these transparencies he collected were out of date by the 1980s when computer projectors came into use. By the 1990s, they were extinct. The Internet allowed for a new exchange of information that, through a laptop computer or desktop computer, could be projected on any size screen. Laser disks the size of large apple pies were also in use for a few years in the late 1980s. The CDs, DVDs eventually replaced overhead transparencies completely as well as better diagrams and pictures from the Internet. This social studies department chairman finally retired in the late 1980s and took with him all ten-file cabinets of outdated overhead transparencies rather than give them to his fellow social studies teachers.

One outstanding social studies teacher used many unique methods of getting the students attention regarding social studies. One technique he used was to act out the Lincoln debate with Douglas with another social studies teacher. He and another social studies teacher would prepare their notes from history and debate the issues Lincoln and Douglas were concerned with when they running for the Senate in Illinois. Douglas was the incumbent at the time. 

Another thing this Johnny C. did was to bring in historical experts to talk about their specialty. He also worked with the librarian to secure a Civil War exposition for two weeks in the library with artifacts from the Civil War on display. He always made social studies fun and exciting for all of his students. He was also the football coach and that gave him an advantage in dealing with the many football players in the school. Johnny C. was also the football coach, the floor hockey club advisor, and the school public address speaker. 

Every morning on the PA his booming voice came on with “Good Morning Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL.” He called the gym the Kakiatstadium and had nicknames for all the teachers in the school. Some of his favorite nicknames were Dick the Roadrunner Smith Who Never Graduated from Albany State University, Lee the Tree Jones, Al the Mauler Greenspan, Jerry the Jumper Steinfeld, Mark the Crusher, and Marvin the Marvelous. He had the students laughing every morning listening to the morning announcements. Many students asked Dick, the Runner, whether it was true that he never graduated from Albany State University. Of course, it was all a joke to get laughs. Johnny C. missed his calling and should have been a radio announcer instead of a teacher. He had the gift of gab and was loved by all the students.

There were many teachers in the social studies department, all white men with only one black woman. The black teacher survived by playing to the black students’ interests, and in running a black girls’ club in which almost all of the black girls in the school belonged. One year when she was having a formal evaluation done by the principal (who used to be a social studies teacher before he became an administrator), she gave the student incorrect dates for historical events. She never lived that down, and the principal made it a favorite story of how some teachers did not properly prepare for their classes by confirming dates and events properly. Her teaching quality was obviously poor from her evaluations, but no administrator dare try and fire her because she was black.

Another social studies teacher who just happened to be Irish was a really nice guy to talk to, but a boring teacher in class. His method of teaching was to put all the notes on the blackboard and have the student just take notes. What got him in trouble was his anti-Semitic remarks and jokes about Jewish people when 70 percent of the teaching staff were Jewish including the administration. In his defense, however, he was purposely given the below-level students because the principal wanted to force him to retire. He had survived two principals before because he had tenure and wasn’t open to change in his pedagogy.


At the point in time the early 1980s, the below-level students were considered learning challenged students, but not enough to qualify for special education status. The hierarchy in a junior high was that the department chairpersons got to teach the honors or AP courses, if they were qualified. Otherwise, the teacher with the most seniority and tenure, of course, got to teach the honors classes or AP classes. Then the next level down of teachers who had been at the school for at least five to ten years and remained in good favor with the department chair got to teach the on-level students. The part-time or “low in favor” teachers got shafted with an all below-level set of classes. So the below-level teachers got the worst teachers rather than the best teachers. Eventually, after year after year of bad evaluations the Irish teacher Kelly Obrien was forced into retirement because he would not try modern methods of teaching or embrace technology.

Home Economics (Later Called Career Development)

There were only two home economics teachers in the school, and they taught sewing and cooking. In later years, the home economics curriculum was expanded to cover domestic issues and more of the theoretical aspects of home budgeting, balancing a checkbook, etc. 

One home economics teacher was Chinese, Mrs. Sun, and a real sweetheart. She was always trying to please everyone. If someone wanted to drive into New York City to go to Chinatown, she would write Mandarin on the back of a business card for them to show the Chinese waiters in Chinatown. The Chinese waiters were always impressed with the writing and request for special Chinese meal by the economics teacher.

When Mrs. Sun’s classes baked cookies, the smell spread throughout the entire building. She always brought extra cookies to teachers’ classrooms when she had extras. Lots of time, she would have the students bake minipizzas. The only downside to this baking is the students brought their cookies and pizzas to their next class and continued to eat what they had or share it with their friends which usually disrupted the entire class. The other home economics teacher lasted a decade longer than the Chinese teacher due to student attrition throughout out the forty years of Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL.

Industrial Arts, Wood Shop, and Metal Shop

Industrial arts teachers were a breed all their own. The first industrial arts teacher used to have his students carve Indian totem poles each year and donate them to the school to be placed in the front hallway. When he retired, the totem pole heritage died with him. 

The industrial arts teachers taught wood shop and metal shop in the early days, before they were reduced to one woodshop program only in the late 1980s and 1990s. They had the biggest rooms of any program in the school other than the auditorium for the music department. They also had one of the biggest budgets since all the wood and metal were used in student projects. Some boys and girls really excelled in shop because they got to do hands-on education.

One industrial arts teacher, Red Blaston, had a major temper and ran afoul with every principal that he served under. His temper matched his name, Red. He once stormed out of a meeting with the principal and punched his fist through the window in the office door. He was forced to pay for the replacement window. At all the faculty meetings, he was always the most outspoken and always angry with some issue. The principal was dedicated to having him removed, and since he could not get enough to fire him because he had tenure, he had him transferred to North High Mountain JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL instead.

Music Department

The music department had one white male teacher, who was the director of the band (Mr. Bango); one lesbian teacher (Betty Strong); and one black female teacher (Bertha Best). The three of them had to handle the orchestra, band, and instrumental programs as well as the mandatory seventh-grade chorus program. 

Students could choose between chorus and band. Betty Strong was very popular with the teachers and students because she was a spark of a personality. She was always energetic and always looking out for students’ rights. She kept her lesbian situation quiet with the students but came out of the closet with her fellow teachers. She was one of the major reasons why the music program was so successful. Because she did not have seniority, she got most of the chorus programs with black and white students that did not want to be there. She could not control the black students even though she herself was black. It was no advantage for her. She was a sweet person, who years later got pregnant and had twins, then lost her sonority while she was out on maternity leave. When she returned, she was part-time at first. She was forced to travel between two schools. Eventually, she returned full-time to Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL when the music director retired and a full- time position became available.

Foreign Language Department

The foreign language department was small with a department chairperson, a female who taught French, and two other teachers that taught Spanish and French. In the 1970s, to please the black students, Swahili was taught. When the school had 1,600 students, even Hebrew was offered since many Jewish students wanted to take it. Italian was offered for a few years, but was eventually dropped as the student enrollment dropped. The department chairperson for foreign languages was a real character or rather she was hated by almost the entire faculty. She drove to school in a Jaguar, which her doctor husband bought, and she was always distant and felt she was better than other teachers. Her students all transferred from her class to the other French or Spanish teachers’ class to get away from her. She had a hateful attitude and spoke her mind that did not make her loved any more. 

The other foreign language teacher taught Spanish and was well liked by her students. She was a collector of Colonial War uniform buttons. She had hundreds of buttons at home on all the walls in collector’s boxes. 

Nurses and Nurse-Teachers

The nurses used to teach health education classes during the 1960s until the board of education cut their status from nurse-teacher to school nurse. They received a corresponding reduction in pay from the teacher payroll to staff payroll, as a result saving the school district a lot of salary money. School nurses came and went every year. It was a constant turnover in school nursing. It was a lot of paperwork and yearly hearing and scoliosis tests to administer also. It was constantly a crisis center that burned out most school nurses in a few years. 

The pay scale was below the teacher pay scale and far below what a nurse would be paid in local hospitals; hence, many nurses left when they could get a better job. When there was a major drug problem with the students in the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s, the school nurses were involved in a lot of legal lawsuits by parents trying to protect their drug-abusing children. Eventually a “zero tolerance” rule relating to drug selling or major drug abuse meant a student caught smoking or using drugs would be thrown out of the district and have to go to another school district if they were under sixteen years of age. Students over sixteen could be expelled permanently and be forced to go to night school if they wanted to graduate.

Guidance Department

The guidance department had a department chairperson, and he was directly supervised by one of the assistant principals in charge of the school class schedule. The school schedule of classes was done manually for many years before computer-scheduling program was developed in the 1980s. The guidance teachers helped every student select their courses when there were choices. Mostly, the ninth-grade students were the only ones that had room in their schedule for electives. 

Many of the guidance counselors lasted for many years until student enrollment kept dropping, and one by one, they were transferred or let go. There was one black guidance counselor who tried to look out for the special interests of the black students when he possibly could do so without being discriminatory. He was an older man who retired early in the 1980s. He was well liked by most of the faculty because he was someone who tried to work with the teachers when they had problem students that they wanted to transfer.

Special Education Department

The special education department included mentally handicapped students in a self-contained classroom, learning disabled students in a self-contained classroom, and emotionally handicapped students in a self-contained classroom. The emotionally handicapped students practically destroyed the entire school atmosphere because they were problem children from New York City gangs. 

The courts made these gang kids wards of the court and sent them to live in group homes in the High Mountain school district. Emotionally handicapped students used to be housed in BOCES buildings, but due to budget cutbacks, they had to be placed in regular schools. They were the students that had dangerous tempers and were considered violent. They were mainstreamed if possible, but often after one major outburst, the teachers feared for their safety and the safety of the regular students in their class, and they were removed permanently. They always had an aide go to all their mainstreamed classes with them because they were so difficult to control.

The mentally handicapped class was eventually transferred to North High Mountain JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL, because having the emotionally handicapped and mentally handicapped in one building was too much for the KakiatJunior High administration to handle in one school.

For a short while, there was a unique alternative education class called the IPC or individual progress class. A female and a male teacher taught or at least try to control these students that could not qualify for a special education IEP (individual education plan) but were so disruptive that they had to be taken out of the mainstream curriculum. One unique thing they did in the IPC class was take care of little animal pets from snakes to rabbits, mice, rats, and baby birds. The male teacher was tough enough to slap any of the disruptive students up against the wall with great force. The students both feared him and liked him. They knew not to get him angry.

The learning-disabled students read at a second-grade level and required an aide and a teacher to run each self-contained classroom. They were mainstreamed in physical education, arts, and home economics. If they could perform, they were sometimes mainstreamed into below-level math or below-level English or science, but that was not often the case. There were between four and five special Education teachers and five aides in Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. 

They had a major effect on the overall education of the other students since they were often in a favored status by the administration. On of the assistant principals was in charge of all the special education a class, and she fought for them to have special privileges and was always the defender of the special education student “who could do no wrong.”

The special education classes had movie days on Fridays with popcorn as an incentive for behavior modification. No regular classroom teacher was allowed to do this. They called it “behavioral modification” for special education students as if it was the best method of dealing with students having special needs. What it really should have been called was “if you do what I want you to do, you will receive a lollipop or some reward.” They had the aides doing their homework for them, and the students were spoiled a great deal. Each learning-disabled student had their own IEP or individual education plan that had to be approved by the students’ parents and was followed completely by the special education teachers and administrators.

The special education teachers had a resource room with a resource teacher who took care of the special education students when they had no regular mainstreamed class or assigned self-contained class. The purpose of the resource teacher was to back up and support what the regular special education teacher was trying to do. The special education teachers were a tight-knit social group who always ordered Chinese food every Friday. Some Fridays, they ordered for them and the students pizzas that smelled throughout the school. None of the regular teachers were allowed these liberties. If they wanted to order Chinese food, they usually had to eat it outside the building and not in the school. 

Many teachers ate in their own classrooms because of the politics in the teachers’ cafeteria. By the 1980s, the teachers’ cafeteria was done away with because no one wanted to eat lunch with the principal or administrators. As for software and technology skills, the special education teachers were in the Ice Ages as to their competency. They used the Apple computer labs as a game room. They loaded the Apple computers with a game and then sat down and chatted with one another over a cup of coffee. It was like having a break period. The assistant principal, who hardly ever supervised the special education teachers, never caught on to this little break period with special education students.

The Math Department and Computer Labs

The math department chairman, who had the most seniority, always got to teach the honors math classes, and when computer basic was popular, he taught those classes also. He retired with the highest percentage a teacher could get by waiting to retire long after he should have retired. He went out with 75 percent of his final salary, thanks to a retirement incentive to retire, and a long career as a teacher. Eventually, the retirement incentive went to teachers aged fifty-five, and they were offered one-half of their regular salary in addition to their regular salary to retire at age fifty-five. If they did not retire at fifty-five, they got nothing at age fifty-six. The math department chairman retired in his sixties, so he had accumulated a lot of retirement money plus the bonus. 

To the math department chairman’s credit, he was smart enough to keep the computer lab in the math department. In the 1980s, Apple sold the first Apple Pet computers that were all one piece to schools around the United States for only $400 each. It was a bargain, and schools everywhere bought the computers. The problem was there was not a lot of software available at first, just a lot of simple games and math programs. 

For special education, this was a boon because the teachers had no clue how to run computers, but they did realize how to turn the computer on and off and how to insert the disks with the programs on them. The rest of the class, the special education teachers stood around drinking coffee and chatting while the special education students played on games. They said the games were educational. Actually, they were a free period for the teachers and playtime for the students. It was a gross misuse of the computers. Had the teachers been trained how to use the computers, things might have been different.

Some of the smartest teachers in the school worked in the math department. They had to be able to teach everything from basic math to algebra and geometry. AP or advanced placement courses were also offered to the brightest math students who wanted college credit. 

By 1992, Microsoft came out with the first version of PowerPoint, and that program really caught on with junior high students who loved graphics, sound, and animation. At this point in time, the special education teachers were embarrassed into learning PowerPoint because the health education teacher used it extensively in his classes, and when the special education students had problems working with PowerPoint, the special education teachers and aides did not know what to do to help them.

Undertrained BOCES computer repairman did the repairs to the mainframe IBM computer in the math department. The way BOCES got around a lack of experience with their technicians was with a cell phone or the school phone. The BOCES technician would call the director and ask him what to do. The director would then tell the technician what to do step-by-step. Sometimes, they would spend all day working on a problem that an experienced computer repairperson could do in one hour. This leasing of services and computers was a cost-cutting measure by the district to offset the initial cost of buying computers. At that time, no one knew how long the computers would last.

Students Standing Together – Isolated

The $200,000 Technology Award

In the early 1990s, Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL won a $200,000 technology award and had sixty IBM computers installed in the building on a fiber optic network. The repairman would call the one person at the headquarters that knew how to repair computers, and he would tell them step-by-step how to repair the computers. What a joke that was.  

When major problems occurred, BOCES would send four or five of these computer monkeys to fix the problem. The High Mountain school district leased the services of the BOCES computer monkeys and also leased the IBM computers from BOCES to keep the cost lower than buying the computers. As the students learned to use graphics and PowerPoint by 1995, the server crashed all the time because it was overloaded and did not have enough memory to handle all sixty stations online at one time. The math department took credit for the Apple and IBM computer labs, and that was a good move, because in other schools, they created a computer department instead. This way, the math teachers had to learn computers and save their jobs at the same time.

The Custodian Department (Daytime)

The first custodian in the 1960s was a guy who had worked his way up the ladder. He built an office within the office and seldom came out. He also ran a cleaning business on the side, which may be why lots of cleaning supplies disappeared year after year. He was also known to be an alcoholic. If you wanted anything done in your area of the school, it was important to make sure you gave him a Christmas present of a bottle of booze or he made sure nothing was ever done right in your department. 

Eventually, he retired, and the next custodian tore down the office within an office and started a whole new openness in the custodian department at least for a while. He was the one who brought in the soda machines to the school with kickbacks to the principal for his slush fund. He made thousands of dollars a month because junior high kids have to have soda for lunch and soda to take home on the bus every day. 

For the teen center and other special events at the school, the soda machine was making top dollar. This custodian was friendly with a lot of teachers; that was unusual, since teachers didn’t usually fraternize with staff personnel in the building. He made it a point to walk around the school during the day and chat with teachers along the way. His days were numbered when he crossed the principal one time too many. He was eventually transferred to another school.

The Security Guards

The security guards were the joke of the school because they were nothing but a bunch of old people who could not get jobs elsewhere and were willing to work for minimal wages. They first were hired in the early 1970s because the teachers’ union made it clear that overall school discipline and breaking up fights was not a teacher’s responsibility. Local retired police were considered but would not take the job because of the low pay. The board of education set such low salaries that all they could get were retirees and those who were desperate for a job.

One security guard was a beloved old retired Irishman that worked into his seventies before they pushed him out since he could not break up fights or run when there was an emergency. The principal retired him with a retirement party when he was in his late seventies. There were also two women security guards, a black lady and a Latino lady. The Latino lady actually had a college degree, but it was from another country which was not valid in the United States. She was very intelligent but a mole for the administration, like the art teacher. She loved to tell on the teachers for some reason, and none of the teachers ever trusted her. 

The black security guard lady was another sweet person who actually liked the kids and was often very helpful at special events. She had no rapport with the black students, however. On one occasion, the principal hired a young black guy who was very effective with the students because he could break up fights. He lasted but a few years because the pay was so low. He left for a police job in a local town. 

The security guards, more than anything else, were a set of “eyes” around the building to keep track of students in the hallway and for escorting misbehaving students to the discipline office. They often filled in for an absent teacher in the in-school suspension room also. They also illegally filled in for an absent teacher or when a teacher did not show up for a class. The administration used this as a last-minute course of action, since the department chairpersons were usually not available.

After school during basketball games or football games, security roamed the halls to keep out intruders. The teachers treated them as subcitizens, since none of the security guards were real security or police personnel and had little or no authority or power in the school. Security guards were necessary because of the inability or desire of teachers to take charge of hall or cafeteria discipline. Whenever a teacher tried to break up a fight or stop a student running in the hallway they got injured and never did it again. Angry students, emotionally disturbed students, or physically large students would assault teachers once in a while. Teachers learned to shy away from physically stopping students from doing the wrong thing for fear of getting injured. It was easier to call for security than handle the problem by oneself. 

One female teacher was standing in the hallway between classes when the late bell rang and a student late for class came running down the hall. She turned to see the student at the last minute, and she yelled, “Stop!” The student knocked her down so hard that she was unconscious, and he kept running. Afterward, the security guards found the student and brought him to the principal’s office. The female teacher suffered a concussion and four weeks out of work in recovering from the incident. That set an example for other teachers in the school to look the other way or get out of the way with students running down the hallway.

Chapter 10 – Teacher Burnout

Being a teacher is being subject to routine and, eventually, boredom and staleness. Teachers have to reinvent themselves every year and every few years so that they do not become subject to complacency in teacher. Teaching techniques are always changing, and technology had a major effect on teachers changing their teaching pedagogy. The blackboard-and-chalk days of teaching were quickly discarded for easy-to-erase white boards where you could use colored markers and not get chalk rubbing off on your clothing. As blackboards get old, they tend to turn grey, and chalk writing is hard to be seen at the back of the classrooms.

“Burning out” was the biggest fear of many teachers. After a while, the politics, the frustrations, the daily routine, and the low salary tend to take their toll, and teachers begin to wish they had chosen another career. All teachers become teachers because “they want to make a difference.” When reality comes a knocking, and after ten years of teaching, they find they are making little money and making no difference in students’ lives, they begin to doubt themselves. Then starts the process of “teacher burnout.” Some teachers who cannot get a grip on their “burnout” end up quitting and handing in their resignations to the principal. Some go out mad over administrator policies or unfair dealings with the principal. Often, a principal has the power to make a teacher’s life miserable, and they are good at it whether it serves the mission of the school or education or not.

When a teacher, by chance, has a bad teaching schedule, it can wear them out. A bad teaching schedule is one in which three periods are taught in a row without a break or one that has a free period every other period. Teachers get into a rhythm when they are teaching, and a class on and a break and then another class on can be most frustrating. Getting the below-level students can make any teacher want to beat their heads against the wall. Not every getting an honors class or an on-level course can be a cause for burning out.

The teachers that go back to school and renew their ideas and philosophy were able overcome the “burning out” blues. The teacher that does something constructive during their summer, like rewriting their course curriculum, would come back to school with a whole new approach. The teacher who embraced “new technology” to find new ways to teach overcomes burning out. 

Teachers have to be like magicians and find ways to remake themselves. One of the best ways to do this is to teach a new course or new grade level every few years to force them to prepare for a major change. Change is important to not burning out. Too much change can be threatening at the same time for teachers, and they burn out from not being able to keep up with technology or keep up with change. 

Flexibility can be an asset in preventing burnout. Coaching a sport after school can make all the difference in the world to a teacher who was starting to burn out from teaching. Putting in that extra time and getting to know the students on a more personal basis gives a teacher a big teaching advantage. To know the students personally and professionally in a class is a big advantage. The students look at the teacher as not just a teacher but also their coach.

Burnout occurs when teacher get truly tired of teaching and negative evaluations from administrators. Often, they go into industry after quitting and make a fortune in money compared to what they used to get teaching. One teacher quit after twelve years to become a real estate promoter and began to get backers to build custom homes. After ten years, he was making two hundred thousand a year in commissions. Other science teachers left for the business world to make a ton of money in the new computer industry. Some teachers became car salesmen and made three times the salary they had as a teacher.

Burning out isn’t always bad, if a teacher is prepared to change careers. Not everyone is willing to change careers, however. It is no accident that there is a major shortage of math and science teachers because their counterpart jobs in business and industry pay three times or more than regular teacher’s pay. Teacher’s pay is the same for all teachers. Physical education teachers make the same amount a science teacher or English teacher makes. No teacher gets special pay, because it is perceived that his or her subject is harder or requires a stronger academic background. 

Burnout thins out the teacher ranks and reduces that amount of teachers that go on to eventually retire and take advantage of the excellent New York State teachers’ retirement system. Teacher burnout is one thing the High Mountain school district never really addressed. It was something that caused the loss of many a potentially good teacher. Administrators in each school building had total control over whom they pressured and whom they favored. Teacher burnout cost the district a lot of money in a constant teacher turnover factor. Constant turnover of teachers prevents uniformity and continuity in any course curriculum. Each time a new teacher is hired, they teach that subject differently than the previous teacher. 

No superintendent conference ever addressed the teacher burnout problem in the forty years of the existence of Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. It shows blindness on the part of the administration to recognize the problem and address it. Some people would call it denial. Regardless, teacher burnout was a major fear to every teacher after five or ten years of teaching. Some teachers who lasted thirty years probably had to reinvent themselves three or four times or more to avoid teacher burnout.


On average, about 25 percent of the teaching staff burned out every five, ten, or fifteen years. There are no real numbers to show this because teachers never resign and put down teacher burnout as their reason. When teachers leave the profession, they leave for a variety of reasons such as low pay, administrative pressure, poor student relationships, poor parent relationships, peer group pressure, lack of proper professional preparation, lack of mentoring, lack of administrative support, inability to make a difference with their students, family deaths or tragedy, and poor personal health. This list is not all-inclusive, but it can often be summarized into one category called teacher burnout.

Chapter 11 – Retirement

Retirement is not something teachers look forward to. It is the end of their career and the end of the social circles that surround this career. As shocking as this statement sounds, “few teachers ever retired happy.” In fact, a rough estimate is around 90 percent of the teachers that retired from Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL were forced out by administration because of:

 1) Being too old 

 2) Being too ineffective in teaching 

 3) Not “playing the game” with the principal 

 4) A false accusation by a student that ended their career 

 5) Teachers tired of the “politics” of the school

The majority of the teachers who retired were forced out and, therefore, left Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL in an angry tone. When teachers retire, the teachers’ union has a district-wide party for the retiring teachers, with short speeches about how they were going to catch up on their fishing. When principals or assistant principals retire, one of their administrative buddies holds a retirement party for them and invites all the district administrators and building teachers. 

These retirement parties are a haven for hypocrites. Teachers who hated the principal get up and give speeches on how great he/she was. What they really meant to say was they were glad to see him/her go. This was the case of Mr. Baldeen when he retired. His female assistant principal, who hated everything Mr. Baldeen stood for, made a long speech on how wonderful he was and how she enjoyed working for him. These were all lies to make Mr. Baldeen and everyone else feel good.

Sometimes, in a close-knit department, the other teachers would chip in and give a small pizza party or something to someone retiring in their department after many years at the same position.

Retirement was a way of pushing teachers out of a school. It was nearly impossible to fire them without cause, so subtle harassment forcing a teacher into retirement was a good strategy for administrators. This is why so many teachers retired in anger. They retired in anger toward the principal who did not support them and the greedy fellow teachers who wanted to teach his or her best classes. It was a dog-eat-dog world in the final analysis.

Early retirement was popular for a while to get rid of the high-paying senior teachers or master teachers that were the leaders of the school. The board of education felt they got paid too much for thirty or forty years of service. The early retirement incentive offered teachers turning fifty-five an opportunity to cash in on half their salary that year, in addition to their regular salary to retire at age fifty-five. If they wait until the next year at age fifty-six, they got nothing extra to retire with. 

The thinking was that the board of education could hire two or three new teachers just out of college for the salary of one experience senior teacher. On paper, that looked good, but in reality, it never worked out that way. For one thing, the district got what they paid for new in raw recruits as teachers with no experience. Junior high is a real challenge to teach and not as easy as high school teaching. Second, without mentors or department chairman to help a new teacher, they floundered in teaching and usually quit after a few months. Instead of helping the new teachers, the administrators punished them for making mistakes. 

There was no support structure in place. Teacher turnover increased, and instead of having dependable experienced teachers that were the cornerstones of the schools, they had inexperienced, unmotivated teachers. The “early retirement incentive” backfired, because the school board did not figure into the calculations the fact that they had to contribute to the retired teachers’ pension for the rest of the teachers’ lives. Many teachers would go on to live for thirty or forty more years of collecting the New York State teachers’ pensions, supported in part by the school districts that retired them.

Eventually, there would become a teacher shortage so bad that districts were stealing teachers from one school district to another school district. Superintendents were outraged when they found out a neighboring school district had hired a science teacher in the middle of the school year for an increase in pay. Some superintendents had to beg the other districts not to hire their teachers until the end of the year. 

The mass retirement era of the 1990s caused a shortfall in teachers. The retirement incentive backfired. The quality in instruction dropped, as did the state test scores. The districts were not getting the job done with inexperienced teachers. The best of the crop was forced or lured into retirement and could not be easily replaced. 

Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL eventually declined over losing its best-experienced teachers. All of the great programs that were started and survived for so many years fell by the wayside because the experienced and specially certified teachers were now gone. This was also true of coaches. There weren’t any more experienced coaches to run the sports programs. The district did not plan ahead in hiring to make sure they brought in teachers that could also coach a team. Everything was about saving money and starting salaries, and not about coaching, or clubs advisors, or technology-experienced teachers.

Retirement was the final taboo for teachers. They would be forced to work out of state in other schools or as a substitute teacher if desperate enough. Some found higher-paying jobs in the business sector. A few with doctoral degrees would go onto college or universities to fill the ranks of the adjunct professor that did not need medical benefits.

Despite the training sessions provided by the State Teachers Retirement Association, most teachers were totally unprepared for retirement. Many found out quickly that it is a major adjustment to go from working to doing nothing but projects around the house. Some went out of state and went back to teaching to be able to survive the high cost of living in New York State. Others went to Florida, where there is no state tax on pensions and there is warmer weather. But most of all, retiring at fifty-five was a major mistake for schools and teachers. Many teachers were at their prime at age fifty-five and would continue to be so until their midsixties. Retired teachers found themselves at home and their wives still working at their jobs, which brought about some depression for the retirees.

Portrait of a young woman standing between two shelves of files

Chapter 12 – The Beginning of the End

         Sadly, the demise of Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL came about slowly over its life of forty years. From 1960 to 1975, the school enrollment increased from 600 students to 1,600 by 1975. After that year, the enrollment began to drop to a steady 50–100 students a year. This was not only evident in Kakiat JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL but also across the entire Mountain High school district. The reasons were many:

  1. 1)  Parents were having fewer children in this period of time than they were in previous generations. 
  2. 2)  The local Jewish schools, called yeshivas, were increasing at the same time the public schools population dropped under 10,000 students in 1990; the yeshivas were increasing and at 15,000 students at the time Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL ceased to exist. 
  3. 3)  Jewish parents of Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox had lost faith in the public school districts over the past forty years of Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL and other schools in the Mountain High school district. 
  4. 4)  Fights between Irish students and Jewish students that got into the local newspaper only made things worse. 
  5. 5)  As the rich Jewish parents in Northern Mountain High hired more and more Haitian domestic help, the Haitian student population grew in the 1960s from 1 percent to 70 percent by 1995. 

The Haitian nannies, hired back in the 1960s by rich Mountain High residents, sent back to Haiti for their husbands, extended family, and children to come to Mountain High in New York State. The nannies started working for $2 an hour in the 1960s, which increased to $10 an hour by the 1990s, and they didn’t do windows either. The population of Haitians in Mountain High doubled and then tripled over thirty years. Eventually, the High Mountain school district became known as “little Haiti.” As the Haitian population moved into High Mountain, they were eventually able to buy homes with the help of welfare and social agencies. 

As the Haitians moved into High Mountain Jewish neighborhoods, the Jewish population moved out to the next town, called Hidden River City. Over a period of forty years, the Jewish public school student population went from 70 percent to 15 percent in 1995. As the Jewish children grew up and went to college, their parents downsized and moved into condos in the next towns over from Mountain High.

Another reason for the demise of Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL was the decrease in student population to the point where in 1995, the school had only 440 students, down from 1,600 in 1975. 

Statewide and nationally, a new trend developed to convert the JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL concept to the new middle school concept, consisting of schools of grades 6–8 rather than 7–9. As this concept became fashionable, many high schools wanted to have the ninth-grade students in their buildings to round out their academic disciplines and their sports programs. More and more school districts in New York State were changing their JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOLs into middle schools with grades 6–8 or 7–8 by the late 1990s. The writing was on the wall for the middle school national movement, which would eventually replace JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOLs nationwide.

As the third principal retired after his heart attack, the fabulous programs he created and supported all died for one reason or another. The gymnastics exhibition program, which ran for twenty years, finally came to an end when the coach retired from coaching and went back to college to get a doctoral degree. This exhibition program generated more positive community goodwill than anything else at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL, with the exception of the sports teams and the teen center. Students were dying to come to Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL, where they could join the only gymnastics team in the entire Mountain High school district. 

The “school within a school” program faded out by the late 1990s. Three teachers initially made the proposal for a $200,000 technology grant offered by the district in 1991. The heart of this grant program was allowing the seventh-grade teachers to run their own grade level and the eighth-grade teachers the same. Instead of hall duty or cafeteria duty, grade 7 and grade 8 teacher teams met every day to plan their curriculum, discuss student discipline, and keep track of their budget. By the late 1990s, the leaders of the seventh-grade- and eighth-grade-level programs retired. 

The security guards were reduced by the board of education to only three people due to budget cuts. The “peer coaching” program, started by Principal Baldeen, lasted four years, until funds ran out despite the excellent reviews by the teachers involved in the program and the sixty hours of BOCES training required of teach teacher. 

The “conflict resolution” program stopped because the teachers that used to train other teachers retired. Most of all, the spirit of the teaching staff had died out and could never be replaced after the board of education decided to offer a retirement incentive to the fifty-five-year-old teachers to save money in salaries.

The Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL teachers had aged; some had been at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL for thirty years plus. Many were retiring in the 1990s to take advantage of the early retirement incentive offered by the Mountain High school district. AP programs that were once offered stopped because there weren’t any certified teachers to teach them at Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL. The certified AP teachers had all retired by 2000. 

The music program went downhill as the instrument lessons were cut out of the music curriculum due to a shortage of funds. The music teacher that had led the band for generations retired, and when he retired, the program went downhill. 

Many key teachers in various departments, who were leaders among their peers, retired and were replaced by inexperienced teachers, who often quit after a few months or at the end of the first year. The teacher turnover rate was almost 40 percent in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The districts were stealing teachers from one another by offering higher salaries for science and math teachers to transfer. 

One of the biggest reasons for the demise of Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL by the end of the 1990s was population decline and economics. The Mountain High School was half empty by the late 1990s. There wasn’t enough room at the high schools to move the ninth graders out of Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL, so the board of education decided to move all the seventh- and eighth-grade students to South and North Middle Schools and temporarily make Kakiata ninth-grade extension building to the high school.

The assistant principal, Mrs. Sue Blastermouth, took over with Mr. Baldeen’s retirement in 1999. She could not control the teachers or the increasing discipline programs. It takes a “whole faculty to run a school,” and it takes a lot of self-initiated leaders to keep things running smoothly. By 1999, Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL was dead, and a ninth-grade extension program to North High Mountain High School replaced it. Mrs. Blastermouth was responsible to report to the principal of the senior high school and did not retain the title of principal of the building.

The seventh- and eighth-grade students were all transferred to the two remaining middle schools in the north and the south. The Kakiat JUNIOR HIFH SCHOOL lost its name, identity, and sports program. It was but an extension to the North High Mountain High School, which was still overcrowded at the time.

The formal rules system cannot function unless the informal culture of teaching is healthy and functioning properly. Teachers were being hired because they were black or minority in order to combat the accusations of racism around the district. Unfortunately, hiring a teacher based on their skin color does not mean the teacher will be successful with black students or minority students. Many of these new teachers quit suddenly after only a few months of teaching. Gone were the mentors of the old days. The board of education had removed the pay scale for department chairpersons and allowed volunteer department coordinators instead.

 Everyone was out for himself or herself, and no experienced teachers volunteered to mentor the new teachers. New teachers felt they were on their own. The negative attitude created by the replacement principal was undermining everything that went on in the past. Mrs. Blastermouth had her favorite teachers, to whom she gave the best schedules, and the rest she ignored. She cursed like a longshoreman, and that unprofessional attitude turned all the teachers off. They had no loyalty to her, and she could not command their loyalty. 

“Tell Mr. Jones to fuck off, will you, Mrs. Leaner?” said Mrs. Blastermouth. “That son of a bitch had the nerve to report me to the teachers’ union for assigning him to lunch duty three years in a row!” Mrs. Blastermouth shouted out in her office. She could be heard down the entire school hallway. 

“Shall I have Mr. Jones come to the office now, Mrs. Blastermouth?” said Mrs. Learner, the main office secretary. 

“No, I will deal with the prick later,” said Mrs. Blastermouth.

Mrs. Blastermouth held grudges against teachers that would not do her will and was vindictive with end-of-the-year evaluations. She could not speak Creole or French, the language of the Haitian students, and she lost control of any communication with these students, who were the majority of the school population. Being a principal involved networking with the community and the board, and this female principal has no friends on the board. Her arrogant attitude from previous years, when she was an outspoken, cursing administrator, didn’t help her cause any. 

After a decade of failed programs and declining enrollment in the 2000s, the ninth-grade extension building ceased. The ninth-grade students were all sent to the Mountain High Central High School building. The ninth-grade extension building was converted into an elementary school and renamed KakiatElementary School. Mrs. Blastermouth retired after completely running the school into the ground. Even “single sex classes” were being used because she could not control the students in coed situations.

         On the wall in the Kakiat School gymnasium is a plaque dedicated to past social studies teacher Johnny Carucci, for his dedication and devotion to KAKIAT JUNIOR High SCHOOL. He died at age forty-four in the prime of his life, and never got to enjoy the years of retirement that he was always planning for. His legend personified the quality of teachers who gave their “all” for Kakiat JUNIOR High SCHOOL in the early years of the school’s existence.

The End

Teachers waving goodbye

The 23rd Psalm

Written by Dr. Pelham Mead

The premise of this science fiction novel is that each line in the 23rd Psalm describes what the Christian and Jewish survivors will do to stay alive after a comet destroys most of the earth. I was researching several books on Jewish and Christian messiahs when the idea of this book came to my mind. What if a comet hits the earth and only a handful of survivors on mountaintops survived the disaster? How would these two religious groups learn to work together to survive? What if one person in the two groups began to have visions about the future that came true? What if, after many struggles, the Jewish temple group and the Protestant group chose a messiah, the man who was having the spiritual visions that came true again and again?

This is a story about survival and the determination of two small groups to find higher ground and, eventually, safety on the earth flooded to six thousand feet above sea level. This is a story about the year 3550 when world corporations sought to make religions illegal.

In the year 3550, the earth was almost destroyed after a comet, the size of the moon, collided with earth. The impact was so severe that it caused the earth to move out of its normal orbit around the sun. The earth was a million miles closer to the sun after the impact of the comet. The explosion was so great that when the comet hit the southern part of the Pacific Ocean, off South America, the south polar cap melted down almost immediately. The ocean surge covered South America completely, leaving only the Andes mountains, showing as islands above the waters. In a week, Europe and North America were underwater, and the north polar cap began to melt. The Asian continents suffered the same fate, except the Himalayan mountain range that stuck out as islands in a vast new ocean. All the mountain ranges around the world became islands, jutting out the ocean that rose above seven thousand feet, surviving the initial flooding. The highest mountains in the Sierras, the Appalachian mountain chain, and Mount Rainier in Washington State all became islands above the seven-thousand-feet-above-sea-level point.

All the plants and native animals around the world drowned under leagues of seawater. The only surviving animals are those that lived at high elevations to begin with, such as mountain goats, yaks, deer, and some varieties of birds. The freshwater fish in all the lakes and rivers died when the salt water filled all the lakes and rivers around the world. The sea marine life did survive, however, despite the temperature rise. The entire population of penguins eventually was washed away toward the mountains of the Andes thousands of miles away. Few of the penguins survived.

As for the human race, those that survived were those that ran to the high ground or happened to be living on high ground to begin with. The floods came so quick that all of California and the West Coast were covered in salt water in less than a week. The same fate became of the East Coast of the North American continent, and it flooded across all the states until it reached the high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains.

The only humans known to survive in the western part of North America were a group of Old World Christians on a religious retreat at Lake Tahoe in Sierra Nevada and a group of Old World Jewish community members who were vacationing in the Sierras. Neither religious communities knew that the other had survived until months after the disaster.

In the year 3550, religions had changed to a new order of spiritual life. The World Corporate Order discouraged religions to be practiced and declared them illegal. The emphasis was on giving everything to the controlling Corporations of the World, and old world religions got in the way. Many religions, centuries old, had begun to die out from the persecution and threat of arrest by the World Corporate Order. The original Christian movement that survived for 56,000 years was now called the Old World Christian movement. Likewise, the various Jewish sects were called the Old World Jewish religion. The World Corporate Order also declared practicing Judaism of any kind illegal.

The World Corporate Order had replaced all the old world religions. Nationalism in each continent—such as North America, Europe, South America, Middle East, Asian, Far Asia, and Africa—had formed over the past few centuries (twenty-second century to thirtieth century AD). Old World Buddhism, Old World Muslims, Old World Hindu, and many other religions suffered the same fate as the Old World Christians and the Old World Jewish sects and were reduced in size and popularity and considered illegal to practice in public. They had all become secret religions that were not approved by the World Corporate Order of the thirty-first century. The World Corporate Order frowned on the free worship of any religion in the year 3550. The old world religions met in secret and kept their membership closed and in secret fear of corporate punishment by the World Corporate Order that controlled all the continents on earth.

Chapter 1
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

The date of the apocalypse was September 4, AD 3550. It was in the middle of the day that the first emergency broadcast was sent out by virtual beam, old-fashioned radio waves, short-wave ham radio, and virtual television. “Emergency, this is not a drill. Repeat, emergency. Attention, all citizens of the Corporate World Order, this is an emergency. Our scientists have determined that a comet is about to collide with earth in about forty-eight hours. Do not panic. Try, if possible, to head to high ground above five or six thousand feet above sea level. Go to the mountains in your region if possible. Leave now and do not delay. End of broadcast.”

For the next forty-eight hours, every person’s antigravity vehicle (AGV) was headed toward the closest mountains in every country. Antigravity vehicles had replaced cars thousands of years before. The AGVs were similar in size to cars but ran on electromagnetic waves that bounced off a track buried in the venues (roads). Venues were blocked for hundreds of miles as millions upon millions of people of the earth fled to high ground to avoid the impact of severe flooding.

In the quiet Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California, near Lake Tahoe, there was a group of forty Old World Christians of the Church of the Sunrise on a religious retreat. Most of the Christians were couples, married or otherwise. A few were single and unmarried. Pastor Swift, a short chubby man with a balding crown, was just finishing a lesson on the 23rd Psalm about “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” After the service, as the small group of the Church of the Sunrise walked toward their cabins, one of the young boys named Billy came running toward Pastor Swift.

“Pastor Swift, Pastor Swift, there is an emergency warning being transmitted. You need to come quick!” the young boy exclaimed. “All right, all right, everything is fine. It is probably a fire emergency being broadcast. I will be right there,” said Pastor Swift. As he approached his cabin, there were several people standing outside with long looks on their faces. Something big was up, and Pastor Swift could not tell what the emergency was going to be.

As he entered his cabin, a virtual broadcast was loud and clear: a comet was going to hit the earth in less than forty-eight hours. “Oh my god!” Pastor Swift exclaimed. “Billy, run and get Colonel Jim Shepherd and have him meet me here as soon as possible!” A few minutes later, retired colonel James Shepherd, a tall man with a military-style crew cut and a long gray mustache, appeared at Pastor Swift’s cabin with his wife, Elizabeth Shepherd. Elizabeth was a short brunette with some gray hair and has a very skinny body that she kept in shape by jogging every morning. She was a retired biologist from UCLA with a PhD in biology.

“Jim, as you may have heard, we have a major emergency on our hands. I have just been informed that a comet is about to collide with the earth in less than forty-eight hours. There is a strong possibility of flooding around the entire earth, especially if it lands in one of the oceans or hits the North or South Pole. We need to get to high ground fast before others do and stake out or claim to land higher than seven thousand feet above sea level. We know Donner Pass is 8,700 feet above sea level, and that is just down the road from here. I suggest we head for Northstar Mountain that is just above Donner Pass, and we are close enough to get there quickly. I am not a military man, nor do I pretend to know how to handle this emergency, so I am putting you in charge of our church and its survival. I will ring the emergency bell and have everyone assemble immediately,” said Pastor Swift.

“OK, Jim, I will take charge and get us safely to high ground by the end of this day,” said Colonel Shepherd. A million questions went through Colonel Shepherd’s mind at the moment, but he suppressed these thoughts to focus on the emergency.

The bell rang loudly, again and again, and everyone assembled quickly in front of Pastor Swift’s cabin. “Brothers and sisters, we have limited time, and a major life-threatening emergency has developed both here and worldwide. A comet is about to collide with the earth in forty-eight hours. This comet is estimated to be about the size of our moon.” There was a hushed silence for almost a minute, and then women began to cry and men were cursing under their breaths. “Retired colonel Jim Shepherd is going to organize our evacuation to higher ground immediately. I want you to listen to him carefully. He will be in charge of everything. Remember what I said in the Bible study group, ‘The Lord is our shepherd, and we shall not want,’” paraphrased Pastor Swift.

“All right, everyone, keep calm. This is what I want you to do. Return to your cabins and stock up your AGVs with all the food you have. Remember to pack blankets and any survival equipment like light sources, batteries, solar energy collectors, water, medicine, axes, old weapons, knives, and any ham radios or battery- or sun-operated radios,” shouted the colonel to the group.

“Are there any questions? Oh, and bring any portable laser cutting tools to cut trees and wood also,” the colonel commanded. No one asked any questions. There were some women in the crowd, crying softly from fear, but no one spoke out loud. They all walked away rapidly to their cabins and began to gather all they could pack their AGVs with and still have the vehicle move along the ground. “Come back here with your AGVs loaded within two hours, and we will assemble in front of the mess hall,” shouted the colonel to the group as they departed.

Two hours later, all the Old World Christians had assembled with their AGVs fully loaded with everything they could take. Colonel Shepherd addressed the group again. “Brothers and sisters, Pastor Swift will lead us in prayer, but first, I want to tell you where we are going. We are headed to Northstar Mountain, above Donner Pass, down the road from here. I will personally lead the group in my AGV, and everyone will follow in a single line. When we get to the site, we will begin to organize an encampment to survive the comet collision with the earth. Pastor Swift, if you will,” the colonel said.

“Let us pray. Dear Lord, guide over and protect us and all the humans and animals of the world during this apocalypse. Guide us on our way to Northstar Mountain and keep us safe and secure from the possible flooding. We ask this all in Jesus’s name. Amen,” Pastor Swift finished. “Amen,” the group responded.

All the AGVs were started up, and the trek to Northstar Mountain began in a long single line of about forty vehicles. An hour later, they had arrived at the base of Northstar Mountain and departed their vehicles and began to climb the open trails up the mountain. Antigravity vehicles were made to follow a magnetic line embedded in the road and usually ran on solar power or an electric grid. Once the vehicles went off the road, they were useless. They could not travel over the ground or rocks and leaves. Everyone had to put their supplies on their back or pull them on makeshift drags.

The climb up Northstar Mountain, dragging supplies behind, was a tiring ordeal for the Christians. Even children helped out carrying containers of water and food. Several trips up and down the mountain had to be made to get all the supplies up to the high meadow where they would be camping and hoped to survive. No one dared complain about the work and the effort of going up and down the mountain with supplies. Everyone was still in shock that a comet would actually hit the earth. “How could this be?” they all asked themselves. Women, as well as men, carried their share of supplies up and down the mountain. The higher on the mountain, the safer they felt they would be when the flooding occurred. Many stopped and prayed on their knees while going up the mountain. Chaos reigned everywhere, but somehow, the task at hand kept things in order.

Once all the supplies were carried up the mountain, Pastor Swift asked everyone to assemble and pray together as a group. “If ever you prayed for something before, pray now with me for our survival and the survival of others around the world,” Pastor Swift said. “Lord, let us be mindful of thy protection in this time of danger and tragedy. Thank you, Lord, for saving us from drowning as millions of others have. If we are the chosen ones, oh Lord, then let it be. Guide over us and keep us all strong and bind us together in thy name, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.”

It took two days to move all their supplies to the high mountain meadow. Several people got injured in the process with ankle sprains and back problems. No one was an outstanding athlete, and exertion at eight thousand feet above sea level was too high with the thin oxygen. Pastor Swift reflected on the situation and wondered how God could allow this disaster to occur, especially to the “people of God.” On the flip side of the argument, he realized they could be back in Los Angles now and drowning from the ocean surge over the entire city in twenty-four hours. Flooding would occur to the depths of six thousand feet above sea level or one thousand fathoms below the sea.

They had little source of information except a ham radio that could only be transmitted by another ham radio operator, and they were rare. It was a scary prospect to hear that the earth would be flooding, especially in North America where they were located. Pastor Swift could only speculate what could happen in twenty-four hours and what damage a comet could do when it slammed into the earth. Pastor Swift sat down and took out his Bible and prayed. He did not know what else to do at the time. Perhaps this was all a dream. How would they ever survive beyond a month with the limited supplies they had and the lack of animals or plants to eat locally?

A ski slope was located nearby, which may have had some cabins or main lodge. It was September and the slope could be closed, but it might be worth a look to see if there were any supplies locked up that they could borrow or steal. If only the watch transmitter he had would work. It was like the old-fashioned cell phones but located in a chip buried under the skin on his arm. Everyone had one, but these were not working. Somehow, the transmitter must have flooded and short-circuited. Who knows what went wrong? Pastor Swift tried to collect and organize his thoughts on what to do next. He would have to rely on retired colonel Shepherd and his military experience to get everyone through this crisis. Was God testing their belief in God? Nothing seemed to make any sense. “What kind of damage could a comet do when it hit the earth?” he asked himself.

The first night, everyone slept out in the pasture because most of the shelters were not yet built. Even the tents weren’t put up yet because the priority was moving the supplies up the mountain and then trying to prepare a meal for forty people. In his dreams, Pastor Swift remembered the passage from the 23rd Psalm that he had preached about a day before, “The Lord is my shepherd, he maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” This is certainly strange; here they were, lying down in a green pasture, safe from the flooding of the entire earth, he thought to himself in his dream. It was just as if the 23rd Psalm was coming true. No, he must be crazy, he thought.

Suddenly, he awoke, startled to the hooting of an owl nearby in a tree. The sky was as clear as can be, and there were very few sounds in the night, except for the owl nearby. A few clouds passed overhead, blocking the view of the bright stars in the sky. Nothing else seemed to move in the dark night with only a crescent moon shining overhead. Pastor Swift knew that when he awoke the next day, all his parishioners. For all he knew, the next day might be their last day on earth. It was difficult getting back to sleep. He looked at his children and wife sleeping and thought, “I am going to protect them as best I can. I pray that God will give me strength to survive this disaster.” Gradually, he fell asleep, thinking of the comet missing earth and all the scientists being wrong. He slept very poorly that night, tossing and turning in his sleep.

When the sun rose the next morning, Pastor Swift reviewed the forty names of the people who attended the spiritual retreat at Lake Tahoe. First, there was retired colonel James Shepherd, age 65, and his wife, Elizabeth Shepherd, age 58; Judy Swift, age 44, the pastor’s wife, and Elizabeth Swift, age 15, his daughter; Rob Swift, age 10, Pastor Swift’s son; Mary Moon, a mechanical engineer, age 35, and her boyfriend, Bill Snedeker, age 36; Xiaolin Tan, age 49, a female corporate administrator for the World Corporation who came with her boyfriend, Professor Ken Mooney, who taught anthropology at UCLA; Marcus Green, age 27, a black African American, a computer expert; Judy Ann Walsh, Marcus’s girlfriend, age 25, a white office administrator; Billy Mandor, a sixteen-year-old kid who came along as a friend of Elizabeth Swift, the pastor’s daughter; Tim Dong Wo, age 31, a Korean with a PhD in philosophy from Harvard; and lastly, there was Steve Moss, age 38, an unemployed office manager.

It was hard to imagine, but Pastor Swift did not personally know the other twenty-five members of his congregation. He only knew them by their family names: the Condon family, Dillen family, Trumpe family, Treet family, Absolym family, Nealy family, Park family, Sun family, Lee family, Cho family, Rodriques family, and the Spencer family—all of which were married couples. It was a little embarrassing not to know everyone personally, but the comet cut short the spiritual retreat in which Pastor Swift had planned to get to know everyone on a first-name basis.

Chapter 2
“He makes me lie down in green pastures.”

At a green mountain meadow pasture, about three-quarters of the way up Northstar Mountain, they decided to make their campground. One of Colonel Shepherd’s major concerns was security, just in case other crazed human tried to steal food or attack their campsite high on the mountain. He posted men around the site during the night, just in case, to prevent any wild animals from causing problems or crazed humans running in fear of the flooding. They did not have any weapons, and there was only one form of communication and that was an army pocket whistle. There were only a few hours of daylight left that day, so they did what they could to cut trees down with laser cutters that were brought along. Centuries-old two-man saws were also put into use in cutting down trees to make lean-tos. Even small hatchets were used to build shelters and cut wood for fires to keep warm.

Day 2 came fast, and only twenty-four hours remained before the comet collided with the earth. Pastor Swift made sure there were plenty of prayer sessions to calm everyone’s fears about the end of the earth. There was no communication with the outside world. No one knew what the rest of the world was doing. Their only focus was to survive the impending comet collision with earth.

Colonel Shepherd had everyone inventory all their food and equipment. They had to centralize all the food so they could cook for everyone and conserve food and energy in so doing. They had no real weapons since the police and the military only used weapons. Just antique weapons such as crossbows, bows and arrows, and spears that were hanging on the cabin walls were brought. No one knew if these would even work. Colonel Shepherd delegated Xiaolin Tan, a Chinese woman and corporate administrator for the North American World Corporate Order; her boyfriend, Ken Mooney, a college professor; Marcus Green, a black man with a lot of technical experience; and Mary Moon, a widow and mechanical engineer, to find some birch trees; Judy Ann Walsh, Marcus’s girlfriend, and others, small trees for making shelters. Others were delegated to cooking and preparing food. The remainders of the forty Christians were assigned to revolving guard duty with binoculars to search for any trouble with wildlife or crazed humans fleeing from any fires or flooding.

At that point in time, they had no real idea whether there would be flooding or fires or volcanic activity after the comet hit the earth. One person that was not satisfied with the camping arrangement was Steven Moss, an electrical engineer and a single man in his early thirties. Steven was always the group complainer. If everyone decided to do something, he would always find fault. Steven was the doubter of the Old World Christian group.

Mrs. Judy Swift, the pastor’s wife, took charge of the women organizing blankets and dry shelters for everyone to sleep in. The air was thin and the temperature was on the cool side, forty degrees. The women were all nervously talking among themselves, worrying whether they would survive the comet collision. The temperature at this high altitude of around eight thousand feet above sea level was always hot in the daytime and cool at night. Everyone in the Church of the Sunrise took on a responsibility in preparation for the “apocalypse.” Steven Moss was the only exception to the rule. He spent all his time building his own shelter and helping no one else in the community. “I am going to build my shelter first and the hell with everyone else,” Steven commented. No one paid attention to his ramblings. “If it rains, at least I will be dry,” Steven went on to say.

At the end of the second day, ten fires were well established with plenty of deadwood found in the forest. The women were preparing the easiest meal for a large group of people with limited resources, and that was stew. The meat was all frozen and rapidly defrosting, so with the vegetables they brought and the cans of chicken broth. Huge pots of stew were being prepared. Some of the children even found wild onions and safe mushrooms to add to the stew. Darkness would soon be upon the mountain, so all the work crews stopped, and the Christians sat down together to consume their meal of beef stew. Blessings were said, and everyone held hands. Beef stew never tasted so good. Many people secretly worried how long their food was going to last, and where they would find more food when their food ran out. Anxiety was high in everyone’s mind. Prayer groups were praying all day long.

The inevitable came the next day, almost to the hour. The comet collided with the earth just before dawn. The impact was so great that everyone was knocked to the ground, and some thrown up against trees. Some of the people in the Church of the Sunrise were knocked unconscious when they were thrown with severe force against rocks and trees. The force was so great that the entire earth shook. The comet hit the Pacific Ocean with such force that steam rose from the heat of the comet to block the atmosphere from getting any sun for months. The collision caused a tidal wave so large that no words could describe it. As the comet sunk to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, it was like a large stone being dropped in the middle of a lake, and the ripple effect covered the entire earth. Volcanoes erupted everywhere, and the earth’s crust cracked. The south polar cap melted in a week, and so did the northern polar cap a few weeks later. All the continents were covered in ocean water up to six thousand feet above sea level, on average, in less than a month. Only mountaintops survived as islands in a water-filled planet. The human race was practically wiped out in one sweeping catastrophe. Only packets of humans survived around the earth—no time for political maneuvering, no time for rockets to blast off to other planets. There was simply no time to prepare for anything except death.

One little group of blessed Old World Christians survived on a mountaintop in the Sierra Nevada. Unbeknown to the Old World Christians, another group of Old World Jews from Temple Beth El had survived at Boreal Ridge Mountain, a few miles away from Northstar Mountain. The oceans quickly washed over San Francisco and Los Angeles, flooding all the lowland areas and rapidly climbing to the San Gabriel Mountains, east of Los Angeles. In Northern California, the ocean surged up Route 81, taking trees, rocks, houses, transport vehicles, and everything in its way. Donner Pass, at 8,700 feet above sea level, became a river between the mountain ranges. All the mountains below six thousand feet sea level were submerged in a matter of a few weeks. Dead human bodies by the millions were everywhere, floating on the top of the ocean waters. Dead animals, dead birds, dead everything were floating and stinking on top of the oceans that blanketed an entire mountain range.

New York City was one thousand leagues underwater, and the ocean swelled over Manhattan, Bronx, Westchester, and Putnam counties until it reached the Catskill Mountains. The ocean eventually covered these low mountains and continued on to the higher Adirondack Mountains and Whiteface Mountain that were eight hours north of New York City. The coast of California, Oregon, Washington State, and Canada were gone. Now they were a memory like the city of Atlantis, thousands of leagues under the sea. Sea creatures of all types were washed upland with all the other dead human bodies. Sharks were seen hundreds of miles inland, and whales, as well as millions of other marine life, were uprooted and literally flushed over the lands. The Christian group would not have found out these facts until much later when Tim Dong Wo finally made a ham radio contact and heard the bad news on his ham radio.

A thick steam mist covered the entire earth, blocking the sun. Darkness was shadowing the entire earth. The few plants that survived on mountaintops were beginning to wither from the lack of sunlight and lack of oxygen. Every day was a dark day—dark in emotion, dark in light, and dark in spirit. Survival of the few remaining packets of humans seemed doubtful at the time. Would the human race disappear just like the dinosaurs did millions of years before? Time would tell the story.

The first week went by quickly, and there was no sign of other humans near Northstar Mountain. Only dead carcasses of animals and humans washed ashore every day. The smell was beyond description, and everyone had to wear a scarf or cloth around their mouths and noses to reduce the smell. Colonel Shepherd assembled the parishioners of the Church of the Sunrise in the darkness of the midday of the first week. They prayed and planned what to do. No one was sure if they would survive. All they could see from Northstar Mountain was ocean in every direction.

“People, our survival is based on what we can scavenge every day from anything worthwhile that washes up on our shores. Do not touch or go near the dead bodies of humans and animals since they will be diseased. If you cannot carry scavenged materials, tell someone to come and find help. Floating cans of food is a treasure and any useful wood and construction materials. If we wish to survive, we need to save everything we find,” said Colonel Shepherd.

“When is this darkness going to stop?” Steven Moss complained. “We do not know yet since none of us are scientists,” Colonel Shepherd answered. There was a general fear throughout the entire community that the end was near and they would never survive.

People do strange things when they think it is the last day on earth. All the couples made love as if it was their last day on earth. It was the strangest thing the way people react when death seems near. Everyone was fearful of dying from a comet collision, yet at the hour of doom, love seemed to be the most important thing. Even Pastor Swift and Judy Swift spent an unusual night cuddling together. Even the Jewish rabbi and his wife, Ida, had made peace with God and prepared for their last day on earth. The sons and daughters of Rabbi Grossman spent the night with their love ones. After the first night of fear when the comet collided with the earth, it was amazing the sun rose the next day, and everyone was still alive. God works in strange ways.

The first week went by fast as the church group improved its shelters and overall organization. Everyone did their share, and keeping busy made it easier not to worry. The ocean waters hadn’t yet flooded to the height of the Lake Tahoe mountains. Everything seemed unusually calm. No planes were flying overhead or helicopters with their noisy rotor blades. Even the birds had stopped chirping. Animals always seem to have a second sense when there is danger like fire to start running away. There were no animals on Northstar Mountain at the time. No cars or trucks could be heard in the distance, riding down Route 81 to Sacramento. The silence seemed unnatural as if someone had turned off all normal noises.

Pastor Swift held services every day in the morning and in the early evening. Everyone was looking for an emotional lift out of this crisis. Everyone wanted a quick answer why this could happen to earth. There were no answers. All they could do was pray to God and hope for the best. This was truly a test of their spiritual courage. Everyone had an answer they thought was the reason why, but few shared it with others. Fear was impressed on everyone’s forehead, and there was no denying it.

Chapter 3
“He leads me beside still waters.”

After a month, the ocean waters calmed down a little and became “still waters.” There was garbage everywhere on the shores of Northstar Mountain. Colonel Shepherd had all the Christians collect everything they could from the waters, except dead bodies. By some good fortune, hundreds of empty fifty-gallon oil drums washed up on shore and were collected and stacked up higher up the mountain. These empty oil drums could be used for fireplaces and, eventually, to make a raft to navigate the oceans should the time come for that adventure. Every day, more and more junk washed ashore of the small mountaintop island of Northstar, and the Christians spent all their waking hours scavenging.

“I can’t believe they are making us work like slaves collecting all this junk,” Steven Moss complained. “We have no choice,” said Mary Moon, a mechanical engineer in the community. “My back is killing me, but I would rather be working toward surviving than sitting and worrying about it,” commented Marcus Green, a technical expert with computers and advanced technology. Tim Dong Wo was lifting fifty-gallon oil drums and stacking them uphill from the ocean’s edge. “These drums are a blessing. We can make rafts, fireplaces, and shelters with them if we have something to cut them with,” he commented.

The daily temperature was beginning to rise around the earth the first month after the apocalypse. Pastor Swift, as well as Colonel Shepherd, noticed the change since everyone was unusually warm all the time. The days were dark and overcast from the steam moisture rising up to the highest levels of the earth’s atmosphere and blocking the rays of the sun. The humidity, as well as the increased temperature, was difficult to work in, but everyone did their best.

Xiaolin Tan and her boyfriend, Ken Mooney, came to Pastor Swift and told him that she and others had noticed that the water was still rising about ten to twenty feet each week. “Pastor, I have noticed with great alarm that the ocean keeps rising every day. Yesterday, the ocean was at the edge of the trees, and today, those same trees are underwater,” Xiaolin explained. “Thank you, Xiaolin, others have told me the same thing. I want you to monitor the amount the ocean rises each day by putting stick markers where the water’s edge is each day. Measure the distance between the sticks each day, and we can figure what the average flooding is each week,” Pastor Swift directed.

Pastor Swift realized that in several months, they were going to have a problem, unless the ocean water started to recede. Pastor Swift met with everyone in the Church of the Sunrise and discussed their concerns and fears. Colonel Shepherd told everyone that Xiaolin and several others would mark and monitor the ocean’s rise each day and keep everyone informed. In the meantime, it was decided to take the empty oil drums and build large sailing rafts in case they had to evacuate the island in search of a higher mountain if the ocean did not begin to recede. Steven Moss wanted to know what they were going to do if the ocean waves reached the height of the pasture. “We will worry about that when the time comes,” Colonel Shepherd responded.

The next day, the entire group assembled all the wires and ropes they could find to tie the fifty-gallon oil drums together and lash wooden poles to the top of the fifty-gallon oil drums. Several large pine trees were cut down to serve as the main masts. Other smaller pine trees were cut down to serve as planks to secure the oil drums. Colonel Shepherd planned for each raft to handle twenty people. Four rows of four fifty-gallon drums were secured under each raft with a shelter on the back of the raft. Space was set up for a long rudder to be placed in the middle of the raft behind the shelter area. Push poles and oars could be used on the sides of the rafts. The women sewed together any cloth they could spare and any fabric that washed ashore to create a square sail for the raft. Many of the women did not know how to sew and Pastor Swift’s wife, Judy Swift, had to show them.

The raft had to be big enough to carry at least twenty people. Since the group totaled forty people, it was necessary to build at least three rafts. The first raft came together after only a few weeks of work. After the first raft was built, ropes and wires were hard to find. Natural products such as tree bark and vines had to be used. Any antigravity vehicles that survived the flood were stripped for all their useful parts such as wires. Solar collectors were useful in charging batteries for lights and other equipment. The shelter at the back of the rafts was added later. The raft had to be seaworthy, and special care was taken to make sure the fifty-gallon oil drums were secured tightly. A pulley at the top of a pole mast lifted the sail. Steering was with a long pole and a rudder attached. Push poles could be used along the sides of the raft.

Months had gone by and still no sight of human survivors other than dead human bodies by the thousands floating by every day. Everyone was instructed to stay away from the dead bodies so as not to catch any diseases. Sticks were used to push the bodies away from the shores of the island. It was an impossible task since the ocean tides washed bodies in and out on a regular basis. The smell from the dead and rotting flesh in the water was unbearable.

After the third month, November, the food supply was beginning to run low, and many people in the group were coming down with mysterious illnesses. They had no doctors or nurses, and few of the group knew nothing about first aid or medicine. The rafts were ready now, and the ocean had risen eighty feet above its original level when the Christians had started checking the water level. Fear was spreading around the group that the ocean would eventually flood over the entire island in a year. “I say we leave the island now,” complained Steven Moss. “We need to listen to the colonel. He knows what he is doing, and he is our leader in addition to Pastor Swift,” Marcus Green responded to Steven Moss. Bill Mandor remarked, “We are making progress in collecting wild plants and fresh water containers.”
“We will see,” Steven Moss commented.
“Dad, do you really believe we are going to survive?” Rob asked his father.
“I believe God has chosen us for a purpose, son,” James Swift replied. “Being a pastor of a church means I have to look out for everyone’s interests more than my own, Rob.”
“I understand, Dad, you have to keep everyone believing in God and that what he does is for the good,” Rob replied.

“You’re pretty smart, Rob,” said his dad.

Mary Moon and her boyfriend, Bill Snedeker, found themselves praying a lot more than they used to before the comet collision. “I guess we take a lot for granted, Bill,” Mary said. “I’ve been thinking the same as you. We have to have faith that all will work out in the end,” Bill commented. “You are right, Bill, but I am worried,” Mary said. Another couple down by the shore of the island was collecting driftwood when a wave washed up the half-eaten body of what looked like a woman. Marcus saw the disgusting sight and threw up. “I’m sorry, Judy. I can’t take looking at all this death that surrounds us. I’ll carry the driftwood back to the camp,” Marcus said. “That is fine with me, Mr. Strong Guy.” Judy Walsh laughed.

The supply of fresh water from the melted snow was disappearing and evaporating from the constant heat. The skies were still dark after a month had gone by, and the earth was slipping into a dark age of limited sunlight with increased humidity and heat. Fish and other marine life that were swept inland in the major flooding began to appear in the ocean around the island. Several of the Christians tried to spear fish from the shore with limited success until someone tried using an oil lamp at night to attract the fish. That worked, and many fish were speared. The group began working on a fishnet by weaving vines together and shoelaces and whatever line they could find that had not been used on the oil drum rafts.

The parishioners of the Church of the Sunrise met with Colonel Shepherd and discussed some of the problems that were developing. They were facing some major crisis, namely, a growing shortage of food, increase sickness of many people in the community, a shortage of fresh water, and the ocean seemed to continue to slowly rise ten to twenty feet each week. From the original stick markers, it seemed they had lost eighty feet of shoreline since the disaster.

“People, I want everyone to pray with me and brainstorm as to what we should do now and in the future,” Colonel Shepherd said. “Colonel, what is to become of us?” asked Marcus Green. “I don’t know that answer, it is in God’s hands,” the colonel responded. Different ideas were discussed, such as putting out cans or pots to collect any rain, was suggested, and adopted. There was no doctor or nurse in the community, so the people with illnesses had to remain on their blankets and pray they would recover.

The most significant observation by Ms. Xiaolin Tan was that with the ocean continuing to rise and never stopping, they might be forced to flee the island at some point in time. Everyone agreed that this scenario might happen. Xiaolin suggested that a small group of volunteers take two of the oil drum rafts and sail to some of the other islands within a few miles from their island and look for other survivors. “Perhaps they have a medical person that could help with the people that were sick in exchange for food or services?” Xiaolin commented. The group all liked that idea, so Colonel Shepherd suggested they supply a group of volunteers with food and water and have them leave the next day at sunrise. They packed some canned goods and blankets to trade, if necessary, and explore the surrounding islands for other survivors. Hopefully, another group of human survivors might have more resources that they could combine together to make survival more likely if the ocean waters kept rising.

The next day, Colonel Shepherd asked for some volunteers to help take a test voyage on the raft to determine its sea worthiness and to explore other islands for human survivors. One of the three rafts was stocked with canned food and lashed down to remain in place. Water was taken in small bottles, and blankets and small items to trade were packed. The sail was raised, and ten volunteers, including Colonel Shepherd, pushed off from the island and headed due west from the island. Boreal Ridge Mountain and other nearby mountains were a few miles away. The mountains above six thousand feet above sea level would be high enough above the floodwaters to have survivors on them. The wind was strong that day, at about ten knots, and so was the tidal current. In less than an hour, an island was spotted on the horizon. They navigated the raft toward the island. “Ahoy, Captain, I mean, Colonel, there is an island about a mile away,” called out young Bill Mandor, a sixteen-year-old teenager. “OK, steady as she goes,” said Colonel Shepherd. “Keep the rudder straight, Marcus, and let out some line on the sail so we can pick up speed,” called out Colonel Shepherd. The wind increased to twelve to fifteen knots that day, and the raft was rolling to and fro and moving smoothly over the ocean waters despite the high waves.

Ken Mooney, Xiaolin’s boyfriend, was standing at the front of the raft as they approached the treelined island thirty minutes later. He threw a rope around a tree near the edge of the island and pulled the raft in toward the shore. The colonel suggested that Marcus Green stay with the raft just in case, and the rest of the crew would divide up into groups of two each and search the island. “Remember, our mission is to find other survivors and give a friendly greeting. Make sure you tell them we are a peaceful group of survivors from another island,” Colonel Shepherd instructed. So the groups of two men each started searching the heavily wooded island. They brought some blankets with them and some canned food to trade if the occasion presented itself. All around the island was garbage and dead human bodies just like their island. There was no sound of birds that day and no sounds of humans either. The island rose up steeply to a few rock ridges and then broke off into several different ridges of rock that rose higher still on the island. The Christian group climbed over the rock ledges and looked in all directions for evidence of survivors. After two hours walking and miles from the raft, the groups decided to turn around and head back to the raft since night would soon be upon them. They did not want to have to return to their island on the raft in the dark of night.

When everyone arrived back at the raft, they reported what they had seen, and there was no evidence of anyone living on the island. They did find an old fire pit but could not tell whether it was recent or from months or years past. Everyone got aboard the raft and raised the sail and pushed off the island to return to Northstar Island, their temporary home island.

Meanwhile, high over one of the ridges were some liberal Jewish community survivors from Temple Beth El, hiding behind some pine trees, observing the Christian group with binoculars. They watched carefully to see if the people searching the island were hostile. They watched as the group of ten men pushed off the island and sailed back in the direction they came from. The liberal Old World Jewish community did not have any oil drums to make a raft and did not fare as well as the Christian community in salvaging supplies and resources. They did have a nurse and a retired doctor and a limited supply of food they managed to save. They sent word back to their community living on the other side of the island from where the raft landed. Everyone in the Jewish community was surprised and bewildered that someone else had survived. There was both hope and fear in the Old World Jewish community as to the future.

As the raft sailed back to their island, Bill Snedeker noticed a puff of smoke coming from a fire on the other side of the island. This must have meant that there are some survivors on the island, but it was too late to turn around and search. Perhaps on another day and another trip, they could try to sail around the other side of the island to where they saw the puff of smoke rising into the air.

Upon returning to the Northstar Island, Colonel Shepherd had the team tie up the raft and head back to the rest of the Old World Christian encampment. They told Pastor Swift and the rest of the community that they had no luck finding anyone, but they did see a puff of smoke rising into the air on the other side of the island as they were returning to Northstar Island. Perhaps they could plan another trip the next day or so and see where the mysterious puff of smoke was coming from? For the time being, it was a job well done.

Next day, the same group set out again to return to the island they had found due west of their island. Upon seeing the island, they decided to sail around the place where they saw the smoke rising into the air. They put into shore, tied up the raft, and started to head over the ridge to see if they could find survivors. As they climbed the steep uphill ridge, someone started throwing rocks at them from behind some trees on the higher ground. They had to retreat to avoid being hit by rocks. Colonel Shepherd decided not to confront the strangers and retreat instead. They left some blankets and canned food as a sign of peace and pushed off the island.

They searched all day elsewhere, but all the little islands they found were very small, and no survivors were found on them. It was just an hour before nightfall when they returned to Northstar Island. Colonel Shepherd reported to Pastor Swift about the rock-throwing attack and their retreat from the island. Hopefully, leaving the blankets and canned food would be interpreted as a peace overture.

After the Northstar raft left the island, several Jewish people found the blankets and canned food left by the Christian group. They brought the supplies back to their rabbi Sam Grossman. He examined the blankets and canned food and wondered why the visitors left them. Rabbi Grossman called a meeting for the Temple Beth El community to discuss the visitors that came on the raft and why they left blankets and canned food. Mrs. Ida Grossman, the rabbi’s wife, prepared some tea for the group as they assembled around a nice fire. George Mandel, a retired general of the Northern Corporate Sphere Army, spoke first and said, “I think it is a peace offering. Why else would they leave good blankets and unopened cans of food?” Ben Grossman and Elijah Ben Judah agreed with George. “What should we do, Rabbi?” asked Ben Judah. “I am not sure at this point. We may have to wait and see what God’s plan is for us and the visitors,” said Rabbi Grossman. The discussion went on for an hour, and then the rabbi ended in a prayer for guidance. The group dismissed and headed back to their shelters.

Elizabeth Swift, age 15, was Pastor James Swift’s oldest child. Elizabeth, or Liz as she was called, was always a rebel. She was a five-feet-seven-inches-tall brunette with blond highlights and a short pug nose. She refused to do what her father or mother asked her to do. She was in the prime of the teenage rebellion stage. Liz met Billy Mandor at her high school and convinced him to attend the religious retreat. Billy did not believe in God or belong to the Church of the Sunrise, but he did like Liz, and that was enough to convince him to come on the retreat.

Billy was sixteen when his parents were killed in an AGV accident over a year before. Billy never got over their absence and was an only child. Often he would sink into depression or bury himself in some technical problem. He was very independent as was Liz. They made quite a pair, always talking about how adults mistreat them. Liz’s father had no idea how serious Billy and Liz were with each other. Pastor Swift saw their relation as an infatuation and that was all. Liz felt she loves Billy but did not want Billy to take advantage of her. Billy saw Liz as a sexy little cheerleader and popular girl at school. Liz was the social one, and Billy was the loner. Spending time together in this crisis brought them closer together.

Although the ocean waters had gotten calmer over time, they were still slowly rising at the rate of ten to twenty feet a week. The Jewish community was not aware of this observation at first. It wasn’t until about five weeks after the disaster that they began to realize their shoreline was shrinking and the ocean was still rising. There was some concern in their community about the waters eventually rising high enough to cover the entire island and drowning everyone in it.

It was two months after the disaster that the Christian group began to panic because the ocean was rising steadily without any leveling off. They decided to make another attempt at sailing back to the only known island with survivors and try to negotiate in peace. They set sail again for the island, and within two hours, they had arrived on the far side of the island. This time, they set a fire and waited for the survivors of the island to come to them. The Jewish scouts warned Rabbi Grossman that the visitors had returned and smoke from a fire could be seen in the sky. Rabbi Grossman decided that he would take a delegation of ten members of men and women to approach the strangers to see what they wanted. Colonel Shepherd waited by the fire for the survivors to approach.

About an hour later, a young boy holding a stick with a white cloth on it appeared in a clearing about one hundred yards from the raft. Colonel instructed one of the men to break off a stick and put a white shirt on it and wave it back to the survivor. Seeing the white flag, Rabbi Grossman felt safer and approached Colonel Shepherd at the fire. “Hello. Hello, my name is Rabbi Sam Grossman, and these are my friends and community members. We come in peace!” Rabbi Grossman shouted. “Come ahead!” Colonel Shepherd shouted back.

In a few minutes, they were all gathered around the fire. Colonel Shepherd introduced everyone in his group, and Rabbi Grossman introduced everyone in his group. After the introductions, they all sat down around the fire. “Thank you for the blankets and canned food,” Rabbi Grossman said. “We left it as a sign of peace after your people started throwing stones at us. Forty of us have survived on another island east of here,” said Colonel Shepherd. Rabbi Grossman commented, “We have only thirty-four people that have survived the comet collision. We were visiting Lake Tahoe when we learned of the impending comet colliding with the earth. At first we did not believe it, but when we realized it was real, we grabbed all we could pack up and headed up Boreal Ridge Mountain to find safety on high ground.”

“Our story is similar,” responded Colonel Shepherd. “We were staying nearby at Lake Tahoe too and headed for Northstar Mountain for safety. We have around forty survivors in our community,” said Marcus Green. “How did you make these great rafts?” asked Rabbi Grossman. “Well, we had hundreds of empty fifty-gallon oil drums drift ashore on our island, and we salvaged them. We cut down trees and gathered all the wire and rope we could find to lash the oil drums together,” answered Colonel Shepherd. “I see,” said Rabbi Grossman, “very creative.”

Colonel Shepherd said, “We were hoping to trade with you for food or services. We have a lot of sick people and no nurse or doctor in our community. Do you have a doctor or nurse and that can help our sick people?”
“Yes, we have a nurse and a retired doctor in our community,” answered Rabbi Grossman. “Can we trade some food and/or blankets to have them come to our island to help our sick people recover?” asked Colonel Shepherd. “I cannot speak for our doctor, but I can ask him if he wants to help your group in exchange for some food and blankets. Wait here, and I will send for the doctor. Ben Judah, run back to the village and ask Dr. Greenspan to come back with his medical bag right away,” Rabbi Grossman asked. Immediately, Elijah Ben Judah got up and jogged back to the village to find Dr. Greenspan. The group talked about the terror of the comet hitting the earth and whether others had survived elsewhere in the world.

In about an hour, Dr. Greenspan arrived at the campfire with a puzzled look on his face. “What is going on, Rabbi?” he asked. “Dr. Greenspan, the visitors have a lot of people sick and have no medical attention for them. If we have you go back to their island, they will provide us with blankets and canned food for. Will you help them out?” asked the Rabbi. “Sure, we need to all be brothers after this disaster and help one another survive,” said Dr. Greenspan.

“Is it all right if you return to our island today? We will leave the blankets we brought with us and the canned food, as sign of goodwill,” said Colonel Shepherd. They all shook hands, and Dr. Greenspan said good-bye to his Jewish friends and boarded the oil drum raft. They sailed back to Northstar Island in less than two hours. The tide was behind them, and the winds were again strong.

Chapter 4
“He restores my soul.”

When the raft returned to Northstar Island with Dr. Greenspan, everyone on the island was happy knowing that medical help had finally arrived. Pastor Swift welcomed Dr. Greenspan after Colonel Shepherd introduced him. They walked back to the village, exchanging thoughts about how both groups had survived. When they entered the village, Pastor Swift took Dr. Greenspan around to each of the shelters that had sick people in them. Fortunately, Dr. Greenspan had some penicillin and was able to use it to cure a lot of people with staph infections. Others had variations of stress-related illnesses, and he gave them vitamin B10 injections. Everyone was so grateful that they had a special dinner in Dr. Greenspan’s honor. A shelter was made available for Dr. Greenspan to spend the night.

The next morning, after having powered coffee that was a real treat, Colonel Shepherd and the crew took Dr. Greenspan back to his island. They spoke of exchanging more goods and services in the future. They also spoke of the rising water problem that had not abated yet. Colonel Shepherd told Dr. Greenspan that they had some extra oil drums available, and if volunteers from Dr. Greenspan’s community offered to help, Colonel Shepherd would assist them in building a raft or two for their community. Dr. Greenspan said he would discuss this offer with Rabbi Grossman. The waves were high that day, but the raft sailed well, and in a few hours, they had returned to the Jewish community island. As Dr. Greenspan got off the raft, he promised Colonel Shepherd that they would do all they could to cooperate and help one another survive by trading and exchanging services.

The trip back to the Northstar Island was relatively uneventful until a shark fin was sighted. The thought of sharks in the surrounding ocean sent a chill through everyone on the raft. “Steer clear of the sharks!” Colonel Shepherd yelled. All of a sudden, a swarm of shark fins surrounded the raft. Colonel Shepherd tried beating the water with a paddle to scare them away, but they kept circling closer and closer to the raft. Suddenly, one fin struck the raft and raised it up in the air. All those onboard began to beat the water with paddles and sticks to scare off the sharks. Finally, they swam off into the distance, giving everyone onboard a sigh of relief.

In the following month, the Christians treated by Dr. Greenspan all recovered. Everyone celebrated their return to good health. Pastor Swift held a daily prayer meeting, stressing the importance of being positive and leaving their fate to the Lord. He spoke often of restoring their souls and renewing their lives in thanks for surviving the comet disaster. The spiritual strength of the Christian community kept them alive from day to day.

After three months, the ocean had continually risen twenty feet each week. They had lost sixty feet of shoreline, and in six more months, they would lose 180 feet that would come dangerously close to their pasture and village. If the pasture flooded, the village would also flood. It was a fear in the back of everyone’s mind. The skies were still dark, and the humidity and heat continued.

Tim Dong Wo, a young Christian man of Korean extraction but born in Northern America by immigrants, was in his late twenties. Tim had a PhD in philosophy from Harvard University. Tim Dong Wo was also a ham radio operator as a hobby. He brought his ham radio with him when they evacuated their home on Lake Tahoe. Fortunately, his ham radio had a crank that generated electricity to charge the battery of the radio. Every day since the Christians had arrived at Northstar Mountain, Tim checked his ham radio to see if there were other survivors, or any information that would be helpful, around the world. Nothing could be heard on the ham radio but static, until late in November, a short message asking if anyone had survived was heard. Tim Dong Wo sent back a Morse code signal and got a response minutes later that there was a survivor with a ham radio at Heavenly Valley Mountain near South Lake Tahoe.

The ham operator was a woman named Sue Backus, age 30. She was a ranger for the Lake Tahoe area for the World Corporate Council. She relayed information that all of California was wiped out except a few survivors on various mountaintops. Through a series of relayed messages from ham radio operators around the world, she learned that someone reported that an eruption on the floor of the Pacific Ocean had occurred after the comet hit the Pacific Ocean. The bottom of the ocean had heaved upward, thrusting high above the ocean. The volcanoes in Hawaii had also exploded, sending lava for miles in every direction. A ham radio operator in Hawaii had survived on one of the volcanoes and was broadcasting in all directions what he had seen. He said an intercontinental bridge now spanned from the lost coast of California to the Hawaiian Islands and onto the mountains of Northern China. Sue related that many believed that the oceans would not recede for years until the atmosphere clears up and allows for more evaporation.

When Tim Dong Wo learned of this information, he immediately went to Pastor Swift and Colonel Shepherd and told them the whole story. “Pastor Swift, I have some important information. I finally contacted someone with a ham radio. A woman named Sue Backus survived on Heavenly Mountain above South Lake Tahoe City with her ham radio. She has been in contact with other ham radio operators around the world that also survived,” Tim said. “What did you learn, Tim?” Pastor Swift asked. “All of California and the entire North American coast are many leagues underwater. Also, there have been reports of a few isolated survivors on mountaintops around the world. The most survivors are in the Himalayas mountain range and the other highest mountains on earth. There are also survivors in the Northern and Southern Chinese mountains too,” Tim commented.

Pastor Swift looked worried and pondered for a moment the status of the earth after the comet collision. He was afraid of this all along when they did not see any survivors in boats or on other islands other than the Jewish community on Boreal Ridge Mountain Island. “Let me call a meeting of the community to discuss this information,” said Pastor Swift. “One more thing, Pastor. The comet hit the Pacific Ocean, and the ocean floor erupted upward to form an intercontinental bridge between North America and China. It has been reported, it may be possible to cross this new land divide, which is mostly volcanic rock and mud from the ocean floor,” said Tim. “Thank you, Tim. I will take everything under advisement,” said Pastor Swift.

An hour later, a meeting was called for all the members of the Old World Christian group to discuss the new facts that Tim learned on his ham radio. Pastor Swift told the entire group what Tim had learned about the worldwide flooding and how the West Coast and East Coast of North America were leagues under the sea. He also mentioned an intercontinental land bridge that erupted from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and spanned North America to China via the Hawaiian Island volcanoes.

They could not believe that California and the entire coast of North America were submerged. Even stranger and harder to believe was the formation of an intercontinental bridge of lava and mud. The bottom of the Pacific Ocean had pushed upward and formed a landmass higher than the ocean waters all the way to China from the North American continent. This information was hard to believe. Many people were saddened and shocked as to the magnitude of the comet collision. The warmer weather was discussed, and many people had theories, but no one knew what had really caused the increase in the temperatures.

“Pastor Swift, I noticed that we have not had any winter weather, especially when we are eight thousand feet above sea level,” asked Mary Moon. Mary was a divorcée in her late thirties with no children. She had reddish hair in a short cut and had strong Irish features with freckles and pale white skin. “Mary, you bring up a good point. Colonel Swift and I have discussed the climate change, and we feel this is all from the comet collision causing an immense vaporization that now blocks our atmosphere,” Pastor Swift responded. Bill Manor, a sixteen-year-old boy who was emancipated from his parents after they died in an AGV crash, raised his hand to ask another question. “Pastor, what is our long-range plan, and what are we going to do if the ocean rises to the height of our village?” Bill asked. Colonel Swift answered, “Well, Bill, that is a major concern of ours right now. If the ocean continues to rise, we may have to move to another higher mountain. As for a long-range plan, we do not have one yet.”
“Thank you, Colonel,” said Billy. Pastor Swift’s daughter, Elizabeth Swift, invited Billy to the spiritual retreat.

There was a lot of discussion in the group after Bill’s question, and many people were uneasy as to the future. A group vote was taken to get a group consensus on what to do if the ocean waters rose to the height of the village. “How many in favor of finding another island if the waters rise too high?” asked Pastor Swift. Everyone’s hands went up. “Well then, it is unanimous, and the motion is carried,” Pastor Swift replied.

Colonel Shepherd spoke up next. “I think it wise to include the Jewish group on the other island. Let’s include them in our plans or at least make them an offer to combine our resources and work together as one group of survivors,” he said. Many in the group agreed. Mary Moon asked to be allowed to speak. “Friends, I agree with the colonel. We are going to need everyone and every resource we can find to survive. The Jewish group has a doctor and a nurse and several professional people that can be a real asset to our group, if we combine resources and talents. We should approach them with the idea and set up a meeting with their leaders and our leaders,” Mary said. Mary was a mechanical engineer, divorced, no children, and age 35. She was a five-feet-eight-inches-tall blonde with long hair to her shoulders.

“I agree,” said Pastor Swift. “I will ask the colonel to take another raft trip over to their island and make a proposal for a meeting of our leaders and theirs about our ultimate survival and pooling of resources and talents.”

The average weather was in the high nineties all the time with some cooling off at night to the seventies. The unusual weather for California in the winter months was making daily chores difficult. Everyone had to be careful not to dehydrate in the heat. The final decisions were made in the meeting, but everyone decided to meet the next day. They wanted to make some recommendations as to what they should do to survive with the rising ocean still a threat, and food supply, fresh water supply, and the overall safety of the group a problem too.

Food was in shorter supply and fresh water too by the end of November. December would soon be upon them, and Christmas was coming. It was hard to think about Christian holidays and celebrations when survival was the major consideration. The next day, after the meeting of the Christian group, Colonel Shepherd set sail with his usual crew of nine men to the island where the Jewish group was living to set up a meeting between both groups’ leaders to discuss combining resources and talents in order to survive. When they arrived at the island, they were greeted cheerfully instead of stones being thrown. Rabbi Grossman came to talk with Colonel Shepherd, and they discussed having a meeting with the leaders of both groups about long-range survival. “Colonel Shepherd, as I understand it, you have determined via a ham radio operator that only a few have survived the comet disaster on mountaintops above six thousand feet above sea level.”

“That is correct, Rabbi. In addition, we have been informed that an eruption of the Pacific Ocean floor from the comet impact has caused volcanoes to erupt and the floor of the ocean to explode into a series of mountains of lava. A transcontinental land bridge now connects North America and the Asian continent. Ham operators around the world that survived have relayed this information from various high points around the world. We have reason to believe that this information is true. That means, there are few survivors in our region, and we may well be alone except for the ham operator trapped on Heavenly Valley Mountain, south of here by about ten miles,” said Colonel Shepherd.

Rabbi Grossman looked very concerned. He turned to General Mandel and Betty Samson who were sitting next to him. “What do you think, my friends?” the rabbi asked. Betty Samson was a widow and a pharmacist. She was a short but athletic woman in her early forties. Betty responded by saying, “It seems obvious that in terms of long-term survival, our groups would do better if we cooperated and combined our resources. If the ocean keeps rising, both of our groups will have to leave their islands for higher ground. Perhaps, if it were possible to cross the intercontinental bridge landmass, then they could all seek refuge in the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world.”

“As crazy as that idea is about traveling to higher ground, the Himalayas, it might be a sound long-range plan if we had enough food and provisions to make the long journey,” commented Elijah Ben Judah who was a cantor from the Jewish community. They talked for a few hours, and Rabbi Grossman agreed to meet with the leaders of the Christian Community on Northstar Mountain in two days. Colonel Shepherd would bring back two rafts to sail the Jewish leaders back to the Christian village on Northstar Mountain.

Two days later, Colonel Shepherd set sail with two rafts, and only two men on each raft to make room for the leaders of the Jewish group. After two hours of sailing, they arrived at the Jewish settlement. Retired general Mandel, Betty Samson, Benjamin Gross, Elijah Ben Judah, and Rabbi Grossman chose to go to Northstar Mountain for the meeting of the two group leaders. “Welcome, Rabbi and General Mandel. Sailing will be relatively smooth today since the winds are mild and the tide is going in our direction,” commented Colonel Shepherd.

Several people went on each of the two rafts so as not to overcrowd one raft. In a matter of twenty minutes, they were pushing off and sailing back to Northstar Mountain. Like clockwork, they arrived in less than two hours at the Christian community island on Northstar Mountain. It was a short walk uphill to the pasture where the Christian community of lean-tos was located. Pastor Swift greeted them upon entering the village. “Would you like some tea, Rabbi, and would your friends also like some tea? We have birch bark tea from the local trees that is almost as good as real black tea.”
“Thank you, Pastor, we would enjoy having tea as we sit down to talk,” said Rabbi Grossman. The Jewish leaders were impressed of how well organized the Christian group was with lean-to shelters built in a circle near the green pasture.

The cups of tea were being passed around by Pastor Swift’s wife, Judy, as everyone sat down to discuss survival. The first topic of discussion was the steady increase in the height of the ocean. “Rabbi, I want you to know that our community has decided that if our village becomes flooded or is near flooding, we intend to set sail with our rafts to high ground. We want you to know since your village is lower in altitude that we will support your group combining with our group in search of higher ground since your village will probably flood before our village does. We are at eight thousand feet above sea level, and we estimate that your mountaintop is much lower than our mountain by at least five hundred to one thousand feet. We cannot be sure since we do not have any technical equipment to measure the altitude.”

“Thank you, Pastor Swift, your offer is most generous. You have helped us in the past in building oil drum rafts, and with the completion of a few more, we should be able to sail our community of thirty-five survivors to higher ground. Our leaders have met also, and we believe the same thing. That if the Lord allows the oceans to rise above our village, then we must sail to higher ground or drown,” Rabbi Grossman said.

“Rabbi, we have a plan that might work. We thought it wise to sail south to rescue the ham operator on Heavenly Mountain, and then west to find other higher mountains with vegetation. We might even consider sailing to the intercontinental bridge landmass and try to make it to the Asian continent and a higher and safer mountain range like the Himalayas. Certainly, the Taihang Mountains in Northern China might be a good refuge before we travel down the mountain range to the Himalayas,” Pastor Swift commented. “I see,” said Rabbi Grossman, “that would be a long journey, to say the least. Hopefully, God will show us a mountain where we can survive in North America.”

Colonel Shepherd commented, “Rabbi, we have seen the ocean waters rise twenty feet or more each week. We have put stakes at the ocean’s edge, and after a week, they were underwater. It is our prediction that in six months, we would lose 480 feet of land with the steady rise of the ocean. We prayed God would stop the ocean from rising, but still, the waters rise. Four hundred eighty feet of land would put the ocean at the point where it would flood our pasture and eventually our village. We must prepare in advance, and in addition, we are running out of food. We have tried unsuccessfully to catch fish, but we are continuing to keep trying. We are not sure if our fresh water supply will last six months unless we get more rain. It has rained only a few times, and the rainwater was black. We had to filter it or boil it to drink it.”

“I agree, Colonel,” said Rabbi Grossman. “Our situation is bad for both of our communities. I will return to our community, and we will discuss your proposals in-depth. And if the ocean keeps rising, it might be God’s message to sail on to higher ground. You have done a great job of building shelters on your island.”

Once their meeting was finished, Colonel Swift escorted the rabbi and his leaders back down the mountain to the rafts, and they sailed back to the mountain island where the Jewish community was living.

Chapter 5
“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

It was time to take a new path for survival, thought Pastor Swift. Maybe they could combine forces and join with their Jewish neighbors to a combined effort to survive long-range? A week after the meeting with the Jewish and the Christian leaders, Rabbi Grossman sent a small group of five men back to Northstar Mountain to tell Pastor Swift that they had accepted his offer to combine resources and help one another if they were forced to sail to higher ground.

One of the mothers in the Christian group took some of the seeds from a few rotten tomatoes and planted them in the ground in the pasture near the village to see if they would grow. She watered the seeds every day, and with the increased heat and limited sunlight, they grew into healthy tomato plants in less than two months. There was some hope for growing vegetables in the future. The question was, how long would they be there? And would there be enough time to plant vegetables?

December had come and gone very quickly. Christmas was nothing more than a religious ceremony and no one had presents to give to one another. Instead, they prayed and thanked God that they had survived the great flood. For the Jewish group, they celebrated Hanukkah with prayers and services, but no presents were exchanged, as had been the tradition.

January was upon them, and the weather never changed. It remained hot and humid every day. It was the end of February when the Christian group noticed the ocean was rising faster than predicted. The threat of their village being flooded was becoming a reality that they must deal with. Some vegetables like tomatoes had grown in the past few months, but there was not enough time to plant long-term crops. Scavenging every day at the island shore for food floating by became a necessity. Many valuable supplies floating in the ocean tides were a major resource.

Elijah Ben Judah was a thirty-year-old cantor for the Jewish community. He sang at all the Jewish services. He was a man of slight build, five feet eight inches tall, thick long dark, chestnut-colored hair, and a full beard. His large nose was the most distinguishing feature on his face, causing his eyes to look close together. Elijah was engaged to a beautiful Jewish woman called Sarah Shirah. Sarah had beautiful long brunette hair, green eyes, and was twenty-nine years old. Sarah was a social worker for the World Corporate Forum, a charitable organization. Ben Judah had a vision one night. He went to Rabbi Grossman the next day to share this dream. “Rabbi, I am not a man of visions, however, last night, I had a most unusual dream or vision. I dreamed that the islands that both Christians were on and our island were underwater. We were sailing west, looking for other mountains to settle on. I saw a man of Chinese features with a strange-looking hat on his head. He held his arms outstretched. Then the dream faded,” Ben Judah said.

Rabbi Grossman thought about what Ben Judah said, and then he whispered softly, “Do not tell anyone else about your dream. It will only make them worry. Let us see if the Lord is trying to speak through you in the future. If you have any more visions or dreams, Ben Judah, come directly to me and no one else. Do you understand, Ben Judah?”

“Yes, Rabbi, I understand it sounds like I am going crazy. I will keep our conversation a secret. Shalom, Rabbi,” said Ben Judah. What troubled Rabbi Grossman was, were they doing God’s will and being led in the path of righteousness?

Pastor Swift worried about the same thing the Rabbi was worrying about. Were they, as Christians, doing God’s will and following in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake? It occurred to Pastor Swift that the verse in the 23rd Psalm seemed most appropriate at this time in their lives: Staying on the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. In a sermon that Sunday, Pastor Swift asked the congregation to think about whether God had a plan and whether he was leading them “in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake.” He quoted the verse from the 23rd Psalm.

On the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) that same weekend, Rabbi Grossman also mentioned the 23rd Psalm of David. He pondered the same question of following “in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Perhaps God was trying to show both survivor groups that he had not forsaken them. Just as God had spared Jonah from the whale in the Old Testament and Noah from the great flood, perhaps he was doing the same with these two religious communities. They were approaching six months of survival after the comet collision. The skies were finally beginning to clear, but the heat remained and the humidity too. The oceans had kept rising as predicted, and it was inevitable that both communities would have to sail for high ground soon. Adel Mandel, wife of General Mandel, and Margaret Grossman, daughter of Rabbi Grossman in the Jewish community, made a fishing net that they used between two rafts to catch fish.

On their first attempt, they caught hundreds of fish by dragging the net between the two rafts and sailing back and forth a few hundred yards off their island shore. The Christian community tried fishhooks and spears with limited success. The Jewish community sent some extra fish to the Christian community and explained that a fishing net between two rafts worked very well. So the Christians began to weave a fishing net they could use to catch fish. It took almost a week to complete the fishing net made from twine, cloth, and wire they salvaged from junk that washed ashore. Likewise, when they dragged the fishing net between two rafts back and forth, they caught hundreds of large and small fish. It was truly a bounty from God and food that they needed badly to survive.

Finally, there was enough extra fish to smoke to prevent it from rotting. The rest of the fish were dried in the sun. There was very little salt to preserve the fish, so they used local herbs that they found in the pasture near their village. Pastor Swift said to his wife, Judy, “Judy, take charge of drying the fish so that we can have food that will not spoil.”
“Sure, I will attend to it,” said Judy. Elizabeth Swift, her fifteen-year-old daughter, and Rob Swift, her ten-year-old son, offered to help dry fish too. The majority of the Christian community was busy drying fish to preserve it for the winter. Each fish was filleted and then laid on rocks or strung from a line in the direct sunlight. Before night, all the fish had to be collected and stored to prevent any wild animals from eating the fish. Xiaolin and Marcus Green were busy monitoring the ham radio. “Xiaolin, have you heard anything on the ham radio today?” Marcus asked. “No, there is no chatter today at all,” said Xiaolin. “OK, I am going to check with Judy, the ham operator at Heavenly Valley Mountain, and see what she has heard from other ham radio operators around the world,” Marcus said. Billy Mandor, the sixteen-year-old boy, was busy trying to make a crossbow out of some saplings he had cut down. He had found some wire and string that he was using to help make the crossbow for hunting for food.

The month of March was almost over, and seven months had gone by already. April was a week away. The leaders of the Jewish and the Christian communities met again and made plans to evacuate their villages before the ocean waves flooded them. The plan was to leave in a few weeks when everything was packed up and when there were enough rafts to hold all the people and supplies. Cloth covers had to be made to provide shade so everyone on the rafts do not dehydrate when they are sailing. The ham radio operator Susan was still sending signals from Heavenly Valley Mountain. The plan was to sail south and rescue her and then head west to find higher ground.

One warm evening, Liz Swift met Billy Mandor down by the island shore. Her father did not know she was gone. She had secretly slipped away while her father was talking with parishioners from the church. Liz felt she was in love with Billy. Billy was very attracted to Liz, but he knew her father, Pastor Swift, would never approve. At age 16, Billy’s world revolved around having sex with Liz and having plenty to eat. He could not see into the future nor could he plan where his life would take him. As they lay on the sandy banks of the island, they both looked up at the stars. “How romantic this is,” Liz commented. Billy agreed as he slipped his hand under Liz’s shirt. Liz began to feel warm all over as Billy rubbed her tiny breasts. “Oops, I think that is enough, Billy,” Liz said. “I am not ready to climb into bed with you yet.” Billy laughed and took his roaming hand back. After about an hour of kissing and hugging, they got up and returned to the camp.

Several weeks later, in the middle of April, came the first hurricane storm they had seen since the comet collision with earth. Winds of up to one hundred miles per hour hit the islands, and the waves rose over fifty feet over the shorelines of the remaining islands. Both communities were surprised by the sudden and deadly storm. They quickly pulled the rafts up on higher ground and secured them with ropes to surrounding trees. Everyone hid in their shelters that day as rain poured down heavily and winds buffeted the islands, causing trees to drop branches and the ocean to wash up high on each of the islands. The storm lasted two days, and afterward, there was a lot of damage to the shelters, and many items not tied down had been blown away by the winds.

It was during this storm that Rabbi Sam Grossman and his wife, Ida, asked their children and wives or girlfriends to have a family meeting. Samuel Grossman Jr., son of the rabbi, age 18, was there and Rebecca Silverstein, his girlfriend, age 18. Margaret Grossman, age 22, was there with her boyfriend, Richard Ross, age 25. Ben Grossman, age 28, the oldest son of the rabbi, was there with his wife, Jody, age 28. “I have asked that we all meet to discuss our future and family plans. Truly, our future is in God’s hands, and I personally do not know whether we will survive or not,” said the rabbi. “I want to state, for the record, that I expect everyone to support one another in these troubled times. Pray for our deliverance.”

Colonel Shepherd worried about being on the ocean and getting hit by a storm on their meager rafts. The rafts were almost at water level, and any high waves would wash over the entire raft, making sailing very dangerous. After the storm, the ocean had risen so high that it threatened to flood both the Jewish settlement and the Northstar Mountain settlement. The preparations had been ongoing for months in getting ready to set sail for higher ground and safety. On April 1, 5531, the Christians set sail to join with the Jewish rafts. The Christians had completed six rafts in all, with six to seven people onboard and all their supplies. The Jewish group was a little smaller with only thirty-five people, and they built four fifty-gallon oil drum rafts to sail their people to high ground.

The plan was to sail due south and save the stranded ham radio operator Sue Backus at Heavenly Valley Mountain. The winds were strong that day at about fifteen knots. The rafts moved swiftly across the ocean toward Heavenly Valley. Marcus Green kept charge of the self-charging ham radio that the Christian group had brought with them. He kept up communication with Susan Backus, the ham operator at Heavenly Valley. Marcus told her they were coming to get her in a few hours and to pack her stuff and ham radio, and be ready at the water’s edge as they arrived from the north.

The voyage only took a little over two hours with the rafts sailing downwind with the wind at their backs. The ocean was rising for high tide, and that helped speed up the rafts. They approached a mountain sticking out in the middle of the ocean that they recognized as Heavenly Valley Mountain. On the shore was a woman waving a red scarf. As they approach the island, Colonel Shepherd signaled the other rafts to remain offshore as he guided his raft into the shore. “Slack the sail,” Colonel Shepherd called out to his crew. “Steady as she goes, now drop the sail completely and prepare the push-off sticks.” The raft slowed as they approached the island. “Billy, signal the other rafts to remain offshore until we pick up Susan, and then we will continue to sail westward,” Colonel Shepherd called out.

As soon as they brought the raft onto the shore, Susan, the ham radio operator, was standing there, waving a red scarf. She shouted, “Oh, thank God!”
“Hop aboard!” Colonel Shepherd called out. “Hi there, I am Susan! Here is my knapsack and ham radio. Be careful not to drop it. I put some plastic around it to keep it dry!” Susan yelled back. “OK, she’s aboard, push off and back to sailing!” yelled Colonel Shepherd. Marcus Green introduced himself to Susan. “Hi, I am the guy you have been talking to, and my name is Mark or Marcus Green. Welcome aboard, Susan,” Marcus said. “Boy, am I glad that someone else is alive. I hated living alone in an old ski hut without anyone to talk to,” Susan commented. “You’re OK now,” said Marcus. “Where are we going?” asked Susan. “Well, we are sailing due west in search of high ground and safety. Eventually, if we cannot find any suitable mountain islands that are high enough, we may continue to where the West Coast of California used to be. We will be looking for the intercontinental landmass that you heard of from other ham radio operators,” Marcus stated.

The waves were getting high that day as the rafts turned slightly into the wind and headed due west, looking for other islands. With the naked eye, nothing could be seen that day after they picked up Susan. All the rafts were sailing in a cluster with the Jewish rafts off to the right and the Christian rafts on the left. The rafts seemed to be taking the waves fairly well, and so far, navigation was working fairly well. It was difficult to sail in a straight line, however, because of the crosswinds over the bow of the rafts. Five hours went by and still no sight of land. Garbage was floating everywhere, and they had to avoid a lot of dead and decaying bodies in the water.

About eight hours out on the ocean, a small island was sighted off to the left. Colonel Shepherd signaled to the other rafts to steer toward the small island on the horizon. “Head toward that island,” Colonel Shepherd called out to Tim Dong Wo, who was at the tiller steering the raft. “OK, Colonel, I am turning the raft toward the island,” Tim responded. There was an air of excitement on the raft, for this was the only island they had spotted since they left Heavenly Valley Mountain.

The island must have been five miles or more away, and it took them almost an hour to reach the island. As they reached the island, dead bodies were rotting everywhere, and they were stuck in the trees and weeds around the shore of the island. They had to push the bodies out of the way with sticks. The approach to the island was full of rocks and treetops, so they had to cautiously approach the island’s shoreline. Once all the rafts landed on the island shoreline, they tied off their rafts and assembled on land to form a plan. General Mandel and Colonel Shepherd took charge and set up search parties to search the island for any survivors and a flat safe place for them to stay for the night. “Let us ask Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift to bless us with a prayer for our safe delivery to this island,” Colonel Shepherd asked. “Lord, bless our community and watch over us and keep us safe,” Rabbi Grossman prayed. “Amen,” everyone responded.

Meanwhile, others were delegated by General Mandel to unload the tents and food. The island was sparsely covered with pine trees and was very rocky. It must have been the top of a very high mountain, jutting out of the water. This portion of the mountain was the part just above the tree line that explained why there were so many boulders and rocks. Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel assigned work groups and patrols to find level ground farther up the mountain.

After an hour, most of the patrols returned. There was a lake in the middle of the island, from melted snows probably, and it was just over the ridge. Fresh water was something they needed, so the decision was to hike over the ridge, camp near the lake, and refresh their water supply. All seventy people began the steep climb up the mountain island toward the ridge that hid the view of the lake in the middle of the island. “Wow, a lake in the middle of the island!” exclaimed Billy Mandor. Mary Moon and Marcus Green were surprised there was a lake also. “The snow probably melted from the top of the mountain causing the natural lake,” Mary speculated.

As everyone climbed up over the ridge of the mountain, a lake came into view, looking like a mirror; it was so beautiful. There was no evidence of any human survivors on the island, according to the patrols that searched the island. After a half hour climb, everyone descended into the canyon that surrounded the lake. Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel led the group and assigned tasks to everyone in the group when they arrived at the lake.

“We need to collect fresh water to use and bring with us on the rafts,” Colonel Shepherd commanded. General Mandel instructed some of his community to get busy preparing a meal for everyone for the evening. They would use the dried fish and some greens to create a soup for everyone. Judy Swift and her two children, Elizabeth and Rob, collected seaweeds lying on the shore.

The water seemed to be fresh and pure, so they loaded up their containers with all the water they could carry. There weren’t enough trees to create shelters, so the community slept under the stars the first night. Marcus and Judy were monitoring the ham radio, and they received several messages from a few survivors on other mountaintops on Whiteface Mountain in New York State, the Andes mountains in South America, and the Himalayas in Tibet. Again, they had a confirmed report about the intercontinental landmass connecting the North American continent with Northern China. Marcus reported these messages to Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel.

Feeding seventy people with soup is no easy task, but the community was in good spirits and still positive about their future survival. Many of the Jewish community got to know the members of the Christian community as they sat around the fires and talked about the old days before the comet collision.

That night, Ben Judah had another vision that he shared with Rabbi Grossman the following morning. “Rabbi, I had another dream,” said Ben Judah. “What was it about this time, Ben Judah?” Rabbi Grossman asked. “I dreamed that we walked across the entire Pacific Ocean on a landmass that connected North America with the Asian continent,” he replied. “So you too believe there is a continental bridge to Asia,” Rabbi Grossman commented. “Yes, I truly believe that this reported landmass actually exists,” Ben Judah responded. “I am going to share your visions with Pastor Swift this time rather than keep it a secret,” said Rabbi Grossman.

An hour later, Rabbi Grossman approached Pastor Swift who was busy taking inventory of the remaining food. “Good morning, Pastor Swift,” Rabbi Grossman greeted Pastor Swift. “Good morning to you, Rabbi,” responded Pastor Swift. “We need to talk, Pastor,” Rabbi Grossman responded. “Sure, sit down and let’s talk,” said Pastor Swift.

“Pastor Swift, what I am going to share with you is a sensitive secret. You probably met Elijah Ben Judah, my cantor. He has been having visions, and at first, I doubted his newfound spiritual visions, but now, he has had some visions again. So far, they have become true, and that is very strange,” said Rabbi Grossman. “What do you make of the visions?” asked Pastor Swift. “I don’t know, Jim, but I am concerned and confused at the same time. I mentioned this to you because he may be a visionary, and he may be just confused. I do not want to cause problems spiritually between our two communities, so I am keeping this a secret for know, unless Ben Judah has more visions, and they appear to come true,” said Rabbi Grossman.

“I understand. I appreciate your sensitivity to this issue. We will keep this secret for now, but keep me informed if Ben Judah has any more visions,” Pastor Swift commented. “Yes, I will keep you informed. Excuse me now, I have to return to my people,” Rabbi Grossman responded.

The two communities had a meeting on the second night they were on the island to decide what to do about the future. The island they found was too small to support their community, and other than the lake, it had very few natural resources. Much community members suggested they return to sailing west to find better higher ground. Colonel Shepherd, General Mandel, Rabbi Grossman, and Pastor Swift took the recommendations into consideration. It seemed inevitable that they would eventually have to return to sailing west to find higher ground or the intercontinental land bridge to the Asian continent.

After much discussion, the communities voted to return to the sea and sail west to try to find higher ground or the intercontinental land bridge the ham radio operators say existed. Travel to higher ground in Asia or the Himalayas seemed to be the safest long-term resolution. The group set sail on the fourth day from the little island and sailed west.

Life on a crowded raft gives new meaning to survival. Ocean waves continually washed over every part of the rafts. Nothing was dry including those on the raft. In addition, everyone had to hold on to something solid so as not to be thrown in the ocean when the raft leaned to one side or another. Most of the people on the rafts had never sailed in a boat their entire lives, let alone sail on a raft. You could see the fear in everyone’s eyes as the raft rolled around the ocean waves. Pastor Swift tried to focus by praying for their safety. Everyone was sick with motion sickness, and it was impossible to not get stressed out on a vast ocean with any land in sight.

Rob Swift thought it was a grand adventure because he was only ten years old. “Hey, Dads, look at the wave, wow! Maybe we will see some whales!” Rob shouted with joy. “I hope not,” his father replied. “I don’t see anything yet,” Billy Mandor commented. He was using a 7× pair of binoculars that had a good magnification level. The ocean look vast, empty, and it seemed to stretch forever. Judy Swift, Pastor Swift’s wife, slept most of the time because she had motion sickness and was sick to her stomach from the rolling of the raft. When they had to sail at night, the wind usually let up, and someone had to stay up most of the night to steer the rudder. Sailing in a straight line even by the Northstar was a most difficult task. As amateur sailors, they did their best, and for all they knew, they could have been sailing in circles for days. It was in God’s hands now to deliver them from the seas.

Chapter 6
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.”

After two weeks on the ocean, their future salvation was beginning to look bleak. Many of the community members got seasick from being tossed around on the rafts. The rafts were unprotected against the elements of heat, wind, and ocean waves, and many of the community were getting dehydrated and sick. “Colonel Shepherd, how long are we going to keep sailing?” complained Steven Moss. Steven was the Christian community standard complainer. “Patience, Steven, we have to keep sailing until we find land,” Colonel Shepherd responded.

During the second week of the sea voyage, Ben Judah had another vision that he shared with both Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift. Both of the religious leaders were on the same raft with Ben Judah. His vision was that they had sighted land, and the land was muddy and a black volcanic rock. Pastor Swift and Rabbi Grossman did not believe Ben Judah, but they decided to reserve judgment and wait and see if his vision was correct.

At the end of the first two weeks of the sea voyage, all hope seemed to vanish in many community members’ minds. The food supplies were very low, as well as fresh water. A landmass was finally spotted rising out of the ocean in the distance. It was, in fact, the intercontinental bridge that had erupted from the ocean bottom. The ham radio operators had been correct after all, and so, the vision of Ben Judah became another reality.

Upon reaching the intercontinental bridge, the Judeo-Christian group was surprised that this new landmass rose up in the air like a series of small mountains of volcanic rock and dried mud. It would not be easy to transverse this land, and the ocean seas were too strong to safely sail the oil drum rafts all the way to China. A decision had to be made by the combined communities, whether this was the wisest decision to seek higher ground in the Himalayas or stay in North America. They could just sail around and see if any of the mountaintops in North America had survived above the rising ocean waves. The problem was, they had no real navigation instruments except a small compass.

It was high tide when they put into shore, and the waves were splashing on the shore with a lot of force. It was difficult landing the rafts safely. “Everyone, hold on. This could be a dangerous landing!” shouted Colonel Shepherd to his raft and the other rafts alongside. Colonel Shepherd’s raft came in on the first big wave and dropped on the shore with a sudden bang. The other rafts came immediately behind his raft on the next large set of waves. Fortunately, only a few members were scratched from being thrown around on the landing.

When the rafts were secured on the shore of this volcanic rock-and-mud landmass, several patrols were sent out to investigate how safe the intercontinental landmass actually was.
The drying mud from the bottom of the ocean was a problem to walk on since it cracked, and anyone walking on it fell through and had to be pulled out of the mud. The volcanic rock was sharp and brittle to walk on and made walking a slow process. The alternative was to sail all the way to the volcanoes of Hawaii using the rafts. It was decided by the Judeo-Christian group that the high seas would be too dangerous for them to try. No one in the entire group was a seasoned sailor or seaman, and there was a significant fear of sailing on the high seas for a lengthy period of time with limited food and water supplies for seventy people.

Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift both prayed for guidance as to whether it was safe to try and cross this intercontinental landmass. As far as they could see, the intercontinental bridge stretched into the distance and over the horizon. There were no trees on the landmass but plenty of seaweeds that had dried in the sun. Many members of the communities helped to collect the nutritious seaweed that was a great food source of zinc.

Elijah Ben Judah had another vision that night when he was sleeping. He saw a huge animal lying dead on the shoreline, and everyone was benefiting from its meat. Food was bountiful once again. The following morning, Ben Judah shared his vision with Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift, who were beginning to believe Ben Judah.

General Mandel suggested that both groups take two rafts and drag their fishing nets to capture some more fish for their food supply while the community considered their future. As if a gift from God, a large sperm whale was beached on the volcanic rocks of the intercontinental landmass that week. When Betty Samson, a Jewish widow of forty years of age, discovered the whale while out walking, she immediately ran back to the community settlement to tell everyone about the beached whale. “Rabbi, Rabbi, I found a beached whale, come and see!” Betty exclaimed. Rabbi Grossman and Betty walked down to the ocean shore to the place where Betty found the beached whale in a small cove. “It seems the whale hasn’t been dead long,” said Rabbi Grossman. “This is truly a gift from God, and amazingly, Ben Judah saw it in a vision! Now I am really impressed with Ben Judah’s visions,” said Rabbi Grossman.

General Mandel and Colonel Shepherd called a community meeting to discuss how to use the whale for food and oil to burn for lighting and cooking. So everyone was provided with a knife or sharp instrument, and they all followed Betty Samson to the place where she found the beached whale. Colonel Shepherd tried to keep the process of cutting up the whale blubber and fat organized, but it was an immense job, cutting through the whale’s skin and lopping off chunks of whale meat to bring back to the camp.

“Boy, this is disgusting!” exclaimed Billy Mandor. Marcus Green was next to Bill, cutting away the whale skin with great difficulty. “My knife is as dull as a butter knife,” Marcus said. “Colonel Shepherd, do you have a sharper knife than this butter knife?” Marcus called out. “Let me look around and see if I can find you a sharper knife,” Colonel Shepherd said.

Xiaolin and Ida Grossman were working together, cutting blubber and putting it on a wood platform that they would use to carry the blubber back to the raft area. “Ida, have you ever eaten whale meat?” Xiaolin asked Ida Grossman. “No, sounds disgusting to me,” Ida responded. “It is a delicacy in Japanese culture as a gift when a couple is getting married. I am Chinese, by heritage, but my Chinese parents were citizens of the North American Corporate Order, and I was born in North America,” Xiaolin explained to Ida.

Betty Samson and General Mandel were working together as a team with Mrs. Grossman’s children, Samuel and Saul. “I imagine when you cook this fat down, you get a lot of good burning oil,” General Mandel commented to Betty. Betty had a scarf over her mouth and nose to prevent her from breathing in the foul-smelling whale meat.

Tim Dong Wo was working with Ida Grossman and Sam Grossman’s children Samuel Grossman and his girlfriend, Rebecca Silverstein, Saul Grossman, Margaret Grossman, and her fiancé, Richard Ross, and Ben Grossman, eldest son of the rabbi and his wife, Jody Grossman, in cutting the whale blubber. It was a team effort for everyone in the group of seventy adults and children who were working diligently on cutting up the whale blubber. Steven Moss was the only member of the community not participating. He claimed it was too disgusting for him to cut whale blubber. Colonel Shepherd simply ignored Steven’s complaints. Colonel Shepherd pointed out in amazement that no one had eaten whale meat in centuries, and no one had boiled down whale blubber for oil since the 1800s in New England.

Back at the camp, the blubber was being boiled down to oil in a slow, slow process because they did not have big enough pots to handle all the whale blubber. This was not New England in the 1800s. The community was totally unprepared to deal with the ultimate size of a full-grown whale. There was some success, however, as some of the blubber melted down into whale oil that could be used to burn as a light source like they did in the 1800s long, long ago. Wood was hard to find since there were no trees on the continental bridge. Only driftwood was available, and many of the community had to drag driftwood logs back to the camp all day long to keep the fires going to melt the whale blubber down to oil.

The whole process took two weeks to accomplish. The bones and body parts were very helpful in making tools and weapons. The bones could be sharpened into spear tips, and the small bones could be used to make fishhooks. The blubber was boiled down to oil that was stored in every container they could find. This valuable oil could be used as a light source by using a wick like they did centuries before in the 1800s. Nothing was wasted on the whale, and when they were done, little was left behind after weeks of cutting and sawing the huge whale into pieces.

“Make sure we use those rib bones wisely in making spearheads and for construction of shelters!” General Mandel shouted out to many of the community members who were sawing the bones off the carcass of the whale’s ribs. Tim Dong Wu responded by saying, “We have stripped the rib bones and are letting them dry in the sun on the volcanic rock, sir.” “Good, keep up the work,” General Mandel commented.

The whale blubber cutting and sawing of bones consumed the entire group of seventy for several weeks. The issue of the future was put on hold because everyone was exhausted at night and not in the mood to talk about the future and making decisions about their survival. Finally, when the whale project was finished, several fishing trips with nets were scheduled to gather in more fish to eat and dry out for the future. Four rafts left the shore of the landmass with fishing nets. They worked in teams of two rafts each, dropping the nets and dragging them through the water to catch all the fish they could. After a full day of fishing, the rafts returned to shore loaded with fish of all kinds. Some dolphins were caught but released. That night, they would all celebrate as they smoked and broiled the fresh fish they caught. The women had prepared the seaweed by cleaning it and boiling it as a vegetable like the Japanese do in their culture.

While the community sat around the fires that night, General Mandel and Colonel Shepherd talked together about their survival and the best move for the future. If they had to stay in the North American mountain area, the problem was navigation. No one knew where the high mountains were in Washington State or even the Sierra Nevada. If they had to travel overland on the intercontinental bridge, the going would be slow because of the mudflats and hard volcanic rock. They did not want to abandon their rafts, nor did they want to risk venturing on the high seas the long distance from the North American continent to the Asian continent. General Mandel had an idea for a compromise, and that was keeping the rafts but sailing them or pulling them along the coast of the intercontinental landmass with a small crew of two on each raft. That way, they could continue to fish when they needed to do so and also keep the rafts, in case some islands and not a continuous mountainous landmass connected the intercontinental landmass. Getting to the Himalayas would take years, and there were no guarantees that some would die on the way or become terminally sick. The alternative was to stay in the North American continent and continue to search for isolated mountaintops that could sustain a group of seventy people with fresh water and food.

“Well, Colonel, what do you think about our situation? “General Mandel asked. “It certainly is complicated, General, and we have not had any recent transmissions with surviving ham radio operators recently,” Colonel Shepherd explained. “As I see it, Colonel, we have to look for a long-range solution that will protect our community and allow it to survive generations after we pass on,” General Mandel reflected. “It is obvious we cannot live here because there is no vegetation other than seaweed. We have not had red meat in weeks. Fish is good but a limited balanced diet for all the people in our community. We need to find a place that offers vegetables or grains to grow and eat. We need to find shelter from the elements, especially as the earth’s climate has become so hot and humid now,” Colonel Shepherd responded. General Mandel went on to say, “I have asked our rabbi to pray on a solution, and also Pastor Swift. Perhaps God has a plan for us? We must continue to believe that God is with us always and that we will not fear the unknown, evil, and death.”

Chapter 7
“Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”

What the group needed now were weapons for protection against other humans and beasts. Colonel Shepherd and retired general Mandel asked for volunteers to help make fishhooks, spears, bows, and arrows to help kill some fish to help with the dwindling food supply. They could not survive on the remaining food they had, and they needed a method for gathering food other than dragging the fishnets between two rafts. Most of the fish seemed to be large, like sharks and tuna, but no one dared to enter the ocean waters since the shoreline dropped off quickly to a very deep bottom at the edge of the intercontinental landmass.

The only success they had so far was in using fishnets dragged between two rafts. The larger fish were too big to pull in by net as evidenced by an incident where a shark was caught in the net, and the men on the raft were unable to pull the net in with the shark in it. One person by the name of Stan Goldblatt was helping pull the shark caught in the net when he slipped off the raft. Everyone on the raft tried to save him, but the shark bit his leg off with one bite, and in minutes, the water was completely red. The men on the raft had to drop part of the net and raise the sail to get away from the shark. If they had only brought some spears onboard the raft, these might have helped. In the middle of the panic on the raft, the shark ate through the net in the end and escaped, and Stan Goldblatt was never seen again. This was the first time someone had been killed at sea.

A Jewish funeral was held that evening as friends of Stan Goldblatt wailed over his death. Rabbi Grossman held the short service to remember Stan. It was a sad moment for the Jewish community. Pastor Swift, Colonel Shepherd, and other members of the Christian community sent their respects to Rabbi Grossman in the death of Stan Goldblatt.

Another month had gone by, and with an occasional rain and plenty of fish and seaweed, the community food supply had stabilized for the time being. Some of the Jewish and Christian community set about making large and small fishhooks out of fish bones. Others worked on weaving fishnets from old cloth and string that could be found. Spears were made from some branches that they had lashed to the rafts. The tips were hardened in a fire like the primitives did thousands of years before. Bows were made of flexible branches and tied with string strengthened with wax or fish oil.

When all the fishing gear was completed, a group of men went to the water’s edge and threw in old garbage to attract the fish. At first, they were unsuccessful, and no fish appeared. The second attempt, they managed to collect some meat scraps of fat and sinew, threw that in the water to attract fish. That got some small sharks circling the beach. A few spears missed the shark, but eventually, a spear to the exposed fin worked, and a line with a grabbing hook on it allowed them to graft the shark and pull it into shore. They cut up the shark into small pieces and saved the inner organs to feed other fish on their next attempt.

“Billy, stay out of the water. Throw your spear when a fish surfaces!” Tim Dong Wo shouted. Marcus Green, Betty Samson, and General Mandel were waiting on a rock outcropping that jutted out into the ocean for some fish to come to the surface to eat the food remains. Sure enough, some fins broke the surface, and a barrage of spears hit the water. Some connected and some spears missed. Using a string to retrieve the spears, the community members were able to pull in their catch or retrieve their spear without having to enter the dangerous and deep waters.

The next day, they tried to throw a net out into the water like the Hawaiians used to do thousands of years ago. It was trial and error, and the net kept washing back into shore. The water was too deep to walk out into the surf, so they put foam floats and plastic balls on the top of the net to allow it to float. Then they threw the net as far out in the surf as they could and waited for it to drift out with the outgoing tide. That worked, and when they attempted to pull the net in, they had to get more volunteers to help since they had netted hundreds of fish. It was a day of joyful bounty, for the Lord had provided with his rod and staff in helping to capture fish to survive. The two rafts pulling the fishing net between them was still the most successful method of catching fish.

Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel called a community meeting for all seventy community members to discuss plans for survival and their future. “Before we begin, let us pray to the Lord with Pastor Swift and Rabbi, saying a few prayers of thanks and deliverance for all of us,” Colonel Shepherd asked the group. Everyone bowed their heads,
and Rabbi Grossman delivered a few prayers and then Pastor Swift. Everyone responded with amen at the end of each prayer.

The meeting began with General Mandel discussing their present situation as to food supplies, water, shelter, and safety. One of the major concerns is, there was not enough wood to build shelters, and everyone was exposed to the elements, day and night. Fortunately, the climate was still warm, and there was no immediate threat of cold weather or dangerous temperatures.

“We must decide today what we must do to survive now and in the future, and if there is to be any future for our generations to come,” Colonel Shepherd pointed out to the community. “General Mandel and I have talked at length about what choices we have, and we are presenting these choices to you tonight to decide what we will do as a community to survive.

“As we see it, we have a few options. The first option is to remain here in North America and continue to search for mountain islands that we can survive on. The problem about this choice is we do not know when the ocean will stop rising. It is possible that the oceans could rise above nine thousand and ten thousand feet above sea level and flood the majority of the surviving mountaintops.

“The second option is to try and cross the intercontinental bridge or landmass that we are on now, in an attempt to get to the Hawaiian volcanoes and onto the Asian continent in search of higher mountains in China or the Himalayas, south of China. There is no mountain chain in the world as high as the Himalayas, as you know, and that would mean long-range survival. The journey could take years, and it is always possible we may encounter hostile humans at any point in time. We have armed ourselves with weapons for fishing and hunting, as well as defense. Unfortunately, we have no modern laser guns or weapons, so we must depend on centuries-old weapons to defend ourselves in case we should be attacked.

“The third option is actually no option at all, and that is do nothing and remain here until the ocean recedes or until there is some sign from God as to what we should do. Eventually, we would have to build shelters here, and except for the whale skin, we have little to make shelters with except whale bones and driftwood,” Colonel Shepherd finished saying.

There was a lot of discussion in the community when they heard these options. Ida Grossman, the wife of Rabbi Grossman, spoke up first. “I, for one, would like to see my children have a future and perhaps grandchildren in generations to come. I think we have to assume the oceans will continue rising. It might take years or decades or longer for them to recede—that doesn’t help us. I have prayed about it, and I think we need a vision. We need a vision to continue on no matter what. When Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, they wandered for forty years in the wilderness. They never gave up. We have come this far, and we know that few people have survived around the planet, so we need a vision to prepare our future. I vote to take all the time necessary to migrate toward the Asian continent to find higher ground and more food resources.”

Everyone in the community clapped after Ida got done talking. “Well said, Ida. Who else would like to speak?” said Colonel Shepherd. “Colonel, I would like to say something. I am Betty Samson, and my husband died a few years ago. Had he been here, he would have said keep going. From what I have heard on the ham radio, this comet collision has completely changed earth to a water world. Since we don’t have gills like fish, we cannot live below the water like they do. We must seek higher ground for generations to come until the oceans receded. That is, if they are ever going to recede. Thank you.”

Pastor Swift spoke next, saying, “I cannot help but feel that we are the chosen ones that God has selected to survive. It seems strange that only two religious groups of Christians and Jews survived in the western section of North America. Call it chance, or I call it a miracle, that we survived. I agree with Ida that perhaps this is our voyage out of Egypt like the Hebrews did thousands of years ago. Perhaps this is our deliverance to a new world and a new society when all else has been wiped out. I do not know all the answers, but from what I can see here where we are staying, we cannot stay long. We will need more shelter and protection from the elements. None of us is used to being outdoors in primitive conditions in which we are now living. I suggest that we continue on toward the Asian continent no matter how many years it takes. It will give us a mission or a vision and allow us to find higher ground to survive.”

Others said their piece, and the discussion continued for hours. “And now, my friends, we must take a vote as to what we are going to do. Those in favor in staying in what was North America and looking for mountain islands on our rafts, raise your hands. I count one, two, three in favor. Regarding option 2, continuing on our journey to the Asian continent, how many are in favor of that choice? Sixty-six votes. No need to discuss the third option, we will continue across the intercontinental bridge to China and the Asian continent. Perhaps we will find other survivors along the way. Tomorrow, we will make specific plans as to how we are going to transport our whale oil, food, and resources. Some of it will be put on the rafts that will sail close to shore as the rest of us walk over the volcanic rock and mud toward Hawaii. I always wanted to see Hawaii. I just never thought I would be walking to get there, ha,” Colonel Shepherd commented.

The next day was the beginning of the great journey over an unknown landmass that supposedly stretched to the Hawaiian volcanoes and onto the Asian continent. After a few hours, everything was packed on the rafts, and two volunteers on each raft were to sail the rafts along the southern shore of the intercontinental landmass and stay in sight of the remaining group walking on land. There were no wheels to use or vehicles to carry goods, so everything had to be carried on someone’s back or pulled on a sled. Walking over the lava rock was dangerous and a slow process, so everyone had to be careful. General Mandel led the group, and Colonel Shepherd brought up the rear group.

The heat, sun, and wind were very strong that day as a small group of adults and children climbed over lava rock and mudflats in search of higher land. The first day, they got only ten miles before camping for the night. The rafts were taken into shore and tied up for the night. The Jewish group met for evening prayers, as did the Christian group. After prayers, everyone pitched in to prepare the dinner for the evening. It was the usual seaweed and dried fish and water. “If only they had flour, they could make bread,” Margaret Grossman, daughter of Rabbi Grossman, commented to her brother Ben. Task groups were sent out to gather driftwood for the fires. Others helped to prepare blankets to sleep on for the evening.

As the sun rose the next day in the continually overcast humid sky, the group quickly had some water and fish, and the rafts set sail and the journey was on again. They walked for four hours and then rested from the heat and broiling sun. Many needed fresh water because of their dehydration and had their rationed cup of water when they rested. General Mandel suggested they break up into two groups: a faster and lighter packed group would take the lead while the slower group in the back would follow. This way, the faster group could set up camp faster by the time the slower group arrived. The second day, they traveled twenty miles and were exhausted from the slow walking over lava rocks, big and small. The mudflats had to be avoided because they were like quicksand and dangerous to walk on. This only made the journey more dangerous and slower in travel time.

Each day was the same, and after a month, they had traveled approximately six hundred miles by averaging twenty miles a day. Many of the community were injured, got sick, had blisters on their feet, or dehydrated to the point of dizziness. Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel decided to let the group take a week’s rest before continuing. Everyone was tired and exhausted, and rest was the thing everyone needed most. Dr. Greenspan was kept busy with all the medical problems that developed from walking over lava rock in the broiling sun, intense heat, strong winds, and fatigue.

As the community was settling in for the night, a disgruntled group of Christians asked to talk with Pastor Swift. It was no surprise to Pastor Swift when he realized the leader of the disgruntled group was Steven Moss, the community rebel. “Pastor Swift, I speak for the people in this meeting when I say, enough is enough. This pilgrimage is too much for people and children of all ages. We want to go back to North America,” Steven said.

Sally Thiebes, another member of the Christian community, interjected, “Pastor, we are exhausted and injured, and we cannot go any farther. You must let us leave and return to North America.” Others in the group also complained that they could not go on either. Pastor Swift tried to convince them that it was too late to turn around and go back. “I will discuss it with Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel, but I cannot make any promises. Give me some time to discuss it with them, and I will get back to you tomorrow.” Everyone agreed that seemed like a solution, and they all got up to leave Pastor Swift’s shelter.

That night under a crescent moon, Steven Moss and the same group of ten complainers stole some food supplies and took a raft without permission and sailed back in the direction of North America. They were never seen or heard from ever again.

The following morning, Marcus Green was the first to discover one of the rafts was missing. “Colonel Shepherd, Colonel Shepherd, come quick, one of the rafts has been stolen, and I think Steven Moss and his friends are gone!” Marcus yelled while running back to the camp. Colonel Shepherd came out of his tent, cursing, “Goddamit! I never should have trusted that bastard!” Colonel Shepherd exclaimed. He walked down to the ocean where the rafts were tied up, and sure enough, one raft was gone. “Damn, those fools are going to kill themselves trying to sail on the high seas alone.”

General Mandel, Colonel Shepherd, Pastor Swift, Rabbi Grossman, and several other community leaders had an emergency meeting that morning to discuss Steven Moss and his defector group that stole a raft and attempted to sail back to North America. It was decided to leave a guard to protect the rafts at night from that day forward. Everyone was instructed to be aware of any rebellions in the future and inform Colonel Shepherd or General Mandel immediately so they could deal with the situation before it got out of control.

As they recovered that week, Colonel Shepherd sent out one raft to go ahead and scout the terrain and see how far away the volcanoes of Hawaii really were. The community did not know that Hawaii was approximately 2,500 miles from what was Los Angeles. Based on the walking speed of the community, it would take four to five months to reach Hawaii. Every day was similar to the day before, and the routine of hard hiking began to wear everyone down. Occasionally, there was a small mountain they had to walk over, which slowed the group down a great deal. Two deaths occurred from extreme dehydration and age. They were two seventy- and seventy-two-year-old men who were not in good health to begin with. Their names were Borus Gillette and Ronald Trees, and they were members of the Christian community. They could not bury them in the ground, so they were put in a plastic bag and buried at sea by letting the ocean waves take them out to sea. The Christian group had dropped to twenty-eight surviving members since two men had died, and Steven Moss and nine others stole a raft and left.

So the months drifted by and the community dragged themselves over the lava rock and mudflats for over 2,500 miles. “Betty, are you all right?” Marcus inquired. “Yes, I am just exhausted climbing over lava rock hills,” she said. “Anyone with any ailments should see me during the next break!” Dr. Greenspan shouted out to the survivors as they walked by where he was standing. Elijah Ben Judah and Ben Grossman had become closer friends as they too dragged their supplies behind them as well as on their backs. Elijah was not used to so much physical exertion, after all, he was a cantor who used his voice to sing during Jewish services, not an athlete or marathon walker.

Tim Dong Wo, Xiaolin Tan, Marcus Green, and Billy Mandor stayed together in a little group, supporting one another with positive comments. “It isn’t far now,” said Tim. “Yeah, just a few thousand miles,” Marcus commented with a sense of humor to his wit. Since Billy Mandor was only sixteen, he was a lot healthier than most of the older folk in the community. He was able to keep up the pace and encourage others to follow. Liz Swift was usually walking next to Billy or not far behind. They had become a close couple over the months.

Pastor Swift was feeling his age, as was his wife, since they were in their sixties and not in good health. Judy Swift tried to keep a positive attitude despite the fact that she had blisters all over her feet and walking was most painful for her. She was determined not to quit no matter what. Mary Moon and Colonel Shepherd chatted along the trek to keep their minds off the physical wear and tear on their bodies. Elizabeth Swift and Rob Swift, the pastor’s children, were finding the heat and wind difficult, and they secretly complained to each other how they could not go on, but they never told their mother or dad since they were the spiritual leaders of the Christian group.

Numerous other members of the Jewish community and the Christian community suffered equally in the heat, wind, and sun that bore down on them every day. Occasionally, to cool everyone off, they headed to the ocean shore where they poured ocean water on themselves to cool off. It was the only relief of the day. The heat and humidity was taking its toll, and there were a lot of stragglers bringing up the rear of the group. Dr. Greenspan stayed in the rear group to help with medical problems, and there were many problems. Every night, a prayer group assembled in each Jewish and Christian community to pray for strength the next day and to build up their spiritual motivation to make this difficult journey to higher ground.

One night while the group was resting, another rebellion started in the Jewish community and the Christian community. A small group of the sick and injured could not go any farther and could not be carried. They called for a meeting with Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel. “General, the sick and injured cannot go any farther, and we must come up with an alternative plan,” said Judith Gomes who was a Jewish widow at age 40. “I understand. What solutions do you have, Judy?” General Mandel asked. “I think we are going to have to put the injured and sick that cannot walk on the rafts and have them sail to the next campsite twenty miles in front of the walking group. If they can sail faster than we can walk, they will have more time to rest and recover when we get to the next campsite.”
“That is an excellent idea, Judy. Colonel Shepherd, do you agree?” General Mandel asked. “Yes, I certainly do, General,” Colonel Shepherd responded.

So the decision was made that night to put the eighteen injured and sick community members on rafts each day to sail to the next campsite. This would make it possible for them to rest and keep up with the main group of community members. Everyone seemed happy with the solution.

After five months had gone by, many of the injured community members finally recovered and rejoined the walking group. The going was difficult and slow. Days turned into months, and months turned into pain. Finally, after five months, a rafting crew returned to shore with good news. They had spotted a volcano or mountain in the distance from the ocean. It was off in the distance on the horizon about ten miles.

The raft crew signaled General Mandel that they had sighted a mountain or volcano. The next day, the community members could see Mauna Loa volcano rising up into the sky. Mauna Loa was about 13,680 feet above sea level in the days before the comet collision. Now, only about half of Mauna Loa rose above the ocean waves. Mauna Kea was nearby in the distance, topping out at 13,800 feet above sea level by the old method of measurement before the comet collision. Mauna Loa was the first landmass with green vegetation growing on it that they had seen since crossing on the intercontinental bridge. As they approached the huge volcano, they had to climb up to a level they considered to be safe enough above the rising ocean waves. The view from the volcano was beautiful.

“Colonel Shepherd, do you see the beautiful volcano?” Billy exclaimed. “Yes, we can all see it, Billy, and it looks so green and lush compared to what we have been traveling over for so many months,” Colonel Shepherd exclaimed. When everyone saw the volcano in the distance, they all fell down to the ground and prayed to God for delivering them safely; 50 percent of the community was injured or sick, and they were all going to need a long rest to recover. Later that day, everyone in the community had caught up to the front group and arrangements were being made to camp in a green pasture area high above the ocean waves.

They could see the landmass in both directions from their campsite on the volcano. The only problem was, the volcano was still active as evidenced by an occasional flash of hot rocks spewed up in the air. This made a lot of the people in the community very anxious. If it wasn’t for the volcano being active, it might have been a perfect place to live.

So the first part of the great journey had come to an end, and the community was halfway to the Asian continent. Now it was a time for healing. The winds from the ocean made the air a little cooler than it was when they first started their journey. A few ham radio messages confirmed that some groups in South America in the Andes had survived and in European Alps and other high mountain ranges. The problem was, every survivor group was trapped on their mountain island, unable to communicate with other survivors except groups that had a ham radio. Other survivors were not as fortunate as the Judeo-Christian community in having use of empty oil drums to make rafts to sail the oceans. God had provided for this little Judeo-Christian community.

After having set up camp and searched for driftwood down by the ocean and deadwood on the volcano’s surrounding area, the community settled in to recover physically and mentally from their ordeal. General Mandel, Colonel Shepherd, Rabbi Grossman, and Pastor Swift had a meeting to discuss their immediate plans. With so many of the community injured from traveling 2,500 miles over volcanic rock and mud, they knew they had to take a long recovery period on this volcano. Dr. Greenspan came to the meeting also to report on the extent of the injuries and what cases were critical and needed special treatment and rest. The leaders were shocked when they realized how really sick half the population was after their forced march journey. They all agreed to provide special shelters for the sick and injured first to allow them to recover.

Close to the ocean on the lower portion of the volcano were many varieties of palm trees and other types of vegetation that would prove useful for building shelters. Colonel Shepherd would be in charge of the cutting down of trees for shelters, and General Mandel would supervise the fishing along the ocean and the use of rafts with dragging fishing nets to secure food. Edible plants were also a high priority, and Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift volunteered to get people to help them search for any fruits or vegetables that they could eat that survived at this altitude on the volcano plain. The discussion lasted for hours in discussing immediate needs and long-range plans. It was decided that they would remain for several months until everyone had healed and regained their strength. Everyone agreed on resting as long as possible. Since there seemed to be no seasonal change of weather, there was no fear of winter winds or cold weather, so where they had arrived seemed suitable for now.

Search parties were sent out to see if any humans had survived on this volcano, but after a week of searching, no one was found or any bodies either. Secretly, a lot of people hoped that they would find other human survivors, but that did not seem to be the case. Another accident occurred one day when one of the search party members slipped off a lava rock hill and fell one hundred feet and hit his head. Tom Swells was his name, and he was dead on contact. Tom was a member of the Christian community, and Pastor Swift buried him at sea that night in a special funeral ceremony. Tom was a well-liked person but not a leader. He followed whatever instructions he was given. Tom was a widower, about fifty-five years of age, and his children had passed away years before. He was a wonderful contributor who never complained, and many of his friends felt bad that he fell off a slippery lava rock to his death. Now the Christian community has dropped one more member—to twenty-seven members from an original forty members.

The day after they arrived at Mauna Loa volcano, Mrs. Judy Swift, wife of Pastor Swift, collapsed, and Dr. Greenspan was called to treat her. Her condition was unknown but seemed serious. Her temperature was high, and she was running a fever. Dr. Greenspan tried to cool down her body temperature with wet rags on her forehead. Pastor Swift and their two children, Elizabeth and Rob, were waiting outside the shelter while Dr. Greenspan treated Judy Swift. As Dr. Greenspan came out of the shelter, he said, “Well, I am trying to get her fever down, which is very high. She may have some kind of bacterial infection. I am not sure, at this time, what is causing the fever. Give her fluids until tomorrow, and I will check in on her again.”

The next morning, Dr. Greenspan and Betty Samson, who had once been a nurse, came back to the Swift family shelter to check in on Judy Swift. “She has been up all night, moaning,” said Pastor Swift to Dr. Greenspan. “Let me take her temperature and blood pressure and see where we are today,” Dr. Greenspan said. “Betty, you can help me roll her over to look for any skin infections or redness,” Dr. Greenspan said. After taking Judy Swift’s temperature, Dr. Greenspan gave her some water and fresh wet compresses to cool her off. “She doesn’t look good, Betty. I don’t have any antibiotics or penicillin left to treat the infection,” Dr. Greenspan commented. “We are just going to have to wait and see if the fever breaks.” As Dr. Greenspan came out of the shelter, Pastor Swift and Elizabeth and Rob rushed over to Dr. Greenspan to hear what he had to say about their mother. “I am afraid I don’t have good news. Her fever is high, and I don’t have any more antibiotic medicine or penicillin left to give her. We are going to have to wait this out. Keep putting wet clothes on her head and keep her covered with a blanket. I will check in on her tonight.”

That night, Dr. Greenspan came back, and Judy Swift was not conscious. She seemed to have slipped into a coma with a very high fever of 106. All he had to give her were some aspirins, so he crushed up two aspirins and put them in a small amount of water in a cup and poured it slowly down her throat. Rabbi Grossman, hearing of Mrs. Swift’s illness, stopped by the shelter to say some prayers for Mrs. Swift and to tell Pastor Swift that he hoped she would soon recover. “She seems to be in the hands of God, Pastor Swift, and I hope she recovers,” Rabbi Grossman said in a soft tone.

When Rabbi Grossman returned to his shelter, Elijah Ben Judah was there waiting for him. “Rabbi, I heard that Pastor’s Swift’s wife is very sick. It this true?” he asked. “Yes, she is near death,” Rabbi Grossman stated sadly. “Rabbi, I had a vision of a woman who was sick and needed my help. I saw her in my vision and I held her hand and she recovered,” Ben Judah said. “Do you really believe you have the power of healing, Ben Judah?” asked the rabbi. “I don’t know, Rabbi, it was just a vision, perhaps a dream or perhaps something real as in my past visions that came true,” said Ben Judah. “Perhaps we should visit Mrs. Swift tomorrow morning and see if we can ask for God’s mercy,” Rabbi Grossman said. “Fine, Rabbi, I will pray for her tonight, and I will meet you early tomorrow morning, and we will go together to her shelter,” said Ben Judah.

The next day, Judy Swift looked like she was going to die. Dr. Greenspan felt there was nothing more he could do. The fever was still high, and she was in a coma or unconscious and unable to open her eyes. Her skin was very pale, and she did not look like she was going to survive that day. Rabbi Grossman came back again with Elijah Ben Judah, and they said prayers for Judy, as did Pastor Swift. Ben Judah sang some wonderful old Jewish songs as Rabbi Grossman beseeched God to cure Judy Swift. Elizabeth and Rob Swift joined in the small prayer group next to Judy’s body lying on a blanket on the ground. “Pastor Swift, may I reach out to your wife and hold her hand for a moment?” Ben Judah asked. “Sure, if you think it will help,” Pastor Swift replied. “Judy, Judy, it is I, Elijah Ben Judah. Can you hear me? God has told me in a dream to reach out to you and hold you by the hand. Blessed be the Lord God. God, I ask that you cure this woman and release the fever from her body. Amen.”
“Thank you for that kindness, Elijah,” said Pastor Swift. A while later, Rabbi Grossman and Elijah Ben Judah left and returned to their shelters.

It wasn’t but an hour later that Rob Swift came running over to Rabbi Grossman’s shelter, shouting, “My mother is well! It is a miracle! Come and see!” They stopped by Elijah Ben Judah’s shelter on the way back to the Swift family shelter. They were all very excited. As they came to the Swift family shelter, they went inside to see Judy Swift sitting up on her blanket, looking perfectly healthy. “God bless,” said the rabbi. “Thank you, gentlemen. Something Elijah did must have made a difference. She awoke ten minutes ago, opened her eyes, and sat up and said she felt fine and was hungry,” Pastor Swift said.

Immediately afterward, Dr. Greenspan returned, having heard that Judy was well. “Well, I heard from Elizabeth that her mother was well, and I am shocked and happy,” Dr. Greenspan exclaimed. “Let me check your temperature and pulse, Judy,” he said. “Amazing, almost a miracle. Her temperature is normal and so is her heartbeat. I never would have guessed,” said Dr. Greenspan. “I will get her some food and water,” Pastor Swift said. They all walked outside the shelter, marveling at her recovery. Pastor Swift told Ben Judah, “I think you have a gift, Elijah, a gift from God. You cured my wife when she was on the verge of dying. Thank you, bless you, Elijah. We will thank God in our prayers for your healing power.” Rabbi Grossman was also amazed, but he had known before that Elijah had visions that came true, but he never suspected that Elijah would become a healer also.

So for the time being, the beginning of a new era began on Mauna Loa volcano for the Judeo-Christian community. After a month of rest, Betty Samson and Susan, the other ham radio operator, got a message in Chinese that they did not understand. They sent someone to get Xiaolin and bring her back to the shelter where the ham radio was located. Xiaolin was of Chinese descent but born in North America. She could speak Mandarin and a few other Chinese languages she had learned from her parents. As the ham radio message came through again, Xiaolin wrote down the words in English from Mandarin: Bāngzhù, shengcun, and liao, which if loosely translated meant “to help,” “survive,” and “end.” Xiaolin told Betty and Susan that the message was in a Mandarin dialect from somewhere in China, saying, “Help us survive, soon.” Betty took this message to Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel. “It seemed like some survivor group of Chinese were sending a message for help,” Betty told both men. They did not know where in China or the Asian continent the message was coming from, but they were relieved to know someone had survived in China, and that might be good news. “We will continue to monitor the ham radio and use Xiaolin to help translate,” said Betty. “Good, let us know if you get any more ham radio broadcasts,” said General Mandel.

The following week, Elijah Ben Judah had another vision in his sleep. He saw arrows flying through the air and people being killed by Chinese people hiding behind rocks. It was a fearful vision, full of dread. The following day, he told Rabbi Grossman about his vision. This time, Rabbi Grossman decided to share Ben Judah’s visions with Pastor Swift. They walked over to Pastor Swift’s shelter together and asked Judy Swift if they could speak with Pastor Swift. “Come on in, Rabbi,” a voice came from inside the palm-covered shelter; Pastor Swift called out. “Good day, Pastor, Ben Judah and I have something to discuss with you that we have kept a secret until now,” said Rabbi Grossman. “You are always welcome in our shelter, Elijah as well as Rabbi Grossman. What can I do for you?” Pastor Swift asked. Ben Judah then told Pastor Swift of his past visions and how remarkably they had come true. He even told Pastor Swift that he had seen his wife Judy when she was sick, holding his hand and recovering from her illness. Pastor Swift was amazed hearing this story from Elijah. In his most recent vision, he saw arrows flying through the air and some of our people falling down with arrows in their chests. This most recent vision foretold of hostilities with Chinese people, and perhaps it was a warning from God. Elijah had heard about the recent ham radio message that Xiaolin had translated as a Chinese survivor group asking for help in survival. Now his vision seemed to be more reliable.

Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift discussed visions and God’s messages and how they were to be interpreted. They decided to share Elijah’s vision with Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel. They sent Billy to get the colonel and the general and have them come to Pastor Swift’s shelter immediately. When they both arrived, Pastor Swift told them what Rabbi Grossman had said and what Ben Judah had seen in his most recent vision. He made it a point to explain that according to Rabbi Grossman, all visions had come true. At first, Rabbi Grossman admitted that he kept Elijah’s visions a secret because he did not, at first, believe he was having true visions. Rabbi Grossman explained that Elijah predicted finding the intercontinental landmass and seeing us sailing on the high seas.

Both Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel were very surprised to learn that Ben Judah had been having visions that actually came true. The vision about the hostile Chinese might well come true, so they had to be prepared for an attack now or in the future. As the word passed around the community, everyone wondered how Ben Judah came to become a visionary. Prayers were said in the Jewish services, as well as the Christian services, for Ben Judah’s good health. Perhaps God was really on their side? they all asked themselves.

It was a beautiful night outside the camp perimeter that Xiaolin and Ken made love under the moonlight. Their relationship had grown stronger over the past few months. Their struggles together had brought them closer than they had ever been before. Xiaolin looked beautiful in the moonlight as she took off her shirt to reveal small but firm breasts. Ken kissed her on the neck and breasts, making Xiaolin hot all over. They made love for about an hour in the warm night air, and then they returned to their shelter.

After resting and recovering on Mauna Loa volcano for a few months, many in the Judeo-Christian community began to ask why they couldn’t remain on Mauna Loa forever since the volcano was high enough above the ocean to be safe, and the food supply of fish was more than adequate. Their attitude changed when Mauna Loa began to erupt one day without any warning. The entire community had less than a day to load up the rafts with some rafts overloaded because they were short one raft that was stolen. They could not walk or run fast enough to avoid the volcano if it erupted and sent volcanic ash and hot lava in all directions down its slopes, killing everything in its path. The ocean was the only safe escape route, on the rafts. Much of the campsite had to be left behind because there was a lack of space.

As volcanic ash were beginning to fill the air, the rafts were pushed off, and they headed out to sea. They had to get away far enough from the hot, volcanic lava to be safe. They headed straight out away from Mauna Loa and tried to put as many nautical miles between them and the volcano as they could before they turned east toward the Asian continent. They had to spend the night on the raft before they were able to safely land on the intercontinental landmass a good thirty miles down range from where they had camped before.

As they looked back behind them, they watched in awe as Mauna Loa erupted thousands of feet high into the air with hot red lava shooting out in all directions and sliding down the volcano in all directions. The lava blanketed the area where their encampment was and everything around it. It was the end of a beautiful but temporary place to live. Now it was a move onto the Asian continent no matter what. The Judeo-Christian community had come too far to turn back now.

After a quick encampment that night, the Judeo-Christian community hastily broke camp the following morning to put as much distance between them and Mauna Loa as possible. Colonel Shepherd figured they could suffer a little bit more one day to gain more distance from the volcano. So it was the next day they were able to sail another thirty to forty miles along the coast of the intercontinental landmass until they found a small harbor to pull in and camp for the night. Many community members missed the peace and quiet of living on Mauna Loa, but now, they could see how dangerous it could be.

Shelter on lava rock was difficult at best. Since the intercontinental bridge was relatively a new phenomena, there were no trees growing, and it was all the more difficult to construct lean-tos for shelter. Some small plants were beginning to take root from bird droppings, and the winds spreading seeds in all directions, but nothing was edible or useful.

The dynamics of the Judeo-Christian group was beginning to change. They often held prayer sessions for all community members rather than distinguish between Jewish and Christian religions. Many Jewish community members had become close friends with those in the Christian community. Pastor Swift and Rabbi Grossman saw this as a positive improvement in community relations. Many couples had become closer due to the stressful times. Love bonds were stronger than ever. Secretly, all the couples feared the worse and poured all their fear into lovemaking.

A month after leaving Mauna Loa, a sudden storm developed that caught the entire community off guard. “Pastor Swift, did you notice the blackened sky in the distance?” asked Mary Moon, the mechanical engineer. “No, I hadn’t, but now that you have brought it to my attention, it looks like a storm is blowing in soon,” said Pastor Swift. “Mary, go and tell Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel to alert everyone there may be a storm rolling in,” Pastor Swift asked. Mary left immediately to warn the colonel and general.

“Listen, everyone, we may have a storm coming in soon, so you need to prepare for heavy rain and high winds. The Pacific Ocean is known for seasonal typhoons, and this may be one of them. Marcus, take a few men and go and pull the rafts farther up on land and double tie them off. Put some lava rocks on them to weigh them down and remove the sail cloth immediately,” Colonel Shepherd commanded.

Immediately, everyone scrambled to tie their supplies or weigh them down with rocks. All the shelters were very frail since they were made of driftwood. General Mandel suggested using the raft sailcloth as a giant cover for everyone to seek protection from the rain. They quickly went about, overlapping the raft sailcloth and tying the ends together to make one large canopy. Less than an hour later, a light rain began, and then the thunder and lightning on the horizon. The day turned very dark as the storm approached. This storm looked to have a fury they had never witnessed before. All the food supplies were placed under the sailcloth canopy, and everyone in the community huddled together for the onslaught of the storm.

The heavens opened up with a deluge of rain and high-speed winds. Everything that was not tied or weighed down blew away. The rafts were flipped over from the rain and laid on their sides during the storm. Mud rivers formed and ran rapidly down the lava rock to the sea. There wasn’t a dry place anywhere in the campsite. Starting a fire under the canopy was too dangerous, so everyone had to eat cold dried fish and seaweed. Some of the woman wailed and cried from the sounds of the storm that seemed to have the intensity of a typhoon. Strange sounds were heard as the winds whipped their way through lava rock canyons. It was as if large beasts were howling in the sky. Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift tried to keep the community focused on prayer as the winds ripped away at the sailcloth, causing it to beat up and down with the percussion of a large drum. The noise of the cloth flapping in the wind was deafening to everyone’s ears.

For hours on end, the wind whipped at the sailcloth canopy. Those hiding under the canopy were exhausted from fear and discomfort. The height of the canopy was only four to five feet off the ground, held up by some wooden poles and weighed down on the edges with large lava boulders. “Colonel, when do you think the storm will stop?” Ida Grossman asked. “I really don’t know, Ida,” Colonel Shepherd responded. It was difficult to talk because of the roaring of the winds and the flapping of the sailcloth canopy. Rabbi Grossman assured his wife, Ida, that the storm would eventually stop, and they had to be patient. Dr. Greenspan was busy attending to the sick and injured community members. He had to crawl around under the canopy to get to the sick and injured members. Betty Samson assisted him in making the sick comfortable. Almost everyone was wet, even if they were under blankets. The rain was blowing horizontally under the canopy, and there wasn’t a dry spot anywhere. Pastor Swift called out to everyone, “Pray for deliverance, pray for the storm to pass, my brothers and sisters.” Samuel, Saul, Margaret, and Ben, Rabbi Grossman’s children, tended to the older members of the community and brought them water and food. Marcus Green was listening to the static on the ham radio, hoping to hear something positive. The storm interfered with the radio reception, and nothing could be heard. Liz and Billy kept busy singing softly in each other’s ears. For them, their hearts were aflutter and little else mattered. For the other couples, they hugged each other under warm blankets and patiently waited out the storm.

Later in the middle of the night, Elijah Ben Judah had another dream or vision. He saw the community smiling and looking at the sun and holding their arms upward to thank God. It seemed the storm would pass, and they would survive. He kept his vision to himself since Rabbi Grossman didn’t always believe in Ben Judah’s visions. The morning sun rose and the winds abated. The rain diminished to a mist. When everyone stuck their heads out of the canopy, they could see the damage the erosion had done, with mud rivers everywhere, pouring over the lava rocks into the sea. The rafts were on their sides and would have to be held upright and repaired. Everyone ran to find a place to relieve themselves since there was no private place under the canopy to do so.

Pastor Swift stood up and stretched his arms upward. “Thank God for our deliverance,” he prayed. General Mandel spoke to Colonel Shepherd and said, “We had better survey the damage and see what needs to be repaired and what blew away in the storm.”
“I will assemble a group of volunteers to survey the damage. I will ask Marcus and Tim Dong Wo to put the sails back on the rafts after we flip them back over,” Colonel Shepherd responded.
The damage was extensive, and many of the rafts had to be repaired. Several boxes of supplies were blown away in the storm. There was an increase in driftwood that was collected for fires to prepare some hot meals. Very few people in the community got any real sleep during the storm, and everyone was exhausted. They dragged themselves around, trying to help with assembling their supplies and cleaning up the mess from the storm. By afternoon, everyone was napping on blankets from exhaustion. The sun was beating down on their heads, and the temperature rose back up into the nineties with high humidity. Only the winds died down that day. Rabbi Grossman observed that if God wanted to blow them away in the winds into the sea, he would have done so. Perhaps they were the chosen people, he thought.

The following week, they decided it was time to move on to another campsite, so everything was packed up, and the journey to high ground began again. Only a few sick had to go on the rafts, with the rest of the community walking and carrying their supplies. Two days into their new journey, a major problem developed. The intercontinental bridge stopped, and a few islands were seen on the horizon. For whatever reason, the Pacific Ocean had poured though this gap in the intercontinental bridge, and the only connection to the Asian mainland seemed to be a series of mountaintop islands. The Judeo-Christian community would be forced to use the rafts to travel to the islands. This meant the rafts would be overcrowded and sank low in the water as they attempted to transport everyone in the community to the islands across the ocean.

“Colonel Shepherd, have all the food supplies lashed down to the rafts so they do not wash into the ocean. Our first priority will be to transport our community members to the first island and come back for any supplies we did not have room for on the first voyage,” General Mandel commanded. Colonel Shepherd, Marcus, Mary, and Tim Dong Wo set about tying down the food supplies before they loaded everyone they could on the rafts. “I think the trip should take only a few hours, General,” Colonel Shepherd responded.

By midday, the Judeo-Christian community pushed off on yet another adventure of island-hopping across the Pacific Ocean. The wind was low that day, and the tide was going out. The rafts had the wind from the west at their backs, and the trip to the first island went relatively quickly. By early evening, the entire community had arrived at the new mountaintop island, and a second trip brought in supplies that could not be transported on the first voyage. The community began to settle in on this new island that consisted almost entirely of volcanic rock and no vegetation. Everyone felt renewed that they had survived so many dangers on their journey to high ground.

Colonel Shepherd was sitting on a lava bolder when Marcus Green approached him with news. “Colonel, I just heard a message on the ham radio. The message said there were riots in the mountains of Europe over food shortages and ethnic clashes. Hundreds of surviving Europeans had been killed in the riots. There are no police or army to subdue the rioters, the message stated. Riots were also reported in the Andes mountains of South American where food was running out.” Colonel Shepherd took the ham radio message to General Mandel immediately. “What do you think, General?” after Colonel Shepherd repeated the ham radio message. Colonel Shepherd commented, “I can see that if survivors do not cooperate and work together to solve food shortages due to the flooding, human nature turns to evil,” Rabbi Grossman exclaimed.

A community meeting was called for that night, and as they all sat around large driftwood fire, they discussed the importance of not being greedy and sharing food and resources. Pastor Swift pointed out how well their communities had come together, and they had no ethnic strife as they were having elsewhere in the world.

Elijah Ben Judah felt that God was with them despite all the dangers they encountered. Rabbi Grossman asked everyone to join him in prayer, and they all did so. “Lord God, provide and protect our little community and bring us to the promised high ground soon. Amen,” Rabbi Grossman prayed.

Two days later, another tragedy hit the Judeo-Christian community. Rabbi Grossman had a heart attack and collapsed. Several community members dragged him to shelter and sent someone to get Dr. Greenspan immediately. Elijah Ben Judah came with Dr. Greenspan immediately behind him. “Is he all right?” Ben Judah asked Ida, Rabbi Grossman’s wife. “I do not know, he just collapsed, grabbing his chest,” she said. Dr. Greenspan checked Rabbi Grossman’s pulse and asked him, “Sam, do you know who I am?” Rabbi Grossman did not respond. His breathing was shallow, and he seemed to be going into shock. “I think he had a heart attack,” Dr. Greenspan exclaimed. “Elevate his legs while I give him CPR,” Dr. Greenspan commanded Ben Judah. Ben Judah put a rolled up blanket under the rabbi’s feet.

An hour later, he was dead. Ida Grossman and her children were beside themselves. She continued to wail and weep loudly. Margaret, her twenty-two-year-old daughter, tried to comfort her. The Jewish community had no leader now except Cantor Ben Judah. A funeral was arranged the next day as per Jewish custom. Cantor Ben Judah presided over the funeral service, and Rabbi Grossman was buried at sea in a plastic bag because it was impossible to dig any graves in the lava rock on the island.

General Mandel, Colonel Shepherd, Elijah Ben Judah, and Pastor Swift met after the funeral to discuss leadership of the Jewish community. Elijah Ben Judah said he would assume the role as the Jewish community religious leader since he was a cantor and familiar with the Jewish traditions and services. They all agreed that Elijah Ben Judah would be a good choice to lead the Jewish community in the absence of Rabbi Grossman. After the meeting of the leaders of the community, Elijah Ben Judah was introduced as the new Jewish leader of the Jewish community, and everyone was satisfied that they would continue to have leadership.

General Mandel advised Colonel Shepherd it was time to move on and that the community should begin the next leg of its island-hopping saga. The community met, and it was announced they would be sailing for the next island on the horizon, heading due west of their current island in the general direction of the Asian continent. A few hours later, the rafts were all loaded and sailing toward the next island. Upon arrival of the next island several hours later, scouts were sent out to investigate whether any human survivors were on the island. This island was considerably larger than the previous mountain island, and it had trees and vegetation around the ocean edge. It looked like a most promising island until the patrols returned. “General Mandel, we searched the island, and there are no humans on the island, but there are some animals, however,” Marcus Green reported. “What kind of animals, Marcus?” General Mandel asked. “Wolves, sir, hundreds of wolves living in wolf packs along the tree line farther up the island.”
“Colonel Shepherd, what do think we should do?” General Mandel asked. “We cannot fight hungry wolves, General. I recommend we ship out and head for the next island for our own safety,” Colonel Shepherd suggested. “OK then, tell the rafts to push off and head for the next island. We will leave the wolves to themselves,” said General Mandel.

Back on the seas, they sailed that day until darkness was soon beginning. It was an extremely long day, and no one had time to prepare a meal, so dried fish and seaweed were the meal of choice until they made land. The next mountain island was a longer distance than the previous islands. The ocean waves were high that day, and the wind kept changing directions, preventing the rafts from sailing in a straight line to the next island. The sun finally set, and a full moon rose into the sky, shining off the ocean waves in the darkness. Some time, a few hours after sunset, they arrived at the next island. There was no time to prepare shelters, so the group set about collecting driftwood and building fires for cooking food and protection against any predators. Scouts were sent out with fire torches to investigate the island. They returned several hours later to report no wolves or humans had been spotted. The Judeo-Christian community settled in for the night with just blankets to protect them from the elements.

The next day, Mrs. Judy Swift visited Mrs. Ida Grossman, consoling her over the loss of her husband, Rabbi Grossman. Ida was glad to have Mrs. Swift visit, and they became good friends. “Ida, if you ever need anything, I will help you any time,” promised Judy Swift. “Thank you, dear friend,” Ida exclaimed. “I have my children to support me in my loss, but your friendship is most welcome.”

Elizabeth Swift and Rob Swift got to know Billy Mandor one day when they were on the same driftwood-collecting detail. “Hey, Bill, where are your parents?” asked Elizabeth. “They were killed in an AGV accident last year,” Billy said. “Oh, I am sorry, Billy,” Elizabeth said. “There you go again, prying into people’s lives again,” brother Rob Swift commented. “When do you think we will get to the Asian content, Billy?” asked Elizabeth. “Who knows. I doubt if we will ever see the Asian continent soon,” Billy said in a depressed tone. “Well, cheer up, at least we are still alive after the storm and the volcano erupting,” Elizabeth said, trying to cheer up Billy. Rob commented, “Elizabeth, you need to leave Billy alone.”
“Thanks, she isn’t bothering me,” said Billy. Just then, Elizabeth tripped on a piece of driftwood and fell on her elbows. “Are you all right?” Billy asked. “I am fine,” laughed Elizabeth, being embarrassed from falling on her arms. “Maybe you should stick to cooking,” Rob commented. “Pick on someone else, Rob,” Elizabeth said.

Betty Samson and Xiaolin Tan were soaking some dried fish for a soup for dinner that day. “Xiaolin, do you think we will ever see the Asian continent?” asked Betty. “I hope so, or all this suffering will have been for nothing. I cannot believe God would lead us this far and then abandon us,” said Xiaolin. “I sure am getting tired of fish,” Betty remarked. “What I wouldn’t give for a real hamburger,” Betty commented. “I would rather have some rice for a change. In time, I am sure we will find vegetables, rice, and meat to fill our needs,” said Xiaolin.

“Colonel, we are low on fish again. Can you have four rafts take the fishing nets and see if we can catch some fish to cook and dry out for the community?” General Mandel requested. “I am already on it, General,” said Colonel Shepherd. Four rafts pushed off about an hour later with fishing nets. This time, they had spears in case a shark or any large, dangerous fish were caught in the nets. The rafts were about two hundred yards from shore when they dropped their nets and dragged them through the ocean waves.

Suddenly, the first raft group had a problem. Their raft was leaning and taking on water. Their net must have caught on something or netted a large fish. The other two rafts pulled in their nets quickly to assist the first two rafts. Whatever they caught was thrashing around in the net, pulling the raft to one side, and it attempted to dive deeper, pulling the net with it. For over an hour, they tried to pull the net in with all four rafts on top of the net. Finally, a fin surfaced, and sure enough, it was a huge shark that must have weighed hundreds of pounds. Marcus was the first to throw a spear and impale the shark. Tim Dong Wo stabbed a hooked spear into the shark while it was on the surface, and red blood was everywhere in the water. The rafts were in danger of tipping, but the crews were equally determined to kill this shark and not let it get away.

Finally, the thrashing stopped, and the shark rolled over on its belly in the ocean. All eight men pulled the net onto one raft that sank down under the weight of the shark. He was huge with teeth as sharp as razors. More sharks were being attracted to the area from the blood scent, so they set sail immediately for land with the shark on one raft and the fish they caught on the other rafts. This was the biggest fish they had ever caught and will make a great meal for the entire community that night.

As soon as the rafts were beached on the lava rock shores, Marcus Green ran back to the camp to get Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel and other volunteers to come and see the shark they killed and to help cut it up for dinner that night. There was excitement everywhere in the camp that day when everyone rushed down to the shore to see the shark that weighed in excess of five hundred pounds. Everyone set about cutting up the shark meat. Inside the shark were two other large fish that the shark had just eaten. Colonel Shepherd instructed everyone to save all the organs and teeth to use for fishing and making weapons. It took hours to slice the shark up into pieces and transport it back to the camp. They put the shark meat over fires and cooked it to perfection. Everyone celebrated their bounty that evening with prayer and a huge dinner. Some of the women had found wild onions and wild carrots, and these were boiled in the fish soup in addition to the broiled shark meat. God had provided again for the Judeo-Christian community.

After the death of their father, Rabbi Grossman, Saul Grossman, Samuel Grossman, Margaret Grossman, and Ben Grossman began to take a more active role in their Jewish community. Margaret volunteered to be cantor for some of the services, and Saul, Samuel, and Ben became readers of the Bible and the Torah. Ida Grossman and her new friend, Judy Swift, spent many hours together, talking and helping to repair ripped clothing of members of the community.

Chapter 8
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

The survivors of the Judeo-Christian community had been traveling for over two years on their journey to find higher ground. It was the eighth month in the second year since they left Mauna Loa volcano in the Hawaiian volcano chain. Now they were approaching what looked like the northern mountains in Northern China. Mount Xiaowutal, at 9,455 feet by the old method of measurement, was in this mountain chain as well as Taihang Mountains. It was hard to identify one mountain from another because only the upper portion of the mountain stuck out above the ocean. If only they had an instrument to determine their global position exactly.

Elijah had another vision that he later shared with Rabbi Grossman. He saw the Judeo-Christian community being attacked by some Chinese with arrows. There were several battles in which peace was finally declared. He saw many sad Chinese faces of a group that had been captured and forced to become slaves. The slaves would be freed and become part of their community. It was a weird vision that Elijah could not explain. Rabbi Grossman was at a loss to understand the vision either. “Time will tell if your visions are true,” Rabbi Grossman told Elijah. “Yes, Rabbi, time will tell I guess,” remarked Elijah.

The intercontinental land bridge had begun to change from lava rock to packed earth and small vegetation. A small patrol was up in front of the community when suddenly, out of nowhere, arrows were flying through the air. Two men and a woman scout were killed instantly. The remaining five scouts ran back to the forward group and warned General Mandel. Immediately, everyone dropped their baggage and took out what weapons they had made. Few of the members could shoot a bow accurately, and spear throwing was limited to short distances. “Get behind a bolder, everyone!” General Mandel yelled. He used his army whistle to warn everyone with a loud burst from his whistle. Colonel Shepherd was half a mile back from the front of the group and did not know of the attack for twenty minutes.

When Colonel Shepherd and the rear group of community members reached the place where everyone was hiding behind boulders, he realized that there must have been some hostilities. Creeping from boulder to boulder, he found his way to where General Mandel was hiding. “What happened, General?” he asked. “We have been attacked by Chinese soldiers or bandits armed with bows and arrows. We lost three people in the scouting unit up front. The five survivors ran back to me to report the unprovoked attack,” the general said.

Everyone was instructed to hide behind boulders and wait for a signal from General Mandel. This was the first time they had encountered other hostile survivors since they left North America. General Mandel set up all the archers in the front area and kept the women who could not shoot an arrow in the rear area. Using his binoculars, he could see a small band of a dozen Chinese hiding behind rocks about two hundred yards in front of them. “Colonel, take a look in these binoculars. There is a group of hostiles about two hundred yards out. Can you see them?” he said. “Yes, yes, there they are, hiding behind boulders. What do you want to do, General?” Colonel Shepherd asked. “Well, we could retreat or attack and try to scare them off. It looks like they only have about a dozen archers. We could send twelve men and boys to outnumber them. While a main group stages a frontal attack, you take a group of twelve more and try to flank them around the right,” General Mandel ordered. “Right, sir, I will assemble the men and boys immediately. I will send the twelve to make the frontal attack up to report to you while the other twelve and I scramble around to the right to try and outflank them. Give me fifteen minutes before you attack,” Colonel Shepherd responded.

Colonel Shepherd dropped back to where the majority of the community were hiding and organized two assault groups. He sent twelve men and boys forward to stay with General Mandel, and he and the other twelve men and boys diverted off to the right to try and outflank the hostile Chinese.

After going around many boulders, Colonel Shepherd and his group were in position to the right of the Chinese, ready to attack with bows and arrows and spears. “Remember, take a shot, advance forward, and find shelter right away. Make plenty of noise, yelling to unnerve the Chinese,” Colonel Shepherd whispered. “OK, fifteen minutes, ready, attack, men!” shouted General Mandel, blowing his army whistle as they ran forward, shooting their arrows at the Chinese. When Colonel Shepherd heard the whistle, his group attacked from the right flank, completely surprising the Chinese. Three Chinese fell dead with arrows in their chests. An arrow whizzed by Colonel Shepherd’s head, but he ducked, and it missed him, bouncing off a rock. The Chinese turned and ran back from where they came from, realizing they had two groups attacking them. General Mandel and Colonel Shepherd were very relieved, and they had lost no one. Only an arm injury from an arrow was reported.

They all headed back to the community camp area where General Mandel assigned patrols to watch the perimeter that night and every night in the future. Children and women were instructed not to go out of the camp area. This was their first real threat to survival by another group of survivors. The hostile response really surprised the Judeo-Christian group because of the call for help on the ham radio months before. Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel agreed that they would have to send someone good to scout where the hostile Chinese were camped. They could try to go around them, which would be difficult with seventy people, or they could try to size up their opponent’s strength and size. Billy Mandor, who was only age 16, volunteered to go at night and scout the Chinese bandits and try to find out where they were camped.

Billy understood that this was a dangerous mission, and he took his bow and spear. Colonel Shepherd had Billy smear mud on his face so it would not shine in the moonlight. He also put on a dark baseball hat. It was about 9:00 p.m., and there was only a half moon that night as Billy slipped out into the boulders and lava rock surrounding them. He walked and crawled for several miles until he saw the light from campfires in the distance. He was a few hundred yards away from the Chinese campfires, so he got on his stomach and crawled the entire way, keeping his head down and making no noise. Early in the morning, he finally made it to the edge of the campsite where he could count the tents and shelters around the campfires. There were twenty huts and tents and about fifteen fires. There were a lot of men as sentries around the perimeter of the camp. He estimated there must have been around twenty to forty men in the camp and no women or children, or at least none that he heard.

He turned around and crawled on his stomach until he was a good hundred yards away, and then he stood up and jogged off into the distance, away from the Chinese camp. He was breathing heavily from running and the fear of coming so close to an apparent enemy. This was a first for Billy, who had never had any military training. Just before sunrise, Billy got back to the Judeo-Christian community to report to General Mandel and Colonel Shepherd. Approaching General Mandel’s tent, Bill called out, “General Mandel, sir, are you up yet?”
“Yes, I hear you, I will be right out, be patient,” General Mandel called back.

Meanwhile, Colonel Shepherd was already up and making an instant hot drink from old coffee and tea bags. Seeing Billy back in camp, he called over to him. “Billy! Bill, what did you learn?” he shouted. Just then, General Mandel came out of his tent, rubbing his eyes. “Let’s sit down and review what Billy has learned, Colonel!” General Mandel shouted. “What did you learn, Billy?” Colonel Shepherd asked. “Well, sir, they are a little over two miles away on a mountain area. I counted the huts and tents as twenty and about fifteen fires. No children or women were around, and there were sentries posted around the camp. I estimate two to a tent or hut, that means they may have upwards of forty men total,” Billy concluded. “Good work, Billy, you were very efficient and accurate in your report. That information will be most useful to us. It sounds like their group is a little too big for us to attack. Our best bet is to establish a better defense just in case they try to attack again. I wonder why they are attacking us to begin with?” General Mandel commented.

The general and the colonel decided on a defensive plan rather than attack a larger hostile force. They cut down some trees and set up sharp spikes in the ground as a defense. In addition, they dug pits with spikes at the bottom and covered them over with sticks and grass. General Mandel erected a signal tower with some cut-down trees so they could see the Chinese if they were attacking. All the preparations took about a week, and no attack from the Chinese occurred.

The leader of the Chinese bandits was Su Yuan Jing. He was a leader of the Hung Hutze bandits of Northern China. Su Yuan Jing was an older man who succeeded his father as leader of the Hung Hutze bandits. They were a group of bandits that had lived in a stone fortress hundreds of years old on the side of a mountain. Su Yuan Jing had twelve children and a loyal wife of many years. He was a short man with a bald head and a small ponytail at the back of his head. A huge scar was evident across his face from a knife fight with another ambitious Chinese man who wanted to take over the leadership reigns many years ago.

After the flooding of all of China except the mountaintops, the Hung Hutze were one of the few groups of Chinese to survive out of millions of Chinese that drowned in the flooding of the earth from the comet’s impact. Su Yuan Jing had an ugly temper, but he was a good fighter and leader of the Hung Hutze bandits. They had survived the flooding because they lived in the mountains at seven thousand and eight thousand feet above sea level.

The bandits the Judeo-Christian group encountered was just a war party looking to raid their neighbors or kill some animals if they found any. The women and children lived in a stone fortress on a mountainside about two miles behind the Chinese bandit encampment. To the bandits, they were protecting their small village, and this group of foreigners seemed to provide a threat. They did not know who these foreigners were, so they attacked first to gain the advantage. Their scouts estimated the foreigners as a hundred strong, including women and children. They observed that the foreigners had guns and horses that they did not have. Their only defense were bows and arrows and spears.

Two weeks after the first attack, the Chinese bandits decided to attack early in the morning. As they came over the mountain ridge approaching the foreigner’s encampment, they were surprised to see a defense perimeter of spikes implanted in the soil. Behind the spikes was cut brush piled up, which could be put on fire to ward off attackers. The bandits decided to attack anyway. As they charged down the hill, the Judeo-Christian group was waiting for them behind some boulders and trees. Colonel Shepherd shouted to the men and women, “Here they come! Hold your shots and arrows until I say shoot!”

When the Chinese were within fifty yards of the spike perimeter, the colonel shouted, “Shoot, get them bastards!” A dozen or so arrows flew into the air, piercing many of the Chinese bandits. Billy lit the brush fires, forming a fire barrier to prevent the Chinese bandits from crossing into the encampment. It worked because the Chinese were scared to jump over the spikes and the fire perimeter. They held back as the Judeo-Christian group shot into the attacking Chinese with guns, crossbows, and arrows. Twenty Chinese were killed in the first assault. The second assault was General Mandel and some of the men on ponies, attacking the Chinese with swords and spears from their ponies. The assault was very successful, and another ten Chinese bandits were killed or wounded. The Chinese bandits went running for their lives, with General Mandel and others on ponies chasing after them. It was a most successful day for the Judeo-Christians.

The Chinese bandits had underestimated the strength and intelligence of the foreigners and fled in terror back to their stone-walled village up on a mountainside. General Mandel followed them until he could see the walled village on the side of a very high mountain. There was no way they could attack a stoned fortress on a mountainside, so General Mandel and the others decided to return to their camp.

Upon returning to their camp, General Mandel discovered that Xiaolin had found a wounded Chinese bandit survivor who had an arrow through his leg. General Mandel asked some of the women to tend to the bandit’s wound since he could be helpful in the future. Perhaps they could use the bandit to take a message in Mandarin to his leader to arrange for a peace talk.

After the two small battles, it was decided to meet with the Chinese using the wounded bandit to return to his village with a message in Mandarin using Xiaolin to interpret. They wanted to explain to the Chinese that their intentions were not to settle in the northern Chinese mountains. Their mission was to continue on to the Tibetan mountains where survival was more likely. The note would ask for a peace talk, and as a show of good faith, they were returning the wounded bandit to his village. Xiaolin wrote out the message in Chinese Mandarin on a piece of paper. After they bandaged up the captured bandit, they put him on a pony and sent him back to his village. Xiaolin also suggested that the two groups might make a trade to allow the Judeo-Christian group to continue on its journey to Tibet. The bandit was most grateful that the Judeo-Christians tended to his wound rather than killing him on the spot. Xiaolin explained to the bandit that they were allowing him to take a pony to make it easier for him to travel back to his village. The bandit was lifted up on the pony, given the message, and sent on his way.

Several days later, a small group of Chinese bandits appeared on a hill nearby the Judeo-Christian encampment with a white flag on a pole, waving in the breeze. Several members of the Judeo-Christian group, including the sentries on duty, called for the colonel and the general to come and see that the Chinese bandits had come under a white flag of peace. They rode out to meet the Chinese bandits with Xiaolin as interpreter. When they approached the bandits, Xiaolin spoke in Mandarin to their leader, Su Yuan Jing. Finally, Xiaolin signaled to General Mandel to come and sit down by the bandits to talk. Xiaolin explained that they were travelers headed to Tibet, and they had no intentions of settling here where the bandits lived. Su Yuan Jing, the leader of the bandits, explained to Xiaolin that their village was in need of food supplies, and they were willing to trade for food and ponies. They had no ponies, and they would be most valuable. In addition, Su Yuan Jing explained that they had captured a small temple of Christian Chinese whom they used as slaves. They did not have enough food to feed the Christian Chinese now. Since the foreigners were Christians too, they wanted to trade away the Chinese Christians so they would not have to feed them anymore. Xiaolin explained this all to General Mandel. The General thought about the offer and decided that they owed a debt to save the Christians even though they were Chinese.

“This is my offer,” the general told Xiaolin. “Tell this Su Yuan Jing that we do not want the Christians, however, we will take them in trade if the bandits let us pass through their territory without harm on our journey to Tibet. We will give them five valuable ponies and some four pounds of dried fish for all the Christian Chinese people and a promise to allow us to travel unrestricted through their land to Tibet in the south.”

Xiaolin told this to the bandit leader. Xiaolin also asked in Mandarin, “How many Christian Chinese people are there?” Su Yuan Jing responded in Mandarin that there were about fifty Christian Chinese men, women, and children. General Mandel told Xiaolin to tell the bandit leader that if he brings the Chinese Christians to this same place tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. or so, he will instruct his people to bring the five ponies and four pounds of dried fish to trade. Su Yuan Jin responded in Mandarin that their trade was fair, and he would bring the Chinese Christians on the morrow and allow the Judeo-Christians free to travel through their territory in China. They all shook hands and bowed, and the two groups parted their ways.

General Mandel returned to the camp and explained to the community what had transpired. He ordered everyone to pack up their animals and to be ready to leave the area as soon as they traded for the Chinese Christians. The plan was to give the bandits their five ponies and dried fish and move on as quickly as they could to get out of the territory of the Chinese bandits, just in case they changed their minds.

The next day, the two groups arrived to meet and trade. The poor Chinese Christians were wearing rags and looked like they were one step away from death. General Mandel hoped that this act of kindness for fellow Christians didn’t backfire on them. After the trade, Xiaolin met with the Chinese Christians and explained that they were free to go where they wanted to or join the Judeo-Christian community for protection and food as they traveled to higher ground in Tibet. The Chinese Christians seemed afraid of the foreigners but decided they needed their protection and food, so they chose to join with the Judeo-Christian group in their mission to travel to Tibet. As soon as the trade was over, the Judeo-Christian group marched off toward the horizon. They hoped to put as much distance between them and the bandits as possible. They were not sure if they could trust the bandits.

All this came to pass as Elijah’s vision had portrayed it, and the only people who knew the vision came true was Elijah and Rabbi Grossman. Truly, God must have spoken to Elijah and revealed himself to Elijah, Rabbi Grossman thought to himself as they were traveling away from the Chinese bandits. Elijah himself began to feel that perhaps he was a vessel of God and blessed by God to receive visions. “How strange was that?” Elijah thought to himself.

Chapter 9
“Thou anointest my head with oil.”

Elijah Ben Judah had many visions that came true in the past and would come true in the future. Somehow, by some miracle, he had a special connection to God. It often scared him to think that he had the power of visions that indeed came true. It was a difficult concept for Elijah, a simple Jewish cantor, to accept.

The Chinese bandits, the Hung Hutze, were behind them now, and fifty people, who happened to be Christian Chinese, newly strengthened their numbers in the Judeo-Christian community. The Christian Chinese were grateful for being freed from the bonds of the Chinese bandits, thanks to Elijah Ben Judah’s vision and Xiaolin’s help in interpretation of Mandarin with the bandits. The Christian Chinese helped serve as guides through the Chinese mountain chain of islands in the ocean. Many in their community firmly believed that the Himalayas would be the promised land for generations to come.

Having Mongolian ponies to ride made the trip easier across the islands that were connected by the entire mountain range in China. Goats and llamas were dragging along behind the caravan of people. The Chinese learned from the Mongolians how to milk the Mongolian mare ponies that has a foal to make. The Mongolian people called the fermented mare milk airag. Only a mare that had a foal could be milked, so both the mare and the foal had to be lassoed and tied up together so the foal could drink from the mare.

Many of the Christian community began to believe what Ben Judah was seeing was a gift from God. In such stressful times, both groups needed a spiritual leader. Rabbi Grossman had passed on and only Elijah Ben Judah was there to replace Rabbi Grossman. Ben Judah did something Rabbi Grossman never did before. Elijah reached out to the Christians as equally as he did to the Jews in the community. Many times during Christian services, Elijah offered to sing as cantor since they did not have a choir or organ. His strong and beautiful tenor voice inspired many Christians to sing with passion. When someone was depressed or feeling down, Elijah was there to comfort them. Pastor Swift did not feel threatened because he began to see something in Elijah that no one has seen before. It seemed more and more every day and every week, Elijah had become the community spiritual leader who led by example and helped to keep the group’s spirits up.

One day when the group was crossing over another mountain range, Elijah was standing on a lava boulder outcropping overlooking the ocean, shielding his eyes from the sun, looking in the direction of the next island. Suddenly, a dark cloud floated over Elijah, and a sudden thunderstorm began with lightning hitting the ground but a few feet from Elijah. The crashing sound scared the hell out of Elijah who was focused on looking at the island in the distance. He jumped to the side as the bolt of lightning burned a patch in the ground not too far from him. Colonel Shepherd yelled for him to get down from the lava rock and seek protection.

Everyone was standing on the beach, getting ready to embark on another sailing trip when the thunderstorm suddenly opened up the skies overhead. Rain came pouring down, and everyone scrambled for cover. The only covers available were a few pine trees near the water’s edge. The shelters had already been taken down. Many of the community got very wet since they could find no shelter. Elijah was frozen with fear as the lightning bolt struck the ground right near him. Finally, he came to his senses and dropped to the ground, covering his head. The hair on his head stood straight up in the air as if he had touched a live electrical wire. He rolled away from the lava boulder as far as he could before getting up and running for the beach under a downpour of rain. By the time he reached the beach, he looked like a cat that had seen a ghost with his hair standing straight up in the air and his beard all frizzed out from his face. “What the hell happened up there!” General Mandel shouted to Elijah. Elijah was almost in shock when he said, “I don’t know. One minute it was sunny, and the next minute, a lightning bolt missed me by a few feet. Wow, that was scary.”

Everyone in the Judeo-Christian community saw this event occur, and they were all amazed. Some thought Elijah commanded the lightning to strike. Others thought it was a message from God to Elijah. Whatever it meant, everyone believed it had something to do with divine intervention involving Elijah. The only exception was Elijah, who only thought he almost got killed by a random lightning bolt and not divine intervention.

From that day forward everyone talked about Elijah and how he had changed and how, in many ways, he seemed to be selected by God to see visions about their lives. Even Rabbi Grossman’s wife and children began to see Elijah as a new spiritual leader. One day, Betty Samson mentioned the old concept of a messiah, to deliver the Jews out of harm’s way. Pastor Swift discussed this with Betty one day and pointed out that the Christians believed that Jesus would come again one day to save the world. For Christians, the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus Christ, and one day, he would come again as he promised his disciples. Betty, being Jewish, found that an interesting concept, but she still secretly believed that Elijah was to be a chosen leader or spiritual person endowed with certain powers by God.

The Chinese mountain chain seemed to go on forever. As soon as they walked over one mountain range, another mountain range appeared. The ocean had filled all the valleys, and the rafts could be kept sailing a few miles away from the mountain ridges. Later in the day, the patrols returned one by one. The last group to return came with great news. They had seen a few mountain goats on some lava ledges on the side of a small mountain. This meant they might be able to have meat for the first time in over a year if they could kill a mountain goat. General Mandel formed a small group of the best archers, and they set out immediately with the patrol to find the mountain goats.

About five miles away, the Chinese mountain range rose to snow-covered peaks, and there along the side of the rocky peak were mountain goats grazing on the grass growing out of the rock crevasses. They were over two hundred yards above them on difficult terrain. This was not going to be an easy hunt. Mountain goats were very sure-footed and fast.

General Mandel decided to have one group of archers scale up the mountain from the south, and the other groups go around and scale the volcanic mountain from the other side. Some of the Christian Chinese men offered to help hunt the goats, and their offer was well received. It was the general’s plan to trap the mountain goats from any retreat as the group from the south scaled up the lava rock ledges. “Remember, men, do not waste any arrows. Wait until you are at least fifty yards away. No one is going to hit a goat at one hundred yards with the wind and elevation to consider,” General Mandel commanded.

Each group set out for their mission. The climbing was difficult with sharp lava rock and the intense heat and humidity. The south-side climbing group got within one hundred yards of the grazing mountain goats when the goats got their scent and bolted. Now they had to chase the mountain goats farther up the slope. The north side of the mountain climbing group, including the Chinese Christians, eventually climbed to a lava ledge that overlooked a grassy pasture higher up on the mountain. The mountain goats were coming toward them with the south climbing group forcing the goats to retreat. “Wait until they get closer and then bank your shots a little higher than the goat since the arrow is going to drop,” General Mandel advised in a whisper. They waited patiently until the mountain goats were within range of their arrows. Then four arrows sped through the air, and only one arrow hit its target, striking the large horned male goat in the neck. He bounded off with the arrow still in his neck. The female mountain goats went in another direction out of fear. Now the general and his group had to follow the male mountain goat until he bled to death. Two hours later and many miles of rough lava rock, they found the male mountain goat dead with the arrow still in his neck. They threw the goat over one of the men’s shoulders and took turns carrying the carcass back to the camp. They were most excited, for this would be the first animal meat they had in over a year.

Betty Samson saw the hunters returning to the camp first. “They killed a goat!” she yelled to everyone in the community. Sure enough, the men returned to the camp with the biggest trophy they had to eat in a long time. The goat was skinned, and the meat was put on a stick over the fire to grill to pure perfection. The internal organs were saved too because they could be used in a soup or stew later on. “Congratulations, General. I am sure those mountain goats were a difficult shot to make,” Colonel Shepherd went on to elaborate. “You have no idea how difficult. Even after we were lucky enough to hit one of the mountain goats, we had to track it for miles until it bled to death,” the general replied.

That night, they had a goat feast and relished the taste of real animal meat after a long year without red meat. Prayers of thanksgiving were given for the goat meat, and everyone was thankful. Marcus Green mentioned that night after dinner to Colonel Shepherd. “You know, Colonel, that goats, even mountain goats, give milk and that would be a real find for us. If only we could figure how to capture the female goats alive,” Marcus commented. “You have a good point, Marcus. I am going to have to think about how we could trap and not kill some female mountain goats. We could make milk and cheese from the female goats,” Colonel Shepherd remarked.

“General Mandel, do you think it is possible to trap the female mountain goats and keep them for milk and cheese?” Colonel Shepherd asked. “It wouldn’t be easy, but I am sure with some rope, we might be able to do it cowboy-style and try to rope them. I will get a group of men to start practicing with ropes to see if they can learn to lasso,” commented General Mandel. “Great idea,” commented Colonel Shepherd. Xiaolin reported to General Mandel that some of the Chinese Christian men knew how to make a weapon called a bola. A bola was a rope with two sacks containing rocks on each end attached in a Y to one single throwing rope. The weapon would wrap around the legs of an animal and cause it to fall to the ground. General Mandel liked that idea and asked Xiaolin to ask the Christian Chinese men to make some of these bolas.

The following day, General Mandel searched around to see if they had any rope strong enough to make a bola or a lasso out of it. He found some rope that they used to lash food to the rafts. Only three lassos and three bolas could be made, so some of the men in the community tried to learn the technique of throwing a lasso and using a bola around an object. The Chinese men helped show how to throw a bola. They practiced on a post in the ground, and after many weeks of practice, they seemed proficient enough to go after the female mountain goats and try to capture them.

Both groups decided to select a spiritual leader such as Ben Judah who seemed to be a spiritual man with special powers to perceive the future or bring good fortune to the communities. They anointed Elijah Ben Judah, the Spiritual Leader and the Messiah, who will bring them out of China to the new land of Tibet. Ben Judah reached out to both Christians and Jews alike in his spiritual beliefs. Many Christians believed he might be the Second Coming of the Christ after they saw the miracles he performed that helped save the community. Elijah Ben Judah was anointed the spiritual leader of the Judeo-Christian community. The Christians saw him as the Second Coming of Jesus, and the Jews see him as the Messiah who will lead them to the promised land in the Himalayas.

Chapter 10
“My cup overflows.”

Abundance came to the Judeo-Christian community; food was in abundance in the mountaintop ridge. The Chinese mountaintop range led all the way to southern China and eventually the Himalayas. A cow was found wandering and grazing. Fresh milk was available. Stray goats were found grazing also and captured. Elijah was getting old, and his wife, Sarah, have had two children named Benjamin Rob Ben Judah and Elisabeth-Ann Ben Judah, ages 2 and 1 respectively. Their lives were beginning to settle down, and Elijah was having fewer visions than he had before. Everyone in the Judeo-Christian community had become good friends, including the Christian Chinese who have learned enough English to communicate.

A ham radio message said very few survivors in Europe survived after the food riots and racial strife. Only a few humans survived in South America in the Andes and the Himalayas, according to the ham radio message.

After a six-year pilgrimage, the Judeo-Christian community finally arrived at the beginning of the Himalayan mountain range in Tibet. After another month of traveling, they arrived at the outskirts of Lhasa City in Tibet. Many couples have had babies in the last year, and some were pregnant. The Chinese Christians had learned some English and had become friends with both the Jewish members and Christian members of the community. They had finally come to the promised land. Their dream had become fulfilled. Sadly, Pastor Swift and Rabbi Grossman did not live to see this historic event.

When they first approached Lhasa, some of the locals came out to meet them and welcomed them with gifts of food. Later, the monks from the Drak Yerpa Tibetan monastery came to visit. They sat and listened to the tale of how the Judeo-Christian community had come all the way from North America after the comet collided with the earth and the oceans rose to a height of six thousand feet above sea level. The monks were amazed that this small group of people came thousands of miles over oceans and mountains to survive the ocean flooding. They were invited to meet the head priest of the Tibetan monastery once they settled in with their community. The monks offered to help the Judeo-Christian community in whatever they needed. They offered to have local Tibetan help build mud-and-stone homes and trade with the Judeo-Christian community for animals and goods.

The Himalayas were lush with trees and foliage and domestic animals. Many Tibetans and Tibetan monks had survived since they lived at high altitudes all their lives, and the ocean flooding posed no threat.
“Sarah, tomorrow I am going to meet with the monks at the monastery that we saw on a nearby mountaintop. I am going to try and establish good relations with them and make them aware that we come in peace,” Elijah said. “Do you want me to come with you, Elijah?” Sarah asked. “No, that is OK, Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel are going with me to talk with them. I also have someone in our Chinese community that can talk Tibetan as an interpreter that we are bringing to speak with the monks,” Elijah commented.

Later that day, they took some ponies and rode to the Drak Yerpa monastery at the base of Gambo Ute Mountain. Hundreds of steps rose up the mountain to the Tibetan monk monastery. They had to leave the ponies at the bottom of the steps because the only way to get to the monastery was by climbing the hundreds of steps. Huffing and puffing, they finally reached the top of the stairs where many orange-dressed monks met them at the top of the stairs. They were there to meet the leader of the monastery, Sakya Trizin. The monks took them to see the master Sakya Trizin who was sitting in a large, oversized seat, waiting for them. “How may I be a service to you, strangers?” Sakya Trizin asked.

Colonel Shepherd chose to respond. “We have come in peace, Your Holiness. As you know, the earth was hit by a comet and sank in the Pacific Ocean. The world has flooded every place on earth under six or seven thousand feet above sea level. Los Angeles and New York are miles underwater. We have traveled for over five years from North America to find high ground where we could live without being washed into the flooding oceans.”

“I see,” Sakya Trizin responded. “You are welcome in our land so long as you do not break any of our customs.” Small cups of tea were brought to the group, and they sat around a small floor-height table. “I will pray for your community to live in harmony with our community,” Sakya Trizin responded. Just then, Kunchen, Sakya Trizin’s assistant, made the call to prayer. It was time for Sakya Trizin to leave. He bid his guests good fortune and left for prayers. The Judeo-Christian group of representatives finished their tea and left for their descent down the stairs and eventually down the mountain.

“I think our brief talk went well,” Colonel Shepherd said to General Mandel and Elijah Ben Judah as they descended the long set of stairs. “Yes, I too thought it went well,” said Elijah. “Time will tell if he was just giving us lip service,” said General Mandel. They mounted their ponies and headed back to their camp.

Back at the Buddhist temple, Kunchen said to Sakya Trizin, “Master, do you trust these English?”
“I am not sure yet,” Sakya responded. Kunchen secretly did not like the foreigners, and if he were in charge, he would have sent them away. He had to keep his opinion to himself for Sakya might not agree with his rash personal decision. Kunchen was to become a major problem for the Judeo-Christian community in the future. He did not like foreigners.

The first priority for the Judeo-Christian group was to establish more permanent housing like the locals used in Tibet. At this altitude, they would get a winter season and snow, so they had to have good protection from the bad weather. The climate was still warmer than it had ever been before, but at this altitude, the nights were colder and the seasons could turn to winter soon. There was no wood at this altitude near Lhasa. There were some houses built of stone by the local Tibetan that they could copy. There were also Tibetan nomads who used yak hair tents to live in. Elijah and Colonel Shepherd spent some time with the locals and asked many questions about the weather and how bad the winters were in Lhasa. Some local men offered to help the Judeo-Christian community build rock-and-mud houses in exchange for goats, ponies, and llamas. Mongolian ponies were rare in this area.

Llamas brought a high trade value with the local Tibetan and could be used for trading. Xiaolin came along to help negotiate a trade of animals for the local Lhasa men helping to build mud-and-rock housing. She understood Mandarin and some Chinese dialects, but Tibetan was a little more difficult to understand. Sign language worked better than trying to speak Tibetan. The lack of wood made it difficult to find fuel to burn for fires. The Judeo-Christian community learned to copy what the local Lhasa people did to survive. They used yaks for everything. They burned the dried dung of the yak for fires, milked them for food, used their thick hair for clothing and tents, and used their meat for food. General Mandel offered to trade some of the Mongolian ponies for yaks since the yaks were better suited to this climate and stronger for carrying loads and providing milk too. The Mongolian ponies were used to eating grass, and there was not a lot of grass in the Lhasa area.

General Mandel and Colonel Shepherd asked some of the women to meet with the local Tibetan woman and find out how they make noodles and dumplings. They made a spicy stew that a friendly Tibetan man had shared with them in exchange for a mirror in trade, and everyone found it very tasty. Mustard seed was grown locally and was used as seasoning in many of the Tibetan foods the Judeo-Christian women learned. Making butter and cheese out of yak milk was a tedious task that had to be learned too. The Christian and Jewish women made daily trips to Lhasa each day to talk in broken English and sign language with the local Tibetan women. They brought something to trade every trip and that helped make friends more easily.

The Tibetan women were very friendly and fascinated with the trade items the Judeo-Christian women had brought to trade. Elizabeth Shepherd, Mary Moon, and Xiaolin had Colonel Shepherd’s permission to trade Mongolian ponies for yaks if the locals would trade one for one. The three women managed to trade several Mongolian ponies for several yaks in an even trade. They threw in some jewelry to sweeten the deal with the Tibetan woman. After spending many hours with the Tibetan women, they were able to buy some yak cheese, yogurt, and milk from the Tibetan women to bring back to their camp. Adaption to the local customs and lifestyle was the key to survival the Judeo-Christian community learned.

It took but a few months to build a dozen or so stone-and-mud homes by the local Tibetan men, in exchange for animals. While the Tibetan men built mud-and-stone homes, the men from the Judeo-Christian community tried to build fences of stone to keep their animals from running away. It was fall, and winter would soon be coming to the Himalayas. The Judeo-Christian community had to act quickly to get settled for the frigid winter weather. The cool Himalayan mountain weather at night required better clothing than the Judeo-Christian community had, so the women were sent back to Lhasa to learn how to make coats from yak hair. They traded some of their bright-colored cotton for yak skins to make yak coats and the long dress called chuba that the Tibetan wore. Slowly over a period of four weeks, the Judeo-Christian women were able to make chubas and yak coats for everyone in their community. Barley was a staple in Lhasa, and the Tibetan people used it for everything, including barley flour that they made noodles and dumplings from. Potatoes were another important local vegetable that were used in stews. The Christian and Jewish women learned quickly that mustard seed was used as salt would normally be used in every food the Tibetan prepared.

After a month, Kunchen came to see how the foreigners were doing on orders from the head Buddhist priest. Kunchen had his own agenda regarding the foreigners. He was afraid foreigners seeking to survive around the world would come and crowd the Tibetan towns. He did not reveal this opinion to the foreigners. “I must speak with your general,” Kunchen said. “General, you are squatters on our land, and we will expect payment for the land you have placed your houses on.” General Mandel was surprised by this comment because he thought that there was no problem. “We do not have much to pay you with for your generosity and for allowing us to live on your property,” General Mandel remarked. He was very concerned with this one monk’s personal attitude, but he knew he could not go around him and ask the high priest. “We have some wonderful mountain goats we have tamed. Can we pay you these goats for now?” he asked. “The temple gratefully accepts all payments for your land,” Kunchen remarked. “Allow me to show you around our little community,” General Mandel asked. “This would be to my liking,” Kunchen remarked.

After the tour of the Judeo-Christian community, Kunchen took the two mountain goats and returned to the temple. General Mandel went to Colonel Shepherd to talk with him about Kunchen. “Colonel, this monk called Kunchen is going to be a problem. Already he is looking for payments,” General Mandel remarked. “I see that he does not seem to like us,” Colonel Shepherd said. “Yes, we have to watch him because he cannot be trusted,” General Mandel replied.

Life in the Judeo-Christian community was beginning to come together, and many couples were expecting babies. Those that were single were considering a more serious relationship. The Jewish community had merged with the Chinese Christians, despite their language barrier, and with the North American Christians. Elijah led the community with great wisdom now that he was a married man with a child. Sarah, Elijah’s wife, was an important part of his ministry. She spent a lot of time with all the women of the community, sewing garments and chatting.

Chapter 11
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Elijah had been the spiritual leader of the Judeo-Christian community for over a year, and both religions had combined into one religion with respect for traditional holidays and the Christians. Many Christians, including the Chinese Christians, felt Elijah was Jesus in his Second Coming. The Liberal Jews felt that they had found their true Messiah in Elijah who led them out of North America to safety and higher ground. Both groups felt Elijah was indeed the true Messiah by his visions and his unique role in the Judeo-Christian community.

“Today, my friends, we have much to celebrate,” Elijah announced to the congregation. “We have survived six long years of struggles, death, and sacrifice to find the promised land, higher ground. We have survived the comet colliding with the earth. We have survived the death of our two spiritual leaders, Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Jim Swift. We have much to be thankful for this day.”

Then he sang the 23rd Psalm that seemed so appropriate with regard to the struggles their community encountered. Several community members stood up and said their personal prayers aloud, and everyone remarked with an “Amen.” Winter was coming in the Himalayas, and the thin air made the nights very cold.

Soon snow would be on the ground and the Judeo-Christian group would have to survive the bitter cold of winter. Everyone had made yak clothing over the past few months, and shelters were built for the animals and stone-and-mud homes for everyone. God had been gracious and had provided much for this group of people that suffered so much and traveled so very far in their migration from North America to the Asian continent.

What the community did not know was that there was a cord of discontent with some of the Buddhist monks led by Kunchen without the head priest’s knowledge. Kunchen and other Buddhist monks believed the foreigners were squatters that should pay for the land they occupied. Kunchen had taken some bribes in the past in the form of ponies and goats, but that did not seem enough to solve his greed. Secretly, he plotted to have the foreigners removed.

Later that month, Kunchen came running into the Judeo-Christian community, shouting for a doctor. “Doctor! Do you have a doctor? The master Sakya Trizin has taken ill!” Kunchen was shouting. Dr. Greenspan and Elijah Ben Judah came running out of their homes to see what all the commotion was all about. “Doctor, our master Sakya Trizin has taken ill, and our medicines do not seem to be working. We are afraid he will die. Can you help with some western medicine?” Kunchen asked. “Yes, yes, we are more than willing to help,” Dr. Greenspan said. He went inside his home and got his medical bag. Elijah offered to accompany him to the temple.

The three of them rushed up to the temple and the many steps to the top and entered the great hall where the master Sakya Trizin was lying on a bed of cushions at the far end of the great hall. “Master, master, I have brought the doctor from the foreigners to help you with western medicine.” Dr. Greenspan could see that the master was very ill. “How do you feel, Master Trizin?” he asked. Slowly, and in a soft voice, Master Sakya answered, “I am dying. Soon my spirit will rise up into the clouds.” Dr. Greenspan checked the master’s pulse and determined it was rapid around, ninety-eight beats per minute, and his blood pressure was very high—165/98. It seemed that some kind of infection had attacked the master Sakya.

“I am going to give you an injection of the best medicine I have, called penicillin, and hope it will kill the bacterial infection you have,” Dr. Greenspan explained to the master. The master just nodded his head. Elijah prayed for the master by repeating the 23rd Psalm and several other Jewish and Christian prayers. The monks surrounding the master were very impressed with the knowledge Dr. Greenspan had and the fact that a foreigner from another world and religion was praying for their religious leader. Even Kunchen was impressed as he watched the doctor draw serum from a vial of penicillin. Dr. Greenspan explained to all the monks surrounding them that he would be back that night to give the master another shot of medicine, and they all nodded and folded their hands in a prayer position. “Thank you, great and wise doctor,” they all responded in unison as Dr. Greenspan got up to leave.

As Elijah and Dr. Greenspan descended the steps from the temple, Elijah asked, “Do you think he will make it, Doctor?” “It is hard to say, but if the medicine can kill the bacterial infection, then he may have a chance,” Dr. Greenspan responded. Together they walked in silence back to the community on the outskirts of the city.

That night after dinner, Dr. Greenspan and Elijah went back up to the temple to give the master another injection of penicillin. When they entered the great hall in the temple, the master was sitting up with many monks sitting around him. The master’s face seemed to have a healthier color to it, and he was talking more easily. “How do you feel, Master?” Dr. Greenspan asked. “I am well, thanks to your great medicine, Doctor,” the master answered. “I have one more injection to give you, Master, and hopefully, you will be well by tomorrow. Already I can see you are feeling better,” Dr. Greenspan commented. “I will hold you in my prayers, Master,” Elijah said. “Thank you, Holy One,” the master said. Kunchen was sitting by his side, smiling. It was a miracle he thought that the westerners had such powerful medicine.

The following morning, Elijah and Dr. Greenspan returned to the Buddhist temple to see how the master Sakya Trizin was doing. When they entered the great hall of the temple, the master Sakya Trizin was standing and praying in front of the huge statute of Buddha. “How are you feeling, Master Trizin?” Dr. Greenspan asked. “I am well, my friends, thank you for saving my life, and thank Buddha for allowing you to save my life. I am deeply indebted to you both,” the master answered. “Thank you, Holy One, who is called Elijah,” the master went on to say. “We are delighted you have recovered, Master Trizin. The God of the Christians and Jews blessed you and your life,” Elijah responded. “Truly we are all blessed. Sit, let us have tea together and thank Buddha and your God for their blessings,” the master asked.

So they sat and drank tea together, and all the monks were amazed, except Kunchen. Kunchen was more jealous of Elijah and the doctor for their magical medicine. One day, he, Kunchen, would become the master, he hoped. All the other monks blessed the foreigners and praised Buddha for saving their master. An hour later, both Elijah and Dr. Greenspan left to return to their village.

Winter was upon them, and the first snowstorm left two feet of fresh snow. Now the long Tibetan winter would be the newest challenge for survival of the Judeo-Christian community. Everyone in the community had collected plenty of yak dung to burn in their fires, and kept the yak dung under covers or in a corner of their homes indoors. There was no wood to burn at this high altitude. Meats had to be dried or left in protected huts to freeze. In gratitude for saving Master Trizin, the monks sent food to the Judeo-Christian community.

A new bond between the Judeo-Christian community and the Tibetan monks seemed to grow after curing Master Trizin. Master Trizin was especially impressed with the spiritual presence of Elijah Ben Judah. The master believed God and Buddha blessed Ben Judah. This caused Kunchen great jealousy and concern for the growing power of Ben Judah with the master Trizin.

The ham radio chatter had gone from an occasional message to absolutely no messages at all. It seemed that all the ham radio operators had died over the past few years. No word of the outside world was heard from once the ham radio messages stopped. The Judeo-Christian community was beginning to feel isolated in a world of Tibetan and Buddhist monks. Even the Chinese Christians were beginning to feel the isolation even though they were bonding well with their fellow Christians and Jews. The future in this paradise was beginning to look bleak, and winter set in and the snowdrifts got deeper and deeper. It was a time for reflection by Elijah.

Meanwhile, Kunchen’s jealousy was becoming obsessive in his mind. He had plans on becoming the leader of the Buddhist monastery, and when Dr. Greenspan and Elijah saved the master’s life, Kunchen’s plans were crushed. As the month went on and winter had taken hold of the high mountain country, Kunchen secretly plotted with some of the monks to have Elijah removed. Elijah was never aware of this scheme. So on a dark night in January, Kunchen sent some henchman to Elijah’s home to kill him and his family in the night. With a full moon that night, it was easy to see as the Kunchen’s henchman crept up on the Judeo-Christian community on the outskirts of the city. The henchman entered the front of his home, and they stabbed to death the bodies of Elijah, his wife, and two children. There was a cry from Elijah’s wife as they stabbed her to death. They slit Elijah’s neck, so he was unable to scream.

A dog barked in the village, alerted by the intruders. The alarm whistle was blown, and everyone awoke and assembled in the middle of the village. General Mandel noticed that Elijah and his family did not appear. He sent Billy to wake Elijah, not knowing that Elijah and his family had been killed in the night. Billy discovered the dead bodies under their blankets. He rushed back to General Mandel, shouting, “He is dead! Elijah and his family were killed in the night!” Billy told him of the grisly discovery of their dead bodies. The general formed search parties to find the henchman who came in the night and stabbed Elijah’s family to death. To search at night brought no clues, and the killers were long gone.

Morning came and the Judeo-Christian community was like a beehive of activity with scouting parties trying to track down the henchman that came in the night. They tracked the murderers back to the monastery on the hill. Several men questioned some of the monks as to whether they had seen anyone running back to the monastery in the night. Master Trizin was informed by some of the monks, and Kunchen stayed out of sight. Master Trizin promised to have an investigation performed. He could not believe that one of his followers could commit murder, but he asked his most trusted monks to seek the truth. For some reason, he did not trust Kunchen and did not ask him to help.

The Judeo-Christian community was grieving over the unexplained murder of Elijah’s family. They buried Elijah and Elijah’s wife and children the next day in a grave outside of the village as per Jewish custom. It was a sad state of affairs with no one to lead the Judeo-Christian community in religious services. The snows had piled up to eight- and ten-foot drifts outside for many days, forcing the community to stay inside their homes.

Who would step up to answer the call for this little religious community? Many of the Judeo-Christian community asked themselves these questions: “Who would lead? Who would be the next Messiah?” Master Trizin sent his condolences with flowers from the monastery. Many villages came by to say how sorry they were that this had to happen near their village. Everyone in the Judeo-Christian community grieved in their own way. The general held a memorial service for Elijah and his wife and two children, and everyone cried for the loss of their beloved spiritual leader.

One day several weeks later, a monk came to the master Trizin to inform him that he suspected that Kunchen was behind the murder of Elijah’s family. He believed that Kunchen, out of jealousy with Elijah and his powerful influence with the master, conspired to plot against Elijah and have him killed by some hired henchmen. Master Trizin called Kunchen to the temple where he confronted Kunchen by asking him whether he knew anything about hiring some henchmen to kill Elijah and his family. Kunchen denied the accusations, but Master Trizin insisted that Kunchen tell him the truth or he would be thrown out of the monastery. Master Trizin had a witness appear and confront Kunchen with one of the henchman they caught hanging around the monastery. The henchman, for fear of his life, told everything about Kunchen paying him some gold to kill the one known as the Messiah, Elijah. Kunchen denied everything, but the master did not believe him. The henchman was taken out of the monastery and killed on the steps by having his head cut off. The head rolled and bounced down the hundreds of steps, abruptly landing at the bottom of the steps and left to rot there. This was an example to the other monks and villagers that murder would not be tolerated. As for Kunchen, he was banished from the monastery and the village, never to return to Tibet forever. The rules of the monastery were that no monk could kill another monk, so Kunchen was exiled for life.

One day, a messenger from the master Trizin at the monastery came for Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel. Master Trizin wanted to see them and their wives immediately. Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel were reluctant to go to the monastery because they did not trust the Buddhist monks. General Mandel’s wife, Adel, and some others convinced them to go, and they offered to accompany them to see the master Trizin. “We will show Master Trizin that we are strong,” said Adel Mandel. “Yes, Adel is right, we will show that we are united in our belief and thank Master Trizin for punishing the killers of Elijah and the mastermind, Kunchen.”

So they left before noon that day and traveled up to the monastery sitting at the foot of the mountain. The hundreds of steps were always very tiring to climb, and the men helped the women as they struggled up the steps. The air was cool that day, but the sun was hot, and they were all sweating when they got to the top of the stairs at the monastery.

“Welcome, friends, you honor me with your presence this day,” the master said. “We are happy to be here, Master Trizin,” Colonel Shepherd responded. “This is my wife, Elizabeth, and you know General Mandel, and this is his wife, Adel. We also brought Dr. Greenspan and his wife, Monica.” Master Trizin welcomed Colonel Shepherd and his wife, Elizabeth; General Mandel, and his wife, Adel; and Dr. Greenspan and his wife, Monica. They all shared tea together. Master Trizin said a few prayers and turned the prayer wheel each time he repeated a prayer.

It was Master Trizin’s idea to give Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel payment for their loss of Elijah and his family at the hands of Kunchen, the exiled monk. Master Trizin explained that since Kunchen was a Buddhist monk under his control, he personally felt responsible. He promised that when the winter snows melted, he would have one hundred monks help to build a new temple big enough to be a house of worship for all the Christians and Jews of the Judeo-Christian community. The monks would bring wood timbers from the far away forests and granite rocks from the mountain and build the finest Jewish-Christian temple in Tibet. General Mandel and his wife and friends were elated and overcome with joy and admiration that the master Trizin would do this for foreigners.

“The debt needed to be paid,” the master said. Everyone was happy and excited for the Judeo-Christian community that something good had finally happened after losing Elijah Ben Judah and his family. After a few hours, Master Trizin arose. “I bid you all good fortune and health in the coming year, and may we all come together in our grief and build a new future together,” the master prayed. “Thank you, Master Trizin, on behalf of our group and the entire community. We are most grateful for your help in catching the killers and dealing with Kunchen. God bless,” said General Mandel.

With that, they departed down the one hundred stairs, with monks in orange robes lined up on both sides of the stairs. As they stepped down each step, the monks all bowed. Colonel Shepherd, Dr. Greenspan, General Mandel, and their wives all felt like they were in a parade. They bowed back to the monks as a gesture of politeness. They all had a feeling that their future would be prosperous and that the monks had become their close friends.

So that spring when the snows melted, one hundred Buddhist monks descended from their mountain monastery to come down to the Judeo-Christian village to build the biggest and grandest temple in all of Tibet. It would be on the grand style of other Buddhist temples in Tibet, only it would be for Jewish and Christian worshippers. This would be a memorial monument to Elijah and family. It would take at least eight months or more to complete the temple. The wooden beams that held up the roof were dragged from the far away forests by mules and horses. Buddhist craftsman set the granite rocks precisely on top of one another. Donkeys and mules pulled carts of granite stone from a nearby quarry. The size of the temple was 300-feet long by 150-feet wide. The ceiling arched up into the sky for four stories. Many nearby villagers came by to watch the building of this huge temple and admired the beauty of the structure. Truly, it was a building that would last for hundreds of years.

They named the temple the Temple of the Second Coming to remind them that they had been delivered out of North America to this mountain home. They also remembered what the book called Revelations in the New Testament Bible said that the new temple of the Second Coming would one day be erected. Christians and Jews worshipped in it every day, and all religious holidays were celebrated in the temple. In a plaque on the front of the temple was an inscription dedicated to Elijah Ben Judah and his family. It read,

To our Messiah, Elijah Ben Judah, who led Jews and Christians out of the flooded waters of North America to the promised land in Tibet, and to his family who made the ultimate sacrifice—3056.

For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, “I will build you a house.” Therefore, your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. (2 Samuel 7:27)

Master Trizin was pleased when the temple was finished, and he felt his obligation to the murdering of Elijah’s family had been met. There was a great celebration with hundreds of Buddhist monks, the Tibetan villagers, and the people of the Judeo-Christian community giving thanks when the temple was finished. A banquet was held and animals were roasted for everyone and the monks prepared vegetarian dishes since they did not eat meat. It was a great time for giving thanks and for bringing a Buddhist community closer to a Judeo-Christian community. The Temple of the Second Coming would last hundreds of years in Tibet as a memorial to a messiah who helped to deliver the children of God out of North America to the land of Tibet. Stained glass was made out of the broken pieces of old bottles collected from the town dump. Dozens of Buddhist monks cut and melted the bottles and fragments into window frames of abstract art of natural images, such as flowers, the sun, and the snow on the mountains.

The climate began to return to normal with the high temperatures going down as the years went by. The skies had cleared, and vegetation was growing better. The oceans around the world had receded hundreds of feet from the high points it had reached. The great cities of the world would never again be seen because they were one thousand leagues or more under the ocean. The comet had ended civilization, as it was known in the year 3050. The survivors of mankind would rebuild their lives in small packets on mountaintops around the world. The clock of technology had been turned back, and survival on earth had reverted to the early days of hunters and farmers. The only worldwide communication system were the ham radios that were an antique but effective technology.

On a little mountain valley in Tibet, a small group of Jews and Christians from North America and China lived their lives praying in a temple dedicated to the vision of the Second Coming. Elijah was remembered with the same reverence as was Jesus Christ, and he ranked among the greatest Jewish and Christian prophets of the past thirty-one centuries. His name was forever remembered for centuries to come—how he led his people out of North America, like Moses did out of Egypt, and Northern China to sanctuary in the Himalayas of Tibet. He was the last great Messiah.
The End

Don’t Be Square

A TV pilot script by Dr. Pelham Mead. (c) 2018.

By Dr. Pelham Mead III
Every kid at one time or another wants to become a teacher, but it is never that easy. This is the story of the birth of a Junior High school in upstate New York in the 1960’s in Spring Valley, New York and the faculty that helped make it an outstanding school. What students don’t take into consideration is the politics in teaching, the relationships among faculty members, student demonstrations and annoying weekly fake bomb scares. Yes the 1960’s was a generation more unique than any before or after. Some of the social movements started in the 1960’s extended into the early 1970’s like the anti-Vietnam war movement, the Civil Rights movement, the experimental drug era, the free sex era, and lastly, the free love era. Many of these social movements had an effect on teachers in the 1960’s and 1970’s that made teaching more difficult than in the past. This is the story of one Junior high school in Spring Valley, New York that after the Tappan Zee bridge was built all of Rockland county began to exploded with housing. The teacher strikes in New York city forced parents to move to the suburbs to get a good education that was not hindered by the big politics of New York city and it’s very large teacher union. Kakiat Junior high school in the East Ramapo Central school district was directly affect by this shift in population. In the 1950’s Spring Valley had barely 50 students in the one high school senior class. When Kakiat Junior high opened it had 600 students with a project rise to 600 in a few years. As the school grew so did the growing problems in the school and in the community. This is the story of Kakiat Junior high school and it’s dedicated faculty of teachers that made Kakiat a great place for students to learn. We shall loosely follow the career of Dr. Pelham Mead who began as a Physical Education teacher recently out of college with both a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree in Education. Dr. Mead would meet and become life-long friends with Richard (Rick) Knapp from Syracuse, and John Caldone from Trenton, New Jersey.
The story begins before Dr. Mead was hired in 1967. Kakiat Junior high was being built starting in early 1958 and was scheduled to be completed in the fall of 1960. Unfortunately, construction fell behind the summer of 1960 and the auditorium seats were never delivered.
Let me set the scene. There are piles of wood everywhere, and a backhoe parked nearby. Many trucks are parked in the background. In the front of the brick building, the glass with taped X in the front hallway. The date is August 1960.
Note: Hal Green is a clean shaven job foreman with a balding head, and short stout body and horn rimmed glasses.
(Talking to another construction worker outside the school building) Well it looks like we aren’t going to finish this job on time for the opening on September 5th.
Note: Bard Sloan is an overweight short man with a clean shaven face. He is dressed in construction work pants and light brown jacket.
That’s too bad. There are going to be a lot of unhappy parents and students.
Yeah, about 600 unhappy students to be exact.
What’s holding up the job?
The auditorium seats have not come in yet. We are also five unfinished classrooms left on the second floor.
Wow, that’s a lot to do. Well I have to get back to work. See you later boss.
Fade out.
Susan is a tall thin attractive woman with long blonde hair and a tight red skirt and white blouse. Susan is and ambitious women who will stop at nothing to advance herself in her career, even if it means having an affair with her boss.
Hello, Superintendent Woodcraft’s office, Mrs. Adler speaking. How may I help you?
Hello, I would like to speak to the Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Woodruff, please. This is Mr. Green, the Foreman on the Kakiat school construction.”
Yes, one minute Mr. Green. I will put Superintendent Woodrift on the line for you. (Shouting into the next room) Mr. Green the Job Foreman on line 2 sir.
Note: Sam Woodruff is an older man, age 60 with grey hair cut short and clean shaven. He is married with two children and is not Jewish, but a Catholic. Sam is a secretive man with many ghosts in his closet.
Ok, I got it, Hello,
Hi, Mr. Woodruff, this is foreman Green speaking.
Yes what can I do for you Mr. Green?
Well, Sir I am afraid I have some bad news for you.
Yes what is it? (In an angry manner)
The chairs for the auditorium for Kakiat Junior High School have not arrived yet. In addition, we are five classrooms behind in finishing, Sir.
Are you shitting me! Here it is September 2nd, three days away from opening, and you are telling me we are not going to finish on time? What the hell am I going to do now? We sent out 600 letters back in August, to the new Kakiat JHS students about opening day on Sept. 5th.
May I suggest Sir, that we lock the auditorium, and block off all access to the five unfinished classrooms on the second floor, front hallway.
What about the building inspector? He is never going to give us a CO with the building unfinished.
Don’t worry about the building inspector, we will slip him some money to go away until the building is done.
You can do that?
Let me worry about that, Sir.
Ok, I want action and fast.
Miss Adler, get me the President of the Board of Education, Mr. Grossberg, and Mr. Flemingberg, the Teacher’s Union President, on the phone right away.
Supt. Woodruff begins pacing back and forth and looking out his office windows. The administration building was an old brick building that was originally the Spring Valley High school before the war. It was three stories high with the old fashioned high ceilings and high windows. The Superintendent’s office was on the third floor over-looking a shopping center next door.
Thank you Sir, goodbye.
Mrs. Adler, get me the President of the Board of Education, Mr. Grossberg, and Mr. Flemingberg, the Teachers Union President on the phone right away.
Sam begins pacing back and forth, looking out the windows of his office. A few minutes later the phone rings.
(Shouting) Mr. Woodruff, Mr. Flemingberg, Principal of Kakiat Junior High, calling on line 2.
Hello Bill, I just wanted to let you know we have a problem with the opening day at Kakiat Junior High school. The auditorium has no seats yet, and we are five classrooms upstairs away from finishing. I just wanted to keep you informed. Please tell your teachers that regardless of what gossip they hear, we will open on Sept. 5th with a faculty development day. Students will report on Sept. 6th at 9:05 am.
Than you SAM. I will notify all our Union Members that is business as usual at Kakiat Junior High school and all teachers assigned to that new school are to report in at 9:05 on Sept. 5th.
Thanks Bill, I will keep you informed, gotta run, bye.
Phone rings again.
Mr Grossberg is on line 3 sir.
Thank you Ms. Adler, I got it.
Good morning Sam, Shalom. How are you today?
Note: Sam Grossberg is a Orthodox Jewish man with a full face beard and thick black hair, bushy eyebrows and a large nose. He speaks with a Jewish accent.
Good and you?
Sam we have a problem with the construction at Kakiat Junior High school. The auditorium seats have not yet been delivered, and they have five more classrooms on the second floor to finish.
Wow are we going to open on time?
Yes we are going to open on Sept. 5th for the faculty conferences, but the upstairs will be blocked off and the auditorium will be locked.
OK, I am glad we have a backup plan or the parents will be calling me night and day.
I will keep you informed Sam, have a nice day.
Goodbye Sam.
(Dialing out on a 1960 rotary phone) Hello Principal Woorley? This is Superintendent Woodruff. I have some good and bad news for you. Which do your want first?
Note: Ray Chisamore was an old grey haired man that was originally an Assistant Principal at Spring Valley Junior high school and was promoted to Principal of the New Kakiat Junior High school. Ray was old school in many ways and inflexible when it came to school rules.
What is the bad news.
Well the construction on your school is running behind schedule. Your auditorium chairs have not been delivered yet, and five classrooms upstairs rooms 201, 202,203,204, and 205 are not finished yet.
Are we going to open on Sept. 5th?
Yes, but with restrictions. The second floor font stairway will have to be blocked off by your staff and the auditorium will have to be locked.
So what is the good news?”
The good news Ned is you’re going to open on Sept. 5th for the faculty conference day.
Great, I will get on the closures right away on the second floor, and auditorium. Thanks you, and have a nice day.
Helen Marino call the Assistant Principal Herman Kaspar, and have him modify the class schedule and move rooms 201 to 205 to different rooms. If there are not rooms available the small cafeteria will be available except periods 3,4, and 5 during lunchtime. Also have him inform the faculty and staff that construction will go on during school hours and the auditorium is off limits and will be locked until the chairs arrive.
I am calling him right now, Mr. Chisamore.
What are I going to do about the parents? Should they be informed? It is probably too late for that
(Talking out loud to himself).
Back at the Superintendent of Schools office.
Susan do your want to come into my office please? Well, it has been a most stressful day Susan. How are you holding up?
Yes, it was pretty stressful Sam. Are you going home now or are you going to stay after a while?
I was planning on showing you the book closet Susan. Would you be interested in seeing my book closet? Lock the office door for me, please.
I am excited to see your book closet Sam. What do you have in it?
I have some champaign for the both of us, and some glasses. Step into my book closet. Would you like some champaign Susan?
You know it makes me dizzy Sam.
You are a lot sexier, when you are dizzy. Come over here, and let me hug you.
Remember our agreement Sam, if I have an affair with you the position as Director of Personnel will be mine.
Yes, yes, I promised Susan, and I plan to announce to the board that you are being promoted. I already gave Mr. Bernstein, Personnel Director, notice to vacate the Personnel office by the end of the month.
You are a sweetie. Does your wife have any idea that we are having an affair?
No, I always tell her I have to work late on a project or the Board meeting ran late. She suspects nothing.
Let me snuggle up close to you Sam. How about if I rub this area in your pants does that excite you?
I want to take a look at those huge breasts of yours Susan. They always give me an erection.
You can touch them, but be gentle. Last time you left black and blue marks on my breasts. Take off your pants Sam. I am beginning to desire you.
How about this? (Dropping his pants to the floor) and pulling down his boxer shorts. Well, look at that, my penis is already aroused.
I am going to lay down on this table Sam. Come and lay on top of me.
An hour later.
I have to get home now, Susan. You were wonderful tonight. I will dream about us tonight. Let me get dressed, and we can lock up the office as we leave.
The Scene is the school library with stacks of books behind folding chairs all facing the librarian’s counter. A table with a large 40-cup coffee machine and donuts is on the side of the room. The windows are on one side of the room, and the other side of the room is the entrance door and the exit door in the back of the room.
Note: Ray Chisamore is an older man with grey hair and a short mustache. He is clean shaven and about five feet eight inches tall.
Good morning ladies, and gentlemen. Welcome to the first Kakiat Junior High 1960-61 season. For those of you that are new to the East Ramapo School district, welcome to your new home. I hope you had a satisfying and enjoying summer. We administrators came back in August to set up the new course schedule, and assign teachers to all the classes. This year will be challenging for those of you who followed me from Spring Valley South Junior high to this new school called Kakiat Junior High.
Herman Kaspar is a career assistant principal who had a crew cut hair style. He had light brown hair and is clean shaven and a little over-weight. He had been passed over for the position as Principal several times.
I want to introduce my assistant principal, Mr. Herman Kaspar. Herman Kaspar is in charge of the school budget, purchasing of supplies, and inventory in the school. Does anyone have any questions so far?
OK, now for the construction problems you may have noticed when you entered the building. The construction is not officially finished yet. The chairs for the auditorium have not been delivered yet, so the auditorium will remained locked until the seats are delivered, and installed. Five classrooms on the second floor first hallway have not been finished yet. The construction will continue on a 12-hour basis until it is completed. The upstairs hallway will be closed off to students, and staff until it is finished.
I am asking you to be patient, and bear with us with this construction situation, until it is over. I have had Mr. Kaspar move five teachers who would have been assigned to those classrooms on the second floor to other classrooms for now. Some teachers may have to use the small cafeteria during some periods when no other classrooms are available. This will only be temporary. I want to emphasize, in a month or less this will all be finished, and we can return to normal.
Note: Phil Spina is a large 400 pound teacher who wears glasses and has a clean shaven face. He is grossly overweight to the point it had affected his walk.
(Leans over to Frank DeCarlo and whispers) Here we go with the usual parade of new teachers.
Note: Frank DeCarlo is a tall, thin, man who is of Italian heritage and proud of it. He is also a talented tenor singer. He an outspoken teacher and well liked by many teachers.
At least we have more teachers to handle to additional enrollment this past summer.
Let me introduce our Department Chairmen who came from Spring Valley Junior High with me. Milt Levine, English Department Chairman, Paul Lewis, Math Department Chairman, Mat Gorosky, Science Chairman, and Fred Tunis, Social Studies Department chairman. We have many new teachers also which I will let them introduce themselves.
During the course of the faculty meeting in the library hammering sounds could be heard upstairs above the library and electric saws. It was a clue of what was to come during the first fall. The meeting continued for over an hour.
One week later.
It was hard to explain how poor the teaching conditions really were with construction ongoing during the day. The sounds of electric saws and hammers pounding all day made teaching impossible. The teachers had no choice, so they plodded through each day for months.
Note: Earl Klock was a tall thin man that was well liked by his students. He was married to the head Librarian Nadia Klock, a tall blonde attractive woman.
I tried to do a flute lesson today but the banging noises in the auditorium made it impossible. At least the auditorium chairs finally arrived today, and they should get them installed by next week.
Note: Bertha Best was a large black woman who was single. She often wore bright colored dresses.
I agree, it was easier to have a study hall, rather than compete with hammers, and saws, making all kinds of noise. I hope they finish the auditorium soon.
I don’t know how we are going to survive? I was tempted to take them outside, but the administration will never allow that?
Suddenly a Rip Saw lets go with a loud sound that drowns out Earl and Bertha. Brrrrrr, rrrrrrr.
You see, that is what a mean? What an unbelievable sound.
You cannot hear your-self think.
Right you are about that.
The hammering and sawing continued every day since the opening of the school.
Note: Fred Tunis was a heavy set man who was a part-time State Trooper in the summer. His bald head had just a few remaining hairs on the sides. He was famous for collecting the most transparencies of the entire staff.
So the British in an attempt to regain some of their lost profits The British decided to (Bang, bang, bang) tea.
What was that Mr. Tunis.
I said, they decided to tax (Sawing sounds) (Fred waits until the saw stops)(Pause) the colonists for buying tea.
Thank you Mr. Tunis.
Maybe it would be better if I used a bull horn?
The class all laughs.
The colonists drank only tea in those days so raising the price of tea was most (bang, bang). The colonists organized a raid on the tea on the ships in (Bang, bang, saw sounds) Harbor. Can anyone hear me?
Not really Mr. Tunis.
Oh the hell with it. Take out your books, and read chapter 5.
ACT TWO- 1967.
Good morning everyone, welcome back those of you that taught here last year. This is our seventh year at Kakiat Junior High, and we have come a long way since moving into the school in 1960, when a great deal of the construction was not finished. Welcome to the twenty new teachers this year. The East Ramapo Central School district hired 300 new teachers to meet the increasing student enrollment. When we first opened we had 400 students at Kakiat Junior High, and about 50 full, and part-time teachers. Now we have 70 full, and part-time teachers and 650 students for grades 7,8, and 9. Let me introduce some of the new teachers.
For Social Studies we have John Caldone from Ryder College, Rick Knapp, Science teacher from Syracuse University, Becky Mason in Music, Tom Spalding in English, Al Malden in Social Studies, Ann Kosiar in Math, Mrs. Elsie Lee in Home Economics. Our Physical Education department has four new teachers, Naomi Newman, who was a student teacher here last year, Renee’ Torbin, Pelham Mead, and Bob Dilley. I am sure I missed some names so would you please stand, and tell us your name and your subject area please?
Some teachers talking at the back of the room.
Wow, did you see the rack on that Female Physical Education teacher? What was her name again Renee’ something?
Paul Lewis is a small Jewish man with thin black hair and a clean shaven face. He was in line to take over the Math department after Marty Knockinson retired.
Yeah, she really is stacked. She is going to be the topic of conversation in the teacher cafeteria this year for sure.
And she wears a tight sweater to draw attention to herself. Interesting?
You will get over it Phil. Remember you are a married man.
Yes, you are right Paul. But, it is not everyday that we get new good looking teachers joining our ranks.
Just let it go. Let’s grab a bagel and some coffee.
The assistant Principal Herman Kaspar circulates around the room during the break.
Good morning Gentlemen, I see you are new here. I am Mr. Kaspar the Assistant Principal at Kakiat Junior High.
Note: Pelham is a born and bred New Yorker. He has a Masters degree from Springfield College, well known for developing excellent Physical Education teachers. Pelham is a thin six foot man with light brown hair in a crew cut style.
Hi my name is Pel, and I will be teaching Physical Education.
What college do you come from Pel?
I come from Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. I got my Bachelors, and Masters degrees there.
Great. We don’t get many teachers with Masters degrees starting off as new teachers. What are your names gentlemen?
Note: Rick Knapp was a baseball athlete at Syracuse University and came from upstate New York. He was just under six feet in height and had a short haircut and clean shaven face.
Hi, I am Rick Knapp, and I just graduated from Syracuse University and spent a year teaching upstate. I will be teaching Science grades 7 and 8.
Note: John Caldone had a born smile on his face and was always telling jokes. He was an Italian man with a clean shaven face and thinning hair on his head.
My name is John Caldone, and I just graduated from Ryder College in New Jersey. I will be teaching Social Studies.
Well, it is good to have you aboard Gentlemen. I hope you have a great year here at Kakiat Junior High.
Mr. Kaspar walks away.
Well what do you guys think of the Assistant Principal?
He is a typical administrator. Don’t trust him.
It is the first day for students to report to school and the school busses are pulling in one after another, and unloading their load of students. The students are swarming in front of Kakiat Junior High meeting their old friends and comparing class schedules.
(Using a small bull horn outside the building) Good morning students and welcome to Kakiat Junior High school. If you have your schedules proceed to your homeroom immediately.
All the classrooms below room 200 are on the first floor extending out to the extension. Classes 200 and above are on the second floor.
If you do not have your class schedule go to the guidance department right away, and have them make you a copy.
(Speaking to Billy Grossman) Well, here we are, 7th graders in a big school. I heard the real name was supposed to be Central Junior High, but the students from Spring Valley South Junior High that were transferred to the new school, got to vote on the name. They picked the ugliest name they could think of, Kakiat, after some local Native American tribe.
Note: Billy Grossman was a short Jewish boy with a crew cut hair style, designer jeans and leather jacket tell he has money.
Wow how did you learn all that?
My mother told me.
Where the hell is room 106 I wonder?
It is on the first floor after the library I think. I came to the orientation during the summer while the building was under construction, and they walked us through the hallways that were finished.
OK, see you at lunch, Roger.
Yeah, see you then, duh? Be cool.
After the first staff day at school Pelham Mead returns to his newly rented home. Unfortunately, Mr. Mead has not had time to move his wife, son, and furniture into the house yet, so he has to sleep on a single mattress on the floor. Mrs. Levine, a kind old grey haired Jewish lady, is the landlord for the small house Pelham Mead is going to rent. The house he was renting was a summer bungalow converted into a year-round home with a floor heater and no insulation in the walls. There were only two small bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen and living-room.
(Speaking to the landlord Mrs. Levine)Good evening Mrs. Levine.
I am going to be moving my wife, son, and furniture into the house this weekend.
Note: Mrs. Ida Levine was an old Jewish widow with long grey hair and a thick German accent. She was only 5 feet tall 2 inches.
That is good, I will only charge you for three weeks instead of four.
Thank you Mrs. Levine. It is great finding a home only three miles from the school that I work in. It will save me on commuting time. Can I use your phone Mrs. Levine to call the Heating and Electric company to turn on the electricity? I have to also call the phone company to install a phone in my home.
Sure come in to my kitchen and you can call from there. I will make us a cup of tea.
Thank you Mrs. Levine.
Two days later in Freeport, New York at Pelham Mead’s mother-in-laws house (Ruth Luna), on a Saturday.
Ok honey, it will be a few hours before we get upstate, so stay close behind me especially on the Throgs Neck bridge toll. I have to pay cash, so I will wait for you after the toll in case I get through before you.
Jeri and Pel were high school sweethearts. Jeri had a pixie style short hair cut and stood five feet four inches tall.
Sure Pel, Dean and I will be fine with Buster our cat.
Thank you Mrs. Luna for allowing us to stay at your house, until we moved into a new home at my new job upstate in Spring Valley, New York.
I have already thanked Mom.
Well then let’s move out. The truck is loaded thanks to your cousins helping, and your brother Al.
Three hours later that day after a long drive from Long Island to Spring Valley, New York.
Well here we are Jeri. I will start unpacking, while you, and Dean can take a bathroom break. I will unload the bed frame for the mattress I purchased. Then I have to put together the couch that my father made out of a door.
I will give you a hand with the small boxes of clothing. Dean will have his own bedroom, and have we have a nice large master bedroom.
Be careful the heater is in the floor under a metal grate. I will show you later how to turn it on. The stove is gas, also, and the water heater. I will put most of the stuff in the far side of the living room so we have room to sleep in the bedroom tonight.
Well, we need to take a break after several hours of unloading, and three hours driving up to East Ramapo Central . I will make some tuna sandwiches with the food I brought with us.
Dean is only two years of age but beyond his age with his vocabulary. He had light blonde/brown hair to his ears and tanned skin from a summer in California.
Dad do I get my own bed? Yes, Dean I ordered your bed the other day and it should be here tonight or tomorrow. OK?
Thanks dad.
The tuna sandwiches are ready Pel, lets sit on the cartons, and have a late lunch.
Sounds like a plan. Honey we have a TV antenna on the roof for our TV reception. I may have to borrow a ladder, and adjust it slightly to get the local channels. It should work well with our 15 inch TV.
That sound good. Dean likes to watch his cartoons on Saturday mornings.
We have to paint Dean’s room, to make it more of a child’s room, than just plain white. I heard that payday is the first week after school opens, which will help with the bills. After that, I think the school check will be every two weeks.
That is good because I can set up a budget for us.
I know things are a little tight right now, but once I get settled, I will be earning extra coaching money to help us pay the bills.
I understand, teachers aren’t rich.
You got that right.
Across town Rick Knapp settles in with his wife.
I met the Assistant Principal, Herman Kaspar, today, and a lot of new teachers like myself. It looks like it is going to be an interesting first year at Kakiat Junior High school.
Cheryl is a young attractive high school teacher with light brown hair. She is an excellent cook and Home Economics teacher.
Great, maybe we can make some friends? I was assigned to Ramapo Senior high just down the street from Kakiat Junior High. We are bursting at the seams with students. I think I heard we have 1200 students enrolled?
Note: The Knapp’s dog is a mix of collie, and German Shepard, and a very intelligent dog called Kelly.
Did you feed Kelly yet?
I forgot to feed her.
That’s OK I will do it. How was your first day at East Ramapo Central Senior High?
We just got a new department chairperson, and additional tables and chairs will be provided for the larger classes we will have.
I can sleep later in the morning, since I do not have to report to school until 9:00 am, but you have to be in school by 7:10 am. Wow, that is early.
I am not happy about that 7:10 am starting time. At least I will get out earlier in the afternoon.
I will take the dog for a walk.
At the new apartments around the corner from Kakiat Junior High John Caldone, and his family settle in.
Well it is a two minute walk to work everyday, since Kakiat Junior High is just around the corner.
Note: Jennifer Caldone is a short Italian woman, attractive with a short hair style. She met John Caldone at Ryder College.
That means I will have the car to go shopping.
Yes, by all means. I met some of the other new teachers today. The District hired 300 teachers in all, to handle the rapid expansion of the population in East Ramapo Central School district.
Your parents will want to see our apartment, so you better invite them next month sometime.
The Principal that hired me, Mr. Chisamore, is still there, and you can tell he is old school right from the beginning. We had to listen to one lecture, after another today. It was real boring.
How do you like the new school John?
It is OK. The small gym was just finished, so the school has two gyms now. It looks like I can earn some extra money coaching as an Assistant Football coach. The school has expanded to 700 students this year, after starting at 400 students back in 1960 when it first opened.
My parents are coming up from Jersey in a few weeks, so we have to get this apartment in shape by then.
No Problem, I will help on the weekends.
Car gasoline just went up to .38 cents a gallon yesterday. Gas is much more expensive in New York than New Jersey.
I will probably have to get another part-time job to help make ends meet.
My parents can loan us some money, if we run short of money.
I don’t want to take money from your parents. In Italian families they never let you forget that they loaned you some money.
Well we will see then.
Note: Bob Dilley was a tall six foot four Basketball play at Ithaca College, upstate New York. He was clean shaven with blonde hair in a crew cut style.
Hello Helen Marino, this is Bob Dilley speaking. I am going to be late for work today. My car broke down on the New York State Thruway with a broken fan belt. I am going to have to get it repaired at the gas station. Please tell Mr. Levitus to have someone cover my first two classes. Thank You.
Note: Helen was the secretary to the Principal. She was well liked by the faculty and staff. Her brown curly hair was a distinct feature to her style and dress. She spoke softly but the ear of the Principal when she needed it.
OK, Mr. Dilley, I am sorry to hear about your car. We will cover your classes. I will tell Principal Shaw and Mr. Levitus. Take care and we will see you later this morning.
Note: Murray was one of the old time regulars that Ray CHisamore asked to move to the new junior high with. He enoyed being department chair and taught only two or three classes because of his large department.
(Talking to NAT MOLOFSKY(48) Earth science teacher) How is your class schedule this year?
Good, I guess, except I have Earth Science labs back to back with the lecture classrooms. That makes it a long day of teaching with few breaks, I heard that the school budget was turned down last spring. Is that true?
Yes, the Orthodox Jewish community votes as a voting block by busing their members to the voting centers to vote the Public school budgets down to save on property taxes. The East Ramapo Central school district gets no money from the State of New York for supporting the Yeshivas where the local Orthodox students go to school.
That doesn’t sound fair. How many Yeshiva students are there?
About 10,000 boys and girls in separate Yeshivas.
That doesn’t seem right. What happened to our Swimming Pool they were going to put into the second courtyard?
The swimming pool went down the drain in the budget vote last spring. The high school got a fancy facade for the front of the building, instead of the swimming pool at our school. It was all about politics. The Orthodox Jewish community thought they were going to save money by not installing the Swimming pool. Now the High School has to rent time in the local Community College swimming pool which is going to cost thousands of dollars a year.
That is really a shame. Now we have that big empty courtyard full of weeks to look at, and no pool.
Note: Jerry was seven years older than Pel and Bob. He was a short thin Jewish man who had problems dealing with people. He was clean shaven with dark brown hair. He was married with three children, and came from Springfield College where Pelham Mead attended.
(Talking to Naomi Newman) Do you know where Shelly is today?
Naomi was six feet tall with thick black hair. She did her student teaching from New York University at Kakiat Junior High and was offered a job afterward. She was a caring mother and dedicated coach who had to work against an all male Physical Education environment.
She called in sick again Jerry.
Really, she has been absent 12 times in one month. What is her problem?
She is getting close to retirement and has taught for 30 years in this district. She was divorced five years back, and it hit her hard. I think she has problems, Jerry.
Yeah, I figured she was having long term problems. I will have to talk to Mr. Chisamore about her. He seems to be close to her.
Later that day in the school main Office.
Mr. Chisamore, Shelly is out sick for the 12th time this month. Do you think you can talk with her when she comes in next time?
Sure Sam, I have known Shelly for over 20 years now. We are old buddies. I will have a talk with her when she comes into school.
The next day.
Naomi, is Shelly in school today? I am getting tire of covering for her subs, who have no clue how to teach Physical Education.
She is in today but wearing high heels and a dress.
Really, what a surprise? She always wears high heels.
Narrator: A few minutes later Shelly comes walking into the gym in high heels and a dress skirt and blouse.
Are you going to change for class Shelly?
I am sorry I forgot my sneakers and sweats.
We’re going out today, and it is muddy out. Are you going to walk through the mud in high heels?
I guess so?
All right boys, we are going out this morning. Get your sweatshirts on or jackets and meet me out on the Football field.
Ok, girls lets go outdoors. Put your coats on if you want. We are going to walk one lap around the field before we play field hockey.”
Do we have to play Mrs. Grossman?
Of course Jodie, exercise is good. Damm this mud. I cannot get it off my new high heels.
Hello Helen Marino, this is Bob Dilley speaking. I am going to be late for work today. My car broke down on the New York State Thruway with a broken fan belt. I am going to have to get it repaired at the gas station. Please tell Mr. Levitus to have someone cover my first two classes. Thank You.
OK, Mr. Dilley, I am sorry to hear about your car. We will cover your classes. I will tell Principal Shaw and Mr. Levitus. Take care and we will see you later this morning.
(Talking to his Social Studies class) Your Social studies project is due this Friday. I expect some of you to do an excellent job on the project, since we spent so much time on it. (He looks directly at a few black students sitting in the back of the room)
Narrator: Jefferson Jones has a huge black afro hair style, and a small mustache. He wears horn rim glasses, and in his thirties.
Was he looking at us?
Got me brother, but I think he means for us black suckers to get our act together.
What about those white students in class?
I guess he doesn’t care about them?
Do you have something to say Benjamin?
No Man.
No sir, you mean Benjamin.
The School Bell rings for the end of the class period. Everyone in the class jumps up and heads out of the classroom.
Narrator: Later that day in the Teacher Cafeteria, Mr. Jefferson Jones, is sitting with militant white teachers David Greenburg, Sally Cochran, and Joe Hughes.
I tell you the Principal, Mr. Chisamore, hates black people.
How do you know that Jefferson?
He uses terms like “your people,” when he is talking to me about other black teachers or black students.
Really, well I am not surprised. Until they hired you there was only two other black teacher in the entire building, and that was JULIA TILLEY (40) THE ENGLISH TEACHER AND BERTHA BEST, MUSIC.
I asked Mr. Chisamore if we could celebrate some black holidays in class like Kwanzaa, and he did not even know what the holiday was or when it took place.
He is definitely old school white.
Did you know that East Ramapo Central School District was cited by the Federal Government for being segregated in its schools back in the 1950’s? The government gave the school one year to clean up its act, and integrate all its schools or loose federal Title I money, and any other federal supported funding, as well as State funding.
Did they comply?
You better believe they did. That is why North Junior high has black students in an all white neighborhood. They bussed the black students from the hill, downtown, to North Junior high, just to balance the blacks with the white students.
I wondered where those black students came from, because I know they did not come from those million dollar houses in the north part of the school district.
Do you think they will hire any more black teachers?
Only if they are pressured to do so. I picked the school because it was where I wanted to raise my kids away from New York City. Most black teachers know the reputation of this school district, and do not even apply here.
I know they hired more black women teachers on the Elementary school level since they had no black woman teachers previously.
The NAACP met with Mr. Chisamore this summer I understand, and expressed their concern that his school lacked any teachers of color. He did not take their criticism well, I heard. At least they put him on notice.
The one they need to put on notice is the Superintendent, and the President of the Board of Education, not just the Principals.
I agree, but it is going to be a long tough road. I have gotten two bad evaluations Ray Chisamore already.
You and me both. I doubt if he will rehire me next year. I am on his crap list.
Mr. Chisamore, I have come to you today with a list of demands by the black students of Kakiat Junior High School. They feel that the cafeteria should begin to offer soul food for black students. In addition, they demand the right to learn Swaheli as a language choice, rather than being forced to take French or Spanish.
You Demand a change in food, and curriculum. What give you the right to demand anything Mr. Jones?
The black students have rights, just as the white students do, and we mean to exercise those rights. Forcing black students to eat white people food is a violation of their civil rights.
Really, I don’t see it that way. What the hell is soul food anyway?
Soul food is chitlins,fried chicken,beans, and rice, fried okra and other foods from the south.
Who is going to pay for this change in food offering in the cafeteria?
I do not know who is going to pay for the change in food choices for black students, but if we do not get what we want we will walk and in addition we will contact the NAACP and the ACLU to join us as well as the local media.”
Are you attempting to blackmail me Mr. Jones.
No sir, I am simply stating a fact that the black students in this school are tired of being ignored and having their civil rights dismissed.
I cannot authorize a change in the menu for the cafeteria, nor can I insert Swaheli as a Foreign language choice. The power to do this comes from the Superintendent of Schools, and the Board of Education.
Well, then I suggest you contact the Superintendent of Schools, and the Board of Education, because we are not the only school in this district that is making these demands. All of the secondary level schools will walk out unless they get their demands met. Do you really want this in the newspapers that your school refuses to support the black students in this school?
I think our discussion is ended now. You can go.
You have one week to take action or the black students in this school are going to walk out, and the local media is going to have a field day making this school, and others in this district look racist. Good bye.
(On the telephone)-Hello Mr. Woodruff, This is Ray Chisamore calling.
Yes, how are you doing today Ray?
Not good Sam. I just had a black militant teacher in my office making demands on behalf of the black students at Kakiat Junior High School.
Oh, What were these demands? Ray?
He demands that the district provide Soul food for the black students to eat in the cafeteria, and he wants Swahili provided as a foreign language choice for black students to learn their native African language.
Well, that is just plain ridiculous. Who do the black students think they are, special?
I am afraid so, and they threaten to walk out of school next week, and protest. In addition they promise to contact the NAACP, and the ACLU, and the local media. This could have a real negative impact on the school district image, and might help defeat the school budget vote when it comes up.
I think they are bluffing.
I have been told this will be a district wide walk out sir, and I don’t think we can afford the bad publicity.
Let me get back to you on this Ned. Hang tight for now. Good Bye.
Narrator: One week later the black students at all of the schools on the secondary level in the East Ramapo Central school district prepare to walk out just before lunch time.
Remember we walk out at 10:00 am sharp. Just stand up, and take your books, and walk out the front door. We will have the NAACP here and the ACLU in addition to the local Newspapers, and CBS Television is sending a roving reporter to film out walk-out. Remember Black Power!
OK, Mr. Jefferson we are behind you 100%, and we will walk out for sure at 10:00 today.
OK then, play it cool until then. If any white students or teachers asks you any questions about the walk out, pay them no attention.
Narrator: Sometime toward the End of period 1, at 10:00 all the black students in the schools of the East Ramapo Central school district, walk out of their classes, and stand outside, picketing with signs demanding Soul Food, and Swahili as a foreign language for black students.
Come gang it is time, let’s walk.
Where are you going Malcomb?
We are protesting the policies of this school in ignoring the black students.
If you walk out there is going to be a lot of trouble Malcomb.
Narrator: All of the black student and Mr. Jefferson Jones assemble outside the school when several cars pull up and a remote TV truck from CBS.
Here come the officials from the NAACP, and the ACLU. I think that is the CBS remote truck also. Welcome gentlemen, My name is Jefferson Jones, and I am a Social Studies teacher here at Kakiat Junior High School. We are happy to see you here supporting our demands for black students today.
Good morning Mr. Jones. It is nice to meet you. Where is the Principal of the school?
I am sure he will be coming out soon.
Good Morning Gentlemen. I see everyone is here except the school officials.
Yes, I imagine they are meeting before coming out to meet the TV camera.
I understand that you requested the school offer Soul food for the black students, and that was denied. You also asked the Swahili be offered for black students beginning next semester?
Yes sir, I met with Principal Chisamore, and he rejected our demands.
We have representatives at all of the secondary schools in East Ramapo Central school district today to meet with the Principals and follow through on these demands.
Likewise the ACLU has representatives at all of the schools to support the black students civil liberties.
Just then Principal Woorley and Assistant Principal HERMAN KASPAR came walking out to meet the visitors, and talk with the black students who walked out of school.
Gentlemen and ladies, I just got off the phone with the Superintendent of Schools, Sam Woodruff, and he has conceded that the matter can be settled peacefully. He had requested the Director of the district lunch programs to offer Soul food twice a week along with the regular foods to any student white or black that wants to purchase Soul Food. Regarding the offering of Swahili in the foreign language department, we will need time to hire new teachers to teach Swahili by next semester. A minimum of ten students a period must enroll for the Swahili language course for five periods a day to allow this language to be offered. Does this satisfy your demands?
Sounds good to us. Too bad you could not have settled this before it became a public issue.
Mr. Chisamore, can I get a comment from you regarding this black student demonstration, Sir?
All I can say is the Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Sam Woodruff has compromised, and offered Soul food for black students during the lunch periods, and Swahili will be offered as a language for black or white students next semester. That is all I can say for now.
OK, students (talking to the black students picketing with signs in front of the school). It is time to go in now. Thank you for you support of black rights. Go to your next class. Black Power!
Narrator: The racial problems at Kakiat Junior high forced the Superintendent to blame all the problems on Principal Ray Chisamore and his advanced age and forced him to retire at the end of the 1969-70 school year.
Goooood Mornnnning Kakiat Junior High School. Let’s all give a big hand to our new Principal Mr. Bob Shaw from New Jersey. Mr. Chisamore as you may or may not know, retired this past spring, after 40 years of dedication, and service to the East Ramapo Central school district. Let me introduce Mr. Bob Shaw to you now.
Good morning Students and Staff. I am happy to be here today serving as your new Principal. I hope we have a great and prosperous school year. Thank you.
That about wraps it up today gang. Remember “Don’t be Square out there.”
Narrator: Principal Bob Shaw Feeling he is not being well accepted by the students and the staff at Kakiat Junior High School decides it might be good to do a Judo demonstration to earn the respect of the students since he is a black belt Karate, and Judo champion.
(On the PA system early in the beginning of the day). Attention faculty and students. There will be a Judo and Karate demonstration this morning in the gym at the beginning of period 2 at 10:05 am. When the bell rings the second period teachers should lead their students down to the gym to sit down on the bleachers. I will be performing this morning with some student volunteers.
Judo demonstration is he kidding?
Yeah, and we don’t even teach Judo in our Physical Education classes?
This demonstration, second period is news to me. Mr. Shaw never told me about it.
Sam what is with the Judo demonstration by Principal Shaw? Is he nuts or what?
Narrator: The Second Period Bell rings, and all teachers and students head to the gymnasium to watch the Judo and Karate demonstration by Principal Shaw.
(Talking on a portable PA system) Welcome students and teachers to our Self-defense seminar. As you may or may not know I am a Black belt Karate expert. I am going to show you this morning how to defend yourself and thwart off attackers.
First Can I have a volunteer student?”
(Many students raise their hands eager to show up the principal.)
Bob Shaw, Principal
(Pointing to a boy names Brad Swan sitting in the bleachers) You, do you want to come down. What is your name son?
Brad Swan sir.
Aren’t you on the varsity football team Brad?
Yes, sir I am the Quarterback for the Kakiat team.
OK, I am not going to hurt you Brad so relax. Lets pretend you are going to attack me from behind. Go ahead and try to grab me around the neck.
(Grabs Mr. Shaw around the neck from behind) There.
(Turning and grabbing Brad by the arm he quickly flips him to the floor. Are you OK Brad? Thank you. Let’s give Brad a big hand everybody.
Oh my God there goes our first string Quarterback! I hope he doesn’t get injured or we are in big trouble.
These are known as nunchucks and can be used in defense or in attacking an opponent.(He takes a pair of nunchucks and begins swinging them around this arms and head and then accidentally hits himself in the crotch. Ouch.
Narrator: The Students all Laugh.
(Showing pain on his face) Lets show you how to defend yourself if an attacker comes from the side or back. Can I have another volunteer?
I’ll volunteer. (Raising his hand).
Ok the student up in the bleachers come on down. Now I want you to try and grab my from the side.
(Runs from the side and as he approaches Bob Shaw, he grabs his fingers and flips him to the ground in a finger hold.
That is how it is done with a finger grip, twisting his fingers causing him to fall to the ground.
Narrator: The demonstration goes on for another 15 minutes and then the students are dismissed to go back to their classes.
Well I guess that demonstration was intended to make the faculty and students feel better about the new principal?
It didn’t impress me.
Another wasted gym period.
Narrator: John Caldone does the morning announcements like Robin Williams in the movie, “Good Morning Vietnam.” He exaggerates the Good Morning, dragging out the words for emphasis.
Goooood Mornnning Kakiat Junior High School. It is 9:25 and here are the morning announcements. The Kakiat Junior high Tigers Football team squashed The Panthers from Pomona Junior High School yesterday with a score of 32-7. Let’s give a big hand for Danny Mathers who scored two running touchdowns!
On another note: Students are reminded that mid-term exams are coming in a weeks. Please check the assigned test room schedule on the Guidance bulletin board.
This years Faculty Basketball team will feature Rick the Runner who never graduated from Syracuse, Don “The Tree Lee,”Mel “The Mauler” Schwartz,
Pel Mead “the bomber Mead,
Sam “the stomper” Steinfeld, and
Joe “the Jumper: Joe Hughes.
Tickets are on sale now for the annual Student vs. Faculty basketball game which raises money for the Student Yearbook fund.
The Cafeteria staff wish to announce that personal pizzas will be on sale during lunch from now on. An automatic Pizza oven machine has been purchased and will be used to crank out those delicious Pizzas.
That’s all for today. This is your announcer Johnny C. Signing off. Remember Don’t Be Square.
So students that concludes the reading about Green monkeys in Africa, and how in some way Scientists believe they are related to the spread of AIDs in Africa. So what do you think this tells us about green monkeys, and AIDS in Africa? Does anyone know or have an idea? OK, Alice do you know the answer?
Green monkeys aren’t really green?
William how about you?
I don’t know Mr. C.
(At the back of the classroom, quickly raising his hand) Mr. C., I know, I know, I have the answer.
Great Malcomb, tell us what you think the correct answer is?
The answer is, them natives in Africa were piping them monkeys.
(When he realized what Malcolm said he began to laugh, then the whole class laughed, and the laughing continued for a minute) Laughter lasting for 20 sec.)
Well that is a great observation Malcolm.
Narrator: Just then the bell rings, and everyone jumps up, and leaves the classroom.
(Standing in the hallway talking to Rick Knapp) I need to tell you Rick that this new kid Richard Flynn is being evaluated by the Guidance department as to his proper placement. He may have ADD or some other learning impairment. We just got his academic and discipline records the other day and realized that he was expelled from elementary school on numerous occasions. We may have to move him to a below level class instead of an on level class like yours. For now, just be careful what you say to him since he seems to have a chip on his shoulder.
Thanks Mr. Kaspar, I will keep an eye out for Richard when he comes into my class this period.
Narrator: Mr. Knapp returns to his desk in his classroom as the late bell rings. He begins to take attendance in his class book.
Welcome to Science 7, and my name is Mr. Knapp. Check your schedules, and make sure you have Science 7 period six, M-F. Now let me check the attendance. To make things easy I want everyone to pick up their books, and line up against the wall. Thanks.
Now when I call your last name take a seat in the first row. Five students will sit in the first row, and then we will move to five more in the second row and so on. This will be your assigned seat for the semester. When I take attendance and your seat is empty, I will assume you are absent, and send a cut slip to the front office. Are there any questions about that?
Narrator: Suddenly, a student bursts into the room, huffing and puffing from running.
Is this Mr. Runner’s science class?
Yes it is and you are late. What is your name son?
My name is Richard. Richard Flynn.
OK, Richard we are assigning seats for attendance, and you will sit behind Gail in row four. Please take your seat.
Hey guy have you got some gum?”
Richard, you need to stop talking, and just sit there until we have the attendance seating completed.
(Gives Mr. Knapp an ugly face)
(Learning forward he taps Gail behind the head.) Hey, Gail what’s up?
Stop that please.
(Laughs out loud)
Richard, this is the second time I have had to speak to you. Quiet down.
(Richard Gives Mr. Knapp the middle finger, and says) Fuck you.
Richard step outside into the hallway please.
No, you cannot make me.
Really? (Mr. Knapp grabs Richard by the arm and starts to drag him toward the door).
(Richard pulls away)
(Losing his patience, Mr. Knapp grabs Richard by the armpits, and lifts him up, and slams him against the wall where the light switches were.
Narrator: As Richard slides down the wall the lights all go out creating a dramatic finish to the confrontation. The class all breaks out clapping, and chanting, Mr. Runner, Mr. Runner). Mr. Runner leaves Richard on the floor, and goes over to the intercom on the wall.
(Taking the intercom off the wall Mr. Knapp calls the office to send a security guard to take Richard to the Guidance Office for the remainder of the class period)
Hello Main office, I have a disruptive student. Could you please send someone down to pick him up, and take him out of this class. Thank you.
OK, Richard let’s take a walk to the Assistant Principal’s office.
Don’t touch me old man.
No one is touching you, so come along quietly now.
(The school bell rings)
Welcome students, we are finished with the Nutrition unit and are beginning part of the Sex Education Unit. I have some laser CDs that explain everything very clearly, but in the meantime, take our your pens and notebooks for some notes.
(Standing by the blackboard with chalk in hand) So, students when we use the work Contraception, we mean preventing birth during sexual intercourse.(A Few giggles can be heard from some students). I know a lot of you think Saran Wrap works well to prevent fertilization, but you are wrong. Spermicide, which is a jelly like substance, can kill about 90% of the sperm cells during intercourse.
Mr. Mead, what happens to the 10% that the spermicide doesn’t kill?
That is a good question Gary. Well, the ten percent that is not killed can fertilize the eggs, and therefore, cause a pregnancy and a possible baby.
(Noticing that the class is not paying attention Mr. Mead attempts to put a little humor into the lesson) Well some sperms have little shields like Knights of the middle ages had, (he begins drawing a few sperms on the blackboard with shields in front of them) No one seems to notice or realize that sperms do not have shields. The shields protect the sperms from spermicide. Are there any questions about that? You will be getting a quiz on Friday on Sex Education and what you have learned so far. Make sure you review the notes from class, and read Chapter 5 in the textbook.
A week later in the same Health Class.
Today we have a quiz on a portion of the Sex Education Unit. Take out a pen and paper, and put your name on the top and period 4 on the top of the paper. I will read the question and you provide the correct letter answer. You need only put down the letter. Do not write out the question or complete answer.
Question number 1-What percentage of sperms does a condom and a spermicide kill? (A) 10% (B) 50% (C) 60% (D) 90%
You have one minute to answer.
Question number 2-What birth control method of the follow four does not work.
A)Birth control pills (B)Saran Wrap (C)Condom (D)spermicide
Question number 3-What is a spermicide? (A) Eye aide (B) kills eggs (C) Kills sperms (D) all of the above.
Question number 4-How long does a human pregnancy take to deliver a baby under normal conditions? How many months? (A) 9 months (B) 11 months (C) 5 months (D) 6 months.
Question number 5- What do sperms have that female eggs doe not have?
(A) Shields (B)tails (C)arms (D) ears
That’s it. Please hand in your quizzes.
Narrator: That night at Mr. Mead’s apartment he begins to sit down and grade the quizzes. His wife Jeri is sitting near by watching TV.
I will do all the number 1 questions first to see how many did well on that question, and then I will grade the second question only and then the third, and then the fourth and finally the fifth question. That way I will have an analysis of each question in terms of right answers vs wrong answers.
Questions 1,2,3, and 4 turned out good, but what’s on question 5? I was only kidding with sperms having shields and they believed me. Sperms have shields, oh no they thought I was telling the truth. Wow, nearly half the class got the question wrong, Sperms don’t have shields, I was joking. I will have to throw that question out I guess? I can’t believe they actually though a sperm could hold a shield as if it had arms or something, (laughing).
Narrator: Behind the gym building was the Archery range with the targets leaning against the hill on tripods, and 10 bows lying on the ground. A yellow cord is stretched out for the students to stand behind when shooting.
It was a crisp fall day in early October, and the Physical Education Staff had decided to offer Archery in the fall instead of the spring to allow Girls to enjoy sports that they would select instead of all Field Hockey. Boys and girls classes were still separated in 1967. The Targets were lined up on the hillside next to the gymnasium, and the starting line was 15 yards from the targets. PE Teachers Bob Dilley, and Pelham Mead are team teaching the boys PE class. Bob Dilley is a 6ft in. Tall blond PE teacher with a clean shaven face and short hair. Pelham Mead is 6 ft. Tall and a crew cut style hair cut and clean shaven.
(Talking to his class of 30 students outdoors). Here are the safety rules for Archery. When I tell you to knock arrows you place the arrow on your bow against the notch and wait for the next command. Remember you must wear an arm guard to protect against the string from injuring your arm, and a finger guard to protect the ends of your fingers.
After you KNOCK arrows, I will say aim, and you will lift up your bow and sight off the tip of the arrow with the center of the target. This is only 15 yards, so it should be sighted dead on. When I give the third signal COMMENCE shooting you can shoot your five arrows, one at a time. When you are down, put your bow down, and step back from the yellow cord and wait for the next command. Coach Mead will blow the whistle when all the arrows are shot or if there is an emergency reason for stopping. You always stop what you are doing if you hear the whistle. Do not continue to shoot. Loosen your bowstring and listen for the COMMAND- retrieve arrows. Than, and only than will you be allowed to get your arrows. Count the circles; Bull’s-eye is 9 points, 7 for blue and so on out to white that is one point only.
So let’s begin. Line up at each bow line, and the first person step up and pick up the bow. READY, everyone else step back, and sit down while you wait your turn.
Pause…. Commence Shooting
Narrator: (After all the students are done shooting Coach Mead blows his whistle.)
All right, retrieve arrows. Put your bows down, Next group step up. Hold it wait. There is a squirrel running across the target range. Oops to late. Run little squirrel.
Laughing, that was one lucky squirrel. CEASE FIRE and put your bows down.(The class also laughs at the lucky squirrel).
Narrator: One month later. A young girl is standing in the doorway of Mr. Mead’s homeroom just before school begins.
Jamal said he wanted to meet me after school today.
Really that is surprising.
Do you think he likes me?
I really don’t know. What about your old boyfriend Malcomb?
We’re done. I caught him cheating on me with Syrenna.
Narrator: Suddenly a boy comes running down the hallway. It is Malcomb, Adrienne’s ex-boyfriend. He Stops at the doorway.
What’s up bitch. You dropping me just like that?
Leave me alone Malcomb. You and I are finished.
Narrator: Suddenly, without warning Malcom punches Adrienne in the jaw with tremendous force. Adrienne falls to the floor and Susan screams.
Help, Mr Mead, Help.
See bitch that’s what you get.
Get out of the way Please.(Talking to Malcom) (He stoops down to check her vital signs) Are you OK? Hello Adrienne can you hear me. She seems to be unconscious. Susan go get the Nurse right away and tell her it is an emergency.
She had it coming to her, Dude.
Minutes later the Nurse and Susan come running down the hallway to Mr. Mead’s homeroom.
What happened Mr. Mead?
Malcomb punched Adrienne in the jaw for no apparent reason, and she went unconscious, and fell to the floor.
Did you call for an ambulance Mr. Mead? I have a slight pulse, but she is still unaware of where she is.
I’ll call the main office on the intercom right away. (Getting up from the floor, Mr. Mead goes over to the intercom on the wall and calls the main office. Hello, main office. We have an emergency injury in room 104. Nurse Mayberry wants you to call an ambulance immediately.
I will call the ambulance right away Mr. Mead. Room 104, right?
That is correct, hurray. (Turning to Malcomb who was standing in the hallway)Now Malcomb you are going to tell the Principal why you injured this girl for no reason.)
Narrator: (Speaking angrily)(Mr. Mead grabs Malcomb by the shirt collar, and practically lifts him off the ground, and begins to walk rapidly toward the Principal’s office in the front of the building, about 50 yards away from room 104. He drags the student all the way holding the shirt collar, until he arrives at the principals office out of breath)(It is then he realizes that Malcomb’s feet aren’t touching the ground and in his anger Mr. Mead held Malcomb off the ground all the way to the principal’s office.
Mr. Chisamore, This student took it upon himself to punch a girl in the jaw for no apparent reason. She fell to the floor unconscious. The nurse is sending the girl named Adrienne Topper to the local hospital to evaluate her condition.
Well Malcomb, what do you have to say for yourself?
She disrespected me, the bitch.
Excuse me we don’t use that kind of language here.
(Speaking to Helen Marino the Principal’s Secretary) Helen Marino call Malcomb’s mother, and have her come down to the school immediately. We are going to suspend Malcomb for assaulting a girl in the school.
Yes sir, I will call Mrs. Williams right now.
Hello, Mrs. Williams? This is Helen Marino, Principal Chisamore’s secretary at Kakiat Junior High School. You son Malcomb has been in an altercation with a girl, and he punched her causing her to become unconscious. Mr. Chisamore wants you to come to the school immediately to pick up Malcomb. And take him home. He is going to be suspended for a week from school. Mr. Chisamore will give you the details when you get to school. Thanks you. Good bye.
Yes, I will be right there. Thank you.
Malcomb I want you to sit in my office until your mother arrives.
Thank you Mr. Mead. You may return to your first period class. I have a teacher covering your first class in the gym until you return.
Thank you Mr. Shaw.
Narrator: Mrs. Washington arrived 30 minutes later and took her son Malcomb home for a one week suspension from school. Adrienne recovered in the hospital with bruising on her chin and a slight concussion after an overnight stay.
(John always does the PA announcements like Robin Williams in the movie, “Good Morning Vietnam.”)
Gooood Mornnnning Kakiat Junior high school.
Here are the announcements for the day. The Soccer team won against Mamaroneck JHS yesterday 3-0. Way to go Soccer champions.
Here is a reminder from Coach Mead, Gymnastic Practice is in the mornings, not the afternoons anymore at 8:00 am to 9:00 am. New members are welcome.
The Cross-country Boys Track team scored another victory yesterday at North Junior High, First place winner for the race was seventh grader Perry Genovese, Second place was Kakiat fleet of foot Al Donaldson, also a seventh grader. Congratulations to our Cross Country athletes.
That’s all folks, Remember, Don’t be Square out there.
Narrator: It was a busy morning at Kakiat Junior High. Fall was in full swing and the classroom heaters had begun to come on in the cold mornings. Suddenly, smoke began to appear under MRS. BARBARA DIPPOLITO’S ENGLISH CLASSROOM 204. Mrs. Barbara Dippolito was on a break in the Teacher Lounge at the time, 10:30 am. A student coming out of Nurse’s office next to room 204 noticed that there was smoke coming out from under the room 204 door. She ran back into to tell the Nurse who came out, and saw the smoke.
Hello, main office. We have a fire on the second floor. Smoke is coming out of room 204, MRS. Dippolito’s classroom. The door is locked, and I do not know where she is. Hurray call the Fire Department
Calm down MRS. MAYBERRY. I will send Herman Kaspar, the assistant Principal, up there right away to confirm that there is a fire.
Hurray, I am telling you smoke is pouring out under the door of room 204, and it is not my imagination.
Alright Mr. Kaspar is on the way up to the second floor. He just left.
(Running up the stairs to room 204, standing there gasping for breath) Holy cow it is a fire. My keys cannot open the classroom, damm? Mrs. Mayberry, where is your outside phone?
Right over there Mr. Kaspar. (Gesturing to a phone sitting on the nurse’s desk)
I am going to call out for the Fire Department, we have a fire, and have to evacuate the building. Hello, Highland Fire department. This is Assistant Principal Herman Kaspar from Kakiat Junior High School. We have a fire on the second floor in room 204. Smoke is pouring out of the room, and it is locked, and I do not have the master key. Hurray. The emergency code is ALPHA 360. Send fire trucks right away. (Running back down the stairs, Herman enters the main office) Helen Marino, I am going to pull the main fire alarm. Cover you ears. Meanwhile, tell Mr. Shaw that we have a fire, and we are evacuating the building.
Narrator: The Main FIRE ALARM goes off ringing in all the halls and classrooms in the building. Herman Kaspar gets on the PA and announces.
Attention please. May I have your attention please this is a fire drill please evacuate the building in an orderly fashion. Teachers exit by the nearest outside door to your classroom. There should be no talking. Calmly leave your classroom immediately. Let me repeat, do not delay, calmly walk in double file to the nearest outside door exit and leave the building. Bob we have a fire on the second floor, and it is for real. I confirmed it in MRS. Dippolito’s classroom in room 204. We need to evacuate immediately.
OK, lock all the doors in the office, and the vault, and let’s get out of here. Hurray I can smell the smoke already.
Narrator: The administrators in the main office walk briskly out the front doors while all the classes on the first and second floor exit the building by the side doors. The teachers, students, and staff are all standing out on the Soccer field 100 yards away from the building which is starting to send black smoke up into the air.
Here come the fire trucks, thank God. Herman, go and tell them where the fire is located.
(Waving his hands to attract the attention of the Fire Chief in his red truck) Hello Chief, the fire is on the second floor room 204 on the inside of the building near the front of the school.
(Talking to Herman Kaspar) OK, if we enter through the front door our hoses might not be long enough to go upstairs. We might have to go in from the side. JIM take the hook and ladder around the left of the building.
What the hell is going on? It this a drill or a real fire.
I am afraid it is a real fire on the second floor in room 204. Herman confirmed that smoke was pouring out under the door in room 201, and the door is hot and locked. He could not get into the room. I don’t know where Mrs. Dippolito is? It is her room that the fire has started in. The NURSE’S office is right next to that room, and we could lose all the medical supplies and cots? Damm what a mess.
(Talking to Herman Kaspar) What is going on? Is this a real fire? I just got my class out of the building. The smoke was so thick we could not see the stairs.
We seem to have a real fire on the second floor. Herman went up there to confirm the smoke pouring out from under the door of room 204.
Room 204, that is Barbara Dippolito’s classroom. Is she alright?
We don’t know where she is. Her room is locked. She must be on a break?
I think she has a prep period second period. She must have been in the teacher lounge? That is where she usually goes during her break.
We have no way of confirming that now. Maybe when Herman takes the golf cart around the building, he may see her lined up on the back side of the school?
Gee, I hope so. She is a good friend of mine. Her classroom is right across the hall from mine.
Narrator: Meanwhile, back in the building the classes are all filing out of the sides and back of the school building. Pelham Mead was in the men’s bathroom when the fire broke out. As he heard the fire alarm he quickly finished up in the bathroom and hurried out of the building on the second floor. The smoke was too thick to see through on the end of the hallway so Mr. Mead decided to go down the stairs, and then out the side door. As the rushed down the stair case he saw a small girl lying crumpled on the floor near the bottom of the stairs on the first floor. He quickly ran over to her.
Hi, I am Coach Mead, are you OK? We have to get out of here quickly. Can you walk?
(Crying) I twisted my ankle and fell down, and everyone left me here.
No problem, let me carry you outside. Try not to breath the smoke in. We will be out of here in s flash. Be calm.
(Crying) Thank you,(sobbing).
(Carrying the girl, he exits the side of the building choking from the heavy smoke) By the way what is your name little girl?
My name is NINA TURETSKY (13). Thank you Coach Mead.
(Seeing the Math Department. Chairperson, Paul Lewis, directing students away from the building, he yells to him). Paul give me a hand with this girl. My arms are killing me.(Cough)
Put her down, and I will take care of her. What is your name? OK, can you walk? If not I will help you hop on one leg. Let’s get away from the building.
Her name is Nina, Paul.
Narrator: Paul is a short Jewish man with greying hair, and a bald spot at the back of his head. He clean shaven face, a large nose and thick eyebrows with horn-rim glasses.
(Asking Paul Lewis, Math)
What happened?
I don’t know, but I think a fire started in Mrs. Angelo’s classroom on the second floor?
Narrator: While Pelham Mead is standing out on the Soccer field watching the school go up in smoke, he has a flash back to a month before.
(Flash back to September a month before the fire.) (Looking in Mrs. Dippolito’s classroom) Hi Barbara, I mean Mrs. Dippolito, how are you doing?
I am doing great, how are you?
My, you are creative. What are the clotheslines and the papers hanging from them for?
They are student project outlines on cards, and I hung them from cord to make an impression, and to demonstrate how many students were doing writing projects.
That’s great. Do you mind if I stay a while and observe. Maybe I can pick up some ideas for my Health Ed. Class.
Sure makes yourself at home.
Mrs. Dippolito can you help me with my outline?
Gotta help this student, sit down Mr. Mead, and relax.
Barbara you classroom is amazing. One thing however, what is with that mess of papers stuffed into the radiator compartment?
Oh yes, I have been meaning to have one of the students clean it out. We do not have a trash can so they have been dumping the papers on the radiator.
Don’t you think that could cause a fire?
No, the radiator is turned off this early in the fall season. I will get to it soon.
I can get rid of it for you”
Don’t worry sweetie, I will get to it.
Well, I gotta run. I have a class to teach next period. Thanks for letting me observe your class. Amazing creativity, I am most impressed. I wish we had more teachers like you.
FIREMAN #1 (40)
(Lead fireman climbing up the Hook and Ladder to the second floor of the school) HAND ME THAT AXE.
FIREMAN#2 (30)
Here is the axe. Cover your eyes with your helmet shield. The glass is going to spread in all directions. I am sure it isn’t safety glass.
OK, stand back here goes the first shot. (Fireman Swings his axe and smashes the side window of the second story classroom to a million pieces of glass shards in al directions.
Hook the window frame and pull the whole thing out with your axe.
(He hooks the hook side of his axe around the frame of the window and give a couple of strong pulls and the window frame drops one story to the ground) I’ve got it. Pass me up the hose and I will climb in the window.
(Climbing up the ladder pulling the heavy hose) OK, here is the hose. Watch for sharp edges of the window as you step in.
(Shouting) I’m in (cough) putting my respirator on too much smoke in here. Turn on the water.
FIREMAN#3 (48)
(Yelling) Water is turned on. Hold on tight.
Slow down and let me get through the window with you. Steady here I come. (He steps through the window into a room completely filled with smoke)
I cannot see the door, but I must be near the front of the classroom. Follow me and hold onto that hose. Do we still have enough hose left to get into the building?
Yeah, we have plenty of hose line left. Is the classroom door open?
I found the door. It’s open. Wow the hallway is completely in flames. Let’s water down the hallway so I can get to the locked classroom. What number is it again? Never mind we probably would be able to see the classroom number in this thick smoke. It should be the second room from the stairway. Follow me.
I am pulling the hose and I am right behind you. Spray the ceiling so it doesn’t collapse on us. Did you find the second classroom yet?
I think I found it. Stand back and hold onto the hose I am going to drop it so I can slam the door with my axe. Ready? (He takes a full swing with the axe with smoke clouding his vision) The door cracked. One more blow ought to do it. You OK?
I am OK. My oxygen is on. I can’t see anything but smoke. Is the door open yet?
Yeah, damm, I got it. The door is down. Stand back for a blast of hot air. OK, clear, let’s blast the hell out of this room to kill the flames and smoke. Tell the CHIEF on your walkie we are going to need a second hose in here right away. Too many classrooms are up in flames for just the two of us. I found the source of the fire, but the room is trashed, walls burn out, windows blown out and the ceiling is gone. We are dosing it now.
(Talking on his walkie talkie) Chief can you hear me? Send up another two men with another hose. The fire is too big for us to handle. Do you confirm?
I hear you. We are sending up two more men with another hose. Keep trying to suppress the flames from spreading any further. Hang in there the next crew is headed up the ladder. Get those men moving up that ladder. Hold the water until they get in the window.
We have got the flames out in the second room. The first room next to the stairs is next. It looks like a Nurses office (cough), lots of smoke. We’ll hose it down next.
Narrator: The second team makes it though the window and the water was turned on. They begin hosing down the other classrooms enveloped in flame. Several hours later the fires were all out, and only the smell of smoke remained, and the smell of burnt wood.
(Later on around 1:00 pm) Where is the Principal? I need to talk with the Principal right away to inform him of the status of the building.
I think he is out in front of the building Chief.
(Walking to the front of the school building) Where is Mr. Woorley?
(Shouting to the Fire Chief) Over here Chief. So what is the situation?
(Speaking to Mr. Shaw) We have put the fire out and are mopping up now. I toured the building on the first, and second floor. The first floor library sustained a lot of water damage from the water leaking through from the classrooms above it on the second floor. The second floor we need to get some commercial fans to blow out the smoke for 24-48 hours.
My boys will bring some commercial fans back front the firehouse and put them in place tonight.
Upstairs on the second floor five classrooms are charred. You lost the Nurses office also, and the ceiling and floor tiles are also destroyed. I estimate you have several hundred thousand in fire damage, which I am sure your insurance company will cover. Now for the problem at hand.
I cannot release the building until we remove the smoke and close off the damaged areas. Your students will have to go home without coats and their books tonight. I know that is a hardship, but no one can go back into the building until we can clean the whole building of smoke.
That is real bad news. Now I am going to have to send one of my Assistant Principals up to the High school to notify the Superintendent of Schools Sam Woodruff that we need buses immediately. We need to also inform him that the students will have to go home without coats in this November weather. Sam can you take your car and drive up to the High School, and call the SUPERINTENDENT of SCHOOLS and request school buses immediately to take all the Kakiat Junior High students home?
OK, I am on it. I will be back in fifteen minutes.
(Talking to a few students lined up on the Soccer field) Anyone get their coat? I have mine in the locker in the school, and boy it is getting cold out here.
Yeah, my leather jacket is in the school locker also, and all I have is this thin short sleeve shirt.
I am freezing too. My legs are frozen in this mini-skirt. So much for fashion. When are we going to get out jackets and go home? It has been hours since the fire started. I missed my lunch hour too.
Boy am I hungry. Just my luck to miss lunch and when are we getting back in the school?
(Using a portable bull horn) Attention students and faculty. I have just spoken with the Fire Chief and he has informed me that the fire is tentatively out for now but the thick smoke is still on the second floor making visibility impossible. The FIRE CHIEF has informed me that he cannot release the building until commercial fans can be brought in to blow the smoke out of the halls and classrooms on the second floor. The library is completely flooded and cannot be used. Therefore, I know it isn’t pleasant but we are ordering the buses to pick us up now and take everyone home without their coats or book bags. No one will be allowed to enter the building for 24-48 hours. Police patrols will be on duty all night to protect the school. I am sorry for this inconvenience but we have to listen to the FIRE CHIEF he is the one responsible.
Damm, I can’t believe we have to go home with no coats.
I have thin blood, and I cannot take this cold without a coat.
Well folks, it looks like I lucked out going out for lunch. I have my jacket on me. Has anyone seen Mrs. Dippolito yet?
I think someone said she was at the back of the building where the teacher lounge teachers went.
Adrienne, can you take the golf cart and look around the back of the school to see if Mrs. Dippolito is OK. Thanks.
I will check Mrs. Dippolito out right away. The golf cart is over by the janitors room, fortunately far away from the side of the building with the fire.
(Ten Minutes later) Adrienne did you find Mrs. Dippolito?
Yes, she is OK but a little shaken up that the fire started in her classroom.
Bob, we have a major problem. One of the teachers, SAM MOONSKI told me one of the boys in his class is missing. The student asked to go to the bathroom shortly before the FIRE ALARM went off, and in the confusion of leaving the classroom, MR. MOONSKI did not realize that the student BARRY NEEDLES was missing. He just happened to count all his students while they were line up outside and he was one student short. After asking the students in his class they reminded him that BARRY NEEDLES went to the bathroom just before the FIRE ALARM.
What should we do? I have asked around all the classes line up outside, and no on knows where BARRY NEEDLES is. SAM MOONSKI says he is a 7th grader, small in size wearing blue pants and a red and white striped golf shirt. He wears glasses and has light blonde hair in a short cut.
A missing student. Oh, no. Now we find out. Chief Long, I need to speak with you. Chief, we just discovered we have a missing student by the name of BARRY NEEDLES. He is a small 7th grader dressed in blue pants and a striped red and white t-shirt. He has light blond hair in a short cut and wears glasses.
He went to the bathroom on the second floor of the far wing of the school. The far wing is on the other side of the school from where the fire was.
Well that is a major problem. I can dispatch some of my men to search the building for this student. I am not confident that if he was anywhere near the fire that he could have survived. Can you show or tell me where the boys bathroom is located that he would have used?
I think so but I will have to ask Mr. Moonski his teacher what boys bathroom is closer to his science classroom. Sue you have the golf cart, can you go around to where Mr. MOONSKI and his class are and find out where the nearest boys bathroom might be located.
This is my worst fear, losing one student out of 1,000 students is easy to do. The timing was bad with the fire Drill going off just after BARRIE NEEDLES left the classroom. I am worried NED.
Narrator: The fireman begin to search the building. A half hour goes by and still no word. The buses have begun to arrive, and the students are boarding them, and going home without their coats.
Please GOD help them find this kid. I can’t take anymore stress I have to sit down for a little bit.
Are you OK Bob? You don’t look well. I have a bottle of water do you want some?
Yes, let me have a little water. This missing student thing is killing me. I feel a little light headed. I need to sit down.
Mr. Shaw we haven’t found any bodies in the fire area or in the bathrooms. We searched the entire building. We will keep looking all night but the outcome does not look good.
What am I going to tell this kids mother and father? Oh, my God why is this happening?
The student in question may have collapsed from smoke inhalation or he may still be hiding somewhere in the school. We just don’t know. There is a lot of smoking debris in the classrooms, and my men said they did not recover a body anywhere in the ashes.
I can’t tell the Superintendent of Schools about this until I am absolutely positive as to what happened to this student.
Maybe he got out of the school and walked home. Junior high students are known to do stupid things like that sometimes.
We need some answers and before it gets dark in a few hours. Chief Long, what do you recommend?
You can go home for now, and I can put you on call if we find something we will call you first thing. There is nothing you can do here. Let us do our work and maybe this will turn out well in the end?
Well, it is my responsibility to call Mr. And Mrs. Needles. It really pains me to have to tell Barrie’s parents that he is missing in a school fire. Oh, well. I will call him when I get home.
Narrator: All of the teachers and administrators reluctantly go home to wait for the dreaded call from the Fire Chief.
Somewhere in the school building in a Janitors cleaning closet, a frightened boy lies crying and curled up in a room that is locked from the outside. When the smoke started to move down the hallway he hid in a room with a slightly ajar door, which turned out to be a Janitorial closet, that had a self locking mechanism in the door. When BARRIE hid in the closet as the smoke enveloped the hallway the door locked closed. He banged and kicked the door again, and again, but he could not budge the locked door. The closet was full of cleaning supplies, pails and mops with a strong smell of ammonia in the air. BARRIE NEEDLES(13) was alone in a locked closet, and no one knew where he was. Barrie is a small 7th grader with wire rim glasses, light brown hair, freckles, and a short pug nose. His hair is a crew cut style).
NARRATOR: BARRIE NEEDLES is curled up in a pre-natal position falling asleep, with smoke seeping under the door, and smoke enveloping the hallway outside the closet. The light bulb overhead flickers, and then goes out, and then there was nothing but darkness. Barrie cries in the dark void of the closet.
Help. Help me someone. (Cough) (crying) Mommy, I am sorry.