GEORGE W. WINGATE HIGH SCHOOL




GEORGE  W. WINGATE HIGH SCHOOL

George W. Wingate High School was a critical point in my life as I discovered many of those in control and power are totally screwed up, haven’t a clue and couldn’t run a free water store in the Gobi desert.

Today - Wingate High School is a defunct comprehensive high school in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Wingate neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York City.  It opened in 1956 and was finally closed down in June 2006 due to poor academic performance ( thats their call ) and years of some severe dangerous problems ( like stabbings and racial disparity, poor staff, incompetence of the system, my call)

The school today under a reconstruction effort was then divided into four small schools.  The school was named for George Wood Wingate, an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War.  I don’t believe 99% of the school knew who he was and the other 1% really didn’t give a damn.  

The campus now houses four new small schools under the New Visions for Public Schools initiative of the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). There are the International Arts Business School, The School for Human Rights, The School for Democracy and Leadership and the High School for Public Service: Heroes of Tomorrow.  My hopes are not high.  Bulldoze it and make moderate income housing.


THE REAL PROBLEM WAS SYSTEMIC FROM THE PLAN
G. W. Wingate was a problem to begin with.  It was more of an experiment in race relations.  The brainstorm was to mix kids exactly in a 50-50 ratio from a notoriously bad neighborhood with kids from another community and “ something might rub off”.

It bordered on two communities in the Lefferts Gardens area.  To the North, it was a community called Bedford–Stuyvesant.  We called it the ghetto, it was.  Almost predominantly a very poor under-classed and unsupported neighborhood  (almost 110% black).  Gang ridden and high crimes and dangerous.  

Lefferts Gardens was on the other hand relatively middle class and low to medium crime rates,  mixed ethnicities who stuck together and a tough Italian crew to keep the peace.  Half my friends were Jewish and half were Italian… 

I thought of it as the KOSHER-NOSTRA… and we looked out for each other.

The school plan never worked… The address of the school told the whole story.  600 Kingston Avenue, was literally a borderline.  It was a clash before it even got started.  Think of it as the 38th parallel of Korean fame.

II worked with the basketball team, and two student semi-run Organizations I was put in charge of,  I arbitrated two sides for peaceful purpose and thats all I will say about that.  Oh, we won a few championships beating two teams from schools (all boys) with a greater player pool in the All-City Championships. And my two organizations did well keeping the peace.

Years past with an uneasiness and problems galore which I won’t go into.  I followed Wingate because my brother was five years behind me attending there nothing really changed, a record of violence and problems.  Frankly I hated the place.


DETENTION, DECLARING WAR and ABSOLUTION


MY SUCCESS AT DETENTION 
Many times I was sent to detention, I relished it, for several reasons. Most of what was being discussed in various classes was not accurate, nor relative to things current,  nor scientifically correct. The school did not attract the best teachers.

Instead of staying in detention, I signed in, vanished  and sneaked out to the work shops.  I loved my shop classes, they taught me fundamentals of creativity, functuality, and turning ideas, from thoughts to products of metal and wood.   

From concept to completion, some traits I use even today and almost every day of my life.  I thought, designed, built, crafted, created, tools, devices and gadgets for the common good, and some questionable devices.   

I was in the first classes to graduate though my marks in English were not great securely passing like a B or B+. Two days with a book taught me her whole curriculum.  My fear was having to do English over since we, the teacher and I  did not agree on many things.  I had to learn to sit still and smile.  I gave her the Alfred E. Neuman smile.  I think It drove her nuts.  

Math, the sciences, shops, government and history studies, I did well, got along great with the teachers, who worked with me, except for one other.  Meet my Science teacher, my new enemy and the ensuing battle it created which almost got me expelled and an award.   The battle was over the Dinosaurs and Man.  


MY TRUANCY - A NEED TO KNOW
In school, I excelled in was truancy, my favorite hangouts while cutting class were all of the museums, The Museam of Natural History,  Modern Art,  the huge library in Manhattan, I visited all  the Zoos, from Prospect Park to the Bronx Zoo.  Ebbets Field, Home of the Dodgers five blocks from my house, the National Parks like the Statue of Liberty, and my home away from home the library and the shops.  Camera stores, newspapers, hospitals, learning all about a myriad of things first hand.

Wingate was not teaching me anything I hadn’t learned on my own, I was stagnant being there. There was a beautiful world and many real assets at my fingertips, NY is a multi-cultural plantation and the challenge was having the chutzpah to take advantage of.   I lived in the library at school, and my home at the City Library at Eastern Parkway and Schenectady Ave, the truancy police never thought to find me there, it had great hiding spots behind staircases,  I did get caught once at the Museam of Art and was reported. 

College was better than high school because you were on your own, I manage better that way.  They tell me thats how I write, unmanageable, I make no claims as a writer.  I am a story teller.  GEORGE W. WINGATE HS which Is responsible for the skills I have today which I credit to my English and Science teachers hatred of me.  They taught me to fight for whats right and they were wrong and in two instances I won by seeking truth elsewhere.  College was the ship that took me on voyages of learning

 

THINGS THAT CHANGE - I HATED POETRY
I hated Poetry, English class, my Teacher, and Shakespeare in that order.  She was talking about Animal farm by Orwell and Lord of the Flies, and I had read it both two years prior.  Our Science teacher was another winner, a Bible Babbler pushing the Big Bang theory.  That the Dinosaurs were eliminated by the cavemen…

Being a rebel I preferred reading Popular Science, Pop Mechanics, Aviation News, even Greggs Anatomy and Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien first written in 1954.  

One day, blurting out, me bad, I slipped and referring to Shakespeare as “ Snake-sh*it”. That  automatically put me on detention…especially when I said,  “ Who cares about him, he was dead and good riddance”.  

I was thrown into detention so many times I thought they were going to get a directors chair with a my name on the back.  Later on in life, I got my chair but thats another story…

She hated me. She once commented to my parents, (at the annual mother-teacher day): “ We as a family should move to France and Alan can study English as a foreign language”.  It was a good line but….  That was a declaration of war!  Rank on me but don’t ever speak to or against my parents…

For the end of term exam we had to read aloud to the class ( supposedly with emotion) any one page from anything Shakespeare wrote.   Part two was to compose a poem of your choice and something you experienced.  Great thought went into this one.  This was going to be rich…and vengeful…

THE BOOK REPORT: 
I chose Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and got in trouble reading a certain passage out loud.  Like Julius Caesar being offered a  relationship by Brutus on one occasion after returning from the wars and after he challenged Brutus’s loyalty.  In those days “ Mano un Mano encounters were common”   

Brutus offered his oral services to prove his loyalty.  Our teacher wasn’t fond of Blow-Job Politics so common today.  And was not familiar with that passage. But five stars in laughs from the class though she knew.  Then before she could realize what had and was happening, I dedicated my first ever poem to her:

PART ONE

SHAKESPEARE DOTH NOT A GENIUS MAKE, 
FOR HE SPAKE IN TERMS REMINISCENT OF A FLAKE,
HIS METER, I FIND HURTS MY EARS, HIS STORIES I FIND, BRING ME TO TEARS, 

AND ALL THOSE MARKS OF SELECTIVE PUNCTUATION,
BRING ME...  ALAS NO FERVENT RESERVATION,

MY RUN-ON SENTENCES PROVIDE ME WITH EXPRESSION,  I AM A STORY TELLER
NOT A CRITIQUER OF A USELESS FICTIONAL TOTALLY BORING BEST SELLER
AND YOUR CLASSES FRANKLY ARE QUITE BORING...   
THUS THE ABUNDANCE OF HIGH OCTAVE SNORING”


I received a standing ovation and two minutes of cheering for my performance.   And the celebratory “ OOOps, off to detention!  Before that I never wrote a line of prose in my life, but times change and there are times you step up to the pump…

IT WAS THEN I REALIZED POETRY WAS LIKE A PUZZLE:
Truthfully, today I’m finding it, poetry somewhat  interesting, and relaxing.  In fact I compare writing prose to crossword puzzles, you are putting thoughts, words, rhyming and things together.  Later,  a couple years ago, reminiscing I expanded my origional poem with an update that I’m happy with.


PART TWO

TODAY, I WRITE AS I SPEAK, MY WORKS REFLECT WHAT I SEEK,
BE IT RELIGION, FOOD, OR POLITICAL, MY REPORTS CAN BE QUITE CRITICAL
I SEEK AND EMBELLISH THE UNCOUTH, WHEN SEEKING THE REALITY OF TRUTH,
THERE ARE SOME DOORS THAT I WILL HAVE TO SMASH OPEN, 
AND THE WORDS WILL APPEAR UNBROKEN,
FOR THE LIARS, CHEATERS AND CROOKS, BRINGING IT OUT IS MY QUEST,
AND WHEN IT BECOMES VERY REAL, FOR ME THAT IS THE BEST OF BEST
AND I WILL BRING IT FORTH TO THE TOP OF THE HEAP,
FEARING NO ONE, NO MAN, NO BEAST, NO CREEP...



REVENGE II - THE SCIENCE PROJECT
The second bad encounter was the Earth Science teacher, I lived my life as numero uno on the hooky list at the Museam of Natural History in NYC.  Not the science story I was getting from the pro Bible-Babble teacher, we called her a refugee from a convent.   She was a Big Bang Bullshit theory, and how the caveman killed off the Dinosaurs.   And thought it carried the same legitimacy as Darwin.  Not in my noodle!  

I had spent many weekend days in the Dinosaur area of the Museam of Natural History.  I literally wrote the sophomore senior grade hooky thesis as a project on Darwin, Evolution, the Earths time line from days at the museam and asking enough questions to have the curator there who realized I had a passion for the Jurassic era. We became friends.

“ I asked if I could be a student volunteer at 16 as a teen guide during the summer times in the Dinosaur exhibit”, I was accepted, I even got a parental pass for the school to OK me to be there.  Needed in NY if under sixteen at that time.   Then I got called to the Deans office. Oh-Oh…

THE CHALLENGE OF THE DEANERY  
Well, the participants were discussing, I was listening awaiting my demise or getting expelled. It included the Bible Babel teacher, my parents, the Dean of Boys, a neutral adult student representative ( like my lawyer) and I had enough!  She wanted me expelled, I countered with her teaching curriculum was incorrect, inundated with falsehoods, and dated. She made her case.  I was mad at my mother for not telling me the school called.

Time to go to work… I asked permission to speak.  I said since this concerns me, I would like to defend myself.  They all weren’t ready for that, including my mother.  But I stood my ground in defiance…

I placed on the table my “ Thesis”.  It was purely a voluntary piece of work on the Dinosaurs.  Looseleaf bound with lots of pictures and sketches.   Thirty-eight pages plus it was college level hand typed,  as the girls in detention ( my secretarial dating pool) could type better than me, and helped me,  organized with lots of pictures, hand outs,  

Information gleaned from the museam, pictures I  took at the museam,  Oak Tag time charts, slides, a fake tooth of paper-mache made to T-rex size and did my abbreviated twenty minute explanation of truth about the:  Scientific explanations of the origin of the earth, the Mesozoic Era… 


Her version brought forth that MAN Walked up on the scene and killed the Dinosaurs.  Two million years ago with a stick and a rock.  Even today,  Biblical Babelistic Bullshiters  ( MEDT - Many Evangelical Deprived Thinkers)  push those falsehoods. Just think, how did man who has been on the earth less that two million years  just happen to love Pterodactyl wings in Franks Hot Wing Sauce barely 65 million years old?

   Ans: Yes….It was the sauce…peppers have been in existence 

for millions of years.

To this day 2019, I love my Dino’s, they watch me working on one of my MAC Towers with 32 GB and six drives,  a Tyrannosaurus REX, An American Alligator and a Bald Eagle…  the natural evolution of the reptiles and development of the Raptors,  the bald Eagle who share a common bone structure with T-Rex.

Believed to be between 144 million and 66 million years ago, during the Mesozoic era, the first birds began to evolve.  Hard to believe they were related and not a cave man in sight! They remind me of who I am… and I stood my ground, not stubborn,  just better, pragmatically informed ad definitively accurate



SHOWDOWN - THE DEAN WAS COOL - KIND  -  A DARWINIAN
The Dean said he wanted to see this live in a class…take your stuff and you will do your presentation to the next class at 9:15.   I agreed, this was my chance and I did a thirty minute standup class on Dinosaurs to my classmates with the adults
( parents, onlookers, the Dean and another teacher) sitting in the back.  I aimed to let it all hang out.

Standing ovation… these were student who knew nothing about my battle with the teacher.  The Dean was impressed, the Student Commissioner was impressed, my Mother was impressed, my Father was beside himself applauding, as my new booking agent, I smirked. He loved it. The teacher didn’t say a word, I thought she would commit the act of “ Seppuku”.  

                              She didn’t return next year and I felt I had saved humanity from stupidity.

One thing in my favor was my position on the Student Board and support for various projects the school authorized.  The Dean said to me:  “ I got you figured Jacobs, you love learning, you have a curiosity few have, you just hate school. It’s too slow a pace and too one way”… I answered, sometimes to find truth you need to find a different direction.  I told him that I believe truth is found by exploration not memorization.  I knew I had it…

The Dean said he would give thought to consequence, not for the information I shared, he had not seen anything like it and not about my right to an opinion.  But my rudeness,  I was right for his beliefs but the schools had no policies on creationism and curriculum,  so both sides could or had to be explained.   A week later I got called into the Deans office.

He did cut me slack, good slack more of a treat than punishment. My penitence, I had to apologize.  OK to get out of trouble, I apologized to the teacher only for the “ Crock Of Sh*t comment” in front of the class.  She wished I would just go away.  It was more embarrassing to her than me… I made sure of that…you don’t insult my parents…


DINOSAUR SCIENCE WAS MY PASSION
With somewhat of freedom I had attained and being just over sixteen, I could legally go on field trips by myself.  I used my Museam ID and I  got into one-celled creatures and the real beginning of the earth formulation from the first living things on Earth, single-celled micro-organisms or microbes lacking a cell nucleus or cell membrane known as prokaryotes, seem to have first appeared on Earth almost four billion years ago, just a few hundred million years after the formation of the Earth itself.  It was college level work and basically they left me alone, since no one else knew anything about it nor could they spell it.

The teacher on that level the following year, my senior did work with me, we were of the same thoughts about science, and single-cell theorems  she was so far ahead of that other teacher and really opened my eyes to science and Darwin.  Creationism being a religious module with little science to back it up.  We called it “ Religious babelification”  

Most of the time I had the earth science lab to myself.   It had benefits.  Growing earth worms and night crawlers for science work. (And several experiments with sand nightcrawlers for my fishing at Canarsie Pier).   Also the King County Hospital at the south end of Wingate Park as it is known today and being vouched for by a Doctor friend of the Dean and I received permission to research there in their library…  I told them I was pre-pre-med.  It worked with a letter from my mother, the Dean, a Doctor and a certain librarian to called the other librarian.


ALL SCHOOLS NOT THE SAME
My absolution and treat was to do my Dino-Thesis in all the science classes, at the school.  He stopped short of shipping me to other schools, but it must have had crossed his mind and I did get to go with him to Erasmus Hall High School another famous school in Brooklyn for it’s Alumni.  Truthfully, I loved doing and learning my work and the kids in the classes liked it too.  Not knowing eventually that Erasmus Hall became a very famous school in NYC in a better neighborhood possibly having something to do with it.  

Wingate had six people of honor graduate over fifty years and thats a stretch, who had become successful in the Arts and Science.  Others became popular in some of the higher levels of institutional leaning and encapsulation.  (Prison)  Erasmus Hall had twenty-eight success stories.… If you Google Erasmus Hall’s famous grads it will surprise you.  You’ll be surprised how much talent came out of Erasmus Hall.

DETENTION
I liked detention and met several nice girls in detention, I received more education, free typing when needed, and dates, more ways than one reading in detention. And I helped others, I was a mentor, unofficially but recognized by those who needed help. I was cool with the dean and the school,  just two teachers that hated me because I challenged their false teachings.

My reading incorporated the works of JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World,  Popular Mechanics, Thor Heyerdahl’s epic adventure Kon-Tiki,  Fahrenheit 451, Catcher in the Rye,  Popular Science, the  “Eight Wonders of the World”  travel series on the famous places in the world.  I searched anything, soft cover or hard about topics such as Aviation, the Military, Photography.  That was my world, my real world.  

My favorite today was Fahrenheit 41 because the author Bradbury remarks in an interview were on a similar flight path to my thoughts and flight plan… In essence, he said things that explained my life and many of my feelings to me…to me.

FROM BRADBURY:
“ Bradbury spoke of Hitler…  When I was born Hitler burnt the books in the streets of Berlin. Then along the way I learned about the libraries in Alexandria burning five thousand years ago. That grieved my soul.   Since I’m self-educated, that means my educators—the libraries—are in danger. And if it could happen in Alexandria, if it could happen in Berlin, maybe it could happen somewhere up ahead, and my heroes would be killed.”

“ He also spoke against McCarthyism in his lifetime, and the novel has frequently been interpreted of a criticism of the same, but in later life Bradbury denied this and claimed that it was “a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature,” despite the fact that television was relatively new at the time, just becoming popular.  Whatever it means, it remains an enduring classic.”


GOOD READS
Michener was also one of my favorite authors as he wrote episodic books, which translates through generations in one locale, sort of like Star Trek in differing temporal convergences in the spacetime continuum.  At twelve I had secured a book on Medicines from our pediatrician, the library for Chemistry, ( I paid a dollar at a book sale) and a copy of Greggs Anatomy, a couple of big books weighing more than me.  

Greggs Anatomy and Basic surgical Techniques came in handy when I cut my pinky finger half off building a project and sewed it back on again…My first surgery! Yes it hurt, it healed. it worked  and it’s not straight but its on and it was still better than telling my mother…

Being in detention allowed me to read and learn at my pace.  Detention teachers were rotated so some were curious and interested in what I was reading.  Some had read what I had read and were conversational about those books.  And what was I doing in detention was learning faster than in class.  I liked some of those teachers. 

And have always said, “Have the right shoes for the path you choose, sometimes moccasins don’t cut it and you need boots, life can get very thick”,  but the main point to remember regardless of your style in shoes, minefields are no place to tap dance.  And you may need those boots to kick some ass out of your way.


MASTER MACHINIST  -  IN METAL SHOP

As mentioned, the earth science, chemistry labs, wood and metal shops were my favorite engaged hands on classes. Electronics I learned on my own from a study group in the military who called it “  Arming Bombing School”.  I called it Bang-Bang-Oooops sung to the tune of Richey Vallens  “La Bomba”. 

I remember the first tools I made at Wingate in the metal shop on my own.  I learned to work with my hands on drill presses, mills with the resulting skills, and appreciated the knowledge and ingenuity from the shop teacher.  It was the tools I designed that got me the fame I deserved…

Even today they still talk of the Jacobs Hubcap Remover, not sold in stores, available, only in Midnight Black powder coat.

You too can have a career in hubcap “ Restoration" for only $39.95.  Make it back on your first job even if you only got the front ones!   Our exclusive rear view mirror (not found on any of the competition) means you can get rid of paying your lookout and make more money for yourself.  With twin handles it allows faster retrieval with either hand when the hubcap springs loose.  The mirror makes sure there are no onlookers behind you who might get hit with a flying hubcap or steal your work.

It comes complete with instructions for both domestic and foreign hubcaps.  And we’ll send you my new book “ Guide to the Great Bail Bondsmen of America” with a signed autograph by Joey Fonzini (who graduated early from San Quentin).  Joey still holds the record for HubCap retrieval.  Fourteen sets in under 2 hours.  

SERVICE TO COUNTRY AND MY BROTHERS

06-07-2019 aljacobsladder.com