GEORGE W. WINGATE HIGH SCHOOL

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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.  Sounds basically similar to our government.

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 and years of some severe dangerous problems like stabbings and racial disparity, poor staff, and incompetence.

G. W. Wingate 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 did…gang wars… it was not a great school.

The school plan never worked… The address of the school at 600 Kingston Avenue, was the American version of the 38th parallel of Korean fame.  Tough school to attend, frankly I hated the place. I majored in survival.

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. 

And I had my books to read, I was learning in detention,  and I made friends with the shop teachers to continue what my Grandfather had instilled in me.  I signed in, and sneaked out to the work shops, got back in time and signed out.  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 Wingate circa 1959, my marks in English were not great B or B+.   But it was a challenge, and after two days with my new English teacher she taught me her whole curriculum, as she was a Shakespeare freak.  I accidentally referred to William as Mr. Snake-sh*t … and when I said,  “ Who cares about him, he was dead and good riddance”.  Off to detention.

Math, especially the sciences, shops, government and history studies, I did well, got along great with the teachers, who worked with me, except for one other.  The Earth Science crack-head.

MY ENEMIES
Meet my English teacher and my Earth Science teacher, my new enemies and the ensuing battles it created which almost got me expelled and on the other side an award.   The battle in English was Shakespeare and the battle in Science was over the Dinosaurs and Man.  In Earth science I somehow when hearing her version of creation, the Apple and the Snake, I humbly mumbled “ BULLSH*T”  A bit  too loud… off to detention…

To this day I do not regret what I had to do.  I became a professional truant.  Sounds crazy but I was learning. Al’s field trips to gain a better perspective of what they were telling us.   My favorite hangouts while cutting class were all of the museums;  The Museums of Natural History; Modern Art;  The Guggenheim; The HUGE and I mean 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, my local library and Camera stores, Newspapers, Hospitals, learning all about a myriad of things first hand.  And I was becoming a pretty good photographer.

Wingate to me was stagnantation and there was a beautiful world out there and being in NY, a mecca, a multi-cultural plantation and the challenge was having the chutzpah to take advantage of.   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  taught me to fight for whats right and they were wrong.  It was and became a horrible school.


THINGS THAT CHANGE - ENGLISH  (Second Year)
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.   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.  

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 to. 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”.  That was a declaration of war!  You don’t insult my parents and then an opening…

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

I chose Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and got in trouble reading a certain passage out loud.  if you read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar there is a page where he is being offered a sleepover by Brutus complete with oral services to prove his loyalty.  Our teacher wasn’t fond of Blow-Job Politics.  But before she could realize what had be read and was happening, I went on and dedicated… my first ever poem to her:


DEDICATED TO SHAKESPEARE 

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 Sellers
And Your Classes Frankly Are Quite Boring…   
Thus The Abundance Of High Octave Snoring”


IT WAS THEN I REALIZED POETRY WAS LIKE A PUZZLE:
I received a standing ovation and two minutes of cheering for my performance.   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…  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 quite happy with.

TODAY

Today, I Write As I Speak, My Works Reflect What I Seeked,
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 WAR
Now to the Earth Science teacher, I probably spent more time at the Dinosaur Exhibits areas of the Museam of Natural History in NYC than she did for her degree.  It was not the science story I was getting from the pro Bible-Babble teacher.  She was a Big Bang Bible Bullsh*t Theologist in a public school.  Show and telling us the caveman killed off the Dinosaurs.   

I literally wrote the sophomore senior grade college 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.  it was me and the Museam against her and I had weapons.  I simply walked out and announced this was bullsh*t… 

THE DEAN AT 8:00 AM 
Well, the participants were discussing me and I was listening awaiting my demise or getting expelled.  It included the Bible Babel teacher, my parents, the Dean of Boys, and I had enough!  She wanted me expelled, I countered with her teaching curriculum was incorrect, inundated with falsehoods, and she was dated with false information. Then she made her case.  

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 and father.  But I stood my ground in defiance… and I placed on the table my “ Thesis”.  It was purely a voluntary piece of work on the Dinosaurs, looseleaf bound with lots of pictures I took at the museam and sketches and diagrams I had created over the semester.

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… 


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 Eagles 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 and pragmatically informed, definitively accurate… and she was Bible Bound




SHOWDOWN - THE DEAN WAS COOL - KIND  -  A DARWINIAN
The stopped the whole process as the Dean was impressed. Three times he asked, “ You did this on your own?”…
Who else knows of this, I said the curator of the Museam of Natural History…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 10:15.   I agreed, this was my chance and I did a thirty minute standup class on Dinosaurs to my classmates with attendees.

Both parents, onlookers, the Dean and another person… Holy Crap it was the Principal sitting in the back.  I aimed to let it all hang out.  Standing ovation… The Dean, the Student Commissioner, the Principal, 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.

The Dean said to me:  “ I got you figured Jacobs, you love learning, you have a curiosity few have, you just hate the school. It’s too slow a pace and too one way”… I answered him because it’s what I have believed all my life, “ Sometimes to find truth you need to find a different direction or path.   I told him that I believe truth is found by exploration not memorization.  I felt strong,  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 in all his years, 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, since it was 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 Bullsh*t comment” in front of the class.  My Deans absolution and treat was with teachers permission, 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 as it might start a war with the Teachers Union.

WHY I LIKED DETENTION
I liked detention, met several nice girls who could type well, reading led to more quests and education,  most important were dates, and I helped others, I was an unofficial mentor, for 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.   Detention teachers were rotated so some were curious and interested in what I was reading.  We had some intelligent conversations, better than many classes, way better.

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 their close communication taught me more than I could ever get in class, way deeper than I thought… I learned one thing… I do well in one on one learning when conversations are two way.

An update on an Old well known Indian proverb… “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, after the war, 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 Bombs 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, and in new 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!   

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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. 

 

Continued

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