Flashback Friday Archive 2019-20: Flashback Friday: Week of October 9

2020-10-09 Upper Nyack

October 8, 1870150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

Written for the Journal
By M. B. Smith

Life, as a Shuttle passeth by—
Today we live tomorrow die—
But, as the flying shuttle leaves
Its impress in the web it weaves,
So may our lives, in colors fare
Live after us, a fabric rare

Life, like a Vapour disappears
In the quick flight of passing years;
But as the vapour falls in rain
To gladden many a thirsty plane,
So let our lives in wrought with love,
Not barrenness, but blessing prove.

Life like a Vessel rides the sea
Whose billows dash eternally;
But, as the vessel, in its hold,
May bear e’en Ophir’s stores of gold,
So let our lives be ritually stored
With pure gold of deed and word.

O man! be weaving in life’s loom
Fabrics to live beyond the tomb—
Like rain upon the thirsty land
Blessings dispense on every hand—
Bear on the voyage wisdoms store,
A freightage rich of golden ore.

“Launch out into the deep;” thy sails
Shall fill and swell with heavenly gales;
Take for the chart the written Word—
Take for thy helmsmen Christ the Lord—
Thy voyage must successful be
If Christ, “The Life” shall sail with thee.

Spring Valley, New York, September, 1870.

October 8, 1920100 YEARS AGO
Rockland News

INNOVATION BY NYACK HEBREW — JEWISH SUNDAY SCHOOL ESTABLISHED IN NYACK — Rev. Dr. Lerman of New York Will Teach Both Sunday School and Daily Classes
      After many years of persistent patient effort, the Jewish residents of Nyack and vicinity have succeeded in establishing a Sunday school, and a daily class for their children. On Sunday, October 3, the opening service was held at 10 o’clock in the synagogue on Main street, corner of Broadway. Kind friends having autos brought the children to the school and 40 were present. The school was formally opened by the singing of “America,” which was followed by the Hebrew national anthem. The children were placed in three groups or classes and instruction was given by the Rev. Dr. Lerman of New York, who will also have charge of the daily classes, which meet from four to five o’clock pm. The subjects to be specially taught are, “How to become Good American Citizens” and modernized Hebrew.
       The school is under the directorship of the Board of Education, composed of the following members: M. S.  Koblin, M. M. Peterzell, William Brown, P. Harris, A. Dropkin. 
       The hours are from 10 o’clock to 12 noon on Sunday, and from four to five o’clock every day except Sunday.
       In the evening, parents, friends, and children gathered to celebrate the holiday. Sukkot gifts were given to the children. Refreshments were served, and a Pathe Victrola was raffled off, and was won by M. S. Koblin, who had the lucky number 698.
       Donations amounting to over $400 [were] received from the members to carry the new school success along as a time of rejoicing was enjoyed by all present.

[View from Upper Nyack across the Hudson River to Westchester, c. 1910. The intersection appears to be Midland and Castle Heights avenues. Photo by Frank Brush, courtesy of the Nyack Library via NYHeritage.]

October 5, 197050 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

       Students at the brand-new Skunk Hollow High School in Blauvelt debated shutting down their school one afternoon last week to catch two Marx Brothers movies playing in Suffern.
       But they decided the cool weather was just right for studying, and too good to waste. Prodding each other into sitting down to do math concepts with gaily colored rods, they happily passed up three hours of laughter for geometry.
       When school bells ring in unison across Rockland County every morning, thousands of students file glumly into class. Many, educators complain, seem to turn off their brains for the day.
       Eight or ten years in public school can produce “shell-shock,” critics charge. Children emerge as “casualties” of school who have lost their will to learn, they say.
       The 18 teen-agers who straggle leisurely into the basement of a church building in Blauvelt have paid $1,500 each hoping to put that behind them.
       With their sizable outlay for tuition they have bought the chance to call their own shots. The students, most of whom are very aware of the philosophies of radical education, run Skunk Hollow themselves, including administrative details that even a stripped-down operation involves.
       Having granted themselves the right to stay home if they want, the students are turning up every day precisely because they want to learn.
       Skunk Hollow High School is Rockland’s newest experiment in “free” education. The forced closing this summer of the seminal Collaberg School in Stony Point, after 10 years there, also leaves Skunk Hollow as the only local “free” alternative to high school.
       The school was conceived and set up last May by four eighth grade students at the Rockland Project School in Blauvelt, who didn’t want to go to public high school.
       Three weeks old now, the school body is hammering out a style with sometimes bewildering rapidity. There is a palpable sense of excitement and freedom in the building as students and their five teachers create the school from thin air.
       Students pick subjects and organize classes they want to take, and they can call them off at any time. Stress is put on educational freedom, and learning as adventure, not involuntary servitude.
       The rented class space in the Greenbush Church Community Building on Western Highway was completely bare when school convened. There were no books, no equipment, and teachers had prepared nothing for class.
       Things are still evolving in a free-wheeling way only the loosest of schools could match. “We’ll have to change everything,” one teacher said calmly to another in the hall last week.
       “The schedule isn’t working out,” he said matter-of-factly. Students in one room were listening to loud rock music, a girl was lying on a table with a bloody nose as friends drew on her face and head with crayon, and a couple quietly played chess.
       Students and teachers are quick to insist on their serious academic concern. The school is vigorously seeking, and expects to get, a state charter, and it is geared primarily for college admissions.
       Students say they have no intention of letting Skunk Hollow become a freaky “do your own thing” place. “We’re not here to play games,” a teacher said.
       Already the school has attracted interest in the county. Several volunteer teachers are donating their skills to the low-budget operation.
       Most free schools fail because of money troubles or staff infighting, explained Tilly Grey, a teacher. Skunk Hollow plans to keep tuition high, she said, and the five paid teachers are extremely close friends.
       Original plans called for 20 students, but now teachers say there is room for five more pupils.
       “I like going to school very much now. All the kids show up happily every day,” said Tessie Delia of Pearl River, who made up her mind last spring she would not go back to public high school this fall.
       Luckily for her, Skunk Hollow opened, and now “I’ve been discovering over and over that education and learning is limitless,” she said.

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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