(Note: from Debbie Rashti, Gambol '04 Fun-raising co-chair.
It was quite a surprise to come home one day and find a message from a well-spoken woman phoning from Florida inquiring about the Gambol Bricks! Despite many years away from Port Washington, she still calls Port her home." So often do we hear how Port Washington is a special place to live. Speaking to Sarah Brown Weitzman truly brings this to life. It is amazing how many generations are embedded in our history. A sense of community is abundant in everything that is around town. Port Washington is forever in the hearts of those who live and grow up here and the support of the Gambol is very much a part of Port. The following is her story.)
"Although a great American writer said you can't go home again, Port Washington carries on many of its old traditions. I grew up in Port when there were two working farms, Monfort's and the Brown's (no relation, as well as a blacksmith, John Coles, whose busy shop was at the end of my street, North Maryland Avenue. We dug for clams under the town dock, played in the sand banks and mud flats before the housing developments, fed the ducks in the summer and in the winter ice-skated on Baxter Estates' pond.
"Recently, looking for a way to memorialize my parents, Philip E. Brown Jr. and Mildred Toole Brown, I learned that one of Port's ongoing traditions provides such a way. To fund a Gambol for this year's Paul D. Schreiber High School graduates, personalized bricks will be placed on the school grounds.
"The first Gambol held at the Port Washington High School (housed in what is now called the Weber Junior High) was instituted because in the previous year three couples had run off and gotten married on the night of their graduation. And as there were also other excesses of celebration, the town fathers decided to provide a Gambol for my class, the Class of 1952 with its 190 graduates. That was a year of triumph and loss: my homeroom biology teacher, Mildred Piazza, passed away; famed music teacher George Christopher brought The Mikado to life; while the Port Washington High School band under his baton won many competitions, including being named the "Best School Band East of the Mississippi;" and Latin classes had a Roman banquet complete with bed sheets as togas.
"The First Gambol was held in the high school gym suddenly transformed by a huge backdrop painting of the skyline of New York City (which is actually visible from Beacon Hill, the highest point on Long Island). The theme was carried out with a version of ballroom and dining we imagined was to be found in Manhattan nightclubs like the Stork Club or El Morocco. Fathers, pristine towels draped over their arms, were enlisted as waiters; faculty members were chaperons (See enclosed photos). At our Class of 1952 first reunion in October of 1984, which was attended by 73 classmates coming from far and wide, we reminisced about our First Gambol and the Port Washington of our era. Lately I find that much has faded from mind, but memories of my beloved Port Washington, including the First Gambol, live on in my memory and in my poetry."
Sarah-Elizabeth (Betty) Brown Weitzman resided in Port Washington from 1935 to 1958. She is a recipient of a National Endowment awarded for "Excellence in Poetry." Her second chapbook of poems, The Forbidden, ISBN #1-58998-243-6, was published this year by Pudding House Publications, Columbus, OH. The Port Washington Library has a copy in its Port Washington Author's Collection.
Personalized bricks are available for $100 each (Three lines of 14 characters per line). Call Angela Rich at 944-8689 for information.