Tag Archives: Tim Gatto

Throwback Thursday: Longwood High School’s International Student Organization

Some of my fondest memories of Longwood High School are of the International Student Organization (ISO).  I met a hell of a lot of my best friends in life there (or joined the after-school club at about the same time that they did): Tim Gatto, Carrie Harbach, Shoaib Kamal, Sabir Naseer, Rich Schulz, Ahmad Butt, Julianne Whitehead, Keith Nagel and a whole gang of other great people.

It was a terrific idea for a club at Longwood.  Suburban New York wasn’t as diverse as New York City, but our school had a disproportionate number of international students.  This was partly because Longwood was less than a mile from Brookhaven National Laboratory, which drew employees from throughout the world.  (I was surprised during my freshman year at a Southern college when people asked about it — Brookhaven actually is well known elsewhere in the country.)

The ISO was a club for both international students and their American friends.  It was a hell of a fun time, and a recreational way to learn about other countries and their cultures.  We took a lot of field trips to Manhattan — more so than any other LHS club, I think.  (The credit for that goes to Gerda Barber, who was an outstanding faculty advisor.)  The atmosphere was fantastic, and, as I said above, I made lifelong friends there.

Carrie allowed me to swipe the below photos from her Facebook.  Thanks, Bud!  I THINK they are all of ISO activities.  (My memory is not so hot.)  That one shot of me in the 70’s-tastic red Adidas shirt has GOT to be one that was taken earlier than high school.  Because I look … nine.  (Either that or I was so sullen because everybody else had beaten me to puberty; I’m not sure.)  [EDIT: Carrie just told me that the red Adidas shirt pic was from JUNIOR high!!!]










Throwback Thursday: Brown Bag Book Covers

Why the hell were the public schools so zealous back in the day about requiring book covers?  In the Longwood School District, you actually got in trouble if your invaluable, publicly issued tome was without one.

Seriously, why?  Hardcover textbooks were sturdy; they weren’t the frikkin’ Dead Sea Scrolls.  Nor did the average student throw them off of overpasses or in front of passing trains or whatever.  (In college, I threw my “Statistics of Psychology” textbook out of a second story window once, but that was a political statement.)

In retrospect, the practice of converting brown paper grocery bags to book covers seems a little ghetto.  But you know what?  I think most of the kids I knew did it, instead of using store-bought book covers.  (We WERE the 99 Percent.)

My Longwood High School Alum Tim Gatto posted on Facebook recently about how a bunch of the guys wrote their favorite quotes and song lyrics on their books.  (I picked up on that trend from him.)  As Tim pointed out, it was Facebook before there was Facebook.


“Life was such a circle that no man could stand upon it for very long.” (Except maybe Tim Gatto.)

I might just post a picture of Randall Flagg every time a friend tells me that they are either reading or rereading Stephen King’s “The Stand.”  (This one’s for you, Tim Gatto.)

He really is the greatest villain of all time, beating out even Heath Ledger’s Joker, Hannibal Lecter, Two Face, Nina Meyers, Felix Cortez, and the Hunter Rose incarnation of Grendel.  (I’m talking about Flagg, here — not Tim.)

We know that Tim is REreading the tome (he got the extended version, good on him), because he actually read the book before I did.  As far back as 1989 or so, Tim and I scribbled quotes from the novel on our textbooks at Longwood High School.

Tim even quizzed me once in the cafeteria to test my reading retention.  I passed with flying colors:

“What’s the dog’s name?”

“Kojak.  Formerly Big Steve.”

(Do you remember that conversation in the lunchroom, Buddy?)  😀  Whatever.  It was more fun than the SAT equivalent.

Anyway, I myself have been stricken with the urge over the past year or so to revisit King’s “IT.”  I don’t know why.  I’m not afraid of clowns — at all.  Clowns are probably  the only popular horror archetype whose asses I think I could actually kick (clowns and sparkly vampires, that is).  Clowns aren’t scary … they’re really more … punchable.  Or … y’know — NOT bulletproof.  Also mimes.  All human beings, save the full sociopaths, have an active moral center in their brains, and I know that we all privately harbor the truth there that mimes DESERVE to die.  (You call yourselves ENTERTAINERS?!  F***ing SAY something!!  Hello!! Goodbye!!  Shakespeare’s sonnets!! The Gettysburg Address!!  For God’s sake, just STOP!!)

But I can’t get to “IT” just yet, because my pile of loaned or gift books is high.  There are Toby Barlow’s “Sharp Teeth” and King’s “Cycle of the Werewolf,” lent to me by Super Smart Art Girl.  Then there are a few books that Crunchy Girl gave me, about … spellcasting?  Or something?  (Is she technically a Wiccan?  We don’t know, because she equivocates on a lot of things.)

Anyway, Tim, safe journey.  And because we know the kind of guy you are, we know you’re headed to Nebraska and not Las Vegas (or CIBOLA).