Central High School of Philadelphia
DIRECTORY OF THE 226th CLASS OF
Harvey Abrams' Page
created January 5, 2013
updated June 6, 2015
updated July 9, 2015
updated September 16, 2015
Here is an example of an autobiographical page. There are many ways you can do this - write as little or as much as you want!
My VITA is linked below (ask for the private link) if you want to know all the things I have done in teaching, all the articles I have written, etc. A small portion of my VITA is not available. You should send your vita and I can either include it within the text or use it as a link as I have done below. See Eddie Weber's page for another way of sending something.
I plan to upload all the photos in our Yearbook, so each of you will eventually have your own page with at least your class photo! I would love to have a recent photo so it can be compared to 1971. Please feel free to send me other images - your family, your kids, the title page of your latest book you may have written. I have unlimited size on my website, so send as much as you want.
Add information about other guys in the class, too. Send a story about an old friend -- I especially need your help writing about deceased classmates. If you have obituary notices, details of their lives, photos - please do share. As the self-designated class historian - feel free to send anything, including material NOT for the website or publication - it will go into a special Abrams family archive "record group" devoted to Central High School (and therefore a permanent addition to our family archives).
Please send me your autobiography, vita, images as well as any classmates for whom you have details.
I was born in March 1950 and thought for many years that I was the youngest in the class. HOWEVER I have learned in 2014 that there were at least three or four other guys who were born after me, including one guy whose birthday is one day later. I had gone to F.S. Edmonds elementary school and then Morris E. Leeds Junior High School in West Oak Lane before attending Central. That meant I had to take the "S" bus to school every day until my parents allowed me to drive their 1962 Comet to school my senior year. So I used to pick up Barry Denenberg and we went to school together.
I graduated in 1967 but did not attend graduation with you guys because I started Penn State before the ceremony was held. I really haven't seen 481 of you until the 40th Reunion in 2007. Mike Valoris is the only classmate that I have seen in all these years on a fairly frequent basis - our parents were pretty close. In no way to offend any of you - I did not attend any of the reunions because I did not join the Alumni association to keep in touch. After college my main concern was making the US Olympic team wrestling. So I lived and worked where it was best for me to train.
Life has been an adventure for me -- on the whole it's been good. Certainly I have had more experiences than most people -- but I am still here to tell about it. I have had several "close calls" and recovered each time so I am living on what I call "bonus time." Hence my motto -- "carpe diem." And this was my motto long before Dead Poets Society.
I was a rather frustrated little guy in high school. I felt somewhat overwhelmed by having so many bright people and great athletes surrounding me. I always got cut the first day of baseball practice, (thank you Mr. Coleman), was too small for football and nobody ever grabbed me and said "you are going to be a gymnast -- now get to practice." I do remember one time when Eddie Weber grabbed me at the "Y" and took me through a swimming practice -- I loved swimming and I was a good swimmer. But after we were done he asked me to come to team practice and I said "no" because I didn't think that all that hard work we just did was much fun at all -- I was simply too young, I guess. Ed does not remember this story, either.
My fulfillment came in college -- and later -- so I guess I was one of those "late bloomers." My obsession with sports consumed my career. I started Penn State in Architecture so I could be the next Frank Lloyd Wright. I was going to design great houses and great stadiums. I remember sitting in Monsieur Boni's classroom scribbling drawings (which got me into trouble) but I was designing a great sports stadium years ahead of it's time. My idea was to put a roof on the Roman Colosseum and create a baseball stadium for the Phillies and I was shattered when I learned they were building something like my design -- the Houston Astrodome. That was MY idea! Bummer.
But I dropped architecture and became a Physical Education teacher instead. I did not want to sit behind a desk the rest of my life. Still too small to play football I became a manager for Penn State football for two seasons. And yes - I got to know Joe Paterno very well. I hated cleaning muddy footballs but I got to see first hand how great coaches work with athletes -- and I was standing next to Mike Reid when Sports Illustrated took his picture just before we won the Orange Bowl in 1968. I was also a manager for the gymnastics team and the coach did try to teach me gymnastics! But I had a hell of a time getting over the vault - it was the floor exercise that was my best event, but not good enough to make the team. I studied some martial arts including Karate and Judo. I was vice-president of the college student council and succeeded in getting a separate class of anatomy for PE majors because the pre-med students killed the curve and we were always flunking.
Harvey Abrams, 2012
Life is short guys. Looking back over forty-eight years I cannot believe all that has happened. We had Beatle's haircuts and Texas Instruments calculators that were forbidden in class. Today our little notebooks are more powerful than the computers on every space shuttle we ever launched. Our school was boys only. That changed in the 1980's. We watched Startrek and Captain Kirk in college and thought it was great imagination - while those cute little communicators became today's cell phones..."beam me up Scotty." We struggled through Vietnam and were called "baby killers" and today we have Iraq and Afganistan and call our soldiers heroes. Can you remember the first time you used a microwave? My hamburger was disgusting and tasted like rubber. We have lived a lifetime and many of you guys have already retired. A few of us will probably keep chugging along like the Energizer bunny. I cannot retire - I have too many unfinished projects. And I am off to Europe soon to coach a wrestling team in Prague, so if you read this, have a passport, contact me so we can meet in Prague, Vienna or Berlin - places I will be spending a lot of time.
As I research the lives of classmates it makes great reading - many have made names for themselves and reached high marks in their professions. Even if we were not good friends in school, or friends over these past decades, share your life and story with the rest of us.
Everyone has a story -- we need to hear some of yours.
This short version was originally on the front page of the CHS site and was relocated here on September 16, 2015.
If you do not remember me here is a short introduction.
Here is the first official portrait of me taken after my years of living in the shadows. Published in the summer of 2012 just prior to the Olympic Games in London.
Here is a photo of me as a kid in South Philly...
My photo from our Central High School yearbook in 1967 and my Penn State yearbook photo 1971.
You can send similar images for your personal page - send as many as you would like.
A rather frustrated little guy in high school -- I felt somewhat overwhelmed by having so many bright people and great athletes surrounding me. I always got cut the first day of baseball practice, (thank you Mr. Coleman), was too small for football and nobody ever grabbed me and said "you are going to be a gymnast -- now get to practice." I do remember one time when Eddie Weber grabbed me at the "Y" and took me through a swimming practice -- I loved swimming. But after we were done he asked me to come to team practice and I said "no" because I didn't think that all that hard work we just did was much fun at all -- I was simply too young, I guess.
My fulfillment came in college -- and later -- so I guess I was one of those "late bloomers." My obsession with sports consumed my career. I started Penn State in Architecture so I could be the next Frank Lloyd Wright. I was going to design great houses and great stadiums. But I became a Physical Education teacher instead. Still too small for football I became a manager for Penn State football for two seasons. Yes, I knew Joe Paterno very well, but I worked daily with the quarterbacks and Coach George Welsh. I hated cleaning muddy footballs but I got to see first hand how great coaches work with athletes -- and I was standing next to Mike Reid when Sports Illustrated took his picture just before we won the Orange Bowl in 1968. I was also a manager for the gymnastics team and would have been a gymnast myself if only the Phys Ed teachers at Central would have grabbed me and said "you're going to be a gymnast!" I would have stuttered "yes sir." But Penn State is where I became an athlete. I studied some martial arts. I was vice-president of the college student council and succeeded in getting a separate class of anatomy for PE majors because the pre-med students killed the curve and we were always flunking.
Then one day I saw a wrestling mat being set up in Rec Hall and asked a friend "where are the ropes?" Coming from Central and Philadelphia I had never seen wrestling. We didn't have wrestling in any Philadelphia schools. I thought it was the TV stuff -- and I hated it. But my friend, who was a fellow PE major, said to me "are all you kids from Philly that stupid?" I retaliated by stating how I could not believe college kids were stupid enough to do that TV stuff. He stopped, looked at me with dagger-eyes and said "I'm a wrestler." "Really?" I suddenly felt....stupid.
He was not wrestling that night -- but he dragged me to Rec Hall to watch the meet. It was the night I found a sport for little guys like me. And suddenly -- I
became a wrestler. Actually, there is are stories behind this too, but you have to read my autobiography to get the rest.
PO Box 732
State College, PA, USA 16804
tel: (814) 321-4018 (cell phone)
email: Olympicbks@aol.com http://www.harveyabramsbooks.com
International Institute for Sport History,
a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation organized to operate a Library and Museum
for the History of Sport, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, Sport in Art and
the Olympic Games.
PO Box 26580
Philadelphia, PA 19141-6580
tel: (215) 927-9550 -- fax: (215) 276-5823