The Class of '66 Summer Picnic, 2023

August 12, 2023, Webster Park

28 members of the class attended, and 26 posed for a group picture (below).
Click here for the photo gallery.

R.I.P. Mary Chiaramonte


She was my first love.

We went to school dances together, and occasionally grabbed a bite to eat after her dance classes at the George Francis studio, but our favorite activity was walking through downtown, where we met up after bus rides from home. Lovers need no films nor plays nor elegant meals. The best dates are those where we discover a linked soul. Mary introduced me to the “secret” doll collection at the library, and I introduced her to the hidden, most unsavory areas of the Clinton Book Shop, but most of our discoveries were about each other, and the weight of those revelations was borne not by specific activities, but by simple conversation, serious and jocular, sacred and profane, I more profane than she. We talked about the lustful predations of Brother Heathwood and the one-act plays of Edward Albee, of lawn mowers and men’s hats, of rock ‘n roll, foreign food, cabbages, kings and Brontes. We disagreed about many matters both light and weighty, but I began to learn from those talks that it was possible to approach an opposing viewpoint without contempt.

Oh, that the America of 2022 had acquired that learning.

I went off to college in New York City, and our relationship went the predictable way of romances between adolescents separated by distance. She ended it. Most of us remember a list of certain precise dates of significance like November 22nd, 1963, or September 11th, 2001. My list includes December 10th, 1966. That was the day my mailbox at Fordham University contained a final letter from Mary, the “Dear John” letter we all dread. I never saw her again, but the ghost of her memory haunted me.

In the late 90s, some thirty years after I last saw Mary, after I had married and divorced two other women, I became close friends with Dale Davis, the legendary surfing cinematographer. In 1966 he had been the surfing consultant for “Never Too Young,” the first attempt by a network to create a soap opera for the youth market. It was about surfers who hung out at a surfside bar and listened to live music performed by some popular performers of the day, including all-time greats like Marvin Gaye. Dale was shocked that I still knew the tune and all the lyrics from the theme song for that show. “That show was so obscure that nobody even remembers it at all,” he mused, “so how could you know so much about it?”

Dale had evoked Mary’s ghost, who duetted with me on that theme song.

She and I had often laughed about that show, and sang the cheesy theme song together. Being snobs, we were not admirers, but loved to hate it. Now that I consider it, I guess I was just pretending to be a snob to impress her. I did laugh at the melodramatics and the fact that the main characters never had to interrupt their hang-out by going to class or work, but I actually loved the musical performances. C'mon, who doesn't love Marvin Gaye?

How could a famous California surfer dude remind me of high school in upstate New York?

Because there are some ghosts that never stop haunting us.


Mary and I had a place. It was a grim, industrial place in downtown Rochester, on the shore of the Genesee, near the library. It was a vacant space between two factories. Effluvium, probably untreated, poured from nearby drains into the river, and steam emerged from ubiquitous pipes and valves in the area.

A foul place.

From that place could one view Rochester’s history. Beneath it was the river, with its uneven flow, and its polluted palette that sometimes looked less like the product of nature than of H.P. Lovecraft’s imagination. Above it loomed the Broad Street Bridge, the base of which had once been an aqueduct carrying the Erie Canal above the Genesee River, and had later carried Rochester’s forgotten subway, which by our high school years had been abandoned. From our vantage below, we could look through the open arches to see that the tunnel beneath the road was marred by graffiti, the runes left by its occasional inhabitants, the desperate and forlorn who take refuge in the shadows and hide in the neglected crevices of every major city.

Yes, a foul place.

But our place nonetheless.

It was there, in a winter storm, that I first kissed her, and the surrounding hellscape disappeared. We stood face to face, and as we did, there was no universe beyond a snowflake melting upon her lips.

It wasn’t my first kiss, but it was the first one that meant anything. So, yes, I remember Mary. That much you can deduce from my words. You may think that these memories are so vivid only because I have just heard of her death. You may wonder whether I have thought of her much between now and when I held her in my arms more than fifty years ago.

No, not much.

Not much at all.

Only about once every fucking day.

Mary and I waded together only briefly along the "bank and shoal of time."

But there are some ghosts that never stop haunting us.

R.I.P. Mary Lou Goodman



Mary Lou (Rivellino) Thompson

Walworth - With family by her side, Mary Lou (Goodman) Thompson passed away on November 16, 2022.  She was predeceased by her loving husband, Robert Thompson, her parents Edwin and Catherine Goodman and her brother, Charles Goodman.  

She leaves behind three grown children: Joseph (Christina) Rivellino, Mary Kay (Jarrel) Battaglia and Anne Ferris; her brothers Donald (Trish) Goodman, Paul (Sheila) Goodman; her niece Catherine (Phil) Fabens-Jones, and her grandchildren, Nathan and Samuel Rivellino.

Mary Lou's calling hours will be Monday, November 21 from 4-7PM at Murphy Funeral & Cremation Chapels, 1040 Rte. 31, Macedon, NY.  Her Memorial Mass will be held on Tuesday, November 22 at 11am at St. Mary's of the Lake Church 5823 Walworth Rd., Ontario, NY.

Mary Lou was a great lover of animals, and the family requests that donations to Lollypop Farm, Humane Society of Greater Rochester (99 Victor Rd, Fairport, NY 14450) be considered in lieu of flowers. To leave the family an online condolence, please visit Mary Lou's tribute page,

R.I.P. Marty LaFica

"Marty the Mountain": business teacher, baseball coach, and all-around good guy.

Obit here.

Don Zientara witnesses the end of Inner Ear Studios

"If Memphis rock-and-roll had Sun Studio, and the Beatles had London’s Abbey Road, D.C. punk had Inner Ear." And the father of Inner Ear was Bishop Kearney '66 graduate Don Zientara.

The funky old Inner Ear studio was cleared out last year, ironically to make room for a new arts district, although Don's studio was a DC landmark and a true source of authentic and successful art. So it goes. The ending of that era was covered by several articles in major media outlets, including the Washington Post:

Once the ‘Abbey Road’ of D.C.’s punk scene, it’s being bulldozed for a government-sanctioned arts district

Don Zientara sounds ready for life after Inner Ear

Engaging the outer eye at Arlington’s famed Inner Ear Recording Studios

R.I.P. Dan Starks


From his obituary:

Daniel Lee Starks, 73 of Charlotte, passed away Friday, February 18, 2022.   Born in Rochester, New York on May 20, 1948, Dan was the son of the late Homer and Eva Madelyn (Austin) Starks. Dan moved to Charlotte in 1986 and founded the Starks Training Institute, Inc in 1989.

Dan was known to many for his "Don't be a Victim" spots on WCNC as well as his "Partners Against Crime" and "the Don't Be A Victim" series. He was also an Emmy Award Winner. Dan and his life partner Connie Smigiel believed in personal safety. Together they taught self defense class and firearm safety and carry conceal classes. Mr. Starks was ranked as the number one NRA instructor/recruiter in the country in 2009. His clients ranged from housewives, FBI and Secret Service Agents as well as businessman, politicians, sports figures.

Dan was a member of American Women's Self-Defense Organization, Infragard, National Range Officers Association and the National Speakers Association.

Over the years, Dan and Connie received many awards, but one of most prestigious honors was being Knighted on January 13, 2012. Recognized by the Knights of Malta, Federation of Autonomous Priories at European Knighting Ceremony, Dan was Knighted by Sir George Popper, the Lieutenant General of the Federation and Grand Collar of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus. The sword used in the ceremony is used in the knighting ceremony, it is over a 1000 years old and kept in Austria.

Remembering Walt Szarlacki

When Walt passed away, now five years ago, I didn't really get to write anything, and I feel that I should rectify that. Although we were not blood relatives, we always saw each other at family gatherings from early childhood. Two of my uncles married two of his aunts, and we shared a creepy cousin that we always talked about because he scared the crap out of us. 

Walt played football and basketball at BK, but I don't think he was ever on the baseball team, and that always surprised me. We played in the same little league, which played on the very field now occupied by Bishop Kearney High School. Walt was the Nolan Ryan of that league. He already had adult velocity and could even throw breaking balls. When the rest of us weren't playing against him, we would take every opportunity to watch him pitch. One of the big thrills of my life was hitting a ball over the outfielders in my first at bat against him. He totally had me overpowered with the first pitch. I had never faced anyone that fast. I knew he was going to strike me out, so I resolved to at least take some full cuts and not be a wimp. On his second pitch, I desperately started my swing before the ball left his hands, and accidentally made square contact! I was so shocked that I just stood frozen in the batter's box while everyone was shouting for me to run. (There were no fences on that field, so no automatic homers.) I managed to stretch that homer into a double, with my teammates unable to decide whether to cheer for my unexpected contact or laugh at my inept baserunning!  Of course, that hit was pure luck.  I batted several more times that game and never got within two feet of a pitch!

You can kind of get a feel for how he stood apart from mere mortal youth by looking at his eighth grade picture. 

There is Walt in the center of that Christ the King class, standing literally half a head taller than anyone else, just as he figuratively stood far above us in little league. He was already an adult, movie-star handsome, looking more like one of the teachers than a student.

For all his talent (yes, he was also a top student), Walt was a modest guy and he seemed almost insecure. I once asked him why he never pitched in high school, and he mumbled something about Rip Coleman and Fred Bleier being so good that he didn't really feel he could get much playing time. He was that way about everything. I was always amazed to see how shy he was around women. He had almost no confidence, despite his talent, looks, brains, and the fact that he was always good company. That was Walt. He seemed to be good at everything, but he just went about it quietly and sincerely, smiling and having fun.

Even though neither of us stayed in Rochester, I ran into him many times after graduation when Pat Shatzel or Dan Young would bring a group together to play golf and/or consume vast quantities of adult beverages, both of which we did while laughing all the way. Above all else, Walt was just a good guy, and I wish he was here now, teeing it up or sitting in the next bar stool.

RIP to Ed Andrews and John Knope

 John Knope passed away on December 19th, as reported on his Facebook page.

Here is his obituary.

The following was written by another classmate, Tony Mangione:

"Sad and surprised to hear about John’s passing. I just talked to him on the phone last month. I read that his sister Patty preceded him. I last saw her at Sandy’s funeral. We confessed our mutual attraction and regrets we never acted upon it. And John was there quietly laughing at it.

It’s amazing how the finality of an old friend’s name brings up a trove of memories, all of which bring up smiles and feelings. John’s family welcomed me to their home, like the Obersts did, when I was a strange kid in a stranger land. I tried to teach Mrs Knope how to “pony” during a party at their house, and then dancing to the Lettermen and Johnny Mathis when she left the room. His parents attended my wedding but he did not as he was in the service. We were on the wrestling team coached by Teike, another great one gone. He did ask me once if I was mad that he was dating my ex-girlfriend. Of course not; they are both great people.

John and I talked a lot about his work with vets in need, his volunteer work for many years. He had a quiet way about him.

A whole world opens up by his name and picture, none of which appears in an obituary. Let’s just say that what makes a person great is that in some ways they become part of someone else’s memories making their lives more meaningful and relevant in many ways. In his own quiet way, John did that.


Ed Andrews passed on October 18th. 

The following was written by his friend and our classmate, Fred Bleier:

Greetings from Memphis TN.

Sad to report another pioneer class passing. Ed Andrews died on October 18 in Encinitas CA from complications arising from colon cancer. Our thoughts are with his wife Kathy and their children Dan, Dave, Susie, and Kate.

I first met Ed in Mike Spang’s 104 home room at BK - remember when the teachers moved between periods while we stayed put? How weird was that!

He graduated from Notre Dame, then spent several months living with me and Rick Brown in Athens GA before driving with me cross country to Long Beach CA (we were pulled over by a cop in the middle of nowhere Arkansas and hassled for about an hour - maybe not surprising as we were driving a Ford Mustang with NY plates.)

We lived together in apartments in Long Beach and Huntington Beach until I was transferred (USN) to SC. Ed met and married Kathy and remained in CA where he worked with World Savings for 37 years, retiring as an Executive Vice President.

Ed (known as “Easy” by his close friends reflecting his unflappable, easygoing nature) was a great friend and will be missed by all of us.