Good Old Mr. Becker, History Teacher


Greetings to the  1960 winter and spring graduates from Ralph Becker, ye old history teacher in the 60s.


 I had intended to attend your party but am unable to do so. Thought this would be easier. Barry Demovsky contacted me. But you're so organized on the web, that I thought I'd say hello this way. I read the attendance list and recognize many of you.


 A short history of my career: I left South Shore in 1967. You may recall that we had twin girls in 58; but in 1966 we had a son and our 8400 Bennett house got smaller--we had another older daughter,9. Deerfield HS--which seemed to be on another planet was growing and advertised for teachers. I was hired and we moved to Highland Park across from Ft.Sheridan. (Phyllis Bender Skolnick lived a block away!) I retired from DHS in 1990--ouch:20 years ago. We moved to a smaller  condo in Northbrook off Shermer and a block away from Glenbrook N.HS.


 I knew it was time to quit when SS alums showed up Parents'Nights to visit their children's teachers. And your classmate Sue Cohen also joined our faculty as a Spanish teacher.





Two of my girls went into education. Jean, the eldest, taught in the Chicago system until she got married in 2003 to a Denver attorney, and lives in Denver. She is now beginning to teach a 5th grade class in Aurora,CO,after being a principal there for 3 years. One of the twins, Rhonda, went to student teach Spanish in Nogales AZ and never came home. She married Robert, who taught history at Nogales HS where he still teaches after retiring a few years ago. She teaches Spanish at a nearby district.On my retirement day,6/12/90 she gave birth to our first grandchild, Rafael, named after me,and is a sophomore in architecture at ASU. Her twin,Pam, lives in Deerfield with her husband,Howard Reich, whom some of  you who read the  jazz reviews in the Trib may recognize as their jazz critic. Pam is an editor at the Trib, having graduated the U of I journalism school in 1980. My son, Neal, married in 2004, and lives outside Columbus Ohio. He works in sales. He and Alisa gave us our second grandson,Louie, in '05.


 My wife,Betty, (whom you may recall if you went on the Washington trip in 1960?)became a teacher and retired from teaching English/Film at the College of Lake County in 1993. She recently led film classes for seniors in the Oasis program at Northbrook Court, as well as pursuing an art/painting career until recently. Now she knits up a storm


We traveled a lot in the 80-90s to Europe. Our last overseas trip was to Slovenia-Croatia in 07.


 Enough about me. If any of you want to share your history with me I'd be glad to read it; And I will  not use a red pen to correct your papers(?).Miss Annan died some years ago in case you're curious.


As Edward Murrow used to say,

"Good night and good luck."



Mayhem on the gridiron




    It was the autumn of 1957. I was on  South Shore’s football team . We had a new coach, Sid Stein. Mr. Stein was a real gung-ho football coach. One afternoon he had a real surprise for the team. At our daily after school practice Stein had invited a guest team to scrimmage with us. Chicago Vocational high school, one of the best teams in Chicago.


   Scrimmage started out okay, but soon turned into a massacre. They were destroying us especially one player, who played fullback on offense  and middle linebacker on defense. On offense, he ran over us like we  weren't there. But on defense he was a monster, he hit us so hard that you thought you were being run over by a train. Soon it became evident  that our team was on the verge of being destroyed. The coaches talked  with each other and decided was time to stop. I don't remember too  much about that day. Barry Demovsky, one of our student assistant coaches, tells me that I had to be dragged out by my hands and feet after being hit so hard.


It wasn't until much later that we found out that the monster linebacker of Chicago Vocational high school was no other than the some day to be great DICK BUTKUS!


This is a collaboration between Allan Frank and Barry Demovsky.