Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ric Cone (Richard Donald Cone)  1953-2014
Newton South High Class of 1971 and Montserrat College of Art

Sad news, Ric died on January 3, 2014, after a massive heart attack on December 29, 2013, when he was placed on life support. Ric had been living in Plymouth, MA since 1995. There will be a memorial service for him on Friday January 31, organized by the Plymouth Council on Aging, where he worked teaching drawing and photography, at 44 Nook Road, (take route 3 to exit 5 in Plymouth). The memorial service starts at 1pm. Ric is survived by his sister, Karen Hall and her husband Stuart, who live in Maine. Ric's lifelong Newton friend Bruce Wenning was with him when it happened.

I'm posting a few links and hope to add an update after the event tomorrow. Ric was my friend since I was 14, and we had been close on and off over the years, and I had hoped to keep this friendship alive deep into old age. I will miss him.

-Ellen Howards

Community Grieves Loss of Advocate, Artist and Friend

Remembering Ric Cone

Video of Ric telling a (very Ric Cone) Christmas story

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Wilson's Field, Newton Centre

Peggy and Paul running around "Wilson's Field"
Early Fall day at the Warren St. Newton Centre baseball field, which is now gone. It used to be called "Wilson's Field" as it was next to Rob Wilson's house. The field itself is right over one of the ponds that was filled with trash when this location and the pond next to it, now Warren Terrace and several houses, were used as a landfill. For years rusty, oily effluent leaked out into the nearby stream, and probably still does. We knew enough to stay out of that weird, bright orange, rusty, toxic polluted water, which was actually a common sight around Newton.

Stan Ambrose and I used to hang out at this field and it is where we started digging for bottles, and unearthed many treasures. Stan went on to become an archaeologist and anthropologist, and I was intrigued by the artistic aspect of our findings, and ended up going to art school.

Rob Wilson's house was torn down and a huge house was built at the end of Warren St. - a nice one - but right at the edge of that dump.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Newton and Watertownites

wish we knew who this is
 Some of you may recognize these Newton/Watertown line faces.
We cannot remember the name of the first one! Below her is Darlene and her son, Jason. Then Betty Cummings and Lisa Sennott. If you figure it out, let me know at
Darlene LaRosee and Jason

Betty Cummings

Lisa Sennott

Sunday, October 25, 2009

John Ertha, an educator and a rights activist; 82

Sad News

Early on, John Ertha considered a life in the ministry or the theater, and then chose to meld those callings and become a teacher.

Along with making classrooms his principal stage, he directed summer camps in New York and Maine, preaching responsibility and understanding to youths of different races and social classes. Drawing campers from cities and suburbs, Mr. Ertha used theater productions to teach children, teenagers, and young adults to create, think, and lead.

“He was a philosopher’s philosopher, a poet’s poet, and a teacher’s teacher,’’ said the Rev. John Buehrens, who attended the camps and is minister of First Parish in Needham. “He could recite reams of wonderful poetry from memory, and he could engage an individual child in a ping-pong match that changed that child’s life.’’

Mr. Ertha, a longtime civil rights activist who taught for many years in Newton and Boston, died in his sleep Oct. 4 in his daughter’s home in Freeport, Maine. He was 82 and had suffered strokes and heart ailments in recent years.

“He had tremendous gravity,’’ said James Remar, an actor who grew up in Newton and has had recurring roles in television shows such as “Sex and the City’’ and “Dexter.’’ “He had a fierceness about him and a compassion and a loving aura, all at the same time. He laughed very, very heartily, like he was going to bust out of his skin, and if he became angry, the bowels of the earth shook.’’

Desegregation and busing were shaking the foundations of Greater Boston during many of the years Mr. Ertha was a teacher or assistant principal at Newton North High School, Weeks Junior High in Newton, and Boston Latin, among others. When tensions in 1968 led to a walkout at the Gibson School in Dorchester, Mr. Ertha helped lead a “liberation’’ school during the two-month boycott.

Ultimately, though, he believed that race was superseded by class as “a far more insidious problem,’’ he told the Christian Science Monitor in 1975.

In an experience that set an example for those he taught, Mr. Ertha challenged John J. Kerrigan, a Boston School Committee chairman and city councilor who ardently opposed busing, to a televised debate during the desegregation years. That encounter turned “sworn enemies’’ into friends. Mr. Ertha later publicly defended Kerrigan, writing in a 1994 letter published in the Globe that he “is not a racist.’’

“Like the hero of ‘Prometheus Unbound,’ he walks ‘upright, unholy, graceless, swift and proud,’ ’’ his letter said.

John Edward Ertha grew up in the tiny northern Maine town of East Hodgdon, the fourth of 10 children in one of the few black families for miles. His father was a potato farmer who lost work during the Great Depression, and his mother had taught at Tuskegee University.

“His mother and his aunt instilled in all the children a love of poetry and literature,’’ said Dr. Darlene Handy Ertha of Ipswich, Mr. Ertha’s former wife. “If you went to a family gathering, one of them would start reciting poetry, and then another would take it up and another and another.’’

Mr. Ertha’s family moved to Bangor, and he worked in Portland at the outset of World War II, building ships until he was drafted into the Army and stationed in the Pacific.

Returning home afterward, he graduated from the University of Maine at Orono with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1955, the year he married Darlene Handy.

They moved to Connecticut, where Mr. Ertha graduated from New Haven Teachers College two years later with a master’s degree in teaching.

He taught in Connecticut and brought his family to West Newton, meeting Remar while teaching at Weeks Junior High. After Remar impressed his teacher by answering a difficult Greek mythology question, he connected with Mr. Ertha and attended his camp for a couple of summers.

“It introduced me to the theater and gave me a sense of family and community that I desperately needed,’’ Remar said. “He helped make me feel competent at a time when I really did not. He helped open up my world to me.’’

Structuring summer weeks around stage productions, Mr. Ertha schooled scores of children in the art of responsibility at camps in Carmel, N.Y., and the Maine communities of Denmark and Naples. Mixing youths from different races and religions, the coeducational camps were an invigorating experience for those who attended during Boston’s desegregation years.

“The whole world was changing, and it just seemed appropriate that he would step in and take his place as one of the great mentors at a time when we were beginning to see the color lines dissolve,’’ Remar said.

“It was a remarkable place for young people to test their capacity to take care of something other than yourself, but you had to start with taking care of yourself,’’ said Buehrens, a past president of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

All decisions were democratic, Buehrens added, and a 6-year-old’s vote carried the same weight as an adult’s.

Maine officials closed Mr. Ertha’s Naples camp in the late 1970s because of code violations, a turn of events not completely surprising to those who loved Mr. Ertha and his summer gatherings.

“To say that he was organizationally impaired would not quite cover it,’’ Buehrens said with a chuckle. “He resented and resisted those things that impinge upon us and require that we organize priorities. John lived in the moment.’’

Mr. Ertha and his wife divorced after 20 years, but remained friends, and he lived in Dorchester before moving to Freeport, Maine, two years ago as his health declined. At home, he was as much a teacher as he was in school, said his daughter, Susan Ertha Wiemer of Freeport.

“He was very much concerned with our intellectual development, and all around the house were great, great books, Greek mythology and poetry,’’ she said. “He made you want to use your intellect to its highest potential.’’

And that, Mr. Ertha told the Monitor, was what he tried to achieve in his camps.

“We don’t give kids credit for what they can do,’’ he said in 1975. “They have an amazing capacity to run their own lives if they’re given the chance.’’

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jay Sidman

Pulled from twitter, this highly recognizable image of Jay, who I would say looks remarkably the same as he did at Weeks Junior High.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


By chance ran across this picture of Eric Mitkus, owner of JP Associates.
Here's a link to their website.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Nancy Wallerstein

In Memorium to Nancy Wallerstein who passed away on 4/28/09

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009

Manson and Levinson on a camping trip

From what I can surmise this shot was taken by Walter Levinson during some 70s era camping trip.
Image supplied by Jim Manson who says: "The camping trip was in 1970 at White's Pond just outside Franconia, NH. A favorite spot for Walter Levenson, Paul DeMaio, John Pavan and myself. I think it was just Walter and I on that trip. Nothing out of the ordinary for the day; copious amounts of libation, a little rain to make things interesting. Hike 'til you hurt kind of thing. "

James Manson - recent picture

James Manson - Looks like someplace in the SouthWest.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Friday, November 21, 2008

Moderated Comments are back on

Hope everyone is having a fine Fall. The Newton Highlands Blog has had over 10,000 page views to date and gets daily traffic from around the globe. There are hundreds of pictures and comments about Newtonites and plenty of vintage images of the 70s to look at, and google crawls over them so they are searchable.

We had turned anonymous comments off for a while. This is because of the large numbers of spam comments that were coming in. Elaine in Switzerland wanted to make a comment and so do others so we have enabled moderated comments. That means that anyone can make a comment, but that it goes to an email address to get through before it publishes.

Please remember to put your name or initials in your comment! We'll see how this goes for a while. If there are a hundred spam messages again, it will have to be turned off. An alternative is to get your own blogger account, and then you can comment to your heart's content.

Now is a good time to look through the closet and find more pictures to post. I have a couple more to put up and I know they are out there!


Bob C