Junior High School
On 109th street between second and third avenues on the south side of the street is Jefferson Park
Junior High School. Legends were made of this junior high school. Let me indicate why that
statement is true. First the Dean Mr. William Gersh this man, rumor had it carried a gun to school.
He was a wrestling referee He was tall with a barrel chest and dressed good for a teacher. He was the
person who issued cruel and unusual punishment if you violated the school rules. He had school
monitors (a sort of goon squad) who worked for him who ruled the school with an iron fist. As I
watched these monitors, in the hallways, I wanted the powers and influence that they had. I wondered
if the monitors that Mr. Gersh used even went to the school. They appeared to be gang members from
the neighborhood. I was going between classes one afternoon, when I noticed some guys enter the
main lobby of the school, Mr. Gersh happen to be in the hall at the time. He approached these three
people, the next thing a fight breaks out between Mr. Gersh and these three people. I watched as these
people proceed to fight Mr. Gersh. The fight did not last long neither did I to hang around to see the
end of the fight. This fight set the school on end. Since Mr. Gersh was married to the gym teacher
and his brother was also a math teacher in the school. With that fight it appeared that Mr. Gersh, his
brother and his wife were no longer at the school. The new Dean was now Mr. Diamond. Mr.
Diamond’s form of punishment was to take his college ring and knock you on top of your head with
its crown. The pain this ring inflicted was quite intense.
Mr. Flax was the principle, a short person and fair. That is as much as I could say about him. (See
class picture, I am standing top row first person on the left hand side behind Mr. Flax).
Ms. Polizzi was a gorgeous teacher with dark hair and a graceful posture. I love to watch
her, when she would sit on her desk to teach her lessons, (I was developing sexually and this was most
unfair.) On one occasion in her class, I developed an erection, just watching her style and grace. She
caught in a compromising position once, because, she asked me to stand up to answer a question. I
said “no” she repeatedly asked me to stand, and I refused, how, could I stand to answer a question with
There was Ms. Jackson a full figured buxom black woman who lived right across the street from
the school in Franklin Plaza co-op. I was fresh with her on many occasions. I had found myself
challenging her and her position as a teacher. I found that Junior High School was a heck of a place to
Brown / Harlem / 27
begin developing sexually. Thank Goodness, my parents never found out, the things that were going
through my mind, at that time in my life. I would be celebrating the 45th anniversary of my death.
Mr. Carroll lived somewhere on Fifth Avenue and one hundred and some odd street. Although he
was quite short, he made it up his with his ability to teach English also let me emphasis that this man
was deadly with an eighteen-inch ruler, which he kept an ample quantity in his supply closet. He can
strike your knuckles from any position. I can proudly tell you that I found out how to throw his ruler
aim off the mark. I found that if I move my hands from side to side I threw off his aim. My respect
grew for Mr. Carroll on the day he kicked my ass. Let me explain! Once or twice, a week we had at
the school what the school called group teaching. This is where two to four classes would gather in
the auditorium and one teacher would teach the group while the other teachers monitored the students.
Well on this particular day, I was feeling my oats. As Mr. Carroll was teaching, I was misbehaving.
Mr. Carroll walked up to me and said, “Why must you act like a child.” In which, I replied, “You was a
child once to”; well with that, said. Mr. Carroll proceeded to lift me up where my feet were not
touching the ground. (Remember, I said he was short) He hauled me to the back of the auditorium
were he proceed to punch me and ask me to repeat what I had said. I did and he punched me some
more. Again, he asked me to repeat what I said, and again I did. Again, he continued to punch me.
Again, he asked me to repeat it, well this time I got the message and I said “nothing” at this point he
stopped hitting me. He put hi