Holyoke Community College, 1968 – 1969

by Laurel | January 12th, 2012

Did you attend Holyoke Community during this era? Are any of these faculty names familiar to you? Who were your favorites at HCC?

HCC, Candid Faculty Image, 1968-69

HCC, Candid Faculty Image, 1968-69

Browsing through some of my Holyoke yearbooks yesterday I came across this candid faculty photo in the 1969 Latchkey, the Holyoke Community College annual. Counter clockwise from the person standing at left: Bill Wilkinson (Sociology), Miriam Sajkovic (Philisophy), Anne Chametzky (Literature), Señora Dalmau (Spanish). The last person with the black rimmed glasses I do not recognize, maybe Liz Troutner?

What struck me is I was enrolled in classes with all four of them and even now I remember them as if it was yesterday. Bill Wilkinson lived on Hamilton Street, I remember going there to attend an event. He ultimately lost his position and disappeared into another life. This was the era of college students asking for Black Studies and Bill’s frank discussions about about racism raised the awareness of many. I actually ended up being a sociology major.

Miriam Sajkovic (cigarette in hand) — Shy-Cove-Itch — she wrote on the board as a pronunciation key that first day of class — which happened to be in the “Annex” — the old Elmwood School building, where I had not been since attending kindergarten. Dr. Sajkovic, in one of the first classes, walked around the classroom wrapping gold thread from a spool around each one of us until we all were connected by it. And then, later on at her direction, we all broke the threads between us, symbolically breaking out of the Golden Labyrinth. Our text was “What is Philosophy?” by José Ortega y Gasset and I still have that tattered book on my shelf to this day.

Anne Halley Chametzky (also cigarette in hand), literature. I did get to know her a little more with “extracurricular activities” (anti-war movement, etc). She was a feminist and a gifted poet and writer. I still have the first edition of her book “Between Wars and Other Poems,” and whenever I encounter it on the shelf I take it out and read a bit of it. You can read more about her at this link.

Lastly Señora Dalmau. I don’t recall her first name though I think at one time I knew it. It was in her Spanish class I met someone who became a close friend of mine for many years. As I recall she was a Cuban refugee and lots of students would toss out a word here and there about Fidel, which would send her into endless lectures with a red, angry face. This was often done on test days. I loved watching her lecture, very flamboyant, with a Spanish fan in hand on hot days. Señora Dalmau was a bit “old school” in her perceptions of how people should behave, though I did ultimately forgiver her for yelling at me in front of the class several times because I wore jeans to class. She was a kind woman who offered me rides to the annex on more than one occasion. I never had any contact with her after HCC, but many, many years later when my mother was hospitalized in Bay State, guess who her roommate turned out to be? Serendipitous in a peculiar sort of way.

Other faculty favorites of mine were Herb Michaels (American Lit as I recall), Bill Boynton (Freshman English), Steve Kaufman (English / Lit), George Ashley, Joe DeMuro, Jerry Wyman (Art), and I could narrate little stories about each one of them from being in their classes. Plus there was a music teacher — name escapes me — and my attitude about classical music was changed by that class. Smart caring educators.

To those who teach, never forget the impact you may have on someone.

2 Responses to “Holyoke Community College, 1968 – 1969”

  1. Andy Stefancik says:

    Was there in ’68-’69. Became friends with Bill Wilkinson and Jerry Wyman. Bill and Jerry and I and 3 other students from Bill’s Sociology class held a student revolt in the fall of ’68. We got 10 student demands from the faculty, one of which allowed pants and mini skirts on women. I was subsequently drafted and when I returned home I looked up Bill and was told by HCC admins that he had been fired. . .That is Bill in the picture…

  2. Yes definitely Bill in the pic … he was an amazing person in so many ways. I started HCC in spring ’69. It was really sad when he was essentially fired, he was so inspirational to so many students. Andy I am guessing we probably would have recognized each other at least back then!!

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