Walt Fellman

Profile Updated: February 17, 2017
Residing In: Philadelphia, PA USA
Spouse/Partner: Rochelle
Occupation: English teacher (retired)
Children: Jennifer. born 1986
Comments:

Hi! Thought I'd add a poem that I'm proud of: Although serious (about climate change and daily existence), it aims, too, to tickle the mind. Perhaps some of you will like it. But I'd appreciate any comments/suggestions pro and con.


Floes of Mind

Each day our Hero arose
and thought near-consciously of the polar bear
which arose, too, somewhere
and accompanied him downstairs.

The bear, busy being,
paid no attention
to the man who obsessed
on matters of moment and fancy.

The precious bear, preeminent, still
of diminishing dominion,
Played on floes of mind: the mundane,
quiescent inner hum, the result

of partnership, implicit and profound:
The bear's job: being;
The man's job: being
among other things.

The bear, one of many
(and many less),
occupied states, near and far
dying floes; while the man

busied on with the grind of mankind:
the hum, fainter now, disrupted now;
Our Hero: Much in common had he
with some.

The bear, shrinking,
diving in and out of view,
swims for its life,unseen, as a rule
but sometimes leaping spectrelike to mind.

And these nights, as always, our Hero
climbs the stairs with polar bears.
And his Hera? Lucky for him,
she, too, dwells on magical creatures.

W.F.






Here goes!
I entered Temple University directly after high school graduation as a business major -- not knowing what else to do (my dad wanted me to follow in the cigar and tobacco line) After a month of basic accounting, I fled to Liberal Arts. Shortly after, I quit school and worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer for a year as a copyboy. No future there! Quit that and worked at the old Lit Brothers department store, in retailing and personnel. There, there was a future, but there was also an itch: After two years at Lits, I went back to Temple and, finally, became a decent student. Got certified as a secondary English teacher and finally got my bachelor's degree in 1968.

(Lit Brothers, I'd like to say, was a virtual family. It hired both the experienced and inexperienced and schooled them in the fashion of the old, traditional department store; it taught teamwork, competition and savvy --each day replete with success, failure, and a bone-jarring profit-loss bottom line (seldom faced by academics). It rewarded the competent and those with a nose for profit, and fired the incompetent or just plain unlucky. Generally, it nurtured its brood -- and I'm better for having worked with those people. And, incidentally, I worked there with two of our classmates; Ilene Schiffman and Bob Doyle.)

I taught a year at Camden High School, then switched to Philadelphia where I substitute-taught awhile and eventually got a masters degree in English-Education and a plus-30 in Spanish. Substitute teaching provided a meager living but afforded me time to explore and develop some personal interests: Singing, prose writing and poetry.
I took a full-time teaching job, 1973, at Edison High School, hoping I would pursue the latter interests, eventually. Which I did, but mostly after retirement in 2002. I was lucky to teach in varied programs, including drop-out prevention, holocaust studies and advanced placement English (relative to the school).
My first marriage, 1943, was shortlived. A year after, I began living with Rochelle Abrams; we married three years later. We are, happily, in our 22nd year of marriage. Rochelle retired last June, after 37 years of elementary school teaching -- a truly dedicated and inspired educator.. We have a wonderful daughter, Jen -- a Muhlenberg College, Phi Beta Capa and summa cum laude grad, who is attempting, at age 22, to make a career for herself in singing and acting. She performed in February, 2009, in Society Hill Playhouse's cabaret theater (her own production), and will do so again at Walnut Street Theatre's Studio 5 in the fall.

Today, I write some, study voice, perform cabaret music occasionally in recitals, and hopscotch to poetry readings. Except for educational limericks, I am unpublished (because I rarely submit writings -- I hope!). I belong to a monthly book club, men's group and poetry workshop.

It is fantastic to reenter this long-ago high school world which feels like yesterday.

Below, a light-verse sample of my writing -- on a theme that might ring a bell:

______


Dance at the Grade-School Gym


Held, compelled by witchcraft,
dark mischievous hex,
They lined up in accordance with,
not age, not height, but sex.

Sisters all together stood
locked in solemn sisterhood;
Brothers flocked with brotherkind:
of a feather; of a mind.

Boys hung hard to one side,
girls a-hugged the other,
Lads and lasses, huddled masses,
studied one another.

(For little boys and little girls
have much in common, BUT
their differences are paramount:
Open case -- and SHUT!)

Yet Peter, one brave customer,
made at 'em, made advance,
As if it were his mission
to invite some girl to dance.

He bowed before Maid Marion
and gave her sleeve a tug;
Indignantly she shrugged him off:
Just another bug!

A nearby 'nother little fem'
seemed, to Peter, suitable;
He tugged her gown; she turned him down:
Her hem was unrecruitable.

He took right bold advantage
of a dainty little cuff;
Its occupant took umbrage,
departing in a huff.

He sidled to a Guinevere,
gave her sleeve a yank;
She shot a glance! Spit a curl!
DOWN! his spirits sank.

UP! like rubber he rebounded --
an optimistic perk,
Extending yet another sleeve:
Just another jerk.

Each and every maid resisted;
ah, but Peter he was tough,
Undaunted he persisted,
undeterred by each rebuff.

On he skittered like a cricket,
continuing to weave,
and plow through thin and thicket
to that quintessential sleeve.

And thereabout, despite the rout
of maidens who ignored him,
A lily of the Lilliputs
designed to venture toward him.

A little girl named Ellie,
a maiden made so bold
as to spark a revolution,
twenty paces from the fold.

She took to dance with Peter: He,
the leader of the guys;
And Peter took to Ellie: She,
that something of a prize!

The moment effervescent,
adolescent, the rime:
A cast of Grade-A characters
deigned to step in time.


Here's another: I'm in need of an audience.


The LoveSong of Window and Shade

If a pretty Window looked upon the day
and found a chill,
Would it wish a handsome blanket
to be covered – head to sill?

If a one-time shady Window Shade
were rolled up in the shed,
Would it wish a shapely window
to be hung upon instead?

If a Window and a Window Shade
exquisitely were matched,
Could they be wed, and it be said,
“Officially Attached!”

Could the Window that was chilly
and the Shade so long forlorn,
Be joined unto each other,
could a liaison be born?

Might a clergyman be handy
to engineer a match-up,
To manage the proceedings,
and get a proper latch-up?

With wedding guests, accordingly:
Ceiling, Wall and Door,
Pairs of matching Chairs and Tables
would occupy the Floor.

And though but a single wedding band
this couple could afford,
It would dangle from a string
to guarantee accord.

Ergo Shade and Window, fittingly,
were thenceforth rendered one,
And every day saw visitors
to sit in shade and sun.

And the Window got its blanket,
and the Shade was hung a-right,
And the Ups and Downs of passing years
brought shadow, and gave light!

Be well, everyone!

School Story:

One day in our junior year, four of us skipped school and went to some movie theatre like the Fox or Stanley -- neither exists anymore, of course. The movie was "Bell, Book and Candle," starring Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart. It was shown on TCM this past evening (5/6/12). We were scared out of our heads and, not really knowing what to do, we watched the film three straight times (till school was over, I guess).
My accomplices were Steve Esner, Ron Freeman and Marv Grossman.
Not one has come or is coming to our bashes. At least they're alive! I'm in touch with Steve. (I've added another poem to my profile -- hope someone checks it out).

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Marv was a very good friend of mine thoughout high school.  I regret not staying in contact with him though the years.  He was upbeat, sharp and warm.  I feel his passing as if it were still 1960. – Walt Fellman

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