Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Peter Andrew Herger

There was a call yesterday I did not want to hear before voting in "St. Dominic's Preview" (Van Morrison song). A cousin, and an educator, artist and I feel a great American had passed away in Danbury, CT. I grew up with him on and off in the Bronx, at Candlewood Lake in a blackout with the measles, and on Long Island where his parents and family moved to West Islip and us to Centereach, with his older twin brothers and younger sister. I am in shock because I hadn't "googled" him (sounds like "googooplex" a 1 followed by 100 zeros named by a mathematician's kid) When last I saw him it was at his mothers wake.

We exchanged some stories about the "Tweed Courthouse" in City Hall Park in NYC, dedicated by then Mayor Fernando Wood, where the Dept. of Education he was working for, had recently moved its headquarters. The former courthouse with large stairways had been slated as a museum of NYC. I had worked on various phases of the archaeology of human remains thought to be and also found in the park, particularly the city's "First Almshouse" cemetery, as part of the re-roofing, re-wiring and rebuilding of the entire City Hall Park, both its antebellum courthouse (pre-Civil War) and the older government City Hall. Its architect, John McComb, had designed and built the first US President, George Washington's commissioned work, Montauk Lighthouse, named after the Native Americans of Eastern Long Island who today reside in the Brothertown Native American community, which includes the Montauks, in Brothertown, Wisconsin. I think, from the painted glass over a doorway in the former courthouse, it is where they lost their land, in a Federal court trial. But what I think and what might have happened ? I missed the Free Symposia at Guild Hall at Southampton College about them in 1991, that college now is a part of Stony Brook University.

It is with sadness I also hear on the TV today that the NYC Dept. of Education will be facing cuts under the recent economic downturn, and the students, perhaps future candidates and administrators like now US President-elect Barack Obama, that he taught, nurtured and helped educate, will suffer in the new round of "budget cuts". Both he and the newly elected President were alumni of Columbia University, as were many of my professors in the Stony Brook University Anthropology department, either alumni or then employed by both, also the first female chairwoman in a statistically male-dominated field, which now also has a campus in Manhattan. It is currently searching for a replacement for its long-serving female university president.

Peter Herger's uncle, George Murray, who once directed "Huntley and Brinkley" and produced other television news events, might have agreed with Ariana Huffington, who declared a winner to the election the other day as "The Internet" because before President-elect Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech in Chicago, he sent everyone of his supporters an email thanking them for their support (reported on television).

I will miss him and remember him and if you would like to see what he struggled for in education please "surf" over to: Peter Andrew Herger

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