Germantown High School * Philadelphia, PA. * Class of 1957


Linda Kosmin


***My years at GHS bring back only happy memories. I LOVED school. Many mornings I would arise way before the alarm clock just to have enough time to review my handwritten (never learned to type) homework from the prior evening or brush up in preparation for a quiz that day. Even on very cold, slushy days, I would make every effort to arrive in homeroom about 15 minutes early, continuing that trait all through my working life.

***To this day, my biggest mistake was avoiding taking typing. I decided to take two languages instead. The end result: (1) before the age of computer backspacing--I depended on my mom and boyfriends to type my papers for me; and (2) I really never learned either Latin or Spanish very well. Somehow ,I always had the same teacher for both my Latin and Spanish classes. At first by accident and thereafter by design-if I failed to recall a Latin exam answer, I would substitute a Spanish word on the test answer sheet. The teacher would ALWAYS note the Spanish answer on the Latin exam paper (or visa versa).and then mark the question as if answered correctly. While knowing only half of my Latin and half of my Spanish vocabulary lessons got me excellent grades in both classes, what worked well for me in High School brought disastrous results in my college board exam scores. My college advisor suggested that I begin a new language and that is how I decided to study German.

***At GHS, I delighted and excelled in all the math and science courses, as well as art classes. I found my English and History classes aggravating. I remember one English class assignment to spend the class time writing an essay on the topic NUMBER SIX. The aim of this in class activity was to stretch our imaginations. I proceeded to write several pages describing an insect with 6 legs. When I got the paper back a week later, the grade was only a B with the comment in red ink that it was too technical and lacked imagination - the whole point of the exercise. I decided to accept the okay grade, but KNEW that my teacher knew nothing about 6-legged insects. The fact was, neither did I. What I wrote was strictly from my imagination, since I had never read anything about insects and always tried to avoid getting up at night for fear I would step on the many cockroaches that my dad was always doing battle with in our home. I really liked my English teacher anyway especially when he suggested that I become a features editor on the Cliveden Clipper.

***Somehow I muddled through History class, but that could have been because I spent my first term with Mr. Wagner enjoying sketching his portrait instead of taking class notes while sitting way in the back of the room. The first time my parents attended PTA night my mother recognized Mr. Wagner from my drawing and went right up to him. He was astounded that she knew who he was. She explained that he looked exactly like my pencil portrait. He told her he was relieved to FINALLY learn what the heck I was doing while he was lecturing. He convinced her to convince me to let him see the picture. I ended up giving it to him with a promise that I would pay closer attention to my lessons henceforth.

***While I recall fun times participating in the GHS volley ball, tennis, and bowling clubs-I never really excelled at any sport. Could be that I was just tired at the end of school days. As lunch room Captain I really got a lot of exercise cleaning off the cafeteria tables, sweeping the floors, and scraping the garbage off plates and stacking them in readiness for washing. When I was awarded my G-Pin, my Cafeteria Cleaning fervor was highlighted.

***It came as a really big surprise to me when I was recommended by some of the faculty to represent GHS as a delegate to the Germantown Schools Community Council. It probably would not have happened without Ms. Steger's intervention. I first learned that I was being considered for this honor when one Friday evening Ms Steger phoned our house and spoke with my mother. Apparently she explained the council and what participation entailed. She said that the Principal would be interviewing candidates on Monday and she suggested that my mother try to persuade me to stop wearing turquoise and navy blue nail polish. After a family consultation, I agreed to have my hair done and to get a proper manicure the next day. When I walked into Mr. Nichols office on Monday afternoon, he acted like he did not recognize me. A week later I learned of my selection as a Council delegate and went on to become heavily involved in many of their projects. I was afforded the opportunity to attend a week-long seminar about urban problems that included many field trips during day and evening hours. Sixteen students from Germantown area schools stayed together in a community center at 17th and Wharton Sts. Our last weekend we participated in (my first of many) weekend work camps sponsored the American Friends Service Committee. I went on to serve as VP of the Inter-schools Committee of the Council. This gave me an opportunity to participate in a student exchange program for part of a semester with a fellow from Penn Charter. On Wednesdays, I attended his PC classes and he came to GHS to attend mine. I remember my first day in his English class. Students were discussing Walden. I was at a loss. I had never heard of Henry David Thoreau or Walden Woods.

***So maybe it is not entirely by accident that I ended up a librarian for over 30 years. I always felt libraries were too dusty and not allergy proof. In fact, I avoided them as much as possible. However, following that first PC class discussion session, I headed straight for the public library to learn all I could about Thoreau and all those many other authors, then unknown to me, that were on that PC senior reading list. And to my surprise, I did not sneeze at all.

***But most of all, I remember with warmth and joy all the friendships I made at GHS and am so grateful for this 47th reunion and the opportunity to once again meet with so many of my dear classmates

Life After GHS

Linda Kosmin Langford:

***For 37 years, my work title was Science Librarian, which was supported in part by academic degrees in Chemistry, Library Science, and Environmental Science (Air/Water Pollution Control). Since 1994, I served as Manager of the Library, Archives, and Records Section at the California Institute of Technology NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory where I also served as the NASA Scientific and Technical Information Manager. In 1998, I was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for advancing technical library services at JPL. After retiring in August 2000, I relocated from Pasadena, CA back to Philadelphia to marry George. When I am not developing the Engineering Management & Technical Information Resources Web site at, my time is spent painting colorful animal portraits. An updated biography appears in Who's Who of American Women.


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Special Thanks to Lois Addison for Scanning Yearbook Photos &
Special Thanks to Katherina Kripl Bonner for sending Lois Her Copy of the June 1957 Yearbook
& to George Palmer for sending Lois His Copy of the January 1957 Yearbook.

This Page Updated 07/03/04 gwf