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


Dick Mariani

Memories of GHS

--- I really donít have fond or nostalgic memories of GHS. I donít have any bad recollection of my high school days, either. High School was just something I did enroute to the rest of my life. Being a shy, nerdy individual, I never socialized much with my classmates outside of school. Sports (track and cross-country) are my best memories of GHS, and I have been a runner ever since. I can still bang out a decent 5K or 10K race (for an old guy).

---As I look back, I owe a lot to many of my classmates for inspiring me by example to academic achievement. Coming from an immigrant family, I didnít grow up with an appreciation of education. My parents never progressed beyond 6th grade in Italy. My Dad is about the hardest working person I knew. He and I are the best of friends, today, which was not always the case when I was a teen. (Incidentally, he just turned 94, is in excellent health, and still saving money for his old age.)

---I never thought much about college until late in 11th grade. However, I had the example of the Frank Primianos, the Lois Addisons, Valerie Henson, Nadine, Harrison, and others of our class; I found their enthusiasm for education contagious. A college education was a foregone conclusion for them and after awhile I figured out there was a chance for me. With the assistance of a Boy Scout leader, I managed to get my self a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania.

---The first two years at Penn were sort of an extension of high school, as I commuted.. I used to see Nadine Nicholson, Cornelia Briskow, Marlene Oscar, and others quite often on the train or on the campus. I think I was the only male from our class to attend Penn, along with a whole gang of our female classmates.

---I owe a lot to my classmates. Many of my ideals and principles today originated in our high school days. I remember being as disappointed as Lois Addison, when our hero Adlai Stevenson lost in 1956. We grew up in the height of the civil rights movement, right after Brown vs. Board of Education. To me it was an idealistic time. We had all kinds of ethnic groups, religions, races, and economic levels represented in our class. To this day, I canít understand why people of diverse beliefs, backgrounds, religions, and races canít get along as well as we did at GHS. Or maybe it was an illusion. Or maybe Mount Airy was (and is) an unusual place.

---Lois and Harrison and others have commented on the importance of our teachers in their lives. Itís strange in a way, that I hardly remember my teachers. At the time, I thought of them as people doing a job. But they must have done the job quite well, as I didnít learn the sciences, and math, and grammar (which were the basis for my future education and career) all by myself. I do remember being inspired by an English teacher in 11A and a History teacher in 11B. But I canít remember their names. Germantown High School was a good place for us, and today I do appreciate what our teachers did for us.

Life After GHS

---After I graduated from Penn with a degree in Civil Engineering, I decided to prolong adolescence as a graduate student at Lehigh University. Lehigh was much more fun than Penn. After a year and half, being perpetually broke as a graduate student lost its appeal. I obtained a Masterís Degree anyway, for no particularly good reason, and started a 39 year engineering career. That career will end next year, when I retire.

---After I worked for 3 years, the Vietnam War heated up. I felt a need to stand up and be counted, and enlisted in the Marine Corps. I came home from the war not much worse for the experience, and I have no apologies or regrets for my participation.

---Shortly after resuming my engineering career, I got lucky and met Doris Gillespie, a beautiful Northeast High School phys ed teacher and coach. Doris was the Linda Damerjian of her high school class (Northeast í60), as she was the all-everything in 3 or 4 sports. Doris taught at Northeast with Bill Bernardo and Gordon Hasse (small world).

---Doris and I have been married for 33 years. We have always lived in the Philadelphia area, and have been blessed with two terrific sons. Both are engineers. Matthew (32) is an aeronautical engineer (Embry Riddle Ď94) with the Federal Aviation Administration. Michael (28) is a packaging consultant (Wake Forest í98 & Drexel í01). Both live close by. Two years ago Matt and his wife Audrey bought us one of lifeís greatest rewards, our beautiful grandson, Ryan. He is the joy of our lives. He is lively, energetic, loving and curious about everything around him; obviously he must be a genius. Grandchildren must be lifeís reward for doing something right.

---Right now, Iím Chief Engineer and 45% owner of a small (23 person) consulting engineering company. For the past 7 years, it has been a pressure packed, 24/7 job. I am looking forward to retiring next year.

---After I retire, I am going to take a long trip to decompress, and figure out what I am going to do When I Grow Up. One thing is for sure: there will be walks, stories, and games with my grandson Ryan, and someday, we are going to run together.

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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 07/24/04 gwf