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Spanish Class. This photo is enlargable by Clicking on.


Under the Board Of Education Of The City Of New York, Metropolitan Vocational Hight School was one of several Vocational, or "Trade" schools in New York City. The school offered two options, one of which was for a strictly vocational curriculum - no credits for college, and the other, called - "the academic" course, where you took "Regents" tests for college...this route I went, but didn't use it, though I had two, and one half more credits than needed for any college in the land. Upon graduation I wanted to "get on with it", and shipped with Socony Vacuum, eventually being named "Mobil".


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Start L to R top row CW - Motherway, Johnson, Kramer, Bertha, Heinz, Ray, Martinez, and Lovell...posing for the camera in one of the "Browns" lifeboats.
We spent alot of time in the "boats", sometimes competing against the Academies, and Coast Guard in the "river". The big fellow in the foreground once put his back under a boat, and lifted it off the chocks.

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James Motherway, and I by the John W. Brown's Bell. We loved our kahki uniforms, which we wore to, and from school.


My schedule as per the "academic" curriculum, had me attending "shop" classes half the day, and academic classes the other half. The few in my category are the one's I remember - notably - Kramer, Motherway, Ray, Johson, Heinz, and Lovell. The others in the Vocational, or "Trade" category, stayed on the ship the entire day...what they studied, I don't know. However, my schedule had me running between four places at times - three buildings, and one Liberty ship - the S. S. John W. Brown.
Ashore, Metropolitan Vocational H. S. had it's main building on Oliver, Oak, and James Streets, two other annexes - one on Madison Ave, called the "Madison Building", and the other - the Monroe Building...being it was on Monroe Street...all in Lower East Side Manhattan - "the Ghetto".
Afloat, Metropolitan had it's school ship - the "Brown" tied up at Pier Four, East River...that's was at first. About half way through my time there - '48 to '51, the "Brown" was moved to Pier Fifty-Four, East River, at the foot of 25th street.


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Henry Kramer, and I. Henry's Father was Chief Engineer of the Gulf Oil Inland Fleet Motor Barge - Supreme. I visited his home once on Staten Island...it was all pink...very nice.

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The Number-Five Hatch gang. L-R - Motherway, Johnson, Bertha, and Stanley Ray - kneeling...the "lifeboat" lifter.
Except for Henry, I never saw where the other's lived, nor had any idea. So much for after-school-camaraderie...big city schools don't make for re-unions.


It was nicer with the "Brown" at Pier Four...that was Lower Manhattan, right at the "Bowery", where the "Dog House" was - the "Seaman's Institute" - a large hotel for seaman. The area had the old nautical-nostalgic air about it. At the foot of 25th Street, just about Mid-Town, it was baren, with an old power house near by...none of us liked it...I didn't!
Of the instructors I remember, and had, all of whom were licensed Merchant Marine Captains ( "Masters"...I hate that label ), there was Joe Shillings, Adie, O'connel, McDonald, Reed, and a new comer at the time - Joe Bishansky, who later went to work for MSTS as a Mate, eventually winding up in the "Training Division"...all WW2 guys.


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James Motherway, and Henry. I heard Henry had died shortly after graduation in '51...never got any details.

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Taken at Fort Schyler - Upper Row, extreme left - Lovell, not sure, me, and Kramer. Bottom row complete blank....
As with the "Spanish Class" group, we really didn't know each other...scattering to the four corners of New York, and New Jersey after class. I look back on High School as time spent mostly on Subways, and Trolleys, though I never did mind it. I can still smell the Subways.


After graduating in '51, having won their "Merchant Marine Award" - a fifty-dollar Savings Bond, I never returned to the school, lost contact with all the few class-mates I had, and rarely thought back on the school. However, over the years I met several alumni - all who became, and sailed as Captains, and one Radio Officer.
My original intention was to learn Aeronautical Navigation...I wound up navigating alright - thirty-seven years of it...at sea.


Go See the SS JOHN W BROWN Alumni Association web site...history, and photos...click on "Slide Show", then "The Instructors" for great shots of Captains Bishanskey, Adie, MacConnell, Patterson, Reed, Donegan, Shellings, and our Principal - Dr. Keller.

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