I don't know how many of you remember Dennis, but I sure do. Dennis wasn't part of the graduating class in 1968, but when he was with the class, the time was definitely memorable. I'm not sure you could say he fit the description of a "class clown" as his sense of humor was usually on the edge.
Sadly, Dennis is no longer with us. Mike Shustack and Steve Kondracki recently informed me that he passed away in the early 90's. Dennis had earned his teaching degree at Glassboro State and accepted an offer to teach in New South Wales, Australia (near Sydney) in 1976. He loved Australia and settled in nicely. Some time in the late 80's, he was crossing the road near his home late one night, and was struck by a car. He suffered broken legs and other injuries. Although he was released from the hospital, he was disabled by the accident, and couldn't return to teaching. He never really recovered and about two years after the accident he passed away.
Both Mike and Steve have similar memories of Dennis as I have. One of my favorite Dennis stories is included below and Mike has added two of his favorites. Steve says that every once in a while, when he hears some twisted humor, he thinks of Dennis, and how he would have appreciated the joke.
GERMAN CLASS - Some of my funniest memories of Dennis were from German class with Herr Lux. One particular episode still brings tears of laughter, and I have told many people this story over the years. Dennis used to irritate Herr Lux by tapping on the side of the desk making a drumming sound. Herr Lux would hold his head with both hands as if he was having an Excedrin headache and yell, "No, stop, stop, vatchutink? Do you tink you are in dee jungle?" One day Herr Lux reached the boiling point and slammed his fist down on Dennis' desk. It was so loud that it scared everybody in the class and the room got totally silent. After about two seconds, Dennis looked up at Herr Lux and blurted out, "Got 'em!" (as if there had been a fly on the top of the desk). The class exploded in laughter and Herr Lux then proceeded to beat the daylights out of Dennis. That was Dennis - you could never predict what was going to happen next, and for sure, you didn't want to miss it. Frank - June 2002
DENNIS' MGA - I remember the day Dennis got it
painted. It was a faded out blue and he went to Earl Scheib and
got it painted an ivory color. I remember he told me that they
told him not to wash or wax it for a month. Noise? I
remember riding in it once and the thing needed a new muffler, Dennis
took great joy in down-shifting it, letting up on the gas and having it
backfire. This one time in particular we were out going to the Crystal
Lake Inn (I think that's what it was called) to get ice cream and maybe
pick up a few girls, when he did his down-shift thing and the car
backfired and a big jet of flame shot up into the car right between his
legs! Those MGA's had plywood floorboards. He let out a big
"Whoa!" and pulled over to the side of the street and he beat
out the fire with an old towel or something he had in his trunk!
Both of us broke up laughing over the incident, Dennis saying how he had
come close to "Roasting the Family Jewels"! He took a
long time to get that floorboard fixed and I remember riding in it
another time in the rain and Dennis loved to fly through puddles, well
you guessed it that time he got sprayed in the face by water from the
puddle shooting up between his legs as we drove into the puddle!
How we never got into an accident in it I'll never know. It was a
good pickup car though, I remember at least five different girls he
picked up in it to and from trips to that "Crystal Lake Dairy
He used to always be tinkering with the car at
that gas station "Bobby & Joe's" on Haddon Avenue. I remember that it burned a "little" oil and that one time
when I was there changing the oil in my car, Dennis took my used oil and
poured it right into his car, saying "why should I buy oil for an
oil change for this thing, when it's only going to burn it anyway?
I'll just use yours and save some money!" Oil at the station
was $.25 a quart, and I think it took five quarts! We used to fill
the quart glass bottles for Joe from a 55 gallon drum in the back
room. They had metal spouts on the bottles and fit in a sort of
wire carrying case six to a case and Joe used to put them out by the gas
pumps and sell them to customers. He used to call the stuff
"Golden Glow" and was real happy when he'd sell a couple dozen
bottles in a night. I remember regular gas there was 34.9 cents a
gallon! Those were the days! I could almost fill my tank for