Tel Aviv Aristocracy Marks 75 Years of Carmel School

He sat pensively on a white plastic chair, an old man observing the goings-on silently. The legendary gym teacher we all admired, Avraham Kozminsky, 86. On Fridays he would tack a paper sign to the ficus tree with the name of the film he would be showing in the gym that afternoon. I would always find an excuse to leave class so so I could get a look and report to everyone. The tree still bears the thumb-tack holes.

"You were a good boy," he said in the yekke (German) accent I remember. "You always helped me."

And he no longer terrified me. The singing teacher, Aliza Margolin said yesterday how I always helped her carry the accordion. Was I that good boy?

Oh, what a reunion. The alumni of the Carmel elementary school on its - and soon our own - 75th birthday. Tel Nordau was a bit older than we were, but here, it seems, the elite sprung up. Yesterday I met again two Supreme Court justices, Mishael Cheshin and Uzi Fogelman, in that same gym.

Fogelman lived on my childhood street, but he must not have gotten out much - I don't remember him from the kickball games.

I also don't remember Yoav Segelovich, the head of the police investigations division, who lived around the corner. They were too little for us. Eli Horowitz, several grades above me, told us yesterday how the principal punished him for throwing his bookbag into the classroom too early. When Horowitz finished Carmel, World War II also ended.

What a reunion. Eyes seeking names pinned to lapels, unchanged names, married names, and the class number. Mine was the 32nd class, the children of 1967, who were also promised a dove and an olive leaf. Was it a happy meeting? Slaps on the back, stormy hugs, and then, a heavy silence. Look how we've aged.

Tzipi Kornfirst brought an album. Dita Erlich is riding on my shoulders and I am holding Tzipi. I met Mali Bornstein yesterday, too, in Shapira garden where we would meet after the Friday movie and where a heart pierced with an arrow was carved into a tree: "Gideon loves Mali."

The buildings are the same, Safra Courtyard has playground equipment now. The breeze is gone, and with it, the hut that was our nature lab, which has become the teachers parking lot. All the rest is unchanged, or actually, nothing has stayed the same.

At one point we all stood stood there in the classroom, Danny, Nitza, Gadi, Esther, Tami, Erella, David, Revital, Ophira and all the rest, like we used to, and in front of us stood the teacher Dalia Aviel. I felt something choking up my throat, I don't know what.