4th Graders at East Vil­lage School Un­earth Ar­ti­facts Miss­ing for 58 Years

The Jewish Voice - - NEW YORK - By: Ellen Cans

Fourth-graders at East Vil­lage, now known as the Chil­dren’s Work­shop School, have un­cov­ered what lay buried for 58 years. Hun­dreds of lost ar­ti­facts have been dug up from be­neath the dusty cracks in the school’s floor­boards. Now the items are on dis­play at The City Reli­quary in Wil­liams­burg, Brook­lyn, in an ex­hibit, “Closet Arche­ol­ogy: An Ac­ci­den­tal Time Cap­sule.”

Be­neath the East 12th Street school, built in 1913, the dusty stashes found in­clude tar­nished 1946 wheat pen­nies, a cop­per buf­falo nickel minted some­time be­tween 1913 and 1938, Betty Boop and World War I but­tons, a 1912 High­landers base­ball card from the pre-Yan­kees, Ba­zooka bub­ble-gum comics and even a pet­ri­fied ham­ster. As re­ported by the NY Post, the ex­ca­vated trea­sures also in­cluded a school sav­ings de­posit en­ve­lope with two bills from1935 and 1957, be­long­ing to then 8-year-old stu­dent Alan Le­d­er­man. Teacher Miriam Sicher­man tracked down two other Alan Le­d­er­mans un­til she found the cor­rect owner. “I was stunned to learn that some­one had found the money af­ter all those years,” said Le­d­er­man, now a 67-year-old in­ter­na­tional tax lawyer in Florida.

The ex­ca­va­tion be­gan in 2015, when stu­dent Bobby Scotto, now 12, was cu­ri­ous as to what might lay hid­den be­neath the sur­face. “Then it hit me — there’s cracks in the closet where the door slides open. Peo­ple are al­ways walk­ing in there. I was like, ‘Hey, they might have dropped some stuff down there,” said Bobby. “I looked into the crack, and in five min­utes, my the­ory was proven right.” The en­tire class then joined him, us­ing coat hangers or scis­sors to grasp to­kens thought to be lost for­ever. Dust mites and rat skele­tons did not de­ter the young­sters on their quest. Since then, other sub­se­quent stu­dents have also pried open closet floor­boards, re­veal­ing a trove of old things.

To en­hance the ex­hibit, Larry Le­d­er­man, Alan’s brother and alumni, came in to meet cur­rent PS 61 stu­dents. He told the stu­dents how the school’s ap­pear­ance had not changed de­spite the time lapse. He gave them a glimpse of his child­hood, which was de­void of cell phones and tablets, but where they rel­ished 15-cent pizza and 50-cent bowl­ing. “The ob­jects they found made them cu­ri­ous about the daily lives of their pre­de­ces­sors,” Sicher­man said. “They also be­gan to see them­selves as part of his­tory — and re­al­ized that their own daily lives would be fas­ci­nat­ing to kids of the fu­ture.”

Fourth-graders at East Vil­lage, now known as the Chil­dren’s Work­shop School, have un­cov­ered what lay buried for 58 years. Hun­dreds of lost ar­ti­facts have been dug up from be­neath the dusty cracks in the school’s floor­boards

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