By Dr. Steve Burnstein (222)
I would not have met my wife, Joyce, if I’d matriculated at any high school other than Central. Female students would not be admitted to the school for another 23 years when we first met at summer camp in 1961, which marked the start of a 60 year bond.
In 2021, we will celebrate our 53rd wedding anniversary.
Having just completed a demanding freshman year, the prospect of a summer respite was appealing. Therefore, when my friend, Bob Auerbach (222), proposed that I join him as a waiter at Camp Lindenmere in the Pocono Mountains, arm twisting was unnecessary. The discounted fee for waiters and lobbying by two sisters who relished the prospect of my absence helped to score parental approval. At age 15, I was poised to enjoy a summer free of nagging parents and annoying teenage sisters, clearing the way for new relationships, particularly with young women.
When I met Joyce Steinberg in 1961, she was 13 years old, too young for a “worldly” Central man like me. In my third summer at Lindenmere, I became a counselor and while greeting campers as they arrived, I saw a lovely young woman that I could not place. After someone identified her as Joyce Steinberg, I was stunned and smitten. She was no longer a child, but rather a beautiful young woman that I wanted to become acquainted with.
A minor roadblock existed; being a student at Northeast High School, Joyce was, so to speak, “the enemy.” In spite of this, I attended both her junior and senior proms. Graciously, she endured some teasing about her Northeast allegiance at my senior prom, but our relationship withstood the challenge. Joyce was good about sitting on the Central side during alternate Thanksgiving football games, better than I, who griped in the Northeast stands every other year.
After college graduations in 1968, we married. Bob Auerbach, our unofficial matchmaker and Rick Hammel (221), a friend since we were toddlers and recently of blessed memory, served as ushers at the ceremony. We three Central alums and our families have kept in contact through the years, enjoying celebrations and offering succor for one another during difficult times. Bob and I once again became classmates in medical school and I bragged about Rick each time I read a book or article that he had written.
My election to the AACHS board of managers in 2011 not only gave me the opportunity to render assistance and teach anatomy and physiology to the students, but also to rejoin the Central family. Early on, no one at the school, not even my good friend, Bob Auerbach, realized that Joyce and I were being gently guided to one another, nor that she would become the love of my life. The result is three fine sons and two wonderful grandchildren, but more importantly, our 53 year marriage is not the norm and has not ended in divorce.
I do regret that my sons, grandkids and wife could not have experienced Central as students. According to my calculation, that might have been possible if Joyce and I were born 20 years later. But actually, I wouldn’t change a thing.