Bruce Willis comes to my High School in Bayonne

p.g. vroom school
P.G. Vroom School
Photo: Bernie

When I was in the 5th grade at P.G. Vroom School in Bayonne New Jersey, the Principal was Fidelis T. Wangler. The problem with having a bad reputation is that you get blamed for perfectly innocent acts and I had a very, very bad reputation.

One of the things I enjoyed doing at that time was skipping rope and there were only two sets of skip rope available during recess. Unfortunately there came a time when a selfish little girl monopolized one of the skip ropes and wouldn't give it to me when I thought she had skipped enough during the period. When she refused my request I tried to wrestle it out of her hands which were now hidden behind her and I had to circle my arms completely around her waist to get to the rope when she started screaming for me to let her go.

Mr. Wangler witnessed this event and, grabbing me tightly by the arm, dragged me to his office. He closed the door and said that what I did was a very, very bad thing and that he thought I deserved to be taught how bad it was. He took out a wicked-looking cat-o'-nine-tails and flourished it in the air. He told me to raise my pants leg up to my knee and after I did so, he proceeded to give me three, well-placed lashes around my calf. I cannot tell you how much that stung. It wasn't until the second lash that it dawned on me that he wasn't punishing me for trying to get a skip rope from that greedy little girl's paws: he must have thought I was trying to molest her!

I tried to explain that he misunderstood what I was doing, that actually I was trying to get a skip rope but he was already intent on teaching me a lesson. Yes, I did learn a lesson, two actually, the first was that I should not get caught doing anything and the second was never lift up your pant leg when someone is holding a whip. The next time I wanted the rope I sneaked up beside that little brat and, scoping the surroundings for prying eyes, quickly yanked it out of her hand. She yelled and cried for a moment but since no one saw me there was little that she could do.

mischa bartonSo what does a sadistic Principal have to do with Bruce Willis and my high school?

Bayonne Community News,
23 Aug 2007,
Bruce Willis will play principal in new movie

The rumors are true: Bruce Willis, made famous as the hero in the "Die Hard" movies and as the wisecracking detective in the TV drama "Moonlighting," will go back to school.
He'll play the role of a disliked principal in a new film that has the working titles of "The Assassination of a High School Principal" and "The Sophomore."

Bayonne High School will also have a starring role in the production.

Background producer Tomas Deckaj said the classic architecture of Bayonne High School lends visual appeal to the film, although in the film, the school will be known as St. Donovan's Prep.


Mischa Barton, an actress who appeared in plays, movies and television, will play the female lead in the film. She recently moved into an apartment in Hoboken.

"I do intelligent roles. I don't want to be labeled as doing silly movies," she said in one of her online interviews. "I'm more mature than kids my age because I'm constantly surrounded by adults."

In case you are wondering, yes that barely-clad young woman is Mischa Barton. I tried to find a photo with her more covered up, but I didn't know where to look. I suppose I could have simply posted a photo of Bruce Willis instead, but I know what he looks like barely-clad and it isn't pretty.

P.G. Vroom School Trivia: In 1864, six years before its incorporation, Bayonne erected its first district school at what is now Avenue D (now Broadway) and 27th Street. The population of Bayonne was 2,500. School No. 2 began as 2 rooms with only 60 pupils. I have no idea why they didn't call it Number 1 school. In 1873 Philip G. Vroom became principal and after he retired they named the school after him.

When I was a young man, our family doctor was Dr Sam Penchansky whose office was on 32nd Street and Avenue C. The good doctor graduated from Vroom school in 1922.

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