Elaine Wexman and Rose Glassberg saw each other for the first time since graduating from 12th grade at a Lions Gate reunion on August 2.
Wexman graduated from Germantown High School in Philadelphia, where Glassberg taught for 11 years. The latter was Wexman’s 12th grade English teacher and unknowingly inspired Wexman to join the estate.
After more than 60 years, Wexman was able to thank his former teacher for the impact she had.
The first thing Wexman showed his former teacher after the two shared a hug was his 12th grade report card and Germantown High School yearbook.
“I had all good grades except the choir; I got a D because I didn’t show up,” Wexman said with a laugh before the two sat down and discussed their careers and common interests.
Glassberg’s life has been entirely devoted to education since graduating from Overbrook High School, also in Philadelphia. She then won her BA in English from West Chester University before completing an MA
In the Arts of Middlebury College School of English.
After 11 years in Germantown, Glassberg moved on to higher education, then-Glassboro State Teachers College, now Rowan University. She also received her doctorate in English from Temple University in 1972 and became a full professor in 1973 at what would become Rowan. That same year, she was named president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Union at the university.
Wexman attended Penn State and Temple University and taught elementary education in Philadelphia before moving to Belgium to teach at a language school. Wexman and his daughter, Joanna Greenfield, cite Glassberg for their love of language and education.
“You must be the reason my grammar is so good,” Greenfield said as he introduced himself to Glassberg.
Greenfield played a key role in setting up the meeting when Meredith Baker, longtime friend and chief operating officer of Lions Gate, told him that Glassberg resided at the facility. Greenfield and Baker attended elementary and secondary school together and both stayed in the area, their children becoming friends in kindergarten, as did their mothers.
While Glassberg said it was hard to remember Wexman — one of more than 1,000 students she had throughout her career — the two bonded over yearbook photos, their love of reading, their appreciation of music and their memories of Germantown High.
“My favorite class at Penn State was music appreciation,” Wexman recalled. “I learned a lot about the orchestra, music at different times and instruments.”
“My first appreciation of music came when I was 11…” Glassberg recalls. “At the Free Library in Philadelphia, every Saturday, I walked in and picked up books on the most famous composers. Every week I would read about someone, then the next week I would listen to them on headphones.
Glassberg and Wexman laughed and told stories over lunch in the small private library at Lions Gate. It was a symbolic and appropriate meeting place for the couple, whose first similarity was their love of literature.