What started out as a simple book idea for one alumnus turned into something much more.
Sharon Sultan, a graduate from the class of 1965, had the idea to pen a book about her time spent at East Meadow High School. The first step was to reconnect with old classmates, and Sultan decided to initiate the process through Facebook.
"Being a journalist and having my own website, I saw that everyone is connecting," Sultan said. "We’re making history through social media."
Sultan created a group on Facebook to promote the idea, and within five minutes, a former classmate connected. Just a few minutes after that, Cookie Horowitz, who has emerged as the co-author of the book, clicked into the picture from her home in California.
"I’ve always had staffs," Sultan said. "Here I am starting a book, and my only talent is an ability to write and interview. I knew I would have to look for people to help me. Cookie approached me, and we started to email each other."
Horowitz is an artist by trade, and sells plenty of work online. She also has writing experience, so it was a natural fit.
"Sharon asked me to make a mock-up for the Facebook page," Horowitz said. "She wanted there to be something that resembled a cover."
As Sultan and Horowitz continued to communicate, ideas flowed and their relationship strengthened, leading to Sultan asking Horowitz to co-author the book.
"I asked her to be the sister I never had," Sultan said.
The initial idea for the book was meant to be about the class of 1965, but Horowitz stressed that doing so would limit the appeal to potential readers.
"Make it global," Horowitz told Sultan. "Make this book about baby boomers. What we lived through is pretty universal."
Now, Sultan and Horowitz have compiled interviews from experts, former students and others to examine the life of the baby boomers as it compares to today.
"Not all of it is great," Sultan said. "Some people are divulging some pretty painful memories about their past, but it helps us understand how we got to where we are today."
Horowitz said there are many differences in the lives of teenagers in the 1960s compared to teenagers today. She referred to her childhood as the "age of innocence."
"It was the do not ask, do not tell generation," Horowitz said. "We didn’t tell our parents anything and they did not want to know. Our parents trusted that we would do what we were supposed to do."
Sultan added that teens back then did not worry about certain issues that concern teenagers today.
"Back when we were going there [EMHS], our worries were about passing tests, finding friendships and we didn’t have the fears that we later heard about, such as gangs, drugs or disciplinary problems," Sultan said.
Both of these women's lives have stopped to complete the work on this book, titled Once Upon Our Times (because life isn't a fairy tale). The subtitle stresses that both positive and negative memories will be reflected in this book, which Sultan said could be the first of many editions. They are conducting hundreds of interviews, including one with East Meadow High School Principal Richard Howard, to get a diverse range of opinions.
The book is slated to come out in either July or August, according to Sultan, although September may be more realistic. The book is completely funded by the authors, which presents some challenges for them.
"We need to think of wise ways to spend while maintaining a specific budget," Sultan said.
The authors are still looking for people to interview regarding the difference between the baby boomer generation all the way to the present. This is not limited to just East Meadow residents. Anyone is welcomed to participate. If you would like to share your story, email email@example.com or visit their website. You can also become a fan on Facebook.