How They Met

Mitchell FreedmanWhen Vicky was the student newspaper editor at Hofstra, she worked with another HHS grad, Mitchell Freedman (Class of 1960). Like her, he would go on to have a long career as a news reporter and later become President of the Press Club of Long Island. Over the years, chance meetings were inevitable and frequent when they both worked as reporters on the island.

Meanwhile, Mitch’s parents moved their family from Hicksville to Suffolk, not far from where Vicky lived. Her own parents were gone, and she sometimes turned to Mitch’s for advice, helped his mother with shopping, or just came over for a visit. They became herJack Freedman courtesy of Vicky Whitaker surrogate family. Mitch had a much younger brother, Jack, whom older readers of Hixnews might recall. (According to the 1967 yearbook, Jack was a member of the HHS Tactical Games Society, for which the faculty advisor was the man whom I recall as “the younger Mr. Horne.”)

Jack later became a hospital administrator and a consultant to healthcare organizations. Through extensive business-related email and telephone contact, he and Roger Whitaker became good friends, long before they ever met face-to-face. At some point after Vicky was widowed, Jack, who was working at a hospital in the Minneapolis area, decided that the divorced Roger would get along well with the widowed Vicky. After some preliminary conversations on that topic with each of them, he dispatched emails to Springfield and Long Island, suggesting that each follow through with the other. And they did.

According to Vicky, an exchange of emails eventually grew to a thousand printed pages. Deciding to spare whatever forests were left, they finally decided to meet in person. Vicky visited Roger in Springfield, and then Roger visited Vicky in New York. The spark was there (that’s an old radio pun, or at least it should be), and decisions were easy to make: they would marry, and Vicky would move to Springfield and become part of Roger’s family. More than 20 years later, that family boasts 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

As the HHS Class of 1958 looked ahead to its 50th Anniversary Reunion, Vicky was on the organizing committee, tracking down “lost” classmates and publicizing the event online. Coincidentally, the Whitakers had started developing websites together as a business venture. Roger volunteered his time to develop a special reunion website. As noted earlier, Hixnews had come into existence separately. All parties then agreed that Roger should become its webmaster.

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