I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in the seventh grade, Mr. Ronald Ringhouse was my homeroom teacher for grade 7-2 ,as nice a teacher as there ever was,and in his very first year at Floyd. It was a Wednesday in November of 1958 and even though it was going to be a short week because of the approaching Thanksgiving holiday, I was determined to make it a wee bit shorter, by taking the day off and going on one of my "personal field trips". They were almost routine for me in my first year of Junior High. I had developed a taste for field trips ever since the 5th grade when I took my first sanctioned one with Miss Rosado to the Stony Brook Carriage House museum. But little did I know that due to events I had no control over back at the school, I would not only get caught taking this unauthorized sojourn, but wind up in Bayview Hospital to boot!
While I was most likely playing in the town dump (most likely in an old rusty car) over where the William Floyd High School is today, my brother Butch and his 9th grade pals and and most of my class not to mention most the other 7th - 11th graders (Floyd was still 1 year shy of reaching a twelve grade class) were sitting down in the cafeteria to a pre - holiday Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings no doubt. I say most because even though lunch (regardless of what was on the menu) only cost 30 cents a lot kids brought theirs from home.
It wasn't too long after lunch was finished for the day. (The classes ate in shifts starting before noon and ending up around 1:30) that the first signs of trouble reared their ugly head in the hallways and bathrooms of Floyd. Several kids and perhaps a teacher or two got pretty sick. It was much worse however on the bus rides home. I know because I would show up in the morning for homeroom, get counted for attendance, then disappear from usually before the second period (first period was music) and returning at the end of the 8th filtering in the side doorway as the bell rang and the halls were full. The Adelworth bus drivers had extra duty to do that day hosing down the seats,aisles and windows as hapless kids let it rip all over the brown leatherette seats and mustard yellow paint.
Well that evening we all gathered at the river or I should say creek as close to a hundred of us showed up at Bayview. The waiting room which was once upon time the living room for Richard Floyd and others was full of kids from the school that bore his cousin Williams name. Old Doc sure had his hands full that night and I can't recall if his sons Joe & Frank Jr. who followed their Dad's footsteps into the profession were there helping him out. Butch was not too sick but sick enough and I feigned being slightly nauseous until I found out I had to take some medicine. I fessed up right there that I really didn't eat the turkey and got an ICY GLARE from my mother. "We will deal with that young man when we get home" Suddenly I felt sick to my stomach.
It was the talk of the town for a few days and made the local papers, plus Newsday and The Long Island Press. I was amused however when I discovered during the course of my regular research through the archives of the New York Times that "The Floyd Turkey Incident' as it came to be known, was part of "all the news that's fit to print" even if they did have a few typos in the story like William Flody and Dr. Calabrom!
NEWSDAY MADE IT INTO FRONT PAGE NEWS COMPLETE