Central High School Philadelphia 214th Class Website
Robert Perkis Perlman, "Bo" as he was known by his legion of friends, left us on Sunday, April 2nd, 2019. With his departure, he left us all bereft of his wit, his joie de vivre, his endless spirit and boundless energy. He was a life-long friend to many of our classmates. Al Dickerman and Mickey Kaplan knew him from their junior high school days. Everyone who knew him is saddened upon hearing of his passing. Then we start to reflect: He was the rollicking spirit of the 214, was fiercely loyal to Central, and, according to Steve Green, "probably holds the class record for attending CHS team competitions". Steve quipped that "the Reader's Digest used to have a feature - the Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met: Bo would be in the competition for that honor among all of us who knew him". Ken Rosen remembers Bob for his wearing a white tuxedo at one reunion. Then, at another reunion, he brought a ream of paper copies of the School Song, and unceremoniously dropped them all over the floor. The attendees, rather than singing, spent the next few minutes picking up the copies of the lyrics. We all looked forward to seeing and hearing from Bob, whether it be at a Reunion Committee meeting or at a casual gathering. We never knew what he was going to say or do...that was his unique personna.
Central High School Varsity Basketball was Bo's passion. He played every game with a 150% intensity, and inspired the same competitiveness and the will-to-win in his fellow team members. Check out the score box below from a game with Olney High School.
CHS Yearbook, 214th class, June 1960
(Courtesy of Eli Perlman)
Bo's tome of personal reflections on life through his poems was renowned. He once drove out to Monmouth County, New Jersey to visit the high school in which I was an administrator. I had invited him, of course, to share his poems and extol the art of poetic expression. He addressed two assembled groups that day, and his joy of writing poems about life with a philosophical bent was clearly evidenced. One of my most favorite Central treasures is a signed copy of his now renowned tome " Life and Love are not Spectator Sports".
He had his troubles, as do most of us, but he never failed to pick us up whenever he 'had the floor'. Who can forget his rendition of "Bone Ryba Ryba that boomed from his lunchroom table, and when Bo, Al Dickerman and Jay Schwartz got together..... The raucous song was universally applauded by his classmates whenever he broke into song, and soon became the class song for the more rowdy of the 214ers.
Bob served on the 214 Reunion Committee for thirty-five years. You can imagine what some of those sessions were like. The sixtieth reunion will be a bit more reserved next year without Bo's presence. Those of us who attend will surely raise a glass to the memory of Bob as well as our other classmates who have passed. All of them are sorely missed. And maybe, we'll join in once more for a bit of 'Bone, Ryba, Ryba. Thanks, Bo, for all the good times (P.S. does anyone have the lyrics?).