FAMILY ROOTS: Teacher swapped The Bronx for Seaton Carew

Marvin Jacob Sharfin who swapped the Bronx for life at Dyke House Secondary School
Marvin Jacob Sharfin who swapped the Bronx for life at Dyke House Secondary School

FAMILY Roots has another success story to report.

After an appeal two weeks ago, we have tracked down Marvin Sharfin who swapped The Bronx for a life in Seaton Carew in 1962.

We told how he lived at Seaton Carew and was an art teacher at Dyke House.

Fifty two years later, Marvin, now back in America, has plenty of vivid memories of his time in England.

He told us: “I was not alone on this venture, for accompanying me was my wife Gloria and four children Lise, four, Gary five, Wayne eight, Glenn 10, and they all attended Golden Flatts School.

“My wife and I were not surprised upon entering Seaton, we were shocked. No central heating, no refrigerator, no clothes washer, no drier.” His youngest children learned to read while they were in Hartlepool while his oldest two both passed their 11-plus in town.

He also has memories of his time as a teacher at Dyke House, and how American English clashed with the UK variety.

Marvin said: “I shocked my headmistress when I asked,’In which closet do you keep the art supplies?’.

Gloria, in turn shocked the lad who delivered the four steamer trunks to Lawson Road.

“Are you all alone,” she asked. He said he was. “Well at least they should have given you a dolly,” she replied. A dolly in the USA is a handcart.

He described winter in Seaton Carew as “bringing to life the Dickens book illustrations of my youth”. He added: “Bedclothes became a new category for our attire. I challenged the authorities to prove that children had been conceived during a British winter.”

Marvin said he first came to England when he got the chance of a teacher exchange “wherein my passage would be paid for and a teacher from England would teach in my school in the USA”.