Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas in a wired world: Playing with our food and online delights and diversions that will have you saying, "Ho! Ho! Ho!"

I don't know about your Christmas celebration, but this year ours was definitely altered by the World Wide Web -- and not because of online shopping.

When you have a house full of people with digital cameras, blogs, and MySpace and Facebook memberships; and when even the least plugged-in folks at the dinner table use e-mail to stay in touch with friends and relatives, it's unlikely you'll have time to sneak off to someone's home office and spend a little time blogging. It's also very unlikely you'll be bored because almost everyone who's not washing dishes plops in front of the television after dinner to watch something utterly banal and predictable.

No, you'll be too busy swapping tech tips and taking photos (and promising to download them a.s.a.p. and send copies via e-mail so people can post them on their blog or MySpace site).

And when (1) you have a professional chef in the family and (2) he's prepared a fabulous Christmas dinner, and (3) almost everyone present has a sophisticated palate and a digital camera, you may well discover, as we did, that after saying Grace, everyone seems to be playing with his or her food. But you'd be mistaken. Everyone was just styling their plate, arranging their food before the inevitable photo shoot. Photos of our Christmas dinner will probably be appearing soon in cyberspace.

So while I had a list of terrific suggestions about how to wile away some time on Christmas Day, I didn't have time to blog. Tonight, as I'm watching the 29th Annual Kennedy Center Honors awards ceremony on television, I'm catching up on my blogging -- and belatedly offering my list of too fun to miss goofy Christmas treats and mischief.

Sure you can buy an elf costume, but where are you going to wear it? To the office party? To your class reunion? I think not. Better to don it in cyberspace. Check out the Elf Yourself site. Make yourself a dancing elf -- or better yet, transform someone you love (or not) into a dancing elf. Then e-mail a link to your creation to someone (or everyone) in your address book. And unlike the somewhat pricey costume, Elfamorphosis is free!

After you elf yourself (and your boss, your kid sister, and Aunt Hettie), enjoy the video of kids opening Christmas presents and screaming with complete and utter joy at N64Kids.com and check out the Scared of Santa Gallery posted by the Sun Sentinel newspaper in South Florida.

Many thanks to the folks at PhotoJoJo for their Christmas morning e-mail offering these delights and diversions intended to help people "Chase away those XMAS Afternoon Doldrums with a Photograph and Telephone." We didn't have time to play with these cyber toys on Christmas Day, but we've certainly been having fun with them today!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Seriously: Merry Christmas!!

And yes, there is a "Central connection" here: one Tychoberahn editor and three future alumni.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas gift ideas with Madison Central connections of one sort or another

It's too late to order an enormous custom-designed wooden troll, crafted by Mike Feeney (Class of 1963) for your front lawn this year, but there are some other gifts with Central connections you may still be able to acquire in time for Christmas giving.

Mike still has some limited edition collectible trolls that will fit nicely under the Christmas tree and cost a lot less than the big guys. Check out the Gardener Troll, The Transfer and Storage Troll, or my favorite, The Chicken Thief Troll. If you put a troll under you'll tree, you'll also have something you probably can't find in your Tychoberahn: Mike's autograph. All the trolls are signed by the artist.

Or if you're looking something a bit more exotic (or just plain weird), consider a handbuilt ceramic nose, "hung with multi-colored rat tail." If you're too far away from the shops in Mount Horeb that sell Mike's work, just use this link to order directly from The Wooden Chicken.

All the items I wrote about last Christmas, including CDs by Tracy Nelson (Class of 1963) and Gerri DiMaggio (Class of 1965), as well a DVD of "The Right Stuff," featuring Mickey Crocker (a.k.a. Mickey Gartland, Class of 1965), and slew of books by Patrick McGilligan (Class of 1969) are still available. Click HERE for more details. For more details about the DVD of "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill," featuring a score by Chris Michie (Class of 1966), click HERE.

In the not too distant future, I hope you'll be buying books with my name on the spine to give to all your friends and relatives. Until then, I can suggest you treat yourself to a book that has my name inside (even if only once). They're all written by film critic and scholar Joseph McBride (who was once the roommate of Steve Wonn, a member of the Class of 1963) and they all merit your attention: "Searching for John Ford," "The Movie Book of Lists: An Offbeat, Provocative Collection of the Best and Worst of Everything in Movies," and "Whatever Happened to Orson Welles?" (twice!). Normally, I wouldn't be so audacious and self-referential, but hey! Time Magazine has declared me (and you) Person of the Year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Things my father shared with me: a bit of Christmas magic on Madison's East Side

Most Christmas magic can't be captured on film or a computer chip, but sometimes an image can help to evoke a memory, or send someone else on a quest to experience the magic in person.

The above photo is of a house on the 2500 block of Upham Street on Madison's East Side. My father introduced me to this glowing work of art, so I know it's been a part of my Christmas celebration for more than a decade. The first time I saw this house, my father was my guide, the man behind the wheel who wanted to share his discovery. When he could no longer drive, I drove and we continued to enjoy this extravaganza together every year. After he died, driving past the house on Upham Street became an annual ritual, a way to remember my father, a way to be with him in spirit during the Christmas season.

Some years I've been able to introduce friends to the house on Upham Street, sharing a bit of one of my Christmas traditions with them. But even when everyone else was too busy to go for a ride, I've made a trip across town to make certain the Christmas lights were still aglow.

And as often as possible, I try to park a block or so away from the house on Upham Street, and take a walk to see what can't be shown in a single photo. What really makes the decorations on this house special is that the lights cover and illuminate the entire house: front, back, sides, and backyard. I've peeked around corners and craned my neck to catch a glimpse of as many lights as possible, but ever the obedient daughter, I follow my father's instructions and stay on the sidewalk: I don't go too close, I don't trespass, I don't ring the doorbell. I don't want to break the spell. I want the magic to endure year after year after year.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Madison High School Class of 1907

I've posted a list of about half (surnames A-H) of the members of the Madison [Central] High School Class of 1907 on the Central history blog. Among the members of that class were Irving Brown, who became "the foremost authority on the American gyspy" and a professsor of romance languages at Columbia University; Timothy Brown, who was a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice from 1949-1964 (Chief Justice from 1962-1964); and Alfred Buser,who was captain of the undefeated 1912 University of Wisconsin football team.

Please do have a look at this list of alumni and if you have any additional information about any of them, please send me an e-mail or leave a comment. I'm beginning to believe it may not be unreasonable to believe I can compile a comprehensive data base of all Madison Central High School alumni, but I need lots of help to fill in the gaps in my information.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Reunions and reminiscences

So much to do, so little time to do it -- but I have finally posted photos from the 50th reunion of the Madison Central High School Class of 1956, as well as a poem written for the occasion by Cheryll Moling Thompson. Both are on the Central History blog.

I have a few photos from the 40th reunion of the Class of 1966 and I'll try to get those posted soon -- perhaps even by Christmas.

Until I have the time to write some more posts -- including a list of Christmas gifts with definite Central connections -- you may enjoying browsing this list of businesses on State Street in 1966, compiled for Isthmus by Dave Medaris (who went to Madison West High School). Very few of these businesses -- many of which had strong Central connections -- remain open today. Leave a comment about what you remember about some of these stores and restaurants of yesteryear. Or if you still haven't figured out how to leave comments, send me an e-mail and I'll post them for you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

End of the semester report

No matter what you do, when you live in Madison time seems to be measured in semesters.The current semester is over -- at least for me. I just e-mailed my final exam material to my Photoshop instructor (and posted it here, below). I had to create an original image using "images that represent who you are" and my initials (with three special effects). Maybe I can figure out how to use the design on a business card. Or not.

Now I can start to catch up on my sleep, work on my Christmas cards and cookies, enjoy a bit of the unseasonably warm weather we're experiencing -- and probably resume blogging tomorrow.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Remembering Otis Redding 39 years after his death in Madison's Lake Monona

When the plane carrying Otis Redding and his band crashed into Lake Monona, I was living in Boston. I was sharing a basement apartment on 1292 Commonwealth Avenue with a roommate named Jeannie who was was rarely there. She usually stayed with a boyfriend who attended one of the many colleges in the area. But on the morning of December 11, 1967 she awakened me screaming, "Otis fell into your lake last night!"

Even after I was fully awake, I really didn't understand the depth of her sorrow and anger because Otis Redding just wasn't a name I recognized. A few weeks later, I moved back to Madison in time to celebrate Christmas with my family. The moving van with my clothes didn't arrive until the middle of January.

Otis Redding and his music really didn't register with me until a few years later, when my friend Jonathan introduced me to the splendid Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which was performing at the Wisconsin Union Theater. I was spellbound. After that initial introduction, I went to see Ailey's company perform whenever I could. I saw them in Chicago and New York. I saw them when then returned to Madison. And somewhere along the way, Alvin Ailey introduced me to the music of Otis Redding via choreographer George Faison's "Suite Otis," which premiered in 1971, and which originally featured some of the company's all-time greatest dancers, including Ulysses Dove, Masazumi Chaya, and the sassy, unforgettable Marilyn Banks.

The six songs in "Suite Otis" are the ones I know best, the ones I play most often when I put my Otis Redding LP on the record player or a disk in my CD player. And of those six songs, the most familiar, the most often played is "Try a Little Tenderness." You can listen to a rendition of it from Otis Redding's 1967 Stax Tour of Europe on the You Tube video below:

The Friday after Thanksgiving, I went to the Monona Terrace Convention Center with plans to take a photograph of the Otis Redding Memorial on the William T. Evjue Rooftop Garden. But as I noted in an earlier post, the entire facility was closed.

This past Friday, I made a return trip to Monona Terrace. Although the building was open, there was no access to the Rooftop Garden. Sadly, you may not be able to visit the Otis Redding Memorial until next year.

I talked to one of the building managers and learned the Rooftop Garden is usually closed all winter. Large sections of the floor of the Rooftop Garden are covered with commemorative tiles (with the names of donors to the convention center) made from materials easily damaged by snow removal equipment. When the Rooftop Garden is covered with snow and ice that can't be removed because of concerns about damaging the tiles, it is kept closed to the public because of safety and liability concerns. Driving rain and high winds are also reasons for closing the Rooftop Garden.

Emulating my heroine, Brenda Starr, I managed to persuade a building manager to let me see (and photograph) the current condition of the Rooftop Garden. It was treacherous up there. It may not seem like it from the photos, but it's very icy -- and there's really little hope that recent slightly warmer weather will melt it all away any time soon. Here's what it looked like on Friday:

And since you might want to read the words on the stone that sits on the ground in front of the Otis Redding Memorial, here's a photo of that, too:

Next year will be the 40th anniversary of Redding's death and since the media seem to favor numbers divisible by ten (or sometimes five), you'll probably see and hear a lot more about Otis Redding in Madison in 2007. But if you want to pay your respects, you'll have to schedule a visit to the Otis Redding Memorial for a sunny day when snow is just a memory.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Two remarkable Madison Central High School teachers who retired before the Class of 1965 arrived on Wisconsin Avenue

I've added some more teacher obituaries this weekend. They're for two teachers members of the Madison Central High School Class of 1965 didn't have an opportunity meet: Benjamin Ashman and Florence Morris, both of whom taught at Central for almost 40 years.

In addition to the information I've already posted (use the links above to read more), I also have some inquiries out for additional information about these two remarkable teachers.

One thing I have learned is that Benjamin Ashman was apparently the uncle of Alicia Ashman, who was a member of the Madison Public Library Board, and for whom the branch library on Old Sauk Road is named. The source of this information is "The Controversies: You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato" section of Stories from the History of the Madison Public Library. If you use the link to go to this story and read it, you'll learn about the role Benjamin Ashman played in fighting censorship at the MPL The segment involving him is about a third of the way down the "Controversies" page and is titled "The Great Censorship Controversy of 1953: McCarthy, The Man, The Senator, The Ism."

Friday, December 01, 2006

A December snow storm and an alumnus who became a renowned phrenologist

Late last night, when I couldn't sleep, I decided to write a post about the snow storm that was on its way to Madison. However, after searching my digital photo archives, I realized I didn't have any good snow related-photos. So absent a photo, I went to back to bed and managed to catch a few hours of much-needed sleep.

Perhaps I should I have ventured out with my camera today and captured some winter wonderland images, but I really had too much work to do. Apparently Madison Guy (whoever he is) had to hit the road this morning, so if you want to see an image of today's snow-covered landscape taken by a fellow alumnus, you'll have to click HERE to see the photo he took on his way to work and read about his harrowing journey.

Work has kept me busy this week -- and that's great for the bottom line, but not conducive to lots of blogging. However, now that darkness has descended, I've taken a break to write some posts about William Windsor, a member of the Class of 1875 who became a renowned phrenologist after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School and spending many years as a practicing attorney. I hope you'll take the time to read more about Windsor by clicking HERE to go to the Central history blog. And if phrenologist isn't a term you bandy about after work, you'll find some links in the post to an excellent site about phrenology created by British scholar Dr. John van Whye.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Some impressive Madison Central High School alumni connections to Xerox Corporation and Universal Studios

I've just completed two posts on the Madison Central High School history blog listing the members of the Class of 1910 by surname: A-L and M-W.

There are lots of interesting people in the class, but you may be surprised to learn that two of your fellow alumni became high-level executives at the companies that were the precursors to Xerox Corporation and Universal Studios. Homer Piper, who was class orator, became chairman of the board of Haloid Company, the company that eventually became Xerox Corporation. Harry Grinde became an executive at Universal Film, a company founded by one-time Wisconsin resident Carl Laemmle, that eventually became Universal Studios.

You can read some more about these men on the history blog. Remember to use the links to access additional information.

When you read the two class lists, you'll see that there are still a lot of alumni about whom I have no information. If you can provide any additional information about any of these alumni, please send me an e-mail or leave a comment.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A visit to Monona Terrace, or it's always disappointing when a public space is closed to the public

Friday was a very nice day indeed, even if it wasn't as extraordinary as Thanksgiving Day. Since I had to make a trip to Downtown Madison to pick up my mail, I decided to bring my camera and take some photos of (and from) the William T. Evjue Rooftop Garden of the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Big, bad surprise: It was closed. In fact the entire building was closed, even though the Monona Terrace website says it's open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There were also other disappointed people trying to visit Monona Terrace. I can go back another day, but most of the people I talked to were from out of town.

While trying to find an unblocked entry to the Rooftop Garden, I noticed a group of people using the covered walkway that connects the Hilton Hotel to Monona Terrace (see photo below), so I walked in that direction, thinking it might provide access to the Rooftop Garden via elevator. But the elevator was programmed to go down (to the lake level), not up to the roof.

I took the photo below through the glass of the walkway. I was looking east, toward B.B. Clarke Beach (which doesn't appear in the photo because it's farther to the right). The multi-storied building on the left is the Fauerbach Condominiums, built on the site of the former Fauerbach Brewery, which has a definite Central connection. Karl Fauerbach, a member of the family that owned and operated the Fauerbach Brewery in Madison from 1848 until 1966, graduated from Madison High School (later renamed Central High School) in 1917.

But my favorite photo of the afternoon has to be this one of the two children who climbed up on the railings to catch a good look at Lake Monona from the end of the walkway.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Unearthing some "lost" Madison history: a video featuring old bones, old cars, old cemeteries and a mention of the Greenbush

Last night, the 10 o'clock news on WISC-TV had an extremely interesting in-depth report -- "Unearthing History: The Mystery Begins" -- about some forgotten Madison history that was "rediscovered" after construction workers working on the expansion of St. Mary's Hospital discovered a box of bones. The story involves Indian Mounds and the old Catholic cemetery, but it also features some terrific vintage film footage of old cars driving around what looks like parts of South Madison.

Whether you're a South Sider, a fan of Henry Vilas Zoo, or just fascinated with Madison history, I think you would have enjoyed watching "Unearthing History" last night. But don't worry too much if you missed its debut. Thanks to the Internet, you can view this segment again (and again) on WISC-TV's website: Channel3000.com. Click HERE to go to the section of the web site featuring the video. Depending on the size of your monitor, you may have to scroll down a bit to find the controls for the video. You'll probably also have to watch a brief commercial, but I think it's a small price to pay for an opportunity to watch this video segment.

At one point in "Unearthing History" there's a brief glimpse of the Wisconsin Historical Marker for the site of the former Greenbush Cemetery. I've included a photo I took of the marker last year, so you may if you wish, read what's on it (double click on the image in your browser window to enlarge it).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Central High School alumnus who served four terms as a United States Senator

Can you identify the alumnus pictured on the left? He was a member of the Madison [Central] High School Class of 1919, where he was a member of the Tychoberahn staff and the dramatics club. He and his future wife, also a member of the Class of 1919, attended the University of Wisconsin, graduating in 1923. In 1944, Oregon voters elected him to the U.S, Senate, where he ultimately served four terms.

If you're not familiar with this distinguished alumnus, you haven't visited the Madison Central High School history blog lately. Maybe you should do so right now. Click HERE for the main post and HERE to see what this dynamic duo looked like when they were high school seniors.

An elections specialist and some former elected officials

This photo appeared in an earlier post titled "Why Are these Guys Laughing?" It appears again today because this is election day and at least some of these guys -- maybe all of them -- held elective office. Do you remember which one was student council president? Did you know that one of them currently works for the Wisconsin State Elections Board?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The East Junior High Cagers (circa 1962)

Even when I can't find what I'm looking for at the moment (a photo of a fetching redhead in a Halloween costume), I sometimes stumble across something else. The image below is a scan of a photo published in the Wisconsin State Journal on March 2, 1962. It shows the East Junior High basketball team that won the city championship when we were in the ninth grade.

But why put East guys on a Central blog? Two reasons: (1) more bait to attract Purgolders to this blog, so perhaps we can find out if that Class of 1965 still has class reunions and (2) there is a definite "Central connection" to one of the guys in this photo (and I'm not talking about my buddy from Marquette Elementary).

I've transcribed the caption, because the text on the image doesn't show up on a Google search (and someone must be searching for at least one of thse guys once in a while), but the transcription will. Here goes:

East Junior High school's basketball team, pictured above, won the city championship by winning 10 straight games. East beat Van Hise, 33-31, last week in the league's title game. Left to right: First row - Bill Blood, Bob Bosold, Chuck Wilcox, John Wilson. Second row - Bob Beach, Ron Gillingham, Bob Boyle, Coach Dick Steckelberg, Jeff Jackson, Don Verwiel, Ned Schoor.

Where are they now? I know Bill Blood is dead: His obituary was published in the Wisconsin State Journal on May 18, 2004. And I know where "Don Verwiel" is because he married a member of the Madison Central High School Class of 1965. The caption should have identified this player as John Verwiel. John married Judy Winner and they live near Milwaukee. Perhaps some of you can update us on the whereabouts of the rest of this championship team.

Halloween 2006 in Madison (a.k.a. "Freakfest")

I may get around to posting some thoughts on Halloween in Madison tomorrow -- after all, one of last year's posts about Halloween earned this blog its very first link. In the meantime, I thought I'd post this video from YouTube tonight, since it has to be viewed on a computer with a high-speed connection (e.g., DSL) or it will hiccup and keep pausing (or load so slowly you can't even play it) -- and I know most of you won't be at work over the weekend. Turn on your sound when you play it (but no too loudly or you may draw unwanted attention to your cubicle).

This is a 22 second video of a tiny slice of Halloween on State Street last year. If you're still in Madison, you're probably tired of reading about this year's plans for Halloween on State Street. If you're visiting from afar and want to know a bit more about what's happening this weekend (in addition to a UW football game at Camp Randall and a couple of hockey matches at the Kohl Center and the state teachers' convention), check out these links:

Dane 101 - Note: This link will take you to page one of four pages of abbreviated posts. If you want to read each post in its entirety, click on the highlighted (blue) link after "story" on each entry.

Isthmus (The Daily Page) - The first of several pages of links to stories published on The Daily Page

Isthmus (Madison Miscellany) - Includes many days worth of links to what other bloggers are saying about Halloween in Madison

WISC-TV's Channel3000 web site has a "Freakfest 2006" section that includes an interactive map showing all the

Sunday, October 08, 2006

More leisure suits and long dresses

Mother Nature beckoned again this weekend, so I didn't spend very much time indoors. When I finally did sit down at the computer, I became obsessed with eliminating the float drop problem. I think I've fixed it (at least for now). Of course now it's time to catch some sleep -- but rather than leave you with a "too tired to blog" photo, I thought I'd share a bit of our very own version of "That '70s Show" by posting this photo from the Madison Central High School Class of 1965's 10th reunion.

Double click on this image to enlarge it in your browser window

Friday, October 06, 2006

Keeping up with alumni obituaries

Dick Daley (Class of 1966) sent me an e-mail today to make certain I posted the obituary for Jesse "Ed" Sprague, who was also a member of that class. I had already posted the obituary, but Dick may not have noticed it because there is no direct link to it on this page.

Since this blog was originally created to provide information for and about the Class of 1965, the only obituaries that are part of this blog are those of members of the Class of 1965 and some teachers and principals.

Once I created the Central History blog and began posting obituaries for members of other classes, I had to make some decisions about how to handle a large (and ever-increasing) amount of information and still make it relatively easy to locate. There simply wasn't enough room to add another long list of links in the right-hand column. That's why I created separate blogs to archive obituaries: one for obituaries published from 1990 to present and one for obituaries published prior to 1990. There are links to these two obituary archives underneath the list of obituaries for members of the Class of 1965.

The obituaries in the 1990 to present archives are listed in order by publication date (which in most, but not all, instances is within a few days of the death date). Blogger.com still does not have wonderful internal search engines, but if you use the Google search box in the right-hand column on the archives page and type in "madison central high school" (use the quotes around these four words) wisconsin and the name of the person you're searching for (I suggest using just the last name to start), you should find the obituary if I've posted it.

I check the local obituaries daily and post obituaries regularly. However, not every obituary indicates whether or not the deceased was an alumnus of Madison Central High School. If you see an obituary (in the local newspapers or elsewhere) and you know the person was a Central alumnus even though that information is not provided in the text, please let me know, so I can include it in the archives.

There are more than 450 obituaries in the 1990 to present archives. You can access a whole month's worth of obituaries (e.g, June 2001) by using the Archives pulldown menu in the right-hand column.

All obituaries published prior to 1990 are in a separate blog. Since Blogger doesn't allow me to create post dates any earlier than January 1, 1990, the obituaries in this archive are listed by the date they're actually posted.

The new Beta version of blogger has a feature called "categories" that will allow me to make it a bit easier to locate information. For instance, I will be able to create a category named "Class of 1966 obituaries" and clicking on that category should generate a list of all those obituaries. It's going to take me a while to switch to the new Beta version of blogger and begin to use the categories. I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Autumn is here and so is a letter from Ronna

Just checked the email for the blog and found a letter from Ronna Paris Moore, who misses the kind of fall color we enjoy in Madison. I couldn't find a link to the newspaper photo of the entrance to Vilas Park she mentions in her letter, so I've added one of my own to stir the memories of some of you who haven't been to Henry Vilas Zoo lately. Ronna's letter is posted below the photo.

Happy First Day of Autumn! This is the first cool, dry morning we've had in months and I think it's the first coolish first day of autumn EVER on the Suncoast! There have been all sorts of comments about it on the local news this morning. Unfortunately, cool and dry won't last long and we're getting pretty tired of the rainy season about now.

Well.. this morning, right there in my own little Bradenton Herald was a beautiful color picture of the entrace to Vilas Park in Madison! I see the beautiful colors have begun and I'm a little envious! This part of Florida usually gets a little "color" (other than green) in January when the Sycamores start to lose their green and begin dropping leaves.

I had the opportunity to visit Madison for one lovely afternoon this past June. I was facilitating a Schools Attuned training in the Chicago area for a week and met my wonderful brother, Chris, and his wife, Marla one Sunday morning in front of Franklin Elementary School. We spent the day visiting all the places we knew from our childhood. It was a very sentimental day, and I was especially touched by how little my own little neighborhood had changed. Madison is a beautiful city!

Well...I couldn't help but think of all of you, my fellow classmates, and wish I had had time to say "hello" in person, but it was just something that happened quickly! Now I'm wanting to take my two children to my "home" to show them where their Mom grew up; I think they would enjoy it.

Enjoy your beautiful autumn! Someone in the South is thinking about y'all. :-)

Ronna Paris Moore

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Stop by the Madison Central High School history blog for a glimpse of the era when Central played its football games at Camp Randall Field

I've been spending a great deal of time doing research and adding entries to the alumni obituary archives (published 1990 to present and pre-1990), as well as updating links and answering emails.

Tonight, I found time to add a post to the Madison Central High School History blog (a.k.a the All-Central blog) about the 1929-1930 football and basketball teams, whose members included Fred Miller, publisher of The Capital Times, and his twin brother, Frank Miller, a civil engineer whose Madison projects included the Camp Randall Shell and the Witte and Sellery Hall dormitory complex at the UW-Madison. The post is based on a letter written by Frederic "Bud" Rood that I found in the Custer files. Take some time to stop by the history blog and read this new post. You'll probably learn something new. For instance, did you know that Madison Central High School used to play its football games at Camp Randall field?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Paisan's Finally Opens at 131 W. Wilson Street

As of this morning, Paisan's website still says the new restaurant on 131 W. Wilson Street is opening soon. But according to some of the participants in The Daily Page Forum, Paisan's opened this past weekend. So if you've been craving a Garibaldi sandwich or a genuine, fresh Paisan's pizza ("We use onions in our sauce, is that ok?"), your long wait is finally at an end.

I haven't even been to Sardine, Madison's newest and hottest ("sets a new standard in Madison dining") restaurant yet. And since my friend Cheryl, the Paisan's fan, is still on her boat, cruising somewhere between Alaska and Vancouver, with no plans to visit Madison until Thanksgiving, I'm not likely to head to Downtown Madison for a pizza any time soon. If you dine at the new Paisan's before I do, leave a comment with your review.

And remember, a visit to Paisan's is not just about pizza and nostalgia. There's definitely a "Central connection." Yes indeed, one of the owners is an alumnus of Madison Central High School.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A new dormitory in the old Greenbush neighborhood -- and a meandering journey through some memories it sparked

Back in April, I walked up and down Regent Street and took photos of the few remaining houses in this part of the former Greenbush neighborhood, as well as some familiar old commerical buildings and some unfamiliar new ones. One of these days, I'll have the time to do a bit of research about what Central alumni lived in the extant houses and I'll post my results here. Really.

In the meantime, I recently discovered the function of the building with all the windows that appears on the left side of the photo at the top of this post: it's a UW dormitory.

I took the photo to show what the intersection of Regent Street and South Park Street (once known as "spaghetti corners") looked like these days. It was snapped just after I took the one on the left of Josie's Spaghetti House, the last of the Italian restaurants in the area. The building has been vacant since the summer of 2004, when it was damaged by fire. Josie's co-owners, Madison Central High School alumna Joanne Schuepbach Jensen (Class of 1956) and her brother, Frank Schuepbach decided not to reopen the restaurant. In late 2004, the Wisconsin State Journal reported that the owners had signed a tentative agreement to sell the property to a developer who planned to tear down the building and erect -- you guessed it! -- condominiums.

But I've wandered away from my original subject: UW dormitories.

Students will start moving into the new Newell J. Smith Hall on August 30th. The dormitory rooms have central air conditioning and walk-in closets. Students can control the temperatures in their rooms. There are kitchens on each floor. The rate for a double room in Smith Hall for the 2006-2007 academic year is $5,886 -- and that's without meals!

Smith Hall is the first new dormitory to be built on campus since 1965. That's when Ogg Hall was built. I spent my freshman year at the UW in Chadbourne Hall, a relatively new dormitory at the time. It was built in 1959 to replace the old Chadbourne Hall, that, until it was razed, was "the oldest women's dormatory [sic] at any educational school in the United States," according to the UW-Madison Division of Housing's "History of the University Residence Halls." Somewhere in my basement archives is a receipt for my stay in 730 Chadbourne Hall -- and I doubt that I paid more than several hundred dollars, including 20 meals a week (we had to fend for ourselves on Sunday night).

Of course my roommate and I didn't have a walk-in closet. There was no air conditioning. There were no individual thermostats. There were no kitchens -- in fact you weren't allowed to have most electrical appliances in your room: no televisions, no heating coils, no percolators.

What we did have was in loco parentis. Freshman girls who lived on campus had to live in a dormitory. All girls who lived in dormitories had to be in the dormitory by 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday nights and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays-- and there were bed checks to make certain you were obeying the rules. Boys, of course, had no curfews.

And yes, there were panty raids -- but woe unto any girl who was caught tossing her undies out the window to a mob of boys yelling, "Silk! Silk!" The dorm went into a lockdown mode during panty raids -- no one was let in or out until the crowd outside dispersed.

Of course even if we weren't in a lockdown mode, no boys could enter Chadbourne Hall above the ground floor. No men either, including your father. There was one "fathers' day" a year when your dad could visit your room -- and see how miserable you were and why you really needed to move into an apartment next year.

Interestingly, even though we couldn't be out late at night, we could drink beer. Back then, you could drink beer at 18 (but had to wait until you were 21 for the hard stuff). So you could go to the [old] Kollege Klub on State Street, The Pub (but only with a guy; unescorted women were not permitted), or buy a "near beer" in the Rathskellar. Or you could drink beer at a fraternity party. College girls tended not to hang out at Chesty's or Mr. Giblin's.

Things changed rapidly in the late 1960s. The voting age was lowered and the drinking age was raised. Madison Central High School was closed forever. More and more dormitories became co-ed. Panty raids became history. And so did the Greenbush. The Friends of the Historic Third Lake Ridge recently posted a link to download a copy of "Triangle Redevelopment and You." It's a huge 3MB PDF file, but if you're interested in the City of Madison's ill-conceived destruction of the Greenbush neighborhood, it's worth the download time to look at this condescending pamphlet sent to its residents

Update: 9/11/2006: The Third Lake Ridge web site seems to be unavailable, so the link to the PDF for the Triangle Redevelopment pamphlet isn't working. I'll try to find out if/when the site will again be live and/or find an alternate source for the pamphlet.

Update: 3/15/2007: The Third Lake Ridge web site is now up and running. Here's the link to the download.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Aw, shucks! The dregs of August

April may (or may not) be the cruellest month, but the dregs of August are surely the most lethargy-inducing days of the year. Summer's waning, but the temperatures and humidity remain oppressive. We've had thunderstorms and wailing tornado sirens for the past two days -- and there's more bad weather looming.

The soft fruit season is nearing its end and only the nectarines have been worth eating this summer. Chin drippin' peaches and plums that have no flavor won't be missed.

Lethargy seems to have engulfed much of the blogosphere. I'm not the only person who hasn't been posting very often lately. Most of my favorite bloggers -- and that includes fellow alumnus Madison Guy (whoever he is, he spent last weekend in Door County) -- have been less productive lately. Of course that means those of us who blog can't wile away our time reading each other's blogs as we contemplate the significance of our plunging Sitemeter statistics (is everyone on vacation?) and wonder if we'll ever again have the energy to write something meaningful.

Even some of the food bloggers, who seem to always be enjoying great meals and cooking up tasty treats have been sluggish. Santos has taken a vacation. The normally cheerful Clotilde vacationed in Barcelona and writes that one should never vacation in Barcelona in August because of the throngs of tourists (unless, of course, one is there because one had a not-to-be-missed opportunity to dine at El Bulli). Plus she had to contend with pickpockets and restaurants that overcharged.

Of course Clotilde lives in Paris, so she didn't need to fly to Spain. Right now, even though I can't afford to jump on a airplane and visit some faraway city, I don't even feel up to fantasizing about a trip that involves flying. Too much hassle.

The good news is that I found the missing 128MB photocard for my digital camera. The watch and book of poems are still missing. And now I'm also searching for a box of slides I took of The Wall of Respect at 43rd and Langley in Chicago during the late 1960s.

Labor Day is less than two weeks away right now. Somehow that unofficial end to summer seems to promise an end to lethargy. New seasons are just around the corner, whether you're a football fan, a theater-goer, or admit to a mild form of television addiction. Maybe Paisan's will even be open again by then.

Until then, even if I'm not writing very much, I'm getting ready to write -- doing research, organizing files, clearing my desktop, answering emails -- and erasing recorded messages left on my answering machine by whiny-voiced politicians worried about the September primaries (good way to lose my vote, honey!). So check back every so often --I suspect most of my fellow bloggers and I are just treading water, not drowning in lethargy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Madison West High School Class of 1970 looking for Central alumni

Oh, let them shout and cheer for Memorial High
And talk of East High's royal hue,
And let Wisconsin's preps their banners fly;
We know they're staunch and brave and true.
But out of all the schools that fight for fame
There's only one that will remain
And that is West High, West High - - here's to you!
We will not fail thee, Maize and Blue.

Their school song manages to avoid Central altogether, while acknowledging Wisconsin High School, which closed in 1964, several years before Central closed in 1969, but that doesn't mean the Regents aren't looking for some Central students. The Madison West High School Class of 1970 has asked for assistance in locating students who attended Madison Central High School but were unable to graduate from the school because it closed in 1969. According to the information on the West High School Class of 1970 website:

"We are pleased to announce that several classmates have teamed up to form a committee to launch a reunion in June of 2007 and another in 2010. We know that 2007 is an "odd" year, but we aren't getting any younger, and several of us are anxious to renew our friendships from West Senior High School."

The email I received from one of the reunion organizers notes that:

"We have about 600 names in our classmate roster, but not every student had their picture in the yearbook, and not every student had their name in the yearbook. Glaringly absent are the students from Central and East who transferred in for their senior year, but were not very happy about it, and blew off the yearbook thing. We checked with West High, but we have a better classmates list than they do! They say they don't keep records of graduating classes, and, in fact, they did a 75th year celebration of West and reached out to reunion committees to get their reunion lists so West could mail to graduates."

"So we're trying to get a list of the students from Central and East who transferred over for their senior year, but so far no one seems to have one for either group that had to transfer over. No one actually knows how many were in the Class of 1970, so we're trying to improve the list so no one gets left out. We're not just looking for one or two people, but the whole bunch from Central and the whole bunch from East, which previous reunion committees didn't do."

Central alumni know the Madison Board of Education has graduation records, and I suggested the West High School Class of 1970 check with them for a complete list of graduates. But even if they get the list, they may not be able to find the Central alumni on that list. If you want further information about this reunion, please send me an email and I'll forward it to the committee. Or, you may register on their website.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The scoop on the Chocolate Shoppe's "Central connection"

Armed with a notebook or camera, I'm pretty fearless. That's why earlier today, when I noticed a Chocolate Shoppe outpost being set up on the square in front of Cafe Soleil, I stopped to check out reports of a "Central connection" suggested in a comment Doug Strand left on a previous post.

There were lots of folks at work setting up equipment so they'd be ready to sell ice cream cones to people attending the final event of the 2006 Concerts on the Square, but Chuck Deadman, who founded the Chocolate Shoppe in 1962, was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time to set the record straight on the "Central connection"

Chuck is an alumnus of Madison Central High School, but he's not a graduate. Blame (or credit) belongs to a girl. Here's the scoop.

Chuck grew up on Helena Street and attended Marquette Elementary School (my alma mater). His family moved to Green Bay for two years and then returned to Madison, where they lived on Baldwin Street, which meant he was in "the neutral zone" (he could choose to attend either Central or East). He chose to attend Central for two years from 1948-1950 (8th and 9th grade). Then he chose to transfer to East, where he graduated with the Madison East High School Class of 1953.

Here's a photo of Chuck Deadman and his wife, Nancy (the reason he chose to transfer to East)

Chuck told me his brother, Mike Deadman, did graduate from Central in 1963. Chuck also had fond memories of some of his former Central classmates who graduated in 1953, including Joe "Buffo" Cerniglia. I told him I'd email him some URLs from the Central History blog, so he could see some recent photos from the All-Central Reunion and Festa Italia.

I asked Chuck about the connection between the Chocolate Shoppe and the Ice Cream Shop that used to be located at the corner of Fourth Street and East Washington Avenue (across from East High School) and he said that there wasn't one. However, he told me that members of the Cnare family (owners of the Ice Cream Shop and among the founders of Badger Cab Company), the Thomsen family (which has owned Schoep's Ice Cream since 1937), and the Deadman family have been friends for decades.

While I can't remember ever buying an ice cream cone from Doug when he worked at the Chocolate Shoppe (but I do remember a really cute guy from La Follette who worked at the Chocolate Shoppe near C&P on Cottage Grove Road), I do know that when it comes to the best ice cream cones, sundaes, and malts in Madison, I don't even think about those guys from Vermont: I head right to the closest Chocolate Shoppe location.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Becoming "the best citizen possible" -- a junior high school student handbook from the 1950s presented as a serial

In April, I wrote about the importance of preserving paper ephemera, but I have not been overwhelmed with documents yet.

However, thanks to Janet Stevens' mother, you're all going to have an opportunity to view an important bit of paper ephemera: The Central Junior High School Handbook. Janet has given me the copy of this little booklet her mother saved for decades, and I'm going to reproduce it here on a blog, a few pages at a time.

The date on the book cover is 1957, but this probably represents the date when it was published. Janet presumably would have received her copy in the fall of 1959. I suspect all incoming 7th graders were given a copy, but this is the only one I know of that still exists -- unless someone else comes forward with a copy.

The booklet is approximately 7.25" high and 4.5" wide and has 35 pages. I'll be scanning all the pages and publishing copies on the blog over the next few weeks, so you all can be reminded about what kinds of behavior were necessary for a student at Madison Central Junior High School who wished to develop "scholastically, emotionally, morally, physically, and socially into the best citizen possible."

Title Page

It's called the index, but it's in the front of the booklet. There is no table of contents.

Reminder: You may double click on the images of the pages to enlarge them in your browser window.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Meet a remarkable alumna who lived to be almost 104

"She's lived through 18 presidents, five wars, and the invention of airplanes, antiobiotics, automobiles, computers, motion pictures, nuclear power and television," wrote Wisconsin State Journal feature writer Sunny Schubert, in a 1987 article about Emma Glenz, who'd recently celebrated or 102nd birthday.

Born in Madison in 1883, Emma Louise Glenz graduated from Madison [Central] High School in 1902. I've posted her obituary and copies of several newspaper articles about this remarkable woman, who died in 1987, a week short of her 104th birthday, in the pre-1990 obituary archives. Click HERE to read more about alumna Emma Glenz.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Gerri DiMaggio's Double Life

Gerri DiMaggio's "Double Life" -- as a jazz singer and a businesswoman -- is the cover story for the current (August 2006) edition of Wisconsin Woman magazine.

"Juggling a successful business with a burgeoning career as a jazz singer might seem daunting, but DiMaggio wouldn't have it any other way," writes freelancer Justine Kessler.

You may pick up a free copy of Wisconsin Woman magazine at many Madison-area grocery stories. If that's not practical, you may also access the story online by clicking HERE.

If you still haven't seen and heard this member of the Madison Central High School Class of 1965 perform, click HERE for a list of her upcoming appearances.

Update (10/30/2006) - Sorry, the original link to the online version of the Kessler's story about Gerri DiMaggio now reaches the current cover story for Wisconsin Woman Magazine. I'll try to find another link, if possible.

Walking tours of Madison -- on foot or from your armchair

Why pay $5 for a guided tour of Downtown Madison? You grew up here, you lived here for a long time (and maybe still do). You're an expert on Madison. Or not...

Even native Madisonians can learn a lot about their city if they participate in one of the four guided walking tours of Downtown Madison offered by Madison Trust for Historic Preservation. Each of the tours focuses on one relatively small area: King Street, State Street, Mansion Hill East [of Wisconsin Avenue] and Mansion Hill West [of Wisconsin Avenue]. The focus is on architecture, but you'll learn a lot about the women and men who lived in and designed the buildings on the tour, as well as about life in the capital city in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Mansion Hill West walking tour is new this year. I went on one of the first ones offered in April. I learned a lot about the history of the area, but there was were no "Central connections" mentioned anywhere along the two-hour tour -- even though many Madison Central High School students lived in the area at one time. Perhaps it's because the houses they lived in are not considered to be architecturally significant -- but then we all know about another building that was deemed to be so architecturally insignificant it was torn down so MATC administrators could have a few more parking spaces.

Here's a photograph of a house at 131 Langdon Street that's not on the tour, but was once home to six Madison [Central] High School students (one of whom was editor of the first Tychoberahn) during the early part of the 20th century:

Even if the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation walking tours aren't a treasure trove of Central associations, they're still worth $5 -- and besides, at the end of the tour, there's a "free" refreshment for all participants. Depending on the day and the tour, you could finish your walk with a drink at the Edgewater or the Plaza, or a junior ice cream cone at the Chocolate Shoppe. The 2006 walking tour schedule on runs through September, so you'll have to join one soon, or wait until next spring.

If your busy schedule makes it difficult to join one of the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation walking tours, there are some interesting alternatives -- and they even make armchair tours possible for those of you who only visit Madison for reunions.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the City of Madison funded the development and publication of a series of walking tour booklets such as the one for the Greenbush-Vilas Neighborhood shown on the left. These booklets are do-it-yourself tours, and I really prefer walking around with a knowledgeable guide to walking around with my nose buried in a guidebook. However, these booklets are full of photos, informative text, and maps of the neighborhoods they explore, which also include the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood and the University Heights Neighborhood. They're worth reading even if you don't plan to take a walk. Click HERE for a complete list of the areas covered.

A limited number of these booklets are available free of charge at the Downtown branch of the Madison Public Library on West Mifflin Street. Ask for a copy of one or more of them at the reference desk -- but don't be too disappointed if the supplies of the one you want are exhausted, because there is another option available.

All of these booklets are available on line, most as PDF files that are easy to download (although some are more than 3,000 KB, so allow a bit of time and computer memory for these each download).

The days are already getting shorter, so now's the time to think about taking a walk around Madison. It won't be long before construction season is over and we have to start thinking about the S-Word. And if you pay $5 for a walking tour of State Street in August or September, at least you'll qualify for a treat at the end of the tour. In October, Mayor Dave wants to charge you $5 just to be on State Street. The man who should still be mayor is praying for rain.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Looks as though you may be able to satisfy your hunger for Paisan's pizza before Labor Day (a.k.a the end of summer)

There's been a lot of buzz in certain quarters lately about the opening of Sardine, the new restaurant from the same wonderful folks who brought us the absolutely scrumptious Marigold Kitchen. Sardine is now open for business, but the restaurant almost everybody (and their brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, and former roommates) has been buzzing about for many months still isn't ready to welcome us back yet: That would be Paisan's.

Back in June 2005, The Capital Times' Samara Kalk Derby reported Paisan's would be moving to 131 W. Wilson Street, a move forced by the impending destruction of University Square. At that time, the owners hoped to move in January 2006 and re-open a month later. Didn't happen. Paisan's stayed in its University Avenue location until shortly before the wrecking crew arrived to demolish it. We heard reports Paisan's would open at the 131 W. Wilson Street location in mid-May. Didn't happen. Mid-June? Didn't happen. Mid-July? Still hasn't happened. When is it going to happen? Here's the latest word, taped to the front door:

Why is it taking so long for Paisan's to re-open? While I haven't interviewed the owners, I did stop by Tuesday evening to have a look at what was happening and based on what I saw, I suspect a large part of the delay has to do with one factor: Build-out.

Paisan's is not only moving into the building on 131 W. Wilson Street, it's changing the shape of the building. I worked in a office located at 131 W. Wilson Street about a decade ago and it definitely did not have a bump back then.

The whole front section of the building with the rounded contour and the Paisan's sign is new. Ask anyone who's ever had to move people and equipment from one location to another location that requires build-out (and I count myself a member of that group), and they'll tell you there always seem to be delays. Work never seems to be finished quite on schedule (unless, perhaps, you have really deep pockets).

The window glass is dark and it's difficult to see what's inside, but right now this section seems to be filled with build-out equipment, not cozy booths and round tables. Further outside evidence that work is still in progress can be seen in the photo below:

What's striking about the way the restaurant is shaping up, however, is it apparent size. Paisan's is going to be using much more space than previous restaurant occupants of 131 W. Wilson Street. If you walk along the west side of the building (past the bump), towards Lake Monona, it seems evident that the restaurant is going to occupy a substantial portion of that side of the building, from front to back. When you reach the terrace overlooking the lake, you'll notice the restaurant seems to occupy most of the the rear portion of the building, and there may have been some build-out here, too. Plus Paisan's clearly plans to take advantage of the terrace in the warm months: The familiar outdoor furniture from the University Square location is already stacked outside on the terrace. Here are a few shots of the exterior of the rear section of the restuarant.

Part of the rear section resembles the front build-out. It's been a long time since I visited this area, but I suspect at least some parts of the section with the rounded contour is build-out.

Same section of the rear exterior, photographed from a slightly different angle.

The chairs and tables awaiting our return. The view is looking east (in the direction of 1 W. Wilson Street and Monona Terrace). The red brick building with the white balconies used to be apartments. Like almost every other piece of private property in Downtown Madison, it may now be condominiums.

A view of Lake Monona from the terrace.

Squelch your vertigo and peek over the terrace rails and you'll see railroad tracks.

Mary was sitting in front of 131 W. Wilson Street waiting for a ride and she told me she didn't mind being in my photograph. I asked if if she knew when Paisan's was opening. She'd read the sign on the door, so she told me late July or early August. Let's hope it's soon. Paisan's fans not only want to see the new space, they want to sink their teeth into its legendary thin-crust pizzas and Garibaldi sandwiches.

UPDATE (9/6/2006): Paisan's has finally opened!! Click HERE for recent news and links.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A tranquil space to avoid the cranes and watch the ducks

Downtown Madison isn't the only location teeming with construction sites, detours, and huge tower cranes. The west end of the University of Wisconsin campus is also clogged with cranes and construction sites - and the inevitable traffic detours.

But there's a tranquil space in the midst of all this hubbub, sheltered from the threat of certain demise by its landmark status, and open to anyone who cares to visit from dawn until dusk. It's the Allen Centennial Gardens, located not far from Babcock Hall on the agricultural campus. And the Mallards in the photos I posted earlier this week live here.

Allen Centennial Gardens is "centered around a stately Victorian gothic house" that served as the home of the College of Agriculture's first four deans. In 1984, the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, thereby ensuring its protection from bouts of rampant construction fever.

A horticultural teaching garden, maintained by volunteers and members of the UW-Madison Department of Horticulture, the Allen Centennial Gardens are named in honor of Ethel Kullman Allen, a Madison resident who, for over 40 years, "conducted important research on leguminous plants and in collaborations with her late husband [Dr. Oscar Nelson Allen], compiled and published authoritative work on their research in the field of legumes," and her husband. She died May 7, 2006 at the age of 98.

Here's an interior view of the garden, showing the bridge that spans part of the water garden.

A waterfall in the rock garden

From May 15 through the first weekend in October, couples may reserve the Allen Gardens for a wedding -- but they have to hold their reception elsewhere.

A view of the water garden and the bridge that passes over it. The Mallards swim in the water garden and live nearby.

A closeup of a lily pad in the water garden

There are many different kinds of gardens within the 2.5 acres of Allen Centennial Gardens. This rock marks the entrance to the orchard garden.

Some of the trees in the orchard garden were already weighed down with fruit last week.

There are several areas within the Allen Centennial Gardens to sit down, relax, and maybe eat your lunch. This seating area features a authentic Terrace chairs in "Winter Terrace White."

This is one of my favorite spots to sit and read a book. It's peaceful and quiet and offers a bit of protection from the summer sun.

And if you're more interested in impressing your friends with your horticultural knowledge than relaxing with a book, you'll discover that many of the plants have name tags, so you'll know what to call them.