Tuesday, January 31, 2006

An Expanded View of Leisure Suits and Long Dresses

I didn't have a powerful zoom lens back in 1975 when I shot photos at the Class of 1965's 10th reunion at the Park Motor Inn. The photo below is a slightly different version of the photo in my January 25, 2006 post. I was obviously further away from the group when I shot this one. There are more people in the photo and the images of each person are smaller. It may help you identify some of the people in the first photo. Or it may cause you further frustration as you try to identify even more people.

For what it's worth, this is not a test. I don't know the answers. I was too busy shooting photos and trying to avoid a persistent wardrobe malfunction (a subject about which I may elaborate at a later date) to peer at name tags and write down identities. Upon futher consideration, however, I am no longer sure that someone in the photo is from the Class of 1966.

Note: Double click on the image above to enlarge it in your browser window

Monday, January 30, 2006

Pushed into the boys' bathroom...and other fond memories of Central

Several weeks ago, I emailed some of the people I'd managed to photograph at the 40th reunion and invited them to send me an update on what they'd been up to since graduation, as well as some memories of life at Madison Central High School. Thus far, only one person has replied. Here's what she had to say:

I can't believe I am just reading this request for information about each of us. So....here goes. I moved to Middleton in 1974 and this is where I have raised three children . Ages 36, 34, and 28. They are actually each pushing the "next year".

I was a stay at home mom for almost all of those year. I have worked part time for 17 years for a chiropractor in Middleton. Actually right next door to Rusty's (my old stomping grounds).

I now have three grandchildren, who are the "lights of my life". I didn't think it was possible to love anyone as much as I did my own children......but.......I was wrong.!!! They keep me young and happy. No matter what "trials and tribulations" I go through, they make me smile.

Almost all of my memories of Central are good. I enjoyed school ........well, at least the social aspect. I know my most embarrassing moment was when Jack Troia pushed me into the boys bathroom when we were Juniors.

Mr. Lanning was my fav. teacher when I was sophomore and Pete Olson when I was a Junior. Mr Lanning was such a dear man. And I had the biggest crush on Pete Olson. I remember having to have to stay after school one day because "Mr Capadona " (Paul) and I were talking. SO, I go to Mr. Olson's room just shaking because I liked him so much and the guy never showed up and never even mentioned it to me.

I also remember being in a car with Jim Strand (who I had a crush on and he didn't know it) and he opens his glove compartment and there was a damn gun inside. That totally freaked me out and he was laughing his butt off and trying to convince me not to worry. If he gets in touch with you let me know!!!!!!

If I keep on writing there won't be room for anyone else to contribute so I will sign off. Thanks Nadine and thank you Central for a great time.

Marlene Bjornethun

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Topless Photos in Central Yearbook! Or, Boxing Team Beefcake

Madison Central High School once had a boxing team -- and in 1934, the yearbook featured a photo of 17 of its members sans shirts. Whether or not you recognize the faces, you'll probably recognize some of the surnames, which include Gervasi, Schiro, and Loniello. Read all about it and check out the physiques on the Madison Central High School History blog. You can go to the blog by clicking on the "All-Central Blog" link on the right. Or you can click HERE, for a direct link to this knockout photo and some background notes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Leisure Suits, Long Dresses and Excused Absences

I've been spending a great deal of time these past several weeks in libraries and archives -- looking at old Tychoberahns and back issues of the Madison Mirror -- so there hasn't been much time to post things on the blog lately. I've learned that the Tychoberahn, which was first published in 1900, wasn't always called the Tychoberahn, especially during the 1930s and 1940s. I've seen the wonderful complete set of The Madison Mirror (1924-1969) our principal, Mr. Marsh, gave to the Dane County Historical Society. And I've seen PTA minutes, National Honor Society records, and a scrapbook that may bring tears to your eyes. Filled with newspaper clippings, the scrapbook was maintained during World War II to keep track of Central alumni in the military, many of whom lost their lives fighting for their country.

I'm also trying to track down other printed material, including old yearbooks. Is there a copy of a 1931 Madison Central High School yearbook (perhaps called The Orange and Black instead of Tychoberahn) somewhere? Or wasn't one published that year? And if so, why not? I'm still trying to answer these questions. Contact me if you can help.

One person who attended the 40th reunion has responded to my plea for words to go with photos. Very soon, I'll post her story. In the meantime, please consider sending me an update about yourself, too. We want to know what you'be been doing for the last 40 years, your favorite memories of Central -- and maybe the name of your favorite teacher.

So that's my excuse. However, until I have more time to post, here -- should you chose to accept it -- is your homework assignment. Take a look at this photo from the 10th reunion and help me identify those people in long dresses and leisure suits sitting by the side of the outdoor pool at the Park Motor Inn on a lovely day in 1975. Hint: I'm quite certain one of them is actually a visitor from the Class of 1966. Leave a comment or send me an email if you can help put names on these faces.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

40th Reunion Attendance (and absence) List

Even if you attended the Madison Central High School Class of 1965's 40th reunion on October 15, 2005, you may not have had time to catch more than a glimpse of some people, or had time to talk to everyone who showed up at CJ's -- although Ralph did make everyone introduce herself or himself (and any guest) before we ate. And if you couldn't attend the reunion, you may have wondered just who did show up for this one.

So to satisfy your curiosity, this post features a list of people who attended the 40th reunion, people who planned to attend but didn't make it, and people who just stopped by for a few minutes. Most of the names come from the "remittance list" Ralph mailed to me, but there are, as always, a few last minuted updates to that list. If you were there and I've accidentally omitted your name, please let me know and I'll be sure to add you to the list. Additionally, many people brought a guest (usually spouses), but sometimes didn't list the name of the guest -- and since I wasn't taking notes during the introductions, I've just entered "guest" if I don't have a name. Again, I'll be glad to list the name of your guest if you send me an email update.

In attendance:

Dave Schutz and guest; Tom Niemczyk and spouse, Cheri; Marion "Pat" (Roh) Hadden; Janet Stevens; Nancy (Ellis) Schuttenhelm; Eileen (Gallagher) Klepper and guest; Ralph Guerin and spouse, Linda; Jane (Wadsworth) Blandino, Diane (Hoffman) Imhoff; Craig Garrett and guest; Ed Nelson; Barbara (Morrissey) Williams; Rachel (Hefty) Seffrood; Tom Oscar and spouse, Kaye; Case Grintjes and spouse, Judy; Steve Arnett and spouse, Terri; Alice Nagel; Mike Allen and guest;

Linda Hill; Richard Maloney and spouse, Susan; Sandra (Ayres) Gilbert and guest; Mary (Hammond) Stone (photo above, left) and spouse, Arland; Fred Cross and spouse, Julie; Jane (Shivers) Johnson and her two sisters, Karen Fields and Roberta Mecum; Harold Bakken (photo below, left) and spouse, Patricia; Linda (Helleckson) Junck and spouse, Thomas; James Otterson and guest; Marlene (Bjornethun) Haack; John Wolff (photo right) and spouse, Kathy; April Jo (Zekas) Johnson and spouse; Cathy Downs; John Bruns and spouse, Bonnie; Tom Brew; Linda (Reuter) Shaughnessy; Dick Gerou; Jean (Jensen) Seidl, and spouse, Larry; and Michael Barr.

Several people made reservations, but were unable to attend the reunion. They include Harold Ellington and his spouse; Ed Muehlemann; Cheryl (Larson) Brassington; and Mickey (Gartland) Crocker.

Jim Kinder and his spouse, Debbie, stopped by for a few minutes, but didn't stay for dinner because they had tickets to the Bruce Springsteen concert at the Alliant Center. This was Springsteen's second Madison appearance in less than a year. On October 28, 2004, more than 80,000 people showed up on West Washington Avenue to hear a free Springsteen performance in support of presidential candidate John Kerry.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Doug Moe Knows Who Wrote the Oscar Mayer Jingle -- and at least a few things about Central High School

Doug Moe knows a lot of things about Madison and he shares his knowledge in a column he’s been writing for The Capital Times since May 1977.

If you’ve been reading his columns on a regular basis, you’ve learned a lot about "Snowball," the window washer who was a familiar face on State Street for many years; you’ve read the story about how Elroy Hirsch acquired the appellation "Crazylegs;" and your curiosity about the fates of Howie Olson and Cowboy Eddie has been satisfied. You’ve also learned about some of the fascinating denizens of Madison’s demi-monde and followed Moe’s search to verify whether or not Playboy ever ranked the UW-Madison as the number-one party school in the United States.

If you haven’t yet become a regular reader of Moe’s column and you want to know what he had to say on these subjects, as well as a host of others, you’ll have to buy the book. "Surrounded By Reality: The Best of Doug Moe on Madison" (Jones Books, 2005) is a great read -- even if it doesn’t mention our alma mater.

Doug Moe graduated from Madison West High School in 1974, five years after the last class graduated from Madison Central High School (by then renamed Central-University High School) in 1969. So, because good writers often tend to write about what they know, if you’re a regular reader of his column, you might occasionally whine that Moe -- who claims to remember when the KK used to serve breakfast, but doesn’t tell us if he’s talking about the old, atmospheric place on State Street, or the less wonderful, post-Memorial Library expansion incarnation on N. Lake Street -- gives an awful lot of ink to guys from the West Side of town and people whose butts have spent a lot of time on barstools.

But to be fair, Doug has given a some ink to alumni of Madison Central High School, even if none of those columns were included in "Surrounded by Reality."

Moe mentioned the 1998 all-Central reunion at the end of a column and wrote a great story, "Central High Gone, But Not The Memory," in 1999. In 2000, he mentioned the high school in a piece about magician Ben Bergor , who attended Madison High School (the school’s name until it was renamed in 1922). And in 2001 he penned a fine remembrance of Sid Knope, a Central alumnus who started as an usher at the Capitol Theatre in 1928 -- and later, well into his 80s, led tours of the Oscar Mayer Theatre (formerly the Capitol Theatre).

In 2002, Moe wrote a fascinating column about Central alumnus Joseph Petrus Wergin, author of books on skat, cribbage, euchre, and sheepshead, as well as the first living person elected to the Cribbage Hall of Fame, who died in November 2005. He also mentioned Central grad Roger Boeker, a member of VFW Post 1318, in a 2002 column about how members of the VFW helped ship books to the troops in Afghanistan.

In 2003, Doug wrote a column about the new biography of Alfred Hitchcock written by Patrick McGilligan (President of the Class of 1969). In 2004 he wrote a heartfelt column about Central grad (and former reporter for The Capital Times) Frank Custer.

In 2005, musician-composer Chris Michie (Class of 1966), who wrote the soundtrack for documentary "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill," shared space in Moe’s column with historian Stanley Kutler and poet John Tuschen.

Do you sense a pattern here? A Moe column with a Central connection appears about once a year.

The 2006 column with a Central connection arrived early. On January 6th, The Capital Times ran a Moe column about Russ Loniello titled "Dino's Alive, Well And In Town." The column was about how Russ finally made it to Broadway.

The column about Russ told a great story, but it also confused me. I was under the impression the show Russ was appearing in would run for a long time in New York City. But Moe’s story said Russ was back home in Madison.

I emailed Russ, but there was no reply. So I emailed Moe, who promptly sent me a different email address for Russ, one that elicited a speedy reply.

Russ told me the show at the Supper Club in New York City had run for two weeks. Here’s what he wrote:

Yes the show ran for two weeks but they may want to take it to London and I am not sure if I will want to go. There are some ideas I have and may want to try something different with my own show. In the meantime Madison will be my home base and I will fly out for events I will be doing. It’s nice to be back home with family and friends. Wish I could of made it to the class reunion.

So now you know -- and if Russ didn’t answer your email, contact me and I’ll forward your message to the new address.

As for Doug Moe, let’s thank him for what he’s written about Madison Central High School and encourage him to write even more.

And while we’re waiting for that next Moe column about Central to appear, here are a couple of things you can do to while away some time, enjoy yourself, and maybe learn something new:

1) Read all the Moe stories about Central I’ve mentioned in this post. I’ve created a link to each of them (click on the underlined words to go to an archived copy of the story).

2) Buy and read a copy of "Surrounded By Reality." If you can’t find a copy in your local bookstore, give our classmate Terry Doyle a call at the University Book Store on State Street. He’ll be happy to sell you a copy and ship it to your home or office.

3) Start reading Doug Moe’s column on a regular basis. If you live too far away to subscribe to The Capital Times or pick it up on a newsstand, use your lunch hour to check it out on the Internet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Gerri DiMaggio Will Help Select An Official Song for the City of Madison

Wisconsin has lots of official symbols, including a state insect (the Honey Bee), a state fossil (the Trilobite), a state animal (the Badger), and a state fish (the Muskellunge). It also has an official state song: "On Wisconsin," composed in 1909 by William Purdy. The words to that song are familiar to all Wisconsin football fans, as well as hordes of opponents, and even some folks who’ve never worn red on Saturdays.

Can the City of Madison find a song that will inspire such devotion and loyalty? A song that will symbolize everything we love about this one-of-a-kind, "nothing like it anywhere else" city where we grew up and went to high school? We’re about to find out...

Dane101.com reports that, as part of the Madison Sesquicentennial celebration, Mayor Dave named a committee to select an official song for Madison. And no, it’s not likely to be "Happy Birthday to You," because that song is still protected by copyright, and no one wants to run the risk of having to raise property taxes to pay royalties.

The big news for the Madison Central High School Class of 1965 is that one of our own -- Gerri DiMaggio -- is a member of the 10-person committee that will select an official song for Madison. She’s joined by some extraordinary Madisonians, including song-writer and musician Ben Sidran, who wrote the lyrics to Steve Miller’s hit song "Space Cowboy;" UW-Madison professor Richard Davis, a well-known bass player; Andrew Sewell, Music Director and Maestro of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra; and John DeMain, Music Director and Conductor of the Madison Symphony Orchestra (which after "three months of strenuous rehearsing," gave its first performance on December 14, 1926, at the Central High School auditorium).*

It will be very interesting to see what this committee, which is loaded with members who have a background in jazz, will chose as Madison’s official song.

*At that time, the orchestra was called the Madison Civic Symphony

Why Cant' We Find That Guy on the Left?

Another photo from the 25th reunion at the Madison Civic Center

The reunion committee has always maintained contact with Larry Studesville, but Jim Strand has been eluding us lately. Letters keep coming back. If you have a current address for Jim, please send me an email.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"Welcome 129 New Students"

According to an article I wrote for the October 23, 1964 edition of The Madison Mirror, 129 new students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) entered Madison Central High School during the first semester of the 1964-65 school year. Of this number, 99 entered from other Madison schools, including 54 from transfers from Wisconsin High. Of the other 30 students, 13 came from other towns in Wisconsin, and 17 entered from outside the state.

I remember obtaining a list of new students from the office and trying to sort them into the various categories. At that time, I assumed the list was accurate. However, today as I read the names of the new seniors, it appears that there may have been some errors in the list. Here are the names of the new seniors listed in that article:

From other Madison schools: Kathy Buechners (WHS), Coral June Byer (West), Meredith Curkeet (WHS), Ronald Endres (West), Natalie Fox (WHS), Debby Hall (WHS), Sandra Hanson (La Follette), Gene Maddrell (WHS), Jeff Mattox (WHS), David Roberts (WHS), Larry Roth (WHS), Cathy Rott (WHS), Richard Sundquist (WHS), Gerry Schultz (WHS), Dean Urben (WHS), Patricia Wendt (West), John Westra (WHS), Angela Young (WHS).

Three new seniors from Wisconsin: Vicki St. John (McFarland), Kathleen Sweeney (Watertown) and Harvey Ylvisaker (Stoughton).

Four new seniors from outside the state: Kum Mo Kim (Rochester, New York), Ed Pauley (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Mike Shelton (Chicago, Illinois), and John Wolff (Ithaca, New York).

I highlighted (boldface type) the names with problems, some of which are minor. Here are the reasons:

Kathy Beuchners: name mis-spelled, should be Beuchner
Coral Jane Byer: name mis-spelled, should be Carol June Byers
Ronald Endres: not on list of 1965 graduates or in yearbook
Sandra Hanson: Board of Education lists her as 1965 graduate, but she is among out "missing" classmates
Larry Roth: there was Larry Roth who attended Bethel Lutheran and graduated from West, but Jeff Mattox says he remembers two Larry Roths at WHS; neither of them is on our list of 1965 graduates or in yearbook
Cathy Rott: not on list of 1965 graduates or in yearbook
Patricia Wendt: not on list of 1965 graduates or in yearbook
Kathleen Sweeney: not on list of 1965 graduates or in yearbook
Ed Pauley: Board of Education lists him as 1965 graduate, but he is among our "missing" classmates
Mike Shelton: not on list of 1965 graduates or in yearbook

If you can provide information about any of these people, please leave a comment or send me an email

The Way We Were: 1964 Homecoming Court and Escorts

This photo was on the front page of The Madison Mirror (Volume XXXXIII, NO. 3) on October 23, 1964.

Since search engines do not "read" the names in the image's caption, I'm reprinting it here, in order to make this post more searchable:

The 1964 Homecoming Court of Honor, as chosen by the Senior High last week, is pictured above with their escorts. The girls are, from left to right: Jill Hayman, Terry Burrows, JoAnn Benell, Suzanne Seifert, Linda Balser, and Bev Burmeister. Senior members of the football squad, who will serve as their escorts, are, front left to right: John Geiger, John Bierman, Skip Pagel, Skip Edmunds, Jim Kinder, Ken Levake, and Ralph Guerin. Missing is Lois Rubin, who was absent when the picture was taken.

Question: If these guys were the girls' "escorts," who were their dates? And who were the girls's dates? Does anyone remember?

Monday, January 16, 2006

But Does She Still Play the Violin?

Even when you don't talk to or see a person for a long time, you may hear rumors about them. One of the rumors I heard many years ago was that Linda Austin no longer wanted to have anything to do with Madison. Wrong. Bad rumor.

On January 5th, I wrote a post about places to escape the dreary sunless weather Madion had been enduring for several weeks. When I mentioned one fantasy escape, a visit to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, I listed the names of the members of the Madison Central High School Class of 1965 who lived in the area, thinking maybe the ones we hadn't heard from in a long time might one day Google themselves, find the blog, and get in touch.

No long afterwards, I received an email from Marlene Bjornethun, asking if I knew how to get in touch with Linda Austin. Since I won't release email addresses without permission, I emailed Linda and crossed my fingers, hoping she'd reply. And yes, dear reader, she did reply. She's agreed to let me post her reply, so here goes:

I am glad to hear from you and will email Marlene as well. I checked out your blog when I got the notice of the last reunion. It's a great service you are doing for the rest of us. I was going to write you at the time, but was so down about the obituaries that I postponed... and then forgot. It's amazing to feel grief for people I last saw 40 years ago, but it was real. In my head everyone but me is still 18.

One of these days I will send you a link to my web site. I haven't updated it in a year and a half, so will wait for that. Any day now. (Read with sarcasm.)

My brother, Mark, was probably the one who said I didn't want anything to do with Madison. I didn't say it that way, but it probably came out wrong in translation. I'm not sure why I've been reluctant to get in touch with old acquaintances when I visit Madison, but it probably has something to do with denying how much time has passed.

My Mom and Dad are both gone, but my brother and his wife are in Madison. I go back only once a year now. Last summer, we spent the entire visit working on the cottage we inherited from our parents.

I spent my entire professional career working for the Social Security Administration, first in Chicago, then in Baltimore. Took an early retirement during the Clinton Administration. In spite of a precipitous drop in income, I've never regretted it. At the time, my mother was in a nursing home, my dog was on his last leg, and I had convinced myself that I was headed for a heart attack. (No, I haven't had one.) Now, I take an occasional job, but really prefer goofing off.

Shortly after I received Linda's first email, she sent another one that answers the question in this post's header:

Just realized I didn't answer your question. No, the violin is long gone. I sold it in college to buy a motor scooter. Broke my leg in accident on the scooter. Many years later, had the knee replaced due to arthritis. Guess I should have stayed with the violin.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Mark Your Calendar: All-Central Reunion Scheduled for February 12, 2006

I just talked to Rich Bennett, the man who decided we needed to have an annual All-Central reunion and started organizing them in the 1980s. Rich, who's been known to crash the Class of 1965 reunions (the photo on the left is from our 25th reunion), says he had friends in lots of different classes and he wanted to create an event where everyone who attended Central could get together, eat pizza, drink beer, and reminisce.

In addition to bringing everyone who attended Central together in one place, there's something else that's unique about this reunion. Rich says his flyers for the event state it is open to "anyone who attended Central," but "non-Central spouses and friends are not included at this celebration." Although he says he's never enforced this provision, it provides some people with a good excuse.

From the beginning, Rich says he decided to make it easy for Centralites to remember when and where the reunion will be held each year. It's always at the same place (the VFW on Lakeside Street), always on the same day (the Sunday before Valentine's Day), and always starts at the same time (noon).

If you need this year's reunion information made absolutely clear, here are the specific details about time and location:

What : All Central Reunion
When: Sunday, February 12, 2006
Time: Noon until whenever
VFW Post 1318
133 E. Lakeside Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53715

There is no admission charge, but there is a suggested donation of $5 per person to pay for the following year's expenses. Rich has already ordered and paid for three half barrels of beer and 75 pizzas. He says donations from last year paid for all this year's goodies. That's a lot of beer and pizzas, but Rich says the turnout is usually 400-500 Centralites, although he acknowledges that number is likely to diminish over the next decade, since the youngest Centralites are now in their fifties.

There is also a bar at the VFW and you're welcome to buy your own drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Rich says the VFW loves being home to the All-Central reunion because the event runs up the highest bar tab of any other celebration, including weddings.

One word of warning to Centralites who still smoke and live outside of Madison. The City of Madison now forbids smoking in bars and has been enforcing this ordinance, much to the dismay of many tavern owners (who claim it will drive them out of business). If you want to smoke, you'll have to sneak outside (makes you feel like you're still in high school, doesn't it?).

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Nobel Prize Winners

Sorry, no one from the Madison Central High School Class of 1965 has yet been awarded a Nobel Prize. But two other Central graduates have been Nobel Prize winners in physics: John Hasbrouk van Vleck (Class of 1916) and John Bardeen (Class of 1923). To read about these men and their acomplishments (and to find links to more detailed biographic information about them), click HERE to go to the Madison Central High School History blog, or use the "All-Central" link on the right.

Another Photo from the 35th Reunion at the Argus

This photo of Jean Jensen Seidl and her husband, Larry, is from the 35th reunion at the Argus. Jean and Larry also attended the 40th reunion in October 2005, but didn't hang around long enough to have their photo taken. When Ralph asked everyone to stand up and introduce herself (or himself), Jean did mention that they had a six year old child at home, so perhaps that explains the couple's early departure. Jean also put in a plug for her tax service, so if you're in the Madison area and you want to consult the Class of 1965 salutatorian about your 1040, give her a call.

Streatormania: The Next Chapter

Some people are so impatient. Doug Strand couldn't wait for Mr. Streator to return from South America, so he located a more recent photograph of the former Madison Central High School chemistry teacher. It's the one accompanying this post. Doug also sent along some interesting biographic notes about Streator from the Manchester College Chemistry Department's web page:

Jim Streator, PhD., taught at Manchester for 32 years and retired in 2000. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin and has a PhD from Purdue. He taught high school chemistry for 5 years in Madison, WI. He was responsible primarily for Analytical and Physical chemistry courses. His general interests are in the areas of analytical chemistry and in computer applications. For many years, he taught a forensic science course during our January term. Students were introduced to tools of forensic science and visit forensic labs.

And since I know not all of you bother to read the comments attached to some posts (although you should!), I'm going to reproduce part of the comments Doug left on my first post about Streator because they certainly help to demonstrate his level of enthusiam:

Mr. Streator,
WOW! It is so good to hear from you. Yes, I was one who wrote you in as my favorite teacher, actually a tie between you and Mr. Pete Olson. Pete was a helluva' coach, two state championships, not Downtowners, of course. And you were a helluva' teacher. I have so many stories from your class, I wouldn't know where to begin. How about your frozen tennis ball trick, Mike Fullwood's goldfish eating, or the tank of acid that destroyed Jean Jensen's blouse

Of course what the rest of us now want to know are all the details about the frozen tennis ball trick, Michael's exotic diet, and Jean's wardrobe malfunction. We also want to know just what this forensic science course involved. Were there nasty odors and horrifying sights? Or merely mundane fingerprints?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Searching for Elizabeth Weissinger

Sometimes you don't know whether your letter has reached someone and they've chosen not to reply, or whether the letter never reached them at all. The reunion committee has mailed invitations to Elizabeth Weissinger, but as far as I know, no one has heard from her for at least a decade. Elizabeth attended Central during 1964-1965, but she was not an AFS student. According to an article (shown above) by Linda Austin, published in the Madison Mirror on June 5, 1964, Elizabeth was in the United States to improve her English. The official list of Class of 1965 graduates does include her, so she was awarded a diploma.

While trying to update the mailing list for the 30th reunion, I called Kathy Merlin, who had stayed in touch with Elizabeth since graduation. At that time, Kathy provided the information that Elizabeth's last name was Weissinger-Kohler and that she lived in Gantringen, Germany.

Recently, I tried to Google "Gantringen" and while there were no hits, the clever search engine asked me if I didn't really mean "Gartringen" (second letter in name "r" instead of "n"). So I took Google's spelling tip and received lots of hits. I then went to Mapquest to try to locate this city.

Gartringen is in the state of Baden-Württemberg (those of you who studied German will notice that Mapquest can't cope with the umlaut), the capital of which is Stuttgart, where they make Porsche automobiles. Baden-Württemberg is also home to the Black Forest, renowned for its cuckoo clocks and Black Forest tortes and cakes,

But wait! I'm probably become too pedantic here. The real purpose of this post is to try to locate Elizabeth. If you know how to reach her, send me an email. Or, perhaps, one day she'll Google herself (as many people do, even if they don't always admit to this curious habit) and find this blog. If so, I hope she'll send us an update on her whereabouts and what she's been doing for the past four decades.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Explosive News! Chemistry Teacher Found in Indiana

In 1990, the members of the 25th reunion committee asked members of the Madison Central High School Class of 1965 to respond to a questionnaire that asked them to indicate, among other things, the name of their favorite teacher. Several names recurred with with astonishing (or predictable) frequency. Sadly, most of these teachers are no longer with us.

But not all our teachers are listed in the teacher obituary section on the right hand side of this blog. Some are alive and well -- and one -- Mr. Streator -- is flying to South America today.

I recently located Mr. Streator and sent him an email. His reply was prompt and enthusiastic, and it's printed below:

Date: Tue, 3 Jan 2006 15:58:53 -0500


Yes, I am the culprit. I did teach at Central. I looked at the blog and saw some very familiar faces! It certainly would be fun to see these people again! I really enjoyed my years at Central.

I received a PhD from Purdue University and taught chemistry at Manchester College (40 miles due west of Fort Wayne and about 55 miles south-southeast from South Bend) for 35 years. I am married, have two sons and 3 grandchildren. I retired from teaching in 2000. Since then, my wife and I have traveled and I acted as a "project shepherd" (coordinator between faculty and builders) for the building of a new $17 million science center
at the college. In 2004, I went to the 50th anniversary of my high school graduation in Appleton, WI.

Currently, we live in the country on a 13 acre site with a 1 acre pond and love it. The day after tomorrow, we will be flying out to South America where we will spend a week in the mountains (12,000 feet or more) and a week in the jungle (200 feet or less).

I would love to hear about the 1965 class. If you published anything for your 40th anniversary, please let me know how I can get a copy.

Thanks for writing.

Jim Streator

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

And the the winner was...

According to the applause she generated at the 40th reunion, Janet Stevens was voted the least changed. Runners up were Nancy Ellis and Tom Oscar.

Janet is pictured in a photo taken at the 35th reunion at the Argus. The man on the right is Dave Ottum.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

What's Happening in South Madison?

In a recent email, Ronna (Paris) Moore asks:

By the way...what's up with the "southside" these days? I read a recent article in the Alumni magazine stating that it has become a troubled area. I remember the southside as being a terrific place to grow up in the 50's and 60's! I have a bunch of questions about it so if any of you are interested in sharing some insight, please write!

Many Madison Central High School alumni lived in the "southside," but although I have a sense of where this was when we were at Central, I'm not certain what geographic area it included. Did it include the Greenbush area? What about the houses across from Lake Monona on South Shore Drive? Were the boundaries fairly consistent over a long period of time? Or did they shift frequently? Do you call yourself a "southsider" because of where you lived? Or are you a "southsider" because of where you went to elementary school or junior high?

Some of you still reside in your "southside" neighborhood, very close to where you lived when you were growing up. Others have moved far away. Let's hear from anyone who has something to contribute to this discussion. Even though I lived east of the Capitol Square, I really hope we can open a discussion here, since I plan to write a history of Central -- and the "southside" certainly played an important role in the school's history.

Notes: The article Ronna refers to is in the Winter 2005 issue of On Wisconsin, a magazine published by the Wisconsin Alumni Association at the UW-Madison. If you'd like to read the article, please click HERE. The link is to a PDF file, so it may take more than a few seconds to download. All the ads accompanying this post are from the 1965 Tychoberahn.