Friday, March 31, 2006

Grammar and Punctuation Mavens Please Offer Your Advice

I'm struggling with a cold that's making me temporarily a bit muzzy. Is boys gym correct? Is girls gym correct? Or should there be some apostrophes in this equation? Were we (are we) possessive about those spaces?

Gym Class Before Title IX

Three years after Central High School (by then called Central-University High School) closed its doors, Title IX, the Educational Amendement of 1972, finally gave girls an opportunity to play real sports. Back when we were in high school, girls gym class wasn't very much fun or very challenging. I usually learned more sitting on the sidelines discussing the intricacies of French kissing than I did on the court or the playing field.

Things weren't much better for girls in 1926. Read my gym class rant and the 1926 Tychoberahn commentary on The Department of Physical Education on the Madison Central High School History blog.

Leave comments here or there. Your opinions matter, but what we really want to know is more about those boys swimming classes. We're pretty sure you didn't have to wear ugly swim caps, but the other aspects of your swimming costume (or lack thereof) still intrigue some members of what was then still known as the weaker sex.

The Way We Were: Seventh Grade Student Council Representatives

Just what did the Madison Central Junior High School student council do? Did its members run the candy counter? Plan a dance? Challenge our principal, Miss Smith? Even though I wasn't on the student council for the 1959-60 school year, for some reason I can remember almost all the first names of the delegates -- or at least I think I do. Here's my rendition of the caption (seventh graders are in boldface type). Additions and corrections encouraged and welcome.
Top Row: Judy Jordee, Marie Cerniglia, Jim Garner, Sue White, Second Row: Linda Balser, Shirley Henthorne, T. Taylor, S. Lemberger, Marlene Rizer. Bottom Row: Roberta Sweet, Gail Weitzel, Ron Paskin, Peggy Ragatz, Pam Garvey, Larry Lewis, and Janet Stevens.

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

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Way We Were: Junior High Cheerleaders from the end of the Eisenhower Era

After I successfully located a senior class photo of Jim Kempfer in the 1960 Tychoberahn, I took a quick look at the junior high section and was reminded of something I'd forgotten. Back when Eisenhower was still president, Madison Central High School's junior high cheerleading squad included some seventh grade girls. So here for your edification is a copy of the photo of the 1959-60 junior high cheerleading squad that included Jean Jensen, Linda London, and Emma Mitchell.

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

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A message from Rip Van Roo's sister

Alumni are not the only people who visit this blog. Some visitors are friends and relatives of alumni -- and some of them are thoughtful enough to leave a comment or send an email. Rip Van Roo's sister, Jane, did both. The best way to read her message is to go back to the original post about Rip and read the comments. The easiest way to do that is to click HERE.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Awash in history (and a little suds)

Madison is celebrating its 150th birthday this year, so in addition to all sorts of celebrations, there are lots of interesting opportunities on tap to learn about local history. Here's one that may interest some of you because it features not only a "Central connection," but some interesting comestibles.

The next meeting of the Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin (CHEW) will feature a talk by Peter Fauerbach about the history of the Fauerbach Brewery and the large role it played in the history of Madison. The brewery opened in 1848 and ceased operations in 1966. The original building was razed to make way for the Fauerbach Condominiums.

Last year, Peter Fauerbach and some of his cousins began brewing Fauerbach beer again at the Gray Brewery in Janesville.

Peter Fauerbach is a grandson of Karl Fauerbach, who graduated from Madison High School (later renamed Central High School) in 1917. I recently posted Karl Fauerbach's obituary and his senior class photo from the Tychoberahn in the pre-1990 obituaries archives.

In addition to Peter Fauerbach's talk, the CHEW meeting will feature an opportunity to taste some of his brew and watch the Oak Apple Morris Dancers.

The CHEW meeting is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5, 2006 in Room 120 at the MATC Truax campus. While CHEW encourages people to become members of the organization, its meetings are open to visitors.

Memorial Services for Bill Withers on April 29, 2006

There was an updated obituary for Bill Withers in Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal. It contained the following additional information: "Memorial services for all to celebrate Billy's life will be held at CHRIST CHURCH, 1711 Thierer Road in Madison on Saturday, April 29, 2006, at 11 a.m. Please send condolences to Billy's daughter, Jo'El Withers-Zradicka, 834 Jupiter Street, Apt. 102, Madison, Wis. 53718. I thank God every time I remember you (Philippians 1:3)."

A small photo accompanied the print version of the obituary, but obituary photos are not reproduced in the newspaper's online archives. Besides, I think the photo below is better. It is from the Junior High section of the 1963 Tychoberahn, and features the starting six from the 1962-63 Junior High Basketball Season, members of a team that won Central's first championship since 1947, the year Bill's father, William ("Babe") Withers and uncle, Edward Withers, graduated from Madison Central High School.

Pictured above, from left to right, are Dave Melum, Bill Bisset, Pat Corcoran, Coach Olson, Al Verdin, Russ Cerniglia, and Bill Withers

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Ripped from the headlines: "Blog tracks Central High's greats"

Doug Moe likes a good story and he's written a book about boxing at the UW-Madison, "The Lords of the Ring." That's why he thought he might be looking at a good story for his column in The Capital Times when someone showed him the obituary for Bill Withers, with its mention of Bill's participation in the Little Bucky Badger Boxing Club. The obituary notes that, "Bill and one of his opponents were once the under card match to the main event of Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali)."

And then Moe read my post about Bill Withers on this blog and sent me an email on Thursday, asking me to telephone him at work. I returned his call and we talked about my blogs, including this one and the Madison Central High School History blog (a.k.a All-Central Blog). I told him I was researching and writing a history of of Central -- and, of course, retiterated what a great school it was and how he needed to write about it more than once a year.

When I returned home that evening, after many hours in several libraries, there was an urgent email message from Moe, asking me to telephone him again. It had been sent many hours earlier. I wasn't able to reach Moe at that late hour and could only hope he hadn't scuppered the story of Withers as a result of my failure to respond to his quest.

When I did catch up with him the next morning, he told me he'd already written his column and it was in Friday's newspaper, which wouldn't arrive in my neighborhood until afternoon. Suspense ensued. Around lunchtime, I checked my sitemeter and noticed that there had been an unusually large number of visits to the All-Central blog in the past hour. Hmmm. Perhaps Moe's column was online and perhaps it had mentioned the blog. Indeed it was and indeed it had. The headline was "Blog tracks Central High's greats." Wow!

The response over the next several days was tremendous. A great many people read the column (online or in the newspaper) and subsequently visited the All-Central blog. There are lots of great stories about Central and its "fiercely loyal" alumni out there. Let's hope Moe writes about some more of them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Who was the modern Santa? And was Nancy a DJ?

Here's one more short article from the December 18, 1964 issue of The Madison Mirror (boldface type in the original):

Christmas Party in the Gym

To celebrate the holidays and the last day before Christmas vacation, Social Committee provided entertainment in the boys' gymn,
Santa made an appearance for a check to see who had been good. Since last year he has changed a great deal, becoming more "Modern". No one knew what this meant but those on the Social Committee, who kept it a dark secret. The rest of us had to attend and find out ourselves.
After the usual singing, skits, and Mr. Buchhauser's combo, donuts and cider were served by Jo Ann Benell and her committee. From here, records and dancing took over the show, with Nancy Ellis in charge.
For those people who prefered not to attend the Christmas Party, a movie was shown in the the auditorium.

Wow! Way too much use of the passive voice and far too much mystery. Just who was this Santa and what made him more "Modern?" And who had been good? Or more intriguing, who had been bad? Does anyone remember this Christmas party? Or were you all in the auditorium watching the movie? And if so, what was the title of the movie? I'm sure it wasn't "Molly Grows Up."

No, It's Not Christmas, but...

Back on December 25, I wrote a post that addressed my unfulfilled dream of being in the annual Christmas pageant at the Capitol and suggested it would be interesting if some members of the Class of 1965 who had been in one of the pageants would share some memories. There were no responses.

Today, while searching through my cache of copies of The Madison Mirror, I found an article published on December 18, 1964 (Volume XXXXIII) that named names. I've retyped it below (boldface emphasis is from the original):

Perform in Capitol Pageant

Last Sunday, December 13 at 4:00 the members of the choirs of East, West, LaFollette, Monona Grove and Central University High took part in the annual Capitol Pageant.
The senior choirs sang 15 songs recalling the birth of Jesus. The following is a list of the songs sung" "Joy to the World," "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Gloria Patri," "Ave Maria," "Joseph Came Seeking a Resting Place," "Christmas Hymn (While by My Sheep)," "The First Noel," "We Three Kings of Orient Are," "Slumber Song of the Infant Jesus," "Break Forth, O Beauteaus Heavenly Light," "Cantique De Noel (O Holy Night)," "A Child Is Born in Bethlehem," and "Silent Night."
Besides the choir many of the members of the student body took part in the various phases of the tableaux. These members were: Mary, Theresa Accardo and Christine Merlin; Joseph, Nick Loniello and
Mike Fullwood--as an alternate; Gabriel, Joanne Hildebrandt and Cathy Portal-Foster--as an alternate; Blue Angels, Jean Hubbard and Judy Eberline; Kings, Mike McCabe, Bruce Lauck, Jim Lynaugh, Eugene Washington, Skip Hanson, Fred Gedko, and Richard Bennett; Shepherds, Jim Schmitz, Steve Bruno, Andy Apple, Dave Williams, Steve Houghton, Marvin Richardson, Bill Johnson, Jim Klinker, Fred Cross and Skip Pagel; White Angels, Jean Gennrich, Cindy Worden, Candy Fullwood, Rozanne Petratta, Diane Bystol, Angie Loniello and Gina Masino; Dome Angels, Maureen McGilligan, Maria Guianguinto, Marsha Gurlund, Velma Pavulue, Virginia Burley, Sue Debs and Jo-Ann Hanson,
Along with the leadership of the choir directors of the schools and much hard work and practice the pageant was a great success.

By Joanne Bennett

There certainly weren't many members of the Class of 1965 that year. Maybe there were more in the choir. Or maybe they were involved in other holiday activities.

Here's the caption for these front page photos from the December 18, 1964 issue of The Madison Mirror: TOP PICTURE: JoAnne Klein and Kay Schutz hang a wreath on a classroom door. JoAnne headed the decorations committee. Miss Reinartz was the advisor. MIDDLE PICTURE: In 12th grade Home Economics, recent class activities have tied in well with the season (see book title in the pciture). Students show here working on a holiday arrangement are, left to right, Judy Winner, Mary Jo McCarthy and Mary Hammond. Mrs. Meister, the instructor, is standing.

Note: I omitted the BOTTOM PICTURE because it was too dark to reproduce well on the blog. And if you can't read the name on the book in the MIDDLE PICTURE, it's "Flower Arranging."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bill Withers, Son of Central Great William (Babe) Withers Died March 17th

There's an obituary for Bill Withers in this morning's Wisconsin State Journal. Bill was the son of William (Babe) Withers (Class of 1947), a star athlete at Madison Central High School, who died at 34, a few months after the annual faculty-alumni game in 1963.

Bill Withers attended Madison East High School, where he was an outstanding athlete in basketball and football. Many of us knew him from watching him play against our teams. Some of us have known him since grade school. Bill's family lived on Jenifer Street, right across from the Marquette School playground. Bill was 57 when he died.

Click HERE to go to today's online edition of the Wisconsin State Journal obituaries (scroll down near the end of the page for Bill's obituary).

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Central's Remarkable Curling Team

A team from the United States won a bronze medal in curling at the 2006 Olympics, but when it comes to boldness and audacity, the 1965 Madison Central High School curling team deserves a gold medal.

Central had a hockey team for many years, but as far as I know, the 1964-65 school year was the only time in more than a century of existence that the school had a curling team. Blame it on Wisconsin High. Or, better yet, let's give credit to some ingenious guys from Whiskey High.

According to team members Jeff Mattox and Gene Madrell, the curling team functioned primarily as a way to get out of classes. Feeling a bit alienated because the closing of Wisconsin High School in 1964 forced them to transfer to Central to spend their senior year finishing up those essential physical education credits that stood in the way of early graduation, Mattox, Madrell, Dean Urben, and Ric Sundquist decided to form a curling team to get out of some of their classes.

The sport of curling involves two teams of four players trying to slide 42-pound granite rocks down a sheet of ice. Whether they decided to add an extra man to the team in case someone couldn't make it to a game, or they just found a kindred soul, the guys from Wisconsin High also invited Curtis Larson (who'd transferred to Central in the 10th grade) to join the team.

The curling team needed a coach, so they turned to another Wisconsin High School transfer: Mr. Everard, who, I'm told, knew nothing about curling. John Everard (art) and Paul Haack (music) taught Allied Arts, a new course during the 1964-65 school year. The class met in a basement classroom that had previously housed the famous "Rec Room," the wild and crazy homeroom hosted by Mr. Herreid, who had decamped to Laugh-A-Lot High School. Allied Arts was not an easy course, but it did offer some get of of class activities, including field trips to The Art Insitute of Chicago.

According to Madrell, the Central curling team had only one win all season -- and that was because the opponents failed to show up for the game.

Note: Photo is from the 1965 Tychoberahn. Several names are misspelled in the caption.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Green Beer, Basketball and Blizzards

Friday is St. Patrick's Day. For many people, it's about green beer, and maybe some corned beef and cabbage. But if you've lived in Madison for any length of time, you know St. Patrick's Day is also about basketball and blizzards.

The WIAA State Basketball Championships are in Madison this weekend, so State Street will be full of kids in letter jackets who aren't old enought to drink. Remember when you could drink beer at 18 and more than a few high school seniors saw tournaments weekend as an opportunity to come to Madison and get sloshed? And since tournaments always seem to fall on or near St. Patrick's Day, they could get sloshed on green beer.

Even if your team wasn't in the finals, if you lived in Madison in the early 1960s, tournament weekend was great fun. I recall huge dances at the Memorial Union, supposedly for visiting students, but often crashed by Madison high school students (the university students were on spring break, the lucky ones in Fort Lauderdale, trying to live their own version of "Where the Boys Are") . Perhaps your family housed some of the out-of-town visitors. Sometimes it was a good way to meet people. Sometimes you ended up with some real duds; you told them what bus to take to the Fieldhouse and then ditched them as soon as possible.

The other thing about St. Patrick's Day and state tournament weekend is that too often they bring the last big snow storm of the year. Tonight's weather reports predict snow should begin falling around midnight on Wednesday. Four to six inches may fall by Thursday morning. Perhaps that's why Madison held its St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday, March 12th -- a little early, but definitely ahead of the snow.

Seen at the 40th Reunion at CJ's

These photos were taken a few months ago, not decades ago like the black and white ones from the 10th reunion, so I do know who these people are:

Case Grintjes (and his commemorative tie)

Linda (Reuter) Shaughnessy

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Remembering Madison Lutheran School on Spaight Street

Many members of the Class of 1965 didn't arrive at Madison Central High School until they were freshman because they attended parochial schools or other area schools that served a K-8 population.

One of those parochial schools was located on Spaight Street, not far from where I grew up. To get from my house to B.B. Clarke Beach (named for Bascom B. Clarke, founding editor of The American Thresherman magazine, the offices of which were located at 115 E. Main Street, not far from the Argus, site of the 35th reunion), you had walk by the Madison Lutheran School, so I was very much aware of it -- and of the reports that its students weren't allowed to dance.

Madision Lutheran school was housed in a building that was originally the Harvey School, a Madison public school. The building, now demolished, was designed by the architectural firm of Claude and Starck, which also designed such other local landmarks as the Doty School (which very much resembled the Harvey school), now transformed into condominums; the Majestic Theater building on King Street; and Breese Stevens Field.

Among the alumni of Madison Lutheran School are many students who went on to become Centralites, including Doug Strand, the man who shares lots of memories about Madison history by leaving comments on this blog. Now he and his fellow alumni can check out Madison Lutheran School history and names of graduates and teachers on a website created by Judy Maginnis Kuster. And if you need further evidence that my father knew what he was talking about when he used to say, "Everyone in Madison is related -- or will be," I'll tell you it took only a little checking to confirm that, yes, Judy is a daughter-in-law of Leona Kuster, who taught at Madison Central High School for many years.

There are also lots of other Madison history connections embedded in this post. Please do use the links I've created to read more about Madison history, as well as see some photographs that may bring back memories. The links, for those of you new to this blogging format, are the words with lines undeneath them. Double clicking on these words will redirect your browser to a new page.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Tap Dance Lessons, Urban Renewal, and the Progressive Party: The Central Connections

The new issue of Historic Madison: A Journal of the Four Lake Region (Volume XX) arrived in the mail this week and it's full of articles with strong Madison Central High School connections.

The cover photo of the Joe Licari Tire Company, once located on the corner of West Main Street and West Washington Avenue, was taken on July 2, 1936 by Angus McVicar. It's one of many photographs and drawings used to illustrate "Leaving Greenbush," an article by Florence Zmudzinski, the relocation supervisor for The Triangle Project, "a well-meaning but ill-conceived federal program called urban renewal" that erased Madison's Greenbush neighborhood in the 1960s.

The Greenbush neighborhood was home to several generations of Centralites, including Gordon Sinykin, who was born on June 18, 1910 "on the second floor of a very small house at 522 South Park Street." Sinykin, a Madison Central High School graduate, was interviewed in 1985 as part of Historic Madion's oral history project. The transcript of the interview is included in this issue of Historic Madison: A Journal of the Four Lake Region. Sinykin, told interviewer Ruth Doyle that, "I particularly enjoyed Central High School. I enjoyed the teachers there very much." Sinykin, who died in 1991, was one of the founders of the Progressive Party in Wisconsin.

Leo Kehl (born March 10, 1900) and his brothers and sisters attended Madison High School. Leo was the second generation of a family that has for five generations been "Madison's first family of dance." I won't name names, but I know many Centralites studied at the Kehl School of Dance, which is still going strong today. Mark Gajewski's article about Kehl's (accompanied by lots of photographs) will bring back many memories.

So how do you obtain a copy of this journal? The best way is to join Historic Madison, Inc. Annual membership is only $15 and members receive copies of Historic Madison: A Journal of the Four Lake Region, plus newsletters. For the cost of a couple lattes (or beers or gourmet chocolates) you can support a worthy organization. Click HERE for a membership application form. Do it now. Print the application, fill it out, then write a check, address an envelope, find a stamp, and put it all in the mail.

Janet and one of the two guys at the All-Central Reunion named Joe Cerniglia

If you read the comments that accumulate on some posts (and if not, why don't you?), you'll learn all sorts of things. For instance, Doug Strand wondered if Janet Stevens had become a Republican when he saw the photo of her and Mona Winston taken at this year's All-Central reunion at the VFW.

He wrote, "What's with that elephant on Janet's neck? Has she become a Republican??"

She replied, "No. It is a symbol of my propensity to never forget (like an elephant)."

So now you know about the elephant. Next you'll want to know about the identity of the man standing next to her in this photo...

It's Joe Cerniglia (Class of 1955). And this if doesn't look like the Joe Cerniglia you remember, check out the Madison Central High School History blog. I've just posted some more photos from the All-Central reunion there, including one of another Joe Cerniglia (Class of 1953).

Friday, March 03, 2006

A Wilder Night, or A Night at "Our Town"

Sometimes you need to push back your chair and abandon cyberspace. You need to step out into the real world, even if you're headed in the direction of an imaginary one.

Thursday night I finally had an opportunity to see Mickey (Gartland) Crocker play the role of Mrs. Soames in Madison Repertory Theatre's production of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town." As a recovering theater critic, I'll abstain from reviewing the play, except to say Mickey was marvelous -- and her character has a great wardrobe, including some flowered hats, a giant faux fur boa, and a cute pink purse that looks a bit like a child's lunchbox. The photo and short bio below appear in the production's playbill.

The play runs through March 12th, but if you live too far away, or have a crowded social calendar, remember you can always see Mickey at work if you rent (or buy) the video or DVD of "The Right Stuff."