Wednesday, June 28, 2006

You can't remember this (unless you're at least a centenarian)

Before the Cass Gilbert-designed building we all remember was built, this is what the building housing Central High School (then called Madison High School) looked like. Built in 1873 (and doubled in size by an addition in 1888), this building occupied the same location on Wisconsin Avenue as its successor. It was demolished in 1906 when construction began on the new building. Gerhard Ellerkamp (Class of 1966) provided the photo below, which according, to the note near the top, was taken in 1902. There's no indication of the photographer's name.

The "new" school building did not open until 1908, so, according to the 1907 Tychoberahn, the classes were split up during the construction period. The freshman class was housed in the "new" Doty School 0n the corner of West Wilson and South Broom Streets (the building is still there, but has been converted to condominiums). The sophomores and juniors were in the "most beautiful" building, the "new" public library on North Carroll Street (torn down when the library building on West Mifflin Street was built). The seniors studied in the combined engine house and police station (I'm still trying to determine the exact location of this building).

Friday, June 09, 2006

Central alumni at Festa Italia: part 3 of 3

It really was not my intention to depict Madison Central High School as an all-boys school, but I had a difficult time finding female alumnae at Festa Italia. The reports I received usually involved women who were "expected later this afternoon," or who'd already put in an appearance on a previous day. That's why this final round of photos of alumni from the Fifties and Sixties is a guy gallery.

Lewis Cassini (Class of 1955), keeping track of raffle ticket sales

Phil Clementi (Class of 1960), also seated at the raffle ticket sales table

Paul Washington, Sr. (Class of 1953)

Former Central Coach John Olson and Chris Ramos (Class of 1953)

Tom DiSalvo (Class of 1963)

Jack Parrino (Class of 1966)

Central alumni at Festa Italia: Part 2 of 3

Maybe they'd already eaten. Or maybe they were waiting until later. In any case, I wasn't having much success hanging around the food stand waiting for Central alumni to stop by for an Italian sausage. And then there was the name tag problem. People wear name tags at reunions, not at festivals. Maybe there were dozens of Central alumni walking right past me, but because they weren't decked out in school colors and weren't wearing name tags, I wasn't picking them out of the crowd.

Bill McDonald suggested I head to the beer tent to look for "Buffo," who could probably point to lots of unfamiliar faces and identify them as Centralites.

It was a good suggestion, and it produced results. It wasn't until I returned home, recovered from my sunburn, and downloaded my photos that I discovered a serious problem: all the photos I took in the beer tent were tinted red, a foreshadowing of what was happening to my scalp. I tried to use my photo editing program to tone down the reds, but the best I could do was make everyone appear as though they'd bathed in Dijon mustard. What to do?

I could omit my photo of "Buffo" and fret about my future, or bring in a consultant. The latter idea seemed to be the most reasonable. So I prevailed on a witty, erudite fellow alumnus who knows a lot more about color photography than I do (and, no, not the one formerly known as "Skip"), and received the following feedback about a sample photo catastrophe I'd enclosed with my entreaty for help:

"That's the problem with color photography -- it's so literal about colors in situations where our eyes adapt naturally, resetting our internal "white balance" so we don't even see the coloration caused by the light source (in this case, the red stripes on the roof of the tent, which are casting a strong reddish cast on everything)."

Along with the feedback, the consultant offered several options for trying to salvage by beer tent photos. I liked the last one best:

"Go for the arty black and white look and convert it to black and white (grayscale) in your photo editor."

I did. It worked. I liked the results. So here they are:

From left to right: Ed Corcoran (Class of 1960); Dr. Dan Maldne (not an alumnus, but definitely a member of the Italian Workmen's Club); and Joe "Buffo Cerniglia (Class of 1953), who also was kind enough to write down everyone's name and affiliation -- another reason to stay on his good side. Joe also pointed out the next couple and told me they were also Central alumni.

John Cuccia (Class of 1960) and Pat Donner Cuccia (Class of 1961)

Central alumni at Festa Italia: Part 1 of 3

This is the first of three posts featuring photos of Central alumni taken last Sunday at Festa Italia in Fitchburg.

As soon as I arrived, I headed for place where I expected to spot some Central alumni.

Chuck Cerniglia (Class of 1963, wearing gloves) and Bill McDonald (Class of 1950, wearing beads) were working hard, but took a brief break to pose for a photo in their Festa finery.

Joe Cerniglia (Class of 1959) was supervising operations.

These are Italian sausages on the grill, not bratwurst! The handsome man who was cooking them looked far too young to be a Central alumnus, so I focused on the food, not the dude.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Class of 1966 sets a date for its 40th reunion

They haven't settled on a links location, or put a price tag on the event, but the reunion committee for the Madison Central High School Class of 1966 has set a date and decided where they're going to have dinner. Here's the scoop on that 40th class reunion, courtesy of Sue Benell Puccio:

When: Saturday, September 30, 2006
Where: Knights of Columbus
5256 Verona Road, Fitchburg
Time: Cocktails at 6:00 p.m.,
followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

In addition to the main event, the Class of 1966 is also planning a Saturday afternoon golfing get-together and a Friday night gathering at an undetermined location. Sue's email hints at the possibility that alumni from other classes may be invited to attend Friday's event.

The email also reports that, "The Class of 1966 reunion planning committee includes Kathy Russell (Wolff), Angie Loniello, Dan Gronli, Dave, Melum, Jim Meuer, Karen Meuer, Gerhard Ellerkamp, Monsine Di Salvo, Tommy Doyle and me, Sue Benell Puccio. As usual, the reunion meetings are as much fun as the actual event. We spend lots of time reminiscing about all the good times at Central High."

If you have questions about the Class of 1966 reunion and you don't know how to contact any of the committee members, send me an email and I'll forward it.

In the meantime, if you're no longer living in the Madison area, but plan to return for the reunion, given serious consideration to where you're going to sleep that weekend. The Badgers will be in Bloomington on September 30th, but cow fans will be arriving from all over the world to attend the World Dairy Expo, which opens October 3rd. So book that hotel room now -- or make plans to reserve space on someone's sofa.

Update (6/26/2006): Reunion invitations will be mailed to members of the Class of 1966 this week. The class is also sponsoring an informal All-Central get-together at The Pub on Friday, September 29, 2006. It begins at 6 p.m. and runs until closing time or whenever all good Central alumni are tucked in their beds, whichever comes sooner.