I Should Have Felt Something

CHS gym last open to public 01-30-2016I’ve been dragging my feet putting this post up, because I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t feel more emotion at my visit to the Central High School Gymnasium Saturday, the last public viewing before it’s torn down sometime during this month and March.

Here, by the way is a panorama shot from the top of the south bleachers looking to the north. Click on it to make it larger.

Maybe I didn’t connect because all of the spirit signs, the Tiger logos, the baseball brag board and the Alma Mater had all been removed from the walls. My knees didn’t like the bleachers that we were made to run up and down in P.E.

It was the noise that was missing

CHS gym last open to public 01-30-2016It was too quiet. There were no basketballs bouncing off the shiny floor. No coaches blowing their whistles and bellowing at lackadaisical students like me. There was no hollering nor the SPLAT! of one of those red rubber dodgeballs leaving an equally red mark on some slow-to-move freshman.

No fond memories

CHS gym last open to public 01-30-2016I can’t think of any fond memories I had about that room. I hated physical education class with a purple passion. I had neither the skills nor the desire to play sports.

I attended tens of dances and proms, but, with few exceptions, my job was to wait until this queen or that queen was crowned, then head home to process my film for The Missourian, The Tiger or The Girardot.

First high school girlfriend Shari found out I wasn’t fibbing when I told her I didn’t know how to dance, and last high school girlfriend Wife Lila will confirm that I never got any better.

I thought the showers were bigger

CHS gym last open to public 01-30-2016When I journeyed to the locker room and showers, I was astounded at how small the shower room was. It’s hard to believe that you could cram a dozen or more guys in there at one time, even considering that I was half the size I am today.

I stand by a description I wrote in 2013: “We guys were herded into gang showers where earsplitting hoots and hollers echoed off the tile walls like a bad prison movie. At least once during this session (which I tried to complete as quickly as possible), there would be something that sounded like a space shuttle lifting off, followed by a sulfurous cloud of methane gas that rolled off the tiles in a green cloud, prompting another Neanderthal to try to best the earlier contribution.”

If the dodgeballs went “SPLAT!” the snapping of wet towels sounded like a wild bunch of cowboys trying to get the herd moving by cracking their bullwhips.

Bleacher and floor signup sheet

CHS gym last open to public 01-30-2016There was a signup sheet near the entrance where people could leave their names if they were interested in getting pieces of the bleachers or floor when the building is being torn down. I talked with Coach Terry Kitchen Monday to get details, but he said the administration hadn’t made a decision yet on what will happen with the salvage. He asked me to check back later this week to see what was going to happen. When I hear, I’ll post an update.

I have to admit I wouldn’t mind having a chunk of bleacher.

A moment with Terry Crass

CHS gym last open to public 01-30-2016On my way out, I stopped to chat with a man wearing an orange shirt. It turned out to be Terry Crass, probably one of the nicest guys who ever walked the halls of Central High School. As team manager of just about every sport except Chess, he kept players patched up, and he’s doing much the same work today at the Veterans Home.

After a few minutes of chit-chat, Terry said, “On the afternoon JFK got killed, I was in Mr. Ford’s algebra class. The weather was bad. It was a lousy-looking day. Mr. Wilferth came on the PA and said the president had been shot. We didn’t know anything.

“The bell rings and I hit out to the study hall. Nobody was saying anything. Everybody was crying. There was a big black and white TV in there. That’s when Walter Cronkite looked up at the clock over his shoulder and said, “From Dallas, Texas, the FLASH, apparently official, President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time, 2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.” [I inserted the actual quote, but Terry pretty much nailed it from memory.]

I had a flashback

CHS gym last open to public 01-30-2016I flashed back to another TV on that day. One that was sitting in the gym with shocked students staring at it. “All you could hear was breathing,” I told The Missourian when I rushed my photo to the paper to make my first EXTRA edition.

Suddenly, I must have swallowed a marble because I couldn’t say anything, and there was a lot of dust in the air that caused my eyes to water.

I guess I DID leave a little piece of myself in that old gym.

Last Day photo gallery

Here are some random photos of folks saying goodbye to the old building. Click on any picture to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.

CHS Gym Headed for History

 

The countdown has started for the gym we old Central High School students remember. The Missourian reported that the 84-by-50-foot gym, built in 1955, will be replaced by administrative offices and other features sometime in March.

The public is invited to see the gym one last time on Saturday, January 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. I guess it won’t matter if we walk across the polished floor in our street shoes this time.

Here is a collection of stories I’ve done where the gym was featured.

Beware of Ghosts

Coach Terry Kitchen felt the presence of spirits when he was moving old trophies out of the gym. Wonder how restless they’ll be when the walls start tumbling down?

1963 Girardot Pep Rally

1963 Girardot Pep RallyKid Adam looked at this picture and commented, “Did dark socks not exist in that time frame?” The post has several random CHS photos in it. (Click on the photos to make them larger. Click on the links to go to the original story and more pictures.)

The dreaded rope climb

Central High School's phys ed rope climbI remember how much “fun” PE was. I always wondered whose job it was to inspect the “Jesus Nut” that held the rope to the ceiling.

“All you could hear was breathing”

Cape CHS Students watching JFK assasination news on TV in gym 11/22/1963Students gathered around a TV hastily pulled into the gym so they could hear details about the shooting of President John F. Kennedy. Our Age of Innocence was over, and it was only going to get worse.

Locker rooms, real and imagined

Cape CHS Girls volleyball
© Ken Steinhoff All Rights Reserved (so don’t repost it)

I envisioned my female counterparts being ushered into individual cleansing facilities where there would be soft music playing, the water would come out at the perfect temperature, towels wouldn’t be needed because each compartment would be equipped with air-drying fans and there would be a gentle spritzing of the perfume of the girl’s choice on the way out. Attendants, probably freshmen, would take care of nail and hair maintenance and see that clothing was restored with nary a muss.

Manager Terry Crass patched them up

CHS Manager Terry Crass and player c 1964Terry Crass served as manager of the football, basketball and track teams. His life after high school was impressive.

1967 Girardot Queen court

1967-01-14 Girardot Queen 12There’s no telling how many queen crownings I shot in that gym.

The September 21, 1967, Missourian listed the 1967 Girardot Queen court:  Miss Mary Hirsch, center, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Hirsch, 1855 Thilenius, was crowned Central High School Girardot Queen at ceremonies last Friday in the school gymnasium. Her attendants are, from left, Miss Holly Lueders, daughter ofMr. and Mrs. Paul Lueders, 1115 North Henderson; Miss Jane Dunklin, daughter ofMr. and Mrs. Maurice T. Dunklin, 839 Alta Vista; Miss Georganne Penzel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Penzel, 1844 Thilenius, and Miss Debby Holland, daughter of the Rev. and Mrs. W.T. Holland, 2221 Brookwood.

Gym Jim putting up decorations

Cape Central High School students decorate gym Jim StoneJim Stone and some other classmates were decorating the gym for something or other.

More decorating pictures

Decorating CHS gym mid-1960sRight after I published Jim, I discovered more pictures of the gym being transformed into something special under the watchful eye of Miss Sackman.

Secretary Helen Ketterer watching wrestling

Helen Ketterer watching wrestlingQuiet Helen Ketterer became a different person at a wrestling match.

Coach Bob Goodwin 1925-2014

Central High School pep rally c 1965Bob Goodwin taught a total of 33 years in Southeast Missouri schools, including Lilbourn, Chaffee, Cape and Jackson. He died in 2014.

1966 Prom Queen Linda Stone

Queen Linda Stone Central High School Class of 1966 Senior PromLinda Stone tells what it’s REALLY like to be a prom queen.

Syl Johnson earns his suspenders

1966 CHS Basketball Homecoming Dance 02-25-1966Principal Dallas Albers, an inveterate suspenders-wearer, noticed Sylvester Johnson admiring the pants-holder-uppers at an assembly one day, so he made a “deal” with him: if the team won the homecoming game with Sikeston, Syl wouldn’t have to worry about his pants falling down at the dance – they would be securely held up by the coveted suspenders.

Plaid shirt pep rally

Cape Central pep rally 09-09-1966I don’t know if it was coincidence or conspiracy that a sizable chunk of the males at this pep rally were sporting plaid shirts.

Student vs Faculty basketball

CHS Student-Faculty Basketball 6Math teacher Ralph Ford looks like he’s revving up for takeoff . He doesn’t seem to notice the ball is behind him.

Narrow ties and white socks era

Central High School pep rally c 1965This pep rally made me think of the TV series Friday Night Lights.

Looking for contact lens

Notre Dame HS vs Central HS basketball at Central 1-31-1967I’m pretty sure this was the first game I covered that involved a lost contact lens. Follow the link to check out the pep band in their tiger-stripe jackets.

1965 Majorettes

1965 Central High School majorettesAfter taking several outside shots, we moved the 1965 Majorettes indoors to the gym.

1970 aerial shows new gym being built

Aerial photo of Central High School on Caruthers Ave c early 1970sThis aerial view of Central High School from the early 1970s is looking from the southeast corner roughly to the northwest. Caruthers Ave. is running along the right side of the photo. The new gym is under construction and the swimming pool with its bubble hasn’t been started. The post also has more recent aerials of the school.

World’s ugliest cheerleaders

Male cheerleaders at CentralI’ve shot scads of cheerleaders at high school, college and pro games. Every organization must have used different qualifications. Some girls were picked for looks; some for popularity; other for spirit; others for athletic or dancing ability; others must have been daughters of community movers and shakers. This group must have been selected for having the hairiest legs.

I remember Anne Buchanan

Central High School Cheerleaders collect money for March of Dimes 1963One of the pictures I found of Anne Buchanan was with the other cheerleaders collecting for the March of Dimes in 1963. She’s on the right.

A tour of “Old” Central

Tour of Central High School 06-26-2010_5788This post contains a batch of photos taken when we toured “Old Central” during the 2010 reunion. Of course, we stopped in the gym.

The Truth about Locker Rooms

Books and gynm clothes 19

Since I didn’t know exactly where this photo was taken, I was going to toss it aside. Then I got a closer look and I saw what was on some of the shelves. (You can click on the photo to make it larger, but if you do, I suggested deactivating the Smell Emitting Diode on your computer first.)

Those rolled-up towels contained fermenting gym clothes. I wonder if this could have been taken near the Tiger Den on a Friday, traditionally the day when you were supposed to take your PE clothes home to be washed.

Of course, may of those rolls got stuffed into lockers and recycled again and again.That’s probably why the school got new lockers when it was converted to a junior high school.

As you may have gathered from earlier posts, I wasn’t exactly a fan of PE.

Guy shower experiences

When I saw those rolls, it brought back all kind of olfactory twitches. Now, despite teen movies, I was never privy to how girl locker rooms worked, but we guys were herded into gang showers where earsplitting hoots and hollers echoed off the tile walls like a bad prison movie. At least once during this session (which I tried to complete as quickly as possible), there would be something that sounded like a space shuttle lifting off, followed by a sulfurous cloud of methane gas that rolled off the tiles in a green cloud, prompting another Neanderthal to try to best the earlier contribution.

How I envisioned the girls’ locker room

Cape Girardeau Central High School girls in physical education uniformsI envisioned my female counterparts being ushered into individual cleansing facilities where there would be soft music playing, the water would come out at the perfect temperature, towels wouldn’t be needed because each compartment would be equipped with air-drying fans and there would be a gentle spritzing of the perfume of the girl’s choice on the way out. Attendants, probably freshmen, would take care of nail and hair maintenance and see that clothing was restored with nary a muss.

The physical education portion of the hour would last about 8 minutes, with the remainder of the time being taken up with the ablution process just described. I’m not sure if the freshmen were actually required to peel the grapes for upper classwomen or if they did it of their own volition.

That must have been the tradeoff for having to wear those ugly uniforms.

I can’t wait to hear how close my vision came to reality. Girls?