Librarians Vogelsang and Wilkening

Cape Central High librarians Mildred Vogelsang, left, and Bonnie Wilkening work on a stack of Plato’s The Republic.

In case you’ve forgotten, The Republic is a Socratic dialogue written around 380 BC concerning the definition of justice and the order and character of the just city-state and the just man. I’d like to tell you that I knew that off the top of my head, but that’s why Al Gore invented the Internet. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)

Who will take the pictures?

Both women signed my 1965 Girardot yearbook. I got a “Best Wishes” from Mrs. Wilkening, but Miss Vogelsang penned, “I shall miss you, Kenny. Who will take the pictures?”

The short answer to that question was the young whippersnapper who followed me: Richard Neal, Tom Hopen, Skip Stiver and Steve Trickey, but I thank her for asking.

A Google search for information about Bonnie Wilkening came up pretty dry. There was a Missourian Sept. 29, 1999, feature, a collection of “You’re from Swampeast Missouri if…” contest entries that included a Bonnie Wilkening contribution, “You update your white styrofoam dice hanging on the rear view mirror of your car to fluorescent orange.” I don’t know if it’s the same person.

Miss Vogelsang died in 1997

The Missourian’s Oct. 31, 1997, obit reported that Mildred Wilhemina Vogelsang, 87, a former teacher, librarian and historian, died Wednesday, Oct. 29, 1997, at Cape Girardeau Residential Care Center. She was born Feb. 7, 1910, in Cape Girardeau, daughter of Henry H. and Hermena Christine Geldmacher Vogelsang.

Vogelsang [This is a departure from the obituary style we followed in my day. We would have used Miss Vogelsang.] was a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, and received a master’s degree in library science from Vanderbilt University in 1946. She was a teacher in Cape Girardeau Public Schools from 1934-43, then was librarian at Central High School until 1972.

In 1953 she served as president of School Librarians of Southeast Missouri District when it was first organized. She worked on the curriculum committee in the State Department of Education to prepare a Guide for School Libraries. She served as the president of the Missouri Library Association in 1967.  Vogelsang served three terms as trustee of Cape Girardeau Public Library, had been librarian with Historical Association of Greater Cape Girardeau, and was an historian of Old Lorimier Cemetery. She was a member of St. Andrew Lutheran Church.

Survivors include a nephew, James Vogelsang of Cape Girardeau; and a niece, Jane Schueltz of Toledo, Ohio.

Other stories about Miss Vogelsang and libraries

The photo above was taken in Central Junior High School (our old Central)


Languages and Art

I shot the Language Department for the 1965 Girardot. The teachers are Dan Moore, Spanish; Charlotte Malahy, Latin; Susan May and Mary Sivia, French. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

With the demographic shifts we’re seeing, it’s interesting that Central had two French teachers, but only one Spanish teacher. I guess French might have helped me communicate with the Haitian Creole speakers who have migrated to Florida and some of the Louisiana backwoods Cajuns I ran across covering hurricanes, but parts of South Florida speak more Spanish than English.

Other language stories

Senior Moore and Spanish class

Miss Krueger’s retirement party and other CHS teachers who were there when Dad was in school.

Edna Glenn, Art instructor

I managed to dodge art class until I got to Ohio University. All photo majors had to take Art 101. Here’s an account of the experience.

I knew I was in trouble from the first day when the instructor said we were to fill a sketchbook with renderings of common objects we encountered  every day.

The first problem was that we weren’t on the same page when it came to defining “rendering.” He was thinking, “picture: show in, or as in, a picture; “This scene depicts country life”; ‘the face of the child is rendered with much tenderness in this painting’.”

My work came closer to “melt (fat or lard) in order to separate out impurities; ‘render the yak butter’; ‘render fat in a casserole.’”

There WERE some Central High School students who did Mrs. Glenn proud.

’64-65 Guidance Counselors

This is the official photograph of the guidance counselors that ran in the 1965 Girardot. It was hardly comforting that the most prominent poster on display was explaining “Military Service and You.”

The yearbook photo caption said “Especially with the increasing number of students in each of Central’s classes, it is necessary to have a Guidance Department to aid in the counseling, testing, scheduling and orientation. The counselors advise students on which college to attend, which occupations to follow, and which classes should be taken in high school.”

Norman Schwab, left, was the Senior Counselor; Grace Miller, center, guided the sophomores, and Thomas Cushman worked with the juniors. Click on the photos to make them larger.

Counselors encouraged student ambitions

After shooting their formal portrait, I took opportunity to share with them my career plans. I told them I had picked Bill Hopkins to manage my run for Student Body President. With that experience on my resume, I planned to go to law school, then get involved in some local political races until I was positioned to run for President of the United States in 1984, the first year I would be constitutionally qualified to serve.

You can tell that they were confident that I could accomplish all my goals.

Miss Ketterer and Mrs. Moore

One of the most valuable lessons I learned at Central High School was that it’s a good idea to be on the good side of the administrative staff. Those are the folks who have custody of your permanent record.

I’ve already run pictures of a wild side of Miss Helen Ketterer that most of us didn’t know existed.

Mrs Helen Moore retired in 1984

I didn’t have as many dealings with Mrs. Helen Moore. I searched the Google News Archives and found a few stories about her.

 June 2, 1982 – She and other administrative, cafeteria and maintenance employees with more than 20 years of service honored. Mrs. Moore had served 24 years at that time.

June 13, 1984 – A story noted that Mrs. Moore, who was retiring, was recognized by the Mis-Sco-Deau Association of Educational Office Personnel.

April 17, 1985 – Two photos titled “Leisurely luncheon” and “Together again. One caption said, “A leisurely luncheon at Holiday Inn is a far cry from pulling lunchroom duty at the schools, as a number of career teachers who have retired from Central High School will tell you. Go here to see photos of Mary Carter, Mary Evelyn Lane, Betty Folsom, Cornelia Gockel, Mary O. Damitz, Vivian Kies, Lucille Adams, Alene Sadler, Norma Sander and Inez Smith in one shot.

Grace Williams, Alta Muegge, Dorothy Quarles Garner, Irene Wright, Carrie Finley Bolen, Katheryn Wulfers, Helen Moore, Ellen Towse, Laura Rixman and Martha Welman Dahringer are in the second. It’s amazing how much the women look the same as they did in the mid-60s (except more relaxed).

Administrative staffs get it done

I put my Central experiences to good use when I became a telecommunication manager. I bought the staff an espresso machine that was complicated enough to operate that it came with a training video. Terry was the designated operator who took his assignment serious enough that he’d pull out a thermometer to make sure everything was at the right temperature and he’d pre-chill the pitcher the milk was in.

A couple of times a week, we’d invite two or three folks from other departments to come up for coffee and gossip at the end of the day. Sometimes the group would include a department head or manager, but mostly it was admin assistants, office managers and supervisors.

To be invited was kind of special because you had to have an electronic swipe card to get into the telephone switch room, then you went through another set of doors to our combination storage room / break area. Only a handful of people in the company had access to it, so it was like being in the inner sanctum. We might have a call center supervisor from circulation, a guy from the AC/Electric department and someone from the newsroom, plus my staff. We’d trade office gossip and talk about stuff that was coming up. A lot of problems got solved and others headed off in those informal groupings.

It was a great way for departments who would normally never mix to get to know each other and open up lines of communication. And, trust me, these were the folks who REALLY got the stuff done; it’s not the department heads. I can say that because I WAS a department head.

So, academics aside, I learned something from the Central High School office staff that was more important than a lot of the dull facts I memorized in the classroom.