Who’s Who or Who’s That?

Memory is a funny thing. I looked at this Central High School auditorium assembly and immediately started assigning names to folks I hadn’t thought of in years, but then I looked at faces that were very familiar and couldn’t dredge up a name to save my soul.

I don’t know if this is a photographic Who’s Who of Central’s finest or if they cause a flicker because I’ve seen them on the wall of the Post Office. Click on the photos to make them larger.

I see, in no particular order, Shari Stiver, Claudia Modder, Chuck Dockins, Gail Tibbles, Marilyn Maevers, Craig Brinkman, Stephen Crowe, Don Call, Lee Dehringer, Yvonne Askew, Joan Amlingmeyer, Janey Crites, John David Finch, Jay Fred Waltz and David Stovall. I don’t see Pat Sommers, but he’ll be pleased to know that there is at least one student in the photo shooting me the bird. Maybe Pat sent in a substitute.

Packed hallways

Whatever was happening in the assembly must have been good. The hallways are packed with students headed to the auditorium. That looks like Randy Morse in the striped shirt on the right.

No hallway rage here

There is plenty of congestion, but nobody seems to be particularly put out at the gridlock.

Wayne Goddard has eye on Jim Feldmeier

Assistant Principal Wayne Goddard, left, has his eye on Jim Feldmeier, student body president. He’s sure Jim is cooking up something behind that cherubic expression. I don’t know who the girl next to him is, but she’s eyeing the podium with a look of fright. She and Jim appear to be the only ones clutching notes.

I can’t tell from the mix of teachers what might have been going on. I recognize art teacher Edna Glenn. Third from the right is English teacher Cecile Busch and, to the right of her is Latin teacher Susan May. I can’t place the man on the end. Principal Fred Wilferth is at the podium.

Take it from someone who has stood behind that podium, it was both a massive wooden structure and a tiny splinter that never felt big enough to hide behind when you were facing a packed auditorium of your peers.

Journalism, music, sports

The right side of the stage has an even more eclectic mix. Henry Crites, left, taught journalism; Ken Webster, physics; Gene Bryant, vocal music; Coach Robert Goodwin is staring intently at Mr. Wilferth. He’s thinking, “As soon as the principal clears the stage, I’m gonna have that scrawny photographer running around the track until his wheels fall off.” I don’t know the two on the right.



1963 Faculty Softball Game

From time to time, there’d be student vs faculty ball games, but this appears to be an all-faculty softball game on the southeast corner of the Central High School campus. The negatives were dated 1963. You can click on the pictures to make them larger.

That might be Senor Dan Moore, Spanish teacher, pitching.

Calvin Chapman is on third

Debate coach Calvin Chapman is tagging up on third. I don’t know who the other players are. It’s a real high-class game: they’re using a baseball mitt for home plate.

Coach Goodwin crosses plate

Coach Robert Goodwin crosses the “plate,” but it’s hard to tell if he beat the throw.

You can see from my shadow in the lower righthand corner that I’m trying as hard as possible to hide behind the school’s 4×5 Crown Graphic camera. Hiding from Coach Goodwin was something I practiced as often as possible. My ilk was usually beneath his notice, but when he DID notice me, nothing good happened.




Cape Central’s Dreaded Rope Climb

Let’s get one thing out of the way: I never played any team sports and, despite the fact that I’ve covered just about every big sporting event to come along, I’ve never had any interest in any them. Super Bowls, championship golf tournaments and college bowl games were just another day at the office. I’m a cyclist, but that’s pretty much a solitary sport, at least the way I do it.

PE was probably my least favorite class at Central High School. The rope climb, which was intimidating when I was a freshman, became one of my favorite challenges later on after I had spent a summer loading and unloading trucks for my dad’s construction company.  I could zip up the rope using only my upper body after that workout.

Still, every time when I got up to the top of the rope and just before I slapped the rafter holding the collar that secured the rope, I wondered how often that thing got checked.

“What’s a Jesus Nut?”

I had similar concerns when I was doing a story on the sheriff’s helicopter (that’s me dangling in the rescue sling during a practice). On the first day, I asked the standard question, “What happens if the engine quits? Do we gently auto-rotate down or do we drop like a rock.?”

“Let’s find out,” Andy, the pilot said, gaining some altitude over a rural area. He cut the engine and we gradually descended toward what looked like a smooth, green pasture. Just before we touched down he fired up the engine and did an abrupt pull-up.

It wasn’t a green pasture, it was a green, algae-covered pond. We agreed that we wouldn’t mention the experiment in my story. Andy’s dead now, so I guess the statute of limitations has expired.

After establishing that a helicopter WILL set you down relatively gently if you aren’t aiming at a farm pond, the pilot said the worst thing that could happen would be a failure of the Jesus Nut.

Seeing the expression on my face, he explained that the Jesus Nut is the thing on the very tip top of the shaft that holds the rotor on.  “If it fails, ‘JESUS!!!!’ is about all you’ll have time to say before things go REALLY bad.”

Now, I know what they should have called the thing that held the rope to the rafter.

Reversible orange and black gym uniforms

The girls had blue and / or green suits that ranged from “hideous” to almost not too bad, depending on what year you went to school.  The boys were luckier. They had basic shorts with a shirt that was orange on one side and black on the other so you could tell teams apart.

These guys look like they are formed into lines so they can duck under the divider, run across the gym, perform some act of pain and run back. I don’t see any smiles.

Coach Goodwin checks his list

Coach Robert Goodwin and I had an uneasy relationship. Well, it was uneasy from my perspective. I tried to stay as far below his radar as possible. Since I possessed no jock characteristics, he generally overlooked me.

I DID make a mistake one day. He had us running endless laps of the track. “It’s good for you. Every lap burns out the nicotine equal to a cigarette.”

I don’t know what kind of scientific study he was quoting, but I made the mistake of piping up, “I’ve got a problem, then, Coach. I don’t smoke. I’m building up a huge nicotine deficit that’s going to come back and haunt me some day.”

He was not amused. I’m not sure, but I think I’m still supposed to be running around that track.

Calisthenics: Are we having fun?

If the weather was bad or the coach’s mood was bad, it was push-up, chin-up, jumping jack, sit-up time.

When I got to SEMO, phys ed was a requirement. By the time I got all the academic classes scheduled, the only PE class open was something with a fancy name that was really nothing but calisthenics. The instructor told us on the first day that we would do a series of tests to establish our baseline and that our final grade would depend on how much better we were at the end of the semester.

My mamma didn’t raise a fool. When I took the baseline test, the coach was appalled at what lousy shape I was in. At the end of the semester, though, he was convinced that he was a great instructor because of my tremendous improvement.

The next semester, the only thing open was Beginning Wrestling. This did not sound good. The first day, two or three of us showed up; the coach said to come back for the next class to see if anyone else signed up. On the second day, he said the the group was too small, so he was going to fold us into the Advanced Wrestling class. I didn’t like the way that sounded.

I showed up for the first day of Advance Wrestling, took one look around the room and decided that I liked all of the body parts I was born with and dropped the class. That’s when I decided to transfer to Ohio University, where PE was not required.