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.

Wrestling and Gorgeous George

Wrestling sign - Arena Park - General Sign CoWhen I saw this sign in the treasure trove of General Sign photos Terry Hopkins‘ dad loaned me, I immediately thought of going to wrestling matches at Arena Park with Dad.

The funny thing about it was that I thought I had memories of seeing Gorgeous George wrestling there. The only problem with that is that he died in 1963 at the age of 48. His last fight in Cape was in 1955, I can’t see Dad taking me to a wresting match when I was eight.

Cape matches

A Gorgeous George fan tried to list every fight George Raymond Wagner (his real name until he changed it the day after Christmas in 1950). Here is a list of his Cape bouts:

  • May 4, 1953 – Cape Girardeau, MO Red Roberts(sub for Gorgeous George) vs. Lester Welch
  • November 26, 1954 – Cape Girardeau, MO Joe Tangero beat Gorgeous George in a 2 of 3 falls match
  • November 18, 1955 – Cape Girardeau, MO Dick Hutton beat Gorgeous George in a 2 of 3 falls match

Joined WWE Hall of Fame in 2010

The WWE website has some bio information:

Born in 1915, George Wagner grew up poor in Nebraska during the Great Depression and turned to professional wrestling as a way to earn a living. Early in his career, Wagner was a normal, clean-cut grappler like most of the competitors of the era. Due to his small stature and limited abilities in the ring, he experienced little success. Then he got an idea.

Seeing an opportunity to bring more entertainment to the world of professional wrestling, George Wagner became Gorgeous George, a snooty, platinum blonde villain who draped himself in lace and fur and entered the ring to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Accompanied by a manservant who sprayed the ring down with Chanel perfume, George would enrage the audience just by walking into an arena. When the official would attempt to check George for foreign objects, he would recoil and shout, “Get your filthy hands off of me!”

While this behavior may seem tame by today’s standards, it was unheard of in the 1940s. Needless to say, audiences ate it up and bought tickets just to hate him. At the same time, televisions were becoming a fixture of American households during the post-World War II economic boom and professional wrestling was what everyone was watching. With his over-the-top antics and self-proclaimed nicknames like “The Beautiful Bicep” and “The Sensation of the Nation,” Gorgeous George quickly became the biggest attraction on this new medium. By the end of the decade, the man who grew up poor was now the highest paid athlete in the world.

High school wrestling

Helen Ketterer watching wrestlingI covered a Central High School wrestling match where mild-mannered Miss Helen Ketterer, let her wild out. It was a side I had never seen before.

You’re going to be shopping, right?

Everybody is all agog at the idea of getting up from the turkey table on Thanksgiving to fight the crowds for bargains. If you are more inclined to relax on the holiday and do your shopping on line, keep me in mind.
Buy From Amazon.com to Support Ken SteinhoffI encourage you to shop locally, but if you order from Amazon, click on the Big Red Button at the top left of the page (or this one) to get to Amazon. I’ll make about 6% on anything you purchase, and it won’t add a penny to your cost. There’s also a tiny yellow button that will allow you to make a donation to the site. You don’t even have to put a bow on it.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving if we don’t get together before then.

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.