MILNE ALUMNI REUNION, SEPTEMBER 2012
As a reminder, click here for the reunion invitation and reservation form. Click on your "back" button to return to this page.
The "Saturday Morning" and "Saturday Night" summary below is based upon a reunion review written by Mary Welch, '71, for her classmates. Thanks, Mary!
On Saturday morning Mary Welch, '71, set up two tour boards with displayed copies of the written tour and floor plans. The proposed tours with commentary are available here. Again, please use your "back" button to return to this page.
It was an overcast and windy day on Saturday, but as Mary sat on a bench in the Page Hall Courtyard, people began arriving. She estimated there were 30 people at the first tour, 50 at the second tour, and approximately 40 people at the Assembly Hall between the two tours. Mary arrived earlier and checked all the doors leading into Page Hall and several of the doors along the route. No one else was seen in the buildings at that time, although we later crossed paths with a tour from the University at Albany Class of 1952 that was having a tour and a catered lunch in the new Husted cafeteria.
We all went inside to Page Hall. We did not take photos on the steps, as the weather seemed to be getting worse by the minute. Most of the people who attended were in the class years from the 1950s and early 1960s. Alumni and their guests took photos in Page Hall and walked around and across the stage. When most of all the expected participants had arrived, Mary led them to the former Art Room, which was open; the first floor Language area; the Principal’s and Guidance Counselors' Offices at the other end of the hallway; and the former Senior Room. According to earlier graduates, the original Senior Room was in a classroom in the middle of the hallway. Perhaps the administration wanted it closer to the Principal’s office by the time later classes were there. Nearly all the other first-floor rooms were locked and closed off.
We then went up the stairs to the former Milne Library, now the Theodore H. Fossieck Milne Alumni Room, and everyone enjoyed seeing the restored murals around the upper walls of the room. Milne graduates contributed to restoring the murals, and they have now been digitized and are available on the Web here. This room is now primarily used as a meeting room.
Tour participants went to the end of the hall to where the old typewriting room was on the left side and the business machines and shorthand room were on the right. The right side is where an elevator is now located, and the other offices were locked. The language lab/small theater was locked as well. We went up the stairs to the third floor, which has been painted and cleaned since last year when Mary led a class tour through Milne. The former music room was missing, but Libby Jochnowitz, a Milne alumna and tour participant, was able to have the former Home Economics room opened for us. It is now used as a graduate study area, but it was good to go in and see the space from that direction.
We next went down to the former Social Studies and Science rooms at the other end of the hallway, and there was discussion of memorable dissecting projects in Biology classes that were once held there. We then went down the stairs to the Boys’ Locker Room, and the floor looked as terrible as it did a year ago, except that the old desktop computers had been removed. Not much remained of this area, just the doors to storage rooms that were once part of the Industrial Art Room and the project room to the side. We then took the stairway to the gym, and tour participants went down and looked through the small window into the gym. During the second tour, this door was open, and people walked around in the gym. Alumni said the gym seemed very small (or are we just bigger now!). We went up the stairs to the back of Page Hall and down the stairs to the Girls’ Locker Room. The original full-length mirror is still in the hallway, and alumni took photographs of people standing in front of it. The Girls’ Locker Room has emerald green carpeting, and the construction looks like storage rooms. We passed through the twisting area to the bottom of the stairway from the Richardson Building. The Phys Ed offices were locked, as was the small gym at the end of the hallway where there used to be seventh- and eighth-grade dances.
The cement hallway that led to the basement cafeteria was the same as before, but in Husted, the offices and the flooring were very improved. There is nice wooden flooring, and the interior was one of the best in the tour. Alumni took the elevator (where the stairs were once located) to the first floor, where we saw the new cafeteria in three connected rooms. University staff members were setting up the catered lunch for the University tour group mentioned earlier. One of the first-floor rooms had an amphitheater classroom; the other doors were locked. We walked back to Richardson through the glassed-in curved connector. Mary explained that there were offices and classrooms on the second and third floors of Richardson.
Mary suggested that alumni wait for the 11:30 Assembly Hall either in Page Hall or outside in the courtyard. Milne graduate, Libby Jochnowitz, an attorney studying for her doctorate in the Criminal Justice Program, took Mary over to see her office, and they passed through the second floor of Richardson, where there was a small theater when Mary was a student. Just the carpeted area of the stage remains as you pass right in front of it to go into Draper. It was interesting to see Draper’s hallways and offices, which look much like Milne and Richardson do now.
Mary stood in front of the stage to start the Assembly, and alumni sat in all different areas in the seats. A security person appeared, turned on the lights, and left. Mary brought a U.S. flag so that alumni could say the "Pledge of Allegiance" and sing "The Star Spangled Banner." Mary then led some Milne "cheers," but they seemed to be more from later years at Milne than for most of the people in the room. She discussed the possibility of displaying the Milne awards and trophies in the former Milne Library, the restoration to the buildings, and the damage to the gym and the catwalk, and suggested that if anyone wanted to leave money in their wills and trusts to Milne, it would be welcome. Judy (Koblintz) Madnick joined Mary at the front of the stage and explained the possibility of a fund-raising effort to digitize all the Crimson and White newspapers and the Bricks and Ivy yearbooks so they could be accessed on the Web. She also explained that she hoped there would be videotapes and photos of the reunion weekend on the Milne website, for which the University at Albany has furnished web space. We answered questions from alumni and guests and then sang the Alma Mater.
Mary led the second tour as she did for the first; however, participants in the second half of the tour were able to go into the gym. Everyone seemed to enjoy seeing all the old spaces in the buildings.
Volunteers handed out envelopes containing a Milne Alumni pen, a name tag, and a program for the evening. The room looked lovely, thanks to the Albany Marriott. On the center of the tables there were glass vases filled part way up with crystal beads. Glowing colored lights of pinks and blues were buried in the crystals. Some tables were for entire classes, with signs indicating who was to sit where, while other years were mixed, depending on the number of alumni per class. There were tables set up with fruit, cheese, and crackers, and wait-staff members circulated with hot appetizers. There were two cash bars, and in the front of the long rectangular room were a microphone and tables with Milne Alumni coffee mugs, which were used as prizes. Tables were set up around the perimeter of the room for memorabilia, and various classes brought items of particular meaning to them.
Of special interest were the former faculty members who attended: Girls' Physical Education Teacher Barbara Palma, English Supervisor Richard Lewis, Librarian Gloria Herkowitz, Coach Bob Lewis, Art Supervisor Ed Cowley, and Physics Supervisor Donald Pruden. All were welcomed as complimentary guests.
Most people wanted to talk with each other before, during, and after dinner, but before the salad, there was a gift of Milne Alumni coffee mugs, organized and produced along with the Milne pen by Mike Ungerman, Class of 1959. These went to the class with the most alumni in attendance, the class with the largest number of attendees (including guests), those who traveled the greatest distance to attend the reunion, and former faculty members. (See names in Judy's welcome below.)
Mike Ungerman, who was the audio-visual coordinator, took photographs of attendees in the hallway outside the banquet room; made video and audio recordings during the tours earlier in the day; set up the microphone for Judy to speak; and with information provided by Geoff Williams, the University Archivist, set up a running PowerPoint timeline of Milne history that will eventually be linked to the Milne Alumni website.
Here are the links to the two PowerPoint shows that were running on the TV at the banquet at our reunion. Click on the little "right arrow" to view the slide shows. To see them full screen, click on the icon in the lower right, click on the little "right arrow," and you should hear the music that went with the presentation.
Judy had a wonderful welcoming speech and gave the invocation. We all then sang the Milne Alma Mater...and dinner began. Attendees enjoyed salad; vegetarian, chicken, and salmon entree options; and a beautiful slice of chocolate cake with whipped cream, which was served with coffee and tea. The food was delicious, and the people serving and managing the room were very pleasant and efficient.
Before dessert, Mary spoke to alumni and guests...and nominated Judy (Koblintz) Madnick for a Hall of Fame Award for her work as volunteer Milne Alumni Coordinator. The room responded with applause. During this time, kazoos and a book of lyrics of the songs that were next being performed were passed out to each person. Songs were chosen from each decade: "Blue Moon," "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," "Sherry," and, finally,"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini." The Chorus members were Charles Eson, Richard Propp, Lynda Porter, Marla Lanides, Libby Jochnowitz, Barbara Matson, Peter Leue, Janet Levine, and Roxanne Reynolds Harris. They wore bikini tops as props for the last song.
The room was filled with people having a very good time. The heavy rain that came down before the reunion started, and later after it ended, did not keep many people away.
"I would like to take this opportunity to officially welcome you to what some have (sadly) described as the 35th reunion of the closing of the Milne School. Thanks to everyone for coming from far and near – and special thanks to Mike Ungerman, Class of '59, and Mary Welch, Class of '71, for their help in planning this reunion. Mike and Mary, would you please come forward?
"Mike is handling all the video presentations and photography, and Mary did a wonderful job planning and leading today's Milne tours. Please note that Mike has promised that all electronic materials will be made available through links in the Alumni newsletter following this reunion. Mike and Mary, here is a small token of appreciation.
"There's someone else I would like to thank. He's not a Milne alumnus...but he spent many hours helping me prepare for this reunion. He is my husband and a partner in the truest sense of the word, Stu Madnick. While I know that you are not a Milne alumnus, I hope you enjoy using this mug.
"Unfortunately, we have lost many alumni, and I would like for us to observe a moment of silence to reflect on the sadness that we feel to have lost these classmates and faculty members and to remind ourselves that we are fortunate to be alive, reasonably healthy, and able to appreciate that we are here to celebrate this reunion. (A moment of silence.)
"A special welcome is due to the former faculty members who are with us tonight – please come forward as I call your name: Ed Cowley, Gloria Herkowitz, Bob Lewis, Richard Lewis, Barbara Palma, and Donald Pruden.
"Special recognition is due to the following. Please come forward when I call your name:
"Alumni who are members of the earliest classes at this reunion: Sara Kessler Barr, Class of 1935, and Frank Steinhardt, Class of 1938.
"Alumni who traveled the farthest to be with us this evening: Barbara Leete Hourigan, Class of 1950, from Larkspur, CA, and Tamara Tamaroff Steinsapir, Class of 1954, from Encino, CA. (They traveled almost 3,000 miles each!)
"The Class with most classmates attending this reunion: The Class of 1972 has the largest number of alumni attending, and the Class of 1957 has the largest total including guests. Will the Milne alumni from those two classes please come forward?
"We will be posting the mug design, along with other photo links, in the next Milne Alumni newsletter, so you will be able to order your own mug or other memorabilia from VistaPrint using that design.
"Thanks to our Class Contacts for their assistance in helping to ensure their class lists are kept up-to-date and for promoting this Alumni Banquet. The Class Contacts are listed in your program and their name tags indicate that they are Class Contacts, but I will ask the Class Contacts to rise at their seats so everyone is able to see them. Thanks to all of you for your ongoing help.
"Thank you also to those who have agreed to be my 'backups.' Again, please rise when you hear your name: John Murphy, '54, Alumni Database; Janis (Paul) Jacobs, '70, Facebook; and Mike Ungerman, '59, Yahoo! Groups. Randi (Greenberg) Barrell, '73, my backup for the Milne Alumni Website, was unable to be here tonight.
"And thank you to the alumni who volunteered to help at the reception table. You saw them when you arrived, but I will ask them to rise. Dorothy Hoyle Eisenhaure, Jana Hesser, Janis Jacobs, Martha Kimball, Dede Smith Morrissey, Lynda Bearup Porter, Patricia Santen Rider, Ginny Bearup Skorupski, Joyce Johnson Snell, and Jackie Bonczyk Wilson. Thank you for helping me enjoy the cocktail hour!
"Enjoy your dinner, sharing your memories of our years at Milne and catching up with your classmates' lives. I only wish I could spend more time chatting with each and every one of you.
Invocation (Don Wilson, who planned to give the invocation, was unable to attend the reunion, so Judy provided a brief invocation as follows.)
"For what we are about to receive, let us express our appreciation
...to those who planted the crops
...to those who gathered the harvest
...to those who prepared our meal.
In sharing in this meal, let us be truly thankful
... for the good things we have
... and for this good company.
Let us hope for many other opportunities to join together, remember our alma mater, and enjoy the company of fellow alumni."
Following the invocation, the Milne Chorus was scheduled to lead us in the Alma Mater...but that was moved to after dinner.
Thank you to everyone who helped make the 2012 Milne Alumni Reunion a success...even if it was only because you attended! As Charles Bowler stated in the 1977 Bricks and Ivy, "The alumni will keep Milne alive as, really, nothing can 'close' the campus school."