Back when I was a cover boy

Come downstairs to a modern new world of J-school.

Come downstairs to a modern new world of J-school.

In my day, the SUNY Morrisville journalism classes were spread through many different campus buildings. Charlton Hall. The Library. Lab-Class. The Little Theatre in the Student Activity Center, even, with those fold-over mini-desks in the very spot where the Friars put on their most excellent drama productions. No wonder I still get hit with that decades-old nightmare. It’s the morning of finals, I don’t know what building to go to …

Of course, I graduated with my associate’s degree from this little upstate New York campus in 1977. Way back. Throwback.

I visited Morrisville on Monday in chase of a good story for this week’s Throwback Thursday. And I scored, big time. Wait until you see what I’ve come up with in the Wayback Machine this time.

My friend Brian McDowell, journalism department chair, invited me down to Hamilton Hall for a quick tour of what he’s got going on these days. I found a bonus story in the now and then.

In the olden days, the basement of this old gymnasium building used to be the campus store.

I used to bring my own albums to play on my DJ shift, definitely not Rockin' the Hits like the station proclaims today.

I used to bring my own albums to play my favorites on my DJ shift, definitely not Rockin’ the Mix like the station proclaims today.

Now all the journalism classes are down there. The Chimes newspaper office and WCVM radio station, too.

The newspaper office was filled with bulletin boards, white boards, really, which the students were starting to fill with names and numbers and messages. It’s getting to the time of year when one editorial staff hands the torch to the next year’s chosen. It looked like it’s still an emotional passage for these students. No typewriters to clack away the tears and fears, though.

The radio station had a modern studio booth.

It looked way different than the spot where I used to sit for my shifts, in front of a big, old board held together with solder and love by technician George Cisler from Canastota, with two turntables to the side, cart machines up above, and big, old headphones plugged in.

I told Brian how I used to have what I considered a prime shift, Sunday nights from 6 to 8 p.m. Every Sunday, a movie would be shown on a pulled down screen in the old gymnasium in Hamilton Hall. They’d play WCVM over the PA for the hour that students would file into the gym to find seats. Morrisville was a big commuter campus, so plenty of people would time their return to campus for a bit of schmoozing and the movie in Hamilton Hall. My friends Twenty and Shultsie would save me a seat, along with Justin and Michelle, and I’d race from my radio shift providing their soundtrack to watch the movie with them.

Brian thinks I should write a story about it for the Chimes.

Consider this a teaser.

On my chase for Thursday’s story, I happened upon the Arcadian from my senior year. Oh, I own it, somewhere in my possessions here in our Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood, but I haven’t pulled it out in awhile.

So here’s a special Throwback Tuesday, fresh from the 1977 Arcadian.

Our yearbook my final year at Morrisville came in three magazine installments. Here's the last one.

Our yearbook my final year at Morrisville came in three magazine installments. Here’s the last one.

Take a good look at the Arcadian cover above. Stare at the guy below the masthead, the one in the winter hat, nice-looking mustache. Yes, that is I, waiting for the crowd to be let into Hamilton Hall to see Southern rock band The Outlaws perform. My girlfriend that college year, Diane, is in front of me.

My friend Milt “Murph” Clayton climbed to the floors above the entrance to take this cool shot.

The yearbook staff caught me for the quote-on-campus feature.

The yearbook staff caught me for the quote-on-campus feature.

The yearbook staffers who put together the first of the three magazines, for fall 1976, were asking students the same question around campus. I do believe they caught me outside Helyar-Stewart Dining Hall.

I know I liked the unlimited food plan right from the start, that’s for sure. Check out those jowls.

I actually owned this jacket, shirt and tie.

I actually owned this jacket, shirt and tie.

This is my graduation photo from Morrisville Agricultural and Technical College, the little two-year SUNY school that could.

Armed with my associate’s degree in journalism, I stepped into the world in May 1977 … worked my butt off all summer to save as much money as I could, and started as a junior at the University of Maryland in College Park that August.

Do you still have yearbook pictures of yourself? Do you like them or hate them? Do you have fond school memories or bad school memories? Do you ever go back to visit?

73 thoughts on “Back when I was a cover boy

  1. What a fun school discovery. Thanks for sharing your memories, Mark. I have been back to visit Onondaga Community College where I got my A.A.S. in Radio-TV and to Syracuse University where I got my B.S. (how appropriate) in Journalism. I did return to visit some teachers at my high school but that was many moons ago.

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    • I do think I am due for a trip back to College Park, but I highly doubt that any teacher would remember me there. Big school, and I spent so much of my attention focusing on my work for the campus daily.

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  2. Lovin’ the stash, Mark! You really do a great job of taking us somewhere. I felt right at home on campus. I have tons of pictures from much of those days. I had huge 80s hair bangs and long curly red hair. I was hard to miss. I love going back to my old KSU campus. Walking the sidewalks and remembering who I may have dated where we went on a Friday night. I love looking back. This inspired some poetry. Thank you!

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  3. I love this little journey back in time. Thanks for sharing this story with us. You still are a cover guy.

    (You look the same!)

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  4. Aw, I knew which one was you, too! You already know this is right up my yearbook alley. I love all these pics! Even the jacket. That’s a lot of people with straight hair. You know how the news shows yearbook pictures of murderers and you say, “Yeah, I could tell just by looking at him then.” Well, you’re the opposite of that.

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    • I knew you would like all of the yearbook photos, Kerbey. I couldn’t help that the jacket styles were so awful in 1977 … well, maybe I didn’t have to have to go plaid.

      And thank you for the wonderful compliment. I carried the anti-slayer look even in college!

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  5. How the years have flown Mark. And you are still a babe. Take that as you will, but remember I’m a great-grandma. I still have some of my old photos, but can’t remember most of the people in them. And no, I don’t have my yearbooks. They were lost in one of my many moves several years ago, but I have never really missed them, because most of my friends have moved on to the happy hunting grounds. Cancer just doesn’t discriminate in this area, and in some cases, neither did AIDS. Or Viet Nam. One was killed on 9/11 at the Pentagon. He had been my prom date way back when. But life goes on, and on, and on for some of us. And I’ll WALK into 2020 with head held high.

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  6. Are you in the “white” hat under the third A? In answer to your questions, yes, I have my old yearbooks & photos; No, I don’t like to revisit them; though I have to say I LOVED revisiting YOURS! This was an awesome post, even though it did make me feel old. 😉

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  7. Mark, I love your history, and your present. I don’t have any year book pictures or high school pictures of me. I have great memories of high school. But I never go back. It seems to be a theme in my life. I just don’t. If I thought long and hard about it I might be able to come up with a reason or understanding.

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  8. this is a fabulous flashback, mark. i love the pic from above and your quote and that you went back. so cool and you must have had a ball, back then, as well as on this revisit. great post )

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  9. My favorite parts of this post were the two pictures of you, individually. I liked what appeared to be a younger picture (sans mustache) and the other one, where you look ready to graduate in your fine suit, tie and slightly long hair parted down the middle. My brothers owned suits like this one, usually worn with a different patterned pants, too! I like the picture taken from up high by “Murph,” Mark! You look handsome with your girlfriend looking pretty in front of you! I was the Index Editor for our Senior year in High School yearbook. I had to identify as many people in all the photos I found, along with place them on pages, allowing others to decide what to say. I had to put at the end of the book, all activities engaged by said students… It was fun, believe it or not, to have people stop by and sit around the ‘mess’ my parents allowed to be on our big dining room table. We ate in the family room on a smaller table for dinners. This brought back a slew of memories for me, thanks, Mark!!

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    • That must have been a fun job, Robin. You were in charge of future memories! Thank you for your kind praises on my past appearances. Oh, that jacket. It was the style then. Where were we thinking?!

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  10. Isn’t it funny looking back – seeing ourselves as we were when starting out. I would love to be able to go back in time – worry less and change some of my not so great choices.
    I’ve been back to my Uni once and it now seems a lifetime ago.

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  11. Fun stuff. Will be getting back to Moo’ville more regularly when the Mustangs enter the Empire 8 for football in 2015…and playing my Alfred Saxons every year. Glad to see Shults is reading your stuff, too…you guys were a big part of the top notch crew of CHIMES sports reporters in 1975-76, back when Moo’ville didn’t have football.

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    • You were my second sports editor, I believe, Mr. Snyder. For some reason, the name Mike Cannon comes to mind as the second-year who gave this shaky-kneed freshman his first assignment back in the fall of 1975. Am I right, Dave?

      It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 40 years since you entered Morrisville, 39 years for me, Shults and Greg Ten Eyck.

      I hope you are doing well in Alfred. Thank you for reading my stuff here, old friend.

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  12. Quite a change in hairstyle from the Melville days. Maybe you should post your Melville yearbook pic net to your Morrisville pic so people can see what 2 years of partying does. :>)

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  13. In the group shot, ya kinda had that Cat Stevens thing working…. 😉
    Ah those were the days my friend; we thought they’d never end….

    I have lost all my photos. They are distributed among four ex-wives. Probably all have been barbecue’d by now. Alas, I miss them.
    (The photos, not the exes)

    Wonderful post Mark
    Cheers,
    Lance

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  14. Like K I could tell right away which one was you. A great piece Mark. Looking forward to more on Thurs. And I love the quote BTW. College was a little too much fun at times, I agree. But overall very fond memories. I’ve been back once since graduating but am looking forward to returning with the family sometime soon I hope. So you still have DJ connections on the east coast? Would you mind pulling some strings to get my daughter’s new release some air play on that side of the states? http://squareonenotes.com/2014/04/28/strawberry-thats-my-jam/

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      • Mark: You took me back this a.m. I am a regular reader of your column as I manage a Sales Division for JD Young Company in Tulsa, Ok. I get to see through you, the streets of Syracuse where my brother went to school. Is the Fort still there? Had some good times there as well. Some I remember, some I don’t. On a side note, I am not a big fan of the Cheesecake factory here either….

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      • My dear friend Shultsie, I am so glad you are reading along with me as I chronicle my now and my then. I didn’t realize your brother went to SU! Not from from Scotia in the grand scheme. Yes, the Fort still stands proudly. Make sure you look for my Throwback Thursday this week, my fellow Rowdy.

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