In the fall of 1989 it was announced that APHS was closing. Ed Funk and I had graduated in 1988, but like all Squires, we still felt a strong connection to the school, and felt the loss deeply.
For several years prior to the closing, Ed and I had been permitted to use the band hall for rehearsals and recording thanks to the generosity of Father Meehan and Don Richter, along with access to band hall keys since Ed's mom was the band director. We recorded on a Tascam analog 4-track cassette machine and mixed our songs in the Elfner basement.
Ed had been writing music since high school, much of which drew on personal experiences. The closing inspired him to write a song that reflected the love and good memories of APHS. He conceived of it as a conversation between two former classmates having a chance meeting just after the school closed. Ed sings one of the characters, based firmly upon himself. Steve Jones, an underclassman the year Ed and I graduated, and a fellow member of Guys and Gals, was recruited to sing the second character in the song, which was meant to reflect just about anyone from our class who we may not have known that well, but had a similar experience as Ed and I.
Ed packed so much lyrically into this song that was distinctly APHS. Listen for references to many Squires, the shot to win State in 1990, references to teachers, and even a reference to the Squires varsity jacket or sport coats. The melodies and feel of the song are somehow strongly evocative of the memories I have from APHS, and the emotions that attached to the closing. The burst of pride at the end of the song is also so close emotionally to the way I remember the school with fondness.
If you are not from this era of Pennings, you may not recognize all of the names, but I think you'll feel the energy of the school coming through.
Jon Elfner, APHS '88
The words are below. The song should be playing by now, but if not, click here to download.
Ed: Well what a surprise that we should meet here, I'm only in town for the day.
Steve: I guess graduation was the last that I saw you, I spent both my summers away. So how are things going, who have you seen lately, and how are our old friends and foes.
Ed: Well I guess you could say that not much has been the same, since spring '88 I suppose, but who knows.
Ed: I ran into Freddy at Krohls on the west side, he finally broke up with that girl from Southwest.
Steve: Maybe he finally came 'round to realizing, what we always knew, that the Academy was the best.
Steve: Now you're in Chicago, man things must be crazy. What are you studying there?
Ed: Well music's my major, what good is it to me, but you know I'll survive if I care.
Steve: I'm still friends with Gene and last week we went golfing, he mentioned he saw you somewhere.
Ed: Yeah, I was out Tuesday with Elf and Kurt Wieting, we all had time off and we needed to catch some fresh air.
Ed: Do you remember old Woodsie and Albers, they're both getting married only 20 years old.
Steve: I talked to Don Richter, he said you should call him. I'm sure he's really busy preparing to start a new fall.
Ed: Well you probably heard but the school closed down last spring, it hit me hard to hear the news.
Steve: I heard that your mom and Doc Coyle won't be teaching. You know they're a tough pair to lose. I hear Mr. O will be moving to Wausau, and they haven't filled his spot yet.
Ed: Well I'm sure the new school will be great in its own way, but we'll all be Squires forever, may we never forget.
Ed: The girls they all loved us when we were the champions, of basketball, golf, tennis and soccer at state.
Steve: You bet I was there when Joe buried the big shot, we went out as winners and not once hung our heads.
Ed: Yeah we were small, but you know that never stopped us, we carried respect on the back of our coats.
Steve: You know I never said this but the place made me us proud, I felt so alive as I watched from the crowd.
Ed: And there were people, like Betty and Bauknecht, Pigeon, LaViolette, La, Mary Jane and Kay.
Steve: And the best man I've know our beloved old dear Padre,
Steve & Ed: Who held up the place that brought us face to face with ourselves.
Steve: Well drop me a line if you're still into writing. I really I must be on my way. You better be there at our first class reunion. You know we'll have so much to say.
Ed: Take care of yourself and take care of your memories, cause the good ones are so hard to find. And all they are now are pictures in a yearbook and visions in a few hundred minds.
Words and Music by Ed Funk, APHS '88
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