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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast



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I do school talks all the time, but this one was a special for me.

I was the Brown Bag Lunch speaker at Wilson Elementary School in Wauwatosa. They bring in speakers from time to time (usually a student's mom or dad) to talk about their careers. It is where I attended K-6, except for the last few months of 6th grade when we moved across town. I finished my grade school career at McKinley.

I know I'll always remember the day Paul Joseph came from the "Wisconsin Weather Team" to give a talk at Wilson. That was big time.

The students were fantastic, as they always are in Wauwatosa. Good listeners filled with great questions. Principal Jenny Keats also made good on my one request... a chocolate milk. You bet.

For the following lines, please imagine me delivering them in my best "Grumpy Old Man" voice:

In my day, we had to take turns using the computer in the library. It was the only one in the whole darn school, an Apple II plus, and we liked it! Now they got computers in every classroom!

These kids walked up with the "hot lunch" and it looked like they'd just been to the deli. They get 4 choices of main entre. Choices? In my day you had a choice too. Eat what we gave you in that foil-formed package, or don't. So we ate our mock chicken leg and wax beans... and we liked it!

Now they've got dry-erase boards, and smart-boards. In my day we had chalk boards. You choked on chalk dust all day, and suffered through the occasional screech when someone gripped the chalk too tightly. Several students on chalkboard duty would take a metal bucket down to the janitor's closet, fill it up with water, and then use a dirty old sponge to clean off that dirty old chalkboard. That's how we learned, and we liked it!

I do believe it was an uphill walk... at least on the way home. And everybody walked, even my buddies from Ravenswood.

Okay, old man voice over. Now insert nostolgic guy reflecting on a strange moment. On my way out I walked over to a window on the third floor. I used to love looking out this east facing window, because you could see the downtown skyline. I was excited to see how it looked now, with new buildings and development.

I approached the window. I scanned the landscape. They skyline was gone, or at least I couldn't see it.

It's strange, isn't it? Going back to places from childhood. Since we were smaller then, everything else looks smaller now. Everything, that is, except the trees. Like me, they too had a quarter century of growth, and they now obscured that once really cool sight. 

I hadn't felt old until that moment. Still glad I went. Thank you Wilson Wildcats.








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