(NOTE: This post was updated to correct the location of the classroom.)
Milwaukeeans of a certain age likely remember Ward Chase, a local television and radio personality that is best remembered for his late 1950s/early 1960s role as Mac the Mailman on WITI-TV’s live show of the same name on which he would read letters, celebrate viewer birthdays, show movies, etc.
Born in Chicago in 1926, Ward Chase Rosenberg launched his broadcast career on the radio in Green Bay in 1949, moving to Milwaukee in 1956 to work at WOKY.
He was also host of the “Scrappy” cartoons – paired with a Western film, on Saturday afternoons on WXIX – a newscaster, host of classical and jazz radio shows and more.
Later, he became a teacher at Spencerian College, earned as Master’s in education at UWM and joined the staff at MATC, from which he retired in 1991 after 20 years of teaching English, speech and broadcasting. He died five years later.
But, I digress, because this post is about his wife, Kathleen Andreski (later Burnette and then Retzlaff). Not as widely known to the public, Andreski served Milwaukee's children as a teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools.
Andreski graduated from St. Mary’s Academy and by the mid-1960s, was teaching sixth grade at Clarke Street School, 2816 W. Clarke St. Later, it appears she was a teacher at Irving Elementary (now home to Milwaukee Sign Language), 7900 W. Acacia.
Thankfully, she saved a lot from her teaching days, as these treasures found at a clean-out sale in Bayside this week will attest.
Adam Levin, who manages the Old Milwaukee and Kodachrome Milwaukee on Facebook – and is working on a book of Kodachrome images of Milwaukee for The History Press – found the bulk of the photos here, which were transferred from slides obtained at the sale.
Other items were purchased at the sale by Charlotte Haase Dey, who shared some of them on Old Milwaukee.
“I grabbed a bag filled with these Mac the Mailman buttons, not knowing what they were, as well as a giant box of vintage greeting cards circa 1969-1973, which are items I sell on Ebay," she posted.
"I have already sorted through the cards and uncovered a beautiful love story between ‘Mac’ and his wife.”
She also purchased portraits of Andreski the teacher, posed group class photos and notes written to Andreski by her students.
Together, these objects give us a glimpse of Andreski and her famous husband, but more exciting, they give us a glimpse into Andreski’s beautiful Irving classroom (Room 203) circa 1973-74. (The smiles on the kids' faces are a testament to Andreski's classroom culture.)
Here are some of the photos Levin obtained and shared with me.
Maybe it’s because the kids in the photos aren’t much older than I am, maybe it’s because Andreski’s classroom reminds me of the classrooms I sat in, 900 miles away, around the same time, but I just love these images.
Vintage television fans can see Mac in action in this video, produced by Kathleen.
Bookworm (and kids on a ladder!)
Math with Freddy Fraction
Girls / Trophy winners
Out in the hall
Boys / Trophy winners
Talking with teacher
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.