old school

By kateandcarla

June 3, 2012

Category: Uncategorized


For my brother Gary and me, our family’s Memorial Day retreat included a tour of Centerville and a trip to Bradley Hall. The old mansion, now filled with collectibles and candles and country memorabilia, was the cornerstone of Centerville Community College during the ’60s and ’70s. Both Gary and I attended classes there, six years apart, working/earning our way to and through our Associates degrees and infinitely grateful for the affordable opportunity.

He later would be invited to deliver comments for a commencement ceremony. I would not. The latter might have had something to do with (a) the fact that I was not the early business success he was or (b) the fact that I scandalized the august setting by marrying the American Literature instructor/track coach they imported from Texas in 1969. Yes, the one with the hippie hair, bell bottoms and Jesus sandals. Who knows?  😉

But this trip to Bradley Hall gave me some info I didn’t know before. That it was featured in the 1921 issue of Country Homes magazine. That it supposedly was visited by Al Capone and his top machine-gunner Fred Burke during the ’30s when they were in the market for more bootleggers.

As Gary and I stood inside the main entry–envisioning Dean Lyle Hellyer’s old office to the left and Mrs. Miskimmins’ library domain to the right–he recalled being there when Carol Matkovich Wardlow tearfully announced that Kennedy had been shot. I remembered working summers there with Jacki Wilmot Stewart, counting the days until the hunky football guys from New Jersey to Idaho walked through the front doors. I have especially fond memories of one from St. Louis, who, I’ve learned via email, went on to coach a Missouri high school team for nearly three decades.
Echoes of my time there followed me the rest of the day. The cackling criticism of C. Edward Craver as he handed back English compositions. The casual tones of football coach Mark Hopkins as he pretended to teach Psychology 101. Of pulling transcripts for past students moving on to major colleges. And yes, of the sweet-talking, poetry-quoting Texan who brought me here to Denver.
We were so young.

6 Responses to “old school”

  1. I remember Bradley Hall for some of the same reasons, Carla. Every time I visit, I recall having English on the top floor. Can’t remember the instructor’s name, as she definitely like the male students much better than the female students. I worked for CCC also, but for Jerry Kauzlarich and others in the Engineering Technical building. It’s been so long ago that I can’t remember the correct name.

  2. Oh, Dottie – Jerry Kauzlarich screamed at me for using white out on a document while the sheet was still in a new IBM typewriter. I was sure he was out of sight…and kept on doing the same thing. He clearly never tried to reinsert a letter and get an exact strike. 😉

  3. Dottie…was it Miss Jones?

  4. Probably was Miss Jones…sounds right. I just remember that she loved the male students. I think she was starved for male attention. I think Jacki and I had a class together there.

  5. I love Bradley Hall…the beautiful woodwork and stained glass windows. just imagining the life style of the owners back in the day is mind-boggling! i just love the history of old places like that. I didn’t go to CCC back then but my brother and Marvin have several memories,,,,glad you and your brother got to share that experience. Seems like yesterday…seems like forever.

    • Barb – Even before it was restored, there were elements that gave those glimpses…the formal dining room had this lovely fabric wall covering, as I remember..and there were four marble fireplaces, at least… (I would have been happy to have had the carriage house!)…and there are all these little hideaways and pass-throughs for the butlers and maids. Fun seeing it, again.

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