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Cluster Pix
Written January 5, 2023

 

Our Oberlin College classes of 1967, 1968, and 1969 have been grouped together as a “cluster” for reunion purposes.  Those of us who find it convenient to return to northern Ohio will be reuniting at the end of September, celebrating approximately 55 years since our graduations.

A couple of years ago, I was assigned to administer a website where folks can virtually reunite with each other, regardless of whether they plan to attend the big event.

 
One of my first tasks was to edit the “First Time Visitors” how-to section, making it as easy as possible for our septuagenarian classmates to navigate the site.  In particular, I wanted to eliminate confusion caused by inconsistent terminology; for example, referring to the list of names as “Classmate Profiles” in one place and “Alumni Roster” in another.

Another task was to attach a Senior photo to as many names as possible.  At last count, there are 2,014 on the list (including 399 who are deceased).  I've found yearbook pictures for 1,901 of them.  Fortunately I'm retired, because wrangling all those photos was a major effort!  It took most of the winter of 2021-22.

Megafaces

The photo project first required locating the images in our various Hi-O-Hi yearbooks and converting them into individual little Jpegs.  On the occasion of our 50th reunions, this process had already been completed for most of ’68 and ’69.  However, I still had to convert the ’67 photos, including a person I've mentioned before, Fräulein Dew.

The task led me to appreciate the efforts of the volunteer Hi-O-Hi staff, seen below.  They needed to process the images of not one class, not two, not three, but four classes Piles of glossy prints from the Stofan Studio had to be sorted and re-photographed through a halftone screen so they could be printed on the pages of the latest yearbook.  I've discovered only two apparent misidentifications. 

Seniors

 

Juniors

 

Sophomores

 

Freshmen

Decades later, when computers became available, the yearbooks were scanned and posted online.  I needed to find Miss Dew's page and grab an image so I could add her picture to our website. 

..........The Search

The first place to look:  the yearbook published in the spring of 1967.  Most of the Seniors are pictured there, and Miss Dew should be alphabetized under D.

If not, maybe she failed to show up for her Senior portrait.  But she could have posed in an earlier year.  Although most shy Seniors were likewise shy Juniors, I'd check the 1966 book. 

On the other hand, Sophomores and Freshmen are more enthusiastic about their new college experience and more likely to take the trouble to visit Stofan's.  Therefore, I might have better luck in 1965 and 1964.  These earlier photos have less resolution, and they show younger students more casually dressed and posed, but they're better than nothing.  Thus I would work my way down the “Most Likely” column in the chart below. 

Yearbook

Most
Likely

Graduated
Early

Skipped
a Year

~

1967

Senior

~

Senior

~

~

1966

Junior

Senior

Junior

~

~

1965

Sophomore

Junior

~

~

~

1964

Freshman

Freshman

Sophomore

~

~

1963

~

Freshman

~

Still no Roberta Dew?  Maybe she earned her diploma in only three years, in which case previous yearbooks might have pictured her in a later class than I had assumed.  Was she already among the Juniors in the 1965 book?  Look for her using the “Graduated Early” column.

On the other hand, maybe it took her five years to get her diploma, in which case some of the yearbooks might have included her in an earlier class than I had assumed.  Was she already a first-year student in the 1963 book?  Look for her using the “Skipped a Year” column.

And if Roberta became Mrs. Conant while still a student, she might have been alphabetized under C instead of D!

After spending a couple of months going through all these possibilities, my list of classmates without faces now totaled scarcely more than a hundred.  I again compared that short list to those four classes in five different yearbooks, hoping to find a picture I missed of Roberta Dew (or Conant) or maybe Berta Dew (or Conant).  I was obsessed by the hunt.  Maybe I'd get lucky. 

The Processing

In reality, I did locate Roberta as a Senior in the 1967 book.  I downloaded an image of that page.  Now what should I do with it?

First, using photo editing software, I needed to crop out Roberta's particular picture.  But many of the photos appear overexposed by varying degrees (weak blacks, washed out facial details) and a few appear underexposed (muddy blacks).  Roberta's happened to be just right, but I needed to adjust the tones of others.

Then I reduced each photo to a standard size.  I seem to get acceptable results with 150 pixels wide by 190 tall, sharpened by three pixels.  I saved the photo in a folder on my computer.

Finally I went to my Cluster Reunion website.

I found Roberta's name among the Classmate Profiles.

And I clicked a few buttons to upload ... ROBERTA'S YEARBOOK PICTURE, for all the cluster to see!

 

TBT

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