The famous 1969 Yearbook “Pets” Picture

On the 1969 Yearbook page (click here) you will find my review of this project, the brain child of Bill Dobbs, Andrea Halasz, Max Ember and Carole Goldstein, as a truly amazing graphic arts achievement … that holds up today nearly 50 years later. Unlike a traditional yearbook, it is a boxed set with 4 separate theme booklets. It is in the blue booklet, page one, you will find the iconic “Pets” photograph taken by a now world famous photographer, Gabriel Cooney. This photo has several interesting stories, some that involve me personally, which I will share here.

How the photo came to be is interesting in of itself. Heinz was under pressure to grown the student population to offset rising expenses (more on that in both Goeld and Chartock books), and so he wanted to create a professional looking brochure (click here). A very young Gab Cooney was living in Pittsfield and doing mostly portrait photography, and was asked to come to the school to capture photos of day-to-day life. I recall my friend Branch telling me at lunch one day in late spring 1968 that a “pets” photo was to occur after lunch and could I help her find Farful. I ran down to the West Dorm, Garage and Boys House … no luck, and returned to the Main House nearly missing the shoot, which is why I am at the back with Jean, Gary and the horses. The staging of this photo was a feat of patience, with cats and dogs trying to bolt, terrified by the huge horses brought in from Kimble Stables. The only animal not going nuts was Brad Gross’s turtle. Gab came with both 35mm and 2 x 2 cameras, standing on the stone wall to get the shots – going through several rolls of film (I have seen most of them … they are hilarious).

My favorite part of the picture (besides Branch) is Maurice holding an empty collar. He had two red Irish Setters, and I believe it was Molly that got away, but not too far … Gab gets a photo of her looking out the Main House window near the back door that is found on the next to last page of the green booklet.

There also the dog Farful being held by Branch lower right. This is a tale of how he came to be the “Windsor dog,” … may his legend live on … I would add that this is the only picture I know of Farful during this period, but if there others please share (there is also a great photo several years later of Farful from 1973 by Robert Wilcox). In the spring of 1968 I had persuaded Branch to walk with me to Stockbridge Bowl on Hawthorne Street. She must have picked up that I would be interested in being more than friends, as on the way back she went to great lengths to explain the definition of a platonic relationship. We passed a field and some woods … out from the wood came a dog without a collar who followed us back to school (note, I was to learn the Lenox Animal Control kept strays near this woods). While I tried to tell the dog to go home, he was determined to get in the West Dorm and track me down to my room. Because the dog trembled with all the affection he was attracting, someone named him “Frantic,” which happily didn’t stick, and the name Farful was adopted, but not sure who gets the credit. Farful’s survival goes to dorm parents Bill and Celeste Kadel who agreed to let him stay even though they already had a German Shepard. Over the years Farful served as a faithful mascot, and there are many other tales about him which you may share if you wish … especially if you know what became of him.

As I said before, the photo represents several events that would affect my future in serendipitous ways. When I graduated from Windsor in 1970 I moved back to Boston and went on to become a commercial printer (a trade Greg Brown and I share, including owning our own printing companies). After a few years I followed a girl friend to Northampton MA continuing in the trade, and later settled in Hatfield to open a shop and have a family. In the mid 1970s to early 80s I worked for Jim Cooney of the Phoenix Press in nearby Whately. Over a dinner conversation one night, Gab, his son and I discussed Windsor and the infamous photo. The girlfriend graduated UMass, went back to Boston to work for child services, sending numerous teens to Windsor. Several girl friends later I met my wife who had grown up near the Berkshires, and worked for her aunt who was a part owner of Kimble Stables in Lenox during the mid 1960s through 1970s … she knew the Whiteheads and numerous other Windsor people. She and her older sister would visit WMS on occasion, and I recall going to the stable with Gary R on occasion, yet during my Windsor years, we never met until 1988.

Christopher Smith 67-70