Bill Heeter, East, Class of 1973

Q&A with East alumnus Bill Heeter

Q: What is your favorite high school memory? 
A single "best" memory is hard for me to choose, but one of my favorites was a charity basketball game our Key Club organized pitting a Green Bay Packers traveling basketball team against the local Phy Ed teachers. The Packers don't allow this any more for obvious reasons but it was a "big deal" for Appleton East and the Key Club to be hosting this game back then. By the way, the teachers won! 
A second but equally fond memory was setting up a lunchtime movie program in the auditorium. The student council would select feature films to be shown (usually comedies or action adventures, in two parts) over the lunch hour on the big auditorium screen with an admission price of 25 cents. Remember, these were the days before VCRs or DVDs or cable or satellite TV, so access to these films was much more limited--and certainly not normally shown at school!  
I also remember some really good East basketball and baseball teams and games, as well as some wonderful teachers.
Q: Any teachers or coaches who deserve a special shout out?
Absolutely and without question--Barry Bauschek. He ran what was then called the IMC (Inter-Media Center --aka Library).  He was one of the few staff that talked to us students as adults, not talking down to us, and encouraged us whenever he could. He was special. I also remember Dave Hussey, Mr. Hallada, Mr. Black, and Mr. Hansel among others as being challenging yet encouraging.
Q: What was your school/career path after high school?
I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, having earned a Masters in Business Management and Marketing. I was President of the student government in Madison--a daunting task considering how liberal the campus was at that time--but it was a great lesson and prepared me for life after school. Upon graduation I went to work for General Mills in Marketing, returning a few years later to Appleton to run two companies (Artfaire Party Goods and The Paper Factory retail stores). After both were sold we eventually relocated to Colorado Springs, where my wife Kristi and I are now. I retired six years ago and Kristi did two years ago. Life is good--but our football team here is not. Go Pack!
Q: What drew you to the Simpsons and collecting art from the show? 
I have always been a fan of "smart" cartoons--i.e., those that have unpredictable visual/sight gags, plays on words, are satirical, have great voice actors, and make me laugh. I grew up a Warner Bros. cartoon fan--Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the whole gang. Limited edition cels from those cartoons are still a big part of our collection, but had pretty much given up on animation in the 70s and 80s for being "dumbed down" for kids and not very mentally stimulating. Then along came The Simpsons. At first I didn't particularly enjoy the show, but it grew on me. When I was offered the opportunity to buy cels that were actually used in the show, I jumped at it. Part of the reason I acquired so many is that each reminds me of a specific scene, joke, or character and again, they make me laugh. That is the single most important reason.  The second is that the vast majority of Warner Bros cels from the 40s-50s-early 60s were all destroyed by the studio with very few left to collect, and I was concerned the Simpsons cels might end up with the same fate. The third is that over the years many of the motion picture studios have abandoned traditional animation in favor of digital art, meaning cels are no longer used. I wanted to try to help preserve part of our cartoon history while it was still available.
Q: What's your favorite thing about Appleton today? 
Lots of places that were around from my younger days are still there! Always have to visit Manderfield's, Woodman's, Carmella's, Wil-Mar Candies, and many others, but there are also a lot of new places (especially good restaurants) that I like to check out when in town. I love what downtown Appleton has become, and although I miss Gimbels and Prange's, the various other businesses including the Trout Museum, Performing Arts Center, and Children's Museum etc. certainly have filled the void well. And how can you not love the Mile of Music?!

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