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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.

Hey, What’s that Sound?

Mary Welch Steinhoff w Ken Steinhoff 1949

Mary Welch Steinhoff w Ken Steinhoff 1949

Missouri is thinking about becoming winter. Every day when I look out the kitchen window, a few more maple leaves are turning yellow. I had to take a rake to the driveway a couple afternoons ago. I’m a rake kind of guy. I never liked the noise and hubbub of power leaf blowers.

Maybe it’s because I never got good at using one. Mother, on the other hand, could keep a wave of leaves rolling down the hill like she just dared them to slow down.

Furnace one day; AC the next

Mary Steinhoff and LV Steinhoff w Roy E Welch in background - Rolla MO 1942

Mary Steinhoff and LV Steinhoff w Roy E Welch in background – Rolla MO 1942

It got down into the 50s the other night. Cool enough that the hall thermostat read 61 degrees. I threw three rice bags that Wife Lila had made for me into the microwave, then put one at my feet, one at my knees and one at my chest to make the bed toasty. The next morning, though, I gave in and set the furnace at 66 to take the chill out of the air.

Being Missouri, though, the temperature cracked 80 two days later, and I had to switch from furnace to AC to keep the house below 77 degrees.

I had gotten used to the silence

Mary Welch Steinhoff

Mary Welch Steinhoff around age 3

All of these seasonal changes mean it is what used to be Mother’s Birthday season. This is the second one without her. I had just gotten used to the silent house.

Mostly silent


There are some odd creaks and groans: some of it comes from me when I crawl out of bed in the morning. Some of are familiar sounds like the board in the hallway floor I used to try to step around when I was sneaking in late. It still squeals on me, even though it’s been years since I had a curfew, and there’s nobody around to scold me.

Who is in the house?

p22c-mary-lee-welch-steinhoff-kenneth-lee-steinhoffI was in the basement the other night, though, when I heard what sounded like the scraping sound the kitchen chair would make when Mother would push it back. That was followed by a couple of sharp raps like the door opening, and footsteps on the stairs.

Mother? I thought?

Wife Lila? One is 1,100 miles away, and the other is much further away than that.

Then it dawned on me

mary-welch-steinhoff-scrapbook0004Walnuts. The wind was throwing walnuts against the roof like they were golf balls.

That, or Mother wasn’t happy that I hadn’t mowed the lawn recently or chased the leaves down the hill.

What do the pictures have to do with this?

mary-welch-steinhoff-cape-rock-c-1941Absolutely nothing. I just like them.

Here are some stories about Mother.

Labor Day

Ken Steinhoff deposit slip 12-26-1963While I was going through old files at Mother’s house, I ran across this deposit slip from December 26, 1963. I thought of it with Labor Day coming up.

It tells a number of stories

  • I was paid slightly under thirty bucks a week from SKJ – Steinhoff, Kirkwood & Joiner. Dad put me to work as a laborer one summer mostly to show me why I wouldn’t want to go into the construction business. It was the only time from age 12 until I retired from The Palm Beach Post in 2008 that I wasn’t employed by a paper in some capacity or another.
  • Even then, I had two deposits for photos: $5 from The Missourian, and $1.90 from the Board of Education (I don’t have a clue where that odd amount came from).
  • Another guess is that Dad must have leaned on me to cash all my summer checks before the end of the year so he could close out his books. As a kid with few expenses, I drove the poor accountant at The Missourian crazy because I wouldn’t cash my checks for weeks. This was the last time in my life I was able to cause that problem.