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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.


Bill Adams’ American Flag

I overshot my street this morning and ended up going down Anna Street. About a third of the way down the hill, my eye was drawn to what I thought was a huge plastic flag hanging in front of 1733 Anna. I was almost halfway to the next house when I saw that it wasn’t plastic, it was an American Flag made out of red, white and blue license tags. I hit the brakes and the go-back lever so fast I may have left black marks. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)

Bill Adams and his wife were walking out to the car with keys in hand, but Bill was kind enough to chat with me. His wife must have known what a talker he is when he encounters another talker, so she went back inside the house where it was cool.

Found license plates on eBay

Bill, who said he isn’t really a license plate collector, started acquiring his tags on eBay around November 2010, and snagged his last plate toward the end of January of this year.

The cheapest tags were about a buck each; the most expensive was $55. “I could have gotten them cheaper if I had waited around, but I wanted to get the project done,” he said. Overall, the tags averaged about $7 to $10 each. His favorite tags are the ones with the state slogans on them. His least favorite are states like Delaware that have flat plate without embossed numbers and letters.

I think he said he had every state represented except Idaho, New Hampshire, Georgia and California.

Flag folds up for storage

After getting the plates, he spent a little time trying to figure out how to mount them. Instead of one large unit, he decided to string them together with Nylon ties so the whole contraption could be folded up into a storage container. The two support poles are made of two 2x4s joined together on each side and dropped into a 4×4 sleeve so they can be removed.

Bill is thinking about using the poles for other holidays, but he’s not sure if he’ll make the displays out of license plates. There are a lot of green and white tags, though, he said. Those would work out well for Christmas.

Riding the Mother Road

Bill just retired from a career as a postal carrier. “Retirement is great. For awhile, I thought I’d better make a list of things to do. That didn’t mean I had to KEEP the list; I could put off a task to the next day, change priorities…”

One thing on his list is for the couple to take a trip to see their daughters in Seattle. They’re going to fly this time, but Bill’s other obsession is to drive every inch of Route 66, the Mother Road. He’s managed follow it as far as the New Mexico-Texas border. “I’m not looking forward to Southern California and LA.” He admits, however that even big cities can have quiet moments. They hit Chicago on a winter Sunday morning and had the road almost to themselves.

19 comments to Bill Adams’ American Flag

  • Bill Adams

    Ken, Thanks for the nice article and photos. Enjoyed
    the visit. Hope others stop by for a photo-op. Take
    care and keep snapping away. Bill

    • Bill,

      I’m glad I overshot my street yesterday. I hope your wife forgives us for gabbing away in your front yard for an hour.

      Let me know if you see an increase in traffic on your street. I posted the link to a dozen Facebook fan pages.

      Just a hint: if you come back to the site to check on new comments, press Ctrl-F5 to refresh your browser and bring in the new content.

      I’ll give you a call to try to get together before I leave. I think I can nudge you over to digital photography with just a little more talking.

      By the way, the name Bill Adams came up in another of my stories. Are you the same one? And, Mother thinks you might have been the person we rented a house from at 2531 Bloomfield Rd. in the late 50s.

  • Laurie Everett

    That is really neat! Great job Bill.

  • Keith Robinson

    Ken, thanks for yet another great picture story – and how apropos for the Fourth of July weekend!

    Bill, you are a perfect example of a red-blooded American mail carrier – a hard-working patriot. My brother, Karl, told me about your project but had not yet sent pictures. Great job!

    • Dad always said the best two jobs to have would be a mail carrier, because it was a safe government job that left you outdoors on your own a lot, and running a Dairy Queen, because you’d have the winter off.

    • Bill Adams

      Keith,
      Thank you for the nice comments, yes I worked with
      Karl and he is a very professional letter carrier. I
      also sold WorldBooks with your mother many many years
      ago. Glad you liked the flag.
      Bill

  • Don Beussink

    Hi Bill,
    I hope this finds you well, very creative!
    Happy 4th
    Don Beussink
    Iowa City, Iowa

    • Bill Adams

      Don, Nice to hear from a friend, longtime ago. God
      led our lives down different paths after our time in x-ray. I just retired from the post office after
      32 years. Good luck and glad you liked the flag.
      Bill

  • Did it again, didn’t you, Ken?? A serendipitous feel-good story for the 4th! How DO you DO it??:)

    • Madeline,

      If you make enough wrong turns, eventually one of them becomes a “right” turn.

      The key is to keep your eyes open and don’t be afraid to jam on the brakes when you see something of interest. If it caught your attention, odds are other people will be interested, too.

  • Nellie

    Ken–

    I LOVE this site. I’ve only lived in Cape for a little over four years, but I’ve learned so much about this historic town from your blog. I check it religiously every day. Please keep up the good work!

  • Pam

    I really like this flag. So good to see a fellow American who isn’t ashamed to show it. Will try to get by to see it next time in Cape.

  • Prudy

    What a great idea and feature to share with us now. Happy 4th of July CHS graduates and your families.

  • Fantastic idea! Who would have thought to do that with license plates? Shows wonderful creative ability and patriotism. GOOD JOB TO BOTH BILL FOR MAKING IT AND TO KEN FOR SHOWING US!
    YOU’RE BOTH GREAT AMERICANS!

  • Candy Carter Knight

    What a cool idea! But why worry about storing it? I woulkd have it displayed 24/7 365!

  • Marty Hente

    Another great story about Cape and the friendly people. I haven’t been back since dad died in 2011, but I need to go soon.

    FYI, I celebrated my 66th year by driving the entire Route 66. We took 18 days and that was not nearly enough time to see all of it.

  • Deborah Cotner Norman

    How beautiful!! Mr. Adams shows his “I LOVE AMERICA” in a most unique way!! Happy 4th of July sir!! 🙂

  • […] seeing the great job Bill Adams did with his license plate American Flag, Mother said she’d like to fly a flag in front of the house. We were always big on putting up […]

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