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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.


Patricia Foster: St. Francis Hospital Mangler

Don’t let that sweet, innocent smile fool you. Patricia Foster was a real mangler. No, she didn’t wrestle, nor was she a roller derby queen, but she was a mangler in 1967 all the same.

St. Francis Hospital laundry

Instead of taking the summer off, Patricia decided to work in the St. Francis Hospital laundry before starting her freshman year of college at SEMO.  Her duties included running the dried linen and clothing through the “mangle,” a big ironer, sorting material and folding mountains of sheets, she told The Missourian’s September 2, 1967, Youth Page.

(Actually, I think she told it to me. The story’s not bylined, but I recognize my style. I generally figured other people could tell the story better than I could, so most of my writing consisted of lots of quotes with a few transitions stuck in between.)

Work was monotonous

The work was monotonous, she said. “A lot of my friends said I was foolish to go to work in the summer instead of to school, but I figured that this was as good an education as I could get. Learning about people, I mean.”

Patricia was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Foster, 1625 Bloomfield. The story doesn’t mention which high school she attended.

Didn’t have to handle “wet wash”

“Once I got to know everybody, it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated,” she said. “We didn’t have to handle the ‘wet wash’ – stuff that comes straight from the floors.” The routine nature of the work made it easy to slip into daydreaming, she observed.

Singing made the time pass

Good-natured give-and-take between the workers and singing helped make time on the job pass quickly.

“My specialty was singing,” she said. “We couldn’t have music, so we made our own music.

Photo Gallery from St. Francis Laundry

I’m going to include a gallery because some of the photos show other workers in the background. Some of the pictures show other angles of the laundry area that might mean something to someone who worked there. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

4 comments to Patricia Foster: St. Francis Hospital Mangler

  • I was surprised and a little disappointed that this post got little attention.

    Then, on March 15, 2012, I got an email that made it all worth it: “I am Patricia’s daughter and just ran across your blog’s highlight on my mother. The photography is spectacular. It is magical seeing your parents before you rolled into their lives.”

    I love it when kids find their parents.

  • Anola Gill Stowick

    Trisha Foster graduated from Central in 1967. She had an older sister, Linda (maybe class of ’62). Great family, her grandparents lived next door us on Lorimer.
    Lila probably remembers her cousins, the McBrides (Kay, Bob, Mary, Terri) from the Cape pool. Their dad “Brownie” was park commissioner for years.

  • Sharon Welty Stanley

    Ken, I was drawn to your pictures of Patricia Foster at St. Francis Hospital wondering if it could be “Trish” who lived in my neighborhood. It sure is the same Trish Foster whose older sister Linda and I were good friends growing up in “Koch Addition.” The Foster’s lived on Koch Street and we lived on Bloomfield. Fun times; remembering my Dad taking us to get ice creme cones with he “curl on top” in the early evenings rides through town.

  • Amy Pool

    I visit this page always near Mother’s Day. Anola, my mom and I recently stopped and looked at 318 Lorimier. My whole life I had only driven by since the family had long since moved. It was so much fun hearing about how my grandmother Bea Price Foster had grown up there along with her sisters Dorothy (McBride) and Snookie (Hunze). I found out that ny grandfather Ernie made all the awnings for the house. They are still standing although a little worse for wear. My mother told me this was the house I was brought to from the hospital. Something I didn’t realize. I also didn’t realize how close the Glenn House was in proximity. I was married there. Bea always took me as a girl and I thought of it as my secret garden. The family piano sits in the Glenn House now.

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