Where Did 36 Years Go?

September 27, 1975, I pulled out my company two-way radio and announced the arrival of Matthew Louis Steinhoff. The next stop was to apply a bumper sticker I had custom made.

Newspaper announcement

In keeping with the newspaper theme, a couple of the gals in the Art Department put together this front page mockup. (Don’t try to read the stories. They pulled random real copy out of the paper to fill the space.)

Time flies when you’re having family

The photo gallery will show how quickly time passes. We survived swim meets (he was Rookie of the Year when he was five); photo contests, Scouts, high school and his move to Orlando to work for The Orlando Sentinel (and his move back to Palm Beach Gardens). Along the way, he met and married Sarah, one of the two best daughter-in-laws any parents could hope for. (Son Adam snagged Carly, the other keeper).

Matt and Sarah have their own Tiger Scout now, seven-year-old Malcolm, and Adam and Carly have started their family with Graham, who was born in February.

How do you pick through 36 years of photos?

Wife Lila looked at my photo picks and kept saying, “You missed that one. You have one with your Dad, but not your Mother. You left out …. How about….?”

My only answer was, “This ain’t his last birthday.” Scores of photos come to mind, but I went with some new ones I discovered this week going through old slide trays. Mixed in are some oldies that are favorites (or, to be honest, were easy for me to find.)

Wish Matt a Happy Birthday

Here’s a quick overview of Matthew Louis Steinhoff. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery. Don’t worry. We’ll add to the collection next BDay. I’ll be sure to have one of Mother in that batch.



David Steinhoff’s Birthday

You don’t see as much stuff about Brother David here as you do Brother Mark and Mother. Part of that is that David moved out to Tulsa, while Mark lives in St. Louis, so it’s a lot easier to see them when I come back to Cape. I’m bad about dates, so I let not only David’s birthday, which is September 12, slip by, I forgot that the 11th was David and Diane’s 35 wedding anniversary.

Stories about David

I’d like to find the photos of him when he drove my shiny new car from North Carolina. I bought the car the weekend before we were to move from Gastonia to West Palm Beach because I trusted the dealer. Wife Lila had her own car to drive, and I had to pilot the rental truck with all our belongings. David hadn’t had his license all that long, and I don’t think he had ever driven a stick shift before, but I put him in the car for a couple hours of driving lessons, then we headed south.

I’m pretty sure I said something like, “It almost all Interstate. If you can get it into fourth gear, leave it there until you can coast off the highway when you run out of gas.” He and the car both made it to Florida.

Gallery of David Photos

Here’s a quick selection of David Steinhoff photos over the years. I promise that I’ll do a better job next year of finding some better photos. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

Fountain Street Community Garden and Robert Harris

I was riding my bike through South Cape when I spotted the Fountain Street Community Garden not far from Fort D. I had seen it before, but it’s a lot easier to pull your bike up on the sidewalk and go exploring than it is to park your car.

Flowers and food

I’m not someone who is good at identifying plants. I divide the world of green into poison ivy and not poison ivy. I DID recognize tomato plants that didn’t appear to have any tomatoes on them and hordes of okra.

I know what okra is because Daughter-in-Law Sarah was the second Okrafest Queen in the small Central Florida town Apopka. It’s only been in the last couple of years that she’s dispensed with the requirement that we bow and curtsey in her presence.

Robert Harris, a remarkable man

When researching the history of the garden, I ran across a number of stories about Robert Harris, a bus driver with the Cape Girardeau School District and a Master Gardener. The man helped create the Cape Girardeau Community Garden Project beginning with this plot of land. Later, he took over the Red Star Baptist Church garden on North Main Street. The vegetables, one story said, goes to senior citizens or people with health conditions unable to leave their homes. Some of the vegetables, including squash, tomatoes and green beans are left in small bins next to the gardens for anyone who needs them.

Here are just a few of the Missourian stories and editorials about Mr. Harris. I would like to have met him. Comments to stories generally contain at least one disparaging or contentious remark. It’s worth noting that there’s not one negative comment in any of the stories about Mr. Harris. Every one is effusive in praise for this man whose life’s mission is to help others.

Smelterville 1967: Where Are They?

I need some help tracking down some kids I shot back in the spring of 1967.

Like most folks in Cape, I knew where Smelterville was and would drive past it on South Sprigg, but never ventured into it much.

Periodic cleanup

In the spring of 1967, though, I had an assignment to shoot one of the periodic cleanups. I took that as an opportunity to walk around documenting some of the buildings and people who lived there. One of the cleanup photos ran in The Missourian, I think, but everything else got filed away.

Photos have historical value

When I talked with Lisa Speer, Associate Professor and Special Collections Librarian at SEMO, about picking up my stuff when I move into that eternal darkroom, she was fascinated by the Smelterville pix and some I took of a New Madrid Mississippi River baptism. She said there’s a dearth of photography of the black communities in that era.

What happened to the people?

That made me wonder what had happened to the people in my photographs.

I’ve hit a lot of dead ends (literally) in New Madrid, but finding the Smelterville subjects seems more promising. When I was chasing down the minor league ballpark rumors, I talked with a couple of guys standing in a front yard near Fort D. When one of them mentioned that he had lived in Smelterville, I said, “Have I ever got some photos to show you.”

Got some good leads

One of them knew just about every kid, the names of their dogs and who owned the cars in the background. He even said that most of them still lived in the area. The old folks, have long passed on, but the kids should be in their mid to late 50s.

He put the word out on the street and I met with three members of one family. Interestingly enough, one was sure he could identify his siblings and the house they lived in, but couldn’t be positive if one of the photos was of him as a child.

Hard to identify children

I thought that odd, but then I looked back at photos of me as a toddler all the way up to my teens. If I hadn’t been TOLD that was me or if I didn’t recognize the backgrounds to put things in context, I don’t know that I would recognize myself.

Here’s your assignment

Anyway, here’s your assignment: if you can identify any of the people in these photos, let me know. If you know where they live or how to get in touch with them, that’s even better.

I’m going to be doing a quick swing to Cape to deal with my transportation problems toward the end of this week, but I’ll be back for a longer stay in October when we celebrate Mother’s Birthday Season. It would be great to have some interviews lined up for that trip.

I’ll keep you up to date on how the project is going. I have more photos and lots of stories for later.

Smelterville photo gallery

Here’s a selection of the people I’d like to find. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.