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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.


My Mother’s a Bag Lady

You never know what you’re going to find when you come back to Cape to visit Mother.

Click on any photo to maker it larger.

“She’s collecting shopping bags”

This year, shortly before Mother’s Day, Mark sent me an email saying, “Mother’s become a bag lady. She’s going all over town collecting shopping bags.”

Mark is prone to either subtracting relevant details or adding ones to make the story more interesting, so it helps to do some fact checking. I decided to wait until I got into town before becoming concerned.

Turns out that Mother’s Friend Katie was part of a crochet group that was cutting up plastic shopping bags to make sleeping mats for the homeless.

Cuts bags into 1-1/2″ loops

Mother decided she’d make a ground cover for Grandson Malcolm to use under his sleeping bag when he goes camping. It took her several weeks to score enough bags, cut them into 1-1/2-inch loops and crochet them into something large enough to use. It turned out to be soft, durable and colorful.

In the process of doing the project, she became an expert in the colors that different stores use for their bags. Like folks who can identify the name of a song after hearing two notes, she can look at a color in her mat and tell you exactly which store uses that bag.

Keeping her out of the heat

Mark bought her a box of unused blue and yellow bags (moving ahead of me in the will, drat), but I countered by making sure to grab any bags I see on top of the recycle bins when I walk out of a store. I warned Mother to be careful when she digs through them. One of these days she’s going to encounter a full diaper.

It’s been too hot and dry to mow, even for her, so she started a mat for Mark to use on a piece of lawn furniture in St. Louis. She was picking up speed. She got that one done in three weeks.

Like a sweater with 5-foot sleeves

As soon as she finished that, she started another one. It went so quickly that it got out of control and ended up too big for her intended purpose. That’s this one. She finished it Monday night after working on it a week.

Starting a new one

As soon as her needles cooled, she started a new one on Tuesday morning. Pretty good for a one-armed woman, I must say.

14 comments to My Mother’s a Bag Lady

  • carla

    They look awesome. My mom made one into a satchel for a cousin who collects shells on a beach down south. They are waterproof, colorful, and kinda pretty!

  • April

    As soon as I saw the headline, I thought “you can make sleeping mats for the homeless out of plastic bags.”

    So, soft, durable and colorful I get. But is the mat actually comfortable?

  • Mark Steinhoff

    Awww, I thought my statement was accurate, she IS a bag lady.

    I just trimmed down all the fluff that you have so nicely put back in.

    “Facts which at first seem improbable will, even on scant explanation, drop the cloak which has hidden them and stand forth in naked and simple beauty.” Galileo Galilei

    I’ll still stand by what i said in a more succinct way…

  • Margaret Hill

    Awesome!! Your mother is SOOOOO Cool!!!

  • Dee Dietrich

    That is a fabulous idea and your mother is a marvelous. The camping mats will be perfect Christmas presents for two in my family who camp in the Rockies! Thanks for the post.

  • marsha marshall gutshall

    if you are not careful your mom will be getting plastic bags from all over the world with a thankyou from the treehuggers for saving the planet.

  • Linda Eggimann

    I love this so much. She was such a great friend to DaisyZimmerman, my Mom. Mary Lee would of had My Mom making the plastic bag crafts as well. Please give her my best regards and keep the stories coming.

    • I was telling someone some Daisy stories the other day. She was a wonderful woman and a delight to be around. I can picture them sitting together playing with their shopping bags and calculating which stores have the prettiest colors.

  • Jane Neumeyer

    What an amazing lady your mother is! I do traditonal rug hooking and think it might be fun to try one with plastic strips. My daughter has me trained to carry my own bags for most shopping, but I still end up with a lot of plastic bags to recycle.

  • patty newman

    what a fabulous lady with a great idea and giving spirit

  • Laurie Everett

    Just another reason why I love your Mother!

  • Marie & J.L. Steinhoff, Karen & Shelby

    She is an amazing lady.

  • marty riley

    I have saved and donated bags for just this cause, but have never seen the finished product. They are really pretty! Your mom is such a hoot! I will have to start saving them for her.

  • Blue

    I’m confused. Your mother looks like a 2-armed woman to me …

    Does she follow a pattern?

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