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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.

U.S.N Knife

U.S.N. knife owned by Mary Steinhoff 05-27-2015Since I’ve been living essentially by myself in Cape for several weeks, I am discovering domestic skills I never knew I had (and will promptly forget when I get back home to Florida). I won’t say I’d have stayed single had microwave ovens and good frozen food been around in 1969, but it would have expanded my options.

One of my survival techniques is to use as many plastic and paper kitchen supplies as possible. When I actually have to use real silverware, I use every knife, fork and spoon in the drawer and leave them soaking until there’s nothing left to eat with, then I wash them all at one time. (The house is old enough that it has neither a dishwasher nor a garbage disposal.)

While digging in the back of the drawer, I ran across this knife that was different than anything else around. It had a uniquely government-issue feel to it. On the handle was engraved U.S.N., which I have to assume stood for U.S. Navy. Click on the photos to make them larger.

Origin unknown

U.S.N. knife owned by Mary Steinhoff 05-27-2015I don’t know where the knife came from. So far as I know, no one in our family ever served in the Navy. It might have been picked up at a yard sale or been in a box of stuff we acquired over the years.

Anyone seen anything like it?

P.S. Let’s keep my cooking prowess a secret, OK? It’s better that Wife Lila not learn about this. We definitely won’t tell her about the laundry thing. It’s much better that she believes that I haven’t gotten any more domesticated than this kitchen incident when the kids were little.

10 comments to U.S.N Knife

  • Brune Time Observation

    Yes Ken. At Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Long Beach Navy Base California, Treasure Island Naval Base San Francisco, Norfolk Navy Base Virginia, USS Mt Whitney LCC20, Naval Reserve Center Cape Girardeau, MO. It’s a basic silver service butter knife used by the Navy and Marine Corps. Someone associated with your family “swiped it”. BruneTimeOut.

  • Terry Hopkins

    Cool…a war surplus Item purchased by your sainted mother probably or from her days working on the riverboats. Probably given as severance pay …opps sorry for that word, change that to, her going away service metal.

  • Margi Whitright

    We have ONE of these knives, too. It came to us in our early years of marriage but we have no idea from where. One of Jerry’s brothers (Joe) was in the Navy.

  • Anola Stowick

    My parents had one of these knives; no matching spoon or fork, just the knife. I had an uncle and great-uncle in the Navy in WWII. Maybe that’ sphere it came from. It was quite a substantial butter knife.


    My husband’s GRANDMOTHER had ONE knife like this that we inherited – no idea where it came from or how a farm wife got it in the 1950’s in Indiana. From Margi’s post, I believe single knives were distributed by the government to unsuspecting citizens throughout the Midwest in order to confuse their heirs. This was probably associated with a cover-up of the Area 51 variety – only concerning a Naval encounter. Perhaps, based on the locations where these have turned up, something to do with alien landings on waterways such as the Great Lakes or Mississippi River? The knife MAY be a transmitter sending data on human migration to unknown sources.

  • Keith Robinson

    Maybe it’s a navel knife; used for removing lint.

  • Joe D. Whitright

    I did do a 3 year tour on a WW-2 diesel submarine as a ships cook and we probably had these same pieces of “silver” ware but that was 67 years ago so I’m not 100% sure! I do remember causing us having to “surface” prematurely while on a dive because I got some beef roast a little to brown causing smoke to get into the ventilation system.
    I did get reprimanded by the Captain for that mistake and it sure never happened again on my “watch”.
    Joe Whitright “Ships cook 3rd class”
    U.S.S. Blenny- SS324

  • Brune Time Observation

    Thank you for your service Joe D. Whitright. I can’t imagine how ‘confining’ your accommodations must have been. I had ‘claustrophobic problems’ serving on the pre-commissioning detail of a 1970 state-of-the-art amphibious command ship for two years – USS Mt. Whitney LCC20 605 feet long – which I’m sure was like the presidential suite compared to the USS Blenny. I’m a certified “Plank Owner” meaning when they eventually scrap the Mt. Whitney – I can attend and claim one of her planks as sentimental patriotic memorabilia. so…… I got that going for me.

  • Jan Guth

    We have two knives from the Army just like that.

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