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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.


Nixon and a Pigskin Purse

Pigskin coin purse from Mexico c 1949; gift to KLS from Elsie WelchMy original headline read “Stuck in the Sock Drawer,” but I changed it because “Nixon” will score higher with the search engines.

Even that headline was a little misleading, because we’re not going to talk about my exact sock drawer, although there ARE a lot of weird things hiding in there, too.

Many years ago, my grandmother gave me a good wooden  box that was probably supposed to hold jewelry. It’s been a catchall for heirlooms of no real value, something that became apparent when our house was burgled a few years ago.

The crooks made off with some of Wife Lila’s jewelry that was rich in sentimental value, but not worth much in dollars. The mopes didn’t even bother to root through my box.

Maybe they feared the curse of the pigskin purse, a souvenir my grandmother, Elsie Welch, brought back from Mexico (the country, not the county seat of Audrain County, MO, where the annual Miss Missouri pageant is held) when I was about two years old.

I never had much money as a kid, so the poor pig was always pretty skinny. Now, nearly seven decades later, he still hasn’t put on much weight.

Elvis Presley and President Nixon

Richard Nixon presidential cufflinks given to KLS by Ollie AtkinsOllie Atkins, President Richard Nixon’s official photographer, was a speaker at a National Press Photographers Association conference I attended. To be honest, I thought Atkins was a pretty pedestrian photographer kept around for dull grip ‘n’ grin shots of dignitaries. His photos perfectly captured the wooden Richard Nixon.

One of his images, though, according to a 2012 story in The Guardian, is one of the most requested images in the National Archives and Records Administration, more popular even than the Bill of Rights or the Constitution of the United States. It’s the photo of Dick Nixon and Elvis Presley shaking hands after a secret meeting in the White House.

Presley wrote Nixon a six-page letter requesting a meeting with the president and suggesting he be made a “Federal Agent at Large” in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The events leading up to and after the meeting are detailed in the documentation and photographs included at this link, which include Presley’s handwritten letter, memoranda from Nixon staff and aides, and the thank-you note from Nixon for the gifts (including a Colt 45 pistol and family photos) that Presley brought with him to the Oval Office.

Nixon cufflinks

Richard Nixon presidential cufflinks given to KLS by Ollie AtkinsFrom time to time during the conference, the moderator would draw numbers for door prizes. After Ollie’s presentation, he reached into the box and pulled out mine. Instead of some cool photo equipment, I was presented a pair of presidential cufflinks. That prize was especially ironic because, up until I picked Bill Hopkins to run my campaign for student body president of Central High School, I thought I might get to wear a set of cufflinks like these some day.

They have never been out of the box. When I scanned them tonight, I pulled the lining of the box out to see if anything cool, like the nuclear launch codes or something, was behind them. I am sad to report the bottom of the box was empty.

You can click on the photos to make them larger, but ignore all the white specks: I didn’t bother to dust the plush lining in the box.

Matchless Nixon

Nikon Air Force 1 matches given to KLSOllie must have sweetened the pot by tossing in a box of matches from Air Force One.

I beat the devil

Nikon Air Force 1 matches given to KLSWhile I was looking at the unused book of presidential matches, I thought of Kris Kristofferson’s song, To Beat the Devil, about a down-and-out guitar player. It contains the line, “I ain’t sayin’ I beat the devil, but I drank his beer for nothing. Then I stole his song.”

Well, I never got to be President, but I ended up with his cufflinks and his matches.

Other encounters with Richard Nixon

5 comments to Nixon and a Pigskin Purse

  • Walter Lamkin

    RMN was a conflicted character, a dark, brooding guy and some of his actions are without defense. Some, however, like to encapsulate his presidency in one word, i.e. “Watergate”. There was much more, however, including winding down the ill-conceived Vietnam war as well as opening the doors of China to the world.

    • I agree. Had it not been for his deep-seated insecurities and paranoia that led to Watergate, he would have been remembered for his bold foreign policy moves.

      Those of us who watched him unravel during the Watergate hearings, though, will never forget that, no matter how many good things he accomplished.

      He must have been one tortured being.

  • Tim

    When I read the email, I thought the post would be about Gov. Nixon finding the money and political will for a new Rams stadium after years of bellyaching about the lack of money for roads and schools.

  • Wende Rupolo

    Ken, using those cuff links would mean you would have to put on a suit. I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. Put them back in the box. Glad I finally get to read your blog. Looking forward to reading your interesting stories each night.

    • Welcome aboard. So, you don’t think my Nixon cufflinks would place nicely with my T-shirts?

      Btw, since you are new to the site, I’ll tell you about a little quirk. You may have to press Ctrl-F5 to see new content if you’ve been to the page already.

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