Helen Ketterer’s Other Side

High School wrestling matchI’m still trying to organize the stacks of negatives. For the most part, I’m setting all the sports pictures aside for now because there are so many of them. The next task will be to try to figure out which ones are from Central High School games and which aren’t. There should be some kind of law passed that uniforms have to have school names or emblems on them.

Who IS this woman?

Helen Ketterer watching wrestlingI was just about to pitch this roll of wrestling pictures onto the ‘Later’ stack, when my eye was drawn to a fan in the bleachers in this sleeve marked January25, 1967.

Could that really be Helen Ketterer, who worked in the principal’s office?

I don’t think I ever saw Miss Ketterer smile or change expression in the office. She was always to-the-point and strictly business.

Of course, if you had to deal with as many high school students as she did, you’d probably be a little jaded, too.

It just goes to show that sometimes you don’t know folks as well as you thought you did. For example, I never knew Wife Lila was a bloodthirsty, raving maniac until I took her to her first live hockey match at Ohio University. I suddenly looked at her in a whole new light.

Helen Ketterer died in 1979

I did a search of The Southeast Missourian’s database, but it only goes back to 2002. Nothing relevant popped up. I sent a message to Missourian librarian Sharon Sanders asking if she had any info. She didn’t find anything going forward from 1991, but did see that Helen Ketterer was listed in the Social Security Death Index as having died in 1979.

This morning, Sharon sent me a copy of the March 25, 1979 obit:

Helen Ketterer at her deskMiss Helen Ketterer, 812 N. Missouri, died Thursday at her home. She was 68 years old.

Miss Ketterer was born on June 13, 1910, in Cape Girardeau and was a life-long resident. She was preceeded in death by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Ketterer.

She graduated from Central High School and was employed for approximately 40 years as a secretary at Cape Central High School, retiring about five years ago.

Miss Ketterer was a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish and was an active member of both the St. Francis Medical Center Auxiliary and the Southeast Missouri Hospital Auxiliary.

Graveside services will be conducted at 10 Monday morning with the Rev. Bernard P. Degan officiating. Walther Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.  There will be no visitation.

A gallery from the wrestling match

Here’s a collection of photos from the match. As always, click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the picture to step through them.

Let me know if you recognize the wrestlers, and I’ll post an update.

Cape Loves to Throw a Parade

Missourian photographer Fred Lynch published a Frony picture of a Christmas Parade taken in the early to mid-50s in his blog this week. It was shot on the north side of Broadway, looking back toward the southwest, in the direction of The Missourian building.

Broadway was still paved with granite cobblestones and the remains of the street car rails can still be seen.

1966 SEMO Homecoming Parade

In my digging through my negatives, I’ve come across at least two SEMO homecoming parades. This one is probably the 1966 Homecoming because the 1966 Homecoming Queen is in one of the cars and the 1965 Queen is in another one.

1966 SEMO Homecoming Parade in front of Marquette Hotel

Marquette Hotel used for student housing

The Marquette must have been used for student housing at some point, because there are student-age people hanging out the windows. There are two women and a man standing on the rooftop to the right of the Marquette. There is a microphone stand in front of them, so they are probably doing live parade coverage for KFVS.

If you look closely under the awning of the hotel, you can see the Civil Defense shelter placard to the right of the door.

KFVS Tower is missing

One thing that’s missing from this picture is Cape’s version of a skyscraper – the KFVS building. The 13-story building wasn’t built until two years later.

Broadway looking northeast; note the KFVS tower is missing

Here’s what the block looks like in 2009

KFVS TV Office building 10-24-09Fred asked if anyone knew what happened to the granite cobblestones appearing in Frony’s photo. They were removed in 1956.

I wonder if they might have been used to replace the cobblestones on the river front. If anyone has any ideas, leave a comment and I’ll pass the information on to Fred.

Except for the KFVS building, the block still looks pretty much the same as in did in 1966. The building the broadcasters are standing on was the TV station location. When the tower was built, the TV station moved into it and KZIM radio (formerly KFVS radio) moved into that building.

Gallery of Homecoming Photos

Here is a gallery of photos taken of the parade. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left of right side of the photo to move through the gallery.

Before the Presses Quit Turning

When I was a kid growing up in Cape, it wasn’t uncommon for folks to gather on the sidewalk on the east side of The Southeast Missourian to watch the press in operation. Mural on Southeast MissourianThere is something magical about The Big Iron rumbling away, pulling paper off huge rolls that weigh almost as much as a VW and spitting out the news at the other end. Those were kinder, gentler times; the huge window was bricked up when other cities were hit with riots and violent demonstrations in the 60s and 70s. For all it’s size and power, a printing press is a delicate machine that easily could be destroyed.

Newspapering was a sacred calling

Those of us who worked in the business in that era felt that we were answering a sacred call. Sounds corny, but I always felt like I was doing more than just a job for a paycheck.

The Three Counts

John Mueller, Rick Meinz and I had a brush with sacred callings, as this picture will attest. Well, actually, we were just dressed up for a play at Trinity Lutheran Church, but we should get some kind of credit for that. My biggest disappointment was that I couldn’t use one of my best lines, “We’re the Three Counts: Count de Bills, Count de Checks and Count de Change.” It’s a good thing the church had lightning rods.

1965 John Mueller, Rick Meinz, Ken Steinhoff in church playGetting back to presses

Press operator checks paper fresh off the pressOne of the main reasons I ended up in West Palm Beach, FL, working for The Palm Beach Post was that I had been looking for the best photo papers in the country in the late 60s and early 70s. I subscribed to about a dozen papers and gradually let all the subscriptions lapse except The Post. It was doing the best day-to-day photo coverage with the best reproduction of any paper I had seen.

All good things have to end

Palm Beach Post RIP 12-20-08 on press room bulletin boardBy 2008, the economy in South Florida was in the toilet. Newspapers were sucking air as the real estate and classified advertising dried up. Big cuts were in the wind.

In August 2008, about 300 employees, including me, were offered buyout packages. At the end of the year, the biggest shoe dropped: The Post, which had a national reputation for fine press work, was going to outsource its printing to our biggest competitor in Ft. Lauderdale. Other papers would take over most of our distribution.

That subtracted about another 300 employees. In 18 months, the paper had cut nearly half of the original 1,400 workers.

I wanted to feel the magic

Even though I was no longer part of the paper, I wanted to feel the magic of a working press room one more time. I convinced some former coworkers to look the other way while I prowled around the production department two of the last weekends before the presses would be stilled forever.

These folks had made me look good in print for almost three decades. I’ve alway thought it was important for a worker to have a photo of themselves on the job to hand down to their kids and grandkids, so I burned CDs of the pictures for them to take home.

Go here to see the photographs. I really like some of them.

Circus Elephant Comes to Town Plaza Shopping Center

If  you needed any evidence that Cape Girardeau’s shopping district was moving west and away from the Main Street / Downtown area, look at Fred Lynch’s F/8 and Be There Blog with Frony’s picture of Santa arriving by helicopter at the Town Plaza.

I took these pictures of a circus elephant at the shopping center give or take a few months from Frony’s Santa visit.

The elephant hose-down pictures were taken at the Standard station at the southwest corner of the parking lot.

Here’s a gallery of the photos. (Click on any image to enlarge it and move from photo to photo by clicking on the edge of the picture.)

Elephant at Town Plaza

These are the kinds of events that would have taken place downtown a decade earlier. Little did we know then that the Town Plaza would suffer much the same fate as downtown a few decades later as the center shifted even more westward.