Snow Comes to Cape

The weather folks have been teasing us all week telling us that a big snow storm (they call it an “event”) is coming. We had a little God Dandruff scatter for a few minutes earlier in the week, but Wednesday was supposed to be the biggie.

I had to go to the Jackson Walmart to have some prints made. As I backed out of the driveway, some fairly sizable flakes were getting organized, but I wasn’t worried. Just as I closed the car door, I noticed how the flag was nicely backlit, and some of the flakes were popping out. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.)

Rose bush looks like cotton field

Since I was already almost to Jackson, and because I had some time to kill, I decided to have a combo, slaw, fries and a Mr. Pibb at Wibb’s.

By the time I finished, there was serious snow on the road. I got behind a slow driver going up the steep hill next to the city park, and I kept thinking, “If this guy don’t dial some giddy-up, we’re going to spin out here.”

There wasn’t a bread and milk freak-out going on at Walmart when I picked up my prints, but a lot of baskets were filled with snow melt.

Hwy 61 between Jackson and Cape was covered. I got in behind a snow plow (at a safe distance), but parts of the road were still slick. Even going up Kingsway Drive kept my traction control popping on and off.

I looked at the rose bush in the front yard, and was glad I had a nice, warm house to hide away in.

Memories of snow and smack

I’m pretty cautious about driving on snow and ice because I learned at an early age that just because you can go doesn’t mean you can stop. Jim Stone, Carol Klarsfeld and I were checking out the sights on a steep hill near Bertling when we came around a curve and saw a car on our side of the road.

I put on the brakes, but gravity was not on our side. We slowly crashed into the other car with my tank of a 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon. My car suffered so little damage I didn’t bother to take a photo of it. The other guy was less lucky.

OK, I’ll go take a look

After pacing around in the kitchen for a few minutes, temptation overcame good sense and I grabbed for a jacket and headed out.

I learned as a Missourian photographer, that there are a few places in Cape that are like shooting fish in a barrel when it’s time to come up with some weather or wild art.

Capaha Park and the train is one of them.

A heavy, wet snow

This may be one of those great snows that turns out to be very pretty, but probably won’t stick around long. Roads that were pretty treacherous when I set out were already plowed or in the process of being plowed by the time I headed back.

This was taken near the new pavilion in Capaha Park that overlooks where the pool used to be.

Next stop: SEMO

It took two passes to shoot this picture of Academic Hall. When I got right in front of the building, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a bus coming up behind me. I figured I’d better keep going to give him room.

Then, I saw him turn off.

When I made my second pass, I managed to get off a few frames before a car showed up in the mirror again. What are those fools doing out on a night like this?

A swing and a miss

I felt like I had to shoot something along Broadway. These trees and utility pole caught my eye, but I’m not overjoyed with the result.

Oh, well, you can strike out 7 of 10 times at bat, and still make a million bucks a year.

Main Street decorations

Some other folks had posted pictures of Main Street’s decorations on Facebook before the snow, so I actually got out of the car to shoot this.

Lady Liberty and Freedom Corner

This situation looked better than it photographed. I’m including it because it was the second time I got out of the car.

As I stepped off the curb, I thought, “Please don’t let this slush be deep enough to fill my shoe.”

It wasn’t.

I was acutely aware of the possibility, because the night before I was pricing a pair of old-fashioned galoshes that I could slip over my shoes when confronted with mud, slush or snow. When I saw the price, I decided my toes could get pretty chilly before I’d spring for overshoes.

I decided that I had cheated death enough, so I hung it up and headed home. My meanderings didn’t produce any great art, but it felt good to check snow off the year’s bucket list.

 

 

Rerun: Service Stations

George W. Eaker Sr. Cape Girardeau Phillips 66 StationService stations played a big part in our young lives. I didn’t rush right out to get my license: I turned 16 on March 24, but didn’t take my test until a hot summer day when, after acing the written test and doing OK on the driving part, I bumped a pylon while parallel parking.

That was usually an automatic failure, but the examiner took one look at the sweat pouring off me, then at the 29-foot-long, 17-foot-wide 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon with power nothing and said, “Kid, in this car, that’s close enough. You pass.”

Because I was working at The Jackson Pioneer and The Missourian, I was making good money for a high school or college kid, and I didn’t sweat pulling into the pump and saying, “Fill it with high test.”

Pretty amazing in these days of pump-it-yourself that you’d ding the bell pulling into the station and one to three guys would come running out to fill your tank, check your oil, air up your tires and even vacuum the interior, all at no charge.

Click on the links to see more photos and the original stories with a lot more details and comments.

I usually hit the Star Service Station

Star Service Station Opening 12-02-1965 The Southeast Missourian - Google News Archive SearchThe Star station at the corner of Broadway and Frederick got most of my business. It was right across the street from Nowell’s Camera Shop, and in the vicinity of where Wife-to-Be Lila worked at the Rialto, with Tony’s Pizza Parlor across from her and The Missourian down a few blocks. That was pretty much my whole life right there.

Thoni’s had the cheapest gas

Thoni's lot 10-26-2009 6416Thoni’s Oil Company, out on South Kingshighway, almost always had the cheapest gas around – as low as 19.9 cents during one price war – but I bought into the rumors that the gas might be “watered.” It probably wasn’t, but I wasn’t willing to take the chance.

You’d never know there was a station there today.

Back in 1952, the fact that Richard Thoni FLEW into Cape from Nashville for the opening of the gas station and then FLEW back on the same day attracted as much interest in The Missourian as the new business.

Most had mechanics

Snow and Ice around Cape GirardeauMost of the stations had one or two bays where they could do minor and major repair work, including putting on tire chains when the roads were bad.

Reader’s Digest was full of stories about scams motorists had to watch out for on the highways. Unscrupulous mechanics would slice hoses while they were pretending to check fluid levels; others would spray oil on hot engine parts so frightening smoke would billow out from under the hood.

There might have been some bad mechanics in Cape, but I think they were essentially honest.

32¢ Gas; 29¢ Smokes

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968The Bonded Station in Athens was the Ohio equivalent of the Star Station in Cape. It was just down the road from the photo department and the guys who worked there were friendly.

Since we both worked long, late hours, I spent a lot of time in there kibitzing and catching up on local gossip that might turn into a story.

Scott City fire

Scott City service station fireA fire down at the service station is the big news of the day when you live in a small town. Just about everybody in Scott City must have turned out to inspect, analyze and speculate about what happened.

A reader said she thought it might have been the Saveway Gas Station, but the negative sleeves didn’t say.

Pete Koch’s Sinclair

Big tire accident Pete Koch Sinclair 11-20-1965Pete Koch’s Sinclair station showed up in the background of photos taken when a 700-pound tire broke off a city motorgrader and went rolling down Broadway until it bounced off Mrs. Diane Kincaid’s car.

Lynn Latimore with ’55 Ford Fairlane

Shell station man w carLynn Latimore, who was also photographed at the Star station, is leaning on what readers said was a 1955 Ford Fairlane. He was at a Shell station on North Kingshighway.

Readers filled in lots of detail about the neighborhood where it was taken, Lynn, and cars in general.

First car: 1904; first crash: 1910

Ford Groves 10-03-1929 The Southeast Missourian

I did a piece in 2010 about Cape’s early car history. It was filled with all kinds of interesting (to me) factoids. You can read more by following the link.

  • First car theft: Oct. 21, 1905. Vince Chapman left the car in front of the Broadway Mercantile Co. “Manufacturers apparently thought there was about as much temptation for the predatory criminal to steal an automobile as to steal a box car or a steamboat and had not provided locks.” There is no indication that the car was recovered. It is estimated that there were perhaps 20 cars in Cape at this time.
  • Fastest time Cape to Jackson: July 9, 1906, Joe Wilson drove the 10 miles from Cape to Jackson in a record time of 25 minutes, “probably the shortest time in which had ever been transversed up to that time.”
  • First Tin Lizzie: George McBride brought the first “Henry” into Cape in May of 1909.
  • First garage: A.J. Vogel opened the first garage on Jan. 10, 1910. It had a show room big enough to hold six cars, a washing and cleaning shop and a repair shop.
  • First auto license tax: Dec. 6, 1909. $5.
  • First Missourian auto ad: Oct. 15, 1909. A.J. Vogel, a farm machinery salesman and experienced mechanic placed a 4-inch single column ad: “The Vogel Motor Car Co., 419 Broadway, will be ready for business in 10 days. Come and see us.”
  • First auto crash: July 21, 1910. Esaw Hendrickson, a Delta farmer, got off a street car betwen the H&H Building and the Idan-Ha Hotel and stepped in front of a car driven by City Councilman Joe T. Wilson. He was knocked down and run over, but his injuries were not serious.
  • First auto vs bicycle: the day after Mr. Hendrickson’s accident, a car driven by R.B. Oliver, Jr., and a bicycle ridden by Fred Frenzel, a Western Union messenger boy, collided at the corner of Broadway and Spanish. “The boy was not hurt much, but his brand-new wheel was demolished.”
  • First funeral procession: Oct. 30, 1916, when the body of Charles E. Booth, a Frisco fireman, was laid to rest. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and the Odd Fellows asked Booth’s friends to bring automobiles for the funeral procession.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother Mark Gets Older

Mark Steinhoff 2cd birthdayI was lucky enough to stumble across these negatives just in time for Brother Mark’s March 10 birthday. How old is he? I guess I could root around and find his birth year, but let’s just say (1) he’s younger than I am and (2) Mother, Kid Adam and I went to his 50th surprise party in St. Louis quite a few years back, so he’s on the far side of that.

I think it will suffice to say that he no longer has to fear dying young.

Look at all the cultural icons in one photo: the cowboy hat, shirt and vest; the pinch-your-finger-right-off rocking horse; the toy telephone of indeterminate color and something dark and round with feet. It looks like his second birthday, unless Mother had used up all her candles on Mark’s older brothers.

Christmas time

David - Mary - Ken - Mark SteinhoffThis shot of Mother, David, Mark and me was shot at Christmas. David, with his bow tie was the spiffy dresser of the crew. Mark looks like a deer caught in the headlights in the backwoods of Bollinger County.

Speaking of spiffy dressers

Hubert SteinhoffThis is Dad’s brother Hubert, or “Unk” or “Uncle Hue.” He was the uncle every kid should have. He was funny, patient and enjoyed being around us kids. Uncle Mark followed in his footsteps.

Well, maybe not exactly: I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mark in an outfit like this.

Peaceful coexistence

Mark - David SteinhoffSomeone must have wanted to get a shot of David and Mark when they weren’t saying things like, “He’s looking at me” or “Make him STOP!” It was a LONG, LONG trip from Cape to Florida and back in 1960.

Afternoon at Grace and Guy’s

At Grace and Guy Gardiners

I actually like this as an image. We spent a lot of time under these shade trees at Grace and Guy Gardiner’s house in Advance. Mother is on the left and Grandmother Elsie Welch is on the right with David. Mark, the center of attention as usual, is in the foreground with his orange push-up.

Those hours of listening to oldtimers talk about taming Swampeast Missouri had an influence, I’m sure. It’s funny how the world works: one day we’re a kid listening to old farts spinning tales, and the next thing we know, we’ve taken their place.

Monkey, Buick and my bike

David and Mark Steinhoff w Buick LaSabre station wagonBrothers David and Mark pose next to our 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon. Mark is dressed in some kind of strange jumpsuit and he’s holding a stuffed animal. It’s hard to make out, but I think it might have been a monkey. Off on the right is one of the few photos I’ve been able to find of my bike. It looks like it might have my Missourian paper bag in the front basket.

Chillin’ in the pool

Ken - David - Mark Steinhoff in backyard poolI didn’t get to spend much time in the Country Club swimming pool, but that didn’t matter. We Steinhoff boys had our own pool in the backyard. I think Mark was housebroken by the time we got the pool.

So, Mark, here’s wishing you a Happy Whatever Birthday.

1961 Buick Magazine

February 1961 Buick MagazineY’all are probably tired of hearing me mention the family’s 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon, but that vehicle is why I have a copy of the February 1961 Buick Magazine. In it, readers get to rhapsodize over the features in their new and old Buicks.

F.G. Chambers of Cincinnati, Ohio, is very pleased with his 1961 Invicta, which he is convinced is better than his 1957 Special and gets better gas mileage. He brags that his buddy, has a “much more expensive competitive make that doesn’t ride any better and that certainly doesn’t have the smooth transmission of my Buick.” In addition to power brakes, power steering and windows, he has the guidematic light dimmer and rear window defroster. “I also have my car equipped with Wonder-Bar Radio. That floor button control is out of this world.”

 Buick demographics

February 1961 Buick Magazine

If you are curious about the demographics of Buick owners in those days, just check out the cutline for the photo at the bottom right of this spread on New Orleans: “DRESSED APPROPRIATELY for the occasion, two attractive young [emphasis mine] ladies look on the Mardi Gras fun”. You had to be a Buick owner to think those are “young” ladies. I don’t think they could see young with a telescope.

On a second note: Missourian Editor John Blue impressed on me that “You never write that a female was a lady. You can tell if she is a woman, but you don’t know that she’s a lady.”

Control Arm Suspension

February 1961 Buick MagazineThe driver if this car doesn’t seem at all nonplussed to find herself on a raft afloat on a nondescript body of water. She doesn’t even seem concerned that a couple of hooligan fisherboys are apt to scratch her paint job. In 1961, the portholes are still there, but the fins are disappearing.

Cypress Gardens

February 1961 Buick MagazineI was just looking at footage of Cypress Gardens in family home movies from when we went to Florida in 1961. The Gardens were living-breathing PR machines for Florida. They even had a photo booth where you could call your friends up in the frigid north and describe to them the action flying by. If you weren’t all that good at photography, the announcer would tell you the exposure settings before the skiing beauties passed by.

Testimonials

February 1961 Buick MagazinePeter Jay Noto of Oaklawn, Illinois, wrote, “Every two years I buy a new car. I travel quite a bit being an actor, and Buick offers me the best performance together with complete pleasure. My next one will be a 1961 Buick Convertible.”

That name didn’t ring a bell, so I turned to Google. The only reference that popped up was on Page 10 of the June 29, 1960, Economist Newspapers where a gossip column by Vic Short said, “Peter Jay Noto reminds me he read the leading male role for “Living Venus” as mentioned here a few weeks back, but movie producer Lewis said that play wasn’t Pete’s particular cup of tea, that the Oaklawn theater guild actor would be better cast in a teenage flicker.”

Living Venus sounds imminently forgettable, but it did serve as the film debut of Harvey Korman.

Old Jackson Road

The magazine came to Mr. and Mrs. L.V. Steinhoff, courtesy of Wiethop Buick Sales at Sprigg and William. I was pretty sure that’s where Dad bought our LaSabre, but I would have sworn it was called Clark Buick.

I’m not sure when Kingsway Drive quit being called Old Jackson Road.