Valentine’s Day Cards from Trinity Lutheran School

Valentine’s Day card from Cheri Huckstep

Preparing for my Presidential Libary

There was a time when I thought I had a career in politics. Because I was positive my Presidential Library would find the trappings of my early life important, I made sure to save everything.

My political aspirations hit an iceberg when I picked Bill Hopkins to pilot my Student Body Presidential campaign. Let’s just say that the 163 folks who voted for me were nowhere near a majority and certainly didn’t warrant calling in lawyers to oversee a recount. Jimmy Feldmeier was the clear winner.

Reading the will of the people very clearly, I abandoned my plan to run for POTUS in 1984, the first year I would be Constitutionally eligible and decided that I was more suited for journalism and sniping from the sidelines.

My Mother’s attic is a time capsule

I may have never made it into a Presidential Library, but I have the next best thing. On my last trip home, I ventured up into the time capsule of my Mother’s attic.

If you dig deep enough, you can probably find every school paper I ever brought home; all of my workbooks going back to kindergarten; hundreds of stickers that say, “Don’t be a sucker, Vote for Kenny (I’d have gotten more votes if Jim Stone hadn’t eaten most of the suckers instead of handing them out to potential voters); report cards; a Bucker-Ragsdale receipt for my Cub Scout uniform and this huge stack of Valentine’s Day cards from Trinity Lutheran School days.

There’s also a box of vintage early 1950s comic books that my destructive younger brothers shredded after I went off to college. I’d be able to afford a better brand of cat food in my retirement years if they were in the same condition as when I left. They saved the fragments just to drive me crazy.

1961 Eighth Grade Class at Trinity Lutheran School

We were together for nine years at Trinity Lutheran School

Most of us were in the same class from kindergarten through the eighth grade. Even though the yearbook didn’t have names with the pictures, I can probably still place names with all but about three or four pictures (they may not be the RIGHT names, but…). No, I’m not going to tell you which one was me.

Valentine’s Day ranked way up there in the Grand Scheme of Holidays. It wasn’t quite Christmas, the Fourth of July or Halloween, but it came pretty close to your Birthday.

The only hassle was having to fill out a card for every member of your class. Then, there was the agony of picking out which card went to which kid. You didn’t want to send one that was too mushy to a girl in the sixth grade.

Now that I look back at these cards from sixth and seventh grade level, I wonder about some of the cards I got from the boys in my class.

Was there a message I missed?

Judy Schrader’s card saying that she wished I’d fall for her line caused my heart to pitter patter. I mean, we actually skated together at the Hanover Skating Rink on Friday nights. That was a big deal. (At least to me, it was.)

Getting that same card from Don Sander seems a little strange these days. I mean, I shared a tent with him on Scout camping trips. I never realized he felt that way.

These were simpler times

The card below didn’t come for Valentine’s Day. My dad built roads all over Southeast Missouri and we lived in a house trailer he’d pull from small town to small town. When I was about three years old, we must have gotten to know a family in Mountain View well enough that I was invited to a birthday party.

Look at how the envelope was addressed:

Kenny Steinhoff

City

It didn’t have a street address, a city, state or Zip Code. It wasn’t even addressed to my parents. It’s addressed to a three-year-old living in a house trailer. And it cost just a penny to be delivered.

You can’t beat that with a stick.

Gallery of cards

These represent a couple of years, because several classmates appear more than once. I guessed at last names, but I think I’m close to right. Click on any card to make it larger, click on the left or right side to move through the images.

Valentine Season Aside

Forty-five years ago this month, I was lucky enough to meet Lila Perry, who was working as a cashier at the Rialto Theater. We were married in 1969 and she’s tolerated me every since. I wrote up the whole story last year.

Dancing in the Bank Parking Lot

I have a couple dozen photos slugged TAC, Teen Town and Teen Age Club. I know a lot of you spent a lot of time at some combination of those things. I think they’re all the same, but going by different names. Can someone clear up that mystery?

Rocking in the First National Bank Parking Lot

I thought the guy in the middle of this picture (with his mouth open like he’s catching flies) looked like Bill East, so I sent it to him for confirmation. I also postulated that Chuck Dockins might be in a striped shirt behind and to his left.

Bill pleads guilty

Here’s his reply:

It is. And is is Teen Town. During the summer of ’65 ( I think) the original teen town, which was on the second floor of a building on the  corner of  Themis and Spanish, was shut  down on an emergency basis. The ceiling of the store below was bouncing and the building inspector ruled it unsafe.

Bob Swaim got his father to give permission to use the bank  parking lot during the summer. A second temporary site was found, and I  don’t remember where, and then to the corner of Clark and Broadway.  Later, a more  permanent move was to a building on Broadview.

The negative sleeve is marked Teen Age Club 8/21/64, so I’m pretty sure that’s an accurate date. There were some other sleeves of what looked like the same event that were called TAC, with no date. Maybe I got lazy and figured that spelling it out once was enough.

Is that Pat Sommers in the middle?

I’ve always been lousy matching names and faces, but I think that’s Pat Sommers in dead center. The girl on his right, wearing a dark shirt, looks a little like Joan Amlingmeyer.

Gallery of Dance Photos

To keep from embarrassing myself by making other wild guesses, I’m going to take the easy way out and post the pictures in a gallery. I’ll let you fill in the dots in the comments section. Click on any image to make it larger, then step through them by clicking on the left or right side of the picture.

If you were involved with TAC / Teen Age Club / Teen Town in the 1964 – 1967 era and would like to help me ID some photos, leave me a note. I have film labeled Johnny Rabbit petition; TAC Fashion Show; Fund Raiser at Ruesslers; TAC opening and TAC meeting with Logan 8-10-67. Hints welcome.

Lynch Finds Santa – in JACKSON

Shopper eyes Santa Claus in Cape Girardeau (actually Jackson)Hillary wrote that it takes a village. She got that right. It took a village of CHS readers to find a town – Jackson.

To recap: I posted a gallery of Christmas shopping pictures on Wednesday and confessed that I didn’t know where they were taken. Since one of them showed the inside of a Rexall Drugs store, I jumped to the conclusion that it had to be Unnerstall’s on Good Hope and that Santa would be nearby.

Santa drew guesses

My brother, Mark, missed the target completely. He thought it was taken from Shivelbine’s on Broadway.

Missourian photographer Fred Lynch keyed in on the telephone pole in the picture and convinced himself (and me) that it was taken on Good Hope near my original guess.

He sent me pictures that seemed to confirm it and I posted an update here. He followed it up with some pictures later taken from almost the same angle as mine that sure made it look like we had found the correct spot.

Fred Lynch Haarig photo looking southBill Hopkins chimes in

Emails with pictures attached start flowing in from Bill Hopkins, none of which are even close.

Blitstein sees problem

Chuck Blitstein posted a great description of Good Hope from the days when he worked at Cape Cut rate, but then he questioned our findings:

The location of your Santa photo presents a real conundrum, and the several ‘clues’ exacerbate the problem rather than lead to its resolve; e.g., the shoes in the window tend to make one think of a Men’s Clothing Store; in the 60s the shopping areas were Main Street, Broadway and Good Hope.  Sides-Miller was in the 600 block of Broadway, Irvin’s and Ross Young were on Main but I do not remember a cafe/bar across from them.  Al’s Mid-Town Lounge at 627 Good Hope might  have had a Stag Beer sign, but the word Cafe doesn’t seem to fit and the location seems wrong for the picture.  Hirsch’s might have sold shoes but again, the cafe/bar across the street?  Then, there is the car, ’62 Dodge Dart?  It looks like it is parked at an angle?  I thought all on-street parking was parallel, but maybe not.  Oh, well, a senior moment, I guess.

Hopkins questions Lynch

Building across the street closeupBill Hopkins: Fred, take a look at the door in the Santa photo; it has a transom (is that the correct term?) above it and then a window offset slightly to the viewer’s right. In the photo of the building you propose as the correct one, that door (if it’s the same door) does not have such a window above it. In fact, the building you took a photo of shows those star thingies; they were connected to rods and helped support the building. My deceased pal Floyd Runnels (father of Jeanie Runnels Eddleman, the artist who draws historical buildings) was a bricklayer and explained that to me once. Of course I don’t remember what he said.

One more thing I noticed: the Santa building has drainage over the top windows; the suspect building does not.

Larry Saddler agrees with Blitstein

Larry Sadler: Chuck Blitstein points out that the car looks like it is angle parked.  I agree with him.  The sign on the window looks like it says Palace Cafe to me.  I don’t remember the Palace Cafe in Cape Girardeau.  Could this possibly be a picture taken in Jackson.  I believe they used angle parking extensively in Jackson.  The mystery continues.

So does Jesse James

Jesse James: Doesn’t look like the Santa picture is in Cape, notice the car is parked at an angle and not parallel. Don’t remember any places that was done in Cape, maybe Jackson?

Brenda Bone Lapp piles on

Brenda Bone Lapp: I  agree with Jesse that the photo of the boy with the Santa in the storefront is taken in Jackson.  I think it is somewhere in the area of the Square.  It may be close to that store (I think it was a feed store) where they had the stuffed horse in the window.  Remember that?

[Editor’s note: I sure do remember it. It was next door to The Jackson Pioneer, where I worked.]

Fred sends a flash bulletin

Fred Lynch: Flash! Santa mystery photo solved! Details to follow. (I have a day job.)
Clue: The utility pole is gone.

Fred discovers Santa in Jackson

[Here’s the complete account. Fred doesn’t normally talk about himself in the third person. He was trying to make it easy for me by making it look like I had actually written this, but I want to make sure he gets full credit for running around for two days and enlisting the help of a co-worker. I think we should make him an honorary member of Central High School 1960s’ Decade]

GD Fronabarger shooting parade in front of Southeast MissourianFred Lynch: When photojournalist Fred Lynch is not taking pictures for The Southeast Missourian, a daily newspaper in Cape Girardeau, Mo., he can be found driving around looking at buildings to identify for Ken Steinhoff’s blog. Ken was Fred’s predecessor in the late 1960s at the Missourian.

Fred is always up for a challenge, more so since starting his own blog, F/8 and Be There. Fred shares old photos of Cape Girardeau and their background with readers on the web site. Some of the pictures date back to the 1920s and earlier. Many have been taken by G.D. Fronabarger from the 30s to the 60s. Frony was Ken’s predecessor at the newspaper.

With an eye for detail, Fred checked a photo that Ken took of a child standing outside a store window that had a Santa Claus in it. Ken didn’t remember where it was taken, so he invited blog readers to help.

Looking for clues

Using two different frames of the photo that Ken provided, Fred found these clues:

  • Utility pole
  • Parking meter
  • Two women walking across the street
  • Automobile angle-parked
  • Store across the street with Palace Cafe on the window
  • The two-story building with distinctive second-floor windows, building trim
    above the windows
  • A glass case with a movie poster inside.

Fred first thought the scene was the 600 block of Good Hope. He even took pictures to support the theory. The pole was there and the windows were there, or so he thought. In the end, Fred could not fit the square peg into the round hole.

Wrong street. And wrong town.

The mystery Santa photo was not taken in Cape Girardeau. It was in Jackson.

Old Palace Theater and cafe in Jackson, MOFred began his quest with a call to Cathy Hancock at the Jackson office of The Southeast Missourian. She grew up in Jackson. Fred learned from Cathy that Rozier’s department store had a Santa in their window back in the 1960s
when Ken took the photo.

[Editor’s note: I was working for The Jackson Pioneer at the time, so it’s likely that I shot these pictures for it, and not The Missourian.]

Fred learned from Cathy that Jackson had a movie theater at the time, the Palace Theater. Cathy contacted a friend who confirmed there was a Palace Cafe next door to the theater.

Buildings change over decades. The utility poles on High Street are gone, as well as the parking meters. Rozier’s is now High Street Center, an office building. The theater is no more, but one can imagine it was there from the
front. Now it has a church and a beauty salon. The Palace Cafe is now Lloyd’s of Jackson, a bar. And so it goes with progress in Jackson.
.

[Thanks to Fred and Cathy at The Missourian and thanks to all of you who pulled out magnifying glasses to help solve this mystery.]