Making the Rounds for Mother

When I pulled into 1618 Kingsway Drive late April 18 after a marathon month on the road that took me from Missouri to Ohio to Florida to Ohio, then back to Missouri, the first thing I noticed was a single red rose on the bush around the yard on the front yard.

The next morning, the bush was covered in blooms. Even though we had several days of torrential rain over the past few weeks, there were quite a few blooms ready for me to make the Mother’s Day rounds.

I don’t like plastic flowers

I’d rather leave some ratty real blossoms cut from the front yard instead of plastic plants made out of dead dinosaurs. The latter might last longer, but they are impersonal. The first stop was Wife Lila’s mother’s grave in St. Mary’s Cemetery off Perry Avenue.

Unusual tributes

My brothers and I usually mark Mother and Dad’s graves with things we pick up on the road, or things from the house. I’ve left tiles from the ruins of a building in Cairo, a railroad spike from Wittenberg and a coin smashed flat by a train car. David and Mark have buried tiny shoes from Mother’s shoe collection and Christmas ornaments.

Mother was an unusual lady, so we think she’d appreciate our quirky leavings.

“Who will decorate the graves?”

I spent many hours with Mother driving all over Cape and Stoddard counties visiting tiny cemeteries that contained the final resting places of her friends and family. This is my grandparents’ grave in Advance. You can click on the photos to make them larger.

I don’t know how many times I heard her ask, “Who will put flowers on the graves after I’m gone?”

I’ll do my best.

Dad Would Be Proud; I Am

Matt - LV Steinhoff 12-1975Son Matt was only two years old when Dad, L.V. Steinhoff, died in 1977, so he really only knows him from photos. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Malcolm

2015-06-13 MLS family at Mammoth CaveGrandson Malcolm, son of Matt and Sarah, is 11. He’s a voracious reader, a soccer player and a serious geek with a wicked sense of humor. He’s coming to spend a few days with me in Cape next week while Wife Lila is attending her Class of 1966’s 50th reunion.

I hope I can give him some Swampeast Missouri memories to take back with him.

Graham, Elliot and Finn

2015-06-15 Adam family collageSon Adam and Wife Carly produced three rambunctious, adventurous and terminally cute boys, Graham, Elliot and Finn.

One of Adam’s Facebook friends, Laurel Cherwin, created a collection of photos of the family, along with this copy:

I Honor Adam Steinhoff : a man who loves his boys! He passionately embraces Fatherhood as an exciting adventure and fills his boys lives with love, pure joy, exploration, thrill seeking activities, encourages creativity, expression and silliness! I Love you Adam & So proud of the father and man you have become.

I can’t say it any better than she did.

A quick thought on Father’s Day

Steinhoff family c 1953Brothers David and Mark and I were blessed to be raised by two great parents who nurtured us, guided us and made us who we are today.

I’m proud of the way my boys have turned out. That’s the best Father’s Day gift anyone can have.

(That’s my grandmother, Elsie Welch, on the couch in this photo from 1963. I’m the guy in the mirror taking the picture.)

High Chair, High Waters

Elsie Adkins Welch, Mark and LV Steinhoff eating winter watermelon at kitchen table March 1961Neighbors Bill and Rhonda and I went down to Dutchtown Monday afternoon. While we were there, I opened some mostly-empty sheds that hadn’t seen light (except for a hole in the roof) for years. Most everything of value had been taken out of them a long time ago, and whatever contents that remained had floated and rearranged themselves in the various floods since 1973. Stuff that could rust had rusted; stuff that could rot or fall apart had done just that; everything had a thick or thin patina of river mud sticking to it.

As I was playing a flashlight beam around, Rhonda said, “That’s a high chair under there.”

Indeed, it was. It was the very yellow high chair that Brother Mark was sitting in back in March of 1961. That’s my grandmother, Elsie Welch on the left. Dad, engrossed in one of my comic books, is on the right. Looks like we were having some combination of brownies, milk, barbecue sandwiches (made on the grill in the background, where our microwave lives today), and iced tea.

It’s still in pretty good shape

Mark Steinhoff's high chair - Dutchtown 08-17-2015I was surprised to see it was in better shape than I would have thought. The metal tray that Mark used to bang his cup on like he was in a B-Grade prison movie would still slide on and off. The legs have some rust on them, but I don’t know if that’s from the Mississippi River or my brother’s leaky diapers.

You might just see this at Annie Laurie’s Antique Shop one of these days, Lord willin’ and the rivers don’t rise.

Deciding What Is Important

Counch Mfg - Denver CO - calendar 003-2015You accumulate a lot of stuff in 93 years, longer than that if you count the stuff that I recognize from my Grandmother’ house in Advance. It’s hard to decide if it goes into the Annie Laurie stack for sale; the stack for charity or the stack for the dumpster.

One item that was hiding in plain sight all these years was a little copper-clad perpetual calendar made by the Couch Mfg. Co. of Denver Colorado.

You’d move that little black slider on the bottom until the first day of the month would line up with the right day of the week, and everything else would fall into place. (Except for February and Leap Year.) On the back of the inside of the stand was a handy printed chart that showed where you should line up the 1st for 1949 through 1952.

Must have been my Grandmother’s

Colorado TripBack in 2011, I did a bio of Elsie Adkins Welch. In it, I mentioned that I have an undated Missourian clipping that says,ON TRIP TO YELLOWSTONE.” Leaving Sunday for a ten-day trip through the western states were Mrs. Lillian Ackert, Mrs. Roy Welch, Mrs. H. Zimmerman and Mrs. L.O. Reutzel. They will stop in Denver and Colorado Springs, and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.”

To say this was unusual in that day and age would be an understatement. I remember crying when they left town because I wanted to go with them, so I had to have been around three, which would have put the trip in about 1950. (I’m the little kid sitting on the suitcase.)

If the other boys don’t want it, I guess I’ll claim it.