Best River View in Cape

Cape has entered The Ugly Season. I’ve been living in Florida too long. Sure, we have torrential rains almost every day during the wet season, but they start and stop in about 15 minutes. Your side of the street could be getting pounded, but your neighbor across the street is perfectly dry. Florida rain knows its place and stays in it.

I woke up Thursday morning looking out the window at something that was between rain, mist and fog. The temperature was well above freezing, but I wasn’t as I ran around town taking care of some errands. It was like that when I woke up; it was like that when the sun went down. It’s probably going to look like that until about May.

330 N. Lorimier

One of my stops took me over to see Laurie Everett, Wife Lila’s niece, and proprietor of Annie Laurie’s Antiques. She and some other folks in the shop INSISTED that I had to go up a few blocks to an estate sale at 330 N. Lorimier.

After the emotional tailspin I had last weekend at a home auction, I wasn’t sure I was ready to hop back on that pony. Besides, it was cold and rainy and they said I’d have to park and walk a fair distance. The thing that sold me, though, was Laurie insisting the house “had the best view of the Mississippi River of anywhere in Cape.”

She was right.

First private pool in Cape

Cash box custodians Heather Meyer and Melanie Wood filled me in on some of the house’s history. It was built in the “19-teens” by the W. H. Harrison, the Harrison part of the H & H Building, one of Cape’s early tallest structures.

The Harrison family owned the whole block and built what was thought to be the first swimming pool in Cape Girardeau on a terrace below that white fence. Below THAT was a grass tennis court. The pool, another man said, needs some work, but was filled as recently as 1-1/2 years ago.

The tennis court “was a bit of a jungle,” but it’s been cleared up now.

Dr. Gibson came next

Dr. Gibson and his wife were the next owners. They passed it down to their son, Jim Gibson, a lawyer, and his wife Nancy. When Jim died, Nancy decided to move to a smaller place.

The estate sale will continue through Saturday, November 5. Here’s a link describing some of the items for sale. I don’t know how long the link will be valid.

Servants had the best view

The photo at the top of the page was taken from a second floor window. The servants lived on the third floor. They had a smaller window, but an even better view. The door to that area was closed off, so I couldn’t see for myself.

The house appears to be well-maintained. I’ve been in so many depressing and falling-down buildings of late that it felt good to be in one that had been taken care of.

330 N. Lorimier Photo Gallery

Here’s a selection of photos showing the house and the items for sale. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

Draft Cards

I ran across a box with a bunch of my old press cards and other credentials. Stapled together was a stack of my old Draft Cards. I wrote earlier about my first meeting with Lola B. Gilbert when I went to register for the Draft. I’m pretty sure I didn’t make a good impression.

For those of you who have forgotten or were female or who are too young to remember the Selective Service, the most important thing on the card was the two or three letters that showed up at the end of the line, “is classified in Class ______.”

Draft Classifications

  • 1SH – My first classification. Student deferred by statute (High School). Induction can be deferred either until graduation or until reaching the age of 20. (As soon as you took an educational deferment, your eligibility was extended to age 35. That sounded like forever. You’d be in a wheelchair by that time, you thought.)
  • 2S – Registrant deferred because of collegiate study. Deferment lasted either until graduation or until the registrant reached the age of 24.
  • 1A – The next letter would be to schedule your draft physical. Depending on what happened there, you could get a letter that started out “Greetings” from the President of the United States telling you that you were the lucky recipient of an all-expenses-paid vacation in Southeast Asia.

1Y and 4F cards are missing

Two critical cards are kicking around, but weren’t with these.

After I showed up at my draft physical with a note from a doctor, I was given a temporary 1Y classification. That meant that I was available for military service, but qualified only in case of war or national emergency. It was usually given to registrants with medical conditions that were limiting, but not disabling. (My doctor said I had a possible ulcer and was being treated.)

(I used to repeat the old joke that I held a 4P classification: in case of war, I was a hostage.)

Before I was called back for a follow-up physical, the first Draft Lottery was held in 1969. For once, I held the winning ticket. My birth date was drawn as Number 258, which all but assured that I wouldn’t be called.

The board, recognizing that, classified me as 4F. At least, I HOPE that’s why. The 4F classification had carried some stigma because it meant that you didn’t meet established physical, mental or moral standards.

Me and the National Guard

I eventually ended up in uniform, anyway.

I wanted to do a story on the local guard unit going to Camp Blanding for summer training. The company commander gave me his blessing and I thought I was all set. A couple days before we were to leave, however, I got a call from the Master Sergeant, who said that the Higher Ups ruled that I couldn’t ride in the convoy. I’d have to get there POV (privately owned vehicle).

“We can work it out”

West Palm Beach National Guard unit at Camp Blanding summer campI expressed disappointment. That’s when I learned that there’s The Brass, and then there’s the guys who get ‘er done.

He said, “I’ve got it all worked out. Come on by and get fitted for a uniform. You’ll look like everybody else. Nobody’ll know.”

“Sarge, I worked really hard to NOT wear a uniform. I REALLY don’t want to wear a prison uniform. How much trouble can I get into if I’m caught?”

“Don’t worry. You won’t get caught.”

So, I showed up, drew my uniform and an instant promotion to E6. “That’s high enough that nobody will mess with you, but not so high somebody will salute you and get you all confused,” he explained.

As soon as the jeep stopped rolling, I jumped back into civvies for the rest of the week. I DID get to keep everything but the helmet, though.

Click here to see photos from National Guard camp. There are a few I really like.