Water Column Barometer

When Jim Stone and I visited our old earth science teacher Ernie Chiles on one of our trips back to Cape, Ernie mentioned a class project both of us had forgotten.

To back up a bit, I’ve written about the odd relationship Ernie, Jim, George Cauble and I had in class. Ernie was a teacher so new the ink was still smeary on his diploma. Jim was on his way to become a science whiz and George was destined to go to Rolla as an engineer. Me, I was just a guy who liked to challenge authority and hang out with George and Jim.

Jim is on the left in the photo above. Ken Trowbridge is in the middle. The fellow on the right looks familiar, but I can’t put a name on the face right now. Wife Lila says it might be Terry Hopkins. Click on the photos to make them larger.

The pressure (atmospheric) was on

As Ernie tells the story, we were on a chapter dealing with atmospheric pressure, which is typically measured in inches of mercury. Normal atmospheric air pressure – roughly 14.7 psi at sea level – will support a column of mercury about 30 inches tall. The same 14.7 psi will support a column of water about 34 feet high.

Jim, George and I said we wanted to prove it. This is where Ernie got worried, he said. “It would be an interesting experiment that would make the concept clear, but I was worried. What kind of prank had these these scallywags cooked up that was going to get me fired?” Maybe Ernie was contemplating what having a student fall to his death out of his classroom window would do to his teaching career.

Our motives, despite Ernie’s misgivings were pure. We had a chance to kill a class period doing something that would allow us to drop a hose out of the third-floor classroom, attracting the attention of the classes of Floors One and Two and we could watch Ernie squirm. Oh, yeah, and we could learn something that we already knew about atmospheric pressure. What’s better than that?

The experiment was simple

The experiment was low-tech. We had to fill a waste can with water, drop a hose in it to fill it with water, then hoist it with a rope to measure how high the water column was. A three-story building should give us the 30 feet we needed. Jim was in charge of the classroom side. I was supposed to get the hose filled with water.

I don’t recall Bill Wilson being in our class, so I may have Tom Sawyered him into filling the bucket and carrying it under Jim’s classroom window. I probably said something like, “Hey, Bill, how about doing this while I take your picture?”

George Cauble was even smarter

George Cauble didn’t even work that hard. While Jim was hauling hose and Bill was toting water and I was taking pictures, George was hanging out with Nancy Jenkins. Like I said, he was the smart one.

The experiment worked (sort of)

Jim didn’t fall out of the window, Bill managed to fill the hose with water, the water column came close to 30 feet (there was some kind of last-minute glitch of some kind, but it was close enough for CHS work), I managed to take some pictures that I held onto for almost half a century and we didn’t put an end to Ernie’s teaching career. Not a bad day’s work.

General Pest Control

These photos were taken for a freelance job for General Pest Control. I don’t know if they were for a brochure, a Missourian ad or what. I also don’t know the names of the people in the photo. They were probably shot around 1964. Click on any photo to make it larger.

Checking under the sink

The lady of the house must have known we were coming because I don’t think I’ve ever seen an area under a kitchen sink so neat and organized.

I took my flash off the camera, but I should have bounced it off the ceiling to get rid of the harsh shadow behind the guy’s head. Maybe I thought about doing that but was afraid it wouldn’t get enough light under the sink. That’s one advantage of today’s digital cameras: you can see the picture before you leave.

Shadow shows Honeywell strobe

I would never have made a print that showed my shadow or any sign of me, but I left my shadow in here because it shows the Honeywell Strobonar 65C or 65D strobe bolted on the camera. I had both over the years They were called “potato mashers” because of their shape. The 65C used rechargeable batteries in the head. The disadvantage was that it was slow to recycle, so you couldn’t shoot one shot right after another.

The 65D used a 510-volt battery that dangled from a case on your belt. It recycled quickly because of the high voltage zap it gave the capacitors. Since it used the same frame as the 65C and because it didn’t use batteries in the head, there was a neat little storage space where you could put a spare cord or other accessory.

The high-voltage battery had one drawback (other than being relatively expensive): if the battery cord had a short and you were anywhere near a wet surface, all that voltage would surge though YOU and flat put you on the ground. I was walking across a wet football field one night when I thought I had been tackled from behind. After a second jolt, I decided it was time to go back to the car for a spare cord.

What channel were they watching?

Here’s another shot I would have cropped tighter in the real world, but I left it wide so you could speculate what TV channel they were watching. Their antenna is pointing to the northwest. I would have thought the KFVS World’s Tallest Man-made Structure would have been more to the north toward Egypt Mills. The only two other stations you could pick up in Cape were Paducah to the north-northeast and St. Louis to the north.

That would have been about the right direction to pick up the old KFVS tower that was located next to North County Park near the old KFVS radio tower, but by the mid-60s when these photos were taken that tower wasn’t used any more.

[Wife Lila, who was proofreading this, thinks it was Harrisburg we watched instead of St. Louis. The channels she remembers getting were 3, 6 and 12. I’m certainly not going to contradict her.]

Owned and operated by the Paynes

Leeman Payne’s obituary in the Dec. 29, 2010, Missourian said that Mr. Payne and his wife, Dorothy, owned and operated General Pest Control for 35 years. He also built and sold homes in Cape and Bollinger counties. I didn’t make a personal connection with General Pest Control until I saw that Mr. Payne was survived by a daughter, Carolyn. In the interest of full disclosure, Carolyn and I dated briefly before I won a coin toss with Jim Stone and hooked up with the future Wife Lila. Maybe that’s how I got the freelance job.

An Internet search landed me on the D & L Pest Control website where it says that in 1987 “D&L makes its largest acquisition to date by purchasing General Pest Control Company of Cape Girardeau MO. With this purchase D&L opens its first branch office, in Cape Girardeau. After years of steady growth in the Dexter office this merger makes D&L the largest pest control company in Southeast Missouri. By now the D&L team has grown from 1 employee in 1979 to 14 employees. Greg DeProw now takes over as branch manager in the Cape Girardeau office. The purchase of General Pest Control also introduces D&L service to southern Illinois.”

 

Okay, Who Did It?

I’ve already done a page on the Red Dagger’s My Sister Eileen and Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, so when I discovered these frames stuck in with a fire I shot in Ohio, I almost relabeled them and stuck them back in the file. Then I saw something that piqued my interest.

Whose car is this? Who did this nefarious deed? Their timing was good. I see one of the pages is from The Missourian’s Achievement Edition. That was usually the biggest paper of the year. Gaining entry to the car wouldn’t have been difficult. Most folks didn’t lock the doors and about half of them left the keys in the ignition.

Surely these guys didn’t do it

Principal Fred Wilferth and custodian James Criddle were on this roll of film, which means they were in the vicinity of the hooliganism, but they don’t have the guilty look of someone who has just stuffed someone’s car with a week’s worth of papers.

By the way, this film was in pretty bad shape, so I had a choice of spending hours spotting out all the flaws or pretending that the practice took place during a snow storm. I opted for the latter. In one frame there IS a cup flying through the air and water or some other liquid frozen by the strobe flash.

Gallery of the usual suspects

If I was a cop, I’d round up this gang of suspects from My Sister Eileen. I’m pretty sure that at least one of them would crack when you shined the bright light in their eyes. I bet you wouldn’t even have to bring out the rubber hoses. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the photo until you find the guilty person or persons.

Anola Gill Stowick was kind enough to provide a cast list when I ran the other story. I’m having the names run right now for wants and warrants. We should have this wrapped up in a matter of hours.

Chuck Dockins, Sally Wright, Sherry Harris, Larry Loos, Pat Sommers, Tom Spitzmiller, Steve Crowe, David Reimann, John Reimann, Rick Meinz, Jane Randol, Mike Daniels, Pam Parks, Mike Seabaugh, Steve Folsom, Anola Gill, Lee Dahringer, Don Mowery, John Magill, Preston Foster, Kenny Fischer, Vicky Roth, Jim Stone
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Faculty Director – Kitty Hart, Jerrette Davis, Carl Meyer, Becky McGinty, Steve Strong, Marsha Seabaugh, Janice House, Hilda Hobbs, Martin Hente,  Bill Kuster, Tom Holt, Ralph Frye, Shari Stiver, Cheri Huckstep, Tana Austin, Diane Siemers, Betsy Ringland, Francie Hopkins, Ruth Ann Seabaugh, Beth Hayden, Judy Dunklin, Peggy Estes, Judy Brunton, Terry Hinkle, Robin Kratz, Marcia Maupin, Sally Nothdurft, Toni Starkweather, Bunny Blue, Mary Sudholt, Cheryl McClard, Emma Pensel, David Stubbs Ron Hill, Gwynn Sheppard Mary Rickard, Mary Jean Rodgers, Carol Klarsfeld, Dean Kimmich, Donna Eddleman, Marsha Harris, Martha Mahy, Paul Schwab, Amanda Ashby, Della Heise, Don Sander, Anne Buchanan, Ronnie Marshall, John Mueller, Pat Johnson.

Broadway Theater: WOW!

I’ve always had a mental checklist of places I wanted to photograph in Cape. High on the list was the Broadway Theater. I shot the exterior in 2001 when it had a cheesy facade covering the original brick. I shot it in 2009 from the outside, but could do no more than peer through the glass at junk and a faded carpet inside.

I told someone, “That place is either one match away from an insurance claim or a strong wind from a roof collapse.”

Phillip Davis is starting a business

About two weeks ago, I saw the doors open and some kind of display on the sidewalk. I walked up and introduced myself to Phillip Davis, who is leasing the building for the next 18 months to sell beauty supplies, clothing and cellphone accessories from what used to be the lobby. He said I could look around, but I couldn’t take any photos without getting the OK from the owner. It took a week, but Phillip and I finally put all the pieces of the project together.

Jim Stone, Shari Stiver and I were supposed to have a mini-reunion the previous weekend, but Shari begged off because of bronchitis. I knew I was going to need a helper on this job and I knew that Shari had been a general contractor doing building rehab in St. Louis, so I asked her if she felt well enough to come down to help. She jumped at the chance to see the landmark building.

Phillip told us to meet Qiunan Tang, a SEMO student from China. He opened the place up, flipped a bunch of circuit breakers and let us have free run. We spent four hours combing every inch of the place and could have spent twice that time except that I needed to shoot something else that afternoon and Shari had to get back to the big city. I’d like to come back and do the job with some additional lights.

Pictures ARE worth thousands of words

There are some stories where you just have to get out of the way and let it tell itself. I’m not going to bog you down with a bunch of history or I-remember-whens. I’ll let you folks do that in the comments. I look forward to hearing your memories. In this case, pictures ARE worth thousands of my words.

This is a composite of six photos stitched together into a panorama by Photoshop. That’s why there’s ragged white space around the edges. I was working with a tripod with a leg that was trying to collapse, so all of the frames weren’t exactly square with each other. I wanted to have the best detail possible, so I locked the “film” speed at 200 and opted for long shutter speeds. Click on any photo to make it larger. I made the panoramas about twice the size of my normal horizontal shots so you can see the detail in the photos.

Let’s just say the Broadway WAS spectacular and it’s still in remarkable shape. The seats are in good condition (plastic arm rests with cup holders have been added); most of the wall sconces are intact and working; the seats in the balcony have been removed and the projectors are gone; the orchestra pit has been floored over with steps that lead to the stage. Many of the rich tapestries that lined the walls are still hanging.

There’s some peeling paint and some plaster has fallen off, but there’s no major leaks apparent, no rodents scurrying around (although birds have gotten into the building and left their deposits in a few spots) and no obvious signs of mold.

Other Cape area movie stories

Photo gallery of the public areas

These photos were taken in 2001, 2009 and 2011. Tomorrow I’ll run a gallery of places the public has probably never seen: the dressing rooms, mechanical areas and basement. There’s almost as much space below the theater as there is in the seating area. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the photo to move through the gallery. What do YOU remember about the theater?