Cubs and Cuffs

Cub ScoutsI normally don’t bother to scan old 120 and 620 film because it’s a pain and usually not very good. Tonight, though, I discovered some old family shots that were fun and just in time for Brother Mark’s birthday later this week.

In the stack were these lineups of Cub Scouts that brought back some sartorial memories of the era.

Back in those days, mothers bought pants designed to accommodate a massive growing spurt, resulting in pants cuffs that were rolled up halfway to the knees in some cases.

Yep, that’s me

Cub Scouts 2The Boy Scout on the left is me. I must have had my growth spurt, because my pants cuffs are only slight rolled up. I served as Den Chief for Mrs. Jo Ann Bock’s den for a time. I wonder if that is Cape’s author on the right?

Click on the photos to make them large enough to pick out faces.

 

Jo Ann Bock’s Book

Jo Ann Bock at Tom Nuemeyer book signing 03-14-2010I photographed Jo Ann Bock at Tom Neumeyer’s book signing for his photo documentary book, Cape Girardeau Then & Now back in 2010.

When Mrs. Bock wrote Around the Town of Cape Girardeau in Eighty Years, she asked if she could use one of the photos on the back cover of her book. I didn’t hesitate to give her permission. She sent me a copy of the book in return. I was pleasantly surprised to see she had some extraordinarily nice things to say about a piece I wrote about her husband, Howard Bock, when he died.

Mr. Bock Changed my life

Howard Bock CHS 23In the curious way that things in Cape are intertwined, Mrs. Bock was my Cub Scout den mother and knew I was interested in photography. When I got to Central, her husband was in charge of the Tiger and Girardot photo staffs and asked if I’d like to join. That was, indirectly, the start of my photography career.

We saw different slices of time

Jo Ann Bock BookHoward and Jo Ann Bock were getting married (1950) just about the time I was getting born (1947), so we view Cape through slightly different lenses. She stayed in Cape, except for a few years, and I left in 1967, although Cape has never left me.

In the introduction to one of the chapters, she says, “Sometimes a person will ask why I didn’t mention this place, or that person, or recall a special event. My answer is that memories take different directions with people.” Maybe that’s why even though she and I plow the same ground, we come up with different crops.

Her view of Broadway

Vandeven Merchantile Company 1967She and a city directory did a good job of creating a list of businesses and residences along the Broadway corridor. We have some memory overlap on some long-time businesses like Vandeven’s and the movie theaters, but a lot of places she remembers were long gone when the 1960s came around.

Here’s a partial list of what I found along Broadway between Kingshighway and Main Street.

Library and Courthouse

Cook kidsids playing in courthouse fountain on Cape Girardeau's Common Pleas Courthouse grounds June 29, 1967She and I both spent a lot of time in the Cape Public Library when it was located on the grounds of the Common Pleas Courthouse. Unlike these kids, she “never felt right about playing in the fountain with that soldier staring down at me.”

Just for the record, the soldier that stared down at her was smashed by a falling limb. The pieced-together original lives at the Jackson Courthouse, and a replacement casting stares down at children today. Maybe the new one would be less intimidating.

The George Alt House

Trinity Lutheran School neighborhood c 1966We both served our time in the George Alt House, turned into Trinity Hall by Trinity Lutheran School.

A walk down Main Street

107 Main St Cape Girardeau MO 10-20-2009 - Hecht's Mrs. Bock takes us for a walk down Main Street, reeling off a list of businesses that are mostly not there. In fact, the only business still in operation is Zickfield’s Jewelry. Hecht’s is gone, as is Newberry’s, where she worked in the infant clothing department for 15 cents an hour.

Here’s a page where I posted photos of many of the businesses I remembered from my era. The current generation will think Main Street was nothing but bars and antique shops with a little art thrown in.

Hurrah for Haarig

Meyer-Suedekum 03-29-2010_2679That’s the name of her chapter covering the Good Hope / Sprigg area. She drops names like Hirsch’s for groceries, Suedekum’s for hardware, Cape Cut Rate for drugs and the anchor, Farmer’s and Merchants Bank. If she mentioned Pure Ice, I must have missed it.

Music and Majorettes

Homecoming 34Mrs. Bock devotes several chapters to the Cape Girardeau music scene: choirs, operettas, plays, the Cape Choraliers, the Girardot Rose Chorus, and local dance bands. She also mentions being a Central High School majorette in 1946.

SEMO Fair

SEMO Fair Groscurth's Blue Grass Shows MidwayShe and I both spent time at the district fair, both as kids enjoying the rides and exhibits, then later covering it for The Southeast Missourian.

Bring on the Barbecue

Wib's BBQ Brown Hot (outside meat) sandwichThis chapter touched on two of my favorite barbecue places: the Blue Hole Garden and Wib’s.

 Parade of Photographers

GD Fronabarger c 1967You don’t serve as a high school publication adviser and a Missourian reporter without running across that strange subset of humans (some would debate that human part) called photographers. She was suitably enough impressed with us that she devoted a whole chapter to photographers she knew and worked with.

One-Shot Frony, AKA Garland D. Fronabarger, was one of the most unique newspaper photographers I ever ran into. His gruff exterior covered up a gruff interior. He got his name because he would growl around a pipe or cigar clenched between his teeth, “Don’t blink. I’m taking one shot,” push the shutter release and walk off.

Paul Lueders, a Master Photographer who shot almost every school group and class photo for years, was the opposite of Frony: he was quiet, patient and willing to take however long it took to get his subject comfortable.

She mentions several other professional and student photographers who crossed her path over the years, then launches into two pages of such nice things about me I thought maybe I was reading my obit.

How do I get a copy?

Jo Ann Bock Book backIf you grew up in Cape, you might find yourself between the pages of Around the Town of Cape Girardeau in Eighty Years. She manages to work in more names than the phone book. So, how do you get copy?

The book is available on Amazon for $15.49. It’s eligible for free shipping though Amazon Prime, so if you sign up for a 30-day free trial of Prime by January 10, you can save some money and get it in two days.

 

Old Maid

Old Maid CardsChapter 24 of Jo Ann Bock’s book, Around the Town of Cape Girardeau in Eighty Years is entitled Games, Games, and More Games.

Even before those Monopoly-dominated years of the 1940s, I spent my earliest years playing card games like Old Maid, (today the game would be politically incorrect, giving way to an updated title such as Career Girl or Miss Independence),” she wrote.

A trip to the sock drawer

Old Maid Cards 2That reminded me that I had a bunch of old playing cards in the back of my sock drawer. My sock drawer is the repository for miscellaneous old heirlooms that don’t fit any other place. There is plenty of room because this is Florida where socks aren’t a big priority.

I showed the cards to Wife Lila: “Do you know what card game these are for?”

“Old Maid, [dummy].” The “dummy” part was unstated, but clearly implied. “They came in pairs except for the Old Maid. The person holding the Old Maid was the loser.”

Not much of a card player

Old Maid Cards 4I never was much of a game player. I dismiss board games as bored games and nearly got drummed out of the newspaper business when it became known that I never learned how to play poker.

Dad and I spent many an hour in the basement playing gin rummy and canasta, but I think it was mostly so he could win back my allowance. I might be able to pick up gin rummy again, but I’m sure I’ve forgotten all the arcane rules of canasta.

 Around the Town

Old Maid Cards 5P.S. I’ll have a review of Jo Ann Bock’s book in the next few days, but if you want to beat me to finishing it, you can pick it up on Amazon at this link. Here’s an even better deal: sign up for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime by January 10, and you can get the Bock book with free two-day shipping. You can cancel any time in the 30 days (and I get a $10 bounty for signing you up, even if you bail).

Where’s the Old Maid, you ask? She either dried up and blew away or she ran off with one of the odd socks that’s missing from my sock drawer.

Howard Bock Changed My Life

Howard Bock CHS 23 When I ran across this portrait of Howard Bock it got me to thinking about a post I did about him on my bike blog when he died. It’s worth revisiting and revising. You can click on the photo to make it larger. I really like it.

Howard Gilbert Bock, 87, lifelong resident of Cape Girardeau, died Monday, May 11, 2009.

It was a longish obituary by most standards because he had a much more active life than I ever knew.

B-26 Engineer Gunner in WWII

The quiet-spoken man had been an engineer gunner on B-26s in World War II. You would never know from talking with him that he had he been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, five air medals, American Defense Medal and campaign ribbons (Battle of Europe, Battle of the Rhineland and Battle of Ardennes-The Bulge).

Howard BockHe had been a teacher, coach and administrator for 32 years.

The Bocks lived on my newspaper route (on the left side of the road on a downhill stretch; they didn’t have any special requests, so I could fling and wing without slowing down). Jo Ann Bock, his wife, was my Cub Scout den mother.

When I was 12 years old, our family took a vacation / business trip to Florida. (Dad was looking for construction equipment to buy.) He gave me a Kodak Tourist II folding camera and I fell in love with photography.

When I was a high school freshman, I discovered the debate club, which caused photography to take a back seat.

My partner and I were undefeated for the year, so I thought law and politics were in my future. (You’ve heard me tell about why I abandoned politics.)

Do you want to join photo staff?

Howard Bock CHS 24Mr. Bock approached me one day, said he had heard that I was interested in photography and wondered if I might like to join the newspaper and yearbook photo staffs.

Darkroom was our special place

Cape Giradeau Central High School Girardot Photo Staff 1965I don’t know that I gave it much thought, but I joined the staff and learned how to process film and make prints in a tiny darkroom on the second floor down near the science classrooms. There wasn’t enough room to swing a cat, but we photographers had a key to the darkroom and it was our special place to hang out between classes.

It wasn’t long before I was freelancing for the local papers and discovering that being a photographer doing exciting things was more fun than the prospect of doing dull lawyer research. I can thank Mr. Bock for sending me off on a career path that was satisfying and rewarding. You never know where the ripples are going to go when you drop a pebble in the pond.

Uncle Milty and General O

Two of Central High School’s other science teachers were equally colorful and were war veterans of note.