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.”

 

“That’s My Girlfriend”

Here is my obligatory Valentine’s Day post.

I followed Bill Robinson and Jesse King out to their home on Robinson Road, just outside Athens, Ohio, on a cold, snowy January day in 1969. You’ll be hearing more about what I was doing there and see more photos in the coming weeks. Click on the photos to make them larger.

If there had been a Hoarder’s TV show back then, these old farmer bachelors would have qualified. Not long after I picked my way through a maze of tunnels of debris inside the house, they led me to the kitchen. It was piled high with dirty dishes and food of ¬†indeterminate origin.

“Have you ever tried one of these before?

Jesse, who did most of the talking for the duo, reached onto the table, wiped off a fork on his overalls and thrust it into my hand. With the other hand, he pulled a bowl off the table. It contained something that was sort of lumpy. In the dim light, I couldn’t quite pull out what color it was, but it glowed vaguely green.

“Boy,” he said. (Remember he was the talkative one.) “Have you ever tried one of these before?

I could see where this was going and it didn’t look good.

  • If I said “yes,” I knew he he would say, “Well, I bet you’ve never had any as good as these.”
  • If I said, “no,” he’d say, “Well, dig in. You won’t find any better than these.” I was a gonner either way.

I looked at the dish and the fork and did a mental calculation: These old goats eat this stuff every day and it hasn’t killed them. “No, Jesse, I haven’t.”

“Well, dig in, You won’t find any better than these,” he said, predictably.

The ghostly apparition

I forked up a small quantity of the unknown dish. Before I could say anything, I noticed a ghostly white form floating into the room. “WOW! This stuff really works fast. I bet I could make a fortune selling this stuff on campus,” I thought.

Jesse turned to the apparition and said, “That’s my girlfriend.”

I never found out the girlfriend’s name nor what the mystery green dish was. (For the curious, it was sort of like a pickle, with a strange gritty crunch that was either some kind of seasoning or, more likely, sand. I didn’t ask for the recipe. There are some things you’re better off not knowing.)

Here’s MY girlfriend

I ran across this frame from a shoot of Grandma Gatewood, an extraordinary woman who, at the age of  67 was the first woman to hike the 2,168-mile Appalachian Trail in one season. When I shot her on the Buckeye Trail near Logan, Ohio, in January of 1969, she was 81 and had done the Appalachian Trail two more times.

The day was beyond miserable. The rain aspired to turn cold enough to become snow; it was so foggy you couldn’t see 100 yards; there was icy snow melt ready to fill your shoes and the trail was a quagmire that would suck your boots off.

When I was editing the film, I was surprised to find two frames of Lila Perry before she became Lila Steinhoff. I hadn’t remembered that she had come along on the assignment. Let me tell you, even someone as dense as I am knew that if you could find a woman who would give you a look like this under those conditions, she was a definite keeper and you shouldn’t let her get away.

We were married in June of 1969.

Valentines past

If you want to see the ones who DID get away, check out my grade school Valentines rescued from Mother’s attic last year.

Knights of Columbus Hall

This photo of men was taken in the Knights of Columbus Hall on April 2, 1967, if the note on the negative sleeve is to be believed. I searched for it in The Missourian, but didn’t see it. Either it didn’t run or I shot it as a freelance job.

Some of the men look familiar, but the only one I can identify for sure is the man in the back row, on the left. That’s Ray Seyer, Wife Lila’s uncle. You’ll be hearing more about him soon. Lila went back to Cape for his 90th birthday party Saturday.

These are men who wear serious, built-to-last wingtip shoes. I wonder if they were made in the Cape Shoe Factory? Click on any photo to make it larger.

The KC Hall

The Knights of Columbus Hall that overlooks the Mississippi River is one of those buildings that I would recognize at a glance, but haven’t had many occasions to visit. My most vivid memory is abandoning my date – probably Lila – in my car in the parking lot one night while I dashed off to shoot a fire in a neighboring building.

Casino vs. Bingo?

Will the Bingo players keep coming or will the Casino dry up that income for local charities and groups?

A family photo

The last time I was inside the KC Hall was after Lila’s mother’s funeral. The family gathered there to reminisce and to snack on food friends had brought. Inevitably, cameras came out and the picture-taking started. This sequence shows Son Adam with his Uncle John Perry. The family resemblance is plain.

Florida Steinhoff Christmas

It was good to be back in Florida in time to celebrate Christmas with my Florida family. We’re not big on ceremony.

Some of us gathered at Son Matt’s Christmas Eve for takeout Chinese Food, which is becoming a tradition.

Strict cooking instructions

Christmas dinner was equally unstructured. Everybody brought a different dish to share so that no one person got stuck slaving away in the kitchen. Even I got drafted. Wife Lila left me strict instructions: “I may not be back from church by 11 o’clock, so take the ham out of the oven at 11 sharp.” When the alarm went off, I went racing into the kitchen. Even with potholders, that sucker was HOT! I managed to extract it from the oven with minimal damage to ham and me. I don’t think anyone noticed where it bounced off the floor. It’s a good thing the cats don’t shed much; there was minimal cat hair to pick off.

The photo includes Matt and Sarah (standing), Mary Jo and Devon (Sarah’s parents), Carly, Graham and Adam, and Lila. Malcolm’s on the left making it plain that he wants dinner over with so he can go back to his loot. You can click on any photo to make it larger.

“You have to be eight to work on this”

Grandson Malcolm wasn’t hearing it when I looked at the cover of the Soda Can Robug and said, “We can’t work on this. It says it’s suitable for ages 8 and older. You’re just seven.”

“GRANDAD,” he said in an exasperated tone, “I’ve put together stuff that’s for ages 14 and up. My parents don’t care.”

I hope she likes my Nikon D40

Son Adam bid on a Nikon D3100 on eBay last week. I’m trying to convince them that they should take my Nikon D40 and let me pay the difference to take it off their hands. I’m happy with the D40 (I’ve taken about 30,000 pictures with it since 2008), but it would be nice to upgrade. Carly’s shooting 10-month-old Grandson Graham with the D40 to see how she likes it.

Lego Assembly technician for hire

I knew better than to point out to Malcolm that this box says 8+. He’s always had a great eye for detail. When he wasn’t much more than a year old, we gave him a bunch of paper cups to play with on the floor. When we looked over, he had carefully arranged them by size and was putting the smaller ones into the bigger ones. He made the transition from Thomas the Train and track layouts to Legos and major construction projects this year.

When one of Sarah’s friends posted on Facebook, “Does anyone else feel like they work on a Lego assembly line?” Sarah offered, “Malcolm says he charges $1 an hour to assemble Legos, unless it’s something cool. Then he does it for free.”

My old Cub Scout neckerchief

Mother sent Malcolm a special gift. He’s modeling a Cub Scout neckerchief and slide that Brothers Mark and David and I wore when we were Cub Scouts with Pack 8, shortly after the earth’s crust cooled. She asked him to “take care of it and pass it down to Graham” when he’s done with it.

Credit where credit’s due

I took the group shot at the top of the page, but Wife Lila took all the rest of the photos with her trusty iPhone.