Old Cape Fire Station #4

When the Steinhoff families from Missouri, Florida and Texas gathered for Mother’s Birthday Season in 2013, Young Graham got to inspect the trucks.

We were on Kingsway long before Station 4

A letter from Fire Chief Rickard Ennis came to the house addressed to Mother. She, unfortunately, had moved to an address in the New Lorimier Cemetery by then, so I responded to it. The survey was designed to reassure what would be the neighbors of the new Station 4 that it wouldn’t be a nuisance.

Chief Ennis,

I received your survey addressed to Louis and Mary Steinhoff at 1618 Kingsway Drive. I’m responding in their behalf. Dad died in 1977, and Mother died June 22, 2015. I’m sure Mother would have wanted you to hear about her wonderful neighbors at Station #4. (See attached survey.)

Our house was built in 1956, long before Kurre Lane was extended and longer yet before Station #4 was built, as you can see in this aerial photo I took in 1966. Our house was the first of the three houses going down the hill from Kurre, the street running horizontally at the bottom of the photo.

Mother loved having the station across the street

Mother loved having your guys across the street. If she got her lawn mower hung up in the ditch in front of the house, they’d help her get it unstuck. If she went to the store to buy a 50-lb bag of bird seed, she’d wait until she saw someone in the parking lot and ask them to help her get it out of the trunk.

Several years ago, she experienced shortness of breath that turned out to be congestive heart failure. I’m convinced that one of the reasons she didn’t hesitate to dial 9-1-1 was that she knew the folks who would respond.

Sirens were the last thing that bothered her

I smiled a bit when I read the question about the nuisance rating relating to the noise of sirens.

As a newspaper director of photography, I had to make sure all the paper’s police and fire monitors were capable of receiving new systems that were changing all the time. That meant I had a huge surplus of old radios that would find themselves in Cape. I think she had a scanner in every room but the bathroom, and she might have carried a portable in there.

As soon as she heard a siren go out from the fire station or the ambulance company, she’d fire up the scanner closest to her to find out what was going on. That gene is possibly what caused me to end up in the newspaper business.

The station was an asset to the neighborhood

Far from lowering property values, I’ve always told folks that it’s a tremendous asset to have you and the ambulance company within a block of us. I’m sure there is a priority given to keeping Kingsway Drive’s street clear of snow and ice, and on keeping the power on in our area because of it.

Oh, yes, we have NO trouble hearing the warning siren, even in the basement.

In 2013, my grandson Graham came to Cape from Florida to visit his great-grandmother. Of course, we had to go look at the fire trucks. He was impressed with the size of the apparatus, and dug “driving” it and blowing the siren, but he wasn’t quite ready for the sound of the air horn, as you can tell in one of the photos.

Mother led a full and active life for most of her 93 years, only having a quick decline after the first of 2015. I came to Cape to assist her.

You didn’t have to dial 9-1-1 when Station 4 was across the street

One night she tumbled out of bed, tearing her paper-thin skin. I didn’t think it was an injury worth going to the emergency room in the middle of the night, but I wanted a second opinion and help picking her up off the floor. Instead of dialing 9-1-1, it was nice to be able to walk across the street to describe the problem.

They did a truck roll, bandaged her up, and helped lift her. I couldn’t have asked for a better crew to show up. The fact that she recognized them helped calm her down and reassure her that everything was going to be OK.

She told me of the rumors that Station #4 was going to be replaced. If that’s the case, I’m glad she left before you folks did. She’d have been heartbroken to lose her good neighbors.

The night before the move to the new station

I kept telling myself that I should document the old station before it was too late. When I got around to it, the guys told me I had cut it close: this was their last night before the move.

Mike Smith, Mike McLemore and Byron Stroer were kind enough to give me the run of the place for a few hours.

The last hours of Station 4

Sometimes you throw aesthetics aside and shoot for the record. That’s what these photos do. Click on any image to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around. Note: there are two pages to the gallery. I didn’t notice that at first.

Cheating Death at the Perkins Shoe Tree

Perkins shoe tree 05-05-2020

I got this email from Number Three Steinhoff Brother Mark Tuesday: “I was wondering if you ever went back and photographed Perkins Shoe Tree to see if first, the pole was still there and second, if the shoes were there?”

Steinhoff Family Shoes

Shoes for shoe tree 11-26-2010

He was referring to a utility pole I discovered in 2010 when heading out to shoot aerials with Ernie Chiles. When the Tulsa Clan came to Cape to visit Mother, Mark assembled their shoes, created special red tags, and took them to Perkins to start a family tradition.

Mark wants to be the oldest brother

David, Mark, Ken Steinhoff 08-1978

If it had been any reader other than Brother Mark, I would have assumed it was idle curiosity. With him, I suspect more nefarious motives.

See, he’s always wanted to be the oldest brother. Since that didn’t happen in the natural order of things, he’s been trying to gain the title by attrition. In other words, he’s trying to kill off his two older brothers.

Attempted Fratricide

Mark Steinhoff Christmas 2000

In 2000, we went on a bike ride around Cape. We were going down a long, steep hill with a nasty curve at the bottom when he started pushing me to the edge of the road, kind of like a collie herding a sheep.

I had no choice but bail out into a ditch, making a taco out of my wheel. When the Steinhoffs convened in St. Louis to celebrate Christmas, I presented him with my wheel and a plaque attesting to his evildoing. I wanted a record of his past in case he tried again.

Wanted me to break quarantine

Perkins shoe tree 05-05-2020

I could only assume that he wanted me to leave the safety of my self-quarantine on Kingsway Drive so he could count on my high-risk status to move him up a notch in the Brother Universe.

I accepted his challenge. The top photo shows that the pole and the shoes still exist.

This closeup shows some shoes with the metal tags still in them, but the red paint has faded. In a few places, the tags are still embedded in the pole, but the shoes have gone AWOL.

Shoes tired of hanging around

Perkins shoe tree 05-05-2020

It looks like some shoes have gotten tired of hanging around.

Not Welcome to Perkins

Perkins Vol Fire Dept sign 05-05-2020

This isn’t exactly a Welcome to Perkins message, but I can understand its meaning.

In for a penny, in for a pound

Advance Elementary School 05-05-2020

Since I was already out and about, I made a quick run through Advance to see if I could pick up some great chips and salsa at El Mexicano. They were dark, so I’m afraid they were closed.

I DID see this cool sign on the door of the Advance Elementary School (along with one that said that all Advance R-4 School District facilities are closed until further notice. A man who saw me at the door said they were closed for the rest of the school year, and hoped they might open again by August).

Mrs. Tanner, Mrs. Theresa, Mrs. Christina and Mr. Jones wanted pupils to know “We really miss you!”

“P.S.,” it continued, “I used the ‘smelly” markers. NO you cannot smell them through the window (smiley face).”

There are some bright spots around

Flowers south of Leopold 05-05-2020

I pulled off on the side of a gravel road somewhere between Advance and Leopold to take a look at this field of yellow.

If you don’t hear from me, it’s because Brother Mark’s plot to move up in the Brother Universe was successful.

Pine(coning) Away for Mother

Pine Cones and Memories of Mother

I ran across a couple things that stuck me this week during what would have been Mother’s 98th Birthday Season. We’ll get to them in a second.

Back in 2014, Mother and I went trekking for pine cones that we could use as fire starters. She took to it like a kid on Easter morning.

Today, I took Road Warriorette Shari and her mother, Senior Honorary Road Warriorette LaFern, to an undisclosed location for a similar hunt. (“If anybody asks what we’re doing, tell them we’ve been sentenced to community service,” I told them.)

When we were through, I said we’d make a side trip over to New Lorimier Cemetery to wish Mother a Happy Birthday with a pair of our pine cones. I mean, flowers are so ordinary.

Gregory Lincoln’s Thoughts

Gregory A. Lincoln administrator of Facebook’s Cape Rewound, a popular group with 5,311 members (and counting) recently lost his mother. He shared this with the group:

Sitting in my bed enjoying the pretty full moon shine through my bedroom window. 🙂. It’s been a very rough weekend. It’s hard to imagine her gone. All my life she was very tough and fought death and seem to always win except that final battle. I don’t understand. I assume it’s a battle we will all lose sooner or later. I guess she knew in her heart it was her time. Her birthday is approaching so please excuse me if I share a memory, a photograph or heart touching song.

About the same time, I was sorting stuff that had buried my desk, deciding what I wanted to keep, and what would be good fireplace fodder now that the weather is turning chilly.

Memories Sneak Out of My Eyes

In the stack was a letter from Brother Mark. It was a rambling thing, all full of non sequiturs and whimsy. On the last page, in the last paragraph before reaching a photo of Mother in one of her signature red coats, he wrote, “As I find myself at the bottom of the page, I couldn’t decide which to end with, so you get both. Put it in context, if you will.

“My memory loves you; it asks about you all the time.”

and

“Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks.”

A Rose for Mary O. Adkins

A Rose for Mary O. Adkins

Mother always asked, ” “Who will put flowers on the graves after I’m gone?” Her flowers were celebrating spring in fine fashion, so I dropped off flowers at four sites on Friday.

My journey took me to the beautiful Pleasant Hill Cemetery near Tillman, just outside Advance, Mo., where my grandmother’s father and mother are buried.

Mother and her grandmother

Here is Mother and her grandmother on the farm near Tillman. After this, the Adkins moved to the big metropolis of Advance, where they opened a general store near what is now Oak Street and East South Street. Mother remembered the store had a parrot that would occasionally use inappropriate language.

Mary Adkins’ Obituary

Mary Adkins’ death certificate attributed her death to acute bronchitis, with a secondary cause of senility. Dr. Reynolds of Advance was the attending physician. I never paid much attention to the family tree, but this obit helps me figure out who some of the names were that I heard in passing.