Bob Campbell did a story on the Perryville Pumpkin Farm in the September 28, 2014, Missourian. When Friend Shari and I wrapped up our business at the Altenburg Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum, I suggested we head up the road to take a look at it.
I had never seen so many different colors, shapes and varieties of pumpkins and squash. They aren’t ALL orange and round, children. Bob’s story said the farm raises 146 varieties of pumpkins. There are some that have long necks like swans; others are covered with “warts” and look like brains.
Rides, mazes and more
We got there late in the afternoon, so we didn’t take advantage of a lot of the things the farm had to offer like rides out to the fields, the one-mile corn maze, the pumpkin slingshot or Sophia the simulated cow. I couldn’t even convince Shari that it would be fun for her to crawl through the straw tunnel while I photographed her head sticking out from time to time.
We bought some small items
We both bought some small, colorful pumpkins and squashes to take back to our mothers. It’s little things like that that keep you listed in the will (sorry Brothers David and Mark).
Shari was kitty-captivated
Shari, who is owned by two cats, fell in love with this kitten. Mom Meckler said they were overstocked on kittens, noted how Shari was “the only one the cat would allow to pick her up,” and brought out a cardboard box for her to take it home to St. Louis. I tried to guilt her into taking it, but she called that evening to say she was going to have to pass this time, and to find the critter a good home.
Curator Jessica saw this photo and said she wants the black and white cat. She’s coming to Cape in November, so maybe it’ll find its way back to Ohio.
Pumpkins in the semi-wild
One of the farm’s pumpkin patches bumps up against the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery. It’s a bit disconcerting to look in one direction and see hundreds of pumpkins, then look over your shoulder to see hundreds of tombstones.
If you want to make a Perry County day of it, stop by the Altenburg museum for the new exhibit, Revision: Recovery, Repair, and Transformation by artist, Kurt Mueller of Minneapolis. Mueller is the fifth generation descendant of the 1839 German-Lutheran immigration to Perry County, MO This extraordinary exhibit consists of sculptures, paintworks, and assemblages including detailed narratives of the artist’s journey.
The opening reception is Saturday, October 4, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. It is free and open to the public. The exhibit will be shown from October 4 through November 7, 2014. If the exhibit is half as impressive as its catalog, it’s going to be worth a scenic drive to see.
I was shuffling boxes in my storage shed behind the house to make room for stuff that was overflowing my office when I opened a box that contained some stuff I could throw away without hesitation. Wadded up in the bottom of the box, though, was what might have been my first Southeast Missourian carrier bag.
I’ve been wracking my brain to remember the guy who hired me as a substitute carrier for the whopping pay of $2.50 a week for six days of delivery and collecting on Saturday morning. I think his name was Bob, and I was impressed at how together he seemed to be. He didn’t spend a lot of time teaching me the route: we walked it one time on one afternoon, then he handed me the collection book and said, “Don’t miss anybody.”
So short the bag dragged the ground
At 12 years old, I was so short I had to carry the bag cross my chest like a bandolier to keep it from dragging the ground. That might be why the bottom has a big hole in it. The bags had a long piece in the back that would fold forward to TRY to keep the papers from getting wet if it was raining. You can see it hanging down behind the bag.
Bob passed the route on to Jerry Collins. Houses were starting to pop up all over the place, so eventually the route was split and I got one of my own. I started out with about 90 customers and grew the route to around 300, which meant I needed to find two subs of my own. After paying them and buying the papers from The Missourian, I was making about $24 a week, half of what I made as a Missourian reporter.
I’m sorry that kids today don’t have the opportunity to carry papers like I did. I learned responsibility, how to keep books, customer relation skills and salesmanship. That’s a lot for a kid who hadn’t hit his teens yet.
How many times have you been told “There are no dumb questions?” Take it from me, there ARE dumb questions. I asked one. More about that later.
The Missourian’s January 16, 1967, front page lead story was “Cake Fires Girls’ Dorm,” with three of my photos. Clothing and bedding were destroyed and smoke and fire damage were extensive when fire enveloped a room in Dearmont Quadrangle, women’s residence hall at State College, Saturday night (January 14).
Wally Sinwell looks at birthday cake
Wally Sinwell of St. Louis, right, who used hall extinguishers to contain the blaze, looks at birthday cake whose candles ignited paper, while firemen view the room.
B & C wings were evacuated
Girls living in B and C wings, in pajamas and pincurlers, were evacuated, but later returned to their rooms.
A fire which apparently started from a birthday cake Saturday night damaged a room on the fourth floor of Dearmont Quadrangle. Damage was extensive to the room and its contents. Firemen said mattresses on the bunk bed were destroyed, clothes in the two closets were badly burned and smoked, drapes on the windows were ruined and the ceiling will have to be redone.
Carroll Walker, dean of students, said the room was occupied by two freshmen, Miss Mary Lou Halliday, Shipman, Ill., and Miss Patricia J. Ham, St. Charles.
Preparing surprise birthday party
Walker said the girls told him they were preparing to celebrate the birthday of Miss Halliday. Some of the girls had taken her down the hall in order to surprise her.
Miss Martha Susan Owen and Miss Iris Anne Hargrove, both of Paducah, Ky., and Miss Patricia Ann Singrun, St. Louis, were in the room decorating for the party. Mr. Walker said they told him they were putting toilet paper on the ceiling and some was on the floor when a piece of the paper fell from the ceiling across the lighted candles on the birthday cake. The paper burst into flames and the girls said they tried to put the blaze out, but couldn’t.
Here’s the dumb question
That was the official version.
Somewhere in a box in my shed is a tape recording I did of my interview with the girls where they confirmed that they had, indeed, dangled toilet paper all over the room. With luck, it’ll never be found and played.
“When we walked into the room with the birthday cake, a streamer dropped onto one of the candles and the whole room burst into flames,” one of them told me.
My question, which I tried as hard as I could to haul back into my mouth, was, “Was it supposed to?”
I think a withering glance was the only answer I got.
Student fought fire
Walter J. Sinnwell of St. Louis, a student who was in the parlor of the quadrangle when the fire broke out, collected building’s fire extinguishers and attempted to put out the blaze.
Miss Halliday said that at one point the fire was thought to have been put out by the extinguishers, but when they went out looking for more extinguishers, some one heard and explosion – “probably a can of hair spray or spray deodorant” – and the room was engulfed in more flames than before.
Cake remained intact
Capt. Paul Kesterson said a pumper, a ladder truck and nine men went to the scene. The Seagraves pumper and 140 feet of one-inch hose were in use for two minutes.
He said one of the girls was concerned because a radio her mother had given her Christmas was damaged. Through it all, he said, the birthday cake remained intact. It had some dirt and water on it, but was still in one piece on the hallway floor.
Photo gallery of women’s dorm
I have to admit that charging into a women’s dorm was a lot less exciting than I thought it would be. I never knew there were so many different forms of pincurlers. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the sides of the photos or use your arrow keys to step though the images.
The Missourian’s big annual extravaganza was the Achievement Edition, published after the first of the year and looking back at the previous year’s accomplishments. We started working on the copy and photos well before Christmas.
Back in the old days before computers, we didn’t have filenames to keep track of stories, headlines and layouts. We used “slugs,” a line of lead type with a descriptive title. If the reporter was sending the story in several “takes” or pieces, then he or she would create a slug that might say, “murder1, murder2.” Since the composing room would occasionally miss taking the slug out, it was a good idea not to use titles that could be embarrassing (like labeling the religion news “god junk”).
Because the Achievement Edition copy was done so far in advance, it was given an additional slug “Atomic” so it wouldn’t get crammed into the daily paper. Or, at least that’s the way I remember it.
One Christmas break when I came home from Ohio University – it was probably 1967 – Editor jBlue asked if I would have time to roam all over the region shooting buildings like The Wishy-Washy Laundr-O-Mat. The 1968 City Directory says it was at 1526 Independence and that Homer R. Dickmann was the manager. At five bucks a shot, plus mileage, I jumped at the opportunity.
Start at the outside and work in
In those days, The Missourian was a regional paper. My negative sleeves said I went north as far as St. Genevieve, as far south as East Prairie and as far west as Lutesville. jBlue, always cost-conscious, instructed me to start at the far ends of the region and work inward toward Cape “so I don’t have to pay you to drive the same roads more than once.”
I was told to shoot any commercial buildings that looked new or remodeled and a representative sampling of any new homes that looked “expensive,” defined as costing more than $25,000. By the time I got done with the project, I could have qualified as a tax assessor.
I must have thought Ricardo’s Italian Swiss Chalet Ristorante looked recently spiffed up. The City Directory says it was also known as Rich House Inc. and was located at 731 Broadway. It was flanked on the left by Sisco’s Professional Barber Salon (Wm. D. Sisco), and optometrists Joe L. Mosley and James A. Drace on the right.
John H. Jarrett was listed as manager of Personal Finance Loans, 31 Main Street. The other buildings include Zickfield’s Jewelers, Tony’s Jewelry and Gift Shop and the Sweet Shoppe.
Skinner’s Barber Shop must have had a short life. It doesn’t show up in the 1969 City Directory, and there is a sign in the window that says “For Lease, Inquire at Eggimann’s.”
Eggiman’s Authorized Dealer of Maytag and Admiral Appliances (Richard L. Eggiman, mgr) was at 225 South Plaza Way. That’s my old 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon parked in front of Eggiman’s.
Swann & Son Garage
From the off-kilter angle of this photo, I wonder if I might have just changed rolls of film and this was a shot where I was advancing the new roll of film to get past the leader. Swann & Son Garage (C. Elwood Swann) was located at 430 William Street.
Missourian Litho and Printing
Missourian Litho and Printing Co. (John Beaudean) was at 500 William.
Cape Chiropractic Clinic
Cape Chiropractic Clinic, 726 Independence, was occupied by Drs. Wm. D. and R.M. Edwards.
Dr. M. Allen Brock
The building on the right has a sign large enough to read that says “Dr. M. Allen Brock – Chiropractor.” The City Directory has Dr. Brock’s address as 148 S. Ellis, but this doesn’t look like Ellis to me. I can’t read the sign on the building on the left. If I had to guess, I’d say this is Independence.
Ford’s Meat Company
Ford’s was located almost directly across from the Steinhoff, Kirkwood and Joiner Construction Co. on Hwy 61 near Sprigg Street. Managers were Bessie N and Lloyd N. Ford.
I think this might be the power substation located on the east side of old Hwy 61 that leads to the Diversion Channel boat ramps. It has been expanded in recent years and is protected from flooding by a huge dike around it.
Photo gallery of Cape and St. Genvieve buildings
Some of the negatives were in sleeves that said “Cape;” a few, though, said “Cape – St. Gen.” I’m going to assume that the ones with snow in them were Cape. I didn’t bother to try to identify the residential buildings because The Missourian’s microfiche in Google was missing the dates when the Achievement Edition ran. You’ll have to give me your best guess if you see something that looks familiar. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the sides to move through the gallery.
If there is interest, I’ll scan buildings from East Cape, Scott City, Illmo, Charleston, Bertrand, Lutesville, Marble Hill, Chaffee, East Prairie, St. Mary, Perryville, Old Appleton, Oak Ridge, Fruitland, Brewer, Thebes, Olive Branch, Tamms, Delta, Bloomfield, Aquilla, Diehlstadt, Oran, Morley, Benton, Kelso, Delta, Advance, Patton and Brownwood. Oh, and I just found another sleeve of Cape buildings. As you can see, there isn’t much of Southeast Missouri I haven’t prowled. Unfortunately, I won’t have any IDs on the buildings. I’ll be lucky to get the town right.
FREE AMAZON PRIME 30-DAY FREE TRIAL Just a reminder that you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime until January 10. I hate to keep harping on this, but I get a $10 bounty for everyone who signs up for the trial, even if you cancel right after signing up. It’s a painless way to keep this site afloat.