There are several things that indicate that Christmas is here : eggnog, a box of chocolate-covered cherries (better than a trip to the dentist to see if you have any cavities) and a card from Joe Snell with a handmade ornament in it.
I don’t know how many years Joe has been making these things, but I could lay my hands on five of them in the top of the ornament box.
Photos of Joe and his Dad
Joe and I went to school together, worked on the Central High School photo staffs and were members of Trinity Lutheran School’s Scout Troop 8. I got to know him and his parents well. Here are some other stories with Joe in them.
Sunday’s challenge was to fix the upstairs and the basement toilets that had been running at random times. The ghost flusher was causing Mother’s water bill to go sky-high and probably contributed to the low water levels in the Mississippi River below Cape.
If you’re reading this to hear how the plumbing project came out, you can quit right now. Let’s just say that it took one trip to Ace Hardware, one trip to Wife Lila’s Brother John and one trip to Lowes for supplies and to use their restroom. I’m not ready to elaborate tonight.
Uneasy on the throne
One of the tasks involved me looking above the false ceiling in the basement bathroom to the floor below the upstairs bathroom. Having graced that upstairs throne many, many times in the past, I’m surprised that I didn’t start out sitting in the upstairs bathroom and end up looking up at the ceiling in the basement. But, that’s a story for another time.
I’ll document some of the artifacts we uncovered later, but I want to tell K. Robinson of Troop 8 that we found his canteen. I’m assuming that it belongs to reader Keith Robinson who was a member of Trinity Lutheran’s Troop 8 with my brothers.
Keith, you may reclaim your canteen by stopping by Mother’s house at your convenience.
It’s Scout Week, so it’s an appropriate time to dredge these up. Some of these photos are of are men and boys I recognize being in Trinity Lutheran School’s Boy Scout Troop 8. The negative sleeve said they were taken at the 1963 Pre-Camporee. I can’t quite place where the event was held. Maybe someone else can clue me in.
I recognize a few of the boys. Two who were my age were Joe Snell and Ronald Dost.
Stan Snell, Harry Ruesler , Ralph Haman
Three of the adult leaders were Stan Snell, Harry Ruesler and Ralph Haman.
Loading them up
Dad (L.V. Steinhoff), left, loads up a batch of boys into his pickup. Clarence Schade is on the right.
A double exposure
Something was wrong with this photo. A closer look disclosed that it was a double exposure: two photos taken on the same frame of film. That’s pretty tough to do with most cameras because you cock the shutter for the next photo when you advance the film. About the only only way you can do it by accident is to load the film in the camera twice. (There’s another way, but you REALLY have to want to do it.)
It dawned on me, then, that in 1963 I was still using a Kodak Pony 135 camera. I had to go searching for a manual on line to refresh my memory. As soon as I saw it, it all came flooding back.
It was designed for folks who didn’t know much about photography, but it still required you to set your shutter speed, aperture and distance. On top of that, you had to remember to cock the shutter by pushing down on a lever on the front of the lens. After you had taken the photo, you had to turn a knob on the top of the camera to advance the film. If you forgot to do that and just cocked the shutter, you could take a double exposure like this one.
Almost every kid in Cape had a crack at radio and / or TV fame. I can remember going to the KFVS radio studio to sit on Santa’s lap and to tell him (and the whole world as I knew it) what I wanted for Christmas.
There was a local radio quiz show called Know Your City Quiz that would ask questions about Cape’s history. I’d sit there with my second-grade-level picture history book frantically rooting for the answer to such questions as, “When did Cape get its first fire engine.” The book had all kinds of stuff about some guy named Washington crossing some river in the middle of the winter, but not important stuff like Cape’s first fire engine. (What was that guy doing standing up in the boat, anyway? Even I knew enough not to do THAT.)
My TV debut
I think my TV debut might have been during Scout Week in the eighth grade or my freshman year. Boy Scout Troop 8 was supposed to have someone tap out “Scouting is fun” in Morse code, but the guy who was supposed to do it backed out at the last minute for some reason or other. I could send like a demon (but couldn’t receive worth two cents), so I was sent in as a sub.
Dad set up the family’s 8mm camera to record the moment off the Zenith television in the basement. For what it’s worth, he had a guy working for him who could read code who pronounced my transmission flawless. I’m not sure who the Scout was looking in awe over my shoulder.
The whole escapade ended with future debate partner John Mueller being interviewed. I’m sure he said something about how important being able to send Morse code would be in an emergency. Unspoken was the fact that my buzzer couldn’t be heard on the far side of the room and that the little light on the key was a tiny flashlight bulb. I guess it was OK for close emergencies.
Switched to different uniforms
A couple of years later, John and I traded in our Scout uniforms for suits and ties to be undefeated members of the Central High School Debate Team.
Here’s a bunch of us getting ready to wreak havoc on the teams from the smaller schools in the area. That’s John on the right. I’m to his left. I see, in no particular order, Mike Daniels, Rick Meinz, Andy Scully, Shari Stiver, Vicky Roth, Jim Reynolds, Becky McGinty and Bill Wilson, among others whose names are lost in the fog of years.
We didn’t make it as the Three Counts
I’ve run this before, but some pictures deserve to be resurrected from time to time. John, Rick Meinz and I got dragooned into dressing up like this for a church play at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Someone Higher Up (well, not THAT higher up) cut my best line, “We’re the Three Counts: Count de Bills, Count de Checks and Count de Change.” I lost enthusiasm for my part after that. Heck of a note when the only line you can remember from a role is the one they wouldn’t let you deliver.
That’s not really MY National Guard uniform
I made about as good a soldier as I did a Lutheran Reverend and donned the uniform just about as long.
I wanted to do a story on the local National Gurard contingent going to summer camp. The Higher Ups (does this sound familiar) wouldn’t let a civilian ride in the convoy, so an enterprising Master Sergeant said, “I’ve got it all worked out. Come on by and get fitted for a uniform. You’ll look like everybody else. Nobody’ll know.”