2015 in Review

Newspapers are big on year in review stories because they can be written well in advance as space fillers for the slow holiday weeks. Why should I be any different (except for the part about doing it well in advance)?

I have to admit I’ve slacked off this year. After almost three years of posting seven days a week except for when there was a technical glitch, I took some big chunks of time off when I was caring for my mother before she died this spring. Once I found that the world wouldn’t end if I skipped a day or three, I started doing it more often when I was busy.

The most popular post last year was a piece I originally posted in 2011 about the burning and sinking of the steamboat Stonewall near Neely’s Landing. Two or three hundred people burned or drowned in the disaster. Sixty or 70 bodies were buried in a mass grave that I have searched for unsuccessfully.

I followed up the original post with a few others:

“See you later”

Mary Steinhoff funeral 06-24-2015You readers were extraordinarily kind when I wrote about Mother’s death in June. An account of the family’s rather unconventional graveside ceremony was the second-most read story for the year. My family and I appreciate the many notes you all left.

Mother seldom said, “Goodbye.” She preferred “See you later,” and Brother David scratched that phrase on her casket before it was lowered in the ground.

Kermit “Moose” Meystedt

1963 Girardot Kermit MeystedtOur lives are marked by special dates and ceremonies. When we are kids, we attend birthday parties of our classmates. As we get older, we’re go to proms, ballgames and dances. Not long after that, it’s weddings, followed by baby showers. We have a bit of a gap before we start attending the funerals of the parents of friends. Finally, when we are at the stage where we have more yesterdays than tomorrows, it’s our turn to show up in the obituary pages.

Kermit “Moose” Meystedt, one of Central High School’s finest athletes, died January 10, 2015. An account of his life was the third highest-read post of the year.

Dean Kahler, survivor of Kent State shootings

Curator Jessica and I toured the Kent State May 4 Vistors Center on one of my Ohio rambles. We were fortunate enough to meet Dean Kahler, one of the students shot by the National Guard that day in 1970. He is one of the most remarkable men I’ve met, and I don’t say that about a lot of people. His story was in fourth place.

His description of that day is haunting. Click on the video if you don’t follow a single other link.

“I knew I had been shot because it felt like a bee sting. I knew immediately because my legs got real tight, then they relaxed just like in zoology class when you pith a frog,” he said. He never walked again, but he has turned into a highly competitive wheelchair athlete.

After the shooting stopped, he called out to see if there were any Boy Scouts around who could turn him over. “The only thought that came into my head was if I was turned over, would I bleed more internally than externally? I thought (shrugs shoulders) there’s a 50 / 50 chance that you’re going to die one way or the other. I knew I might die. I had a really good chance of dying, so I wanted to see the sky, the sun, leaves, peoples faces. I didn’t want to be eating grass when I died.”

Tower Rock Quarry Exposed

Tower rock and quarry at low water 10-28-2011I started posting old story links to a Facebook page for folks who are interested in the Mississippi River. That’s probably why this 2011 story about Tower Rock and how the low water had exposed an old stone quarry south of the Rock was pushed to fifth place.

Mary Welch Steinhoff 1921- 2015

MLS Card 06-03-2015I wrote so many stories about Mother (some of them were even true) that complete strangers would come up to her in the grocery store and ask if she was “Ken’s Mother?” She pretended not to like that, but I know she enjoyed the attention. When I wrote her obituary on June 23, 2015, I came up with a list of more than three dozen links before I quit searching. I guess that’s why she became the mother everybody had (or wished they had had).

You can’t know how comforting it was to read the comments you left about a woman many of you knew only through my late-night ramblings. She had a great run. October will forever be Birthday Season.

The picture is a card sent to Mother at the Lutheran Home from someone who had never met her in person. I think it captures her spirit.

The Old Burnt Mill

Burnt Mill - Perry county 11-19-2015Sometimes you run across a reference to a place and you just have to go searching for it. That’s how I ended up at the Old Burnt Mill in Perry county.

It’s an interesting building with a fascinating history of hubris, double-dealing, maybe a murder and a haunting.

This picture drives me crazy

Cape CHS Girls volleyballThis copyrighted photo of girls wearing “ugly” gym suits has been stolen by I can’t count how many websites. It’s been shared hundreds of thousands of times, even though I’ve been quick to file DCMA takedown notices every time I find it posted.

The crazy thing is that hundreds swear that the photo was taken at their high school and even contains their sisters. Trust me, I took the photo and have the original 4×5 negative in a file box. It was taken at Central High School. And, if Rosanne Hecht or Joni Tickel aren’t your sisters, then you’re wrong.

For the record, I love it when people share links to my posts, but I get really cranky if you copy and publish a photo without permission.

It was only number eight on the hit parade, but it would be a lot higher if the folks who ripped it off had posted links.

CHS 2015 class reunion

2015 CHS reunion 07-31-2015It’s not fair that Terry Hopkins can still fit in his letter jacket without sucking in his stomach so much that his eyes bug out. There was a big difference between the last get-together and the 2015 Central High School reunion. We’ve all gotten a lot grayer and a lot less spry. (Except for Terry, of course, who was probably the reason that the post scored the number nine spot.)

A celebration of Wimpy’s

Wimpy composite 8x10The Centenary United Methodist Church held a one-day only Wimpy’s Day, featuring the original Wimpy’s family cooking to the original recipes.

Here are photos of the Lewis family and friends at work.

 

 

Wimpy’s As We Remember It

Wimpy's Ticket 09-07-2015A couple of young newlyweds stopped by the house to talk about buying Mother’s 1977 Datsun pickup truck. Mother would tell us that she could count on two or three lookers a year for as long as it’s been parked there, but she’d always tell the prospective buyers that she was going to be buried in it. When the time came, we measured the truck, then we measured the available plot and decided that it wouldn’t work.

Anyway these kids were real Datsun fans and promised to restore it for actual driving as opposed to cannibalizing it for parts. Mark, David and I said we’d consider selling it to them on the condition that when it was in running order they’d drive by the cemetery and give Mother and Dad a couple beeps to let them know it had found a good home. But, more about that later if and when it’s a done deal.

Another visitor showed up

While the kids and I were swapping Datsun stories (I can’t remember if I owned three or four of them), another car pulled into the driveway. It was Terry Rose Crowell, from CHS Class of 1965. She asked if I was going to be in town Saturday, September 19.

I’m getting to the age where I don’t feel comfortable making plans that far in advance, but I allowed as how the possibilities were good.

She asked me how many tickets to the Wimpy’s event I needed. I said the only Road Warriorette close enough to go with me was Friend Shari in St. Louis, so I wouldn’t need more than two.

(When I called Friend Shari, she said she wasn’t sure if she could make it. Something about washing her hair.)

Lewis family to cook from original recipe

Wimpy's Ticket 09-07-2015Here are details about the event that were posted on the Centenary United Methodist Church website:

Save the date for Wimpy’s night at Centenary and open house. On Saturday, September 19 from 11:00am to 2:00pm, the Lewis family and Centenary will be bringing back the original recipe, hometown favorite hamburgers. $10 will get you two classic Wimpy burgers, fries and a drink. Spread the word, bring your friends and family, then take them on a tour of our newly renovated campus. Volunteers are needed. Please contact Terry Crowell at 573-382-1123 for information.

The CHS 1960s email list said you could also contact Billy Sisco at Sisco’s Barber Shop (573-335-3545) for tickets. I saw somewhere else that only 600 tickets will be sold, so you’d better get yours while you still can.

I might have prints available

Wimpy composite 8x10If I can find someone in Cape who can make some prints at a reasonable price, I may bring some to the event. I’m thinking of an 8×10 composite print of Wimpy’s as it looked in 1966. I won’t know a price until I find out how much they cost to produce.

 

 

Sexual Desire and Ken’s Calendar

 Ken Steinhoff 2013-2014 Calendar

BRAIN FART ALERT: I may make calendars, but I have trouble with dates. In an earlier version of this post, I had the wrong date for our Hastings visit. It will be Saturday, June 29, 2013. (That’s today unless you are reading this in the future.)

Now, retuning you to the original programming

What do those two topics have in common. Not much, to be frank.

Let’s try to straighten this out. Anne Rodgers, my former colleague at The Palm Beach Post, bike riding partner and road tripper, is promoting her book, Kiss and Tell: Secrets of Sexual Desire from Women 15 to 97. She spent two years working with a gynecologist surveying 1,300 women and doing in-depth interviews of a hundred of them. The result was a decade by decade picture of what turns women on (and off). You’ll be surprised to see what the teens had to say. You’ll be even more surprised to read the chapter that includes the experiences of a 97-year-old.

We’ll be at Hastings June 29

How do I fit in this picture? Anne has heard me talk about Cape so much that she, like Friend Jan, just had to see the place.

photoTo help make the trip pay off, she scored a book signing at the local Hastings store in the Town Plaza shopping center on William Street Saturday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The nice folks at Hastings said I could sit next to Anne, so I will be there with a stack of my 2013-2014 Snapshots of Cape Girardeau calendars for sale. I’ll also have prototypes of my “Smelterville: A Work in Progress” book.

My work is better than Anne’s. I have pictures. She, however, is better looking.

Come on by, let’s talk, look at old pictures of Cape and catch up.

If you miss me there, you can find me at Annie Laurie’s Antique Shop on First Friday, July 5. I’ll also be appearing on the KZIM morning show on that day to talk about the Smelterville project. (I’ll hold the photos up to the microphone, but I’m not sure how they are going to look at the far end.)

Click the link to read reviews of Kiss and Tell: Secrets of Sexual Desire from Women 15 to 97 and order online (I’ll actually make a few pennies on the transaction).

Calendar photo gallery

Click on any photo, then click on the side to move through the gallery. (By the way, the girl on the cover of Anne’s book isn’t Anne. I’ve been asked.)

Wimpy’s in 1966

I stopped long enough to shoot one frame of Wimpy’s intersection in 1966. The shadows show that it was in the afternoon, and the leaves on the tree make it spring or summer. The parking lot is surprisingly empty, but it must have been full earlier because I can see scraps of paper spread all over it.

The Arena Park sign promises “Stock Car Racing Every Sat Nite.” (You can click on the photo to make it large enough to see if one of the cars belongs to you.)

Earlier stories and photos of Wimpy’s

Thanks for doing your Amazon shopping here

Buy From Amazon.com to Support Ken SteinhoffThanks to the folks who have been clicking on the link to do your Amazon shopping. I’ve seen an uptick in orders, including some fairly sizable ones for laptop computers and other cool electronic toys.

Any Amazon purchase you make for 24 hours after clicking the big button or the links at the top left of the page puts about 6% of the purchase price in my pocket without costing you an extra penny.

If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer for a reader, click on the ads on the top right for Sharon Woods Hopkins two books. You’ll see an ad for Bill Hopkins thriller up there in the next couple of days. All three books are quick reads set in the Southeast Missouri area.

Books and calendars available

At Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum still has a few of my calendars and photo books for sale. You can order them over the phone, but it’s worth a drive to Altenburg to see their new Christmas Tree exhibit. I’m told it’s even better than in past years.

The museum is free, interesting and has the friendliest staff and cleanest bathrooms you’ll every find. You also can order the publications by mail. They are $20 each. If you order more than one, the price for each additional copy drops to $15. Shipping and handling will run about $5 for a single copy (or as many as will fit in the mailer for that rate) if you can’t make it there in person.

Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum
P.O. Box 53
75 Church Street
Altenburg, Missouri 63732

Open Daily seven days a week: 10:00am – 4:00pm (Closed Christmas Day)

Telephone: 573-824-6070

Email: info@altenburgmuseum.org