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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.

When Pet Rocks Grow Up

Were you one of the folks who bought a Pet Rock in 1975?

You don’t know what a Pet Rock is? Here’s a 70s website that will fill you in on the history of the Pet Rock (the comments are actually better than the original story).

To the road-building Steinhoff family, rocks were something you blasted out, dug up or crushed.

Gary Dahl had a better, more profitable idea. He bought three tons of stone from Rosarita Beach in Baja, Mexico, and created over a million pet rocks that sold for $3.95 each.

(Click on any photo to make it large enough for you to see if one of your Pet Rocks is here.)

Pet Rocks and puppies start out cute

You know how cuddly kittens and puppies are? Well, Pet Rocks started out that way, but quickly grew out of control. Some were turned loose in the country to fend for themselves; some slipped away from their owners; others, thought dead, were unceremoniously flushed or buried in coffee cans in the back yard. Most of those seemingly dead rocks were really still alive: their slow metabolism had fooled their owners.

Before long, these rogue rocks were getting large enough to be noticed, just like the poodle-poaching pythons in South Florida.

Environmentalists were concerned that the Rosarita Beach stones, without natural predators, could upset the balance of nature.

Privatizing Pet Rock control

The better behaved Pet Rocks were rounded up, given wooden beds to sleep on and were allowed to become free range rocks under close supervision.

Local governments, not wanting to have to build and staff rock shelters, turned to private enterprise and companies like Lotus Naturescapes to round up, domesticate and find homes for the aging Pet Rocks. This particular no-kill shelter is located in Ware, Ill., at the intersection of  Ill 3 and Hwy 146 West, not too far from Cape Girardeau.

Rock ‘n Roll takes its toll

Some Pet Rocks have seen some tough times, as evidenced by the wrinkles on this one. Rock and roll will take its toll.

Some Pet Rock are well-behaved

The rocks in the background have learned the STAY command. The ones in the foreground weren’t as well-trained. They still have have to be restrained.

Nocturnal Meanderings

Some of the rocks get up and meander around when nobody’s looking, but they’re not all that smart. Everybody knows that moss grows on the north side. This rock has shifted until his (her?) moss was facing nearly due south. He (she?) has a rather smug expression, but the folks at Lotus Naturescapes know what’s going on.

[It will come as no surprise to you that I didn’t actually check my facts with anyone at Lotus Naturescapes. Why spoil a good story?]



18 comments to When Pet Rocks Grow Up

  • Shirley Rogers

    You need to write a book, Ken! I bet these rocks have stories to tell and you are the man to do it:)

  • Mark Steinhoff

    For MORE information about when Pet Rocks grow up… you might want to visit:

    The Point! is a fable and the sixth album by American songwriter and musician Harry Nilsson about a boy named Oblio, the only round-headed person in the Pointed Village, where by law everyone and everything had to have a point.

  • Adam Steinhoff

    You should have left this one in the hopper for April 1st. This is comedic genius.

  • Bill Stone

    I have a pet rock that grew up to be a guard rock. It sits outside our place in Arizona. Since we are gone lengths of time, it gives us comfort knowing that it is watching the place. Maybe you need one to discourage burglers in your neighborhood!

    • PETR (People for the Ethical Treatment of Rocks) is pretty strong down here. I don’t think they’d allow us to leave town with our guard rock unattended.

      NOTE to burglars: We NEVER leave our house unattended. There is always someone there. Please stand in front of something the splatter won’t hurt.

  • George P

    It’s nice to start the day with a bellylaugh. I’m gonna send a link to this to friends and family. THANKS

  • AnnieO

    Makes ya wonder how many Pet Rocks (yeah, I had one too, but it was very well behaved) got flushed when they grew too big and are now roaming the country’s urban sewer systems…

  • If I didn’t know it earlier, I now fully realize that you can write about ANYTHING and make it interesting!
    So funny!!!!
    My family–who came to visit us in Alask–would load up a box full of the beautiful rocks and bring them back as excess baggage (back when you could do that). The comment was always, “Whatcha ya got in here, anyway–rocks??” and the answer was always, “As a matter of fact–yes.”
    Fortunately, rocks stolen from Alaska don’t carry a curse–like the ones taken from Hawaii.

    • Sometimes you just have to let your imagination wander; just be sure to keep it on a leash to keep it from getting lost and not being able to find its way back.

      It’s OK to keep imaginations you find, so long as they aren’t wearing collars.

  • Mitchell Givens


  • Ken Roussel

    PRIMO STUFF!!! Thanks for a great hoot of a blog!!Unfortunately for many who know me realize that I retain my affliction of and affection for a continuing fetish for picking up random “pet” rocks anytime I get out of the car and step onto a road, a driveway, a quarry, or even a mine up in the Bradshaws
    out in Arizona!!!!!I love the little guys, be they all alone, tied up in great groups, or just side by side like twins!!!!!! Again, glad you shared the tale, it’ll remain in the library!! Tell Mom Happy Birthday, and you all have a safe trip back to Fla. Regards from the west side, in KC, kkr

  • Michelle Griggs

    Where’s that?
    That’s what I asked you. Where is it?
    Ware! Damnit!

  • Dick McClard

    Lotus Naturescapes put in our decorative ponds and falls. It was a great experience dealing with them and getting custody of many orphaned stones. I like good looking and unusual rocks and was intrigued many years ago about rocks that move across the Death Valley desert leaving trails long distances behind them. Google “Researchers Solve the Mystery of Death Valley’s Sailing Rocks” if the following link doesn’t work for you.

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