Dad’s Boat in the Basement

1944 LV Steinhoff classified advertising

Every family has stories that may or may not be true. Dad often told a story about pulling his toy wagon full of sheet music for the woman who accompanied the silent movies at the Broadway theater.

We all dismissed that as his version of walking 12 miles to school in waist-deep snow (uphill both ways.)

Eventually, Mother sent me the obit of the woman who HAD played music at the silent movies. I guess he wasn’t just funnin’ us with his tale.

Dad and the basement boat

I don’t ever recall Dad mention the boat he built in the basement at Themis Street before discovering he couldn’t get it through the door. That strikes me as a story no man would tell on himself.

I was never able to determine if the tale was true, and all the folks I could ask are no long with us.

Then, I ran across a couple of Missourian classified ads from 1944. The one at the top of the page was to sell a new, 12-foot row boat; table top model radio, $25; electric jig saw, $10; and one 4 and one 6 cylinder magneto.

Maybe he HAD gotten the boat out of the basement, and maybe that’s why he was also able to sell the jig saw.

Bicycles for sale

1944 LV Steinhoff classified advertising

About the same time, he was trying to sell two pre-war bicycles, like new. (And the boat.)

Mother with bikes

Mary Welch Steinhoff holds her bike and one belonging to L.V. Steinhoff in front of the garage in Advance, MO. They rode the bikes from Cape Girardeau to Advance shortly after they were married.

Decades later, she still talked about how their legs cramped up from the 36-mile ride.

The first year I started serious biking, I did the 72-mile round trip in their memory. I had quite a bit of long-distance cycling under my saddle by then – including at least one 100-mile day, so I fared better than they did.

Another bike photo

Mary Steinhoff and LV Steinhoff w Roy E Welch in background – Rolla MO 1942

Here’s Dad on a bike. Mother’s dad, Roy Welch, is looking through the screen door in the background.

I think that Advance ride dampened their enthusiasm for long two-wheeled expeditions.




8 Replies to “Dad’s Boat in the Basement”

  1. My father built a boat in shop class at the old Central High School (more recently Louis J. Schultz School) when Milton Ueleke was the shop teacher. If I remember the story correctly, Wayne Eakins was also in the class with my father. As the story goes, the boat, when completed, could not be taken out the doorway and a side window had to be removed in order to get the boat out of the classroom.

  2. When I saw the title of this post, I was confident the story was about my dad. Did all of our fathers build boats in their basements? Dad spent entire winters designing, constructing and putting a fiberglass finish on his boats. His first boat, a fishing/rowboat, was constructed to seamlessly exit the basement through a window. The second construction project was a wee bit bigger….a pontoon boat! Well, the pontoons went out that same window, but the deck was a little more tricky. Dad, my sister Barb, Mom and I were needed to carry the deck up the basement stairs; push it all the way to the back of the hall coat closet; swing it around and guide it through the archway separating the dining room and living room; march it out the front door, down the steps and around to the back of the house to the carport. (Of course every detail was measured perfectly for this maneuver to work.) There Dad attached the deck and pontoons. We had many years of enjoyment at Clearwater Lake fishing and swimming off Dad’s basement project.

  3. Reading about your biking adventures and tall talk of riding 72 or 100 miles… Try that on single speed bike and even Phoebe the Bleeping Cat would be impressed. I would be impressed with riding bike for Advance to Cape and back even today!

    1. I did my first unsupported century (100 miles in one day) on a Trek Navigator “comfort bike” that weighed in at about 50 lbs. When I told the bike shop what I had done, the owner said, “That would be like 139 miles on any other bike.”

      I was ok with distance, just not speed. One year I was on the century course at a MO MS150. A ham in a SAG wagon pulled up and said, “You’re the last one on the road, and it’s going to get dark soon. Are you ready to quit? We’re your last great hope.”

      “Nope. I’m used to riding alone. I have tools, a spare tube, plenty of water and energy food; I have a generator hub that will provide light so long as I have legs, and I have battery-powered backup for that. I’m good.”

      I also had on board a scanner so I could monitor the hams offering support. I heard him say as he pulled off, “Rider 1947 isn’t going to abandon. He says he can make it, and his bike has everything on it but Doppler radar.”

  4. Who was the lady that played piano in the movie theater Was it the Broadway or the Orpheus. Jerry Bullock

  5. The photo of your mom with the 2 bicycles–Kim looks so much like/truly resembles her. I love this photo and have never seen it. So beautiful.

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