World Book Day

Steinhoff basement offices c 1966I was driving down the road this afternoon when someone on the radio mentioned that this was World Book Day. That caused a flashback to some photos of the side-by-side offices Dad and I had in the basement.

This was my desk, which is uncharacteristically neat and clean. I’m normally a stacker. The radio dial is set somewhere to the middle, so I was probably listening to KFVS, which I think was 960. It’s doubtful I could have picked up my favorite stations: WLS out of Chicago, WLN out of New Orleans or KXOK out of St. Louis.

The reference books I still have on my shelf nearly 50 years later are to the left of the radio. The Olivetti portable typewriter followed me to Ohio University and points beyond. I passed it on to Brother Mark at some point, and he still has it.

My darkroom equipment was eventually set up behind me on a table and Dad’s workbench. These photos must have been taken before I bought my enlarger and other stuff.

Shari saving me from Algebra

Shari Stiver in Steinhoff basementMaybe I cleaned up my desk because Girlfriend Shari was coming over to try to drill algebra into my skull. If you blow it up big enough, you can see a hand-scrawled note on the wall that says, “When I’m right, nobody remembers; When I’m wrong, nobody forgets.”

Dad’s side of the world

Steinhoff basement offices c 1966Dad had a real office where he did most of his book work, but he’d also work on things at home. There’s a blueprint on the left side of the desk. That lamp hanging down is still in use, and the fan is still there. The book shelves gradually filled with books, mostly about Scouting, but there are still a lot of Pinewood Derby cars and wooden neckerchief slides gathering dust. There is a stack of aluminum film cans containing our 8mm home movies to the left of the light.

Getting back to World Book Day, I’ve always been surrounded by books and magazines. When we lived in a tiny house trailer that Dad pulled from job to job, there wasn’t a lot of storage space, so my comic book collection was housed in a wooden seat with a hinged lid back in my bedroom. When you are an only child (at the time) and living out in the boonies, your books become your closest companions.

Dad and my grandfather liked murder mysteries

Steinhoff basement offices c 1966I asked my grandfather, who lived with us, why he liked Earl Stanley Garden and Perry Mason books and not the fishing magazines I subscribed to.

“Because I can read a mystery without wanting to kill someone, but if I read a fishing magazine, I’d want to go fishing,” he answered.

Our family subscribed to The St. Louis Globe-Democrat in the morning and The Southeast Missourian in the afternoon. We must have gotten at least half a dozen magazines. If nothing else was available, I’d read the cereal box.

When I finally got a library card, I checked out as many books as I could carry. I made a tiny mark inside the books when I finished them. A few years back, I prowled the aisles of Cape’s library until I saw some old friends that still had the marks in them. If any of the book police are reading this, I hope they will forgive my youthful transgression.



6 Replies to “World Book Day”

  1. I’ll bet that radio was tuned in to KGMO, “The Rock of Cape Girardeau”. Great current music, and DJ Fig Newton was always good for laughs.

  2. KFVS Radio was indeed 960 AM, WLS was 890, WLW in Cincinnati was 700, KMOX was 560, and KGMO was 1550. The stations that I primarily listened to were; KGMO rock and roll day and night, WLS in Chicago, nighttime rock and roll, or WLW at night.
    Thanks to the influence of my parents, my primary reading material was World Book Encyclopedia – I was not much into literature. Each article had a list of related articles at the end. It is amazing what a broad base of knowledge one develops by reading them; it tends to turn you into a real geek.


  3. Dick Biondi was the nighttime DJ on WLS, one of the most listened to in the country till he told a joke on air which led to his removal. That joke, while mildly risqué even today, might be heard on kid’s daytime television.

  4. We were pretty much trapped on the AM dial in those days with low fidelity gear on both ends, both broadcast and receive. Static was expected. As I recall KGMO was day time only then. Late at night you could pull in some of the 50,000 watt “blow torch” stations from around the country. Interesting times.

  5. Dennis and I have a lot of books in our home – a LOT of books; nearly every room.
    Several years ago, we were hosting someone from another country; while I was preparing breakfast, she was gazing at our floor to ceiling, 17′ long bookcase in the family room. Finally, she said, “Have you really _read_ alllll these books?”
    I told her that I had read the ones of interest to me and Dennis had read those in his interests and that we had many more books in other rooms.
    She shook her head from side to side and said, “That’s a LOT of books to have read”.

  6. When my mother passed away she left the 5 kids with a bin full of scrap books with lots of pictures and also some ancestry sheets. The problem we had was that we all couldn’t have everything. So, I consolidated and wrote stories around each ancestor bringing them and the times they lived in back to life so that everyone benefited including my descendant’s. If anyone has been faced with a similar problem and would like to see how I structured the book; let me know. Don Beussink

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