Capaha Lagoon: Funny What You Forget

The Southeast Missourian’s Don Gordon was a reporter of the old school. There was no flash and trash to him. He did what are dismissed today as “dull but necessary” stories – the kind that keep politicians and bureaucrats honest. I learned a lot from him in the three years we worked together.

I tried to emulate him, down to this crazy way he’d wrap a leg around the typewriter on the stand in front of him, like he was afraid it was going to sneak away or someone was going to steal it. I’m sure he was amused by my imitation, but he was kind enough never to make fun of me. When he got into a rhythm, his typing sounded like a machine gun going off.

He had kind of a long, hang-dog look and a perpetual five-o’clock shadow. I never saw him get stressed or angry, no matter what was going on.

We kept track for a long time; the last time we saw each other, he was working in Paducah, Ky. Then, he fell off the radar screen.

He always mentioned his favorite picture

Whenever we got together, he never failed to mention his favorite photo: a shot he said I took of a couple of kids fishing in the Capaha Park Lagoon oblivious to a dog eating their lunch.

I never had the heart to tell him that I thought he was mistaken. I couldn’t ever recall taking a picture like that. In fact, I had a sequence of photos of kids fishing that I thought he might have been thinking of, but none of them had a dog in them.

Still, I’ll take compliments anyplace I can get them. If someone wants to credit me for what they thought was a memorable photo, I’ll nod my head and agree.

Son of a gun, I DID shoot a picture like that

It was a single frame clipped off the front or back of a roll of film and stuck in with some unrelated photos. The date on the outside of the glassine sleeve says 4/21/67. That date might be right. It looks like it could have been spring. The kids are wearing sweatshirts or sweaters and there are leaves on the trees.

Don’t doubt the Master

Just goes to show that you should never question your old mentor when he tells you that you done good.

SE Missouri from the Window of a Speeding Car

Someone’s farm from my speeding carFarmlands from a speeding car 2

I don’t know why I even bothered looking at these frames that were tacked onto a roll of Brownies touring The Southeast Missourian. They looked grossly underexposed and were just some old buildings.

I let the scanner do its thing anyway and serendipity clicked in. (Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally stumbles upon something fortunate, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated.)

It just dawned on me why I like these pictures. I had a Gordon Parks quote on my office wall for close to 20 years. It perfectly sums up my feelings about The Midwest and why I have to keep coming back to recharge my spiritual batteries.

In this huge silence

Homeward to the prarie I come,

to swim in the memories of childhood

and draw strength from the huge silence—

knowing that all I thought was dead here is very much alive,

and that there is a warmth here,

even when the wind blows hard and cold.

– Gordon Parks, Spring, 1984 –

Farmland from the window of a speeding carLike so many of my pictures, I have no idea where these were taken. Let me know if you recognize them.

Spring Athletes-The Unsung Heroes

Track 3-28-67 14

I’ve always felt sorry for the students who play spring sports: golf, track and field, baseball, tennis and the like.

They’re lucky if a handful of spectators show up to cheer them on. Most of their events take place after the yearbooks have gone to press, so they don’t get any recognition there until the next book. If they are seniors, then they probably don’t even make THAT book.

According to the note on the outside of the negative sleeve, I shot these on March 28, 1967. That was after I had graduated, so they must have been taken for The Missourian. Beyond the date, I have no other information about the pictures. It’s up to you folks to leave comments helping to identify these hard-working students.

Gallery of photos

Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the picture to move through the gallery.

Some of My CHS Teachers Taught My Dad

Margi Whitright left a comment on my Helen Ketterer story: We loved these pictures of Miss Ketterer.  Who went to Central and DIDN’T have to interact with her at some point?  She was working at Central when my mother was a student there.  Mother was born in 1914 and said Miss Ketterer was very young when she went to work there, obviously.

I pulled out my Dad’s 1931 Girardot.

Holy Cow! Helen Ketterer wasn’t the only faculty member that was there when my Dad was in high school. I recognized five names. [Update: Bill East pointed out one that I missed: Cornelia Gockel, who taught Business.]

Here are three pages from Dad’s 1931 Girardot

1931 Girardot Faculty P16

Note Irene Smith, above. We knew her as Irene Wright. Also Cornelia Gockel

1931 Girardot Faculty P17

Above page shows Miss Ketterer.

1931 Girardot Faculty P18

This page has Edna Haman, Mary Z. Reed and Clara Krueger (more about her later). I like the comment by math teacher J. Ross Adams: Hope we’ll all soon be riding airplanes, don’t you?

Miss Krueger’s retirement party in 1963

Cape CHS Miss Krueger's retirement party 1963

Cape CHS Miss Krueger's retirement party 1963

The Southeast Missourian’s Out of the Past column, produced by Sharon Sanders, contained this note:

75 years ago: May 24, 1927

Cape Girardeau Central High School Chapter of National Honor Society has been organized, with school receiving its charter last week; charter members of society are Mildred C. Johnson, Mary E. Drum, Ruth Berry, Lucy J. Vangilder, I. Duard Meyer, Dorothy H. Samuels, Vera E. Kasten, Aleene Kimmick, and Helen M. Ketterer; sponsor of local chapter is Clara Krueger.