Friends on Robinson Road Exhibit

Friends on Robinson Road exhibit catalog for 07-28-2013 showI’ll be doing a presentation at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum on July 28. The topic is Friends on Robinson Road, an Athens Messenger picture story I shot in 1969. I mentioned them in a post for Valentine’s Day 2012.

UPDATE

Here’s an update: when I went back to the area to see if I could find the old house, I discovered that the two men lived on Robinson Ridge Road, not Robinson Road.

My search led me to another interesting story about the Allen family who had been living on the same land since 1850.  Capt. Josiah Benton Allen, who lost an arm at Vicksburg, was one of the men responsible for the erection of the iconic Civil War memorial on the Main Green at Ohio University.

I was just looking through my notes, and remembered that Curator Jessica and I tracked down Jesse’s daughter Opal and her son Russell. When I asked him how well he knew his grandfather, he said, “I knew him as well as any of the grandkids; I knew where he hid his whiskey.”

Bill and Jesse were gravediggers for Clark Chapel’s Cemetery, where they, ironically, are buried in unmarked graves, so far as we could find out.

Here’s the show catalog

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the sides to move through the gallery.

Ford Maverick – $1995*

Messenger Ford ad 04-17-1969These guys were ready to sell you ‘the first car of the 1970s at 1960 prices.” Step right up and drive off with a Ford Maverick for $1995. There’s an asterisk after the $1995, so that’s probably where they tell you that the tires, engine, steering wheel and seats are extra.

Are car salesmen born or made?

Messenger Ford ad 04-17-1969I hated shooting advertising photos. Partially because you ended up having to take hokey shots like this; partially because the next time you ran into them at a news event, they thought they still owned you. It gave me a great deal of pleasure to disabuse them of that idea.

These were taken for The Athens Messenger in April 1969. Based on the expression, these guys didn’t seem to think there was anything unusual about pretending to be roped cowboys (I’m not sure I understand that symbolism). I guess they figured anything goes so long as they met their quota.

Cape car dealer ads

Here are some Cape car ads that ran in the 1956 Sesquicentennial booklet. I think one of the most curious slogans was in the Clark Buick ad: “We will deal until we deal.” They must have offered a pretty good deal to get Dad to buy our 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon from them. Whoever did the Goodwin Motor Co. ad didn’t quite know the difference between the “roll” and the “role” of a Mercury-Lincoln dealer (it “is of ever increasing importance to Cape Girardeau”).

If you want to read about the early days of automobiles in Cape, follow this link. Here’s a piece on Rusty” and Rueseler Chevrolet.

Click on any image to make it larger, then click the sides to move through the gallery.

Dawn of Mourning Exhibit in Athens

Athens OH 02-26-2013I was back in Athens, Ohio, on February 26, walking on rain-slicked cobblestones and helping set up my exhibit of photos of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Mourning taken in 1968.

Dawn of Mourning” is presented by Sigma Gamma Rho, Inc. in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences, the Athens Historical Society and Museum, the Foster and Helen Cornwell Lecture Series, University College, the Campus Involvement Center, The Athens Messenger and The Post.

Here is a radio interview the local NPR station, WOUB, did with me. (To be honest, I could only listen to about five minutes of it. I always cringe when I hear myself being interviewed.

Danielle Echols, who has been the Sigma Gamma Rho coordinator on the project, did a great job of keeping me more or less between the lines during the radio program. I could tell she had a basket of questions to ask if I was one of those laconic “Yes, Ma’am,” “No, Ma’am” subjects, but she need not have worried. Rambling is one of my better things.

Photo gallery of show catalog photos.

Here is a catalog of the key images showing a highly emotional day at Ohio University. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.

Another Valentine’s Day

Ken and Lila Steinhoff picnic somewhere in Southern Ohio c 1970When I was living in Cape, I was a sucker for whatever new toy Nowell’s Camera would get in. I thought this half-frame camera was kind of neat. It was called a half-frame because it took two photos on a normal 35-mm frame of film.

The good news is that you got twice as many photos per roll as a normal 35mm camera; the bad news is that you also got half the quality. Because of that, I hardly ever used it. If I was going to shoot something I cared about, I’d just as soon use a “real” camera.

Still, it was good for goofing around with. Based on other photos taken when my muttonchops were in that state of growth, I’d say this picnic was about 1970ish. It was chilly enough that I was wearing an old corduroy jacket I picked up at a charity sale held every year when the students left stuff behind in the dorms. It wasn’t all that warm, but I wore it everywhere.

Wife Lila is cute as bug

Ken and Lila Steinhoff picnic somewhere in Southern Ohio c 1970She’s warm enough in her sweater that she can leave her jacket open. Click on the photos to make them larger.

Fishing for fun, not food

Ken and Lila Steinhoff picnic somewhere in Southern Ohio c 1970

Buddy, boss and fellow Athens Messenger photographer Bob Rogers lived out in the country (you didn’t have to go very far out of Athens proper to be in the country) in a house with a pond in the back. I’d keep my fishing equipment on his porch and sneak off on a slow day to see if anything was biting. I’d park close enough to the pond to hear the police calls on my scanner so I could pretend to be working. If I got lucky, I’d leave the string in the water and a note telling Bob he was having fish for supper. This looks too big to have been Bob’s pond.

I’m wearing a pair of  “fur”-like lined boots that I probably bought for all of  about $12. I doubt that any sheep or other animals were harmed in the making of the footwear lining. They WERE warm and relatively waterproof. I wore them until the smell was so bad that flowers would wilt when I walked by. Plastic flowers.

How do you recycle something like that? Easy, I gave them to Brother David, who wore them for who knows how many years out in Oklahoma. If I ever read some scientific study that attributes Oklahomans’  lack of smell sensitivity to some kind of genetic anomaly, I’m going to have to speak up and tell ’em about David and my boots.

Beagle bait

Ken and Lila Steinhoff picnic somewhere in Southern Ohio c 1970If there’s a beagle anywhere within miles of Wife Lila, they’ll make a beeline for her.

Don’t know what we had

Ken and Lila Steinhoff picnic somewhere in Southern Ohio c 1970I tried to blow up the picture to see what we had on our picnic, but I couldn’t make out much. It looks like we had a glass bottle containing some kind of soft drink. I suspect that the beagle wound up with as much of our lunch as we did.

Best of cars, worst of cars

Ken and Lila Steinhoff picnic somewhere in Southern Ohio c 1970

I bought this 1969 Volkswagen Squareback before I even tried to drive a stick shift. Lila had the task of teaching me how to shift gears on Athens’ steep hills. It was a long time before I could get away from having to keep one hand on the wheel and one hand on the emergency brake when I got stopped at the top of a hill. I learned very quickly where Bill Cosby’s “Go Around, Idiot, Go Around” bit came from.

It was a lemon from the time I drove it brand-new off the dealer’s lot and had it run out of gas two blocks away. We took it on a trip to Mexico. Not far out of Athens, I started smelling gas. Stopped at a service station where I was told the gas line had come loose in the back of the car (where the engine lived). Got down the road a bit and smelled gas again. The gas line was pulled loose from the tank (which was in the front of the car). Somebody had skimped on the amount of hose they had installed.

Air-cooled engine wasn’t

One night coming back from Columbus, we stopped for one of the red lights in Logan. The tiny town might not have had much, but it had lots of traffic lights, all synched to make you stop for each one. Apparently the brakes had been adjusted too tightly and were dragging. So long as I was cranking at highway speeds, the wheels would turn. When I slowed down for the light, they locked up solid. We had to wait by the side of the road for about an hour until they cooled down enough to release.

The biggest and baddest defect was that the air louvers that were designed to blow air back through the air-cooled engine were installed backward, causing them to suck instead of blow. I ended up selling the car with the engine disassembled and dwelling in a cardboard box.

It was a fun car to drive, though, and it was a nice small stationwagon-type vehicle. Too bad it was mechanically unsound and poorly put together. I’ll never forget those VW heaters. They depending on engine revs to blow the hot air. If you were in fourth to make time, your engine was turning over too slowly to produce heat. If you dropped down to third for heat, then you were over-revving the engine. You had to accept the fact that your carpet would turn to ice in about November and stay frozen until after the spring thaw.

A Valentine’s Day apart

I’m in Missouri and she’s in Florida for this Valentine’s Day. That doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about her. In my mind, she’s still the pig-tailed girl on the picnic. Then I look in the mirror and think, “What’s that cute thing doing hanging out with an old coot?”

 

 

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.