1963 Charleston Debate Trophy

1963 Charleston Debate trophy

Looks like the Central High School Debate Club had a good run at the Charleston tournament in 1963.

From left to right, Calvin Chapman, advisor, projecting his JFK persona; Fred Wilferth, principal and co-owner of the Jackson skating rink; John Mueller, my freshman debate partner; Bill Wilson, the other candidate who was beaten like a drum by Jim Feldmier in our run for Student Body President; Rick Meinz and Mike “Dink” Daniels. You can see a tiny, tiny me taking the photo reflected in the window inside the door.

“Meinz would rat me out”

I can remember being at a state student congress in Jeff City and passing a note to Dink that a couple gals from Sikeston or Charleston or somewhere wanted us to go to dinner. “I’d love to,” he responded, “but Meinz would rat me out to Bunny [his girlfriend].”

You can tell by the mischievous expression on Rick’s face that he would have done it in a heartbeat, too.

Water Column Barometer

When Jim Stone and I visited our old earth science teacher Ernie Chiles on one of our trips back to Cape, Ernie mentioned a class project both of us had forgotten.

To back up a bit, I’ve written about the odd relationship Ernie, Jim, George Cauble and I had in class. Ernie was a teacher so new the ink was still smeary on his diploma. Jim was on his way to become a science whiz and George was destined to go to Rolla as an engineer. Me, I was just a guy who liked to challenge authority and hang out with George and Jim.

Jim is on the left in the photo above. Ken Trowbridge is in the middle. The fellow on the right looks familiar, but I can’t put a name on the face right now. Wife Lila says it might be Terry Hopkins. Click on the photos to make them larger.

The pressure (atmospheric) was on

As Ernie tells the story, we were on a chapter dealing with atmospheric pressure, which is typically measured in inches of mercury. Normal atmospheric air pressure – roughly 14.7 psi at sea level – will support a column of mercury about 30 inches tall. The same 14.7 psi will support a column of water about 34 feet high.

Jim, George and I said we wanted to prove it. This is where Ernie got worried, he said. “It would be an interesting experiment that would make the concept clear, but I was worried. What kind of prank had these these scallywags cooked up that was going to get me fired?” Maybe Ernie was contemplating what having a student fall to his death out of his classroom window would do to his teaching career.

Our motives, despite Ernie’s misgivings were pure. We had a chance to kill a class period doing something that would allow us to drop a hose out of the third-floor classroom, attracting the attention of the classes of Floors One and Two and we could watch Ernie squirm. Oh, yeah, and we could learn something that we already knew about atmospheric pressure. What’s better than that?

The experiment was simple

The experiment was low-tech. We had to fill a waste can with water, drop a hose in it to fill it with water, then hoist it with a rope to measure how high the water column was. A three-story building should give us the 30 feet we needed. Jim was in charge of the classroom side. I was supposed to get the hose filled with water.

I don’t recall Bill Wilson being in our class, so I may have Tom Sawyered him into filling the bucket and carrying it under Jim’s classroom window. I probably said something like, “Hey, Bill, how about doing this while I take your picture?”

George Cauble was even smarter

George Cauble didn’t even work that hard. While Jim was hauling hose and Bill was toting water and I was taking pictures, George was hanging out with Nancy Jenkins. Like I said, he was the smart one.

The experiment worked (sort of)

Jim didn’t fall out of the window, Bill managed to fill the hose with water, the water column came close to 30 feet (there was some kind of last-minute glitch of some kind, but it was close enough for CHS work), I managed to take some pictures that I held onto for almost half a century and we didn’t put an end to Ernie’s teaching career. Not a bad day’s work.

Scouting Is Fun and Other Uniforms

Almost every kid in Cape had a crack at radio and / or TV fame. I can remember going to the KFVS radio studio to sit on Santa’s lap and to tell him (and the whole world as I knew it) what I wanted for Christmas.

There was a local radio quiz show called Know Your City Quiz that would ask questions about Cape’s history. I’d sit there with my second-grade-level picture history book frantically rooting for the answer to such questions as, “When did Cape get its first fire engine.” The book had all kinds of stuff about some guy named Washington crossing some river in the middle of the winter, but not important stuff like Cape’s first fire engine. (What was that guy doing standing up in the boat, anyway? Even I knew enough not to do THAT.)

My TV debut

I think my TV debut might have been during Scout Week in the eighth grade or my freshman year. Boy Scout Troop 8 was supposed to have someone tap out “Scouting is fun” in Morse code, but the guy who was supposed to do it backed out at the last minute for some reason or other. I could send like a demon (but couldn’t receive worth two cents), so I was sent in as a sub.

Dad set up the family’s 8mm camera to record the moment off the Zenith television in the basement. For what it’s worth, he had a guy working for him who could read code who pronounced my transmission flawless. I’m not sure who the Scout was looking in awe over my shoulder.

The whole escapade ended with future debate partner John Mueller being interviewed. I’m sure he said something about how important being able to send Morse code would be in an emergency. Unspoken was the fact that my buzzer couldn’t be heard on the far side of the room and that the little light on the key was a tiny flashlight bulb. I guess it was OK for close emergencies.

Switched to different uniforms

A couple of years later, John and I  traded in our Scout uniforms for suits and ties to be undefeated members of the Central High School Debate Team.

Here’s a bunch of us getting ready to wreak havoc on the teams from the smaller schools in the area. That’s John on the right. I’m to his left. I see, in no particular order, Mike Daniels, Rick Meinz, Andy Scully, Shari Stiver, Vicky Roth, Jim Reynolds, Becky McGinty and Bill Wilson, among others whose names are lost in the fog of years.

We didn’t make it as the Three Counts

I’ve run this before, but some pictures deserve to be resurrected from time to time. John, Rick Meinz and I got dragooned into dressing up like this for a church play at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Someone Higher Up (well, not THAT higher up) cut my best line, “We’re the Three Counts: Count de Bills, Count de Checks and Count de Change.” I lost enthusiasm for my part after that. Heck of a note when the only line you can remember from a role is the one they wouldn’t let you deliver.

That’s not really MY National Guard uniform

I made about as good a soldier as I did a Lutheran Reverend and donned the uniform just about as long.

I wanted to do a story on the local National Gurard contingent going to summer camp. The Higher Ups (does this sound familiar) wouldn’t let a civilian ride in the convoy, so an enterprising Master Sergeant said, “I’ve got it all worked out. Come on by and get fitted for a uniform. You’ll look like everybody else. Nobody’ll know.”

Here’s the brief story of my National Guard career. I’ll have to scan the photos one of these days, even if they were taken in Florida. I’m happy with several of them.

 

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