1956 Cape Girardeau Moo Juice

Cape Girardeans had quite a few choices of local milk products in 1956.

Here’s a full-page ad for Sunny Hill in the 1956 Sesquicentennial book. Do you remember the plastic “Twin Pak” handles? Were they green?

Schonhoff Dairy Farms

Schonhoff Dairy Farms wanted to know if you were concerned about getting the best milk possible for your family. They’d deliver it “fresh” to your door. I always wonder why people use quote marks for emphasis.

Keeping Pace with Cape Girardeau

The Midwest Dairy Products Division of City Products Corporation has been bringing you quality dairy products for more than 25 years, they bragged.


I remember Pevely more for ice cream than milk.

Sugar Creek Creamery

I don’t remember them, but they must have the “Cape Girardeau Manufactured Best Cream Butter” because it’s in quotes. Suedekum Electronic Supply Company has a pretty fancy type font for their logo.




Buckner’s Pneumatic Tubes: Gone

Let’s get the big question out of the way first: the pneumatic tubes that whisked your money to and from the cashiers are gone. Not a trace of them remains, the owner said.

This isn’t the definitive story on the Buckner-Ragsdale building, by the way. I just knocked off a few shots when I stopped by on another errand. We’ll do it up right on the next trip.

UPDATE to original story about Buckner-Ragsdale

I won’t need to do the definitive story on the long-time Cape business. Reader JTL left this link to the Lamkin family website.

Be sure to follow this link to advertisements, photos of the store and its employees and all sorts of historical information. This will take you back to an era where customer service was a reality, not a buzzword.

“Messrs. Buckner, Ragsdale & Lamkin built the store upon and retained those principals of  retailing that placed the customer first.  Services such as free alterations, free delivery, no interest credit, free gift wraping and an in depth knowledge of customers maintained in the memories of the large and loyal sales staff differentiated Mainstreet retailing from the Sears catalog.  During the 1970s, marketing professors at Southeast Missouri State College often used Buckners as an example of an antiquated, not numbers oriented retail establishment.  It was, without apology.  Those inculcated with modern retailing practices might try this experiment.  Call the  Macy’s salesperson most knowledgeable of your personal preferences and say, “I’m going to a Texas Hold ’em party tonight.  You know what I like.  Send me five dresses/coats/pairs of shoes on the afternoon delivery, and I’ll pick one.  I’ll return the others sometime next week, and pay for the one I keep maybe next month.”  What response would one receive for this once standard 60’s request?”

Buckner-Ragsdale photo gallery

These are details I thought were interesting on a cold, rainy, blustery day. It don’t take me long to lose interest when icy water is dripping down my collar. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.


Tuf-Nut and Other Pocket Knives

I’ve got a small wooden box on the dresser where I keep “heirlooms.” Any thief who mistakes it for a jewelry box is going to be disappointed. Well, now that I think of it, it has three rings in it: a Cub Scout ring, a Boy Scout ring and my Philmont Scout Ranch ring.

Tuf-Nut knives came from Buckner-Ragsdale

It also contains these two knives. Probably every boy in Cape had at least one of these Tuf-Nut knives. They came with blue jeans bought at the Buckner-Ragsdale store on the corner of Broadway and Main Street.

Have you earned your “Totin’ Chip?”

The Tuf-nut and the Boy Scout knife that dangled from a belt clip were rites of passage. You were supposed to have a “Totin’ Chip” before you could use any wood tool like a knife, saw or axe.

The wooden-handled pocket knife was a gift from my Grandfather, Roy Welch, when I was about eight years old. The handle was chipped when I got it and the blade had been sharpened so many times that it was about a third smaller than when new, but I still treasured it.

Valentine’s Day Cards from Trinity Lutheran School

Valentine’s Day card from Cheri Huckstep

Preparing for my Presidential Libary

There was a time when I thought I had a career in politics. Because I was positive my Presidential Library would find the trappings of my early life important, I made sure to save everything.

My political aspirations hit an iceberg when I picked Bill Hopkins to pilot my Student Body Presidential campaign. Let’s just say that the 163 folks who voted for me were nowhere near a majority and certainly didn’t warrant calling in lawyers to oversee a recount. Jimmy Feldmeier was the clear winner.

Reading the will of the people very clearly, I abandoned my plan to run for POTUS in 1984, the first year I would be Constitutionally eligible and decided that I was more suited for journalism and sniping from the sidelines.

My Mother’s attic is a time capsule

I may have never made it into a Presidential Library, but I have the next best thing. On my last trip home, I ventured up into the time capsule of my Mother’s attic.

If you dig deep enough, you can probably find every school paper I ever brought home; all of my workbooks going back to kindergarten; hundreds of stickers that say, “Don’t be a sucker, Vote for Kenny (I’d have gotten more votes if Jim Stone hadn’t eaten most of the suckers instead of handing them out to potential voters); report cards; a Bucker-Ragsdale receipt for my Cub Scout uniform and this huge stack of Valentine’s Day cards from Trinity Lutheran School days.

There’s also a box of vintage early 1950s comic books that my destructive younger brothers shredded after I went off to college. I’d be able to afford a better brand of cat food in my retirement years if they were in the same condition as when I left. They saved the fragments just to drive me crazy.

1961 Eighth Grade Class at Trinity Lutheran School

We were together for nine years at Trinity Lutheran School

Most of us were in the same class from kindergarten through the eighth grade. Even though the yearbook didn’t have names with the pictures, I can probably still place names with all but about three or four pictures (they may not be the RIGHT names, but…). No, I’m not going to tell you which one was me.

Valentine’s Day ranked way up there in the Grand Scheme of Holidays. It wasn’t quite Christmas, the Fourth of July or Halloween, but it came pretty close to your Birthday.

The only hassle was having to fill out a card for every member of your class. Then, there was the agony of picking out which card went to which kid. You didn’t want to send one that was too mushy to a girl in the sixth grade.

Now that I look back at these cards from sixth and seventh grade level, I wonder about some of the cards I got from the boys in my class.

Was there a message I missed?

Judy Schrader’s card saying that she wished I’d fall for her line caused my heart to pitter patter. I mean, we actually skated together at the Hanover Skating Rink on Friday nights. That was a big deal. (At least to me, it was.)

Getting that same card from Don Sander seems a little strange these days. I mean, I shared a tent with him on Scout camping trips. I never realized he felt that way.

These were simpler times

The card below didn’t come for Valentine’s Day. My dad built roads all over Southeast Missouri and we lived in a house trailer he’d pull from small town to small town. When I was about three years old, we must have gotten to know a family in Mountain View well enough that I was invited to a birthday party.

Look at how the envelope was addressed:

Kenny Steinhoff


It didn’t have a street address, a city, state or Zip Code. It wasn’t even addressed to my parents. It’s addressed to a three-year-old living in a house trailer. And it cost just a penny to be delivered.

You can’t beat that with a stick.

Gallery of cards

These represent a couple of years, because several classmates appear more than once. I guessed at last names, but I think I’m close to right. Click on any card to make it larger, click on the left or right side to move through the images.

Valentine Season Aside

Forty-five years ago this month, I was lucky enough to meet Lila Perry, who was working as a cashier at the Rialto Theater. We were married in 1969 and she’s tolerated me every since. I wrote up the whole story last year.