Stoddard County Skies

Stoddard County scenics 09-23-2014We’re used to seeing big clouds of smoke out west in the farming areas of Florida when the sugar growers burn off their cane fields prior to harvesting. They burn off the “trash” – the leaves – leaving behind the stalks from which cane sugar is extracted. The fires blaze hot enough that the Civil Defense director (old term, I know) said they would sometimes get a call from NORAD because a burning cane field satellite signature looked like a missile launch. “Just what ARE you guys doing out there?”

Anyway, Tuesday must have been the day for SE Missouri farms to burn off their fields AFTER harvesting. I spotted as many as five different fires going at one time on our way to and around Advance. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t any shoulder to pull off on to capture the best fires.

Good news and bad news

Stoddard County scenics 09-23-2014A farmer near Greenbriar said this has been a good year for crops. The beans and corn are doing exceptionally well. That’s the good news.

The bad new is that EVERYBODY’S crops are doing well, and it’s driving down the prices.

This bean field was just south of Advance.

How to Survive Nuclear Attack

You could find just about anything at the Southeast Missouri District Fair. These women wanted to give you a pamphlet on how to “Survive Nuclear Attack.” If you had more questions, you could fill out a form (using a pencil secured to the table with a string) and drop it in the Question Box. I wonder it they were the ones who turned in the radio active girls.

The boys in the background probably have copies of the of the Cape Girardeau Police Department’s Police Safety Report and have been taught to Duck ‘n” Cover in school. My bet is that they’re more interested in trying to win the free bicycle from the Western Auto booth than in nuclear holocaust. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)

Crafts and produce

Cape was still rural in the mid-60s, so you’d find lots of hand-crafted items and big watermelons.

In addition to commercial exhibits, you could find ones that had hand-lettered signs warning “Alcohol is not a food. Alcohol is not a medicine. The first and major effect is to numb the brain.”

It might have been raining outside, based on the wet hair on a couple of the girls and the wet shirt on the boy in the bike picture.

Trying to get lucky

This appears to be a booth for selling life insurance, so I don’t know what these boys were trying to win with the forms they were filling out. The boy standing on the left has a raft of shamrock necklaces around his neck. Maybe he thinks they’ll bring him luck.

Now I see what they were doing. When I made the frame larger, I could barely see that you could win a bike or a hair dryer. I bet that round thing on the table at the right was the hair dryer. I think I know which one the boys were trying to win.

Food for survival

Cape Girardeau had its share of pretty flower gardens, but a lot of back yards grew enough vegetables to keep the family well-fed.

THAT’S an ear of corn

The fair was where farmers came to hear about the latest and greatest developments to help them produce more with less.

Here are some past fair stories:

 

 

Doctors Wilson and Estes

I have some fuzzy memories of the Spanish Revival style brick building at 714 Broadway. When I was a kid, Mother would take my grandmother, Elsie Welch, there for arthritis treatments. Dr. Charles F. Wilson was her doctor. When I searched for information on the building, I found that Dr. Wilson shared office space with Dr. Albert M. Estes.

Civil Defense needs 400 block wardens

Here are some stories that ran in The Missourian that mentioned the two doctors.

  • Sept. 9, 1954 – Reports on the organization of special groups within the local Civil Defense unit were made Wednesday night at Fort D at a meeting of service chiefs presided over by Kenneth Cruse, director of the local unit. Dr. Charles Wilson, medical chief, reported that his group is organized and that he has studied the plans set out by the state Civil Defense headquarters. About 40 persons have volunteered for service as block wardens, according to John Kitchens, group chief, but “this number is very short of our actual needs,” he added. Plans call for a warden on each of the city’s approximate 400 blocks.
  • Feb. 7, 1956 – The course of history has often been changed by disease as by military conquest, Dr. Charles F. Wilson said Monday in a talk before Rotary Club. [If you follow the link, he gives some interesting examples.]

Dr. Estes first to use electrocardiogram

  • Sept. 29, 1970Dr. Raymond A. Ritter, spoke to the Rotary Club in 1970 about the changes in medicine in Cape Girardeau over his 37 years of practice. He said that he and Dr. H.V. Ashley are the only two practicing physicians of those here when he began his practice here June 28, 1933. Dr. L.S. Bunch and Dr. H.F. Baumstark are the only remaining dentists practicing at that time, he added. Doctors George Walker and C.A.W. Zimmerman were local pioneers in the used of radiology. Dr. Albert M. Estes was the first physician in Cape Girardeau to use the electrocardiogram.
  • Nov. 11, 1972 – The cardiac units at St. Francis Hospital will be known as the Dr. Albert M. Estes Cardiac station in honor of Dr. Estes’ 33 years of internal medicine practice in Jackson and Cape Girardeau. Dr. Estes established the first two cardiac care units in Southeast Missouri. The first unit was located in St. Francis Hospital in 1949, and the other soon afterwards as Southeast Missouri Hospital.
  • Sept. 22, 2001Flora Marie French passed away Thursday, Sept. 20, 2001. She practiced as a registered nurse in the office of Dr. Charles Wilson 14 years, and then at St. Francis Hospital 10 years. After retiring, she was a member of the St. Francis Auxiliary.

Radioactive Teenage Girls

When I first ran across the photos of this giggle of girls in front of the Arena Building, I thought they might be refugees from some kind of band camp. One girl is strumming on a guitar, there’s at least one other guitar case there, and another girl has what appears to be a ukulele under her arm.

Ouija Boards and sleeping bags

Then I noticed a Careers board game, a Ouija Board, sleeping bags, canteens and other camping paraphernalia.

Is this a Girl Scout campout?

If it is, they certainly don’t travel light. They appear to be a thirsty bunch, too. I see canteens of various shapes, thermos bottles, an insulated jug and a pitcher. Those square boxes look like they might contain beauty aids. Or ham sandwiches.

Headed INTO the Arena Building

They weren’t meeting in front of the Arena Building to go somewhere, they were headed INTO the building. That’s interesting. If you have really sharp eyes, you can see a Civil Defense triangle on a box on the table at the top of the stairs. Maybe that’ll provide a clue to what’s going on.

What is that on her head?

There is some kind of signing up going on here. I covered lots of Boy and Girl Scout events, but I don’t every recall running into the ceremonial or protective headgear the girl at the table is wearing.

Elaborate forms to fill out

The forms these girls are holding look more formidable than the ones we face on April 15 every year. What ARE they up to?

Civil Defense and National Security

Then, I finally found the two frames that made it all clear. Notice the small box with the Civil Defense triangle on it the man is holding? It’s a Geiger Counter.

You have to remember that this was at the confluence of The Red Scare and the Dawn of Rock and Roll, you know, Devil’s Music.

The girls were suspected of being Radio Active

Some busybody neighbor must have heard these girls listening to rock n roll on the radio and passed the word to the local Civil Defense office. The message got garbled at each stage along the way until it finally read, “Scores of teenage girls in Cape Girardeau are radioactive.”

The next thing you know, buses were dispatched to snatch the girls and quarantine them in the Arena Building until they could be screened with Geiger Counters.

That’s my theory and I’m sticking to until someone can come up with a better one.

 

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.