Cape’s Conflicted Past

This statue of a member of the United States Colored Troop regiments will be unveiled officially on June 8, 2019. It’s located on Ivers Square on the Common Pleas Courthouse grounds. Ironically, the statue is located in front of the old Carnegie Library, which is close to where slaves were auctioned off in Cape Girardeau.

The square is named for James Ivers, who was owned by E.W. Harris for 25 years, then was sold for $800 to a young up-and-comer John Ivers, Jr. John Ivers eventually bought James’ wife, Harriet, and the couple’s three children, Washington, Stella and Fanny.

In the spring of 1863, when official enlistment for men of color opened, James joined up and was sent to Helena, Arkansas. Before he saw action, he died of consumption in the fall of that year.

You can read more about James’ life in Denise Lincoln’s column in The Southeast Missourian.

A snapshot of Cape during the Civil War

This photo contains monuments to the Confederate States of America, a Union soldier, and the new statue recognizing the sacrifices made by troops of color.

The Common Pleas Courthouse served as the Union headquarters when the city was under martial law. A guerrilla who was being held in the dungeon basement of the building was lynched and hung.

Not the original soldier

This isn’t the Union soldier I photographed in 1967. A tree fell on it, and smashed it to more than 200 pieces in 2003. The pieces were painstakingly put back together and a new statue molded from them.

Here is a bit of the history of the statue.

Vietnam veterans recognized

This monument is in honor of service personnel who served in Vietnam. You can see some our classmates who didn’t return listed on the Freedom Corner in Capaha Park, along with servicemen from earlier World Wars.

Brookside War Memorial

If you are in Jackson, it’s worth stopping by the Brookside War Memorial.

Cafeteria: For Sustenance and Socializing

Cape Central High School cafeteria c 1964It’s fun to look at the faces in Central’s cafeteria in 1964, but it’s more fascinating to look at the variety of food on the trays.

I spot pineapple slices with cottage cheese and a cherry. The girl in the foreground has something on a bun, but she also has what might be two deserts and a Sealtest milk. Vicky Berry, second from left, has a copy of English Grammar and Composition just like the one on my bookshelf. I have to confess that I don’t open it any more now than I did then, but it’s comforting to know I COULD if I wanted to.

I hope that’s not a rolled-up gym suit in the middle of the table.

Is that Carol Klarsfeld actually studying?

Cape Central High School cafeteria c 1964I never saw Carol Klarsfeld with her nose buried in an Adventures in American Literature book like that before. She does not appear to be reading for pleasure. There is a couple in the background exchanging a meaningful glance. Or, maybe she’s just asking if he wants her desert.

Sealtest milk was a big seller

Cape Central High School cafeteria c 1964

I’m surprised at how many students are drinking Sealtest milk. Some trays have two and three cartons on them. I can’t quite tell what’s on the tray in the right foreground. I see some form of desert, a biscuit, something that looks like beans and, maybe, a piece of chicken. I saw chicken bones on another plate, so that’s a possibility.

That’s Bonnie Strom on the left. I went K through 8 at Trinity Lutheran School with her.

This looks like a freshman tableCape Central High School cafeteria c 1964

Those boys look too young to be in high school. Gary Schemel is in the center of the background.

Cafeteria photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the side to move through the gallery. Identify the people if you wish, but I’d rather hear descriptions of what they are eating.

Gary Schemel in 1964

Gary Schemel 1964When I photographed a casual Gary Schemel, right, chatting casually with a friend in the cafeteria in 1964 there was no way of knowing that he would be the first Central High School student to die in Vietnam.

When this picture was taken, the all-conference athlete, described by a teammate as “tough as steel” would have just about a year to live. He was born January 4, 1946, and died in Quang Tin Province September 26, 1965.

It’s worth going back to an earlier post I did about Gary to read the many comments from his friends, teammates and classmates. Robert Taylor, also in the Class of 1964, was killed in Dinh Tuong Province March 8, 1968.

Memorial Day 2013

Photo in LV Steinhoff's scrapbook c 1934This photograph from Dad’s scrapbook wasn’t what I had planned to post tonight. Dad’s scrapbook has photos in it from when he was a pupil at May Greene School and on through at least 1934 when he graduated high school from the old, old Central on Pacific Street.

I don’t know who his buddy was. The mid-30s would have put it between World Wars I and II.

A flash of the Vietnam War

Plaque honoring Athens County servicemen killed or MIA in Vietnam 02-27-2013

When I visited Athens, Ohio, this winter, there was something on the county courthouse that wasn’t there when I was in the town: a plaque dedicated to the memory of Athens County residents who lost their lives in Vietnam. The fading flowers were what caught my attention. I shot a few obligatory shots and didn’t think anything about it until I got back to the hotel and looked at the photos on the computer screen.

At the bottom of the plaque (not shown here) was the name of Robert N. Smith, MIA. I was rocked back. I remember shooting Smith’s wife and daughter when they were waiting for word about his fate. About a decade or so later, the daughter tracked me down and I think I sent her copies of the pictures. I didn’t think of them again for three decades.

The story has an incredible twist that I’m going to save for when I find the film of the Smith family. I’ve spent two weeks going through negative files day by day and haven’t located them yet.

Thanks to all of you who have served. And, thanks to those like the Smith Family who have waited so long to be able to write the final chapter in a loved one’s life.

Stories appropriate for Memorial Day

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.