BSA Official Twin Signal Set

Ken Steinhoff's BSA Twin Signal Set 03-08-2015Right here in front of you is an Official Boy Scout Twin Signal Set bought in the basement of Buckner’s for $4.25 about 55 or 56 years ago. Click on the photos to make them larger.

Contained two “sturdy plastic instruments”

Ken Steinhoff's BSA Twin Signal Set 03-08-2015

Inside were two “sturdy plastic instruments” that would allow you to send Morse code to a buddy using buzzers or lights. Included was a length of wire to go between the two units and the batteries to power them.

Cheat sheet provided

Ken Steinhoff's BSA Twin Signal Set 03-08-2015In case you didn’t KNOW your Morse code, there was a handy-dandy chart on the top of the sending and receiving unit.

My KFVS television debut

I wrote about my first TV appearance in a 2011 post. (By the way, your computer isn’t broken. We didn’t have sound movies back in the old days.) Here’s how I told the story:

Ken Steinhoff's BSA Twin Signal Set 03-08-2015I 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 Bell & Howell 8mm movie 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.

I could sell it for a profit

Ken Steinhoff's BSA Twin Signal Set 03-08-2015The bugs have gotten to the box in a few places, but I see a “Vintage Official Boy Scout Twin Signal Set” priced as high as $75 (or best offer) on ebay. One just sold for $9.99 a few minutes ago, so that’s probably what it’s really worth, give or take. Of course, MINE could carry the tag, “As seen on TV.”

You know, I should hold onto in case there’s an emergency where I need to send a message to someone sitting across from me in the same room. I can tap out “Scouting is fun” and S-O-S really well, but don’t expect me to translate anything you send me.

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.

Mad Men of CHS

Folsom Spradling Mueller Sommers CHS 8For better or worse, for once I can identify all of the people in a photo.

Steve Folsom, son of journalism teacher Betty Folsom, is reading Mad Magazine. He possessed the most unique set of eyebrows at Central High School.

I dated one of his twin sisters, Linda, briefly. (The briefly part was her choice, as I recall.) She and sister Laura weren’t THAT hard to tell apart once you got to know them, but they played the Twin Game the first night I went to pick up my date. Her grandfather, standing behind them, took pity on me and quietly pointed to the right one.

Al Spradling III is next. He was a Tiger business manager.

The next two characters were my debate partners at one time or another. John Mueller and I had an undefeated season my freshman year.You can see other photos of John here.

Pat Sommers, at far right, had a propensity to declare himself Number One in almost every photo I took of him. He is a little more dignified these days. Actually, now that I think of it, I DID shoot a picture of him wearing a tie at a basketball game.

You can click on the photo to make it larger, but that’ll just show up all the dust spots I didn’t bother to retouch out.

Bill Hopkins Gets Steamed Up

OverheatedI sent a copy of this photo to Bill Hopkins for interpretation. Bill has had a hard time holding a job: he’s been a lawyer, a judge, a goat roper and a far from adequate student body presidential campaign manager. Right now he’s an author, just like Wife Sharon.

Anyway, Friend Bill said, ” I don’t recognize the car but it looks like me under the hood.”

I’m pretty sure the other guys are John Hodges, Kenny Fischer and John Mueller. You can click on the picture to make it large enough to confirm my IDs.

That’s about the right ratio of folks: three people to watch another guy stare at a motor. I have to give Bill credit. Based on my long relationship with him, I would have thought he would have opened the trunk and not the hood to look for the reason the car wouldn’t run.