Wine Cellar Still a Partial Mystery

No wonder the North Sprigg Street wine / beer cellar jangled the memory bells yesterday: I WROTE The Missourian story about it.

Shy Reader did some snooping around and figured out why I couldn’t find the story: The Google Archive jumps from May 16 to June 6 and this story bylined “Kenny Steinhoff” ran May 17, 1966.

John Blue must have edited this story and given me the byline. My official newspaper name was Kenneth L. Steinhoff; he probably slapped the “Kenny” on it and shipped it to the backshop to be set into lead type. Click on it to make it easier to read.

The Old Cramer Home

One of the advantages of Old Tech is that you can scrawl notes on the side of the clip. This one had the question “Cramer?” written on it, which led Shy Reader to these notes about the Cramer family.

What do we know about the cellar?

  • It was behind the SEMO Group Housing complex west of the 1000 block of North Sprigg
  • It was razed because it was a hazard to children
  • W.H. Meystedt said his father, Henry Meystedt, stored meat in the man-made cave from the early 1900s to 1910 or 1911
  • It consisted of three arched chambers, each more than 25 feet long and about 15 or 20 feet wide. It was 10 or 12 feet high at the apex.
  • The third chamber had been sealed off. When it was dug into from the top, it was empty.
  • Someone said that the cellar was used by the “Dedrux Brewery” before 1900 to store “vine beer.”
  • The origin and use of the cellar before 1900 is colored with rumor and speculation, involving the legendary Underground Railroad tunnels, Civil War prisoners and a possible ammunition dump.
  • “Kenny” Steinhoff asked if anyone who had authentic knowledge of the history of the relic of a bygone day to contact The Missourian, just like “Ken” Steinhoff did 45 years later.

 

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

City

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.

 

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.