Future CVS Site Stirs Memories

Future CVS site at Christine-William 07-07-2013I was roaming around Cape looking at all the bare ground where buildings had been torn down. One that caught my eye was at Christine and William across from the Town Plaza. There’s a new Plaza Tire directly south of it.

I mentioned to someone that a sign said a new CVS pharmacy was going on the bare lot, but I couldn’t remember what had been there before.

My friend said she couldn’t remember, but had read the project had been delayed because a couple of big underground tanks had to be removed.

I remembered those tanks

Future CVS site at Christine-William 07-07-2013That shot me back over half a century ago. One of the most significant moments of my boyhood came flooding back.

Here’s how I remembered it: When I was about 10, Dad was setting a big tank for someone. He had the load locked down and suspended about five feet off the ground while a worker for his client was leveling the dirt below it. He stepped off the crane for a break, then sent me back to get his jug of iced tea. When I climbed up into the cab, the tank owner went berserk. “Kid, get DOWN off there. If you touch something, you could kill that man.!”

I froze until Dad hollered back, “If I thought he was going to touch anything, I wouldn’t have sent him.” Turning to me, he said, quietly, “Fetch me the jug, please.” I realized then how much confidence Dad had in me.

Missourian librarian Sharon Sanders pulled up a Frony aerial of the area right after the Town Plaza was built. From all the trucks parked around the lot, it might have been a trucking depot at one time. That would explain why they needed the tanks.

When Did You Quit Smoking?

TV screen Athens 02-09-1069I have no idea why I took several photos of a TV screen, but this image caused me to pause because you won’t see it today. Cigarette ads were as ubiquitous in the 1960s as car ads are today. (To be honest, I don’t know what ads are running these days. One of the advantage of TiVo is that I bleep right past the ads like they were names in a Russian novel.

The last national cigarette ad

Want to take a guess what the last cigarette ad was and when it ran? I’ve already looked it up for you.

On New Year’s night, 1971, millions of Americans were tuned in to NBC to watch the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. At 11: 59 Johnny went to a commercial break, something he had done thousands of times since he took over the Tonight Show in 1962. But there was something special about this break, a 1 minute commercial for Virginia Slims cigarettes. Cigarette commercials had been a mainstay of advertising in the first 25 years of television. But this commercial was different. It was the last cigarette commercial broadcast nationally in the United States. One minute later at midnight on January 2, 1971, The “Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act” went into effect. This law banned the advertising of cigarettes and tobacco product on television and radio.

Dad quit cold turkey

LV Steinhoff smokes at kitchen table March 1961It was rare to see a photo of Dad without a cigarette in his hand or nearby when I was growing up.

One New Year’s Day I found him crankier than usual. I had stayed out a little later than I was supposed to and he jumped all over me. That usually didn’t happen.

A couple of weeks later, he let us in on his secret: he had decided to give up smoking at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. He threw all his cigarettes in the fireplace without telling any of us until he was sure he could do it.

He never smoked again, although he chewed a lot of gum and ate a lot of hard candy for quite awhile.

I was lucky. I never took up the habit. Maybe that’s why I’m still around. Dad and his brothers died at or before 60.

Not Enough Words

Ken - Mary Steinhoff 10-18-2007I usually start with a picture, then wrap some words around it. This time, though, I have an endless supply of pictures and not enough words to express how I feel about Mary Welch Steinhoff. So, on this Mother’s Day, here’s a small sample of Mother with her family.

Every picture I ran across led me to another, and there are scores that I remembered and couldn’t lay my hands on quickly. Mother sure has packed a lot of livin’ into her 91 years.

Mary Welch Steinhoff, my Mother

Click on any photo to make it larger,then click on the sides to move through the gallery.

Drops of Rain

Rain Art 04-13-1967 16I had four situations on a roll of film: the St. Charles Hotel, the Indpendence traffic jam, the actual assignment (I’ll publish it later) and this random shot of rain drops.

I probably shot the assignment at the airport, then cruised around looking for stuff to burn up the rest of the roll.

There were four frames of the raindrops, but I like this one with a drop making its escape at the bottom the best.

The key to shooting something like this is to shoot so that only the important part of the photo is sharp. I probably used a 105mm or 200mm telephoto set at a wide aperture so there would be very little depth of field – in other words only a little of the frame would be sharp.

Through a screen fuzzily

Rain Art 04-13-1967 18This looks like it was shot though the screen on our side porch. It’s interesting, but not interesting enough that I was going to spend much time spotting out some ugly scratches at the bottom.

Nikon D7000

I got a box in the mail Tuesday with a shiny Nikon D7000 in it. I mentioned that my Nikon D3100 started hiccuping on my way back from Cape in March. I thought it might have gotten a bit sticky from experiencing cold weather. It turned out that a piece had been rattling around for almost a year after I crashed on my bike. It’s been out of service for a couple of weeks and a couple of hundred bucks.

(By the way, if you are interested in buying those cameras, click on the links and I’ll get a piece of the action to help pay for MY camera. Also BTW, the first link to the Nikon D7000 is for a body by itself. If you want the basic Nikkor 18-55mm lens with it, you’d go here.)

It dawned on me that had it crapped out at the beginning of the trip instead of the end, I’d have been in a lot of trouble. That gave me an excuse to buy a second, much improved camera body. That will also mean I don’t have to switch lenses when I use the 55-200mm lens birthday present the boys bought me.

The only thing is that I’ve had it almost 12 hours and I haven’t had the nerve to so much as put the camera strap on it. The operating manual is about as thick as War and Peace and just about as easy to understand as the Russian language version of the book.

I long for the days when I could eyeball the exposure, focus on what was important and change the shutter speeds and f/stops by feel. The camera shouldn’t be smarter than the photographer.

Wow, half a century

First Missourian picture 04-18-63I was talking with the Athens County Historical Society Museum curator Jessica Cyders this morning. She was putting together a bio for an upcoming exhibit and wanted to know when I got into the newspaper business. “April 17 – HEY! That’s today – 1963. I was 16 and didn’t even have my driver’s license when my first picture appeared on the front page of The Missourian.” Today would have been my Dad’s birthday, too. He would have been 96, which puts him on the verge of being old.”