Dad’s Boat in the Basement

1944 LV Steinhoff classified advertising

Every family has stories that may or may not be true. Dad often told a story about pulling his toy wagon full of sheet music for the woman who accompanied the silent movies at the Broadway theater.

We all dismissed that as his version of walking 12 miles to school in waist-deep snow (uphill both ways.)

Eventually, Mother sent me the obit of the woman who HAD played music at the silent movies. I guess he wasn’t just funnin’ us with his tale.

Dad and the basement boat

I don’t ever recall Dad mention the boat he built in the basement at Themis Street before discovering he couldn’t get it through the door. That strikes me as a story no man would tell on himself.

I was never able to determine if the tale was true, and all the folks I could ask are no long with us.

Then, I ran across a couple of Missourian classified ads from 1944. The one at the top of the page was to sell a new, 12-foot row boat; table top model radio, $25; electric jig saw, $10; and one 4 and one 6 cylinder magneto.

Maybe he HAD gotten the boat out of the basement, and maybe that’s why he was also able to sell the jig saw.

Bicycles for sale

1944 LV Steinhoff classified advertising

About the same time, he was trying to sell two pre-war bicycles, like new. (And the boat.)

Mother with bikes

Mary Welch Steinhoff holds her bike and one belonging to L.V. Steinhoff in front of the garage in Advance, MO. They rode the bikes from Cape Girardeau to Advance shortly after they were married.

Decades later, she still talked about how their legs cramped up from the 36-mile ride.

The first year I started serious biking, I did the 72-mile round trip in their memory. I had quite a bit of long-distance cycling under my saddle by then – including at least one 100-mile day, so I fared better than they did.

Another bike photo

Mary Steinhoff and LV Steinhoff w Roy E Welch in background – Rolla MO 1942

Here’s Dad on a bike. Mother’s dad, Roy Welch, is looking through the screen door in the background.

I think that Advance ride dampened their enthusiasm for long two-wheeled expeditions.

 

 

 

Letters from Mother to Dad

I ran across some snippets of letter between Dad and Mother mixed in with business correspondence. 

My parents weren’t particularly demonstrative (maybe that’s where I got it), but they conveyed their closeness in shared moments and glances.

This series was part of a photo book I put together documenting Christmas 1969.

A letter from Mother

Based on the fact that it’s on Markham and Brown stationary, this must have been written shortly after they were married. I’m not sure if she sent it to Dad or to her parents.

“I wish everyone could be as happy as I am all my life. I had most everything I wanted and now I still have what I want. I don’t see how it can last forever. I am twice as happy as I ever expected…”

Mother buries the lead

Newspaper writers constructed their scribblings in what was called the “inverted pyramid” style, meaning that the most import elements were at the top, making it easy for an editor to trim from the bottom if space was tight.

If you put the important thing at the bottom, it was caused “burying the lead (spelled lede in journalistic jargon). Friend Jan says I’m bad about doing that.

Anyway, in this undated letter to Dad, Mother lists all kinds of mundane things she had taken care of, then, in her buried lede, she says, “Thank you for a nice day. So glad you made me a mother. Love MLS.”

Making memories

In 2012, I discovered this frame.

I wrote, “I don’t remember taking it, probably because the moment didn’t mean as much to me then as it does now. I often say that some days you make pictures; other days you make memories. This was one of those cases when I’m glad I made a photograph that lets me fill in a memory that I DIDN’T make at the time.”

That’s one of the shared moments I mentioned in the lede.

 

 

Cooking Up a Birthday Post

With Mother’s Birthday Season coming up, it was appropriate that I was standing on a step ladder looking at the very back of a closet in the corner bedroom.

I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I ran across this box of recipes she had collected. Unlike her green metal file box with handwritten food ideas I started scanning a few years back (and got distracted before finishing it), most of these were stories clipped from magazines.

Braunschweiger Ball Snack

I mentioned once that I have a craving for Braunschweiger about twice a year. I pull out the Ritz crackers, some sour cream and, maybe, some cheese, and eat enough that I belch it for the rest of the week. 

If you have a special occasion coming up, you should whip up some Braunschweiger Balls to impress all your friends. It will be a dish that will be talked about for a long, long time. Maybe not in your presence, though.

The Ellis Family Favorite Recipes

Ellis Family Favorite Recipes Cookbook

Back in the days before you could share your cooking concoctions electronically, families, clubs, churches and others would collect and publish cook books.

This one must have been printed in the early 1990s, because many of the illustrations are dated 1992.

Ellis Family History

Ellis Family Favorite Recipes Cookbook

It all started in the spring of 1865….

A lot of Mother’s friends

Ellis Family Favorite Recipes Cookbook

I probably wouldn’t have looked twice at the book if I hadn’t seen this list of family members. I recognize names I heard (or overheard) Mother talking about. Some of them were her closest friends.

Flatwood Church Reunions

Ellis Family Favorite Recipes Cookbook

Family members would come together at the old Flatwoods Church the first Sunday of each June. I don’t think I ever heard of the church, but I’d love to see if it’s still standing.

Just before pushing the Publish button, I did a little more checking. It looks like Flatwoods is near Glenallen in Bollinger County. As soon as the mosquitoes and ticks take their seasonal nap, I might poke around a bit.

I’d love to spend time looking for good things to cook, but if any Ellis family members would like the book, reach out to me and let’s see what we can work out.

 

 

Mother’s Day Season

Family tombstones 05-08-2021

Mother long graduated from having a Birth Day to having a Birthday Season that grew from weeks to months. I guess it was only appropriate that I started celebrating extended family Mother’s Days more than a week ago.

When Mother died in 2015, I pulled together a collection of the posts I had done on Mary Welch Steinhoff over the years. She was a hoot and a half.

Plenty of flowers at home

Kingsway roses 05-06-2021

I never liked plastic flowers, but all of Mother’s plants were popping off in a fireworks of color, so there was no need to buy any dead dinosaurs.

A stop in Advance

Family tombstones 05-08-2021

Last week I went down to Advance to put flowers on my Mother’s parents’ gravestone. Looks like the ants at the base of the memorial are churning up the dirt.

Here’s a post I did about my Grandmother, Elsie Adkins Welch, and her life.

I just looked at the dates. My grandmother died in 1973 when she was 80 years old. Dad died only four years later, at age 60. I was always afraid that I had inherited the genes of Dad and his brothers, but maybe Gran has kept me rolling some extra years.

A stop at Tillman Cemetery

W.M and Mary O Adkins tombstone 05-10-2019

Just down the road from Advance is a curvy road that climbs out of the flats into some rolling hills and leads to what we always called Tillman Cemetery.

Pleasant Hill Cemetery, which it is more properly called, is the final home for Mother’s great grandparents and a host of other relatives and friends whose names I grew up hearing.

I’ve written about Tillman Cemetery and some of the Adkins relatives before.

Lucille Hoffman Perry

Family tombstones 05-08-2021

I couldn’t neglect Wife Lila’s side of the family. This is her mother, at rest in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Cape.

Mother was always asking, “Who will put flowers on the graves after I’m gone?” I was around to do it one more time.