Leafing the Library

This hasn’t been a great season for fall colors in SE Missouri. It was too hot and too dry for the trees to put on a great show for more than a couple of days. I drove around trying to get excited, but there was too much brown for my taste.

If you’re wondering why I’m just getting around to writing about Fall when Spring isn’t far off (Please, please, please), it’s because the framework that drives the blog has been having Old Age issues.

Shaking out the bedbugs

Kid Matt has worked some magic that has given it a new look that’s going to take some getting used to, but will also, hopefully, shake out the bedbugs. By the way, you can click on the photos to make them larger, just like in the old version.

Trees were by the Cape Library

I stopped by the Cape Public Library to swap out some audio books and music CDs. On the way back to the car, the late afternoon set the trees on fire.

Is ‘Librarian Hell’ a real place?

I discovered the old Carnegie Library when it was on the Common Pleas Courthouse lawn. I must have been about 12 when I convinced the librarians that I really COULD read adult books. From then on, I would walk out with a stack of books on Saturday, then swap them out the next weekend.

The new library is one of the nicest I’ve been in. What makes it special for me is that I can wander the stacks and still find books I read half a century ago.

(How do I know? I may go to Librarian Hell for this confession, but I would write my initials very, very small print in the back of the book so I could tell if I had read it before. Some of them are still in circulation.)

The ‘good’ books

Debate partner Pat Sommers had a part-time job at the library, so we used his key to get in to do research when the facility was closed.

Not only did we have access to all the books and periodicals we needed for debate, but Pat knew where the “good” books were that were hidden from public view unless you were (a) an adult and (b) weren’t too embarrassed to ask for them.

Not just books

When I signed up for my library card, I was given a booklet that gave all the rules and regulations, plus a list of things you could check out. 

Take a look at some of things you can borrow: telescopes, WiFi hotspots,  audiobooks (they have a great selection, by the way), and cake pans. Yes, you read that right: cake pans.

It has an inviting kid area and lots of computers. Cape should be proud of its library. (I’d like to find out where they keep the “good” books, but Pat doesn’t work there anymore.)

 

Debaters Not Worth 20¢

CHS Debate Club c 1965I posted pictures of a mad feeding frenzy after the Girardot yearbook had gone to press and the photos in it were made available for purchase. When I was going through a box of prints the other night, I found this one of what I assume to be the Debate Club. It had the price of 20 cents written on the back of it.

Despite the people clamoring for photos in the other post, apparently nobody thought we were worth two thin dimes, so I ended up with it.

I think I have figured out who all the players are. Back row, l to r, Chuck Dockins, Ken Steinhoff, Bill East, Jane McKeown, Mike Seabaugh, Debby Young and Shari Stiver.

Front row, l to r, Pat Sommers, Joni Tickel, Vicky Roth and Sally Wright. Click on the photo to make it larger.

Randy Morse 1947 – 2014

1965 Girardot Randy MorseI read Facebook to be amused, distracted, annoyed and to keep up with real and virtual friends.

Today, however, I was stopped in my tracks by a post by Lois Seabaugh: “To members of the class of ’65 at Central High School: A dear childhood friend of mine died on Tuesday October 7, 2014, in his sleep of an apparent heart attack. His name was is Randy Morse. He was one of the guys who bought an old hearse and took a trip to Florida. He was a great friend and a fun guy. He had been a lap swimmer for at least 36 years. I talked with him at least 3 mornings a week at the lap pool at HealthPoint Fitness for many years. RIP dear friend.”

“Randy Morse?” I thought. “Holy cow, that can’t be true. He’s only in his 40s.” Then it dawned on me: we were both in the Central High School Class of 1965. He was MY age.

The infamous hearse

1965-05-24 Missourian Hearse story 1I’ve been looking for the photos of the old hearse Mike Seabaugh, Pat Sommers, Randy, Phil Vinyard and Paul Schwab bought for $76.50 for a trip to Florida, but they are so far missing in action. When I saw Lois’ post, that hearse story was the first thing that popped into my mind. Fortunately, I was able to find the May 24, 1965, Youth Page story in The Missourian. The photo was taken in front of Mother’s house, so I know that means the negs are someplace.

It wasn’t easy putting the deal together

1965-05-24 Missourian Hearse story 2The 1946 hearse was headed for the junkyard when Mike and Paul spotted the beast. Overcoming legal, financial and insurance issues took some serious juggling, with an assist from Teacher Calvin Chapman. If you have trouble reading my scan of the Missourian story, go here to read it in its original form.

Boys made a good impression

1965-09-09 Missourian hearse storyThe Missourian ran a front-page letter to the editor from a Winter Haven, Florida, woman who praised the five Cape boys as being “good ambassadors” of our community, calling them “fun-filled, clean-cut American youth.” You can read the September 9, 1965, letter here.

 Classmates Remember Randy Morse

There were quite a few posts made on the Growing Up In Cape Girardeau fan page. I asked for permission to publish these comments.

Lois Seabaugh: Randy always got to HealthPoint Fitness just before.the doors opened at 5:00 a.m. He would swim laps until about 6:00 a.m. and when he left he would always say goodbye to the ladies in the 6:00 a.m. pool class (he was so funny, he would bow and bid us goodbye with a big smile and a wave as he went to the locker room.

Pat Sommers: Randy was a good friend for a long, long time. I remember when we won the KGMO Name that Tune Contest. He had the answer and I made the call from the Dairy Castle and got though first. We won in dollars the AM call number (can’t remember the amount, but less that $100). We took our winnings and went the New Orleans and had a $1.00 coke and then down to Woolworths and had banana splits — big spenders.

Randy, Paul Schwab, Phil Vinyard, Mike Seabaugh and I did buy the 37 Cadillac Hearse near the end of our senior year (1965). Had a blast around Cape and then took it on a 16-day odyssey to New Orleans and then to Daytona Beach — I believe these stories are still classified. There was a follow-up story in the Missourian based upon a letter the paper received from a couple of really nice older women we met at the hotel in Daytona Beach. They thought we were such nice young men — made our mothers feel really good to read it – and relieved at least some of their concerns. I will miss Randy – he was a great guy.

Lois Seabaugh: His sense humor was great. Some of the things we talked about during his early morning laps was how much he enjoyed doing laps at the Central Pool during the summer. One year there were some long-term repair issues and he had to use the indoor lap pool at HealthPoint Fitness. One morning during that time period he said, “Lois Ann, I really like this pool but I miss watching the sunrise on the Central Pool, but most of all I miss that early morning collection of bugs left over from the night before.”

We had a good laugh and I apologized for our lack of bugs in the water and reminded him that he could see the sunrise through our wall of windows, and I promised to ask our manager if I could bring a handful of bugs for him. He loved a good laugh and for weeks on end he would ask me when I was going to deliver the night bugs for him. RIP to my childhood friend, Randy Bill Morse. He did his pool laps until his last day on earth!

Obituary

1964 Girardot projectionistsYou can read the full obituary which has funeral arrangements at the Ford And Sons Funeral Home website. This is a much better than average obit. My compliments to the writer.

Randy William Morse, 66, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri left this part of his life on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 while resting comfortably at his home waiting for the Cardinals game to start. He was happy and he was loved, and his passing will change neither of those things.

Randy was born October 20, 1947 in Cape Girardeau to Claude E. “Pete” and Helen Margaret Layton Morse, both of whom preceded him in death. Already a precious son and brother, on October 20, 1972 he celebrated his birthday by (as he said) “marrying up”. Barbara Jordan would spend the next 42 years with his unwavering love and adoration, as often the recipient of a loving embrace as that of the most beautiful flowering weed he could find on his morning walks. Loving his family was important to him. Even more important was that they knew it.

Randy’s work was far from done when he left. He was well known in Southeast Missouri for his work in many area pharmacies. Almost every day for over 30 years started with a mile swim in the pool. He conquered or destroyed every golf course in the area and caught a few largemouth bass as well. He was proud to be a member of LaCroix United Methodist Church.

He is survived by his wife, Barb Morse, who is cherished by all but was never loved by anyone else the way Randy loved her. His son Erik and his wife Andrea will be in Columbia hugging, kissing and chasing Oliver and Amelia who will always love their Tops. His daughter Emily will continue to share their love of swimming, dogs and each other. And of course his perfect match of a sister, Sandy Burton and her husband Don of Wickliffe, Kentucky, will continue to know how loved they will always be by Randy Bill. Many nieces, nephews and cousins are also missing his infectious smile.

[Editor’s note: this photo in the 1964 Girardot says that Randy was in the picture, but it doesn’t look like him to me. Thoughts?]

 

 

Iconic Images for Sale

Round Barn on S Sprigg 1966I had a bunch of 12×18 prints made for exhibit consideration. It dawned on me that the extras aren’t doing any good sitting in a rubber bin in Mother’s basement, so I took a few over to Annie Laurie’s Antique Shop on Broadway to see if they would generate any interest (and income). We picked shots that we thought brought back memories of Cape or that were generic enough that it didn’t matter where they were taken.

They sell for $10 each. Similar prints of the same images have been exhibited in museums and galleries, so I can say they are suitable for framing, even though they aren’t printed on photographic paper. You aren’t going to get unique images like this any cheaper.

Folks who have been around for awhile will recognize the round barn that used to be on South Sprigg Street below the cement plant.

Friends on Robinson Road

Friends on Robinson Road exhibit catalog for 07-28-2013 showThe top portrait is the one that’s available. Bill and Jesse are from Ohio, but you could find their counterparts in Southeast Missouri if you poked around.

Give this to your best buddy so he can see what you guys will look like when you get old.

Toilet Paper Wars

Toilet paperIf you know Steve Robert or Mary Wright, this would be a good print to squirrel away for a special gift. A reader sent me a long account of the toilet paper wars in Cape. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth a chuckle.

SEMO Fair

SEMO Fair Round UpThere are several photos from the days when the district fair was still in black and white. I’ve always liked this shot. Years later, I saw that Robert Frank had a similar photo in his classic 1958 book, The Americans.

This would look good in the kitchen

SEMO Fair Food and drink standHere’s another fair photo. Look at those prices. I can remember scrounging soda bottles for the deposits so I could stay at the fair “just a little bit longer” after my money ran out.

Shop Class

1960s high school shop class2I suspect that OSHA would have problems with this Central High School shop class photo. If you know the guy, though, wouldn’t it be a great birthday present for him or his kids?

If your friends jumped off a bridge …

Castor River 07-31-1964I was a little confused about where I took this photo, but my readers set me straight. If you are in this photo, you might want to snatch it up before giving your grandkids the old “if all your friends jumped off a bridge” speech.

Grosvenor Crossing

Grosvenor Crossing OH during rail strikeThis has always been one of my favorite news shots. The railroads had gone on strike, and I was trying to figure out a different way to tell the story. I went out early on a cold, foggy morning and shot unbroken frost on the tracks at Grosvenor Crossing near Athens, Ohio. To me, that was a better way to show that the trains weren’t running than a bunch of guys holding picket signs.

Closer to Cape, I found that train crews still wave to you around here.

Dancing in the bank parking lot

Teen dance in bank lot 8-21-64I see several familiar faces from the night the TAC club floor was bouncing so much that city officials closed the joint down and the dance moved to the First National Bank parking lot at Broadway and Main. My old debate partner Pat Sommers is in the middle of the shot. Joan Amlingmeyer is to the right of him.

Nellie Vess

Nellie Vess 08-13-1968Nellie Vess and Peggy Sue sit on a porch near Trimble in Southern Ohio. She was one of my favorite people and her story has an interesting twist.

He’s waiting for you

Ohio GravediggerThis gravedigger from Letart Falls, Ohio, could dig a square hole. I’ve used his photo several times, most recently when discussing the skeleton that hung around Central.

This would be good to hang by your alarm clock as a reminder that there are worse things than going to work in the morning.

This isn’t the full selection, and I have more in the rubber bin. Holler if you don’t see one you want and I’ll see if there’s a print already made up. If you are interested in a photo shown here, better grab it before someone else snatches it up.

 

 

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.