Unofficial Class Reunions

I think I’ve run into more classmates this visit than any other, just by the luck of the draw. It started out with the Class of 1961 and its 50th Reunion. Then, I got a call from frequent contributor Keith Robinson, who said he was in town from Kansas City. (I let him slip away without getting a photo of him, drat.)

Shari Stiver came down from St. Louis over the weekend and she, her mother and I roamed around Cape and Perry Counties in search of interesting things. The low water level on the Mississippi River let us go out on an old quarry south of Tower Rock that is usually covered by eight or 10 feet of water.

Terry Hopkins

Monday, former earth science teacher, ham radio operator, pilot and first teacher I ever called by a first name, Ernie Chiles, and Terry Hopkins from the Class of ’66 shared lunch at Mario’s Pasta House. I didn’t bother to shoot a photo of Ernie because, except for being a bit grayer, he looks just like he did when he was standing in front of a class at Central. You can click on Terry’s photo to make it larger. Terry wrote a touching piece about how important the Capaha Park Pool was to him when he was growing up.

Ernie’s plane is sick

The weather has been great for flying, so I was hoping to refresh my stash of aerials, but Ernie says his plane is down having a carburetor rebuilt. I recall that he was having to play with the mixture a bit on our last flight because the engine kept sputtering.

“I’ve never left anybody up there,” he said, reassuringly.

Reminds me of the time I was flying in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s helicopter and we suddenly dropped like a rock to a not-so-soft landing on the beach. “What was THAT all about, Andy?” I asked the pilot.

“See that red warning light. That detects flakes of metal in the transmission. Sometimes that means nothing. Sometimes that means the thing that keeps that big fan over our head turning is chewing itself to bits. You’re better off if you figure out if it’s something or nothing while sitting on the ground.” We got a ride back in a squad car and the chopper got a ride back on a flatbed truck.

Pat Sommers

Pat Sommers and I were debate partners. I’ve written about Pat before, much to his chagrin. What you do in high school can come back to haunt you if your friend is a pack rat photographer.

While we were trading war stories about debates won and lost, Pat reminisced about the feeling of power he had when he was waving the gavel around after being elected Speaker of the House when we went to the State Student Congress. (I was elected Outstanding Senator or Representative.)

Central had a showing much stronger than what our numbers would have led you to believe possible. It came about because we put together a coalition of all the smaller schools to challenge the numerical superiority of the metro areas of St. Louis and Kansas City. That, or we just got lucky.

All this socializing is playing the dickens with my work schedule, but it’s been fun catching up with old friends.

 

Red Dagger Play, Which One?

We haven’t had a mystery post in quite awhile, so here’s the question: What is the name of the play? I thought it was My Sister Eileen, but I couldn’t find anything in the Google News Archive for 1964-1965 in either The Missourian or The Southeast Weekly Bulletin that supported my guess. Ditto my Girardots.

Was it Our Hearts Were Young and Gay?

Vicky Roth wrote a piece for The Missourian’s Youth Page on Feb. 15, 1965, headlined Casting for Red Dagger Production Is Completed.

Cornelia Otis Skinner will be portrayed by Miss Sally Wright, senior, and Miss Sharon Stiver, who is also a senior, will enact the part of Emily Kimbrough. Cornelia’s father will be played by Albert Spradling, and Mrs. Skinner will be characterized by Miss Mary Sudholdt. The two young women’s romantic interests, Leo McEvoy and Dick Winters, will be portrayed by John Magill and Lee Dahringer.

On a cruise to Europe, Cornelia and Emily have amusing encounters with the ship’s company, among them the steward, Gary Fischer; the purser, Steven Crowe; the stewardess, Miss Frances Hopkins; the admiral, Wm. East [Editor’s note: The Missourian had a style quirk that said to abbreviate William as Wm.]; and the inspector, Miss Marcia Maupin. The two girls also meet two English girls, Harriet St. John and Winifred Blaugh, portrayed by Miss Norma Wagoner and Miss Ann Buchanan, respectively.

During the Paris visit, Cornelia and Emily conquer their living problems with the aid of Madame Elise, Miss Yyonne Askew, the landlady, and her daughter, Therese, played by Miss Sheila Kirchoff. Cornelia also attempts acting lessons with the “great” French actor, Monsieur De La Croiz, who will be portrayed by Ronald Marshall. During the confusion and laughter, the window cleaner, Grant Holt, adds his comments to the hilarious events. The play is under the direction of Mrs. Wm. Busch.

It STILL sounds more like My Sister Eileen

When I read a synopsis of My Sister Eileen, it sure sounds like the characters I see in the photos, up to and including the pack of Portuguese Merchant Marines and their conga line, led by Sherry McBride.

I started to put names on the pictures, but then decided, hey, if I don’t even know the NAME of the play, what are the odds that I’m going to get the names of the cast right? So, I’m going to throw up a gallery of photos, some of which have names (some of which might even be correct); the rest are going to be fill-in-the-blanks.

Gallery of high school play

Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery. Good hunting.

Dancing in the Bank Parking Lot

I have a couple dozen photos slugged TAC, Teen Town and Teen Age Club. I know a lot of you spent a lot of time at some combination of those things. I think they’re all the same, but going by different names. Can someone clear up that mystery?

Rocking in the First National Bank Parking Lot

I thought the guy in the middle of this picture (with his mouth open like he’s catching flies) looked like Bill East, so I sent it to him for confirmation. I also postulated that Chuck Dockins might be in a striped shirt behind and to his left.

Bill pleads guilty

Here’s his reply:

It is. And is is Teen Town. During the summer of ’65 ( I think) the original teen town, which was on the second floor of a building on the  corner of  Themis and Spanish, was shut  down on an emergency basis. The ceiling of the store below was bouncing and the building inspector ruled it unsafe.

Bob Swaim got his father to give permission to use the bank  parking lot during the summer. A second temporary site was found, and I  don’t remember where, and then to the corner of Clark and Broadway.  Later, a more  permanent move was to a building on Broadview.

The negative sleeve is marked Teen Age Club 8/21/64, so I’m pretty sure that’s an accurate date. There were some other sleeves of what looked like the same event that were called TAC, with no date. Maybe I got lazy and figured that spelling it out once was enough.

Is that Pat Sommers in the middle?

I’ve always been lousy matching names and faces, but I think that’s Pat Sommers in dead center. The girl on his right, wearing a dark shirt, looks a little like Joan Amlingmeyer.

Gallery of Dance Photos

To keep from embarrassing myself by making other wild guesses, I’m going to take the easy way out and post the pictures in a gallery. I’ll let you fill in the dots in the comments section. Click on any image to make it larger, then step through them by clicking on the left or right side of the picture.

If you were involved with TAC / Teen Age Club / Teen Town in the 1964 – 1967 era and would like to help me ID some photos, leave me a note. I have film labeled Johnny Rabbit petition; TAC Fashion Show; Fund Raiser at Ruesslers; TAC opening and TAC meeting with Logan 8-10-67. Hints welcome.

Why Pictures Don’t Run

Bill East and Russell DoughtyBill East posted this picture of two 1966 Outstanding Seniors posing at the sundial outside the old Public Library at the Common Pleas Courthouse grounds.

That’s Russell Doughty on the left and Bill on the right.

I remembered Bill and Russ, but I didn’t recall taking that picture until I stumbled across the negative this evening. It was shot as a full-frame vertical originally.

Sometimes photos are cropped to save space or to remove distracting elements to tell the story better.

Sometimes there are other considerations.

Outstanding Seniors Russell Doughty - Bill EastWhen I looked closely at the plaque on the sundial, I noticed something I hadn’t seen when I pushed the shutter: a commonly-used four-letter word beginning with the letter S. [As always, click on the photo to make it larger.]

That turned a well-composed full-length vertical into a tightly-cropped square.

“IT” Happens

I’m not the only photographer who has had that happen: The Simon and Garfunkel boxed set Old Friends includes a live version of the song A Poem on the Underground Wall, prefaced by an anecdote from Garfunkel about its origin: he explains that a photo shoot for the cover of the album Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. was ruined because the subway wall they had intended to use as a backdrop had obscenities written on it. Something that they didn’t discover until AFTER the shoot, according to one version.

Students wear costumes to class at Central High School

You find out who your friends are

My debate partner Pat Sommers, in the front row in the white sheet, attempts to send a message. Fortunately, I had other frames.

The Tiger was less lucky with a photo of a group of athletes, one or more of whom flashed the single-digit salute. It wasn’t noticed until after the photo was engraved, the page made up and ready to go to press. Just before we decided to kill the picture and lay out the page differently, one of the engravers thought he had a solution. He’d take some acid and carefully etch out the offending digit.

The only problem was that he wasn’t successful. When the paper was distributed, the digit was still there, except now it was surrounded by a white circle. I vaguely remember that there were repercussions. If I had been given a vote, I would have held out for neutering.

It’s not just people you have to watch out for

When I got to West Palm Beach, I was given an assignment for The Palm Beach Post to shoot a major piece on a small town that had gone on an annexation binge. They gambled that they could score a bunch of tax money if they acquired a bunch of undeveloped land, that wouldn’t require services for many, many years. (Or at least until the current crop of politicians moved on.)

The tiny village had a distinctly rural feel, so I was very pleased to shoot a photo of a pony looking through a fence within a block of what passed for the main drag. The editors liked it well enough to run it huge on the section front as lead art on Sunday.

Saturday afternoon, while the page was being put together for an advance press run, I got a radio call from an engraver.

“I can’t get in touch with any editors or your boss, but your name is on the picture and I think you need to come in.”

Do you see anything wrong with this picture?

When I got there, the engraver asked, “Do you see anything wrong with this picture?”

“No, you did a great job of separating it. It looks just like the original.”

“Take a closer look,” he said. “Let me give you a hint. There’s something in this picture that isn’t a fence post.”

Indeed, he was right. That pony was REALLY happy to see me. Fortunately, I had another frame. The engraver got a six-pack of thanks from me.

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.