Trinity Lutheran Group Shots

Trinity Lutheran Church c 1966I’m not sure both of these photos are mine. This photo’s lighting and overall tone looks more like it could have been taken by Master Photographer Paul Lueders.

I don’t recognize anyone in the photo. I’m going to guess they are members of a Trinity Lutheran School confirmation class. Click on the photos to make them large enough to see the faces.

Trinity graduates, maybe?

Trinity Lutheran Church c 1966This looks like a different group than the one above, and their caps and gowns might make it an eighth grade graduation. Trinity Lutheran School also had a kindergarten graduation, but it’s pretty safe to say these aren’t kindergarteners.

The technical quality of this photo makes me think I took it. Where the picture at top of the page is evenly lit and has a full range of tones, this one appears to have been shot with one strobe light held high and off to the left. It got rid of most of the shadows, but the light is a bit harsh. The highlights are a little blown out, too. That’s because I tended to overexpose and overdevelop “to be safe,” leading to contrasty photos. That’s not a good thing when you’re shooting people in white robes.

So, Mr. Lueders, if that WAS your shot at the top, please forgive me for stealing your picture. I imagine you are too busy taking pictures of angels lounging around on cloud tops to have noticed, though.

Dodged a bullet

While I was still in high school, I was contacted by a company that wanted to hire me to shoot photos for a church book at Trinity. I don’t remember the details, but it was going to involve me convincing families to show up at the church to be photographed. The results would be assembled into a book the company would take advance orders for. I’d get a cut of the action, plus be able to sell prints to the families.

I turned the idea down. I figured if they offered ME the job, they were shady to begin with. It sniffed of something where they used a local to rope in the marks and collect the money for a product that would never be delivered. I didn’t have confidence that I had the technical skills to pull of the job, and I sure didn’t want to get run out of town on a rail by a bunch of German Lutherans with pitchforks if this turned out to be a scam.

Jo Ann Bock’s Book

Jo Ann Bock at Tom Nuemeyer book signing 03-14-2010I photographed Jo Ann Bock at Tom Neumeyer’s book signing for his photo documentary book, Cape Girardeau Then & Now back in 2010.

When Mrs. Bock wrote Around the Town of Cape Girardeau in Eighty Years, she asked if she could use one of the photos on the back cover of her book. I didn’t hesitate to give her permission. She sent me a copy of the book in return. I was pleasantly surprised to see she had some extraordinarily nice things to say about a piece I wrote about her husband, Howard Bock, when he died.

Mr. Bock Changed my life

Howard Bock CHS 23In the curious way that things in Cape are intertwined, Mrs. Bock was my Cub Scout den mother and knew I was interested in photography. When I got to Central, her husband was in charge of the Tiger and Girardot photo staffs and asked if I’d like to join. That was, indirectly, the start of my photography career.

We saw different slices of time

Jo Ann Bock BookHoward and Jo Ann Bock were getting married (1950) just about the time I was getting born (1947), so we view Cape through slightly different lenses. She stayed in Cape, except for a few years, and I left in 1967, although Cape has never left me.

In the introduction to one of the chapters, she says, “Sometimes a person will ask why I didn’t mention this place, or that person, or recall a special event. My answer is that memories take different directions with people.” Maybe that’s why even though she and I plow the same ground, we come up with different crops.

Her view of Broadway

Vandeven Merchantile Company 1967She and a city directory did a good job of creating a list of businesses and residences along the Broadway corridor. We have some memory overlap on some long-time businesses like Vandeven’s and the movie theaters, but a lot of places she remembers were long gone when the 1960s came around.

Here’s a partial list of what I found along Broadway between Kingshighway and Main Street.

Library and Courthouse

Cook kidsids playing in courthouse fountain on Cape Girardeau's Common Pleas Courthouse grounds June 29, 1967She and I both spent a lot of time in the Cape Public Library when it was located on the grounds of the Common Pleas Courthouse. Unlike these kids, she “never felt right about playing in the fountain with that soldier staring down at me.”

Just for the record, the soldier that stared down at her was smashed by a falling limb. The pieced-together original lives at the Jackson Courthouse, and a replacement casting stares down at children today. Maybe the new one would be less intimidating.

The George Alt House

Trinity Lutheran School neighborhood c 1966We both served our time in the George Alt House, turned into Trinity Hall by Trinity Lutheran School.

A walk down Main Street

107 Main St Cape Girardeau MO 10-20-2009 - Hecht's Mrs. Bock takes us for a walk down Main Street, reeling off a list of businesses that are mostly not there. In fact, the only business still in operation is Zickfield’s Jewelry. Hecht’s is gone, as is Newberry’s, where she worked in the infant clothing department for 15 cents an hour.

Here’s a page where I posted photos of many of the businesses I remembered from my era. The current generation will think Main Street was nothing but bars and antique shops with a little art thrown in.

Hurrah for Haarig

Meyer-Suedekum 03-29-2010_2679That’s the name of her chapter covering the Good Hope / Sprigg area. She drops names like Hirsch’s for groceries, Suedekum’s for hardware, Cape Cut Rate for drugs and the anchor, Farmer’s and Merchants Bank. If she mentioned Pure Ice, I must have missed it.

Music and Majorettes

Homecoming 34Mrs. Bock devotes several chapters to the Cape Girardeau music scene: choirs, operettas, plays, the Cape Choraliers, the Girardot Rose Chorus, and local dance bands. She also mentions being a Central High School majorette in 1946.


SEMO Fair Groscurth's Blue Grass Shows MidwayShe and I both spent time at the district fair, both as kids enjoying the rides and exhibits, then later covering it for The Southeast Missourian.

Bring on the Barbecue

Wib's BBQ Brown Hot (outside meat) sandwichThis chapter touched on two of my favorite barbecue places: the Blue Hole Garden and Wib’s.

 Parade of Photographers

GD Fronabarger c 1967You don’t serve as a high school publication adviser and a Missourian reporter without running across that strange subset of humans (some would debate that human part) called photographers. She was suitably enough impressed with us that she devoted a whole chapter to photographers she knew and worked with.

One-Shot Frony, AKA Garland D. Fronabarger, was one of the most unique newspaper photographers I ever ran into. His gruff exterior covered up a gruff interior. He got his name because he would growl around a pipe or cigar clenched between his teeth, “Don’t blink. I’m taking one shot,” push the shutter release and walk off.

Paul Lueders, a Master Photographer who shot almost every school group and class photo for years, was the opposite of Frony: he was quiet, patient and willing to take however long it took to get his subject comfortable.

She mentions several other professional and student photographers who crossed her path over the years, then launches into two pages of such nice things about me I thought maybe I was reading my obit.

How do I get a copy?

Jo Ann Bock Book backIf you grew up in Cape, you might find yourself between the pages of Around the Town of Cape Girardeau in Eighty Years. She manages to work in more names than the phone book. So, how do you get copy?

The book is available on Amazon for $15.49. It’s eligible for free shipping though Amazon Prime, so if you sign up for a 30-day free trial of Prime by January 10, you can save some money and get it in two days.


1967 Girardot Queen

1967-01-14 Girardot Queen 12I wonder if I smelled like smoke at the dance? This shot of the queen and her court was on the same roll as the fatal fire I mentioned yesterday and another fire at Dearmont Hall at SEMO. (You’ll hear more about that one later. It was there I asked one of the dumbest questions of my career.)

Here are the names as found in The Missourian caption on the September 21,1967, Youth Page: Miss Mary Hirsch, center, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Hirsch, 1855 Thilenius, was crowned Central High School Girardot Queen at ceremonies last Friday in the school gymnasium. Her attendants are, from left, Miss Holly Lueders, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Lueders, 1115 North Henderson; Miss Jane Dunklin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice T. Dunklin, 839 Alta Vista; Miss Georganne Penzel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Penzel, 1844 Thilenius, and Miss Debby Holland, daughter of the Rev. and Mrs. W.T. Holland, 2221 Brookwood.

Dad at 14

LV Steinhoff scrapbookIt’s hard to imagine your parents being young. Here’s a shot of L.V. Steinhoff when he was 14. The photos are from a scrapbook he put together when he was in high school on Pacific Street.

Dad’s full name was Louis Vera Steinhoff. The Vera came from an aunt’s name, if I remember correctly. He didn’t exactly advertise his middle name. The “Junior” nickname was because he was named after his father.

He dropped the “Junior” when he got older. (Much like I’ve tried to get shed of “Kenny.”) Only a handful of his oldest friends and family used that term. Most of the men who worked for him called him Louie or L.V.

Big feet

LV Steinhoff scrapbook

You can barely read the fading “Big Feet”caption on this photo.  It says underneath the photo that it was taken at May Greene School. He must have been friends with some of this teachers because he has pictures of some of them in casual poses around the school grounds..

Maybe being a photographer gave him access that normal students wouldn’t have had. He and Master Photographer Paul Leuders were contemporaries and members of the Kodak Club in high school.

Other stories I’ve done about Dad