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

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.

 

Cape Cut Rate Endangered

Old Cape Cut Rate 635 Good Hope 04-16-2011The Cape Girardeau Historic Preservation Commission announced its list of 11 of the city’s most endangered buildings in hopes of raising awareness about the building’s uncertain futures.

One of the buildings is the old Cape Cut Rate Drug Store at 635 Good Hope, the southeast corner of Good Hope and Sprigg. I’ve been shooting the building for at least three or four years, but I kept putting off doing a story until I got the photo I wanted. I guess it’s time to go with what I’ve got.

Going to be teen club

Cape Cut Rate 635 Good Hope 10-24-2011I was on a bike ride a couple of summers ago when I noticed a dumpster in front of the building and some work going on. I stuck my head inside and was told that someone was going to fix it up for use as a teen hangout to give neighborhood kids a place to go. I didn’t have the equipment with me to shoot in the dark, so I said I’d come back. That was the last time I saw any activity in the place.

Roof peeling off

Cape Cut Rate 635 Good Hope 04-21-2011In the few minutes I spent inside the old drug store, I could see that the roof had been leaking for quite some time and that the interior was charred like it had caught fire at some point. I happened by the place on a windy day and say big pieces of roofing material flapping in the wind, so I know where the water came from.

A regular stop

Cape Cut Rate 635 Good Hope 10-24-2011

No telling how many times I passed through these doors because we spent a fair amount of time in the Haarig district.

Dad’s construction office was in Farmers and Merchants Bank, the place we did our banking.

I got my hair cut by Ed Unger at the Stylerite Barbershop.

We bought our ice from the Pure Ice Company

Suedkum Hardware was better than Disney World. (Or course, Disney World hadn’t been invented yet.)

You hoped you weren’t sick enough to see Dr. Herbert

If it was REALLY serious, you went to St. Francis Hospital

We could buy clothes at Schades and shop for groceries at Hirsch’s Midtown.

At Sprigg and William, in the next block up, you could go to church at St. Mary’s, buy a car at Clark Buick and a TV from Lorberg’s.

In later years, we’d stop in to see Doris.

What is Haarig?

Cape Cut Rate 635 Good Hope 04-21-2011Haarig was the heavily German section of Cape Girardeau. You can read about the history of Harrig and its buildings in this National Register of Historic Places registration form. Here is a list of last year’s endangered buildings.

Old Jefferson School has been removed because it was torn down.

635 Good Hope Photo Gallery

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

Riding the Bus

This shot of kids boarding the bus on the south side of Central High School in 1966 has some interesting things in the background. First off, Millikan Car lot is loaded with cars. Griff’s Burger Bar is just out of the frame. There’s a billboard pitching Suedekum and Son Hardware. The Sinclair Dino gasoline in Cape Girardeau sign is for Huckstep Oil Company.

In the far background you can see students walking home down Caruthers.

Standing room only

I remember some days that the bus had late riders standing in the aisle, but I didn’t think it was THIS crowded. I think the Class of 66 might have been bigger than the Class of 65, so that would explain it.

I didn’t mind riding the bus. The driver was a SEMO student picking up some spare money. He was a nice guy; in fact he and his girlfriend would come by the house some evenings and I would help them with their homework and provide them reference materials. I think he was writing some papers on topics we covered in debate.

Bright and early

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like the bus came by the house at an ungodly hour, like 7 a.m. I had a curious study routine. I found out that if I did my homework before going to bed that I would drag it out and procrastinate for hours.

If, on the other hand, I calculated about how long I thought it would take me to do the homework and got up, leaving just enough time to do it, eat breakfast and get dressed before the bus got there, I could get a decent night’s sleep. It was the classic adage of “A task will expand to occupy all of the time available to it.” Seeing that deadline marching toward me allowed me to focus on the job, something that I always liked about the news business.

When I moved to North Carolina, I was surprised to see they allowed high school students to be bus drivers. The driver would take his (it was a guy thing) bus home at the end of the route and start out from home at the start of the next day. I think the safety record was amazing. I don’t recall ever working a wreck involving a student driver, which is pretty amazing, considering some of the roads they had to go on.

Advertisements in 1934 Girardot

I was looking through the 1934 Girardot yearbook. That was the year my dad graduated from Central. I have his 1931 yearbook, but money was tight in 1934, so he didn’t buy a book and he didn’t have a class photo taken.

I was lucky enough to find this one in a Cape antique shop. An inscription in the flyleaf said that it belonged to Carlston Bohnsack. I wonder if he was related to the Bohnsacks who ran the photo of the Clark Gable lookalike on page 125 of the yearbook.

I did a story on Lueders Studio just the other day. The Suedekum & Sons Hardware store looks much like it did when this ad appeared.

Rigdon’s Laundry and Dry Cleaning

I discovered that Rigdon’s Laundry had a mystery associated with one its drivers that could come right out of a forensics TV show.

Phil Haman’s became Nowell’s Camera Shop

Entrance to 609 Broadway

There should be a groove worn in the tile from the number of times I walked into Nowell’s Camera Shop. I’m still collecting photos taken of Bill Nowell and the store for a longer piece in the future.

Lang Jewelers still in business

Lang Jewelers and Zickfield Jewelers are still in business on Main Street. I’m sure railroad buff Keith Robinson will be able to tell us what a “Frisco, Mo. P. R. R. Inspector” is. Was he certified to maintain railroad watches? Notice how the telephone numbers have two and three digits?

Lang Jewelers today

Lang Jewelers’ sign proudly proclaims that it has been in business since 1916 and its window reflects its colorful neighbors across the street.

We’ll feature other yearbook advertisers on another day.

 

 

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.