Dear Hearts & Gentle People:
There are certain things that ring a bell with those who grew up in Lexington, especially during and around the mid-1900s. Eeek! That sounds like a century ago. And it was merely half a century.
There are others, but the following ALWAYS bring commentary. In no particular order: Tabo, Maude's, the Peckerwood Club, Miss Margaret Smith, the Odessa Ice Cream Shop, Central and Arnold Grade Schools.
Issue #118 referred to most of those and, within a few days I had enough material for #119. And that doesn't include the photos!
First Barbara Lee '57 Fay asked for photos of her beloved Central School:
It was only a matter of minutes before the responses arrived to my inquiry in the last TLC, requesting pictures of Central School. Many thanks to Mary K. Gooseman and Bob Ball for re-sending them to me (via our Devoted Scribe) as I obviously had overlooked our well-documented archives!
Folks, if you travel to the web pages for this issue you will see photos of some of the above-mentioned places. I feel certain I can find a photo of Miss Margaret Smith, who ruled Arnold with an iron fist for many years. But don't go there yet! There are still more letters to read.
First of all, I think I should report that Webmaster '58 Ball, is a loyal graduate of Arnold. He had some fairly unkind things to say about Central, but I refused to print them. I too am a "graduate" of Arnold, and I notice that we receive far more written notes from Arnold people than from Central. Of course I'm certain that does not reflect on the quality of education at Central.......well, maybe it does. (Okay you Central people, lemme have it.)
Shirley Briggle '53 Miller commented:
I don't recall the boys and girls using separate staircases at Arnold School. Maybe it was a result of some transgression after I "graduated" from Arnold. I just remember bounding up the stairs to get to class before the last bell in the morning; softball on the playground; Miss Caldwell teaching music, such as it was; blue ribbons from Miss Margaret in Palmer Method Penmanship; Miss Taubman teaching art -- she knew nothing about art, but she was kind. I loved my years at Arnold.
This is what Bob '58 Ball (who did remember) said:
I suppose the reason that the girls went down the north stairwell and the boys went down the south stairwell was that the girls had cooties and the boys didn't want to be exposed to cooties...
Now I've alienated all of our Central readers, and Bob has alienated all of us girls.
Here is a note from a fairly objective reader, Gary '63 Miller:
I remember both Arnold and Central Elementary Schools, having attended both. As I recall, in my area Amelia Street was the dividing line that determined which school you went to. Those on the east side went to Arnold and those on the west went to Central. I lived on the west side of Amelia, but attended Arnold from Kindergarten thru the 2nd grade. It was during the summer before 3rd grade that my parents found out that I should be going to Central.
As for memories of Central, there are a few. I remember the milk machine that always had white and chocolate milk as well as orange drink. They were in glass bottles with paper stoppers and were suspended in the milk machine by the rim of the bottles. You put in a quarter, slid the flavor of your choice along the rack and lifted it out.
I also remember playing dodge ball at recess in the big gym located upstairs. As for the teachers, I do remember Miss Rush as the principal. Miss Winkler always comes to mind because of her story about quitting smoking. She once said that she saved enough money in one year (by quitting smoking) to have an all expense paid trip to Hawaii. She also told us that the reason she limped was due to a hip replacement that she had to have done. I also remember that she had a paddle that was about 4 inches wide by 2 feet long with holes drilled in it. Boy was I embarrassed when she used it on me in front of the whole class.
I also remember Miss Greer who would use her knuckles on the top of your head as she walked between the rows of desks, when you were doing something you shouldn't be. Hmm, it seems that in looking back, I used to get into trouble....at times. Oh well.
What? You people had a milk machine??? Ours were delivered every day, possibly twice a day. A quarter??? Oh, I just realized Gary is about a hundred years younger than I am. To continue: And you had a GYM??? We Arnold students had to go outside for our exercise, which probably accounts for our fitness superiority.
And this in from Evelyn Collobert '54 Thomas:
Your TLC reminded me to check my knees to see if I still have my souvenirs from
the playground and I do. Margaret Smith was a formidable but fair principal as
I remember her. But my very favorite teacher was the snow-white haired
Mrs. Winkler. She helped me believe in myself and what greater
contribution can a teacher make?
I enjoy the musings from my Gueguen cousins and concur that packing ice cream was a great muscle-builder. I did mine at Roberts and Reed along with Sue Cousins and others. I did too much sampling though.
Regarding Odessa, Karen Kirtley Stubbs (who didn't go to Arnold OR Central, but still writes a nice letter):
I've been forwarding your emails to Ruth Beamer, who lives in Odessa. I think she told me she is now on your list. She and her family owned the Odessa ice cream works and still have the recipes. Ruth worked with me at Coro for maybe five years. We still get together sometimes. She keeps up with Lexington, Oak Grove and Higginsville at least.
I think it would be great fun if Ruth wrote about ice cream for your next issue. She writes for the Odessa and Oak Grove newspapers...covers meetings of the boards of alderman. I'm not sure if she is still an alderperson in Odessa. Some of us hoped she would run for mayor. Believe it or not we used to drive to Odessa from KC to get ice cream.
And then came this from the estimable Ruth Beamer:
I will see what I can do about writing about Odessa Ice Cream, but it may not be for the next issue. I am oh so far behind in tackling my "to do" list, but have been making some progress. The Odessa Ice Cream Factory was owned by my cousin, Lucille Wood, and her husband, Ernie, for years and years and after a couple of owners later, my son and a friend bought it. Sold it to someone who stopped making the ice cream, dismantled the old equipment and sold another brand. He sold out and that owner closed the business. Now the building is occupied by a roofing company.
One good save is that my son still has the recipes for the ice cream. Of course, they are for huge quantities. The cost of making premium ice cream on a small scale required a higher price than Blue Bunny, etc. and people expected the quality, but didn't want to pay the price. Now, the same people who switched to the grocery store brands and to Sonic and McDonald's are the ones that bemoan the loss of the Factory.
Well, I almost wrote an article trying to explain the reason I didn't have time to write an article. Will do more later.
Later she added this:
To their credit, the new owners are sprucing up the building and the painted sign is still over the door, although quite faded. The Factory was a big part of Odessa life and only the newest residents don't have memories of the "good old days." The fact that it was just across the street from the school made it a first stop for most of us after school. Just before my husband and I got married, he bought me a beagle dog that I named Mergie, and the dog's favorite treat was a Tiz-a-Whiz cone. After our son was born a year later, we had to buy four cones. One each for us, one for Marty and one for Mergie.
From Historical Photographer Mary Kay Wilcoxon '58 Gooseman:
I have sent the four Central School pictures, one that was in 1957 one of the last years it was used before Leslie Bell, and the other three are of the fire and the others the day after...taken while snowing! It wasn't snowing the night of the fire, but extremely windy in March. I was up there most of the night taking pictures. This was March of 1964, one of the windiest days we had in March that year...natch! The fire was reported around 9:30-10:00 that night and as soon as we heard about it (our lights went off) we went up there!
I also still have the 1999 picture of the China House (Odessa as is now), but don't have the one of the "original" Odessa.
Those are on our website now. But finish reading first!
Karen Kirtley Stubbs changed the subject:
I understand Bill Sellers is back at Wentworth and his family is moving into his family home. His mom is a friend since before we were all married 50 years ago.
Yes, many readers may be interested to know that Bill is the 5th generation of his family to preside at Wentworth. Soon his family will be ensconced in the campus house where he grew up. I suppose, however, that he is too young to have attended Arnold and probably went to Leslie H. Bell Elementary School.
For those of you who attended Bell School, please know that Mr. Bell was Superintendent of Schools when the Arnold people and Central people were squabbling in the middle of town. I remember football games between the two schools played on Water Tower Hill, and fierce rivalries they were...but unauthorized.
And now, to demonstrate my skill with segues, is a note from a Wentworth Alum, Al McCormick. He submitted a photo of the Peckerwood Club. It's on the website too, but don't look yet! Al reminisces:
Not bad for a cheap camera and now I am very glad I snapped it since the sign is gone.
On either the way to, or from Malta Bend to see the family members, my parents always drug me in there to eat catfish. As a small boy I was always afraid to cross the highway. It seemed dangerous because of all the traffic.
The very estimable Mel Fisher wrote:
The local paper may have carried the dedication of the Confederate General Jo Shelby statute in Waverly last weekend. Jim Shelby, a Lexington resident, spoke at the event and Ike may have also, but I'm not sure. Jim's brother, Frank, who now lives in Florida, also attended. They are descendants of the General.
I mention this because both Jim and Frank are LHS graduates and both are retired Army Colonels. Frank played football at LHS and graduated in 1946. JIm graduated a few years earlier.
I thought some of your readers may remember them. In the interest of full disclosure, they are my cousins.
Another Central grad, definitely literate, Jan Jiovenale '57 Tubiolo:
a flood of memories TLC #118 brought back! I recall watching Janis Ray
and Ann do that routine (I'm pretty sure I was still in Jr. Hi), but
they looked so much like professional dancers to my inexperienced but very
appreciative eye. Closing my eyes, I can still see them. I loved
the LHS Minstrels and my memory may be hazy now. Eddie McKean and
Leamon Johnson did a skit of 'Mockingbird Hill,' which was an unforgettable
crackup in itself.
Next came the Odessa, where I worked one summer and had my own favorite: marshmallow milkshakes. I had nearly forgotten the effort of handpacking the pints and quarts of ice cream, but I sure remember the Chocolate Revel; I also spent a lot of quarters in those table-top jukeboxes (at five tunes for a quarter).
Next, was Barb Fay's recounting of Central School. She and I were classmates, and there were three of us who were the same height all through grade school (as measured by the teacher of each year): her, myself and Douglas Kindle. I well remember a lot of cinders and calluses on that playground 'round back, but especially remember playing volleyball in the second-floor auditorium, as well as the plays and music recitals there (my instrument was the triangle and that was the extent of my musical ability, except for the Tonette, of course, but I played it really well if I say so myself.....) I remember that Barb and I were in a Thanksgiving play about John Smith and Priscilla - there's a picture of the cast I've seen somewhere).
Finally, being in Miss Jennie Rush's class meant you were expected to pay attention because you were actually close to joining the big kids over at Lex. Jr-Sr High. My favorite memory concerning Barb was the day Miss Rush was asking us to use a word in a sentence: Barb's word was 'always' and she said, "I hope my name will not always be Lee." Well! I came to know there ain't no justice when later she became a 'Fay,' while I went from Jiovenale to Tubiolo.
One half of the famous dance team, Janis Ray Beretta '54 Beyer, wrote in:
Thanks for all the nice comments regarding "Me and My
Shadow." That was so fun, and my mom was the one who taught us
all the gestures, etc. and got our tux's etc. I remember it as if were
Jane Ann Whitney '56 Hunt sent some exciting news:
Dear Lexington Friends - Big news from the "Blair (Nebraska) front"! A Maid-Rite opened in Blair today at 11:00 am. We were in line at 11:15! Talk about a trip back in time. We feel so uptown now! People were pouring in, so we were glad to have arrived early. That surprised me because most people around here had never heard of Maid-Rite. And it was good---delicious just like I remember from 50-60 years ago when we were all in high school. The menu is surprisingly huge (pizza and broasted chicken, too) and they are even serving breakfast! Everything was sleek, new, shiny and the kids behind the order counter were cheerful and enthusiastic. Wow! I know---we small-town sort are easily impressed, but it was fun. I should have worn a poodle skirt and bobby socks for the occasion!
And, finally, a new voice for TLC, Malia Snell '72 Brown :
add me to your e-mail list. While I don't know many of the people, I do
recognize many of the things they speak about.
Remember Mattingly's and Toyland downstairs at Christmas? The Dog 'N Suds was a big hangout when I was in school. I remember the Fall Festival - the parades that seemed to go on for hours, with bands from all the local schools. I remember having to fight the crowd to see the parade. And everyone went to the carnival or watched the talent show on the stage outside City Hall.
What about Teen Town (next to Maid-Rite) with Ms. Eva Saunders - she also played Christmas Carols at the Mayor's Christmas Party - we were all there! Mainstreet Theatre on New Year's Eve - usually a scary movie was playing!
My brother Jim graduated in 1965. I was told he was the first Lafayette County resident to be sent to Vietnam, where he spent 13 months. He lives in Carmel, Indiana, now.
My Dad (Raydean Snell) had uncles (Bill and Sam Bell) who ran Bell's Market. We would leave school and stop by for some candy. Same thing for Bour's Market (across from the Dragon's Den) - as kids we went there for candy.
I took violin lessons from Mrs. Entine. I enjoyed reading about Entine's Department Store.
I went to 7th Grade at the old High School - with everyone from 7th grade to Seniors. In looking back - we were so little next to the Seniors. The next year the new High School opened and I was in 8th Grade with only 5th-8th grade at the old school. It was certainly sad to see it torn down.
I still have relatives living in Lexington, so I am in town regularly. Back then we didn't have to leave town - we had everything we needed - Mode O'Day, Connor-Waggoner, P.N. Hirsch, Stiers, Harry Smith's, Maib's, Rush's Drug Store (with the soda fountain), Estrin's Jewelry, and many more. We didn't know what we had back then - today everything is so rushed and everyone in a hurry. We used to walk to town and back home - most of us did not have cars. Those were the good ole days! Boy do I sound old!!!
Well, Malia, you fit right in! Okay, now everyone has permission to go to the website for the photos.
Your devoted scribe,