Dear Hearts and Gentle People:
And patient people, most of you anyway. I have been incommunicado for way too long, but I won't even try to ask forgiveness. (You get what you pay for, you know.J)
Yes, it's been nearly a year, but I've had a new life to adjust to. My husband Ken Worthington died in September. Many of you know how it is to begin again, and to have the complete responsibility of yourself, your home, your business, your health, and your place in the community. Sad to say, I am not the only one to suffer a devastating loss this year. You know that my policy is to report a death if the details have been provided to me. Therefore, if someone is not mentioned in the forthcoming list, please let me know.
In addition to Ken, Lexington lost Charlie Houseworth, who was so instrumental in establishing our marvelous Senior Center. After that we had to bid farewell to Tom Hayes, educator and mayor; and recently Roger Slusher '65, who was the premiere authority on area history and active in many organizations. He also served as president of the Santa Fe Trail Society. So many big shoes to fill.
Additionally, Ann Beretta '55 Powell, whom many of you remember. A sudden illness took her and, later, Roger. It seems to many of us here that it's been one blow after another. Earlier we lost Virginia "Lee" Johnson '57 Hoeppner and Bobby Hanson '47.
Here is a note regarding Bobby Hanson from Shirley Briggle '54 Miller: Bobby was my boyfriend, well, one of them, the second half of my eighth grade. He had graduated the spring before. He was fun and respectful and not only did I like him, but so did my mother! And that was really unusual. But then he went to the service or something, and I moved on. But I always thought I would see him again before one of us died. I think that about all my old boyfriends, still friends all, but I am usually wrong. It pains me to know he is gone, and surprises me that he had six children!
A tragedy struck Lexington when a hometown 'boy', Harold Hollingsworth (year?) was killed on his way to fight a fire. Here is part of the newspaper report: Hundreds of friends, family members and firefighters packed the gymnasium at Lexington High School Friday afternoon to say goodbye to a man who spent his life saving others. Harold Hollingsworth, 47, died Sunday night. He was the assistant fire chief for the Fort Osage Fire Protection District and was on his way to a house fire in Sibley when his SUV ran off the road and hit a tree. The Missouri State Patrol believes slick conditions created by rain caused the crash. Tim Brown, one of Hollingsworth's fellow firefighters, spoke at length about his fallen friend. "Under the most stressful conditions, if there are any weaknesses, that's usually when they're exposed and I couldn't see any in Harold", Brown said. "Harold was an uncommon man who used common sense as his guide." Hollingsworth was a firefighter for 25 years. He started in his lifelong home of Lexington before working with Fort Osage in Jackson County for the past 16 years. He began as a firefighter and paramedic before his promotion to assistant chief in 2011. Hollingsworth stayed busy in his hometown, serving on the Lexington School Board for six years, volunteering with the Boy Scouts and coaching youth sports. Brown said Hollingsworth's top priority was his family. He was married to his wife, Allison, for 22 years and had two grown sons, Nathan and Matthew. "In life, Harold touched more lives than he could ever imagine", Brown told people at the funeral. "But just look around. In death, he continues to touch even more." Hollingsworth was buried at Machpelah Cemetery in Lexington. Dozens of fire trucks from neighboring towns led the procession to Hollingsworth's burial.
Mary K Wilcoxon '58 Gooseman commented: This is actually a historic event for Lexington. It has been 74 or 75 years since a Lexington firefighter has lost his life in the line of duty. When "Dreamland" burned on Franklin Ave. (where Dr. Magnifico's office is now) in either 1937 or 1938, a wall collapsed killing John Luckenbill. To my knowledge, there have never been any other Lexington firefighters to lose their lives in the line of duty. There have been injuries from time to time, but no deaths.
The most recent loss and further shock, was John Cross LHS '58 . Part of his obituary follows:
John C. Cross, 72, died unexpectedly of a heart attack on Thursday July 11, 2013. He was born July 24, 1940 to the late William and Lorene Cross of Lexington, Missouri. John was a 1963 graduate of the University of Missouri and served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He worked in the computer security field for Ralston Purina, Lehman Brothers, Amerada Hess and retired as Vice President Corporate Information Security at Wells Fargo. Those who knew John found in him, a quiet compassionate man -- with a dry sense of humor and deep love of animals. In his passing, John leaves behind his wife Frances, son Sean with wife Sherri and stepsons Brent & Jeff, sister Janet Rae, brother Bill with wife LaVeda, nieces Keylee and Kelly, nephew David, and many friends in the Missouri area. Closer to home, John will be missed by his sister-in-law Madeline -- true friend, confidante and fellow fireworks junkie, and nephew Brendan -- "Uncle Doms" avid pun rival and computer-nerd buddy. And finally there are 4 furry creatures missing their treats, walks and pats from his warm loving hands.
Lexington was selected to be a pilot program for the University of Missouri Extension System, and we even have a director in residence at City Hall for the year. The Community Arts Pilot Project is in full swing with a dynamite committee making it happen. In fact, we have quite a lot going on in the old hometown these days. Much upheaval in leadership positions. We have a new Superintendent of Schools, one new Principal, many new teachers, a new Tourism Director, and for the first time in a few years we have a City Administrator. Because there is so much correspondence, I will save details until next time (yes, there WILL be a next time!) but let me recommend some wonderful websites:HistoricLexington.com
Jack Gueguen '49 wrote: Thanks a lot, Susan, for finding the time to continue. You have acquired so many "fans." There's a legend about a European professor whose class was interrupted by war back in the '30s or '40s. When the war was over, he did his best to reassemble his students, and began: "As I was saying..." Last night I dreamed about what N. 16th St. has become without the old school and home. But I told my sisters not to lament its passing, for our family had "used it up"--and used it well, I'll add. And now the old hospital will be empty? Is the park at 16th and State still in good shape? There used to be a civic group that kept it in bloom, mainly petunias and marigolds. About the Old School Ladies, many of us could entertain with tons of anecdotes. Besides the Todhunters (Emory and Katherine) and Angela Mautino, you might add Elizabeth Gruber and Lena Meierer (and perhaps Mildred Meyer, Fern Cullom, and Ernestine Seiter). Also our art teacher, whose name escapes me. (Mrs. Armstrong? -- Ed.) See if you can elicit some short stories from your readers. I might send you some things worth recording for posterity.
There are several possible uses for the old hospital (I remember when it opened!) College Park at the end of 16th St. is being maintained by the Parks & Rec Department, but volunteers do plant and maintain the downtown flower barrels. They look just wonderful.
Later Jack G. added another note: If you wonder how I'm doing, for someone who walked all over, it's quite a change not to be able to walk, even with a walker. How else to get around the house? -- By means of a transport chair and stair lifts. To reinforce my fellow residents, two men from a home health care service take turns assisting me 60 hours a week, including weekends. I can get down to the chapel, to the dining room, and to my office next door to the bedroom where I try to keep up with 800 "particular" friends, as someone called you today, and do some reading. The library-archive is now located at the Thomas [Aquinas] International Center (ticenter.net) in Raleigh, which carries on a vigorous program of lectures and other presentations at the three universities in the "triangle." I keep up my interest in the department at ISU, which awards a Thomas More scholarship annually. Since retirement in 1996, the More Scholars number 16 bright young men and women in law, public service, and teaching careers. The ISU Foundation is still receiving contributions for the fund. "Second Childhood" sometimes seems more like "second babyhood."; But even after losing most of my mobility, I'm happy to be here accepting whatever may come. Family members visit from near and far. As More used to say, "Pray for me as I pray for thee 'til we merrily meet in heaven." Susan, it's time for another "annual." Some of us are "growing old"; and have plenty of "silver threads." Did you get any memories of Emory and Katherine Todhunter, or Angela Mautino? I'll be glad to fill in on those. Here's a starter. I came back from college and visited them after classes in that old building. I remember Katherine's response when I asked her how things were going for her: "Honey, we're just keeping them off the streets." She must have had a tough day. May her soul rest now in peace. I don't think she would have said such things of us.
First of all, Jack, when you visited after college, some of us were still in high school. Your anecdote surely applies to those much younger.
One of Jack's sisters, Joyce Gueguen '55 Ramsey wrote: Oh, dear Susan, you have really had your hands full, and God bless you ! Thank you, thank you for picking up on this blessed TLC that we have all missed. I haven't contacted all my family to see if they got it but my brother, Jack, mentioned it to me so I know he got it. I wanted to tell you when I clicked on "The Lexington Connection..." to see the pictures, I couldn't get it -- it said that website required a password. Wondered if this has happened to anyone else and what, if anything, I can do about it. Has anyone else said they had this problem? Please get back to me one way or another -- I sure don't want to miss seeing those beloved places that were there when we were growing up.
Joyce -- They are not all photos, some are menus or ads from newspapers, but still fun to see. Try again on the website -- it pops right up when I click on it. It's possible the webmaster was working on it when you tried. No password required.
Everyone loves the Peckerwood Club, even those who never had the privilege of going there (including my own grandchildren!).
Mel Fisher '52 - Regarding the Peckerwood Club, at one time my uncle, Frank Fisher, was married to Minnie Mittie, one of Mrs. Mittie's daughters. My recollection is that Mrs Mittie called everyone who entered the place "Peckerwood." It was a popular watering hole at one time. Tabo, of course, was the preferred choice of the younger crowd.
Well, speak for yourself, Mel. I was too young to frequent either place at their primes. Durn! Once, as a high school senior, I did get to go to Tabo and dance downhill. The Peckerwood Club reopened for a while during the 1980s, and I was able to go then. Those of you who remember my father will not be surprised I was on a short leash.
Shirley Briggle '53 Miller also wrote about John Stompoly '53. She said John was their class president 5 out of 6 years of Junior and Senior high school! Mary Jo Smith '53 Evans was elected in the 7th grade. Does anyone remember a record like that one? Here is what she gleaned from online regarding John's accomplishments:
John G. Stompoly practices primarily in the areas of personal injury and professional malpractice and has done so for over 45 years. He received his law degree from Rutgers University, then clerked for the Senior Appellate Judge of New Jersey and the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. He is admitted in 11 jurisdictions: Arizona, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, New York, Texas, Washington, D.C., Montana, Wyoming, Nevada and Colorado. John has been selected to Who’s Who in America, Best Lawyers in America, Southwest Super Lawyers, 100 Best Lawyers in Arizona, Best Lawyers in Tucson, and American Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers. He is an AV (highest) rated attorney and is listed in the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.
Evangeline (Baby) Kehrees Thompson (Year?) : Susan, it is so good to have you back as I know a lot of people missed your newsletter. You have spoiled us all with your good works. It is so nice to read all the news about the various happenings back home. You sound like the "Bionic Woman" and I hope all parts are working well for you. Please add me back on your master list as I musts have been one of the lost readers. My sister Katena Voorhees Vleisides (Year?) sent me her copy. So glad she received it, or I would never have known what happened to you. As you mentioned, we did lose both Sophie and Norman this year. The were The Best as sisters and brothers go. It was very hard to give them up, and they are missed so much by many. Thanks for all your efforts to keep us all informed. We are lucky to have you.
Susan, thanks so much for TLC #136. I enjoyed it a lot-then I lost it-now my sister, Patricia L. Conger, wants me to send her a copy. Would you please send it to me again? (Of course I did.) Ken (Mickey) Conger, class of '51 at LHS, almost. '52 at Richmond HS for sure.
Bette Phipps ’59 Thomas - Jim O'Malley wrote about my sister's (Mary Lou) and my visit to see family in Missouri. So, of course, we visited w/cousins Jim & Ellie O'Malley. We had a delightful time and wished we could've had more time there. Ellie fixed us the most delicious meal ever! I'd been visiting Mary Lou to both see her & the show (Reading the Obits) she wrote & directed. The play was sold out (full house) several times & now will be produced in Florida. She also got a great review in the Wichita paper, which generally doesn't print reviews. The only thing I didn't like (sorry, Mary Lou) was the 100+ temps. I prefer our climate where you can add heavier clothing & in contrast, you can't run around in your skivvies in KS.
A surprise note from Theresa M. Bost-Jordison: Good Morning to you. I have found The Lexington Connection and have spent quite a bit of time reading through the newsletters. Lexington, MO and the surround area hold a very warm place in my heart as do many of the people from there and still there. Wally '55 and Billie '58 Hulver are like family to me -- literally and figuratively. Grandma Burns (Mildred) was NOT my grandma but instead my Uncle Don's mother. She was always Grandma Burns to me. I haven't seen Wally and Billie since funerals and as we get older, that's the way it usually goes. I have very happy memories of the Peckerwood Club. I was the little girl in the back washing dishes because my parents were socializing with others and Minnie and Ev would let me. I remember sledding down Ice Plant hill in Wellington, MO (where I lived). I remember it was such a treat to drive over to the Maid-Rite and get a foot long hot dog in Lexington. I remember going to shop for shoes downtown Lexington but I can't remember the name of the store (this would have been in the late 60's, early 70's). (Wulfekammer's -- Ed) I remember the Wellington Bank had the coldest water in the water fountain. I remember Virgil's Barber Shop and the cool coke machine (bottles). Seems to me all the men in town had the same haircut too! ;-) My family was born and raised in and around the area even though we have moved on to Iowa (Wellington, Lexington, Richmond). My Maternal Grandparents were James C. and Nadine Sheppard (Mother is Bonnie Sheppard-Bost-Roberts) and Paternal Grandparents were Rev. and Mrs. O.L. Bost (Father is David Bost). In reading through your newsletters I remember names which trigger memories. I have really enjoyed this. Is it possible that I could be added to your list? Could you please send out a big hello to Wally and Billie?
Glad to, on both counts.
I just wanted to let you know that my email address was one of those lost
during your recent troubles. Could you please put me back on the TLC mailing
list? I was in Lexington last month with my French cousin who works
as an English teacher in Norway. We had a great time. My cousin's
great-grandfather Noel actually came to the States with my great-grandparents
and my infant grandfather in 1891, but we think he got homesick as he was quite
young (probably mid-to-late teens), because he went back to France and never
came back. I showed Nicolas all over town. Everywhere from the Goosepond and
Wentworth, to eating lunch at Maid-Rite. Had a great tour of the Anderson House
and the Battlefield. We also managed to visit Jesse James' birthplace and
deathplace, in Kearney and St Joe, respectively. We stayed at the
Trailside Inn, which is indeed my great-aunt Denise's old apartment building on
South Street. The Heggestads were great hosts, and I told them as much as I
knew about the apartments when Aunt Denise lived there. It was a comfortable
feeling to stay in my great-aunt's old apartment for several nights, and
Lexington felt like home again. I am looking forward to my next visit to
Lexington, because it had been way too long since the previous one. And if
you have read the Lexington paper, you probably know that my aunt Dorothy
Barrot Ferrara passed away Labor Day weekend. She was a grand lady and we
will miss her a lot. My Aunt Dorothy had a wonderful life and family. She
really enjoyed seeing the photos and hearing the stories of my recent trip to
Lexington with cousin Nicolas. There are not too many left from her high
school class anymore.
Thanks, Don – glad you had such a good time here
Bill & Barbara Flanigan – Susan, we are very sorry to hear of Ken's passing. Please accept our condolences. Our prayers are offered up for both you and Ken.
One of my favorite correspondents wrote, but the note was all political and I have refused to enter that arena with this newsletter. But don't anyone hesitate to write, about anything. I'll do the editing.
Bob Ball '58 -I got to thinking today about a silly topic. I was driving home from various errands and passed a nearby elementary school. Some kids were outside for recess and because of some chain of thoughts that I cannot not now recall (!), I began to wonder: How many grades were on the Arnold School playground at recess time? I have reasoned out that it must have been two grades at a time, but I cannot recall for sure... Did the various grades take recess at separate time? I doubt it -- if recess lasted 20 minutes (which seems about right to me) that would mean that for two hours there were kids outside, playing and raising Cain, which I doubt. And that would have been both morning and afternoon, if I recall correctly. Two grades at a time would have meant only an hour, total, of recess. But, since our grades had about 30+ kids in each grade, if you had three grades out at one time, there would have been over ninety children out on the cinders, raising quite a racket and there would have been a control problem, too, even in those days when children feared their teachers and being sent to Miss Margaret was equivalent to going to Death Row. Just having Miss Margaret step out on the playground would send a real chill over the playground! I fear that grade school was 60 years ago, so my memories are a bit vague. Perhaps some of your readers might have better memories
I cannot resist pointing out that your grade school years were more than 60 years ago, Bob. ;-) My memory (rarely reliable) is that Grades 1-3 and then 4-6 went out at different times. This could be completely in error. I wonder how many of us still sports cinders in some part of our bodies. I have that memory in my right palm. Bob & I would love to hear from some of you Arnold veterans. Straighten us out. I do remember that (for some unknown reason), the girls entered on the north side and the boys on the south side of the building.
A nice surprise note: My name is Susan Comstock Robinson '66. I was born in Carrollton and raised in Lexington (Class of 1966). I recently connected with Lucia Cope '58 Hulstonand she gave me the link to The Lexington Connection. Since opening up the site, I have spent a solid two evenings reading the archives. I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed the stories. I am writing for two reasons: I would like to be on your mailing list and also I would like to write some of my memories of my years growing up in Lexington. One of them is about the first time I saw your father in the Lexington Advertiser-News as a 5 year old with my Mother. We had gone in to pay our monthly subscription. Your Dad was sitting in his office. I looked back and saw him and said to my Mother, "Look at that man back there with a hat on and smoking a cigar. He looks just like a newspaper editor. Who is that man?" She thought it was funny and very observant for a 5 year old. so she wrote it down and sent it to him. In a couple of days, she came running in with the latest edition of the Advertiser News saying "We are in the paper." He published the story in his column. My parents were so proud to have our names and the story in the paper for everyone to see. I will always remember that. You may have known of my parents: John and Sue Comstock. They were crafters and had their wood carvings and textiles in some of the Lexington antique stores for many years. I live in Lee's Summit now and both of my parents are deceased. I have no relatives in Lexington so I rarely have a need to visit except for the occasional pang of homesickness I feel and the urge to get back to my roots and drive the streets of town to reminisce. There is something about that town that keeps drawing you back. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how entertaining these posts are and how much you have kept the memories alive for me.
And then she wrote again! Thank you so much for your quick reply. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. Please accept my condolences. I can only imagine how difficult the adjustment must be for you. My husband was recently diagnosed with leukemia and is undergoing aggressive treatment and, at the very least, I can empathize with you on how much stress this has caused you. I am still reading through the archives and ran across a question in TLC #102 about the Entine family. Someone had posted that Ike's wife was Stella and several people corrected that mistake. However, I do know who Stella was. Stella was the Entine's African-American maid. She commuted from Kansas City on the bus, helped take care of the kids (Allen, Benny, Sonia and Debbie), cooked and was a frequent chaperone and snack-maker for the weekly parties that Allen hosted in his rec room on Friday or Sat. nights. when I was in junior high school. Several families that I knew in Lexington growing up had maids that cleaned, cooked, washed and ironed. When the movie The Help came out it reminded me a lot of Lexington in the late 50's and 60's. The difference was that every family that I knew that had an African-American maid thought of her as one of the family. They were all treated very well. I plan to write a long story about my life in Lexington, but just wanted to share who Stella was while I was thinking about it.
Wanda Harrington '57 Lemay - I read an obit for Virginia Hoeppner in the paper, and my daughter in law and I went to Lexington for the funeral.. Didn't see anyone I knew there and since I hadn't seen her boys since they were younger, I didn't stay after. They wouldn't remember me. I would like to know what happened as the last time I saw her, she was her usual self. I am suddenly feeling OLD.....I hope all is well with you and yours. Take care and keep sending out the news of our hometown. I really like to read about the happenings there. Thank you so much.
Joe Anton - Haven't heard from you for some time. I'm wondering what is happening to the Municipal Auditorium.
As a matter of fact, a hard-working group of citizens is edging toward the renovation and restoration of the Auditorium. Tax credits for the project have been approved, and anyone who is eligible should take advantage of that as soon as possible. Nearly 70% of the money needed has been raised already, and many of us are excited to see the progress begin.
Chris Campbell, who with his wife Kellie (former District Attorney for the County) have just moved to Columbia. Chris asked me to solicit memories and photos of the Auditorium (now called 'The Lex'). He wrote: Our Board is endeavoring to collect terrific photos and memories that we can utilize in our marketing and fundraising efforts over the next few years. Would you be willing to ask those who subscribe to and read TLC to consider pulling out their old photos? - and jotting down their favorite stories of the Auditorium? I would be very grateful.
Here is the website with everything our readers could possibly want to know
about 'The Lex'!
The Lexington Civic Center Home Page
Another correspondent wrote with a request: I've been looking for an old friend for ages. Actually an old girl friend. My "first" serious girl friend. She went to school here for a while but didn't graduate so it's possible that she never subscribed to TLC. But just in case she may have, would you check your mailing list. Her maiden name was Marvel Lee Bullock. and I have no idea about a married name. I saw her sister about ten years ago, and at that time she was still alive...ML that is. I just got to thinking about her whole family the other day. They were a great Christian family. Her dad was the deacon at the Baptist church and her mom actually liked me.....(wonders of the world). Sometimes old memories invade my rambling mind. I ran across pictures we'd taken just before I went into the Air force. There was another couple in the picture, Bill Hooper and Arlene Pack. Arlene was a classmate and Bill was a couple of years ahead of us. You may throw those names out there too. Bill and Arlene married, lived in KC and he became a fireman in KC. Man, we sure were good looking back then...where'd it go? Now I'm going to throw something out there to see if anyone remembers something that we did at Central School as an extracurricular activity. Exactly what year this was would be impossible to remember. My first year at Central School was in 1940-41. I think this probably happened when I was in the third or fourth grade. Sometime during the school year our teacher passed out flags from every country in the world. I don't know how many classes were involved but it surely had to be more than one. Maybe the whole school. The flags were, as best I can recall, ten or twelve inches long and they were attached to a wooden dowel for carrying or waving, as in a parade. And a parade is well what they turned out to be used for. In the classroom where all this started was a windup phonograph with some kind of patriotic music. After each of us had our assigned flags handed out to us, we were instructed on how to march around the room in a lock-step cadence to the scratchy record. We started by gathering in the back of the room, formed up into columns on each side of the room and marched along the perimeter, meeting in the middle at the front of the room, interlacing into one column, returning to the back of the room between the rows of desks. We then dispatched to our desks or adjacent class rooms or out in the hall, passing through the cloak room. We practiced this for several days until we satisfactorily had it memorized like a military silent drill team, at least on a grade school level. After practice, we turned the flags in to the teacher and had class. This must have had some importance connected with it because not only did we do this at Central School, we were marched over to the High School, (now gone), and practiced in the gymnasium. After getting our act together there, we went back to the High School several days later and performed before the whole school assembly in the gymnasium. Sometime within a week or two, we repeated our marching formation at the city auditorium that's still located at 11th and Main and at the Mainstreet Theater. Just four years later was the first attempt at the League of Nations. Looking back on it, I think what we did, as I described it, was an esoteric move by the NEA of the day to introduce us youngsters to the coming attractions of a one world government and preparing us for a New World Order. Today we would call it propaganda or some level of brain washing. Sometime when I think of it while talking with other old folks I'll mention this. So far I haven't ever run across anyone else who remembers. Either I dreamed it or what's left of my classes all have Alzheimer's.
Okay, I am printing this for comment. I will not tell you who wrote, though, so don't even try to worm it out of me!
This is great: Harold (Hooney) Miller '57 - I just ran across your web link and am really enjoying reading past archives. I am Harold Miller, Richmond native (RHS '57) and am really sorry about missing Tabo Reunion last year. I had been back in Richmond for Homecoming and I guess missed it by one week. Was there a list of attendees who went? I use to party with a few locals: Mike Larkin, Jim Thorpe and several others back in 57-58 @ Tabo's and Maude's. Best places to go back then to have a great time. Lex guys were rivals on football field but buddies off. Thanks for good reading. I have been coming back at Homecoming for the last five years. Our class has a little get-together for dinner etc. Gee, I haven't seen Slick in years. I moved away from there in 1958 when I joined the Navy and, 20 years after that, decided to retire in Florida, seeing as I would rather sweep sand than shovel snow. I married one of your local girls, Ruthmary Lewis back in 1969, so we drop by every few years. Good talking to you and keep up good work.
Joyce Spease - Was just wondering if you are going to continue with the newsletter? I understand how much you must be going through since the passing of your husband, it is not an easy time I know and I am so very sorry.I am only asking about the newsletter because I thought maybe I had been deleted from it or something, please don't take offense and think I don't care because I do as I have lost my first husband (long, long time ago) and my son 18 years ago. It is still hard at times! Thank you so much for all you have done, we have always enjoyed the newsletter and I know you put tons of love and time into it.
Jim O'Malley responded to a letter of inquiry about Lexington: Mr. Whitehead: It's good to hear from you and of your interest in Lexington and the Reed family. I don't know anything about the Reed family. I was born in 1931 and was only a kid during the 1933-39 time period you're researching. I can share some memories of Lexington during that period, though, and hope it'll add some background to your project. About 10th St. during the '30s: It had been a "...thoroughfare from the river to town" during the steamboat era during the 1800s, but during the 1930s the steamboats were long gone, the docks and warehouses were gone, too. I lived on North 10th St. from about 1936 until June, 1942 so I can remember it fairly well. We lived near Helen Higgins place, a house of prostitution, and next to it was a tavern for the colored folks. North 10th St. was certainly not the kind of neighborhood that nice young ladies would visit. Sorry you couldn't find any yearbooks from the Lexington schools. In the '20s and '30s the LHS student newspaper was called The Incubator and the yearbook was called The Final Hatch. During the '30s the Lexington schools were The Lexington Jr.-Sr. High School, Arnold Elementary School, Central Elementary School, Douglass Elementary & High School, Wentworth Military Academy & Jr. College, and the Immaculate Conception Catholic School (grades 1-8). The Douglass School integrated with the Lexington school district about '54 or '55. As far as I know the race relations between the whites and black folks were reasonably good. In 1933 Prohibition was rejected, and Lexington was one of the first cities in the state to vote in liquor by the drink. I remember those years when bars and cocktail lounges were opening up. During Prohibition there was much bootlegging going on and my dad told me that you could buy a gallon of bootleg whiskey for $1.25. You mentioned a "Lodge" at Sunshine Lake in Ray County (across the river from Lexington) being owned by Tom Pendergast. Not so, it was owned by a crony of Tom's named J.J. Pryor. I've enclosed a link from a paper in Lee's Summit, MO about Pryor and his lodge. Also, I'm adding a link to an interactive map from the Library of Congress that shows a map of Lexington in 1869. Hope you enjoy it. One other thing, you asked how the Lexington girls and the Wentworth cadets got along ... Believe me, those uniforms were like magnets for the Lexington girls. Need I say more? Hope these memories of mine are of some help to you. Let me know if you have any more questions. Oh yes, about Wentworth in the '30s: Steve Sellers lives in Lexington and is the son of Col. Mac Sellers, a former superintendent and President of Wentworth Military Academy. Steve is several years older than me and attended WMA. He's an old friend of mine. Give him a call and maybe he'll be able to answer some of your questions.
And finally, Jim ends us on a high note (pun intended): Ever heard of Joe Reichman? Joe was a well known pianist and band leader in the Big Band Era. He led what was known as a "Society Orchestra", playing in night clubs for cafe society. He was the brother in law of Barney Shucart of Lexington, MO. Barney was the owner of the Dunhill Shirt Factory in Lexington where many women were employed. My mother worked at Dunhill for several years and I remember Barney fondly. Joe Reichman is one of the famous musicians who are connected to Lexington. This list also includes Carl Stalling (Musical Director of the Merry Melodies cartoon series -- Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, et al), and Ed "Buddy" Summerlin. Thought you'd enjoy this video of Joe Reichman playing the piano with his orchestra doing a takeoff of the "Ink Spots" doing their famous number "If I didn't Care."
Write soon everyone! And see the web pages for this issue!
Your devoted scribe,