TLC #99: June 19, 2007
Dear Hearts & Gentle
There'll be a hot time in the
old town tonight. Not that anything special is happening, it's just beginning to
be summer. I believe we are expected to reach 90 degrees for the next few days.
No match for the June of 1954, if memory serves, but certainly warm
Things were hopping two
weekends ago, when the annual Heritage Days Festival took place. It happened (no
accident) that it was also the 50th Reunion of the LHS Class of 1957.
Although I claim to be much too young to be a member, I did spend four days with
my old classmates (old as in "former") and must say we had a pretty durn good time. If you have any
interest whatsoever, please check out the clever website devoted to the
Reunion, which was created by John '57 Lefman.
We rode in the Parade, had two
big parties and a wonderful farewell breakfast AND it was well-attended, despite
the notable absence of some local classmates.
As for our TLC website, it is
full of photos from Heritage Days - courtesy of Wally "Snaps" '55
Hulver - and some of YOU are in it!
Early July will see big
changes downtown as commercial establishments move around. We have two new
restaurants - Lisa's Tearoom, which is located in the Strictly Victorian
antiques and gifts shop; and Edge of Town, which is operated by Mark Clark in
the Lexington Inn.
I'm often surprised at
what jogs certain memories and compels people to write. Certainly, one is
the Gem Barbershop.
Gary '63 Miller
I remember my Dad taking me there for
my haircuts. I do remember Floyd and Buzz always being very talkative and
always with a smile on their faces. I also am reminded of my being very
young and how long I thought it took to get my hair cut once I got in the
chair. So hard to sit still, even for a haircut.
I also remember one day when I was in
Floyd's chair, that the owner of the local Ford dealership (his name ?Barney? is
on the tip of my tongue.....I believe he was related to Kay Ely..class of '63) -
(Ed. - Barney Bernard
) - drove up and stopped in front of the Gem. He was in a new red and
white 1957 Ford Retractable hardtop/convertible. He proceeded to operate
the top, putting it down, then back up. I was 12 at the time and for me
that was a really big deal. Of course, all barbering stopped for the
demonstration out in the street.
Memories of the Gem Barber Shop are
fresh in mind these days, not only because of the recent TLC postings about that
wonderful man's establishment, but because I recently got my hair cut like I had
in high school - flat top with fenders and a DA.
Floyd Boldridge was the only barber
in town in the '50's who could do a proper flat top. Buzz wasn't bad at it, but
Floyd was the best.
As others have written, spending
hours on a Saturday morning waiting a turn was no hardship. It was pure
entertainment. First, all sports, high school through college to professional
were fully discussed, rehashed, analyzed and sometimes physically demonstrated
by the personable barbers. If there was a baseball game on television, you could
have a very long wait for your haircut!
I can remember marveling at farmers
who came to town on Saturday, market day, for a shave and a haircut. Watching a
man get a proper barber shop shave is a memory I'll never lose. A steaming towel
from the small sink in the middle of the floor of the small shop was wrapped
around the face of the customer, completely covering his face. While this facial
took place, the soap and brush were lathered up at the sink. The towel was then
removed, and the rich, thick lather was brushed on the bright red skin and
whiskers. While the lather softened the bristles, the straight razor was
stropped on the well-worn leather strap hanging from the back of the chair. The
blade properly honed, the customer's chair was then lowered so he was almost
horizontal. Then, with a dead steady hand, the face was scraped with the
gleaming blade. That shave would last until the next Saturday
Also, a note here to Earlene Hancock,
nice to hear from you in TLC. I think you played baritone saxophone in the band,
sitting in front of me and my baritone horn. Sorry for all the sour
I forwarded that note on to
Earlene Hancock '57 Edwards, and she wrote
Tell Duncan he is so right. I did play baritone sax in
the band. I remember him, and he didn't hit too many sour notes (smile).
John '57 Lefman reminded me:
The Palace Hotel was on the corner of
9th and Main next to the Mule Barn Tavern.
The Mule Barn
More commentary on various
locations from Don "Frenchie" LeJeune:
As I remember, the Palace Hotel
was on the corner of 9th & Main, the Eagle Building was to the left facing
the buildings. The Eagle building also housed the Eagle Theater. As for as the
Swartz junk yard, it was behind the old Post Office across the street from the
Maid-Rite. Henry Wilson used to work for Mr. Swartz.
Would anyone know where Paul Henry
Wilson is? I went to school with him and have lost track.
Also would like to know where Donna
Gay Evans is? Thanks for any help anyone can give me on this. I live in Linn
Creek, MO, and work at Lake Regional Hospital.
Schwartz's junk yard was on
the NW corner of 14th and Main (occupied about a quarter of the
block--across from Goosepond and down the hill from the old post
Shirley Collobert Guevel also
The Palace Hotel was on the
corner where the patio for Las Carretas is. It burned down a number of
years ago. As I recall, they had converted part of it to a dress shop of
some sort, maybe called JP's or some other
And yes, the Junk Yard was across
the street west of the Maid-Rite. My brother (Pierre) bought it out and cleaned
it out, hauling all the old stuff away...including some things that were not
really junk. That's when he started learning about "antiques" and
collectibles. He sold pewter pitchers for junk, and he did not know that
old silver did not always say "sterling silver." He brought me a tray and
asked about it and in our discussion, I discovered what he had done. I was
busy with kids and didn't even know he was cleaning it out until it was too
late. That was really the beginning of his passion for "junk and
stuff." I almost think that when I was a kid, the junk yard was also where
the Maid-Rite is now as well as across the street. Maybe someone else will
Virginia Whitley's dad sometimes tended
bar at the Palace Hotel, and Virginia and I sometimes went there after school so
she could get some money from him or permission to do something. I don't really
remember why, but I do remember being scared to go in the place.
And yes, Angela Mautino should definitely be included in "Legends
More on that in a
minute. From Janice Jiovenale '57 Tubiolo:
The last TLC sure brought up some
memories for me. I remember that my mother worked for a time for Mildred
Boehm at her restaurant across from Maude's on South Street. Mildred was
Maude Kelly's sister. I was just a lanky kid of 10 or 11 with a big crush
on Johnny Boehm; he used to come in occasionally after school.
My memory was too hazy to recall
exactly where the Palace Hotel was, so I just had to call my Dad at 5 a.m. this
morning to find out. (At 89, Jimmie Jiovenale remembers where most, if not all,
the buildings were.)
According to him, the Palace Hotel
was on the south side of the corner of 9th & Main, while the Eagle
Building (which also housed the Eagle Theater) was on the south side of 'Block
42' (my sister Shirley and I went to many Saturday matinees there
watching cowboy movies).
A candy store called The Palace of
Sweets, was on the north side of the street between 9th & Main, next to
Gillen's Hardware, which was next to Piggy Phipps' Pool Hall. The Palace
of Sweets was run by a red-haired woman (Dad doesn't remember her name), who
lost all her hair when it was caught in a fan and pulled out.
Dad said there was a fenced ballpark
with bleachers on the south corner of the street at 24th & Main when he
was about 9 years old (80 years ago!) and my granddad, Dick Atwood, used to play
ball for the town team there. When the carnival came to town in later
years, it would set up on that site.
He also said that there used to be a
trough for watering horses on the north corner of 24th & Main, next to what
is now the Old Town Inn. He and my mother used to dance to the
jukebox at the Old Town Inn and the owner would keep putting quarters
in (at a nickel a song) to watch them dance. They also danced at Maude's and Dad
occasionally tended bar there for Len Kelly. Dad won a dance contest at
the Municipal Auditorium, but I forgot to ask him the year.(We think it was with Alvena
Jim O'Malley tells of a
Lexington Colony! (Sorry - I can't see to change the
Don Stephenson's comments about the O.W. Drum
family and their Phoenix connection brought back a lot of good memories.
In 1961 I moved to Tempe, Arizona (Tempe is in the suburbs of Phoenix) and began
work on my Ph.D. at Arizona State University. I was amazed to find that
Phoenix, AZ had a "Lexington Colony" there. Several families from
Lexington had moved there in the '50s and kept close contact with cookouts and
other fun events. Soon after I arrived I had a call from the John Delaqua
family. They invited me to dinner and shared many of their family times
with me. Very soon they took me to a "Lexington Reunion" and I met
many other Lexingtonians there. Among them were the families of O.W.
Drumm, Joe "Scraps" Parks, Humphrey Guillou and others who have faded in my
memory. Do any of you remember O.W. Sexton, who worked for Norman Vialle
at the Maid-Rite? Ozzie told me that he was the nephew of O.W. Drum and
was named after him.
A note to Del Scharnhorst: Del, before the
Maid-Rite was built, Henry Swartz had a sprawling junkyard on both sides of 14th
& Main. When WWII started Henry was able to sell much of his inventory
for use in the war effort. That freed up the land where the Maid-Rite sits
and he was able to sell it to Harry Bertz, who built the Maid-Rite and then sold
it to Norman Vialle.
And now, a note to Our Faithful Scribe: The
"Palace Hotel' Building sat on the empty lot on the corner west of the Eagle
Building at 9th & Main. The name "Palace Hotel" didn't exist until the
'50s. It took its name from the Palace Bar that was on the ground level of
the building, at the corner of 9th & Main, that was owned by the Mitchell
Joe Bales operated a barber shop in the Palace
Hotel building between the bar and the Eagle Building. I could write
a ton about some of the people I've nominated for Legends of Lexington, but I'll
leave that to others to share. How about more of you sharing those
Harry Dunford can be counted on to keep me on the
A very good edition of TLC 98. However, when in doubt about
certain places and things in Old Lexington, look for an Old Person to set things
(I thought I was an O.P.,
A thanks to Don Stephenson
for his update of Mrs. Oswald Drumm. I did not know her very well but was well
acquainted with Oswald. He worked at the Commercial Bank, present day location
of Bank of America along with Cotton Trent and Mr. Bob Jackson. Mr. Jackson kept
a loaded 45 on his desk at the back of the bank. He was a product of the
depression and of the bank robbery days of the 30's. There were only two banks
in those days and the other, The
Lexington Bank & Trust Co. was located 2
doors west of Commercial Bank. My wife worked at the bank in 1947 prior to our
sojourn to Monahans, Texas to get married, 60 years ago July 3rd.
It is easy to understand why today many who were not here in the pre-war
and immediate post-war days would think that the Palace Hotel was part of the
Eagle Building. It was not. It was a separate 3-story building painted white,
and it was in the space which now is the patio part of the Mexican restaurant.
During the 30's there was a lobby on the ground floor and also Joe Bales had a
barber shop in the east half of the building. Mitchell Fallman and his son, also
Mitchell, owned the Palace Hotel immediately after the war and also had the
Western Union franchise which was a pretty good one at the time.
My brother-in-law, Del Scharnhorst, was quite correct about the location of
the junkyard. Mr. Swartz, commonly called by one and all "Old Man Swartz" had a
huge pile of junk built up during the 30's and early 40's. Upon the advent of
WWII the entire collection was sold off and he was a rich man. At one time there
was a huge pile of newspapers on the lot which he saved. He would pay kids a few
pennies or a nickel for most any kind of junk. He was a nice guy.The location
was directly west of the Maid-Rite. The location now is an empty lot owned by
George W. Stier and has been for sale for a long time.
I hope this is not too
long for you; I just have to sit down and write when I can contribute something
perhaps of value to someone.
Recently, at the Veteran's Memorial, we had a ceremony to honor some
veterans who did not get to graduate as most of us did from old LHS. Most of
them were working to support large families and did not get past the 8th grade
and then went to war when called upon, did a spectacular job, and returned to
become fine citizens and family men.
They were: Johnny Beretta, Joe Beretta, John (Doc) Stigall, William (Jack)
Shroyer, W.A. Butler, Henry Luehrs, Robert Neefe, Garner Race, Ryland Sims,
Johnny Willard and Ralph Wood. Only six were present for the ceremony; Mr. Neefe
having died the week before and Mr. Butler having died just that morning.
The veterans deserved this honor. The honorary diplomas were courtesy of
the State of Missouri and presented by Dr. James Judd, superintendent of
schools. Pride was upon their faces!
Charlotte Skelton Dallman reminds us how
fortunate we are and were:
It is so much fun going down memory lane every time I read
TLC. I feel like I have missed so much not living in Lexington during high
school. You and so many other people bring up things that happened while we we
there and things that happened when we were not. Thanks to all of you for your
Jim O'Malley really started something with
his Legends of Lexington. It will be the first topic dealt with when Tall Tales
& Short Stories of Lexington resumes in
Some nominations for the
Bandmaster Ben Johnson and his wife
Marian (cellist with a heart)
Col. James MacBrayer Sellers
(loved Wentworth more than anybody; eternally
Major Frank Brown, WMA's
disciplinarian (favorite phrase to unruly cadets: "Can't have it; can't
Anna Gibbons (made WMA's
cadet hospital a real home)
Jimmie Adkison (compassionate
insurance man, who paid visits to homes with a big account book; knew how
to allow for missed payments)
Ike Entine and his wife
Stella (shoe store downtown--Red Goose)
Msgr. Charles Dibbins, twice the
pastor of the Catholic Church (famous Brooklyn
Helyn Beretta (faithful
Miss Lena Meierer (faithful
choral conductor and librarian; always in black)
Miss Bess Graves (a ruler handy,
no music teacher was ever like like her!)
Elizabeth Gruber (knew how to
lay the foundations for good English usage)
Ernestine Seiter (Lexington's
greatest book lover)
Roy Gerhardt (proud to be from a
small town and make it a large experience)
Roy Ford and Walter
Rush (whether down on Franklin or up on Main, they could turn a drug store
into a social experience)
Mrs. Ladd (photographer, home
visits; favorite line: "Hold REAL still!")
John Shea (the voice of
Lexington to all the world)
Eva Saunders (most faithful of
the faithful in keeping her congregation together as a real
Bess Brasch (tough
Gilda Fiora (biggest and most
creative hats in town; she knew how to be human in a big
Howard Carter (knew how to make
fishing a noble profession)
Time to fold
it up for this issue. Your assignment, should you decide to accept it, is to
send in more nominations for Legends of Lexington, and also we'll
need DETAILS on the above - those wonderful old stories. So get busy,
People, your friends are waiting! And so is...
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