TLC logo TLC #115:  January 20, 2009

Dear Hearts & Gentle People:
Ah, we girls thought he was so cute. Carroll Lewis taught band, orchestra and choir when I was in high school - and many of you readers were lucky enough to have him too. He died over the weekend. It was unusual to have a young teacher in those days - he must have been around 26 when he came to LHS. A blonde crewcut and a red convertible caught our eyes, but most of all, he was fun to sing for. When we performed, he would sometimes blow us kisses. People always said the Lexington girls smiled a lot when we sang...and there was a reason for that.
I've asked our Webmaster to put the link to his obituary in the KC Star on our webpage. And he added his own memories. (Please send yours!)
From Bob Ball '58:
It was startling to read news of Mr. Lewis' death.  In that self-centered way we all have, I remember him as he was when I was at LHS.  He was a very popular teacher -- lively, knew what he was teaching, "cool," and lots of fun to work for.  In thinking about him this afternoon, I realized that he had quite an effect on my life.  Since he was lacking a drummer, he dragooned me into playing bass drum for LHS in my Junior and Senior years!  I enjoyed playing in the band very much, and it gave me an appreciation for band and orchestral music that has lasted all my adult life.
I remember the time -- must have been in the fall of '55 -- when he came up to Study Hall and tried to recruit the guys who had Study Hall at that hour to be part of a mixed vocal chorus.  Well, of course, none of us wanted to volunteer for that sort of sissy singing stuff. So, about five minutes later, Mr. Gerhardt  appeared in the Study Hall and ordered all the guys down to the band room!  Of course, we could have gotten out of it, but by the end of that first hour we were having too much fun, so we all stayed on for the semester!
More sad news  arrived from Wanda Harrington '57 LeMay:
Thanks for the newsletter, Susan.  I am sorry to tell you my husband, Jim, passed away on Dec. 4th. from liver cancer. We had 3 weeks from diagnosis to death. Not the best of times for us, but with God's help, I'm coping.
You will remember all the discussion about Douglass school after the building burned. In one of our frequently occurring coincidences, my classmate Earlene Hancock '57 Edwards mentioned Mr. Lewis:
Thanks again for the very informative TLC "letters."  Keep them coming.  They really keep me up on the happenings in Lexington.  When my mother was living, she kept us all here in Denver abreast of what was happening there. I went to the  "Douglass Fire" Link and saw the pictures of the fire.  It was a little emotional for me.  The round room of the building was where First Grade was located and where I spent my first day of school.  Mrs. Cordelia Kidd was the teacher. 

Professor John W. Carter was the Principal and he also taught English. The other teachers were  Eva Saunders, Professor George Green was quite elderly (I think he was in his 80's but still came to school everyday and had a very sharp mind)   Mae Della Wilkerson was the Home Economics Teacher; Sam Duncan taught History and coached the girls' basketball team and like I mentioned before, we kicked butt (smile again).

James White taught science, and Willie Richardson taught typing and shorthand; Alonzo Robinson taught math and woodworking.

Carroll Lewis, who taught at Lexington High, would come out and teach band. 

As I stated before, these were some phenomenal teachers, and the students respected them and learned from them.

I don't know anything about the first Douglass School, that was before my time.  My sister and brother went to that one.

Stay tuned, Earlene. Here's a note from Janice Ghisalberti '62 Lynn:
I would like to share a story that has been a cause of laughter in our family for many years. As children we  grew up on 5th Street, about half a  block from the first Douglass School. My sister Adelina Ghisalberti Watson believes she was the first to integrate schools here in Lexington.
As a child of about four years of age, she would often run off, scaring our mother to death, only to be found at the first Douglass School. Despite the repeated spankings for running off, Adelina became such a regular at the school, the teacher would see her coming and put  out a little red chair for her next to her teacher desk.
From the head of the class, Adelina would admire all the bright smiles on the students'  faces. Often she would invite the students over to play at our house during recess, which might have gotten them in trouble. She was definitely ahead of her time - a pioneer for integration.
I also talked to Marietta Atwood Carroll about her father and the Lexington Creamery. She did tell one story about how her father, who  was very superstitious. Apparently there was an old saying that, if you were hit with a broom, you'd have to kiss that broom or you would have bad luck. The delivery boys, knowing this, would hit Tom with a broom and, then hide it from him, which would cause him great concern and worry. Also she recalls going to the creamy where Geno Fiora would be making the ice cream. They would take a small cup to taste the ice cream, and she swears there has never been any better. Marietta promises to share more stories soon.
Ann Fiora '56 Coen, daughter of Geno Fiora, chimes in on that subject: 
I spoke to Florene (Fiora Frerking) about the Creamery, but I don't think she has much information.
The following is from an article in the "Continuing History of Lafayette County" published in 2002. 
Ask any young man in Lexington around 1950, "What was the best 'DO' (Diversified Occupations) job while in high school?"  The answer:  "Working at the Lexington Creamery, driving delivery trucks."  At a time when very few teenagers had automobiles, driving for the Fiora Brothers was a wonderful opportunity.  Geno and Edward Fiora purchased the Lexington Creamery in 1946 and ran a successful business until 1967.  They were well-known for their "Supreme Ice Cream" and milk, including small half pints delivered daily to the schools for the students' mid-morning snack.  Remember the milk left on your front porch daily on the house-to-house route by Frankie Penn, or Tom Atwood delivering ice cream to numerous small neighborhood grocery stores and restaurants?  They extended their interest in the young men by sponsoring a very successful traveling baseball team. 
Their parents arrived in Lexington in the early 1900's from Brusnengo, Italy.  They grew up in the Summit Camp area south of Lexington  with an older sister, Gilda Fiora, and all attended Marshall School with Elizabeth Gruber as their instructor.  Many will remember Gilda helping individuals obtain employment through her position with the Missouri Employment Agency and commuting with her to Kansas City daily.
I am trying to get some of the names - those that worked at the creamery and also the ones that played on the ball team.
Creamery workers                                                Ball team
JimmyWallace                                                      Med Park                                  
Buddy Summerlin                                                John Jenkins
Louie Coen                                                          Frankie Mavel
Don Coen                                                             Duane Schlueter
Larry Coen                                                               
Bobby Rostine
George Simms
Gary Hoeflicker
Sonny Fiora
Frankie Mavel
Gilbert Murry
I am going to go ahead and send this to you - will try to come up with more names. 
We'll be waiting. Meanwhile, here's a great note from Bosh Bruening, (currently of Richmond but formerly of Higginsville):
Re the courthouse: I remember my dad telling me they  (Bruening's Nursery) landscaped the courthouse in lieu of property taxes during the depression. Many of the trees are still there. I may have to re-landscape during the coming depression. (Just kidding - I hope!).
For several issues, we had considerable input regarding Entine's Department Store. We're getting closer all the time. Read the following from Sharon Shurmantine '62 McGinness.
Will you be kind enough to add Debbie Entine to your email list. Debbie is the daughter of Ike and Rebecca Entine and niece of Helen Wexler.  Ike and Helen (brother and sister) owned and ran the department store.  Debbie is a walking encyclopedia of Lexington history and people.  She spent Thanksgiving with our family at my sister Pam's house.  My aunt (formerly Pearl Shurmantine, who moved from Lexington in the late 40's) shared many stories of shopping at Entine's and her fondness for Helen.  We spent a couple of hours pouring through Pam's old yearbooks dating from 1960.  It was a TLC kind of day.
Another note about Debbie.  Her brother Allen was a proficient photographer.  He passed away last spring and left boxes and boxes of pictures he took as a hobby, as a photographer for the Lexington Advertiser-News back in the 60's and as a school photographer throughout most of the 60s.  His widow, also named Debbie, has in her possession an absolute treasure trove of Lexington photographs from that era.
Lexington has lost one of its finest citizens with the passing of Harry Dunford.  I know he worked so hard on the Veterans Memorial, and he was always involved in community activities and community betterment.  His wife is one of the loveliest people I have ever known.
One more thing  - among some papers of my mother's was an article about Dr. Brasher that appeared in the Lexington paper after he retired from his full-time practice in Lexington.  I will scan and forward it to you.
Jack Gueguen '52 wrote about Ron Sowers '56:
When I saw Ron Sowers' name under obits in the Notre Dame alumni magazine, I tried to recall the context.  He  must have been the LHS grad of 1956 who followed Bill Canning, John Stompoly, and me to Notre Dame (class of '60; then law school '65).  
I went to N.D. fall '53 and graduated '56; MA '58, so I was there in Ronny's first two years.  I vaguely remember getting a summer job for him loading barges on the river (probably arranged by my dad). If he is the one I recall, he was an engaging young man, sunny face, always bright. 
Thanks for your heroic service all through the year.  Best greetings to you and anyone who remembers me, remembering so many Christmases past at 16th and Lafayette. 

At the Gueguen family reunion in St. Louis this past summer, I promised the nieces and nephews a written family history.  Finished it in time to make it my Christmas present to the family--75 pages!  It carries us from the present back to great-great-grandparents in Ireland and France, with a little contextual history along the way.  Shirley Collobert Guevel helped with some of the research, as did 3 or 4 other family members--especially sister Loretta, who has been to Ireland, and Annette (sister Sharon's eldest) to France.

Still dreaming of Christmases "just like the ones I used to know=94--white or not.  We are currently having a mild Christmas in St. Louis.  Hope to see Loretta and Mike with their youngest Friday (#19 of my parents' grandchildren).

 As we toddle closer to the conclusion of this issue, let me wish you one and all a very Happy 2009!!! Our last correspondence took place right before Christmas. Valerie Wood '73 Hellyer contributed her memories of Lexington. She mentioned garlands of lights at intervals from one side of Main Street to the other.

I did remember that and thanked her for reminding me. I said I seem to remember a lot more decorations - and even music? - downtown (back in the day). But I love the way it looks now, with the period streetlights back and no overhead wires.

She responded:

YES!  I had forgotten about the MUSIC!!!  Now that you mention it, I can see (in my mind's eye) the speakers on the poles!  But, yes, you are correct, the period streetlights are beautiful.

With pleasant memories of Christmases Past and  hopes for wonderful Christmases Future, I remain....

Your devoted scribe,



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