TLC logo TLC #125  May 31, 2010

Dear Hearts & Gentle People:
Notes are beginning to arrive, inquiring if I have ceased my TLC efforts. No, indeedy, but I believe some of you did not receive #124. If you did not, please let me know and I will be happy to send it. Or perhaps our valiant Webmaster has had time to update the site. There you can find photos and archives of past issues. There are some interesting photos that will accompany this 125th effort. (Click here to see them.)
Update on our Municipal Auditorium: the referendum will be on the June 8 ballot. If that passes, it will allow the Auditorium Commission to continue pursuing the project. This vote is simply to gather public opinion and is non-binding. It would be financed by a very small increase in property taxes - a few dollars a month per household. If improved the Auditorium could become self-sustaining by income generated from rentals. I asked for memories of the building in the last issue and did receive some interesting recollections.
Shirley Briggle '53 Miller wrote: 
I've read some about the drive to restore (save) the Auditorium in the Lexington News.  It occurs to me that at least some of us oldsters would be interested in this endeavor and might contribute to a fund to make sure the renovation is a success.
After all, we have fond memories of Youth Center (Teen Town) there every Thursday night, piano recitals, a tap and ballet dance school there at least one summer, rummage sales in the basement, plays performed on the stage, country and western bands (so they tell me).
And there were wedding receptions, such as that of Norman and Sophie Kehrees Vialle, after Sophie was pushed in a Greek-style, flower adorned cart all the way from their wedding ceremony at the Episcopalian Church.
The Auditorium can continue to be an asset to Lexington for coming generations if we all pitch in.  You could print the names in TLC without divulging the amount of the contribution. And our fund might reduce the amount needed enough to show the Lexington voters that we still care, and are doing our part.
What will happen if the community votes it down?
If the Auditorium property reverts to the County from the City, the building will be torn down. An expanded jail and/or parking lot will be put in its place. Please understand that this is basically an either/or situation. The Auditorium will not continue to stand in place for future attention, as many people think. Something  will be done. I hasten to say no firm plans are in place, other than that. The new county jail houses federal prisoners, on a temporary basis, and some of the folks that come to visit are not the type we want to attract to Lexington. If the Auditorium could again house plays, concerts, dances, school events, antique shows, flower shows, etc. etc. it would bring people to town who would also shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants, patronize our gas stations, and even stay overnight in our B&Bs. Obviously this enhanced income and tax revenue would benefit all of our citizens.
Donna Lutz '58 Dye spoke up:
We are so fortunate to have you as our "Family" connection and we are  family!  I think our age range must span at least 30 years (Editor: more like 50 years!) and we all have stories to tell.  Some of us not so much but they look for every letter that comes!
I read the issue today and it really touched my heart.All the reminiscences of Mittieville where I learned to dance!  It was so much fun!! I was there every Sat!! There were a few tears running as I read them all.  And Steve Leek, who has such nice things to say as he rolls through Lexington, thank you. 
We have lost so much in Lexington recently and yet we look to the future as always!  We look forward to the new hospital and I've noticed some clean-ups in town--mostly paint that brightens the stores.  They have been doing something with the cannon from Old Ironsides at Central College Park.  I just noticed it yesterday as I drove by.  Don't know what, but I'm thinking Boy Scouts may be cleaning it up. 
The Boy Scouts were responsible for preparing the bed for a new concrete base for the Old Ironsides cannon. It was part of an Eagle Scout project, I believe. The Parks & Recreation department is building a new base for the cannon and installing some identification for tourists (and locals!) to read and enjoy the history of the ship and its relationship to Lexington. The cannon was presented to our American Legion Post in 1925, and it was placed in the Park at that time.
ALSO, folks, much renovation of the park plantings have taken place. As I write, the Knockout Roses are in full bloom. We took photos for your enjoyment, and promise to post one of the cannon when the refurbishment is complete. See our website.
From Bobbi Ingle '49 Rice:
I think it would be nice if historic Lexington, MO had a "Your Kind of Town" story included on the Smithsonian website and who better than you, our TLC scribe, to write it.  Glad you are able to resume activities and hope that you can find time to do this. 
Bobbi lives in Ridgecrest, CA - and her town was mentioned in the May issue of Smithsonian Magazine.
Pat Larkin Horton taught me something:
I enjoy your informative postings about our home town. Please keep up the great work. The main reason for my response is that I have a question--I travel back and forth eastward on I-70 quite frequently. In the last couple of years, I am completely confused about the fact that the highway information signs on I-70 don't have signs before Exit 41 (Lexington) but do before Exit 49 (Higginsville) telling everyone that it is the exit to take to get to Wentworth Military Academy and Historic Battle of Lexington site. Can someone tell me why we are left out or detoured to that route? I find it disturbing to be re-routed through Higginsville. I know Route O is very winding and hilly, but that is the real route to Lexington and as my children used to say, "quite an adventure."
My guess is that Hwy 13 is a state highway, and Route O is a county road. That's strictly a guess. Anyone know?
I recently went to Lexington with my son, who was born and lived there until he was eight or nine. He and I took some time to look around and see some of the sights. I was very surprised to hear him talk about our old home, and his memories of Lexington (very fond ones indeed). He still remembered many of the names of places in town. Made me feel good that we had stayed in town after I married and started our family there. Now he goes to Lexington to go "Geocaching" and takes his children there too. He never forgets to go by the "old home place" and where Grandma lived, too. It's great to know that my children have fond memories of "home" too.
I had never heard of Geocaching, so my continuing education was furthered. Pat explained:

Geocaching is a form of entertainment. Using either a hand-held or vehicle mounted GPS (directional tracker) the person/s go online to a website and find where Geocaching 'treasures' are hidden. Using the map co-ordinates of the site, a 'treasure' hunt is performed. No, there isn't a really valuable treasure. When the participant/s find the Geocache, they log in on a sheet of paper and see what is there. Returning home, they go online again and mark that they have found the treasure. There are many sites that also point out landmarks that we pass all the time and never notice from the car.
It is a fun way for a family to spend time together and is great for teaching your children to be very observant.  My son and his children love to do it and the children are getting so sharp at it that they many times find it before their father, especially his eight-year old son. While we were in Lexington on the day I mentioned previously, we tried a couple of sites. One was at the Anderson House, and it was quite funny when my son stood around for a long while waiting for 'Mom' to find the spot. Ha-ha!!
We also went out on Highway 224 to where the old bridge to Richmond had been. Needless to say, I hadn't been there since it was destroyed and it was a little sad to me. Oh well, progress I guess. Hope this becomes a new activity to do when you have free time. My son and his friends enjoy it because they have time to spend with their children, besides being outside and not in front of the computer all the time.

Always glad to hear from Bette Phipps '59 Thomas:                                        
Enjoyed this TLC highly. I remember being at Mittieville a few times (as a child) with my folks and always thought it was a terrific place.  Too bad no one's been able to restore it to its former glory as the hub of dining and socializing (bet the drinking was pretty good too!).   

I'm so very sorry to learn of the passing of Joanne Coates; we were friends in high school.  As I remember from our days at LHS, Joanne was always cheerful and full of jokes.  I was disappointed that she and her husband didn't show up at our recent Class of 1959's 50th Reunion but was told that she was having some health problems.  I give my deepest sympathy to her family and friends.

Glad to know you're doing well with the new body parts and that tax season is over.  I've been thinking I hadn't seen a TLC in a while and then--zap!--here comes a brand-new TLC. Goody! Re body parts, I've received a new one my own self.  After five days in the hospital with mucho testing, the doctors told me that I needed a pacemaker.
Keep up the good work, Susan, of keeping all of us (including us exiles) in touch with all things Lexingtonian.
A short note from Jan Ryder, now known as Carole McCoy:
Really enjoyed the Central College Cookbook and seeing all the names that sound so familiar.  Know you have been busy but always appreciate what you do for us.
Rev. Keith Hall, now retired, is former pastor of our Presbyterian Church:

I became acquainted with Lexington in 1989. I was introduced to legends (i.e. Cope family), myths, famous and infamous, characters, places, bridge groups, history buffs, Wentworth, and then I was exposed to Lexington by Edgar Allen Slusher, Bill Aull, Clifton White, Dick Birdsall, Chal Young, on and on and on, and that was just the folks at First Presbyterian.

Susan , I’ve always thought that there should be a movie about Lexington, or at least a document. I had the privilege of seeing Lexington with different eyes, and our perspective is somewhat different than the “native one.” I was always fascinated by Betty Tempel’s Bridge Club of 60 plus years, for example. (Editor's Note: My mother was a member of the Young Matrons Bridge Club, and my father found the title quite amusing once those ladies began becoming great-grandmothers.) To those folks that was "normal." As an outsider I found that incredible. When I had funerals, I just stood back to watch and listen. I have a hunch you know more about that than I, writing about it as you do. Think of the impact Wentworth has had, which again you know far more than I ever will. Susan. it is endless -stories, relationships. I’ve mentioned this to a few natives, and they just kind of look at me with a quizzical look. I don’t know what to do with this rambling, but you are the only one who may comprehend this stuff. I have always thought Lexington was unique. I’ll stop at this point, but would enjoy hearing your thinking.

I quite enjoy the “scribe's” work, even though I’m an outsider. I do know some of the history, enough to pick up on some of the reminiscing.

Keith - I can tell you there are over 500 people who do comprehend the uniqueness that is Lexington. Thanks so much for writing.

Tom '55 Mallot wrote for the first time:

Susan, I just finished reading the TLC #124 and wanted to thank you for this wonderful newsletter. You and Ken have mentioned the letter several times, and I just never got around to reading it. I have always been glad to say that I was born and raised in Lexington.

Another new reader, Don Ambruster, sent a comment. Jack Gueguen has many memories.!

Susan, Kudos x 100.Your works is excellent, just the ‘type' of communication that will help nurture a stronger Sense of Community, a Sense of Community Purpose, thus an ascending Quality of Life.

Thanks for the effort.
Jack Gueguen has many memories! 
Sorry to hear about the Auditorium, but I can see that as old buildings like that age, they become more expensive to maintain.  My current recollection is that when the Notre Dame band came to town (spring ’56?), the concert was held in the WMA gym.  I’ll try to reconstruct, but what souvenirs I had of that event are with all the others in the band archive/museum.  We had played the previous night in Jonesboro, Ark., and traveled all day through the Ozarks up to Lexington. I recall helping to set up for the concert on that old wooden floor in the WMA gym, using the chairs and music stands borrowed from the Wentworth band.  We had little time in Lexington. After the concert, the bandsmen were parceled out to family homes throughout town (I was at home with bus seatmate).  We had to be on our way the next morning. Our next stop, I think, was somewhere in Illinois, on the way back to South Bend.

My most memorable events at the Auditorium are of activities on the lower level—Teen Town.  The most fun I had there, I think, were the square dances.  (I wasn’t good at any other kind of dancing.) Virtually all of the stage performances in my high school years (that I can recall) occurred in the dear old LHS auditorium. Others were in the WMA gym. Sorry I can’t provide much about the downtown Auditorium.  

Looking forward to the next TLC.  I suppose you all have had a splendid April, as we have.  The flowering trees were their usual splendor, and foliage is unusually leafy this year. As ever, and with a greeting for old friends, Jack.

Webmaster Bob '58 Ball sent a comment on the Auditorium:    

Thoroughly enjoyed #124.  I don't have any memories of the Auditorium that would be of use in preserving it, I fear.  But I can't imagine the Lexington of my childhood and youth without it.  I remember the Explorer's Club had its meetings there (I was bored to tears, of course, but my parents went so I went, too).  And there were concerts that took place there.  The Fall Festival Queen Pageants were there.  Boy Scout Troop 318 met in the basement, as did some Army unit (National Guard or Army Reserves?).  I think it would be a real shame to lose it and its associations. And literally almost impossible to replace it.  I hope it can be saved.

Jim O'Malley had other memories which will ring a bell with many of us:

In the summer of 1955 I was singing in the Singing Chorus at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City.  This was my second season at Starlight and I was having the time of my life.  I turned 24 that summer and was about to start my teaching career at Braymer High School in Braymer, MO teaching social studies in all four grades. Thought you'd like to see these old pictures I found today.  Aren't 
the Ballet dancers cute!  And I got paid, too!!!!

Memories of the old Post Office.  I must have gone there once or twice a week to mail things—to pen pals (one was a girl in England) and relatives—or writing away for additions to stamp and map collections.  As soon as you entered the door, its unique “smell” became evident.  No building I’ve ever been in had that “old Post Office smell” (probably the combination of mustiness and the equipment and inks used by the employees).  Who was that faithful person in the postwar years?  There must be a list somewhere of Lexington’s postmasters and postmistresses.

Mr. Seaton?

My humble suggestion is for the present owner to simply take it as a tax write-off and GIVE it to the historical society for expansion.  It would make a perfect museum.  I always wondered why a post office needed such a “vast” even majestic structure—as it seemed to me in early teens.  It was always so clean and well-kept.  It radiated a sense of permanence and stability.  Does it still have its unique tiny-tile floor?

Yes. The R-V School District owns it and cannot afford to give it away. Neither can the Historical Association afford to own it, what with little income and much maintenance of the current Museum home (the old library building). These are difficult times for small towns and small organizations. We're doing what we can to keep it alive.

Memories of Mischon’s Market, south side of Main between 11th and 12th (next door to Jinx’s Barber Shop—Jinx Holman.  Memories of that, too!)  Since Dutch Mischon was our Uncle by marriage to Aunt ‘Net (Jeanette Gueguen) we often visited, mainly when we were “uptown” of a Saturday evening.  On really hot and humid days, Uncle Dutch permitted us to stand inside his meat locker for less than a minute to cool off—the first air conditioning we ever experienced.  (Mainstreet Theater might have been the second so endowed—another old landmark razed, by the way.)  The most memorable item in the Market was a huge metallic set of moveable “pages” that contained bills. Everybody must simply have said “charge it” when they bought something from Uncle Dutch (as our family certainly did).  Also memorable, as closing time approached Sat. night, Raymond (I think) would throw sawdust on the wooden floor before sweeping it with a pushbroom.

As for the Barber Shop, that’s where I got my first haircut (age 3 or 4?) and every subsequent one whenever in Lexington. It was said that as a little boy I enjoyed identifying every make and model automobile that passed outside while I was in the chair.  Interesting, in that I’ve never owned a car, and was never much of a driver.  (In Driver Education class with Mr. Grechus, I nearly killed everyone at least on one occasion—by drowning in the river, down by Myrick station.)  On Sat. nights, I often joined other kids sitting in front of the big plate-glass window (on the inside) listening to conversations and “watching haircuts” while the rest of the family window-shopped.  We seldom had any money to buy things uptown on Sat. evenings.  Most mortifying experience in Jinx’s:  the time I realized I hadn’t brought any money with me as I sat in the chair “having my ears lowered.”

Local historian Roger Slusher sends a special invitation:

Since Russell, Majors & Waddell had their headquarters in Lexington, your readers might find this interesting.  Of course that firm also founded the Pony Express, and since this is the 150th anniversary of that, they might want to visit our exhibit on it and them at the Lexington Historical Museum this summer. (To you Old Timers, that's the former Lexington Library on 13th near Main.)

And so we come to the close of another walk down Memory Lane. Keep writing, folks. You have no idea how much it means to many people. Meanwhile, I remain

Your Devoted Scribe,




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