TLC logo TLC #16:  June 12, 2001

GREETINGS AGAIN FROM OL' LEX!! So much is happening, and there are so many good letters to relay, I find myself with a full plate of news for you to devour.
First, hot off the press, today was the day Parker Construction (out of Blue Springs) signed the contract with the city to build the movie theatre in "the hole" on Franklin. They are the same people who propose the upscale apartments for dear old LHS. (The real one.) I'll keep you apprised of both.
Last night the new owners of Cox's Corner building, the Bob Langdons, stopped by and told us they are putting in an antique & gift shop, and it will be run by Becky Hooser (who formerly ran the Victorian Peddler restaurant & antiques - it is now owned by her daughter and son-in-law Mark Clark).
Since this is all pretty much from the horse's mouth, I do not hesitate to send it on to you.
Today my Stringer (sometimes referred to as Husband) received a call from a guy from the Associated Press. He came out to talk to Ken about Lexington for a story, feature I assume, for AP. So it could very well run in your own newspapers. I'll try to keep you informed of anything new on that. And, no, we don't know what the thrust of it will be. NOT Missouri's Little City of Sin, as those of us at MU heard it referred to.
And now, speaking of sin, we stepped on some toes when we spoke of Main between 9th and 10th! It is now the very heart of the city, by the way. And here are very interesting commentaries:
From Jim O'Malley 

I read in TLC #15 The Second that some of the LHS alums  were rather uncomfortable about walking on Block 42 during their school days, especially the south side.  The pool hall was also a mysterious and dark place to others, and looking down North 10th St. was a no-no. Well, let me educate those of you who were sheltered from the more notorious parts of dear 'ol Lexington.   My uncle Jimmy "Piggy" Phipps was the owner of the pool hall and I spent some wonderful afternoons and evenings there playing pool.  No liquor or beer was served there and, except for a card game that was played upstairs, the place was as innocent as the Lexington Public Library.  Playing pool cost 10 cents a cue (a game) and sodas were 10 cents.   I used to marvel at the skills displayed by local billiard players.  Billiards is not pool.  It's played with only 3 balls and you must be able to visualize shots that seem impossible to make.  I could never play it.  It's a game that's been played for centuries by European Royalty, American Presidents, professional people, laborers, farmers, and anyone who has the abstract perceptual skills and hand-eye coordination it
takes to master the game.   Local experts were Nick Girardi, Piggy Phipps, Dana "Turk" Terrell (another uncle of mine), Gussie and Jimmie Lorantos, and a real child prodigy who started playing billiards in elementary school, Norman "Toad" Siglock.  Another note about Piggy Phipps:  At the end of prohibition (circa 1933-34) Piggy opened "The Lexington Nightclub" in the corner building at 9th and Main now occupied by "The Victorian Peddler."  He hired a Kansas City dance band to play for its opening. Guess who the bandleader was?   It was Count Basie! Want some more info on Block 42?  Just let me know. Best wishes to everyone.
Jim: You bet we do!
OLD FOGEY 'S RECOLLECTIONS............Harry Dunford
I beg to report that the "Pool Hall" was not a place to be shunned. It was rather a place of honest intellectual discourse, the discussion of poetry and, of course, the imbibing of tea and crumpets. And, if you buy that then we still have a bridge for sale near the end of Cliff Drive. Actually, the Pool Hall was located just east of Entines where the Mexican restaurant," Margueritaville"  is now located. Walking by the location today it seemed to me that the front facade has not changed much from the 30's and 40's except that there is a more modern front door. I do not recall the Pool Hall as being either a rowdy or dangerous place. And what is a River City without a Pool Hall?
    I am now on a building kick because of this reference to the Pool Hall. Today, having lunch at The Victorian Peddler  I remarked to Morris Cox, "Wonder how many people visiting this fine restaurant would know the name "Eddie Liebo?" Of course Morris knew who I was referring to but probably not many today would recall that this was the site of Eddie's Furniture Store prior to WWII. Later, of course, Leroy Schriefer had his floor covering business in the same building. There are so many buildings now with their restored tin ceilings which are really something, but I believe the Peddler was one of the first to so renovate.
    One more thing in regards to buildings. The Mainstreet Theater was so much a part of Lexington for so long that it is still sorely missed. I have seen it referred to in the local paper and elsewhere as Main Street Theater. We old timers know that Mainstreet was all one word. The theater was built in 1924, I was born in 1925. I recall but barely when there were silent films and a piano player down front provided the music.
    According to Christy Butler, Laurel and Hardy made a personal appearance at the Mainstreet. Her dad, Johnny Magnuson was the projectionist for the theater and he went to Kansas City to pick them up and drive them to Lexington. It was cold weather and they stopped at the Peckerwood Club and were on a pretty good toot by the time they got to the theater. This probably was in the very early 30's.
    Among many memories of the Mainstreet was the Movie "King Kong" in 1933. The movie was greatly hyped with huge pictures of Kong in the lobby and everyone went to see it. At the age 8 it was an overwhelming experience. Remember that in those days the movies were still so new that the special effects seemed so very realistic...especially to a small town kid.
    One other recollection of the Mainstreet Theater was in 1939 with the advent of "Gone With The Wind." A mesmerized audience on a Saturday afternoon was stunned with the words, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
    The Mainstreet played a big role in many a courtship including mine and my wife, the former Betty Lee Maxwell. We went to the show two or three times a week. Of course, at that time there were a lot of good movies to be enjoyed, unlike today.
    Pardon my lengthy discourse. I learned to type in the Navy and have seldom passed up a chance to write something since, particularly when I know it is to be published. Editor Susan, you may use your blue pencil at will.
Not on your life.
- Ed.
Janice Jiovenale Tubiolo
It feels like drowning in memories!!  Everybody's recollections trigger
more of them and it's such a sweet mental trip back as I think, "Yes! I forgot that until now!".  I know that the Pool Hall was owned by 'Piggy' Phipps, because we lived a few houses from the Phipps' when I was young, down the infamous 'north side' of Main Street on 12th. The Pool Hall was up the street from Malo's Bar, mid-block between 9th and 10th on Main.  I also fondly remember "Dutch" Michon's Market where we bought groceries for years, Anton's Shoe Shop and later on Al's Market (Stompoly) on 20th street - and did anyone else besides me ever buy a used bike at Morrison's Bike Shop? Took me a month to pay it off at a dollar down and 50 cents a week.

Ahhhh, Saturday nights on Main Street!  That REALLY goes back. I recall my Grandad parking the car up on Main street between Wards and Mattingly's and we would all walk up after dinner so they could sit, crowd watch and visit with people when they tired of shopping.  And Barb Tabb's right, the street
was always packed with townspeople and farm families from all over the county.  Quite a social event and magical for a small child.  Another fun event was the night ball games at the Goosepond.  Can't remember when they stopped, but there were several adult teams in town.  Keep sharing those
memories, gang; I love going back home in my mind for these mental visits with all of you (hope it isn't simply a sign of aging...)and it sounds like those earlier times are being stirred up for all of us!

Susan, our recent 50's reunion was a huge success, but I suspect the TLC will help draw even more of us to future class reunions.  What a gift you have given to all of us in tapping into a marvelous 'stream of consciousness' that's become a river!  After all these years in Southern California, I realize I'm still just a misplaced Missourian.  Many, many thanks.
And immediate response to our plea for "adopters"! 
Janet Cross Bertz

I would be delighted to get the words of our faithful scribe and
contributing reporters to my buddy Susie Bell.
Norma Gadt:
I'll be glad to send hard copies to Suzanne.  Just let me know if I got the bid.  Also, I'll be gone for a couple of weeks, but will read your answer when we return.
And what would a TLC be without a story about Odessa?
From A. W. Sandring:

A lot of people have been writing about Lexington's "Odessa Ice Cream Parlor."  The first guy doesn't have a chance.  Even though I worked there many years ago I will share some of my experiences.  I hope you find them interesting, unique, and maybe somewhat educational... so here goes.
When I started working there as a "car hop" it was under the management of Mrs. Bowers.  As quoted in one of your previous TLC articles Mrs. Bowers had two sons who worked there during the same time period.  I was tall for my age so this was my first job and I was only nine years old. How about that for child labor laws?  My remuneration was a whopping 5 cents per hour plus a free
10-cent box of hand packed ice cream to take home after we finished working in the evening.  The shape of the box may best be described
as an inverted rectangular truncated pyramid.  Even though the box was small we all managed to hand pack enough ice cream into the box to equal about a pint of today's ice cream by not folding down the four lid flaps so we could round the ice cream up above the open flaps.  Remember the good old original "Lemon" ice cream that people drove for miles to get because no one else made lemon? No one ever thought about cholesterol content in those days. One experience I will never forget.  Being young, trying hard on my first job, I experienced (to me) my first major problem.  One evening I walked out to wait on a car full of people and the driver said they wanted 6 chocolate sodas   Well, if you remember how we made sodas, this
was a large order, which required a lot of time and work. -- I will refrain here from describing in detail the professional way to make a
really great soda. -- So... I took the sodas out on one of the aluminum
trays, hooked it over the driver's window and moved the supporting brace until it touched the car to hold up this heavy load.  At that time
the driver told me "We ordered chocolate Malts, NOT chocolate Sodas" *#@%^#&* -- Well, to this day I still swear that the man's original order was for chocolate SODAS.

So, being a new employee I took all 6 sodas back inside and asked for
guidance.  Was I going to have to work several days at 5 cents per hour to pay for the six sodas or what. One of the Bowers boys told me
no, it's no problem.  I said, but the ice cream will melt, and the fizz
will also evaporate leaving them worthless.  He took all 6 sodas and stored them in the freezer in the empty spaces between the round cans of ice cream.  Now, he said, all we have to do to fill our next orders for chocolate sodas is to lift them out of the freezer, put them under the real fine pressurized stream of carbonated water, shoot the stream near the side of the glass and it will fizz up again to make a perfect soda. Now that I have told you how to do it, all of you are saying. I knew that   But would you have known this at nine years of age on your first job?

What's next?  Well, you know when the place got hopping with inside
customers, plus a lot of cars to hop, the dirty dishes kept piling up   How did we solve the problem?  When running out of clean dishes we only had one solution: wash the dirty dishes, as in those days we didn't use paper or plastic throw away cups or containers.  Want to take any guess as to how this was done?  They were all washed by hand, how else? But how were they washed?  Well, I don't know if you are ready for the answer to this even in the year of 2001, but here it comes.  For the first question, would you wash dishes so
they looked sparkling clean using hot water or cold water?  Of course you remember that any milk product like ice cream will leave
dishes cloudy if you wash them in hot water, right?  So, we washed them under the faucet in just a running stream of cold water with our fingers, without soap   This also helped speed up the task as washing and rinsing was all done in just one operation   Sometimes we would use a sponge, but still just running cold water.  They sure did sparkle though.  Now when you remember back to the "good old days at Odessa" didn't those malts, sodas, and sundaes taste great?

For another experience, never to be forgotten, about three or four of us (car hops) were sitting outside on top of about a 30-inch high concrete retaining wall next to the building waiting for more cars to
arrive.  We all had our white towels tied around our waist, and one member was smoking a cigarette. Suddenly he said to me "want to see a cigarette burn twice?"  Without any answer from me he took a big puff so the end of the cigarette burned red and then immediately jammed the cigarette into my arm just below the elbow.  This really hurt. And to this day I still have a white scar for proof after more than 50 years have passed.

To make my next move up in the world I used my carhop experience to get a job at Ford & Rush drug store as a soda jerk.  I read in one of the earlier issues of "TLC" about how good their hot fudge sundaes were. That's not only correct, but the best part was at that age no one had to worry about how many calories were contained.  Now comes a question for someone to answer.  You also remember that "Walker's" drug store had a soda fountain, and so did "Crenshaw's" drug store.  In about every town you went to during that time
period almost all drugstores had soda fountains   Why?  Have you ever seen a soda fountain in any of the new drugstores being built today, like in a Walgreen or Osco?  It's now your turn to write and tell me.

Better not continue with any more experiences from the good old days.  Now we'll find out how you are taking this, and what your reactions are.  Hope you enjoyed some of this news from yesteryear.
George "Skip" Brown:
Hi Susan!  Thanks for including me on "the list".  And thanks for doing this task.  While I haven't been back to Lexington in years (the last time was our 25th reunion in 1981), I still have great memories of LHS and the classes of '55, '56 and '57.  I saw Bill Tempel occasionally when I visited my folks in Lee's Summit and Bill and Jerry Mischon and I talk on the phone once in a great while and exchange Christmas cards.  Lou Yates Damborg and I have chatted when I got to the University of Washington on business and she's told me about the annual meetings of the group of ladies from our class.  But other than that, I've lost contact with a lot of the LHS gang. So reading TLC has been great fun.
A couple of personal notes.  I retired in September 1999 after 33 years on the faculty of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, the last 10 years as Dean and Director of the Forest Research Laboratory.  It was a great career in a great state. Joan and I have two daughters.  Chris works for Sen. Gordon Smith in his Portland office and Annie works for the British Commission on Health Improvement in London.  Both have had very interesting careers following college.  I'm enjoying "retirement", which has been an interesting mix of professional, volunteer and recreation/travel activities. 
One of these years, I hope Joan and I can attend one of the reunions, though they seem to come in the middle of deer and elk seasons!  Until then, I'll enjoy reading TLC.  Thanks again for including me in the list.
Jack Gueguen:
In many ways life is the same across generations, which enables us to "connect" with the young people and gives society the continuity it must have in order to endure.  As I reflect back on what it was like growing up in Lexington, it occurs to me that one of the great discontinuities would show up by simply asking the question, "What did you do Sunday mornings?" and compare it with what happens today.  If enough people were interested, you might do a "special issue" on that theme.  Here's how I would start it off:
Every Sunday our family followed a regular pattern which never varied and which we always did together.  There were 7 of us in our small house and one small bathroom so the day began taking turns "getting ready for church."  We had to look our best.  ("The bath" had been on Saturday night.)  There were two Masses at the Catholic Church, 8 and 10 (7 and 9 in summer on account of the heat).  We always went to "second Mass."  Helen Beretta played the organ; some members of our family sang in the choir, but whenever we could we always "sat together."  After church we would visit closer friends for a while on the sidewalk and then drive back home (yes, we drove the 4 short blocks, got there with a minute or two to spare, and mom expected a parking spot right in front!).
After a simple breakfast, we had to keep our "good clothes" on for that was the time to "go visiting"--first over to Franklin across from the Odessa, where our cousins, Mary Jo and Ann Farrow, lived with Aunt Florence and Grandma Mallot.  The routine was well-established and allowed no deviation:  We lined up to "kiss Grandma" and be told how tall we were getting.  She always sat in the front window.  Then we were expected to sit quietly (with the grave portraits of ancestors looking down on us) while the adults made conversation.  If our Kansas City cousins were also visiting, we could go out on the porch.  We especially liked to walk along the wall where the front yard met the sidewalk, but with concerned voices always reminding us to be careful lest we fall.  (We never did.)  Next stop was my dad's folks.  They lived in a big frame house at 23rd and Monroe.  Usually other members of that large family would also be visiting.  There was a much bigger yard to play in, and if Grandma's big yellow cherries were in season, we'd bring a bowl of them home.  But always there were a couple of loaves of that inimitable home-made "French bread" which made such wonderful toast.
Once we got home there was a race to "undress" and get into the Star's comic section ("the funny paper") while mom started dinner.  That was always the best and fanciest meal of the week and included dessert (not common on week days).  Our favorites were rich chocolate cake and lemon meringue pie.  Once the dishes were washed (in the kitchen sink), dried, and put away, we were free to take off for the matinee at the "picture show"--the Mainstreet.
All of this happened with amiability and joy, although sometimes one of us would be cranky and "start a fight," upon which we would be reminded that we had "just been to church!"
Is all of that gone forever, I wonder?  Or does a vestige of it still survive in some little town somewhere in the world?
Ed: Lexington.
And from his sister, Mary Pat Gueguen Miller
Susan, I don't know how you are getting everyone's responses printed, but maybe if I press "reply", hummmmm.  Anyway, am sending all your missives to sister Sharon in PA., as they are not on-line yet.  Then you'll have the whole d----- family!!!!  Concerning the Jarman Brothers, Gary and Gene, and Snappy Service.  When I was about fourteen and got my first job at Snappy with Mrs. Holman and Gary, I think, I was VERY shy and didn't talk very loud, or very much.  I didn't really like "waiting on people"; too much contact,
if you know what I mean.  I was a real "Beth" out of "Little Women."
(Wouldn't believe it now, would  you?)  Anyway, I was to take the customer's order on my little pad and HOLLER the order out to the kitchen.  There was NO WAY I could do that, so I would quietly walk the order to the kitchen, put the pad under the cook's nose and leave.  Don't remember who  was cooking then. But I did not fit in well with the "slingin' hash" kind of people.  I've never forgotten how mortified I was in that capacity.  We must have grown up a bit
by the time we went to "Dave's Dragon Den" later on in the 50's, but
Loretta and I did quite well there for several years and had lots of different "slingin hash" kind of work.  Finally learned how to talk to people.  (and have been talking to people ever since, yada, yada, yada.  I hear you!)
To Barbara  Lee:  our middle son, John, also went to TCU from '84 to '88; he lived in the Milton Daniel Freshman year with all the athletes.  He wasn't one, but LOVED rubbing shoulders, BIG shoulders, with them.  He loved the school.  We called it "the school with lots of gold on fingers, wrists, necks, and toes."  I'm sure you know Bill Tempel's son, Frosty, was there too.  I think he was in John's class.  Love hearing all the news.  Will do more later. 
P.S.  Janet Cross, of course we remember that you lived up the street from us, and right next door to Mike Wilhoit.  (Did you know he died several years ago??)  If I was lucky enough and early enough, I got outside in the morning just in time to walk to school with John.  He was WAAAAY too smart for the likes of me, but I enjoyed his dry humor.  Next time I'll tell you about our date to Junior-Senior Prom in
just in time to walk to school with John.  He was WAAAAY too smart for the likes of me, but I enjoyed his dry humor.  Next time I'll tell you about our date to Junior-Senior Prom in '57, (the very night of the Ruskin Heights tornado), when he asked me THE DAY BEFORE just because his sweetie, "Pam", was younger and couldn't go and I think he felt sorry for me.  Oh well, we had a good time and watched the sun come up!!  John, where are you and are you on-line???  Let's hear your side of the story.
Okay, the gauntlet is down, and we're ready for more. Send your memories and challenges on in, and we'll see that they get to the proper places! Until next time, I remain
Your faithful scribe,


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