TLC logo TLC #34 or Thereabouts:  January 31, 2002

Dear Hearts and Gentle People:
Shed a tear for your old hometown. The Great Ice Storm of '02 has hit us hard. I have not been able to get out of my own neighborhood, but reports have come in that the town looks like a battle zone. Many trees down, more injured, power lines down and, Heaven help us, no cable TV. Even the cell tower was out for a while. Here at 1611 South we were without power for 17 hours. And I fear we have lost all the dogwoods in the front yard. One was reduced to toothpicks by a big branch from a sweetgum tree. There was a lot of whining and gnashing of teeth here, but it's small potatoes (as we say in the country) compared to what others have endured. I don't think there has been any real damage. The Courthouse, the tulip tree, the Anderson House, etc. are all okay. So far.
In another note from Susie Bell '54 Bartley, she asked me to thank those who wrote. Apparently she has heard from a number of you. I'll bet Bill Tempel has too. For those of you who don't know, Bill's mother Betty died on Jan. 1. I have made it a practice not to report parents' deaths because, frankly, we're of an age when there are too many of them. But Betty was very well known, at least by my age group, and we were very fond of her.
In recent days word came that Carolyn VanZandt '51 Schroeder died too. I am sorry to report sad news, but this too is life in a small town.
We have had at least one new shop open since I wrote last: the Cornucopia, next door to our new restaurant Jack's Landing. Progress is being made on the Battlefield 6 Theater, and the site is showing change. Wentworth is constructing a new barracks, and they brought fill dirt to the "hole" - a happy situation for WMA and the city.
Norman Thorson wrote a while back about the site of the new barracks. Unfortunately, his old home/s (actually there were two on one lot) had to go to make room for progress. I had mentioned how many old homes are being restored in Lexington. "Not so with the home on Washington Ave. that held so many memories for Connie, Helen and myself. I only learned recently that Wentworth owned much of that block, and had torn down our old home, as well as the home of our neighbors the Fioras. This to make room for a new barracks. It is their property to do with as they wish, but it is sad, nevertheless."
I do believe this is necessary for the school and therefore the economy of the town, but I too drag my feet at change. One of the reasons Lexington has so many historic treasures is that we have not torn them down to build new. But compromise may make us stronger.
I know you're all waiting to get to news from others, so on with the show:
From Diane Gibson '58 Conger:
My husband retired from the (Baptist) ministry last year.  We now live in Crawfordsville, IN.  We live a short distance from our son and very near our daughter and her husband and our precious two year old granddaughter.  We take care of her three days a week.  It is a pleasure like no other.

It was good to visit Lexington and to see all the progress.  I had moved
my parents five years ago.  So much has happened since that time!  I was
in Lexington for my Father's funeral in March, but did not get to look around
I hope Diane doesn't mind my using her as an example. I really wish you all would send an update on where you are and what you've been doing since leaving Lexington. You'd be surprised at how much people would enjoy reading that!
Diane was also nostalgic:
Does anyone remember Mrs Seiter's choral reading group?  We were invited
to go to various civic groups to perform.

Do you remember coming to Oneida street to play under the street light?
We had many kids who came to play.  Some of the games we played were...Kick
the Can, Ice Box, Steal the Flag, Lemonade and Truth or Dare.  There were
others, but I can't remember them.
When I strayed from Bloom Street, I went clear to Oneida. But Ice Box? Lemonade? I remember the rest well. Help me. -Ed.
From Deloris Vickers ''50 Bryant
      My mother worked at Maib's for many years.  One of my favorite tales, took place on the early morning shift at the large round table near the kitchen where the local men drank coffee.  One of the regulars had asked it they would cook a fish for him because he'd caught it and his wife would not fix it.  Of course Harold told him they'd be glad to.
     The man came in and sent his fish to the kitchen.  The guys sat around teasing him about bringing his own meal to be cooked and various other remarks.  In due time, the waitress delivered a large platter with the beautifully browned fish draped across the center of the platter.
     Those of you familiar with Maib's will remember that Harold always had a cat in the restaurant to be sure they had no mice.  Ordinarily, he was a very well-mannered creature but this offering was more than a cat could stand.  He gave a loud yowl, leaped on the table, snatched the fish and was gone before the startled owner could even lodge a complaint. 
    Harold was always a very kind man and he often sent meals to various people in town when they came home from the hospital, or when they lived alone and were under the weather.  He also was kind enough to let me work there part time on weekends while I was in college at Warrensburg.  (And as inept a waitress as I was...made it truly a community service.) When Wentworth had any special event going on, Maib's was exceptionally busy on Sunday.  I can never forget one Sunday when I spilled a glass of tomato juice down the front of my uniform at the beginning of the dinner rush and had to keep serving meals with my partially red uniform all during the meal.
I always felt that Maib's was the center of town. - Ed.
When Don Stephenson's email address changed, I inquired if he wanted to continue receiving TLC, and this was his reply:
Yes, I would like to continue to receive TLC's.  I enjoy reading about things that are happening in the old home town even though I have been gone from there for many years.  I still have family there, including a brother, Meredith Stephenson, and his family (including Wendell Stephenson and his family), a sister-in-law, Laura Stephenson, and a niece Shari Lynne Kaullen and her family (including Sean and Kent Kaullen).
As a quick background, I graduated from LHS in 1943, served in the Army during WWII (graduated May 21, sworn into the Army June 5th), was overseas in India,  attended engineering school at the University of Missouri from 1946  until I received a BS in Mechanical Engineering in June, 1950 (President Truman spoke at our commencement) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering in August, 1951.  Kenny Maib, Warren Sherman, and John W. Morrison attended MU at about the same time.
I have lived in Arizona since 1960.  I live in Gilbert, Arizona, a suburb 20 miles from Phoenix.  I moved there in 1973 when the population was 2,500.  I mainly moved there because I wanted to live in a small town. The population is now 110,000.  Need I say more?
By the way, Miss Lena Meier was one of my teachers in high school and my mother, the late Florence Stephenson, said that she taught her when she attended high school (at what later became Central School where I attended grade school).
When I attended school in Lexington, all the schools were segregated, but while attending the University of Missouri, it became desegregated.  A vote of the student body overwhelmingly supported this move.  Best regards and keep up the good work.
From Mary Kay Wilcoxon Gooseman:
Recently you inquired about what inspired me to do my book, "Lexington At The Turn Of The 21st Century", a collection of photos on Lexington spanning from 1900-2000.
When I was a teenager in the 1950s, I had always wanted to photograph downtown Lexington the way it was then for memory sake.   Needless to say, with many regrets now, I never accomplished it.  Being older and remembering how it was with many of our old familiar buildings no longer with us, I decided to achieve this long-time goal.  Nearing the end of the 20th Century, I felt it was the perfect time to fulfill this dream, so I could pass it along to our children and grandchildren.
Fortunately, I have a good family collection of old photos as well as several local people also shared their photos of old buildings and I was able to find some at the Historical Museum.  In May 2000, my collection was completed and displayed at our Heritage Days Festival in June. Yes, I do have copies available and anyone who may be interested for more information on obtaining a copy, can email me at or write me at Mary K. Gooseman, 1839 Poplar St., Lexington, MO. 64067-1743. It was a real pleasure compiling the material and brought back so many wonderful memories of bygone days in Lexington.
The book is $50 and the Postage and Handling (Priority Mail) is $6.50  (unless it's gone up again this year....I haven't checked). It contains 550 photos, 111 are black and white, the rest are all color; it has 104 pages; Notebook type binding with the plastic sheet page covers.  The paper is of course acid free archive quality as well as the plastic sheets.  (These of course are technicalities that I went with to make for a quality book.) It might be important to some people. I did it all on the computer, as well as the copies.  I keep at least 6 copies on hand at all times, and print more as I need them.  That's why the price went up from the original $45, my supplies went up a year ago.  However, I will not go any higher than this. 
Hope this will answer your questions. Happy New Year to one and all from dear old Lexington.
Several people have inquired about Mary K.'s book. I own one and enjoy it thoroughly. Also, this week the Lafayette County History books arrived. They are wonderful and of excellent quality. I imagine you could still order one if you want. - Ed.
More from Mary K.
I was just thinking recently, after looking through the many names on the TLC list who receive it, and it brought back many memories that I'm wondering too if other people remember.  When I was in grade school at Central, the high school would put on many plays as well as the Minstrel shows, and the afternoon before the evening performance, they'd have a "dress rehearsal" and invite students from both Central and Arnold.  I remember so well "walking" from Central over to the high school (in those days we didn't have the luxury of riding on a bus) and enjoying these performances.  Most of the TLC subscribers were the people who were in those productions.  This would have been the years from 1946-1951.  Thanks to all these people for these wonderful memories.
I can testify that the productions went on longer than that, at least until the late '50s. - Ed.
Also, in one of the recent issues of TLC, someone inquired about who the Band Director was before Carroll Lewis.  If memory serves me correctly, it was Wilbur West.  He's the one I started with in the 6th grade following Capt. Ben Johnson. 
Remembering Mr. Lewis, the one thing that will always stick out in my mind, was in May 1956 when they had the first re-enactment of the Battle of Lexington, and it poured rain for 3 days.  We were to march in the parade, along with many bands from around our area.  The morning of the parade it was pouring rain, and Mr. Lewis refused to let us march to avoid ruining our instruments as well as our uniforms.  The other schools went ahead and participated and of course ruined their instruments and uniforms.  These towns were mad at Lexington because we didn't participate.  Therefore, after that other bands wouldn't return for our parades.   Mr. Lewis' philosophy was, the Army wouldn't take their band out in inclement weather, but if it started raining while they were on parade that was a different matter.  I'll always remember him explaining this to us at the time.  He was certainly a director we'll always remember.
Also, remember the Lafayette County Music Festivals always held at LHS?  Band, Orchestra and Glee Club would practice all day long and have a concert that evening.  We always had some big name director as guest conductor.  One year, Carroll Lewis, along with the directors I believe from Wellington and also Odessa, played "Trumpeter's Holiday" at intermission.  It was awesome.  Mr. Lewis played a mean trumpet as well as the piano.
And now the piece d'resistance from Jim O'Malley:
How would you like to hear about some Lexington history from the days of
post-prohibition and bank robbers?   I'd like to share a story from the
1930s when prohibition was just over (that was in 1933) and state liquor
laws were being rewritten.  For several years after the end of prohibition
in '33, many people were going into the bar business in Lexington and the
drinking laws were pretty vague and poorly enforced.   There were many
places in Lexington where patrons could eat a good meal, drink mixed
drinks, and dance.

Two of those places were well known and popular.  They were the Rockless
Farm on east Hwy 24 just outside the city limits, and the White Castle.
The Rockless Farm is long gone, but the White Castle has been spared and is
now the beautiful home of Mr. & Mrs. Sonny Oetting.   I was only a child
during this time, but my uncle-by-marriage, Jimmy "Piggy" Phipps, ran the
Rockless Farm and told me a story about it.

The story goes like this.  One evening the Rockless was busy and two
gentlemen came in.  They were Pretty Boy Floyd and Adam Richetti!  Piggy
recognized them right away and told his employees,  "............give them
anything they want and keep a tab of their charges."  He also told his
staff, "I don't know how long they'll stay but keep the tab going.  If they
decide to leave without paying, let them go and don't cause any trouble."

The reason that Piggy was so cautious was that these two men were on the
FBI "Most Wanted" list.  They had taken part in the Union Station Massacre
in Kansas City and were on the run. Floyd was a bank robber from
northeast Oklahoma who frequently drove up Highway 13.   Several years ago
I met a man named "Dad" Thompson who had been Pretty Boy Floyd's driver.
He told me they drove up Highway 13 many times.   Guess the banks were
richer up north.   Adam Richetti was a graduate of the Missouri State Pen
and was known to be a rather violent gent.   He robbed banks, too.  Oh yes,
Piggy told me that after a relaxing evening at the Rockless Farm, Floyd and
Richetti paid their tabs and left quietly.

For more info on this story and of Floyd and Richetti's exploits in Lexington
you should visit with Judge John Pollard of Lexington.  John was a Deputy
Sheriff during this time and visited the Rockless Farm when the two bandits
were there.   There's quite a story in here somewhere. That's all for now but is there anyone of our readers that would like to know the Lexington connection to "Bonnie and Clyde?"   
Yes, yes! I do! I do!!
And now you have something to look forward to. Also next edition: Bob '58 Ball signs in with memories of.....tonettes!
Since it is still January (but barely!) I will wish you all a very healthy, happy and prosperous 2002!
Your devoted scribe,


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