TLC logo TLC #36:  April 25, 2002

Dear Hearts and Gentle People:
Back by popular demand...well, a couple of people have asked, so I'm sending out the latest from your old home town.
The four-day Saluda Commemoration culminated in the dedication of our newest park, at the corner of Franklin and Hwy 13. At the ceremonies, the Saluda survivor descendants each tolled the bell. It was very moving. Now we look forward to the next event: Lexington's First Annual Maifest. It will be May 3 and 4, downtown. The Chamber of Commerce promises food galore, and samples from Missouri wineries, micro-breweries, and rootbeer companies. In the evening there will be live German music. Daytime features family fun, kids games, May Pole dancing, cake walks, storytelling, and a dessert judging contest in the afternoon. Y'all come!
This past weekend Lexington was invaded by some of the "girls" from the Class of 1956. Although I am much younger, by nearly a year, they let me tag along. For those who are interested, others who attended were Arden Cuadra Barrett, Judy Cook Watkins, Lovella Yates Damborg, Mary Kay Skelton Smith, Gwen Schenck Trumbo, Ann Fiora Coen, Georgia Hurlburt, JoAnn Oetting Tognascioli, and our hostess Dee Park LeMonnier. We stayed at Dee's house at Lake Lotawana, and during the four days we did some damage at KCI, Crown Center, Union Station, The Plaza, The Nelson, Maid-Rite (!!!), the shops in Lexington, Jack's Landing Restaurant AND the Wentworth Military Ball. There were sore facial muscles and sore tummy muscles from the laughter. What great therapy it is to have a good ol' slumber party, or bunking party as we used to call them, with some of your oldest and dearest.
Bill Tempel, also class of '56, has expressed interest in this gathering and dismay that he wasn't invited. He wants the unabridged report, but I don't think he's earned it. If it hadn't been for Don Coen and Wally Hulver at the Ball, Mary Kay and I would have had to dance with each other all night instead of just the beginning. By the way, Tom Watson was also at the Ball. Do you think anyone drew my attention to that fact? No. And Ann Coen and I are the only golfers in that group. I just give and give and give....
I have not quite recovered from that, nor have I recovered from tax season, but I'll do my best to put something together for you. And speaking of recoveries, my mother is much improved and back at the nursing home. Thanks for asking and for the good wishes from so many of you. And now, on with the correspondence!
From Leamon '53 Johnson:
Hi Susan:  I finally got all the virus out of my computer and lost everything so am just now getting around to say Hi.  Terry and I just got back from Georgia where we took part in a March for ALS.  This is a dreaded disease that our oldest son Mark has.  He had a team of over 100 and they all marched over 3.miles for this activity.  ALS wanted to raise $50,000.00 and on Thursday of this week they were still counting at $137,000.00.  Great!  Our team raised over $14,000.00 and we still have a little to send.   A lot of good people in this world and a lot of great friends.  So a lot of smiles in Georgia and in the ALS community.  Will try to stay in touch and keep all informed.
And from THE Howard Johnson:
I got your name and e-mail address from my sister - Marian Johnson Buchanan.  As you probably know from correspondence with her, we lived in Lexington from 1945-1955.  Our father, Ben Johnson, was Band Director at LHS and Wentworth during that time and our mother, Frances, helped him by giving private lessons and starting an Orchestra.  (She was a marvelous singer and cellist having graduated from Julliard in NYC in 1934.)   During my 10 years in Lexington, I was in Boy Scout Troop 318 with Bob Levy and Hershel Hay as our Scoutmasters.  At LHS, I was in all the music groups (of course), I was on the Track team and I was in most of the plays that Ernestine Seiter directed. I have many fond memories of those 10 years in Lexington and would like to have my name included in the TLC Newsletter Marian has told me about. 
And then he wrote:
Just wanted to let you know I "waded through" all those past newsletters you sent (the week seemed to go by quickly) and thoroughly enjoyed every one!  You are doing a marvelous job in bringing us all together and keeping us updated on the news in Lexington.  Reading TLC brought back a flood of memories:  Latin classes with Miss Mautino where she invariably misplaced her glasses (always to be found perched back on the top of her head - but we wouldn't tell her).  Also, I remember Latin class was right after lunch and dear Angela could never stifle a burp gracefully. It would always a loud "Bur-r-rp" followed by "excuse me, class." 
And her Minstrel shows were a hoot.  What a fun and wonderful woman.  My favorite teacher, though, has to be Ernestine Seiter.  What a great English teacher!  I really developed a love of Literature and Theatre from her.  I couldn't wait for the next auditions to get a part in a play she was directing. 
I guess one of my first experiences in the "dramatic arts," though, was in 6th grade in Miss Margaret's Room where a few of us prepared a murder-mystery skit.  I don't remember the details of that great masterwork, but I do recall it involved a detective (John Stompoly) discovering the murder weapon (a small revolver) and then during the operation to remove the bullet from the victim (Shirley Briggle), the doctor (me) removed a huge artillery shell and pronounced the victim dead.  To that classroom of 6th graders, this was the ultimate in sophisticated humor and it "brought the house down."

Another memorable event which occurred a few years later was the infamous Slave Day and Senior Open House in 1953.  A few of us formed a band to play at the dance.  We called ourselves "The Knights" and somehow we got ahold of some arrangements and played such classics as "Blue Moon" and "You, You, You."  It was pretty big stuff for us to be up on that stage playing for that dance that night. I was seated at that "clunky" old upright piano having a great time plunking out those tunes.  H. J. Guillia was on drums (when did he learn how to play drums?)  Gene Jarman on trumpet, Terry Buck on trombone and John Stompoly on alto sax.  What a great group we were (at least we thought so at the time).  We just didn't get to dance much that night.  Ah, those were the days.

Anyway, keep those newsletters coming, Susan.  You're doing a great job and we all love it!  By the way, do you have any information on how I could get in touch with Tom Mallot, Walter Yeoman or Terry Buck?  They were among my closest friends in High School and I would love to be able to contact them. Thanks for everything you do.   
I was able to give him Tom Mallot, but have no current information on the others. Help?
From Barbara Lee '57 Fay:
Who remembers the 1957 Prom?  Decorating the gym was a challenge, and I cringe to think what our kids would say if they could see the primitive crepe paper and poster board decorations.  Didn't we have streamers draped from the ceiling, and maybe even a twirling lighted ball?  I do remember my date though, and that's probably more than my kids can remember about their proms.  Tom Corbin was the fortunate fellow.  I do not believe he and I had ever had a date before the prom.  Back then, I don't remember him as being much of a speedy guy, but then some of us are late bloomers.  He went on to become a sprint-car driver who retired from that avocation in 1995.  For those of you read the KC Star, he is quoted extensively in the April 23 article in the sports section about his nephew, Danny Lasoski.  (Says he's from Higginsville, but I thought Dover.)  Danny is now a hot item in the racing field, having set numerous track records at the Knoxville Iowa track and most recently scoring winning points at the Talladega Short Track in Alabama.  Danny credits Tom and his dad for shaping him as an adept sprint-car driver.  (Some of you guys can probably relate to this love affair with cars and speed, perhaps on the Levasy flats?)

I'll bet "Tommy" doesn't know that I read about his racing records and that my interest in racing developed over the years due to my brother Duncan's career in the field, too.  In fact, I'm  getting a new set of ear plugs very soon because Bill and I have tickets to the Indy 500! 

Let's hear it from the rest of you --- '55 Chevy's, popping the clutch, peelin' rubber.
A new name for the list:
Hi, TLC,  I'd  like to chime in with some Lexington memories.  I'm Bette Phipps Thomas '59 and have enjoyed reading issue #22 greatly.  The first is my memory of sitting in Miss Mautino's class (maybe in '57 or' 58) while she was crying, fiddling with her "bra straps" under her smock, saying between sobs that we couldn't upset her because everything "rolled off her, just like water off a duck's back," while Supt. Leslie Bell stared in at her from the hallway outside her door.  I never knew what awful atrocity "we" had committed to set her off (maybe somebody incorrectly conjugated a Latin verb?). I also think she never knew Leslie Bell  was observing her.  If anybody from that wild & crazy Latin class remembers what we did, please let me know.  Lauren LeJeune and Irma Boldridge were also in the class but everyone else's faces have faded away. My second memory is of dear Mrs. Seiter teaching us how to pronounce "grimace," with lips wide open, she said and we (Sr. English class, maybe?) repeated:  GRIMAAAACE.  I think Frances Tonetti Cross and Anne Thompson Johnson were in this class.

I'm quitting now because I have to  tutor some kids in reading in a few minutes, but if you'll add me to the recipients, I'll send you my memory of when the Lexington men (Chamber of Commerce?) put on minstrel shows.  Yes, that is a teaser. 
Bette Boop3--no relation to the hooker of the same name that cousin Jim O'Malley mentioned.
And now the sister:
Hi - I'm Mary Lou Phipps (now Phipps-Winfrey) class of 1963.  My sister, Bette Phipps (now Thomas) sent your newsletter to me.  I love it.  This one had a bit from our cousin, Jim O'Malley in it.

I am a professional actress/voice talent living in Wichita, KS.  I perform locally and regionally.  My last gig was at the St. Croix Festival Theatre in St. Croix, WI.  I will be performing in Michigan and Ohio this summer.  I rarely go back to Lexington but when I do I always tool around to all the old spots even if they aren't there anymore.
Gary 63-then free Miller:
Susan, thanks for the newsletter.  Your thoughts about the Mainstreet Theatre really brought back a lot of good memories.  What I remember most about the movies were the 5 cent Cokes, 10 cent popcorn, 25 cent BonBons and the JuJuBees!!  I can almost taste them.
Currently, I live in Independence, MO, just east of the Blue Ridge Mall.  I retired from Southwestern Bell Telephone on 3/8/02 and am now resting up for my first cruise which I take on 3/27 to the Caribbean.  I am going solo and am looking forward to a new adventure.  My son Chris is married (3 years) and is a PE teacher and Head Coach for Boys and Girls Soccer in Ozark, MO.  He will receive his Master's Degree in May and wants to get into School Administration.  He will be 26 in May.  My daughter Cary, also 26 in May, is currently single and living in New York City.  She graduated from MU with a degree in Child Life but has that on hold while she pursues her dream of performing on Broadway.  At present, she is touring the east coast with a company and is doing children's theatre. 
When I started going to the movies, the price was 25 cents--what a bargain compared to today's prices and not to mention the huge amount of trash that they call movies today.  Needless to say, I pick and choose my shows very carefully. Keep the info coming---it is always good to hear about Lexington. 
Several people have inquired about a reunion for the Class of 1960. Any of you '60 whippersnappers planning anything? Let us know.
 From Bob '58 Ball:

In somewhat milder weather, I enjoy walking around Lexington.  This week, though the weather isn't optimal, I am constrained to walk because my car is at Rodekohr's, awaiting repair parts (apparently custom-made in Japan--the fault of Subaru, not Rodekohr's).  Ah, well, it's good for me!
But you can notice the most curious things, walking around.  Are you aware of the  deep and significant connection that this city has with Wabash, Indiana?  I suspect that every home and business in Lexington has an item made in Wabash!
And the item is:  A water meter box made by the Ford Meter Box Company of Wabash, Indiana.  If you want to check me, go into your yard where the water meter is located and look at the lid!
It's one of those things that you can look at for years and not really notice, provided you are as slow-witted as I am. 
I hopped onto the 'net and found a link to the official website of Wabash, Indiana: 
Not a terribly large town, about 11,000 souls, but, curiously, there seems to be no mention of the Ford Meter Box Company on the Wabash site.  It's not as if the company went out of business, since they have their very own site: 
It seems that the company was started to meet only local requirements, around 1900, but word of the product spread and, pretty soon, neighboring towns ordered the meter boxes, too.  And so it grew.  Not an exciting product, but one for which there is a real need.
But now other questions arise in my mind:  Are there other providers of meter boxes?  What brand do other towns use?  If there are other providers, why does Ford seem to have a monopoly in Lexington. How will I ever find out?  And, really, why do I care?
See what sort of trouble you can get into, just walking around Lexington?
I can go you one better than that, Bob. See what trouble you can get into when you start a little newsletter to a few friends? It was on February 21, 2001 when the introductory issue of TLC was published. Now we have nearly 300 subscribers, and some don't even have email! If any of you would like to "adopt" a computer-free subscriber, let me know. You just have to print it out and get it to that person.
Till next time, when we will address the burning issue of Tonettes, I remain
Your devoted scribe,

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