TLC logo TLC #44:  Sept. 11, 2002

Dear Hearts and Gentle People:
It's a sad day of remembrance in our country, but you would be proud of your hometown today. It is Small Town America at its best. The day began with a community memorial service at the Methodist Church with the police department and fire department as the honored guests. Then at 8:40 there was a County-City memorial on the steps of the Courthouse. I could not help but think of all the similar ceremonies that have been held on those very steps. The courthouse and church bells tolled at the three times of attacks on 9/11/01. There were brief speeches, patriotic music, and big lumps in the throats of those in attendance.
Later, at noon, there were military ceremonies in front of City Hall. The Wentworth corps was there, with its band, plus the VFW (past), Army representatives (now), and the cadets (future). Again speeches and patriotic music, plus a flag ceremony performed by about 20 cadets. They had a huge flag (we're talkin' Perkins here), which they unfolded in the prescribed way - then they ran back and it furled out. There was a gasp of wonder from the crowd it was so touching. I hope you can visualize this from my pitiful description.
And it's a lovely day here, blue skies and fleecy clouds and temp in the 70s. Tonight there are more ceremonies out at the Lake with music and an old flag "retirement" ceremony. In my humble and unbiased opinion, Lexington has done it just right.
By the way, the official SLT Photographer "Snaps" Hulver has taken some photos of the noon ceremonies. He also sent photos of "...all the old familiar faces that this heart of ours embraces."
I will send them separately, since some of you have trouble opening the text if photos are attached.
As for what else is going on: if you live close enough, you might want to make a trip over for the next in the series Legends of Lexington. George Stier the Elder will present a history of Lexington from 1900-1940 at the Presbyterian Church on 9/19/02, 7:00-9:00. It is called "Into the 20th Century and Beyond: History and Storytelling." (Son Butch is now called George the Younger, and he's current president of the Chamber of Commerce.)
Fair Days and Fine Company, a recreation of an 1854 Lafayette County Fair, will be held at the Anderson House grounds (Battle of Lexington State Historic Site) on 9/28/02.
This weekend is the (now) annual Vintage Homes Tour, 9/14 and 9/15. And next month is the Apples, Arts & Antiques Festival 10/13-10/15. We stay busy.
Before we get into the recent mail, I must correct a misinterpretation. In our new "Confessions" department, I printed one anonymously. However, it came right after a letter written by Mike McDonald. He tells me people think he was responsible for the boiler-to-Maid-Rite incident. My apologies to him and to the real culprit.
Mike writes:
I laughed so hard while reading the boiler/car collision story near Maid-Rite that I nearly cried.  As this story followed some of my comments, some people are already giving me credit for this incident.  Unfortunately, I am not guilty but in many ways  I wish that I was.
Let me tell about an escapade of Jack Gueguen's and mine.  Jack and I were altar boys at the Catholic Church and in the 7th grade at the Catholic school in late October, 1945.  John Gueguen, Jack's father, counted the money collected after the last mass each Sunday morning.  Jack and I were usually serving at that mass, and we got involved with counting the money.  Jack and I were in school one Monday morning when Sister Philomena called us up to her desk and we were told to report to Father Charles Dibbins at the rectory because he had an errand for us. 
We went to the rectory and were told that we should take the collection money to the Lexington Savings & Trust Bank. Father Dibbins handed the bag with all the coins to Jack, and he grabbed the bank book with all the bills and a rubber band around it and, finding no pocket to put it in, shoved it between my mackinaw jacket and my shirt.  The jacket was fairly snug so this seemed odd but OK to me. 
Jack and I started off to the bank.  It was a beautiful fall day with leaves covering the ground and the sidewalk.  A fairly strong breeze was blowing the leaves while we strolled along.  We were in front of Mary Jo Smith's house at the (northwest) corner of Main and !7th, and just walking and talking (no playing, honest) when the stack of bills fell out of my jacket and hit the sidewalk.  The stiff breeze joyfully picked up the bills and the leaves and blew them all over the yard and all over the street with Jack and me chasing each one, stamping on it and then stuffing it in a pocket. 
In no time, several cars and at least one truck stopped and several men were chasing bills, stomping them and picking them up and handing them to us.  After what seemed to be half a lifetime, and completely certain in my mind that we had lost many of the bills, the three men looked at us, shrugged their shoulders, and without saying a word, got back in their vehicles and left us standing in Main St. 
There were so many leaves it was impossible to be sure that some bills were not lost.  We looked around the area and finally gave up.  We started again toward the bank and when we got to the Mainstreet Theatre, we decided to go across the street and sit on the wall by the sidewalk and discuss what we should do.  We wanted to take all the wadded up bills out of our pockets and count them, but the wind was so strong we were afraid we would lose some more bills.
So with heavy hearts and feeling very much like dead men walking, we went to the bank.  We went up to a lady teller that I knew, and Jack gave her the coin bag and I gave her the bank book.  I can not really describe the look on her face as we both kept pulling crumpled bills out of every pocket that we had.  I fully expected her to ask us what had happened or to give us a tongue lashing, but she merely kept taking every crumpled bill and smoothing them out and not saying a single word.  I doubt that she ever had another customer like us. 
Finally, after we had each checked every pocket and emptied it, she took all the money back to a desk and started counting it.  Jack and I just stood there waiting for the bad news on how much money we had lost.  After about five minutes she returned to the window and told us we were short by 5 cents.  For a moment, time stood still and we were stunned.  All the bills had been found!  But how could a coin be lost?  Jack and I looked in our pockets for a nickel but neither one of us had any money.  After standing there forlornly for a few minutes, the teller told us she would put the nickel in for us.  Needless to say, Jack and I were never asked again to take the collection money to the bank.
When I told Wayne Tabb he should write a book, he said: 

I have contemplated writing a book someday. When I tell stories (like down at my local hardware store hangout on Saturday afternoon), I get many suggestions to the effect of putting these things down on paper.  Or, "Wayne, you gotta write a book". 

Over the years I am getting affirmation that I did have a unique "free" growing up.  Some of the things that I did would now land this generation's parents in jail for "neglect" or "child abuse".   I did get my share of lickins, but I still managed to get by with a lot of stuff.  My mom was/is very puritanical and very conservative on the one hand, but she could also be very liberal in allowing me to be "me."  I can truthfully say that the way that I grew up could be compared more to Samuel Clemens than say someone like Gerald Ford.  I was pretty good at getting my fence whitewashed.

After highschool I was into hotrods and dragsters.  A few friends and I had a garage on 9th street that held about six cars.  Bill Utz and Bob Garrison had dirt track stock cars.  Bob was doing okay, but Bill was having trouble winning because he couldn't get his engine tuned up to full potential.  He messed with it for a few weeks, not having any luck at all.  Finally I talked him into letting me have a go at it.  We took the car out south of town where they were just getting the sub base rolled out on the new road that now skirts around Lexington.  I think it's 224. It was hard packed like a track and would make a perfect test bed. 

These stock cars have no fenders or hoods, just an exposed engine with lots of belts and a fan that could take off an arm if you got hung up in it.  All of this is stuck in between the front wheels and the car frame.  We started the car up and allowed it to warm up a bit.  I got up on top of the engine and straddled it like riding a horse and told Bill to "hit it, man."  Off we go.

The engine was smooth at slow speeds.  We got up to about fifty and it started missing very badly. I leaned over the front of the engine compartment, putting my hand down between the fan and the front of the engine, down behind this whirling fan and started tweaking the distributor. The fan was probably four inches from my throat.  In a few seconds it started smoothing out.  More speed..more turning of the little nut on the distributor...still more speed....until we reached maximum RPM.  I rode the engine for about ten miles tuning and tweeking it.

That was on a Friday morning.  The next day we went to the Marshall track and we won...Bill became pretty famous after that, just retiring from racing last year.  I like to feel that that little ride on the front of his old '37 Ford stockcar made a difference.  Maybe it did..or didn't. Anyway it was fun...Almost as much fun as my first sky diving adventure.. (with Mickey Dishman).

I smell another story coming! Later he added:

Hi there again, Scribly one.  Norma Gadt wanted to know the fifth grade teacher at Central.  Her name was Mrs. Early or Earlie.  Her hair was dark and cut fairly short.  Miss Torrence is still alive. At least she was ten years ago. I saw her in Columbia, Missouri, on campus. I don't know why I was messing around down there, especially while living in Texas, but anyway I was sitting on a wall and darn if she didn't come strolling up a walk, looking not too much different than I remember her in grade school.  Her hair was still cut the same and a lot of blonde left in it.  When I saw her I knew who it was immediately.  I called her by name and she knew me in a "New York Second."  She was still teaching too.  Now, there is a woman who I was really in love with.  (snicker, snicker).  She lived less than a block from us and I managed to walk home with her almost every night after school holding her hand.  I thought I was in heaven and my name was King Kong.   Oh, BTW.. How many of you have all of your individual Central School class group pics?  Gene Boyer wanted a set of them and I have never gotten around to getting them scanned or copied.  Classes 41-46 I think.  Maybe someone can help "poot" out there. 

Gary Miller:

On the subject of The Mainstreet Theater.  I remember two men being there most of the time.  The younger one, I believe, was the owner and his name I don't remember.  The other older man  took the tickets, prowled the theater keeping order, etc.  I believe his name was Marks (Marcks).  We always called him "Mr. Marks".  I also seem to remember that he lived in an apartment above the theater.  I also remember that toward the end of its life, and even as early as 1962-63, that the roof was leaking to the extent that the theater always smelled musty.  I will try to find the owner's name and get back with you.
Jan Jiovenale '57 Tubiolo:

Just had to chime in about who the Central School teachers were.  I don't remember Mrs. Baird, but Mrs. Park taught 4th grade and Mrs. Winkler taught 5th when I was there.   It seems that Mrs. Park taught as a substitute part of the 3rd grade year, but my memory isn't real clear on that.

Also, as I remember, Blon Bryant was the manager of Mainstreet Theater for many years.  Between the Mainstreet and Eagle Theaters, I think I missed very few Saturday horse opera matinees for many years.  I recall that the Mainstreet had an iron railing in front of the orchestra pit and some of the bolder little kids would do forward spins on it while waiting for the lights to go down.  I tried once and hit my tailbone on the concrete lip of the pit when I let go - probably why I've enriched countless chiropractors ever since. 

New Subscriber Donna Lutz '58 Dye writes:

It has been such fun to enter the world of TLC!  However, my mind is whirling with so many memories, due to absorbing 41 issues in the span of five days!!  Hope I don't rattle on like a crazed woman!
First, I want to thank Jim O'Malley for mentioning the Palace of Sweets.  I've never heard anyone but my mother talk about it.  She was a waitress there, and I have a vague recollection of going there after school to see her and have a coke or ice cream.   Seems like they had a tall counter (more like a bar) and that's where I liked to sit.  I think I must have been in first or second grade at the time.  It's such a distant memory that sometimes I doubted it really existed.
And Mary Pat, I too, remember the Lindsays' St. Bernard.  Ann (Fiora), Nancy (Wingate) and I (the name was Lutz then) dreaded passing Lindsays' house on our bikes.  Just when you thought you were in the clear; out he came from nowhere!  Drool flying in the breeze and hot breath on your ankle!  But 16th Street was a great place to be......of course, Nancy & I were around the corner on State St. but we were part of the gang.   I remember playing hopscotch, skating in college park, playing paperdolls at Ann's on summer afternoons because we weren't allowed to play out in the h
heat.* At your (Mary Pat's) end of the block we could play team games, because there were the Neers, Watermans, Holmans and Gueguens.  We would break for lunch and then start all over again.
(*I must interject here that no pansies lived "on" Bloom Street - the Bloom Street Gang included South St. and Amelia, sometimes Oneida. Our crowd was outside on the hottest of days, romping and playing games and probably driving the childless neighbors dingy. - Ed)
My first job was at the Mainstreet Theatre. It was my Senior year. and I was behind the candy counter.  It was great fun (except for cleaning the popcorn machine). Diane O'Malley was in the ticket booth at the same time.  Mr. Marcks worked there and he taught me a tongue twister (If a Hottentot taught a Hottentot tot to talk.......yada yada) that I still remember and share with my grandchildren.  Other memories of Mainstreet include the usual, such as going to the movies every Sat. and Sun. We had at least one Miss Lafayette Co. contest there, and I remember a famous cowboy made a personal appearance. Can't remember who, but he shot his pistol and my ears rang the rest of the night. 
Mrs. Todd's dance studio had a recital at the Mainstreet one year.  The Gueguen girls, Marilyn Hesler, Susan Abboud, Mary Ann Mullen, Bonnie Burnett and, I think, Gay Lierman were all students.  We did the Nutcracker. I was the king rat. hmmmmmm.  It was so exciting for us.  It was a real theatre with dressing rooms and costumes----we thought we'd hit the big time!
A few words about Miss Bess, the piano teacher.  I noticed the comments about her rapping knuckles.  Is there anyone out there who really got their knuckles rapped?  I'm not coming to her defense, as you will see later, but just wonder if she ever really did that. 
You see, she gave me piano lessons one summer.  I had heard so many stories about rapped knuckles that I was terrified of her.  I think she was located above Reed's clothing store.  Anyway, the mental image I have of her is that she was very thin, fine dark hair that was kind of wild, and I thought she was part witch.  Well, she must have smelled the fear in me because she never rapped my knuckles once. She did, however, give me the nickname, Chicken!  This can be categorized as "Most embarrassing moment!!!".  I don't remember one song that I learned that summer.  All I remember is that several times that summer, as I was walking uptown, I would hear behind me, "Chicken, oh Chicken!".   It was Miss Bess calling me.   One time I was in front of Mattingly's, and she started calling me from the other end of the block and wouldn't stop until I answered her.  I think I would have much preferred a good rap on the knuckles!!  I started walking on Franklin Ave. just to make sure she wouldn't see me.  Ah well, I can laugh now.....
Don LeJeune writes:
You are doing a great job at keeping the Older Lexingtonians  informed. Keep up the GOOD WORK. I left Lex. in 1955 and went to work for an aircraft manufacturer in Fort Worth Texas. Convair was the name of the company. I worked there for 4 years, then came back to MO Where I worked at several different jobs.
The jobs I worked were: for LeJeune's Garage on 9th. St.- Mo.State Highway Dept.- Lake City Ammo Plant last. I retired in 1992 and moved to the Lake of the Ozarks. I do stay in touch with Gary Johnston. We email each other or call on the phone. You probably don't remember me but I used to cut the grass for your Dad & Mom. That was a long, long time ago. Glad to hear that they are going to name old 13 highway after your Dad.  He kept the people in Lex. informed as to what was happening in Lex. through the Advertiser-News. I hope this finds you in good health.
Thanks, Donald. That's it for another edition, kids. Stay tuned for Snaps Hulver's photos!
Your devoted scribe,

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