TLC logo TLC #47:  Oct. 26, 2002

Dear Hearts & Gentle People:
TLC: Tracer of Lost Chums!
We have already located two "lost" friends, and now the requests are pouring in. Well, two of them.
Both from Jack Gueguen:
... thanks for finding my old fellow explorer, Zelma Wilmot.
This one should be easy:  Kent Hicklin (a member of the quartet, which made a recent TLC).  There must still be some Hicklins in the county--maybe even at the old Hearthstone just east of town.
This is probably harder:  Adam Simonetti.  When my family moved back to town in the spring of '43 (I was about to turn ten), Adam and I were temporary neighbors on N. Tenth St. (we were living with an aunt and uncle until our house on 16th St. was available).  The only incident I remember about him (and here comes another "true confession") is that we were "accomplices" in "planting" a note allegedly from a spy for Nazi Germany (what an imagination I had; I'm sure I was the "plotter").  We made sure the note would be found by the authorities, which it was.  Then I started to worry that it might lead to trouble, but as I recall, the note was quickly discovered to be a prank, without detection of the "conspirators." 
Having just come to town from K.C. (where war news and views were more prominent than they probably were in Lex.), my young head was full of "ideas."  We had even had a mock air-raid during which wardens in hard hats patrolled the streets making sure no light leaked from house windows.  We kids found it great excitement, as we ventured forth to look at the wardens and to see the darkened city.  I also remember eagerly following the progress of the front in Europe and sea battles in the Pacific by studying the maps that were on the front page of the Times every morning.
If you'll pardon a slightly related "confession":  After getting my M.A. at Notre Dame in international studies (emphasis on Soviet Union/East Europe) in 1958, I "tried out" for a couple of espionage jobs and a place in the Foreign Service.  My "qualifications" included a summer job with the Army Map Service in K.C. in 1951.  I think I did get a dismal offer from the U.S. Information Agency, and got as far as the interview stage with the C.I.A.  (That took place in a secret penthouse map room in the Federal Office Bldg. in K.C.)  People are amused when I relate my recollections--of how I was "met" in the lobby and escorted to the top of the building; and how the interviewing agent disguised his voice whenever he received a phone call.  What eventually ended these attempts to serve my country was the physical exam, which my weak eyes failed.
Mention of those trips to K.C. recall the little Greyhound Bus faithfully driven by Leroy Bowers--up to the City in the early morning, and back in late afternoon.  (I was a "commuter" before I even knew what commuters were.)  The bus always was there, even when flood waters covered 24 across the Levasy bottoms.  Those were the summers of '53 and '54.  When Sharon and later Joyce also joined the ranks of summer commuters to the City, we got rides each way from the corner of 16th and Main with Gilda Fiora, who had made the trip for years and years to her employment agency job.  (There is one colorful lady who ought to be featured sometime in a TLC.  Faithful Gilda, and with a wonderful laugh and constant good humor.  Also wonderful hats at church on Sunday.  One heat aid we learned from her--on humid days in the low 100s--was to enter the car with a moist towel around the neck and shoulders for natural a/c.) 
Summers of '54 and '55 I was an engineering trainee with the Army Corps of Engineers in the Davidson Bldg. (my 2 summers as a "river rat"), and '56 on the sports desk of the Star/Times (18th and Grand)--a required internship for my journalism major at Notre Dame.  They needed extra help that summer because K.C. had just gone big league (with the A's).  Since I was on the night shift, my hours (6 p.m. to 2 a.m.) didn't coincide with Gilda's, so my dad ferried me back and forth to Henrietta--sometimes through flood waters; I had become a commuter on the Wabash to Union Station (a short walk from the Star).  But on Saturday nights, he got to sleep in, as I hitched a ride back to Lex. at 3 a.m. in the back of Mr. Guillou's paper truck, together with stacks of the Sunday  paper (then I could snooze anyplace!)  Some days I took the bus up early because free press passes to A's games in the old Blues stadium on Brooklyn were abundant.  (I went to half a dozen games, and the A's lost all of them.  I especially enjoyed seeing former Blues Micky Mantle in action when the Yankees came to town.)
When I paid a nostalgic visit to the Star a couple of summers ago, I was welcomed like a VIP, given a guest pass, and escorted to the area of the 2nd floor where the sports desk used to be.  We had all sat around a huge table marking up teletype copy, writing headlines, etc., with big yellow soft-lead pencils.  Hot, steamy nights.  There was great socializing, even with the "nightside" editor, who had a passionate hatred for my school's teams.  He was a bulky man who shielded his eyes with the traditional green visor; yes, there really was a large light bulb hanging down above the table.  (Now the poor reporters have to sit in tiny cubicles separated from each other and staring at screens like this one in air-conditioned comfort.  And the Royals lose as many as the A's used to, even in that beautiful new stadium.  Is that progress?) 
I learned so much in 3 months about the newspaper business from my fellow workers.  My far-ranging cultural talents were discovered, and I was also given the job of interviewing visiting athletes.  The one I remember was a lady bull-fighter whose name was Pauline Gueguen (no relation).  There was a fellow in Independence who had a popular radio show on fishing, and somehow I was invited to be interviewed by him--on the air.  In spite of Gramp Mallot's best efforts, I never became a fisherman.  He must have found something else interesting about me.  No recollection of it at all.  And also in spite of your dad's best efforts, I never became a newspaperman either--nor a knowledgeable sports reporter (in spite of 2 years experience on the Notre Dame student paper) and a year as scorer at the basketball games.
Jack also shared some exchanges he had with Mike McDonald. The following he gleaned from old Minstrel programs.
I just found the Minstrel Program (4th annual BPWC presentation) of Feb. 2, 1951 (our senior year) in LHS auditorium.  Among the specialty groups was The Four Roses. We appeared in "the Olio" which followed the intermission, singing The Battle of Jericho.

You (Mike) also did a pantomime (Them Durn Fool Things) with Beverly Kelly.
There was another quartet (The Lexingtonians) composed of Louis Short (guitar), Buddy Wiley, Paul Johnston, and Joe Parks.

High School Minstrel 2/21/50: The quartet sang (it doesn't say what) and we didn't yet have our name; penciled in:  "We got an encore, too!"  Larry also sang Dangerous Dan McGrew.  Kent (Hicklin) was M.C. of the Olio.

LHS Minstrel 3/30/51: Now we did have our name (Four Roses); we sang Dry Bones and Kentucky Babe.  You (Mike) also teamed up with Sarah Moore (Two Tickets to Georgia).

A couple of months later (May 16 at the Public Library) we sang The Battle of Jericho and Now the Day is Over at the piano recital of Elizabeth Graves and Virginia Waddell.  The pianists were Marilyn VanderLinden and Marjorie Rodenberg.  I wonder why we got into that program (along with Beethoven, Chopin, Bach, Schubert, and Schumann).

P.S.  No wonder Miss Bess had trouble with me if I had to compete with people like Marilyn.
In some sort of poetic dovetailing, the abovementioned Miss Bess was an aunt of the first TLC "found" person - John Graves. Word reached Lexington that he was glad to be "found," but we have yet to hear from him directly to TLC.
In Issue #46 I made reference to an old expression: "It's not all beer and skittles." You can learn all sorts of things in TLC!
From Bob Ball:
skit·tle (sk¹t“l) n. Games. 1. skittles. (used with a sing. verb). A British form of ninepins, in which a wooden disk or ball is thrown to knock down the pins. 2. One of the pins used in skittles. [ Perhaps of Scandinavian origin. ]
...according to the American Heritage Dictionary
Skittles is a game played by pulling a string wrapped around a wooden toy top.  Within a wooden box that may measure five foot in length, and perhaps 22" in width, are several chambers that are connected by little doorways.  When you put the top, with string wound, in the starting chamber and pull the string, while holding the top up with one of your fingers, the top takes off wildly, moving about the box, occasionally transferring through the doors into these other chambers.  Around this board, and within the chambers are skittle pins, set up hopefully to be knocked down by the wildly spinning top.  The closest chambers, immediately to the left and to the right of the starting box are negative points, so you don't want the top to go in that direction. Moving immediately out of the box are your lowest scoring pins.  Moving to the farther end of the board, the pins double in value.  The three chambers at the far end of the board, accessed through the little doorways, contain pins that have high point values.  I assume people used to drink beer and play Skittles.  My folks bought a Skittles board when I was a young child, and I grew up playing Skittles.  I believe that my mom still has her Skittles Game in her basement. 
The above is from Garry Shulkind, a (relatively) new resident of Lexington, so don't rush for your annuals. He subscribes due to an interest in Lexington history and, kids, we are history!
A note arrived from John Boone Skelton:

I have a "small world" story for you.....My son, John, just bought the old Beretta house at 1618 Franklin....It is across the street from where we grew up and the former home of Janis Ray Beretta....As kids, we spent many a happy time there.
Jack Gueguen reminisces further:
Oct. 15 was the 6th anniversary of Sister Philomena's death (age 90, in her home convent in Independence).  This woman (Sister Mary Philomena Will) was a key player in the lives of a generation of students who attended the Catholic School between 18th and 19th on Main in the 1940s and '50s, most of whom then went on to LHS.

We could not have realized, while we had her in school, the depth of this woman's devotion to us, our families, the school, and the parish community. We could not have known about the hours she spent every day before the Tabernacle in the little convent the three nuns shared between the church and school.

Mostly we remember her as a firm disciplinarian, a capable teacher with a slight German accent and a little "tsk" by which she would indicate that something was amiss.  But I know from later visits with her (during and after college) what high hopes she had for each graduate of that little school, and how she continued to pray for us and our families.

The last time I visited was in her retirement home in Independence when she was well into her 80s.  She still had a sharp memory for names, and asked about different members of the family.  She was also proud of her own large family in central Missouri.

So whenever we compile a roster (if we do) of the great old-timers who graced Lexington while we were in school, she certainly belongs there.
I think this would be a good topic "Great Old-timers."
Also I'm always pleading for people to send their own bios in. Occasionally someone complies. Our newest subscriber, Conrad '56 Pitts, sent his:
Susan, Thanks so much for taking me on a wonderful trip down memory lane. I so enjoyed reading the news and seeing the pictures. The picture of The Peckerwood club brought back memories as Ma Mittie, Evelyn & Minnie were distant cousins of mine and oh what wonderful fish dinners they use to serve,  and when I looked at the picture of the Maidrite I could almost taste a Maidrite or a steaming bowl of chili and a glass of milk. I was wondering if anybody remembers the miniature golf course on the location where the Maidrite is now? I too took piano lessons from Miss Bess, and yes she did rap knuckles.
I also would like to offer a belated CONGRATULATIONS on the great honor bestowed upon your father. He also gave me my first job at the age of 9. He made me get a social security number before I could go to work throwing the Lexington Advertiser-News. I always wanted to be promoted to the job of throwing the paper out of the little Crosley truck that ran the out-lying routes. But I always had to ride my bicycle to throw my papers.
It was very interesting to read about the Franklin Hole, if this is where I think it is (across and east from Walkers Drugs). I can remember using the vacant lot in the hole to play marbles after school at Central. Some fun times. I believe I read in TLC that Dorothy (Kleeschulte) sent to me that you were talking about some of the teachers at Central, Miss Mike (and I couldn't believe she is still living) and Miss Gruber. I think when I was there we also had a Miss Conger, Miss Winkler & Miss Jennie Rush was our principal. 
Also you might tell Barbara Tabb Jarman that she is right about a bowling alley just off of Franklin. It was south of Franklin on 10th St., down the hill on the right hand side. I set pins there for a short time. It got pretty dangerous if somebody threw a ball while you were trying to pick up pins to reset. I to remember the Boldridge's barber shop, that is where I got my first crew cut from Buzz Boldridge. I thought my mother was going to kill me when I got home. By the way Orange Ice, was my favorite Odessa Ice Cream treat.
(Is that the same as Orange Sherbet? - Ed.)

After I graduated in 1956, I went straight to Fort Leonard Wood for basic training for the Army Reserves. When I came back to Lexington I married LaDonna Williams in February of 1957, we had four children, Pamela, Cindy, Conrad Jr. & Lisa. We left Lexington in 1962 and moved to Buckner, Mo. I worked for the Bendix Corp in production until 1964 when I was accepted into the Tool & die makers apprentice program. The program took 4 1/2 years to complete. I graduated in August of 1968. LaDonna and I divorced in 1968 and I was awarded custody of our children.
I met my wife Marilyn on a blind date on St Patrick's day, I'm not Irish but I sure had the luck of the Irish that day. We married in June of 1968. Marilyn had a daughter Robin who fit in between Conrad Jr & Lisa. We raised our family of 5 in Ruskin Heights where they attended school. I left Bendix in 1972 and worked for General Motors (Leeds plant) until the gas crunch when I was laid off, worked for Vendo for a short time until lay off. December of 1975 I was called to Kansas City Power & Light. I worked as a mechanic in a crew that traveled to all five power plants, we performed overhauls on the Turbines & Generators. I became a supervisor of this crew in 1993 until I retired in March of 2001.
We left Ruskin Heights after 18 years and moved to Lee's Summit where we lived for 14 years. When we retired we moved to Pomme De Terre lake where we had camped for some 25 years.  I became active in the Shriners in 1980, I joined the Oriental Band and played a Mussette, (I think we marched in a parade once in Lexington). I was Director of this unit in 1985, and served as president of A.S.O.B. Of C.S.S.A. ( all of the letters stand for Association of Shrine Oriental Bands of Central States Shrine Association, which covers 7 states)  in 1990.
I fought a battle with Rectal Cancer in 1987 and am proud to say so far I have won. We are the proud Grand-parents of 6 grand-daughters, 5 grand-sons, 2 great-grand-daughters & 1 great-grand-son. Well that about covers my life. As I said, not too glamorous but very rewarding. Again, I'm looking forward to receiving more of the TLC letters and enjoying the trips down memory lane.
I got into trouble for sloppy reporting of the 9/11 commemoration here in Lexington. From Jean Beyer, husband of the aforementioned Janis Rae Beretta:
Reference your coverage of the 9-11 ceremonies. You gave credit to the VFW but omitted the fact that our local American Legion Color Guard was present and our Commander presented the city with the flag that was put below the American Flag.
I hereby humbly apologize for my omission. Jean also reminded me that the American Legion building was the first school house in Lexington. 
An obituary came through Norma Maring, Alumni Director at WMA:

James M. Fallman, Sherman Oaks, CA

His parents owned the former Lexington Palace Hotel, which he operated, following his service in World War II, until 1954.  His son James M. Jr. and daughter Janice grew up in in their childhood days here in Lexington.  After leaving Lexington his daughter, Jacqueline was born.  He moved to Las Vegas where he became a bartender in the various clubs, and an insurance agent, retiring in 1985.

I have had a request for more information about the reunion of class of 1953. Anybody?

And one more item: tonight is the end of Daylight Savings Time. Set your clocks back. Wally Hulver is irate about the whole business. He said he's going to write a letter to the editor about it too. He thinks it's terrible that we have to get up at 2 a.m. to change our clocks, and thinks it would be much more civilized if it could be done at noon or 10 p.m.

Enjoy your extra hour of sleep! Everyone but Wally, that is.

Your devoted scribe,








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