TLC logo TLC #61:  Dec. 21, 2003

Dear Hearts & Gentle People:
Christmas greetings from Ye Olde Home Towne. The candles are in the windows, and the stockings are ready to hang. Lexington looks quite festive, and last night we had the first annual luminary display on South St. From Hwy 13 east to 20th St. We tried to have luminaries all the way along the sidewalks. Of course some people found out too late, some were out of town, and others were simply unable to do it. Next year we will be better prepared and ready to help those who need assistance. Personally, we are preparing to travel to New Orleans for Christmas with our daughter and son-in-law. (Well, somebody has to go there.)
There are some very interesting items on the web page this time. You can access it by going to:  

 TLC #61 web page

Linda Marchetti gave me the circus parade picture. She said she understood it was the parade of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. I was delighted to have the photo.

At church the next day I approached John Pollard and John Wm. Morrison and asked them if they remembered the circus coming to Lexington. Oh my, yes, said they...Ringling Bros. (Okay - which was it? Or both?) John Pollard said he saw Geronimo, Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley. She shot a coin thrown into the air - and he still has it! Now don't rush for your magnifying glass. Geronimo is not in this particular picture with the Indians. It appears to have been taken in the 1920s, and I'm told he died in 1909.

In an odd coincidence, two days later I received a letter from a cousin of my father's. He notified me he was sending me a framed autograph that my grandmother (his aunt) had given him. She attended the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. While there she met the famous Indian Chief Geronimo and got his autograph. So now I am in possession of it.

Now to the mail.  First, some kind words came in from Charlotte Skelton Simmons Guiberson:

I just wanted to tell you that you are doing a marvelous job with TLC. I, like so many others, have fond memories of Lexington and it is so good to hear from so many people from all over.

Thanks. That makes the effort worthwhile.

Something struck a chord with Don Stephenson, and his memory has been working overtime:

Today, December 7th, is another anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.  I went to high school with two brother of the Curry family, Nathan and Byron.  They lived in the old McCausland mansion across the street from where my family lived at 703 Highland Avenue (corner of 5th Street and Highland).  They had two brothers in the service at the time of the attack.  One brother, Bill, was aboard the Arizona and was killed.  His body is still inside the Arizona.  I visited the Arizona Memorial a few years ago and found his name at the memorial, in the list on the wall, of those killed.  Another brother, Bob Curry, was in the Marines on Wake Island.  He was captured by the Japanese and spent the whole of World War II as a prisoner of the Japanese.  I never met Bill, but I met Bob after the war. The rescue of Nathan Curry at sea after he was shot down was shown in a national publication, either Newsweek or Time Magazine.
Nathan and Byron gave me the only nickname I ever had, "Sugarfoot".  They would never tell me why they called me that.  I thought it was either because they had read some story about someone named that or it had something to do with my being a runner on the track team.  
Byron graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Missouri School of Mines at Rolla.  I lost track of both of them years ago.  They originally moved to Lexington from Palmyra, Missouri. 
The other thing I want to mention is that the Curry boys introduced me to swimming in the Missouri River.  One time we swam all the way across and back.  Of course, we had to walk quite a way upstream on the opposite side before we started back so that we would end up at about the original starting point.  We stopped swimming in the Missouri when another boy who swam in the river drowned.  He dived in and never came back up.  I don't remember what his name was and I wasn't there when it happened.  My mother and dad never knew about my swimming in the river until I told them years later after I had grown up and left home.
Both Curry boys were one or two years older than I and I'm pretty sure that they both graduated from Lexington High School, but ahead of me.
In TLC#60 you asked for input regarding Carl Stalling.  Well, I never met the gentleman, but in grade school for a few years, I took piano lessons from Miss Carrie Loomis who gave piano lessons in her home located on the corner of 12th Street and Franklin Avenue.  She told me that she had had Carl as a pupil and that he was the best pupil she ever had.  Specifically, she told me that he had such an ear for music that she could send him into another room where he could not see the piano. She would strike any key on the piano and he could tell her correctly what each note was.
You can find biographies of Carl Stalling on the internet.  One of the shorter ones reads as follows:
Carl S. Stalling (1888-1974) was born in Lexington, Missouri.  As a kid, he started to play music on a broken toy piano.  In 1903, he saw "The Great Train Robbery" and decided that, in some way, he wanted to work with movies.  Seven years later, he was working as a pianist during the silent movies at the local theater. 
In the early 1920's, Stalling was in Kansas City, conducting his own orchestra and playing the organ during projections at the Isis Theater.  There, he met Walt Disney, who asked him to compose the score for two short animated movies starring a new character, Mickey Mouse (Mickey had only appeared in one cartoon at that time).  Stalling also composed Skeleton Dance, the first of the Silly Symphonies.  He even did the voice for Mickey in one cartoon.
In 1930, Stalling left Disney and scored Ub werks's Flip the Frog cartoons.  In 1936, he arrived at Warner Bros, and stayed there for 22 years.  Stalling's unique vision, along with the help of assistant, arranger, orchestrator and conductor Milt Franklyn, shaped the Warner Bros. cartoon sound.  But Stalling's sound would never have been the same without Mel Blanc's vocalizing and Treg Brown's sound effects.  When Stalling retired, Franklyn replaced him, and the difference was noticeable.  Although very well-done, the new musical director's scores were more musically conventional.  The Golden Age of American  Animation was coming to an end.  In 1969, Stalling declared:  "One problem with cartoons today is they have so much dialogue the music doesn't mean much."
Getting back to Miss Loomis, she was a very kind and gentle person and she taught in this manner.  She would never think of striking a pupil's hand with a ruler if he hit a wrong note as I understand some other teacher did.  I don't remember who all of her pupils were when I took lessons from her, but I do remember the Kehrees children, Katina, Sophie (now Mrs. Norman Vialle), and George.  We had piano recitals periodically and she also periodically gave taffy pull parties where we made taffy candy.  All of this took place in her home.
Keep the TLC's coming.  I enjoy reading them.
Don LeJeune answers a question:
Susan: I know the person that they called Catfish and, yes, he did drive a cab in Lex. He was my Mother's brother. His name was Walter Phillips. He grew up in Lex. and was well known as Catfish the cabbie. I can't remember the man's name he worked for but Red something comes to mind. It might have been Kukendall but can't remember - sorry.
My mother's name was Elsie LeJeune as a lot of people do remember her. My dad was Pierre. He and his brothers ran a garage in Lex. for about 50 years and the last 40 years or so, it was on 9th St. next to Dunhill Shirt Co.
They started out in the old Wilcox building on Franklin St. In the Photo of the new bridge, if you go toward the south,  I once owned the property known as the Stone farm which is located to the left of the S curve. Does anyone remember the Mill Fire that destroyed the Lex. Mill ? It was located on the same street as the old MFA. Also does anyone remember the old Pickle Factory that was located down the railroad tracks from 20th St.?
Also, are you aware of the fact that Central School was at one time Lexington High School?  My late mother Florence Stephenson, once showed me a copy of her high school yearbook, and I recall that it showed the Central School building.  I think the year was 1922.  I don't know where the yearbook went, but I'm going to check with my brother Meredith Stephenson or my niece Shari Kaullen to see if it is still in someone's possession in the family.
The other thing that I recall is that my mother told me that Miss Lena Meierer started teaching when she was still in high school and that she had a class under her.  So Miss Lena evidently taught both my mother and me.
I really do enjoy reading about Lex. I have sent TLC to several people and they also enjoy reading about Lex. I have a lot of memories that I left there, and now you are bringing them back . Thanks.

You will recall a few issues back there was information about a Civil War history being written by a friend of Jack Gueguen. This from him:
Hello John:
Well, publication of the HHJ materials seems to be getting closer. The University of Arkansas Press has indicated interest, and if that falls through, I will go ahead and do it using a publish on demand service.
A good number of changes have been made since sending you the manuscript
which, I hope, are for the better. I would like to add a basis battle plan drawing for several of the battles mentioned. Simple battle maps for The Battle of Prairie Grove Ark on 12-7-62, Battle of Little Rock Ark on 9-10-63, Battle of Independence Mo on 8-11-62 and Battle of Lexington Mo on 9-18-20-61 would be useful.
If you or your connections have access to any such drawings that I could use and you could connect me to these sources, it would be much appreciated. If you are unable to do this, I certainly understand.

Tom E Jewett
708 Hill Ave
Spirit Lake, IA 51360
Ph 712 336-6531   Fax 360 285-2254

Jack forwarded the above letter and added the following:
I recall seeing several old books in the Lex. Public Library which would have the kinds of battlefield maps our author is requesting.  Herewith, his latest update.  Any idea who might be willing to find a nice map and send it up to him in Iowa?  Maybe the Librarian?
We'll work on that.
Now it's time for you to examine the web page and enjoy the step back into time. I wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!


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