TLC logo TLC #80:  Sept. 15, 2005

Dear Hearts & Gentle People:
The old home town is booming! Literally. The 1925 Lexington Bridge is nearly a memory now. Today was the final major demolition, and it was amazing to watch, although very sad in a way.
It seemed to this observer that, when the explosives detonated, the old bridge just hung suspended for a moment in time, then collapsed. All that is left now is the pilings and the last part of roadway that goes from the Lexington side to where the superstructure began.
We have a photo for you of the third stage of the demolition, and next time we'll be able to show you the completed project. I still heave a big sigh when I think of the old bridge, but traveling the new one is quite pleasant. Perhaps many of you will have that experience soon. There are many reasons to visit Lexington.
First, the weekend of Oct. 7-9! It is LHS Homecoming (be sure to see all the festivities planned - the schedule is on our web page) and the 50th reunion of the Class of '55. Those old folks are hoping we young ones will stop by to say hello later on in the evening - not too late, though, because you know they'll need to get to bed early.
Also that same weekend is the Apples, Arts & Antiques Festival. That will bring a lot of people to town, and there will be much entertainment for the visiting LHS alums. For your convenience, we include the schedule on this issue's web page. That and the Ladies Night Out tomorrow information are direct steals from the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce website, artfully put together by Mary Nicodemus. For all up-to-date information on Lexington, be sure to visit
One of the highlights of Apples, Arts & Antiques will be a Historical Character/Cemetery Tour from 4-9. Busses will leave from the courthouse for the walking tour of Machpelah. Some of Lexington's and Missouri's most interesting residents from the past will be present to tell you of their lives and times.
We're in need of some fun here, after the sadness of the past few weeks. We lost Susie Skelton and in the same week we lost Maurice Lee "Moose" Rodekohr. The terrible reports from Hurricane Katrina added to that sorrow. Many of you inquired about my daughter who lives in New Orleans. She and her husband and our grandcats are fine. They had to evacuate, but they had little damage to their home and places of business. Now, however, we are following the news of Ophelia, because we have a son who lives in Virginia Beach. It's been a rough time for many of us.
If you can make it here for October 1, we will have our last First Saturday Open Air Market of the season then. Wentworth has Parents Weekend and Homecoming soon. Our Lexington Tall Tales & Short Stories will be 9/27 - always an interesting and fun event. The Lions Club is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and the Hospital Foundation annual dinner will feature ex-Chief Dan Saleaumua as guest speaker. The Battle of Lexington Historic Site always has something interesting going on - and wonderful permanent exhibits. And the local Historical Association is planning an ice cream social with entertainment on 9/17.
Our first concert in the "LIVE! in Lexington" series is on Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m. The Westwind Brass ensemble will entertain. If you want tickets, I have connections, so let me know.
Believe it or not, I have not included everything that is happening here. Football is still important on the high school, college and professional levels. Other fall sports and school activities are ongoing, not to mention our restaurants and the six-plex movie theatre. And River City Players is in rehearsals for a new show in October. I am always amazed when I hear someone say "There's nothing to do here." I'm worn out just writing about it!
Now, you can either visit the web pages immediately at:
Link to web pages
Or you can stay tuned for the mail.
Jack '51 Gueguen has a bridge memory to share (and we'll include it and the others that follow in the Tall Tales & Short Stories collection):
In the summer after our graduation (July '51), I remember passing under or over the barrier at the south end when the River was at one of its highest crests ever, and walking out to the very middle to see what it looked (and felt) like.  It almost looked like a vast ocean to the north.  The bridge was trembling a good deal due to the huge volume of water hitting the piers.  I didn't linger, maybe even ran back to safety.  You can imagine the consternation of mom and dad ("You did WHAT?!!!") when I reported the exploit at home.  I also remember accompanying Mrs. Cullom's husband (Bill) in earlier years on some of his trips to the middle of the bridge to measure the water depth--something he did daily, I think.  The old bridge surely did "look its age" at 80.  I've never in my life heard that any vehicle actually plunged off the bridge in all those years, in spite of how so nightmarish an event seemed plausible whenever we drove across.
Jan Jiovenale '57 Tubiolo shared some history:

I have a bridge 'remembrance' of my family.  My Grandfather Dick Atwood's younger brother, Lloyd Atwood, was killed while working on the bridge, I believe it was in 1923.  According to his father, Matt Atwood, he was pushing a handcart full of cement laying the pavement when the railing broke and the bridge bottom collapsed.  He went into the river, but they never found his body.  He was 20 years old.  His memorial stone is in the family plot at Machpelah.

As the "conduit, junction, spoke" for connecting all our lives now, you have an awesome task, lady, but bless you for melding all the memories together.  It's wonderful to be able to peek into lives of people we knew in our past and revisit the times we all hold dear.  Those memories are such treasures now for the simpler, safer and less hectic times they reflect.  We're all lucky to have and share them.
Barbara Tabb '55 Jarman, who has a remarkable memory, submitted some photos from, ahem, Central School. (Don't any of you say I favor Arnold, although I do.) The photos are included on the web pages.
Thanks for another great issue.  I knew it was going to be hard for me to look at the pictures of the old bridge coming down; but, that's only because of all my personal memories of it.  I could just about write a book on that, but won't do it here.  It definitely needed to be replaced, though, and I'm glad everyone has safe passage across the river again. 
When I was growing up at Broadway & Highland, all the traffic from both highways 24 and 13 came right by our house; and, it stayed very busy all the time, with most of it being 'thru traffic' on major highways. That was especially bad at night, as all those semis shifted gears just about the time they got outside our windows. So, to this day, I fall asleep better when there is 'noise' than I do in absolute quiet.  One adjusts to such things, and I guess it left its mark.  :-)
I enjoyed seeing the old postcard picture of Central School - someone really had a good eye to pick it out on eBay.  I don't think I would have immediately recognized it, even after spending 6 years of my life attending school there.  And, not to be outdone by you former denizens of Arnold School, I am sending along a picture of the second grade at Central, 1944.  It has more of the students who went on to attend L.H.S. than did the first grade picture, and I'll send others later if anyone wants to see them.  The list of names disappeared years ago, but I've listed what I could remember many years later. I am missing any group picture from Miss Rush's 6th grade class, so if anyone has one, please ask them to share it.  Or, I guess I've already done it here, haven't I?  I'm not even sure if one was taken.
Mel Fisher sent a brief message:
You do a great job and I appreciate getting your mail.
I include this pat on the back because Mel Fisher is a Lexington product we can take great pride in: he was not only superintendent of the Missouri Highway Patrol, he also served as Executive Director of the state Gaming Commission.
Which leads us to the following suggestion submitted by Jack '51 Gueguen:
Susan, it would be fascinating to see a list of careers we LHS-ers followed, now that so many of us have retired.  Whatever it came out to, it would be a tribute to our teachers.
Okay, here goes:
1) Heading the Missouri State Patrol and the Missouri Gaming Commission.
2) Who's next???

Keep those cards and letters coming, Kids. Come visit Lexington. Have some fun, and revisit your youth.

Your devoted scribe,

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