TLC logo TLC #87:  May 27, 2006

Dear Hearts & Gentle People:
After our unusually cool Spring, Summer has arrived in Lexington. It is 86 degrees as I write, and expected to be in the 90s for the holiday weekend.
We have more photos than letters this issue, and Webmaster Ball has suggested I mention to you that the first twenty-five issues of TLC are now the on the web page -- just follow the link at the bottom of the TLC Home Page list of links. He plans eventually to have them all there for easy reference, but for some reason he thinks he has more important things to do with his time.
Barbara Tabb '55 Jarman's poem about her father brought a poem from Jack Gueguen about his own father. He said it was too long to print here, but we may put it on the web page next issue. And speaking of "Fathers" here is his "Small World" story:
Dear Lexingtonians, present and past,
This week I met a young deacon named Steve Hansen; he has been in our house the past few days receiving final orientation to the priesthood from our two resident priests, Fr. Jay and Fr. Mike.  He'll be ordained by Bishop Finn in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City on June 3, and on July 1 will move to 117 N. 18th St. in Lexington as the new pastor of our old Parish.  (The current pastor, Father Totten, will head for his new assignment in St. Joseph.) 
My ordination gift to soon-to-be Father Steve was an autographed copy of "The Story of the Battle of Lexington."  He promised to celebrate Mass for all our family past (in the cemetery) and present.  How I would love to be present for that event!  I told him that whenever I used to visit home, I would say a fervent prayer in front of the tabernacle for the parish's priests, past and future--even before he was born.  (I'd guess he's in his late 20s--a big burly sandy-haired Swede.)  So I am thrilled to announce this news to you!  Rejoice, rejoice!
He continued on, asking us to make Father Steve welcome. Jack! It's Lexington! Of course we will. Barbara commented on Jim O'Malley's "Sounds of Lexington" and continued on in our "Father" vein:
I think one of my Dad's greatest gifts was his sense of humor, and that's how most people remember him - he made them laugh, and he always looked for and found the best in people.  I was just trying to capture his spirit in that poem, and that was something that actually happened.  He was really scared when that mule went berserk and made such a racket.  The cart was on metal rails, and he said the sound really resonated through that whole mine.
Jim O'Malley did his usual good job of stirring up some memories.  I could almost write a book about every sound he mentioned - well, not all of them, because I never did go to Maude's or the pool hall, and the downstairs jukebox at Cue's Cafe was surely gone before I had a chance to want to go there.  But, such is the flow that we all enjoy in sharing our memories in TLC, and I guess the real point is the sound of music. I only remember Davidow's Furniture being next to the old Ford 'n Rush, and never did know what was there before that. (I am guessing that Cue's Cafe was owned by Cue Ussery, who was later involved in the Steva Stone Co. and all those white trucks around town?)
It  seems that becoming a teen was something that involved having a place to gather around music, and maybe get to dance, as Jim said he remembers all that from before he was a teen.  But, the Maid-Rite jukebox was a common memory for us - not that there was any room to dance. That never got to be my forte, so I'll just blame it on the size of the Maid-Rite! Ha. Still, we do all remember the music, the sounds.  And, it is where we all wanted to go to 'socialize' as teens.  I spent all my Saturdays then listening to the Top 40 on WHB radio. Just hum the melody, and I'll give you the words. ha.  Somehow, it really MATTERED what was #1 on the music charts. There was also a TV show that featured the Top Ten - with Snookie Lanson, Dorothy Loudon (she means Collins, I think), and Giselle McKenzie.  I preferred the radio version, with the original artists. 
I guess another little piece of Lexington history was in Jim's mention of the live performers at the Mainstreet Theater.  I had saved some article from the old Advertiser News, and on the back side was an ad for the live performance there of Kitty Wells.  She was one of the first upcoming top female performers of country/western music at the time, and I just wonder if anybody remembers seeing her there.  It was not only the locals and showbiz people who appeared there, but there was also a curiosity about whatever would bring people to the Mainstreet Theater. I can remember when they brought in some Siamese twins to appear on the stage, and they brought a radio to the house to be repaired.  I was just sure I had met someone famous.
I hope your Tall Tales and Short Stories project continues to be successful, and wish I could attend.  The world we live in now is not the one in which I grew up, and I guess it's only natural to think back to 'the good old days.'  I'm glad my roots go back to Lexington. 
Maybe someone remembers Kitty Wells' performance? That is a topic I hope we can do for Tall Tales and Short Stories of Lexington:  famous people visiting or  performing or even committing crime in Lex. Count Basie played here, and Harry Truman was here many times, and Jesse James, etc. It would be an interesting topic. By the way, there are photos from our Tabo night at Tall Tales on the TLC website.
More from Barb I think the Tall Tales is a great idea, and will throw out some names for you as fodder.  Russ Carlisle played at the Wentworth Military Ball one year; Claude Akins came there for something, and old 'Frog' - Smiley Burnett of Green Acres and earlier movies; Sam Walton's family lived in Lexington once (it was in the book on his life); the old guy from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom (Marlin Perkins) attended Wentworth, as did the famous general Hoge from WWII. And, yes - don't forget Jesse. haha.  I think that building at 9th & Main was once a bank that the James boys robbed, so the story goes.
Anyhow, that theme should bring in some stories, and I'm looking forward to it.  I've also often wondered how many people realize that the old cannon out at the College Park is off of the U.S.S. Constitution, 'Old Ironsides.'  I think I was in high school before I learned that, and I was so impressed. Some of my earliest memories in life included climbing on that cannon as a toddler. 
I asked if she knew how the cannon came to be in Lexington.
Now you're putting me to the test, but I'll do the best I can here. haha.  I either read that on the plaque that later got put on the cannon base (still there), or in an internet article that I ran across by Jim Shannon.  But, somewhere between those two possibilities, I read that a prominent man in Lexington had enough influence in D.C. to get the cannon sent there.  I'd go to the cannon base first, as my instincts tell me that's where it is.
''Old Ironsides" was something that every kid heard about in grade school, and it is such a common memory that I found it next to unbelievable that one of its cannons was something that I climbed around on so often, and had just thought a curiosity in 'the Park', until I learned of its significance. I do think that Ike Skelton could probably shed some more light on it, and would probably be glad to do so. I'd like for everybody to know about that old cannon, as it is one of those 'things' that tie us all together through history, and that's what we're looking at in TLC and Tall Tales. And, you're right - what fits one is good for the other.  If you do use it for the Tall Tales program, tell everybody to go out there and 'touch some history' - I've done it every time I have looked at that old cannon since I learned from whence it came.  How many towns can boast that? None other that I know of. It should be a good story, and probably be news to a lot of people.
Another inquiry arrived from Virginia Little, asking the origin of the cat drawing on the old Bour Building at 18th and Franklin:
The story I have always heard, and which I hear from others, is that the cat was drawn by cadets or a cadet in some sort of flirtatious exchange with the Central College girls. Many times it has been removed from the brick, but it always reappears, no matter what material was used to "remove" it. Finally (and thankfully) it was just left alone. Now, this is all apocryphal (I think that's the right word). However, there was a story about it, and the legend, in the Lex newspaper sometime within the last 10 or so years. Perhaps some TLC member will enlighten us?
And finally, another reference to Jim O'Malley's memories came from Jim Shelby!
Thank you for the memories. I just wanted to let you know that in your sounds #8 you got the names right except Phyliss Jean's last name was Wiley. I'm sure of the other name Beatrice Jean Glick, as I married her in 1946.
And on that note we'll close this issue. For more, go to our web pages and enjoy the photos. Wishing you all a wonderful summer and, considering the theme of this issue, Happy Father's Day everyone!
Your devoted scribe,

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