TLC logo TLC #94:  March 1, 2007

Dear Hearts & Gentle People:
Some pretty strong storms blew through the old hometown last night - full of sound and fury but signifying fairly little. I haven't heard of any local damage, perhaps lost sleep, but I noticed the grass seems to be green-ing up today, the 1st of March.
Some dramatic news out of Lexington will be broadcast tonight on Kansas City ABC affiliate Channel 9, on the 10:00 newscast. Pretty exciting stuff: a cast-iron coffin was discovered at Machpelah that dates back to the 1840s. It was an accidental discovery as a new grave was being dug. Don '55 Coen, Machpelah sexton, and Bill '56 Summerlin, Machpelah superintendent, have been in touch with the historical experts over this. The Smithsonian directed them to the University of Missouri, and a team was here last week for the exhumation of the coffin.
A hole in the top revealed a skeleton, but the coffin is constructed in the shape of the person it holds, almost Egyptian in style. The University will do DNA studies on the remains and also determine the age of the coffin. We will report on this as soon as more information comes in, but it may be some months.
Also of significant news is the mural which has been commissioned for a building in Lexington. This Lexington historical timeline will be installed on the east side of the Chamber of Commerce (also Missouri license bureau) building. Photos are on our TLC web pages    Check it out!
A muralist from Warsaw, MO, will do the art work. The mural is a project of Lexington Community Betterment Association, a 501(C)(3) organization. Therefore, if you would like to help with the $20,000 cost, please send a check to Bank Midwest in Lexington. There is a $100 Club with no membership benefits except the good feeling that comes from helping to bring something to Lexington that will be attractive and a boost for tourism. (Therefore, donations are completely tax-deductible.) Any amount will be appreciated.
Once in a while someone asks if he/she can send a donation to TLC. I refuse to accept anything, but truly would appreciate any expression of gratitude sent to the mural fund.
An interesting situation arose after last month's reference to the Krazy Kats. That immensely popular band resides in everyone's affection, it seems. I received a note from Conrad Pitz, who had actually worked with the Krazy Kats. And THEN I received a note from the lead Krazy Kat himself!!!! For your reading pleasure:
From Conrad '56 Pitz:
Susan, I remember the Krazy Kats quite well, and am still in touch with them. Back in 1985 when I was director of the Oriental Band of Ararat Temple, I had them play at a 50s & 60s dance at the Temple. It was a large success, as we had 850 people attend that night. After that I became the entertainment chairman for the band, and I contracted them for the next 4 years. I had have  them down here in the Ozarks at our Shrine Club twice. I have become very good friends with them over the years. I might say to Diane (O'Malley Jiminez) that Lee Dresser does one of the best Elvis acts during their show that I have ever seen. If you ever hear of a Krazy Kats performance close to you, I highly recommend it for a night of GREAT entertainment. And as Steve Dowdy wrote in the last TLC, it is hard on us old folks but it sure  is worth it.
This from the lead Kat:

Hi, Susan!

This is Lee Dresser of the Krazy Kats, responding to the recent TLC article that was forwarded to me from Conrad Pitz.  I appreciate you remembering our Lexington dances, and want to get a few facts straight, for the record. 

We first came to Lexington=92s attention because Olan Moyer saw us entertain at a Lion=92s Club luncheon in our hometown of Moberly.  The Lion=92s Club sponsored our Saturday dances for the first several years, and then the Jaycees took it over.  We had about a five year run there, and enjoyed every minute of it.  In fact, more people remember us from Lexington than any other place!  Ten years ago, when Phil Witt did a special news story on us, he met us at the auditorium, and we re-lived some memories for the camera!

Jim O'Malley mentioned how I missed appearing on the Joey Bishop Show (ABC, not CBS), but I DID make it.  I was originally scheduled to be on a June show, but Bob Hope did an unexpected walk-on that night, and they had to bump my part! But they promised to have me back on, and they did, on December 26, 1969, the very last show!  Joey had left the show by then (he was backstage, but didn=92t appear before the cameras).  The host was his side-kick, Regis Philbin, and we had a great time.  Regis had actually seen me perform in a club, and he was responsible for me getting booked in the first place!  I sang a couple of numbers, bantered with Regis a little bit, and then the show was over=85=85.for good!  I have an audio tape of the show, but NO video (nobody had video back then!)

Anyway, Susan, thanks for the memories (Bob Hope again?)

This began a series of emails back and forth, because I tried to set up a concert here in Lexington. Being on a short fuse to schedule it, we were not able to work out the dates. But Lee has promised the Krazy Kats will be here one day, and you can be sure I will let you all know when.

Bettina Samuelson Esser remembers the Krazy Kats and the carnivals too!

As usual, a great update.  The carnival that came to Lexington was Don Evans Midland Empire Show and was from Plattsburg, MO.  It was, and probably still is, a family operation.  As I remember, they did the Fair circuit spring through summer and lived on a farm with horses in the winter.  I am fairly certain that they have moved. Lexington was one of their last stops of the year.  I cannot remember Don's mother's or wife's names but his children were Mary Ann, Johnny, and Nancy.  Mary Ann helped her mom with the cotton candy, Johnny ran the rides, and Nancy learned math at her grandmother's knee while making change in the booths.
It was such an event when the city closed Tenth Street between Franklin and Main, which I don't think they would be able to do today. Between the carnival lights and the neon signs on Main and Franklin Streets, Lexington was a little Las Vegas during the festival week.  It was never the same after they moved the fair location.  Just add it to the list of things that aren't the same....
By the way, one of the things that made the Krazy Kats such a hot venue was the fact that Lexington merchants were open late on Saturday nights in the 50's.   Saturday was a very active shopping day, particularly for people from the country and out-of-towners.  I remember well-groomed visitors coming via Greyhound to spend the day in Lexington, and some could cap it  off with  music at the Municipal Auditorium. It also seemed that we had more Greyhound arrivals and departures in the 1950's. However,  in the mid-60's, they changed to a Friday late close.  After that, I never remember it being as busy on either Friday night (except at Christmas) or on Saturday. 
Another comment regarding TLC #93 came from Al McCormick:
The story about the underground being a storage  for booze is probably true. I bet Grandma Mittie could tell us some stories if she were with us.
My mother occasionally talked about riding the school bus in to Mittieville from Malta Bend to attend dances. She never told me much more than that, except I always wondered why they went to a speakeasy to dance as teenagers. And that was not an easy trip from Malta Bend. That's around 50+ miles, and back then transportation was not that good.
My Mother would be 96 this year if she were with us. It also amazed that the niece of a Methodist Minister who played piano in his church would show up in a place like that at that day and age.
When we made the trips from KC to Malta Bend, my folks almost always stopped there for catfish. They both seemed well acquainted with the place.
We recently held a Tall Tales & Short Stories of Lexington session at which we discussed and shared memories of "corner" grocery stores in Lex.  Diane Gibson '58 Conger wrote on that topic:
My favorite neighborhood store was Ceno's.  Ceno's was small but served a large customer list.  They had home delivery.  I remember many mornings hearing the familiar sound of our front door opening and a voice yelling, "Ceno's" and a box being placed in our entry way full of whatever was needed to complete a meal that day.  Mother sometimes sent me on my bike to pick up a needed item.  I loved going because of the candy in the large glass fronted case.
Many of my allowances, a quarter a week, were spent at the candy case.  That would be enough to buy Bazooka Bubble Gum and a choice of other treats.  In the Fall the candy counter had big red paraffin lips that were held in place by our teeth.  We would chew on them after we had tired of wearing them.  Also, there were orange paraffin Halloween whistles that would play the scale as we blew through them.  Then, there was the little paraffin bottle of liquid.  We would bite the tops off the little bottles and drink the liquid and then chew on the bottle.  The candy cigarette attracted many of the boys.  I bought them once.  My mother was not pleased with my choice.  I am sure that my teeth paid the price for some of these treasured treats.
The store was rather dark since the store front let in the only natural light.  The other lights hung from the old tin ceiling.  There was a ceiling fan that whirred above my head.  The store had a smell of its own.  It was a smell of meat, bread, onions and coffee.  There was a wide plank oiled floor which creaked underfoot.  Ceno's was a friendly place.  They knew my name and made me feel welcome and valued as a customer.
The little corner grocerys have long since been converted to homes, and people hop in their cars to make last minute purchases at the larger stores.  The bygone era of the corner grocery symbolizes the innocence of childhood and a time when a little meant a lot.  I really feel that I grew up in the best of times.  I am sure many of you can echo that sentiment.  Wouldn't it be fun to go back to the little corner store???
Yes, it would. And there's just no humor more sophisticated than red paraffin lips!
Health news came in from Laveda Coskey Cross:
Recently Bill (Cross, class of '52) had a pacemaker put in and two coronary stents.  These procedures were done at the North Kansas City Hospital. 
Everything went crazy one day. We were at the Doctor's office, and the next thing I knew Bill was in the ambulance on his way to NKC Hospital.  Pulse was 33 at the time. Our timing was excellent, because he did not suffer any heart damage.  We went to the doctor because he was having trouble catching his breath.
The good side of all this is that everything has gone so well, and he is at home and back on a normal schedule. The two heart problems that came up had nothing to do actually with the other.  As the doctor described them, one problem was electrical and the other problem he referred to as "plumbing."
Enjoyed the last TLC very much. 
Barbara Tabb '55 Jarman rose to the challenge to identify the Fall Festival Queen Candidates pictured with the last TLC:
Okay - I'm going to accept your challenge to identify those bathing beauties in the Fall Festival queen contest.  And, the year was more likely 1956.  I think my biggest help with identities was the hairlines.  Left to right, I am guessing:  Mary Ann Mullen (Mode O'Day), LaDonna Williams (Specialty Shop?), Barbara Lee (Connor-Wagoner), Nancy Oles (sponsor?), Sharron Jenkins (Montgomery Ward), Worthy Scribe Susan Shea (sponsor?), Mary Caroline Trent (Walker's), and Lucy Vollenweider (a beauty shop). 
(Editor's note: You got 87.5%, Barb. See all the correct answers farther below.)
And, how long since any of you have worn heels that high?  haha  I can't remember who was crowned that year, but it was a good slate of candidates. 
That was a nice turnout for the new Veterans Memorial dedication, and a beautiful memorial it is.  Thanks for the pictures, and another fine issue of TLC.  I'm always glad to see them in my Inbox.
Give me a little time, and I'll try to come up with something for your Tall Tales.  I hope winter has loosed its grip a bit on the old hometown - I always think about all the great hills for sledding in Lexington, and what fun a good snow was, but only for 'the kids'.  Ha.  Have a great day up your way!
Shirley Collobert '50 Guevel chimed in on the grocery stores topic:
Thanks so much.  The latest issue was most interesting.  I hope that Raymond Mischon reads about the next topic for Short Stories and Tall Tales...his folks ran a grocery store for many years on Main Street - Mischon's Market.
Of course, we bought a lot of stuff from them.  But we bought a lot at Ceno's Market too.  It was much closer and we could walk there.  We had no car but the grocery stores all delivered back in those days.  In fact, we had three stores pretty close.  Ceno's Market at 20th & Jefferson, Bookasta's Store almost across the street from there on 20th Street, and Gibaud's Store a little farther towards town on 20th Street. 
Thanks for all your hard work both on TLC and Tall Tales. 
Faithful reader and correspondent Arthur '56 Knapheide tried his hand at the Queen contest:

The last TLC was great. I have been busy like everyone else, and that is why I haven't sent you anything for the TLC. But I am going to tell you who the lovely ladies are in the photo from the 1956 Fall Festival. Here goes!

Mary Ann Mullen         Sponsor   Mode "O" Day
LaDonna Williams         "     "      Specialty Shop    (Don't remember this shop)
Barbara Lee                    "     "      Connor-Wagoner
Nancy Oles                     "     "      ?
Sharron Jenkins             "     "      Montgomery Ward
Susan Shea                    "     "      ?
Jackie Walker                 "     "      Walker Funeral Home
Lucy Vollenweider          "     "      ?
If memory serves me right Lucy Vollenweider Was Queen.
How did I do? I think I did very well. 
Arthur, I think I must declare you the winner....100% on the gals, but you missed on the queen. Nancy Oles won, and I believe Lucy was second and then Sharron. I made the final 6, but just the top 3 were announced from there. I think Barb and Mary Ann rounded out the 6. There were more gals in the contest than are shown. And it was the fall of 1956.
Nancy was sponsored by Estrins Jewelry, myself by Reed's, and Lucy by (Anthe?) Beauty Shop. If I'm wrong, I hope someone will correct me.
Jim O'Malley was remembering cartoons and rowdy times in Lexington when he wrote:
Hi,  I'm sure you've all heard about "Betty Boop."  She was an animated cartoon character in the movies in the early 1930s.  "Betty Boop" was also the nom de couche of a prostitute in Helen Higgins' house of ill repute in Lexington in the '30s and early '40s.  Her real name was Betty Shelton.  Here's a link to an early Betty Boop cartoon from 1933.  The title is "Minnie the Moocher" and the singer/dancer and his band is Cab Calloway and his orchestra.  Cab spent a lot of time in Kansas City (Editor's Note: and also played in Lexington) during the heyday of KC jazz in the '30s and '40s.  The voice of Betty Boop is that of Helen Kane, the "Boop Boop a Doop Girl."  Hope you enjoy watching Betty.   
Some sad news arrived from Maxine McMillan Doile:
Thanks so much for all you do.  My husband is critically ill and I enjoy receiving the TLC as I don't get out.  Hospice is with us now.  Keep us in your prayers.
It is ok to share this information.That is the reason I did not get to attend my class reunion in September and I sure did miss getting to see everyone.  Thanks for the prayers.  Thanks for everything.
Maxine sent a new email address and also one for Gene Chedotte. I don't give out email addresses, but will be glad to forward any notes on to them if you want to get in touch.
Mickey '51 Conger sent a note saying he needed a TLC "fix" - he was one of the ones dropped when my server decided I was a spammer. (Let me know if there are others!)
Susan: Many, many thanks. The ghost of Harry Booth (now this is reaching back a few years-it was called The Lexington Daily-Advertiser News then) is blessing your journalistic talents. You do an incredible job of keeping all of us old timers up to date on what's going on in Lexington. Even when we're clear out here in Southern Calif.   
More likely John Shea, but thank you, Mickey.
Another health report - this one from Joyce Luehrs on Feb. 2:
Thought I would let you know that Larry had his surgery and came through just fine..THANK GOD!
They got him in early AND it was not as bad as they thought, so he did not have to have the mesh patch put in.  Of course he is in pain right now and will be for a few days. Can't go back to work for 6 wks ( no lifting or straining at all ). They did say he could do dishes and a few other chores around the house after a week or so ( they really did say that). I laughed at that..he doesn't think it's funny...hahaha. I wont have him doing it of course...he would not let me do anything after my surgery. We both hope it doesn't snow a lot because neither one of us can shovel...what a pair we are..haha.
Have to go now, need to fix him some soup.
And, yes, of course you can print in TLC!
The reason I said that we are quite a pair right now is that I had surgery Nov.30th. I had to have all of my colon removed. Did not have cancer - it just didn't work right anymore. I had a lot of people praying for me and GOD blessed me as I did not have to have a colostomy. I am healing very well and should be able to return to work in a couple of weeks.
So with his surgery today and mine a couple of months ago we have not been in the best of health but we will get through this. Thanks for caring.
And from the prominent artist in Warrensburg, John Willard:
Thanks for having me on your list!  Your =93sharings=94 surely make me envy you Lexingtonians
--------again!  Sounds like a lot of you surely had lots of fun while I was doing forgettable things in Warrensburg. 
Have you noticed how often people who didn't grow up in Lexington write to say they wish they had? What a wonderful compliment.
Farewell for now, you lucky people, from the luckiest of all because I get to correspond with you.
Your devoted scribe,

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