St. Louis Memories (Chapter Four)

David A. Lossos

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Send your memories to Dave Lossos
Note: If your name and/or e-mail address appears WITHIN the body of your E-Mail, I will include them in your posting. If not, the post will be attributed to "Anonymous".

This website has gotten so big I've had to divide it into pieces.

Submissions that I received from 2001 through 2003 are posted at
Memories 2001-2003

those I received in 2004 are posted at
Memories 2004

those I received in 2005 are posted at
Memories 2005

those I received in 2006 are posted at
Memories 2006
(You are currently looking at this website)
those I received in 2007 are posted at
Memories 2007

those I received in 2008 are posted at
Memories 2008

those I received in 2009 are posted at
Memories 2009

those I received in 2010 are posted at
Memories 2010

memories currently being sent in are at
Current Memories

For all you former "Altar Boys": "Ad deum qui laetificat juventutem meam."

(Missouri Sales Tax Tokens, commonly referred to as "mils". Red ones were worth 1/10 of a penny, green ones worth 1/2 a penny)

This twenty-five cents would get you a double feature and a bunch of cartoons to boot.

On April 4, 2001, I posted a few memories I had of growing up in St. Louis. I received so many great replies that I thought I'd post some of them here.

Original Post from Dave Lossos

I remember when my phone number was Mohawk 2343
I remember going to see a double feature at the Ritz Theater for 25 cents.
I remember coming into the movie in the middle and eventually saying to the person I was with "This is where we came in".
I remember the way to get your friend to come out to play was to stand in front of their house and yell their name (was this a St. Louis thing?).
I remember the first time I had the nerve to wear "bermuda shorts".
I remember getting all the news I needed from a St. Louis publication called "Prom Magazine".
I remember (as a ten year old) being sent to the corner tavern to get my grandma a pail of draft beer.
I remember riding the Grand Avenue electric street cars.
I remember riding my bike in Tower Grove Park (even after dark!).

Responses from Anonymous - 1/4/2006

I went to stix school lived at sarah and lecede went to the congress theater on olive street on fri nights for a dime....2 cowboy flicks 2 cartoons and a serial{the rocket man was one I am 63. I am looking for info on my great grandfather died in 1916 buried in marcus cemetary on gravouis

Responses from Jan in Canada - 1/4/2006

I've not been back since 1968. I expect everything I knew is gone.
I lived in Webster Groves, phone number Yellowstone 5 0938J which became WOoodland 2-0062.
I remember running to see a train when it was a diesel on the front, later on if it was a steam locomotive.
Going to Washington University by the #11, University or the #14, University Clayton streetcar.
Elect Poncho-- a bit to elect a janitor President of the WU student body.
Living as a newlywed in Gasslight Square and reading my bad poetry aloud in the Laughing Buddah Coffe house.
The night the Buddah burned.
The St Louis main library at 12 and Locust, especially the huge card catalog. I could spend hours following the SEE and SEE ALSO cards. Sometimes days.
SAVE THE OLD POST OFFICE, Did they? I moved to Canada that year.
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Keil Auditorium
The Muni Opera and the Zoo
The Missouri Historical Society
The Moorish room with a real fountain in the Art Museum.
The Cascades.
Velvet Freeze Ice Cream sodas,
The river lapping the old cobblestones at the foot of Chestnut street. The Admiral with its shiny aluminum sides where thousands of steamers had docked.
Eads Bridge.
Drinking 5 cent cokes at soda fountains.
Riding the Hodemont Trolley late at night along its quiet, private right-of way. The last streetcar on the 11 route. Funny, but the car I most often rode to school is now in Toronto.

Responses from Mike in San Diego - 1/8/2006

GREAT site! Just want to add some of my memories . . .
I grew up all over the county, but mostly Overland/Berkeley area. Moved west in '64.
HA7-0077. Early on, a party line.
Our next-door neighbors, the Ericksons, had an air conditioner in their kitchen - spent a lot of summer afternoons there, trying to cool off, after wiffle ball in the back yard.
Selling Post Dispatch at the corner of Brown Rd and Natural Bridge. Got upset when the price went from a nickel to 7 cents, because we'd have to carry a bunch of pennies for change, and then got happy when we realized that a lot of people would tell us to "Keep the change" from a dime.
A special treat to be allowed to ride my bike to school at Kratz Elementary.
Double Butterfingers for 7 cents (?) after school.
Early on, watching the sparks from the overhead wires of streetcars after a snowstorm downtown.
Four of us ordering 100 White Castles, 4 orders of fries and 4 Cokes after a basketball game, and not even getting a second look. (By the way, the frozen ones here in CA are only good for reminiscing - can't beat the real thing.)
Going to the public library in St. Ann (down the street from the Airway 4-Screen) to work on term papers, because it was the closest "big" one.
Playing Little League ball at ABC Park in St. Ann, when only one field was lit. The best team in the league was the Blue Flames, sponsored by Laclede Gas Co.
Sometimes stopping at the American Legion fish fry on the way home for fried catfish.
A trip to visit relatives in St. Charles was an all-day trip, and seemed to take forever to get there.
Walking a couple of miles to the tennis courts at Ritenour High in 100 degree-weather, because we were pretty sure there wouldn't be too many people and we'd get a court.
And a lot more that others have mentioned.

Responses from Chuck N. DesLoge, Mo. - 1/13/2006

Hi Dave, My Daughter sent me your site Last Night, and I am truly amazed at all the memories that have been brought back to me.
Although after reading every entry on all 3 pages, I am sorry to say I could not find anyone from my neighborhood.
Alter Boy I was. I was a member of Old St. Patrick's Church on 6th & Biddle in Downtown St. Louis.
I was born at Faith Hospital Feb. 7th 1943, and lived at the Neighborhood Gardens at 8th & Biddle. I attended St. Patrick's Grade School, and DeAndreis High School. I did my post Grad work at Offalon Tech and David Rankin.
I loved everyone's comments about yelling from outside to get a friend, was there any other way?
In remembering places of interest, I too remember the Lowes as well as the Ambassador theatre, But I remember going on Sundays to my Grandparents house on Salisbury St. and Grandpa would give me and my sister 50 cents a piece and we would go to the bremen show.
I remember well the Katz Drug Store downtown, If everyone remembers the old tv's tubes that you could take out when they wore down, we took them to katz as they had tube testers and new tubes there. Everyone mentioned various bakeries around the city, but for me the very best Glaze Donuts ever made came from the California bakery.
I to remember Art Hill in the Winter, the Christmas decorations at Famous and Stix, all of that was within walking distance for me. We walked everywhere, even walked to Fox show and sportsmans park. We could have rode a bus or something but we didn't have that much money but we sure had a lot of energy. The last time I was at Sportsman I seen Wally Moon hit a ball so very high in the air it seemed to stay up their for at least a minute, and when it came down it just cleared the outfield fence for a homer.
I remember Busy Bee Pool Parlor downtown before he moved it to Grand ave. I too remember Chain of Rocks park for school picnics. I can remember going across the street to Orlandos bar with my wagon to get a case of beer for my father, I think I was 8 or 9. I can remember a devastating Ice Storm which I believe was in may in the early 50's.
I Caddied one summer at the Forrest Park Golf Course before Bermuda shorts were allowed haha. When I Married, I moved to South St. Louis, living on Virginia ave , Alabama, and Loughborough St's before buying in Crestwood. I dearly loved growing up in St. Louis, I just wish the world would slow down a little and pick up some of the values we all shared back then.
I could ramble on and on but I would just be repeating a lot of what I read, I just want to tell you what a fantastic site you have and Thank You very much.

Responses from Bill Mulder - 1/18/2006

I grew up in the Clifton Heights Area surrounding Clifton Park. Went to Mason School and Southwest High School.
Remember walking to the Columbia Show, taking the Tower Grove Bus and Grand Avenue Streetcar to the old Sportsman Park. Getting all dressed up (heels and all) and taking the bus downtown to window shop at Famous, Stix, Scroggs, Woolworths, Kresege's, etc. We did this in grade school, and our parents let us!
Riding our bikes to Forest Park to go to the Art Museum to see the Mummy with the toe sticking out.
Spending a summer's evening in Forest Park watching the "colored lights fountain."
Ronnie's, 66 drive in with playgrounds, hayrides, miniature trains, and even a caged bear!
What about the Highlands? Has any roller coaster ever been as much fun as the Comet? What about the Flying Turns, a/k/a The Bobsled.
Roller skating at the Arena before the tornado destroyed it. That portion of the arena was rebuilt as a bowling alley.
Remember running after the milkman's truck and asking him to throw ice to us in the summertime.
Getting into the movies for 10 cents, buying popcorn for 10 cents and candy for a nickle.
Spending the day on the Admiral when they had a band and huge dance floor when it actually floated down the Mississippi.

Responses from Kathy Chase,Port Orchard,Washington [email protected] - 1/24/2006

Hi! Great Sight.Here's my two cents.I first lived on Farrar Street down new the Krey Packing House,then we moved to 2108 Destrehan St.Our family moved there in 1958.When Dad died in April 2005 we sold the house & found out it was built in 1865 as a farm house. The kitchen floor was an old barn door.Boy when we walked pass Krey's that place smelled awfull..When we walked by the pens we use to stop and yell-"SOO-YEE" & those pigs would go bananas.Bremen Show was the place to go for a movie,I can recall it costing ten cents & the last time I went it was a dollar.Atleast one weekend a month we went to Hodges Rollar Rink.Those were the days.We use to ride the bus out to River Roads Shopping Center for Cherry-Cokes & Fries.Oh! Don't forget Crowns Soda Fountain down on 14th street.They had those individual juke box in each booth.They sure made great shakes.Are they stll there?I went to Most Holy Trinity School.I was there from 1957 to 1964.Those Nuns were something else especially the one who wore red Keds tennis shoes on the play ground.Hey is anyone still around? Then I attened Cental High School.I remember when Martin Luther King Jr was killed.That was really something. I remember ridding the electric street cars with my Aunt Ann to go see Santa Clause at Famous & Bar.Down on Sallsbury Street there was a bakery Dad stopped at on his way home on Sundays & got this bread-cake.It was rectangular & about 2 inches deep.It was covered in icing & those small round spanish peanuts.Boy was it good.It's ashame the recipe for that cake wasn't past on to someone.Hey remember Cordes Hardware Thats were my Dad got all his hardware.There use to be a drug store on the corner where Mom would send me to buy a can of powdered baby formula.Right were the pond is in Hyde Park today,there use to be a very well used Baseball Dimond & field.Every weekend there was always a game going on.The pond was suppose to be for fishing but it didn't turn out so good.I remember slidding down the Pole in the Firestation at Salisbury & Mallencrodt Street,right at the corner of Hyde Park.I remember when there was a very large wadding pool in the park where the Fountain is now.The base of the fountain was the center of the pool.My Dad worked for 42yrs with the Mississippi Glass Co.It's ashame you don't have that kind of loyalty appreciated today.I saw the furnaces when I was a little girl.It was something to see that hot moltaned glass & the long convayerbelts,where the sheets of glass rolled along.Man this has really gotten me started remembering a lot.Hope you enjoy my memories.

Does anyone remember the Hot Bread Pretzel Sticks sold out at the Circle? Boy were they good. You should have seen our car of 8 stopping to get Pretzles.

Thanks for the memories.

Responses from Ed Wicklein, Albuquerque - 1/24/2006

I was pleasantly surprised when I received an E-mail from my sister in Little Rock with an attachment that took me to St. Louis Memories. As I looked at it, I was astounded tht it had all of these memories of mine, so I will not include in my notes the long list of same events, places and things. Since finishing my education I have lived in Indiana, Michigan, Nepal, Wisconsin, (Pacific) Missouri, Nebraska and New Mexico. When I finally decided to retire at age 70 (9/1/04) we moved from Belen, NM a few miles to Albuquerque. However, we are seriously considering moving back to metro St. Louis, in spite of the humidity. I did not really expect that the year of my retirement would be the same as the retirement (dissolution) of my home church, Clifton Heights Presbyterian, just as so many Protestant and Catholic Churches in the city and county have, sadly, had to be closed. At least, we have purchased graves at the New St. Marcus Evangelical Church Cemetery on Gravois and River Des Peres Drive. My wife, who is a native of Canada, and lived much of her early life in California, is the one who is really pushing us to move to St. Louis. We do get back regularly and keep in close touch with friends, classmates and relatives, and do SWHS reunions.

I, and my brother and sister, grew up in Clifton Heights at 6119 and 6117 Southwest, the block of Mason School, in flats built by my contractor maternal grandfather, as he also built the house in which my mother was born at (I think) 6109, and the flat at 6040-2. My mother recalled when the neighborhood was cornfields and forest and there was a farmhouse at 6040-2. She attended Southwest Grade School (which became Mason Branch and is now a commercial bldg. on Clifton, Southwest & Magnolia) until Mason was built where she continued. At that time, McKinley was the only South side high school. Other members of the family attended the new high schools as they were built and our neighborhood was placed in those districts, in order, Cleveland, Roosevelt, and Southwest. Our family roots in St. Louis are deep. My maternal ancestors first came to Madison County, IL in the 1830s from Tennessee and the Hudson Valley, and my surname ancestors emigrated to Red Bud IL from Thuringia (Ger.) in 1838. My first ancestor in St. Louis City emigrated from Westphalia (Ger.) in 1851. My maternal grandfather, was a (mostly masonry) contractor and the last job he had was rebuilding Soulard Market after the tornado of 1929 (?) blew it down. My grandparents began to build in Clifton Hgts. about 1906. My grandfather's family settled in Wabash, IN after emigrating from the Palatinate (Ger.) in 1866 and my grandmother was from Benton Harbor, MI. My paternal grandmother and her siblings were born and raised at 110 Elm St. after moving from South 2nd St., and the family had a cooperage at 121 Elm. They had emigrated from Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein in 1868. I have a photo of 121 Elm (courtesy of the Nat'l Park Service, which photographed the entire Gateway Park area before it was torn down). That block is now located under the footings of the South leg of the Arch. In 1890 my paternal grandfather came to St. Louis alone at age 9 to work on the river boats which is how he met my grandmother who lived just one block from the River front. On some nights, I can still listen to KMOX AM on the car radio in spite of the mountains on the East side of the Rio Grande Valley here. Now, I remember the following:

Going to the Art Museum to see the "Berlin Masterpieces" exhibition, which was probably a violation of international law.

Playing "sandlot" football on the divider on Hampton Ave., no longer possible because the city planted trees on it.

At age 15, working in the 1904 World's Fair refreshment stand (now torn down) at the St. Louis Zoo for 62 and 1/2 cents an hour. Unlike today, you could only get a job there through a "connection". The connection was that my father's trucking firm delivered sacks of Embro popcorn to the Zoo from Manglesdorf Seed Company near Broadway and Chouteau. I got to go behind the "scenes" of the feedings in various buildings and the chimp show. I still have a souvenir book from that summer (1950) when there were two pandas at the Zoo.

Playing tennis at the courts in Forest Park off of Hampton.

The Mason School picnic parades around the block, of which I have at least one photo.

The Chinese man who would carve your name on the Duncan Yo Yo you bought at the deli. across the street from Mason School. He did various tricks with it.

Playing in Fruin's lot at Tamm and Southwest, as the mansion there burned down before I was born, I believe. We would go through the storm sewer that went under Scullin Steel to River Des Peres and there was an old small mine car from the former clay mine there at the elbow of the sewer. Once in a while we would come across a large black snake in the lot.

The great summer playground programs at Mason School, the wading pool, play equipment, and dramas after dark (there were floodlights) before Daylight Saving Time.

Why do I see no children in the area when I visit the neighborhood now?

My grandfather buying live chickens at Pic-A-Chick on Watson, bringing them home to kill and dress.

Great landscaping (now gone) on the lawns of Mason and other grade schools.

Going to Browns' games (I still mourn the move to Baltimore.). About 6 years ago we were in line for the boat to Catalina Island in Newport Beach, CA when an older man asked me, "Where did you get that St. Louis Browns' cap?". He told me that he once worked selling refreshments at Sportsman's Park.

Drawings for groceries once a week, and the ads on the screen at the Macklind Theatre. Tower Grove streetcars which could not continue from Tamm to Maplewood because of Southwest hill.

Teaching myself to ice skate on the pond at Clifton Park at age 18. (I still have those racers, but prefer to use figure skates now.)

Swimming at the Maplewood and Forest Park Highlands pools.

During World War II, the blackouts at night for mock air raids when my father, who was a civil defense auxiliary fireman would take his white steel helmet and gas mask and head to the fire house on Arsenal Street (on foot as no cars could move as they would have to use lights anyway).

I recall taking the Missouri Pacific Railroad, as a cub scout, to Camp Irondale for the week-end, and as we passed under Jefferson Barracks along the Mississippi, we could look up and see German prisoners of war behind the fence, as we also saw them working in the fields in Gumbo, now part of Chesterfield.

The Ringling Bros.-Barnum and Bailey Circus in tents at the NW corner of Southwest and Kingshighway.

Bringing scrap for the war effort to Mason School yard.

Buying war savings stamps and bonds at school

Miss Spindler (I think) 4th grade teacher at Mason who joined the Marines and no one ever her from her again.

A farmer bringing eggs to our house to sell every week or two.

The St. Louis Christmas Carolers Ass'n

The Interchurch Reformation Day services at Kiel.

The horse watering trough (then with flowers in it) in the middle of the intersection of Broadway and Chouteau.

Casa Loma Ballroom.

Just about everything we needed within a short walk: barber, grocery (2), pharmacy (2), deli (2), physicians (2), beauty parlor, grade school, churches (4-5), etc.

While riding along with my father's truck drivers to deliver freight to the railroad freight depots in East St. Louis, we had lunch in the lunch rooms in the rail yards. The walls of the lunch rooms were lined with illegal slot machines. After Stevenson was elected governor, the state troopers came in and destroyed them.

Two weeks at Boy Scout Camp Irondale every summer at something like $9.50 per week. I believe the cooks were loaned by Famous-Barr Co.

The burdens of racial segregation: One Sunday afternoon, as a teen-ager, I was teamed with an elder from the black Berea Presbyterian Church to visit South side churches about the denomination's youth program. He was (as I recall) the business manager of the black newspaper, the ST. LOUIS ARGUS. We had to go without supper because no restaurant would serve him. The year the federal court ruled that the St. Louis School Board could not ban married female teachers after it had been sued by two teachers who had married. I think it was 1948. I only knew 3 teachers who then did marry, one at Mason and two at Southwest.

7th or 8th graders from various churches who competed as teams against one another on biblical content on one of the local radio stations.

The first Science Fairs, of which my home room teacher at SW was the founder: Norman R.D. Jones.

New Orleans French Quarter style housing in the area around 2nd and Victor Streets East of South Broadway, now an industrial area.

Having to memorize sayings or Proverbs in the 6th grade, some of which I still use, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider its ways and be wise." Prov. 6.6 "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Prov. 15:1

Having to write on the board many times, "I must not talk in room 4" or to do math "checks".

Getting sick at a rehearsal for a joint Grade School chorus at Roosevelt High School.

In my adult years, when back in town in the 60s, Gaslight Square.

Singleton Palmer and His Dixieland Six playing in Gaslight Square and at a Jazz service at Christ Church Cathedral.

The Illinois Terminal Inter-Urban to and from Springfield, Il which ended below the ST. LOUIS STAR-TIMES building.

Symphony concerts for grade school children at Kiel Aud.

The scenes along Market St. in the Mill Creek Valley area before it was condemned and town down, the heart of the black community with the Star Theatre, churches and the Fulton Fish Market.

The soap box derby races on the Highway 40 Expressway East of Hampton Ave.

On Memorial and/or Armistice Days, large parades of the military from Jefferson Barracks, Lambert Navel Air Station, Scott Field, plus World War I and Spanish-American War veterans. Public bath houses, at least one across from Soulard as I recall.

Watching the boards at the old St. Louis Stock Exchange downtown, with my grandfather. With other kids from our neighborhood, being sent by our mothers for ballroom dance classes at the Fred Astair Studio at the Chase Hotel, for which I have been eternally grateful, but not then.

The Eugene Field Home (and his poems taught in school)

Newspaper drives

Vess Cream soda over Vanilla Ice Cream

The Campbell House

The Old Rock House (Manuel Lisa Fur Warehouse) on the riverfront, which I was told was lost during construction of the Nat'l Park due to the utter stupidity of someone who told someone else, "I know where there is a lot of rock for your fill in a warehouse" (the carefully marked stones for rebuilding the historic building on site).

Floating twigs down the street gutters on rainy days.

Smashing balls from Sycamore trees on the sidewalk.

Playing "flip cards" (Baseball cards) by throwing them against the school wall and the one closest to the wall got to keep all of the cards thrown that time. The best was to get the card to lean against the wall. The practice was against school rules.

Pea shooters.

The model airplane field South of Oakland, about South of the Forest Park Highlands grounds. Finally, while living in Kathmandu where I was pastor to the foreign community, our Mason School 3rd grade teacher showed up on a NEA tour. You just can't get away from St. Louis.

Responses from Bill Leahy - Jonesburg MO 1/25/2006

Great site Dave...I'm trying to finish some stories on events dating back to the mid-fifties to early sixties from my days in the St. Louis Police Department...It seems that writing the stories was the easy part. Now I have to figure out what to do with them!

I could send you one entitled "Growing up in St. Louis", but it is much too lengthy for this site. It is interesting how many of us from that era are nostalgic about the same things; the old movie theatres, the gents sharpening knives or selling strawberries or lugging those old newspaper wagons. I seriously doubt my grandkids would ever consider earning spending money by cutting grass with a push mower or delivering groceries in a wagon.

Enjoyed hearing the names of Ed Bonner and the original disk jockey, Gil Newsome. They forgot Ed Wilson from WIL who broke all those "sinful" rock and roll records on the air. Unfortunately I still remember all the words to the Ralston jingle that Tom Mix used to sing...ended with "take a tip from Tom, go and tell your Mom, Hot Ralston can't be beat. Perhaps by spilling all that out on your web site, folks can free up room for current things we all need to remember.

Wanna hear the Cream of Wheat song?

So much for the St. Louis orange Threadneedle shoes that weighed ten pounds each, the French roll sport coat from Kenner's that HAD to be worn with a Mr. B (Billie Eckstine) flared collar shirt and dancing at Club Imperial. The only regret I have is not holding on to that '57 Oldsmobile, the likes of which now fetches big bucks in the Las Vegas auctions. I still have the juke boxes filled with all those Sun label records and I'm just as sure that my kids think I'm lost in a time warp.

Looking back is a lot more enjoyable than it was living back then with the good nuns working us over with a yard stick at St. Philip Neri up in Walnut Park. Sorry, I'm not telling any Alter Boy stories.

Anyone out there from that old neighborhood can reach me at [email protected] Thanks again Dave.

Responses from Carol 1/28/2006

LUIGI'S PIZZA! Oh my. There was nothing better (Cusanelli's was 2nd) I have many happy family memories from Luigi's.

Clifton Park, I received my engagement ring at Clifton Park. I loved the homes surrounding Clifton.

Went to Cleveland high school, lived in Shrewsbury. My husband went to Southwest. Sounds like many of us traveled in the same circles, at the same time. Fun, wasn't it?

Responses from Terry Toenges 1/28/2006

Let's see... I came along a couple of years after WWII. First home was an apartment on Russell, close to Grand.

Dad got reactivated for the Korean War, so mom and I stayed with Grandma on Utah. Grandma worked at Woolworth's on Cherokee Street.

When Dad got back, we moved to Winnebago, next to the Iowa Buffet, which was run by Hank and Vicky Koziacki.

I went to Froebel school - Froebel Froebel stinking stable.

I remember Cherokee Annie and the knife grinder guy. Grandpa taking me to Sportsman Park to see the Cardinals.

We moved to Kansas City for three years, then back to St. Louis. This time on Oregon by Winnebago. Went to Froebel again.

Snuck into the Melvin Theater a few times. Going to the Dairy Queen on Chippewa and Nebraska. The confectionary across from Froebel on Nebraska and Winnebago where I would spend my lunch money on the pinball machine and candy.

I remember my dad pulling up in the alley in a new '56 Ford that was purple and white and he was test driving it.

Down to the A & P store on Jefferson for shopping. Going downtown for Christmas to look at the windows.

Taking the streetcar and the bus. Dad drove a streetcar for a while. He drove a Vess soda truck, too.

Being a patrol boy. Riding my bike down to the Mississippi and the other way, down to Southtown Famous (I got in trouble for that one.).

We moved to South County when I was in 8th grade and lived on Mohattan. I went to Mehlville. Hung out at Velvet Freeze on Kingston and Telegraph.

Used to go to Hall Street drag racing. Cruised Lemay Steak and Mcdonald's at Lemay Ferry and Lindbergh. Went to the 9 0 5 there, too.

Explored Cliff Cave. Climbed the water tower in Jefferson Barracks. Played in Apache Creek, by Sylvan Springs Park.

There was a supposedly haunted house on Mentz Hill where we partied. Drinking late at night out by the White House Retreat on Christopher. Craig's Twin Pools and the go-kart track. Hayrides at Hillcrest swimming pool. Sneaking in South Twin Drive In.

Enough for now.

Responses from Jim Keith (Clinton and Sherman School and Roosevelt) 1/28/2006

Hey all you Memories fans...

At 62, things run through my mind.....maybe yours too.

KINGS...Times out !, You're IT. Halvesies and Dibbs..... How about, Royal Crown went to town, Pepsi-cola knocked him down, 7 Up picked him up and Dr. Pepper fixed him up.

What about those little tunes that GOOD boys and girls would never sing.....WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK....HITLER IS A JERK....MUSSOLINI ....and so forth. Or, THERE'S A SKEETER ON MY and the favorite of many in June...SCHOOLS OUT..SCHOOLS OUT...TEACHER LET THE MONKEYS OUT.

When you finished an apple................ APPLECORE...VOLLEYMORE...WHO'S YOUR BEST FRIEND.



I have way too much time on my hands.

Responses from Anonymous 2/5/2006

Sunday FREE rock bands at the Forrest Park Pavilion
Just Jeans
Hopping Trains on the TRRA line
Christmas tree forts
Getting run out of the fountains at Northwest Plaza
Hitch hiking EVERYWHERE
The Rainy Daze
The Factory in St. Charles
The Arena Annex
Bettendorf Rapps grocery stores
Hanley-Carson-Springdale-Graham to Florissant
Midland without pavement
The Varisity Theater
Selling papers
Wagner Electric

Responses from Dave B, Lilburn, Georgia 2/5/2006

Did you ever reflect that we almost always referred to any of the big three St. Louis department stores only by their first names: i. e. Famous, Scruggs and Stix? I have recently reflected on the post-mortem outrage that Mssrs. Barr, Vandervoort, Barney, Baer and Fuller must still feel, out of the neglect we showed them. And do any of you remember the fourth also-ran store, way over on Easton (now MLK); Carson-May-Stern? Was that May a disgruntled May Company relative? And, out on The Hill, we could go spend money at Fair Mercantile, probably well into the 1970s.

I mostly remember the signature initials SVB had as their logo, with lots of curlicues in the script. I often confuse my memories between SVB and SBF, although I do remember going to all three. Famous-Barr was always the most visited, and could be because they were much bigger and had all of those "suburban" locations like Southtown, Northland and Clayton. I'm not sure that either Stix or Scruggs was still in business when the suburbs became invented in St. Louis. My mother used to sing the Famous-Barr jingle, probably from the forties: "Hocus, pocus, Sixth and Locust" so that if I ever got lost downtown, I could remember where F-B was, and go to the Playroom where I could be reunited. That pre-dated the Greenlease kidnapping.

I do know that the concept of camparison shopping was introduced to me by my mother and aunt when they'd go from store to store, seeing which had the same item for a cheaper price. This took time and great effort. Apparently, the whole idea of price matching had not taken hold at that time. So, if there was something that they wanted, then my impatient little boy legs would be dragged all over each of the Downtown stores, up and down elevators and escalators, inevitably to the first three stores, and finally back to the cheapest, just to save something significant (probably a dime, at that time) on a pair of gloves. If all of that exercise kept me skinny until I turned 25; then I know it made me cheap (to this day).

The good part was that any of the three department stores took the metal Charga-Plates and they could put it on credit (payable in full at the end of the month). Since your trip downtown was probably done by bus or streetcar, you could easily have the packages delivered (free?) by the green Railway Express trucks the next day. I don't know if it was true, but I have heard that each of the three department stores had access to a series of underground tunnels that went all the way to the Railway Express building near the main Post Office, across 18th Street, near Union Station. Even in the worst weather, store packages went fast and stayed dry.

I bet if KETC ever did a Living St. Louis feature on these big downtown department stores, both in their heyday and as they faded from existence, it would draw a wonderful viewer response. Shopping then was much more like a safari, instead of the chore it is today. Unfortunately, as we aged folks go, most of us would only be able to remember a few of the wonders of the toy departments. And the magic that they gave, from the vantage point of a three and a half foot tall kid. The eighth floor at Famous was as close to heaven as I thought I could get, at least when I was seven.

Responses from Alan Traynor, Orlando, FL. 2/5/2006

I grew up calling it Vandervoorts, cause that's what my grandmother always called it. Most people, I guess, called it Scruggs, and the official name, of course was Scruggs, Vandervoort, & Barney. I well remember being taken there on shopping excursions as a kid, then later taking the bus downtown on my own to explore. I don't know why, I always thought Scruggs had a special edge, different from Famous and Stix (or The Leader, as my grandmother called it....remember that?.....Stix, at one time, advertised itself as "The Grand Leader" (of department stores, I guess) so everyone of the older generation called it "The Leader." But this is about Vandervoorts. Vandervoorts had a wonderful toy department. And at Christmas time, they had a little kiddies train up on the toy floor, near the elevators, with a little snow scene and a train you could ride around a small loop. And the toy department! Scruggs seemed to have a rather "upscale" selection of toys....I remember thinking of them as "European" style toys. I do not know why I remember it thus, but they did have a different selection from the other stores. Or maybe it was simply the way the toys were displayed. My very favorite stuffed animal came from Scruggs. The stuffed animal was an orangutan made by was on sale, I hasten to add!!....and it was in the genre of "yes" monkeys....a wire mechanism connected to the tail allowed one to nod the head up and down and turn from side to side!!) It was called "Tricky" and I STILL HAVE HIM!! I remember, I was on my way, with my mother, to the puppet shows....more on that in a minute.....and I saw Tricky in the case and just fell in love with him. We went into the puppet show, and while I was waiting for the show to start, my mother sneaked out, on some premise of using the ladies room, no doubt, and bought Tricky (she must have had other packages she could hide him in) and I never suspected until I unwrapped him on Christmas morning. Now, the puppet shows....Gee, for years I could remember the name of the couple who ran them. (Someone has robbed my memory bank!!) But they were a lovely couple of professional puppeteers (I wish I knew their history...they must have worked for some big concern in puppetry.) Anyway, they did marionette shows....a different show every week, as I remember. In the auditorium of Scruggs off the Toy Department was a stage and regular plush theater seats. The auditorium stage was closed in with velour drapes to frame a smaller stage, elevated and itself decked out in fine red velour drapes. When these drapes opened, beautifully painted backdrops and furnishings set the scene for all manner of fairy tales that were acted out by the elaborate marionettes. I seem to remember that, while there might be several marionettes on stage at a time, involving many puppeteers out of sight, all the voices were performed (on microphones) by this one couple. These were very special shows, and I so looked forward to seeing them. I know we didn't go every week, but it was always a treat when we did.

Responses from Anonymous 2/5/2006

I was raised in East St. Louis for while when I was young too. UP 5-0471. 948 North 37th St. Over near Washington Park. It's a small world I guess. That was long before the arch. I found this web site while trying to find a recipe for the peanut coffee cake we used to get at a bakery in St. Louis, every Sunday Morning. It was sooooo good. Haven't had anything like it since. And there was also this old style cheesecake we got there at the bakery. Oh well. Days gone by I luck finding the recipe.

Responses from Ed 2/8/06

I grew up by Kingshighway and Manchester, Close to Dogtown, Close to "The Hill"
I remember when highway 40 didn't go to Kingshighway
I remember the park at Oakland and Kingshighway that had a bicycle track where they held professional races.
I remember Pagliacci's at Manchester & Kingshighway
I remember playing "Broomball" at Willmore Park

Responses from Anonymous 2/9/2006

Oh what memories,I remember living right down from Katz drugstore off of Jennings Road and natural Bridge I believe it was Crenshaw ave.Of course we moved liked gypsy's all over St.Louis.My Dad and Uncles worked for the Suburban Cab Co.right at that corner and I sold The Post dispatch right at that corner also and everyone would watchout for me because I was a 9 yr.old girl Mom could look out the window and ask me to bring a Quart of milk before I come home.When I turned 11, I went to work at the Goody-Goody cafe right there on Natural Bridge close to the Chevy plant.I went to Garfield elementary school for awhile I also went to Normandy jr.High.We lived in Wellston right on Evergreen ave. went to school on the top of the hill on Evergreen.I remember Lindsey hall,would run over to Hillsdale to visit relatives.I remember having,the strip throat so bad that the Dr.came to our house and that was right where hwy 70 is today.My Aunt and Uncle lived in West Florissant and every 4th of July we would all go over for a big BBQ and that's when all us cousins would get together,the adults would drink beer all day and us kids played til who knows how long.That was a big thing back then big get together with family,we played tag.caught lightning bugs and put them all over ourselves so we would glow.I remember the milk trucks delivering milk in the mornings,coal for your furnace.I even remember the Mr. softee truck my Dad drove for awhile in the summer months.We used to go to MY little Margie's on Sundays now this was a tavern that had a tavern on both sides of the street to my best recollection one was open 6 days a week and the one opened on Sundays.The Wellston loop where the Katz drugstore was and Woolworth's was across the street.There was a small coffee shop right there and the cabbies always set in there drinking coffee waiting for someone who needed a ride at the loop.a small white building.I cannot remember the name of it.But it was a pretty neat place.Oh I remember the confectionaries,when our folks moved us from the city to Wentzville Mo. I thot I would die what a different lifestyle.But we ended up staying out there which I grew to love the fresh air and all but it took some getting used to,Of course I got married and moved away to Fla. So when we go back wow!! the changes wouldn't even know it,I bring my grandchildren with me occasionally and tell them about those days and of course they think I'm ancient,But it really wasn't that long ago?Maybe the memories are what make me feel young again.Thanks so much for your site Dave you sure have brought back a lot of good memories.

Responses from Anonymous 2/9/2006

To coin a phrase.."what a SITE!!!" I log on to this site infrequently and am spellbound by the endless cobwebs that linger in all of your minds. Memories, a most vital substance, as pertinent as DNA. On the this very site, a few years ago, I was rambling on about my childhood and growing up in South St Louis. I mentioned an old Muistang I had owned, complete with ID number. To my astonishment, a contributor of this site located that very car. I have since traced said Mustang to its current owner- of 20+ yrs- the car has survived! {As the late "Wicked Pickett" belted out- "a nineteenSIXTYFIVE"-[2+2]} It was through this site the connection was made. I now seek another connection, for another passion of mine- and many of yours- vintage stock car racing in the St Louis region.

At a time when the local "jalopy" racing at WALSH STADIUM on OAKLAND AVENUE to the transformation of regulated, serious, and well-organized heated "heat" races and "features" as the crowds shifted to LAKE HILL SPEEDWAY, off Marshal Road, in VALLEY PARK.

As I beg your indulgence, this posting comes as a cry for help in research for a program to be presented that will feature St Louis stock car racing. The program - tentativly in conjunction with the St Louis History Museum- will highlight the years after WWII to the late 70s. It is the intent to specificaly center on WALSH STADIUM and LAKE HILL SPEEDWAY, St Louis' dicadent racing venues from 40 yrs ago. Other than obivious sources, such as local racing fan clubs, and remaining drivers from that timeframe, ANY information will be most apperciated. If you sold programs, worked the concession stand, drove as a class champion, or only saw competion once or twice, any info is welcomed. As of date, NOTHING exist on Walsh Stadium nor Lake Hill Speedway, regarding local documentation. From sitting on bleachers, to helping in the pits. No matter how minute, memories of ANYTHING related to either of those simple, yet majestic facilities, which spellbound ALL classes of St Louisians, [and laid the foundation for the current asphalt asylums of NASCAR] is vital. This program will NOT focus on NASCAR, rather local seedlings of racing's purest form, and the energy & dust those jalopies stirred in the carnival-like atmosphere of tracks they raced on. Memories that hopefully continue to go round n round. Again, I apologize to all the readers and their time capsuled memoirs. Yet, I strongly feel the St Louis racing community has provided many a family oriented "action packed" evening, deserving a bit of recognition as a part of St Louis genealogy. I look forward to rekindling those memories in a factual, first-hand, light-hearted presentation of St Louis stock car racing. Sharing your memories, any photos or programs, will prove invaluable in my research! St Louisians- "START YOUR MEMORIES!!!" Your emails are desperately yet definitely encouraged at [email protected]

Responses from Terry Corbet 2/12/2006

Google took me to your site. The detour from a question concerning military service in St. Louis during WWII has now gone on for more than three hours. While that is mostly a statement concerning the slow reading speed of 'old eyes' dealing with a CRT as a rather unsatisfactory replacement for what we learned in our "Dick and Jane" workbooks, it is also, obviously, a testament to the success of your ever-growing "St. Louis Memories" pages. I should download and concatenate them so I can do text searches to test my memory, but instead I am just going to rely on my reading of all three pages. I don't want to submit material that has already been covered, and I think I am not. But first, a preface, which may be in order so that you can easily edit as you see fit:

I am your contemporary from Kirkwood. While I am pleased to see that some of your material comes from that, and other, suburban communities, we must admit that growing up in 'the city' and in 'the county' were rather different experiences. So, if you want to keep accurate recollections of growing up in St. Louis pure, maybe you have to take what I offer of 'city' experiences as being those of an 'outsider' and what I offer of 'county' experiences as being irrelevant. If you do choose to exclude this, my feelings will not be hurt in any way. If your do find these additions useful, please use them as you see fit.

01. The guy who remembered Threadneedle St. shoes may remember two closely-related 'in styles'. First, when you bought the shoes, the last thing you would do would be to wear them to school new. They had to be 'broken in'. I remember the 'treatment' -- we rubbed them down with lighter fluid almost completely ruining the careful tanning! Any of us who has had to deal with purchasing Air Jordan's for our own kid's may have forgotten that $14.95 at Boyd's [sorry these were never marked down and sold in 'the basement'] was just as impossible for our parents with their post-war incomes. Imagine how they felt after struggling to help us get them, only to see us wreck them in order to get 'just the right old look'.

Long before "Old Navy", at the same time as "Threads", we decided that Levi's could never be worn even after the obligatory three washings to shrink them down to the right size. At the most extreme, I distinctly recall an evening watching my older brother's group of friends peering into the side-loading, vertical-spinning innards of the Bendix washer where they had just put their brand-new Levis and about a quart of Clorox! Now I stress, this was my 'older brother' [he's a 1936 kid] and his graduating class wore 'Mr. B' shirts! Before you reconcile this group of idiots to the dust bin of history, I must note that the lead guy in the competing group was a kid named Lyle Waggoner.

02. There was another ritual with leather that no one seems to have recalled. Most, of course, remember the Cardinal and Brown baseball players, but they seem to have forgotten Neat's Foot Oil. When you finally saved up enough for your Marty Marion [sorry, I think mine was Wilson, not Spalding] mitt, you had to 'break it in' by rubbing it with Neat's Foot Oil and tying it up with a baseball in 'the pocket' and sleeping with it under your pillow for at least a week before going out for those Khoury League try outs.

03. This is the proper segue to one of those 'county' versus 'city' differences. When we would get in the car for the Sunday trip to Blow Street to visit the first-generation, immigrant grand-parents in South St. Louis, we would sometimes divert through the allies where the caged cork ball courts could be found. To us, that always meant we must have been near Red Schoendienst's home.

There were, to my knowledge, no formal cork ball courts anywhere outside the city limits. So, our games were a bit different. We did have a cork ball bat, and we did try to increase our eye-hand coordination against opposing pitchers with bottle caps. But, instead of Indian Ball, which I also, on occasion played, our normal game was 'Street Ball'. It's primary merits were: you only needed two guys, but if you had three, you could still play. And, you didn't need a field; you didn't even really want a field; you played in the street. The batter just hit balls -- no pitcher. If he hit a fly ball, and it was caught, he was out, and lost the chance to bat. If it was not caught, he got to hit again. If he hit a grounder, it had to be fielded cleanly. If it was bobbled, he got to continue hitting. It the grounder was fielded cleanly, the fielder got to bowl the ball as hard as he wanted -- overhand or underhand -- bounding down the street where the batter had to lay down the bat across the incoming path. If the ball didn't hit the bat, the batter got to continue as batsman. If the ball hit the bat, and the batter fielded the ricochet cleanly, he continued batting. If, however, the fielder managed to hit the bat and the batter could not field it cleanly, the fielder moved to batsman.

04. A second 'city-county' dichotomy stems from those trips. Whatever the route -- was it Gravois? -- somewhere near that boundary of Hampton Creek, either just as you came 'into the city' or just as you 'went out to the county', I confess I cannot recall, there was an important sports facility that no one seems to have mentioned. I first recall stopping there because it had a golf driving range. As partial repayment for not being too fussy over the not-very-exciting visit with 'the grown-ups', we got to stop and 'hit a bucket of balls'. Maybe they were there from the beginning, but I think the invention of the 'batting machine' was a bit later. So, a bit later -- maybe the '50s rather than the '40s -- we also stopped 'at the border' to hit baseballs in a cage.

05. Since my grandparents were German on one side and already deceased Scots on the other, I don't have any recollection of going to "The Hill' and looking for variant baseball games. But what I can tell you, that seems to have been lost even though some of you can remember Charlotte Peters and her half-witted sidekick, is that baseball players could not live on their salaries. So, except for the guys at the top, they all had 'summer jobs'. Joe Garagiola did TV commercials for Feld Chevrolet and sometimes visited the show rooms. I long cherished a catcher's mitt he gave me as he was heading off to spring training. My Boy Scout troop leader took us for a week-end hunting trip one winter where I sat on Red's lap while Marty was in the back seat. I tell none of these tells to toot my own horn; the facts say nothing about me. They are just additional evidence of the different world we were fortunate enough to inhabit in different times.

Another route from 'the county' to 'the city' was Highway 40. Now 'the boundary' as I recall it, was demarked by the edge of Forrest Park where, just past an island housing a gas station and a restaurant 'looking like it came from the old country' was the entrance to a tunnel that for some time was known as the 'Red Feather Express'. Then, coming up on the right, where The Highlands had been, was another of those anachronisms of the times, Musial and Biggie's Restaurant. Sometimes Stan would be there; he would be there when we would gather for the annual Khoury League awards -- being there for kids who dreamt of baseball was part of the job.

06. The reader will note that I have not been a St. Louisian for a long, long time; some of these recollections must be slightly off in respect of some detail or another. With that risk, however, I offer another fact that seems to have been left out. You have, of course, been blessed by a long history of outstanding sports announcers. While he is not a St. Louisian, there must be a reason why the best, Mr. Costas, has made that his home. It certainly must be a source of pride to have watched the Buck family heritage, even as you also watched Skip evolve from Harry. But, do you know why Tim McCarver is so good? Go look at the tradition of the catcher as 'the color guy'. Tim learned from Joe, but Gabby Street was in the booth with Harry before Jack!

07. This is strictly Kirkwood, or at least somewhere west of Maplewood. Two or three blocks east of Kirkwood Road on Manchester was the most amazing establishment -- a putt-putt course with three separate 18-hole layouts! I cannot remember the name, but whomever came up with depositing the ball in some Clown's mouth or some Windmill, never could imagine 'the real deal'. The final hole at 'the real deal' was at least 150 feet in length -- even Tiger wouldn't have been able to make the green!

07. I'll get out of the way with this last item -- what's with this post-modern Steinberg Ice Rink! I took a bus somewhere downtown to go to the "Winter Gardens", or did we just invent that colorful name? I did not invent the fact that as a Patrol Boy in the winter of '50, after one of those amazing 'ice storms' we used to have, I actually skated the mile to school. If that is not ludicrous enough, of course, the only skates we had were 'racers', no fancy hockey skates with a sensible curved front end! Sure they have ice and snow in other areas, but none quite like the ice palaces created in a St. Louis winter.

On that same street, in one or more of those great St. Louis summer thunder storms, as soon as the lightening would subside, we would pull out the inner tubes and float down the street to the storm drain right in front of our house. I didn't know him then, but later it was my good fortune to meet the man who wrote:

"I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows--
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone."

Your pages of reminiscence speak as poetically of a time and place where less was more and floating on an inner tube in a storm drain was all that could be wished for.

Responses from Joe @ [email protected] 2/17/2006

"Holy Cow...IT IS... a Home Run"! Your web-site, that is!

The memories came flooding back! I was raised in Arnold (ATlas7-2311)...attended Bishop DuBourg High (54-57).

Let's see now, good memories...summertime swimming at "Spring Forest", or the Riviera Pool.

Being an alter boy at Immaculate Conception Parish and "Praying for the conversion of Russia" ...said after each Mass.

Meeting and shaking hands with movie actor Pat O'Brien at an Auto Show...being more impressed though,by the new "Pinin Farina" styling of the new Nash on display...around 1953 or so. Also meeting 'Killer Kowalski', the wrestler, at the 'Kiel', and learning that he was a nice guy...out of the ring! Actually college educated, or so I was told.

Going to Grant's farm to watch the Clydesdales being groomed...and checking out the Civil War rifle barrel fencing...being told by Security that they were Confederate rifle barrels...fence erected upon the orders of General U.S. Grant.

Ice skating at Winter Gardens with pals and two really cute teenage girls approaching us with their find...a severed finger laying on bloody cotton in a small fancy jewelry box...our utter astonishment at this and then she laughed & "wriggled" the finger (actually hers). We feeling very stupid and very "taken in ".

Waiting for the school day to order to get to the Drug store near Hampton & Eichelberger to check out the latest "MAD" magazine to hit the stands..maybe even buy it, if I had an extra quarter!

Waiting for Boyd's to have a "Threadneedle" shoe sale...normally $22.50, sale price would be $18.50 (Wheew! A lot of cash back then) I still have a pair in the closet...still wear them once or twice a year, I swear it! They'll never wear out. Argyle socks, "Ivy League" Chino trousers, tapered to a very tight fit at the ankle. Very narrow black suede or white buck belts, Mr.'B' shirts w/tiny gem collar studs, V-neck sweaters...the rich kids would wear Lamb's Wool or even Cashmere sweaters. Suede jackets of every hue, also pale blue denim jackets w/ dark blue knit collar & cuffs (baseball warm-up style), and on and on.

Working part-time job, after school hrs., at Fred P. Rapp's supermarket in Lemay...and after work going to Cusanelli's down the street for the World's best pizza, cut in small squares and cheese which clung to the roof of your mouth for hrs. afterwards.

Cruising Steak n Shake at Hampton & Gravois in my 48 Chevy coupe (Stylemaster)"lowered and leaded in" w/split manifold and "glasspacks"...checking out the cool cars. If one of the cars "challenged" you, within a minute or so, it was a race down DePeres drive. I got my first set of traffic tickets from Officer John Leukens, a motorcycle cop, on Hampton Ave. in 1956. Later, in 1962, I joined the St. Louis Metro Police Dept. and guess who was my first street Supervisor? Sgt. Leukens did NOT remember me and I left it at that!

"Concrete" malts at Ted Drewes on Chippewa, night parties at Francis Park, basically beer and soda, "grass" was something that grew on lawns.

"Death Certificates" at Wild's "Palace of Poison" in Lemay, buying tamales from 'Tony' the Tamale Man (I still vividly remember how he looked), on Gravois by the Used Car lot where I would hang out with my cousin, who had a part-time job there.

Getting an occasional "Coke and Twinkies" at Johnny's Market on Gravois near St. George's Parish.

Listening to DJ Chuck Norman and singing along with Vic Damone as he sang "On The Street Where You Live", as I would "tool" down the street where "She" lived.

Dave...keep up the great work...OK?

Responses from Anonymous 2/17/2006

This was too much. So many memories. I just found the site and spent a wonderful Sunday afternoon reading. I lived first on Quincy St., in So. St. Louis. My grandparents built the house in 1908 and whenever I visit I drive by. My grandmother's sister and husband lived next door. My mother and uncle and cousins grew up there and so did my sister and I. We knew all the neighbors for a few generations, but everyone was rather formal then. We all called everyone by Mr. or Mrs. and never used adults first names.

On Halloween we had to memorize a song or a poem to recite to get our treats and I never remember saying, "trick or treat". My grandfather was a blacksmith and he sharpened the sharpening tools of "Tony and Scissorgrinder" man that everyone talked about. Whenever Tony would come to our neighborhood, my grandmother would bring him a cup of coffee. I felt so important since I felt I knew him personally. I remember bums coming down the alley and begging for a sandwich and cup of coffee which my mother would make and have him sit on the backporch steps to eat. I watched through the screen door.

I attended Gardenville School, as did my mother and other relatives, and Cleveland High School. My first phone number was a Flanders number.

Ah what fun this has been.

Responses from Bill Rogers 2/19/2006

I remember . . .

The Naborhood Link News published in Lemay.

The Lemay roller rink at Bayless and Lemay Ferry.

Buying gasoline from a Mars service station at ten cents a gallon and receiving a free glass.

Attending the Lemay movie theater and winning a basket of groceries in a drawing on a Friday night.

Hitch hiking from Lemay all the way to CBC on Clayton Road.

Buying a “pine tree float” at Wilde’s Palace of Poison.

Our first telephone as Lockheart 7360.

Living next door to a beacon on a lot on Ruprecht in Bella Villa. (Lemay)

Living on a street that had 52 kids within one block all within 4 years of age. What a great neighborhood.

Playing baseball on the Heine Meine ball field before the Lemay Baseball Association was formed.

Reading the minutes of the organization meeting of the Lemay Baseball Association – which I still have. (My dad was one of the charter organizers)

Swimming parties at Spring Forest and Spring Lake.

Swimming at the Forest Park Highlands.

Riding the Flying Turns at the Highlands

Bowling at the St. Andrew Bowling Alley in Lemay.

Dating my first girl friend at Notre Dame High School.

Working at the Fred P. Rapp grocery store on Lemay Ferry.

Playing baseball at the Greens, Porkies, Heine Meine, Jeff Barracks, Forder School, Bayless School, Titanium field.

Watching the Veiled Prophet Ball and Wrestling at the Chase on our 5” TV set with the bubble magnifying glass to enlarge the picture.

Setting up chairs in our living room theater style so my aunts could come over to watch the Veiled Prophet Ball – and my dad popping pop-corn for everybody.

Listening to Frank Eschen narrate the ball program.

Seeing Lou Thesz and Gorgeous George at various wrestling matches and on TV.

Watching TV test patterns just for the heck of it.

Attending Rubicam Business College on South Grand Ave. – where I met my wife.

Participating in the cub scout and boy scout jamboree at the Arena and dressed up as Snow White and using grapefruits as part of the get-up to fill out certain parts of the costume.

Watching the Harlem Globetrotters play the college all-stars at the Arena and barely beating them by 2 points.

Collecting autographs of the St. Louis Browns and Cardinal ball players as they walked under the stands at the old Sportman’s Park.

Watching Joe DiMaggio hit three home runs off the scoreboard against the Browns at Sportman’s Park.

Attending Stan Musial’s last game.

Attending the first All Star Game at Bush Stadium in 1964 (?) with the temperature at 104 degrees.

Listing to Ed Bonner, Gil Newsome, Jack Carney, Miss Blue and others.

Air raid tests during WW II and my dad being an Air Raid Warden

Driving my first car a 1939 Plymouth.

Going to movies at the Lemay, Southway, Longwood, Michigan and Crest movie theaters and the Attic which was also called “The Dump.”

Being a CBC honor guard at various functions around town when CBC was a military school.

Remembering the newsboy yelling, “Morning Globe . . Paper.”

The St. Louis Star Times which was one of three daily newspapers in St. Louis.

Buying tamales from street vendors.

Tony Gagliarducci, the knife sharpener, who would clang his bell as he walked the streets.

Getting chunks of ice from the milkman as he delivered milk . . . and left the milk at your front door.

Getting change for a quarter so I could buy a coke for a nickel.

Riding the St. Louis County Bus line for a dime. Yes, there was a county bus line.

Seeing German prisoners raking leaves in Jefferson Barracks.

Responses from ml 2/22/2006

My six brothers and sisters and I grew up in South St. Louis in the area of Meramec and Pennsylvania. We all went to St. Anthony's grade school. We girls graduated from St. Anthony's (my graduating class had a total of 47 students!), and the boys from either St. Mary's or SLUH. Here are the memories we share when talk about growing up -

Yes, Tony the Sicssors Man. Ding, Ding, Ding - CLUNK! You could hear him coming for blocks. Just enough time for Mom to collect the knives and scissors and wait on the porch.

The paper boys with their wood carts and big metal wheels - "Morning Globe Paaapperr!". Selling at the paper stands on Meramec or Grand was considered a promotion. If you could work your way into the one in front of St. Anthony's or Winkleman's Drug store you were at the top of the corporate ladder.

Let's take a stroll down Meramec, starting around Broadway and working up to Grand Avenue. Climbing the bluffs at Bellerieve Park (which was strictly prohibited by all adults). Goofing off at Minniwood Park - later in the 70s you could actually cross over Broadway and get something from Burger Chef (remember Burger Chef and Jeff?) and then sit under the pavillion and eat. Moving up a few blocks was Gebken Benz Funeral Home where everyone you ever old person in the world was laid out and the procession to St. Anthony's for the funeral mass took about 30 seconds. Across from the funeral home was Deharling's grocery store. Many a trip down there to by 2 packs of Old Gold Cigerettes for Mom with fifty cents in my hand. Art, the owner, worked behind the meat case. Being from a large family they knew us well. Sometime in the late 60's they were robbed and Art was shot during the robbery. We lived in a flat on the next block up Meramec (we later moved a half block away to a house on Pennsylvania). Mom sat on the porch and watched the fiasco unfold. Being the only one without chickenpox in the house at the time, I was allowed to sit with her. (I was terrified a man with a gun had come into our neighborhood.) Playing in the alley - every day all day. Kids would stand outside each other's gates and Sing in the same tune - "Oh (name of child)". If there were siblings, you just strung them all together and lingered for a few notes on the last name. "Oh Janet, Oh Greg, Oh Jean, Oh Heleeennnn". The kids across the alley were "public school kids" that enlightened us to all we were missing as Catholics. We would run when Henry walked down the alley. Henry had one shoe built taller than the other and we were afraid of him because of it. SILLY. Heading up Meramec was Schumacher's funeral home - Not known for it's funerals but more so for the parking lot on which my brothers used to play bottle caps or fuzzball. The girls would rollerskate because black top was at a premium in the neighborhood.We would steel flowers from the dumpster after funerals. Then there was St. Anthony's High School, the Church (remember the Corpus Christi procession each year? I do because it always fell either on or around my birthday in late June. The Knights of Columbus would dress up in their high feathered feora type hats and they would play bagpipes both in church and in the procession. The pastor would lead the procession while we all said the rosary. We would stop in front of designated houses to pray in front of alter type displays the owner's would erect for the day. As kids we dreaded the day each year. It was summer vacation and HOT and the last thing we wanted to be doing was pray in front of alters with rosarys in the heat with our parents.). Roller skating on Thursday nights at the St. Anthony's roller rink - what sagas took place there. Lets see - the cheap donut Shop, the Post Dispatch delivery site in a storefront where the paperboys would get their boxes and papers for the day, Podjge & Son's's Shoe Repair and St. Louis Bakery. On the corner, Biermann's Tavern. Biermann's was more familiar to us then it probably should have been. My Dad tended bar there fore many years. We were always stopping to "cash a check". We would be bribbed with a Brown Cow soda, peanuts, pickles or juicy fruit gum while waiting for the "check" to be cashed. Winkleman's, the Dime Store (anyone recall Mr. Poncho the manager?), the Red Wing shoe store (where we would get a token with each purchase to use in the machine that would produce a "golden egg" from Polly the Parrot containing a prize), then Schumaker's Dry Goods Shop. On the last block before Grand was a short cut through the Clark Gas Station to Ted Drews. Of course if you saw a Lucky Strike's cigarette pack on the ground you would step on it and smack the person next to you proclaiming "Lucky Strike - No Strike Back" .

Miscellanous memories include the confectionary at the end of our alley (sat on corner of Nebraska and Gasconade) - main purpose - penny candy and Hostess goods. Unbelievable hours spent a Marquette Park. Swimming, tiny-tots, tumbling, crafts, dance class (and dance shows), SOFTBALL, smoking cigarettes and the Sno-Cone lady and man in the old white station wagon. The Octoberfest where you could smell the potato pancakes for several blocks. Games in the alley included something we called "Chase" or "Headhunters". A few kids were the chasers or headhunters while the rest were the chasees. Parimeter included the four block area surounding Meramec, Pennsylvania, Gasconade and Nebraska. No yards, houses or grages allowed. We played house or school in someone's yard and when it rained, the events were played out in someone's garage. (On a strange note, my sister and brother in law rented their upstairs to the "Tamale Man" who walked his tamale cart along South Broadway. When they hadn't seen him for days they checked upstairs and found him dead.) And finally, I recall the night Augustinian College burnt down. My Mom and Dad were out for a rare night alone when one of my brother's friends frantically rang the doorbell. When they told him that "Augie" was on fire, they made me and my sister stay in the house while they went up the block to check it out. We could see the flames through our front window and were freaking out when our parents, who had heard about the fire from someone at the restaurant, came home to free us. After hosing down both my Grandma and our roofs for hours so the flying embers wouldn't catch our houses on fire, my dad walked us through the hoses and firetrucks telling us we would remember this forever and probably never see another fire that big. He was right. I have vivid memories of the steeple falling and the Ohs and Ahs and "Oh No's" coming from the streets as it crashed to the ground. Firemen running - geez it was scary. I still recall the vibration of the fire trucks from our bedroom all night. We couldn't sleep knowing the firemen were still there keeping it under control. The neighborhood stunk like burnt wet wood for a long time after.

What a great place to grow up. Thanks for the memories everyone!!

Responses from Anonymous 2/23/2006

I remember buying stick pretzels in brown bags from people on Natural Bridge Road in Berkeley on our way to White Castle, Our Thornhill phone number with a party line (so you couldn't stay on a call long because someone else might need the phone & someone might "listen" in Skates that clamped onto our shoes Collecting soda bottles to turn in for money so you could buy candy TV stamps and Eagle stamps Going down the hill on a cardboard after a snow Using a big cardboard box for a play house Making a chain from Doublemint and Juicy Fruit gum wrappers Starlight Ballroom on St. Charles Rock Road in Overland - the place to go to meet people The White Bakery truck delivering my first "bought" birthday cake A birthday party without clowns, McDonald burgers, pizza and prize bags Public school kids were evil compared to Parochial school kids who had no religious upbringing - now we can't pray in schools or anywhere public Girls wearing a Kleenex on top of our head when they forgot their chapel vail Going to Turners on Woodson Road every week to get the top song list for the week and the words to a feature song Being able to understand every word to a song, knowing all the words which by the way, were never repeated again in the song When driving from Bridgeton to Cherokee Street seemed like an all day trip And driving from Bridgeton to O'Fallon when my brother moved to the first subdivision being built there - another all day trip Playing "who stoled the cookies from the cookie jar" during recess Playing dodge ball and having relay races Physical fitness tests every year at school

Responses from Doug 3/22/2006

I remimber going to Cool Valley in Fuegeson,going to Wetlake park at three ,seeing it mostly distroyed by fire. I remimber the oblong ferris wheel at Chain of Rocks,"The Swooper"& wishing I could ride the old coaster there.I later found out it had the same name as the one at the Highlands,"The Comet".I also remimber riding the Bobsleds/Flying Turns at the Highlands. & how thrilled I was at hearing Knobles' Grove,a smallish amusement park in Penna .is building one this year.

Most of all I remimber how fantasic I felt when the first wave of e mails came in to me after I made a web site dedicated to the Highlands& finding out how much that park ment to ya'll& all the wonderful comments you people sent me. I love reading this web site! (Comment from Dave Lossos: The website Doug refers to concerning the Forest Park Highlands can be seen by clicking here)

Responses from Dean B. circa (1957 - 1967) 3/27/2006

The Peavely Dairy Milk Man

Playing little league baseball with some kids having metal cleats and others with sneakers; depending on how rich your folks were. There were certainly no liability risks for the Kourey league.

Games ts Sportsmans Park where the parking lot attendant would give us the balls hit over the wall.

The original Parkmoor and the large mural on the wall of everyone going to Parkmoor by flying, running, jumping, parachuting, trains, etc.

Making out at the Varsity or Tivoli theatres.

Sledding at Art Hill on wooden sleds with metal runners

Lee's Grill in Clayton

Trying to hop the train going through Richmond Heights and having the Caboose guy throw "ice water" on you to keep you off. We were 7 - 8 years old!

Putting nails on the train tracks to see how they got squished.

Fist fights "off school grounds" that were actually fist fights; no knives or guns.

Taking the Delmar bus downtown to see the Stones in 1965; give or take a year.

Billy's Head Shop in the Loop.

Dudley's Bar on Delmar by the old train station. Being taken their by my parents when we were around 10 - 12 years old. It was ok to take your kids to the neighborhood bar and watch them smoke & drink. Now this is probably one of the very few "bad" things you could do back then.

Driving / steering the car while sitting on my Dad's lap.

No seat belts.

Drive in movies. Didn't do much movie watching.

The Mayrose bacon or ham commercial on TV.

Drivers Ed: 1 car length of every 10 miles of speed.

Cars without power steering and with clutches.

Gas for 25 cents per gallon.

Being dressed as twins with my brother, even though we weren't.

Seeing Mitch Ryder at Rainy Daize

Responses from Anonymous 3/29/2006

This is a GREAT website! I am really enjoying reading all the memories. The following are some of my memories of STL:

Living on Destrehan Street in Hyde Park

Clay School and listening to how my saddle oxfords sounded walking on the brick sidewalks to the school

The old 5&10 cent store on Salisbury; my grandfather would always walk up there with me when he came up from the Ozarks and he would always buy me a small toy

Walks to Hyde Park with my grandfather in the fall of the year and watching all the squirrels in the park

Bethlehem Lutheran Church, where I was baptized

Going inside Holy Trinity Church with my aunt and wearing a handkerchief on my head to make sure my head was covered

Walks with my mom and dad up to the Bissell and Grand water towers

The Pevely milkman with the horsedrawn cart; my dad and I were walking up Destrehan one day when I was 3 years old. I spoke to the horse ("Hi, horsey."). The milkman quickly ran in back of the horse and said: "Hi, little girl." My dad didn't think I saw the milkman run back there, so he told everyone the horse spoke to me. I never told them anything differently.

The ice man delivering the blocks of ice to our apartment.

The ragman and the scissors man.

Going to Crown Candy with my dad on Friday nights after he got paid and while he ordered a thick milk shake, the lady always gave me a small cone. I loved looking at the glass candy counter. I felt tiny in that place then.

Moving to the Central Westend a few years later when my dad and his two sisters bought a two-family flat and a bungalow that was in the rear of the property.

Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church & School at Union and Wells.

Roller skating and bike riding in the summer.

Vacation Bible School with my friend at Hope Congregational Church.

Walks to Forest Park in the summer. It would take all day, but we loved it.

The Muny in the evening.

Playing canasta with my aunt and her family every night in the summer. She lived on Arsenal, across from Tower Grove Park. She was the first in our family to have a window air conditioner in her den and a large color TV. Every night, after my dad got off from work, we would all go down there. The guys went to the den with dinner and beer and watched the baseball game. We stayed out in the kitchen with my aunt and played canasta.

Watching my mom and her friend make jelly from our grape arbor. Then we went to her friend's house and they canned veggies.

Lutheran High School Central, at Lake & Waterman. Running up Waterman every evening to make sure we caught the VERY slow Union bus. It came only once an hour.

Northland Shopping Center and my two favorite shoe stores-Bakers and Burts.

Walking into Wellston and shopping at J.C. Penney and Woolworth. We usually ate at the lunch counter. I usually got a turkey club sandwich with a Coke.

Walking down to the Sears Store at Kingshighway and M.L. King (then known as Easton).

Riding the Easton streetcar downtown.

Eating Jack Salmon at Howard Johnson's on Kingshighway and Natural Bridge.

Going to the circus at Public School Stadium.

Trips to the zoo with the school.

Lander Company on East Adelaide. My dad worked there and I worked there during summers.

There are so many memories and all of these writings have helped me recapture some of them.

Responses from Jack H. Frazier 4/4/2006

Great Site. I grew up in University City Number was PArkview 5-2108 Lived on Wilson Ave right by the High School. I remember the Steak & Shake on Olive St. Rd. My grandparents lived in Chesterfield where Chesterfield Mall now sits. Highway Forty was two lanes. There was a four way stop at the intersection of Olive and Lindbergh. Toby's shoes in the Delmar Loop. Kourey League baseball for kids. The soda fountain at Nissners across from Famous Barr in Clayton. Howard Johnson's in St. Ann where they had all you can eat fish. They came around with carts filled with food. Holloway House cafeteria on Forsyth in Clayton. Chuck- A- Burger on Pennsylvania and Page. Famous Barr's Way In shop to buy Bell Bottoms. Chess King at Northwest Plaza and the Bull Shed on Euclid for boots. The Spectrum on Big Bend. Velvet Freeze on North & South. The Beverly Theatre and then the Fine Arts. Now a Chinese Restaurant. Seeing the Peppermint Lounge with the Piano keys around the top on Delmar & Skinker. Heman Park, Jackson Park. Hanging out at Clayton High school's Depot on Friday Night. University City High school's Wigwam at the Community Center on Friday night's. Tropicana Bowling on Clayton Rd. West Roads shopping center on Brentwood & Clayton Rd. Toddle House restaurant.

Responses from Bob Reeds 4/4/2006

I grew up in South St. Louis, living on Jefferson Avenue and later Salena Street just down from the brewery. Great memories of that era as they used to bring out the horses for exercise and no matter how many times people had seen them, the A-B horses always drew a crowd as they brought them down Arsenal. Another favorite memory of that time is when an Italian friend of my sister lost some kind of bet and had to push a potato up the street to the brewery---with his nose! Imagine getting on your knees and doing that. Drew quite a crowd! Playing street baseball. Going to school with Wally Lamm whose family owned Lamm's Potato Chip company and going with him after school to get fresh baked chips! Sitting outside at night waiting for the tamale man to come by with his cart and walking with my sisters to the corner bar to fetch my Dad a pail of beer. At age ten, we moved to Lemay and the rest of my favorite memories took place there.

Hancock Elementary, Hancock Junior High and Hancock Senior High were the schools I attended in Lemay. Great friends who I still hear from and do a newsletter for the Class of '57. Playing ball in The Grove just off East Velma. Playing ball at Heinie Meinie field and for the St. Louis Briquettes team at age 13 when we won the county and city championship. It was the first team I played for that had uniforms that resembled the Cardinals! My first team was Sall's Boys sponsored by Sall's Bar. I remember going to St. Louis Browns games as a member of the Knot Hole Club and often our team managers would take us to a game. Of course, even today, the Cardinals remain my favorite baseball team.

Other favorite memories of St. Louis include the Muni Opera, the big theaters downtown where you took a girl you really wanted to impress, the wonderful department stores with the decorated windows at Christmas time. My mother worked at the Stix, Baer & Fuller store for 30+ years. I worked there part-time as a teenager. My father commuted to Maloney Electric Company in North St. Louis for 42 years. The Veil Prophet parade held in October when it often got so cold you could barely stand still. Working as a pin-setter at the St. Andrews bowling alley. Working as a summer delivery boy at Kunkel's Market on East Velma and Broadway when I got my driver's license and driving their Nash Rambler station wagon that wouldn't go over 45 when I was out making deliveries. Sitting outside on their stoop in the evening with best buddies and watching all the girls walk by in their short shorts. That was always fun! Wild's Palace of Poison and the great owner Art Wild who was so nice to us teens!

I left St. Louis (Lemay) to join the Air Force after high school and haven't lived there since. In fact, I have now lived in Colorado for over thirty years after retiring from the Air Force. But St. Louis is still MY town and my family often kids me about it because I still talk about St. Louis and the memories. Thanks for your wonderful site and the great memories!

Responses from Mary Fels 4/14/2006 - Memoir #1

Grew up in a 2-family flat on far South Kingshighway. Gardenville School; Cleveland High; Mizzou (one year); Meramac Jr. College; Washington U (finally a degree in 1983). Married in 1958. Lived in Audobon Park, Rock Hill, Kirkwood. Three kids. Left St. Louis in 1983 (after 50 years). Live now in Arlington, Texas, but St. Louis will always be home.

"Famous Revisited"

When my teenage daughter (of the exotic foot size) complained she couldn't find shoes anywhere in our usual suburban shopping malls an idea bloomed in my head--an idea of returning after many years to downtown Famous-Barr where, it seems in retrospect, I spent most or my formative years.

"The only thing I can find that will fit me are old ladies shoes,"' she wailed.

"Hush," I said. "We'll go downtown to Famous. It will have what you want. Good old Famous."

I quote my mother-the World's Leading Authority on Famous-Barr. When I was a kid in the late 30s and early 40s, Famous was her entertainment, her hobby, her club. her friend. She'd go two, maybe three, times a week, sifting through, exploring, sampling--sometimes even buying--its myriad delights from the 9th floor to the basement. And whenever I was not in school, and always on Saturdays. she'd take me with her. There was always an attraction: Dollar Day (Basement), a pots-and-pans demonstration (Housewares, 7th Floor), an end-of-the-month clearance in house dresses (Ladies Ready-to-Wear. 4th Floor). She knew the merchandise better than Morton May, himself, and developed a deep faith, which she passed onto me, that Good old Famous could satisfy every need.

So, one bright Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, I piled the kids into the car and took off down Highway 40 to see if Famous could still measure up after all these years.

It was good to be downtown again. We made the wide turn off Market onto Seventh Street--cramped. narrow Seventh Street, where the tall buildings blocked out the sun, and the neon signs on the bars arid offices glowed all the brighter for being in shadow. There were changes; the Forum Cafeteria was gone, the Ambassador was closed, and look at that great black Mercantile Tower. My hayseed kids from the suburbs rolled down the windows and stretched their necks to see the top of it. But Famous was there, square and glistening white in the sun.

All the big stores downtown had their own personalities. Famous was your favorite aunt: solid and plump, and she wore too much jewelry, but she laughed a lot and gave you hugs and always pressed a nickel in your hand. Scruggs (only snooty rich people in the County called it Vandervoort's) was a dowager, understated, but with Class. When you needed a wedding gift for the boss' daughter, you went to Scruggs. And the smart shoppers said when Scruggs had a sale, it was really a sale. Now it's gone. Grand Leader (Stix) was a school teacher-quiet, dignified, gracious. When you came to visit, she expected you to take the chewing gum out of your mouth and act like a lady.

We made the circuit-down Seventh, over Washington. back up Sixth (poor, seedy, down-at-the-heels 'Sixth Street), back to Market and down Seventh again to the parking garage. We parked. took the elevator arid went across the bridge over Olive Street into the store. There's a scruffy snack bar on the bridge, and it smells of frying hot dogs and popcorn. A discordant note.

The correct way to enter Famous-Barr is to go through the grand brass revolving doors on the Seventh Street side--preferably to go around twice if Mother doesn't yank you out first. We usually come by bus; but when times are flush, we take a Service Car--a long black limousine that gathers up ladies with shopping bags and whisks them downtown in style. It costs 20 cents (twice as much as the bus). but it stops practically at our door. and we don't have to transfer.

Sometimes, right before payday, it's a struggle to find even bus fare. Mother sends my brother and me scrounging through coat pockets and under radiators and through old pocketbooks and down the sides of the couch cushions looking for change. If we can only get downtown we can always put our lunch on the charge.

Once, when Mother's need to check our a sale was intense, and the house wouldn't cough up a penny, she hitched a ride with a plumber who had fixed one of our faucets and was heading back downtown. She put on her hat and her white gloves. climbed in the cab of the pickup and rattled off happily, while the pipes and wrenches bounced in the back.

I sent the kids up to the 8th Floor (Luggage, Records, Toys and Games) to treat myself to a half hour of browsing. I looked around and breathed it in. Too bright, too garish, too noisy. too crowded. I loved it. A few things were in different places, but mostly it was the same. There were black salesladies now--that was different--but they were like all the Famous salesladies I ever knew. They stood in pairs. arms folded, gossiping, carefully avoiding the eye of every shopper. But once you broke through and grabbed one, she called you "honey" and turned the store upside down to find what you wanted.

I took the escalator to the 3rd Floor (Shoes, Hats). Shoes were there but where were the hats? There used to be a great garden of hats extending over practically half of the 3rd Floor. Now I saw only a little counter of wigs; nobody wears hats anymore.

There are many vanity tables, with chairs, scattered around the floor. Each with a large mirror in front. with narrow mirrors at the sides tilted toward the center. Mother settles in one of the chairs, carefully placing her shopping bag at her feet. She straightens the collar of her good size 16¼ blue gabardine and leans to take a tug to her stockings and line up the seams.

"I don't know what I'm looking for, exactly," she tells the saleslady. "Why don''t you just show me what you have."

My brother and I look at each other and groan. There are ten thousand hats. "Nothing too expensive," she adds.

The saleslady nods understandingly, and bustles off. They are playing a game, and both know the rules. She returns with an armful of hats--bizarre hats, ridiculous hats. There are cloches and derbies and sailors and toques. Mother tries them all on, one by one. There is a Greta Garbo hat with a deep crown. the brim extending over one eye. Mother sucks in her cheeks and narrows her eyes for the desired effect. There is a Scarlett 0'Hara creation with a great floppy brim, and she opens her eyes wide and bats them several times provocatively. At last--at long last--there is a little black velvet number with a bit of fine veiling in front and a lovely brown and black feather that curls over one cheek.

Her eyes grow soft and she and the saleslady say simultaneously: "Aaahh." She looks to the right, and to the left,.turns around. holding the hand mirror to admire the back.

"Now that one," says the saleslady, "really does something for you."'

"Yes," says Mother, but she has the hat off and is fumbling for the price tag. $3.98. "Oh." she sighs "this is a little more than I wanted to pay. I don't know."

The saleslady is ready. "But it looks so pretty on you, honey. Why don't you just lake it home. and if your husband doesn't want you to keep it, you can bring it right back."

End of game. Daddy will never make her bring it back.

I made a leisurely descent down the escalator to 2 (Men's and Boys' Outerware, Suits, Topcoats, Sportswear). In the grip of ancient habits, I stopped to rummage through a table of shirts Reduced for Final Clearance. Mustachioed young men in natty shaped suits and jazzy ties buzzed around a nearby cash register. What had happened to the quiet gray little men in their decent brown suits that used to own this floor? Perhaps there were still a few of them left--back in a corner among the 48-Shorts.

I had arranged to meet the kids at-where else?-the escalator on the Seventh Street side on the Main Floor. The trick is to find a spot which commands a view of the up and down escalators as well as the bank of elevators on the Olive Street side. Old hands can manage it.

I watched old ladies in long ratty black coats, and kids in jeans and T-shirts, and young mothers dragging fretful toddlers by their hands. Years ago, there had been a magnificent marble soda fountain that graced this section or the store. They used to serve ice cream there in footed metal dishes, and when you scooped up a ribbon of thick dark fudge along the lip. the sound of the spoon scraping on the metal would send a delicious shiver down your spine.

I watched chic girls in polished boots and expensive Calvin Klein skirts, a giggling foursome of ladies in pants suits, and two sallow mean-eyed youths who had obviously just escaped from jail and were on their way, no doubt, to swipe all the diamonds from Fine Jewelry. I watched other people, like me, shifting restlessly from one foot to the other, waiting, waiting at the main floor escalator.

Mother propels me through the revolving door and marches me to the railing by the down escalator. She surveys the mass of shoppers.

"Well," she sighs, "Aunt Grace was supposed to meet us at 11, and she isn't here yet." I glance at the square clock suspended from the ceiling in the center of the store. It says 11:15, and we're a little late, ourselves, but I keep my mouth shut.

"You stay here and keep an eye out for her, and I'll be back in a minute.! have to take back my library books."

Famous runs a rental library tucked in a corner of the 9th Floor, stocked with a vast supply of romances and historical novels. and Mother is hoping to unearth a Faith Baldwin or Frances Parkinson Keyes she hasn't read yet. She plunges into a sea of ladies and is gone.

I watch the people going up and the people coming down. In an alcove over the door is a great stuffed bird with wings outstretched, his name emblazoned above, "Eagle Stamps." I gaze into his fierce eyes. We are old friends and have spent many hours together .

At 11:30 Aunt Grace arrives. "Where is your mother? "she asks indignantly.

"She'll be back in a minute." I say. "She's getting some new library books. 'I notice she already has a shopping bag with several packages in it. Aunt Grace fidgets restlessly for a moment, then takes off. "I have to pick up one thing from the basement," she says over her shoulder. "Stay right here." At 11:45 Mother returns, disappointed to find only me. I tell her of Aunt Grace's mission to the Basement Economy Store. "I'd better go see if I can find her, " she says. "Don't move from this spot."

At 5 to 12, both arrive from opposite directions. Aunt Grace is almost, but not quite. speechless with exasperation.

"My God. Hazel" she cries, "where have you been? I've been standing right here since 11 o'clock waiting for you." "Well, I don't know how you could," my mother replies, "because I've been standing on this spot waiting for you for almost an hour!"

I keep my mouth shut.

"Well, we'd better get some lunch," Aunt Grace says. "I've got a lot of shopping to do."

We head for the 6th Floor (Lamps, Books, Art, Needlework, Tea Room). "Not bad,'1 I think. Sometimes it takes longer.

The kids arrived at last and we got down to work. We started in the vast Ladies Shoe Salon on 3. Nothing. They sent us to Children's Footwear on 5. Nothing. But the woman there suggested the Basement.

Ah, the Basement--the noisy, chaotic, low-ceilinged Basement. My home. I was 14 years old before I got a pair of shoes that wasn't from Famous Basement. Rich kids got Stnde-Rites from the 5th Floor; I preferred Buster Browns from the Basement. Rich ladies got Red Cross oxfords from the 3rd floor; Mother chose Enna Jetticks (that's right, Enna Jetticks) from the Basement.

I looked eagerly for that memorable brand, but it is no more. The tables were piled high, as always, but now with a jumble of white joggers from Taiwan and brass-studded wedgies from Hong Kong. When I finally captured a sweaty harassed salesman, he could find nothing for us in the right size.

Back to 3, This time we found a buyer who said, "There's a little shoe department on the Main floor that sometimes carries unusual sizes. Look there."

Arid, of course, we found just what we wanted, I knew good old Famous wouldn't let me down.

The kids were tired. After only three hours! My mother and I would come, sometimes, at 10 in the morning and shop until they blew the trumpet to close the store at 5:30, And stand up in the bus all the way home. Kids today have no stamina.

"Wait just a minute," I told them. "I have to duck over to Cosmetics for just one minute." They groaned.

The Cosmetics Department is at the 6th and Locust corner of the store. It's all shining mirrors and crystal, all beiges and roses and corals and blood reds and tiny jewel-like bottles with atomizers sitting on round mirror trays. Painted ladies who look like movie stars wait behind the counters.

The Cosmetics Department is in the path to the bus stop. and we always pause here before going home. There are sample bottles of perfume on every counter. Mother and Aunt Grace feel that if Mr. May is so generous as to offer these goodies to his friends. it would be ungracious to refuse.

They are picking their way through, already reeking of White Shoulders and Shalimar. when Mother spots a huge bottle sitting on a tray.

"Wait a minute, Grace, "says Mother. "I gotta try that one."

We stop and turn. Mother has pointed the atomizer in the direction of her ample bosom and given the bulb three enormous squeezes.

"Ugh," she says, "too sweet," and absently brushes her front with her gloved hand. Lather and bubbles rise up on her coat. She rubs harder. More lather. More bubbles. She looks at the label for the first time.

"My God." she says softly, "it's bubble bath." The harder she rubs, the more bubbles appear

A crowd is beginning to form.

Aunt Grace is laughing uncontrollably. Tears are running down her cheeks, and she is leaning helplessly on a counter, legs crossed. (Aunt Grace's weakness is well known in the family; you make her laugh at your peril.)

Mother is alternately convulsed and panicked. She grabs her sister and gasps, "Quit laughing, you damned fool. and do something!"

Aunt Grace finally pulls herself together, extracts a large flat package from her shopping bag. Mother presses it to her bosom. and we exit to Sixth Street, trailing tiny bubbles.

I cased the Cosmetics Department. I wanted only good stuff. I dabbed a little L'Heure Bleu on the left ear lobe, a little Joy on the right; a spray of Chanel #5 for the right wrist, a touch of Je Reviens on the left. For old times' sake.

It was time to go home. We found the car and headed West into the sun. The kids. gasping, rolled down the windows to escape my overpowering scent.

I longed for the bus with its waves of heat rolling from under the seats and the Esther L. Fox (Superfluous Hair Removed Permanently!) advertisements over the windows to read and ponder. I missed the fat old ladies with faint moustaches who, if they found seats, would make their laps available to bundles and small children to help out the standees. I missed the smell of wet fur and face powder and chocolate petit fours from Busy Bee.

But listen, honey, you can't expect everything to be the same.

Responses from Mary Fels 4/14/2006 - Memoir #2


Godfrey, Illinois wasn't much when I used to go there as a child in the early '40s: a scattering of houses, a couple of white-steepled churches, a post office housed in the back of a grocery, a sandwich shop and tavern, a small brick high school in a dusty yard, and up from the hard road half a mile, the tracks and depot. It was hardly big enough to call itself a town. It was a whistle-stop then, five or six miles north of Alton, an hour's drive across the river from St. Louis, where I grew up.

Why does it have such a hold on me? I close my eyes now and smell its coal dust smells and hear its echoes. I spent large parts--the best parts--of my summers there when I was 8, 9, 10 years old, staying with aunt Corie and Uncle Elmer in their little house right on the edge of the railroad tracks.

I was a city kid, roller skating on the sidewalks, catching the streetcar to the Cardinal games, having lunch in the tea room at Famous-Barr downtown. But I'd leave all that like a shot for the chance to spend a few weeks in Godfrey. In the country.

Little fields of corn or alfalfa or soybeans, cow pastures, big vegetable gardens separated the houses there. I'd wake in the morning to sweet country sounds: cows bawling, cackling chickens, twittering birds. there was a pump of some kind out of sight up the track tapping all day long. "Tap," it would go, "tap," "tap-tap-tap-tap," "tap-tap-tap." I kept trying to work out some pattern in those taps. Never could. Like our days. No pattern. Just long, hot, lazy days with nothing to do and a million things to do.

The real attraction, though, was the trains, which regularly--gloriously--shattered our rural tranquility. They roared and screeched and hissed and clattered by, a mere 20 yards from the house, shaking the floors and walls, rattling the cups in the pantry, spreading a daily layer of soot on table tops and window sills, spitting tiny cinders in my hair, filling my imagination and dreams, providing drama and enchantment--a source of endless fascination and delight.

They rumbled past all day and all night. We were on the Alton Road's main line from Chicago to St. Louis, and during the war years the traffic was almost unceasing. Always when I first got there I'd bolt awake wide-eyed and terrified a dozen times a night as one of the monsters roared by, but by the third night I could sleep through earthquakes. I would become a railroad kid. Not even the teeth-rattling crack of switching cards could startle me. I loved those trains, loved them all. We had long rambling, clanking freights, boxcars painted with mysterious long numbers in the corners, their glorious names blazoned on the sides: Lackawanna, Chesapeake & Ohio, New York Central, Santa Fe, Southern Pacific--a whole geography lesson of names.

In between were grimy tank cars, flat cars with bulky mysterious shapes shrouded in tarpaulin (secret weapons we figured). All were pulled by huge black steam locomotives. We had sleek fast streamliners with white-coated dining car waiters lounging in the vestibules enjoying a smoke. They always waved. Engineers usually waved also; conductors sometimes. Boys in troop trains always waved. The windows of the troop train would become a blur of khaki arms.

But what for me was a kind of child's paradise was for Aunt Corie, I realize now, something else: a place of endless hard work chasing coal dust and grime, a place of very little money, a place shared with a demanding, often cantankerous husband 10 years older than she, a place of a grinding loneliness.

She would, every chance she got, escape to the city. She'd come over on a summer Saturday to indulge in a little shopping in downtown St. Louis department stores, then climb the bus to south St. Louis to spend the weekend with our family. Starved for conversation, she'd keep my mother up half the night talking on the front porch.

Along about Sunday afternoon, she'd say, "Hazel why don't you let the kids (my brother and me) come back and spend a week or so with me? They won't be any trouble." Pause. "And it's getting on to blackberry time." That was enough. I'd be up gathering shorts and tops and pajamas and one nice dress, just in case. And Daddy always gave each of us a dollar bill for spending money.

On Monday morning, lugging our oilcloth suitcases, we would trail Aunt Corie as she expertly threaded her way through the turmoil that was Union Station in wartime. She would march ahead, parting the crowds with her formidable satchel, casting a venomous eye and all-too-audible epithet on any hapless young man in civilian clothes. "Slacker!" she would hiss, "Draft dodger!" If her son were in the Marines, how dare they walk the streets!

Uncle Elmer's lifelong employment as a telegrapher with the road entitled Aunt Corie to a pass powerful enough to wangle all three of us a free ride. She would flash the magical pass at the gate and we would skip, our heels twanging on the granite pavement, through the vast, cool, smoke-smelling shed to a far siding to No. 11, a dusty, two-bit, three-passenger-one-baggage car milk train that would transport us to Godfrey.

We clambered aboard, happily breathed in the sooty, attic-like day coach smell. We patted the balding plush seats with white linen antimacassars (even on an old wreck like this, the linen was clean and starched). We pushed levers to adjust the seats. We loved the sudden lurch that began the slow backing out from the shadowy, vaulted station. The trip was always mercifully long--eating up maybe an hour and a half or two hours for the 30-mile journey to Alton. We stopped for everything: mail bags off, milk cars on, passenger--mostly train people like us--off, and on, a 20-minute wait on a siding for something important to go through. So we had ample time to pace, stagger, lurch up and down the aisles, treat ourselves to a dozen drinks of sooty-tasting icy water from paper envelope-cups at the end of the car, gaze out the windows, wave at anything that moved.

We would get off at the depot in downtown Alton within spitting distance of the Mississippi. My brother would hurl rocks from the levee into the muddy water as we waited for the dinky bus to take us up to Godfrey.

Our bus wound past the grain elevators on the river front, labored up the steep narrow streets of Alton (the last excuse for a hill you'd find before the flat prairies of Southern Illinois), out of town on the hard road, stopping at last at the Red & White store. We'd check for mail at the post office in the back, maybe buy a quart of milk to take home. There was a long block of half-paved road from there to the tracks, always lined, as I remember it, with lilac and snowball bushes, and clumps of tiger lilies and honeysuckle twining on all the fences. We turned at the depot, then down the cinders to the house..

It wasn't much of a house: white asbestos shingles outside, four tiny rooms within. The kitchen was dominated by a large, round, black oak pedestal table. Five or six high-backed wooden chairs, a monitor-top electric refrigerator and a big, enameled coal oil stove completed the furniture. The smell of coal oil clung to the house, our clothes, our hair--a good smell for me to this day. It evokes Godfrey--and pies.

There were all kinds of pies: blackberry cobblers and fresh peach and apple crumb and strawberry rhubarb with thick, sweet juices oozing over crusts so short they crumbled to the touch. Uncle Elmer was a quirky old man with a few passions--indeed, addictions--that demanded satisfaction: strong coffee, Lucky Strike cigarettes, Coca Cola and pie. He worked the 4-to-midnight shift at the Signal Tower and demanded at least one piece of pie to take for his dinner, another when he came home late, and by God, Aunt Corie better have them ready for him. Accordingly, she rolled out at least one masterpiece, sometimes a couple, every day of the world.

Behind the kitchen was Uncle Elmer's bedroom, forbidden territory to all. He worked late, slept almost until noon, and would not tolerate any women or kids messing with his newspapers and magazines. Separating his room and Aunt Corie's room was a tiny bathroom with a porcelain claw-foot tub. We washed off the soot there every night before bed in one inch of cold water with a bar of red Lifebuoy soap.

I bunked in with aunt Corie; my brother had a feather-bed pallet on the living room floor. The little living room with a fake oriental carpet and aging brown plush sofa and overstuffed chair was generally ignored. All socializing took place in the kitchen in winter, the screened-in front porch in the summer, made magic by the lush green vine that enclosed it on three sides. Aunt Corie had started that vine from a shoot years earlier, and it grew and spread and grew and spread. She had a way with plants; she could make a croquet wicket bloom if she had a mind to.

The porch was cool and green. Sunlight filtering through the leaves winked and danced on the linoleum floor. Uncle Elmer had constructed an elegant wood porch swing that took up one end, and on a sultry afternoon I would fetch a feather pillow and one of the ancient books from the case in the living room--"Tarzan of the Apes," "The Girls of the Limberlost," "Brewster's Millions"--lie in the gently swaying swing and read the day away.

But most days we were up and about, busying ourselves with homely little chores and diversions. We'd help Aunt Corie drag a wicker basket of wet clothes from the wringer-washer in the cellar and hang them flapping on the lines. We'd pull some weeds from her vegetable garden or gather up tomatoes or snap beans or lettuce, whatever was ready. We'd practice tight-rope walking on the rails of the train siding closest to the house; we'd poke around the cow pasture behind the house ("You kids watch where you step now!" she'd call. We'd walk a V-Mail letter to the post office or accompany her to a neighbor's on the other side of the tracks to buy some eggs or a couple of squawking chickens for Sunday dinner.

When Uncle Elmer decided conditions were exactly right, or he was in a mood to fool with us, he would take us to the pond beyond the pasture to pick blackberries. We had our clean 3-pound lard buckets, our snake sticks (any inch-thick branch we could lay our hands on, and any moccasin better look out if he saw us coming), long pants, long-sleeved shirts, anything not covered by cloth smeared with citronella.

We'd drag home hours later sweaty, dirty, pricked, scratched, maddened by chigger bites, penetrated by ticks, dying of thirst, teeth clogged with tiny blackberry seeds, but joyously triumphant with overflowing pails of dark purple berries. And dying to go again next day.

Some mornings a single boxcar would stand temporarily abandoned on the siding nearest the house. We'd clamber up the ladder, the cold iron rungs gritty in our hands, up and up into the sky. The cars were wondrously tall. A wooden walkway, about a foot and a half wide, ran the length of the cars--wide enough to walk with care, but deliciously scary. We'd walk it once to prove our courage, then perch at the center in lofty eminence to gaze at the world: the depot, Uncle Elmer's Tower, Mr. Doty's little store across the tracks, the house and garden, the pasture, the mass of trees concealing the pond, the tracks stretching straight ad flat into infinity.

Some days we'd go to town, faces scrubbed, hair combed, shoes polished, our spending money tucked into coin purses and carefully hidden deep in a pocket or purse. Aunt Corie would ease herself into her girdle, put on a little flowered something she had run up on the machine, finished with stockings, white shoes, a little black straw sailor and a circle of rouge on each cheek. We'd pick our way delicately over the cinders and down to the hard road to wait for the bus to town.

We had the afternoon before us. Aunt Corie looked longingly at the window displays of the Vogue, but saved her shopping for Young's Department Store, where she'd try on a few hats, spray on a little free cologne, buy a pair of stockings or remnant of yard goods, poke around for sales. We kids were docile, captivated by the system of little metal boxes carrying receipts and change that shot up and down and across the ceilings in pneumatic tubes.

We always finished up at Woolworth's--our treat. An agony of deciding. 'The balsa airplane or the paddle ball? The tin teapot and teacups or the Jeannette McDonald paper doll book? Money would finally change hands, and having once broken the dollar bill, we'd recklessly blow ourselves to a chocolate sundae at the fountain.

Sometimes on Uncle Elmer's day off he'd treat us to a movie in Alton, if there was a good picture at the Grand. A good picture was one that promised tap-dancing--another of his passions was tap-dancing movies. We saw them all: Fred Astaire, of course, and the Nicholas Brothers and George Murphy and Ann Miller and Eleanor Powell. Most were in Technicolor and Technicolor was a treat in those days.

We'd take the late afternoon bus back from town. As we walked up from the hard road, Uncle Elmer would draw his round nickel railroad watch from his pocket and squint at it a moment. "About time for No. 3," he'd say. And in a moment a whistle would pierce the air and No. 3 would flash by highballing-it down from Chicago.

And so we'd pass the summer days, sometimes on excursions but mostly poking around, exploring, making things, taking things apart, scratching bites, walking the tracks, picking at scabs on elbows and knees. Sometimes we'd have a contest to see who could swat the most flies in 15 minutes. sometimes we'd brig out a galvanized washtub, fill it with water and splash in it for an hour.

Along about 4, Uncle Elmer came up from his workbench in the cellar to go to work. He'd gather up his supper, his pie, his Cokes, his lantern and off he'd go up the tracks to the tower. I see him in his blue chambray work shirt and pants, black suspenders, stooped a , a little frail but with a shock of straight gray hair swept back from his high forehead. I see his trainman's cap with the brim bent in a perfect curved V. I hear his whistle. Always the same song, "Memphis Blues." (I was grown before I learned it was a real song and had a name.) The haunting, lowdown, sweet-sad notes would hang for a moment, then fade in the late afternoon quiet.

Later, Aunt Corie would fix some supper for the three of us and after we'd cleared up we'd mosey outside. We'd uncoil the hose from the shed out back and watch the spray make rainbows in the dying sun as she watered her petunias and snapdragons ad marigolds. I see her in her faded housedress and runover shoes, holding a petunia in her outstretched hand, making soft chirping notes, enticing a hummingbird that used to arrive every evening.

"Come on, Aunt Corie," we'd say, "you can't make a pet out of a hummingbird."

"Hush," she'd whisper, "you'll scare him." It would dart here and there, circle, hover, swoop and finally, its tiny wings beating furiously, pause at the flower in her hand, insert its long beak and sip, as we sucked in our breaths in wonder and delight.

As darkness fell, we'd drag out canvas lawn chairs to the front yard and sip sweet iced tea and fan ourselves and slap at mosquitoes and listen to Aunt Corie tell us funny or sad or spooky stories about when she was a girl.

Sometimes Uncle Elmer would come home during a lull between trains for a Coke or an extra pack of cigarettes. "You kids can come up to the Tower for a while if you want to," he'd say. We always wanted to, but we'd never go until invited. We walked a narrow line with the old man, and we knew he would not suffer savages gladly. We addressed him with "Yes sir" and "No sir" and never touched his newspapers or his pie or his Cokes, and never, ever, slammed the screen door in his presence. Thus proving ourselves civilized. We were tolerated, maybe even liked.

The Tower was a frame one-room affair about 8 feet by 20, perched on high stilts right at the edge of the tracks just beyond the depot. Most of the room was taken up by long cast-iron levers that controlled signal lights and switches. When a train's arrival was imminent, Uncle Elmer would spring gracefully from lever to lever, pulling some, releasing others. Nearest the door was his ancient, scarred wood desk. A green shaded bulb hung suspended from the rafters, and directly beneath was the telegraph equipment that filled the room with constant clatter.

Attached to the wall over the desk was a diagram of the track layout for the surrounding area, with a tiny light bulb marking each town. As a train approached they would light in sequence....Roodhouse....White Hall....Jerseyville....Godfrey.

We would play at the bottom of the Tower steps, chasing lightning bugs, until no more light was left. Then we'd troop up the wood steps to the Tower room, all in deep shadow now except for the bright circle around the desk. The telegraph would clatter, and Uncle Elmer's lean fingers would dance on the keys in response. The small lights on the map would begin to wink on.

"Looks like No. 8 will be along in a few minutes. Let's go down and wait for her."

He'd write a few words on a slip of paper, roll it into a cylinder and reach for a long-handled Y-shaped bamboo pole hanging on the wall. He'd twist the note expertly in the center of the string, looping the ends of the string on each prong. If I were very lucky, he'd say, "Ill let you hand up the orders if you're real careful and do just what I tell you."

A great compliment. A great responsibility. And scary.

At the bottom of the steps we'd point to a set of rails. "She's coming on that track yonder," he'd say, "and you kids might be able to hear her pretty soon." We'd kneel on the ties and press our ears to the cold steel. Faintly, ever so faintly, we'd hear--feel--a trembling, a thin high singing, a suggestion of the roar to come, as you hear the echo of the sea when you put your ear to a shell. The tremor would grow to a vibration, the vibration into a hum.

Up and down the tracks , the signal lights would glow red.

"Now, he'd say, putting the bamboo in my hands, "You stand right here" (only a few feet from the track!) "and when you see the light from the engine you hold it just so" (arranging my arms at the proper angle) "and don't go waving it around, but hold it steady." I knew I would, equally terrified of being crushed under the wheels and of the old man's displeasure.

We could hear her now as we waited in the darkness, a dim roar growing louder and louder, and then the long mournful whistle echoing in the darkened countryside. We'd see a tiny pinpoint of light far down the tracks growing larger, brighter, into a piercing beam as my brother jumped up and down with excitement and Uncle Elmer twirled the lantern round and round, making a glowing circle in the darkness. I would watch, transfixed, heart pounding, my trembling arms extended, clutching the bamboo stick for dear life as the massive engine grew larger and the sound swelled to an ear-splitting, screeching, grinding roar.

And then it was upon us, sucking my breath into its power and enormousness, its mammoth wheels higher than my head. I'd vaguely feel a little tug as a hand reached from somewhere above to snatch the string, vaguely be aware of a "plop" behind of the Chicago newspapers thrown from the cab hitting the cinders.

But mostly I'd be caught, suspended a moment in delicious terror and awe and exhilaration that had no equal. I'd slump exhausted as the boxcars and flat cars and tank cars creaked and rattled past. And then it was gone.

Uncle Elmer would gather up his newspapers and lantern. "Come on now, kids, I'll walk you home." All was quiet now, except for the crickets and locusts chirping a summer song, the crunch of our footsteps on the cinders, a few snatches of "Memphis Blues." His cigarette glowed a dull orange, and the swooping lantern made mysterious shadows on the tracks as we walked.

Sundays would bring a couple of carloads of relatives from St. Louis. We'd set up tables in the front yard, and my brother and I, armed with swatters, would massacre scores of flies drawn by the fried chicken and mashed potatoes with milk gravy, and sweet corn and green beans and sliced tomatoes and wilted-lettuce salad my mother and aunts carried from the kitchen. And pies.

After dinner the grown-ups would settle in for a long, furiously contested game of croquet in the back yard. They would play the afternoon away with cries of triumph and anguish, brilliant shots, terrible misses, insteps cracked with mallets, foolishness and laughter.

They'd play until darkness fell and they began falling over wickets and losing the wooden balls in the vegetable garden. Then we'd pack up and collect treasures and a big hug from Aunt Corie, then back again for one more hug. She would stand in the darkened front yard lit only by the glow of the yellow bug light suspended under the eaves, waving until our car turned by the depot and we were lost from sight.

Responses from Mary Fels 4/14/2006 - Memoir #3


St. Louis weather was often cold and rainy in late October when I was a kid in the 30's and 40's, but once in a while just a few days before Halloween a warm front would come drifting up from the south bringing Indian Summer. Kindergarten kids with orange colored-paper jack-o-lanterns and black witch's hats fluttering in their hands would peel off sweaters and jackets as they danced home from school. The warm breeze would swirl the crackling sycamore leaves covering the sidewalks, and the late afternoon sun would cast an amber sheen on the dark red brick of South St. Louis.

On South Kingshighway where I used to live, kids would be out racing up and down on their bikes taking care of important Halloween business. Miss Allen's confectionery across from school carried wonderful half-face masks (eyes only) in all colors at two for a nickel, and both kinds of candy apples--caramel-coated, and cinnamon hard-red-candy-coated. Baker's dime store, preferred by all the boys, offered full-face masks, a preponderance of which were of the zombie/ witch/ Dracula/ Frankenstein persuasion, all a ghastly green. They had the cheapest candy corn, and they featured a vast selection of wax lips, fangs, buck teeth, and multi-colored face dye. Most important of all, they had vats of dried peas, and pea-shooters. The Indian Summer Halloweens would throw everybody into a frenzy. The heat would generate some winners, some losers. Fairy princesses, Sonja Henies and drum majorettes would be delighted, relieved that for once they would not be required to wear corny winter coats over their splendor. Clowns in yards of heavy cotton and hoboes whose costumes depended on their fathers' old wool suit coats assumed they would fall over dead from heat exhaustion. But the event was worth the risk. Because when I was a kid, Halloween was one of the really big days of the year--right up there with Christmas and School Picnic Day at the Forest Park Highlands. It was partly the fun of dressing up, partly the anticipation of a big bag of free candy which did not have to be shared with brothers or anybody. But mostly, I think, it was the sheer joy of going out into the night with no supervision, prepared for danger and adventure (more imagined than real) to engage in a little mild mischief, to be masters of the neighborhood for one night.

There was such an Indian Summer Halloween in 1943 or 1944 when I was ten or eleven. All day we worried, as we did every year, that clouds would roll in and dump rain on everything. Mothers would be reasonable about a little drizzle, but a downpour would keep us inside.

We watched the skies and conferred with our confederates of the evening, planning routes, plotting vengeance on enemies, worrying about our costumes, dodging peas shot from illegal pea-shooters. Pea-shooters were tubes of tin about a foot long with wooden mouthpieces on one end. Every mother in every house was certain that some poor child's eye (probably her child's) would be put out before the evening ended. They begged and pleaded and warned against and sometimes forbade--as the school did--peas and pea-shooters. In vain. Every kid had a couple of shooters and a brown paper bag of hard dried peas. Every kid had a mouthful of peas which they propelled, ptoooo!.....ptoooo! through the mouthpiece. Sometimes in our excitement we swallowed a few peas, sometimes we cut our lips or fingers on the ragged edges of the cheap tin, regularly we got stung on the arms and legs and neck with pea missiles, but nobody ever got an eye put out.

My gang for the evening--my best friends, Joyce and Joan, and I--met many times during the day, making last-minute plans. Our fantasy was to find the arch-fiend, Willie Schmidt, alone that night, stun him first with peas and then punch him into insensibility. Willie was a plump boy with little piggy eyes whose sole aim in life was to make our lives miserable. He not only stole our jumping ropes, he threw them into the garbage; he put library paste on our chairs; he regularly stuck out a surreptitious foot to send us sprawling down aisles in the schoolroom; he poked sharpened pencils in our backs. We thought he looked like Herman Goering--not a young Herman Goering, but Herman Goering--and we wanted to destroy him.

And we had to determine which neighborhoods to hit. My Aunt Grace, who lived a few blocks away, was an attractive possibility. Uncle Al had friends with a candy distributorship and Aunt Grace not only had, but gave out, Hershey Bars, a rare (in war times) and much coveted delicacy. Further down the street from Aunt Grace was a row of large ritzy houses whose owners were capable, we felt, of giving out large ritzy treats. But to get there we had to walk past the cemetery right off Gravois, and although sophisticated kids like us didn't believe in spooks, there was no point in taking foolish chances on Halloween. We would stay, we concluded, in our own Kingshighway/Gravois neighborhood.

After school we flew home to wait out the agonizingly slow hours until daddies got home from work and supper could be polished off. We laid out our equipment, peas and shooters, cloth C&H sugar bags to hold our booty, chunks of Ivory soap. We got into our costumes. Since nobody in the neighborhood had any money, it came to be accepted, even preferred, that costumes must be concocted, not bought. We looked, in fact, with pity on kids who were forced to wear one of those sleazy, all-in-one-piece, painted-on skeleton or pirate costumes hanging sadly in the dime stores. We ransacked trunks and closets and bureau drawers; we begged odds and ends from neighbors and relatives.

My brother, Billy, two years older than me, had put himself together a costume that required hardly any effort at all--most of his outfit consisted of things he wore to school every day. He was going as a World War I Ace, specifically Errol Flynn, star of Dawn Patrol, which he had seen at least eight times at the Kingsland, our local movie house. All of the boys at that time were wearing knickers, high top laced boots, short brown leather jackets, and even leather aviators helmets with goggles attached. He was set. All he had to do was burn some cork to make himself a dashing mustache, retrieve from the bottom of Mom's cedar chest a white silk scarf with fringe to throw carelessly around his neck, and purchase a few chocolate cigarettes (wrapped in white paper with gold tips) to dangle from the corner of his mouth. He looked (he hoped) dangerous.

I went as a gypsy. My aunt, who had once been to Mexico years before, came up with a long gathered wool skirt of red and green zigzags. After that, everything was easy. I wore my peasant blouse (peasant blouses were big in the 40's--everybody had one), and we scrounged up about ten pounds of bead necklaces to cover my flat chest. I wore a bandanna, tied backwards around my head and attached large brass curtain rings at about ear level. Best of all, a gypsy costume suggested, demanded makeup the color of tan shoe polish to cover my face. The blond hair trailing from the back of my bandanna didn't matter because I couldn't see it in the mirror; the clunky brown oxfords and blue anklets didn't matter because who looked at feet?

We had arranged to meet at my house at 6:30. Billy had bolted his supper and was ready to go when his hulking friend, Richard, appeared at the back door. Boys, in those innocent times, thought it hilarious to dress up as "ladies," and Richard appeared as a glamorous movie star. He wore a lady's hat trimmed with feathers, and sported a silky print dress (stuffed extravagantly with cotton batting at the chest) just long enough to almost cover his knickers. Around his neck he wore his mother's old fox skin--the kind that had a real head with beady glass eyes and real teeth in a jaw with a spring in it so that it could bite the tail on the other end. He wore heavy layers of face powder, and rouge, a scarlet cupids-bow mouth, and painted-on eyebrows as thick as caterpillars. Fashion dictated high heel pumps, but Richard chose black high-top Keds, more suited to running through gangways and leaping back yard fences. Nevertheless, he was a knockout.

Billy and Richard set out at a run to meet their pals. They had business to take care of--soaping windows, swiping and hiding front porch gliders and chairs, knocking over bird baths, hanging gates from telephone poles, putting pennies on the Southhampton streetcar tracks, terrorizing girls--before they got down to the trick-or-treat stuff. Last year his mob captured half a dozen chippies (our name for those little brown-gray sparrows found perching on every telephone pole and window sill) and got them into a paper bag. They opened the victim's storm door and placed the bag inside, reached around the almost closed door and opened the bag, then slammed the door loudly to wake up the birds. They rang the doorbell and ran like crazy. It was a masterpiece. What would they think of this year? Mother, resigned, called weakly after the disappearing white fringe of his scarf, "Don't stay out too late--in by 9:30."

Joyce arrived first in a long white gown made from a sheet, white cardboard wings attached at the shoulders, and a coat hanger painted gold and fashioned into a halo. Joan, whose older sister had once spent a year's study at the prestigious Lucille's Dance Studio over Arnold's Hardware on Gravois, inherited a toy soldier's outfit: white satin jacket with epaulets and gold braid, long skinny satin pants, a tall shako atop her long curls. Her face was painted white, with a perfect red circle on each cheek. Pretty spiffy. She had a problem carrying the wooden rifle, the treats bag and the pea-shooter, and she spent most of the evening dropping and tripping over one or the other.

There was an unwritten contract at that time, well understood by all participants, that kids must perform in order to get a treat. The frugal Germans of south St. Louis demanded value for their goodies. It could be a song, a poem, a dance (Lucille's pupils could get by with a couple of time steps and a leap-shuffle-ball-chain with a little curtsy at the end), or even a joke. Kindergarten kids would sing "Halloween, Halloween/Oh what funny things are seen/Witches hats, coal black cats/ Broomstick riders, mice and rats." Boys mostly told knock-knock and moron jokes, and an occasional boy might recite something appropriate for the evening like "One bright day in the middle of the night/Two dead boys began to fight/Deaf policemen heard the noise/And came to kill those two dead boys." Joan, Joyce and I had decided to sing a screamingly clever song of the period which began, "Down in the meadow in an itty bitty pool /Fam three little fiddies and a mama fiddie too," and if people thought we sounded like the Andrews Sisters, we couldn't help it. We did our number to wild applause from my parents, and started off into the night.

It had grown cooler, and a breeze sprang up carrying a hint of winter and the smoky smell of burning leaves. The moving branches of the sycamores and cottonwoods cast deliciously sinister shadows onto the pools of dim light beneath the street lamps. There was little traffic on the streets, except for the occasional nearly-empty Kingshighway bus sailing down the boulevard. No grownups were out (part of the unwritten contract), but the sidewalks were alive with kids in threes and fours. Their high-pitched voices filled the air. Big kids were forced ("You take Mikey or you stay home!!"), or bribed, to drag along little ones. Little kids slowed up everybody and got all the attention from the grownups, but they could easily be swindled out of the best stuff in their bags on the way home.

We raced down the side streets for a while, pelting (well, trying to pelt--our aim was terrible) other kids with peas, hoping to find a car foolishly left on the street that we could soap, escaping bands of boys whose aim with the pea-shooters was much better than ours, looking, in vain, for Willie. We tore across terraces, lawns and even flower beds--a capital offense, normally, but the neighborhood cut us a little slack on Halloween. Greed, however, finally took over; it was time for trick-or-treat.

Most of the houses in the neighborhood were five-room brick bungalows raised on terraces above street level, with occasional two-and four-family flats on the corners. We'd run up the steps onto the concrete or brick front porches, illuminated dimly by a porch light, to ring the doorbell. The door would open wide, flooding us with light. "COME RIGHT IN," the grownup would shout, and we'd shuffle into the living room, blinking behind our masks, trying to turn Joyce's wings in the right direction. "Well, look what we have here!" the grownups would scream, "A soldier! A gypsy! I didn't know there were gypsies in this neighborhood. And a darling angel!" They were flabbergasted. Never had they seen such marvelous children. "I wonder who they could possibly be," they would say to each other. (More often than not they knew who we were, but they pretended otherwise so we could think we had transformed ourselves beyond all recognition.) Eventually, one would say, "Well, what are you going to do?" And we'd sing our song, with lots of personality on the "Boop, boop diddum daddum whatem, choo!!" part, and hold out our bags for goodies.

We went from house to house, street to street. We collected licorice whips, both red and black, candy corn, orange and black jelly beans, Wrigley's gum, jawbreakers, chocolate soldiers, Mary Janes, red hots, Holloway bars, gum drops and green-leaves and orange slices. We got apples and peanut brittle; we got homemade popcorn balls and caramel apples. Sometimes we met kids who gave us hot tips: "Schroeders are giving out whole boxes of Crackerjack!" or "Kellers are giving out dimes!" Maybe we'd shout to friends, "Don't go to that yellow house on Lisette. Their bulldog almost bit us."

Up and down steps we went, from street to street. We hit a dozen houses, maybe twenty, maybe thirty. We lost count. Our five-pound sugar bags were getting full; there were fewer kids on the street; porch lights were starting to go out. It was time to go home.

We were on Kingshighway, half a block from home when a big bus heading north on Kingshighway stopped in the middle of the street. The driver yelled to us, "Hey kids, come on over here for trick or treat." The bus, filled with soldiers, was obviously on its way from Jefferson Barracks, the nearby assembly point for newly-trained recruits.. My mother was standing on our front steps--her inner clock told her it was about time for us to get home, and she was out looking for us.

She extended an arm to hold us off. "Now wait just a minute," she said, running into the street. "I don't know if these little girls ought to get on that bus with all those soldiers" she shouted to the driver. The driver, a burly sergeant with graying hair leaned out the window. "It's okay, lady," he said. " I'm taking these boys down to Union Station to be shipped out tonight, and they just wanted to see some kids in their costumes. I'll keep an eye on them." Mother paused a moment, then nodded her permission. She planted herself in the middle of the street arms crossed, keeping the driver in her steely gaze. Daddy had arrived by then, to watch from the other side.

We climbed the high steps and boarded the brightly-lighted bus. The soldiers in their khaki uniforms, overseas caps pulled down to just above their eyes, cheered. The ones toward the back stood on their seats to see us. There must have been some home boys there. One called out, "Well, what can you do?"

This was a big audience, but we summoned up our courage and our voices and did our number. We sang our hearts out, and the soldiers went crazy. They clapped and whistled and shouted and stamped their feet. Betty Grable, herself, couldn't have got more applause.

"Go on back, now, with your bags," said the sergeant. Every soldier, some even apologizing, for goodness sake, because they didn't have candy, dropped coins into our bags. We saw nickels, dimes, even an occasional quarter, jingle into our sacks. We were rich! What a haul! There was maybe two or three dollars worth of change in each bag. Everybody we knew would be crazy with jealousy. 'Thank you.....Thank you" we shouted as we backed off the bus, and waved wildly as it pulled away. Mom rubbed her sleeve across her eyes; Daddy pulled out a handkerchief and blew his nose loudly.

Neighbors were out, drawn by the sight of the big bus in the middle of the street, and Mom and Dad drifted off to answer voices from darkened porches. The three of us, too excited to go in, huddled on my front steps, reliving our adventure: the sea of khaki, the clinking of coins, the faces of the cheering soldiers. We fancied ourselves to be, if not war heroes, exactly, at least patriots. We were, we felt, just like the U.S.O.--Entertaining Our Boys.

We hugged ourselves and shivered as a sharp wind knifed down Kingshighway from the north. In a moment we would go in and our Indian Summer Halloween would be over. Mothers would find pea-shooters and pitch them in ash pits; we would have our faces scrubbed with Ponds Cold Cream to get the make-up off; we would eat too much candy and rot our teeth.

But we didn't care.

Responses from Carl Schlanger, Manchester, Missouri; formerly of South St. Louis 4/14/2006

I vividly remember the Monkey Show at the Zoo. The whole spectacular thing included monkeys and ponies, skillfully trained by Mike Kostial who, as I recall, died unexpectedly quite young. With him gone, the show died. Then there was the Lions and Tigers Show, whose trainer was an elderly guy who wore a baret. The Elephant Show – pretty slow moving and fairly dull, as you would expect.

I recall riding on the back of the Zoo’s ride-able elephant, Miss Jim, and watching a huge, 20-foot-plus python being force-fed by 10 men using a ramrod on the lawn near the sea lion exhibit.

I remember the Zoo Rail Line coming into existence in the 1960s. A round-trip was all of 50 cents.

I recall riding on horseback from the site of Missouri Stables on Berthold, then through the tunnel – that still exists, I presume, beneath Oakland Avenue and Highway 40, then onto the cinder path that wound through the park – the one that’s now a paved bike path.

Responses from Rebecca (Boyce) Carty 4/26/2006

Dave, I grew up in South St. Louis and remember the rag man coming around looking for old rags. I remember the wonderful milk from Valley Farm Dairy and the Hot Tamale Man chanting his call of "Hot Ta-mal-es" that was when I was about 4 years old and lived on Gratiot Street and my dad worked up the street at Midland Truck Lines. I also remember when they were building Interstate 55 and razed the Recreation Center at Cherokee Park or also known as Lemp Park, it had an indoor pool and the water was always freezing cold! Can anyone remember the name of the hospital that was torn down at Utah and DeMenil Place. It may have been called St. Mary's I am not sure - I would love to know the name of that hospital if anyone remembers. Mr. Auer had the drug store at Lemp and Utah and Nick Farenti owned the Dino Dinosaur service station right down the street. I remember taking the bus to Marquette pool in the summer evenings, it had lights in the pool and looked so cool. Lastly, I remember digging worms for fishing in Shanty Town and almost getting carried away by the huge mosquitos. Thanks for the memories, I love reading and remembering with all my fellow St. Louisans.

Responses from Walt Nathan - Maryland Heights, MO 4/26/2006

I just happened to "run into" your wonderful web site while doing some research about the old Forest Park Highland. Many of the submitted memories really touched me. I grew up in South St. Louis near Tower Grove Park. After 8-1/2 years, I finally graduated from Rose Fanning elementary school. My most significant memory of my time at Rose Fanning was my infatuation with a beautiful blond girl, Marion Kehnel (?), who would never give me the "time of day". So, my first love broke my heart. Tower Grove Park was the site of many firsts, including my first square dance, first kiss, first cigarette, first driving lesson, etc. I started at Roosevelt High School, but certain behavior problems (NOTHING by today's standards) required that I start over at CBC where the Brothers literally hammered on me until I decided I would be much better off if I followed the rules. (Thank God for them.) While in high school I dated another beautiful blond named Marie Waligorski. I just knew we'd be married and spend the rest of our lives in total happiness. Guess what? One day she told me to "take a hike" and, shortly thereafter, married a guy named "Duke". So, my second love also broke my heart. Growing up in the 50's was a wonderful experience, once which I have often tried to explain to my daughter and her children, as well as the real love of my life (my wife) who is quite a bit younger and hails from, of all places, Boston. I lived in several other states and countries during a 30 year stretch (a 20-year Army career followed by jobs in the computer industry in the Washington, D.C. area). When I returned "home" in 1985, it was as if I had moved to a strange town as things had changed so very, very much. I now live across from Creve Coeur Park, which was considered the country when I was young. I remember all-day bike rides from South St. Louis to that park, as well as bike rides to swimming pools in Maplewood, Clayton, Marquette Park and, of course, The Highlands. I could go on writing "forever", but should stop living in the past and concentrate on today. Things have changed in style and substance, but in some strange way remain the same. We did "nuke drills" in school which required that we "hide" under our desks because we were certain it would only be a matter of time before the Russians would attack. Today, my grandchildren are aware that, at any time, our country could be subject to more terrorist attacks and nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran. Hopefully, the good will outlast the bad and, although there will never be another time like the 1950's, let us pray that the United States will finally be blessed with peace and continued prosperity.

Again, Dave, thanks for the memories.

Responses from Brian Miller 4/28/2006

I'm sure I'm repeating some of those already listed (but I love this 'Walk Down Memory Lane')
I graduated from Mehlville High School in 1971.........
Listening to wooden newspaper carts roll down the street on Saturday nights in south St. Louis and hearing the sing-song words "Morning Globe Paper"
Going to Woolworths, via streetcar, on Cherokee Street and having the best Chicken Salad Sandwich in the world!
Going to the corner bakery and getting a loaf of fresh baked bread for .25
Getting Bob Gibson's autograph at the opening a 'strip mall' on Union and Reavis Barracks Road in 1962.
Walking the 2 blocks to seeing the 'latest' movie at the Shenandoah show.
Always wondered exactly what was the Alhambra Grotto' whenever we drove by it (on South Grand).
Going to the Crest Show and seeing a double feature for .35
Having my Catholic friends tell me how lucky I was to be able to eat meat on Friday's.
Seeing all the buses at the 39th Street garage.
The highlight of the week was 'Gunsmoke' on Saturday nights...of course, us kids had to suffer through 'Lawrence Welk' before Marshal Dillon came on an hour later.
Playing 'Indian Ball' for hours, every day in the summer.
Playing 'Wiffleball' on the driveway (a home run was a ball hit across the street which landed on the neighbors lawn).
Taking what you had scraped off the dinner plates outside and putting it in a small can with a lid (next to the regular metal trash cans).
Coal being delivered down through an opening that was covered with a black metal plate.
Dad (and me feeling like I was helping) putting scoops of coal in the furnace.
Our first gas furnace and the removal of the coal furnace.

Responses from Peter in Arkansas 4/28/2006

I grew up in South County, but most of my immediate family was in South City.
KXOK Sing-A-Long Surveys
Hodack’s Dairy (Ice cream came in large metal containers with clear plastic bag liners
The Bear pits at Carondelet Park—having barbecues there and fishing at one of the lakes
Slushes at Quick Shop and getting brain freezes
Riding at night with no adults on the Red Bird Express that left from Velvet Freeze in Affton, where there was the giant ice cream cone out front, like the one across from Roosevelt High School. Walking home from the bus stop after the games—unheard of today. Gravois Creek
Getting spooked when driving past the City Hospital near Lafayette Park
My Dad threatening to put us in the prison (city jail?) that was off Broadway on our way to the Old Cathedral on Sunday mornings when we misbehaved Miss Hulling’s
Trader Vic’s
Switzer’s Licorice (getting fresh licorice in the lobby—it was still warm)
The Lennox Hotel
Bevo Days
The Watermelon Stand at the corner of Grand and Chippewa
Joe Lupo’s red and white ice cream truck
Band Concerts at Carondelet and Tower Grove Parks
Mavrakos Candy
Fleer Baseball cards for 5 cents—5 “flips” and a flat, dusty piece of bubble gum
Walking all the way to South County Mall on Holy Days of Obligation when only the Catholic kids were out of school—and probably never having more than a dollar for the trip
Thomas Street open air market (I think it was at 6th and Thomas).
Western Bowl
Red Bird Lanes
Chuck-A-Burger (They had those giant shakes)
Teen Town at Mary Magdalen (Wednesday nights during the summer and Sunday nights during the school year.)
Magdalen Lanes
Ronnies and 66 Drive-In
We were upset when we had to take our own popcorn to the show, because it was cheaper—we’d carry a big brown grocery sack filled with popcorn and plastic cereal bowls to serve it up in Friday Night Fish Fries at almost any Catholic Church (St. George’s was the best!!)
Ice Cream Socials at St. Cecelia’s

Responses from Betty/Lorraine 4/28/2006

How well I remember so many things about St. Louis. I lived on 2118 Blair Ave close to 14th st. near North Market. The neighborhood was not the greatest. I remember going to the Hiway theater when the first 3-D movie, "House of Wax" came out. Also Bwana Junction. I paid 10 cents, although I was 13 then and over twelve was I think a quarter. I got in for kids fare. Who remembers Cho Chose, a chocolate/malted frozen ice cream you had to rub between your hands to warm then slip of the covering. We got our first TV in 1953. Autry is our last name, we were teased a lot because Gene Autry was so wealthy and we were NOT. is missing, and I don't remember the kids names. I remember Tower Grove Park, our family had a reunion there a few years ago. We lived in St. Charles and Wellston, also Eureka and Times Beach, We lived on Evergreen in Wellston next to a mechanics garage, I found a dollar an thought I was rich, I used it to go to the move for a dime and bought junk with the rest. WE lived at the Big Chief cabins. when it was used as housing, it had once been what we call a motel today. I found some info about it on a website about route 66. Once in Wellston, the streetcar backfired, I ran into the house crying "The bombs are coming, the bombs are comingt, I hated to hear Gabriel Heeter talk about the horrible war going on when I was a child. "There's Bad News Tonight" I thought the backfiring was a bomb. One year the Meremac flooded and we were rescued by the coast guard and taken to the Baptist church to wait till the water went down. Many of the houses were on stilts near the river. I went to Eureka Grade School. We drank Royal Crown, that is still around though, I now live In Seminole FL. In the 6th grade I made all S's and wanted that E. We had a contest to name the school paper, "The Spotlight" won, I was second with " The Spyglass". Now there is a website, and programs, called "Spyglass". Interesting how things go. I became a dancer in 1955 and changed my name from Betty, to Lorraine, I have used Lorraine for 50 years. I danced professionally till I was 42, then went back to college nights, and became a bartender during the day. We lived in so many places, I remember Grand and Lindell Blvd, and the Woolworths nearby. I found your sight while looking for "Iveland Elementary School". Am I glad I did.

Responses from Rebecca (Boyce) Carty - Centerville, GA 5/3/2006

Romper Room
Cookie and the Captain
Phil the Gorilla and Mr. Moke.
I went to St. Agatha's and remember the paper drives, end of the school year picnics with the ferris wheel.
Mr. Softee trucks
Velvet Freeze Icecreams
Trips to Soulard Market for fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the farm
Nick the pretzel man, (hot pretzels are still available at the corner of Arsenal and Lemp.) Honey B's Cafe on Arsenal
Ice skating on the ponds at Benton Park
Cinderella Theatre on Cherokee and the Gravois Theatre.
Hills Brother's 2 pair for $5.00 shoes on Gravois.
Fishing Derbys at Benton Park
Sacks of hot White Castle Hamburgers
Hot glaze doughnuts from California Doughnuts
I remember when 16 oz bottles of Pepsi came out, they were so good coming out of the old chillers.
Taverns on every corner
Going to the Bush stables to watch the Clydesdales being groomed. My dad knew one of the grooms and he put me up on one of the Clydesdales, he probably could have lost his job for that, I felt like I was on top of the world!
Family picnics at Jefferson Barracks
Meeting Stan Musial at the Red Bird Lanes.
I of course don't remember being baptised but the officiating priest was none other than Father Dismas Clark, better known as the hoodlum priest. My godfather was Judge David W. Fitzgibbons and my godmother was Lucille Fife.
My first real job was at The Cherokee Outlet Dress Store on Cherokee St.
Fuller Brush Man coming to the house
Black Lights at school to check heads for lice
All the different character metal lunch boxes and the smell of bologna sandwiches permeating the lunch room.
Back then you could wander all over the city and were never bothered - those were the good old days!

Responses from Tom Caulley GA 5/3/2006

My boyhood phone number will forever be burned in my brain: EVergreen2-5506.

Remember window fans? We didn't own an air conditioner so we had window fans. How great that breeze felt as it was pulled in the window at night.

I remember my dad having to fill the coal hopper to be sure we stayed warm all night. Then in the morning he went to the furnace and pulled the "klinkers" out with a huge set of tongs. They were carried in a metal bucket out to the ash pit.

Remember transoms over the doors? They were there so they could be opened to allow warm air to circulate through the whole house. There were no forced air furnaces, only grates in the floor that allowed the heat to rise between floors.

I remember seeing the Mickey Mouse Club kids (at a distance as they crossed a foot bridge) at the Highlands.

In 1st grade we had something called "STAMPS" for sale on Tuesday and Thursday. You bought these stamps and when your book was full you exchange the book for a savings bond. The teacher would put up a sign that said "TOMORROW IS STAMP DAY."

I remember my mother doing laundry with an old wringer washer in the basement. She scolded me, "Don't get your fingers too close to the wringers!" Then she hung them on the clothes line in the back yard. Clothes that would need ironing were "Sprinkled", rolled up and placed in the "ice box" (her term for our fridge) until they were to be ironed.

I remember the Mad Mouse Roller Coaster at Chain of Rocks, and hot summer days at the Chain of Rocks Swimming Pool. I remember riding my bike from my house in Walnut Park, near Riverview and West Florissant out to Chain of Rocks Park, UUUUPPPPP those huge hills so we could speed down them as fast as we could. I had a speedometer on my bike and I remember how proud I was when I was able to get my bike up to 50 mph coming down those hills!

I remember telling my mom I was bored one summer day, so my friends and I walked from Riverview and West Florissant all the way out to Northland Shopping Center. A neighbor saw us there and took pity on us. He gave us a ride home.

I remember taking Sunday drives all the way out to Creve Coeur Park in the Fall to look at the trees' colors. Sunday drives, who can even afford them today?

I remember the OLD terminal for Lambert airport.

I remember a military display down where the Arch is today. I was a little kid and really impressed when they gave us a demonstration of a flame thrower.

I remember riding through Forest Park after the big tornado of around 1959. Looking at all the BIG uprooted trees, the roof partly off the Arena, and the Channel 2 broadcasting tower with the top-half down and laying on it's side.

I remember we had a police officer who lived down the street, Mr. Begley. When ever there was a problem in the neighborhood, we would tell Mr. Begley and he would "deal with it." Mr. Begley's son, Tommy Begley, became the Maitre 'de at Lombardos. Later Tom Became a priest, and is serving a parish somewhere in the St. Louis area, today.

I remember riding the bus downtown to stand in line and ride to the top of the Arch on the first day of public trips. Speaking of down town, does anyone remember a museum across from or near Bush Stadium that had all kinds of BIG BAND MACHINES? You paid your admission and then were given some tokens to play this giant mechanical band organs. The sound was deafening, but fantastic. Big Bertha was the best one.

My dad had some of the really OLD mills. The plastic ones you have pictured at the top of the page are the newer ones. The old ones were made of zinc, had the outline of the state on them and had the denomination of either a 1 or a 5 on them. I wish I still had some of these.

I remember my sister was a member of the Job's Daughters. She had to dress up in a fancy dress for some function. I think they met in a hall on West Florissant in Jennings.

I remember my dad getting mad when he would read the Katz add in the Sunday Post, then go to Katz and find they were already out of the item(s) by noon on Sunday. We went to 2 different Katz, the one near Goodfellow & Natural Bridge (Near Sam Sam the Watermelon Man's stand) and the other out at Halls Ferry Circle. I remember the pet department in the latter store was down stairs.

When I was between 10 and 15 I mowed lawns for spending money. One summer I scrimped and saved and ended up with $100.00!!! I thought I was the richest kid on earth.

When I was a teenager I worked as a car hop for Totes Big Boys at Halls Ferry Circle for 50 cents an hour + tips. One night Bob Kuban came in and I waited on him! What an honor! We were soooooo jealous of the hops over at Steak and Shake! They had way more business than we did, which meant bigger tips.

I remember the city schools (almost) NEVER called off school. I would lay awake listening to the school closings on the radio. I would hold my breath when I heard Northwest (I graduated from Northwest High on Riverview in St. Louis) then they would say House Springs, and my hopes for a snow day were dashed into a million pieces. In fact, I only remember the City Schools closing 2 times between 1955 and 1969. Once, they canceled school when I was in grade school because there was a janitors' strike and they couldn't fire up the boilers. Again, when I was in High School I trudged though a deep snow only to be told that school had been canceled. We were all in disbelief and argued with the teacher since we KNEW the City Schools NEVER called off for snow. I remember there was a family named Kustra that lived across the street from us on Gilmore. They lived in a house we all referred to as "the NEW house" since it we could all remember when it was built. They had a boy who was several years older than me, his name was Bobby. We lost track of the family and years later Bobby ( Bob Kustra) shows up as the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois.

Remember "TRICK OR TREAT, SMELL MY FEET, GIVE ME SOMETHING GOOD TO EAT!" Most of our costumes were home made. Most years I was a bum or a pregnant woman. We went all over the neighborhood by ourselves and our parents never worried about us. We collected our candy in an old pillow case.

I remember going to my uncles fishing cabin in Illinois. We had to go through Alton. There were huge tunnels in the bluffs and my dad use to tease that the Alton Giant used to live in them. I also remember driving past the Piasas Bird, the old one painted on the bluffs BEFORE they blasted it away to make the Great River Road. The Piasas Bird that's there now was put there after the "new" road was built.

I remember the water works at Chain of Rocks and the Work House off Hall Street (I think). My dad used to threaten to leave me there when I had been "bad."

My dad took me to the zoo once at feeding time. It was LOUD and it scared the heck out of me. I remember crying when Phil the Gorilla died. Then they stuffed him and had him on display in one of the houses. I remember my step grand dad. He had been a chef for the Baden Hotel, and early in his life he was a cook at the 1904 World's Fair, right on the Grand Blvd. near where the ice cream cone was invented.

I remember driving by the Krey packing house in North St. Louis. It smelled awful EXCEPT on bacon curing day, then it smelled wonderful.

I remember when the TV program ROUTE 66 filmed an episode about/in St. Louis and St. Charles.

And finally (for now) in today's gas prices of nearly $3.00 a gallon, I remember when gas stations would have GAS WARS. My parents would quickly go fill up the car at 25 cents or less a gallon.

Responses from Ron 5/3/2006

The Crossroads Restaurant on the site of the present Galleria at Brentwood and Clayton Roads.

The Candlelight Restaurant on Clayton road. A favorite "after the prom" dinner place.

The wild Woodson Rd. streetcar ride downhill along the Normandy Golf course. Late at night the young conductors would rip down that hill as fast as they could. When it hit the curve where the tracks merged into the Rock Road those old wooden cars would creak and sway to the delight of all of us who urged the conductor to "open her up".

Stix, Baer, and Fuller Department Store was always referred to as The Grand Leader.

During the war the semi permanent squad tents erected in Forest Park across from the Barnes Hospital for the use of service men in transit without hotel accommodations.

The wonderfully knowable hardware salesmen at the Wellston Central Hardware. You could buy a ten cent washer and get $20 worth of advice.

Responses from Mike 5/11/2006

I'm hoping you can help us out!

We live in Mission, Kansas, lived in St. Louis up to ten years ago; I served as the program chaplain for the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center on Washington, for three years.

We are GREAT Cardinals fans, and we even own a few of the actual old stadium seats from Sportsman's Park, on Grand, from the 1920s, or '30s!

My question: some of seats we have, are PAINTED "red white and blue", very faded; (I can forward picture); I'm trying to locate someone who either worked at Sportsman's, or attended games there, that might remember the "patriotic painted seats", and whether it was to honor veterans, or ???

Thanks for reading; would enjoy corresponding with others with baseball memories of old Sportsman's Park---

(Editorial Note: If you can help Mike out post your response to Dave Lossos

Responses from Tom Caulley, FL (Continued) (5/11/2006)

[email protected] or [email protected]

I remember there were bars and confectioneries on almost every corner. Our nearest confectionery was Evey's on the corner of Harney and Gilmore. We bought Dots and Switzer Licorice (Red and chocolate, never black), Milk Duds, wax-teeth, wax soda bottles full of cool aid, snow caps and many other penny-candies. She sold drum sticks or brown cow ice cream treats. Remember chocolate sodas? I remember trying to buy Sen-Sens once, and she told me I wouldn't like them. I insisted, and she was right. They tasted like soap to me.

I was a NORTH SIDER and I remember there was always a rivalry between the North Side and South Side of the city. If it was south of Forest Park, we knew little about it. I graduated from Northwest High on Riverview in '69. Our chant was "'69 IS MIGHTY FINE!". Our biggest rival was Southwest High.
I remember guys on street corners selling big stick pretzels, soft on one end and hard on the other. 5 for 25 cents. What a treat it was when we could talk Dad into buying us a bag.

I remember my mother always waited to buy her new brooms from the blind man who came door to door. He worked for the Lighthouse For The Blind and they made the brooms by hand.
I was too young, but my sister remembers when we would put a card in the window telling the ice man how much ice to deliver. I remember when St. Louis had only 3 TV stations, Channels 2, 4 and 5. Next came channel 9 and later they added channel 11 which showed mostly reruns.

I remember when they built/made a banked bike track in Penrose park at I-70 and N. Kingshighway. How fun it was to race around that track as fast as we could.

Speaking of Kingshigway, I remember taking a tour of the GM plant with the Cub Scouts. I also remember the old St. Louis Public School Stadium. Every year they held a circus there, and I could watch the fireworks from my upstairs bedroom window on Gilmore.

I remember watching the ROBIN SHOW burn down (in the early '50s) from my bedroom window. I was VERY young then and that is one of my first memories.

I grew up in Walnut Park and remember so much about Walnut Park Grade School.

I hear Walnut Park Grade School is now hosting the kids from Herzog, while their school gets air conditioning. Before they moved in, Walnut Park School had been relegated to being a community center.

I remember selling School Booster Cards for $0.25. People put them in their windows and the money helped pay for our school picnics. The purchaser filled out a slip, which we took back to school. The slips were put in a big drawing for some sort of prize. The kid who sold the most boosters got a prize too. I never won, but I tried hard. First we had a parade, then we were taken by bus to an amusement park. When I was younger the picnics were at the Forest Park Highlands. After the Highlands closed, they were held at Chain of Rocks Amusement Park.

I went to Walnut Park Elementary from 55-65. I remember we had the playground divided in half with a painted white line, with a boys' side and a girls' side. In the back of the playground there were swings, a merry-go-round and a kind of swing/merry-go-round combined (you held on to chains and lifted your feet, then it was spun around and you kind of were lifted up by centrifugal force). There was a shallow wading pool on the girls' side and it was covered with a wooden cover. There were all kinds of activities there in the summer time. I remember making pot-holders on a small metal loom.

The kindergarten room was huge and covered one end of the building. We all went down there to watch Alan Shephards space flight on TVs up on stands.
The primary rooms were on the 1st floor. Miss Mason - Kdg, Mrs Heideman - 1st, Mrs. Gunn - 2nd (Her father was the president of the Board of Aldermen), and Mrs. Leuben - 3rd. The 2nd floor had the upper grades: Mr. Todtenhausen - 4th, Miss Beckman - 5th, Miss Bryan 6th and 1/2 of 7th, and Mr. Neel - 1/2 of 7th and 8th. The principals were Miss Pearle, Mr Tybura and Mrs. Schaperkotter.

The Gifted Kids had rooms on the other end of the 2nd floor. I only remember one of their teacher, Mrs Enright who was in charge of the Safety Patrol (I was a member and the Captain).

There was a 3rd floor, but I never got to see it. There was only one staircase for it so the fire department wouldn't let the school use it.

Many of my friends went to Nativity of Our Lord School, NATIVITY for short. The boys wore blue trousers and white shirts. The girls wore blue plaid skirts and white blouses. They, the girls, could NOT wear slacks to school, even on cold winter days. I remember watching some of the Nativity girls slip into the alley behind our house and pull off their slacks, which they wore under their skirts, before school, AND put them back on after school. They kept them in their BOOK BAGS during the day.

I remember taking the stairs UP the bluff at Chain of Rocks once. It sure was a LONG climb.

I remember going to the RIO show on Saturday afternoons. The line for Rodan was so long it went around the corner on to Harney. Then there were the times the Duncan Yo-Yo guys would come and put on a show BEFORE the movies. I remember when THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL showed. I was so scared I left the theater.
After dances in High School we would take our dates to Lombardo's on the corner of Riverview and W. Florissant.

I went to church at Salvator E&R (later UCC). In the summer we had the BEST Bible School with crafts and wood working.

On Robin and W. Florissant was Hartman's Drug Store, and on the corner of Gilmore and W. Florissant was Cousin Collin's Paint (and junk) Store. While in high school I worked a couple of seasons for Norbert Collins selling Christmas trees.

I remember going across W. Florissant into the vacant end of Calvary Cemetery to fly kites in the summer time. We also played at a large open area that later became Dwight Davis Park. If dad was in a good mood, he'd take me over to O'Fallon Park so I could run and play in the woods. He loved to drive on "Hairpin Turn" in O'Fallon Park, until I-70 was built and it was destroyed.

We also made "Go Carts" or coasters out of some old small wheels and spare wood, then we raced them down the alley. Older boys, members of the ACs, played "bottle cap baseball" at the end of the alley.

In the summer we would have camp-outs in the back yard. We'd pitch a tent and pretend we were out in the wilds.

In the winter we went sledding in several places: down our street, at O'Fallon Park on "Humpback Hill" until it was destroyed by the construction of I-70, at Laboure High School or occasionally down at Art Hill. We often had snowball wars and built snow forts. In the summer it was water balloon fights. And we ran through the sprinklers to cool off.

I remember the men selling strawberries from trays as they walked down the street. And the knife sharpener, and the guys with the PD wagons selling Sunday's paper on Saturday night.

I remember playing hide-and-seek until it was too dark to see. and sitting on our front porch swing, catching lightning bugs, riding bikes everywhere (with balloons or baseball cards in the spokes) and the milkmen from 2 dairies - Pevely and Quality, Only the milk man from Pevely Dairy would give us kids ice in the summer time.
In the summer we'd pitch tents in the back yard and have camp-outs.

I remember riding my bike on I-70 by Riverview Blvd BEFORE it was open for car traffic.
I remember Hallsferry Circle, with the Katz Drug Store and Steak and Shake.
I remember the smell of leaves burning in the Fall.

My grandma lived over near Fairgounds Park. I remember there were guys in that area that sold Hot Tamales from a cart. I can still hear their "cries" today. "Hot Tamales Get me while they're hot. Red Hot, Hot Tamalllllliiiiieeess."

I remember standing at the kitchen window when the earth quake of 1968 hit. It was a Saturday Morning, around 11:00 A.M. I think. The ground rippled like a pond when you drop in a stone. My dad was in the basement and said it felt like he was riding in a row-boat. I remember some chimneys collapsed, and they interviewed the people who were up in the Arch at the time.

I could go on and on and on, but I won't.

Responses from Larry (5/12/2006)

Its so good to hear from the north side, I too am from Walnut Park School, graduating in 1955. We had the same teaches for the entire school career Including Miss Beckman, Mr. Neel ( still living, but in a nursing home), Mrs Lueben, Miss Gaebler, Mrs Bryan ( whose husband was the grandson of William Jennings Bryan and she would never let you forget it) Miss Bowen.

I remember the divided playground and having to sit on the bench on the girls side if you were bad. It was humiliating. The summer playground program in the city was second to none. Activities, Coaches, crafts, playing checkers and mill. The coaches putting up the swings each day. Great times. The third floor in Walnut Park was always a mystery. I heard there was an auditorium up there, but we were never allowed to go up there. It was a wonderful school. I hope they bring it back.

Responses from Shane Fox (5/18/2006)

Alright. This really bites because it is going to give away my age, which of course no one can actually tell by looking at me.

I was an Alton/Woodriver boy with grandparents living in St Louis, on Hamilton. It's all pretty much bombed out now.

For me St. Louis was an exotic, far-off place. A big city where all the kids were more sophisticated than I. They all surely were in on something O wasn't.

As a little boy, I remember riding the elephant, Miss Jim, at the zoo. Lore had it that she had been purchased with the saved pennies of school children.

We used to take street cars to the Fox and the other big movie house. Then we'd get bags of White Castles to eat on the trip home. Grandma always had to fish and dig in her little coin purse (that she carried inside her main purse) for her "mills", --tokens for the street cars. I'll never forget the small boy feeling of impatience and embarrassment as she'd squint her eyes, purse her lips and start poking and jabbing her index finger in that little braided coin purse to separate the mills from the real change.

We would picnic in Forest Park, and go the museum or later at night to the "Muny"? for a show.

We were Browns fans, my favorite was "Jumping Jim Rivera". My parents, after the game, used to go across the street from Sportsman Park, to a dark little beer joint run by an Italian lady named, I think, Dodie Crivello. The ball players used to come running in, some still in their uniforms, and chug down a couple of cold beers after the game.

There used to be a place in St. Louis where you could buy the best cheesecake in the world. Not a pasty and sweet confection like to today's, but slightly sharp, tart and puckery to the taste, as though they had used real aged chedder.

I remember the ubiquitous Milettios (sp) fish trucks at every outdoor event, with portable deep fry machines where you could get these really tasty ocean perch on rye slathered with tartar sauce sandwiches. Washed down with ice-cold Griesedieck beer.

A few years ago I wrote a column about Union Station during WWII. The noise, the flashes of color of the uniforms, and the red caps hustling bags for tips and the conductors, stern and officious dressed in mortuary black.

Isn't that where there was a fountain with huge sculptures of horses and such spewing water from their mouths?

As an older punk, juvenile delinquent, with my step brother, Ned Cotter and his pal, Johnny Dolan, I used to hang out around the second floor pool hall at Grand and Olive. Downstairs was an old-fashioned bar, with waiters in white aprons with hams, roasts, cheeses, steam tables of great food to be washed down with schooners of cold beer.

Upstairs some serious pool went on with hustlers, gangsters, small-time thieves and hoods and wannabe punks like me hanging around, running errands and spotting fish for the sharks.

In fact, I came across this site trying to find an old jailhouse poem that I learned at that pool hall.

I can only recall the first stanza:

"Say, you shoulda been with me last night about half past ten. That's when all the poll sharks started comin' in.

In came Coco Brown, you could tell he was a cat by the clothes he wore. A nice six-button benny and Stacey Adams, brand new from the store."

If this resonates for anyone, please feel free to contact me. I am really trying to track down the words to the entire poem.

Oh yeah, went we weren't at the pool hall, or stealing hub caps we'd hang out down at The World striptease theater trying to sneak in and solve the mystery of life.

Me poor old sainted mither would'a boxed me ears offen me if she'd a knowed what I was up to. And rightfully so.

Responses from Scott Reid (5/18/2006)

Hi dave;
I have been reading the stories here, very interesting stuff.
Anyway my Boy Scout Toop just finished renovating the chappel at camp irondale. and we would love to here from folks who went there so if there is a way you could get the word out to those who write you that would be great.
Thanks, Scott Reid Scoutmaster697 [email protected]

Responses from Otto Rieben (5/24/2006)

Glasgow Village north county resident now residing in Affton south county.. Yes I remember the earthquake in I think 1968 in St. Louis. I was playing army in the woods with my friends and it made me fall down. I was 11 1/2 years old.Remember sonic booms from the airplanes in the 1960s? I remember cars lining up to race on Hall Street on the weekends big time. Cruising through "circle steak" steak & shake at the Riverview circle. "CPO" jackets the boys wore in grade school. I do remember Chain of Rocks amusement park. I could walk to it,was only 1 !/2 miles up my street, if that, on Spring Garden Drive. Or you could take Lookaway Drive, or take the Park hills roads off of Riverview Drive. I spent many a day there in the two decades I was able to go till it closed. I took swimming lessons there in 1966. I remember going across the old Chain of Rocks Bridge, 20 cent toll each way for people, unless you were a 6th district cop like my father.In which case it was free toll and also free admission to the North Drive-In usually. I remember the North Shore pool & golf course by the old COR Bridge. too.

Responses from Anonymous (5/29/2006)

I love this site! We lived in South St. Louis (Mallinckrodt and St. Joan of Arc area).

My brother was a paper boy and had these huge carts on wheels. We smaller kids could actually ride standing up in them!

The corner candy stores were the best.

Eating lunch upstairs at Famous and Barr with Mom was a huge treat. And yes, we had to dress up to go shopping.

Playing in the allies with neighbor kids was the best. My brother and his friends would always build huge ramps and keep them there for a week. And when it rained we would put on our bathing suits and play in the puddles and build damns. (YUK!)

We always played in the rain. That never stopped us.

My Mom loved to eat at Steak and Shake. We would pile in the back of the station wagon (no seat belts) and they would bring the food to the car. We never had to go in!

I remember the milkman. Yes there really was a milkman! We had a silver insulated box on our back porch and he would bring milk every week. It was great!

We lived close to the hill so we had Italian neighbors. They owned Ron & Shirley’s. Does anybody remember them? It was the best pizza around. When Pizza Hut came in my Dad refused to let us eat it because he said “it was not real pizza”!

We also used to get Poor Boys at a local deli. They were nothing like Subway.

The neighborhood kids would always walk to school together.

My sister and I were “bluebirds”. Does that group even exist any longer?

Mom’s never worked so the neighborhood mom’s would always get together for “coffee”.

I remember going to see the fireworks by the arch. There was no fair at that time so we took a blanket and had a picnic.

The best memory was just playing with the neighborhood kids. Didn’t matter if you were a boy or a girl or if you were in the same grade. Everybody played. You always knew the “mean” houses and who was nice. Kids would go home to eat and meet again afterwards. Many of the parents would gather in someone’s backyard and drink beer while the kids played.

You were NEVER allowed to interrupt Dad when there was a Cardinal game on. You could watch it with him but don’t be a pain.

I remember Mom & Dad bowling every Wednesday night at Brunswick lanes. Sometimes we would get to go and play with the other kids.

Another memory I have is the size of the sewer drains on our street. They were huge. I was little and was always afraid of falling in one. We would always lose balls down them.

It was a big treat to get pretzels from the pretzel guy usually at Southwest Bank. They might still have these but I do not live in St. Louis anymore so I really miss this.

Responses from Lynn McCully (Calvert) (6/1/2006)

This site has made me cry but they have tears of joy and wonderful memories. I grew up in St. Louis during the 60's. We lived in South St. Louis off Grand Ave. on McDonald. We practically lived on Grand Ave. We went to The Ritz unless The Shenandoah had better shows. We ate at Tillman's on the corner of Grand & Arsenal. I attended Horace Mann Elementary and went to Roosevelt for high school. I remember so much…

Saturdays spent Downtown. Johnny Rabbitt would broadcast from Stix, Baer & Fuller or Famous Barr..I can't remember which. We always went and came home with great giveaways.

I remember when there was only one Imo's over on Thurman and only 2 Ted Drewes….Chippewa and one on Grand by Cleveland High School.

Steak and Shake when they still had carhops.

Playing in Tower Grove Park and no one ever worried about anything bad happening to us.

End of the school year picnics out at Chain of Rocks

Going to dances in church basements and hearing The Younger Brothers and The Black Zone

Free concerts at The Pavilion in Forest Park. I saw CCR and Janis Joplin there!

Our phone # was Prospect 16379

Every neighborhood had it's own grocery store, bakery, hardware store, dry cleaners, Laundromat, gas station, beauty and barber shop.

Watching the Arch being built and listening to my dad talk about what a waste of taxpayers money!

The old Coral Courts Motel. That place always gave me the spooks!

The AMAZING muscle cars and cruising all night long and drag racing down on Hall Street. The cars would be lined up for what seemed like miles! The cops would come and run us off, but if you went back a few minutes later, everyone would be there lining up to race. What great times those were. The WONDERFUL music of the 60's was blaring from every car speaker.

I remember the earthquake in the late 60's and the amazing thunderstorms that would just suddenly spring up. There's no storm like a St. Louis storm!

I could go on and on, but I have lived in Michigan for twice as many years as I lived in St. Louis and I will probably die here…but, St. Louis will forever be home. Those were the sweetest years of my life.

Responses from Chuck (6/8/2006)

Phone number was COlfax 1507
Worked at the Victory Theater right after the name was changed from Mikado.
Worked at the St. Louis Theater when they still had live organ music during intermission.
Remember working at Sam the Watermelon Man's outdoor eatery and getting Bob Hope's autograph when he came to visit Sam, a friend of his.
Remember the sled rides down Art Hill in Forest Park.
Remember the Wonderland Skating Rink, the Crystal Skating Rink and The Arena Roller Rink. Yes, the Arena was destroyed when a tornado caused a radio tower to collapse on it.

Responses from Sandi (6/12/2006)

I live in California now, but grew up in Belleville, Illinois – (EX 7-4282). I spent lots of time in St. Louis as a kid. Here’s what I remember:

Hot weather in summer and Harry Carry always in the background. I remember hearing my Grandpa rave about Enos Slaughter and Julian Javier – such exotic names to me...

Texas Bruce and the Wranglers Club – Hi Mom, Hi Dad, Hi Everybody!

My mom taking me out of school to St. Louis to go shopping. We would ride the bus and then walk to Famous or Stix or sometimes Scruggs (but it was a long way). I felt very mature to have lunch in the tea room at Famous (I think) especially when they had the models! Sometimes we had lunch at the Hasty Pudding shop in Scruggs where they brought the salads around to the tables on little carts – so cosmopolitan! On the way back to the bus, we would always walk past a place where there would be buckets of flowers for sale – it was a dazzling site to me and we always bought some. I haven’t been able to pass a flower market since!

From time to time, getting a manila envelope full of Mavrako’s chocolate chunks when I was in college. MMMM! I was in the marching band at Signal Hill School and for a number of years, we would march during halftime at the Hawks games. Can you imagine a bunch of elementary school kids marching at a pro basketball game now?? Listening to KXOK and Johnny Rabbit on my transistor radio.

Drag racing on Hall Street

My parents going out for a big evening at the Lennox Hotel and bringing me back loooooonnnnggg straws that came with their drinks.

My father bringing home shrimp and Alaskan Crab claws from Mellitios (spelling??) at Christmas and German Chocolate cakes and Christmas bread (probably panettone) from Miss Hullings.

When I was a senior in high school, having dinner in St Louis at my first ever Chinese restaurant (I think it was called Miss Lee’s) and being blown away by how different and good the food was – remember, at that time (for me at least),– a Belleville girl), I-talian was really exotic.

I remember going to St. Louis on Sundays and in the drug stores, the liquor would be covered by big cloths because they couldn’t sell it on Sundays.

Now, my daughter has joined Teach for America and will be teaching in St. Louis – strange how things come around... Great site!

Responses from Peggy Hapke Lewis (6/14/2006)

Terryhill 3-5987
Yorktown 5-7496
In the summer of 1949 we moved from the 1100 block of Lafayette Avenue in St. Louis to Kirkwood. We lived right next to the old Kirkwood High School which is now Nipher Junior High. Lots of our childhood fun revolved around the school and its grounds. Knowing the janitor, Mr. Ford, let you in on roller skating in the halls after school, and he'd even let you follow along, picking up discarded pencils and pieces of unused notebooks as he cleaned. You just had to avoid the tobacco spittle. For more serious collectors, there was the school dump. It was what was left of an old two-story house we were all sure was haunted. Two elderly sisters had lived there, and after they'd died the house was torn down leaving just the basement, which the school had appropriated as their dump site. That's where my best friend Judy and I found all the brass keys after the school changed their locks. I think I still have a couple of those keys in a drawer. The dump drew rats we had to avoid. They were big as cats, and not too shy. There was a huge woodpile next to the dump, and the neighbor kids spent hours there playing cowboys and Indians, army, and restaurant. We served up twigs and acorns on giant leaves. We also wrote songs and performed them on a makeshift stage consisting of two stumps holding a long board. It was during my presentation of "Baby Joe, You Broke My Toe" that my already-high voice hit a new octave as huge rat sidled under me. That dump was the setting for a good-bye scene played by two great friends. Judy and I were playing on a spiral stair railing. As we stood on each end of it rocking and rolling back and forth, it somehow flipped and rolled over onto both of us. It was pressing on our stomachs, and as we felt the breath leaving our lungs, we said our dramatic farewells, then gave one last heave rolling the railing right off. We looked at each other, stood up and went back to playing. The resilience of youth!

Responses from Tony Meglio - Seven Points, TX (6/14/2006)

My family owned and operated Luigi's Restaurants in the St. Louis area from 1953 until 1981. I found your site somewhat by accident as I was searching for web information on the death of my grandmother. Apparently, KMOX mentioned on the air back in May that "Mama Luigi" had died and I was trying to get info regarding that announcement.

FYI, although Luigi's Restaurants are no longer in operation, my brother has opened a new restaurant in Bridgeton in December, 2005. His restaurant is called Meglio's Italian Grill and Bar on St. Charles Rock Road near I 270, and it will feature original Luigi's dishes (marked with the old Italian chef logo) as well as his own recipes. For Luigi's pizza lovers, he has brought back the original and it's as good as any I've tasted.

I saw a ton of familiar references from people on your site (though the thought of a St. Louis Rams football team still does not somehow work for me...).

Responses from Brenda Umphres (6/19/2006)

I grew up in St.Louis. I went to Elliot School.Wich was in the Grove & Pleasant Ave. area. And I remember how at the end of the school year, and other field trips we would always go to the Greatest Places; onboard the SS Admiral, we had it all to ourselves. And I remember the live band...You know that's all we did, was stand around and listen to the music. One year, I wanted to get up on the stage and sing a song in the talent show,but I was to afraid,so my friend said let's go in the bathroom and you can teach me the words to that song and I'll sing it...that was about in 1970...I 'll never forget that. What was the name of that song...and what was her name? I can't remember...But those were some of the greatest times of my life... The Chain of Rocks Amusement Park...Bush Gardens, And The Arch... And Let's not Forget Shopping at Sears & Roebuck...Gosh, how many times I've told my Children those stories...I was called Susie back then...& that Song, tho I can't remember the name of it, was by, Hank Williams...and I was proud tho terrified at our ages for her to get up there and sing it...It was pretty wild...

I'm glad I found this Website...I was just thinking of her and all this a day or to ago...this is long and I apologize, but I was the Poster Girl for the United Fund there in 1961...I lived with my Great Grandmother, and times were hard...But we sure had great friends, and great times. And a Great School. They always had something great in store for us.

Once we even danced Live on Television at The Keyl Auditorium, for wich they had brought in a special dancing instructor to prepare us, and they always had other programs going on during the Summer...

I often wished my Children had & were going there...Well, about that song, she didn't win the prize, but she sang it, and she did it well...Well, Here's to our childhood, and Here's to St.Louis...The Gateway To The West...Long may She stand......And, Thank You..........I'll be back to you again someday.

Responses from Brenda Umphres (6/19/2006)

I just sent one set of memories about Ellit School wich I attended back in the late 60's and early 70's...But this is Fathers Day, and I just have to do this again...

My Mother & Father were divorced when I was born and I went to live with my Great Grandmother...I was the Poster Girl for the United Fund, Probably in 1961, at the age of Three...Life was O.K....but pretty lonely...She worked probably till she was 65...She was only 75...when I left home to join my Mother in Louisiana, at the age of 15...( By that time I was already Lost to the World )...

St. Louis was Great now that I think about it...So was Louisiana...and so was Florida...

But no place can take take the place of any where my Family is... My Father lives in Illinois...My Mother still lives in Louisiana...I have other Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, Grandmother,etc....and I have Lived in Arkansas for 25 years...

If there is any way my Father should happen to find this Web Site and find this arrticle, I just want him to know,that durring all my years of growing up in St.Louis, All my trips to all the stores downtown, all my pictures on the city buses, I just want him to know...That even tho I loved those pictures on those city Greatest Memory, was knowing that he was my Father...

And of all my Memories of St.Louis....He was the Greatest............. I was taken to visit my Dad a few times when I was 2 or 3...and then didn't see him again until I had grown, married had a child.........I hadn't seen him then for 18 years, or known his whereabouts, So while visiting St.Louis, went to a local post office and was talking to the postmaster, Downtown, and he told me that I should go to the Main Library and look thru some old telephone directories......I couldn't have imagined such a thing ever doing any good, but you wouldn't believe I found the number for the last place he had worked.......they gave me his brothers name......and all it took was that one phone call...!!!!!!.......I was sitting with my Father that night....

So, if you don't mind.......This is for you Dad....!!!!!................

I don't know if they will let me put on a picture of me or my kids..... But in hopes that Dave Lossos will let me put this letter on here, ....I will send his site a picture of the SS Admiral from a 1950 Postcard

Thanks Dad for Being My Father........
Thank You Dave for letting us use such a wonderfull site........
And Thank You St.Louis.....for being my Home.....!!!!!!!!!!

Responses from Bob S., Port Orange Fl (6/20/2006)

Dave,Great Web Page. Here are my memories of growing up in St Louis in the '50's

Playing Khoury League baseball for the Community News Carriers teams and getting into the All Star Games at Sportsmans Park a couple of times.

Caddying at Norwood Hills Country Club...carrying a "double" 18 holes for $4.00. Attending DeAndreis High School before it went coed. Playing basketball and baseball and getting "murdered" by St Louis U High teams.

Mentoring with Brother Bill Keneally S.M. at DA.....a great, first class person.

Finishing up at Laboure High School in '55 playing sports and almost always losing games

Saving up money to buy shoes at Boyds ( Howard Cole was the shoe salesman there) and overpriced clothes at Frank Kenners.

Going to EastSt Louis ...the Terrace Lounge to catch Jazz greats like Charlie Ventura and the Fabulous NuTones.....also, watching (not participating in) some terrible fights at the Terrace and the Playdium. Yipes. Going to Boxing matches at Keil Auditorium to see Charlie Riley, Virgil Akins and Wes Bascom fight Getting football parley cards from Fritzie at Little Las Vegas on DeBalivere and selling them to sports nuts at Harris Teachers College and around town.

When funding allowed, taking a date to Nick Carters Surf and Sirloin for a great steak.

Responses from Rob Guion (6/24/2006)

Just spent the grater part of an hour reviewing the memories, but not enough time to read them all, here are a few of mine that I did not see..
Mac's Bar-B-Q on St. Charles Rock Road
"Sam the Watermelon Man" on Natural Bridge, also sold Christmas trees in winter
St. Louis Hop, hosted by Russ Carter
The Victory and Wellston theater's in Wellston
The Fox Theater when they showed movies
Stan Kahn playing the organ, that came out of the floor, at the Fox Theater
Shoe shine for 25¢ on downtown street corners
Hodge Bros. roller rink in Pine Lawn
Cruising Steak 'n Shake and Chuck a Burger in St. John, on St. Chas. Rock Rd.
25¢ worth of gas would let us cruise around all night long.
The Ice Cream Man would walk down the street selling ice cream bars out of a insulated metal box, that had leather strap attached so he could carry the box on his back.
Mr. Softee ice cream trucks
Famous Barr and Stix, Baur & Fuller windows, downtown, at Christmas Time.
The Pipe Organ on the Admiral
Milk delivered to your home and put into a insulated metal box that was next to the back door
"White in the bottle... Pink on your cheeks" (Pevely Milk slogan)
White Castle hamburgers for 3¢ (buy them by the sack)
Huge St. Patrick Day celebrations, with green ice cream and green beer and all the stores and schools closed in St. Ann. They had a very large population of Irish Catholics.
Rexall Drug Stores, with a soda fountain.... great hamburgers and malts
Velvet Freeze
West Lake amusement park
Chain of Rocks amusement park
The "Old Airport" that was located on Lindbergh, in the general area
or the new runway construction.
Robertson, MO, I guess that it is now part of Hazelwood , MO
The old St. Charles bridge that was on St. Charles Rock Road
Old Alton bridge
Channel 5's TV screen pattern just before the signed on and right after they signed off
Farmers field across from the original Pattonville High School, before they built NW Plaza
Branneky's Hardware, on St. Chas. Rock Road, Bridgeton, MO... They are still in business!
Circle Steak 'n Shake, in Riverview
Ponticello's Restaurant, on Bellefontaine Road, they are still in business, same great food.
I could go on forever....

Responses from Tom Purtell (7/5/2006)

Wow! What a great site!
I have lived away from the St. Louis area for 50 years now, but still have great memories of growing up there. We called it the West End then, but I think now it is the Central West End.

A time when the Debaliviere Strip was in its heyday, full of restaurants, nightclubs and bars playing great jazz and, as a boy of 13-14 years old, checking out the great looking girls out for an evening of fun.

The same up on Delmar, with guys like Jimmy Forrest and Tab Smith blowing wild music at the Top 'o The Town. Getting your Threads shined at Charley's Shine Shop on Laurel Avenue, near the Pageant Theater, for two bits, before a heavy date on a Friday night and digging the great jukebox they had there with music from Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Young and other jazz giants of the time.

Listening to Spider Burks on the radio with his "After School Swing Session" where he took us on a "mythical tour right down the alley behind his house" with great blues from Dinah Washington, Sara Vaughn and Ella. Can't recall the call letters of that station but it was also the home of "The G" and E. Rodney Jones, "your old mad-lad".

Delivering papers on a huge paper route bounded by Delmar, Lindell, Union and DeBalievere. We delivered the Post, the Globe and the Star-Times and the work never ended. Our very last delivery each morning was at the Jefferson Memorial, now the Missouri Historical Society, at the entrance to Forest Park. Had to run up to one of the stoops, or porches, and drop off two Globe Democrats, and my Pop telling me that the lady who ran the place was cross-eyed and needed to hold up two papers in order to read a story. That was the story we always told the "new boy" on the route.

Sunday morning 6:00 Mass at St. Roch's, where paperboys from 2 or 3 different paper routes would gather in the choir loft, dirty and grimy after delivering papers all night, giggling and punching each other to stay awake and then, promptly at 5:55 am, the "swish-swish" of the nuns entering the church in their black habits with their beads rattling softly as they marched down to the front two pews. At the last moment Mother Superior would turn around and fix her steely gaze on the boys as if to say "I'd better not hear a sound out of any of you during Mass". Now that was the fear of God!

Sledding at Art Hill, in the park, but even more daringly, sliding down Suicide Hill which was the western flank of Art Hill, and going over the rough in the golf course. We lived on Nina Place, close enough to the park to hear the lions roar on a still summer night when the breeze was just right and could also hear the roar of the cars at Walsh Stadium on Friday and Saturday nights.

How about ice-skating at the old Winter Garden, with races on Friday nights,after the public session.The Winter Garden had originally been built as a Jai Alai fronton, (arena) for the World's Fair way back at the turn of the century (the last century, the 20th.,for you youngsters). What a shame it had to come down!

Could go on and on, but enough for now. Go Cards!!

Responses from Donna from Baden (7/8/2006)

Just reading the "memories" made me think of all the wonderful times we had in Baden. Walking to the Baden show with .25 - $.10 to get into the show, $.5 for popcorn, $.5 for a soda, & $.5 for Ju Ju beads candy. Then walking home passing the hot tamale man pushing his cart with those wonderful smelling hot tamales wrapped in corn husks.

Taking the Baden street car to Grand Avenue to catch the Grand Bus to go to the Fox or St. Louis show on Sundays..........

But the best was the school parade in Baden, then getting on the buses to go to Chain of Rocks for the school picnic......everything seemed so big and was very exciting........

It's a shame our kids and grandkids can't experience those lazy days of summer as we did in the '50's..............

We lived on a very meager income and we did look for soda bottles to cash in for a treat at the local corner store...........

Responses from Michael Elrod, Age 39, Battle Creek, MI (7/5/2006)

These are some of my memories of growing up in St. Louis (I was born at Jewish Hospital (now Barnes Hospital) in March 1967 and lived in the area until October 1972 when my parents moved us to Battle Creek, MI where I remain to this day - unfortunately)

I still remember the address my mother had me memorize: "I live at 2111 Sims, in St. Ann"

Watching Mr.Patches' Kiddie Castle & moving the living room clock ahead to 3:00 pm with the hope that changing it would make the show come on sooner.

Holiday Hill amusement park

Listening to Harry Caray doing the Cardinals baseball games & thinking he was saying there was "one ball with two STRIPES" instead of two strikes on Lou Brock.

Being in awe of how huge "The Arena" looked on the inside

The lion shaped water at the St. Louis Children's Zoo

Eating at the Fatted Calf & Tennessee Jed's

Shopping at the Northwest Plaza

crossing the bridge over to St. Charles

Seeing the Arch on the horizon as my parents drove towards downtown

The Daniel Boone farm near St. Charles

Grant's Farm

The gunfights and train robbery at Jesse James Territory

When Six Flags opened

Camping & fishing at this place near Silver Dollar City

Walking with my dad into the St. Louis County Jail to pick up his paycheck (he was a Corrections Officer) and being scared out of my wits of the bars slamming shut.

Thanks, I really enjoy your site

Responses from John Hughes (7/11/2006)

Been living in Alaska for thirty years now. went home last year for the death of my Father. Boy all those memories. Lived a few yards away from the Bevo Mill. Remember being heart broken when the Highlands burnt down just before my Birthday.

Responses from Ed Delaney (7/15/2006)

Dave, Thanks for the memories. Although I am only 44 I remember many of the things people have shared. I grew up in the 3800 block of McDonald and was born in a 2 family flat on Fairview across from Rose Fanning School. It was next to Sam and Stella's confectionary. I remember Fanning having a pool on the Fairview street side which was later filled in and blacktopped.

I remember the Swings and merry go round on the playground.

I will never forget the taste of Helens pizza at Grand and Potomac nor sitting there eating pizza hoping the fire trucks would get sent on a run.

I remember school picnics being held on the school grounds and in the streets surrounding them.

School fall festivals and fish fry's.

Pilot House chicken.

Tony the sno-cone man.

The Drum and Bugle Corps.

Shopping on Cherokee street.

Bailey Farm Dairy delivering milk in glass bottles to your porch and sticking a block of ice in the metal box to keep it cool. Going to the dairy to get a big banana split or fresh glass of chocolate milk.

Bugler's in the hallway in the morning and before we left at the end of the day. Saying the pledge of allegiance before school started.

Playing basketball on the playground until the street lights came on.

Playing kickball in front of someone's house and hoping you wouldn't break a window.

The old style street lights with the big globes on them. They are making a comeback in north St Louis now.

Velvet Freeze on Gravois across from Roosevelt.

The Granada Theatre.

Skateland at Gravois and Duke.

The Ritz and Shenandoah Theatres.

The swimming pool on South Broadway, the name escapes me but it was by Ron's Roller World.

Pizza a Go-Go which is still around and serving some of the best pizza in town.

DuBowl lanes and the go go dancers that were there on the weekends.

These are only some of my childhood memories. I am sending this email to myself so that I may never forget some of the BEST times in my life. Thanks for all the memories and allowing us to send them to you.

Responses from Lynn McCully in Michigan (7/15/2006)

Hi Dave…..I just can't stay away from your site and the Memories page still makes me cry and long for the good old days when this world was so much kinder. I have sent several people to view your site and they have loved it. We have a question for you…..

We were all talking about the old days in St. Louis during the mid to late 60's. We all grew up off Arsenal between Grand and Morganford. We attended Horace Mann Elementary and most of us later went to Roosevelt, although there were a few Southwest turncoats in there too.

A few of us that attended Mann during the years 1964-1968 clearly recall a double murder that took place. I'm not entirely certain I have the names involved correct, but I'm betting I'm close. The kids involved were a young (15 & 16 ) couple that were boyfriend/girlfriend and attended Horace Mann. His name might have been Dennis Kirby and her's might have been Patricia Devine. The story was that they had been forbidden to see each other by their parents and they made plans to run away and be married. Dennis Kirby (perhaps Irby?) murdered his elderly parents in their apartment and took their money and vehicle. As I recall, they lived somewhere around Mann, perhaps on Roger Place? He picked up Patricia and they took off. They were later caught… I can't recall where. Patricia denied any involvement and claimed she didn't know about the murders. Dennis was sent to the live out his life in State Hospital on Arsenal and Patricia just disappeared from sight.

My mother worked for State Hospital for over 30 years and I'm certain I have many of my facts straight. I was in 4th grade at the time at Mann and can recall what a huge scandal it was. I've been unable to find anything about this anywhere on the net. Do you remember it?

Thanks again for an amazing site. Whenever I get homesick, I pay a visit and travel back to a sweeter time.

COMMENT from Dave Lossos: If you have an answer to this murder mystery please let me know.

Responses from Harold E. Land (7/21/2006)

I remember going to William Peabody School in St Louis and graduated in 1937. Movies were 10 cents. A double feature, Cartoons, and RKO Pathe News were on the program. Bread was 8 cents a loaf or 2 for 15 cents. White Castle Hamburgers sold for a nickle and their slogan was "Buy em by the sack" A one Dollar pass on the weekend let you ride all the street cars and buses all Day Saturday and Sunday.

Responses from Jeanne M 7/31/2006)

I have so many great memories of growing up in St. Louis – I now live in Dallas and realize how many St. Louis traditions there are and how the family still living there takes so much of it for granted.

On Memorial Day – you bar-b-que pork steaks and slather them with Maulls bar-b-que sauce and have fresh cole-slaw with Marzetti’s dressing and pork and beans(and of course as a kid you would drink Vess OrangeWhisle and the adults would have gone to 905 Liquor store for Busch, Budweiser, or Falstaff beer)Turkey sandwiches should be eaten with Durkees and of course you wear red to Cardinal game –get on Highway 40 to head home and you will pass the huge light up Budweiser bill-board – and smell the bread baking at Colonial Bakery.You may also see Ralston Purina building that may remind you of field trips to Purina Farms. There is nothing prettier than a Clydesdale and a trip to Grants Farm was always such fun.

Things to do –Places to Go – and FOOD FOOD FOOD---ONLY IN ST> LOUIS!!!!

You can’t get toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake (Haas bakery) Imos pizza, Vess soda, Ted Drews ,Maulls, Durkees, Pasta House salad or Pasta Con broccoli, chili-mac, We no longer have Forest Park, Muny Opera, Art Museum, ZOO, F.P. Golf Course, Science Center, A summer drive to Meremac Caverns,or Susson Park to go fishing –.A trip to THE HILL would be Such a treat – Volpi’s salami and fresh ricotta from Vivianos store – fresh bread from Missouri Bakery, or have dinner at one of so many great places like Cunnettos, Giovani’s, I guess they are all still there but there was Cussanelli’s, Zia’s, Mama Tuscanos, Ammighetti’s (always the best sandwich in the entire city) I just turned 50 and……..

I remember

My phone number (Affton area) was Vernon2-3862 my friend next door was Flanders2…. and my aunt in Maplewood was Mission5…..

Hill Day and Buckets of Beer

Strausenfest downtown every fall

Cardinal games on the radio with Harry Carry

The Giant Slide by Liberty Super Market on Chippawa

Pony Rides at Kiddy Park on Watson

The pretzel man on Landsdown (.25 for a bag full)

Soda fountains at Woolworths

Going to drug stores and 5&.10 stores like Katz, Glazers,Ben Franklin

Buying ‘45’s and junk jewelry and candy while there



Shakeys Pizza


66 drive in

Crestwood Plaza was a strip mall

Mackenzie Meat market(paper candy dots were on a roll there sold by the foot)

The ice cream truck and the snow cone truck

The milkman and the red crate he put the delivery in

The mail flap by the front door

Red rover and four square

Wearing “fat yarn” in our hair

Mini skirts but a maxi or midi coat

And a monogrammed villager purse from the honey bee in Crestwood plaza

I remember getting donuts on Sunday from

Federhoffer Bakery

Velvet Freeze (the best choc. Chip and Goldcoast Chocolate)

Ice Skating at Steinberg

Sledding at Art Hill

Fishing at Wilmore Park

Riding a banana seat –stingray bike to the quick-shop

To get something from the following list of favorites----bubs daddy grape, lik-um-aid- a little cloth bag with a yellow pull string of cherry its(came with a tiny straw) Turkish taffy –banana or choc.

Swimming at Mackenzie Pool

Teachers bringing a t.v.on a tall cart into the classroom for special days like world series games and of course it was big news when the last piece went into the arch

Camp Don Bosco

Chapel veils (or Kleenex got bobby pinned in your hair)

Waffle stompers and desert boots

Book bags

Walking home for lunch if we wanted and the teacher would have three lines – bringers, buyers and walkers

Putting Roller skates over your shoes and putting the key on a shoestring

Chatty Cathy, Mrs. Beasley, Barbie and Midge,

Dark Shadows,bozo,caspar,felix the cat – top cat – man from UNCLE, Mod Squad, My Friend Flika,and Sunday nights were Bonanza

Quinns gas station would give out oil brand stickers and the boys would put them all over their binders

Going to Flaming Pit on special occasions or Green Parrot or Schneithorst

So much more but yes- with so many good memories- we that grew up in St. Louis can say Life was Good !!!!!!! Thanks for the site -----

Responses from Linda Watson - New Knoxville, OH 7/31/2006)

Boy, your website took me back to a great time and place! I was born in St. Louis in 1956, phone number Victor 2-088. We lived in south county, but my grandparents lived in Overland, near the airport. I remember going with grandpa to Bob's market -- a tiny grocery store with wooden floors and a meat counter. Bob lived in the house attached to the store. Grandpa was a baker at Schnuck's grocery store and grandma worked at Stix Bayre & Fuller, and later Famous Barr. I remember getting soft pretzels in the department stores.

I watched Corky the Clown and Cookie and the Captain (I had a crush on Cookie). We used to drive by the Wonder Bread Factory, and I can still smell the warm bread baking. The trip from our house to grandma and grandpa's took us past Grant's Farm. Because of that, as I kid, I thought bison were as common as squirrels. I found out differently when we moved to Kansas City when I was 9.

I loved going to Holiday Hills amusement park in the summertime. My favorite ride was the little boats that went around in a circle in a huge tub of water. And the helicopters that you could really make go up or down. Grandpa didn't fit very well in those.

From Green Park Lutheran Elementary School, I was able to see the arch being built from the top of the monkey bars. It was far away, but I could watch the progress of the space between the two arms growing smaller with each passing week.

I remember Elsie the Cow dairy products, the Noah's Ark restaurant out around St. Charles. We went on the Admiral Riverboat every summer. All the adults would stay on an upper deck (the one with the dance floor). They'd bring picnic food and drinks and give us nickles to go to the game level and play the games. I remember a machine that dispensed trading cards. They were usually "stars" that weren't cool all the time...Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day...I would have preferred Beatles, but I still liked collecting them.

Every time we drove past the St. Louis Zoo (which seemed to be frequently) if my grandma was in the car she'd say, "Your great grandpa Shelton helped put those huge red rocks in place for the animal's houses." Are they still intact?

More memories from Jeanne in Dallas 7/31/2006)

I remember Going to Cyranos for dessert after father daughter banquets in high school. Of course everyone’s favorite was the Worlds’ Fair Éclair. And we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the newest issue of Prom magazine.

I remember as a kid going to the downtown Famous Barr every December to look at the windows to see the animated displays. We would go to one of the top floors where there were more magical displays where Santa was sitting to have pictures taken.

I remember as a kid riding in the car around Lindell somewhere and seeing a flashing bunny head with a bow tie and finding out as I got older what the playboy club was. Yes St. Louis had a Playboy Bunny Club –

I remember riding horses at the Missouri Stables- I think it was in South City area but am not sure – I have been told it is long gone

I remember always seeing Stan Musial and Biggies restaurant on a drive back from Downtown and the Arena – both were landmarks

I remember when West County Shopping Center was built and everyone knew it by the giant doves that were on posts around the parking lot.

I remember going to Johnson Shut- Ins and

climbing on the elephant rocks ---was sad to hear it is gone since the flood of ‘93

We were still living there during the flood of ’93- We helped sand bad in the River Des Peres area near Bishop DuBurgh high school - and I hear that the area known as Gumbo flats was dubbed Chesterfield Valley after the refurbishment and is now known as The Valley at least the Smokehouse is still there – always had the best beef jerky

The famous area bowling alleys were Red Bird Lanes – Marlboro Lanes , Olivette Lanes and Tropicana which was my favorite – but we hit all of them over the years.

I thank you for putting up this sight – the memories just keep flooding back once you start thinking of them and it’s great to have a place to share them with those who know and love St. Louis.

p.s. – a family from St Louis has opened a “St. Louis Style” pizza place here in the Dallas area and yes it’s as much like Imo’s as you can get – and real toasted ravioli on the menu ---

Update from Jim Keith 7/31/2006)

You can pass on this email to the lady from Mann School........
DENNIS IRBY is correct.....he spent about 5 yrs in Fulton State Hosp.....and released....moved to east coast..........................................

BUT, a few years Des Peres, MO............there was a murder....where a man named SEXTON...was abusing his wife.....and the family of the wife.....decided on FAMILY JUSTICE and on SEXTON's birthday....DENNIS IRBY came to Des Peres and killed him.

Dennis was recently convicted......and he was related to the abused spouse of SEXTON.

When he was investigated...and arrested, it came out in the media that he had killed his parents many yeares St. Louis.

Response from Negevoli 7/31/2006)

What a trip down memory lane. I contributed back in 2001 or so but just recently read the later contributions. For those still in St. Louis, this is the 50th anniversary of Ponticello's restaurant in Spanish Lake in north St. Louis County. St. Louis used to have the greatest pizza (make that the greatest food in general) and Ponticello's was and still is one of the best. They are selling tee-shirts for $15 buicks using PayPal.

My first pizza was on a date at Parente's in South St. Louis. I have never tasted better pizza in my life and I've been all over the U.S., Europe, esp. Italy, and much of the rest of the world. When I try to tell people about St. Louis' food, all I ever hear about is The Hill, which I concede has glorious food. Or that San Francisco, Chicago, New York, blah, blah, blah, has the best American food. But great food used to be found all over St. Louis and St. Louis County, esp. Italian food and the pizza and toasted ravioli were out of this world. Melrose pizza, Lombardo's pizza, Ponticello's. Many more. But Parente's was the best and I often wonder what happened to it.

And every time I make Gooey Butter cakes for work or parties, people almost literally swoon. I make it with pudding cake mix so it's even gooier.

Well got to go. Cheers to everyone.

Response from Bruce Sheils (Hangin' Out (In the Ozarks)) 7/31/2006)

Dave -- Stumbled upon your website and have been lost in a time-warp of reverie & nostalgia for a few hours. Came to St. Louis out of Coast Guard boot camp in 1956 and was stationed on a flat-bottom buoy tender (CGC POPLAR) which moored at the Coast Guard Base at the Foot of Iron Street. Working between St. Louis & Boonville, MO, on the Missouri River and the Illinois River confluence on the Mississippi River, we'd sometimes moor in downtown St. Louis near the Goldenrod Showboat & the resplendently 'sleek' Admiral excursion boat. The overpoweringly 'strange' smell (we had NO air-conditioning on the POPLAR) of the Anheiser Busch Budweiser Brewery is still one of my dubious recollections as we steamed by the Foot of Arsenal Street area. Hailing from South Dakota, St. Louis was one whale of a BIG city. In those days the Busy Bee didn't yet exist and I believe a fellow by the name of Eddie Wagner owned it and "Coasties" hung out there regularly (also, when they had a little more pocket money, at the north end of the block at Dieckmeyer's Tavern). I didn't drink alcoholic beverages --YET--, being an ex-altar boy myself, but whenever I couldn't find my peacoat in the crew's peacoat locker I knew where, for a 5-dollar bill, I could --hocked at Eddie Wagner's joint. I used to thumb a ride downtown to get tickets at the USO and go to the 'new' Leow's "Cinerama" (an idea that didn't last long) Theater down around 6th or 7th & Olive Streets. Also, Katz Drugstore for a soda, and a few blocks west on Olive was a Chili Emporium which had some SUPER chili in heavy bowls. Also used to get free USO tickets to the Missouri & Fox Theaters (Stan Kahn used to rise out of the front-stage floor playing that theater-shaking organ before the film-features). Grew up on ice skates and used to regularly take the South Broadway bus downtown & transfer to the Hodiamont 'Express' streetcar out to Delmar & Debalivare and skate at the Winter Garden indoor ice rink and a couple years later at the new Steinberg outdoor ice rink. When I couldn't afford bus/streetcar fare & rink-fees, would 'thumb it' to Carondelet Park and skate for free on weekends. I remember "Wrestling at The Chase" and some of the great quartets of the day (4 Aces, The Diamonds, The Hilltoppers, 4 Lads) which also performed there. A tavern on South Virginia Ave, Stella Keonigs, used to stack beer cases alongside the shuffle-bowler table, throw a couple pieces of plywood on top to make a stage for a black quartet who really brought the house down.... later they became Nationally known, as The Drifters. Several blocks north (by now I was driving a Harley Hog & hitting the taverns) was a curious triangular-shaped, 3-story building, with a chimney on top, replete with straw sticking out and a stork standing atop, called Dilday's Stork Inn, where on Saturday nites some local elderly grey-haired musicians used to play everything from jazz to Elvis (visited this place over 40 years later, around 1996, or so, and they were closing down THAT day, due to on-going breakins & robberies, but STILL had the nickel-a-play [6 for a quarter] juke-box with music from the 40's & 50's). South St. Louis seemed to have, besides the neighborhood confectionaries, 3 or 4 taverns on about every other corner; Mom & Pop places with linoleum-top bars (& sometimes pretty ornate hand-worked bar & back-bars), and whomever family member wasn't working the bar was upstairs in the living area (a lot of them WERE open on Sunday, but had to 'lock-up' the booze, wine & 'high-point' beer and sold 3.2% beer ONLY). Kids were in & out getting 'growlers' (small buckets of beer), and locals played in corkball leagues in chickenwire enclosed "playing fields" in the alleyways behind the tavern. Also, Friday & Saturday were "league" nites on the LONG shuffle/bowling tables (about 18-inches above the floor) which had 'real' bowling balls ('bout the size of a softball). Later I & another 'Coastie' married 2 sisters, South St. Louis girls, whose 3rd sister & husband owned & operated Bob & Pat's Restaurant at Chipewa & California Streets for several years during the 50's & 60's (Bob's Dad, Pete Schiltz, had owned & operated it earlier under the name "Pete's Restaurant" in the 40's to mid-50's). Occasionally, when Bob & Pat would closeup for the nite, we'd all head to the Victory Restaurant (on some street north, off Cherokee) to eat (strange; a guy owns a restaurant, but eats elsewhere). Cherokee Street used to 'bustle' in the 50's with all kinds of stores & shops. Some of your other website visitors also mentioned those days-gone-by street-vendors selling hot tamales & others produce, crying out "straw-BERRIEEES, RED-RIPE!" and "WAter-MEELON!" Ican STILL hear'em, plain as day. Also recall those fellows who used to get on the south Grand Avenue streetcar on those C-O-L-D & DAMP winter evenings with cloth-covered baskets of hot-to-warm, WONDERFUL, big soft pretzels (man, did they ever hit the spot). For awhile, just before getting married in 1960, I lived in a rooming house on South Grand Avenue, a couple blocks south of Ted Drew's Custard Stand and THAT hit the spot on hot summer evenings on the way home from work. And of course to THIS day, whenever my wife & I visit St. Louis (her surviving 'kin' moved with the 'exodus' out to the O'Fallon, St. Peters area) our FIRST stop is always at a White Castle (I make 'sliders' from internet recipe's, but they jes' ain't a WHITE CASTLE). South St. Louisans also perfected the 'rolling stop' at those 4-corner stop-sign intersections for which I've heard South St. Louis frequently called "stop-sign city." Well, have rambled on e-nuff, my cup runneth over (with recollection) and you've heard a big drip. Will stop by from time to time for my healthy dose of St. Louis nostalgia.

Response from Dianne McCarty 8/1/2006)

Great site. Thank you for the memories. I read a little at a time... just to savor all of it. Are you going to start a chapter for 2007?

I found the site searching for the words to the Mayrose jingle. "I'm a meat man, and every meat man knows, the finest meats ma'am are Mayrose."

Does anyone remember the sign that read "Brains 25 cents"? I think you could see it off of Kingshighway. I used to think it was a joke. My mom told me she used to eat them. Yuck. I saw a poster of that sign in a Chicago Art poster store.

I wonder if anyone remembers my dad? Bill Romine has cut hair for over 50 years - still cuts hair part-time in Florida. He owned Bill's Barber Shop on S. Geyer in Kirkwood. Before that, it was Bill & Van's Barber Shop. The shop opened the day I was born: 9/27/58.

I have fond memories growing up in Kirkwood at 627 Villa Garden. There were so many kids to play with on our "street".

We played Cowboys and Indians for years.

I have pictures of the arch being built at different stages including the last piece getting put into place. The arch was really a big deal back then.

I also have great memories of trick or treating on Halloween night. Our parents, back then, let us go anywhere at night without any worries. We always knew the good houses to go to with scary music playing and great candy. We would get invited into houses and we had to tell a joke. I used to get so nervous trying to remember my joke.

Later we moved to Essex right across the street from the high school. I was still in Junior High and either walked or rode my bike to school - rain or shine. I'm not even sure if they had school buses. I never took one. :-)

Response from Lynn McCully in Michigan 8/1/2006)

A big "Thank you" to Jim Keith for the info on Dennis Irby. I was beginning to think I had somehow made all of this up. I always thought Dennis ended up at the State Hospital on Arsenal. I barely knew him. He was an 8th grader to my 4th grade at Mann, but I still remember how crazy he seemed to be about his girlfriend Pat. Crazy being the operative word. Thanks again!

Response from Harvey Brody 8/12/2006)

I was born in a four family house that I father had purchased in 1931 for $2,000 at 1457 Clara Avenue on the west side of the street near the intersection of Clara and Wells.

In 1939 we moved to 1522 Clara Avenue on the east side of Clara next to the alley, and my two sisters and I would walk through the alley to get to Arlington grade school.

Kids used to fly kites in the big lot to the east of our house.

The local movie house (theater) was the "Fairy Operahouse" and in the summer, we watched the movie in the outdoor portion.

Wellston was were we shopped, and we took the Goodfellow bus to get to Forest Park.

Before World War 2 the movie house in Wellston was called The Mikado, and during the war the name was changed to Victory.

I remember taking the Easton Avenue streetcar to go downtown, and I remember using the Eads bridge to get to East St. Louis. Illinois.

My Uncle Mike operated a watermelon stand on South Broadway, about ten miles south of the beer plant.

Sherman Park Library was where my family borrowed books.

Those were the good old days!

Response from Jeanette Stoltz Long 8/13/2006)

I too have lots of memories for growing up in St. Louis. I remember the hot tamale man with his cart. I remember Saturday night when the paper boy brought you the Sunday paper. If you didn't hang out at Steak n Shake, in your car, you weren't cool.

You could stay outside until 10 pm or when ever your parents whistle for you or called your name, because you were safe and you loved being outside. I remember my first world series game at the new Busch stadium then. You could park under the Arch and kiss while it was being built.

Going to the South Twin Drive Inn a $1.00 for a car load. Cherry cokes at Velvet Freeze, Sitting out on your front steps at night to cool off and watch people.

One of my favorite memories was our end of school parade. We would march from the South Twin Drive Inn to Mehlville High School. Each class was grouped together. Then you had an all day picnic with rides and lots of food and fun.

The Veil Prophet parade years ago what a site. I waited all year for it. Rides on the old Admiral that went up and down the river. Getting sick seeing who could eat the most White Castles at one time.

Riding the bus to downtown with my grandmother. It was a treat at least twice a year. We would dress up with gloves and all and go to Stix, Famous Barr and other stores. There was a lady who opened the doors to the elevators and told you what each floor sold on it. Then we would eat somewhere special and come back home on the bus. I was in heaven.

Then there was Christmas time downtown. My parents would drive us at night time to see all the store front windows and it was so magical. I miss all that and more. I moved away to Memphis, TN in 1970.

I have lots of relatives still in the St Louis area and visit when I can. Most of my old favorite spots are gone but not forgotten. They will live on in my mind and my stories to my children and their children.

Response from chester green 8/21/2006)

I was born 1952 and raised in North St. Louis, up and down N 14th street.

-I remember White Castle on Hebert and N. Florisant with car hops.

-Battle of the bands on 14th street in 65.

-Begging my mom for "Beatle Boots", luckly Hill Brothers had a version.

-North market from N.Florisant to Jackson park was cobblestone.

-Doing exercise with the music "elephant walk" in gym class.

-Square Dancing in 8th grade gym class we thought was soo uncool but ending up liking it.

-I remember going to Central High and buying lunch with "food Checks" which were nickel size coins with a center hole. You could stuff yourself with only 7 checks. At 28 cents a check. Remember those Buns with butter?? God I wish I knew that recipe. If you do, email me it at [email protected]

-Going up and down 14th street during Holloween.

-Going to Newberrys 5&10 on 14th street and buying a 1/2pound of candy corn for 10cents

-I remember entering a model car contest at Woolworths and winning 3rd place.

-Going to Parks drugs store and seeing my big brother Steve working there. He worked there up to the time it caught on fire.

-Going to Sunns drugs and seeing my other brother Dave working there.

-Getting hot tomalies outside of Sunns Drugs.

-Crown Candy and getting a chile and grilled cheese with a cherry coke, which I still do when I'm St Louis.

-Going swimming at Strodtman Park when they had two wadeing pools there.

-Going to "New Ames school" during the time they were building highway 70 and getting in troble for being down in the contruction area during recess. It was a big hughmugus long hole running north and south right thru our neighborhood.

-Listening to the Cards on the radio in the summer times outside on the stoops while we play catch one catch all (hide and seek).

-Playing ledge ball with a red rubber ball.

-Calling "first on street lite" when the street lites came on.

-Having to be home before the streetlights come on.

-Calling someone "fruit" when they acted wierd.

-Playing "fuzzball", which is a tennis ball with the fuzz burnt off. Three man teams using a broom stick. Playing "bottle caps" using a broom stick and no gloves. Going to all the taverns to get the caps.

-The smell of the taverns and the country music coming out of them.

-Shining shoes in the neighborhood taverns and snaping that rag extra hard to get a tip. Feeling proud when they complimented me and encouraging me for being such a great "Business Man"

-I remember delivering the Comunity News pulling them in a red wagon.

-Going to Sobels clothing store. Most people got the brogan shoes and levi's there but us poor folks bought wranglers and those cheap Hill Brothers brogan shoes.

-I Remember "hand me downs from my older brothers every fall before school started then my mom would know what she would need to buy us for school. Sown on patches were the norm.

-My mom's beauti parlor set up in our kitchen where ladies would leave with "bee hives" and "flips" and the smell of hairspray all the time.

-I remember when it seemed everyone smoked.

-I remember in the late sixties when the state started "inspecting the cars" so there were abanded cars all over the place. 54, 55, 56, 57,58, chevys. You name it, people were abanding them. They would in up in the junk yard near Halls street.

-I remember walking to downtown passed the Cochran/Pruit Igo projects running most the way.

-I remember old Bozo the wino. In his day, he was a boxer and a pretty good one too. He had these big thick fist. Also a wino we called "OH Lord", cause he would be drunk and walking down the street yelling "oh Lord oh Lord". I never knew these guys real names. Then there was Cecil, he was'nt a wino but I think he was a bit mental cause all you had to do was yell "hey, you broke that window" and he would argue back for hours even after you were gone. I wish I hadnt added to his torment but I did.

-I remember living upstairs at 2420A N 14th and Benton across from Hill Brothers shoe store. If you called my house during this time, which was CHestnut something my mom would answer, *RUBY'S Beauty Shop* For a while I work at a little fruit stand right below us and next to this was a tavern whose roof was our "yard". Across the street and next to Hill Brothers was a pool hall. Cant think of the name but I remember hearing those pool balls being "broke" and making that sound in the summer times. The 14th street area was thriving then and it was a great time to be a kid.

Response from chester green 8/25/2006)

-Part two and final. I have lived in Northern Califonia since 76. I get back to St Louis about every 2 to 5 years and always go back to the old neighborhood. It's so sad, so, thats all I have to say about that. All the rest of my family lives in the St Louis county areas. I often look on Google earth to see what buildings are left in the neighborhood. Thanks Dave for this forum. Wouldn't it be nice to have a free site with pictures of this stuff??? I'm sure the pictures are out there.

-The Breman show on the corner of Bremen and N 20th and across from Hyde Park. We took a quarter each and saw two movies, cartoons, previews, popcorn, slowpoke and a soda with it.

-Northside theater on Grand and Natural Bridge after almost every easter egg hunt at St. Louis park. We must of been "heathens" as my mom would say. :)

-The Tower theater. Thats where I saw all the James Bond movies like Goldfinger, 007, and so on.

-Yelling "Hows your Moma" to the Hot tomalie man when he's yelling "Red Hot, Hot tomalies.

-Sportsmans Park on Grand Ave. My only game I saw there was the Cards vrs Dodgers. Bob Gibson vrs Sandy Kolfax.

-Filling stations that would pump your gas and wash your window and would always ask"check your oil?" They would pump a full tank and give you coka cola glasses. All for less that 5 bucks. You not only wouldnt pump your own gas, you couldnt. They wouldnt let you. It was toooooo dagerous. Clark station cadi corner from the NorthWestern Bank on St louis Ave and N. Florisant.

-In the middle of winter going to another station on N Florisant to get coal oil to heat the house. Took two of us to carry five gallons all the way back home. Gloves helped alot but we didnt always have gloves.

-The smell of Krey Packing slauter house. Ewwww. Yelling "sueeeee" at the pigs in the open windows to get them squeling. Poor things. :)

-Sleeping with fans on high all nite long during the summer. Nobody I know had "Air" just window fans. To this day I still use a fan every nite.

-Farmers Market on N. Broadway. I would go "dumpster diving and get fruit out. After a while some of the guys would just save me some of their over ripe stuff. To this day I still prefer over ripe bananas. My Mom was a proud woman raising 8 kids on a beautition's salary but we never used government subsidies. But I remember a granny that did and the stuff came in plain silver cans that stated "Cheese" "Powder Milk"" Powder Eggs" "Corn" "Meat" which was like spam. etc. Generic food I guess.

-The Grand Burleques Club. Seems like it was off Broadway near the Greyhound bus staition. Had to be 16 to get in and I was forteen and got in. It was cool as heck. They had comedians, singers, and dancers. I thought it would be all T and A. The stripping was tame by todays standards.

-Wooden newspaper carts with the steel wheels and the guy yelling Post Payyyyyyper. My mom giving me two dimes to get a sunday post from him.

-Getting groceries out of the car using all four boys and two trips to get them out. My mom complaining how we got to make it last cause she spent over $20.00. Lot and lots of beans and fried potatoes in those days.

-When I was older we would go over the river to Columbia, Ill I think, and go to the Strausenfest German event. It moved Downtown the last time I went. Man it was fun dancing to the polka and umpa bands. And the "tin" buckets of beer. The food was great but dancing the polka like a nut was such fun.

-Remember KSHE FM Radio in the late sixties and very early seventies?? The Discjockys were so cool and talked real low and they played rock music all hour every hour with only five minutes of advertising. Then KADI FM started doing it too.

-Grade schools I went to, Old Ames, Blair, Webster, Jackson all had "cloke" rooms in each room. We would put our coats and caps in there and our lunch, which was in paper bags with sandwiches of peanut butter and/or jellie wrapped in wax paper. We would save the bag and the wax paper and let mom decide to use it again. Milk 1/2pint at the school was 2cents each and chocolot milk was 3cents. It must of been government milk cause all it said was "MILK" The girls aways played on one side of the paved school yard and the boys on the other. Playing a baseball type game with a red airfilled rubber ball. You would kick the ball to get on base then you can be hit with it to get called out. We would play "Dodgeball with the same ball inside in the gym. I remember Webster School before they put the gym in. The front of the school faced east and had this long walk to this hugh wide granite stairway to the first floor. Upkept lawns and bushes and flowers. It looked Grand. On the north end of the first floor was the offices I think and the kindergaden class was on the south end of the first floor. Two eighthgrade classes were on the south end of the third floor. In eighth grade we would go to Ames School to go to shop class or "Manual". It was the most modern school. All the older kids would go across Hadley to "Sheets" for a hamburger and coke and listen to the jukebox. When I was in eight grade, it was called "POPS". There was a movie theater on the same corner. I dont remember the name though. It was a church most the time I remember. Sheets/Pops was part of the same building.

-I remember going to Pine Lawn to go skating at Hodges Roller Rink. Doing the Hokey Pokey . "You put your right foot in, you take your right foot out, you put your right foot in and you shake it all about, you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around. Thats what it's all about! That really was, what it was all about! The skating was divided into sessions. Boys only, girls only, couples only, thats when you go pick your girl to skate. The lights would go down and a light shinning on a mirror ball would create this "star filled, sky like" image everywhere. I remember how clammy and sweaty my hands would become holding the girls' hands. Feeling "love" for the first time in the most innocent of ways. Then there was the Sadie Hawkins session where the girl picked the guy to skate. Now that was tense, cause that was when you found out if she really liked you.

-Taking the bus down Broadway to S. Broadway St to go swimming. I dont know the name of the place. Swimming to songs like, "Wooly Bully", Summer in the City". Wearing speedo type trunks and being too naive to be concern about "shrinkage". LOL

-I remember going to the circus at the Arena to see the Rifleman, Chuck Conners as Lucas McCain and Mark, Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain. The Rifleman was soooo cool back then.

-Being sent to the corner confectionary to get a loaf of bread(BunnyBread) and telling them to put it on our "tab".

-I remember girls jump-roping and singing a little diti "Down in the valley where the green grass grows, there sits "Susie" cute as a rose, she sang, she sang, she sang sweet, along came Chester and kiss her on the cheek." Then of course we would attack the rope cause thats just the way we were. How dare a girl say we kissed them on the cheek. The didi went on and on but most of the time we didnt let it go on too long. :) First comes love, then comes marraige, here come chester with a baby carriage. etc. Im laying in bed, three oclock in the morning, and I'm remembering this stuff.

-We boys would always play either Cowboys and Indians or Army(Germans and Yanks) in the vacant lots or parks. We would throw dirt clogs at each other and it would be like we're being shot at. We would get inside cardboard boxes that refridgerators came in for tanks. You could really dirt clog them without fear of hurting anyone. It was an honor thing, you had to fall down if you were shot. Then you had to wait for a medic.

-Snowcream during the winter snow. Mom would send us out to get fresh falling snow and she would put cream(Milnot or Pet milk) and sugar, and vanila in it and we would eat it.

-Before "Redneck" we would call people Hoosiers, or Hillbillies. Example, "You know your a Hoosier if you use the tub in your front yard as bedroom number two."etc. -Going home from school and watching The Three stooges on channel 11. My mom would always say that they're gonna make us stupid. I wonder.....


Response from Sharon A. Viljoen - [email protected] 9/1/2006

Dave – I too grew up in St. Louis, 1948-1972. And I have many fond memories of lots of places that don’t exist anymore.

My question is, does anyone out there have pictures that they would be willing to email or send to me?

Places like Ritenour Junior and Ritenour Senior High Schools, White Castle on Natural Bridge Road, Holiday Hill Amusement Park, Berkeley Elementary School on Springdale Avenue, any of the Clark Oil Company Filling Stations, etc.

If you know of anyone or can put anyone in touch with me it would be greatly appreciated. I am an avid scrapbooker stuck 2000 miles form home, with no pictures of any of those things!

Response from Louise Coplin, now from Illinois 9/10/2006


I was just messing around, looking for some information on my old grade school, Stix School on Euclid, when I came across your web site.

I experienced so many for these memories. I was born in 1948, so I saw the ending of the coal furnaces, delivery of the iceman. If you was really nice, he would give you a chunk of it. I loved wash day. It felt good to put your arms in the washing machine up to your elbows, then running the clothes through the ringer, and next two tubs of rinse water. I walked to school. Even at age 5!! There wasn't the worries then I guess. Yep, would yell for my friends just outside the windows. I guess because there wasn't A/C in those days, so the windows were always open. Sometimes, a parent would yell back, so-and-so couldn't come out. We had a pen of pet rabbits in our back yard. Now I think back, where did they go? (don't really want to know that answer) But would go across the street to get free lettuce and vegs from the store that they would just throw away to feed them. Aah, the penny candy. Gosh, you got alot of candy for a penny. Sometimes three pieces for a penny. Good deal.

Love our school picnic. We would practice the band, and lining up in lines to walk to the Highlands. Then, our parents would pick out a table there and we would eat lunch. That table became home base, while the kids would ride the rides and check back once in awhile. I was soo sad when that place burned. I can still remember smelling the smoke in the air several days later.

Seemed like the same kids stayed at the grade school for all 8 years.Then, time for high school. Everyone divided up and went seperate ways. Yes, we would ask, what high school did or do you go to?

Listened to Johnny Rabbit, and danced the Mash Potatoes. As soon as we learned one dance, along came another. I grew up in the central west end. It was a good place to grow. The movies were the place to go on Saturday afternoons. You really got your money's worth then. Even a cartoon inbetween.

Thanks for sharing your memories, and letting me add mine. I will check back from time to time. Just to remember the old times.

Response from Anonymous 9/12/2006

I grew up at 3719 N 20th St from 1949 to 1970
My phone number was Ge6-4949
Playing in Hyde Park till dark
Going to Holy Trinity school
The tavern on the corner and a skating rink upstairs.
The fire station and sliding down the pole.
The Saturday night paper.
The library was great.
White Castle,Cherry cokes and french fries at Woolworths.
Union Station,the big neon picture displays.
Anyone want to share with me? Write [email protected]

Response from Anonymous 9/14/2006

For Diane, I remember that 'Meat Man Song well, I must have sang it all thru the ages of my life, wich are closing fast in on 50... But that song went something like this...'I'm the meat man and the meat man knows, The finest meats made are Mayrose'...But even now, I can't remember if that is spelled, Mayrose or Melrose....Maybe there were two different companies....I Remember living pretty close to a slaughtering house, walking past it to go to school, and that smell , and how I felt when someone told me what was happening to the cow and horse sounds I heard comming from in ther ....and then later trying Braunschwieger for the first time....then after a couple of times eating way too much and getting sick...and then remembering...those dead pigs...that must have been killed down in there....Those were the days tho...Families seemed to stay closer....and we darned sure new better than to leave our back yard without just being a holler away....And drugs weren't even heard of....And the schools always had something going...right there in the school or on the grounds...All kinds of classes and stuff...I grew up loving all that stuff.... And I remember the story of Patricia Divine...My Mother told me about it...her name was Patricia Ammons, Pregnant when she was 15, I guess she felt associated. Did any body reading these ever go to Elliot School. In North St' Louis, Maybe...on the corner of Pleasant & Grove, that was 3rd & 4th grade for me....1965-1968... Does any one remember getting the back of there hand slapped with a ruler....? Well not meaning to ruin a good thing I'll just let that go....But it's nice to know that that Mayrose...or...Melrose...Song left such a great impression on someone else's mind.... It also shows how much tv was a part of our life... Say, is it true what this other fellow says about, Merremac Caverns./..Is it closed & no longer open for business.... Well, I better go....'Thanks Again For The Memories'

Response from D Luke 9/14/2006

Coming to this website always puts a smile on my face. Here are some of my memories of growing up in Baden during the 60’s:
Playing softball at Hickey Park. Most of the teams were sponsored by a tavern or repair shop of some kind.
Roy the snow cone man- You got a snowcone for a dime and he put a piece of red licorice in it that could be used as a straw.
Taking the Broadway bus downtown with my friends-We would spend all day there walking around the riverfront or visiting the Old Court House. We were only 10 or 11 years old and were never bothered.
Playing kickball in the street or hide and seek on Elias Ave but having to be home when the streetlights came on.
Driving out to Natural Bridge to White Castle and seeing if my dad could break his old record of eating 17 Castles.

Watching Wrestling at the Chase with my dad-remember Dick the Bruiser or Harley Race?
I remember seeing my older sister on TV on St Louis Hop. She went there quite often. She worked at the Steak N Shake on the Circle.
I remember my dad going to Katz drugstore to test his TV tubes and how he would have to drag me from the pet department downstairs.
We lived close enough to Hall Street (across Broadway by Hickey Park) that we could hear the drag races on a quiet night.
My boyfriend worked at the Site station next to the park. Everybody hung out there.
I remember the excitement when the day for the school parade at Baden School finally arrived. (I was a Majorette) Then going to Chain of Rocks for the school picnic. I remember the old man down the street would give me a nickel if I went down to Kulage’s Bar to buy his cigars for him. I used my money on snowcones. I remember digging for arrowheads in our back yard. We did find some! I don’t know what happened to them. I enjoy my visits here. Thank you for taking the time to keep this page up!

Response from Alan Wilson 9/24/2006

Unless I am disremembering, I believe the jingle for Mayrose was "I;m a meat man, ma'am, and a meat man knows. The finest meat ma'am are, Mayrose" Hadn't thought of that in uncounted years, but it came right back to me with the name "Mayrose"

Though I don't remember if Vess soda had a jingle, I do remember the tag line. "The Billion Bubble Beverage" There was also a locally produced insecticide that used pyrethrin (sp) but I can't remember the name of the product, it did the job, though.

Jeez....Y'all remember running through the fog behind the insecticide truck.....What were we doing!!.. Hah.

Texas Bruce...."Hasta la vista, Vaqueros"

Listening to Cardinals games. Harry Caray's voice is atill a memory trigger.

Playing all day and our parents not worrying, but foment any trouble and the "Tel-a-Mom" system was was working quite well. You obeyed anyone's parent, any adult for that matter. My friends and I were no band of angels and still managed the proper amount of mischief, thank you,

I have loved hearing all the parallel memories, though I must asmit to not knowing the joys of living in the city, I was raised a "county kid" and my city memories consist of visiting my maternal grandparents in the West End, and as an adult, the joys of the near south side while rehabbing a home in Lafayette Square. (we always knew when a new batch of Budweiser was being brewed...A pleasant enough smell, actually)

Will soon be visiting St; Louis, Haven't seen St. Louis or Missouri in the Autumn in 18 years, Should be lovely...Remember when leaf burning was still allowed?

In my travels, I have met many prople from all over this country, and a few from all points of the globe. Thgough they aqll have favored memories of their childhoods, none can compare with what St; Louis has given us. I will, when necessary defend her and have done so, particularly with smarmy coastal denizens, more than once. Many who knocked St. Louis as the capital of the rubes has found stories of the city, and county, fascinating, the people, the customs, the FOOD!, the weather, and have decided a visit was well worth it. Thanks Dave. for creating this repository of memories for all to peruse. Huzzah! (no, not the Ozark stream, the rousing cheer.)

Response from Anonymous 9/24/2006

I grew up in the Cochran apartments in the 50's, went to St. Patrick's Grade school and belonged to St. Patrick's parish (6th and Biddle) when the Pastor was Father Pete and later Father Hickle (not sure of the spellings)... I was an Altar Boy there and at St. Joseph's. The School was run by the Sisters of Charity (Sister Veronica was the sternest but my favorite) and there was a small Malt shop a block away with the best Concrete shakes around. My brother Alan and I used to sell newspapers downtown to get some cash to help out at home and twice a week we'd take the bus to the St. Louis Cathedral where we sang in the Pontifice Boy's Choir ~1959/60.... 300 men and boy's... we really used to pack them in the Cathedral back then... sometimes even appeared on TV during the Christmas night masses. I remember weekend trips on the Admiral, acting in bit parts as a child actor on the Queen, and going to the St. Louis Library, Forrest Park, and the Chain of Rocks park when money allowed. Like another writer here (Chuck N. DesLoge, Mo. - 1/13/2006 ) looks like not many postings here from our old IRISh neighborhood... wouldn't mind shooting the breeze with Chuck if he so wishes...
Thanks for a great web site... reading the posting is a real trip back on memory lane.... time goes by much to quickly... but the grandchildren keep us young...

Response from Lynn in Michigan 9/24/2006

Who remembers KXOK in the wonderful 60's? How many of you would call and Blabbit to the Rabbitt? Who remembers Bruno J. Grunion and "Make it or Break it?" If I had a dime for every call I made to KXOK as a kid, I'd be a rich woman today. How many Friday and Saturday nights did we spend sitting on our beds listening to KXOK and hoping Johnny Rabbitt would play our favorite songs? We used to go downtown every Saturday and watch Him and Delcia Devon broadcast LIVE from Stix and Famous Barr. Anyone else remember that? What great giveaways! I remember Johnny Rabbitt gave me a free ticket to the Danny Thomas show at the Arena. It was to thank all the kids who went out collecting for St. Judes. I saw The Turtles, Tommy James & The Shondells, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels that magical night! One Saturday we went downtown to see Johnny and he had some guests there. It was a group called The First Edition and their lead singer was a fella named Kenny Rogers. I remember I got his autograph and he asked me and my girlfriend where was a good place to eat. Of course we told him about the ONLY place we knew of…the Burger Chef across the street. I remember he said it sounded good and even offered to buy us a Coke. We didn't go with him. We both thought he was too old!!!! KXOK was as much a part of St. Louis as Grant's Farm and The Arch. It was so sad when all the kids started listening to KSHE fm instead. I missed The Rabbitt so much.

I love this site so much! Anytime I start feeling lonely for the good old days in St. Louis, I come here and read all the memories and they take me back to a sweeter time.

Thanks Dave!

Response from Anonymous 9/26/2006

Alot of my memories are from stories from my parents and ancestors. My mother lived in a house which is now Hwy 40 & McCausland. They tore it down to build Hwy 40. My parents were avid patrons of Parkmoor #2 at N. Kingshighway & Cote Brilliante. The stories I heard from there! Makes me wish I were there too. Remembering the underground walkway between the parking lot and the old Famous Barr at Kingshighway & Chippewa, the White Castle at Hampton & Chippewa, fun times at the Arena, the Admiral excursions with the fortune teller in the glass box where you would put in money and she would give you your fortune. Ice skating at Steinberg rink in Forest Park and rolling down Art Hill. Many stories about streetcars and remember taking the bus to Stix Baer & Fuller downtown, the Christmas decorations in the window at the downtown Famous Barr and the floor Santa was on where you actually got a real toy at the end. Anybody reading this, back in the 40's remember or hear of a radio announcer for KXOX who announced the boxing matches by the air name of "Biz" Kenney? If you do, please respond to my email address. He was my great grandfather. I would love to know how to get my hands on an old radio show he did. Cannot find it in the history archives. Great site! I am glad I found it. Thanks, Dave.

Response from Sandi Orlando, Florida 10/1/2006

I grew up in Pine Lawn EVergreen 34542.
I've really enjoyed reading the posts on this site. Brings back so many memories.
I have to share something with you. I have a friend that moved from Orlando to St. Louis. She called me and asked me why everyone always asks....what high school did you go to? They ended up leaving St. Louis, as they said they never felt like they fit in.
I used to ride the bus to Welston with my grandmother and we did all my new cloths shopping for the summer.
I grew up in South St Louis and went to St. Margaret's on Castleman. We moved to the county and I went to St. Paul's on Jennings Rd.
I won a trip with WIL radio in 1963 or 64 to see the Beatles in Chicago. It was such a big deal for me. George Michael's was the DJ. He and his wife flew about ten of us girls to Chicago. We saw the Beatles in a huge amphitheater. We couldn't hear them, but we sure had a screaming good time. I won this contest by collecting 10,000 names for Ringo for President.
I went to Rapp's on Natural Bridge and stood outside to get signatures, went to the Muny Opera and passed my signature books up and down the rows. I listened to the radio the day they were going to announce the winners and when my phone rang, I went crazy.
Also saw the Beatles at Bush Stadium in 1963 or 64. Again, we couldn't hear a word they were singing.
Oh how I miss St. Louis and those good old days. Just thinking about St. Louis makes me long for Ted Drews, White Castle's, Pasta House and Imo's.
Does anyone remember Goody-Goodies on Natural Bridge or Sam the Watermellon man?

Response from Anonymous 10/2/2006

I moved away from St. Louis (always thought of it as "home" no matter where I lived) as a child and just recently returned. So many of my own memories came back after reading everyone else's.

The first apartment I lived in was on Chippewa, two blocks up from Kingshighway. We lived on the first floor, and on the corner across the street was a laundry. A lady named Georgia owned it with her husband.

My brothers were delivery boys for Davey Lee Pharmacy.

My dad worked at AB. He'd come home early in the morning when he worked the midnight shift, hungry for breakfast and my mom would make bacon and eggs over easy, just the way he liked them. He always let me dip my toast in the gooey yellows!

Left over rice heated and sprinkled with sugar and warm milk for breakfast. (Was my family the only one to do this?)

My dad was a member and at one time Commander of the Guard of Honor. He was involved in so many ceremonies in front of the Soldier's Memorial. I remember a man named Andy Scroy (sp?) playing taps, with several local politicians on the steps of the memorial including Mayor Servantes. My dad in a crisp ceremonial uniform with spotless white gloves standing ramrod straight. He was also Captain of one of the American Legion Posts.

We bought our 64 Dodge Dart station wagon from a man my dad knew named Bob. It had a push button transmission.

My dad teaching my mom to drive in the parking lot at Southtown Famous.

The bargain basement at that same Famous.

Walking with my mom to Famous to shop for school clothes or all the way to Hampton Village to shop at JC Penney's

Going with my mom to her ladies bowling league at St. Mary Magdelene.

Taking the bus with my mom downtown to Stix and Famous at Christmas.

Getting my picture taken with Santa at Famous or Stix, I forget which.

The IGA grocery store close to our apartment on Chippewa.

Riding the "horse" in front of the Kroger on Chippewa.

The smell of coffee beans as they were ground into a bag I got to "help" hold at Kroger.

My mom folding the paper grocery bags so they would stay neatly closed. ( I still know how to do this) Using them later to put popcorn in for those wonderful summer nights at the drive in. Wearing my pj's to the drive in and falling asleep in the back of the station wagon after the cartoons.

Getting the Hong Kong flu in the late 60's.

The earthquake that woke me from an afternoon nap in the late 60's. My parent's 4 poster bed was hopping across the room (at least it seemed like it at the time!)

Walking to Bettendorf's with "Aunt" Anne. She was a family friend and used to babysit me once in a while. She and her husband, Joe, owned a house on Landsdowne and we'd walk everywhere. I loved walking to Fancis Park with her to play and check out the lilly pads in the pond.

Breakfast after church on Sundays at Uncle Bill's Pancake house. One of my brothers worked there as a cook to help pay his tuition to Prep South. Silver dollar pancakes there or at IHOP on Chippewa.

Flaming Pit on Chippewa and the treasure chest where I could get a "prize" after dinner if I'd been good.

Movies at the Avalon and Granada.

The tamale man out in front of the Granada. My mother always loved those!

Gus' pretzels, still warm in the brown bag. We bought them at the corner of Gravois and River de Pere.

DAD's scotch oatmeal cookies, the BEST oatmeal cookies in the world!

Colonial Bakery at the end of the street where we moved just before I started school. We rented a house on Bingham, off Morganford (Mahrganfard) Our phone number started with MOhawk.

Oak Hill Elementary.

Mrs. Worthington (Kindergarden) Mrs. Shutte (3rd grade) MISS Parle, the Principal, who always wore gray suits and lace up old lady shoes. Vita Lunches ( yuck!!!)

Being allowed to go home for lunch since I lived across the street.

The school picnic and parade down Morganford.

Chain of Rocks amusement park

My first "boyfriend" Jeffrey giving me his prizes from the Cracker Jack box. (We were in 1st grade)

Catching lightning bugs and putting them in a jar with air holes in the lid.

Mr. Softee

Learning to spell Mississippi...M, I, Crooked letter, crooked letter...etc...,

Looking for four leaf clovers.

Being a Camp Fire Girl.

The lady next door's fresh baked bread. She'd always call me over to take a loaf home.

Losing numerous balls in her backyard, so filled with flowers that once a ball went over the fence, it was gone forever.

Not being allowed to walk in the back door after playing in the snow til my fingers were numb, but having to go in via the basement stairs and strip out of my wet cold clothes while Mom had a towel waiting for me.

Play clothes.

A whole new outfit, dress, tights, hat and shoes for Easter.

My dad always giving my mom a corsage to wear to church Easter Sunday

Hot chocolate and cinnamon toast for breakfast.

Candy at Charlie's on the corner of Morganford and Bingham.

Candy cigarettes, bubble gum cigars, dots (on paper) wax lips and wax harmonicas.

Taking the shortcut down Basch Lane behind Bingham to go to Steak n' Shake with my big brothers.

Being allowed to stay up til midnight on New Year's Eve and banging pots and pans in the front yard. Then going inside and having a dish of vanilla ice cream with a dash of green creme de menthe over the top! What a treat!

Miss Lois on Romper Room. I loved her even though she never saw me in her magic mirror. ( I have a very unusual first name.)

Corky the Clown.

The Friendly Giant

Gunsmoke, Bonanza and Dragnet (dum da dum dum!)

I was the remote control for the television.

Red Skelton ("Good night, and may God Bless!)

Hop scotch, four square and kickball.

Miss Mary Mack all dressed in black.

"Oh! Little playmate, come out and play with me" sung with a friend as we slapped hands.

The factory at the end of Bingham where the ladies got off work at 3:00 every day and walked up past my house to the bus stop.

My best friend Jenny and my friend Colleen who moved to far away Hillsboro after 2nd grade. I'd go visit her for weekends on her parent's farm.

The Spanish Pavillion

The Santa Maria

The Admiral

The dedication ceremony at the Arch. It rained and rained and rained. Being one of the first people to go up to the top after waiting hours!

My dad's funeral at Krieghauser. His burial at Jefferson Barracks in the dead of winter when I just 11.

Response from Anonymous 10/2/2006

My daughter sent me the sight and I loved it. It brings back a lot of memories and here are some of mine. I lived in South St. Louis , from 1941 till 1950, went to Roosevelt High.. Oh yes my telephone # was Mo3273. The new streetcars, started operating around the time I moved to St. Louis, and the Shenandoah Show was renivated, at that time. Mr Pelican of Pelicans restaurant, gave my Dad tickets when it opened. It was beautiful,soft carpeting and all.

Our neighborhood had beautiful Iron Fences, with those points on the top. Our home had a flat tin roof, which I would climb up thru an opening in the back porch, and suntan.

Candy I remember, Pecan Pete Candy bars , which I bought every day at Roosevelt after school.

Bowling at a building on Grand and Hartford on the second Floor. Swimming at the Maplewood Pool and burying a foot long hot dog afterwards, The Highland Comet and the pool,where you had to step in a box with cold disenfect,before entering the pool.Blue Mineral that was in Fenton.Fairgrounds Pool in Fairgrounds Park, where you had to wait in line for a long time, and when you were in the Poos a whistle would blow and you had to get allow the next group to come in. Dance lessons at Clarks School of the Dance on Olive, Betty Grebel had attended, before I started. I also attended the Turners Gym on Arsenal by the Brewery,I can still smell the beer or hops or whatever.Remember the large Katz drug downtown,and the small Woolworths on Grand and Arsenal. The big theaters on Grand Ave. Fox, St. Louis ,and the Missouri.My father in law was the head of the Misssouri Theater, in the twenties, and remembered Ginger Rogers and many other big time entertainers. Also the Missoure was where the Rockets originally the Missouri Rockets.. Tiwer Grive Park for weiner roasts, Renting a bicycle built for two on Arsenal, and riding in Tower Grove Park.The tennis courts there and on top at the Resrvois on Grand and Lafayette, ice skating at both of above parks, and Forest Park and Carondelet.Roller skating at the Arena and St. Anthonys School. Hikeing to Cliffs Cave and Merremac Caverns, climbing to the top of the huge rocks and sunning ourselves. Walkin and walking everywhere, to the Grand and Olive shows to the end of the Gravois line from Grand Ave and back. Just for fun and talking with your best friend.Going to dances at The Casa Loma on Cherekee St. The Black Forest on Gravois and Big Club Hall.many more I do not remember the names of.

The first Pizza Parlor, my boyfriend and my best friend took me there.It was operated and owened by Cussanelli's It was on Forest Park I do not remember the side steet it was on.

My generation was the first to wear Blue Jeans We had to buy them in the boys department, we wore them rolled up to below the knee and on top we borrowed our dads white shirst and tied them at the bottom.

I met my husband at Castlewood where six of my girlfriends and myself had rented an club house for the summer of 1949, We swan ub tge Merrenac River.and went across to the beach . My husband asked me to marry him while we were in a canoe on the Forest Park Lake. My age is 76,what a great life I had, I wish everyone could have as much fun .

Response from Michael Jeffers - Olivette, Missouri 10/2/2006

I remember Grandpa's & Dad's Ladies Ready-To-Wear "Joyce Frocks" on Easton Avenue. I worked there from age 5 to 11 on weekends and most of the Summer if needed.

I remember the streetcars on Delmar Blvd. running past the 5 & 10 cent store on the North side of the Delmar Loop.

I remember getting lost and crying because I couldn't find Room 4 my first day of Kindergarten at Flynn Park. I couldn't hug my classmates. If I did I'd have to play with blocks. I played with blocks a lot. 'Cause everybody hugged at home. But we were there to learn. So I was a Kindergarten discipline problem.

I remember looking almost everyday from University City to see the upper part of the Arch with the cranes on the tracks up the sides. Little by little.

I remember me & Dad's cafeteria breakfasts at the Mayfair Hotel before work when I was 11. He called it my fringe benefits.

I remember being the only kid sitting in an upper alcove chair at the "Ambassador Theatre" downtown for a double feature with cartoons. There was not one other person in the place except the usher and the projectionist.

I remember when Dad read the Globe Democrat about a boy being knifed to death by two Washington University medical students right across Vernon in Heman Park where we lived. The medical students, the newspaper said, told the boy they were going to kill him and did and wrote a report for school on their observations of a child knowing he would die and his reactions as one of them very slowly pushed the knife into his abdomen. We didn't hear anything about what happened to the medical students. I was 9 years old.

My President Kennedy got shot. I saw it at school on the monitor over and over again in our classroom at Jackson Park. That's when I stated smoking. In Sixth Grade. A lady at the bus stop asked me if I heard about the President. I took in the biggest drag I could hold from my cigarette, held it, and exhaled. I didn't choke or gag. It settled my nervous anger, 'cause ...

I saw Oswald get shot on TV on the way to Court and the man that shot him get shot who was getting away until Rosey Greer the Football Player slammed dunked that last killer and sat on him and said, "Now you got to do somethin'! Now you got to do something!"

I saw the real Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. get assasinated in Washington Park on Live TV. And contrary to story changers and textbook rewriters, there was no riot. Not at all. Everyone only kneeled down and prayed in the entire Washington Park.

Yea. I remember Mavrakos Candies and all the Velvet Freeze Stores and the Varsity & Tivoli Theatres for 25 cents Saturday Matinee.

I also remember Hippys going to prison for 20 years for having a marijuana cigarette but also going to prison for demonstrating against nuclear powerplant by-products for the inevitable annihalation and going to prison for helping the Civil Rights Movement.

I remember people coming back from Vietnam with duffle bags full of marijuana and other drugs, so said some of their younger siblings. They say that their older brothers say a lot of 'em did that.

I remember seeing on TV that a Doctor pays back $125,000.00 or more in Student Loans and immediately begin to pay $100,000.00 a year malpractice insurance or he cannot practice medicine.

I remember when they used to say that a Teacher and a Police Officer are the backbone of the nation and should get a starting salary of $100,000.00 a year if no one else does. Even today they're the most scrutinized in everything they do and accountable for any mistake, but they still only getting about a little over $20,000.00 a year.

I remember a Teacher telling me that if I got a 3rd Grade education at least, I could go to the library and learn anything I truly wanted to. I have 7th Grade and a G.E.D. score of 295/330. Maybe Teacher was right? Maybe?

There's not a time I can remember when life wasn't so difficult it seemed for everyone I ever met or knew that they had to lie to themselves to make things worthwhile.

Response from Dirke L. Redus 10/7/2006

Absolutely awesome site, I am responding to Chesters’ post, Man that was us too, I went to Clay School on the North Side, 14th St. to be exact. We all got our school clothes at Sobels and every once in a while would get real Penney brogues. Sometimes we would take those shoes to a shoe shop (yeah a real shoe shop) in Baden and have tire treads put on them. I remember 14 th St. Mall at Christmas, Parks Drug, Sunn Drug, Western Auto, everything decorated with lights, real Christmas trees! Model car contest, wow what a walk down memory lane. Hyde Park, the stink of Krey packing, so many memories, and Christmas smelled like Christmas then. Sledding in Hyde Park down to the frozen pond, Awesome!!!!

Response from Pat - gone since '85 10/7/2006

Chuck-A-Burger on St. Charles Rock Road - get a burger "free" coupon in the Journal
The Gem Movie Show on the Rock Road
Starlight Ball Room in St. Ann on Sunday night
Presentation CYC dances
Holiday Hill
Mercy Football Games
The Cards
Crusing Steak & Shake, White Castle & Trio
The Esquire Theatre on Date Night
The Riverfront
Gaslight Square
canoes on Art Hill Lake in Forest Park
Chain of Rocks
Ice Hockey Games at the Arena
Penny Candy
Selling Chocolate Bars for Fund Raisers at School (World's Famous Chocolate)
Suntan Beach
Thanks for the site - Loved the "mils" - truly unique to Missouri

Response from John Bure 10/11/2006

Here's my 2 cents. I went to Jackson School (Closed in 2004 ) Zion Lutheran ( closed in 2003 ) Clay (Closed ?? ) I lived on the corner of Madison Street and North Floriussant , Truthfully I lived all over north St. Louis. The only thing left at 14th St and St.Louis Ave is Crown Candy and the old man thatr started it passed away a few yrs ago the 2 boys still own and run it. My name is still on the door of the phone booth the jude box's don’t but they have a large one in there still. the negborhood between madison and Salisberry is all gone mostly prefab houseing now, St Loboris Cathlic School is a home for the state of Mo. the church is closed and rectory is a home for abused women.
My Grandmother used to run the tavern on North Market and North Florissant Ave's ( STOP LIGHT INN ) I'll be honest when I drive through that part of town I just cry ,its so sad. I live in South St.Louis now by Tower Grove Park but I would not go in it after dark not these days .
Anyone who would like to contact me can use this address [email protected]

Response from carol 10/23/2006

My brother & I had our early years in Dogtown,we were so happy there,but we had to move,our land lord was very nice to us and moved the 4 of us my Grandmother and great grandma to an apt in Richmond Heights. He need the space where we lived to store sponges, Our land lord was Mr.Strategos.from there we moved to Maplewood. These memories are so nice to read and remember, If I was to move back to St.louis ,I would like to live in dogtown again. the old memories are good. Thanks to all of you for writing and sharing,Ive really injoyed this. I go way back to rememering saving up for soda and using the mills to get the last cents. mostly they were used for the bus. Like so many people I now live in Florida.

Response from Brenda Umphres 10/23/2006

m-m-m, left over white rice with suar,and butter and milk , if we were lucky, it does surprise me, but We do all have the same memmories. Maybe it was worth eating that left over rice to be able to go see those 10 cent movies on Sundays... Did you ever have cornmeal mush, or cornmeal pancakes for breakfast? It wasn't so bad... Well, and that meat man is right that the word Mam was in there some where . I do remember that... Wish I was sittin' at the Ritz...Gotta Go......B.Ump...........................

Response from Madolyn Kamuf from Normandy 10/23/2006

Spending hours doing genealogy. Love it.
 Spending hours doing St.Louis genealogy. Really love it.
 Finding St.Louis memories on Dave's Genealogy site - priceless!
Seems like nearly everyone is from the South St.Louis area. Let's get some more North City/County memories on here.
Grew up near Natural Bridge & Lucas & Hunt Rd, on Woodrow. EVergreen 2279.
 The Wedge - the Normandy Show, the Wedge 5 & 10, Velvet Freeze.
Pine Lawn - I was born at Dr.Tiernan's Hosp. corner of Natl.Bridge/Jennings Sta.Rd. Sam the Watermelon Man, Hodges Roller Rink, Katz Drug Store, the movie house
Wellston - all the stores, a roller rink on the 2nd floor,Central Hardware, the Wellston & Victory movies, Katz at the Streetcar Station.
Found lots of lost memories here - Rapp's: didn't think anyone else had ever heard of it. How about Remleys Grocery on Jennings Rd? Getting big Christmas Trees for $1 at a Site's Gas Station in Pine Lawn, not to mention cheap gas @3 gal. for a buck. Visiting another world in South St.Louis - Cherokee St., getting ice cream at Pevely on Grand, a tavern or bakery on every corner. Carrying a bucket of beer home with my cousins when we were only 10yrs. old, good for a few sips on the way. St.Louis is "the" beer town afterall.
The Shriner's circus every 4th of July next to the old DePaul Hosp.
The Admiral.
The Highlands School Picnic with the whole family.
Taking the Streetcar downtown to the beautiful movie theaters. School shopping downtown before there were shopping centers.
My best friends Patricia Tucker and Nancy Owens at McKinley Grade School.
Entertaining ourselves all summer with a ball, a deck of cards, comic books, softball, tag til dark and never getting bored. Mumbly peg - would you let your kids play with an open pocket knife? What were our parents thinking.
I retired to a small town in Virginia, boy do I miss St.Louis - the Cards, the Post-Dispatch, the FREE Zoo, Shaw's Garden, the Arch, toasted ravioli, thin thin crust pizza, Steak n Shake, knowing where everyone went to high school, the midwest accent that I can understand....actually the midwest un-accent.
And much more, esp. family, so get back as often as possible.
Let's all give Dave a big thanks for giving us this wonderful place to visit when some of us are so far away.
A note about the Elephant - it was purchased with pennies from school children in St.Louis - my Mother gave pennies. Must have been a lot of pennies?

Response from Bob 10/23/2006

I remember when you could ride streetcars all day and just keep transfering till you got back home or better yet the "student pass" for 50 cents that was good 24 hrs a day. Was there a streetcar that went east on Arsenal past Southwest HS?. How about paper collections during WW11, getting into movies for a steel pot or pan? What memories..

Response from Anonymous 10/30/2006

Wow, what a tremendous site, If there was an Academy Awards for websites, you'd be busy snagging Oscars. I grew up in St. Louis County where it borders the City of St. Louis at Weber Road. (South County) Weber Road is the dividing line, with one lane in the City, the other in the County. I transferred from the "Lou" to the Kansas City area in 1985. My 3 kids love St. Louis. My memories:
Porky's Tavern on Weber Road (played pinball in there as a young teen and nobody cared).
Monte Bello's Pizza on Weber Road. Playing baseball at Heine Meine field. Heitz Lumber was the team sponsor.
The Crest Theatre on Gravois.
Chuck-A-Burger "Healthfully Broiled" on Gravois.
Bowling, as a kid, at both Redbird Lanes and Lemay Bowl.
Watching the demolition derby at Lakehill Speedway.
Biederman's Department store on Gravois.
Stupp Brothers Bridge and Iron on Weber Road in full production.
Sportsman's Park.
Watching my older sisters ice skate at Carondelet Park, because I never was good enough to do so.
The Admiral cruising to the Jefferson Barracks bridge and back to the riverfront.
The riverfront being free to park and walk.
School Picnics at Chain of Rocks Park off Lookaway Drive and the double ferris wheel.
Watching the Arch being built. I remember seeing the cranes progress up each leg.
Watching I-55 being constructed behind my house where I grew up.
Setting pins for my neighbor as he bowled at "I think" Schiller-Turner Club in Lemay.
Taking behind the scenes tours at Anheuser-Busch. My dad was a brewer there and he took me up to the clock tower and hit his zippo lighter against the bell. I've been in places at A-B they'll never take you on the tour.
Skateland at I believe Morgan Ford and Gravois.
Ok, I can go on and on. If you post this, my thanks. If not, thanks, as I appreciate this site causing me to rack my brain to remember this stuff.

Response from LaVerne in St Louis 10/30/2006

I remember the old trolley that ran along Wydown Blvd. and was the inspiration for the famous comic "Toonerville Trolley" which was read nation wide. The trolley ran on one track but at one place there were two tracks so that the cars could pass each other. The cars had a trolley wire at each end, so when a car reached the end of the line the motorman could pull down one trolley and go to the other end and attach that trolley. Streetcars gave us great mobility. Coming home from Mt. Calvary Lutheran School at Union and Wells I had a choice of three routes to take: Hodiament, Wellston, or University, all of which let me transfer to the City Limits. Children from other schools would be on the streetcar at the same time. I especially remember the children from the "Open Air School" which I believe was for children at risk of tuberculosis. If enough of us would stand in the back and jump hard enough we could make the trolley jump off the wire. My mother said they did that as children

Before the Admiral there were two excursion boats. One was the J.S. They were Paddle wheelers. My father would take me down to the lower deck where we could watch the men shoveling coal hour after hour into the big boiler and watch the huge paddle arms turn. The steam whistle made my baby brother cry.

Everything was delivered to the home: groceries, prescriptions and other items such as ice cream, and department store items no matter how small. After all, a lady was not supposed to be laden down with packages. Each department store had its own delivery trucks that were seen daily on the street.

Many families still had their dead buried from home to church to cemetery. Some older folks considered using a funeral home disrespectful of the dead. The family of the deceased would place a "crepe" on their front door. My great grandfather, J.W. Linhardt, a carpenter/builder, took pride in making doorways and stairs wide enough for a coffin.

Contagious disease in the house such as scarlet fever was announced by a sign on the door placed by the health department.

Of course women and girls all wore white gloves all summer when they "got dressed up". But we had to be careful not to touch anything because the coal dust still lingered. The coal was delivered in a truck and shoveled down the coal shoot window into a caged part of the basement. There was soft coal and the more expensive hard coal which burned better. Latter there was coke, which burned even better.

Sometimes we made coal gardens by sprinkling on a piece of coal the bluing used to whiten clothes in the rinse water. Beautiful colors would erupt on the coal.

And the dust storms in the West sometimes blew dust as far as St Louis.

Response from Mike, MA. 10/30/2006

It is a shame that numerous of the responses came from x-St. Louis natives, including myself. I lived in North St. Louis when there was a North St. Louis. It was safe to walk the streets and to be out after dark. Reading the memories of other has triggered many in my mind. Most of where we spent our time is long gone. Here are just a few:
I saw the 2nd and 7th game of the 1964 World Series. We spent the night waiting to get tickets. The park is gone. The replacement park is gone. They won.
Went to Stan-the-Man’s last game. His last at-bat was a double, appropriate. They won.
Lost many friends when I-70 transplanted families.
I went to Central High School, 1st high school west of the Mississippi. School isn’t listed (we were very good in any athletic events). Lost touch.
We used to leave school without authorization for a taste of Phil’s roast beef sandwiches, across the street.
We used to walk 14th Street and take the bus to Downtown for our shopping. This was before Shopping Malls.
Ike & Tina Harlem Review, Club Imperial
We would ride our bikes to ‘Chain of Rocks Park’.
Going to Saturday football games at Public High Stadium on Kingshighway.
Watching Jojo beat everybody while he was going to Vashon/McKinley and Kansas
Crown Candies is still around. My parents went there on dates in the 30’s, my cousins in the 50’s as I did in the 60’s. Not much has changed.
I haven’t lived in St. Louis since I joined the service in ’66 but still consider it home. I was embarrassed today to find out that St. Louis is the least safe city in the US. I’ve lived in California, Alabama, Virginia and now Massachusetts and find it difficult to comprehend how this has continued to evolve.
St. Louis has such a great history with great people with great pride.

Response from Mary V. – 11/11/2006

Where are all of my Florissant friends with so many memories? - When we were moving out to Florissant at Grandview in 1957, if we stood in front of Johnny Londoff's we could see straight through to Northland Shopping I-270...our subdivision was so new, we had farm land all around; dragonflys and such...
We went down the street to (what was essentially Cold Water Creek) Cherry Down Pound Hill and climb up and down the cliffs.
A Sunday evening treat in the Summer was going to Bergens Dairy on Florissant Rd. to get a nickel ice cream cone. When Grandview Plaza Shopping Center went in, around Easter there would be a plastic Easter egg drop from a helicopter. The eggs had papers that listed prizes in them. Grandview Cinema was where I saw (for FREE with a ticket from Bettendorf Rapp store) "The Time Machine". I was 10 and scared to death. During the Summer we would go to Robinwood School Day camp. On Friday evenings in summer they would show movies, which, again, scared to death, I saw "The Monolith Monsters."
My mother would ship us out of the house and let us ride our bikes over to the Florissant Pool for the afternoon (little did I realize that she just wanted an empty house so she could get her cleaning done). On the way we would go to the "Quick Shop" and get Lik-em-Aids.
Went to grade school at Our Lady of Fatima and then to St. Thomas Apostle when it was built. Wore wool uniforms all School year long, with red X ties and beanies. High School was McCluer High (go, Comets, go!!). There may have been almost 4,000 students in a 3-grade school, but never once did I feel like a "number." Our public school was rated "AAA" and Al Holmes was our star football player (we never lost). My brother was equipment manager for them.
I was, of course, in love with the Beatles, and so in high school I followed the bands: Aardvarks, Stepping Stones, Truth, Touch, Sheratons. Went to the Castaways, Music Palace and any outdoor concert I could get myself to.
These are just a few of my wonderful thoughts from those "thrilling days of yesteryear".
Come on, Florissant folks, help me out!!

Response from ??? – 11/14/2006

I grew up on Kennerly ave. in st. louis..I went to laclede phone number was goodfellow 2573 There was a shoe shop on one corner and a confectionary on the other..A policeman walked us across the busy street to school.
I remember the air raids during the war..we had to turn out all the lights in the house..and men in white helmets would come down the street
We would fish at forest Park..that is where I caught my first fish
Haircuts were a quarter..I was the only girl with four quessed it..I had to get my hair cut at a barber shop..
I remember the "ashpits in back of our house, by the ally and the trash man would clean it out
I remember the first soap box derby race..My Uncle Rollyn was one of the men in charge and he got us all soap box derby helmets..we were all so proud of them..!
I have lost touch with anyone I ever knew in St. Louis..
I have truly enjoyed all the memories that were shared on this site..

Response from Ron – 11/14/2006

I remember begging the milk man for a piece of ice, his wagon was pulled
by a horse, which we petted on the nose.
I remember grandma telling us not to hitch a ride on the back of the Lee Ave. streetcar because you could get killed.
I too remember the hot tamale man although mine pushed a cart.
Our telephone number started with COlfax also but I forgot the number.
The "Oh Johnny" thing must be a St. Louis thing.
I remember listening to the news on the radio with my Grandpa during the war and putting little flags on a map when the Allies liberated another part of the world.
I remember riding around the neighborhood on my tricycle yelling like crazy when we heard WW2 was over.
I remember the day my Uncle came home from the Pacific.
Playing bottle caps was our favorite sport.
I remember walking to the local bakery to get donuts on Saturday morning.
Catching crawdads with a piece of liver tied to a net made from a clothes hanger at the lake in Fairgrounds Park was a favorite in the summer.
I remember when my parents went down to Sears on Kingshighway and bought a window fan to cool the house, boy that was living.
I to remember buying grandpa a tin of beer at the local tavern, but it we spilled a little bit (in our mouth)on the way back home.
Mom used dishes she bought cheap for going to the movies.
I remember the neighborhood movie theatre on Lee Ave.
Anyone remember chewing tar to make your teeth white?
Remember swimming at Suburban Gardens ?
Remember school picnics at Chain of Rocks park ?
I remember the day I saw Stan Musial hit five homers in a double header at old, old, Bush Stadium.
I remember seeing Babe Ruth at Sportsman's Park just before he died.
I remember riding the Grand Streetcar and the Natural Bridge bus carrying my .22 Target Rifle home from Hadley Tech (in a case of course) I was on the school "Rifle Team" in the "50's" and no body ever questioned it. Try that today.

Response from ??? – 11/15/2006

Was searching for anything on SVB from thoughts related to the recent takeover of many local stores and renamed Macy’s. Was a Belleville kid but spent most Saturday’s downtown. Woolworth’s donuts were the best I thought then. And I too still have pair of Threads that I wear on occasion, probably 40 years old now. Being in the downtown parades on Veteran’s Day as member of the Signal Hill band. Waiting for the bus to cross the river, remember hanging around the Bi-State bus station playing pinball games. Imagine letting your kids hang around any city’s downtown bus station nowadays.

Oftentimes a group of us guys would go to Famous for lunch. Actually wore coats and ties, or at least a sweater. No jeans, no caps. Walked into the restaurant and all craziness was left behind. Can remember reading in the Post or Globe that the Famous garage would not accommodate the latest model of Cadillac one year, because the cars were too long to make the curve.

Barely remember the street cars as my dad would drive us downtown. Watched as the Arch began and ended with the keystone, and forever seeing the Admiral docked, then it disappeared forever it seemed. Later read article it was down around New Orleans and was a rusted hulk of it’s former self. The Switzer licorice plant at the west end of the Eads, and that big painted sign. Found the licorice at Cracker Barrel recently.

Kiel and the circus, and Bob Petit and the Hawks.

Great times, great memories.

Response from Jim – 11/20/2006

Hi I'm Jim I grew up on California Avenue one block south of Russell. Our phone number was LAclede 1727, later PRospect 2-1727. The phone was very heavy and even if you dropped it nothing would harm it. I went to Shenandoah Grade School from Kindergarten through 8th grade. Then for two years to McKinnley High (1955 & 1956) we moved to Grand and Shenandoah into a 2nd floor flat over some business places, next to the phone company building. The building we lived in is no longer there. After we moved there I want to Roosevelt High. (1957 to 1959)

I remember: Free Knot Hole Passes from the Browns and going to Sportsman's Park by myself to see the games even at night..

The egg man, we would leave a note and some money in a bowl on the porch and he would leave eggs. Some farmer would bring a truck full of fruit or veggies he had grown and sell them off his truck.

We would rush home after school to turn on Mickey Mouse Club to watch Annett's boobs grow.

At night in the summer we would all sit on the steps and listen to the ball game. (No air conditioning or TV)

We took the paper bags that pop-cycles came in and filled them with dust and throw them at each other.

Movies at the Shenandoah, the Ritz, The Princess, The Gravious, The Cinderella and walking to the Fox and back at night to save carfare And the Broadway Drive-In right next to the old Work House.

We would ride the streetcar form school to the Highlands for School Picnics. The stretch from Kings Highway to the entrance was wonderful, the driver would open it up and the cars would rock.

I remember my buddy John's first car. A 1948 Dodge 4 door. We went every where in that car. We would load up a bunch of boys and go from Steak n Shake on Morganford to White Castle on Choutoe and back again. We needed to see who was there and who they were with. Later we would all chip in what we had for more gas. Some times it was less than a buck between us but gas was about 25 cents a gallon then. Still the guy at the station hated to have to pump 82 cents of gas. What a fantastic site you have here. It sure has brought back memories...very good ones!Also as you can see from my spelling and grammer I am a product of the St. Louis Public School System.

I remember those tan "Brogans" with white shoe laces that we bought in that little shoe store on Cherokee Street. That guy must have made a fortune selling those to kids.

Response from Terry Harrison, St. Louis native now retired in Florida – 11/21/2006

I can't add too much more to what has already been written. I went to St. Engelberts Grade school, class of 1951 and DeAndreis HS, class of 1955. Lived on Anderson Ave, North STL from 1937 to 1960. Ed's white Front and Sam, the watermelon man sites have been mentioned, but anyone remember Melrose Pizza Parlor in the same area? I thought they had the best pizza in the world. I still haven't found anything to compare it to. Also, I seem to recall a semi-pro football team, The St. Louis Knights, who played their games at the stadium next to St. Louis University HS on Oakland. They used to have midget car races there, too. Played HS football on that field against STL University HS. Fairgrounds Park and the big round pool with the island in the middle and of course, the race riots there when the pool was integrated. Having moved around a bit while in the Navy, I found that most cities are pretty much the same, but the place where you grew up and spent your youth will always stand out. Playing ball at Penrose park on Euclid during the hottest day in STL's history, 115*, and not noticing it. Sucking ice from the Quality Dairy drivers while they finished their paperwork and chipping in to buy his last quart of lemonade and if we didn't have quite enough money, he sold it to us for what we had. Think anyone would do that today? This is a great site. When will Chapter four be printed? Soon I hope, as I'm getting older by the minute.

Response from Mary Ann Creason – 11/21/2006

I was born in 1946 at the old St. Anthony’s hospital and grew up on Indiana Ave. My grandparents, Charlie and Mamie Truhlar lived directly across the street. My aunt, Pat Buschmann (still living in Afton) recently sent me a flyer from a real estate agent offering the Truhlar house for around $143,000. Seems like they “converted” the “flats” into condos. I attended both St. Francis de Sales school and St. Agnes school which I see has also been converted into town homes. How sad. I have so many fond memories. Some of my most fond memories are the pretzel man, the daily morning trips to the local bakery for “big” crumb coffee cake and peanut cake and crème filled “horns”. I also remember the “sissor man” and the sno cone man, school picnic parades when each class made a hat to wear and parade through the neighborhood before going to the picnic. I remember going to the Legion hall with my parents and grandparents to practice for the “minstrel” show done each year for fund raising. I still have pictures of the cast in black face. How times have changed!! I also remember climbing on the old canon outside the Legion hall. Here is something that would NEVER happen now. There were two taverns on Indiana Ave. In the summer my dad would come home from work and give me his little silver beer pail and a nickel. At about 4 and 5 years old I would walk to the tavern, climb up on a bar stool and the bar tender would fill the pail with beer and I would very carefully walk back home and give it to my dad!!! It never even occurred to me to take a sip. How times have changed!

I also remember “spring” and “fall” cleaning. One of my favorite things was to take a big chunk of the pink wall paper cleaner and rub it on the wall. It was sort of like play dough and you rubbed it on the wall and it took off the dirt. I loved the smell. I remember every Saturday morning the ladies taking turns to scrub the white marble steps leading up to the flat. Also who can forget the annual summer trip to the Admiral boat. I still have pictures of me and my cousins lounging on the deck chairs. We would take our lunch, usually ham salad sandwiches and other goodies. Someone mentioned Duggers dance studio. I started classes there when I was about 4. We would take the bus. I also remember very fondly, watching the Budweiser delivery wagon still pulled by the Clydesdale horses to deliver beer at the local taverns which advertised “free lunch” and special “brain sandwiches”. I also remember the time during one summer when a big block of ice fell of the ice truck. My boy cousins wrapped a rope around it and dragged it up the street to my house. We took turns sitting on it while someone pulled us with the rope then took a hammer and broke it up and chewed on the ice. That took up a whole afternoon.

There was never any sign of Christmas at my house until Christmas morning. We would go to midnight mass at St. Agnes, come back to my grandparents home for food and we would get one gift but first each child had to sing a song, do a little dance or recite a poem before getting their gift. When we woke up on Christmas morning the tree would be up and it was such a magical feeling. My parents must have stayed up till 3 in the morning to get everything done. So many fond memories. I really enjoyed reading some of the others. Brought to mind things I had forgotten. Thank you. Oops, one more memory, the fish frys at local churches. Can’t get food any better anywhere!

Response from John Bure ([email protected]) 11/26/2006

I have written you before but would like to contibute some more. Let me start again, I grew up in North St. Louis between Salsbury Stree and Cass Ave = 20th & Benton Stree to 14th Street I went to Jackson School, Clay School , Zion Lutheran School on Benton St. I recently drove through the old nieghborhood and MY GOD has it changed ! The only place lsft on 14th St is Crown Candy. I remember all the stores on 14th st. the model car contest at Woolworths Sobels DEpt Store Roczy's etc. The funny thing is since I grew up I have had contacts with some people from the neghborhood that I never would have believed if you told as a kid I would have, such as anyone remember the Shoe shop on 14th just off St.Louis Ave? The owner was Tony Saputo , I can still see him putting taps on my shoes,he and I worked at Grants Farm together for 3 yrs , and the sissor's man , While I worked as a nurse in a nursing home he passed away on my floor on my shift,how wird is that? My wife had Bob Cuban as a high School Teacher and we see him all the time now . She is from South St. Louis around 39th and Cleveland infact we live in the same house she has been here 53 yrs now. ( Rene' Rullkoetter ) . reading all these messages sure brings back the memories. Good na d BAd.

Response from Don Quayle of Bethlehem, PA 12/7/2006

As I read the various entries in your site, I am reminded of a wonderful age where life was simple and as children and youth we were safe. I grew up in East St. Louis, in the 40’s and 50’s. I graduated from East St. Louis Senior High and Washington University, then went on for a masters and doctorate. Many of my special childhood memories are of St. Louis: going by myself over to Loews’s State Theater, the Ambassador, and the Fox. That was a day of beautiful and elaborate theaters in which the experience went far beyond the movie. On the way to the theater I always made a stop at one of the dime stores for a sloppy joe and an orange drink.

A highlight for me also, as many have mentioned were the Christmas windows, especially at Famous Barr. (I am saddened that Macy’s is removing the names of the department stores that were so intertwined with many cities’ history (Famous Barr, Marshall Fields in Chicago, and Stawbridge’s in Philadelphia). My favorite candy to this day are the “turtles” sold at Famous. I loved visiting Santa and seeing the shows for children which Famous offered.

The church was a very special place, and my family attended Immanuel Evangelical and Reformed Church (now UCC). Every Sunday after church we would stop at a bakery and get crumb coffeecake, gooey butter coffeecake, or the peanut ones with white icing.

As a teenager special places for dates would be a movie (the last movie I saw at the Fox was The World of Suzie Wong,” ice skating at the rink in Forest Park, going to the Muny Opera, or eating out at one of the great restaurants. I have lived in six places since leaving St. Louis, but none of them has had so much to offer.

While attending Washington University I commuted by taking the bus to downtown St. Louis, and then riding the street car out to the university. The streetcars were great.

When I was a child my family would meet our extended family at Forest Park for a picnic, and then I couldn’t wait to go over to the zoo. St. Louis is fortunate that its zoo is still free. No where else we have lived has the zoo been free.

The Admiral was so special. My mother made a record of me singing, “Goodnight Irene,” on the Admiral at one of those special machines when I was a small child. Our spring high school prom was on the Admiral.

Coming into St. Louis on the Eads Bridge I smelled the Switzer licorice being made there and still love the smell and the licorice.

Going to the Katz Drug store near the Fox Theater, the Forum Cafeteria across from Famous, (especially the various colored drinks you could get there), or eating in the Tunnel Way at Famous were special treats for a child. The Tunnel Way bar-be-que sandwich couldn’t be beat. Sometimes we would also eat at the lunch counter that was on the first floor of Stix, Baer and Fuller. I loved sitting on the stools.

A trip to the Union Market downtown was a wonderful experience for a young child as I marveled at all the choices of great food that were available there.

Periodically our family would drive up to Bellefontaine Cemetery in north St. Louis, where some of my ancestors were buried. My great-grandfather used to run a half-way house, when a trip from downtown St. Louis to the cemeteries would be a major trip. People would stop for ice cream or coffee at that half-way house. I have some of the ice cream spoons from that establishment, which have been passed down to me.

I have grandchildren now and am sorry that neither they nor their parents are able to have the experience of St. Louis that I had in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.

By the way, although East St. Louis has gone through a terrible time since the 1970’s, it was a great place to grow up in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. I received a wonderful education in the public schools, had wonderful friends, and it was a safe place in which to live. It offered a wide variety of jobs to many people. Besides, it was next to St. Louis which offered a variety of cultural activities.

Thanks for your great site. As I get older, it is great to reminisce and to hear other’s memories.

Response from Erven Thoma 12/15/2006

The end-of-the-year school BIG event at Farragut Elementary School (Sullivan St.) which occurred on a Saturday in the latter part of May or first part of June. In the morning we all gathered at Farragut by grade. Then we paraded in the neighborhood with each grade displaying its banner. Our families watched from the sidewalks as we paraded and then boarded buses to go to Forest Park Highlands amusement park where our families joined us. I enjoyed several rides there--Dodgem cars, riding spook house, and one near the entrance that first sent the cars in a trackless tube, then up a roller coaster hill, then falling down the track into a pool of water (can't remember the name of that one, but it could be the Comet). Another one I enjoyed was the boat rides that were powered by an overhead electric source feed through a trolley on the boats (water and electricity would go over big these days!). During my Farragut days I remember shooting cap guns and riding the tricycle on the neighborhood sidewalks. My mother would send me to buy unsliced, fresh bread, cream puffs, eggs, stollen, cheesecake, etc. from the bakery at the corner of Vanderventer and Ashland. When I waited for the Vanderventer bus at that corner, I passed the time enjoying the warm, enticing fragrances coming out of the exhaust fan of that bakery. My brother and I would walk up to the neighborhood theater on north Vanderventer for the Saturday matinee that always included a double feature (often one of them was a western), a cliff-hanger short serial, cartoons, and news reels. At Christmas time there were the family visits to the three major downtown department stores to see the window displays, some animated. The favorite display was the model train display. Of course, the favorite of many was the Zoo, especially in good weather. I remember the scissors grinder, ice man, and junk man who came by our Lexington house and I remember smashing tin cans and buying saving bonds for the war effort. My mother liked to make Damson Plum preserves and grandmother liked soup with a big bone and big dumplings.

During high school the end-of-the-year fling was the ride on the Admiral where we enjoyed the arcade of games and got to see the big steam engines (if we did not care to dance). I remember the swimming lessons at the north-side YMCA on Grand, working at the Ray Quinlan dance studios in north St. Louis, working at a grocery store at the corner of Vanderventer and Lexington, going to piano lessons with Leo Miller at his studio in the Pershing-McPherson area, going home for lunch while attending Beaumont High (we lived one block from the school), going to games at the Browns-Cardinal stadium up by Grand and Spring, seeing the deserted bear pits in Fairgrounds Park, playing piano for the sunday school at Independent Congregational Church at Margarita and Fair Sts. When I was in the neighborhood of the high school football stadium I would stop off at the White Castle at Natural Bridge. I enjoyed getting off from high school classes for half a day to attend the all-city high school orchestra rehearsals (not at Beaumont) as well as playing violin and viola in the Beaumont High orchestra under Assistant Principal Young. In Beaumont in addition to orchestra I enjoyed the Latin classes. Here is something you may not experience today--in high school chemistry we made Florine gas, pushed mercury balls around with our fingers and created drops of water by combining hydrogen and oxygen (which produced an explosion)! A few times during my high school years I played piano live on KFUO, anxiously watching that red light on the wall with the "On the Air" sign.

During my six years at Washington U. I remember riding the streetcar to get there until I got my own car. Then there was the $300 tuition for the semester (in the mid 1950s), the football games and the unique July 4th fireworks in the hilltop stadium. My first church organ position was at a small Presbyterian church in the vicinity of the north Grand water towers. But the organ I spent the most time playing was that in Graham Chapel where I had lessons with the university organist Howard Kelsey, also long-time organist at Second Baptist and Temple Israel. Other music professors I admired included Leigh Gerdine (head of the music department, later president of Webster U) and Lincoln B. Spiess. I remember Shattinger Music Store.

Response from Steve Vogts 12/22/2006

Just ran across your site-what a flashback rush.  I was born in STL 1954. Grew up in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Florissant, Frontenac.  Folks are in their eighties and now live in St. Peters.  Here are some of the things I remember that other readers may like to see.

Katz Drug Store and the Traffic Circle

Eds White Front BBQ

Melrose Pizza-Natural Bridge/Lucas & Hunt?

The Original Arios Pizza in Cross Keys/Florissant

Surrey Lane Baseball Park

Bob Russell Fields

Larimor Swim Club

Fishing in Spanish Lake and the Farmers lakes just down the road.

George and Millie Carson TV Fishing Show-sponsored by Pepsi Cola

Virgil Ward Fishing Seminars at Central Hardware-Actually met Virgil many times-he and George Carson's were my idols as a kid.

The XXX Rated Drive-In on St. Charles Rock Rd. almost across the road from Normandy High School-they had a real high fence but we could see the movies as we dove
down the side road to my grandpas house.  Dad use to tell us to look at the floor or cover our eyes!!

Chain-O-Rocks School Picnic

The Hill-Ragazzi's Fish Bowls-when young rootbeer-when older-Beer!!

McCluer High School Grad.

Kiel Auditorium

The Arena

Grandpa Pigeons

The River Des Pere

Channel 2 TV Tower Demolished by tornado

Captain 11 Show-previewing the Humane Society adoptions-We got our first dog from the show.

MAX ROBY on the news

Cookie was also the weatherman and with the Captain showing Popeye Cartoons

Bill Seibel-Globe Democrat Outdoor Editor

The Christmas Window displays downtown Famous Barr and Stix Baer and Fuller.

Sled Riding at Art Hill and the bond fires.

The best fried chicken at Romines Rest. On Riverview Drive.

Drag Racing on Hall Street.

Cruising the strip Friday nights.-New Halls Ferry-Steak and Shake.

Eating deserts with our dates at Cierino's on Clayton road-use to take dates to the Esquire Theatre and then to Cierino's.

Prom at Chase Park Plaza and dinner at the Cheshire Inn.

Watching them build Hwy 40/61 from grandmas attic window.

Shook hands with Mayor Tucker-I was a cub scout.

Stan Musial, Curt Flood, Bob Gibson, Tim McCarver, Lou Brock, Javier and not to forget the one and only Harry Caray and how my Dad always called Bill
Bidwell an ass----!

Football Cardinals-Jim Hart, Jackie Smith, Larry Wilson and of course Jackie's Place on Clayton.

White Castles on Kings Highway .09 cents-We would get 40-50 at a time for the family.

Shriners Circus at the old Sportsman's ball park

Hot Summer Nights listening to the cardinals game, and listening to the locust in the trees.  No air conditioning!!!!

Thanks for allowing to remember my childhood.  It was fun.