Bob Mitchell: Interesting papers found in moving process

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

If you have never made a major move, there are undoubtedly thousands of memories buried in shelves, drawers and envelopes that will startle the best of you.

We discovered this over a course of weekends as Shelley and Dennis made the trip from Kansas on consecutive Saturdays to move more “stuff” and clean out places the memories had been hiding for all these years

We had been in Chinquapin Woods for over 35 years and in Sunset Heights for several years previous to that, and a lot of this material had been moved from atop the 3rd Street hill. That’s much in evidence through cancelled checks that were uncovered. Most of these were counter checks that were used in those days and available on any business counter where you might be making purchases. Today’s banking interests would undoubtedly balk at using this method of paying for merchandise or services.

Obvious changes

Of all the checks written all those years ago, the most surprising of the group was a number written in 1953 to Dr. Mary Newman in the amount of $2 for an office call. This was apparently in the period before Bruce was born in April of that year. Dr. Mary’s office during this period was entered from West Eighth Street in the Hall Theater Building on the west side of the public square.

Another oddity was a check, again a counter-type, written to Miller Drug for $3 for a prescription refill.

Then there was a check for $5.20 to Jimmy Turner’s Station apparently for gasoline, apparently coming from a pump at the corner of Sixth and Main, which is now the location of the Cassville Democrat. Behind that location was the town’s horseshoe pitching pits that any reasonable weather condition would find games in progress.

A government envelope

Inside a large government brown envelope were documents believed to have been long lost in either moving from San Diego and Navy days to the Avon Apartments in Cassville, a time for considerable storage, to Sunset Heights and then to Chinquapin. Included in the envelope were the Honorary Discharge and the list of service ribbons for which I had qualified, and prominent in these was the Good Conduct Medal, also known as the Medal of Undetected Crime.

Newspaper clips

Most interesting was a clip from the Jefferson City paper concerning my uncle and mentor, Means Ray, titled Jefferson City Booster, Newspaper Writer, Insurance Agent and Everybody’s Friend.

In this article, it is made very obvious it was a sounding board by a group about to have him make a choice concerning which state-wide office he might seek in the next election. Apparently he chose to go no further than mayor of Jeff City, where his administration’s personnel remained for years after he returned to Cassville to join the Cassville Democrat.

Another was from the Ozark Mountaineer issue of May in 1953, touting the 82nd year of the Cassville Democrat and predicting it would continue in the Ray family for many years to come. It did just that, through June 1, l995, to become one of the longest-running family newspaper operations in the state.

This type content could go on into several columns, but for the time being, that’s all that needs to be covered.

Other documents

Also discovered were the original copies of presentations assembled from various entities of the community when we were going after FASCO, Alvey and Justin Boot. These will probably be offered to the Cassville Industrial Development Corporation, if they would like to preserve them.

Speaking about the IDC, we had become this group’s largest holders of stock, having received the Blalack certificates sometime ago. These have now gone to a younger member of the business community who has an honest interest in having Cassville succeed. Good luck and God’s Blessing to both!

In the mess were original copies of Cassville Golf Course documents, including the unforgettable membership paper, the Charter for a non-profit corporation and the Constitution and By Laws. The present board can have them if they like.

Just before the 4th

One day before Independence Day, July 3 to be concise, we will be the owners of just one lot in Chinquapin Woods and a vacant potting shed built on the property. We’ve had a good run in Cassville, not that we’ve given up completely with the community, but as I’ve been told over the years, “All good things must eventually come to an end!”

This obviously is what has happened to Sue and I, who are justly proud of Bruce and Shelley and point with a great deal of happiness about their growing up in the City of Seven Valleys.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.