I just finished reading that another of my dear friends from my childhood has passed away. I grew up with Dick Prisendorf, and attended Washington Elementary with him starting in the 1st grade. In 1955 Dick and I joined the navy, a decision and a pact we made as younger boys after watching a war movie about big ships with big guns. We both envisioned ourselves as Gunners Mates on a big ship, something that only Dick got to experience since I became a Machinist Mate, and worked below decks. We went to boot camp in Great Lakes Illinois together, but after that he went to a destroyer on the west coast, and I went to one on the east coast. We did not see each other again until we got out of the navy.
Dick Prisendorf gets the credit for many of the memories I have written about through the years. I used to go by Bill Greer Motors where Dick worked years ago as often as I could just to talk to him, and pick his brain for a good story I could write about our growing up days. Dick is the one who reminded me about the little café called Coney Island ran by a colorful man we all called “George the Greek”. George ran a little greasy spoon restaurant that most people loved back then. Dick pointed out that the rich people of the town would not eat there, but they would carry out food. The article on George is still one I am asked about often.
Dick was one of my more talented friends, too, he could draw pictures that looked just like a comic book page. As someone who can hardly draw stick figures I always envied his ability. He was also a very funny, quick witted person, who could usually come up with something funny to say that fit the occasion. When we went to St. Louis for induction a very loud and obnoxious panhandler would not go away until Dick told him he was working that side of the street. (At the time it was hilarious.)
Dick was the one who owned the first car of our group, with which he used to deliver pharmacy items for the Sedalia Drug in the 100 block of South Ohio. Dick who always saw the humor in every thing thought it was funny how many older people in Sedalia ordered liquor (for medicinal purposes of course.) To his credit, and possibly to preserve his tips he never told us their names.
I had not seen Dick for several years prior to his passing, but there were not many days without my thoughts turning to him, and our days as fellow sailors, and friends forever. So long Dick I will miss you, and I could never forget you.
Jack Miller is a longtime Sedalia resident whose column runs in the Weekend edition of the Democrat.