There is a picture that comes to my mind every time I drive by or go into the Sheriff’s Building downtown.
It is a picture that was taken on the front steps of that building, the day Dick Priesendorf, Sam Sanders, and I left for the navy. The Navy Chief, who recruited the three of us posed with us on the steps of the building, which was the old Sedalia Post Office in those days. The navy recruiter had an office on the first floor of that building in the fifties, and it was there the three of us had signed up for a four year hitch. Mom, my sister Juanita, and a friend named Helen Clark were not in the picture, but they were there to walk with us to the Missouri Pacific Depot, and see us off to St Louis for our physicals and indoctrination, after the picture was taken. It is wonderful how old things like that building can hold a person’s memories. It makes me wish I had pictures of all the places that make up my memories, that are gone now. I can close my eyes and see them, but how wonderful it would be to have their image on film so I could share it with others. If I could go back in time I would pose in front of all the old places that fill my memory now, so they would be here today for me to enjoy.
One of those pictures would be the old covered bridge, like the one on my writing room wall. That one was taken on a sunny day, with shadows playing across the beautiful old bridge from the large trees hanging over it. The picture would be even more precious to me, if my friends and I were standing in front of it still wet from a swim in Flat Creek. I would also love a picture of The Crown Drug Store, like the one that is in my mind from the days of my youth. A picture that would catch my friends and I leaning against that distinctive, shiny black front post, watching the girls go by. I wish I had a snapshot of us kids, in line at the old Uptown Theater, waiting to buy our tickets to a Saturday matinee, under a fully lighted marquee. As I think about that picture I can almost hear the sound of popcorn being popped in the concession stand in the lobby. The old Country Club where I caddied as a boy would make another good picture, or maybe several. I might take one under the large trees that sat outside the clubhouse, where us boys would play golf games, or eat the sandwiches, we bought either out of the back door of the clubhouse, or at the mom and pop store across the street, where a Break time sat in later years. I would also like to have one in front of the large ditch that ran through the property just below the clubhouse. I remember searching for golf balls in its water to sell back to the players, or the guy that ran the caddy shack. Another picture I would love to have would be taken inside the old railroad round house that sat across the road from Hausel Park, when I was a boy; maybe with one of those massive steam engines towering over me, as it turned slowly on the merry-go-round. I could go on, because there are many other places I would love to see again, but since I can’t go back in time, I guess I will
have to be satisfied with the pictures I still carry in my mind of the rest those places.
Jack Miller is a longtime Sedalia resident whose column will run in the Weekend edition of the Democrat.