P More than 100 callers identified the photo of the giant, Robert Pershing Wadlow.
The first time Robert Pershing Wadlow came to Cape Girardeau, he was 15 years old -- "a mere boy of 7 feet 3 inches," according to newspaper accounts.
That was in 1932.
Five years later, when Wadlow came to town in 1939, he had "grown up," to 8 feet, 8 inches. Wadlow's growth never stopped.
When Wadlow died, in 1940, he was 8 feet 11.1 inches tall, the tallest man in history, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. At the time of his death, Wadlow weighed 490 pounds and had a shoe size of 37.
Wadlow, known to many as the "Alton Giant," visited Cape Girardeau three times -- 1932, 1936 and 1939 -- during a nationwide promotional tour for shoe companies.
In fact, the giant shoe factory -- a seven-story structure on North Main in Cape Girardeau -- manufactured many of his shoes, six pairs, twice a year.
A lot of people familiar with Wadlow were reminded of him last week, following the publication of a photograph on the Southeast Missourian's Faces & Places page, showing Wadlow in front of Gaylor's Shoe Store in downtown Cape Girardeau.
"He had big feet," said Jay Sheets of Cape Girardeau. "I remember seeing one of his shoes in a museum. It measured from the tip of my fingers to my elbow."
"You didn't realize just how big his shoes were," said Marge Ervin. "I worked at the shoe factory where they made his shoes. They were gigantic."
Wadlow is still listed as the World's Tallest Man in Guinness record books.
During his final visit here, Wadlow stood on the back of a flatbed truck surrounded by crowds of people, mostly children. He was accompanied by his father, who told the crowd the history of his son.
Wadlow was a large baby, but not excessively so. When he was born on Feb. 22, 1918, he weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces, but six months later, early evidence of his tremendous growth rate was clear when he weighed in at 30 pounds. He weighed at least 40 pounds when he began to walk at age 1. By the time he was 18 months old, he was already up to 62 pounds.
It wasn't until 1929, just before he turned 12 years old, that Wadlow and his parents discovered the reason for his growth.
At his first checkup at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Wadlow discovered he had an overactive pituitary gland that produced higher than normal levels of growth hormone and caused him to grow at a fantastic rate.
"I vividly remember standing next to the truck in which Wadlow was transported," said Dan Cotner. "I also remember him walking down the street at Cape Girardeau. He was big"
"My father drove the truck when he was here for his last visit," said Ellen Gateley of Cape Girardeau. "And, the empty chair shown in the photograph was for my mother."
"I remember Wadlow," said Quanita Cain. "I lived at Granite City, nearby his hometown. At Granite City they had this big chair in front of a shoe store, and on visits there, Wadlow used the big chair."
Many people called in reference to Wadlow, who visited throughout the Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois.
"My mom went to school with Wadlow," said Dave Jackson.
Norma Wessell remembers working at a the shoe factory and making shoes for Wadlow. "He wore a size 37," she said.
Brown Shoe Fit Co., using a Brannock Shoe Device, figured Wadlow's shoes were 28 to 29 inches long. Homer Gilbert, who worked at Gaylor's and later Brown Shoe, "fitted" Wadlow for shoes while he was in Cape Girardeau.
"I knew immediately who he was," said Anita Young. "I'm from East Alton."
"I remember seeing his humongous shoes at a local shoe store in Willow Springs," said Eteyl Smith. "Later I saw him there and again at Cape Girardeau."
And on and on. Wadlow's picture generated more than 100 calls to The Missourian.
Ira Ray Tucker saw him at Puxico and Poplar Bluff.
Bud Leming saw him at St. Louis and Cape Girardeau; George Fehr saw him at Flat River; Bill Caldwell saw him at Thebes, Ill. Joanne Lincoln was reminded of Wadlow twice last week.
"I was looking at the picture in the Missourian," she said. "We had Discovery Channel on and there was Wadlow on a TV show featuring giants."
Bonus to coon hunting
Coon hunting came to mind recently when a picture of a Cape Girardeau hunter displaying more than 60 coonskins appeared on the Missourian's Faces & Places page.
The hunter in the photo was quickly identified with his winter's catch of 66 skins.
"The picture was of my father," said Donna Young of Cape Girardeau.
Young's father, the late Ralph Lowes of near Jackson, had a big season in 1959.
During that season, Lowes did a lot of his hunting with his two favorite dogs, Fuzzy and Sam, shown with him in the picture.
He hunted in Cape Girardeau County in Missouri and Alexander and Union counties in Southern Illinois. Also shown with Lowes were daughters, Donna (Young) at left, and Brenda (Ross).
"I often hunted with Ralph," said Jim O'Neal.
The sport of raccoon hunting has an added bonus. "We hunt for the sport of hunting, but the cash received for the hides is an added bonus," said Joe Meyer, of Jackson, who also hunted with Lowes on occasion.
The hunters sell hides to furriers.
"Prices have ranged between $10 and $20 over the years," said Joe Meyer, who also hunted with Lowes. "The most I ever received for a coonskin was $25."
Coon hunters report that fur prices have dwindled to a low point over the past year, ranging from $5 to $6.