Where: State Historical Society of Missouri
Who: Jeff Corrigan, Oral Historian
Jeff Corrigan has worked as an oral historian and reference librarian at the State Historical Society of Missouri for 4.5 years. He works primarily with the One Room School House, political and environmental collections. The best interview subjects are “retired people who can look back on their career,” Corrigan said. Most interviews lead to others and Corrigan finds most his subjects via word of mouth. An average interview lasts two hours but Corrigan said a 95-year-old man once talked to him for six hours straight. Corrigan’s favorite subject was a WWII Navy pilot. “He had cheated death several times,” Corrigan said. First, the pilot’s plane was shot down and he lived on a raft with his co-pilot until the USS Shark submarine picked them up. The pair became submariners for a month but was dropped off in Hawaii. When the USS Shark submerged again, it was torpedoed, making the two pilots its only surviving crew members. Later, the pilot was on the USS Lexington when a kamikaze hit the room he was in. He was the only one that survived. Despite the turmoil, the pilot retained all of his flight logs and retold his stories to his social studies students.
Where: Columbia Farmers Market
Who: Jeannie Nobis
The pies at Grandma Barb’s Pies at the Columbia Farmers Market aren’t actually baked by their namesake. In fact, Barb’s daughter-in-law, Jeannie Nobis, has been baking for the stand for seven years now. It’s a full time job requiring Nobis to bake six days a week to sell at various farmers markets in Monroe, Mexico, Hannibal, Paris but Columbia is the busiest location. Nobis bakes everything from simple sweet breads to more time-consuming onion cheddar breads but her chocolate chip peanut butter chip bread is her most unique item. Her baking career started 30 years ago when Nobis baked 2 pies for a diner every morning when she was 17. Now, you can find her pies at weddings. Her largest order was 400 cupcakes for a wedding. However, a different cake trend has been taking over her oven, cake balls. Nobis generally doesn’t say no to a request. “If I can do it, I try my best to get it done,” she said, as long as she’s given two week’s notice. Despite the popularity of her baked goods, Nobis doesn’t plan to open up a store because she appreciates the flexible schedule of the market. “If something happens and I can’t bake, it’s not going to ruin someone’s life,” she said. “And I’m never hungry,” she added.
Where: The Activity and Recreation Center
Who: Josie Ostrowski
It doesn’t bother Josie Ostrowski that her work place always smells like chlorine. “I don’t even notice it,” she said. Ostrowski has worked as a receptionist at the ARC for a year, although she has tried to quit three times. “It sucks you in and you never leave,” she said. As a receptionist, Ostrowski assures customers are being helped and satisfied, solves problems and signs up new members. Customers mostly inquire about the class schedule. Ironically, Ostrowski hasn’t taken a class since she started working there.
Where: Boone County Historical Society
Who: Majorie Motley, Docent Coordinator, Volunteer, Director of Centralia Museum
Marjorie Motley’s favorite artifact in the Boone County Historical Society’s Civil War exhibition is a pair of binoculars with a bullet hole through them. “They probably saved the man’s life,” she said. She is equally impressed by the size of gigantic cannon shells. “I was a quail hunter,” she said. Motley is a docent of the museum, however her personal items are on display too. In the University of Missouri Football Exhibit, you can find her game tickets and books from the 1950s.
Where: Cosmo Park
Who: Drew Deubner
Drew Deubner is the founder of Como Polo, Columbia’s bike polo club. He started the club in March 2008 after reading up on the sport and realizing Columbia didn’t have its own chapter. Although he only started riding bikes in college two years prior, he said he had always been interested in mechanics. The bike Deubner rides today is a mountain bike customized to single speed. The club practices twice a week, Wednesdays on the roof of Hitt Street Garage and Sundays at an unused hockey rink in the back of Cosmo Park. “We call it bike church,” he said. Sporting helmets and wrist guards, two teams of three take on each other, circling on their bikes with mallets. The sport can be rough. “It’s frustrating and it’s painful,” Deubener said. He has shattered his hand and tore a ligament in his right ankle at a tournament in Colorado a year ago. That Sunday, he had a bloody fingernail and scraped elbow.
Where: Stephens Lake Park
Although the signs may say “No Skating,” Stephens Lake Park was still benefitting from the summer weather last weekend. Children splashed around in the lake, teenagers studied on the grass and couples walked their German Shepherds on a Sunday afternoon. The autumnal wind sennt smells of barbeque through the air. The“No Ice Fishing” sign won’t be relevant for quite some time.
Where: Columbia Cemetery
You can find the origin of every local street and university building name in the Columbia Cemetery. Names like Lowry, Rollins, Douglass, Hitt, Stephens, Gentry, Lenoir and others are chiseled on the tombstones. Next to these massive marble blocks are fake flowers and sometimes mementoes like a toy car and baseball glove left for a little boy who would’ve turned five this year.
Where: J.W. “Blind” Boone Center
The plants outside of the J.W. “Blind” Boone Center aren’t just decorative; they are part of the community garden. The children and staff of Moving Ahead grow herbs and vegetables. The Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture supports the project.
Where: Voluntary Action Center
Newspapers claim they can no longer generate revenue via job ad placements, but not everyone looks them up online. The Voluntary Action Center has a whole bulletin board of newspaper want ads.
Where: MU Research Reactor
The MURR isn’t exactly journalist friendly because they have a gate that only authorized personnel can enter around it.