Jackie Robinson Maloney ‘52  and her four siblings all attended Hodgen Grade School and McKinley High School. Her professional career was primarily in advertising, working at the same advertising agency for over 20 years and then retiring from TMP, a subsidiary of Her enjoyment of her workday life has spilled over to the Goldbug newsletter and website. Jackie loves spending time with her family and dotes on her grandchildren as well as her nieces and nephews. Childhood friendships are still strong and she enjoys monthly outings with “the girls.” One of her lifelong loves has been Cardinals baseball and she had the privilege of attending many playoff and World Series games during the 80's and 90's. Spring Training was also a ritual for some years. A perfect day for her is a Cardinals ballgame with her two youngest grand - children, especially if the Cards win.

When I was 10, my family moved from North St. Louis to 2654 Park Avenue. My dad had worked for St. Louis Dairy and decided to become a business owner. He opened "Robinson's" and at the time, it was a restaurant only. We moved from a brick bungalow to living upstairs over the restaurant. Like many families at that time (1946) our 4-room flat housed my parents, my four siblings; Jerry Ann Robinson Schafer (51), Harold "Sonny" Robinson (61), Anita Robinson Varney (62), Judi Robinson Galba (64) and me. We used the upstairs kitchen as a bedroom so we had three bedrooms, a living room and a bathroom and we used the restaurant's kitchen as our kitchen also. We never realized that families of our size should really have more room.

There were rooming/boarding houses, two and four-family flats as well as some individual houses on our block. Our building was sandwiched between a photo shop, Standard Photo and Tischler's Dry Goods Store. Across the street from our house, on the northwest corner of Park and Ohio, was Holt's Bar. On the northeast corner was the Ohio Meat Market. A barber shop and hardware store were next to the meat market. The Esquire Ice Cream plant was on the southwest corner.

Many of our customers were men who lived in rooming houses around our neighborhood and took most of their meals at our restaurant. My mom was the "chief cook and bottle washer" in the beginning but as the business grew, it became necessary to hire two other cooks/waitresses to help out. Eventually my older sister and I were recruited as waitresses as well. One of us babysat our three younger siblings and did house work, and the other one waitressed one week, and the next week, our roles were reversed.

There were two industrial laundries in the 2700 block of Park Avenue, I recall one of them was Atlas Linen & Towel, and our restaurant did a big lunch business serving those employees. Over time, those laundries went out of business and our lunch business dwindled. By then, in the 50's, my dad had a liquor license so our place became "Robinson's Bar and Grill" and we did more business in liquor than food.

There were a lot of young women who worked at Standard Photo. In those days, folks either sent their film to Fojo in DeSoto, MO to be developed, or used photo shops like Standard Photo. These young employees frequented our restaurant, as did their boyfriends. They all loved to play the jukebox and dance and I loved to watch them. I found out many years later that almost all of this group of young people were Goldbugs ... Al Workman, Dorothy Russell Workman, Eloise Russell, Marilyn Young, to name a few. Most of them were Goldbugs of the mid/late 40's. Marilyn Young was a McKinley cheerleader from the class of 1947.

One of the big features in the late 40's at Standard Photo was the black and white television they put in their front shop window and left on all the time. Since most of us didn't have a TV, groups would gather in front of Standard Photo in the evenings and stand on the sidewalk, watching TV.

It was a much simpler time then. One of the ordinary things we did, especially in summer evenings, was gather on someone's front steps and talk. We'd walk in groups around the neighborhood, stop at "Nell's Confectionary" (on Ohio between St. Vincent and Eads) or just hang out on one of the street corners in the neighborhood. Sometimes we'd walk up to and around in Lafayette Park. The enjoyment was spending time together, and we never ever worried about being harmed. Our parents didn't worry about us as long as we were home when we (or they) said we would be. A walking trip from Park and Ohio all the way out to Forest Park didn't seem like such a big thing back then, and we enjoyed every minute of it!

In addition to hanging out in the neighborhood, some of us walked to McKinley together. The route could vary on different days, according to which friend we wanted to pick up along the way. If we decided to walk up Park and then go over Jefferson, we would go past the two dime stores, Robb's dress shop, the jewelry store, the Lafayette Show and the bakery on Jefferson where Joe Rulo's mom worked. We walked past the Barr Branch Library, where I spent many, many happy hours picking out an armload of books to take home for hours of enjoyable reading. It was only on extremely cold days that we might get a dime to take the streetcar from Park to Russell. None of us got driven to school because of the cold; our moms were busy at home and if there was a car, dad probably took it to work. And, in those days, the girls all wore dresses or skirts to school - no long pants to protect their legs on the long cold walk.

On my block - the 2600 block of Park - there were many Goldbugs. Ed and Bob Austin lived over the hardware store; Billy and Jimmy Rigsby lived over the barber shop (their dad's); then Marie, Art, Florence and Rusty Cheatham lived next up the street; Lloyd, Bobby and Carol Long lived on my side of the street. Counting the five Robinsons, that's 16 Goldbugs in that one block.

In addition to all the Goldbugs who lived on my block on Park, there were a lot who lived on St. Vincent, right behind Park Avenue. Our family of Robinsons became friends with the family of Glores, who lived in the 2700 block of St. Vincent, with our five matching up, grade-wise, with 5-6 of the Glores. My friendship with Irma Glore Spindel (52) continues to this day, as does my friendship with Florence Cheatham Klingler (52), who lived across the street from us. Who would have ever thought in 1949 that over 50 years later those friendships would still endure?

Perhaps this intermingling of classmates and their sibling, the evenings spent on front steps and walking the neighborhood and walking to school together, fostered the friendships still shared today. That might help in a small way to explain the "McKinley Mystique" that we have all tried to explain over the years. I only know it was a different time, a fun time, and one that we wouldn't change for anything!

Jackie Robinson Maloney '52