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I. E. Millstone was a wonderful gentleman with the skill of a storyteller and a keen memory of nearly a century of life in St. Louis. I was privileged to listen to many of his stories, and I can still hear him reminiscing about growing up near Forest Park. “My boyhood world,” he told me, “went from home up on Kingshighway south to Forest Park. From about 1912 when I was five until I started Washington University at the age of 16 — these were the days that set the stage for the rest of my life.”
“In 1914,” he remembered, “we went to the Pageant and Masque on Art Hill … I was only seven, but I can still visualize that Pageant as though it was yesterday.
“I remember when the Muny opened. I was an usher on opening night. And later I learned to drive an automobile in the Muny parking lot.”
“There was no place to swim in Forest Park,” he said with a daring little grin, “although sometimes we went into one of the lakes where nobody could see us, just to get wet in the heat.”
Forest Park has been my landscape for more than twenty years, yet through Mr. Millstone’s stories I have been able to witness the place for years beyond my own. It is one of the many enduring legacies he left us.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Bob Archibald is the President of the Missouri Historical Society