By Michelle Brooks
FRANKENSTEIN, Mo. - The only Frankenstein in the country held its first ever parade Saturday in celebration of its sesquicentennial.
A line of mostly early 20th century tractors and restored classic cars stretched down Route C and around Our Lady Help of Christians Parish.
Leading the parade was an anniversary banner that read: Threaded together in faith, knitted together by hope, blanketed with his love. We are a quilt in God's design.
Vendors set up under the mature shade trees of the school's front lawn, a history museum and quilt show were on display in the classroom, and children played old-fashioned games in the grass.
Music, dance and history
lessons filled the church. And the Bishop John Gaydos from the Diocese of Jefferson City joined the parish to celebrate Mass.
Residents and church members turned out with pride.
But they were outnumbered by the guests, extended family and others who returned to their hometown for the one-day event.
Robert and Lawana Starke, Holts Summit, were seventh grade sweethearts attending the parish school, and 36 years later, they sat side by side with dozens of family to watch his mother, Caroline, in the parade.
Caroline Starke, 88, is the oldest woman who has been a member throughout her lifetime. She rode in a convertible with Goldie Kliethermes, who is the oldest lady in the parish, but has not lived in Frankenstein all of her life. Behind them was Wilford Kremer, the oldest man in the parish.
As many as 60 family members were expected to turn out, just to celebrate with Caroline Starke. The furthest traveled from Louisiana.
"She's pretty perky for as old as she is," Robert Starke said.
His sister Laura Baumhoer, also reared in Frankenstein and now of Koeltztown, agreed, "We're excited to see her in the parade."
The siblings agreed they also were looking forward to the nostalgia of familiar faces from the past and sharing fond memories of growing up in the parish.
"Everybody knows everybody," Baumhoer said.