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History of Normandy
Very Special Memories of Normandy
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A Special Memory by Mary Horton
Harvesting stories at the St. Ann's weekly Lenten Fish Fry

March 16, 2012

Interviewer: Alice Floros

"My greatest story was back in high school. Going to the senior prom and winning the championship in Normandy baseball in 1975, yeah winning the division."

Charles Coburn

"I've been coming to the fish fries for, I don't know, forever. And I was gone for over twenty years, and when I moved back, I sort of got into everything again, jumped into everything. We live on Augusta. I could talk about the time that we drove our teacher crazy and he quit. We can't confirm that that's what happened, but he disappeared. I think that's about eighth grade.

Monsignor Sprenke and the Tournament

The Sprenke soccer tournament just celebrated fifty years this year, and they have a soccer tournament where we invite different churches, whoever will drive the distance. I ran into one of my co-workers, who, where does he live, O'Fallon?, he came in for it. But there've been a lot of kids who've benefitted from being in the soccer program, but there's no other tournament that's been around for fifty years. It's a good one. It has good historical value. It goes on for eight weeks, roughly. It starts the day after Labor Day. But its named the Sprenke tournament after Monsignor Sprenke who was here when we were kids, okay? Monsignor Sprenke was a very, very good man; he enjoyed his alcohol, but he was very generous to the poor. He made sure a lot of families ate, he was a very, very good man, he was, and well-placed for the type of man he was.

When Lyndon B. Johnson Came to Normandy

Highway 70 wasn't open yet, and Johnson had become president ahead of his time, so they were taking him down Highway 70 to avoid problems and traffic tie-ups. We were all sitting out there, watching. All we saw was his collar but we saw it.

Early Days at St. Ann's School

There's a lot of people who've gone a lot of place from here. Mom (Mary Blackard) was in, the first grade class that started St. Ann's and they marched from, well, the school was where Trinity Tabernacle is now, I don't think its called that anymore. Their class was in that building for first grade, and they marched over to Thomas Jefferson, carrying their school supplies for their first day of school. There were years when, she worked at the hospital, and there were years when she had to cross-country ski to work But they offered to pick them up in the police cars and take them to work, but [the police cars] couldn't get there.

1973 Plane Crash in Normandy

There was an airplane accident or crash in 1973, I can't tell you all the details, what airplane it was. But it landed in a tree down the hill from the multipurpose building at UMSL, it had just been built. My mother watched it [due to] the storm. She came home and she was so upset. What she had coming out of her mouth, I can't tell you what she said. But she had just witnessed this great big airliner crash.Only a little girl and a dog survived. The owner of the dog wound up giving it to the little girl, who wound up in California. But they had bodies all over the hillside, for a little bit of gory history.

School and Neighborhood Integration

My class was the first in the history of Normandy High School not to have a riot. We had riot days like everyone else had snow days. We sure did. I remember when the first black family started at Jefferson, and the principal came in and said. "You WILL treat them nice." And I thought, you know, if we would have just done that across the board, with everybody in all schools, we'd be in a better place today. But we also knew that the principal had a hard hand and the teacher's hand was harder (laughs)."

-Mary Lambert-Gardiner

Sprenke Soccer Tournament—A Transgenerational Passion

"We've been in the parish since '79, and we had four kids go through, and they all played in it. I coached a couple of their teams and I was the tournament director for a couple of years. But the big thing about it is depending upon the volunteers who did it when they were kids, they bring their kids back to play, that kind of thing."

Bill Hook



Normandy, MO • 7700 Natural Bridge Road • Normandy, MO 63121 • (314) 385-3300
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