44 Years Since Baby, the Rain Must Fall


A real stinker of a movie – Baby, the Rain Must Fall – was released in January 1965. I’ve attached an Amazon link but, trust me, you do NOT want to watch it. I’ve tried three times and never made it all the way through.

What’s special about Baby, the Rain Must Fall?

My high school buddy, Jim Stone, and I were cruising around town, ending up at the Rialto Theater to catch the new movie, Baby, the Rain Must Fall.

Jim Stone OUThe Rialto was owned by his girlfriend’s mother, so we could get into the movies for free, watch them from the projection booth and – Jim’s favorite – pop popcorn in one of those old-fashioned theater poppers.

This night, though, something unusual caught our eye.

There was a new cashier and she was a real cutie.

Jim’s level of fidelity to his girlfriend was just about as high the fidelity of my car’s AM radio speakers, so we flipped a coin to see who would get shot down first.

I’ve won only two gambles in my life

  • My birthday came in #258 in the 1969 Draft Lottery, which made it virtually certain that Uncle Sam wasn’t going to give me an all-expense-paid trip to Southeast Asia.
  • Jim lost the flip, and I got to give the new cashier a ride home.

Lila Perry painting in curlers 1966Lila Perry was a keeper

Any girl who will keep seeing you even after you show up up unexpectedly and take a picture of her painting the house in curlers is a gal you’d better hang on to.

Not only did I like Lila, but I felt comfortable with her brother, John (see yesterday) and sister, Marty.

I didn’t even hold it against her that she didn’t vote for me in the Student Body Presidential election.

Lila Perry Steinhoff, Athens OH 1970Our dates were unusual

I was working for The Jackson Pioneer, which was in our high school rival’s town, so she attended lots of events where she didn’t know a soul. On top of that, she’d be sitting in the stands while I was shooting on the field.

We seldom got to see the end of a sporting event because I had to go home to process my film. It wasn’t unusual that she’d end up stranded in the car listening to police calls while I was out taking pictures of whatever fire, flood or famine we’d stumbled onto that night.

I transferred to Ohio University

My buddy Jim convinced me that I had to get away from Cape or be stuck there for the rest of my life. I’m not knocking Cape. It’s a place I return to to recharge my spiritual batteries, but I’m glad he talked me into transferring to Ohio University in Athens, OH, my junior year of college.

Ken Steinhoff, Lila Pery in Athens Messenger Photo Lab 1969Letters, audio tapes and phone calls weren’t enough.

After the first year, Lila followed me to Athens, moved into a house for International Students and took a job with the county health department so we could be closer together.

One day, Bob Rogers, chief photographer for The Athens Messenger, where I was working, asked when we were going to set a date. I said, “Pick one for us.”

He said, “June 27, 1969.”

For one reason or another, the 27th didn’t work, so we compromised on June 23. Because of the confusion, I can’t remember our anniversary date to save my life. I’m hard-wired to remember June 27.

I said I’d never get engaged in December

Steinhoff and Perry Families at Ken & Lila weddingAt different times, I was sentenced to serve as Society Editor during my stint at The Southeast Missourian. I swore that I would never get engaged in December nor married in June because of the glut of those events in those months.

As it turned out, I did both

Lila, by the way, is the beautiful girl in the middle with the long, white dress. I’m the one to her right who looks petrified.

We hit the 40 year mark today

Ken, Matt, Lila, Adam Steinhoff family portraitThe only reason that Lila hasn’t been nominated for sainthood is that Mother Teresa had a better press agent.

  • The night she planned her first big dinner party, most of the guests and I were locked in the university library covering a sit-in.
  • When we were in the middle of remodeling our kitchen, I took off one day short of a month to cover the Cuban Boatlift. Kid Two was about two months away and she was washing dishes in the bathtub.
  • Kid One’s due date was give or take about 15 minutes from when I was due back from doing a story about a cheerleader academy in Leesburg. Matt’s birth was announced to the world over the company’s two-way radio system.
  • I’d list more, but I think I’m better off if she is isn’t reminded about some of the incidents.

We’ve got a great family

Along the way, we’ve had two great kids who have married the greatest daughters-in-law in the world. They’ve somehow or another managed to find wives who have been as understanding about their flaws and foibles as Lila has been of mine.

(Although, from all appearances, they seem to score a little higher on the husband desirability chart than I do. It must be their mother’s influence.)

I’m one lucky guy

Ken & Lila Steinhoff in Cape Girardeau, MO, Oct. 2008

P.S.  Baby, the Rain Must Fall is still a lousy movie.

34 Replies to “44 Years Since Baby, the Rain Must Fall”

  1. I am the newest member of the immediate family and this touched my heart. Kenny I think more of you now than I did before (and no goofy comment, cause you know I am not very good at expressing my feelings thru words…lol). This post made me want to know you back then. Happy Annv. Kenny and Lila. I guess John shouldn’t marry such young women the second time around…lol

  2. It would have been wise for you to have kept that actual coin you tossed that fateful night and used it to make the rest of your life choices as well because it certainly paid off in that one.

    Poor Jim Stone, is it no wonder he went away all those years to look for something he couldn’t really see in the field of quantum physics?

    And while I know my other sister-in-law will not be reading anything on your website, I still have to speak from a non bias POV. It’s always great to see the two of you together whenever I have the chance.

    Congrats on the 23/27th celebration.

  3. How Sweet! This is the best damn blog ever!
    Happy Anniversary-We should celebrate with a chocolate malt.

  4. Congrats to you both!
    Yes, Lila’s a saint – someone who must truly enjoy a challenge. You certainly did find the right one!
    I’m thinking of the map incident after the shuttle launch – times 40 years of that stubborness. Lord have mercy!! I would now be on trial, though for justifyable homicide. She just let it burn off, bless her.
    Truly – a saint.

  5. I remember a moonlight ride on the Lake Okeechobee Scenic trail a while back where you two walked off into the half-light, hugged and kissed. I never saw my parents do that.

    40 years. Congrats.

  6. Lila & Ken! CONGRATS to both of you….wonderful, wonderful!
    I’m not sorry I had to spread the news on Sunday…. I just should have done it sooner and louder!
    Here’s to 40 more years!

  7. Thank you, Miz Bette,

    Joe Capozzi, Post sports guy, posted a note on Facebook that he and Elisabeth have been together for four years.

    I commented that my wife and I have spent that many years saying, “Please pass the salt.”

  8. Ken and Lila: WOW!! 40 years, now that is an accomplishment to be proud of….as well as your family.
    Of course, you are responsible for my 30-year marriage to Susan because you set me up on a date with her on Halloween 32 years ago. I was working for you and you had this cute girl from accounting come over to babysit Matt, and you just “happened” to invite me over while you two went out….hmmmmm…Thank you and congratulations…


  9. Congratulations!!!!
    It is amazing that Ken and Lila found each other with such similar noses and eyebrows. It was truly meant to be. There sons had no shot at not getting that family gene. You guys are awesome and Tom and I hope to beat your record.

    Love, Wend and Tom Rupolo

  10. Thank you, Miz Dr. Wende, Mam,

    You aren’t the first to remark upon our family similarities.

    Am I going to have to come in every time there’s an update to personally load it in your browser or do you think you can find your way back here on your own?

  11. Ken and Lila –

    I guess the biggest memory I have of your early HS days was 1. Those glasses 2. The ever present camera bag and the very patient Lila. Looks like it all paid off! Congratulations to you both and may you keep racking up the numbers as the years roll on. Gail

  12. Thanks for sharing, that was a fun read. But actually, dude, you’re on her LEFT!

    Seriously, though, I point that out in the best of fun.

  13. Doug,

    Point well taken (and in the spirit in which it was intended).

    I should have said I was to her right in the photo.

    You know how it is, when you’ve got this many years invested you try as many times as possible to use your name and the word “right” in the same sentence.

    Even when you’re wrong.

  14. Ken and Lila,
    A belated congratulations on your 40 years–and you’re still speaking to each other! Now I am proud to have loaned you my apartment in Cape on occasional weekend evenings to encourage this wonderful relationship.

    Hey, Ken…I don’t remember you being the society editor! I thought that was my job. Maybe after I left. “The bride wore a gown of Alencon lace…” What the hell is Alencon lace? I not only decided to not get married in June! I didn’t do it at all!

  15. Miz Arlene, Mam,

    I worked every beat and every desk at The Missourian before I got out of there. I knew about as much about society as I did sports.

    The main thing I remember is that it’s not a good idea to slug the religion roundup as “god junk.”

    I DO thank you for the occasional housesitting that we did at your place. I drove down that street a couple of years ago. It’s still there.

    Have you checked out the Cape blog I’m doing?


  16. Hi guys. I was searching images at the Messenger for use in a presentation on photojournalism for a friend’s photo club, and came up with you two in the Messenger darkroom!

    Be sure and check our out site and see what my wife (not the one you knew) and I have been up to recently. We’ll have our 20th this summer, and we’ve been doing adventure travel stuff almost the whole time. I found my woman and my calling at the same time!

    I’ve often wondered what you have been up to and want to hear a lot more,like what you are doing now.

    I still wish I had not left photojournalism. Getting that MFA was the worst mistake of my life. But I found adventure in other ways.

    Do you have a facebook account? I’m reasonably active on mine, but I really enjoy working on my own url, and the crazy things we do for content.

    You can get my email off this comment; let me hear from you.

    Bob Rogers

  17. Ken & Lila,
    I wish my wife would have lived long enough for us to say that we were together for 40 years. I feel like you Ken, that my wife and I were a match made in heaven. I am totally proud of my three sons and know that Constance would have been too.
    You take care of yourselves and I wish you many, many more years together.

  18. Chuck,
    Your post brings up my worst fear, to lose Claire. We are such a unit, that I can’t imagine life without her.

    Your comment brought this post to my email, and I’m so glad to revisit it. It is fun to remember Ken and Lila in these photos of them from so long ago. It makes me remember me, when I was a young photojournalist, just happy to be doing what I loved, and having special friends like Ken and Lila.

    1. Bob,

      For the record, those are your shoes in the photo of the two of us shot from a high angle in The Messenger’s photo lab.

      If you look on the desktop near your shoes, there’s the photo of Lila that ran above the shoe shot.

  19. I recognize my shoes. I wore them all the time, suede, high tops and soft. They had a name that I can’t remember; camels? I think Jon Webb and you also wore them. Very practical for our work, and now I see the other photo. Spooky almost!!! Blast from the past. I can smell the fixer in the enlarger room. I loved that lab. Jon designed it and it was perfect. I miss making prints.

    1. Bob,

      I’m not sure we wore the brandname Hush Puppies, but that’s the type of shoe it was.

      After my Hush Puppy stage, I graduated to Redwing work boots.

      They were perfect photographer shoes. They slipped on and off easily; they were high enough that you could wade a fair amount of water in them; throw some saddle soap and oil on ’em and they’d look presentable. You could walk through fire and ice with them. They were designed for work, so you didn’t have to worry about stepping on nails or anything else.

      They weren’t cheap. I’d buy them at a store in Cape for about $75 each at a time when a regular pair of shoes cost about $25. I’d get about three years out of a pair, then it would get relegated to non-work use and I’d start to break in a new set.

  20. Ken,
    Thanks for this from someone who knew you and Lila in the beginning. I agree, Lila is a keeper.

    Jan D.

  21. Congradulations on 44 years…You are like me…we both married WAY above or station in life…
    To Lila…(how do you do it!)
    Hope you both enjoy your special day!

  22. This is much better than any Hallmark Valentine card, dozens of red roses, or a box of chocolates (“that you never know what you’re going to get”)! Congratulations Ken & Lila & Happy Valentine’s Day!

  23. Can’t wait to see you guys, and introduce you to the love of my life. Claire’s the one who made me do crazy things, and still does, which is why I love her so much.

  24. What a great idea Ken, this is so amazing! Congratulations to you both, hope you have another 40!

  25. Congratulations, Ken and Lila. It takes a special person to be married this long to a newspaper person. I know. I caught one almost 34 years ago. She has lived through the phone calls from sources while dinner gets cold, had the phone calls from me telling her I’d be a little late because something is happening and heard me rant and rave about something at the newspaper. This was a great tribute to your marriage and to the woman you married.

  26. Congratulations from me, too! And thanks for sharing your story and wonderful photos. Finding that special someone is a true gift! Hamner and I just celebrated 30 years in May.

  27. Well, Ken,
    I’ll always remember the day you got married because Jack and I got married on June 24,1961. Now whenever the 23rd rolls around, one day before our anniversary, I’ll think of you and your wife!

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