Visitors…visitors…visitors. Everyone loves a visitor (at least most of the time). Here at the Home we have been fortunate enough to welcome many visitors through the years, some famous and some not as well known.
In 1928 cowboy western star Tom Mix came to see us and posed with the boys on the front steps of our Megeath House located on South 33rd Street from 1923 to 1945. We proudly display a picture of the film star’s visit in our museum.
Then in 1950 our Home hosted another well-known movie star, Nebraska born Harold Lloyd. Mr. Lloyd was featured in more comedy films in the 1920s and 1930s than the renowned Charlie Chaplin. By 1950 Mr. Lloyd was the Imperial Potentate of the Shrine and, of course, always wore his traditional black framed glasses.
Assistant Superintendent Cal Reichart had an idea, and with the help of the boys in 4-H they put it into play. When Harold Lloyd’s car pulled up to our front gate he was greeted by several boys with their 4-H calves, and each calf had been equipped with models of Mr. Lloyd’s black framed glasses. Harold Lloyd thought it was hilarious!
Look closely at the picture printed here. The youngster in the light colored coat and stocking cap holding the calf ’s halter was 13-year-old David Laughlin. A few months ago in September, David visited us from his home in Arkansas and enjoyed sharing in the memory of 66 years ago.
Through the years our residents have welcomed many varied guests, including a movie star, politicians, a Hall of Famer and other sports stars. A children’s favorite in the 1950s, Bob Smith, the actor who starred as “Buffalo Bob” on the popular children’s TV show “Howdy Doody” was a Home visitor as well as former President Gerald Ford. Sports stars visiting the Home included Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers. The Cal State-Fullerton squad with its National Coach of the Year, Augie Garrido, and its National Player of the Year, Phil Nevins, were also visitors at the Home.
And then there are some more recent “visitors.” Officials in the
Wurdeman Learning Center, our newest building on campus, tell us about other worldly noises and images roaming the hallways and rooms of the Wurdeman. Included in the events as reported are bodiless heads flying through the air of the library, the sounds of dishes being washed coming from the kitchen where nobody was seen to be present, and an office door mysteriously opening halfway to reveal a small child in a crouched position.
You be the judge and reach your own conclusions. I’m just reporting the tales told to me of recent visitors.
Personally, I like the story of Harold Lloyd, Dave Laughlin and the other boys, and the bespectacled calves of those many years ago.
John E. Carter
About Omaha Home for Boys
Omaha Home for Boys provides care and support for at-risk youth ages 14-24 as part of its mission of Strengthening Youth, Young Adults and Families. The Omaha Home for Boys is committed to providing services to young men and women through family-style, community-based programs supported by education.
Our promise began more than 95 years ago – to help youth become successful, productive and independent adults who contribute positively to and responsibly in their community.
As we approach our 100th anniversary in 2020, we will continue to adapt and change to meet the needs of children and families throughout the community.