Thursday, September 27, 2007

HMS Pinafore

Front row. Mrs George Hassard--Vocal instructor, Barbara Williams, W. B. Johnston, and Jo Ann Stone

Second row. Donna Jean Hill, Ailene Wesbrook, Don Cox, Don Cole, Dick Beuoy, Treva Prather, and Pat Duncan

Third row. Billy Foster, Joe Lee Wilkinson, Victor Vaughn, Floyd Paterson, Don Bohannon, and Verne Sweaney

The other shot is Don Cox in his Sir Joseph Porter guise.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Progressive Community of Cedar Vale

At Cedar Vale, a communistic society has been founded, which, though its small numbers might make it insignificant, is remarkable by reason of the nationality of some of its members.

It was begun three years ago, and the purpose of its projectors was "to achieve both communism and individual freedom, or to lead persons of all kinds of opinions to labor together for their common welfare. If there was to be any law, it should be only for the regulation of industry or hours of work." I quote this from the letter of a gentleman who is familiar with this society, and who has been kind enough to send me its constitution, and to give me the following particulars: "It is now three years since the founders of the society settled in this domain, coming here entirely destitute, and building first as a residence a covered burrow in a hillside. Two of them had left affluence and position in Russia, and subjected themselves to this poverty for the sake of their principles. Of course they suffered here from fever, from insufficient food, and cold, and were not able to make much improvement on the place. The practical condition now, though insignificant from the common point of view, compared with what has been, is very satisfactory. There are at least comfortable shelter and enough to eat, and this year sufficient land will be fenced and planted to leave a surplus."

"The propaganda has been made among two essentially differing classes of socialists - the Russian Materialists and the American Spiritualists. Both these classes are represented in the community, and thus far seem to live in harmony. There are here a 'hygienic doctor' and a 'reformed clergyman,' both Spiritualists, and a Russian sculptor of consider fame, a Russian astronomer, and a very pretty and devoted and wonderfully industrious Russian woman."

The printed statement made by the community I copy here, as a sufficient account of its numbers and possessions in April, 1874:

"The PROGRESSIVE COMMUNITY is located near Cedar Vale, Kansas, has three hundred and twenty acres of choice prairie land, with abundance of stock, water, and with all advantages for successful farming, stock and fruit raising.

"The nearest railroad station is Independence, Kansas, fifty miles east from the place.
"The community was established in January, 1871. It is out of debt now, and has a fair prospect for success in the future.
"The business of the community consists chiefly in farming.
"Number of members: four males; three females; one child. Persons on probation: two males; one female; one child.
"Improvements: frame house; stable; forty acres under fence; four acres of orchards and vines.
"Live stock and implements: four horses; four oxen; three cows and calves.
"The co-operation of earnest communists is wanted for the better realization of a true home based on Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.
"No fee is required from those who visit the community, but their work for the community is regarded as equivalent to their current expenses.
"The principles and organization of the community can be seen from the following constitution.

"_Whereas_, we believe that man is not only an individual having rights as such, but also owing social duties to others, and that strict justice requires us to help each other, and that our highest happiness and development can only be attained by a union and co-operation of interests and efforts; _ Therefore_, we pledge ourselves to live

"For the cause that lacks assistance,
For the wrong that needs resistance,
For the future in the distance,
And the good that we can do.'

"And we, whose names are annexed, hereby organize ourselves under the name of the PROGRESSIVE COMMUNITY, and agree to devote our labor and means, to the full extent of our ability to carry out the following:

The constitution followed.

The above is an excerpt from "The Communistic Societies of the United States" by Charles Nordhoff.

"America Through Russian Eyes, 1874-1926" by Olga Peters Hasty, Susanne Fusso gives some information about the founder of the community of Cedar Vale. This book gives some rich descriptive insight on Independence, Kansas and the countryside around Cedar Vale. The following is a snippet of information to perhaps whet the appetite of a researcher.

In 1871, a young Russian (William) Frey (Vladimir Gejns) who had left Russia in 1868 settled together with his wife and his friend in southern Kansas. (His friend was an American named Briggs.)

They bought some land at $1.25 per acre from the government and it was located four miles from the already established hamlet of Cedar Vale. Briggs had a strict rule that there would be no smoking in the community.

There appears to be a great deal of information available about the commune and the subject appears ripe for exploration. It is my recollection that I have read some accounts of the early cow town days and perhaps that portion of CV history is available for said researchers. "CV Memories" could become a venue of information for future generations by merging history and memory.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Effie's 100th birthday

The following was published in the Arkansas City Traveler, Cedar Vale Lookout, Sedan Times-Star, Winfield Courier and the Flint Hills News:

"More than 100 persons attended the 100th birthday celebration of Effie Foster held August 11, at the Dexter Life Care Parlor Room. Guests were present from Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota and Tennessee. In behalf of the family, Fletcher Foster, great nephew and General Manager of Universal South, Nashville, Tennessee, welcomed those present. He spoke of the many changes which have occurred during Effie's lifetime. Oscar Mattocks, Cedar Vale mayor, presented a plaque declaring August 11 as "Effie M. Foster Day" in recognition of her contribution to society as a teacher for 45 years in the Cedar Vale community. We all sang "Happy Birthday" and wished Effie another 100 years of happiness."

School Year 1951-1952

Do any of you remember the Spanish Language class and what was the teacher's name. I know he was a coach, or I think that is right. Do you remember going to Bob Hays' home for a Spanish meal. This was way before all the Mexican restaurants and taco fast food places. I am thinking that we had eggs with chili over them. Bob, are you out there? When my husband was stationed in San Antonio, TX, while in the service, I thought "Oh Boy, I can maybe use some of the almost forgotten Spanish Language. Wrong, they all talked so fast, I could hardly recognize a word or two.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Current photos of Don Cox

Note from Naomi Grunden (Bea Howell)

Wayne, You are right, our farm was about 8 miles on past the Caney bridge. Ozro Falls was on it. The farm was owned by my Mother's Uncle. He sold it to someone in Texas who used it for hunting trips. Years ago I went with my folks to the farm and was shocked at the condition of everything. Water had got up to the second story of the house and had ruined the house. My Dad always made us feel okay when the water got all around our house, saying "It will never get in the house." So much for that! Some years later when we were there I tried to take my children to see the farm and you could not even get close to the place where the house had been. Kind of the same story with Cedarvale. When I go there everything has changed or is gone. The Baptist church we attended is still there and the old creamry that Bob's Grandparents ran is still there.

Wayne's CV Main Street

I have been waiting on Wayne to get to the jewelry store, because I could not remember the name of it, to tell this small story.
In about 1950 (I think) my family took it first and only true vacation and went to Colorado for 10 to 12 days. We went with my paternal grandparents, Otis & Grace (Burkett) Ramey. Not a comfortable trip--6 people, plus luggage, food for picnics (too expensive to eat in a cafe, etc.) and who knows what else. This is in August, very warm, but we were really uptown, because the grandparents had a small cylindrical air conditioner, that was hung outside a window. Don't remember that it did much good, except in our imaginations. But I digress from my comments.

My sister, Gayle, and I had each bought rings with turquoise sets while in Colorado. One morning, while we were getting ready for school, Gayle said her ring was too tight and it was hurting her finger. Mom & Dad had already left for work, so I told her I could take care of the problem. So we go out to Dad's shop and I get a pair of wire cutters and am just going to pop the set off of the band, right? Well all I managed to do was to squeeze the band tighter and Gayle is in complete panic mode by now. So I called Gr. Grace for help. She picked us up and took us to Clark's Jewelry Store and he cut the ring off. I am sorry to say that was the end of Gayle's ring, but I am still wearing mine occasionally.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

CV Main Street- final page

By Wayne Woodruff

I'll finish our walk along the main business district of 1940's and '50's CV. Around the corner east from Adam's Mercantile we come to Caney Valley Electric, a very important place in the memories and lives of many people. It brought electric power to many rural homes for the first time and continues to provide service and jobs to many, and has over the years. When my father died, Carl Steward, the manager at that time, knowing that my mother would have a hard time financially, came to her and told her that I could work summer jobs for as long as I needed to. I worked there for three summers with some good people, i.e., Floyd Patteson, Buck Melton, Gerald Magnus, Bob Brown, Doyle Littrell, Ronald Harp, and Raymond Littrell. I was probably a lousy employee with no experience, but they tolerated me.

Across the street was the lumber yard, owned by Clyde Shaffer with his red hair, freckled arms and the hand with two fingers that had been torn off by his great rip saw. It was fun to go in and watch him use the saw to prepare the lumber that my dad ordered, but he always reminded me to be careful around the saw, and showed me his hand. He was a fine person.

Next was the jail house with which I was threatened, and provided a bonfire later.

Next, on the corner was City Hall with (as I found out recently) the only public rest-room in CV.

Then was the home of the CV Messenger, operated and owned by Kenneth Dunn. Mr. Dunn had all his fingers, unlike Mr. Shaffer, but he was always covered with printing ink. When I was in high school, he was ably assisted by his wife and my good friend, Roy Walkinshaw, who also was usually an inky mess after work.

Then going on north was one of my favorites, Jimpy Lefler's barber shop. My dad's cleaning shop was right across the street, and when he got tired of me hanging around under foot, he would send me over to the barber shop where Mr. Lefler would let me sit and listening to the men telling war stories, etc., and if I was good, he would let me sweep up the hair from the floor that he usually let accumulate throughout the day. More fun. Twid Martin worked with him there for a while before he moved on down the street. I was angry at Twid one Thanksgiving time when I came home from school, and while he was cutting my hair he mentioned that my hair was getting thin, and I would be bald before I was 25. Unfortunately, he was right.

Almost the last business there was E. J. Clark's jewelry shop. As I remember there was less jewelry and more clocks. When I got tired of sweeping the barber shop, I would go and watch Mr. Clark with his funny looking magnifying glasses as he worked on the watches that had no batteries nor digital read-outs, but you actually had to wind-up . And the walls of the shop were covered with clocks that he was repairing, so that on the hour the shop was a cacophony of bells and chimes. He was fairly gruff, but was kind to little kids, (and probably dogs, too. )

The last that I can remember now, was the office of Dr. Wicks. He was a chiropractor and his office was fairly ramshackle, but he was always cheery and friendly. I think he was alone, but he took an active part in community activities and was well liked. He always came to our ball games and helped in the concession stand at the ball park.

Not exactly a business, but way on up the street, (Cedar Street, now, so I am told ) was the home of Catherine Holroyd where I spent many hours being instructed in the fine art of playing the piano. (She was Catherine House, married to Bill). Unlike Mrs. Kirby, Catherine charged 50 cents an hour and you had to go to her house, and she did not strike my fingers with a ruler. That was the first place that I had a job mowing the yard. It was a huge yard and I was paid the princely sum of 75 cents, which I calculated to be about 12 cents per hour.

There were other businesses around town. Someone will likely remember them.

Thanks for listening. Comments???

Effie Foster

By Gary White

My email a few days ago brought me this picture of Effie Foster, our sixth grade teacher at Cedar Vale grade school. This picture was taken several months ago. What memories came flooding back when I saw that familiar face!

I can say that we had a lot of good teachers during our years in the Cedar Vale public schools. Just consider the accomplishments of our little class of 35 students. Of all the teachers I had, however, Mrs. Foster was the most distinctive. It was clear to me that Mrs. Foster was living a passionate life. She approached everything she did with verve and heart. When she read us Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Mrs. Foster openly wept at the sad chapters. When discipline was necessary Mrs. Foster had fire in her eyes. Every lesson was a new adventure for her, and for us. Mrs. Foster was a big, raw boned farm woman who was a force of nature.

The sixth grade classroom at Cedar Vale grade school also served as the school library. Mrs. Foster was the librarian for the whole school. She encouraged me to devour as many books in that library as I could. The library was not regularly expanded and most of the books were antiques even at that time. That library would bring a pretty sum today if it was sold on eBay. I would finish my lessons before some of my classmates and walk to the back of the room to peruse the stacks. To call them stacks is a slight exaggeration because there were only three or four floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the library and part of those were devoted to younger children’s books. I think I pulled down and looked at every book on those shelves during my sixth grade year and some I read from cover to cover.

Mrs. Foster had fiery red hair that just matched her disposition. She was hardly a model of femininity. In fact, she took little note of details of her appearance. My mother related a story about Bob Hays talking with his mother, Flo. If Bob is lurking about online here he can corroborate or deny the veracity of this story. Anyway, this is how it was told to me. It seems that Bob, who was always aware of the details of his surroundings, asked his mother, “Mom, would it be alright for me to tell Mrs. Foster when her underskirt is showing?” “Oh, my, no, Bob, Mrs. Foster’s slip has been showing for years. Just ignore it.”

Mrs. Foster presided over a group of children who were on their way to becoming adults. Hormones were running high and boys and girls were beginning to take a new interest in each other. Mrs. Foster took all this as a matter of course and dealt with it head on, just as she did everything else. She was, in short, the perfect teacher at the perfect time in my life. I left the sixth grade a very different, and more mature person than I was coming in. I can’t thank Mrs. Foster enough for her wonderful, blunt approach to teaching and to life. And Mrs. Foster, if you are reading this, many happy returns on your 100th birthday. (See Effie's 100th birthday for a picture taken at her celebration.)

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Seven Dwarfs, March 9, 1945

Marilyn Casebolt (Happy), Gloria Sanborn (Sleepy), Jack Foster (Dopey), Wayne Woodruff (Doc), Gary White (Grumpy), Bob Cable (Sneezy), Jimmie Corder (Bashful)

CV grade school and playground in the background of this very clear photo.

Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs Cast

(Back row) Betty Sweeney (Servant), Treva Prather (Queen - Step Mother), Verne Sweeney (Huntsman), Faye Bennett (Queen - Mother), Don Cox (King), Clarice Prather (Servant), Vaunda Rish (Voice of the Magic Mirror & Witch), Pat Duncan (Narrator), Bill Foster (Palace Physician), Dub Johnston (Servant)
(Middle row) Marilyn Casebolt (Happy), Gloria Sanborn (Sleepy), Jack Foster (Dopey), Don Shaffer (Prince), Jo Ann Stone (Snow White), Wayne Woodruff (Doc), Gary White (Grumpy), Bob Cable (Sneezy), Jimmie Corder (Bashful)
(Front row) Pat Howell (Snow White as a Child), Nila Mattocks (Squirrel), Judy Stone (Rabbit), Jean Corder (Rabbit), Carolyn Mattocks (Squirrel), Bill Williams (Squirrel)

This photo just arrived today and I'm happy to post it for you all to look at. Several of us on the list are in this photo and it shows the playground and CV grade school in the background. Ross McConaghy reports that the production was under the direction of Mrs. Joe Grunden and was presented in the Cedar Vale High School Auditorium on Friday, March 9, 1945 at 8 PM.


By Gary White

Alright, loyal CV fans, here is the first pop quiz for this blog. What does LSMFT refer to? The graphic should give you a hint. Know the answer before you began reading—A+, know the answer when you saw the graphic—A, still unsure? Well the answer lies at the end of this piece.
As the graphic states, “Lucky Strike green has gone to war.” This was a significant event in the White household because my father was a one-pack-a-day smoker, and his brand was Lucky Strike. Suddenly the previous green packaging was changed to plain white (which it has remained ever since). We puzzled over why the green ink was necessary for the war effort—did they use it to dye cloth for soldier’s uniforms? Was the green ink imported from Germany or Japan? Just why was it gone? My father swore that the new white package Luckys tasted different from the old green package product. I couldn’t corroborate this, since I wasn’t allowed to smoke.

Of course, as a child growing up in a household where at least half of that pack per day was smoked inside the house I was getting my fair share of nicotine. My mother had no knowledge of this fact—it would be many decades before the concept of “second hand smoke” would enter the lexicon of American English. Sitting next to my father’s chair in the living room was his “smoke stand,” a two-foot-tall metal stand with an ash tray and holders for matches and cigarettes at the top. The air in the house constantly smelled of cigarette smoke. That was, of course, mixed with the constant smell of gasoline on dad’s clothing. I’m sure my clothes also smelled of petroleum when I traveled with him in the delivery truck. My earliest memory of being out with dad was when he put a box with a can of axle grease on the passenger’s seat and I used it as a booster chair to be able to see out.

Anyway, back to Lucky Strike green. It was not until I looked up the graphic yesterday that I learned that it was all a Madison Avenue trick to make smoking Luckys patriotic and more popular with the ladies—sneaky devils. If you doubt this go to: where you will see the straight scoop on the matter. (OK, if you have gone to that site you now know the answer to the quiz above.) Well, it worked! Lucky Strike sales increased by 40%—just as trickery seems to always work.

So, for those too lazy to go surfing the web for the answers, here is the long promised answer to our first quiz. LS/MFT stands for Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco! Now then don’t you feel somehow smarter and better informed?

Memories of WW II

By Gary White

Much of my early life in Cedar Vale, Kansas was colored in one way or another by the ongoing war. My first memory is a car ride I took with my father to deliver my uncle Vernon to Ft. Leavenworth before being shipped to India to help build the China-Burma Highway. I don’t think I would have been over three years old at the time, but I remember dad and Vernon riding in the front of the car and me mostly sleeping in the back. I remember waking up when they got to Leavenworth in the middle of the night and I saw all the men in uniform and guards standing at the gates. We said our goodbyes and dad must have driven home directly and without sleeping. It would be several years before we would see Vernon again, but grandmother had letters from him that had been Photostatted after parts had been blacked out. The whereabouts of service men, particularly those on sensitive missions was withheld from the relatives.

My next memory of the war is looking at the black headlines of newspapers and the photos of scenes of the war. The adults gathered around their radios for news of the war every day and read Ernie Pyle’s articles in the newspaper. My friends and I played war all the time, using the balsa-wood airplanes that came in Kellogg cereal packages that we carefully cut out and assembled. I knew that very important things were happening in the world, but had little sense of where these events were taking place. Many of my friends’ fathers were in the service and their mothers were left at home to raise the kids and try to make ends meet. My father never was drafted because his occupation (delivering gasoline to farmers) was deemed vital to the war effort. Mother was in constant turmoil thinking that he would lose his deferment at any time and we’d be left alone. She was already working for the telephone company and making a reasonable income, but she was always in fear for dad’s life should he be drafted.

Many items were rationed during the war. We had coupon books for many food items and there was a lot of trading of coupons back and forth among the neighbors for items that each preferred or didn’t need. A much more obvious effect of rationing was that gasoline was also rationed. My father had to collect coupons for every gallon of gas he sold and had to account for them. I can remember him sitting at home with small mountains of cardboard coupons counting and counting to try to get the coupons to match the level of the tanks in his storage yard in the south part of town. It must have been a difficult task because he was always in a state of anxiety about it.

Another memory was the night that a train load of German prisoners of war came through Cedar Vale. It was dark and many people, my family among them, turned out to see the enemy in the flesh. Each train car was lighted inside and was filled with young men in uniform. Soldiers with machine guns stood at each end of the car to keep the prisoners from escaping. I don’t know what the young Germans would have done if they had escaped into the wilds of southern Kansas, but the U. S. Army took no chances. When the train stopped at the railway station to take on water and coal we were face to face with the enemy. Ugly cat calls came from the crowd and the Germans on board threw out paper water cups and other small pieces of paper with slogans such as, “Kill the Jews and the war is over.” It was altogether an impressive sight and it is burned into my memory in vivid detail. My father collected one of the cups, which had swastikas drawn all over it. The cup became one of the mementos of the war at our house.

For children of that era, the war seemed to have always been with us and would always be there. My first indication that the world could change, and sometimes drastically, was the death of President Roosevelt. I was alone at home at the time and listening to the radio. Dad was out delivering gasoline and mother was across the street working at the switchboard. To me, Roosevelt had always been president and the news of his death came as a terrible shock. It was rather like hearing that God had suddenly died. I remember running across the street to deliver the news to mother and wondering what might happen next.

What happened, of course, was President Truman and then the news of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Suddenly the war was over and we were launched into the Atomic Age. We had no idea of what that meant and we were several years away from the “Duck and Cover” era. There was general rejoicing in Cedar Vale. The old jail that sat behind the City Hall was dragged out into the intersection by L. C. Adams, the post office, and City Hall and there was a huge night time bonfire. Since I was living only a block away I was there for the whole affair. I well remember the flames that were higher than the top of the Adams building and the excitement of the gathered citizenry of Cedar Vale. That we made it through without burning other downtown buildings is a wonder. I have often speculated about the meaning of the jail burning to Cedar Valeians. Did we think that there would be no crime after the war? Did the building simply need to be razed and this was a good excuse? In any event, it was not long before a new concrete block jail went up on the same site and Cedar Vale again had a place for drunks to sleep it off.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Thoughts by wayne woodruff

Beverly Sills, the great soprano of the Metropolitan Opera and the world's opera stages, shortly before she died, said, "I don't regret things that I have done, but do regret things that I did not do". This is something that all of us might keep in mind as we go through our hectic lives striving to earn as much as we can, save as much as possible, keep up with the Jones', and planning to carry out our dreams sometime in the future. As I have learned, the only future we may have is now.

I have been a USAA member since 1963 and have had insurance to cover cars, home, boats, and an umbrella policy over the years, and have been thoroughly impressed with the way USAA has taken care of it's members. I have also enjoyed reading and benefited from the many articles in the USAA Magazine concerning various ways to earn money, augment and supplement income and especially ways to save what we have worked so hard to accumulate. However, it might be helpful to all of us to heed what Ms. Sills said, and Don't Wait to do the things of which we have always dreamed. The chances may never come.

I first became a USAA member as a young Captain in the Medical Corp, stationed in Germany for two years. After my term of enlistment was up, I had a busy Urology practice for thirty five years and earned a lot of money, and our family always made a habit of conserving wherever we could. When we traveled we always stayed in the cheapest motels available, ate in the cheaper restaurants or fast food places, looked for the cheapest gas stations, and even camped out in state parks to save a few dollars, as well as for the enjoyment of sleeping "under the stars". We always said that when we were rich, we would stay in the Holiday Inn and eat at the expensive gourmet restaurants. My wife loved a good rare filet of beef but most of the time she was eating a Big Mac which cost less than one tenth that of a nice filet. DON'T WAIT.

My wife, Diana, loved parties, and she enjoyed giving big parties. As I said, we had plenty of money and the parties could have been catered by any of the many caterers in the area, but instead she did all the cooking for food to feed a hundred people. But it saved a few dollars.

In place of hiring a bartender to issue the drinks, we set up a serve yourself bar. Saved a few more dollars. She never complained about the extra work, but always said that when we were "rich" we would have our parties at the Ball Room of the Hilton. DON'T WAIT.

Diana loved to dance. Having grown up in a strict Baptist family that disapproved of dancing, I was a terrible dancer and did not enjoy it. But I told her, "When we are rich, and I retire, I will take dancing lessons and we will dance as much as you want". DON'T WAIT.

Our children were always feeling deprived. When their friends were getting five dollars a week allowance, we gave them fifty cents, and told them that if they wanted more spending money they should get jobs. So the children of this rich Urologist worked as life guards, janitors, lawn boys and baby-sitters. Not that this was bad for them, but it was hard for them to understand why their friends did not have to work at menial labor as they did.

Diana also loved to travel and we did take many wonderful trips over the years to exotic places like Peru, the Amazon Jungle, Hong Kong, the Greek Islands, Japan, Thailand, Bali, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Scandinavia. However, two places that she really wanted to visit were mainland China and Russia, and again I said that whenever I retired we would have plenty of time and money to do that. DON'T WAIT.!!!

Then in 1998 the roof caved in on our family plans. I had emergency cardiac by-pass surgery, Diana was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, and a year later I had radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Suddenly it became quite clear that we should not have waited for any of our dreams to materialize. We continued to try to travel, but airplane travel with a wheel-chair became increasingly difficult for Diana and her sick old husband. We then thought of ways to use all of the money we had accumulated to enable us to continue doing the things that would make her happy, but the disease which struck her down, advanced to the point where she could not move to do anything for herself, even scratch her nose nor brush her teeth. Finally, the disease finished her, and I was left with lots of money, but more regrets. DON'T WAIT.


While we lived in the house in town, I would walk home from the grade school every day for lunch. It was about a mile, so I was happy when the school began having a "hot lunch program". For 25 cents you got a fairly nice lunch with little cartons of milk. To this day, I am leery of drinking chocolate milk from little cartons, because half the time the choc milk served at the school was sour, and there is almost nothing more nauseating than taking a big drink of sour chocolate milk.

Back in those days, the grade school still had recesses. Twice a day, morning and afternoon, the school bell rang and the little urchins were let out of class to go out on the playground and get dirty. This was the day before school liability, so there were big swings, slippery slides and merry-go-rounds on which the kids could damage themselves. But we could also play football and softball or just sit and watch bigger kids beat-up each other. One day playing softball, somehow I managed to rip open the back of my jeans so that my underpants were clearly visible to all. But I continued playing ball, went to class, and the defect in my pants did not bother me at all. However, my father, who was very straight-laced, was mortified that his son would run around school with his underpants showing.

Some days as I got older, instead of spending the 25 cents for school lunches, we would go across the street to the Hilltop Café, where for that price you could get a hamburger, coke and, best of all, an ice-cream sandwich. There was nothing better than the ice-cream sandwich, and to this day I remember the taste whenever I think about the Hilltop Café.

Other days at the grade school were not so pleasant. When we were in the sixth grade, I believe, there was a group of boys who formed a little gang, and proceeded to terrorize the other boys in the school. As I remember, the terror seemed to be mostly by verbal intimidation rather than physical. However, one day they passed the word that any boy who came out onto the playground at recess would be beaten. I can't recall about the rest of the boys, but I did go out and they hardly noticed me. So much for intimidation.


There was not a lot of sophisticated entertainment in Cedar Vale. Most of the things that we did revolved around school and church activities. We were always going to ball games or plays at the school, or district music contests held in the school auditorium or at the school in Sedan, 18 miles to the east, and bitter school rivals. I was always amazed at the school band director, Mr. Beggs being able to play and teach any and all band instruments. Kids like Don Schaeffer and Gary White always won first place awards at the state music festival , Don playing cornet and Gary playing trumpet, if I am not mistaken. I always remember Don being so nervous before a contest, that he would be back-stage throwing-up, but then could come out and play beautifully. He also was a good basketball player and would utilize the vomiting technique to prepare for big games.

One of the school events that I still remember fondly was the production of "The Mikado", which was an all school musical production. This was done during my junior year of high school, and amazingly this little school of maybe 150 students was able to have separate performances with separate casts for each. There were some beautiful voices in that production. Remember Lowell Harp, Nadine Stanhope, Marilyn Holroyd, Janice Sartin among others. The most amazing thing about the "Mikado" was the director, Mrs. Morris. Instead of a band or orchestra, we had Mrs. Morris doing all the accompaniment on the piano, and it sounded just like a full orchestra the way she played.

Driving up and down main street (two blocks)at night was another major form of entertainment and of course cooling off at "the dam" on a hot summer evening. The town night marshal was always sitting in his modal-A pickup at the corner in front of the town hall, keeping an eye on the kids and keeping himself warm with something he kept in a brown bottle. During the winter he would run the engine of the pick-up a little to keep himself warm. One morning one of the kids on his way to school, found the old marshal dead in the pick-up with the engine still running . Carbon monoxide poisoning is sneaky.

Another sad event occurred when I was five or six and still living in the little house next door to the Fosters, across the street from Hays'. Old Charlie Whartenbee lived next door to us on the other side, and every Saturday morning he would round up all the little kids in the neighborhood , load us into the back of his pick-up and take us all up town to the Cedar Vale café, and treat us to pancakes. Great fun. One Saturday morning he did not come out for the weekly excursion. One of the older kids went up onto his porch and looked in the windows. Lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood, with his shotgun nearby and his brains all over the wall was Mr. Whartenbee. That was something that none of us forgot for many years.


hundred feet. I don't remember who won that game, but our little town team was pretty good for having only about ten or eleven players. And I will always remember the time the Boeing Bombers, one of the best semi-pro teams in the region, somehow were enticed to come to play our team IN Cedar Vale and I pitched that game. As I remember they beat us 1-0. Things that stick in your mind forever, such as the time Roy Smith was pitching to Richard Buoy ( ? Spelling ?) one night and the fast ball slipped and Richard did not duck and I will never forget the sound of that 300 mph fastball colliding with the unprotected skull. Richard fell like an ox that had been pole-axed and did not get up. He must have had a hard head, because no permanent damage done.

Baseball was always fun. We had some great young players during our high school years. Bill Williams catching and, of course, unfortunately usually forgetting to wear his protective cup. His brother Dick, catching at times and pitching other times. He had the "heaviest" fast ball I ever saw and when you batted against him it was like swinging the bat against a brick wall. Roy Walkinshaw playing third base had a real gun and no one ever beat out a ball hit to his side. And Bob Hays at first base, tall and gangly but never missed a ball thrown to him. He had an interesting idea that since starting to play baseball and wearing baseball spikes, his running stride seemed to be shortened. Well….

We were not great, but had a lot of fun.

At Thanksgiving the Town of Cedar Vale bought ten or twelve big old turkey gobblers and at an appointed time they were thrown off the top of the tallest building in town, which was the post office building. They flew down into the crowds, and whoever caught a turkey, then had a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving evening. Exciting!!

And at Christmas, Santa Claus came riding up Main Street in a big open wagon filled with goodies for "all the girls and boys". More excitement.

The sound of the noon whistle from atop city hall could be heard for miles around and reminded everyone that it was time to stop and eat and relax.

Some things were not pleasant memories. After basketball practice during the winter I had to walk home from the school gym in the dark and I could either walk around on the road which added a mile to the walk, or cut through Hewins Park and down behind the Pavilion, and across our alfalfa field to the house. It was bad enough to walk that way, because it was dark and spooky, but many times two of the towns drunks were parked behind the pavilion drinking their whiskey and inviting this frightened high school boy to get in and "have a little drink". Needless to say, I managed the last half mile home in record time.

Cedar Vale had no community swimming pool, but did have something that was even better, the town dam on the Caney River. It was a short bicycle ride or walk from the center of town, and above the dam was the best swimming hole in all of Kansas. Someone had fastened a long rope high up in the big Cottonwood tree that hung out over the river and it was a blast to grab the end of the rope and be able to swing out over the middle of the water and drop or dive into the green muddy water. Kids now are spoiled by the sterile, clear waters in their swimming pools. But, just below the dam, perhaps 25 yards from the swimming hole, was a nest of cotton mouth water moccasins that thankfully did not venture above the dam and we certainly didn't venture into their area.


Many things that happen in a small town are very important to those living there, but would not seem like much to folks outside the town. I remember VE Day, the day the war with Germany ended. I don't remember how anyone knew about it, but on that day, the town of Cedar Vale celebrated by burning down the jail house. The jail was not much and it was old and wooden and rickety, but it made a great bonfire, and it seemed to me that all the inhabitants of Kansas were there to watch the big fire-celebration.

Also, remember the great articles in the Wichita papers by Ernie Pyle? Every day he had an article from the trenches in France, Belgium, and Germany as the G.I.'s marched toward Berlin and Hitler. The little Piper Cub plane flew over the baseball field every day and dropped a bundle of Wichita Eagle papers, and I think one of the Williams boys then delivered the papers, but it was neat, as a little kid, to go out to the field to watch it drop. It was sad for me as a child to learn that Ernie Pyle had been killed by a German sniper, and his articles would soon be gone.

One day my dad came in and got his shot-gun, went out into the yard, and pointed out the big Black Snake crawling up the big Cedar/Juniper tree by the house. He pointed the gun, and blew the head off the snake, leaving a hole in the tree three inches across and two inches deep, that stayed there as long as I lived there, and suppose is still there. Looking back, I think it was awful to kill a harmless snake, but as he said, the snakes ate our eggs and baby chicks, so maybe he was justified.

Remember sitting in the mulberry tree by the hen house eating mulberries until I was sick, with purple stains all over my face, hands and clothes. And, of course, mother admonishing me to not eat them because they were full of little bugs. I guess they were, but did not change the taste of those wonderfully sweet berries. And I still will stop anywhere I find a mulberry tree full of ripe berries, and eat my fill of berries and bugs.

Sad memories! The day I was driving the tractor with the side-bar mower, cutting alfalfa. Our dog Jack always loved to run in the field with the tractor because various kinds of varmints would be turned up by the tractor-mower. On that one sad day, however, he forgot where he was, and chasing a rabbit, dashed into the path of the sickle and three of his legs were amputated instantaneously. Again, Dad had to use his shot-gun. And the sad day my mother backed the car out of the garage and ran over the hips and back legs of our new puppy. Mother is dead now, but I am still mad at her for that.

Sleeping in my cozy upstairs bedroom in the winter with the open-gas heater burning throughout the night. Nowadays that would not be allowed by "the codes", but I survived. And listening to the rain on the roof right above my bed, lulled me to sleep many nights. Listening to my sister playing the piano when I was trying to study. Listening to Harry Carey broadcast the Cardinal games over KGGF in Coffeyville. I would sit close to the big old Philco radio so I could hear every move of Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter, my heroes. The present day baseball "stars" will never match those olden day stars like Musial and Mantle and DiMaggio and Ted Williams.

Labor Day in Cedar Vale was the highlight of the year with soap-box car races down the hill of Main Street, water melon eating contests at Hewins Park, softball and baseball games at the ball fields and rodeos in the afternoon and evening. Remember the year that the House of David baseball team came through town and played the local town team with Roy Smith pitching ( and his screwy wind-up ) and Grant Utt hitting the ball four


My father was a short, stocky-ish man who worked hard all his life. He grew up on a farm and his goal in life was to have his own farm. The work in the dry-cleaning shop was hot, hard work and both he and my mother spent long hours every day cleaning the dirty clothes of Cedar Vale. After years of this, he also bought a small grocery store and ran the grocery while he leased out the cleaning establishment to Raymond Clark, a boy that had worked there for him for a few years. Finally, in about ??1947, they had saved ten thousand dollars, enough money to buy his farm, one hundred acres just outside of Cedar Vale. The house on the farm was old and old fashioned with gas lights instead of electric, but did have running "city water", which looking back on it, seems miraculous for that time. However, before we moved onto "the farm", Dad hired Earl Vore to totally remodel the house and so we moved into a modern house with toilets and electricity. Dad was a very smart person, and was able to do many things that seem surprising now. He built from scratch a gas-fired floor furnace that heated the entire house. I have had umpteen years of higher education and could not begin to know how to build a furnace.

He had a bad temper, but always worked very hard to never let it get the better of him, and seldom did it show. Perhaps that was one reason he seldom physically punished his children. However, one evening he was trying to get one of our milk cows into the barn for the milking. But old Helen that evening had decided that she was tired of all that milking sh-t so would not enter the barn. Dad coaxed and chased her around the barnyard until he was fed-up, red-faced and furious. He came into the house and got his shotgun and some shells, went back into the barn yard and again was chasing Helen around, firing the gun, I suppose in the air because the cow did not get hit, and yelling. Finally she gave up and went peacefully into the barn. I don't know whether she gave any milk that night, but it was a very funny scene to watch. My mother was angry with him for "shooting at the cow" and was afraid he would kill her. But that was one of the few times I saw him really lose it.

Farming was not remunerative for Dad. I especially remember one year he mentioned that the farm income was three thousand dollars, but we always had plenty to eat, clothes to wear and cars to drive. It helped to have our own chickens, eggs , hogs and calves to slaughter for meat and vegetables from mother's big garden. The garden was nice, but I hated the strawberry patch. One day she told me to go into the garden and pick enough strawberries for supper. I hated picking strawberries, so I managed to step on as many plants as I could, which mother found objectionable. She really should have been more tolerant and understanding.

Early life of Wayne Woodruff.

Born in 1937, Winfield, Kansas. ?St. Mary's Hospital?? The family lived in Cedar Vale, 32 miles from Winfield and a hospital. At that time, Dr. Hays had just finished medical school and had opened a practice in Cedar Vale, but had no hospital, yet. So, when my mother announced that little Wayne was on the way, Dr. Hays packed her up and drove to Winfield to the big city hospital. (Winfield was around 10,000 people at that time). When my little sister was born, four years later, she had the luxury of borning in the new Hays Hospital in Cedar Vale, just across the street from our modest little home. Interesting story, as I remember, how we got the house. The house belonged to "Aunt Frankie Seeboldt" ( I can't vouch for the accuracy of that spelling ) and she wanted to sell the house, but my folks had just moved to town and did not have the $1000 to buy the house. I am not sure why, but she loaned my dad the $1000 and I assumed she was paid-back in time. He must have been a trustworthy-seeming fellow, because before they moved to Cedar Vale, he had wanted to buy the cleaning shop. Again, having no money, it seemed to be an impossible dream. However, my mother's Aunt Ina, who had plenty of money, again loaned him what was needed. I assume she was also reimbursed.


By Wayne Woodruff

After the hardware store came Cable Implement, taking up the whole corner where Highway 166 turned east. Cables sold Ford automobiles and some farm implement and had a thriving auto-machine repair shop. They were nice people. The big garage door entrance to the shop was on the west side off the highway, and then there was another entrance directly across the shop that opened out onto the alley which led up to the high school and the Post Office. For the kids of the area, it was much easier to cut through Cable's Implement than to walk all the way around the block, so there was more kid traffic through there than they probably wanted. But Charley Cable was nice and tolerant, and did not run us off as he probably felt like. Mr. Cable was another good friend of my dad's and they spent a lot of time visiting about important things. Dad and Charlie Cable and Andy Early were all short men, so I guess they enjoyed talking to each other because they didn't have to look up to visit.??

Across the highway was the Maple Hotel. I don't know much about the history of the old building that housed the hotel, but there was always someone living there. ??????

Across the street from the hotel on the south was a filling station. I am very fuzzy about this, but I think it was run by Jess Foster in my early years, but then by one of the Marshall brothers later on. It is interesting, but I was in CV recently and could only find one filling station, up on the highway coming into town from the east. In 1950, there were nine stations. One was the Farmers Co-op run by Pete Napier and later by Bob Bailey, I believe. At one time, three stations were run by Marshall brothers.,???? Another by Jess Foster and his boys. There were also gas pumps at the Williams Garage and at Mr. Patteson's store up across from the high school softball area. Nine total.

Back across the street going east was Carter's John Deere Implement store, competing with Cable Implement which sold Farmall tractors and implements.?? Frank Carter, owner and his daughter, Juanell, a real beauty.

Still going east we come to the gas station run by Fosters. Later on I am told, they added a grocery to the business. Jess and Dorothy Foster were great people and their children were all outstanding athletes, even their daughter.

Next, on the corner, sometime later the Cedar Vale Motel was built, has since closed.

Still going east, across the street was the Skelley filling station owned by Wilkersons. And right back of the station was Grant Utt's feed store. We use to take eggs in to sell there and he had a neat little box with a light in it to "candle" the eggs to be sure they were OK. Grant was a big man, loved to play and talk baseball, so there were always men and boys sitting around getting and giving bits of baseball lore.

Beside the Skelley station there was a barber shop, I believe was owned by Twid Martin. It was also a place for the men to congregate and gossip just like women.

Next was the Cedar Vale Café, and was a nice place to eat for very little money. Food was good and you could get a complete chicken fried steak meal with dessert and drink for $.99.

It seems that there was another business beside the Café, maybe a beauty parlor, maybe an insurance agency.??? I need help there, also.

Then came the Williams Chevrolet. They sold cars, gasoline and had excellent mechanics. I bought my first used car from them in1956. It was a 1951 Chevy coupe that had been owned by a couple from Wichita that were traveling down to the Ozarks, and blew the engine close to Cedar Vale. So Kale Williams traded their broken down coupe for a new car (plus a little cash, I presume) and they drove off to the mountains. The mechanics rebuilt the engine and I had a car of my own. I kept it for several years, driving it back and forth to school.

Above the Williams Garage was my most un-favorite place in town, Herb Stones Dental torture shop. I and my fluoride deficient teeth spent many miserable hours sitting in the dental chair with that old low speed drill humming away. He did not use any anesthetic of any kind, but he took his time, gave the patient time to recover between drillings and we all survived. He must have been an excellent dentist, because I still have some of the inlays that he made and put in 55 years ago. He loved to talk high school sports, so he and I had informative conversations between drilling, while the other patients sat in the waiting room, patiently, I am sure.


By Wayne Woodruff

Across the street south from the Post Office was a big vacant lot which sometimes served as parking in the overcrowded metropolis. But better yet, it sometimes served as the site of a traveling carnival that graced us with Tilt-a-whirl and cotton candy. I seem to remember one year the chain on the rotating swing broke and sent someone flying through the air. ??????

The next business was the most important one in town, at least to some; the beer parlor. I don't remember who owned or ran it because my Baptist father would have thrashed me if I went into that den of iniquity. But it was popular, none the less.

Next, I believe, was Whitney's Drug, and I will not try to elaborate on that establishment because the article by Gary White was a much more complete summary of the wonderful place than I could ever concoct. Read his treatise.

Next was Andy Early's Haberdashery. Andy was a weazened little old guy who was as friendly as anyone in town. He usually was seated out in front of the store, and if anyone wanted to buy something, he would get up and go into the store. Otherwise, he sat out there and talked to anyone that walked by. He and my dad were good friends and they would often walk to the others store to pass some time.

The business just south of Andy Early's was the Leonard Theater. Again, I will defer to the recent article written by Gary White which goes into detail about Bill and Maude. The only thing in his paper that he doesn't mention is the presence of the rats that had the run of the theater and DID run over our feet in the dark. The theater closed when Bill died, and it was very much like the novel and movie "The Last Picture Show" by Larry McMurtry; when the theater closed it seemed to signal the demise of the community. I remember that normal movies were twelve cents for little kids in the early forties, but when the first color movie came to town, it was $2.50. "Duel in the Sun". I have seen reruns of that recently and it was not worth $2.50.

The Moon's Grocery was next in the row of buildings. Mr. Moon was a tall, stooped, gaunt gentleman, and he and his family lived in an apartment above the store, if my memory serves. Their daughter, Linda, was a year or two younger than I. I don't know when they opened the store nor how long it was there.???????

On the end of the block was the old First National Bank. At that time it was an elegant affair, at least in the mind of a young boy. I could go in there and there were no security cameras nor guards, but there was a bowl of peppermint candies, and Ray Oltjen and Owen Hubbard didn't seem to mind that this little kid was eating their candy. They had the nicest, prettiest cashiers working there, all female, no men. One of the Magnus girls worked for a while and I believe Lucille Littrel also worked there. Now, gone but not forgotten.

Turning west off of the main street, we go along side of the bank and come to a little grain and feed store entrance. I don't know who owned that; maybe it was part of Grant Utt's business????

Next came the high point of the whole town, Herb's Café, of course owned by Herb Marshall and his wife. The home of the best chili and the most delicious greasy hamburgers in the world. I will say no more about Herb's because you-all over the years have known it well.

Then came Cross Hardware, owned by Glenn Cross. I don't know how it competed with Adams Mercantile, but it was around for many years. Glenn had a daughter, Sandra, a few years younger then I. They lived in a house at the corner of what is now Chestnut and Monroe, just down the block from Jess Foust lived with his lovely daughter and talented son.

Cedar Vale "Main Street"- 1950 Page one

By Wayne Woodruff

I will write this in Microsoft Works so it can be edited whenever anyone wants something corrected . Also, some of the business may have changed or closed by 1950 and some may not have opened by 1950, but it is the best of my recollections that I use this date. It would seem boring to have an article that just lists the businesses along "Main Street", but it is being done to try to jog MY memory about some of the best times in my life.

Starting at the north end of the business district, on the west side, the first business I can remember was the Bunnell machine shop. I am not sure what Bunnell did, but the shop was a fascinating place for little kids. He had several old classic cars parked in the shop and we were actually allowed to climb in and "drive" an old Cord, and the others whose names have slipped my mind. He also had a Piper Cub plane parked in the shed, and again, we kids were allowed to sit in the plane and "fly" it everywhere. Of course, we never left the ground. Bunnells lived in an apartment above the shop, and it opened out onto a huge covered area that was essentially empty. Would have been a wonderful place for a dance floor or skating rink.

Going south, next was a plumbing supply shop, and I don't remember who owned it. Can't remember much about it.

I remember a lot about the next business, the Woodruff Dry-Cleaning shop. Hot and miserable in the summers. No air-conditioning. Several hot presses and ironing stands to contribute to the Kansas heat. But in the back there were two interesting rooms. One room contained the tumbler full of solvent that "washed" the clothing, and also an "extractor" which was essentially just a big centrifuge that spun the solvent out, to be used again to clean more clothes. But the extractor contained a layer of cotton-seed hulls which filtered out the impurities from the solvent at it was sucked through the extractor core. Behind the shop there was a storage building that at any time must have contained a ton of cotton-seed hulls that were brought by truck. Then across the walk was the drying room where the clothes were hung in 130 degree temperatures to finishing drying-out so they could be pressed later. Lots of hard, hot work.

Next, I will need help here for the early years. Crescent Grocery was just south of the dry cleaners and I think that when I was a really little tyke, it was owned by old Mr. Fields. Then when his son Charlie came home from the navy, Mr. Fields retired or ?died and Charlie was the owner and manager. Later when my father tired of the work in the cleaning shop and sold it to Raymond Clark, he bought the Crescent and tried to become a grocer. I don't think we ever got rich in the grocery business.

Moving south, next was the saddle shop of Swain House. Mr. House was old. He had two sons, Bill a lawyer and Bob who had several occupations, among them farmer and banker.

But for a little boy, it was wonderful to sit in Mr. House's saddle shop and watch him build the saddles that were sold to the rancher and farmers around the county. And the smell in the shop was heavenly with all of the leather being worked. If I was good, he would let me sit up on some of the saddles that were displayed, and pretend I was Tom Mix. It was rumored that after his son Bill married, Bill would not speak to his dad again, and did not come to his funeral. It obviously was a hurt that Mr. House never got over.

The next little business south is very fuzzy in my recollections. I think it was some kind of electrical shop, but maybe someone can clarify that.

Of course the last business on that block was the Post Office. The busiest place in town. Everyone who lived in town had to get their mail there, so each morning several hundred people were in and out of the place. There were combination lock boxes for the mail and my job was to get the mail each day from the little box. I still have nightmares in which I can remember the number of the box but can't remember the combination, so I know that there must be 30 years of mail accumulated in the little box. At about this time, Kenneth Dunn was the postmaster, but he also was the city editor. I don't know how he did both???

Memoirs of a Grocery Boy

My parents were Jesse and Rena Foust and I was born in Cedar Vale in 1935. My birthplace was in a small house across from the old high school and the attending physician was L. Claire Hays. It was told me that I was a "breech baby" and that I weighed close to twelve pounds. Dr. Hays was an excellent doctor/businessman and it is felt that he was an important contributor to the excellence of Cedar Vale during his years.

Dad worked as the bookkeeper at the Radcliff Ford Agency and was later transferred to their firm in Fort Scott. Relatives that lived in the Cedar Vale area were my grandparents, Phil and Laura Foust, Uncle Dale and Aunt June Foust, and cousins Judy, Mike, and Joe Foust. The Wesbrooks were related through Great-Grandmother Jessie Wesbrook and Grandmother Laura Wesbrook Foust. Bessie Foust Lefler was related through her family connection to Grandfather Phil Foust.

After being born, living for awhile, and then moving from Cedar Vale ... I reunited with the town in 1949. My first re-connection was playing my trombone with a group from Winfield promoting the celebration of their town's 75th anniversary. That fall my dad took over his duties as the Mobil Bulk Agent from Virgil Hill. In October 1948 I transferred from Winfield to start at CV Grade School as an 8th grader. My teacher was John Morton and some of my classmates were Tommy Gordon, Dolores Hall, Donna Champlin, Shirley Sweaney, Tom Randel, Bertle Gurskey, and Myrna Cable.

Realistically, it might be said that I was a better employee than I was a student. My first job (other than mowing lawns) was for the grocery store of Mr. Woodruff. He later sold the business to Charley Fields and I worked for Charley awhile before being hired by Maurice Smith to work for L. C. Adams. Don Shaffer was the other young person working at the store. Art Hassard was the meat cutter and "Squeaky" Richardson was the produce/delivery man. During this time eggs were brought to the store by ladies in trade for groceries. One of my many jobs was to transfer the eggs from the incoming crate to the larger crates resold later to a produce firm. Although pre-packaged foods were starting to be popular several products still arrived in bulk. For instance, potatoes and dry beans would come to the store in bulk to be packaged. A vinegar barrel would be "out back" to fill the glass containers of the customers. The meat was cut in an area with the floor thickly covered with sawdust. The experience of working at the store and the positive influences of Woodruff, Fields, and Smith along with Hubert and Harold Cox may have influenced me to later purchase a small grocery.

My favorite high school teacher was Mr. Humble (who taught English prior to being an administrator). English was not a favorite subject but Mr. Humble was such an outstanding instructor that I enjoyed his class. Certainly the science class of Mr. Beggs was not high on my list but I enjoyed his band. As a quite young man "starting from scratch" Beggs produced a quite good band especially for the school size which I believe at it's peak was just under 150 for the four grades. Don Shaffer was possibly the best musician during that era of our school though there was no dearth of talent of both instrumental and vocal music. Thinking back, I still remember the enchanting voice of Nadine Stanhope as she sang "You're Not Sick-You're Just in Love" during an assembly. Cedar Vale had some outstanding athletes during those years. Especially remembered was the undefeated and #1 ranked basketball team of the early '50s that suffered their only defeat in the state tournament at Hutchinson. It is my opinion that Jimmy Hill was the best athlete of the era as I recall him winning state gold medals in both high jump and long jump. At the same time, it is difficult to forget the outstanding efforts of the entire football team of '48 as they kept at bay the Blue Devils in Sedan in a epic Thanksgiving Day struggle. Cecil Humphries was the coach and I don't remember that he was ever quite successfully replaced. The most intelligent person in our school may have been Bertle Gurskey. Actually, people of intelligence didn't necessarily gravitate toward me so perhaps I should mention Bertle as being the smartest person of which I was aware? The girl with the most personality in my point of view was Janice Stone with another Janice (Sartin) being the most silly.

The hospital at Cedar Vale was outstanding and was the envy of the area. Dr. Hays was "on the cutting edge" as was his staff and facility. Dr. Walker was another fine physician and the Drs. Stone "filled" dental needs (albeit not exactly painless) while Dr. Wicks was the town chiropractor. Large employers besides the hospital were Caney Valley Electric and the school system. Among the businesses were the Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler dealerships while John Deere was among the farm implement firms. Several basic food eateries maintained addresses in the town including my five star rated "Herb's" and the popular "Hilltop Cafe". A growing bank, jewelry store, and an active livestock sale barn were available along with two drug stores (with Mrs. Whitney almost counting as a third physician). L. C. Adams was a large retail center with departments including grocery, hardware, men's and women's clothing, feed, mortuary, grain elevators, and other business venues. The town of cedars also had a fine lumber yard, hardware store, cleaners, saddle shop, blacksmith, and a bevy of grocery stores available for daily needs. A movie theatre featuring live rat auxiliary entertainment, pool hall, beer joint, liquor store, and hotel provided travelers with somewhat of a diversion. Mobil, Standard, and Skelly were major fuel marketers along with several others. Cedar Vale had an active produce market and a fortune teller. Other firms were a haberdashery, variety store, construction firms, barber and beauty shops, and most likely several firms without recall.

To this day, Cedar Vale is remembered by me to have been an almost ideal small community. The history of Cedar Vale is even more interesting than similar small towns of Kansas with it's early cattle town days and the story of the communal living folks, (with my memory of them being from Russia). Perhaps Gary or another of the historians on board can illuminate a bit of said early history.

In 1952 our family moved to Dexter which was a fine community without the population base nor the school size (at that time) of Cedar Vale. Nevertheless, I enjoyed their school system and student friends as they made me feel quite at home after transferring during my senior year. It was bittersweet competing against Cedar Vale but we were able to defeat the Broncos rather handily in both basketball and baseball.

After serving in the Air Force and marrying Pat Oltjen we brought our small son Graham to Cedar Vale in 1957 and I starting working for Ray Oltjen at the bank. We rented the small stone house located at the acreage of Dr. Hays. Cedar Vale was beginning to change but it was still an outstanding town. Our son Vince was born at the hospital and Graham started school across the street from my grandfather's house. We very much enjoyed our life in Cedar Vale and it saddened us to heed the realized necessity of no longer working at the bank but to find employment elsewhere.

Certainly, I can remember having a positive vision for the future of Cedar Vale during this time. Sadly, my move from the community stopped me from doing my part to work toward keeping and maintaining an idealistic small town. Possibly, none of the residents then could have made a difference toward perhaps an inevitable decline. At the same time, I have always thought that a small town could survive and thrive if the citizenry deemed it worthwhile to sacrifice and work together toward that end. An example, (I believe), is Caldwell which is located near Wellington and is an old cow town. My guess is that Caldwell was similar in size to Cedar Vale in the '40s and '50s but has seemingly successfully dedicated itself to survival and viability. Cedar Vale has had the disadvantage of strong negative economic factors and possibly a lack of workable ideas for preservation and development. It might be said that working together as a community was the best antidote for the economic decline of small towns as they moved toward and into the 21st century.

My thanks to Gary White,Wayne Woodruff, and Don Cox along with other contributors in bringing together their memories of life in Cedar Vale some 50/60 years ago. A special thanks to Gary for initiating and maintaining this form of communication.


By Gary White (CVHS Class of 1955)

Weather was always a factor in our lives growing up in Cedar Vale, Kansas. In summer, the heat and humidity were stifling, and in winter, the ice storms would sometimes shut the town down completely. In my memory, the weather was seldom ideal for very long.

Kansas weather was always a subject for conversation wherever I went. Of course, farmers were totally at the mercy of the weather at all times and I can’t remember any year that was great for putting the crops in, cultivating them, and harvesting. I heard a lot about that while traveling with my father on his Standard Oil Company tank wagon from farm to farm. Mostly it was given as the reason why his customers had to hold off paying their fuel bills, so my family suffered with the weather along with everyone else. I never heard my father get persistent with any of his customers, even if they had bills running back over several years. He took all sorts of items as partial settlement of outstanding bills. I remember the day he arrived home with a used vacuum cleaner and my mother berated him that there was absolutely no way that we needed two vacuums. Having grown up on a farm himself, my father thoroughly understood the farmer’s precarious life. Some of his customers were appreciative of his understanding of their plight and remained loyal customers for many years.

In winter, the ice storms left the countryside a frozen wasteland. My father told me of being able to ice skate to school right down the dirt roads near his parents’ farm, west of Sedan. In fact, he told of breaking his nose by hitting a clod sticking up through the ice on one of those dirt roads. His nose resembled that of a boxer for the rest of his life. I remember being able to climb to the roofs of the sheds back of our house on the frozen drifts.

The frequent ice and snow storms made the main street of Cedar Vale impassible several times each winter. Town officials blocked off the main street from the bank building on Highway 166 all the way up to the water tower at the top of the hill. The entire area became our sledding hill, and we could get up tremendous speeds coming down the hill. The long walk back up to the water tower was strenuous but well worth it for the thrill of the ride back down. The speeds could be dangerous, and it was sometimes a challenge to get stopped before we crossed Highway 166. I do remember at least one major injury, a fellow student who lost a kidney in a sledding accident.

In summer there were nearly nightly tornado watches and warnings. Those more faint-hearted souls would “go to the cellar” at the first sign of storm clouds. Since we lived in town and didn’t have a cellar, or even a basement, we just weathered the storms. I thought of us as being very brave in the face of those monsters. Since we had nowhere to go, I became quite accustomed to watching storms gather, dump their loads, and pass over. I remember watching trees and power lines go down, hail storms that left our yard with drifts of ice, and even twisters that passed us by. The most terrifying storm I remember was the one that passed over Cedar Vale on its way to Udall, Kansas, where the twister left not a single house in the town intact. I remember people from Cedar Vale going to Udall to help out with the cleanup and returning with stories of horrific devastation.

Another frequent occurrence was flooding of nearby rivers and streams. There was an area between Sedan and Caney that was often under water after heavy rains. Since we had relatives living near Caney, we sometimes traveled on Highway 166 through this flooding. I well remember my father driving onto the stretch of road just east of Niotaze, which was covered with swirling water. He had to drive very slowly lest the water get into the engine compartment and flood out the engine. Mother was terrified and softly cursed him all the way to the other side. In later years that stretch of road was built up several feet and the constant flooding became a thing of the past.

Of course, Cedar Vale is prone to flooding of the Caney River and the surrounding creeks, and I well remember looking out on a swirling, muddy sea in the area just east of town. We took all this as a matter of course and adjusted our lives accordingly.

I think the weather was a significant factor in the development of our stoic, persistent characters. We learned to take adversity without complaint and to enjoy what nature put in our paths with good, if somewhat fatalistic, humor.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Remembering a Good Doctor

By Donald F. Cox

Bob Radcliff certainly is to be congratulated on his “remember” series in the “Lookout.” Madison Holroyd also contributed here. Both of the gentlemen have 8 or 10 years on me, but I certainly do recall the people they write about. I have contacted them both with comments.

This week Radcliff wrote of Owen Lavely, and that brought to my mind a very important day in my childhood here in Cedar Vale. “Think late 30s...” I had the measles and was very sick with them. Dr. Hays and his nurse Luella Lang, saw me through this glitch and soon I was running around town barefoot and carefree. Well, Dr. Hays came looking for me (a very strange occurrence, since he was a very busy man.) Seems the infant child of Mr. and Mrs. Lavely had the measles and was quite sick and even near death. They knew I had universal donor blood which was crammed with fresh antibodies. They wanted me to give blood for the infant. As a seven year old, I wasn’t very thrilled about the prospect, but he put me in his car and we went to see my parents. They naturally convinced me it was the right thing to do, so Dr. Hays took me forthwith to the humble home of the Lavelys down in the Santa Fe Addition.

An intravenous tube and needle were hooked to me and the baby was brought to my side. A direct hook up was made with (I think) a glass syringe in the middle as a pump and the transfusion was done. The baby lived and I almost forgot about it in a few days until Dr. Hays came to our house to pay me for my blood. I said I guessed the Lavely were even poorer than us so I didn’t want to charge them. As was his manner, Dr Hays was very adamant. He said he was paying and anyway it was a part of his fee, which he would collect. He gave me the princely sum of $12 and my mom quickly appropriated it for kitchen supplies.

I do remember that I got a new Schwinn bicycle for my birthday, which I was sure we couldn’t afford. I wonder if the $12 had anything to do with that?

Can you imagine a physician wheeling, dealing, and healing like that in these modern times? Such a practitioner would not be able to get malpractice insurance—some would be quick to sue because he hurried to do what he could with what was available. So sad.

(From Public forum)

Comments on Woodruff's Main St

Oh yes, where to begin? Wayne there was always a Barber Shop near Fettigs and Smith's Grocery. I remember a barber named Craig when I was a little boy. Later I remember "Gimpy" Lefler was there and then still later I think "Twid" Martin started there before going down to the shop on the highway.

Pool Hall In the 30s Art Radcliff ran it. Art had a "jake leg" A not uncommon malady in those days caused by neurological damage from bad contraband spirits (bathtub booze). Later "Sonny" Deunsing ran it and he was also a cripple, but his problem was a shriveled leg. I couldn't enter there as a boy, but later spent many a slow afternoon there playing Pinochle with the "Good 'ol Boys" Probably Oliver was a proprieter also but I don't remember it.

Hankins I was a regular customer--what a great hangout!! In the late '40s the "in" thing to order there was "White Cow" or "Black Cow'. The former being a scoop of vanilla ice cream with Chocolate syrup--The later being chocolate with marshmallow topping. I kind of remember they were 15 cents.

Adams Mercantile We have covered that pretty well, especially Gary. Yes Norma June was a beauty I had noticed that also. She is still in the county, living just ouside Elgin, and runs a Real Estate office in Sedan. Jack died a few years ago.

Caney Valley

Don Cox informs me that this is the new bridge at Hart's Mill, east of Hewins on the road to Elgin. (Click to enlarge.)

CV on the Map

Can you locate your house on this map? Click to enlarge for aging eyes.

CV "Main Street"-page 5

By Wayne Woodruff

Between the Lester Smith Grocery Store on the corner by the highway, and the Ames Garage there were several little businesses that came and went and changed over the years between 1941 and 1957 when I left town. As Dick Williams recalled, Karl Fettig had a shoe repair shop in that area(this is on the east side of the street) and it was another place I enjoyed because of the smells of the leather with which he worked. He and his wife were members of the Baptist Church until there was some sort of disagreement between Mrs. Fettig and Mrs. Swain House, and the Fettigs and many others left the Baptist Church.

There was a pool hall there also. Again, my parents did not think that was a good place for me to be, so I don't remember much about it, but I am sure someone will recall some incidents that occurred there, and perhaps will remember who owned the joint. It seemed to survive quite a long time.

I know there must have been other little businesses in that vicinity but none stand out in my memory. They seemed to come and go and left little impact on my mind. Help!!

The next large building was Ames Garage, and I believe it was a Dodge dealership. Floyd Goode was the head mechanic there and it seems every time I saw him he was covered with grease and dirt. I would not recognize him in clean clothes. His daughter, Nancy, was in our class in school, and was ONE of the prettiest girls in the school. Of course you all will have your own opinions about the relative beauty of the high school girls, and I am sure you will share that with the rest of us.

Now, next door to Ames, we come to one of the really important places in town, Hankin's Drug Store. I cannot go into details about Hankins like Gary White did about Whitney Drug, but it was a place where all the inhabitants of CV could sit and enjoy a cherry coke from the fountain, or one of the best chocolate malts in the world for only 25 cents. They used Glencliff ice cream, whereas Whitneys used Steffins, and there were heated discussions about which was the better. One of my families favorite leisure time activities occurred on Sunday evenings in the warm months, when we would all walk from our little house close to the Hays'Hospital (across the street from Adam's funeral home) up to Hankin's Drug, and for one dollar, all four of us were treated to a milk shake or malt. I have never to this day found a milk shake that could compare with those. I think one reason Hankin's drug was so popular was that Don Hankins and Mary Bess were thoroughly nice and friendly people who made you feel welcome. They also had a big glass roaster on the counter that dispensed hot cashew nuts, which was another highlight, for me at least.

Beside the drug store was the L. C. Adams Mercantile building. The Mercantile I think was run by Hubert and Harold Cox, with the help of Gary White, Don Cox and many others. The business metamorphed over the years I lived there from one large business that was described completely by Gary White and Don Cox, to smaller clothing stores and food stores. One clothing store was owned by Vic Hollister and the grocery with which I was most familiar was the part owned by Maurice Smith. The most memorable thing about Mr. Smith was his voice. He led the singing in the Church of Christ and had a singing voice that rivaled Pavoratti. He sang at weddings and funerals and anywhere anyone needed a beautiful voice. His younger sister, Norma June, was our third grade teacher, and she was a real beauty. All the little boys loved her. I recall, one week she was out of school sick, so Bob Hays, Jack Foster and I, pooled our allowances, bought a box of chocolates, and took them to her at her house. You can imagine how we were shot-down when we found her boyfriend , Jack Loman, there. He probably ate our chocolates. She later married him. I accused T.D. Oltjen of putting the carriage on top of the Adam's building one Halloween but he said he did a lot of other bad things, but that was not one of them. Any ideas????

Cedar Vale From the Air

This view of CV from the air clearly shows how the town is laid out on the diagonal. (Click on the photo for an enlarged view.)

Caney Valley

Stunning Blog Gary, I was stumped by the aerial photo of Caney Valley for a bit. Then I realized it is the new bridge at Hart's Mill, east of Hewins on the road to Elgin. DFCox

Cedar Vale Main Street

This historic photo of the main street of Cedar Vale shows the bank building on the left and L. C. Adams (now the museum) up the street on the right. (Click on the photo for an enlarged view.)