Saturday, December 29, 2007

Good Things About CV and Small Towns

The good thing about small towns is that you know everyone and everyone knows (of/about) you. The not so wonderful thing is exactly the same! The Cedar Vale of my memories is a good place full of honest and friendly people, and a few “ornery boys”. Sometimes, I’m sure, I was one of those boys.

Contrary to what you may have inferred from my previous posts, I do not believe that growing up in Cedar Vale was negative for me. I have many happy memories of CV and the people there. I would not trade my experiences for any other. I like the people and atmosphere, but I would probably not consider moving back because of the wonderful setting that I am in now.

I was privileged to have most things that money would buy, as my father had figured out in his later years how to make more than just a living. I knew that I had more spending money than some of my friends, but I did not believe that we were rich or wealthy. Looking back, I know that we were “well off” and that I was lucky to the “late” child in the family.

One of the good things about small towns is that school class sizes are smaller and you can get more individual attention. Of course, that also comes with reduced choices of subjects. High school was not a waste of time for me as I really enjoyed many of the classes and activities. However, it did not challenge me very much … except for Spanish (irony now!). This was a big problem when I got to Kansas State University and had problems with many classes from the start. I eventually figured it out and graduated with a BS in Radio-TV from Oklahoma State (no foreign language required for a BS at OSU!).

I never though much about what was lacking in CV as I had use of a car and could drive to Ark City, Winfield, or Wichita for anything that we did not have. Electronic parts were ordered from Chicago. In later years as I returned to visit, it became apparent that what we had when I was growing up had mostly dried up and gone away. That is a real shame, but somewhat understandable.

I probably enjoyed the time in CV from age 7 through 14 the most. When I was 7, we moved to CV from the farm. As I have mentioned, I had my own playground with a “ranch” at the edge of town.

I have fond memories of Margaret Robinson (Kennedy) and the “extras” that her family provided to myself and the others in our class. Margaret’s folks paid to have an instructor come to their house to teach our entire class to dance. What little I know about dancing came from that experience. They also built a tennis court where I spent many hours playing. It was the only tennis court in CV. I also used to go to her house early on Saturday mornings to watch TV, before we had a set at home. Her mom was always patient with me, even though Margaret might still be sleeping.

Another good thing about CV is the hunting and fishing opportunities that I took advantage of while growing up. I no longer hunt or fish but the memories are good.

When I was growing up I couldn’t figure out why all of the good, church going people would loudly proclaim love, peace and forgiveness on Sunday and exhibit very different behaviors on the other six days of the week. Later, a pastor asked my why I didn’t come to church more often. I said; “It seems that many who come are hypocrites.” His reply was; “Come on down, there’s always room for one more!” How true.

Those who have gone through a divorce or other tragedy often find that those individuals thought to be close friends disappear, while others who may not have been close now befriend us in great and unusual ways. This has happened to me, not only later in life, but in my experiences in CV both with teachers and individuals that my father helped greatly, but who later refused to help me in the smallest of ways. I have become stronger and less dependent on the support and opinions of others because of this. As I expect less from people, I often am pleasantly surprised when I receive more.

I have spent a lot of time in independent spiritual study and I have found that which is true for me. One definition of “truth” is “a consensus to reality”, so whatever you believe is OK with me. Some might say I have become “enlightened” and words often mean what they say. However, I think the most important thing that I have learned and wish to pass on is this: “Both before and after enlightenment, one must cut wood and carry water.”

I wish a happy, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year for each of you!

Jay D. Mills – Volcan, Chiriqui, Panama 12-29-07

Saturday, December 22, 2007


1 I just spoke with Shirley Brown and she had word from her daughter-in-law (who is Judy Huddle French's daughter) that Judy had come thru the surgery very well and will stay in the Wichita hospital (I don't know which one) another day or two. As soon as possible Judy will be taken back to Neodesha for rehab in the specialty facility there.

2 Some will remember that I wrote of a hospital tenant, a nursing home facility, and a new grocery store. Well everything is on hold--still. The longer it takes to develop the more doubtful I become. Nothing is dead yet, so maybe something will happen after the first of 2008.
The person who will install a grocery store says it will happen after the hospital is occupied.

3 I hear a goodly amount of favorable reaction from those who have seen postings in the CV Lookout. Now I know of some CV grads, younger than us, in their 30s, who have found the site and are starting to explore it. Joel Haden III says he is telling his crowd about it and recommending it.

4 Wintry mix and rain started falling about 11 am today. now the temperature has dropped and sleet mixed with snow is falling heavily and the wind is gusting. I know you all wish you were here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ice Storm Photo

Does this look familiar all you ex CVers? This photo just in from Don Cox. He tells me that CV missed this one but there are more coming.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Offspring

Gary White

Excellent choice of topic, Diane. I’ll give you the complete rundown on my offspring.

My daughter, Steph, lives and works in Portland, OR. She is a store manager in a big box store—a local chain, not one of the biggies. Her partner K. C. is disabled and takes care of the home. Steph was born in 1969 in Ames, IA, where I was teaching.

My son, Greg, lives and works just outside of Boulder, CO. He and his wife, Kristin, have two boys, Owen, age 3, and Max, age 6. Greg is a research engineer for a group called Cable Labs, which does research and development for the cable TV and communications industry, world wide. He is currently hard at work on the next generation of cable modems that will link all communications systems in your home, including security, internet, phone, TV, other two-way communications, etc. He was born in 1970, also in Ames. Kristin is a speech pathologist for the school system in their area.

My stepson, Jesse, lives and works in Irvine, CA. He and his wife, Yui, have a little girl, Sophie, age 4 months. Jesse is a programmer for the computer gaming industry, a position he has had for around 14 years. He does the deepest, most complicated programming that makes the games operate. I don’t really understand what that is about. Yui, who is a Japanese citizen, works in the export/import industry where she can use her language abilities in Chinese, Japanese, and English. Jesse was born in 1970, and was a classmate of my son, Greg, and his wife, Kristin.

A Look at My Life

I’ve been thinking some about how a little music education can ruin one’s experience as an audience member. I remember commenting to one son how much I enjoyed the school band’s performance and he came back with, “Mom, you’ve got a tin ear,” then proceeded to tell what mistakes were made.

In 1978 when my oldest son went to college, I started Southwestern College as a junior after taking classes at Cowley County (junior college) for about seven years while working at the state hospital. I was in my late thirties as my son was born when I was eighteen. (I was a divorced mom in 1970.)

A few years into my college education I remember how different it was to hear a performance. I was becoming a cynical critic, but I had enough maturity to know with whom I should share my opinion. In spite of my musical education, I’ve always enjoyed my son’s performances and hopefully gave appropriate comments to them. They can spot phony praise a mile away.

I’m curious about the blog member’s off-spring. We’ve heard about the births of Wayne’s kids. How about the rest of you? What are your children doing now? If any are bums and/or in jail just omit that one. A friend of mine says if they’re not in jail they’re doing great!

My children are Jeff Gordon, age 47 runs his own business at home doing computer graphic drawings for patent attorneys. Also, since moving to Wichita a year ago has been doing a lot of trumpet work through the union and word of mouth. He teaches a combo class at Friends University and plays in the faculty jazz quintet, while working on his degree in jazz trumpet performance at WSU where his wife works as fund raiser for the fine arts department. They have two sons, Archer, who is ten plays the French horn, and Justin, eight, who plays basket ball and loves to sing and dance.

My second son, Thad Gordon, has had a sad life as he has dealt with a mental illness since age 19. He is now 43 and lives in a facility in Peabody. Perhaps Thad at one time was the most talented of my boys. He received a one-plus on his trombone solo his junior year of high school and wrote an interesting arrangement of “Scarborough Fair” in a high school arranging class that was performed by the high school band, among many other accomplishments.

Well, I did it again. I am the worst when talking about my boys. Sorry. When they were growing up I don’t remember trying to influence them in music. Believe me, they were in many other activities. However, they really had a lot of musical influence from both me and their talented dad, Tom Gordon.

Hope to hear from the rest of you about your family.

A Bad Winter

It feels like a good day to put up a quote from my recently acquired copy of CV One Hundred and Five Years. I've been sitting by the piƱon fire in my office reading this book. Makes our trials and tribulations seem pretty small in comparison.

The frigid winter weather that started New Year's Day 1886, and which included all of Kansas, had temperatures of 10 to 20 degrees below zero for most of the month. ONe storm followed another. Thousands of cattle died on the open range along with jackrabbits, prairie chickens, antelopes, and birds of every description. (Antelopes???) Animals froze even when sheltered in barns. It is reported that Ed Hewins had a loss of cattle from which he never recovered. Other ranchers suffered similar losses.

Some accounts say nearly 100 people were found frozen to death in their homes where they had exhausted all fuel, burned all furniture except their beds, then had gone to bed to try to keep warm. Many others died in the open while seeking shelter. A stage coach driver froze to death in his seat and the horses brought the stage coach in without the passengers knowing their driver was dead. Records do not reflect any loss of human life due to freezing in the Cedar Vale vicinity.

Winter Memories

I woke up this morning to ice on the streets of Santa Fe. That took me right back to days growing up in Cedar Vale when ice would coat the whole world and shut everything down. I'm reading that you may be in the midst of just such a storm again. If so, take care, stay warm, and let us know how you are doing.

It might be a good time to write about the current weather situation, and memories of winters past. I am wondering if the kids are sledding down Main/Cedar Street today. Other news and memories??

Thursday, December 6, 2007

CV One Hundred and Five Years

In today's mail came my copy of the history of CV as it was published in 1975. What a treasure! I feel so lucky to have found a copy for sale. It was the only copy I saw on I have just thumbed through for the first time and already I'm finding many pictures and articles that I will be quoting from in future postings. A little history of this copy of the book is in order.

The name on the title page is: Freda Underwood, 615 Harter, Winfield, 1996. The book is in perfect condition and someone took the trouble to have most of the Cedar Vale Historical Society Book Committee autograph the book. The only signatures missing are Harold and Myrtle Cox. (Sorry about that, Don.)

I know that several of you own copies of the book, Don and Naomi/Bea Howell for sure. I want to thank Naomi/Bea in particular for bringing the book to my attention and setting me off on the search.

In the process I came across another small book about CV, published, they say in the late 19th century. I've ordered that book also and will let you all know what I find there.

So, if I turn up missing here on the blog for a few days, you'll know that I'm busy turning the pages of my latest treasure from good ole CV.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The McDowell Colony

by Gary White

I am creating these pieces so my children and grandchildren get to know who I was and what my life was like. I'm not putting all of them up on the blog, but when there is a Midwestern reference I'm posting them here.

In 1975 I was accepted as a visiting composer at The MacDowell Colony, the oldest artists’ colony in the US. Founded in 1907 by the widow of American composer Edward MacDowell, the colony provides “an inspiring environment in which to produce enduring works of the imagination.” One applies for a residency with a creative project and one is accepted on the basis of the quality of one’s previous creative work. The colony provides room and board and the exclusive use of a studio. Composers’ studios include a grand piano, writing desk, and other furniture. If the artist is a visual artist, the studio includes complete equipment to pursue creative work. Film makers are provided for with a complete production facility onsite. If you want to read more about the Colony click on the title to this piece.

The daily routine at the Colony is breakfast on one’s own in the dining room, lunch delivered in a picnic hamper to your studio, and dinner in the main house with the other “colonists.” Residents at MacDowell Colony call themselves colonists.

I applied for a one-month residency and arrived at the Colony in October, 1975. My cabin/studio was placed well back in the woods and had a stunning view of the forest. The cabin was nicely finished all in knotty pine and a hardwood floor. There was a small porch at the front. The walls of the cabin were decorated with a dozen or more large slabs of pine, called “tombstones” by the colonists, with autographs of all the previous inhabitants of the studio. An impressive list of signatures it was. To make a list of the signatures in my studio would be name-dropping, but the names would be known to anyone familiar with mid-twentieth-century US composers. I spent the first day being overwhelmed by my surroundings. As a small-town boy from southern Kansas I felt intimidated by the big names all around me on the walls. Soon, however, I got to work on my project and settled into the routine of the Colony.

To get some picture of what life at the Colony was like, imagine twenty or thirty high-strung artists with big egos bouncing around the rural New Hampshire countryside and meeting every evening for dinner. Dinner-table conversation routinely included stories of artists who had “gone off the deep end” while in residence, discussions of who was more famous than whom, and guarded statements about how one’s own work was going.

One “deep end” story will give you the general picture. It seemed that an artist who was in residence when one of my contemporary colonists was there refused to leave the Colony at the end of her stay. The staff found her in the morning in the kitchen tied to the kitchen stove. Professionals had to be called in to talk her down and get her on her way.

The “more famous than whom” stories included discussions of prizes won, articles in New Yorker, New York Times reviews, etc. The majority of the artists at the MacDowell Colony reside in New York City and what the Times says is considered to be the gospel truth. As a small-town boy from the Midwest I felt that I was undoubtedly the least famous person at the Colony. No one took any effort to disabuse me of that perception.

In any group of twenty or thirty artists in the midst of the creative process there will always be some whose work is going well, some who are struggling, and a few suffering from absolute creative block. This makes for an atmosphere filled with underlying tension. There were occasional emotional outbursts and other forms of acting out. I witnessed an evening when one of the Colonists leapt up on a dining table, did a furious dance, and ran from the room in tears. Other colonists took such events totally in stride, having witnessed nearly everything before.

Day-to-day life was fairly intense. There was my own struggles with my project, the egos of the other colonists to deal with, and predictably unpredictable behavior at dinner. Artists would be found to be missing, sometimes for several days and the staff would become concerned about their well being. There was an absolute rule at the Colony that no one but the colonist him or herself could enter the studio without being invited. “Missing” colonists could sometimes be tracked by whether the lunch basket was taken in and food consumed, but the staff had to more or less “read the tea leaves” to determine if a colonist was OK. If an artist was really hot on a project, he or she might work day and night for several days and then sleep in for a day or so.

When I got into the routine, my project progressed very well and I actually finished several days before the month was up. This allowed me to take walks in the woods, drive out from the Colony into the New Hampshire countryside and be a bit of a tourist. All in all, the MacDowell Colony experience was very productive and I could have applied again for another residency, I’m sure. Perhaps it was only my feeling of not belonging to the inner circle of New York artists, or perhaps my own struggles with the creative process were enough to have to deal with. I decided to create my own individual settings for my future creative retreats and never returned to the MacDowell Colony or any other artists’ colony.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

OK girls, what about you?

I just heard from Naomi/Bea Howell and she thinks this blog is just about us guys:

"It seems to be a guy type blog and you guys are doing a great job. I really don't feel that I have much of interest to contribute."

What I have to say about this is that, so far, it has been a one-sided blog. Sure, Reva has shared a lot of her later life, but my sense is that there is a very large unplumbed territory that needs to be explored here. My question is:

What was it like being a girl growing up in the 1940s and 1950s in Cedar Vale, Kansas? Grade school memories? What were the girls talking about in all those times when the boys weren't present? If we are going to get the complete picture you gals are going to have to supply it. We guys want to finally know what was going on in you girls' heads. You were mostly mysteries to us. So, at age 70 you can let us in on your secrets. We are all adults now. So, come on girls, lift the veil of mystery.

What do you say, guys? What to hear it from the girls perspective? Let them know!

CV Memories of Wayne Woodruff -Page 5

Watching my parents, especially father, put up with the hard work, stress and worry of farming determined me not to be a farmer. I especially remember the night that Dad worked until one a.m. combining the soy bean crop because it was ready, we needed the money and there was a big storm coming that would ruin the beans. And getting the bales of alfalfa off the field and into the barn before more rain was another on-going worry and stress that I believe must have contributed to his early heart attack, He seemed always to have something to worry about, and work that had to be done.
Besides picking strawberries, there were other things about the farming that I hated. Gathering the eggs was one.! The procedure was to go into the chicken house, located the nests where the hens were laying eggs, reach into the nest and pick out the eggs that had been deposited during the day. At best, you grabbed an egg that some chicken had decided was not her best work and she had also defecated on the egg, so you grabbed a handful of chicken-sh-t. That was bad enough, but at times in the dark evening of the dark chicken house, one would reach into the nest and encounter the unwelcome contact with a four foot black-snake that was taking his evening meal of raw egg. But even when there was no snake and no sh-t, there were times when the hen was still on the nest and she objected violently to anyone trying to reach a hand in under her to steal her eggs, and I still have little scars on my hands from those sharp beaks.
Hoeing corn rows, some of them a half a mile long, in the heat of the summer for 50 cents an hour was another task that embedded itself in my mind so that when school work seemed too much, I could always remember those long, hot, dirty rows of corn and the hoe that never seemed to be sharp enough.
Milking the cows was some good and some bad. When things were going well, it was almost peaceful sitting quietly on the little one legged milking stool with your head against the warm flank of the old cow as you gently extracted her diurnal contribution of milk. She didn’t seem to mind because she had her oats to eat while I milked and she was a contented cow. But there were times that milk cow Helen was in a bad mood and probably sore from mastitis ( although at the time I did not know that and just thought that she was a nasty beast) and objected to this mean kid pulling on her teats and making her hurt. So, consequently she tried to kick the source of her agony, which was me. If not kicking me, she could always manage to kick over the almost full bucket of milk. But we did have a device that were called “kickers”. Kickers were clamps that fastened around each hind leg and a short chain between the clamps that kept the cow from kicking with one leg. But that ingenious device did not hamper old Helen. She learned to kick with both legs at one time which was quite picturesque but not very smart because when both of her back legs were in the air kicking at her tormenter, it meant she was totally without any means of balancing upright and ended up lying of the floor in the puddle of her own mess and usually a bucket of milk ,her head still caught in the stanchion, which were two heavy boards mounted vertically which kept her head in place during the milking procedure. Getting the poor cow out of this predicament with her fighting every effort was never any fun. One more reason to never be a farmer.
As mentioned earlier, I had a little sister, Barbara, who was four years younger. She was a brilliant pianist and even though I struggled for days trudging though a Chopin sonata, she could sit down at the instrument and play it beautifully the first time through.

Monday, December 3, 2007


I am glad to see that my article on "Blame" stirred up some ire on the part of some of my erudite colleagues. After all, probably one value of this means of communcation is to provoke thought, whether it be positive or negative or agreeable. But, I was not really trying to blame any of us for our choices to leave CV for more favorable communities and opportunities elsewhere. What I was trying to point out, was the fact that some of us had unpleasant experiences in Cedar Vale and when we look back and try to understand what happened and why, we seem to be blaming the entire community, when if fact it was only a few bad apples that soured the whole basket.

Professor White had mentioned in earlier documents that some of the school children were unkind and abusive to him, but I contend that these few bad apples were certainly not the majority, and I for one tried to be nice to him because he helped me get through Mr. Sears' algebra course. And, that abusive grade-school gang that we all remember eventually produced upstanding members of the community, and some still live in Cedar Vale.

And Banker Foust remembers the people that condemned him and misunderstood his part in the bank failure. I was long gone from Cedar Vale at that time, but again, I would imagine that there were only a few "bad apples" that produced the stink that affected Phil and Pat. For the most part, the population of the town only remembered the hard-working funny kid that I knew, and the sweet person who was his wife, and knew the truth of the matters.

Mr. Williams felt that the community was unfair to his family when his father had the unfortunate illness that caused the need to sell the dealership. I, again, do not remember that episode in the history of CV, and I may have been gone and my father may have already died at the time, but again I cannot believe that the entire community would have turned on a pillar of the community such as Kale Williams. I remember he and my father were close friends, and my dad would not have tolerated unkindness toward the Williams family. Again, just a few bad apples were responsible for the loss of a valuable family from a community that could not afford to lose them.

When I was in college visiting my mother during the summer of 1959, I was approached by a gentlemen as I was mowing the front yard. He asked if he might speak to me and related a story that made me cry. It seems he was a teacher at CVHS and had been approached by the Superintendent of Schools who requested sex. The teacher was offended and went to the school board and reported the incident. The Supintendent was a man of some stature in the town, and most of the school board members voted to fire the teacher for smearing the name of the great man. He told me, however, that my father believed what he was saying , and even though he could not prevent the firing, he did prevent the reporting of the incident to the State Board of Education which would have ruined his chances of ever teaching again in Kansas. This gentleman could have had a very bad opinion of the town of CV because of a couple of "bad apples", but because of the way it was handled he had nothing but appreciation. The bad apples did not totally ruin his life.

To reiterate my point, we can't comdemn the whole basket because of a few bad apples.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Another Perspective

As tempting as it would be to think that somehow we collectively could have done something to stop the demise of Cedar Vale, I'd like to offer another perspective. Take a look at the map of Chautauqua County in 1899. What happened to all those towns? Where are Osro, Wauneta, Lowe, and Rogers, all on the trail from CV to Sedan? We all know if we think about it. The automobile and the U. S. highway system made it much easier and more convenient to travel to CV and Sedan to trade and these places dried up, even though they were on the railroad. In our time, we were seeing the next step in that process. The automobile and a better highway system made it easier to shop in Ark City and other larger surrounding towns. Now, in the case of CV, when highway 166 bypassed the town entirely the death knell was sounded. When people, collectively, choose to drive a few miles farther to shop, business districts die. I have written about the biggest casualty in the CV business district, the closing of L. C. Adam Mercantile and that happened in our time in CV. These are forces that are beyond the control of any individual or group of individuals. Do you really think that a Williams Garage could compete with the larger car dealers in nearby towns? I doubt it. Could it withstand the onslaught of TV advertising luring people away for a better deal in Wichita or Tulsa?

The only small towns that have survived and grown have made themselves into local tourist destinations. I recently moved from Boulder, Colorado, where there are some good examples of that "repurposing" of small towns. Just outside of Boulder is the small town of Niwot, which is now the home of a lot of small specialty shops, restaurants and the like. Since the town is very close to Boulder and Longmont (both towns with great job opportunities), it draws people out from both towns just to look at and shop in the antique shops, the local Grange building that is billed as an historical monument, and to eat in one or another of the local restaurants. There is no real business district there, only antique shops, quilting shops, and cute little boutiques, all housed in the ancient buildings that have been painstakingly restored to look "just like the olden days."

Niwot, Colorado looks very little like it did when it was the next town on the railroad east and north of Boulder. The people who now live there are the shop owners and service staff who work in this mini tourist town. In recent years new people have begun to move back in to have their homes near the quaint village, while they commute into Boulder for their jobs and a "bedroom community" is evolving. And, of course, there is a mini mall to serve the needs of that bedroom community, but it isn't on Main Street.

Change is inevitable in a society that is changing as rapidly as ours. Now watch the fate of towns that are not near major airports. I know that I wouldn't choose to live in a town where I would have to travel 100 miles or so to get to a commercial airport. Look at the population map of the U.S. and you will see a pattern of more and more clumping around major transportation hubs. That is unlikely to change until another major force comes along that I can't predict. Perhaps the masses of "old folks" like us will redraw the maps again as we look for places that are inexpensive with great climates and are quiet and far from the problems of the big cities. I think I see that one coming down the pike.

The fairly rapid growth in the population of Santa Fe is mostly people who have made a lot of money elsewhere and want an artsy town to live in that is a bit off the beaten track and quaint. We have older Hollywood stars (think Shirley MacLane), ex-political figures (think Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband), and retired artists. I love living here. Just today we spent a wonderful two or three hours up on Museum Hill looking at an exhibit of quilts and other "found object" art that are the work of a small group of African American families in an isolated part of Alabama. There were four wonderful videos of these folk and their creations and the local fiber arts guild attached a fun exhibit of the fiber art that is being created here. And that exhibit is one of five or six exhibits at the International Folk Art Museum, and there are four other museums on Museum Hill, not to speak of those in downtown Santa Fe. We are very rich in the arts here.

Yes, don't blame the town of Cedar Vale, but also, don't blame us. We were all caught in forces that were outside our control. We were shaped for better or for worse by the small community of Cedar Vale that was crumbling around us while we were growing up in it. I, for one, am happy to have grown up there, even though I didn't like some of the kids I grew up with. The adults that I mostly associated with were wonderful teachers, both formally and informally. The evenings I spent in Bill Leonard's projection booth are a priceless memory for me and I could multiply that many times. My own family, with very distinctive views that were not the views of those around them, were my primary shaping forces and I'm happy to have had that background.

Just another perspective. I'm sure there will be responses to this one!


As I read the articles and comments in the "blog", it is somewhat distressing to read all the negative thoughts that we have published concerning the Town of Cedar Vale, which gave us our start in life. It is like blaming our parents because we are not tall, or beautiful, or athletic, or a great success in life, or rich and happy. How can we blame a "TOWN" for our failures in life. I should blame the town because I was shy, and backward in dealing with the female population of the school?? The town did not make me the failure that I became in many aspects of my life, but it did provide me/us with many opportunities to improve on that with which we were born. How many communities would provide a venue where a skinny 5'9" boy like myself could compete in basketball, football, track and baseball along with other short, skinny boys, and really make a success of the effort. How many schools would have afforded musicians like Gary and Phil and Don Shaffer the opportunity to excell and be superior in their art. In schools like Wichita East, for instance, in spite of their talent, would they have even been noticed. Would Janice Sartin and Marilyn Holroyd been stars in the production of "The Mikdo" had they been in Kansas City Wyandotte?? A very few of us, probably Gary, for instance, might have excelled even in the larger community schools, but the rest of us were happy that we were allowed to do the things that we were good enough to do in the Town of Cedar Vale.
Maybe it is not the towns fault that it is dying or withering. Maybe it is our fault.
WHAT IF: Bob Hays and I had returned to set up a regional medical center.?
Gary White had returned to be music director at old CVHS.?
Roy Walkinshaw had returned to the medical center to open his physical therapy
Phil Foust had returned to open a succesful and progressive bank that could loan
money to farmers that were needed to support the whole community.
Jay D. Mills had returned to open an electronic software technical support plant
or a photographic business.
Don Cox had stayed and kept the dogs and cats and cattle of Chautauqua county in
good shape.
Dick and Bill Williams had returned to renew the Chevrolet Dealership. Or maybe
Dick would have opened a CPA office also.
Bob Cable had taken over the Cable Implement, and kept it a viable business.
Judy Stone had returned with her husband to join the medical community.
T.D. Oltgen ? Another competing bank?? Sedan, I think has more than one.
All of the boys and girls that grew up on farms might have stayed to run the family
farms instead of going off to the big cities of Winfield and Ark City and Wichita.
Gerry Kelley might have returned to have an engineering consulting firm??
But instead, we all had our own dreams that did not include the town where we were "hatched and growed". Just think, if we had all returned, raised our families there and contributed to the wealth and prosperity of that little hamlet, it might still be a good, interesting place to live, offering almost everything that we have where ever we are now.
No, don't blame the TOWN. We can all blame ourselves if there is really blame to lay. The town may have had some problems, and some people who were not our ideals, but it did provide all of us a starting point. We are all "successes" maybe because of the start we had in that idyllic little community. Don't blame "THE TOWN".

Listening to Music

Gary White

I very seldom choose to listen to music these days. That might seem like a surprising statement from a professional musician and composer. People often assume that music must be my frequent companion—that I would enjoy having the radio on for example, when I read. The truth is that when music is present I have no choice but to listen quite actively.

When I go to the movies I am always aware of the background music. I follow its development through the film, noting how the composer develops themes for each situation or sometimes each character. The music track is just as much a part of my experience as the other sounds—the dialog and the sound effects. (They are generally recorded separately and then mixed together in the final editing of the film.)

In a restaurant I am always aware of any background music and often find it difficult to carry on a conversation because I’m listening to the background music. If the music is live it is even more obtrusive and I listen as if I’m at a concert.

It is precisely my long training in music that makes it impossible for me not to listen. The idea of background music, or music to “not listen” to just doesn’t happen for me. How students can study with music blaring in their ears is beyond me.

I do enjoy music when I can give it my full attention, but I resent the constant barrage to which we tend to be subjected in grocery stores, elevators, and shops. I listen to music only in a few circumstances, when I go the opera or a concert, when I am driving on long trips and I need something to keep me alert, those special occasions when I want to or need to listen to a piece of music for a definite purpose, and when I’m working out in the gym. Otherwise, silence is truly golden.