Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
"Waiting" for that guy in the red suit is still "new," not only for our kids, grandkids, kids we know, some we don't know and yes, for all the rest of us" kids!
Take away the "magic moments" of Christmas and you take away our very "being!" You take away the "now!" that happens with the beginning of each day! Yes, there was the past, but that is past. Yes, there is a future, but that is in the future. Now, this very moment, is the time for us to nourish and nurture who we are! To nurture and love those near and dear to us. It is the time to give, whether it be a gift, a smile, a letter, a card.... a touch! It is the time to share, to care, and yes, "to give our very best!" to others! And, my dear friends, don't forget yourselves!
And so, I send this "CV Memories" Christmas Card" to all of you who have made this year, this NOW, one of the most important parts of my life! You gave cause to realize what a great feeling it was to give something to someone, to something, else! Because, in the giving, there was the ultimate reward, the "receiving!" "Because" of what happenend this year, I am a better person. You made me so. Just know that "the stones you throw into the "C.V. Memory" pond, creates many ripples!" And, with those ripples, you continue to bring us "memories" that will never end!
Merry Christmas to ALL OF YOU! I have never been more proud to be a "BRONCO!"
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Anxious to hear about your "once upon a times!"
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Remember when a team of men went to Lookout Mountain, cut down a cedar tree, placed it in the "room" next to the sancturary, decorating it like only at "Lookout Mountain Tree" could look!
I remember seeing it as a HUGH TREE, resplendent in ornaments, tinsel, stars, and what seemed like an endless stream of Christmas lights, that illuminded all the church! Let me tell you, that N.Y. City, Radio City and all, did not hold a "candle" to what was before us! So many had given so much! Trees had been cut. Trees had been decorated! And, the best was yet to come! Singing! Santa! All came into play! I remember trying to remember what Joseph said in a little playlet that was performed! I remember seeing Baby Jesus, lying in a bed, in a manger, and seeing His mother, Mary, caring and adoring him! Whoever played Mary was Mary, indeed! Her face radiated the meaning of Christmas as never before portrayed! I watched. I wondered. To this this day, I watch. I still wonder. Yet, when I heard Shirley Brown's son, (name?), play "Silent Night," with a country inflection that only you and I know, did I know, that Christ was the King! That moment, that musical memory has stuck in my mind for all these years.
May Christmas, in all it's glory, stick in you mind...not only this year but for all the years to come!
P.S. If someone should ask you, "Are you special?" Say, "Yes, because many years ago, in a little town named Cedar Vale, you found what Christmas was all about!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
In the late 60’s, Jack was managing a nursing home in Arkansas City. He and wife Donna lived across the street from a couple named Ron and Dixie. They became good friends. Ron was an insurance adjuster and had a co-worker named Don. Ron and Don had snow skied a few times and thought they were down hill experts. They talked Jack into going with them and after one time he also became a down hill expert.
I was living in Wichita and the next time they went, Jack talked me into going with them, so I could also become a down hill expert, just like them. They picked me up after I got off work at 5 o’clock and we headed to Colorado, in a VW bug. Four guys, luggage and skis, cozy, but cheap. (Actually we did this several times) Driving all night, sleeping as best we could in the bug and in the ski operation parking lot at 9 o’clock, waiting for the lifts to open. I rented my ski equipment and in those days long skis were in vogue……. twice a long as I was tall. Totally impossible for me to maneuver. They took me to the beginners slope, showed me how to get a hold of the rope tow, up the beginners slope, trying to keep both ski’s going the same direction. Showed how to snow plow down the slope. I mostly was on my butt.
We did this twice and the second time they said to try and end up at the chair lift. They went to great detail on how to get on the chair lift, ski’s straight, bend knees and sit down on chair and let the chair lift me off the snow. With some difficulty I did manage to get onto the chair and up this great, high mountain we went. I rode with Jack and the scenery was terrific. I was awestricken by the beauty. Now… they went to get detail on how to get on the lift, but no one mentioned on how to get off. All of a sudden there is this big mound of snow and the chairs are going around this big wheel and heading back down the slope. Jack slipped out of the chair and skied away and I’m trying to get those 10-foot things attached to my feet pointing in the same direction. Anyway the chair starts going around this big wheel with me still on the chair…. and 5-6 foot above the snow. The operator stopped the lift and I jumped. Fortunately no bones were broken and the guys were doubled over laughing.
After they gained their composure, I was informed of the next great challenge. Getting down this 12,000 ft. mountain that was straight down. I thought it was the end of the world and certainly I would never live to tell about it. I was down more than I was up and when finally arriving at the bottom of the slope, I looked more like the abominable snow man than a down hill expert. And……. skiing is supposed to be fun.
We skied two days, when the lifts closed a 4 0’clock, we headed back to Kansas. Getting home at 2-3 o’clock in the morning, a couple hours of sleep, getting up and being at work at 8 o’clock. Oh…… to be young again and able to do such nonsense. For a few years we would go out to ski 3-4 times a year. I did master the chair lift and while we never became down hill experts, we became skilled enough to get down most slopes ….and skiing became a lot, lot more fun. We even became a little more affluent and graduated out of the VW bug .
All good things must come to an end and with wives, family, work and age, it became more difficult for us to get together. However, even after moving to California Ron and I would meet in Colorado once or twice a year.
Now back to Jack. Nancy and I went to CV the last of October to visit our mothers before heading to Arizona for the winter. We made arrangements for Ron, Don, Jack and I, with wives to meet in Wichita. It had been 25 years or so since we were all together. We spent two nights and one day together. The ladies went to the mall shopping and we guys sat in an alcove of the hotel lobby from 10 o’clock in the morning until 4 that afternoon. We had a great time reminiscing and telling stories that had been forgotten over the years. Of course my first ski trip and chair lift experience was brought up a few times and each time it changed, to the point that I must I’ve been 50-60 feet in the air and they had to send a crane up the slope to get me off. Jack had some good stories about growing up in CV and the name Dick Williams came up frequently, but I’ll let Dick tell those stories.
Jack and Donna live on some acreage close to Bonner Springs, KS, where they have lived for the last 30-40 years. They have two daughters; one lives in KC area, the other in Minnesota and has two children. Jack and Donna moved to Bonner Springs to build and run a nursing home. As it ended up Jack became more involved in the national nursing home association and Donna ran the nursing home. Jack become very involved in raising, training and racing thorough bred racehorses. I can guarantee you that he can tell you more about racehorses than you ever want to know. Presently Donna has retired from the nursing home and Jack has limited his involvement in racehorses.
Last winter Jack had a long and painful bout with internal shingles. He said he has never experienced any thing so painful and at times to the point of being unbearable. He lost 40 pounds and still occasionally has light attacks. There is a vaccine available now and he advises every one to get the shots and not go through what he did.
We talked about Gary W’s blog and the readers and participates. I gave Jack the web site address and hopefully he will become a reader and participate.
Monday, December 1, 2008
And yet, I remember another "box supper!" It was at a little brick school, east of town. Can't remember the name! Was it Rock Creek School? Help! Anyway, I was there, at a certain box supper. And, there was this certain girl. Her name was Joanne Drennen, and she had blond hair that surrounded her face, and in all of Chautauqua County, she was an angel! Well, the bidding started. A guy named Frank Carter was the auctioneer and he started calling out the numbers! I had my little leather coin pouch at the ready! When Joanne's box came up for the bidding, I was ready! Little did I know that the bidding was going far beyond what I had in my little coin pouch! I finally motioned to Frank that I had spent all I had to spend! When what to my amazement he motioned, "keep on bidding!" So, I did! The bidding reached heights I could have never imagined! I motioned to Frank, I was " all done!" Frank would have none of it! He kept "nodding" in my direction until the final bid was bid....and it was mine!!!!!! I must add that Frank Carter was my hero then, and still is to this day! I could have lept for joy but knowing that any "affection" on my part might affect the "maker of the box," I kept very still. The box was given to me. Joanne soon appeared! I must tell you, when I saw that beautiful face, my appetite fell from 100 to 0! Somehow, we made it out to some car. We ate the wonderful food. I suppose we exchanged a few words! It all seemed so unreal to me. Joanne Drennan was sitting next to me, and me, a man of many words, seemed suddenly "speechless!" I remember it so well. I can't help but think that when the roll is called up yonder, there just has to be a box supper up there somewhere! And, I hope to see Thayce, Grace and Joanne!!!! :)
P.S. Tell me, do you remember any "box suppers?"
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Dana C. McGill was born on April 15, 1885 in Grant Township, Cowley County, Kansas. His father, Carmont W. McGill and his mother, Julia were both born in Ohio. His brother, Raymond was five years older and he had a sister Nellie who was 16 years younger. Dana’s father died between 1910 and 1920 and Dana became the head of the household, which included his mother and little sister.
Dana died in Wichita in April, 1975 at the age of 90.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Oct. 7, 2008
Dear Don and Shirley,
You made our weekend one to be ever remembered. Our homecoming parade was great. Your arranging for the alumni band was beyond our dreams. It seemed all the alumni were having a great time. They added lots of color and excitement to the day. I know it took lots of planning and time to make it all work—Thanks.
After fifty years, they seemed as young and excited as I remembered them. I think I could identify them all. I wish I could have visited longer with each. There were so many memories that we could have talked about—the class hay rack rides, playing lost trail in the moonlight and someone coming bleeding having run into a barbed wire fence; the last day of school picnic up at Charley Grounds gravel bar on the river; Don Cox swimming in Vonda Rish’s bathing suit; decorating the halls with poison ivy.
I remember other students like Thayne Townsend practicing the marches in the March Master band books. Mary White, who practiced constantly on her cornet. It was pretty common to hear students practicing as you passed through town.
Phil Foust brought us a stack of stock arrangements from his air force band and we formed a good stage band. It was comprised of: Barbara Woodruff, piano; Patsy Kelly, Jolene Westbrook, D. Warren, Diane Archer, saxes; Ron Warren, myself, Steven Alexander, trumpets; Frank White, trombone; Susan Alexander, drums. Larry Lloyd played the steel guitar. He became a pro and told me he made it to stage of the Grand Old Opera in Nashville and he said it had been his goal. His wife didn’t like it so he gave up his music career. This group played a tour to Dexter, Burden, and Leon schools one day and it was great fun. We also played an exchange prom with Sedan, which we enjoyed.
I’d like to say that we all enjoyed having Shirley come along. She seemed just as excited about the day as we were. She is such a charming person. We were all glad to know her better. Thanks for all your trouble and I hope we can keep in touch more often.
I am enclosing clippings from the Fredonia and Independence papers. They are for you to keep, but send to anyone who you think would be interested.
When I looked at Bob Marshall and saw what that old $25.00 Conn Cornet did, it makes me very proud I had a part in it.
Best to you both,
G. A. and Madge Beggs
Monday, November 17, 2008
A prominent family in the early days in Cedar Vale were William M. and Katherine Eve Rothrock. William was born February 23, 1864 in Indiana and Katherine (Kate) was born October 17, 1865 in Ohio. At this time nothing is known of their early years but in the 1900 Federal Census the Rothrocks are living in Cedar Vale. William is listed as a dealer in general merchandise and Kate is listed as a saleswoman in “dry goods.” They have a step sister, 15-year-old Clara Rothrock living with them and they employ a servant--21-year-old Lucy Hayes. It is probable that Kate was a sales person in William’s business and the fact that they employed a servant indicates that the business was successful. Perhaps the house that CV bloggers described was constructed during that period.
Since there is no record of any other person named Rothrock living in this area of Kansas, it is unknown where Clara came from, but she is listed as having been born in Kansas. It is also impossible to determine exactly when the Rothrocks arrived in Cedar Vale, since the 1890 US census is fragmentary and doesn’t include information for Kansas.
By the 1910 federal census, William is still listed as a merchant and Kate is still employed as a salesperson in their store. Clara has left the household and there is a young school teacher, 19-year-old Pearl Buechle living with them. It is apparent from the two federal census reports, that the Rothrocks never had children.
By the 1920 federal census, William is listed as employed in a “mercantile and oil” business and Kate is no longer working at the store. There is a niece, 5-year-old Mildred Fisher living with them. Perhaps the presence of a 5-year-old in the household accounts for Kate’s no longer working outside the home.
In the 1930 federal census we find both William and Kate retired and living by themselves. William died on October 24, 1943 leaving Kate living alone in the house until her death on November 8, 1950. It was during the period between 1943 and 1950 that CV Memories bloggers had contact with Aunt Kate. William and Kate are buried in Cedar Vale Cemetery.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
He took a carload of the class of '35 on their senior sneak to Ponca City. Mary Bess Chapel was one of them. There were 35 in the class and I drove my Dad's old Dodge. Harold Cable, and Howard Winchell who was in the front seat with me. Bonnie Dietz, Zelda Wilkinson, and maybe Ruth Littrell (Storer). Bonnie Dietz is living in Arizona (Ruth Storer and Zelda Wilkinson are in Sedan--the rest home dfc) I am the only boy still living.
Don Hankins and Mary Bess owned the Drug Store while I was in the Army, '42 to '45.
I think Dr Matlock had an office. The Chevrolet Garage was built while I was in High School--I think he had his office upstaires. I know the Stones Dental Offices were up there.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Who was she? Did she have a husband? Who built that beautiful old house. Did she die? Maybe her body is still lying in a deserted closet somewhere in the house, or down in the basement???
I know that some of you will know "Aunt Kate", and be able to tell us about her, and answer some of the questions I have had for years.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Your interest in my grandfather's fur business brings back memories. No one has been more influential in my life than my Grandpa Sartin. My grandfather operated the fur business in Cedar Vale in the 20's, 30's, and early 40's. My father then took over the business and operated it until around 50-51.
Grandpa was raised on a farm and farmed himself in the early years. Most farmers in the early 1900's supplemented their income by hunting and trapping furs, there are a few that still do. In those days traps were very expensive, so they didn't have many, they hunted at night with dogs. Grandpa was big on hunting skunks because they could be dug out of a den and sometimes you would get several. He sold his furs to a traveling buyer that came through and bought all the farmers furs. Grandpa knew this man was making money on his furs, so he researched a national fur buyer by the name of Moss and Stephen in St. Louis, Missouri. He wrote then and inquired about a price list. He found that the buyer was making a great deal of money on the local furs. Grandpa told his neighbors he would buy their furs and give them more money than the fur buyer, word got around and he was soon buying furs from a big part of the
Cedar Vale area. He realized that his small business was doing so well that he needed a bigger building to skin and stretch the furs. He bought half a city block in Cedar Vale, including a house (right across the street from the hospital) and moved to town. I'm unsure, but believe the building he used for the fur house (across from the hotel) was already in existence. Each year his business grew by his innovation in marketing and hard work. I admire my grandpa for being so successful with only an 8th grade education and no one to teach him about business. One of his marketing techniques was sending the county clerk of each county a letter including a $5 bill asking if they would give him a list of the farmers in that county, he did this in nearly all the counties in the state of Kansas. He would then send these families a price list of what he paid for furs. He would take the train to areas as far as southern Oklahoma and set up a fur buying station for the weekend. He would ship furs out of Cedar Vale by the train car load in his most prosperous time. He later sold to other companies besides Moss and Stephen, other companies paid greater prices for various furs. Since the fur business just lasted about 4 months of the year he went into the service station business. I believe he built the service station on the corner of his property and he or my dad built the one Freddie Marshall operated for many years. He owned 2 stations in Ark City and 2 in Winfield, he partnered with Wes Drennen in Winfield.
I spent Christmas vacations and weekends with my grandpa and grandma on the farm south of Elgin, KS. In the evening there was no T.V. and limited electricity, I was told a mountain of stories. During the day we hunted and trapped furs. He taught me how to hunt for a skunk den, among other things. They usually build a den under a rock on the south or east side of a hill, unless is is a very deep canyon, then it might be on either side, the yard around the den would be very clean, the grass and leaves raked. I thought this was because they were good house keepers, but it was actually because they used the leaves and grass for bedding in their den. A female skunk and her brood would live together in the den along with 1 male. Other male skunks that didn't have a girl friend would live alone in a bachelor den, his yard wasn't as neat. When I was 11 or 12 and just full of this information, I suggested a skunk hunt to my fishing buddy Wilson Wesbrook, he was always game for new adventures. Armed with lots of enthusiasm, but no experience, we set out for Lookout Mountain on our bikes with a burlap bag and my 2 friendly dogs. On the back side of the mountain we found a bachelor den. My grandpa told me that you could take a long green stick with a fork on the end, push it in the den, when you feel the skunk you start twisting and his fur entangles in the fork enough that you can pull him out. Since we didn't have anything to kill the skunk with, I suggested dropping a big rock on him when he was pulled out of the den. Wilson wanted to pull the skunk out; he was lying on his stomach facing the den entrance, a dog on either side of him. I was standing on top of the den with a large rock ready to drop. Just as he brought the skunk to the entrance my dogs unexpectedly rushed in and grabbed the skunk. I couldn't drop the rock on my dogs! The skunk being attacked by the dogs defended himself as only a skunk can, unfortunately Wilson was bringing him out tail first and he was right in the line of fire. The dog's eyes burned and so did Wilson's. We skinned the skunk, put it in the burlap bag, tied it to the handle bars and set out for town. The scent and grease saturated the spokes and front wheel. They could smell us coming! Wilson and I shared $1.65; we were docked because we cut a hole in the hide. That was the end of Wilson's skunk hunting career because even after that tidy profit, his mother informed him he was not to go skunk hunting again. My mother was accustomed to the smell, so it was just another day for her. Ron Sartin
Monday, October 27, 2008
His name was Vern Wilkerson!!!!!!
HAPPY NEEWOLLAH, EVERYONE! :)
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Remember when we went to the Caney River Dam to catch the metal ring, attached to a high limb of a tall tree by a cable? Even now, I can feel the exhilaration of leaping off a muddy bank, with its slippery toe and foot holds, and swinging out over the river into the water below! Many times these "brave" leapings and swingings were accompanied by blood-curdling Tarzan yells! When interest in "the ring" began to wane, we wandered towards the dam. The water was usually flowing over, at different rates, according to the time of year! When it was "really flowing over," we would walk underneath the waterfall, clear across the dam! Damn, what a great feeling that was! You could reach out with one hand and feel the moss on the dam, while with the other hand, you could touch the water spilling over! The main objective was not to fall, maintaining your balance, not wanting to slip into the "dangerous under-tow" beneath the spillway! I remember Sunday afternoons when many people would come to "visit" the dam, to swim, splash, and have some fun. I vividly remember one of my favorite teachers, Althea Walker, coming to the dam one Sunday. I must tell you, all eyes were on her and the water must have increased in temperature by several degrees! Downstream from the dam was the Caney River Bridge. One, not so pleasant memory, is one of "turtle-hunters" shooting turtles as they surfaced. I always felt sorry for the turtles... A little further down from the bridge was a little gravel bar that stretched out into the river. Dad and I used to park our car and wash it as the currents swirled by! What great adventures and memories! And, as with all great adventures and memories, the dam is still there!
Friday, October 24, 2008
I remember going across the highway to Harve Barger's blacksmith shop. Usually I'd be barefooted, I learned to watch where I stepped, often there was hot metal on the floor. Harve was always friendly and glad to see me. He would ask me if I wanted a nickel and of course I did. I don't know where he kept that nickel but it as so hot I dropped it quickly! "Oh, you don't want it, " he would say as he picked it up. He must have used that same nickel over and over. I don't think I fell for that trick more than four or five times.
Behind the cafe down the alley was the side door of the Williams Garage. I liked to visit the mechanics. I was intrigued by one employee that whistled all the time because I couldn't whistle. I occupied myself by trying to learn to whistle.
One person not mentioned that owned the cafe in the early 50's was Don Enlow and his wife. Did Art Alexander and his wife run it at one time?
The beauty shop, cafe and barber shop were all one building, at the west end there was a space between the building and the Skelly Service Station. I could crawl in this space and grownups couldn't get me. This building at that time was owned by Ernestine Leonard's parents. Ernestine reminded me not too long ago that her Dad was worried that I'd get stuck in there and no one could get me out. Ronnie Sartin
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Don't grieve for me, For now i'm Free
I'm following that path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard him call,
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, To love, To work or play
Tasks left undone must stay thet way
I found that peace at close of day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of Sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tommorow
My life's been full, I've savored much
Good times, good friends, a loved one's touch
Perhaps my time seemed all to brief
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me
God wanted me now; He set me free.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This is a posthumous commendation and thanks to some of the kindest persons I knew from my hometown of Cedar Vale, Kansas. As I say, most of these have passed on and will never hear my words of thanks; the thanks should have been stated when they were alive to hear them. Most of these are concerning kindnesses that were granted to me or my family, but one in particular was not.
I have lived in many places, from huge cities like Los Angeles, to smaller cities like Las Cruces, New Mexico and Tacoma, Washington, to large towns like Hutchinson, KS. But nowhere had I experienced kind, friendly people like those of a small town, Cedar Vale. Perhaps that is because I and my family knew all those kind souls, but I feel that
there is an inherent kindness in folks that inhabit a small community and they lose those qualities when forced to live close together with large herds of their fellow man.
But I want to tell about some of the kind people that had an effect on my family’s lives.
Some of these I have mentioned in various articles previously, but now I want to put them all together in context, so be patient.
Thanks to Rolla and Mary Holland. When my father suddenly died, my mother and sister living on the family farm were suddenly burdened with a small herd of milking cows and larger herd (you know, I cannot remember the proper word for a herd of pigs)
of pigs that needed milking and feeding. My mother was much better at playing bridge than milking cows, and my sister thought that the milk just appeared in the refrigerator.
But that evening, Rolla and Mary arrived and fed the livestock, milked the cows and did what needed to be done around the farm. They did this for several days until the next episode in this commendation.
The following Tuesday, Ralph Snyder and Fred Archer arrived at the farm with trucks and trailers, loaded the cows and hogs and took them to their Sales Barn, where they were all auctioned off and my mother was presented with a welcome check, which as I remember, was much more generous than those animals would have normally been worth. Thanks to those two great men.
But, I am not finished with the thanks to Mr. Snyder. Soon after, he approached my mother and offered to farm our little acreage for just a share of the profits. So, for the next fifteen years, he and his family continued to give mother a check each year that was certainly usually more than my father ever was able to earn from the same farm. Kind neighbors that were never properly thanked. It was probably much more bother for them to take care of our few acres in addition to the many that they owned.
Carl Steward. At my dad’s funeral, Carl came up to me afterwards, and told me quietly that my dad my one of his best friends and he wanted me to know that anytime I needed a summer job, there was one waiting for me at the Caney Valley Electric where he was the manager. And he was as good as his word. The next three summers I had a steady job with him, and even though I was a worthless employee, those checks helped tremendously when I went back to school each fall. Belated thanks to him.
Thanks to Kale Williams. I was good friends with his sons, but did not know the father well. He was a quiet, unassuming gentleman who had always been close to my father. I am not sure how he knew that I would like to have a car to take back to college, perhaps one of his sons had mentioned it to him?? But, one day Ben Bird, the sales manager at Mr. William’s car dealership, called me and said that a couple from Wichita were driving through on their way to the Ozarks, and had blown an engine on their 1951 Chevy. The garage had rebuilt the engine, and he said Mr. Williams was willing to sell it for just $300. That price would have been just about enough to cover the expenses they had in getting the car fixed, and was low enough that I could afford to have some transportation. Thanks to another kind man.
Shortly after my dad’s demise, my mother was confronted with many legal decisions and had no knowledge of how to cope with these problems. In came another very kind gentleman, who, over the next several years provided legal assistance and advice on many aspects, and Bill House would never accept any payment for all the work that he did for us. You might say, Well, he could afford to be magnanimous, but the fact is, he did these things out of love and kindness for lifelong friends. Maybe Mr. House is still alive, if so, he would be “old”, but thanks to him.
Dr. L. Claire Hays would never accept payment for the care he provided to my father at the time of his massive heart attack. Again, you might say that he could afford it, but he had been called out of bed and driven at a dangerous speed from his home well north of town all the way down to our home. To many he seemed to be a gruff, distant person, but he was never adequately thanked for this kindness.
Flo Hays, his wife, was another wonderful lady who went out of her way to help our family in a time of near crisis. She recognized that my mother was not a farmer, and had no employment skills, but she had taught in a one room school house in northern Kansas shortly after being married. She had no degree and no teaching certificate. At the time, Mrs. Hays was on the school board, and she convinced the rest of the board that mother should be able to teach first grade at the old school, and complete her teaching certificate at the same time. So thanks to her, mother had a job which I believe paid around $2000 a year; much better than nothing. Many thanks to her!!
There were many other kindnesses shown to my family by the good folks in this small town, but I will mention just one more name .. Dr. Herb Stone. Over the years, he had done thousands of dollars of dental work on me and my family, and due to his wonderful book-keeping system, we never seemed to get a bill. At the time my mother moved to Winfield, she had asked him again, how much she owed, and she got the same answer time and again, “I will figure it out and send a bill”… No bill ever came and I suppose to this day we owe Dr. Stone a small fortune. Kindness to friends. Thanks to him.
Now, away from my family. I am going to try to relate a history that may have many errors and misconceptions, and I am sure that some of the readers will not hesitate to add to or correct part of what I am going to say. I am telling this not to belittle anyone, but to again relate the kindness of a small town.
One of our early classmates was Harrison White. His nickname was Lizard, and he had an older brother whose nickname was Spider. Spider, as I recall was an athlete, but Harrison could not be recognized as any kind of athlete. He was small and skinny, quiet and shy. He was near sighted, and in the first years at school, the teachers thought he was “slow”, but eventually someone realized that he could not see the blackboard. The family lived in the abandoned hotel down in the Santa Fe addition of Cedar Vale, and the story was that there were no facilities there, no electricity, etc. Maybe true, maybe not. But, when Harrison came to school, most of the time he came in ragged (but clean) clothes and barefooted
Then came the kindnesses. From somewhere, someone, came glasses to correct the eye problem, shoes for the bare feet and clothing to replace the rags. When the school lunch program started in the third grade, Harrison changed from a pathetically skinny child to a normal appearing boy because someone had kindly decided he did not have to pay for those meals. He changed from a “slow” student to a smart boy who could be proud of himself. He finished school with the rest of us and hopefully had a happy life. But some kind people in the little town helped the start of that life.
Corrections and additions are welcomed.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
A few days ago I was watching a great TV show called “Baseball’s Golden Age”, and in the course of the program they had a short segment on Joe Gordon, the outstanding second-baseman of the N.Y.Yankees during the 30’s and 40’s. Just that name, Joe Gordon, brought back many memories of a very close friend from my distant past.
In 1949, when I was about twelve years of age, some of the men of Cedar Vale in association with the Lion’s Club, decided that the town should have a youth baseball program. There was no Little League, nor Mickey Mantle League, so this was to be just an independent endeavor on the part of the community.
When the word went out for boys who were interested, my parents, who were not really sports fans, asked me if I wouldn’t like to participate. “Maybe you would like baseball”, they said. I said that I would not like to do that, that I would prefer to swim in the creek and swing on the long grape vines that extended out over the little stream. There was not much more said on the subject, however about a week later my dad said that I had a package in the mail that day, so I excitedly ripped open the paper on the box and found that it had come from Montgomery Wards in Kansas City. Opening the box, wrapped in white tissue paper was a beautiful brown leather baseball glove with the name Joe Gordon written on the palm. It had the glorious smell of new leather, and I put it on my hand, pounded my other fist into the pocket, and immediately fell in love with that little piece of leather. Dad said that the boys were going to practice that evening at the baseball diamond, so at five o’clock I walked across the Hewins Park and was met by a motley group of boys who were destined to be the baseball stars of Cedar Vale.
Practices were to be each evening and were conducted by Roy Smith and Oliver Hall, and usually some other men would show up to help with the teaching of the raw recruits. When he could get off early enough, Frank Gilmore would arrive to help teach the art of catching to Bill and Dick Williams, as Frank had been a minor league catcher in the St.Louis Cardinal organization. Many times Grant Utt would come to amaze the boys with his massive ability to hit the baseball over the fence, and pass along pointers to the boys. Gradually we became a team, and The Joe Gordon glove, went with me to each practice, every game, and became an important part of my right arm. I slept with The Joe Gordon and whenever I had time, I was pounding a baseball into the pocket, until it was a natural place to catch a ball. I could never find enough boys that wanted to “play ball” quite as much as I did, so I exercised my good left arm for hours a day by throwing a baseball- sized rubber ball against the brick chimney on the side of the house. There was one brick that was discolored, about three feet above the ground, and this was the spot I aimed at for hours at a time. Looking back, I am surprised that that one particular brick was not distorted by the ball striking it time and time again. I soon figured out that I could throw the ball against the bricks and as it bounced back to me, I could practice hitting it with the old bat that Herb Toothacre had given me from the high school storeroom. That form of practice was not nearly as good as actual batting practice at the ball field, but the constant attempts did improve my bat-eye coordination. The other thing that it accomplished was the destruction of many of the asbestos shingles on the side of the house, and several window panes. Surprisingly, there was very little punishment for these “accidents”.
Early in these years, the town had voted to install lights at the ball fields, and soon the towering light poles were being put into great holes by the crews of the Caney Valley Electric, under the guidance of Buck Melton. It was quite a sight to sit on the bleachers and watch the huge poles rising to the skies, and soon we were playing games under the best lights in southeast Kansas, better even than those in Arkansas City and Winfield. The Joe Gordon went with me to all the practices, the games and even games that I was playing for other teams in Ark City and Winfield, but the ones that meant the most to me were the ones played on the ball field under the lights in Cedar Vale. Those games were a complete community experience. At one time or another, I think that every inhabitant of the booming little town were in attendance. In those times, very few folks had TV sets, so in the summer evenings the people sitting in their back yards or on their porch swings would see the lights of the ball park, and having nothing better to do, would head for the ball park, and it became a place one could watch the game, commune with his neighbors, and listen to Charley Cable announce the “play-by-play”. He was never a Mel Allen nor Harey Carey, but he enjoyed being there, and he kept the crowd informed who had just struck out or dropped a fly ball. At times,.Vic Hollister would help out with the announcing and he added a little more color.
The Lions Club had built a little refreshment stand , and it was enthusiastically manned by Lions members. The ones I remember seeing most often were Don Hankins, Glenn Cross and Carl Steward. Usually in about the fourth inning, several of the Lions would head out into the crowd to try to entice some to contribute to the cost of the electricity. It was funny to watch the same folks at each game that would start up their cars and leave before the Lion could reach them, all to save the cost of a quarter or fifty cent piece. I firmly believe that the collections never were enough to pay the cost, but the Caney Valley Electric under the leadership of Carl Steward under-wrote the difference. There were some folks that came to all the games. I remember Pauline Woods always being there. And Aaron Alexander never missed a game. Aaron was crippled, paralyzed, but always put in his quarter. Ralph Snyder was often there, sitting on the front of his pick-up, sometimes talking with Fred Archer while they watched Lloyd pitching. Floyd Goode usually showed up, and it was always nice for the boys when he brought his pretty daughters. Ethel Ledbetter came from Hewins sometimes, also to watch Lloyd, whom she later married. It was also nice when she brought her special Hewins friend. Hubert and Nita Cox would come when the summer evenings were nice. Of course, Nellie Walkinshaw and the Kale Williams families would come, sit on the bleachers and watch their sons play. Don Hankins wife, Mary Bess and her daughter Nancy were at the games most of the time, especially if Gary Metcalf was playing. The guys I worked with on the Caney Valley Electric were there, usually giving me a hard time; Floyd Patteson, Doyle Littrell and wife, Gerald Magnus and wife, Buck Melton’s family; it was nice to have the support. Ray Oltgen and Elsie would come, sometimes sitting in the car and sometimes on the bleachers. Some folks would always sit in the cars and others would always be on the bleachers. It seemed the bleacherites were always the most sociable. The cars were all lined up, usually along the left-field foul lines, facing the diamond, and whenever we players would do something spectacular ( like actually catching a fly or making a good throw) the horns would honk and the headlights flashed. Some excitement. But it was. It was a place where the town of Cedar Vale could come together to enjoy the game and each other. Times like that are gone??
It was a great place for the kids of the community to meet in the evening and get to know each other better, sometimes too well. And the little tykes could get a nickel by chasing down the foul balls that were necessary for the game to continue. If too many balls were lost in the weeds and darkness behind the backstop, then the game would have to stop until a ball was found. Some games were started with only one or two balls, well used at that.
The Joe Gordon traveled with me to play in games in just about every baseball venue in southeast Kansas, and some farther away. One of the highlights for The Joe Gordon had to be playing against the great black pitcher, Satchel Paige, in the NBC baseball tournament in Wichita in 1958. Satch had had his days of glory in the major leagues, but at the time he met The Joe Gordon he was on his way down, but it was still a real privilege be on the same ball field with him.
The Joe Gordon by that time had had a long glorious career, but the end was growing near. For ten years the leather had been lovingly treated with neatsfoot oil or Glovolium or saddle soap, but in spite of that it was cracking from the sweaty palm that had been a part of it for ten years. Then in the spring of 1959, the head coach for the University of Kansas team said to me, “You need to get a real glove! That little, old glove is a joke”. Well, that was a crushing blow to us both. I could not part with my old friend and The Joe Gordon never played in another game.
There were a few times when The Joe Gordon would come out of the closet. When my sons showed a slight interest in baseball, I would take out the old glove and we would play catch. But they never had the passion and enjoyment of baseball that I had. At one point, The Joe Gordon suffered the ultimate disgrace of being used for a softball glove when my daughter thought she was a star. The Joe Gordon went back onto the back shelf of the hall cupboard, to be forgotten until one grandson showed a fleeting interest a few years later. But as with all of us, it’s time had come to be totally retired and virtually forgotten. Relegated to the shelf, neglected. No more tender treatments with the saddle soap. The pocket was neglected, and The JoeGordon was dead, and no one cared.
When my wife died, two years ago, it was time to move. In clearing out the house, I came upon the long-forgotten Joe Gordon glove in the back of the cupboard. It was indeed a pitiful old piece of leather, shabby and dull, with the inner lining cracked and torn. No good to anyone any longer. With no more than a thought, I carelessly threw The Joe Gordon into the dumpster and the trash man carried it away, to be perhaps cremated at the city dump, or better yet, re-incarnated by some little Mexican boy who valued it again. I know as little about it’s fate as I know about my own. I suppose we will all be able to identify with The Joe Gordon??
Thursday, October 9, 2008
When I was four years old my parents rented a house in Cedar Vale in that southwestern corner of town where the crazy angle of all the streets in the downtown area suddenly straighten out and we are with the rest of the world. North is really north and west is really west—amazing. We called the house ‘The Custer House’ because we rented it from its owner, Frank Custer. Just next door was my very best friend, Donna Burch who was one year older than me. Donna was a beauty with her blond curls and winning smile and I was totally enamored. She called me her “little fat cutey” which I loved. We were inseparable playmates in those early years.
Across from our houses was the only concrete sidewalk in the neighborhood, except, of course, the short sidewalks leading up to each house’s front door. This broad expanse of smooth sidewalk led from nowhere to nowhere. It started at the corner of a street and left off mysteriously well before the end of the block. It ran in front of an empty lot, so no one used the sidewalk for any adult purpose. It was perfect for Donna and me and we took ownership by calling it our Good Sidewalk. We could ride our tricycles up and down this freeway or give each other rides in our wagons. We pushed our toy cars along there and drew elaborate hopscotch diagrams in colored chalk. The Good Sidewalk was a perfect surface for our chalk artwork and it was usually decorated from one end to the other with a colorful array of the best of our drawings. If our parents wanted to know how we were or wanted to call us to dinner they could depend on finding us on the Good Sidewalk.
When I was five years old Donna started to first grade and I had the Good Sidewalk to myself during the day. I would play there and wait for Donna to come home from school so the real fun could begin. Donna carefully taught me everything she had learned at school during the day, using the Good Sidewalk as her chalkboard. I soaked up the numbers, spelling, and reading and was well ahead of my classmates the next year when I started to school.
It was during this year that Donna was given a pair of skates, which allowed her to go at tremendous speeds up and down the Good Sidewalk. I asked for skates for my birthday primarily so Donna wouldn’t get too far ahead of me. Donna promised to teach me to skate. My father acquiesced to skates, which he thought was a bit much for a five-year-old, but he put his foot down at Donna teaching me to skate. No mere girl was going to teach his son to skate.
So on my birthday it was just me alone on the Good Sidewalk with my brand new skates. I strapped them on my feet and tightened the clips at the toe to hold them firmly on my shoes. I managed to get the skates under me and stood up to begin skating. Boom! I came down hard on my behind with a teeth-rattling shock that left me hurting from head to butt and wondering what had happened to me. When I was finished crying about that I tried again, but over compensated and fell headlong forward, scraping both knees and the palms of my hands. Suddenly the Good Sidewalk was an enemy that was inflicting great bodily harm. I tried again several times and each time a new scrape appeared on my body. Elbows, knees, hands, and even my chin came in for abuse.
I loosened the straps and took the skates off, replacing them in their box. Limping home, I told my mother that I didn’t want skates after all—they were just too dangerous. That was the end of roller-skating for me until my teen years, when the Baptist Youth Fellowship went to Arkansas City to the roller rink. There I got my sea legs under me and was able to stay upright most of the time. I could do it, but I never enjoyed skating as much as my classmates seemed to.
On my recent trip to Cedar Vale I looked around and actually found the Good Sidewalk. Like all of us kids, the Good Sidewalk isn’t as beautiful and smooth as it was 67 years ago, but it’s there and it still leads to nowhere. I wonder if any of the local kids have found it and play there. I didn’t see any chalk drawings on the sidewalk and there may not be any kids left in the neighborhood anyway.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I will contact G.A. and Madge with our plans~!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I KNOW THERE ARE A LOT OF BLOGG READERS THAT DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE BLOGG, BUT WHO WOULD HOPEFULLY SUPPORT OLD CV HIGH AND ONE OF ITS FORMER GREAT TEACHERS. IF SOME ONE IN THE AREA WOULD TAKE THE “BULL BY THE HORNS” AND HAVE BANNERS MADE FOR THE PARADE, I AM SURE THERE ARE SEVERAL BLOGG READERS THAT WOULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE COST OF HAVING THE BANNERS MADE. NANCY AND I WILL PLEDGE $50 TO THE CAUSE. ALL WE NEED IS A NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS OF SOME ONE WHO IS WILLING TO TAKE ON THE TASK OF HAVING THE BANNERS MADE.a
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I remember he came out to the farm and we went quail hunting. He did other carpenter and cabinet work at various times.
As you probably know, Ray Houston and I stayed together all thru the war. We were instructers in the Army Engineers.
Earl came through our classes as a member of Officers Candidate School from Fort Belvoir, Virginia. We visited with him several times in Washington D.C. His wife was on the base with him-I think her name was Irene Gilkey from the Irish Flats neighborhood. [note from dfc--Irene Gilkey's sister was/is Evelyn who married Glen Toothacher. He will be remembered by some as the electronics wizard who fixed and mended radios, TVs and other appliances for L. C. Adam Merc.] Earl built some kitchen cabinets for my folks. After the war he came back to Cedar Vale and lived in the Seybolt house and cabinet shop.
I see in the last LOOKOUT he did some work for Duane Woodruff in 1947. Loyd
Monday, September 8, 2008
In the days since Don Shaffer wrote about G. A. Beggs’ big day on October 4, I’ve been turning a rather insane plan over in my mind. Let me share it with you.
Elyn leaves for her three-week trip to Spain late in September and I will have that time by myself here in Santa Fe. I’ve been wanting to perhaps make a road trip and see some of my old haunts during that time. It occurs to me that, if I am out on the road during that period I might just drop in on G. A.’s big day. I even am contemplating taking Don Cox up on his query about someone giving him a ride to Fredonia that day!
So, a plan is beginning to form here. I would, for sure, want to visit CV and environs to visit places and people (those who are left, that is), take some pictures to post to the blog, visit my remaining relatives in northern Oklahoma, perhaps venture up to the north a bit to see some of that country, and maybe even cross back through Colorado to see some friends there.
I know that my armchair planning is easy compared with the actual stress of being on the road for a week or so, but here is fair warning, those of you who are still in southern Kansas—the bad penny may be returning. Don’t be surprised if I turn up on Main (Cedar) Street CV one of these days soon!
Friday, September 5, 2008
G.A. is going to be the Parade Marshal for the Fredonia Fall Festival/Parade, Fredonia, Kansas, on Saturday, October 4! The parade starts at 11:00 a.m. If any of you are in the vicinity that day, you might want to drop by and see an 84 year old man that is 48 at heart!
Friday, August 29, 2008
First--We have signed a contract of sale of the Cedar Vale Community Hospital. A group headed by John Hayes from Fredonia plans to have a ARRC (adult restorative retreat center) in the facility. He has owned such a facility in Fredonia for 9 years named Candlerock. It will now be Candlerock Fredonia and Candlerock Cedar Vale. He has announced that he also will try to buy The vacant Nursing Home, renovate it, and make it a part of the Cedar Vale complex.
Second--2PM today was the official opening of Cedar Creek Mercantile, our new little "Mom and Pop" grocery store.
Time will reveal if these positive events can halt the decline here. We can hope!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
A family was camping on Cedar Creek at the SW corner of Cedar Vale. A torrential rain fell and caused a flash flood which carried off and drowned the whole family except one, an infant boy. Eli Hayhurst adopted him.
The Hayhurst farm was across the road from the Cloverdale School House. Arch Bird married Mabel, Eli's daughter. The Bird place was around the corner toward the river (Big Caney). Arch and Mabel Bird's son was Ben Bird. (most bloggers will remember Ben and Edna Bird. dfc)
I think Ed Meyer married a daughter (of Arch and Mabel Bird). Ed always called her "The Old Heifer". Ed owned a five acre strip just east of the Cloverdale town site, and a blacksmith shop at the NW corner of the town site. (Ed Meyer, who walked with a pronounced limp, was known by all as "Peter Wrenchwater. dfc) Ben Bird inherited all of this.
There was a water wheel and Mill House down on the river on the Bird farm. Ed Meyer had the mill shop and people brought wheat and corn to be milled into corn meal and flour. I think the Millstones at the corner of the CV Museum are these stones.
The mail box you see in front of the house that was Ben and Edna's came from in front of the Cloverdale Store. It was used by CV and Grenola mail carriers to exchange mail. Also there was a gas pump--the kind you pump the gas up into a globe before you ran it into your car