Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Travel Plans

As some of you know, Elyn and I have applied for retirement visas to live in Spain and the other EU countries. Well, the visas have come through and we will be leaving for Madrid this Saturday (December 27). Because our Santa Fe house hasn't sold yet, we will need to return here early in February to take care of local business. I will post about our progress on my other blog (Having Fun Until I Die), which is a hot link on the margin of this blog.

Bon Voyage

Monday, December 22, 2008


After checking in every day, wondering what new "memories" would appear, I realized that we are so busy preparing for "The Christmas Day," that "memories" have taken a back seat. That is all well and good. For, 'tis the season to be "preparing, caring and sharing!"

"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

A Lemert Sleigh Ride

Once upon a time, my good friend, Bernard Lemert, invited me out to his house for an overnight. I had never been in the country much. But, Bernard was one of my best friends, so I thought it was a good idea to see what the country was about! Well, it started with a breakfast, the likes I had never seen! We had steak! Biscuits! Gravy! Sweet milk! And, the preserves that were available to put on those biscuits was nothing short of "sweetness from heaven!" After breakfast, Bernard asked me if I would like to take a sled ride. "Sure, I said!" We went outside where Bernard's brother, Lee, was sitting on a horse, with a sled tied behind! "Get on," Lee said! So, we did! I want to tell you that I have never been on a ride such as this! Down through the country we flew, snow flying in every direction, and the sled following those same directions! I remember trees flying by, accompanied by clods of dirt kicked up by the awesome mount upon which Lee was pearched, and hoping that this ride would never end! Well, regrettably, it did! Bernard and I got off the sled, bespectacled by dirt, snow and a wonderment that will last forever! I have heard of the Nantucket (sp?) Sleigh Rides, but let me tell you, none could have equalled that wonderful ride through the Lemert Woods!

Anxious to hear about your "once upon a times!"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Here we are, at Christmas Time!

Yes, here we are! Isn't it great to be here! To say, "we are!" Isn't it great to be able to remember the Christmas Programs at the Methodist Church?

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


As there are several blog participates and readers of the class of 55’ and others that attended CV high in the 50’s, I thought there might be some interest in an update on Jack and a story about him being responsible for my first skiing endeavor.
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

Box Suppers

Just wondering if anyone remembers "box suppers?" Seems as though we had a few a CVHS! I remember Bernard, Lemert that is, and me bidding on a couple of boxes. One belonged to a certain Thayce Townsend. Another belonged to a certain Grace Harp. We did our bidding and when the bidding was done, we WON! Let me tell you, KFC did not hold a candle to what was inside those boxes! Such wonderful food! Such delightful company! I can still see the boxes, the wrapping, the ribbon, and all that was within! Needless to say, it was a unforgettable night!

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

A Few Additional Facts about Dana McGill

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.

Here is Dana McGill at age 85 in the Kansas Masonic Home (1970)

As we go through life our destiny brings us in contact with hundreds of people with disparate personalities. Some we embrace into our lives, others we keep at arms length, and some we just leave behind as we live our lives. Dana is one that I just left behind. When this picture was taken I had not seen him for ten years.

Our lives intersected twice. First when I was a teenager, stockboy, and occasional checker in the L.C. Adam grocery department. Maurice Smith was the manager, and others of the staff were Chloe Rish, Arthur Hassard, Treva Littrell, and Dana--who was the delivery man. At that time we took a lot of phone orders which one of us would fill, make the charge ticket and place in a metal box/basket. Dana would load these into the old '34 Chevy truck with a special bed to protect the mechandise from all weather. He would then make the rounds and take the order into the homes of the elderly and infirm who needed this service usually placing the goods right by the kitchen sink.
I realized that Dana was not quite like the typical rural and small town folks that peopled my limited world. He had a rather formal air about him and you almost expected him to remove his hat and bow to certain ladies. He didn't seem much interested in the usual male passtimes like telling ribald jokes, hunting, fishing, chewing tobacco, etc. As a result he seemed rather remote and took some ribbing from the men in the seed house across the alley. When it got too heavy he would react and seeth and bang the grocery baskets around. He gradually managed to avoid The seed house crew except when they made a point of teasing him. I felt sorry for him when this happened.
My grandfather and others told me a few things about Dana. He was Nelly Mills brother, uncle to J.D. and Carl Mills and he moved to Cedar Vale from the Hicks Chapel Community where the family home was located. I learned that Dana was an actor at heart and always performed at all the rural "Literaries" giving readings, comic and dramatic, with great ferver and flair. This just didn't fit the mold for behavior of 60 year old men in our little town. I could see that Dana didn't have a lot of peer friends. J.D. Mills tells me that Uncle Dana was always ready to take him in his Model A Ford out to Hoosier or other outings, but that his Dad (Otis) wasn't real happy about his spending time with Uncle Dana. Don Shaffer informed me that Dana tried to inlist some of the local youngsters to start a Boy Scout Troop ( I was away at University by then) but at the organizational meeting none of the prospects showed up. Surely a very sad moment for Dana.
My second life intersection with Dana occurred in 1955 just after I graduated from K-State. My Father decided that my graduation present was to be him sponsoring me and paying the fees for me to become a 3rd degree Mason. I had limited time to learn all the necessary ceremonies and replies as I was soon going on active duty with the Air Force. The Local Lodge agreed to step up the interval between degrees if I could hack it. Dana became my coach and I spent quite a few hours on many different days with Dana in his little house just up the hill from the Methodist Church. He was an excellent tutor. He knew all the ritual well and he enjoyed teaching it so someone, especially because so much of it is dramatic and he could give full voice to his thespian instincts. I enjoyed my crash course and also my mind was working better then. I can still hear Dana's voice quavering with emotion at certain junctures as he was making a point. Well I made it through all three degrees in short order. Thanks to Dana!
My life took me to Europe in the Air Force and then when I got out I was very wrapped up in starting my veterinary practice and my thoughts seldom were on Dana. It is now in the late autumn of my life that I realize I learned a few things from Dana that were much more important than the Masonic rituals. I knew a man who lived his life true to his beliefs and inclinations. One who didn't cave to a different style just for the sake of impressing people and having lots of friends.
I found Dana's obituary in the Cowley County records. He died in the 80s a couple of years after the above picture was made. He is buried in the beautiful little Maple City Cemetary just a few miles from where he was reared. So his mortal remains are back home, but I hope his soul is soaring somewhere where they are orating, declaiming, and acting and where is doing his share of it with the smell of grease paint and gas lights in his nostrils. RIP Dana

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Letter from G. A. Beggs to Don and Shirley Shaffer

Waiting in my mail when we returned to Santa Fe was a letter and some clippings from Don Shaffer. G. A. wrote them a wonderful letter filled with memories that just have to be shared with the blog. This will give you a picture of how sharp G. A. Begg's memory is after over 50 years. He shared many stories with us after the homecoming parade in Fredonia and here are some more for your enjoyment. Take it away, G. A.!

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 Pioneering Family in Cedar Vale, Kansas: The Rothrocks

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

The latest from Lloyd Call

I first knew of Don Hankins when he was working a a pharmicist in the Matlock Drug Store. I do not know how long he had been there. Anyway-----

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


I have some vague remembrances of a woman to whom we referred as "Aunt" Kate Rothrock. I don't actually remember seeing her, but I must have because I mowed her yard at least once, so she probably paid me. But I can't picture her in my mind. She lived in a big, old Victorian home behind Dr. Hays house, and as I recall, when the neighborhood kids would go "trick-or-treating", they would avoid knocking on that door. Maybe there were vampire bats and ghosts living in the parapets of the old house. No one I knew ever saw her walking the streets of Cedar Vale nor working in the big yard.
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

Veterans Day

I was wondering what goes on in Cedar Vale on Veterans Day. Is there a memorial to the Veterans? I know I have relatives from the area that were veterans. I wish I could see the country there and get a better feel for it. I feel so disconnected. Any stories....James

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Skunk Hunt

The Skunk Hunt

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

Halloween Costume Contest!

Once upon a time, on the stage in the CVHS Auditorium, a Halloween Costume Contest for students was held! The winner would be the one who could not be recognized! All across the stage, different "costumed" contestants presented themselves. One by one, the contestants were recognized, with much revelry and rivalry! Finally, only one remained. Guesses, loud and clear across the auditorium, were voiced. But, to no avail! No one could guess who "the final one" was! Finally, after much deliberation, the single-standing contestant was declared the winner! Shouts of "Who are you?," resounded throughout the auditorium. Slowly, deliberately, "the winner" removed a red handkerchief from his pocket. And, even more slowly, he began to remove "his face" down to the bare fact! As his "face" removal was about complete, it was then discovered that he had applied copious amounts cold cream to his face and on top of that had applied a generous layer of coffee grounds! We were laughing so hard we hardly recognized him when his "real face" finally appeared. You may remember him.
His name was Vern Wilkerson!!!!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Down at the Caney River Dam

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

Memories, some remembered, some as told to me by Ron Sartin

The City Cafe was previously mentioned, I was a part of it for a couple of years when I was three or four years old. My dad and mother operated what at that time was called the City Cafe, I believe it was 1945 and 46. Meat was rationed at that time and my Dad got in trouble for butchering his own beef to serve at the restaurant. A man called Sitten from Pawhuska was the cook, he was a brother to Marie Slaughter. Another employee was Buckshot Bohannan, I considered him to be a real friend of mine. The small space on the east side of the cafe, later Maxine Goodwin's beauty shop, was living space for my sister and me since our home was on the Rock Creek farm south of Cedar Vale. Often the front door of this space was left unlocked and I recall a story that was told about me. I liked to play out on the curb, someone came in and told my mother that I was sitting on the curb stark naked and had picked up a fresh cigar butt that Charlie Wartenby had thrown down. Charlie ate breakfast most mornings at the cafe. My mother was too embarrassed to go retrieve me so she told my dad, he wasn't anxious to deal with this so Buckshot Bohannan went out and brought me in.
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

Our family

Donna Lynn Young and I were married November 25 1983 in Dallas Oregon and made our home in Falls City until moving to Dallas in 1992. Our daughter Bethany Laurel was born April 16 1985 and our son Bryan Jeffery was born November 20 1988. Donna was able to stay home with our children until they were in school and then became the secretary and music teacher at a church school where Bryan graduated. Bethany started at Bridgeport elementary, graduated from Dallas High, went to western Oregon University and is a teacher at Falls City gradeschool. Bryan is taking classes at Chemeketa Community college in Salem where he wants to combine his computer skills and his love of photograghy. My older brother David and his wife Martha have 5 children and live in Independence about 10 miles from us. Younger brother John has never married and lives about 4 miles from us just outside Dallas. Donna's brother Robert Young and his wife Pam live at Black Rock about 15 miles away and have 3 children and 9 grandchildren. My wife's Mother lives in her home just outside Falls City, her husband passed away before Donna and I were married. Donna retired when Bryan graduated and is able to enjoy her days in our beautiful home, we don't travel much,just short trips to the beach and mountains when I can get away from work. Donna is the love of my life and we enjoy each other so much. Life has been good to us even with our health problems over the years, Donna's from 2 bad auto accidents and mine from farm injuries. I plan to retire in about 6 years after 20 years with the city, I will be 58.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Carol LeNore Call Walton

My Mom was born in Kansas in 1919 to LeRoy and Alma (Steward) Call. She grew up in Kansas and graduated from college at Pittsburg. She taught at several schools in Kansas till 1953 when she and her parents moved to Oregon. Her parents sold there farm equipment and livestock and bought a 1953 Chevrolet truck to haul there belongings to Sweet Home Oregon. Mom got a job teaching school at a little school at Holly Oregon where her sister Joanna and her family had moved to. Mom even had her niece Connie Jo in her class. In 1954 She married Edward L. Walton and started a family. My brother David LeRoy was born at Lebanon Oregon Jan 27, 1955. Mom and Dad bought a dairy at Dallas Oregon and moved there in 1955. I, James Edward was born March 27, 1956 and John William was born Sept 15 1958. Dad and Mom dairied for 7 years and then sold the cows and raised replacment heifers for several more. In 1964 they rented the 50 acres of irrigated land to another farmer for peppermint but rented the neighbor farm for cattle and sheep. Mom had gotten a job at Bridgeport elementery school when John started 1st grade. She worked there for 20 years until Dads health declined. They had sold the farm in 1980 and built a new small home in Monmouth Oregon as that is where they went to church. Dad was born in 1900 and farmed till he was 80 when a horse reared up and went over on him and broke his neck. Dad and first wife had 2 sons but only one lived to adulthood, Paul Lionel was 4 years younger than Mom but had 2 sons of his own when Mom and dad got married. Paul passed away before Dad, Dad passed away in 1995 at 95 years old. Mom passed away November 26th 2002.

I'm Free
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.

What I do

Hi all, I will see if and how this works. I'm just an old farm kid, 52 years old, with no college. Graduated with my class in 1974 even though I didn't go to school my senior year. I had to start working at 14 when I left home. Worked on a farm that grew to 1600 acres of soft white winter wheat and peppermint, about 1/2 irrigated for over 20 years. I left farming in the fall of 1992 and built a new house in Dallas and moved to town. Worked at a little feed store for a while then a small farm for 2 summers (all for the great bass fishing on a large irrigation reservoir). 2 friends wanted me to come to work for the city, I started the day after Christmas 1994. Became foreman and then supervisor 4 years ago when my supervisor retired. I run the water system for our town of 15,000 people from the reservoir to intakes, water treatment plant and throughout the distribution system. I have a plant operator for 8 hours a day and I am on call for the rest, There are 4 other operators in the distribution system. We read the meters, do the meter maintanence, install new services, water mains and manage all the facilities. In the last 3 years we have done a lot of upgrades, new PLC (program logic controller)to run the plant, 2 new pumps and 3 new variable speed drives at the intakes, new variable speed effluent pumps to pump water from the plant 40 feet up the hill to a 2 million gallon storage tank. We are building another 2 million gallon reservoir on the south end of town along with a 2 mile long 14" high pressure water line to fill it. We have just installed a new fixed base meter reading pilot project that will read the water meters and send the readings by cell radio to the billing equipment, we won't have to walk to read them or even go out in Oregons rain. Anyway it keeps me busy and I feel like I have been given a second chance at being a productive citizen in my home town. Enough (or probably to much about me).

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

The Joe Gordon

THE JOE GORDON by Wayne Woodruff
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

The Good Sidewalk

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


Shirley Brown and Phil Foust modeling our spiffy new band uniforms. There were also purple hats for the parade with white feathers that blew all over the town. We wondered if we might be busted for littering.

G. A. Telling Stories

Don Shaffer listening to G. A. tell one of his many amazing memory stories. Madge has heard the story before. In the background: Joleen and Diane.

Bob and the Shaffers

Bob Marshall with Don and Shirley Shaffer. Bob is holding an antique band director's hat that he had G. A. wear in another picture, which I hope someone will put up on the blog.

The Old Tmer's Band

Front Row (L to R) Joleen W. Sartin, Shirley Brown, G. A. Beggs, Madge Beggs, Coral Ann Magnus, Diane Bradbury.
Behind Joleen and partly hidden: Judy McCall
Back Row (L to R) Don Shaffer, Gary White, Phil Foust, Don Cox, Bob Marshall

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thanks, Gary, for making the "banner-project" FLY!
Things are going at "warp" speed regarding "Forward To Fredonia!" I've called the Fredonia Chamber of Commerce. WE ARE IN!!!!!! They will be lining out the parade order next week and will e-mail me WHERE WE ARE in the parade! Yvonne, from the Chamber, said, "We're so excited you're coming! There will two other bands in the parade and you'll make three!" She did ask this one question, "You won't be too loud, covering up the other bands, will you?" I told her that we would "hold back" to make sure the other bands were heard! :)

I will contact G.A. and Madge with our plans~!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008




Sunday, September 14, 2008

This just in from Thayne Oltjen (known as T.D. to those of us who knew him as a kid). I'm taking the liberty of posting it since many of his old friends and buddies will want to know about his recent hospital stay.

I'm back after being rushed to the hospital Aug 3rd to Pulmonary ICU .. My lungs had filled up with Carbon Dioxide, being I can't breath very well.. I am told that I was very out of it for several days prior to the 3rd.. My breathing was very short and all I could do was speak in a whisper one or two words at a time. So on the 3rd I CRASHED and rushed to ICU, and I stayed there for 10 days hooked up one place or another. After some length of time,( I don't how long ) I kinda came around, I could see people through the walls and ceiling, parades , some kind of games, ?? , .. I am told I had a lot of visitors , But what did I know about it.. I was put in a Bi-Pap unit which blows oxygen and air into your lungs until it looks like your eyes Will pop out then it reverses and sucks all of it out,  then it dose it again and again . I had these treatments for 3 or 4 days. I do remember what a trip the last session was, I tried to pull the mask off, but I couldn't because IT WAS HOOKED BEHIND MY HEAD.Any way , starting to come around pretty good knowing  and what was going on around me. They also gave me 3 units of Oxygen Rich  Blood which helped a bunch , and having my Pacemaker  changed 10 units , this really got things to going..  On the 13th, I was released or transferred to Sandpiper Rehabilitation Center to get my strenght back.I was pretty weak after all of the things I had been through. Stayed there for 2 weeks or so , trying to get up and walk ,( as when I entered the Hospital ,I weighed 89 lbs.) So with their help, started waking a few steps at a time and the next day a few more, then  I could go by myself behind a wheelchair up and down the hall several times ,If I got tired I would set down for a while. Also lift weights for my arms and back. The people  They did a really great job for me. The food was really good. All I had to do was punch a button and someone would come right now to see what I needed or wanted, Wow what service.. Private room , I could watch traffic on 235 bi-pass.. or watch TV.
Anyway I was released to go home  September 5th, which is good to be home. I feel really great ,better than I have in the past few years and eating a whole lot better. Now to do more walking and weight lifting .Now I'm on 8 ltr Oxigen 24-7 full flow.  And takring more pills than ever ,,, BUT I'M STILL HERE !!! Thank GOD and all  of his helpers.  LIFE IS GREAT................................... THAYNE

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More Memories From Loyd Call

I graduated from High School in 1935, Olin Wilson was the manual training teacher. My brother, Kenneth started to High School the next year and Earl Vore came as manual training teacher.
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

A Road Trip

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. Beggs, Grand Marshal!

Friends of G.A.!

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


Several posts have examined the present condition of our little town and some have opined about it's future (or lack thereof). Yesterdays LOOKOUT had two important items reported.

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

History Items from Loyd Call

History Items from Loyd Call (these remarks have been slightly edited by me, DFCox)

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