Friday, February 29, 2008

FYI Todays Lookout has this notice about Marilyn Holroyd Wilkinson who most of you know. "A card shower has been requested for Marilyn while she is recovering from a stroke."
Her address: Marilyn Wilkinson
794 4th Avenue North
Okanogan, WA 98840

According to her older brother, Madison Holroyd Jr., it was a fairly severe stroke and she will be in rehab for awhile.

My Mom; A Remarkable Lady

Jay D. Mills, Volcan, Panama 2-29-08

My mother Nellie B. McGill Mills was born (I believe) on her family’s farm south of Dexter, Kansas in September, 1900. She was the youngest of several children and her mother, Julia Custer McGill was 40 years old when mother was born. Her father, Carmont, was a medical doctor who no longer practiced medicine, or had close contact with anyone, as he had Tuberculosis.

Mother told stories of going to Dexter, about 12 miles as I recall, on horse-back and in a wagon. Apples were 25 cents per bushel. --- Bananas are 2 for 5 cents now at the little market in Volcan, Panama. --- Her father, my grandfather McGill, and a brother of hers took a wagon load of drinking water in barrels and sold it to the people at Arkansas City who were massed for the land run into Oklahoma Territory at the Cherokee Strip.

When her family got their first model T Ford, they would sometimes drive to Dexter. The road was rough with deep ruts and sharp rocks. The trip always involved several stops to fix a flat tire. Fixing the tire involved jacking up the axle, removing the wheel, then removing the tire and inner tube. After finding the leak and patching it, they had to wait for the glue to set; or set it on fire to bond the rubber. Then they had to reassemble everything and pump up the tire with a hand pump before continuing a few miles; only to do it all over again. You had to be really committed to make that trip!

Mother lived with a family in Winfield, KS so that she could attend high school there. In high school she took “Normal Training” courses that qualified her to be a school teacher. She graduated in 1920. That year, at the age of 20, she began teaching school in a one-room school house on Otter Creek, near the Mills farm in eastern Cowley county. She only taught school for a couple of years before marrying my dad, O.D. (Otis) Mills.

Mother always cooked on a wood stove on the farm, and that included my years there until 1948. There were usually a number of farm workers, “hands”, that needed to be fed at dinner time (lunch) and she cooked all of their meals. If it was harvest or roundup time, she sometimes had other women in to help. Although mother cooked delicious meals with all kinds of food, she was a “picky” eater and didn’t like much of the food that she willingly cooked for others

I still remember mother preparing large meals and delivering them to the men in the fields during harvest time, and delivering a meal to the cowboys who drove cattle to the railroad in Hoosier (ghost town) 8 miles west and just north of Cedar Vale. Delivering the food to Hoosier was about 14 miles of gravel road to the north, west, then south; or about 16 miles east, south and west. My favorite foods, that we seldom got at other times except maybe holidays, were her deviled eggs and baked beans. Mother also made cottage cheese from our own milk and cream. It was wonderful!

My family was very “private” and we seldom talked about other people in the community unless it was news of something important that had happened. I was taught to not ask about other people’s personal business and not to discuss ours. We also did not discuss family history and I knew little of it until I asked my mother to record her memories and some family history, during a visit in 1981, when I was 40 and mother was nearly 81.

My mother was the biggest influence in my life and she is largely responsible for letting me “think for myself”. She also prepared me for the later realization that I am the only one responsible for the person that I became, and for my happiness. She had 2 children, Carl H. (Arkansas City) and Jay D. (Panama) who both turned out OK after a few "stumbles" along the way. -30-

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Bataan Death March

Mr. Bates, our 8th grade teacher, was a survivor of the so-called Bataan Death March. The following is a description of that horrific event that I found in an email from one of my representatives, Tom Udall. He is introducing legislation to memorialize this event by awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to those who took part.

Having built a military goliath and mobilized for all-out war, Japan hoped to capture the Pacific all the way to Australia before Allied forces could mount a defense. They had the advantage of size, organization and momentum. We had a small number of units that had been stationed near Manila, in the Phillipines, before the war began.

For months, American troops resisted the Japanese surge. They slowed Japanese forces and allowed Allied troops to eventually reverse Japan's progress. Thanks to the heroism of these troops, America was able to recover from Pearl Harbor and take the fight to the Axis powers in Asia before going on to defeat Hitler.

On April 9, 1942, 12,000 American troops and 67,000 Filipino troops surrendered in the Philippines' Bataan Peninsula. The group included 1,800 members of the New Mexico National Guard. New Mexico's 200th and 515th Coast Artillery units were, according to one general, "the first to fire and the last to lay down their arms." Months of fighting had taken their toll. The forces that were surrendered on April 9 were suffering from a lack of supplies, malnutrition, malaria and starvation with no resources left to continue and no reinforcements able to arrive.

What followed has come to be known as the Bataan Death March, one of the great tragedies of our history. American and Filipino troops were forced to march 65-miles through tropical heat, without food or water, for days on end. Many were summarily executed. Thousands died from mistreatment, malnutrition, sickness and captivity. Those who survived were held as prisoners of war in squalid encampments for almost three years. By the time they were rescued, towards the end of the war, half of New Mexico's 1,800 soldiers had died. Another 300 would die within a year of returning to the U.S. as a result of complications related to their captivity.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sue Carter/Friedel

Sue, welcome to the blog! We all hope you have many unique perspectives about all of our experiences in the western part of Chautauqua County. Perhaps the Hewins area is a fertile territory to explore. As an opening question--was it your father who ran the general store in Hewins? I seem to remember standing around that store with my dad drinking soda pop.

Let us hear from you.

Velma Fesler's Post

---------- Forwarded
Mother used to make some kind of corn casserole (probably not spelled correct), but she made if from creamed canned corn. One of the recipes that I wish I had written down while dad was alive, was my grandpa Henry Fesler's recipe for home brew. Not that I want to make home brew, but he was known for several miles around for his good brew. I think I heard dad say that he made it out of potato peels. Knowing grandpa Henry, he probably didn't even wash the peels first. ha. During the depression, he was having a hard time getting money to make payments on the old home place, so he made and sold home brew. Dad said that the Law was always making surprise visits to the farm to catch him with a big batch. On one of those surprise visits, grandpa had a big batch all bottled up,, (wonder if he sterilized the bottles before filling?) and they heard the law was on the way, so Dad and Norman took all the bottled brew, ran to the old rock walls that surround the place and shoved the bottles in cracks between the rocks. When the law knocked on the door and asked Henry if he was making brew, he of course denied everything, but dad and Norman were hiding by the rock walls and the bottled brew began exploding bottle by bottle. I guess his recipe died with him.

Monday, February 25, 2008

leaving CV part 3

In Europe we always carried guide books giving the sites to see, where to stay and eat, what to buy etc. I would read these aloud to Walt as he drove us to our next destination. The books failed to mention a few situations we found ourselves in.

In a country inn in Spain we discovered bed bugs!! and left in the middle of the night. In Edinburgh, being unable to understand our guide even though he was speaking English. Asking directions in France, knowing he spoke English and have him refuse because we were not educated enough to speak French. Snob!

We camped as often as possible including in Bulgaria where we stayed in a new campground, however, they were not really ready for people. An old woman sat on the bathroom steps with a bucket of water, her job was to flush the toilets after a tourist exited. Constipation!

In Turkey seeing Mosques and women wearing Burkas for our first time and astonished at the weight the men carried by balancing anything and everything on their heads and backs.

In Greece not being able to understand each other so the waiter took my hand and led us into the kitchen so we could point at what we wanted to eat.

Checking into a Belgrade hotel surrendering our pass ports and then realizing our room was bugged. Creepy!

Being approached by some young boys in Rome offering to watch and protect our car for a dollar, knowing if we did not pay the car would be broken into.

At the Greek/Bulgarian border crossing while Walt was getting the car inspected I took pictures of the guards, buildings etc, the Greek guard kept saying 'no no' I just smiled and waved to him continuing to snap pictures. As we were leaving I noticed a sign in English that said ' No Pictures'. Lucky for us he must have thought I was just another dumb American.

To cross into East Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie, Walt, had to wear his uniform as per the Soviet/US agreement. Needing directions we saw several East Germans at a bus stop but when we approached they disappeared. Only a Russian officer stopped and helped us. It became apparent the Germans were afraid to be seen talking to us.

In a Danish Youth Hostel the room and sheets were not clean. Walt, did not seem to care but after I said I would sleep sitting up in the chair, we again left in the middle of the night. Is this
a guy thing that you dont care if the sheets are clean or not?

Getting to hike on a Norwegian glacier above the Artic Circle. Witnessing the pageantry of a bull fight in Madrid. Having a gondolier sing to us while riding in his gondola in Venice.

We had a flat tire when we were crossing Greece to catch a ferry to Italy. It had rained so much mud was up to the running boards of the VW, since we had not seen a car all day, Walt, stripped to his underwear so he would not ruin his shoes and clothes. Just as he finished a car full of young people honking and laughing passed us.

At the Parthenon in Athens we were overwhelmed by the beautiful 5th century temple when a man started pointing at the city and said 'Look thats where we are staying, The Hilton'. Ugly American!

We Visited the Normandy Beaches of WWII with their steep cliffs that our GIs had to climb while the Germans were shooting down on them from their bunkers. There were 120,000 allied troops and 10,000 allied ships involved on D Day. My Uncle Claudie was one of those GIs in that landing he was in the third wave because all these men were short in stature and they needed the dead bodies to wade in on to keep from drowning! A US military cemetery is now on the top of the cliffs where over 6000 US GIs are buried. They all died within 3 days of D Day. Heartbreaking!

South of Munich is Dachau, a concentration camp which was liberated by the US Army, over 200,000 people were brought here by continuous trains. We stayed at an inn there and I was awaken in the night by a train whistle causing goose bumps!

Visiting two of King Ludwigs castles in Bavaria, Neuschwanstein, the castle Walt Disney used as his replica for Cinderella castle at Disneyland or at dusk crossing the lake by boat then riding in a horse drawn carriage to Herrenchiemsee, sipping champagne and listening to a string quartet playing Mozart in the Hall of Mirrors lit by thousands of candles. Wow!!

Returning to US next

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Elyn Aviva

OK, CV fans, you've asked about Elyn, so here's her bio:

Elyn Aviva earned a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at Princeton University (1985); her dissertation topic was the modern-day pilgrimage on the 500-mile-long Camino de Santiago in Spain. It was the first anthropological dissertation on the Camino, and Following the Milky Way, her travel narrative based on her experiences and her research, was the first contemporary American account of the pilgrimage. Elyn has traveled the Camino a number of times, including three times on foot (1982, 1997, and 2000). In 2002-2004 she and her husband, Gary White walked one of the French Chemins de St. Jacques (Roads of St. James), the route that begins in Le Puy en Velay.

Elyn earned a Master of Divinity degree from Iliff School of Theology (Denver, Colorado) in 1997. While completing the degree, she spent a summer training to be a hospital chaplain, and she served First Universalist Church of Denver as an intern minister for over a year, during which she gave various sermons that drew on her background in comparative religion.

In addition, Elyn has worked as a tribal planner for the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas, as a health planner for the State of Kansas, and as a science writer for the Department of Energy. She established and ran the Department of Energy's High-Temperature Superconductivity Information Center at the Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University. She has also taught Introduction to Religious Studies and led various adult religious-education courses.

When not traveling or living in Europe, Elyn lives in Santa Fe, NM, with her husband, Gary White. They trained at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to be labyrinth facilitators, and they lead labyrinth-walking workshops (complete with slide shows).

Elyn continues to travel to sacred places, but she finds creating sacred art a deeply fulfilling spiritual journey. (see She is also willing to discuss creating fiber art on commission.

Selected recent publications:

  • When Aloha Means Goodbye: A Noa Webster Mystery , Pilgrims Process, Inc., 2006.
  • The Journey: A Novel of Pilgrimage and Spiritual Quest, Pilgrims Process, Inc., 2004.
  • Dead End on the Camino, Pilgrims Process, Inc., 2001.
  • Following the Milky Way: A Pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, 2nd edition, Pilgrims Process, Inc., 2001. (First edition, Following the Milky Way: A Pilgrimage across Spain, published by Iowa State University Press, 1989.)
  • Music in Our World: An Active Listening Approach, co-authored with Gary White and David Stuart (McGraw-Hill, 2001).
  • "Life Ever Difficult: Paradoxes of the Venetian Ghetto," The World & I, Sept. 2001.
  • "Music: North Africa and Middle East," Vol. 3, Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women, 2001, pp. 1402-1404.
  • "Music: Sub-Saharan and Southern Africa," Vol. 3, Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women, 2001, pp. 1413-1415.
  • "Tourism," Vol. 4, Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women, 2001, pp. 1947-1951.
  • "A Living Fossil? In Search of Celtic Heritage in Galicia, Spain," The World & I, April 1999.
  • "Mysterious Megaliths: The Standing Stones of Carnac, Brittany," The World & I, October 1998.
  • "Touring with the Sun," The World & I, October 1998.
  • "Introduction to Sacred Geometry," The New Age Retailer (sometime in 1998).
  • "The Labyrinth: Walking a Sacred Path," The Quest, Summer 1998.
  • "Buen Camino: A forty-day walk across northern Spain's ancient pilgrimage route produces transient friendships but lasting memories," The World & I, June 1998.
  • "Walking the Labyrinth: The Wisdom of the Sacred Path," New Age Retailer, May/June 1998.
  • "The Amazing Labyrinth," The World & I, September 1997.
  • "A Journey without End: Reflections on a Pilgrim's Progress," The Quest, Summer 1996.

(While an undergraduate, Elyn published poetry in several college literary magazines at Stanford and at Iowa State University, where she graduated in 1969 with Distinctions and Honors, with a major in English.)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Becoming Nobody

“I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?”
Emily Dickinson

Having made the choice in the early 1990s to retire from university teaching, I looked forward to the freedom to pursue all the new directions that were beckoning to me. My burgeoning interest in spiritual practice was very attractive; my interest in alternative healing practices was just beginning; and I had a new and exciting partner for all the coming adventures. I cleared out the residue of my previous life and moved in with my new wife and partner, Elyn, in a tiny student apartment on the campus of Iliff School of Theology at Denver University where Elyn was a student.

Suddenly it seemed that I had lost my identity. Elyn’s fellow students were friendly enough, but I was accustomed to being treated as “Dr. White, Distinguished Professor” and that wasn’t who I was any more. I experienced an emptiness that I hadn’t anticipated. I didn’t want to be “Dr. White” any more, but that raised the question of who I was going to be in this new life.

Elyn was busy in her student life at Iliff School of Theology. She was a full-time student studying to be a Unitarian minister. Her natural gregarious nature made her a popular and active student in the Iliff family. She had a full life there and I had a lot of time on my hands. I tried reading and began to do some writing (early drafts of some of these pieces were written at that time). I had some ongoing work associated with my textbooks, but I also had a lot time on my hands. In leaving Ames, Iowa, I had not only left behind my university colleagues and the status of my position but also a circle of close friends with whom I had spent considerable time. I was experiencing a crisis that I had not anticipated—the proverbial “identity crisis.”

This crisis lasted for several years. I got used to not being deferred to (“Yes sir, Dr. White”), and not having a hardworking staff at my disposal, but there was a hole in my psyche that I couldn’t seem to fill. If any of my readers are contemplating retirement from an active career, I give you fair warning to expect a crisis of identity and a period of adjustment. I found ways to fill my time, but there was an underlying depression that I couldn’t seem to shake. I wish I could give you a formula for relieving that depression, but I can only say that it gradually cleared and I began to explore who I really was when the position and status were gone. I can say that ongoing work on projects was an important part of how I got through that time, and I soon found interesting spiritual paths to pursue that opened new vistas for exploration. I found people that I wanted to spend time with. We spent a year living in Spain and walked the Camino de Santiago. I got used to the feeling of being “nobody” important. When people asked me “what do you do?” I got over the feelings of guilt at not having a pat answer. I began to say “I am living my life,” or “I’m having fun.” I no longer felt the need to trot out a list of my past achievements to justify my occupying space on this planet.

Gradually, over a period of years, I have come to see that my task for this part of my life is the challenge of becoming who I really am and of exploring who I want to be in the final stages of this journey. More and more I am trying to become transparent to myself and to others. After a lifetime of hiding behind various masks I am working to put all of the parts of myself together and to feel comfortable in letting others know me. I started this blog with that in mind, and I am enjoying getting to know you all again. I am gradually opening up all the areas of my life to you and enjoy shocking some of you from time to time (see Dating and Parking).

In this journey I am blessed to have a partner who is willing to grow with me, cajole me when I am not present to her, and who is blessed with the sweetest disposition I could imagine. She is truly my partner on all of life’s paths and when I get up the courage to reveal more of myself she is always there, cheering me on. So I propose a toast to my beloved partner, Elyn Aviva. I wish you could all know her.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dating and Parking

OK, CV fans—I have heard about Margaret V. and her short career as our English teacher over and over for the last two days, so I'm finally goaded into putting up this piece, which I wrote several years ago. A BIG warning to you all—the subject matter of this post concerns the erotic life of 16- to 18-year-olds in Cedar Vale, Kansas, in the mid 1950s. I have changed all the names to protect those who might be offended by reading about their activities of yesteryear. I can vouch only for my part in the following and my memory of what else happened. This piece is entirely from a male perspective. However, I wasn't out there alone. So, with this fair warning, read on if you care to.

When I was sixteen my world suddenly expanded, when I was licensed to drive a car. Before that time, I was dependent on my parents or older friends to get any place I couldn't walk. Over night, I could drive out into the country, or even to the next town, if my parents would loan me the car. At the same time, my relationship with girls changed drastically. I could date a girl and take her some place we couldn't reach on foot, and I could be alone with a girl, by driving her out in the country and parking on some deserted lane. In short, we were a part of those liberated generations of young people that had come about with the advent of the automobile and we were taking full advantage of it.

Dating and parking were generally different activities that I did with different girls. When I dated, I would ask a girl several days in advance, and was expected to pay for the entertainment and any refreshments. We would go to an event in some neighboring town, and I would bring her home and deliver her to her door, collecting the good night kiss as my reward. We were told that nice girls don't kiss on the first date, but in my experience, most did. After all, we had all known each other from early childhood, and had probably kissed on the school playground when we were in grade school.

Parking was a very different sort of activity. We would cruise around town in our cars, and link up with girls who were walking on the streets or cruising in their own cars. The expressed intent in such cruising was understood to be picking up members of the opposite sex for purposes of parking. The girls understood this as well as the guys, but would, of course, never admit it openly. My friend John and I were regular companions for many of these evening forays. We would see which of our parents would loan us the car and drop by and pick the other up to begin the hunt.

We were often successful, and considered ourselves real "ladies men". In our junior year of high school we had some real triumphs, when we were able to get a pair of senior girls to park with us fairly regularly. These two girls always traveled together, and we would leave one of our cars on main street and go together to one of the many parking places we all knew about.

I should explain about our various parking activities, which had names and were considered to be in a progressive order. We even spoke of getting to first base, second base, or hitting a home run! Of course, there was kissing, which was always the first activity. If kissing became deep and passionate, it was called necking. Passionate kissing was called French kissing, because we believed that those sensual foreigners must have invented it. The next level of activity was called petting, which came in two levels: light and heavy. Light petting consisted of feeling a girl's breasts and thighs through clothing, while heavy petting involved getting under the clothing to the real thing. We seldom actually removed any of our clothing during heavy petting, but hooks, snaps, buttons and zippers would be opened, and clothing loosened to allow access. Petting to orgasm was considered to be "going all the way", as was actual intercourse. As a popular song of the time slyly stated, “When somebody loves you, It’s no good unless she loves you. ALL THE WAY!”

We were both attracted, and scared to death, of sexual intercourse, because in those days before the pill, we had to rely on cheap condoms purchased out of machines in the men's rest room of some service station that had probably been carried in our wallets for months before use. We knew that better quality birth control was available at the drug stores, but we also knew that they wouldn't sell it to us.

The two senior girls, Maxine and Jane (names changed to protect the guilty,) would go with John and me only if senior boys weren't available. Their aim in parking was heavy petting, and they must have had some secret signal system that warned them when one couple was nearing orgasm, because they would suddenly get out of the car and walk some distance away for a few minutes. Those minutes seemed like hours to two boys who were left at the peak of passion to stew in their own juices. When the girls returned, they would be cool as cucumbers, and would trade partners, so we wouldn't try to start again where we had left off. They always feigned outrage at our previous misbehavior, but they would go with us again the next evening if older partners weren't available. If they had driven us to the parking spot, the girl in the front seat would suddenly start the car when we had reached the "danger zone" again, and the evening of parking would be over. If John or I had driven, the girls would insist that they had to be home by a certain hour and had to leave "right now". There was no romantic feeling amongst us at all. I would as often start the evening with Maxine as Jane, and would probably be with the other by the end the evening. It was pure sexual exploration, and I leave it for the reader to judge who might have been exploiting whom in those evenings of passion.

John and I actually preferred parking with younger girls, who might not be as easy to get to the level of heavy petting, but who were not as well organized as Maxine and Jane. With other girls there was the thrill of the unknown, and of pushing the limits of a less experienced girl, but with Maxine and Jane we quickly learned what the order of business would be, and it never varied.

Parking with other girls was a bit catch as catch can. The girls were out in pairs, as singles, and in larger groups. It was often hard to negotiate getting two girls in our car at the same time, and on more than one occasion, John or I would be taken home early so the other could park with the one girl we had been able to catch. This was the advantage of being the driver. The rider in the back seat had other advantages if we could find two girls. The back seat occupants could, of course, get a head start while the driver looked for an unoccupied parking place.

The cruising scene was not always limited to high school kids. I well remember the fall of my senior year, when a new first-year English teacher came to town. We were told later that she had had a strict religious upbringing and had gone to a fundamentalist Christian college with severe restrictions on her behavior. She had never experienced anything like the nighttime scene I have described above, and she was drawn into it like a moth to flame. I parked with her several times, as did at least one of my friends. It was early in the fall semester when she was fired by the board of education and had to leave town, her teaching career ruined. I have always felt some guilt at having been a part of her downfall; but if it hadn't been me, it would have been another boy.

Another "older woman" that cruised at night was the young wife of a local man. It seems that she had complications after the birth of their child, and had had a hysterectomy. The freedom this gave her in the sexual area must have overwhelmed her, and she "went wild". She would cruise the streets alone, and if you wanted to park with her, you would begin to follow her car. She would lead you to the city park, where you were to stop the car and turn off the lights. In a few minutes, if the coast was clear, she would return and pick you up. I was told that parking with her was never more than a twenty-minute affair. Her intent was to have intercourse as quickly as possible and return home before her husband suspected. I was tempted to go with her, and on at least one occasion followed her to the city park, but I never stopped the car and waited to be picked up. As desirable as an easy lay with an "older woman" would have been, I simply couldn't be a part of such a sordid business. Her husband was one of my father's friends, and I had heard him talk about her poor husband, who was stuck home baby sitting while his "slut of a wife was out looking for men". Little did he know that some of the "men" she found were my classmates. I now realize that this "older woman" was only three or four years older than me, and she was not more than a year or two beyond the high school cruising scene herself.

All this nightlife seemed quite "wild" and "out-of-bounds" to us. Now I realize that it was just a game, with rules as strict as those of any sport. Our slang expressions: "getting to first base", "scoring", and "hitting a home run" were much more apt than any of us realized at the time. Parking was, simply, the only coeducational sport played at Cedar Vale High School, and a valid Kansas driver's license was your ticket of eligibility.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New member

Jim Robinson just joined our blog. Welcome, Jim. We look forward to your postings.

Jim has agreed to get with his sister Margaret and write up a blog biography for Lincoln. We all look forward to what you come up with.

I have many memories of your dad and mother. I think your mother came up to the high school to direct our junior or senior play. I met Lincoln many years later when I returned for a class reunion. He was at the CV Museum and we had a nice talk.

"Favorite" Teachers

A few weeks past, Phil Foust suggested articles about our "favorite" teachers would be interesting. Some articles did follow and gave some perspective on what a "favorite" teacher was. I had written that Mrs. Nadine Morris was probably my "favorite" teacher, but now I think maybe instead of "favorite teacher", I will address an article about the most memorable teacher, for one reason or another.

My first most memorable teacher, like many others that attended grade school at that time, was Mrs. (Effie ) Foster. She was large. She was "muscular". She had red hair and a very red face whenever she was angered by her students, (and that was frequently ). And she had a very loud voice when aroused. She did not tolerate any mis-behaving by any of her sixth grade boys. But she was a good teacher, and she cared about her pupils. As some of the girls in our class indicated, she also did not put up with any of the girls antics, either.

The second teacher in chronological order that was memorable was Mr. ( Howard ) Bates. He taught eighth grade and coached basketball. I do not know if he was a good teacher, or whether he was a good coach, but I do remember that he was very effective in neutralizing some of the rowdy and troublesome boys in the class. For about two years they had been terrorizing students and teachers alike with bullying methods, but Mr. Bates who was maybe five feet seven inches tall and weighed no more than 140 pounds confronted them one day. He pulled off his tie, opened his shirt and showed the astounded boys the abdominal bayonet scars that he had suffered on the Bataan Death March. He indicated to them, that if he could have survived that, he could take care of them. As I remember, the remainded of eighth grade was peaceful.

Next memorable, Bob Jones Williams. He was actually a good science teacher, but no one would remember that because of his other antics. He had distracting facial tics and grimaces and he was a world class "nut job". He had no ability to maintain discipline in class, and was the butt of many practicle jokes, both in the classroom and elsewhere. I seem to recall someone planted a skunk in his car. Later he claimed to be a witch, and joined a coven in Wichita, and later killed himself. He actually deserved to be pitied and not persecuted.

Bob Sears taught algebra. He must have been a lousy teacher because I could never comprehend algebra. In fact, after the algebra class I would go to study hall, where Gary White would explain all the intricacies of algebra, and thanks to him I think I got an "A". But Mr. Sears was memorable because he was short and stocky and powerful and wore glasses that had a blue tint, and also he told us great stories of his experiences as a tank commander during the war. Maybe that was why I could never understand algebra, too many tank stories. It was interesting that about 30 years later, Mr. Sears came to my office as a Urology patient, and he did not remember who I had been . I guess I was not memorable.

Our Spanish teacher was Mr. Long. Another short, chubby man with round jowlie facies, but he made Spanish classes a lot of fun, and we, or at least I, learned a lot of Spanish. He was always laughing and joking, and had a fairly decent voice when he sang the "Lord Prayer" in Spanish. I probably remember more useful information from his class than any other class, high school or college.

Gary has written about Mr. Jewell, the typing teacher. He was a neat guy because he allowed me to sit in the class and learn proper typing technique, even though I was not enrolled due to scheduling problems. The good thing about that was that he was not yelling at me like the others because I wasn't really there.

Coaches!! I imagine the greatest CVHS coach was Cecil Humphries, even though he was gone before our class arrived. But during our tenure, I remember James Phillips being the coach who taught us more basketball fundamentals, and discipline. I guess he knew football also, but during track and basketball was where he excelled in teaching.

Last and least, in my estimation, was Coach Jack Reginato. My personal memories of him were all fairly negative because he did not seem to really know the coaching job. Maybe my whole remembrance of him was colored by one factor. During my senior year, during one football practice I injured my right wrist. I went to the "Coach" and he looked at it and said, "Oh, Woodruff, grow up. That is just a sprain. It will get better. Get back out there and run a hundred laps". Well , it didn't get better and every couple of weeks I would approach him with my painful wrist, he would look at it, poke on it, and tell me it was just a sprain. That continued on for three months, until basketball practice started and I found I could not do push-ups because of the pain the "sprained wrist". Coach Reginato yelled at me to do the push-ups right, so I told him my "sprained wrist" still hurt too much. At that point, he sent me down to Dr. Hays hospital, x-rays were done, and low and behold the "sprain" was a broken bone. Because of the delay, the bone never healed properly and I suffered with chronic pain for the next fifty-five years.

Actually, one more teacher was memorable, but I can't even remember her name. She taught English, was short and pretty and was a lousy English teacher. She was fired half-way through the senior year because of some extra-curricular activities with male students. I would have done much better in my first year of college if I had been taught how to write a decent paper. But at least she was fun to look at.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Operating a Farm in the 1940s

by Jay (J.D.) Mills, Volcan, Panama 2-17-08

I recall that we had our own gasoline pump on the farm. It was an old hand operated pump with a large glass tank in the top section. You moved the pump handle in a horizontal arc, back and forth, until the gasoline reached the desired gallon mark on the glass, then removed the hose and filled the tractor tank.

We had 2 or 3 old tractors, but gasoline was rationed because of the war, so most of the moving of wagons and some farm implements was done with mules or horses. We had a combined farming and ranching operation, so cattle feed had to be moved up the 200 foot high hill in winter in a wagon. If the hill was impassable, the feed had to hauled around and in from the Hoosier Road on the other side, a trip of several miles.

The farm, being 8 miles from town, was pretty self-sufficient. Before the rural electric reached the farm, we had our own 32 volt “Delco plant” generator, and batteries that supplied power for 2 or 3 light bulbs and our radio in the house, plus power for lights in the shop and barn. The generator was located far enough from the house that we could not hear it running. The first hint that there was a problem was when the lights faded to dim and quickly went out as the batteries went down.

We had our own blacksmith shop, simply called “the shop”. I watched as dad hammered and shaped hot iron into parts and items that he needed on the farm. When he had a hot fire going in the forge, I used to take crackers down from the house and he would “toast” them in the fire. Sometimes we would also put butter on the hot crackers. Quite a treat for a 4 or 5 year old!

I am just now realizing that my dad was a very multi-talented individual, by necessity and/or by nature. A knack for diagnosing, fixing and improvising is very handy on a farm. Apparently that is where my ability or willingness to try to fix almost anything, and to create new solutions for problems began. -30-

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Cedar Vale Poker Game

Several bloggers have expressed an interest in the long established and ongoing Poker Game in our village. I'll try to pass along a bit of it's history and a few interesting tidbits.

The venue of the game is the "studio" behind the Robinson (Borrum) family home. My personal involvement has always been in this place, although the"game" predates this bldg. My memory goes back to the late 30s when May Borrum married Lincoln Robinson and they came back to this area to live and help run the Borrum Ranch south of Hewins. It should be mentioned that Lincoln was from New Hampshire, was a graduate of Harvard, and a published author of childrens books for which he did his own illustrations. Your typical CV citizen he was not. A VIP piece needs to be done on Lincoln and I think his son James or daughter Margaret should do it.

When May's spinster sister died, the Robinson's came to live in the big Borrum house. I might have been 8 or 9 years old at the time and I remember well how different Lincoln was and how all the blue noses distained the drinking, gambling, and cigar smoking associated with the "game". The earliest regulars were all solid citizens of the area. The ones I can remember are;

Woody Lemert (always with a cigar clamped in his teeth), Herbert Stone our Dentist and subject of previous entries in the blog, Brady Meldrum a local rancher and another cigar chewer, and another one or two that escape my memory. Others who joined the game on a regular basis in the 40s and 50s are; Max Montgomery who was Postmaster, George Dale a stockman and father of Kathy Dale Lewis, T. Fred Archer father of our own Diane Bradbury, Wilber Martin who owned the Locker Plant and later a cafe, Merle Maggard who bought the Locker Plant, Rollin Leedy a livestockman who is still alive and in assisted living in Winfield. Others who played some were Harold Cable and later Dale Ramsey and Carl Joesph Smith a retired railroadman. I know this is not all as I wasn't around much in the 60s and 70s so some of you can flesh this out with your memories.

The game was/is always a male bastion and in its earlier days had several semi heavy drinkers so one can imagine the air would be blue with randy stories and cigar smoke. I do know that a couple of participants were asked not to return when their drinking or poker ethics became a problem. Remember that Lincoln was the host and there were house rules as to what games would be played and how as well as understood standards of personal conduct.

I started playing on a semiregular basis when I bought my farm down by Elgin in '82 and have played regularly since '98 when I moved back to Cedar Vale. The present group of players does not include any names above as they have gone on the the celestial poker room. (except Rollin)

We now play some of the newer poker games like Texas Hold'em and Omaha Stud. I'm sure Lincoln wouldn't approve as he was very conservative about poker although very liberal in most other aspects. We have six or seven players usually and we all shun other obligations on Tuesday nite so we can get to the game. Dale Coffman, Vic Vaughn, Bill Vaughn, Floyd Montgomery, John Juul, Dennis Finger, and myself are the current crew. I include these names because the locals would know them. When you come to town and want to play, let me know--we might have a seat available


Diane, you asked me to tell about how I "changed my hair style". I can't tell that without letting the "rebel" show through. There was a lot of things that led up to that day.
I was raised in a very conservative atmosphere. I do not regret the upbringing that I had and how I learned to know the Lord as my personal Savior. I still hold to those conservative principals. However, there was a lot of legalism in our home that did not come from the church. It was like our "religion became a lot about what we wore, and how we wore our hair. I was not allowed to wear boby sox, I wore long cotton stockings. I could not wear jeans or slacks. I could not wear sleeveless blouses, so when the choir wore sleeveless blouses, I had to wear one with sleeves. I was not allowed to cut my hair, so I wore braids. Since we needed to wear jeans (or shorts) for gym, Mom bought me a pair of jeans (Lord forbid that I would have a pair of shorts). I also had 1 pair of bobby sox to wear for gym. So, the rebel in me, stopped at the lane south of our house and changed my long stockings for my bobby sox. Then, on the way home, I would stop again and change back into the long cotton stockings. When we made our blouses for choir, I tried to put sleeves in mine that I could tuck up under to appear sleeveless, but it didn't work.
I never felt like I "fit in" with the other kids. I always struggled with my weight so I blamed all my unhappiness on that and the different way I dressed and wore my hair. I found myself resenting my parents, especially my father, for not allowing me to be involved in school activities.
I started making plans to get my hair cut several weeks before I actually had it done. I saved my lunch money, and then one Tuesday afternoon, I skipped school and made an appointment with Julia to get my hair cut and a perm. It cost $5.00 so I had to save for five weeks to get enough money. When I arrived at the beauty shop, Maxine Goodwin was working there. She quickly called Julia and told her that I was there. Julia didn't think I would go through with it. Maxine put rubber bands around my braids and when Julia came she cut off the braids first, then styled and permed my hair. It was pretty short, compared to braids that came down to the middle of my back and hair I could sit on. Julia kept those braids in her shop for a long time after that, showing them to other patrons. By the way, I don't remember getting in trouble for skipping school, either at school or at home. Hmmm?
My sister, Ruth, and I went home and started doing the usual stack of dirty dishes in the sink, etc., then all of the sudden I said, "Oh my, I forgot to change my socks." Ruth said, "Your socks!! What about your HAIR? Needless to say, Mom came home before long and, of course she asked, "When did you get that done?" and "Who did it?" I explained in as few words as possible, then a little later I heard her talking on the phone to my Dad and she said, "It's pretty short."
Mom and we kids were planning to go to Grenola for a youth rally, so Dad told her to come by the station before we went. I don't remember much about what he said then but he let me know that when we got home, he would have more to say. I was scared all evining about what he would do.
When we got home, as I walked in the door, there was a long switch laying across the bar in the kitchen/dining room. I fully expected him to "wear it out" on me which was a term he used frequently. He sat me down in a chair in the living room and began talking to me about what a bad thing I had done, threatening to take my accordion away, my piano, and everything else that I held dear. I sat there until 1 a.m. hearing him rant and rave, thinking all the time, "Yes you can take all those things away, and you can "wear that switch out on me" but you can't put that hair back on my head." Suprisingly enough, he didn't use the switch at all, "Thank God", and Mom sent me on to bed. On the following Saturday, Dad took my two younger sisters, Ruth and Donna, out to Goldie Hardie's and she cut their hair. It was somewhat longer than mine, but that was one battle I would not have to fight again. I had blazed the trail for my sisters.
Oh, yes, there were other battles, but I won't get into that at this time.
I do believe it made me feel better about myself and I felt more accepted.
When I came back to Cedar Vale this time, I wondered if some of those old feelings would come back to haunt me, but, I must admit, I don't think about it much. I know who I am now and am not trying to find myself or make a big impression on others, so people will have to accept me as I am. And they do. I have felt a welcome here. I can't say its "like coming home" but I am content here until circumstances change again.
You taught me a new word, Diane. I'm sure I had heard it before but it has not been a part of my vocabulary. "Moxie?" (courage, determination) Maybe! It was probably the first time of many that I became tired of the way things were going and felt it was time to make a change in my life.

(Before and after photos added by Gary White.)

Demise of the Broncos

Susan Shaff just emailed me that the sports programs of Cedar Vale and Dexter have been combined, which means the end of the Purple and Gold and the Broncos. I've invited Susan to join us on the blog, which I hope she will do. As the editor of the Outlook, she might be willing to keep some of us long-distance ex-Broncos informed about some of the events in good ole' CV. How about it Susan?

Leaving CV part 2

Since we knew we would be in Germany for 3 years we tried to do and see as much as possible knowing we would never have this amount of leisure time in Europe again.

On Walts afternoons off we would tour the vineyards wine tasting along the Rhine, Mosel and Nahe Rivers. The art of wine tasting includes holding your glass up to the light to check the color and clarity, smelling the bouquet and taking a small sip to savor the essence of the wine. Between different wines a piece of bread is eaten to clean the palate. Wine tasting was not rushed. Walt soon developed an ability to select exceptional wines, his Commanding General had a standing order of one case each time we went.

On the weekends there frequently seemed to be a 'fest' at one of the villages, such as beerfests, winefests, Oktoberfest, cheesefests, we even went to a pretzelfest. All of the 'fests' had parades and the locals would be in costume. There would be much drinking and eating and sometimes fireworks.

If we didn't have any thing planned on a Sunday afternoon we would join the locals at one of the castles for kucken and kaffee. The Germans would walk up to the castle, the castles were always on top of the hill, some times the hike would be as far as 5 miles.

On a weekend we might drive to Luxemburg, a beautiful Grand Duchy, a large American military cemetery is located here. Awe inspiring! Or we might drive down the Romantic Road, 180 miles of some of the most beautiful 14 century medieval towns with walls and towers intact. My favorite of all was Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The story we were told was that during WWII the town was surrounded by US forces but they didnt fire upon it because the army
commanders mother thought Rothenburg was the most beautiful place in Germany. After a while the people surrendered and the town remained intact.

On a 3 day pass we would go to Paris or skiing in the Alps. Our favorite skiing areas were around Berchtesgarden and Garmish Partenkirchen. These resorts had many beautiful old hotels some had been built by the Nazis but most had been confiscated for the SS. After the war the US military confiscated them for our military. We could stay there for very little money and best of all they each had nurserys.

In Paris we would do all the tourist things including the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo or the paintings of Monet, Renoir, Corot, Cezanne etc. We sometimes ate lunch or dinner, with all the lights of Paris below us at the restaurant atop the Eiffel Tower. Because of the weight the restaurant was later removed. Twenty five years later, I was helping our daughter, Lynne, move to New Orleans where she would attend Tulane Medical School, and discovered a New Orleans entrepeneur had purchased the restaurant. It is now open in the Garden District. Small world!

We tried to see and do as much as we could including the Parisian night life. On our first trip we went to the Folies Bergere but quite frankly after you have seen one bare breast you have seen them all. I thought it was boring and wanted to leave at the intermission but Walt couldn't relate to that and insisted he was not bored at all! I am sure all of the males reading this probably would have agreed with him.

More later.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


by Jay (J.D.) Mills -Volcan, Chiriqui, Panama - 10 February 2008

I was born in Winfield, Kansas in January of 1941, 11 months before the start of World War 2. We lived on a farm on Otter Creek, in Cowley County, about 6 miles north and 2 miles west of Cedar Vale. Our Rural Route mailing address and party-line phone were from Cedar Vale.

My parents, O.D. and Nellie Mills were living in Parsons, KS in 1928 and 1929 where my father had a Chevrolet dealership with his brother Ralph. As economic times became worse, they had a harder and harder time collecting money due them for cars and repairs. So in 1929, sometime before the “Crash of ‘29”, they sold the dealership and my parents moved back to the family farm on Otter Creek. The farm was homesteaded in 1871 by my great grandparents (I don’t have good family history at hand).

According to my mother, recalled in later years; “After we moved to the farm in 1929 and the great depression hit, we didn’t have very much money but we didn’t need much.” “We grew our own vegetables and had livestock for food.” That would have included cows for milk, chickens for eggs, and pigs, cattle & chickens for meat.

I have already recalled a couple of my early memories on the blog, but a note from Velma (Fessler) Kare reminded me of more things that I remember about the farm from 1944-48.

Velma reminded me of my first dog, Skippy. Velma’s dad worked for my dad on the farm at that time and they lived nearby.

Quoting from Velma’s e-mail:
"The reason I remember your dog, is that dad came home one day and was telling mother and I that it began to rain and you were outside with your dog. Your dad told you that you better go to the house as it was beginning to rain, and you replied ‘Skippy will keep the sprinkles off’.”

Right after we got Skippy he decided to go back to Cedar Vale one day. I was about 4 years old and I followed the dog for about a mile, over to the county-line road, and then about 1/2 mile south towards Cedar Vale. The rural mail carrier found the dog and I at the top of the hill above the bridge, where we were both headed down the road to Cedar Vale. He returned us both safely home. If it were not for the fact that World War II was going on and gasoline rationing kept down the amount of traffic, I would probably have been hit by a car or pickup on the road.

I also remember another, older Collie-mix dog that we had that hated snakes. Every time that a snake came into the yard the dog would grab the snake behind the head and shake it violently, killing the snake. The dog had a deep, depressed scar on his left front shoulder that my mom said came from a snake bite, so that explained the hatred of snakes.

More chapters on Farm Life coming.... stay tuned. - 30 -

After CV

Many of you have shared your lives after leaving CV so I will share some of mine.

I met my husband, Walt, in 1959 when he was attending KU Medical School. We were married in 1960, I was a Public Health Nurse until he started his medical residency a the Mayo Clinic then I became a staff nurse at the clinic.

In 1962 he was drafted into the army because of the building of the Berlin wall and the soviet military build up.

We left Rochester, Minn in March at -20 degrees F for San Antonio at +80 degrees F. After 6 weeks at Fort Sam where he learned to spit polish his shoes, salute and wear his jewelry, caduceus and Captains bars, he was deployed to Germany aboard the USS United States.

I followed a month later for what we considered would be an exciting adventure, however, I was 2 months pregnant and sick as a dog! Walt, picked me up at the Frankfurt Airport and after I christened the roadside of the Autobahn, several times, we arrived in Baumholder one of the largest US tank training areas in Germany at that time. He was the surgeon for a tank battalion. Since he was not career army we were not eligible for housing so we rented a house in Idar Oberstein.

Our 3 years in Germany were full of adventures but we were always under a cloud of the cold war. The army trained with the idea of tank warfare, traveling across the Balkans fighting all the way to Russia. On the Army Post there were large road side pictures of Russian tanks so the soldiers would become familiar with them and would recognize them in war. Our little town was 20 ks away but we could hear the tank guns shooting almost every day.

In case of war, for the dependents the plan was wives and children would convoy across Germany and France to Calais where we would board ships and cross the English Channel. Looking back on this plan I think we would have been considered causalities of the war. The whole time we were there we were ordered to carry K rations and any other emergency items we might need in our VW for our baby, Lynne, and my escape.

A year after we moved to Germany, President Kennedy was assassinated. All the US military was on full alert because at that time it was thought that Russia was involved. The dependents living in the little German towns were somewhat isolated and without very much knowledge of what was happening and were beginning to think maybe it was time to head for Calias. Fortunately, for us Russia was not involved.

I will continue this later.

Friday, February 8, 2008

6th Grade Memories

When we were in th 6th grade, taught by Effie Foster, there were two outstanding memories for me.

First, was my most embarrassing moment in grade school. At about that time the school lunch programs were being set up across the country. To make room for a kitchen the first and second grade coat closets were combined into one room.

I am sure there were no standards regarding equipment and at that time few if any refrigerated trucks. In our school kitchen there would have been only room for a regular refrigerator which would not have had enough space to keep the food and individual milk cartons cold.

Anyway, for lunch I had a carton of chocolate milk, a real novelty at that time, during Mrs Fosters reading period I became ill, all over my desk, my clothes and the floor! It was so traumatic for me that to this day I will not drink chocolate milk!

I know some of you wont be able to understand what a big deal that was to me but being a girly girl it was awful!!!

The second item I remember was the reading period after lunch in which Mrs. Foster read the classics to the class. The book we probably all remember the most was "Uncle Toms Cabin'. She would get so emotional while reading it she would cry. It was probably one of the first times for me to have ever heard of slavery.

Since we had few African Americans in Chautauqua Couty I doubt we thought much about their civil rights. However, when I worked at Hankins Drug Store much later, anytime an African American came in they would order at the counter and then take their drinks outside, not because they were told to but this was probably what they did across the country.

There was an African American who lived and worked on the the Jarvis Ranch, I think his name was Oscar. Two or three times a year he would knock on our door and ask to speak to 'Mr. Floyd' then he would step off the porch and wait for dad. He would ask for money which dad would give him. Dad never explained or talked about it and later Tres Kill who also lived on the ranch would reimburse him.

As I type this it makes me sad.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I'll spare you the organ recital. The "bones" are as follows:

In 1972, I slipped on a wet step in our back yard and fell on my right leg, breaking the fibula. I was in a cast for about 6 weeks.
In 1978, I was coming around the corner of the bed and hit my toe on the leg of it, and, of course I cried out. My husband laughed and asked if I had skinned up the bed. In retaliation, I told him, "I'll skin you", as I kicked at him. I was in nylon hose on a hard wood floor and both feet flew out from under me and I sat flat down on the floor. I had compression fractures of L4&5. I was in a back brace for 8 weeks.
In 1991, I was home for my mother's funeral. I was upstairs when the phone rang and I went running down the stairs, missing the last step. I fractured the right 5th metatarsal, and ended up in a cast for about 4 weeks.
In 1994, I was starting up a short flight of stairs and turned to return to the bathroom to turn off the light and missed the last step, hyperextending my right knee, resulting in a tibial plateau fracture. I was in a brace, allowing me to bend the knee but I was not allowed to put my foot on the floor for 3 months, then began some weight bearing, still using crutches. Dr. said I could go back to work April 15. On April, I started down those same stairs with my crutches and lost footing and fell, fracturing the same knee in a different place. So finally, July 12, I was allowed to go back to work.
Last of all, the following winter, I started across the patio where there was a patch of ice that I did not see and, you guessed it. I fell down, breaking my right arm just below the elbow. I was off work a couple of weeks, the they found some office work at the hospital that I could do and I was back on the payroll.
Needless to say, I am very careful these days. I have been diagnosed with osteoporosis in L4&5, and both trochanters and am being treated for that. For some reason, my right side has been pretty banged up. You might say, I have been somewhat "accident prone". Due to a shortening of the right leg following the knee injury, I had a total right knee replacement two and one half years ago to correct the valgus, and give me back the length that i needed.
Now, aren't you glad I spared you the "Organ Recital"?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


by Naomi Remer

I left Cedar Vale the weekend after graduation and moved to Winfield where I rented a room from an elderly lady living about 2 blocks from Wm. Newton Memorial Hospital. I worked there as a nurse aide until September when I entered nurse’s training at the hospital. I went through school on a scholarship loan from the hospital and then worked for them for reduced salary of $200/mo. plus meals for 14 months. The amazing part about it was that my three year training, which included ‘tuition and training expenses including books, uniforms, health service and testing service up to a total of $530.00 for the three year basic course taken at William Newton Memorial Hospital School of Nursing.’

It was a fulfillment of my dreams. From the time I was a little girl, I never wanted to be anything but a nurse. I took all the science courses I could at CVHS to prepare me as much as possible for nurses’ training. I always thought I knew how to study but,when I started Anatomy/Physiology, Microbiology and Chemistry at Southwestern College, I had to learn all over again.

I graduated in August of 1960. I had to make up a month due to being out the first of my Senior year for surgery, so finished the 20th of September and was married on the 24th. We took a week for a “honeymoon” to the Ozarks and I started work on Saturday, October 1st. For the next 42 years I worked somewhere, taking out time to have two children, a broken leg, a broken knee (x2), a broken foot and a broken arm. I retired from nursing in November, 2002 and let my license lapse in 2005. I have no regrets about my life as a nurse, but I’m glad to be free of the stress that it imposed. The last 23 years of my career I worked as charge nurse and night supervisor at Halstead Hospital, Halstead, KS, just prior to it’s closing.

We took our first trip to South Texas in January, 2002, then February in California. I returned to finish my stint at Halstead. We began going to McCallen, TX for the winter in 2003. We did not get to go this year due to my husband’s health and other family matters. We plan to go back this fall, if the Good Lord allows.

A short note about the picture above. I got involved in ‘jams’ down south. I had been involved in musicians getting together and ‘jamming’ but there the term took on an all new meaning. There may be just a handful all the way to 55-60 ‘jammers’ who play together (hopefully). Each person gets a turn at the mike to sing, play, etc. and everyone plays along. You always hope everyone is playing the same song you are singing as well as in the same key. There is all levels of skill as far as the musicians are concerned. I found it a lot of fun. I took some guitar lessons, and play piano as well. I played piano for a couple of jams and otherwise just strummed along on my guitar until it was my turn to sing. You always hoped that someone else would not sing ‘your song’ before it was your turn. I sing some Country music and a lot of Gospel, which is my first love. That’s the part I have missed this winter in not getting to go.

There’s a lot more that has happened in my life, but that may come later.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cedar Vale Sports

Who were the best athletes to come out of Cedar Vale?

First of all I want to apologize to those I have forgotten to mention, but since I just turned 70, I should be excused because I've been told that your memory is the second thing to go. I am only mentioning those people I was aware of or can remember during my tenure at Cedar Vale. There must be others that I didn't know or forgot.


Jim Hill, Kenny Bennett, W.B. Johnston, Newton Meyers, Jim McCall, Raymond Littrell, Bill Williams, Jim Harvey. There were many others but I can't recall their names right now. (Senior Moment).


Jim Hill, Kenny Bennett, Reese Bohannon, Bernard Lemert, Bob Bailey, Dick Bouey, Don Shaffer, The McGlasson brothers; Elmon, Bob, John and Delbert, Davie Holt, Bob Hays, Wayne Woodruff, Roy Walkinshaw, Jack Foster Joe Ellis, Charles Beachler. I would pick Delbert McGlasson or Bob Bailey as the best players that I can recall.


I don't remember the high school having a baseball team prior to our Sophomore year, so I will have to go by some of the town teams that CV had. Roy Smith, the best right handed pitcher, and Wayne Woodruff the best left handed pitcher, Grant Utt the best home run hitter, one of the Sweeny brothers as outfielder, (I remember him leaping and catching the ball with his bare hand after a long run and losing his glove). All of our team was good, with Bob at first, Jack at second, Gary or Ralph at short, Roy at third, Lloyd as pitcher, Bill catching, Wayne pitching or outfield, Dick pitching, outfield or catching Ross & Bob Cable in the outfield. Wayne was the trooper, after he had broken his right arm, he got a hit while batting one handed. He pitched with his left arm and after he threw the ball, he moved his glove from his cast to his left arm to field the ball.(I don't recall how Wayne broke his arm).

As you think of others please add to this list. I know I didn't know or recall all of them. There were some very good teams before and after my playing days, but I don't remember all of the players.

Old Time Recreation

Todays children would probably fall down laughing at our pre TV, pre tech entertainment.

My sisters and I would spend hours playing with Paper Dolls and even more time designing new clothes for them.

We would take turns Jumping Rope, we only had one rope for the three of us and it never occured to us that we were deprived because we had to share.

We played Jacks together or individually and on sudays we would take them to our grandparents and to play with our cousins and aunts.

One Christmas we each received a pair of Roller Skates. There of course were no pads to protect arms and legs so we always had scabbed knees and elbows. What a status symbol it was to have a skate key on a string around our necks!

When my family would go to my Goode grandparents on a sunday we would join our cousins, we had many, in the Conestoga Wagon or 'Prairie Schooner' as my grandpa called it. He still used it as a farm wagon. In it we would become pioneers traveling across the frontier fighting indians and other hardships.

We would lie in front of the Philco listening to the Lone Ranger, Amos and Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon and of course that scary one Inner Sanctum. Just hearing that squeaky door opening during the intro would cause a spine tingling shiver!!

We also loved impromptu plays, one of us would write a script and the others would gather costumes and props. We would preform for our parents, our cousins, neighbors or just for our selves. Sometimes Mom would bake cookies to give to our audience, maybe that was to keep them coming back. These plays were especially fun when our younger siblings were born and we could include them too.

My Dad built us a tree house which was about 20 feet high. Not only did we play house up there but we also pretended to live with Tarzan or the Swiss Family Robinson. We would put our 'props' in a basket and pull it up with a rope then we would be set for an afternoon of fun! I sort of lost interest in it after I fell about 10 feet when a step broke under me. I didnt break anything but I was banged up for quite awhile.

It didnt take much to keep us happy because we just used our imaginations!


Thank you Gary for inviting me to contribute to your blog. I have found it quite interesting to read the contributions of other Cedar Valians. What a difference 50 years makes.

My husband, Floyd, and I moved back to Cedar Vale in 2003. (I'm not sure why.) My husband wanted to get away from the city life and find some peace and quiet. My brother, Dan, married and his wife owned the home on West County Line Road that formerly had been the 3-C Dairy. It appealed to him and I agreed to move back. The peace and quiet and the sunrises and sunsets are everything we both wanted. It has been a totally different way of life but we were ready for a change.

When I say "city life", we came from Newton, KS where we had lived for 24 years. After growing up in Cedar Vale it seemed like a "city". It has been rather difficult not being able to run down four blocks to the grocery store when you need a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread but we are learning to plan our trips to Sedan, Ark City or Winfield and "stock up" on what we need.

We began spending the winters in McAllen, Texas, in 2003. We have a permanent place in an RV park there and really enjoy the change of atmosphere and TEMPERATURE. This is the first winter we have spent in Cedar Vale and have found it COLD. Due to family and health issues we did not get to go down this year but are planning on leaving the day after Thanksgiving in November to go back.

I've spent enough time on here for the first time so will log off and say have a great day!.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Phil asked for VIP's from our early days in CV. One person that still stands out in my mind was Flo Hays, wife of L. Claire, and mother of Bob. She was a real lady. In spite of being in a marriage that must have been hard, she was always gracious and kind, especially to the little kids that hung around her home and the hospital. Because Dr. Hays was excessively busy, she never knew whether he would be home for supper, make it to Bob's basketball games, or to the production of the Mikado, in which Bob was one of the main actors. And because of this factor in their life, she never had the social life that some of the women of the town enjoyed. No bridge club. No Welfare Club ( whatever that was ). No Eastern Star.

But she was always there for her son and his friends, and she kept us all in line with a kind but firm hand. She even kept her husband under control at times. Because I was a friend of Bob's, I spent many evenings at their home, and I especially remember at one dinner table Dr. Hays started talking about a prostate gland problem he had seen that day, and Mrs. Hays immediately shut down that conversation. Wasn't appropriate in front of an eleven year old guest.

She let us ride the horses, fish and swim in the pond (muddy place), catch crawdads in the little creek that ran below the house. But she was always aware of anything that we were doing that might be dangerous or destructive.

During our senior year in CVHS, Bob and I were invited to go to Wichita East High School to take a test which could lead to a very prestigious scholarship at the University of Kansas. My parents were both busy working and did not think it was worthwhile for me to go, but Mrs. Hays was kind enough to invite me to go with them, and she knew that in spite of what my folks believed, it was something that I should do. It was another of her many kindnesses.

Later she became a valued member of the CV school board, along with my dad. As usual, she carried out this task with intelligence and hard work.

She was not a smiling person, and some thought she was "hard". But I found her always kind and thoughtful. Shortly after I was married, we drove through CV, and were going to stay at the CV motel, a wonderful establishment at the foot of "main street". But we drove out to the Hays' ranch to visit and see if perhaps Bob was there. Mrs. Hays asked what our plans were and when we told her, she had a "fit" and told us in no uncertain terms that even if Bob was gone, we were staying for dinner and for the night. I am sure that was not convenient for her, but it was just another example of the kind of kind and thoughtful person she was

She is gone now. I never saw her again after that short visit, but will always count her was one of the CV VIPs.

CV Pavillion

I remember the Saturday night dances very well. I didn't drink until I was out of HighSchool, but I did go to some of the dances. I couldn't dance worth a darn, I had two left feet, and one of them didn't know where to go. I blame that on the Methodist church because during MYF they taught dancing, or at least they thought they did. I was a slow learner I guess. After going to college for a year, I finally learned how to dance, and for a while I was the hit of the show. That didn't last very long. Now, neither one of my feet know where to go. I did enjoy the dances though, because most of Cedar Vale was there and we all had a good time, although occasionaly there was a fight in the trees, but I was never involved and I don't think anyone was seriously injured.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Stella Beatrix Whitney/Walker (1881-1962)

The following article is a first attempt to describe the life and work of Stella B. Walker. I would appreciate any additional information anyone would care to contribute.

Writing about the life of Stella Walker, one of my early friends in Cedar Vale, Kansas, will entail several twists, turns, and detours to encompass a life that covered a wide range of both residence, and pursuits.

Stella Beatrix Whitney was born in 1881, the second daughter of Dr. Perry N. Whitney. The earliest record I have found for P. N. Whitney is the 1880 Federal Census. In 1880 Perry Whitney(1865-?) was living in Union Center, Kansas with his wife, Mamie (1856-1926) and infant daughter, Ethel. He listed himself as a farmer on that census form. By the 1885 Kansas Census the family had expanded to include Stella, age 4, and Francis, age 2.

Sometime in the next ten years, Perry, Mamie, and family must have moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Perry attended the Eclectic Medical Institute and graduated with an M. D. degree. “Eclectic Medicine” was a branch of medicine that enjoyed considerable popularity in the mid-nineteenth century. While it is now listed among the so-called “Quack Medicines” by the Food and Drug Administration and the American Medical Association, Eclecticism vied in the nineteenth century with allopathy, homeopathy, and other lesser-known philosophies, such as hydropathy, phlebotomy, and spiritualism. Eclectic physicians practiced with a philosophy of “alignment with nature,” learning from and using concepts from other schools of medical thought, along with observation of the use of medicinal plants by the Native Americans. There was considerable controversy between the allopaths, who believed in prescribing medicines to fight illness and homeopaths, who believed in prescribing minute amounts of the causes of the illness to boost the immune system to fight the illness. Furthermore, allopaths were divided between the advocates for “botanical medicines” and advocates of “mineral medicines.” Mineral medicines became pharmaceutical medicines, and botanical medicines became the province of herbalists, naturopaths and the like. There is no need to tell you who won that battle.

The eclectics, who included Dr. Whitney, tried to remain above the fray, preferring to pick and choose among all the methods of treatment. They often compounded their own medicines from combinations of “botanical” and “mineral” sources and created specific medicines for particular illnesses. The many preparations that Mrs. Walker compounded from Dr. Whitney’s recipes and sold over the counter at Whitney Drugstore, were typical eclectic medicines used by eclectic physicians.

By the 1895 Kansas Census, Dr. P. N. Whitney was living and practicing in Cedar Vale, where he had moved after graduating from the Eclectic Medical Institute. The 1901 history of Cedar Vale relates that “for the past four years he has had the leading drug business in the city. His daughter, Miss Ethel, is a very clever artist in oil painting; and another daughter, Miss Stella, who is studying pharmacy, is very expert in crayon portrait work.” Stella Whitney was in the very first graduating class from Cedar Vale High School (1896) (see photo). The 1900 Federal Census lists the entire family (which now included another daughter, Dorothea) living at home. Ethel was “at school” and Stella (age 19) and Francis (age 17) were saleswomen at the Whitney Drug Store. Sometime during the period, Stella attended the University of Kansas, where she was one of the first women to graduate from the pharmacy school.

Shortly afterwards, Stella met and married Reuben Gerald Walker and the couple moved to Mounds, Oklahoma. The 1910 census shows them living in Mounds, where Reuben lists himself as a “retail merchant and druggist.” Stella was not working during this period. Reuben had come from Highland, Kansas, where he had worked as a hired man on the Rolls Hunter farm.

Nothing is known of the couple for ten years. When we next meet them in the 1920 Federal Census, they are living in Dublin Gulch, Montana, where Reuben is employed as a miner. They have two children, Julia Irene (age 3) and William K (age 1) and Stella has no listed occupation. During this period, Stella lost several babies, either early in life or before birth. The Cedar Vale Cemetery lists a plot with the designation “Infant children of Reuben & Stella [Walker] (no names, no dates).

In 1929 Stella moved back to Cedar Vale with her children, which now included Marcella (b. 1923) and Althea (b. 1925). There is no evidence that Reuben came back with them and there is no record of what happened to him after 1920. Stella is listed as the head of the household on the 1930 Federal Census. She was sharing responsibility with her sister, Ethel Whitney/Crabtree in running the Whitney Drug Store. Both women were registered pharmacists.

Stella’s son, William attended the University of Kansas, graduating with both a pharmacy and an M. D. degree in 1945. He then served in the U. S. Army until 1948, before returning to Cedar Vale to take up the practice of medicine. In 1955 he moved his practice to Sedan, where he remained until his retirement in 1988.

Ethel Crabtree died on October 25, 1951 and Stella became the sole proprietor of the Whitney Drug Store. When I worked there around that time I never remember Ethel taking part in the operation of the business. Stella Walker continued to run the Whitney Drug Store until her retirement in the late 1950s. She then moved to Sedan to be with William and his family until her death on October 19, 1962.

Stella B. Walker was an important figure in medicine in Cedar Vale, Kansas. While she was thoroughly trained in modern pharmacy, she maintained the eclectic remedies that her father P. N. Whitney brought to the town. Townspeople depended on Dr. Whitney’s medicines for many of their ailments, and they missed Whitney Drug Store when it closed.

Summer Saturdays in CV

Cedar Vale really came to life on Saturdays. The farming families came to town in the afternoon in time for the drawing. Im not sure if the prize was money or merchandise, I dont even know how you signed up for it. At Thanksgiving and/or Christmas live turkeys were tossed off the roof of Adams Mercantile and went home with who ever was fast enough to catch them. When all the parking places were gone people would park down the middle of main street. After the groceries and supplies were purchased the men would sit on the benches located outside of most of the businesses, some would be whittling and all would be catching up on the news and of course always discussing the weather! The ladies would shop and visit while tending their young children. The teens would walk around together, few if any had their own cars so this was about the only time they saw each other during the summer. In the evening the cafes did a good business and many stood in line waiting for a stool at Herbs for a hamburger and a bowl of chili. The Leonard Theater would be full too. At Hankins Drug Store we had a steady stream of customers all day and in the evening we would have people waiting for booths to enjoy their once a week sweet indulgence of milk shakes, sundaes and sodas to eat after the movie or before the dance or going home. People would come from all over to the dance at the pavilion but because of all the drinking my friends and I could drive down and watch the dancers from the car but until we were older we were not allowed to even get out of the car.

Lighten up

It seems to me that most of the posts I have read have been of a serious nature. I propose that once a week someone will post a joke or something funny. Life is to short to be so serious.

I will start.

It appears that a team in south central Kansas had an undefeated football team with only one game to play. Before the game the coach informed the star player that he had a failing grade in math, and unless he could bring it up, he wouldn't be able to play in their last game. The coach talked to the math teacher and the Principle and they agreed that if he could pass another quiz, he would be allowed to play. The coach was allowed to structure the test and administer it to the student. In the dressing room with all of the other players present, the coach asked a question, which was the only one the player had to answer correctly. The coach asked the player, "how much is 2 + 2" The player thought for a few minutes and finally said 4.
The rest of the team started yelling and moaning and said coach, please give him another chance.

News from Judy Huddle/French

Here is the latest from Judy Huddle/French:

"I am doing quite well I guess. I went to Wichita yesterday to see the surgeon and he released me to do whatever I think I am able to do. I can't stand any length of time and I still don't have much balance but I guess I am just in a hurry. I still have physical therapy twice a week and of course I am supposed to do them in between."