Monday, June 29, 2009

Go Back

FYI I spoke with Ada Ruth(Cortoy)Pendegraft today. She informed me that she had answered Rick Hollister's blog about info on town Characters. If you are like me you may not check the older pieces for comment. It's on Rick's piece of April 5th of this year. Check it out.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Saturday in Cedar Vale

Three Saturdays ago I went to an auction sale. The daughter and son-in-law of Carl and Nola Steward used this method to disperse the years of accumulation after they had taken what they wanted. Carl died and Nola is in the nursing home. It was a gorgeous late spring day and recent rains had settled the dust so I decided to ride my electric scooter down there as it is only a short mile from my house. I did learn that the scooter doesn't like gravel roads-the solid tires bang pretty hard over the larger gravel/rocks-but I made it OK. Many will realize that this place is where Wayne Woodruff completed his run to home after basketball practice since that family owned the place when Wayne's father died.

In reading the sale bill I saw that Army uniforms from WWII were to be sold and also a genuine Nazi flag. I think Carl was a top Sergeant with Patten as they dashed across Europe in WWII. This piqued my interest and I determined that I would not let these items go for a pittance as I would buy them for the museum in that case. I also figured I would buy some small item which would recall the family when I saw it.
A good crowd was assembled with buyers and collectors from out of town and I had a good morning visiting with local friends. I had recently put the piece about the Veteran's Park Project in the local paper so several wanted to discuss that. Well I stayed around for an hour and a half on my comfy, mobile chair and did speak with Don and Beth (Steward) Land. They didn't know when or how Carl got the Nazi flag. I also pocked around trying to identify the chicken house and milking barn that Wayne has told us about so eloquently. I did get my keepsake, a book from Carl and Nola's library titled KANSAS PEOPLE by Larry Hatteberg. He is an author from Wichita who is also a radio broadcaster. I haven't studied it yet, but it's there when I'm ready. It cost me 3 dollars. I saw the war memorabilia wasn't going to sell for awhile so I told a friend not to let it go too cheap and I went home to rest.

Later in the afternoon I went up to the Hilltop for coffee and company. I was talking with locals about the Nazi flag and someone told me it sold for around
$100. Pretty cheap if it was genuine. While on this topic I noticed a gentleman at the next table with his wife who I recognized as one of the out of town buyers at the auction. We were opining about the flag and we all petty much agreed that Carl wasn't the type who would want a Nazi flag for any other reason than it's being a war souvenir. The gent who was a buyer said he examined the flag and felt the stitching was too white and the colors too fresh to be a flag from 68 years ago. The flag was wrapped and in a storage box so I still feel it came from Nazi Germany all those years ago. Do any of you know anything about it?? What is your opinion??
During the conversation the gent's wife asked me if I was the guy who wrote on the Cedar Vale Memories Blog. I admitted it and it seems she was/is Sillyciel--Cecelia Metcalf--Gary's older sister. She has blogged with us also.

All this trivia may be very boring to most, but for me it was a most interesting and nostalgic day. GLAD TO BE ALIVE ! DFCox

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hot Weather

Has the hot weather slowed down the blogging, have not had a new one in two weeks.
I remember back in the 50's when we had a floor fan and left the doors and windows open. Then we got a water cooler. We could shut the windows and doors but we sure had a lot of humidity in the house. Then we went high tec and got a window air conditioner. It was amazing and I would set in front of it and let the cold air blow in my face. Now I could not survive without central air, my how times have changed.

I also remember going to the ice house with my dad and getting a block of ice. They would put it in a gunny sack and we would take it home and beat the sack with a sledge hammer, breaking the ice into small pieces. Then we would put it in the old hand crank ice cream freezer and crank and sweat until it was frozen, it took a lot of salt too. We would then throw a blanket over the freezer and let it set for a while. You don't get ice cream like that now.

Well everybody stay cool and if you have a freezer make some good old ice cream. Homemade peach is hard to beat.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Question

This question just came in from Jay Jones. Anyone have any information for him? If so, put it up on the blog. Others may be interested. Here is his post:

I am trying to locate the relatives of Frank Radcliff, Jr. He was a P-38 Lightning pilot in World War Two and I am researching his fighter group. I know he was from Cedar Vale and I see that his brother, Robert J. Radcliff, listed him on the National World War Two Memorial website. I don't know if he is still living, but I hope that at least his brother is still alive.
If you know anyone that could help me it would be much appreciated. I am from a small town in Oklahoma and hope that perhaps your town is like mine and that there are still connections there. Thank you, in advance, for any help you might be able to provide.
Jay Jones
Norman, Oklahoma

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Veterans Memorial Park


To breath new life into the Veterans Park project, a civic committee has been formed. There are eight members; two from the City Council--Larry Robinette and Jerry Walker, two from the Chamber of Commerce--Bill and Debbie Wall, two from the Lions Club--Don Cox and Madison Holroyd, and two "at large" members--Bill Campbell from the American Legion and Oscar Mattocks. Two meetings have been held.

We will use a plan proposed by Jon Champlin while a student of Architecture at K-State. it is a six sided "plaza" encircled by a walkway. On one end will be five (or more) upright limestone tablets from 4.5' to 8' high. The center and tallest tablet will have the emblems of 5 branches of the military and an appropriate dedicatory statement. The other tablets will be inscribed with the names of Cedar Vale area residents who have served their country in any branch of the military. The floor of the plaza will be of brick. We have about 82 inscribed bricks and we will be trying to sell more to help offset the cost of this undertaking. Those who wish to purchase bricks should contact a committee member for details.

Four flagpoles have been donated by Folsom Construction and they will be installed to carry "Old Glory" and other service flags. The American Flag would be in the center of the plaza and would be illuminated--to fly day and night.

Bill Campbell has voluteered to form a crew to do the initial cement work and lay the plaza at no cost for labor. The materials will have to be purchased. Larry Robinette is investigating the availability of one or more artillery pieces to be placed in the Park. Jerry Walker will see Borne Limestone about tablets. Madison Holroyd has order forms for memorial bricks. Debbie Wall is the Sec/Treas of the committee and Don Cox is coordinator/chm.

The "Mural" wall on the NW side of the park must be renovated, stuccoed, and primed so that new scenes can be painted on it. The present owner of the building, Courtney Cowel, has expressed his support for the project and has offered to do the work. The cost of materials would have to be raised. The aim would be to have the wall art and murals reflect the memorial theme of the Park and honor the veterans.

Lets hope this Park will be a magnate, a place that people will want to see, to stroll through, to photograph, and perhaps sit down and have a picnic lunch. (yes it will be landscaped and maintained)

People of Cedar Vale, whether you live here or elsewhere, please help the project come to fruition by buying a brick or bricks and/or making an outright monetary gift. We have set up a bank account for the Veterans Park Committee under the umbrella of the C of C. (tax deductible)

Don Cox

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Eldon Nelson

The 1972 Preakness came to mind when Pat Molder mentioned that one of Cedar Vale's more successful and known personages was Eldon Nelson.

This year ... the filly Rachel Alexandra won the race. In 1973 Secretariot was victorious ... but in 1972 Eldon Nelson was the jockey atop a 19-1 longshot named Bee Bee Bee. I was watching the race and was so excited that one of Cedar Vale's own was the winning jockey.

Though I wasn't well acquainted with Eldon ... I did know him well enough to realize that he was a fine fellow. Wikipedia mentions that he was born in 1928 and is retired after competing primarily at tracks on the East Coast of the United States. He married Betty Rose Coffman (1930-2005) with whom he had two children.

For four decades he rode for some of the leading stables in the country including the renowned Calument Farm. Eldon is the third person to be inducted into the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Though he reportedly still lives on a farm near Cedar Vale, he grew up during the Great Depression around Tonkawa and Ponca City before leaving home to work with horses.

It is said that before this year's Preakness, Nelson picked 9-5 favorite (and winner) Rachel Alexandra to be victorious.


Well, six p.m. in Cedar Vale,Kansas, in January seemed like midnight. It was always dark and cold and usually windy. Basketball practice ended about that time, and after a quick shower, off I went running down (what is now) Walnut Street toward our farm just outside town. The run was always interesting in what one might or might not see on the way, depending on who was around on a particular evening.
First, by the Bell Telephone office, where Mrs. White was at times sitting at the switchboard with those funny looking headphones on her ears. It looked warm and cozy in that office.
Next, by the little house where Bobbie Brooks lived with her family. Unfortunately, in January, she did not sit on the front porch with her extra tight, extra short shorts and ultra small halter top as she did in the summers, but still it was worth a quick look as I flew by.
Next, by the Cable Implement which was mostly shut up for the night but you could still smell the odor of oil and grease, and sweaty mechanics. Now came the perilous part of the run, crossing the intersection where old Highway 166 made the bend and headed east down Monroe Street. It was tricky trying to gauge the fast, heavy traffic that came down the highway trying to squash me before I could get across to the safety of the sidewalk by Carter Implement, which was also closed and also had that same distinctive perfume of oil and welding.
On down the street past the Hays Hospital which also had that hospital smell that one could detect even running by out on the sidewalk. I always took a glance across at the Sartin house and often would see old Mr. Sartin working with his arrowhead collection. Almost always I would see Dr. Hays' car sitting under the portico by the hospital, and wondered if he ever had a spare moments to himself.
Across West Street and past Melvin and Neva Shraders house, but of course, they were never home at that time of evening, because Neva did not cook and they were probably at the Hilltop or old Cedar Vale Cafe. And I looked across the street at Foster's house which was brightly lighted as Dorothy was cooking her wonderful meals and Jack and Jim were arriving home from practice, and often Jess was sitting on the front porch smoking because Dorothy preferred he keep THAT odor out of her house. He always yelled and waved.
Past the Adam's Funeral Home and the Marsh house and across Walnut was the house I always considered the Whartenbee house, even thought Charlie had killed himself years before. Now Carter's lived there, and they rented an upstairs bedroom to Mary Hamilton, the pretty young P.E. teacher. Carters had a daughter a little older than I, Juanell, who was a pretty thing also. Seemed like Cedar Vale was filled with pretty young things.
Across Avenue "B" and there was Carl and Nola Stewards little house and across Walnut from them was Goldie West's place. Goldie was Nola's mother, and except for the white hair, Goldie looked like her sister instead of her mother. On down the sidewalk I came to one of the highlights of the run, past the house where Nadine Stanhope lived, and I always slowed down hoping for just a glance of the beautiful girl who was a year older and light years away from me in terms of availability. Keep running and on past the old Babcock house across the street and it seemed that the street was getting darker and spookier as the street lights were fewer and farther between.
Across Cleveland Street into the block where Squirrely Hill's house sat on the corner and the home of one of CVHS' biggest athletes, Jim Hill, the hero of every young athlete. Also the home of the beautiful Donna Jean, who was desired by all the older boys in the school, but was too old for me to slow down for a glance. Mrs. Kirby's house and old Model T were sitting quietly and dark. After all, it was six p.m. and she had had a hard day driving the old car around town in first gear giving piano lessons to a group of lucky young folks, and she was tucked away soundly in bed. Directly across from her place was the home of Hap and ?Flora Beaver and their pretty young daughter, Betty, and most of the time by the time I was running past her house, Roy Walkinshaw had already made it there to spend a few hours ??studying with her. They did a lot of serious ??studying.
Now across Avenue "A" and a darker and interesting block occurred. Here lived Charles Oliver and close to him, Gerald Kennedy, but the last house on that side of the street was the Williamson home and I slowed down appreciably in order that I might get a glance into the front bedroom window where Velda might be changing clothes. Seemed that she hardly ever closed that shade, apparently unaware that some hormone-ridden boy might be close at hand.
Then one more odor, and that was the cigar that Woody Lemert always had in his mouth, and usually Effie made him smoke that on the side step of the house.
One more street light and then it became really dark as I crossed over the cattle guard and in front of the old rodeo grounds and through the giant cedar trees of Hewins Park toward our north field. Most of the time I would run in front of the Pavillion, but when I was feeling especially fast and brave, I would take the shorter root behind the Pavillion where the gentlemen who needed a quiet place to drink something out of a sack were parked in their cars and usually too drunk to be of any danger to the lightening fast athlete that I imagined I was.
Through the barb wire fence, into our alfalfa field, now running in the moonlight until I was frightened to death by the snorting hogs that had been equally frightened by this running boy. On into the house where, if I were lucky, there was still some delicious dinner with the delicious smells. No more the smell of oil, grease, welding, cigarettes, cigars, hospitals, but the warm smell of home. I had made it another time, unscathed and out of breath.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Arkansas City

I was sitting out in the little sidewalk café just below our apartment here in Sahagún sipping an afternoon cup of java (actually un cortado, a shot of espresso with just a little hot milk) when I looked up at the young woman who was waiting on us. She is from the Dominican Republic, like all the other wait staff in this little bar/café. There, blazoned across the front of her t-shirt was “Arkansas City” in bold white letters against a dark blue background. I wish I had had a camera, but was not so lucky. 

I asked her if she had ever been in “Arkansas City” and she gave me a look of total incomprehension. I pointed to her t-shirt and asked where she had bought it. In an oriental bazaar in León she said. (Chinese and Korean families run these little discount places in every town around. You can get cheap goods of all descriptions in these places.) Perhaps she thought I was asking to buy her shirt, or perhaps . . . who knows.

I then told her that I had been born very near to Arkansas City and she looked at me as if I had just said that I had been born on Mars. (All of this was in Spanish, of course.) It had clearly never occurred to her that the random collection of letters on her t-shirt might actually refer to a town someplace on earth. I don’t know if she thought I was lying to her or if she just chalked it up to the ravings of another foreign customer, but she smiled and put down my second cup of coffee.  Anyway, I gave her a generous tip for reminding me of southern Kansas and my early years. 

Visions of trips to the music store in Arkansas City where I purchased valve oil for my trumpet and sheet music of various kinds passed in front of my eyes. I also acquired my collection of 78 rpm records in that store. You could take a record into a little booth and listen to it before purchase.  BYF trips to the roller rink also came up. If I am out at that café with a camera when she wears that t-shirt again, I’ll take a picture and post it here. Until then, you’ll just have to trust me that it really happened here in the center of Spain to this transplanted southern Kansas boy.