Saturday, August 29, 2009

..........remember when,

..........remember when,

First base was a trash can lid,
And second was a tree,
Third base was the clothesline pole,
And, homeplate was grass-free,

The bat was a stick, of major league size,
The ball, a sphere of plastic,
A whiffle ball, full of cracks and holes,
Covered with some kind of mastic,

The pitcher had no control of the ball,
only unerrying eyes could follow,
On rare occasions, when it was hit,
Both teams let out a holler,

Sometimes the ball would go over the fence,
The batter circled, easy and free,
But he was out at home, to his dismay,

P.S. Those were the Abner Doubledays, my friends!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Death of T.D. Oltjen

In an e mail this morning, Tom Randel informed me that the Wichita Eagle reports the death of T. D., a fellow blogger who spent lots of hours at his computer in recent years.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Our Fathers

I had often wondered over the years why some of our fathers were not fighting in the second world war. Why was my father, Jess Foust, Charles White and others sitting at home while others were dying "for their country". An interesting and sometimes humourous quote from a book by Rick Atkinson helps to clarify it.
"Physical standards remained fairly rigorous:soon enough, the day would come when new recruits claimed the Army no longer examined eyes, just counted them. A conscript had to stand at least five feet tall and widgh 105 pounds: possess twelve or more of his natural thirty-two teeth: and be free of flat feet, venereal disease, and hernias. More than forty of every hundred men were rejected, a grim testament to the toll taken on the nation's health by the Great Depression. Under the rules of conscription, the Army drafted no fathers, no felons, and no eighteen-year-olds: those standards, too would fall. Nearly two million menhadbeen rejected for psychiatric reasons, although screening sessions sometimes went no further than questions such as "do you like girls"? The rejection rate, one wit suggested, was high because "the Army doesn't want maladjsuted soldiers, at least below the rank of major.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cedar Vale Web Site

Our little town now has an up to date web site. I have just visited it and I imagine many of you will want to check it out. It was designed and started by a 16 year old CVHS Junior. He (Justin Davis) now has started in business creating and improving Web Sites. Go to--

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Old Age Ain't for Sissies

Well, it's been a while since I have posted here. I'm still alive and soon-to-be well in Panama. Someone recently send me an e-mail with the phrase "Old Age Ain't for Sissies".

Just this week I found out that it is true. I had to go to a local hospital for emergency surgery to remove a "hot" appendix. Then I spent three days in the hospital with IV antibiotics to take care of the infection from the leaking appendix. It was not a pleasant experience! The surgery and medical follow-up were first rate; however, concern for other people's comfort is not part of the local culture. I am very happy and grateful to be recovering at home now with many local friends helping out.

My new house which has been "just one month" from being finished for the past four months will have to wait until I am fully recovered from the surgery; physically and financially. Maybe I'll be able to move in by the end of October.

It's great to see so many posts about CV memories / characters, and from several new contributors. I often remember how I couldn't wait to leave Cedar Vale when I was young, and how my perspective has changed over the years. I'm sure it would be a pleasant place for me to live now ... except for the hot summers and cold winters. In the mountains of western Panama I have 75-80 degree days and near 55 degree nights year-round. We have no tornadoes, hurricanes, or snow storms and few prairie fires. We do have plenty of rain (Tropics) and the occasional mild earthquake (living less than 9 miles from Volcan Baru volcano). The volcano is dormant and supposed to stay that way for another 150 to 200 years.

So, having survived the surgery and hospital stay, I can now say without reservation: "Old age ain't for sissies" nor is it for the faint of heart. It still beats the alternative in my book and, borrowing from a famous blog, I fully intend to continue having fun until I die.

Best Regards from Volcan, Chiriqui Province, Republic of Panama.
Jay (J.D.) Mills, CVHS Class of '59.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Baseball Career

A few months ago Wayne presented his experience in trying to fufill his childhood dream of becoming a major league baseball player. I too had such an experience that I would like to share with you.

As background, we had a pretty good team in high school. Wayne, Lloyd snyder and I either pitched or played in the outfield, and when one of us tired, the other would come in and relieve.

We did very well until our senior year when we played Burden for a chance to go to the state tournament. As I recall, we were behind in the eighth inning with runners on first and second and I was at bat. I hit a line drive over the left fielders head and I thought, holy crap, I hit a home run. As I rounded second base, the shortstop was holding the ball and smilling like a donkey in heat. We did not score any more runs, and I have always blamed myself for not paying attention.

After High School, Wayne and I played American Legion ball in Winfield and went to the state tournament. I pitched the first game and needless to say, we lost. After that, I played town team ball for a team in Winfield and did pretty well. Later, I met a scout from the Milwaukee braves who was in Wichita watching their farm team, the Wichita Braves. He saw me pitch a couple of times, and asked me if I would try out for their team. I said sure, so I got in shape and did the try out thing.

I guess I didn't do too badly, because he said he could sign me for $5,000.00. I talked to my parents and my friends and anyone else that would listen. After a while, I had to give up.

I couldn't come up with the $5,000.00.

The end of my career.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Most of you know that the Cedar Vale "Lookout" is carrying most of the memories blog pieces with the comments. They usually appear in print 2 to 3 weeks after we have read them on the Blog. Many people have told me "that is the first thing I read when I get the paper because I enjoy it so" All of the people who comment are my age or older.
Rick's entry about the local bachelors certainly did get responses. So many had memories and corrections to make--I get them on the phone. For Example:

The Pierce Brother of Ozzie was Roy, they lived in the rambling house at the corner of Maple St and Lawrence St. here in town.

Floyd and Lloyd were the Slaten Bros. as stated. They also had their father in the house with them out there on the mountain. Floyd was a bit larger and stronger then Lloyd according to Treva Sartin White. Floyd worked for Treva's father, Mr. Sartin, as the "separator man" on the Sartin threshing machine. Each year they pulled the machine down into Oklahoma So. of Pawhuska and made their way back to the Sartin Place in Lookout Valley--harvesting/threshing at several farms along the way. This started with a steam engine which pulled the machine at a snails pace and powered it when it was threshing. Treva tells of her mother who at the end of the day sent sandwiches or leftovers home with Floyd that he could share with Lloyd and his father. Some of this went back to when Treva's grandfather was the head of things.
Slaten was a good worker and a valued member and of the team and everyone tried to keep him happy. This left Lloyd who was also a good worker and most likely the man Carl Mills dad had hired. Probably Lloyd was the one who lagged behind cuz he had to carry the bread. Another interesting tidbit; The Slatens had a roadster coupe parked in a shed at their place although they walked and never drove. I'm told the James Humble, who some of you will remember as a teacher at CVHS, talked the boys into selling him the roadster which he fixed and drove for awhile (no I don't know what years, or what kind of car it was). It was abandoned to rot and rust away at the Humble home east of town.
Frankie Fulsome reminded me that it was "Dutch" Wininger who came to Cedar Vale. He was the cowboy, not the overalls brother, and he lived in the Motel next to the Hospital, but was not in the extended care unit. He was in and out of the Hospital several times near the end.
Mark Johnson reminded me that there were other bachelors out in Lookout Valley in that era. Fred Montgomery and his brother lived on Rock Creek south and west of the Johnson place. Fred finally married in his 70s and the brother went to live in a house a bit north and west of the Ralph Houston place. Mark also remembered that some of the Campbell brothers never married and went thru life as bachelors.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Remembering the Robinsons

The class of '59 which had their fiftieth reunion this year was so very fortunate to have as a member Margaret Robinson Kennedy. Her parents, Lincoln and May were very active in the community and made a difference in the whole town, but what I want to tell is the difference they made for me, as a classmate and friend of Margaret. This is just one of several to come.

As we (our class) began to show the beginning of adolescents, the Robinson's conceived the idea of sponsoring folk dance instructions to help, I think (in retrospect) us become socially more sure of ourselves and become (maybe) more graceful. Thus, the sessions began.

A couple of instructors from Ark City came to Robinson's house where the rugs had been rolled back for our dance floor. Now, all the students in our class were invited and only one or so
declined. We had nearly even count of boys and girls. We learned such dances as "Put Your Little Foot," "Oh Johnny, Oh," some polkas and square dances.

All of us girls were so excited about the dances, with maybe the exception of Margaret, but she was a good sport as always. Most of the dances involved changing partners and I don't think we had steady beaus at that age.

As I recall, some of the other parents became involved, moving the dances to the hall above the old post office. They went on fairly regularly during our 7th and 8th grade, and I'm sure they made a difference in our awkward adolescents.

Just an example of two parents involving themselves in a very positive way into their child's development, as well as the rest of us, some who needed this experience more than others.

Although they are no longer here, we had one of our reunion parties at the Robinson house in May, where Margaret served as a gracious hostess. There we were in the exact rooms where we danced fifty-five or so years ago. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson.

More to come,

Diane Archer Bradbury