Friday, December 23, 2011

Uncle Dana McGill

My uncle Dana McGill was an older brother of my mother, Nellie McGill Mills. When I was 7 years old we moved into Cedar Vale from the farm on Otter Creek north and west of town. Uncle Dana and my grandmother Julia lived two houses up from the Methodist church. My grandmother Mills lived between the McGills and the church.

I remember when Uncle Dana got one of the first televisions that I had ever seen. It was small and had a round tube, even though the picture was rectangular (I think). The picture would sometimes go out of adjustment and he would ask me to come down and play with the controls on the back until it straightened out again. This sometimes took a half-hour or more.

Uncle Dana also had an old Model A Ford roadster. Sometimes he would take me for a ride in his car and that was always a treat for me. I remember at least one trip to Hoosier to look around the site of the old train depot and other places that he remembered. As others have mentioned, he had a fantastic memory and recalled many things that were interesting to a young lad.

I really appreciate the articles and tid-bits that many of you have contributed about Dana. He was certainly an interesting man...and my uncle.

Happy Holidays from Panama. I'll hang some lights on a banana tree, or a palm tree to celebrate.
Jay (J.D.) Mills

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Story of 2 couples in Chautauqua County.

I am posting this, as I am sure there are those out there who love history and getting a glimpse into the what life was like in another time period. The woman in this story was evidently destined to be a widow rasing children.  I can not even imagine the difficulties faced daily.

I always enjoy some light reading while munching on lunch. This day I chose the “Cedar Marriages of 1889” to read. 5 Hours later I “came to” (in other words, got my nose out of the computer) & found that I had the story of 4 people buried in Cedar Vale cemeteries. They are not my family, just names that got my attention. The people were Hays, Higgins, Higgins, Higgins; two were Civil War Veterans.

30 April 1889 in Chautauqua County, it stated in Cedar Marriages of 1889, there was a marriage between Adam Hays 47 & Malinda Higgins 40.

After I read about the marriage, then I went to Find A Grave dot com. I wanted to see if this Adam Hays was buried in Cedar Vale. The the Headstone for the gentleman read Pvt A O Hays. He lived from 20 Feb 1841 - 24 Jan 1896. There was a notation that his name may have been Albert. The grave at Oak Hills Cemetery is for Adam Oliver Hays III, not Albert, who served in the Civil War, Co A 3rd Ind Cav. That man would live only about 7 years after the above mentioned marriage.
Then to Ancestry dot com for a Census.

The Census for Malinda Higgins was a Kansas Census (as opposed to a Federal Census) taken on March 1 1885 in Hendricks, Chautauqua Co. She was a 36 yr old widow, born in Indiana. She had 6 children from ages 1 to 18. Her youngest 2 children Maggie age 1, Elmer age 4, born in Kansas. Her older children George 16, Elizah 14, Lettie 11, & Ida age 18. all born in Indiana. All this information from one line of a census!!

Now for census on Adam Hays; same date, March 1 1885 Sedan. Adam is married to Mary, age 37. They have 6 children ages 7 mo to age 15, all boys - Amos 7 mo, Roscoe age 3, Walter age 6, Edwin age 11, Silas age 15.

Two years later, Mary is buried at Casement Cemetery at the age 39 yrs, 2 mos & 16 days 16 September 1887.

One year & 4 months later, Malinda Higgins & Adam Hays would marry. They have 12 children between them.
This begs two questions, who was Malinda's late husband, & what was maiden name of Adam,s wife, Mary J Hays.
One hint I kept running into was that Craig Switzerland County, Indiana was home of origin for all these individuals. Found the 1860 Census of Craig Switzerland County, Indiana that has the Higgins family. Mary J Higgins is 10, David Higgins age 17 are in the family of Elijah & Nancy (Campbell) Higgins. There is Adam's future wife & Malinda's future husband.
Now we have that Adam Oliver Hays III married David Higgins’s sister, Mary J. Higgins. Malinda Higgins was from same town, Craig Switzerland Co, Indiana. & her maiden name was READ. After the Higgins siblings passed away David's widow Malinda married her late husband's brother-in-law, Adam.
Sadly, Adam died about 7 years after he & Malinda married, leaving her once again a widow, & this time with 2 step-sons, Amos & Roscoe Hays. Malinda would live until 1934, & would be buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

David is also buried in Oak Hill Cemetery. He served Co. H 6th IND INF.

I used 3 sources for my findings. One is “Find A Grave” & the other is “Ancestry”, both dot com. & the resource that started the 'hunt', Kansas Trails Chautauqua County Marriage Records, Book D 17 Feb 1889 -31 Dec 1891.

“You may ask,” This took 5 hours.???

My answer, yes, that is the way it is in the world of Genealogy.

It is like a puzzle, finding a piece of the puzzle & then finding where it goes in the puzzle.

There were so many stories out there on the prairies of Chautauqua County. This is just a small part of the lives of a total of 16 people.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Old Lumber Yard in Cedar Vale

Sue Shaff, via e-mail to Don Cox, asked what the blog readers (that's you) remember about the old lumber yard that was recently wiped off the spot where it sat for many decades. She thought it would be interesting to recount the history of the building.

Please tell us what you remember? How many different businesses operated there over the years?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Guys & Gals -- What was your first car?

My first car was a Model A Ford. I'm not sure of the year, but it was a 2-seater. By that I mean that it had a front seat and a back seat. I would have preferred a single seat coupe, but my dad brought it home from an auction somewhere so I had to be happy with what I got.

I was 16 or 17 years old and had been driving my mom's car since I was 14. So the Model A was a "step down", but it was mine and a great "toy". It didn't run very well and it overheated a lot. It did have a "sun roof".... that is the tar paper and chicken wire roof had a large hole that let in the sunlight.

It soon quit running and a local mechanic came by to look at it. The timing gear had broken and it was made of some kind of fiber, not steel. I was able to get a new replacement in Cedar Vale and got it running again, but it was strictly a "fair weather" local car and not suitable for long trips to Sedan or Ark City.

My first car was like one that I saw in the Cedar Vale Museum, but that one has an intact roof.

Then there was my first love, but that story is best left untold.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Via Email from Don Cox

Floyd P. Call age 94 died a week ago. He made several entries to the blog and was an avid history buff.

He was able to go to Washington DC with his son Kieth to visit the WWII memorial as part of the Kansas "flights for the greatest generation" a few months ago. His son Dwight told me Floyd would be proud to be remembered on the blog. RIP Floyd


Monday, September 19, 2011

The Day the Jet Landed in Cedar Vale

I don't remember the exact year, but it was sometime around 1955 when a jet fighter plane landed near Cedar Vale. The plane was based in Wichita I believe, and was flying very high near Tulsa, OK when the engine quit. *If someone has better details please share them with us.

Although he could have landed safely in Tulsa, apparently he was ordered to "glide" to Wichita. He never made it that far and came down in a field just northwest of Cedar Vale. I don't believe the pilot was injured, but the plane had to be hauled away on a truck. It caused a bit of excitement at the time.

What other exciting stories are hiding out there?

Sunday, August 21, 2011


This comment just came in and I thought it should be posted more prominently.

I am the grand nephew of Mike and Brady Meldrum and am currently in the process of developing a plan to restore Hooser. Does anyone have old photos? Old stories? Anything at all would be appreciated!
Mark Gilliland

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Excitement in Old Home Town

I see from a story in the Wichita Eagle from Wed., Aug. 17, that about 150 people had to leave their homes in Cedar Vale for a couple of days because gasoline leaked into the sever system. Apparently all is OK now. It also says that the population is down to "around 500".

This will likely not be news to locals, but most of us are located outside of the area.
Thanks to Jim Hubbard for sending me the link.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One of the photos

Here is one photo with some editing.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Post Cards of the early 1900's

I have found Post Cards that have Cedar Vale postal stamps on them. From 1909 to 1916. There are many more cards than what I am posting. Just posting those with notes on them. I find it interesting that the notes do not match the picture on the Post Card. Have not looked on internet how and why these were made. I love these old cards. When scanning I had hopes that the printed side and picture side would be side by side. Not so, it seems. Young man with pups is Owen Lavely, he was the son of Jacob & Susie Lavely b 1884 in Cedar Vale (youngest child). He lived in Cedar Vale until his forties, then after 1926 census, find him in Colorado. He died Oct 1971 Tucson, AZ. Jacob & Susie are buried in Cedar Vale Cemetery.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Was there a CV Baseball team

Going through the Lavley & Ford of Chautauqua County pictures, I came across this gem. I am not real sure who is in the picture. Can anyone enlighten me on the history of this? Iris

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Parades of Cedar Vale

I hope this link works. It was faster to post the pictures on it.

On this 4th of July, wanted to share one of my favorite memories of Cedar Vale. The creativeness of the people. I loved the Parades. So much fun and a real sense of community. These pictures are certainly not the best quality, but the purpose is to bring back some happy memories.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

News from Wales

Hi CVers,

We have been traveling in Wales this month and were preparing to go back to Spain when an infection required surgery and a day in the local hospital. Now I am in full recovering mode and public health nurses come and dress the wound every day (all a part of the healthcare system here in Europe).

Thanks, Jay for reposting the comment below. I've not been able to get to the CV blog as often while traveling here. It seems that people do happen upon our CV blog from time to time, so it seems worthwhile to keep it going. If you like to check in here from time to time, make a comment or write a post. You old CV friends will appreciate it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Comment Re-Post

This comment just came in for approval and I posted it to Happy New Years (2011) but I don't think anyone will look that far back in the archives. This is for you Carolyn, whoever you are.... Jay
I am not from Cedar Vale, but I have enjoyed reading your blog. I guess that I am a distant relative of Phil Foust - since we had the same great grandmother, which is what caught my eye on Google and how I discovered your blog. My dad used to spend his summers on his grandmother's farm near Cedar Vale, and my grandma's sisters lived there, so I heard her talk about it. After my dad died, I guess I wanted to know more about his life since he was the last of his immediate family, and I discovered your blog.

I don't know what it takes to keep up a blog, but it may be that you are providing a primary source of history for younger generations.....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Friend Jim Hubbard

Jim Hubbard, who now lives in Wichita, and I grew up two blocks apart in Cedar Vale. Jim was my best friend, although he was a year younger. The "year younger" part is important because he was my inspiration to do a couple of very important things in my life. Being younger, if Jim could do it then certainly it was past time for me to do the same thing.

First Jim passed the test for his Amateur Radio (Ham) license at 16 I think. I had been interested in radios for several years and we already had a private phone line between our houses using salvaged crank style phones. Jim getting his ham license shocked me into action and I was soon the proud owner of my first ham license, call-sign KN0QDD. I have had many pleasant experiences and met countless new friends through amateur radio over the past 53 years, thanks in part to Jim.

The summer after Jim got his ham license he began flying lessons at the Sedan airport. I believe he was still 16. Of course, I could not let him get ahead of me again so I started taking lessons there also. We were flying in an old Piper J3 Cub. I did manage to solo that summer. However it took me several years, off and on, before I got my Private Pilots License. Jim went on to get commercial, instrument, instructor's, and advanced pilot's ratings. He still flies, but I gave it up a few years ago and my flying is now relegated to "hanger flying". That is, telling stories of how my guardian angles kept me alive and mostly out of trouble. I did fly quite a bit over the years and enjoyed it greatly.

Jim's mother was one of the most patient and kind persons that I have known, and his father was great with us kids also.

This is all to say a big "Thank You" to Jim for being my friend and mentor; even though he (still) is a year younger.

*Who was important to you growing up?

From the mountains of western Panama, all the best to each of you.

Note from Pat Pate Molder

This message turned up on the blog as a comment from several years ago. I thought the CV blog readers would want to read it, so here it is:

Wanted to say, Phil, how much I enjoyed our visit in Cedar Vale the afternoon of the Alumni Banquet. I'm so ashamed I didn't think to ask about Pat. I would have liked visiting with her, too. Just read your bio from '07. Bessie and Jimpy Lefler were really good friends of my grandparens, Anna and Albert. Jimpy cut my hair from 4th grade through 7th. I loved Bessie and Jimpy. Since this post is four years old I will wonder if you ever read it. Pat Pate Molder 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pebbles for the iPad

For those CVers who own the new iPad, Apple has just published my little autobiography Pebbles for that device. Go HERE

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More about Hooser

This info about Hooser comes to me thru the Post Office. Norma Knowles (Wesbrook) is a lady well into her 80s who grew up a stones throw from Hooser. This account comes from her own memory and from an account written By Caroline Meldrum Booth. Caroline's article was in the Winfield Daily Courier, Wed. May 26, 1976. (dfc)

Hooser was named for George and Martha Hooser. They had a government grant for 160 acres in 1884. They sold it in 1886 to son Ralph for $1,000.00. Ralph sold 80 acres to the Hooser Town Co, in 1887 for $4,900.00. The MoPac ran daily passenger and frieght trains by 1886. Frieght records in 1902 show 250 cars of baled prairie hay, 200 cars of cattle, and 10 cars of grain. Cars shipped in; 150 cars of cattle, 30 cars of coal, and 4 cars of salt. (My dad, Clarence Wesbrook, worked under Mr. F.M. Hubbard in the hay business.)
The first general store and post office was operated by B.E. Hornsberger. Francis Prather was the first mail carrier at a yearly salary of $900.00. His son George was the last rural carrier out of Hooser.

In 1951 the town site was sold to the Meldrum Bros.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Margaret Robinson Kennedy

We are going to inter Margaret's ashes at Ozro Falls Cemetery at 11:00 on May 28, and have an open house in her memory after that and before the alumni banquet. We hope to see many of you then.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pebbles is live

As promised, here is the link to the Amazon site for the Kindle version of Pebbles: Memories of a Small-Town Kansas Boy. You can download a sample or purchase the book here:

Hooser in Cowley County

For those who want to know (like there are hundreds out there!) here is the 1899 map of Cowley County, showing Hooser on the railroad toward Winfield.

New design

It's spring and time for a new look for our CV blog. Hope you like it.

Best, Gary

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

January 7, 1908

I missed placed some genealogy papers. I had every thing very organized at one time - somehow it all got unorganized. Years of misplacing things and the hunt for them has taught me that something else will turn up that will surprise me - or if nothing else, I will get things back in order. So it was a couple of weeks ago. I am going through the collection of 3 ring binders of genealogy information when I come across something I had completely forgotten I had in my possession. This letter. I had never read it. That day I thought this would be a good way to relax.

I began reading the words a young wife and mother had written one month and 21 days before my father was born. Once I started reading, I could not lay it down. I saw it as a story. Here she was in a new home, in a new state, with a new life as wife and mother. In her letter home, she paints a picture to people she left back home. I could see the kitchen where she was cooking. I thought she had a very logical thought on the food she was preparing.
The items she describes are things her g-g-g-grandchildren in Germany will find interesting when they get older. I had forgotten about tie stays!!
The little drawings on the pages add a special touch. I hope you enjoy Ada Hubbard's letter as much as I did. I am so glad she left this behind for us to see a bit of life in 1908 in Hosser, Kansas.
I did get a chuckle at the end of the letter. So softly mentioned. Almost as an after thought. Maybe that was the way it was then. By the way, how did Hosser get it's name??

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yearbook again

Wow, I can hardly believe my good fortune. Jim Hubbard just sent me scans of the front covers of the 1954 and 1955 yearbooks for CVHS. That's all I needed to finish the Kindle and iPad versions of Pebbles. Thank you so much, Jim.


Gary White

Monday, April 18, 2011

CVHS Yearbook 1954 or 1955?

I am in the process of putting all our published books up for the Amazon Kindle and the Apple iPad. I'm down to my little bio, Pebbles, and I have a request for the CV alums out there. If you have a copy of the 1954 or 1955 CVHS yearbook and have access to a scanner I would love to have a scan of the front cover of either of those books to put into Pebbles. You can let me know or send the scan to my email:

Thanks so much. I'll let you know when the book goes "live."

Best, Gary White

Friday, April 15, 2011

Info from Morris Jones

Hi all. I received the following information from Morris Jones who is retired in WA state. I have invited him to share some memories with us. --- Jay

It would have been nice to be a CVHS grad, but during WW2 my folks moved to Garden City where I graduated in 1949.

I went to K-State, got an architecture degree and a USAF commission and then completed pilot training. I had some interesting assignments including 13 months flying out of England in support of bases in Europe and North Africa. I landed at Don Cox’s base in France once and called him. We couldn’t get together for dinner but it was a treat to talk to a Cedar Vale friend, especially while in a foreign country.

I returned to Garden City after my AF years, and later lived in Laramie, Wyoming. I retired to Walla Walla, Washington, where I golf three days a week. It is a pretty soft life, -- but I can handle it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Herb's Chili - Again

I know it has been asked before, but I'm still looking for the ingredients that Herb used in his yummy chili. We seem to have a few more readers now, so I am asking again.

Gary mentioned cumin, and we believe that he bought the basic seasoned bricks from the packing plant in Arkansas City. I remember seeing the bricks with orange grease covering the outside. And I remember some small pieces of port fat. And of course I always had mine mixed with his great brown beans.

Does anyone know what else he used for seasonings? I don't cook very much as I live alone...except for my 3 dogs. However, I do enjoy making chili for myself and for my occasional guests.
I use ground beef instead of the pork that I think was in Herb's chili. After many years of trying I still cannot find a chili powder that I like. Herb spoiled me for so many years that I am still searching.

By the way, the nights are still forecast to be 55-60 and days 75-80 F for the rest of this year and all of next year here in the mountains of western Panama.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Kenneth Dale Thompson Obit

Kenneth Dale Thompson, 67, of Carthage and Ontario, Canada, passed Friday, March 18, 2011 at his residence.  Mr. Thompson was born November 25, 1943 in Cedarville, KS; to the late Harold David Thompson and Margaret Holroyd Thompson.
Mr. Thompson is survived by his wife of 20 years Joanne Mary Thompson.  Three sons, Joshua, John, and Michael.  Three daughters, Jennifer, Susan, and Laura.  His father and mother-in-law, Stephen and Rita Garvin.  Two brothers, Lynn and Mark.  Two sisters, Judy and Martha. Four grandchildren and many friends at the Carthage Airport.   He was preceded in death by a brother Jerry.
Ken retired from Exxon Mobil after many years.  He enjoyed flying his airplanes and living on the airport and loved his time here immensely.  Ken was an important person to the airport and will be sadly missed by his family and friends.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Madison Holroyd has asked me to post this notice on the Bolg:

Kenneth Dale Thompson, age 67, a 1962 graduate of CVHS, passe awy suddenly at his home in Carthage, NC. He was retired from Exxon-Mobil Corp. Memorial plans are not finalized at present.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Where and How Did You Learn to Ride a Bike?

I remember vividly how I did. I pestered my Grandad Ramey into buying my horse for the amount that a new bike cost and I ordered it from Sears and Roebuck Catalog. It was beautiful. Bright blue with a headlight, basket, and tail reflector. We lived up a lane that had a SMALL hill from the house down to the County Line. I would get on the bike and head down the hill. Now, keep in mind that there was a barbed wire fence on one side of the lane. also, a yard light pole near the top. After I had mastered this great accomplishment, my sister, Gayle, our neighbors, Gail Jean and Elaine Bennett, also, learned in the same manner. Needless to say, by the time the four of us had learned how to keep upright and on a straight line, the "beautiful bicycle" was not so beautiful. It took quite a beating. Oh yes, I got my horse back, also. My parents were none too pleased with that little deal I made.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Just wondering...............

Wondering where all of you are!

Not a day goes by that I don't think of the wonderful memories of Cedar Vale, especially during this basketball season! I remember starting my basketball career playing "garage basketball" with Harold Bohannon. Harold tacked up a Folger's coffee can on the side of their garage. We used a tennis ball as a basketball. What games we had! When the weather was wet, you could see the evidence of the mud balls we had tossed towards the coffee can! God, if I could only have a picture of that scene! Can you imagine that we even tossed in a few "two-pointers?"

Of course, this was after our pre-Folgers can experience. We first learned the art of basketball by tossing tennis balls off of the mouldings that surrounded the door ways of our house! Two points for a ball that went off the top, one point that hit the edge and bounded back to you! Later on, Kale Williams put up a goal in his backyard. Wars were had, my friends, often ending in the hay bales that prevented us from dislocating ourselves in the rocky confines of what lied ahead!

I could go on. Need you to go on! Tell us about you learning basketball....or the most unforgettable place, Cedar Vale. We had such a special time in such special place. Age will never fade those memories. Let's hear from you! I can just hear the stories!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This just in from Loyd Call

From  Loyd  Call     I moved into  apartment  9  
Cedar apartments   Mar. 11   2010.     [It is  located  where the  Grade
School  was  and is built with the brick from the old Grade School
15  Apartments]    
  Kenny  Marshall  has been Care taker for over 20  years. and we
are  celebrating  and we are getting together at  2.00  Feb. 22
to honor him.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Margaret Robinson Kennedy

We are planning to have an ashes service for Margaret at Ozro on May 28, probably late morning or early afternoon; and a reception after that at the house. We hope to see many of you then.
---- Jim Robinson

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Little Reminder

Perhaps it's time for a little levity on the CV blog. Just click the link. HERE

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jim McCall

This just in from Reva Sawyer:

"Jim passed away shortly after 9am Saturday morning. He had fallen and hit his head on concrete Tuesday and was taken to Wichita St. Francis Hospital where it was determined that surgery would not have a good outcome. Will let you know when we have more details." Reva

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jim Robinson

Jim, thoughts and prayers are coming your way, concerning Margaret's passing. She was a wonderful person. Such a smile...and winsome way! Lightened up any room she entered. She reflected your fine family, you, Elizabeth, Mae and Lincoln. I have many warm memories of your family. I will tell you one story. This is about Lincoln. I always admired his paintings..and writings. My admiration went up a couple of levels when, after I showed him some of my poetry, he said, "Good, keep writing!" On another occasion, he gave me some white, linen trousers, when he heard that I was going to K.U. Band Camp. We wore white at our concerts and I always felt special in those linen pants!

Thanks for informing us of Margaret's passing. This sharing makes me even more aware of how much "family" there was between families in Cedar Vale! Such a special place, such special people.

Blessings to you, Jim, and your family.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Margaret Robinson Kennedy

I'm very sad to report that Margaret Robinson Kennedy died December 26, at her home in Chicago. She had received a cancer diagnosis, but she was resolutely planning on further testing and getting whatever treatment could be done, and she was feeling okay. She collapsed suddenly, with friends present.
Diane and J.D. particularly, I'm sorry not to make direct contact, but I get tangled with email addresses and I don't have phone numbers.
Margaret doesn't want a formal service, but there will be an open Chicago reception on Jan. 15 at the Quadrangle Club, 1155 E. 57th St., 4:00 to 6:00 P.M. We will bury her ashes with a graveside gathering at Ozro sometime in the spring, probably late April. We will let people know when the time is set.
Jim Robinson

History of the CV Memories Blog, Part II

Near the end of the previous post I mentioned the photos that people sent to me that were posted on the blog. This is the proper time to mention our own Jay D. Mills, who is a professional photographer who has documented what CV looks like today. You can see his photos and his other blogs listed at the bottom of the page. Go there, if you haven’t already, to learn about a very interesting ex-CV guy.

Jay, who has many technical skills, has become my assistant administrator of the CV Memories blog. Jay is the one who keeps watch among the comments that come in to the blog and eliminates the spam from the serious comments. This became necessary sometime in 2009 when the spammers found CV Memories and began to sprinkle their junk over our blog. Every comment that is posted to the blog has been scanned and approved by Jay. (Thanks again, Jay.)

A major high point for me in 2008 was the trip back to CV and our forming a “Band” to serenade George Beggs, our school band director when we were in CV. George was designated as the parade grand marshall for the Fredonia Fall Festival/Parade on Saturday, October 4. George had retired as band director in Fredonia and the whole town was honoring him. Don Shaffer had alerted us on the blog about this event and I put a plan in motion that ended with a group of us on a flat-bed trailer on October 4, playing (or trying our best to play) “When the Saints Go Marching In”. How this all came about is due to the efforts of many people, primarily Don Shaffer, who served as our leader and furnished musical instruments and music for those of us who could still read music. I drove back to CV and stayed with Don Cox (thanks again, Don) and a group of us arrived in advance of the parade to find 84-year-old G. A. Beggs with his cornet jamming with us before the festivities began. We made a “joyful noise” in the parade and gathered in the basement of a local church for a dinner in Beggs’ honor. This was a memorable day for many of us, and we shared stories and got to know each other face to face after over fifty years. George had stories he remembered for each of us from our high school days. His favorite story for me was of my skipping the entire middle section of a Herbert L. Clark trumpet solo and not knowing that it had happened until I was off stage. Luckily, my accompanist was fast on her feet and covered for me completely. G. A. Beggs is a major hero of mine, and if I can be anything like as alert and active in ten years it will be a miracle.

A major change of location for me came at the end of 2008 when Elyn and I moved to Spain. Luckily, I had already enlisted the support of Jay to cover the blog for me, since I would be out of contact several times in the move and afterward. Jay has pretty much taken care of the CV Memories blog since that time. I have checked in from time to time to see what was going on, and Don Shaffer has become a regular blogger. He has kept the blog from dying entirely this past year and we all owe him a debt of gratitude. Elyn and I have traveled over much of Europe in the past two years, published four books about our travels and have two more in planning stages.

Well, that pretty much brings you up to date on the CV Memories blog, at least as I have seen it grow and develop for two-plus years and begin to slide into obscurity more recently. I have a question for you all—what do you want to do about this blog? I can just leave it up even though no one is posting to it, or I can take it down. Jay has said give it at least six months to see what happens and I’m OK with that. Lets see what the next six months brings. Best wishes to you all for a happy and peaceful 2011.

History of the CV Memories Blog

Now that CV Memories appears to be winding down I feel the urge to relate a bit about how this blog came about. I’ll consult my memory and the back files of the blog, but I’m sure this will be as much fiction as fact, as are all our memories.

Sometime in 2006 or 2007 I made contact with my old CV schoolmate, Wayne Woodruff, after having no communications since the mid 1950s when we were both undergraduate students at KU. Wayne was living in New Mexico, as was I, so I invited him to visit us in Santa Fe when he was coming our way. Wayne came through and spent a night with us on his way to Ohio, where he was moving. He related how he had retired from his medical practice to take care of his wife, who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease. After she died, Wayne had begun to make contact with a number of people he had grown up with in CV, in part, as an antidote to depression I thought.

We had a good day in Santa Fe remembering our years in CV and I thought that since Wayne was emailing several of our classmates we might go “high tech” and create a blog to all share our various memories. Wayne had the contacts and I had the techie skills to get it off the ground so I put up a blog called CV Memories and we invited people to join.

I should say at this point that I also had an ulterior motive for putting up CV Memories. I had been collecting little autobiographical pieces for several years that I was planning to put in book form and the blog seemed a great place to preview pieces that pertained to CV. (I ultimately published Pebbles: Memories of a Small-Town Kansas Boy in 2008.) At first, the CV Memories blog consisted mostly of excerpts from Pebbles, and others seemed loath to join in. Gradually, Wayne began to write down some of his memories and they developed into an extended essay on the Main Street of Cedar Vale as he remembered it.

When I had exhausted the store of excerpts from Pebbles, sometime early in 2008 others began to come online to fill the gap. Wayne continued to post his offerings, and Don Cox became the resident historian, since he is still living in CV and has the clearest and most extensive memory of early days there. He also has his companions at the Hill Top Cafe to fill in the details for him from time to time.

CV Memories gained local notoriety in Cedar Vale when Susan Schaff, editor of the CV Lookout section in the Winfield Courier began to use excerpts from the blog in her weekly news section. By this time, I was mostly serving as administrator and collector of the photos and other memoriabila that people sent along. I created the photo section you see on the blog from the stuff that was sent to me. I enjoyed bringing some of the older photos to life through the magic of Photoshop.

To be continued.

Help Us Keep This Blog Alive / Interesting

Gary and Don (and myself) are questioning whether it is worthwhile to keep this blog going. I believe that we should keep it going for at least another six months.

I'm not sure how to encourage more people to contribute. If just a few of you "watchers" would click "New Post" and share some of your memories of growing up and/or living in Cedar Vale the site would come alive again. If you don't want to write a little article then just chime in with a comment now and then. Your comment will appear just as soon as Gary or myself can OK it. I am still helping to delete spam in the comments every few days. I will continue to work with the site as long as there is activity.

I would be interested in hearing your memories about school outings, sports, family histories, favorite foods, "hanging out", first cars, teachers, pranks, summer / part-time jobs, fishing, hunting, dances, best friends, your travels, and what you have been doing since high school. I believe that it is also a good place to let us know about the welfare of friends and those we grew up with in Cedar Vale.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Things have been mostly quiet on the CV Blog this year, but I'll keep it up for 2011 to see if there is any more interest. If not, I many take it down later in the year. Any thoughts about this?