Kansas Collection books


This book is dedicated . . .

. . . to Betty, for her patience, her typing skills and her sharp eye to catch my many errors;
. . . to Marti, whose star shines brightest when she attempts journalistic endeavors;
. . . and to Shelley, a new-found friend who came along at the right time with the right skills to bring this book to fruition.

My sincere thanks to all of them.


Foreword


      As I sat and listened to a Nat King Cole recording of "Looking Back Over My Life," a whole chain of thoughts rambled through my mind.  Suddenly, I knew my thoughts had wandered further back than I had realized.  I was dreaming about a long time ago -- but it seemed like it was just yesterday.

      Was it really that long ago that I was living in the bigwhite farm house with the red roof and the red granite chimneys?  I was starting off to the old country school that Great Grandpa had helped build.  I was swimming in the pond and fishing in the creek with Cousin Marshall in the summer, and hunting in the hills and skating on the ice in the winter.  It all seems just like yesterday.

      High school was a period of great awakenings, andlearning that there was a whole new world out there to discover and conquer.  There were new people to meet, places to go and things to do.  Life was full of ups and downs, but never still.  Boy friends, girl friends, parties, football games, classes and teachers challenging me to achieve impossible goals.  It all seems so real as I look back and remember yesterdays.

      The three Ds brought about some hard realities of life.Thoughts of the dust, drought and depression are melancholy and sad -- but they were real.  We endured, we suffered and most of us survived.  It is those days I try to forget.

      College was a dream that became a reality.  It led to new discoveries, studies and challenges.  Romantic relationships led to marriage.  Graduation led to a new job, a new home and children, all in good time.  But it was just a short time ago that I was bringing my bride home from the hospital with our first baby, just in time for Christmas.  I walked the floor with her on New Year's Eve after a drunken midnight caller awakened her with a Happy New Year phone call.  It doesn't seem like it was very long ago.

      World War II, with all its trials and tribulations, swirlsaround in my memories.  The troops leaving for foreign duty, the radio reports of battles, and the sorrows of loved ones missing in action are less painful now, but still real.  My college roommate was among the first casualties at Pearl Harbor.  I can still remember our last farewell as he left for active duty.  Those memories are sad ones.

      The family grew and expanded and the cycle of life repeated.  The joy and happiness of a new life, a new home and new babies were mixed with diapers, colic and runny noses.  As more children arrived the cycle was repeated.  School was much different and more complicated now.  Sunday school, church, horses, PTA, and Campfire Girls were scheduled events and became a part of my lifestyle.  School plays, summer camps and vacations led to new discoveries about raising a family.  Little did I realize how my memory bank was growing.

      Suddenly, it seems, they were off to college.  Another new lifestyle was in the making.  It was just a short time ago that I visited my daughter's dorm-party and learned to dance the "twist," sampled hot cider and donuts and visited her classes.  They were so much different from the parties I had attended at the same college.

      And not so suddenly, but without warning, there cameserious romantic notions about the boyfriends that led to marriages.  Three times I marched down the aisle to give away three daughters to young men that I barely knew.  Thus the pattern was repeated with a new home, the thrill of holding my first grandchild and counting fingers and toes to be sure they were all there.  That little one is married now, has a college degree, a new home and a fine husband.  It just can't bethat long ago -- but I guess it is.

      In some respects, the human mind is like a computer.If you can push the right button in your mind, those memories are pulled up for you to remember and enjoy.  It is about the closest thing we have to turning back the hands of time.

      Where is it written in the book of life that we have tolive in this modern, hectic world all the time?  Where does it say we can't kick off our shoes, lean back in our easy chair and punch the memory button in our mind, to pull up all those episodes we enjoyed in our yesteryears?

      It's called reminiscing.  I highly recommend it.


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