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Thursday, April 13, 2017

And the legal drinking age was?

By the time I was in high school I was old enough to drink liquor.  Well, maybe not according to the State of Kansas, or my mother, but I had a friend who had a father who made and bottled home brew.  He also left every weekend and left the stock unlocked.  I soon became known in Nickerson High School as "Home Brew girl."  That is a title I am not quite as proud of today as I was back then.  But the truth of the matter is it set the stage for later days when we moved to Hutchinson.

About the time we moved I was a senior in high school and tired of going there every day especially in a big city like Hutch where I knew no one.  So I got me a job in a burger place out on 4th and worked 2 weeks.  That was pretty boring.  It was one of those places where a speaker was on the tables and the customer ordered and I carried the food out .  Whoopee shit!  Big future there. 

I found the beer joints up on Main about the same time.  The interesting part here was when they checked ID it was in the form of a question.  "Are you old enough to drink?"
"Well, I been doing it for quite a while now so I guess I am."  Duh!

Now the best way to get free beer is to work in the place that sells it.  Within a one block area on Main Street were 3 bars that were known as the "3 Queens".  The first was the Manhattan Club, then the Brown Derby, and lastly was the Brass Rail.  I had heard of these places from way back when we lived in Nickerson and dad used to go drinking in Hutch.  Years later I read about them in the old family history when one of my great grandfathers had kept a journal.  One entry concerned his sons who worked for other farmers for cash money.  They had gotten paid and had " gone into Hutch and blowed up $20."  He was very upset about that little trip and mentioned it several times.  $20.00 was a lot of money back then and "blowing it up"  was a cardinal sin.

Also when I was young my fathers son (my half brother, Gene) had came home from the Army and was regaling us with tales of the 3 Queens and a lady of the night named "Sea Biscuit" who could out drink any man.  Her favorite drink was White Horse Scotch and milk.  I was "lucky" enough to meet her on one of my forays into the night life of the 3 Queens.  Sadly, she was not at all what I had pictured.  She was old, skinny and could cuss like a sailor.  She still drank White Horse Scotch and milk.  She had given up the "lady of the night" business and was married to a very tall man who was very quiet.  I think of them  when I hear the song, Country Bumpkin (click to listen.)  Her real name was Delores.  No last name, just Delores.  She did not remember my brother Gene.  She advised me to make something out of my life and not spend my time down on South Main.  My brother, Jake, concured with her and so my life in the bright lights of the 3 Queens was very short lived.

Then I found a place way out on 4th Street called the Tiny Tear.  The Tiny Tear was a cafe that was friendly to teenagers.  Sometimes I cooked there which also entailed waitressing.  I do not remember how I got from point A to point B since I did not have a car, but I managed.  The Tiny Tear was more my speed.   The kids that hung out at the Tiny Tear were very possessive of the place and we did not like strangers coming on our "turf."  During one of our "rumbles"  I met a guy who would be the love of my life.  His name was Jimmie and he called me "bright eyes."  Had the fates smiled on us we would no doubt still be together and I would still be in Hutchinson, but sadly, they did not.  He had just broken up with his girlfriend and 2 months into our torrid love affair she announced that he would be a father.  Back in those days that was an automatic marriage guarantee.  Thus ended our future.  I do not know what ever became of him, but I do know they had a couple more kids and I think he still lives back there, but I am not sure.  I still think of him fondly, but I also miss my little black calf named Dennis that died when he was 3 days old.  Water under the bridge.

I have good memories of my younger days.  While I may not be real proud of some of my shenanigans they did lead me to who and where I am today.  I do not have a prison record, for which I am thankful, but I do have a lot of life lessons that I could share with the kids now, but they would not believe me, so I won't.  My memories are just that, my memories.  And while I am sure Jimmie will never read this, if he does, I hope he remembers me just a little.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring time on the Mesa or better known as catch the damn wet backs.

Spring time on the Mesa is like no other time nor place.  Fields are being plowed, disked and some are already showing little onions and radishes popping through.  The field up on 27th Lane held black cows the last few months of the year and through January.  And of course there were little calves.  So damn cute hopping around.  How one cow could tell her calf from another always amazed me.
There were lots of cows and lots of calves.  This picture was taken on March 17.  The next day all the cows and calves were gone.  It made me very sad because having been exposed to life's realities I knew where they had gone.  They were taken to a sale barn.  Mothers went one way and the calves were sent to another pen. They were sold separately.  I can hear the calves crying and the mothers bellowing at night and that breaks my heart.  The field is now green with new alfalfa.  It is called the cycle of life.  Where do you think your hamburger comes from?
For time immortal Migrant workers have been a piece of the fabric that makes the Mesa one of the most lucrative garden spots in this United States.  Some of our greatest novels are based on the backs of migrant workers and the poorest of the poor who work the fields.  Who has not read "Grapes of Wrath?"  "God's Little Acre?"  "Angela's Ashes?"  The very fabric of this nation has been dependent on the poor.
Have you ever really just mingled with people who are struggling to put the next meal on the table, assuming they have a table?  You turn on the lights in your house and go into your kitchen to fix a meal.  Or order in a pizza.  At night you lay on your bed between your sheets and dream of tomorrow and going off to your job, or club, or wherever it is you go and do whatever it is you do. 
They come up here from Mexico.  You know where Mexico is and you know that our government wants to build a wall and keep them out of "our country".  Think about that a minute.  Are you going to show up out here in a few weeks to start pulling radishes and green onions and bundling them into little bunches to send to market?  Probably not.  Are you going to the produce stand to buy them nice and fresh for your table?  Sure.
When you are slicing those onions or eating that radish I want you to think about how that got to your table!  When you are roasting your chile, or eating your sweet corn fresh from the field, think about whose hands put it there.  Someone was bent over in the hot sun with their hands in the dirt picking it for you.  The "field workers"  are provided a "port-a-potty on the back of a trailer for their bathroom needs.  There is a cooler of water that may or may not have had ice in it when it left the farm.
The fields are alive with the workers all day long.  If it has rained and cooled the earth a little bit they are working in mud.  Most usually the sun is beating down all day long.  There is no shade.  They  work with hats and scarves covering every part of their body to keep the sun rays off them. 
Lunch break comes and they eat their beans and tortillas.  Of course they are cold, but they are also filling and easy to carry to the field. They drink water.  Lots of water.
When their 12 or 14 hour day is over they return to wherever they slept the night before.  Maybe a shack or shed some where.  Maybe a relative provides them shelter.  I do not know.  I do know they live in the shadows and they exist in a life that would break me in a New York minute.  Some of them have "papers" and some do not. 
They come here to work and when the season is over they go back to Mexico.  They go back because they live there.  That is their home.  They send money back to Mexico to take care of their family there.  That seems to upset some people.  I admire them for that.  While they were here they put money into our economy and what they saved they sent home.  They are taking care of their obligations.  Does that make them bad?  No!  How many people are we supporting because our "citizens" do not feel any need to work and take care of their own.
Many years ago my daughter and a son-in-law went to the fields to work.  Easy money. Pick a few peas and money in the pocket.  Yep.  They took my car and were gone 10 hours.  Patty had a red eye because she was behind Tex and he pulled a weed and threw it over his shoulder into her eye.  Their total take for the day was $6.30.  That was second only to the time that all 3 girls went out to top onions and I spent $30.00 buying the equipment needed.  That was a worse fiasco then the first trip. 
So, it is now Spring planting on the Mesa.  The "wet backs" are not showing up like before.  There are a few, but there is also a big white van that patrols the fields.  Not just the fields, but the sidewalks, and any where people with no hope congregate.  The men/women in these vans have the title of ICE on their uniforms.  That stands for Immigrant Code Enforcement (I think that is right.)  There job is to catch people "with out papers" and send them back to Mexico.  ICE is a good acronym for them because they are cold and ruthless.
(Interesting note here:  Back on Ellis Island when it was a clearing house for Immigrants and someone came through that did not have papers, the guard would call out "WOP!"  For many years Italians were called "WOPS".  I think it was later deemed a derogatory name and is no longer in use.  Just a thought there.) 
So here we set in a country that was founded on the poor and marginalized, meting out "justice" on the weakest of the weak.  I do not need papers because when I walk down the street I am white and everyone knows it.  I own my home.  I am privileged.  I have a car and draw Social Security.  I have it made.  Or do I? 
Our government bombed Syria because Syria gassed the same people who wanted to come to our country to escape.  No!  They are refugees and we will not have them here.  Isn't that just a little asinine?
I see the hatred in my country and it breaks my heart.  No more protection GLBT.  Confederate Flags flying in the breeze.  DAP full bore and hell with the Indians and their treaty.  EPA is a waste of money.  Global warming is a myth.  The homeless and the migrant workers are in danger and I can not help.  I want to gather the world  to my breast and tell them it will be alright.  But it won't.  The hatred is palpable.  I had a shirt once that said;
"They came for the Jews, but I was not Jew, so I stayed silent."
"They came for the Blacks, but I was not Black, so I stayed silent."
"They came for the Gays, but I was straight , so I stayed silent."
"They came for the disabled, but I was not disabled, so I stayed silent."
"Then they came for me, and there was no one left to SPEAK OUT!"
I will go to church this morning and I will pray for peace.  I will pray for my people who are suffering and I will pray for my friends who hide in the shadows and I will pray for my friends who ignore what is going on in our country. 

And then I will come home and weep.































Friday, March 31, 2017

Was it Ed or John?

Trying to remember way back to the Stroh place when I was 5 years old is a stretch.  I do remember that one of dad's friends was a carpenter.  Back in those days a carpenter could carry all the tools of his trade in his pockets and in a leather pouch.  All you really needed was a saw, a hammer, a level and some sand paper.  Oh, nails.  You needed nails.  I think his name was John and he carried his nails in a pouch, but when he was hammering he held them in his mouth so they were "easy to get at."  As years went by that little habit had some dire conseqences.  He developed cancer of the mouth.  He had to have part of his bottom jaw removed and after that it was just not much fun being a carpenter so he just died.  Funny how life goes sometimes.

That was back in the day when cancer was just beginning to rear it's ugly head, or at least the medical community was seeing this strange disease that could eat you alive.  Ever so often we would hear of someone who just took sick, wasted away and died.  We heard the whispered word "cancer" more often back then.  It just seems like when cancer was given a name it spread like wildfire.

So it was no wonder that when momma went into the hospital when I was in 7th grade that I was worried.  Yes, it was cancer.  They hoped they got it all.  Doctor was sure he had and we trusted him.  After all, my mother cleaned his house once a week so it was in his own best interest that he keep her healthy.  And he did.  Her recovery was slow, but she did recover.

Living in a small town and having my mother as a "cleaning lady" opened a lot of doors for our family.  She cleaned and I babysat for the people she  cleaned for.  One of the families was the family who owned the mortuary.  I must remember to tell you about that little episode.  Oh no time like the present.

That was back when television was first coming into being.  The Lamb family lived over the mortuary.   They had 5 little red headed kids.  They had to go out for the evening so I was called to babysit.  There was a body in repose in the viewing room but the man who worked for them would stay until they came home.

I got the kiddies settled in bed and thought I would just watch me a little television.  Do you remember when I think it was Orson Wells wrote a play about the war of the worlds or something to that effect?  The first words the television spit out were " We have been invaded by aliens!  They have come to kill us and we are all in danger!"  Of course I snapped that television off because if I was going to be killed I sure as hell did not want to know about it.  There is a lot to be said for the element of surprise.  I can still to this day feel the terror I knew that night when I heard that.  It was so realistic and I had never dealt with television before so I knew it was true.  But the night was just beginning.

The phone rang and I picked up just in time to hear the man down stairs say to his wife, "Of course, I will be right home.  I am sure it will be alright.  Let me just lock up and I will be there in a few minutes."  Click!  Oh, shit.  Now I not only had the worry of the aliens landings, I now had the reality of a dead body only feet away and no one guarding it.  I knew I was not going to turn that tv back on for sure.  I had only one course of action.

I went into the kids bedroom and woke them up and read to them.  I am sure they thought I was nuts, but I was 15 years old and scared to death.  The kids finally could not stay awake and I heard sounds downstairs so I knew the man had come back, or at least I hoped to holy hell he had!  Just for giggles check out that period in history.  The papers were full of stories about people who had heard the beginning of that movie and thought we were being invaded.  Hind sight tells me that I handled the situation better than a whole lot of people.

It was John.  John was the carpenter.  I remember. Amazing how these facts come back if I just talk to myself for a little while.  I am not sure if the facts that come back are the way it actually happened, but that is the best part of being me.  That is how it happened and John was the one with cancer.  If mother were here, my facts may not stand a chance, but she isn't is she?  So I will enjoy telling my stories and you will enjoy hearing them, because this is just how it is!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Stick horse, comic books and baseball cards.

I have been away from 709 Strong Street long enough that I am pretty sure most of my memories will go unnoticed and the people who helped create them are long since dead and buried.  As long as I do not name people, no one will know who I am talking about.  It is nice to know I have out lived a lot of people so I can tell the stories as I remember them and no one can say "Nope!  That is not how it happened."
One of the girls in our neighborhood liked to ride a stick horse.  So did her mother.  Sadly, this was also the woman who babysat for Mary and Dorothy when mom worked.  Her father was a farmer of sorts.  He raised peanuts and pumpkins mostly.  Also pigs and a goat or two.  Her mom had a bit of brain damage, but managed to still cook and clean.  They had a wood cook stove, but so did we.  Hers was fancier and had enamel on it.  There was also a water pump and a sink right in the corner, so they did not have to go outside for water.  I  was envious of that.
She would make a chocolate cake every day and the daughter always tried to get me to eat it, but I just could not bring myself to do that.  For some reason it had a greenish tint to it.  I think it was probably the cocoa she used, but I was never sure.  She was always frying something, or boiling something.  Seems like parsnips were cooked more than potatoes.  I just figured out the other day that parsnips are actually very good.  Lagree's had some on the mark down shelves and I bought them and brought them home.  I peeled them, boiled them and then sauteed them in butter.  Yep!  Parsnips are now on my eating list.  They have a sort of sweet, nutty taste and I really like the browned parts.
There were 5 in the family.  Mother, Father, son, son and daughter.  The oldest son was already grown and gone when I met the daughter.  The father just farmed.  He planted things and harvested things and fed his pigs and butchered his pigs.  I never knew him to ever have a friend.  I heard rumors that they had been in a car wreck right after they were married and the mother had brain damage and the father felt guilty.
The daughter only wore jeans and flannel shirts.  Her shirt pocket was always bulging with baseball cards she collected.  Same with the pockets on her jeans.  I never saw her in anything else.  When the mother needed to go to town, she and the daughter would mount their stick horses and ride the 6 or 7 blocks into the grocery store.  I never knew either of them to ever ride in the pickup the father used for hauling his produce to market.
The house was sturdy and very well built.  I expect it is probably still standing.  I forgot to look last time I was home.  It had no indoor plumbing and that was not unusual.  All the houses on Strong Street had the out house going on.  Theirs was the worst though.  It consisted of a shed in the corner where two rows of chicken houses met.  A big hole had been dug and a metal wash tub with a hole cut in the center had been turned upside down over said hole.  The proverbial Sear and Roebuck Catalog was at the ready.  Man, I have been in some scary places in my life, but that one was the scariest thing I had every seen.  There was no way in the world that I could ever bring myself to even go inside that let alone pull my britches down and crawl on that tub.  No way in hell!  Never had to pee that bad!
The grandma lived in town in a big house with a bathroom and running water and all that good stuff.  The  brother went to live with grandma leaving just the 3 of them on Strong Street.  When I was 17 we moved away and I never heard of them again.  Years later I heard that the daughter had married and had a couple kids.  The mother died and then the father.  The daughter died when she was 50.  I often wondered how their life went.  They were just such isolated folks back then, but looking back no ones life really touched anyone elses.
We all lived on Strong Street until we left.  I sometimes wonder if mine was the only life that is changed by that little dirt road.  I never heard my sisters ever talk about it.  Was it because they were too young, or in Josephines case, too old?  Did that life shape me for who I am today, or did I escape?  Who knows.  I do know I take solace in the girl I was back then and I think she is buried some where beneath my callous exterior.  When I drive down that street now, I can not recognize the places, but when I close my eyes at night I can see the stars, hear the cougar down on the river, and I can feel the hot, humid air on my bare arms.
I am home!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Racoons are for petting, or eating depending upon your need at the time!

Well, Raccoons are not really for petting, but I just thought I would say that!  Those suckers have some very sharp teeth and can pretty much take care of themselves.  I am remembering back to 1962 when Earl and I were living in Glasco, Kansas in a farm house on the edge of town.  Debbie was a very tiny baby and Patty was conceived but not hatched yet.
 
We were itinerant tree trimmers which meant we moved into an area and trimmed trees until the work ran out and then we moved to the next town.  That was easier than actually building a business and establishing a home.  Most tree trimmers at that time were known as "fly by night", but not us.  The fly by night guys would come into a town for a few days and do a couple high dollar jobs and then move on to the next likely looking place.  We actually had an address and lived in the community.  Well, for 30 days or whenever the rent came due anyway.  But back to the story.

Glasco is straight up US 81 out of Hutchinson, close to Concordia and about 60 miles from Nebraska.  I looked that up on the Atlas, so I know that is right.  I do not know how long we lived there, but some of my memories are pretty vivid.  One of our workers killed a rattlesnake on the back porch right by the door.  It was night and had I opened the door he would have been inside.  Never knew snakes traveled at night, but very glad it was Pete that found him and not me!

The compound consisted of Earl, Debbie and me.  Earl's brother Larry, his wife and daughter.  Two more brother's, Delvin and Virgil.  And lastly Pete somebody and his wife whose name I forget and a couple of thier kids.  I have no idea where we all slept, but as I recall there were a couple mobile homes or campers involved.  And dogs!  Actually they were " 'Coon dogs".  The guys had struck up a friendship with a couple in another town who raised and hunted with them.  Ah!  The thrill of the hunt!

For those of you who have never been exposed to that element of life, you are in for a surprise!  Any extra money we came across was spent to buy the best dogs that Bill and Dorothy had to offer.  There were a couple Black and Tans,  a couple Blue ticks, a  Redbone and a Blood hound.  It was Virgil's job to care for the dogs and it was a full time job.  Ah, but night was hunting time.

Once they brought home enough honey to sink a battle ship.  Every deal with raw honey?  Now there is a blog unto itself.  It had to be heated very slowly and then strained into containers of which we had none and then given away because one human can only hold so much honey!  Fortuneately there were grapes on the river about that time so of course making wine was also on the agenda.  That was set in the cellar which was located in the yard in the vicinity of the back door.  We were not allowed to go down there, but being the free spirit's we were, I gathered up the sisters in law and we ventured into the forbidden territory.  We tasted the fruits of the boys labor and pronounced them "horrible."

That night we could not find my little dog.  We searched every where and had given up the doggie as lost when Earl decided to check on the wine process.  Lo and behold!  The little doggie was in the cellar.  I am not sure I ever convinced that man that my dog had actually managed to get himself into the cellar, but you must remember my first husband drank a lot and as such had a kind of flawed reasoning.  (That was back in the days when I was not above lying to save my ass!)

Back to the eating of the Racoon.  As with all "hunter-gatherers" since the beginning of time, a racoon was finally captured and brought back to the "cave".  As head woman it was my job to prepare the feast.  Oh, my God!  The sight of the Racoon with no fur and no head, feet and a gaping abdomen was more than I could bear!  I put it in a pan on it's back with it's feet pointing upward, poured is some water, added salt and pepper and shoved it in the oven.  Earl checked it several times and finally pronounced it "ready."  There was no way I could have eaten a bite of that if my life depended on it and at that time it did.   I can still close my eyes and picture that.  I know in parts of the world and this country Racoon is eaten, but not the way I fixed it, I am sure.  I equate all wild animals the same as my kitty cat.

I do, however have good memories of Glasco.  It was a little town and I bought 2 chickens at the feed store and butchered them.  They cost a whole dollar for 2 of them.  Old hens, so they were turned into noodles.

The guys went down on the river and cut down a big Walnut tree and sold it to a buyer for $98 which was a whole lot of money at that time.  We were going to do that for a living, but that was stealing and we were afraid we would get caught.  Fear stopped a lot of our ideas.

Pete caught a fish that was very long, had a snout, and he had never seen one before like it so he beat it to death.  Later we learned it was a Gar.  Live and learn.

In my little mind, I was happy in Glasco.  In my little mind I have been happy most of my life.  Sadly the happiness did not always coincide with the time I was living through it, but that is alright.  My mother always had sayings for me.

"Hind sight is 20/20 looking back."

 "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."  

And my favorite "Time is the greatest healer."

My life is good.  God Bless!

Monday, February 20, 2017

I hope I do not get deported!

123 years ago a man named Johann Jakob Haas and his second wife, Maria Dorathea (Schrade) landed at Ellis Island Immigration Center.  They came from Dettingen Wrtt, Germany.  Those 2 people were my  great grandfather and step great grandmother. He had 9 children with this second wife.  This was called his second family.

 (Great grandfather had been married before and fathered 7 children with his first wife, Elizabeth Beck.  My grandfather was in his first family.)

At the time I was born, Jakob and Maria had been in the United States of America 47 years.  I guess that makes me a third generation immigrant!  Not sure how that works, but it seems my kids would then be fourth generation immigrants.

How sad it is that I woke up this morning with this on my mind.  And that my second thought was that I am a child of white privilege was even sadder.  My grand children are a mix of races.  I have one black,  2 Indians, one mexican and then then token white boy.  The great grandkids are a hodge podge and we no longer see color at my house.

I know that our government is "cracking down on the illegals" and this breaks my heart.  To see a mother torn from her children and sent back to Mexico because a paper is not in her possession that gives her the rights I have makes me sick.  She raised her kids by working and spending her money in the local market place.  Her kids went to the local school not just for a day or two, but for years.  Years.  She wanted to be here or she would have gone back to Mexico a long time ago.

Does anyone except me remember when the government cracked down on the illegals because they were taking work from the local people by working in the fields?  Seems the migrant farm workers did not come and the crops rotted in the fields because that was work our local people who were legal did not want to do.  Hot out there in the broiling sun .

Our government has never made it easy to get citizenship and it has never been cheap.  Lawyers and paperswork and courts do not make it conducive for people who work very cheap to afford the help they need.  So punish them.  I was born into my citizenship, but many were not.

I know of one man who is 3 semesters short of getting his degree in business management.  He has worked hard to pay tuition and buy books by working in the fields, but he is not a citizen.  He will be sent back to Mexico under the current regieme.  His father was granted his citizenship, but has not received the final paper.  It is lost out there somewhere, so all he has done has been in vain.

Somewhere along the rocky road to today, this freedom train went off the tracks.  The government is fighting the Indians because the pipeline wants to go across thier land and water and do we remember who was here first?  Hell no we don't!  We took thier land.  Then we decided we didn't want them to be there and we took that land and gave them different land and now we change our minds again!  I bet the Indians are wondering why they invited us to that first Thanksgiving!

It would be nice to build a big rocket ship and put all the elitist ignoramuses on it and ship them to the moon and leave us peace loving people here to drink out of the same water faucets and play on the same beaches.  Remember the hippies?  Remember the love generation?  Remember the Viet Nam war?  Remember Stonewall? We are afraid of immigrants.  They might do us harm.  Remember Timothy McVey?  American born.  Remember Columbine?  American born!  Where is our rationale?

It is going to be a long day.  I wish I had a bright spot to give you, but this morning I do not.  This morning my heart is bleeding for my America.  The one we had before someone decided to make it great again.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Oh where have you gone, Martha Knoblock?

The older I get the more I remember when I was young and foolish, but mostly young and taken care of by some one other than myself.  I remember my classmates so clearly.  Now let me go on record right here as saying, I have my memories and thiers may be entirely different.  Like Martha Knobloch.  She played the piano and I recall her piano recital.  She lived near us, but up on the highway closer to the sand pit.  Her mother set up a recital in her home and several of us kids were there.  It seems like maybe only 4 or 5.  We set on a couch,  all us little girls in a row with our feet straight out in front of us.  I am sure her mom made some sort of refreshments, probably to entice us into setting still!  I recall being very proud that I knew someone who could play the piano.  I bragged about that for years, and look here, I still am!
Irene Reinke,  Beth McGonigle and Nancy Cuthbertson grew up to be cheerleaders.   They were the cool kids.  David Sjoberg,  Owen Lentz and  Gary Battey were the smart ones.  Kenny Fenton,  Jim Redford, and Larry Collee were the jocks.  Oh, and David Sjoberg was also a jock.  A smart jock, if you can imagine that.   Earl Kelley, Loren McQueen, Jay Moore, Joyce Pedersen, Barbara Hawk, Sherry Stires, Joan Moore, Eleanor Kirkpatrick, Eveline Piper, Barbara Massey, and Martha Knobloch.  I am drawing a blank on the rest of them.  I am sure when I hang up the blog, I will remember the rest of them.  But this was the core group.  Others came and went, but these were the ones I went to school with for 8 years and then into high school. 
I was not a very good girl in high school, so I lost track of them. The bus brought in kids from Hutch and the outlying areas and I just went to hell in a handcart mostly.  All through grade school Barbara had been my very best friend.  Mother cleaned house for them and I spent lots of nights at her house.  Remember the sleeping arrangements at my house made it impossible to squeeze in another kid.  She had her own room!  It had a bed in an alcove and a settee, a fireplace, a chair with a lamp to see by, a desk and everything I could ever dream of for comfort.  And her mother kept ice cream in the freezer and her day would make us a sundae with a cherry on top!  Her dad was the local dentist, so they had lots of money. She had a brother named Bert who always called me "mudpie" because making mudpies was always a pastime in my world.  One thing we always had was dirt and water.  Had I made bricks instead of pies I could have built a house.
I remember 3rd grade when hygiene became important.  The teacher's name was Miss Holmes.  The first thing every morning she would ask, "Did you brush your teeth this morning?"  We had to hold up our hand as a yes answer.  "Did you comb your hair?"  Another yes was expected.  "Did you wash your face?"  Yes.  Then she would walk around and physically inspect our hands to be sure they were clean.  I rarely passed.  I had answered yes to all the above questions, but only because everyone else did.  I am not sure I even owned a toothbrush back in those days.  I never had a cavity in my life until I married my first husband.  He gave me the cavity germ along with the nest full of babies! 
One of the really nice things about school was the bathrooms.  I never knew why they were called that because there was no where to take a bath, but they were nice.  All that tile and running water was more then I could ever dream for at home.  And hot water came out of the faucet!  In the 4th grade I went into the  bathroom one time at the same time as Beth McGonigle.  She had a popcorn ball tired up in a scarf.  It was uneventful until a few minutes later when Mrs. Howe grabbed me by the ear and took me to the office.  There the story was told by Beth that I had grabbed her popcorn ball and thrown it in the toilet!  I had not even touched her damn popcorn ball, but that was the story.  Mother had to come to school and hear what an evil child I was.  On the report card every nine weeks there was an area for teacher comments.  "Louella is mean to her classmates".  "Louella teases the other kids."  "Louella does not play well with others".  That continued until the last 9 weeks when there was no comment written because Mrs. Howe had been taken to hospital because she had a thorn in her lower intestine and needed surgery.  It was iffy whether she would make it or not.  Talk about Karma! 
In 5th grade I had Miss Swenson.  I loved that woman.  She found potential in me and entered one of my poems to a magazine and it was accepted.  Had I stayed in 5th grade forever, my life would have been so different.  But life went on and I am here today to tell you that Karma is good.  Well, Karma is good unless it is bad.  I like to stay on the good side of that bitch!  
I wonder where all the kids have gone.  I wonder if they had good lives.  One of the kids that wandered through my world in the 4th grade was a girl named Mavis Reed.  She had a brother named Jerry.  They lived outside of town and sometimes I would ride the bus to her house and then her brother would take me home on the handlebars of his bike.  Wonder what ever became of them?  Wonder why I thought of that?
Well, the world of church, geese, dog food, and all that calls to me, so I am out of here.  Just in case someone whose name of have mentioned above reads this, I would like to know.  Or if you know what became of the kids in the class of 1959 in Nickerson, Kansas, give me a shout out.  email is loumercer3@aol.com  Just copy and paste in your browser.  I try every day to be a better person just to make up for whatever I did back then.  I keep searching because if we do not learn from our history, we tend to repeat out mistakes and it is the same in the growing up world of skinny little girls!