Monday, November 26, 2018


"Peace which hovers over all like great white wings,
And the true happiness and joy which knowledge brings."

1929 Wichitan yearbook, Wichita High School East

Pieces of history remembered by those who lived through it are stored away and rarely shared with loved ones as time passes.  Digging and sorting through my mother's vast collection of photos, magazines, and post cards has edged into my life for nearly thirty years now. She carried so many memories but rarely shared, whereas Dad always had a story for us. 

Questions remain in my heart, never to be resolved, but what happened to my mother's life in the fall of 1929, her Senior year at Wichita East High School?  My beautiful blond curly headed mother enjoyed her teenage years in Wichita, and often recounted her first car wreck at an earlier age than 16. I used to laugh when she talked about driving her father's new car up and down Douglas street in Wichita, until the time on Volutsia street she didn't make the turn completely and hit the light pole on the corner.  Leaving the car, she  walked home that day and told her dad her story.  
When faculty and students turn away
From weighty cares and have a gay May Day. 

"Were you grounded?" I asked curiously. "No," she replied, "Why would I have been. It was an accident."  Even then I knew that Helen, my mother, was her dad's favorite child and could do no wrong.  I smiled, but i wanted to know more.  Why didn't my mother graduate from East High School that spring of 1930? Why  was it delayed? What caused her to be so determined that her two daughters graduate and go to college? 

FORWARD to Wichitan 1929
In the broad fields of student endeavor and the limitless space for achievement
there have been flights spectacular and flights nondescript. We aim to record the 
details of flight and to parallel student activities to an aeronautical adventure. 
As sophomores we made the take-off, a bit unsteady to be sure.
There were many things to master before the solo flight.
As juniors we sailed along gaily in the air and as seniors we are landing. The flight
is ended; the goal has been obtained. 

I know from my heart that my mother cherished her time at Wichita East, eventually taking correspondent classes and finishing her degree.  My mother could spell any word out loud correctly, her curiosity of language kept the dictionary handy always looking up words, her desire to learn Spanish opened a lifetime for my sister to speak and use the Spanish language fluently.  Our blue and red World Book Encyclopedia's were the lifeline to the world outside home.  

The stock market crash in 1929  destroyed my grandfather's oil company and his stock investments. My mother said to me, "We didn't lose everything. We learned like everyone else to make things last longer." (Thus, the shoe box full of used soap pieces that I found in the cupboard after she died.) The family life changed dramatically after the stock market crash, and they eventually bought a home on Oakland street that allowed for bedrooms to be converted to boarding rooms and the crows nest and basement into apartments. 

FORWARD Wichitan 1929
All has not been smooth sailing. Fogs have discouraged, strong winds have 
veered us to the right and left, supplies have been exhausted, and unfortunate conditions have made us swerve from our course many times. 
Nevertheless with the aid of our helpful pilots we have managed to right our planes and
 sail on.

During the war she worked for Boeing in the library where she organized books and papers and typed cards for the card catalog. She always liked that job.  What happened to her life between fall of 1929 and the war years?  
Opal and Helen relaxing after work.

I think she took flight and made her life productive and happy around her.  She was married and divorced during those year, as was my father. She struggled with helping her parents come through the depression. One of her best friend's from Boeing, Murphy Doodle, charmed me with her dress of high heels, suit coats, long skirts and brimmed hats, and a cigarette between her long fingers with perfectly polished nails. Their lives experienced tragedy and sorrow much like my life. 

As I prepare to send my mother's 1929 Wichitan annual to her Alma Mater, I realize that we are more alike than I ever knew. It has not been smooth sailing for either of us; strong winds veered each of us from side to side, money ran short, and unfortunate conditions caused us to swerve from our course many times. With the aid of our helpful pilots we managed to right our planes and sail on.  

Monday, November 19, 2018

A Butterfly in the Cosmos

We are like butterflies that flutter for a day
 and think it is forever. 
Carl Sagan

After nearly three months of deconstructing the flooring, adding new 18" tile, new carpet in three rooms, new bathroom counter top and painting the hallways, we created a new refreshing home where the sun radiates warmth from East to West. In the midst of this chaos we took time to gaze upon a moment, to show gratefulness for this opportunity of construction, to smile and give thanks for being here at this time, at this place, with these people we love. A simple delight like a butterfly examining my hand refreshes our souls and creates an energy that can uplift each of us in special ways. For this I am thankful.

For creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through LOVE.  C.Sagan

Walking in the fields on North Base with our Lucy dog offers us a tiny speck of the immensity of our earth, that often looks so flat.  The skies are criss-crossed on clear winter days with contrails from the jets, and for that we are filled with gratitude that we stand where we do and see God's beauty through space. A tiny dandelion grows in the middle of the jogging path, the only flower to be found in a sea of grasses. When do I ever say thanks for that bright yellow weed, except on a winter's day?   Gracias

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.  C.Sagan

Perhaps this is where Frodo may have lived? Behind "tiny doors" who can tell. Look around, you might be amazed to find a tiny door opening your mind to the world.  Kansha (Japanese) 

Most of the people I deal with are human, so I've had a lot of experience with that. C. Sagan

One cold windy day not long ago I played golf  in The Trails Club Championship with my friends.  It was so cold we laughed at ourselves for being out there. When we reminded each other that a truly blustery north wind would soon arrive we played even faster which caused even more laughter, because my tight warm winter pants began to stretch and slide down my hips.  The faster we played, the faster I found myself hiking my now very loose fitting pants before I could take a step, before I could swing, before I could putt, before I could step out of the bunker I had to jump up and hike up my pants. Now that is not a lady like way to play golf, but oh so funny. We laughed so hard that day that we paid very little attention to the stress of a club championship.

Being only human on this tiny speck of dust, standing with my pants gathering around my ankles I never worried about my swing, or hurting my back. On that day I won the Club Championship at age 70. We all cheered with laughter for finishing the round before the bitter winds swept through, and I turned my eyes to heaven and said thank you. In my heart I gave thanks to my parents who worked so hard to raise the woman I am today. Daily I give thanks to all of the people who are a part of my life.  S'gi (Cherokee)

Look at that dot. '  That's home. That's us...every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.  C.Sagan

It is the sunbeam I appreciate from day to day. Even when I cannot see it, I know it is there. 

"Go raibh maith agat" Irish for "May you have goodness."