Archive for May, 2016

Resolving Crescent City……#194 (the 80’s)

May 30, 2016

A meaningful farewell is given to Aunt Bernice,  the Facey’s  and  the eminent view of the Trinity and Marble Mountains from Etna.   The embarkation finding the family leaving the wondrous mountain-locked Scott Valley, christened  Shangri-La,  the Willson family again traversing Yreka Mountain on California 3,  accessing Yreka the city of Gary’s earthly commencement.   Having acquired an address,  the family making a stop to visit of Gary’s cousin  Pat O’Toole and his wife Shirley,  a thirty year lapse since the two having greeted each other.  Pat and his older brother Bud, both retired from military service having seen combat in Korea and Vietnam,  Bud availing the Army’s Air Defense Command and Pat a Sonar Specialist aboard a Naval Destroyer.

Gary’s cousin Pat O’Toole and wife Shirley



Gary’s Uncle Pete and Aunt Ann







One final stop  before the beckoning invitation of the road is answered,  a visit to a relation who’s presence is a remembrance of a 4-year old Mike,  but to this day having never been able to elicit their appearance in person,  his Uncle Pete Potter and Aunt Ann.   Their long time residence a remembrance firmly embedded because of the sounding of a horn at the Yreka commercial laundry, a sounding displayed in the morning,  twice during the lunch hour and at the completion of the work day.  During the last year of world war II , the 4-year old  would visit with his Aunt and Uncles only sibling,  his older cousin Billy.  After his visit he would walk home past the laundry and for an unbeknownst reason the sounding of the laundry horn was intimidating.  Approaching the laundry would find the youngster gathering speed,  running,  success was surviving without a horn encounter.  Gary finding it was a luminous occasion to finally experience and visit with Pete and Ann,  A focal  countenance coming to fruition of a forty-three year family memory


Gary's WW II home in Yreka at 215 Butte St.

Gary’s WW II home in Yreka at 215 Butte St.

Gary’s curiosity was acuminous,  before departing Yreka  he aspired to ascertain the location of the apartment residence he resided in during World War II,  its appearance and location disclosed only in the memory of a then four year-old, but Gary still able to recall the name Butte St.  Instinct  prevailing, driving to Butte St.,  stopping at a residency and taking a picture,  the results would be forth-coming from his mother upon the film’s development, confirming a childhood memory.


The aphorism  “you can’t get there from here”  was apropos,  the Willson’s aspiring to travel due-west to the Pacific Coast and Crescent City,  finding the only applicable highway from Yreka to the pacific coast was U S 1 99, commencing in Grants Pass Oregon.   Once again addressing Interstate 5,  the new Chevrolet Cavalier bounded in a northern aperture,  the panoramic ambiance of the mountainous terrain,  its woodland accession a vestige of nature’s macrocosm.   The first Oregon city of caliber was  Ashland,  Gary remembering visiting Ashland’s Lithia Park the summer he stayed in Etna with his Aunt Bernice and Uncle Sam. The resonant precursor for the remembering was the Parks Lithia Mineral Water drinking fountain.  Not aware of the fountains difference,  its bitter taste not a pleasant experience for a thirsty ten-year old.



The Interstate knows no limits,  Medford came and went,  Grants Pass was rapidly ascending on the horizon and the junction of U S 1 99. With the  crossing of the Rogue River and a course alteration to the southwest,  the scenic 80 mile journey to Crescent City commencing uninterrupted until crossing back into California.  coming upon the Collier Tunnel,  named for the 36 year legislative serving California State Senator Randolph Collier.  the principal author of the 1947 Collier-Burns Act,  which created the California  highway network,  earning him the title , “The Father of the freeway system”.   Gary having heard his name mentioned by his mother as he was a family friend  who was born in Etna,  lived in Yreka, his political astuteness providing Siskiyou County unprecedented stature.




Approaching the Jedidiah Smith National Recreation Area with its towering redwoods and  ambling Smith River,  bringing the travelers to a halt.   A time to pause, Gary Jan- Robert and Sandi disembarking their conveyance,  wetting their feet in the cool clear aqueous Smith River waters ,  a time to reflect on the silent wilderness serenity,  with its majestic aura and absorb this temporal meaning of nature’s opulence.  Gary, self-conscious of the scene before him, the visual majesty of Jan and his two children embellishing the already grandeur of the scenic surroundings, both a  luminous presentation of God’s earthly creations.




The 80 mile extent of US 1 99 was about to be fulfilled,  merging with US 1 oh 1,  4-miles from Crescent City,  the highways final termination.   Gary was surprised with the size of-the town,  a population of 3500,  all residing in an area of less than 2 square mile.    A visual perspective of the towns historic landmarks was enhanced culminating at the  tidal basis of Battery Point.   Taking leave of  the Cavalier,  the family venturing towards a light house built in 18 55,  positioned on a tiny islet across an isthmus only accessible at low tide.  The family discovering a fortuitous reward prevailing,  the isthmus was dry, the ocean withdrawing its tidal gift and being of few visitors.   The tidal basis way to the islet was  a obscured traveled route and once aboard the picayune island  an uphill walkway was found.



The lighthouse Hosts greeting their visitors  introducing themselves,  welcoming them to the beacon structure, their perennial home, elucidating about their life on the islet and providing a tour of their living domain.  With some exceptions, many of the furnishings were in their original surroundings from a quondam era.  A narrow stairway journey upward to view the beacon light, the host couple chronicling its history and picturing folklore stories of the oceans bellowing force,  its crest sweeping across the islet,  at times  a driven tempest,  questioning the fortitude of the occupancy and the anatomy of the architecture.  The lighthouse excursion providing a celebrated capsule of California’s bygone history, the Willson’s enjoying their conversation with the modern-day lighthouse keepers. The family concluding their acquaintance with Crescent City and with the remainder of the afternoon available  the venture was to continue, the cavalier  journeying south.


The Avenue Of The Giants…….#195 (80’s)

May 28, 2016


Highway U S 101 is referred to by a variety of road-signs, in Oregon it is characterized as  the Oregon coast highway, in Washington state it’s identified as plain 101, and in California it’s sometimes referenced as the pacific coast highway,  but the residents of northern California having recognized it’s alluring provocation christened it the Redwood Highway.  It was an amenable designation as the Willson family were about to experience on  their journey conveying south from crescent city.  The itinerary was one without design,  neither Gary or Jan could appraise what points of interest or vista they would engender that might compel an arrest in their journey.  Gary’s curiosity was activated when less than two miles from crescent city they encounter a roadside sign.  Turn on headlights Next 8 miles.




The forestation had begun,  the two lane Redwood Highway was  blanketed by a disposition of prismatic earthen foliage and majestic ascending trees. the asphalt roadway carving an artery thru the labyrinth of coppice,  providing an uninterrupted avenue of empyrean observation.  The travelogue amongst the Redwoods was halted,  a large parking area and pavilion was entrenched on the left side of the highway.  towering upwards and adjacent was a giant 49 foot likeness of the legendary Paul Bunyan holding an ax, and Babe his renown blue ox.  Gary  without hesitation  structured the Cavalier into the Parking dominion,  an aura of curiosity and enthusiasm resonating from the cars back seat.     Robert and Sandi acknowledging the display,  discovering something of real interest to their youthful perception


Trees of Mystery is a privately owned exhibit bordered by The Redwood National Forest and State Park,  what started as a fishing camp by Carl Bruno in 1931 evolved into an attraction named Wonderland Redwood Park, then named the Kingdom of Trees after a rustic highway 101 was opened for more public use by a WPA highway project.  It was then sold to Carl Lewin and re-branded with its current name Trees of Mystery.  In 1946, Ray and wife  Marylee Thompson,  the first woman to serve on the board of the redwood empire association,  became the principal benefactors, expanding the affectation to encompass the redwoods anomalous aperture..

Jan, Sandi and Robert with the stone serpent

Sandi and the tired Logger

Robert and Sandi before a redwood

The Willson’s beginning,  Robert and Sandi leading the procession, exploring the stated stone,  wooden sculptures and carvings viewed along the winding path.  Gary taking notice,   even in their demise the redwoods insured a survival,  many with six Herculean trees rooted from a fallen ancestor, its new growth springing forth from its branches,  at times the redwoods blanketing the Trail of Trees in a semi-darkness

The Brotherhood Tree,  a specimen of endurance,  over 2000 years of age and when losing 74 feet of it skyward reach, still remains standing at 215 feet of stature.  Continuing on to another  cluster of designated trees,  “The Cathedral“,  a hosting location for weddings.  The evening hour was approaching,  a meal at the dining establishment adjoining the Trees of Mystery was fulfilling, Gary realized it was a 70 mile journey to Eureka,  the family feeling the fatigue from the long journey.  It was time to still the night, but their lateness finding no vacancy’s, a final resolve successful.  a catechism of tomorrow’s venture would begin with the celestial essence of an Eureka dawn

The morning found  a gentle ocean affectation filling the atmosphere,  the aurora of the sun brushing the landscape with an advancing effulgence.   Humboldt Bay,  the second largest bay in California,  it position virtually undiscovered from the sea,  because of  its  obscure narrow harbor entrance  and a similar circumstance from the terra firma east, explorers finding northern California and southern Oregon land routes to the pacific coast non-existent because of the 2 million acres of densely forested Redwoods.  In 1850 gold was discovered on the Trinity River, the miners initiating a compulsory path to the coast and an  uncovering of Humboldt Bay and bringing settlers and Eureka to propinquity.


Eureka waterfront

A morning tour of the city,  viewing the celebrated Victorian Mansions built by the 1884 lumber baron William Carson, first viewing a pink Victorian, a wedding gift for his son Milton, then the monolithic colossus home of the redwood empire architect.  Continuing with the exploration, the harbor wharf granting the sound and aroma of the lapping water, finding a magnitude of fishing sorties and  lumber enterprises  still flourishing.  Their heighten assemblages  of branched timber addressing the waterfront awaiting shipment to the mills.   Another assembly of history gathered and filed away for recalled.



Once again acquainting the Highway,  the travelers continued south,  traversing the small burg of Fortuna and finding a distinctive name change for this extension of 101,  now proclaimed as  The Avenue of the Giants.   Halting their progression at Myersflat,  again finding an opportunity to experience the continuing breath of the redwoods, the shrine auto exhibit of the drive thru tree,  the cavalier idling thru the standing giant redwoods hollowed out passage way, and to the delight of Robert and Sandi, Gary stopping, camera in hand to record the event for prosperity.   The family once again embarking  on foot, traversing another trail to consume the essence of the redwood giants,  finding The Founders Tree,  a 346 foot colossal dedicated as a tribute to the save the trees league, formed in 1917,  responsible in preventing the redwood groves destruction


Jan’s interest having accumulated, discovering a gift shop which displayed cuts of redwood, some sculptured to adorn a place of dignity in a room and others that would prevail as a backdrop for a clock or picture.   The uniqueness of the shop included free shipment to any location, enabling the purchasing excursionists to continue to journey without having to arrange a provisional space for their acquisitions,  thus tempting the travelers to increase their expenditure.  With the afternoon approaching and their previous motel accommodations in Eureka unsuitable,   their late arrival finding the better establishments void of a  vacancy,  Jan having vowed, this would never happen again, inaugurating a call to the Best Western in Garberville,  a reservation was accomplished and with a satisfied Jan,  a better night’s rest was assured for continuing their journey





California 1 – The Coast Highway……#196 (the 80’s)

May 26, 2016

The beginning of the end

The Eel River bridge

The Cavalier with its valued cargo  acquiring the Leggett junction of US 101 and California Highway 1,  it was a beginning of the end.   The end of State Highway 1 and its 655 mile northern trek,  but a beginning for the Willson’s to view its wondrous scenic itinerary,  traversing the Coast Highway in a southern proclivity and returning to the bay-area province of foster city.   A quarter-mile into the journey experiencing the eel River Bridge,  the first of over a dozen bridges they would ford during their progression along the Pacific and their venture down its picturesque coastal byway.   Retreating on the acclivous avenue,  finding that they were still amongst the abounding redwood forest,  the roadway a gradual descent to the picture perfect blue pacific,  its scintillating effervesce and officiousness a presentation of staidness already coming into view.




The morning sunshine bathing the highway,  the cresting waves breaking leeward with the oncoming sea breeze arriving from the earthen expanse of the seas profusion,  but a sense of unanimity prevailing.  One found the northern California coast is isolated from its inland entourage, encountering  just two easterly flowing highways in 250 miles of southern sentinel journey.   The lunch hour acknowledging travel abeyance at Fort Bragg,  a short-lived military post established in 1857 to maintain order on the Noyo Indian reservation,  the post closing in 1864,    the ensuing years finding the Forts remnants were accomplished by the lumber entrepreneurs and once again an inhabited presence acknowledged.   Continuing south the family hesitating adjacent to where the Navarro River enters the pacific,  an expansion of shoreline enabling all to experience the cresting waves breaking on the sand adorned beach.  Robert and Sandi shedding their shoes and embracing the cool receptive waters of the Pacific.




Once again the Cavalier journeyed on The Coast Highway,  addressing Fort Ross, its history one of Russian occupation, the northern neighbors seizing an opportunity to lay claim to coastal areas north of San Francisco.  In 1806 a joint effort in the seal hunting commerce initiated the RAC Company,  Russian-American Company.  The Russians supplying the Seal hunters, the Americans the sailing vessels and by 1818 the seal population had been depleted.   The Russians having established themselves building Fortress Rossiya and a harvesting station on the Farallon Islands 30 miles off the California Coast.  The Fortress Ross settlement,  their personal and agricultural enterprises remained until 1842 venturing as far south as Bodega Bay,  the scenic location for Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic movie the birds and Gary’s youthful abalone fishing adventure with his Grandfather Marvin.   Continuing south with resolve,  the bay-area’s accession of 60 miles still remaining,  the travelers quiescent with their Highway 1 accomplishments,  the closing miles providing a panoramic view from the overlooking cliffs winding path, the driver of this road course ready for its conclusion.

Historic Fort Ross

Bodega Bay - location of Alfred Hitchcocks "The Birds"

Bodega Bay – location of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”


The shoreline California highway 1  providing  another encore meeting with u s 101,  the location,  three-mile from the Golden Gate Bridge.   Gary and Jan finding they could somewhat relax even in the traffic of the multi-lane Highway 101 after experiencing of the narrow cliff hugging coast roadway for the past hour.   Accessing the suspension structure, the travelers finding the six lanes on the Golden Gate Bridge moving swiftly,  its presence an effulgent beacon of San Francisco,  a poised landmark for 50 years,  proclaiming its stature.   The day prior to its 1937 inaugural automotive opening,  200 thousand participants gather to traverse the bridge on foot and roller skates,  each individual to autograph the journals of history and with embarkation of automotive propinquity,  the city of San Francisco enacted a week-long celebration .

Crossing the Golden Gate







A return to foster city and Gary’s sisters condominium, Scott, Gary’s oldest son welcoming them back after their prolonged travels and with one more day remaining before their return flight suggested a trip to Santa Cruz and the Boardwalk,  questioning if they were in accordance for another short journey.   Gary was weary of driving,  but Robert and Sandi hearing Scott’s description of the Boardwalk and the amusement rides  were ecstatic,  especially after having endured as  spectators during visits to relatives they had never knew existed.  Gary mentioning an additional  venue that wouldn’t be out of their way, a visit to the infamous Winchester House in San Jose.




      The morning found the rental Chevrolet making its final vacationing journey,  Scott accompanying the family,  once again on 101 this time to San Jose.  The Winchester House was once the personal residence of Sarah  Pardee Winchester, the widow of firearm magnate William Wirt Winchester.  After her husband’s death from tuberculosis in 1881, Sarah inherited more than $20.5 million,  also receiving nearly fifty percent ownership of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.   In 1884 she moved from New Haven Connecticut purchasing an unfinished farmhouse in the Santa Clara Valley and began building her mansion. It was reported that a Boston Medium told her she must continuously build a home for herself and the spirits of people who had fallen victim to Winchester rifles.  Sarah complied until her death in 19 22, there are 161 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms as well as 47 fireplaces, over 10,000 panes of glass, 17 chimneys, two basements and three elevators. The property was about 162 acres at one time, but the estate having been reduced to 4.5 acres.  Gary finding touring  the mansion and the exhibits an excursion into the yesterday and the aberrant world of a Sarah Winchester.


    Highway 17 and the Santa Cruz Mountains was acknowledged,  Gary having a brief flashback, this being the first time on the precipitous road since his youth riding on the back of a Cushman 5 horsepower motor scooter,  the teenager and his friend Dale Spady experiencing an adventurous voyage to Los Angeles.  Recalling the uphill ascend,  finding the Cushman in first gear,  having to fall in line behind the ten wheeler semi’s,  a slow but steady gate to the crest


The Big Dipper









    Scott directing them on a side trip to Aptos,  pointing out his aunt Kay and uncle Dons  previous residence and an area where he and his surfer friends socialized.   It had been over thirty years since Gary having walked the boardwalk at Santa Cruz remembering that he last assailed this copious amusement park, a train ride trip sponsored by the Oakland Tribune for submitting a required quantity of new subscriptions.  The noon hour found an appetite for fish,  finding the assemblage frequenting a seafood establishment on the Pier,  the remainder of the afternoon acquiring the escapades of the entertaining attractions.    The trek back to Foster City found an enervated crew,  it would be their final night in California




       The morning bidding a melancholy farewell to Scott,  the cavalier traversing the San Mateo Bridge to the Oakland International Airport and a return of the Alamo Rental car, having deposited over twelve hundred  miles on the odometer.   The American Airlines McDonnell Douglas 80, a version of the DC-9,  taxied to runway two-niner,  the airliner’s  pilot giving power to the tail-mounted twin JT8d200 turbojet engines,  the plane lifting off the runway,  banking east,  reaching an altitude of 35,000 feet, cruising at 504 knots,  Wichita Kansas Mid-Continent the winged carriers ambition.   The smartly dressed stewardess providing a complimentary lunch, its cargo of passengers lulled by the nutritional substance, a pacifying composure evolving and the whispering sound of the jets projecting aura of contentment.  The flowing aero flight above the revolving  earthly firma below projecting a temporal passing of forward progress, it’s nebulosity giving essence to the watchful heavenly domain, its silence displaying a gentle caressing of the strata.  The solace was interrupted with an announcement,  the flight was descending to Wichita.  Gary having mixed feelings, happy to be home, feeling blessed that his family was able to share the vibrant sixteen days together, even though a hint of melancholy remained with its conclusion


The Exemplary Union……..#197 (the 80’s)

May 24, 2016

Mr. & Mrs. Christopher Denton

Gary’s memory prevailing with thoughts of the past recalling the last time he had visited with his daughter Marlo and her friend Chris.  The couple having journeyed to Kiowa,  arriving in a 1953 Chevrolet spending the day, both the couple and the classic Chevy having made a lasting impression,  Gary drawing a conclusion that they would soon be united in marriage   The wedding announcement of Christopher Gene Denton and Marlo Cherise Willson wasn’t without expectation, but the telephone call from Marlo’s Mother was, her call was to inquire if Gary would help with the cost of the wedding, the couple having elected a Wedding Chapel Ceremony. Gary agreeing to pay for  all expenses incurred by the Chapel and Ceremony, Kaye relating that the couple had elected to be married on Sunday, February 14th, Valentine’s Day.  The matrimonial time-table having been set, Gary, Jan, 10-year-old Robert and 9-year-old Sandi making the Sunday morning trip to Oklahoma City.  The family arriving early at the Chapel, Gary unsure of his role in the ceremony, the Father of the Bride discovering he would be ask to stand and present the rhetorical answer to the question “who gives this women”.  The ceremony beginning with Richard Wagner’s traditional Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin, the groom awaiting the flowering bride, the presentation very artistic as was Gary’s daughter Marlo in her bridal gown and Chris attired in his formal white tuxedo standing, a pillar of intrepidity,  Gary reflecting on this moment in time, how young the couple looked.

Chris and Marlo

A favorite of the Bride and Groom

A favorite of the Bride and Groom

The ceremonial conclusion being  announced by Felix Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, a radiant glow emitting from the couple as they exited, giving credence to a blessed event.  Gathering outside the Father of the Bride wasn’t surprised at the large number in attendance considering the affluent personalities of the Bride and Groom.   An invitation being extended to the wedding ensemble of family and friends to join the Bride and Groom at Harrigan’s,  a favorite restaurant of Chris and Marlo’s on SW. 74th St., the establishment having made provisions for the gathering.   The joyous event of the afternoon coming to a conclusion,  a sense of melancholy was evident on the return drive to Kiowa, Gary for the first time putting his station in life and age in prospective, raising a young family, and experiencing another venturing into adulthood and making their way on the road of life.

Sandi with Chris and Garrett

Garrett – Chris and Marlo

The Denton’s having settled, Chris and  having  leased the unoccupied half of Marlo’s  mother’s duplex.  The  summer bringing the wonderful news of expectancy, The Denton’s announcing that January would bring more than a new year.   Behold the newest 6 lbs 2 oz. addition to the Willson legacy, Garrett Christopher Denton making his presence known on January 6, 1989.  Gary inheriting a new status, grandfather, discovering   a quiescence engulfing aura was present when embracing Garrett. his Grandson a reflection of innocence and purity.   Holding the reflection of innocence and purity, experiencing the radiance of sanctity of an unscathed countenance of his grandson, it’s  warm and soft presence instilling a sense of purpose and meaning.

A Graduation Overture…….#197(a)

May 23, 2016

“There’s a time for joy,  a time for tears,  a time we’ll remember through the years,  we’ll remember always graduation day“,  the lyrics of the Four Freshman promulgating the up-coming graduation event.   Gary’s wife Jan having concluded a two year educational journey, accomplishing an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing from Pratt Community College.


Gary not surprised at his wife’s steadfast resolve in pursuing a nursing career,  as this is who she is, remembering when she answered the communities call,  becoming an EMT on the ambulance service. but also remembering the words of her mother, questioning why she would want to leave her current position at the bank and become a nurse.  Her decision was inn reality a revelation, because on July 17th 1986, the FDIC regulating commission closed the Bank of Kiowa, Jan enrolling in the Pratt Community College nursing program.


Gary was surprised when she inquired if he would play the  piano  for the nursing class graduation ceremony.   At first somewhat hesitant, but realizing this was Jan stellar moment in life, he couldn’t decline,  questioning as to what his participation would encompass,  discovering he was to provide a prelude then the entrance processional, followed by an interlude and upon the conclusion the recessional.


Gary having no difficulty selecting what he would play for the processional and recessional,  but discovering the Preeminent of the Nursing Department, director Jeanie Walsh,  was paramour to a song from the Broadway musical,  a little night music,   Send In The Clowns,  made popular by folksinger Judy Collins.   Gary immediately finding a humorous countenance in the title,  especially to be perform as a prelude before the assembly of soon-to-be nurses.   He had decided the entrance processional would be a composition for his wife,  Jan at one time having mentioned her high school class graduation song was  The Impossible Dream,  it too from a Broadway production,  The Man From La Moncha


Gary vaguely recalling the Send In The Clowns song, and not possessing a recording for his musical ear to posture,   realizing he would be compelled to buy the sheet music.  Once purchased,  another discovery, the score was written  with a 12/8 temporal signature.    The up’ed  waltz time beginning was perceptible, but, the bridge presented a problem,  it wasn’t registering with the non sight reading musician.


Where there’s a will, there’s away.  Gary whom worked at the Kiowa grade school, asking  music teacher,  Cathy Cox  if she would play the song so the bridge would register with him.   Cathy seated at the piano, somewhat apologetic, as it was her first time sight reading the send in the clowns musical score.   Her first attempt was elucidating,  performance exacting,  providing the missing bridge connotation needed for Gary’s educated ear.  The pianist now confident with a few personalized brush strokes,  he could flourish the composer’s artistic musical  painting.


The evening of Pratt Community College graduation ceremony having arrived,  the gymnasium was suffused with friends,  family and all the consolidated graduates of the class of 1988 from  the divergent career majors.   A vocalist and pianist commenced the all class program,  continued with multifarious address’s from college and guest dignitaries,  followed by an acknowledgement of the graduating students  with a replica of diploma’s for their accession.   The student gathering diverging,   Jan’s diminutive sized nursing class leaving the arena,  to a lecture auditorium,  addressed with a stage and raised seating


Gary taking notice of a  grand piano positioned to one side of the stage, a podium,  and a large movie screen centered as a backdrop.  Seated with  Jan’s parents, her sister Gail, and  her  aunt and uncle, Charles and Esther Terry,  the nursing class to be positioned in the forefront before the podium.


Gary removing himself from the group,  ascending the stage,  seating himself at the piano, beginning the prelude.  The processional beginning to  The Impossible Dream as the classes entered.   The program continuing, the introduction speeches and acknowledgements, Gary remaining at the piano.  The lights beginning to dim, a projector coming to life,  highlighting the screen with photos of the past,  accounts of class outings and events,  scenes of the class members close two-year affiliation.   Gary beginning to play the appropriate background music, noting some of the assembly forging tears of melancholy,  the pianist knowing his selection  moving,  their erstwhile comradely during their educational ascendancy, would forever be an anchored memory.


With the ceremony coming to a conclusion, Gary’s beginning the recessional,  Chariots of Fire,.  a befitting tribute to those about to journey as care-giving professionals who’s profession is one of caring for others, and  bear witness to the beginning and the ending of life.  Her formal college perquisite fulfilled,  Jan preparing for state,   the Kansas State Board of Nursing Exams,   a real test of her two years of accumulative nursing knowledge.  Each graduate having to pass the state exams to be licensed as a Registered Nurse.   Gary having no doubt she would accomplish her goal. He reasoned,  his intransigent apportionment was just one of many  providing a foundation for her to attain her destination.


His encouragement, a mitigating essential,  when others questioned her passion for a career in nursing.  On occasion Gary even enrolled in her off campus college course’s so it would meet the student quota for credit.   but it was knowing,  that her perseverance and determination would emancipate a final accomplishment,   “Jan Willson, Registered nurse





A Contemptuous Attitude….#198 (the 80’s)

May 22, 2016

Shawn Johnson & Pam Cooper

Another Kiowa Grade School fall semester  commencing,  Pam Cooper,  Gary’s custodial co-worker having a work related adversity.  Pam once again complaining about her difficulty utilizing the backpack vacuum on the carpet installed the previous year in the first thru third grade classrooms,  deciding to use a floor push vacuum sweeper and having to move every desk to accommodate its employment.  The floor sweeper, a remnant from the past,  Gary using it daily for the downstairs library and Sally Foresters kindergarten room by Gary.   Mrs. Forester’s room having been the only prior carpeted room in the building with the exception of the office and library.   Gary suggesting Pam approach Juanita Smith the Grade School Principal about requesting a new floor vacuum sweeper, explaining her difficulties with the backpack and mention the age of the floor sweeper.  Pam’s rapport with the Principal was questionable at best, previously having been discovered making direct undisclosed out-of-state long distance calls at 6:00 a.m. on the school’s telephone to her ex-husband in Michigan failing to disclose her actions to administration.

Judy Rocket – Grade School Secretary

Gary by happenstance waiting for his bus route to commence  was in  school secretary Judy Rocket’s office which adjoined the Principal’s when  Pam entered Juanita’s office,  accosting the Principal about acquiring a new floor sweeper for her custodial duties.   Juanita was patient, acknowledging her request,  but illustrating that all the custodian in the district utilized the more efficient backpack appliance and it would be questionable if Superintendent Piper would approve the request.   Gary and Judy could hear Pam getting belligerent,  ranting about the discomfort,  her preference for a floor machines and in a threaten voice rebuked the Principals logic.   Juanita,  remaining composed,  replying,  Pam would have to make do with the backpack.  In a sudden burst Pam slammed her school keys on Juanita’s desk and exited the building, the Principal looked up noticing that Judy and Gary had witnessed the incident.  Gary’s first thoughts was of Pam’s scheduled bus route,  immediately suggesting to Juanita that he would  ask Cathy Cox’s  if she would accommodate Pam’s after school student delivery duty.  Gary returning after securing Cathy’s availability, finding  Juanita clasping a purse,  it was Pam’s,  who in her haste to leave had left it behind.   Gary offering to return it, knowing that Pam had moved into an apartment across the street from the school.  Crossing  south of the school, Gary approached Pam’s place of residence,  able to see her thru the screen door  sitting in a rocker,  her actions giving concern,  she was rocking back and forth with a look of asperity on her face.   Handing her the purse,  Gary concurred with her litigation,  soliciting her to apologize to Juanita and return to her school duties, but it was to no avail, her temperament still abounding, a look of consternation on her face.

Wanda Eckert

Gary now the schools solitary custodian accepting Pam’s classroom assignments,  not a new experience,  having accorded the responsibility during Pam’s sick day absences’, but recognizing the custodial vacancy annunciation was in need of  immediate attention,  an available person coming to mind, his brother-in-law,  Shawn Johnson.    Shawn was currently employed by their father-in-law’s business,  Murrow Construction.  Bud having let some of the family know that he wasn’t to enthusiastic about hiring Shawn,  acknowledge he would provide until Shawn could find other employment. Gary informing the Johnson family of the school custodial vacancy,  Shawn was very receptive, immediately retaining and submitting an employment application at the School Central Office.  Gary being privileged to a discerning relevance by Wanda Eckert,  the superintendent’s secretary divulging that Juanita Smith upon hearing about Shawn’s application  was very detrimental to his employment,  questioning his character,  having experienced the rumors of his antics from fellow educators during his prior South Barber school years.  Gary deciding to talk to Glen, approaching the Superintendent’s office on a deliberate mission to affirm his brother-in-laws qualifications.  Glen acknowledging  Gary’s approbation for his brother-in-law’s employment and mentioned that he respected Gary‘s advocacy.   The conversation turning,  the superintendent directing a response from Gary with a question.  If Shawn was hired, he wanted assurance that Gary would administer a degree of awareness to Shawn’s propriety,  Gary understanding  the reality of what was not being  said, in other words keep an eye on him.

Superintendent Piper

Gary,  for the first time in five years of maintaining two-thirds of the custodial assignments for the school finding relief with the accession of Shawn,  some of the workload responsibility being lifted.   Gary no longer singularly responsible for the two most time consuming projects,  the mowing and the never accomplished continuing floor maintenance of the gymnasium,  Shawn volunteering to dust mop the gym floor before, during and after school,  Gary still involved with the care of the stage,  dressing rooms and bleachers.   The school year continuing, Gary maintaining his 12 hour  schedule arriving and unlocking the gate to the fenced High School bus security area at 5:00 a.m..    Shawn arriving about the same time,  their schedule coinciding at the beginning of the day,  but differing in the afternoon,  Gary accomplishing an hour for lunch,  working till 6:00 p.m.,  Shawn taking a thirty minute lunch and finishing his day at 5:30 p.m.   As the year progress, Gary noticed an abridgment in his brother-in-law starting time,  it wasn’t consistent,  some mornings arriving at the school as late as 6:00 a.m.,  nevertheless,  finding him staying later in the day to maintain his required hours, but soon that too was displaced, entertaining an earlier departure time.   Gary reasoned it was none of his business considering the work was being accomplished, the only impropriety of gravity was Shawn’s fallacious documentation.   It was Gary’s responsibility to delivery the Grade Schools custodians self endorsed handwritten time cards to the Central Office, the custodians were district employees under the supervision of the Superintendent,  not the principal of the school as most of the public assumed.  Gary couldn’t help but notice Shawn’s late morning appearance and his early departures, but his hourly written record didn’t reflect actuality,  Shawn’s time card always proclaiming a 12 hour day and a 60 hour week.

Gary remaining aphonic about his brother-in-law temporal solecism,  recalling a bible verse he ministered to his Apostolic Christian Church  Sunday school class,  Galatians 6:7,   Be not deceived for whatsoever a man soweth,  that shall he also reap.  Gary having a sense that Shawn’s school employment would not be one of longevity,  but at a loss on how to intervene considering Shawn’s contemptuous attitude, making a decision to stand idle and wait for the inevitable and destiny to come to fruition.

Encompassing Tranquil Surroundings..#199 (the 80’s)

May 20, 2016

Otts Pond

It was early evening, the summer sun still hours away before the consumption of its effervescent rays,  giving way to the seraphic starlit Cimmerian,  the celestial sphere of the rural Kansas night sky.  Seated beside Gary in the Isuzu Pickup were his two confederate youngsters Robert and Sandi,  their expedition fishing paraphernalia stationed in the bed of the picayune transport.  This journey in all probability a last foray to the paramount aquatic basin belonging to family friend and church brother, Marvin Ott.   The elder Ott after the closing the Bank of Kiowa finding it would be in his best interest to transfer the ownership of the illustrious fishing location property to his son Jon who was employed with The First State Bank.   Gary politely phoning Jon to acquire permission for he and his two siblings to acquaint the Ott’s fishing arena as in the past.   Jon in an antagonistic voice agreeing,  but his affirmation having a reluctant tone which wasn’t surprising to the prospective anglers.  Jon’s reputation was one of antipathy,  unlike his father’s,  who banking presence for years represented a pillar to the farming community.

Ideal fishing platform

A journey thru Hazelton, turning west on Gerlane Rd., then turning north at the Dan Luthi Farm,  passing the Powell’s spread,  the abstracted Chevrolet pickup fulfilling the last 2 miles on the dirt entrenched roadway.  Coming into  view a familiar sight,  a 100 yards down the sloping terrain, a small unpretentious lodging adjoining the first of two ponds. The lower pond, a bass enriched dominion with its diminutive water landing dock sporting a  yellow paddle boat secured to its wooden scaffolding.   Disembarking, the family novice fisherman anxiously anticipating the challenge of the bass filled aquarium,  the paddle boat their perfect platform of dispatch,  providing an oracle for their venery.   Robert, pole in-hand casting off the right side of the paddled endowed vessel,  Sandi,  non au courant when regarding casting, her line with hooked worm and bobber attached trolling from the aft quarters of the aqua platform.   The pond waters providing a respectable collection of bass, each of the three having success producing a sufficient product of quantity for their efforts, enjoying the quiet serenity of the gentle waters and the encompassing tranquil surroundings.

The aura of solitude was broken,  Gary distinguishing a pickup truck on the crest of a nearby hill,  a person at its forefront peering at them.  The person with the prying eyes was recognizable,  it was Jon Ott,  participating in a surveillance from a distance,  his conspicuous actions, traveling off-road across open fields to scrutinize the Willson family pleasure,  his veiled appearance projecting  an impression of distrust.   Gary’s benefit of the doubt towards Jon’s credibility vanishing,  a sense of disdain beginning to subsist, Jon verisimilitude of character would  forever be questioned.

A fisherman’s catch

More than one fisherman in the family

The fishing venture coming to a conclusion,  Gary keeping his observance to himself,  the sun beginning to wane in the west, highlighting the exiguous cirrus clouds with shades of pink and ribbons of purple, giving a credulous to Kansas, the land of opulent sunrise’s and sunsets.  Robert and Sandi returning with an auspicious display,  their fishing expedition another joyous experience.

A Kansas Sunset

Scientifically speaking,  the 130 mm. cannulae embodiment was a deception,  in reality it’s verisimilitude was an aurora coruscation conduit,  aggregating the wondrous effulgence dispatched from a boundless infinite realm.   Its presence,  a stature of prominence in the chronicles of revelation, introducing an acuity of knowledge,  a prescription for discovery and a gifted glimpse of the community tenants populating the vastness of the universe.   In other words, in plain english,  the 5.12 inch Celestron reflector telescope  having found a place of honor and lodging with Gary.   His youthful excursions to the Chabot Observatory with his librarian sponsor Mrs. Ruth Silo,  the telescope viewing of the planet Saturn with its majestic yellow rings and a dwelling into the realm of authors Robert Heinlein,  Isaac Asimov culminating with a monthly in person acquaintance with Poul Anderson and Rog Phillips,  at the Elves, Gnomes’ and Little Men’s Science Fiction, Chowder and Marching Society monthly meetings in a Telegraph Ave private library in Berkeley,  all contributed to Gary’s propensity for the nocturnal sky and its celestial  inhabitants.

Moon taken with 35mm camera mount

Taken with 35mm camera mount on a 5.12 inch Celestrom telescope

A surface photo using a stronger viewing lens

A surface photo using a stronger viewing lens

The brilliance of the moon casting earthen shadows, silhouetting the landscape with a metamorphosis of symmetry, Gary acquainting the telescope to a  family gathering at the Bud Murrow residence.  The astronomer organizing a viewing order, first Jan and her sister Lynne, and Brother-in-Law Shawn,  the children, Robert, Sandi, the Johnson girls,  Sarah and Jamie the youngest.   Finally with some encouragement,  Jan’s mother Helen,  and her Aunt Esther and Uncle Charles Terry,  Bud remaining contentious, an inherent demeanor,  above placing his eye to a magnifying lens.  The elder Murrow missing an opportunity to inhale the breathtaking view of the Moon,  Jupiter and its ever-increasing number of discovered satellites, but Gary understood,  that was just Bud expressing his congenital aestheticism.   Gary’s asseveration was a lifelong desire,  a camera mount for a telescope to envision his own photographs of the celestial essence found in the nocturnal sky, but discovering that his Minolta 35 mm. camera’s aperture wasn’t conducive for the undertaking. When mentioning a camera he noticed an immediate accession in his Buds interest suddenly was exhibited.   Bud a camera enthusiast offering to loan his expensive but authoritative Cannon 35 mm. camera to accommodate Gary’s purpose.   The event exposing the eldest Murrow’s hidden but true interest in photography, not the end results, but the challenge in obtaining them,  exhibiting the nature  of  a  true construction engineer..

Footprints In The Snow……#200 (the 80’s)

May 18, 2016

Kansas snow drift

 Dorothy was right when she said “we’re not in Kansas Toto”.  The weather in Oz never resembled the  heterogeneity and vicissitude of the atmospheric prevalence of Kansas. The winter snow blanketed southwest Kansas,  its display presenting a panoramic cleansing,  its achlorophyllaceous covering brushing the landscape,  an artistry to behold,  but an arduous venture for enraptured farmers having to champion a nurture for their cattle enterprise.  In their labors finding the mile sections excitation for their task closed,  the encumbered snow fulfilling it wind-driven drifting appointment.  Gary awoke to the celebrated presentation,  the accumulated snow giving question to his once designated Suburban school mud route,  having evolved into a snowbound challenge.   The school superintendent yet to make his calling,  “a school day”,  or “a snow day”,  Gary would soon discern his decision, his 4-wheel drive Isuzu having no difficulty traversing the snow-covered road and accessing the high school bus enclosure.   Glen Piper, the superintendent  having disclosed a means for non scheduled notification of an unexpected school snow day,  “If my car tracks go to the bus enclosure gate, it signifies a school day and I’ll be at the Central Office if you have any problems.   Gary’s 5:00 a.m. arrival at the high school,  finding Glen’s school Chevrolet having left its footprints in the snow.

Gary Willson – School Suburban Chauffeur

The school’s 4-wheel drive Suburban having no problems tracking the snow-covered blacktop to the Grade School,  Gary’s intuition expressed him to commence his suburban route 45 minutes early.  Before leaving placing a call to the David Meyer farm,  his first miring rural road stop,  a query about the snow conditions addressing the road to farm.  David confirming what Gary suspected,  because of the north wind and heavy drifting,  the west arteries branching from the highway  blacktop may have 2 to 3 foot drifts, but the north and south tributaries were passable,  David relating  the ¾ mile east access to his farm from the northern trek of the river road was normally passable.  With the snow coming down the Suburban accomplishing the 2 ½ north-east blacktop crossing the Medicine River Bridge without difficulties, turning west at the Girty residence onto the rut defined mile section paralleling the Medicine River, the 8 inches of snow, now canopied up to 16 inch drifts, the twelve passenger Suburban,  its four actuating wheels  accomplishing the rising snow deposits.

Loretta and Sherrill Meyer – Gary’s first stop

The westward river road now curving north, the drifts having diminished,  the accumulated snow now a cushion,  Gary alert and steadfast in the darken morning achieving 10 mph.  No problems on the snow covered road journeying the two miles remaining before having to turn back east.   Gary’s concern heighten, the east avenue to the Meyers farm was flat and opened,  the north wind having total access to the graded path called a road.  Turning onto the easterly ¾ mile section, immediate encountering formidable drifts,  the 4-wheel drive transport having difficulty, losing traction its movement more lateral than  forward, the visibility marginal,  finally its proscenium burrowing into a 3 foot drift,  its forward dispatch coming to a halt. The lights of the Meyers residence could be seen glowing,  Gary hesitating, about to notified  Glen to call David that he was within walking distance if they had snowshoes,  when the lights of a tractor snapped to attention.  David displaying equanimity, having surveyed the road situation, his John Deere tractor made ready to transport his daughter Loretta and the eldest daughter Sherrill to the drift halted vehicle, Gary able to reverse course backing up to the lightly drifted north and south road.

Cassie Luthi

Dan and Susan Luthi

Upon leaving the Meyer’s, Gary’s Suburban  returning on the snow covered northern 3 1/2 miles to the reaches of the black top pavement of  Gerlane Road still decorated with snow, then turning east his second stop, the Luthi Farm.   Gary pulling up to the house, recognizing the presence of his old 50 Dodge pickup having found employment running fence on the country spread, Gary having sold it to Dan Luthi years earlier.  Cassie Luthi was always ready, not just on time for her ride to school, but with a beaming attitude to greet each day.  Her father, Dannie Gene Luthi  from Perryton, Ochiltree County in the northeast panhandle of Texas had attended Northwest Oklahoma State College in Alva Oklahoma when he met Susan Beth Spicer from Hazelton Kansas.  Dan and Susan wed and moved to Robbins Tennessee when Cassie Elizabeth entered the world in Knoxville.  Dan was farming and raising cattle,  Susan was teaching school for the Scott County Independent School District when Cassie’s Grandfather George Spicer convinced them it was time to resettle back in Kansas.

Madison Tyrell and Zachariah Odell

Dan Girty & Holly Domnick

With an ever smiling Cassie joining the more serious Sherrill and Loretta,  the chauffeur driven school suburban continued east on the snow packed Gerlane Road,  turning left onto the black top road enabling the 8 miles to Sharon Kansas, the first mile section cross-road discovering the farming home of Zachariah and Madison Tyrell Odell.   The two brothers, the son’s of Brenda Lea (Spicer) Odell, the daughter of Don Spicer.  Gary discovering another Spicer family having acquired and settled in this part of Barber County.  The Odell brothers, like their cousin Cassie were pillars of exuberance, projecting a non serious carefree world, enjoying the momentary events of  their surroundings.   The two boys reminding Gary of himself at that age, discovering the meaning of life in a single word, adventure.  The boys relating on their search for a coyotes den,  the time they let a skunk in the house, and their discovery of the  unforgettable Hot Rock tree.  The morning finding the boys ready as usual, the driver mentioning  “It’s too bad it’s not a school snow day”.  The Suburban continuing on  another 2 1/2 miles stopping at the Gene Pollock farm to pick up his oldest daughter before traversing onto highway 2  for the final two student stops and the 12 mile return  to Kiowa.  Gary was very cautious crossing the railroad tracks approaching Floyd (Junior) and Vonda Domnick’s farm to gather their daughter Holly, but even more so when crossing back as the terrain has a blind spot and the passing train from the north can suddenly appear.  With the gathering of Holly, the last stop normally just a mile from town, the Girty residence, Dan and his younger sister Janelle Girty just living far enough out-of-town to warrant a ride to school, but this was subject to change with the Elliott family at the Chain Ranch.

The Chain Ranch

The Chain Ranch

Angela, Jessie & Jennifer Elliott

The addition of the Elliott kids at the Chain Ranch required some changes in Gary scheduled, all the students on his route up to this time resided north and west of highway #2 that journeyed thru Hazelton before it jogged east towards Anthony in Harper County.  The Chain Ranch location was the opposite direction, 10 miles due east of town and 1 1/2 south in Harper County.  This lead to another question, why were Elliott’s attending Barber County USD 255 in Kiowa and not a school in the Harper County school district.  Gary posed the question to Glen, the explanation was reasonable, one of  accommodation, the distance of the Chain Ranch to Anthony was over 25 miles, to Kiowa 11 1/2.  Gary reasoned the order of his stops would remain the same,  he would pick up the student’s living north and west of town first before heading east thru Hazelton and Corwin to the Chain Ranch.  He calculated the Elliott stop would add an additional 30 minutes to his route informing all to be ready 30 minutes earlier than usual, except for Girty, who after finding out they would be picked up first rather than last decided they didn’t need a ride.

Corwin, but a remnant from the past

Gary beginning his new assignment picking up his north of town allotment then turning east at Hazelton on unfamiliar territory, never having driving on the well pocketed on and off again black top of what was known as The Corwin Road.   Although having been to Corwin twice, but approaching from the south on an ambulance run from Kiowa, he now had an opportunity to observe what had been said about this relic of history town with its few remaining remnants.  Corwin getting its name from Oscar Corwin, it seems back in 1883 when Oscar applied for a Postmaster Appointment for the area, many times it was  given the name of the person applying for the position.  The Missouri Pacific Railroad was in process of spider webbing Kansas with spur lines, the Corwin siding  inhaled opportunity and sprung to life.  The town becoming an agricultural hub with a bank, hotel, lumberyard, church, restaurants, a 2 story school, blacksmith and livery stables and with Carrie Nation threatening to visit, in all probability had a saloon.   Jan’s Uncle,  Charles Terry having retired from a life time of employment with Cities Service Petroleum and Gas Company had been in charge of the Corwin pumping station.  Cities Service  having completed the nation’s first long-distance high pressure natural gas transportation system, a 24-inch pipeline stretching some 1,000 of miles from Amarillo to Chicago.  Gary able to picture Corwin’s past, remaining were the broad width of the streets where businesses once flourished, the vacant lots where homes once stood, the remains of the school and still in business the turn of the century grain elevators adjoining the rail spur line that he knew were still in use, having witnessed the locomotive and grain cars serving the grain elevators when living on N.11th St. in Kiowa, arriving on the same tracks that journeyed south from Corwin thru Kiowa into Oklahoma.

A Kansas Sunrise

  Returning over the miles of open prairie from the Chain Ranch during a fall,  Gary witness a scene out of a Howard Hawks western movie, the wind was gusting  out of the southeast, which to start with never happens in Kansas.  Behold the tumbleweeds, where they came from remained unknown, but they were there traveling almost the speed of the Suburban, bounding across the road in their northwest flight.  Not just a few but more than one could count at a glance, Gary having seen their appearance in southwest Oklahoma and in the Panhandle of Texas but not that numerous, measuring upwards of four feet in diameter racing with the wind.  It never ceased amaze the Suburban Driver of the what mother nature had to offer on a river road morning Suburban route,  having witnessed a variety of the animal husbandry readying themselves for the day.  A mother opossum with her four little ones walking in center of the road after a night of scurrying for food, a doe running up an incline with two coyotes in pursuit,and on some morning when ahead of schedule pausing to watch the opalescent kaleidoscope that adorned a Kansas sunrise.

David Meyer

 Gary having developed a cordiality with David and Carol Sue Meyer, having visited with David on several occasions, discovering that they shared more than just opinions in common,  their birthday,  the same month, day and year and both entering the military about the same time.   David having a reputation as a community activist participating in Public Service,  serving as Moore Township trustee,  attending  City Council and Hospital Board meetings and having been elected to the school board of USD 255.   Gary found that David was an inquisitive school board member,  instilling a concerned credibility to the position,  the only board member to actively visit the three schools on a regular non scheduled basis throughout the year, not only visiting with the teachers and Administrative Hierarchy but with the non-certified personnel as well.  Having elucidated to Gary,  he felt he could never get a completely honest answer about the school from a teacher,  recognizing their apprehension to be critical,  a complaint or suggested might ascend to the superintendent and cause a reflection on their performance, thus his tarrance with members of the non-degree decumbent echelon.   Gary having admired Carol Sue’s driving expertise piloting her car on her way to work with her mother DeAlva Clark at Clark’s Fabric Shop, actively traversing the mud endowed river road  to town.  David was from Cheney Kansas both he and  Carol Sue having  farming expertise from childhood, the Meyers having retained a section of Carol Sue’s grandfather Reece Clark Sr. original land purchase of 1883.    Gary on numerous occasions having to commence his Suburban school route early when expecting weather adversity,  but when not encountering it would summarily arrive ahead of time at the Meyer’s farm.  Carol Sue noticing the unexpected early event extending Gary an invitation and introduction to a breakfast roll and a hot cup of coffee.

A Moving Overture…………….#201 (the 80’s)

May 16, 2016

Kiowa School Board – (L to R) Glen Piper, Bert Gillig, Tom Farney, Ron Allenbach, Walter Fry, Kathy Grant, Wanda Eckert, David Wolgamont, Larry Mc Cart6y, David Meyer

An  influential ingredient inaugurated life’s equation,  Jan having recently obtained a full time RN position at Hospital District #6 of Harper County better known as the Anthony Hospital and with it came a prospect of the family relocating the thirty miles to Anthony.  Gary in a quandary, a long existing Board of Education policy was relevant  to the family moving,  all non-certified employees must reside in the school district.   A decision to confer his dilemma with the school superintendent Glen Piper,  expressing his ardent desire to remain as an employee of USD 255,  questioning the possibility of the School Board making an exception on his behalf to their long standing protocol.   Leaving the Central Office meeting demarcating his possibility but never having to discover the colloquy,  Glen notifying Gary of the board’s approval to his out of district employment at the Grade School.

Jan's 87 Buick Skylark - a new ride to Anthony

Jan’s 87 Buick Skylark

 Jan’s Toyota Tercel Wagon having acquired an additional 30,000 miles during her daily 2 year journey to Pratt Community college in pursuit of her nursing degree demonstrated its reliability but Gary’s Isuzu Pickup with its 100,000 plus odometer reading wasn’t as trustworthy.  Gary very much aware of a possible 60 mile daily commute to Kiowa from Anthony and at the same time would like to to find Jan more suitable transportation.   Accessing Bill Bogner’s Chevrolet-Buick Dealership, the couple abridging the multiple selection of Bill’s inventory down to two.  A decision between a 1987,  blue,  six cylinder Buick Skylark or a white 88 Chevrolet Celebrity, Gary finding his proclivity for the newer model Chevrolet being overridden,  not by year, not by price or model,  but by the color blue,  a decision espoused by his wife.  The bartering trade-in, the 4-wheel drive Isuzu now a historical remembrance,  Gary inheriting Jan’s well traveled 4-wheel drive SR5 Toyota,  the newly acquired 1987 Buick to fill Jan’s highway peregrinations.

602 N. Springfield Ave. Anthony Ks.

Gary’s knowledge of Anthony Kansas was limited to the location of the John Deere Dealership and the Anthony Municipal Hall.   The Muni-Halls carriage,  the host of an ambitious craft expositions twice a year, an experience from Jan’s past ceramic business labors.   The prospects of a move to Anthony becoming more probable with Jan’s avocation at the Hospital and her circadian commute to the Anthony.   Gary finding the Anthony moving overture more prominent, Jan taking the initiative,  arranging  a weekend appointment with a representative of The Dan Bird Realty,  the agent to acquaint the inquiring family to the available realty prospects their agency represented.   The excursions were not with Dan, but with a lady representative,  discovering most of the prospective metropolitan residency’s unsuitable. The itinerary  included an introduction to rural property north of town and  to the availability of several small homes addressing the Anthony City Lake,  but to their disappointment all retaining an absence of approbation.  An afternoons quest for a applicable home was about to conclude when the Reality Agent acknowledged a vacant residence on North Springfield that wasn’t on the market because of an ongoing foreclosure proceeding,  the Lady volunteering that this house was her personal favorite,  one she would love to have as her own.

View from Walnut Street


Arriving at the unavailable house at 602 N. Springfield,  a revelation was discovered,  it was the second largest in Anthony,  a historic residence,  a placard stone embedded in the outside brick chimney-rise  dating 1904.   The couple waiting on the front porch to enter, the realty lady possessing only a back door key.  The front door opening to a large foyer and a wide carpeted staircase with solid oak banister pavilion to the second and third floors.  The three-storied structure presenting six gables,  1500 sq. ft. addressing each of the three levels,  with the second floor bedroom providing an added  large window enclosed sun-room above the south entrance portal porch.   A total of 4500 sq. ft. of living area,  composed of six upstairs bedrooms,  4 on the second floor,  the largest a master bedroom, 16 x 14.,  two others,  12 x 14, and a smaller bedroom off the hall  to a second staircase leading down to the kitchen.   The second floor was accommodated with a full bath, a tub and a laundry-chute to the basement.  The remaining bathroom with a shower,  a first floor addition to the original structure.  The third floor having two small bedrooms and what later they found that the  elderly residence of the city referred to as   ‘The Ballroom‘,  a very large one room pavilion where in a previous era dances were held.  Another unexpected discovery, a regulation size pool table homesteading in the third floor Ballroom, apparently to difficult to move and left by the previous owners.   The final architectural surprises, a rear door entry back porch adjoining the kitchen with a long pantry hall leading to the dining room, and from the kitchen an entry downstairs to  a open full semi-finished 1500 sq. ft. basement,  its ceiling displaying the 2 x 12 floor joist and the eight inch zoned metal duct-work from the 3 humidity equipped central air and heating units probing upwards.


A Stately Presence

Jan was overwhelmed and impassioned,  Gary too,  having never experience the bounteous impression of the structure,  the first floor speciousness,  a fire-place,  the once designated music room to the north of the capacious entrance  foyer,  the anointed commanding wide oak endowed staircase.   The living and dining room accentuated with built-in beveled glass enclosed china cabinets,  the downstairs openness encompassed with colonnades,  a bay window addressing the dining room area,  the residence an empyrean domain.   The walk-thru acquaintance concluding, leaving the realm of this bounteous structure appraised as inaccessible,  Gary finding the words of a meaningful song resonating within,  “to dream the impossible dream” and the verse,  “this my quest,  to follow the star,  no matter how hopeless,  no matter how far”.   Seeing the expression on Jan’s face,  the coveting glow in her eyes,  the N. Springfield house was her desire,  Gary realizing his quest,  the acquisition gauntlet having been raised.

Always Believe In Miracles……#202 (The 80’s)

May 14, 2016

A documented miracle

The residence searching journey from Anthony to Kiowa found a colloquy of aspirations, the house on N. Springfield’s emergence presenting an illustrious canon, a definite contrast to the housing corporeality thus far having been displayed to the couple, Gary having never  witness Jan’s enthusiasm for something elevated to such a degree.   The Bird Reality representative, although having indicated she had no knowledge of the N. Springfield properties disposition,  except that it was in the modus operandi of foreclosure, Gary attentively noticed  she had inadvertently mentioned the name of the person who garnered  the house’s backdoor key.  Gary relating his attentiveness to Jan,  asserting he would further his inquiry about the house to  the person she  mentioned and with a ray of optimism hopeful that the results would be encouraging, quelling some of Jan’s receptive disappointment.

A Saturday morning Gary again traversing the highway to Anthony to the Jim Gates Agency at 316 W. Main the name that the realty agent had  inadvertently mentioned, Gary trusting he could acquire more information on the complexion and disposition of the house on N. Springfield.   Gary introducing himself with an explanation of how he and his wife arrived at discovering their interest in the house.  Jim cordially explaining his concert with Railroad Saving & Loan, the foreclosing bank and as a CPA he was their local representative.   His cardinal concern beside allowing an occasional display by a reality agency, was the properties security and his ongoing attempt to contact the responsible party holding the mortgage which had falling into default.  Unfamiliar with the financial world of mortgages, Gary questioning Jim about assuming the current loan, and the difficulty he would encounter.  Jim responded, once in foreclosure, it would be impossible for an assumption until the bank took possession.  Gary again questioned, under what circumstances could the proceedings be halted?  Jim acknowledging it was not probable but possible if the defaulting owners came forward and relinquished the property.  Gary not conceding defeat, quarried Jim  about the owner, their current address and phone number, Gates replying, he had both an address and phone number, but the person refused to return his correspondence or calls, adding that he was well acquainted with the departed party because when living here he also was a CPA..

A Stately Structure

Gary leaving Anthony with LaVerne and Wilmetta Miller’s  address and phone number,  the default mortgage holder now residing in Colorado Springs.  Jim Gates giving an assurance, if the Millers in Colorado were willing to sign a release for Gary to assume the loan,  Jim would notify the bank of the impeding action and would help administer the contractual paperwork.  The return drive to Kiowa,  Gary reviewing in his head the uplifting conversation with Jim, a message of encouragement not only for him but also for Jan.   A letter was immediately dispatched to the Colorado address,  expounding the Willson desire to purchase the N. Springfield property, willing to secure the mortgage holder’s obligation by assuming their loan.   A week having passed with no answer,  the time having arrived to place a phone call to Colorado Springs.  To Gary’s astonishment,  it was answered,  the conversation with the Miller’s confirming their interest in the Willson’s proposal.   A return visit with Jim Gates ensued, and the negotiations between the litigants began, but finding complications.  Ten years of the original 30 year mortgage having been indemnified,  Railroad Savings not wanting to yielding to a loan assumption,  requiring Gary to obtain a new mortgage to meet the outstanding balance for the property.

The problem arising was the bank couldn’t loan the money for a house not yet  contracted for.   At a loss, not wanting to inform the Millers, that the bank would not let him assume the loan,  Gary turned to Jim Gates,  who had a slide of hand solution.  The current Colorado owner could relinquishing the property to the Willson’s with a quick claims deed for one dollar and Gary would obtain a mortgage on the house for the balance owed on the original contract,  contractually satisfying all concerned.

The acquisition was transpiring,  a loan approval needed,  an interest rate to be agreed upon for a 30 year loan in the amount of $46,000.  Gary visiting on the phone with a member of the banks loan committee for the first time,  expressing he would only consider a monthly payment of less than $400 dollars,  with the insurance premium and property tax included,  the loan officer was taken aback,  replying he would have to confer with the committee at their next conference.   Another temporal waiting,  then a call from Jim Gates,  the bank in order to keep the monthly payment down as Gary requested,  agreed to a variable interest of 3% above the federal discount rate  which was the rate that banks paid the Feds when borrowing money.  This was more than acceptable to Gary, considering the current conventional mortgage rate on thirty year mortgage was over 10%.   A second call from Jim Gates, espousing another major problem,  the bank somehow failing to notice that the Millers had secured a second loan for $25,000, the equity in the house serving as collateral,  a balance of $5,000 still remaining.  The earthshaking news bringing the N. Springfield transaction to standstill.

A neighborhood throwback to an earlier era.

The news was devastating, coming so close to completion, the time and effort, the hopes and dreams,  all seemed for not,  an aura of despondency hovering over the family.   Another conversation with Jim Gates, once again Gary asking his advice.   Jim suggestion that they  contact La Verne Miller and simply ask if he would renew the balance of the note as an unsecured loan,  removing the house as collateral.  Gary always believed in miracles, but the past months of events confirming his faith in prayer and confirmation of his conviction, Railroad Savings & Loan accepting the Millers renewal of the note without collateral.   A signing ceremony was held at the Jim Gates Agency, Gary very conscious of Jim Gates role in the acquisition of the property,  his undertaking and guidance forever an unpayable gift.  With their signatures,  Gary and Jan Willson ,  now title holders of the stately monolithic structure at 602 N. Springfield Ave,  its infinity having stood dormant thru a winter and spring would once again thrive with the presence of vivacity.