Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Old Swimming Pool

Seward Swimming Pool in about 1930.  This shows the round shape of the pool, the water "purification" system and the famous slide. I don't know if it was true but Grandpa Walker told the story of the slide having been built with it's width being reduced a bit as it went down. The joke was that the plump wife of one of the City officials got stuck in the slide on her way down. We moved to the farm when I was 6 years old and never got into the pool until I was probably about 13. The slide was still there but I never went down it. I'm sure it wasn't as safe as the plastic slide that is in the new pool but I don't remember hearing of any "real" problem associated with it and expect it was a lot more exciting. How about those vintage autos.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wax Begonias

We usually buy a packet of Wax Begonia's every spring to plant on the north side of our back yard fence. They were some of my Mother's favorites and is the flower that I most closely associate with her. As a youngster I thought Mother called them: "Wax Spegonias". For years that is how I referred to them. I have hose watered these every other day for the last month. I think of Mother every time I do so and usually think of them as Waxspegonias. We had a few sprinkles of rain early and cloud cover most of the morning. It was nice out at the golf course where we finished our round in time to go directly to coffee. After going to Kiwanis at noon, Elaine and I watched Jordon Larson and the USA women win their volleyball match over Brazil. It was a good day.  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Florence and Tony Vrana family reunion was held today in Seward with temperatures approaching 100 degrees. The temperature was similar to some of the early Vrana reunions that I remember down in the same old park. Vivian's family was represented by Terry, Angie, EJ, Sandy and Mick; Don and Gladys family included Kathy & Bob and Jake, Laurie & Jim with Matt, Kristine & friends, Becky & Doug and Sarah, MaryBeth & Dave, Tony and friend; Jerry's family included Sondra, Cindy, Cody, Carly and friends, Tanya & Christian; Janice & Larry's family was represented by Mark & Dena; Elaine & I had Carolyn & Ben and Julie & John in attendence. All in all it adds up to 40. It was a great group with a lot of good food and conversation. The picture was taken by Cody's friends.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Mark & Dena Sorge came down yesterday and were here to visit us this afternoon. Julie & John and Carolyn also came over. Sorges drove their pickup with their 5th wheel which has storage for their Harleys.  We had a good visit in the air conditioned comfort of our living room and then the Owens' took Sorges' up to see their house under construction. Seeing the 2 motorcycles on our driveway reminded me of a time when I wanted one. It was in the spring of '44 when I was 18 years old. The Plautz boys had a cousin visiting from Iowa who rode over with his cycle. He gave me a ride on it and I was hooked. I had worked at Swift & Co. Packing House that winter and had ridden back and forth to Omaha with the Kadavy boys. Leonard had a little Red Indian cycle and wanted to get a bigger one. He offered it to me for $90.00 and I had the money. That's as close as I ever came to having a Motorcycle. Both Mother and Dad talked to me about all the trouble I might have if I bought it,  so I didn't. I must admit that there was a continuing interest in cycles for some time but something about having a wife and four kids kept that interest totally under control. And, before I hardly knew it, I was old enough to not even want one anymore. But I'm happy to see Sorges, Terry and other young friends enjoy theirs. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tony Vrana family from Wisconsin

We had a pleasant surprise this morning when nephew Tony Vrana called from North Platte and said they were headed for Seward. We had a good visit, took Tony & Ethan out to the John & Julie house, and later ate at the La Carreta restaurant.  They had spent some time in South Dakota and had hoped to be in Seward Sunday for the reunion but a change in plans required their coming earlier and visiting with as many of the family as possible, along the way. They were going from Seward to Syracuse where they hoped to see many of Don and Gladys' family. It was an ideal time for Tony to see the Owens house because the drywall finishing process is underway. While no one was working while we were there this afternoon, it was apparent that a lot of finishing had gone on earlier in the day. Tony and Deb are doing real well and Ethan and Kayce have grown since we last saw them a year ago. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Light Rain

This is how our back yard looked this evening about 6:30 pm. By 8:00 a cloud came over and we received 0.20" of rain. The first measurable amount since June 23rd. A cold front came through yesterday evening and some places got a bit of rain but we only had a few sprinkles. Yesterday was the 76th anniversary of the July 25th day in 1936 when Lincoln, NE had it's highest recorded temperature of 115 degrees.  That was actual air temperature and the low the night before was 90 degrees. We were out on the farm in those days and didn't even think about having a lawn. But our lawn and most of them in Seward are as dormant for this time of year as I can remember. After the 30's we also had some very dry years in the mid-50's and again in 1988 but I don't remember the extent of dry lawns that we have this year. A few people have watered enough to keep their grass green but water rates have gone up to where it is a very expensive option. The 0.20" we received this evening won't go very far but it helps the morale and maybe it can be the start of something good. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Margaret & Art Schaefer

Today was Margaret (Zitek) Schaefer's funeral here in Seward. Her husband Art died a couple years ago. Margaret's obituary listed 9 children, 22 Grandchildren, 42 Great Grandchildren & 3 Great Great Grandchildren. Family members would exceed 100 by including spouses. Art and Margaret were married on September 29, 1942 in Dwight, NE. My Diary entry for that date includes: "Art & Margaret Zitek got married; had wedding dance. I drove and took the Plautz boys and their girls (Vern & Verna and Don & Betty). Willard (Kilzer) and Betty (Augusta) stood up." My clearest memory of the dance is visiting with Anton Stehlik, an old neighbor bachelor, cleaned up and dressed in a full black suit. Art was a good baseball player and Margaret's brothers were also good athletes. The "Schaefer athletic genes" have contributed to the success of various sports in the community over the years. I was in the 4th or 5th grade at Oak Grove Country School when Art and I first played "ball". (He had gone to Parochial school in Garland for a couple years). Art went on to pitch in the Pioneer League and we played together for Garland in the Blue Valley League and for Seward in the Cornhusker League. The Schaefer family has been among our friends for many, many years. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Great Blue Heron

This was our 31st day without measurable rainfall; the 13th consecutive day with temperature over 95 and the 4th consecutive day over 100 degrees. We have been playing golf early in the day and since League starts at 9:00am on Tuesdays, we played at 7:30 this morning. It's really a great time of day. The Course isn't crowded and the wind is calm. 
We had the additional treat this morning by seeing a Great Blue Heron take off and fly from the little pond near the #5 green. It flew within 30 feet of where we were as we drove to the #6 yellow tees. They are really a majestic bird and look prehistoric. Charlie had a good game parring all 3 par 3 holes but the highlight of my game was seeing the bird.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy Anniversary

This picture of Julie and John leaving the alter after having just taken their marriage vows was taken two years ago tomorrow. A lot has happened in their young lives during these two years with the most significant being the anticipation of a baby "any day now". We are so pleased that they live here in Seward and that we get to visit with them frequently. John is involved with many organizations here in Seward including our Kiwanis Club. It has been a common practice for Elaine, Carolyn and Julie to go out for lunch every Monday noon since John and I are at Kiwanis. John is President of our Kiwanis Club of Seward Foundation and today's Kiwanis program featured the Foundation. I was involved in the establishment of the Foundation some years ago, served on the Board of Directors for some years and continue to serve as an "Advisor" to the Board. The Foundation has been instrumental in several of our Club Projects. Most significantly is the Back Pack Program. During the past school year there were 53 families in the Seward Community who's Children brought home from school on Friday afternoon a back pack  of food for the weekend. It is a very well operated program that has been "spear headed" in this region by Scott Young with the Lincoln Food Bank. The Foundation has also been involved with our new Frisbee Golf Course as part of our City Athletic Park facilities. We are also working on a Fishing Pier with handicap features. The Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization and  able to assist in Projects approved by the Kiwanis Club of Seward. John does a great job as the Foundation President. And, we are most pleased that our Granddaughter Julie and he are expecting their first child and our first Great-Grandchild.
                                               Happy 2nd Anniversary Julie & John.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Family Picture 1969

Here is a picture that was taken of the Florence and Tony Vrana family some 43 years ago.  While 5 members of the family have passed on since the picture was taken, the family has grown to 80 with another addition anticipated any day. We are planning for a reunion this coming Sunday here in Seward and look forward to seeing family that we haven't been with for over a year. We are anticipating that 50 people may be here. Hopefully by next Sunday the weather will moderate a bit. You can be assured that we will not be dressed as "formally" as we are in this picture. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vrana Cousins

The Joseph & Antonia (Milicek) Vrana cousins got together at Cheddar's in Lincoln, NE today. There were 27 cousins and 11 of them were there today along with a total of some 20 family members. Ted Vrana, the oldest and his wife Muffy did the planning for the event. Ted celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this year by flying back to New York City to visit his daughters and families. He had the good fortune of getting his first hole-in-one a couple years ago after a lifetime of playing golf. We were also pleased to have the youngest of the cousins in attendance. Joanne (Vrana) Nelson  and members of her family from Iowa City, IA. Our such get togethers these years are a far cry from what I remember as a youngster when most of the family lived within an hour's driving distance. Every family brought food and we had pot luck dinners.  For many years the reunions rotated between Seward and Wahoo with well over 100 in attendance. As recently as 25 years ago at one of these events we taped up a 25' roll of table paper and worked on the family tree. As the result of Elaine, cousin Ben, and others good work, we have a pretty good family history and several of us have been over to Caslav, in the Czech Republic to visit our family roots. It was interesting at today's gathering to realize how family physical traits are carried forward. We realized today that one of the cousins has many of the physical and facial features of our Grandmother. And, some of the younger ones were surprised at how much I now look like  their Grandfather Joe (my Dad's younger brother). It was good to get together and the food at Cheddar's was very good.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Older People

We played golf early again today before the temperature hit or was close to 100 degrees for the 9th consecutive day. When one of our foursome had difficulty coming up with a name, he told us it was only nouns that taxed his memory; people, places and things. He said he had no problem coming up with the adjectives or adverbs, it was just the nouns. We realized that was true for most of us. Then this evening I read an article in the current Smithsonian Magazine on Senior Moments and the good news that researchers are discovering some surprising good news about growing old. The article cited examples of people being able to deal with social conflicts more effectively and were able to better manage their emotions. Older people are not as inclined to agonize over their losses to the extent of younger people nor compound the problem by doubling-down in an attempt to overcome them. Surveys have show that stress levels drop off considerably by age 70 and people are generally happier than in their younger years, etc. Research has shown that the negative stereotype of older people is typically incorrect. I can buy that, even with the problems with my nouns and a couple other things.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Heather's Letter

Another 101 degree day in Seward, NE and no relief nor rain in sight. One of our "highlights" of the day was the receipt of a letter from Heather. She told of their trip through the Nebraska Sandhills, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Devils Tower and her flight home. She gave an interesting description of watching the Bison in South Dakota. We in Nebraska take our Sandhills so for granted and it's always interesting to hear peoples reaction when they see them for the first time. It was a very nice letter and we particularly appreciate her taking time to write knowing of her demanding schedule. We certainly enjoyed her short visit with us and hope she can get back more often as she completes her PhD program. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Ancient Mariner

Charlie, Eldy and I golfed at 8:00am this morning while there was some cloud cover, no wind and nice temperature. By the time I got home from 10:00am Coffee it had warmed up to nearly 90 degrees. There were a few brief showers in the area but not in our community. I did some "hose watering" in an effort to keep our flowers and tomato plants alive but we are letting the lawn go dormant. As I held the hose on the Impatience plants, for no good reason, the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" came to mind. It might have been prompted by the desperate situation we are in because of the drought with 25 days since a rain, but the words came to mind:

"Day after day, day after day, We struck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean.
Water, water every where, and all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink."

We studied the "Rhyme" in HS and were required to memorize a few stanzas. It was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1897. The "story" involves a sailing ship that had drifted into the Antarctic area and was led out by an Albatross. The "Mariner" eventually shot the bird and hung it around the Mariners neck by the ships crew. The expression of someone "having an Albatross around his neck" probably stems from Coleridge's Rhyme. The weather forecast  for the next week is 7 days of at or near 100 degrees and little chance of any rain. Is that an Albatross, or what??

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


This picture was taken on July 6, 2012 of a corn field with emerging tassels. Back when I was a youngster on the farm, Dad talked about "corn being horse belly high by the 4th of July". Our growing season has been advanced all year following "spring weather" in March. The field pictured is in the Plum Creek flood plain and may produce a reasonable crop. However, we haven't had any rain since June 23 when we received 3/4 of an inch. And, it's questionable what dryland corn in the area will produce. There is a slight chance of some rain in our area tomorrow,  but beyond that, the forecast is for more hot, dry weather. This drought is being reported as the most severe and widespread since the mid 1950's. I was working with SCS here in Seward County at that time. That drought brought on a rash of irrigation development. My job went from working with farmers to apply conservation practices on rolling land to working with "flat land farmers" in developing irrigation systems. I remember of seeing the first center pivot system in Seward County at that time.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Safety First

We took the last of the records that were sorted out to Et-Cetera this afternoon. These were all purchased at recent auctions. (No Jon, I didn't get rid of any Polka records). The picture is of the back alley behind the store where all incoming items are unloaded. What you see below the sign is a "Hughes Bros." guy wire "brace". The purpose of the brace is to alert people to the existence of the guy wire which is necessary to help stabilize transmission poles and lines. I understand that back in Hughes Brothers' early years, Ben Sr. was on a Lincoln jury for a case that involved an accident with someone running into a "naked" guy wire. Ben had the vision to see the value of a wooden "stick" painted white, enclosing the wire and making the "hazard" much more visible. The production of this item was important to the Plant over many of the early years as they were used all over the Country. You have probably seen them and didn't realize their origin. Their safety value has been invaluable. This one behind the Et-Cetera store is in remarkably good condition for its age. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Goehner, NE

The Kitones sang at the United Church of Christ Sunday Service this morning. Pee Wee (Marvin) Schulz has been a member of Kitones for a number of  years and a long time member of the Church. His wife Marilyn had a big birthday and asked us to sing at the Service as well as during the social time following. Elaine and I had lunch at the Chez Bubba  in Goehner. It is an excellent restaurant for a small community. We had the "Original Red Barn Hamburger" with Sweet Potato Fries which is very good. After eating we drove over to the Seward County Museum a few blocks away. This house is part of the complex and was moved in a few years ago from a farmstead in the area. By the time we got home the temperature was approaching 100 degrees so we didn't venture outside any further. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012


The Gene Hromas Auction was today near Ulysses which among many other things, had 2 button accordions listed. With our hot, dry temperature pushing 100 degrees and my wanting to play golf this morning, I didn't go. When trying to play an accordion in the past, I was able to do the right hand part but couldn't put it together with my left hand playing the cords. It's something that Dad, Don & Jon are able to do quite effortlessly and yet I couldn't. I still wonder if I had one of my own if I could get it coordinated. After playing golf, I did go to an auction here is Seward where there were 2  piano accordions but didn't stay to see them sell. Instead, came home and finished sorting the phonograph records I bought a couple weeks ago and will take most of them to the Etcetra store.

Friday, July 13, 2012

50 Years Later-A Good Move

Fifty years ago this week our '56 Pontiac Station Wagon with an optimistic couple and 4 youngsters were on their way, moving from Lincoln, NE to Arlington, VA. My Diary had been packed and inaccessible so I don't know the exact date we left but it may have been about July 11th or 12th, 1962. This picture was taken in Des Moines, IA which was one of our first stops. I reported in to Room 6221 of the South Agriculture Building, USDA on Monday July 16. Elaine and I had been back a month earlier to rent living quarters in the Fairlington Apartments. It was really a "Leap of Faith" and while Elaine and I my have had our apprehensions, we never discussed them with the family.
The move took me from a GS-7 to a GS-9 with a pay increase of  less than $300./yr. But it also moved me into a category where further advancement opportunities were available. That is what we were "banking on".  We had sent our household goods on ahead and put in storage because of giving an early possession date on our Lincoln house. And, stayed out at Seward with my folks for a couple weeks while preparing to leave. We tried to make the trip as enjoyable for the kids as possible by stopping frequently to see point of interest. This statue of Abraham Lincoln with his son Todd, is in Springfield, IL. And the bottom picture was taken along Lake Michigan.
It was well that we enjoyed our travel back to Virginia. We had reservations and checked in to the Presidential Gardens near where our apartment was ready for us. But, in contacting the Moving Company, found they had mistakenly put all of our stuff in containers for overseas shipment. This delayed our move but once it seemed to be on track, we went out and bought a large order of groceries to have in the apartment. The next day when we went back over to Presidential Gardens to check out and get our groceries, they were all gone thinking we didn't want them. Needless to say, things got better after our initial introduction to the Big City. Some of us shed a tear when we left 18 years later and today we enjoy a monthly annuity check enhanced by our move.  It worked out O.K.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" was the movie that we enjoyed here is Seward this evening. It is a great story line and the filming in India is fantastic. There is so much going on that it's a challenge to keep up with it all, but seems to come together in the end. The scenes showing the masses of people on the streets reminded me of our visit to China some years ago. We don't see many movies but this one was "highly recommended" and we were not disappointed. It was a fitting way to finish off a busy day of activity. I played golf this morning early, went to coffee, attended an inter-club meeting with the Cornhusker Kiwanis Club at the Knolls in Lincoln, and went to an 89th birthday party for old friend Norm Schulz during the afternoon. Norm is the one that got me started playing golf some years ago. He was excited about his Granddaughter Elizabeth winning the State Women's Match Play Championship yesterday. It was a good day, now if it can just rain a bit during the night.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


With no ballgame to watch this evening, we turned our attention to NET -1, our Public Television Station in Lincoln. And, watched an hour long program on "Tracking Grizzlies in Alaska". It was the first in a series of 3 programs . We might even watch the next programs of the series even if there is a ballgame . It is amazing how animals in the wild are able to maintain a balance of nature if there isn't human intervention. Our weather this year should help the skeptics to accept global warming and that while part of it may be "normal", our civilization has certainly contributed to the cause. Dryland corn here in the Seward area is holding up pretty well but it is pollinating and at a most critical stage. A good 2" rain within the next few days could make a tremendous difference in the yield. If we don't get a rain soon, it will be an interesting test of the "drought tolerance" of the new hybrids as well as soil conditions and tillage practices of the farmers. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Seward's Brick Streets

When an old man no longer has to go to a daily job, he starts drinking morning coffee with the boys.
When he drinks coffee with the boys, he tells them stories he has heard over the years about incidents that have occurred in Seward. Among the incidents that he tells about is of an obscene message carved into a brick. When he talks about the brick containing the obscene message, he says it was placed in front of the Mayor's house at the time the brick streets were laid back in the 19th century. When he talks about the location, he says he remembers a now deceased Concordia professor showing a picture of the brick and telling him of it's location. When he tells his coffee drinking friends where he thinks the brick is located, he decides to see if he can find it. When he goes to look for it, he takes a broom to clear away debris and his wife to take a picture of it. When his wife takes the picture it is not of the brick but of his futile attempt to find the brick with an obscene message. Don't let this happen to you, there are easier ways to receive obscene messages, keep going to your daily job.

Monday, July 9, 2012

We didn't have our usual Kiwanis meeting this noon because of an effort to encourage "inter-club" visits. When Julie and John got married last summer, it was decided that since John and I both went to Kiwanis on Mondays, it would be a good time for Elaine, Carolyn & Julie to also go out for lunch. So without a meeting this noon, John and I joined the ladies for lunch down at the La Carreta Restaurant. It has been open for a couple months  and appears to be doing well. The food is good, prices reasonable and service excellent. There was a good crowd there this noon. I went out to the golf course after we got home and played with Gordon & Kenny who play from the white tees. It was a new experience for me playing from the whites. It makes me appreciate normally playing from the yellows. I took an 8 on one hole after going in the water and not taking any
mulligans nor "gimmes" and finished with a 48. Soon after getting home, Dale stopped by after having been up to Albion looking at a corn field that had suffered damage after having been sprayed. As a "retired" PhD Agronomist he is recognized as an "expert" in his field and his reports are used to settle many cases out of court. If they do go to court, he often serves as an "Expert Witness". I asked him to explain Higgs Boson to me. He quickly pleaded ignorance and began telling of his college days when his Dad asked him if he knew why horses, cows and sheep eat the same hay but their fecal material is entirely different. When Dale admitted he didn't know why, his Dad said: "You don't know s---, and you're trying to tell me how to farm. Dale has been a very humble, story telling, expert Agronomist, ever since.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Marlin 22 cal. rifle

As we go through life's stages, we reach a point of recognizing that some of our possessions do not have the same value to our life style that they once did. The above Marlin 22 cal. rifle with a hexagon barell is one example. I bought this gun from Harold Davisson here in Seward back in the early 1950's. I had a 12 Gauge shotgun but wanted a rifle. I couldn't afford a new one and this served my rabbit hunting needs. It was also a good gun to teach the boys to shoot as they reached an appropriate age. One of my "kills" with it was a squirrel in our attic at our Ridge Road house in Virginia. I also shot another squirrel at the back of the house where the little Greenhut boy was amazed at my marksmanship.It is an old gun. I did some research some time ago and found the latest patent for this type of gun was in 1922. I have no idea what it may be worth but hope to find out later this fall when it may appear on my brother's Auction. It has served me well and I'm ready to recycle it to a new owner.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Window Problem "Fixed"

It pays to ask friends and relatives for help. Last Tuesday evening as we were picking up things for Elaine's Class of '47 HS Reunion, I accidentally hit the "down" button for the left rear window on our '02 La Sabre. The window buttons on the '02 are placed differently than on the '92 which I usually drive. The window went down but when I tried to roll it back up it wouldn't go. All that happened was some grinding noise. Friends said the problem was probably a regulator. Ben alerted me to Roger Warnsholz who has a Body Shop here is Seward. We took it down yesterday afternoon where he confirmed the problem and asked us to bring it in this morning. We were aware that a regulator was quite expensive even using an "after market" one. (Used one). We indicated that we would be happy if he could just "fix it" so the window would stay up. The only time the window has been turned down during the 10 years has been when we hit the button accidentally. Roger got it "fixed" and charged us $25.00. He checked on the price of a new regulator which was $264.00. He also told us that he had worked on several of the GM cars with this problem and they were all the left-rear window. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Heather's Visit

 We were most delighted yesterday morning to have a call from Granddaughter Heather to say she was planning to stop by for a short visit. She was with two  friends who were traveling from Bloomington, IN to California and were coming our way. They were both University Professors from back east and the lady was on a years sabbatical so in no hurry. Heather took advantage of the opportunity to ride along as they planned to go through the Nebraska Sandhills, Badlands of South Dakota, the Black Hills and on to Billings, MT where she will catch a plane back to IN. She is teaching a class at IU this summer and needs to be back on next Monday. 
We had a real nice visit though it was a short one. Ben, Carolyn, John and Julie all came down and were able to exchange a lot of information in a couple hours. The friends spent some time at the Blue Heron while we visited but came in to get acquainted when they picked her up. Heather is hoping to get her PhD wound up within the next year and be on the job market for the fall of 2013. The course that she is teaching now is closely related to her Latin American Studies that is the subject of her thesis. She really seemed to enjoy getting back to Seward and got some pictures of the old Middle School which she attended before moving back to Virginia. We thoroughly enjoyed her visit and are most pleased with her courage and ambition to continue her studies as she has.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our 4th of July City

The 4th of July has come and gone again in Seward, the "U.S. Small Town 4th of July City". According to the media, we again had 40,000 visitors to our city of 7,000 people. The size of the crowd is determined by statistical and historic techniques. Years ago  Nebraska Governor Exon and  Congressman Bereuter were successful in achieving Congressional action to get our esteemed  title. Near-by City Wilber had been designated "The Czech Capitol of Nebraska" about the same time. As I've heard the story, Clark Kolterman who has been the driving force behind the celebration for the past 25 years, was anxious to have a larger crowd for our celebration than did Wilber. So he took their attendance, doubled it and reported the number as our record crowd. That was years ago and each year we seem to have more people here than the year before so the number in expanded to recognize the increase. Hence, the story behind our number of 40,000 visitors in town. Many of them watched the "Grand Parade" where John Deere tractors replaced Czech Queens, Model A Fords, & Fire Trucks this year for having the greatest number of entries and a good time was had by all. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Class of '47

Our 4th of July Celebration began last evening with the Seward HS Class of '47 Reunion at the VFW Club. Elaine (3rd from left in back row) was chair of the committee that did all the planning and communicating along with Jean and Bonnie. Several of the 15 Classmates came from out of state to share memories and "catch-up" on events since their meeting 5 years ago. An outstanding prime rid dinner was served with many, like us, taking enough home to again enjoy prime rib for lunch. I sang with the Kitones at the Civic Center this noon, (Thanks to Carolyn for transportation), watched the Parade with our Seward family from the shade of our house, and had a picnic supper with friends . With 98 degree temperature and 105 heat index, it wasn't conducive for participation in the many activities available.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Buddy's at Bellvue

This is a continuation of my "story" a couple days ago about the NYA school at Bellevue and my message to the  Lincoln Journal Star Historian who had done a story on the facility as "Bellevue College". Jim was appreciative of the information and wished he had received it before doing the story. I have since read through my Diary during the time I spent there back in early 1943 and also found this picture. These are some of my "buddy's" with Mr. Whitwer, School Superintendent in the back. One of the fellows had completed the course and was leaving with a job in a Defense plant. Oren Fix is to the right. I saw in LJS that he and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1996. I sent them a picture and card but never heard back. The next guy with the "B" letter sweater was Joe Norby. He was my best buddy from Bancroft, NE. We would go in to Omaha roller skating at the Crosstown Rink on 24th street and to the Orphiem theater where we heard such stars as "The Andrews Sisters", "Ink Spots", Sammy Kaye", etc. In the mid-nineties a Presbyterian Minister came to Seward from Bancroft who knew Joe and his family. Unfortunately, Joe has passed on shortly prior to the time and so I didn't follow up with any of them. The 10 weeks that I spent there was really a great experience. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tree Carving

On my way home from Kiwanis this noon, I noticed that Harry Hoffman had a tree cut down and a Squirrel carved from its stump. It was a spruce tree that was probably planted when the house was built back in the '20's. The tree came to our attention when we had the farm and frequently drove in to town about sunset. It "stood out" as the tallest tree among many on the City horizon. We were able to identify it's location just north of the Fire Station. A few years later, a storm in the area took out  about the top 15 feet of the tree. The storm took out several trees in town including our Bradford Pear and was referred to as a "Derecho"; similar to the storm that hit several trees this past weekend at the Congressional Country Club in Washington, D.C. I'm not aware of what prompted the removal of this tree but it is certainly a nice tribute to  have such an appropriate carving made from it's trunk. Harry is to be congratulated.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bellevue NYA School 1943

Jim McKee the Historian writer for the Lincoln Journal Star had an article this morning on the Bellevue College which opened in Sept.  1883 in a Church.  Clark Hall was built on  a high hill with a beautiful panoramic view and opened with 35 students in 1884. There was no mention of the years the facility was utilized as an NYA school so this was my letter to him.

       Jim: Your article today on Bellevue College brought back many happy memories. Here are some pictures from the 10 weeks I spent in the NYA school there in early 1943. I graduated from Garland HS in the spring of 1942, worked on construction of the Lincoln Army Airbase during the summer, shucked corn in the fall and enrolled in the National Youth Administration program at Bellevue after the first of January. NRA was established by Executive Order on 6/26/1935 as part of the WPA program for young people 16-25 years of age. By '42 it had been placed under the War Manpower Commission. It was a program to educate, provide work, recreation and counseling to unemployed young people. The Bellevue facility provided training in Welding, Sheet Metal work and as a Machinist. I took Sheet Metal Course. Us boys lived in Fontenelle Hall where the cafeteria was located and took our turns or punishment peeling potatoes and working on KP. The girls lived in Lowrie Hall where we were not allowed to visit. As I remember there were some 50 fellows and about 25 girls there at the time. Some of the boys were paroled to the head of the school from the Omaha Court System but most students were of good character. We were paid a modest amount and produced products for the war effort. Our sheet metal department must have built a thousand tool boxes for the Army. My Dad rented an additional farm  and by late March, wanted me to come home to help with the farming. I understand the NYA program was phased out by Congress later in 1943 since unemployment was no longer an issue. My training helped me to draw and read blueprints in my later career with the USDA Soil Conservation Service but I never had the opportunity to build airplanes at the Martin Bomber Plant for which I was being trained. 
Clark Hall

Dormitories from Clark Hall