Monday, June 30, 2014

Clark Kolterman & The 4th of July City

Clark Kolterman, "Mr. 4th of July City" spoke at Kiwanis this noon on the upcoming Holiday. He told of the 126 years of the City celebrations and how it has evolved to a nationally recognized event. Seward was featured as one of 5 places in United States to spend the 4th on the Today show. It was noted on the program that our city of 7,000 will grow to some 40,000 during the course of the day. The days events begin with community breakfast at the VFW and Civic Center, etc. and concludes with a giant Fireworks Extravaganza. I will sing with our Kiwanis Kitones at noon at the Civic Center. We also host friends and relatives at our place for the Parade at 4:00pm. The parade begins a couple blocks before passing right in front of our house so our double driveway and front lawn are usually filled. I try to keep blankets off the lawn until the morning of the 4th but some lawns are nearly covered on the 3rd. It is a "big day" in Seward and Clark Kolterman has done a lot to make it what it is. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Seward United Methodist Church

The last Sunday Morning church service in the Seward United Methodist Church Sanctuary was held on January 19, 2014. A leaking water problem led to finding mold and other problems which are being resolved. Worship services have been held in the Church Fellowship Hall where folding chairs are set theatre style. Music is provided with an upright piano. Expectations are that Services can return to the Sanctuary by the end of July. This morning the Trustees invited the congregation to visit it to see the structural revisions being made and the progress on the project. It includes a new heating/air conditioning system and rebuilt alter area.
The Trustees have done a "yeoman's" job on the project and of keeping the congregation informed of the problems and progress. Reverend Dale Lambert continues to have great sermons, but it will be good to be back where the organ music can be a part of establishing  a climate of worship. I am probably biased about organ music in church but I grew-up with piano music for Sunday School and Organ music for Church. It was one of those things that I just took for granted during much of my lifetime. It was part of what made church, Church. While I realize one's relationship with their God shouldn't require organ music, it helps me with the communication. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Aviator's Wife

“The Aviator’s Wife” is a 413 page, “Historic Novel” written by Melanie Benjamin, originally published by Random house in 2013 and later that year by Bantam Books in Paperback. It is considered “historic fiction” but tells the story of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow from the time of their first meeting soon after his famous flight in 1927, till his death in 1974. While it is considered fiction, a high percentage of it is factual and the part that isn’t, is beautifully woven in to the story and could have happened. I understand that the author will be at the Seward Memorial Library this fall for a discussion of the book. Carolyn had read it and told me enough a couple weeks ago to spike my interest; I finished it this morning. I don’t really know what to say about it and plan to withhold any judgment till meeting the author and hearing the discussion. The published reviews cover the whole spectrum from praise to admonishment. Though I feel the author did a good job of depicting the times in which the story takes place, it is difficult for anyone to do unless they actually “lived it”. As a city kid, I remember my first time of seeing an airplane fly over our house in Seward. I was about 5 years old and it was a bi-plane flying east. By the time we moved to the farm a couple years later, I was already interested in “building” model planes and gliders. The first book report that I wrote in HS was on Lindbergh’s “We”. I took a one semester course on “Aviation” in HS where we learned about “celestial navigation”. We finished the course with a field trip to the Lincoln Flying School which was where Lindbergh learned to fly. When we got to Washington, D.C. my office was a short walk to the old Smithsonian Castle where “The Spirit of St. Louis” was on display. I never missed a chance to walk guests over to see the plane and point out the copper funnel in front of the pilot seat and the small copper pipe from the funnel extending a few inches below the body of the plane. After all, the flight took over 30 hours. And, now I read historic fiction about “my hero” and wonder…

Friday, June 27, 2014

Depot becomes a House

This was Seward's early Burlington Depot. It was moved off the site and replaced with a brick structure in the 1910-12 time frame. This building was moved across Ash Street at the foot of and on the west side of 4th St. where Francis Eckhard and the "Tiger Press" resided for a number of years. Francis was a U.S. Postal Letter Carrier and his Tiger Press turned out Greeting Cards for Letter Carriers throughout the country. He was a great guy along with his wife Leta. Here is how the Depot, over 100 years old looks today.
The trim  and roof overhang continue to remind those who know, the history of the house. It had a slate roof for a number of years which has now been replaced with a metal one. The Eckhard's had an apartment on the second floor which they rented out. I'm not aware of the situation today other than the place appears to be well maintained. Among my memories of the site is when President Harry S. Truman made a "Whistle Stop" there on May 8, 1950. Elaine and I had been married less than a year and I noted that she baked an Angle Food Cake with 7 minute frosting on that date in addition to our seeing the President and hearing his comments. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Birthday Present

Carolyn gave me a copy of Ted Kooser's "Lights on a Ground of Darkness" for my birthday yesterday and I finished reading it this afternoon. The 60 page book was first published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2005. It has been referred to as "an evolution of time and place" which is to say that the author has put together family stories, family history and his memory to tell a story in a way that only a poet could do. The poet Edwin Muir wrote, "Our memories of a place, no matter how fond we are of it, are little more that a confusion of lights on a ground of darkness." Kooser has said that "writing this book was the most important work he has ever undertaken because it was his attempt to keep those beloved people alive against the relentless erosion of time." Reading it makes me wish I would have written more of Mother and Dad's stories. Aunt Ethel loved to tell family stories and had no problem filling in some of the details. Taking flowers to all the family graves for Memorial Day with her was always a time when we heard new stories. She didn't marry until she was in her late 30's and never had children so family was very important to her. Who knows, I've already written a bit about my Grandparents and someday, I may try to write a bit more. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Great Birthday

What a Birthday.  How best to top it off with Angle Food cake and a Great-Granddaughter. She is a little "live-wire" and delights in checking out everything I may have in my shirt pocket. She learned how to "retract" my ballpoint pen and knew that the point had to be out if she were to make marks. She demonstrated her singing skills after finishing her dinner. She likes roasting ears and just about every thing else. We walked out around the Owens yard and she tried to pronounce the name of all the new shrubs after we identified them. It was a nice way to spend a birthday. I even enjoyed sitting down and reading a couple chapters of "The Aviator's Wife".
Our Dinner at Julie, John and Sadie's was a Seward family affair. Carolyn and Ben were very much involved in the preparation as was Elaine with baking the cake. As a kid, Angle Food cake was my favorite. Mother never had a cake pan until I was older and even tried to make one in a regular pan which didn't work. One of my Aunt's baked one for my 10th birthday  which helped make her a favorite. It is difficult today for people to understand the agony my Mother must have felt by not having the money to buy an Angle Food cake pan when she would have so liked to bake one for me. As times got better and she did get a pan, it was used not only for my birthday but for other special occasions. Elaine has baked many of them over the years but hadn't done one for a while. Having one today along with family along with cards and phone calls, made this day very Special. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fiberglass Art

This past January 29th, my blog was on a "Life Size Moose" that was "made" here in Seward by a new business for Canada and sent to Russia for the Winter Olympics. Yesterday, Pat Keough spoke to Kiwanis and told us about his business. He had parked a trailer with this load of 6' high  cowboy boots, American Eagle and Gnome near the Civic Center. Pat was accompanied by his son who assists him with his Fiberglass Public Art projects. The family moved to Seward a couple years ago to be near a Granddaughter and her parents. Pat told of having worked for the Railroad for a number of years but after a layoff went to work for a friend to learn this business.
The Keoughs ship these products throughout the US and abroad. The big boots are going to a city in Texas where they will be artistically painted by individual businesses or organizations as a promotion for some worthy cause. They will then be auctioned and the revenue donated to the cause. They indicated that they typically raise many times the cost of the item which may be in the 200-300 dollar amount. Some of course are much more expensive. One of those present at the meeting yesterday had been to Yellowstone NP where Keoughs had provided some Buffalo. She had a picture of one that had been "decorated" with a beautiful landscape picture of the area. I won't attempt to describe the process of creating the objects. Rosin, Fiberglass, etc. is poured into forms as the basic part of the process realizing that developing the "models" and forms is the hard part. Pat does not consider himself an artist.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Kiwanis Cross Makers

Clayton Kent spoke to Kiwanis a few years ago about "Palm Crosses".  It was soon after Marv Taylor organized a very successful Flag Pole Committee in the club. Some of the same people decided they would also become involved with Clayton in making the crosses. They are shaped to fit in the palm of ones hand and serve as a "reminder of the blessings you receive through Christ". They have established their own 501 (c) (3) charitable organization , have a web site at <>and can be contacted at <>. Their sales of over 38,000 crosses have mostly come during the past 2-3 years. They are all volunteers and have scheduled hours on certain days of the week when they all come together to work. Most of the crosses are made from native Red Cedar which gives them a beautiful color. The process starts with them harvesting wood from trees that have been taken out.
It is cut into boards, plained, the crosses cut-out, sanded and varnished. There are more steps in the process than I have mentioned. The dollar profit from the operation has all been donated to a charitable purpose. The above picture shows Clayton presenting a $1,000.00 check to Marv Taylor for a Kiwanis Avenue Of Flags project that is underway. The project not only provides a worthy product that is cherished by recipients, it provides a revenue stream for charitable purposes and also enables enjoyable camaraderie for those involved. It's a win, win, win activity. Thanks Clayton

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Garland High School Alumni Reunion

The Garland High School Alumni met last evening at the American Legion Hall in Garland. Tom Rief from the Spare Time Lounge in Seward catered a delicious dinner with this cake. GHS graduated its last class in 1966. Graduating classes  averaged about 10 dating back to 1923. Though the school only had 44 graduating classes, Alumni reunions have continued with good turnouts of graduates and spouses. It was announced last night that Mildred (Davis) Lauber is the oldest alumnus at age of 105 from the class of 1927. 
Elaine is shown here greeting Virginia Bock from the class of '36 with her daughters Ila Deinert, class of '63 and Damaris Clagg, class of '66. There were 11 in my class of '42 and only Jack Armstrong and I remain. There was some discussion last night about the possibility of calling it quits after the class of '66 has its 50th reunion in 2016 and continuing with a more informal get-to-gather. It was presented as something to think about, but I heard the comment that they would like to see it continued and "die a natural death rather than to kill it off. " I agree.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Independence Landing

Mark Kolterman and I are shown here at the Independence Landing which was dedicated today and includes a handicapped accessible fishing pier. It is the culmination of several years of effort by Mark and Shane Baack and involved many individuals, organizations and agencies. It enables individuals in wheel chairs to access a covered dock where they can fish for Bass, Bluegill, etc. that have been stocked in the pond by the Nebraska Game and Parks. The pond has been dredged, Water Gardens have been planted, other features have been installed which makes it a "destination" point in the Seward Community. Even the stainless steel sign, supported by old paving bricks, was fabricated locally and donated.
The Dedication was culminated with the passing of the "Key" from Shane and Mark to the Mayor, Josh Eickmeier, City Administrator, Council Members and Mel Aldrich. The project exemplifies what can be done in a community with people working together toward a common goal. Mark and Shane have provided the leadership and they have encouraged participation by many people who now feel an "ownership" in the project. I'm even thinking about getting out some of my old fishing gear and giving it a try. It is available to anyone, and I do have a "lifetime" fishing license. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Flat Land

Seward County Nebraska is 24 miles square. The western 3/4's of the county looks very much like the picture. The eastern 1/4th was glaciated and hilly. The Ogallala Aquifer which covers a major portion of western and central Nebraska underlies the western part of the county and provides groundwater for irrigation. The Dakota Aquifer lies under the Ogallala which the glaciated area of the County must rely on for domestic use from wells 400ft or more, in depth. There are 60-70 coal trains/day on the main line of the Burlington Santa Fe Rail Road which runs through the county. Many of the trains are over a mile in length. This picture was taken from the Beaver Crossing spur approaching NE #34. Tamora elevators, 3 1/2 miles away, are visible beyond the end of the train. This is an area of prime agricultural land and hopefully its production can be maintained by the "sustainable use" of irrigation water from the Ogallala Aquifer. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Check the Connections

We have several phones around our house. When Norm built it back it 1969 for Mrs. Brockhoff, he put phone connections in nearly every room. We now have 3 old button phones, 3 cordless phones and a Cell phone. A number was left on our answering machine yesterday that  I was to call this morning to set up an appointment with Dr. Tewes when he comes out to Seward on Monday. I picked up the phone (shown) that sets on the lamp table between our two chairs, dialed the number and it showed "connecting" but nothing happened. I unplugged it, unplugged the battery, pushed all the buttons, read the instruction booklet but nothing helped. I took it and the instructions along down to coffee. Rich has considerable knowledge of electrical, mechanical and other things gained over the years as the owner/operator of a men's clothing store, including tailoring and working with sewing machines, Chief of the Fire Department, a Security Officer and his personal curiosity. 
Rich looked it over down at coffee, read the instruction booklet, quized me about the mate to this phone, how it hooked up to the telephone line, etc. He could find nothing on the phone or in the instructions that enabled the "connecting" to  be removed. Rich decided he needed to make a "house call" and followed me home. We unplugged the phone, and he went to the kitchen to see the other phone. There on the counter top lay the phones plug in. While we had house guests and much stuff on the counter, it got knocked out. Elaine heard it drop out but thought it was for the can opener which she seldom uses. Rich plugged it in, and our problem was solved. It pays to have friends that are smarter than us as we grow older. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Confession of a Salesman

This beautifully shaped young tree is in front of a business in downtown Seward. I must admit to not knowing its species or anything about it but certainly admire its shape and beauty. It is said that "confession is good for the soul";  so here is the rest of the story. In the mid '50's, my partner and I drew landscape plans, sold and planted nursery material for Nebraska Nurseries from Lincoln. The Nursery owner did his best to teach us about the various species, products and varieties. We had an opportunity to sell the Seward Cemetery a number of trees to line a street through a newly plated section. I talked with Corney about what may be appropriate, and he suggested "Redmond Linden". He said they were a very columnar, study tree that would be ideal for the site. I picked up Wilbur, the Cemetery manager; and we went out to the site early one morning before going to work. I told him all of the virtues of the Redmond Lindens that I had heard from Corney and he ordered 20 of the trees. We moved to Lincoln the next year and 4 years later to Washington, D.C.
The trees did well and this is how they look today. I was still a believer in Redmond Lindens when we bought our house here 30 years ago and planted one in our front yard. It is a dirty tree with drooping limbs. It's evident by the way these have had to be trimmed at the Cemetery to keep them "shaped up". It is only appropriate that I now have to "put up" with one after having sold them to people who trusted me. As near as I know, this is the worst mistake I ever made with nursery material. Fortunately, our burial site is not in this section. The lesson to be learned is to ask salespeople what they really know about the product they are selling. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Family is Special

We and the Sorge's met Don and Gladys at the Chinese Restaurant and Mongolian Grill for lunch today in Lincoln. We enjoyed an abundance of tasty food and conversation. One memory seemed to stimulate at least two others. Janice told of pinching her upper lip to relieve leg crams which reminded Don of Dad's use of a "twitch" to inflict pain to a horses nose in order to pour Epson Salts down the horse's throat.  We drove past the house on Cleveland Street where Sorge's lived from '59-'65. Some of the improvements they made on the property are still very much in use. Needless to say, the trees had grown considerably. We stopped by the new Fallbrook Branch of the Cattle Bank and Trust that was just dedicated this past Saturday. It is a beautiful facility.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Enjoying House Guest

We continue to enjoy Janice and Larry's visit. After Larry went along with me to  Kiwanis this noon, we went for a ride out to the old Vrana farm where Janice was born and lived till she was about 10 years old. The farm was still in the family for several more years; so she and I both have many memories associated with it. I pointed out the spot on the District 13 schoolyard where I was able to tell the first classmate I met  that January 21st, that we had a twin sister and brother arrive earlier that morning. The old windmill and a Walnut tree in the building site are the only 2 markers remaining to provide perspective. It is the farm where I "grew up". 
We also enjoyed a pair of Baltimore Orioles on our recently purchased feeder this afternoon. We had seen a male come and go occasionally but this was the first time we had a pair. I didn't get up from my place at the kitchen table for fear of scaring them away so the picture is a little fuzzy. The Orioles, House Finch, Humming Birds and others seem to enjoy the grape jelly. Our weather has been rather frightful today with hail at Utica and Raymond this morning and Tornado's in the Burwell area this evening. I went to Kitone practice this evening in preparation for singing at Ridgewood Care Center next week. Our last "Gig" of the season will be at the Civic Center as part of the Seward 4th of July celebration. We have had "standing room only" crowds there for all the years I've sung with the group. We always finish with "Battle Hymn" which produces a standing ovation. It is always an inspiring event. We have another big day lined up for tomorrow that will involve brother Don & Gladys from Syracuse, NE

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Great Fathers Day

We had a great Father's Day with Janice and Larry. Slept late, read papers, went to 11:00am Church at St. Johns and witnessed a most meaningful & impressive Baptism of young Grant by Rev. Andrew and children. Beautiful Service with excellent sermon. We all enjoyed it. After lunch we went to the Seward County Museum in Goehner, We not only enjoyed many of the items in the Museum but also the old house in the background and on to Beaver Crossing to see the effects of the Mother's Day Tornado. We were home for a few minutes and had Dinner at the Cafe on the Square. We drove around town past houses that brought back memories to Janice and Larry. We got back home about 7:35pm to hear a reminder of the 7:30 City Band Concert. We didn't miss much and enjoyed hearing Julie and John playing in the band and visiting with Carolyn as she took care of Sadie during the concert. 
Many homes in Beaver Crossing were destroyed and nearly all suffered damage to some degree. This has been a most picturesque house at the western edge of town that has considerable damage. I hope it can be restored to its former attractiveness. I did miss Father's Day calls from the boys by being gone. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sadie & Janice,

My sister Janice and husband Larry from Merced, CA, got to our house this afternoon for a short visit. John, Julie and Sadie came down to see them and Janice and Sadie discussed the Rice Krispies in the cup. Janice is 11 years younger than me and has always been a special "little sister". My older sister Vivian and I did a lot of "parenting" of Janice and Jerry as they were growing up. Vivian and Jerry are both gone now but it's always special to be able to spend a few days each year with Janice & Larry here in Nebraska. Carolyn and Ben came down this evening and continued our good family stories. It is most interesting to exchange  "first hand" information on Grandchildren and entire families. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Railroad Water Tower

This is Highway #15 at the south edge of town looking up the hill to downtown Seward. The little RR Water Tower is the reason for the picture. The tower dates back to the days of steam locomotives when they needed quantities of water. The Burlington/Santa Fe RR still runs trains   on the tracks but the main line is south of town where a high number of coal trains pass through every day. There are few of us that remember seeing the big arm swing down from this tower and fill the engine's water tank. That has not happened for probably 60-75 years. Some years ago, our 1st Impressions Committee talked of it being repainted the original "red" with a flag and "Welcome to Seward" sign on it. At that time, its ownership was in question. When the RR ceased to use it, they leased it to a local business that stored fertilizer in it and sold it in "bulk" amounts to farmers. That business didn't last long, but it did contaminate the structure according to more recent regulations. Again, some interested town people obtained permission to paint it camouflaged as a tree. Recently, a member of our 1st Impressions clarified the ownership with County Courthouse documents which show the RR having ownership. After receipt of the documentation, the RR has put it and the little nearby concrete block building on their "demolition" list for this calendar year. I still think it would have made a great welcome monument to our historic town but it's not to be. It will be retained only in pictures and in some of our memories.  Time Marches On. (ambulabunt in tempore)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Kondike Kalamity-A Melodrama

We attended the Goehner Players presentation of Klondike Kalamity at the Olde Dinner Theatre this evening. The Goehner Players did Melodramas in Goehner for many years until their Director passed on some 8 years ago and their Theatre became a Church. When the old Presbyterian Church became available here is Seward, the Chamber of Commerce became the new owners and have made it available to the group. It was a bit nostalgic going back to where we attended Church Services for a number of years. The pews are all gone from the Sanctuary, the Chancel has been cleared out and is now the stage where the performers are standing. The Old Indian is standing in about the location of the Pulpit where I once gave a Soil Stewardship Sunday Sermon. It appeared to be a sold out crowd of some 150 people in attendance for a prime rib dinner  with dessert and then popcorn and drinks at intermission. The Melodrama is running from June 4 through the 14th. The Chamber will continue to "book" other activities into the facility. It appears a good way to utilize an old, but sturdy building, by its "resurrection".

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Golfing in The West

Once in a while you do the right thing at the right time. It may be by chance, intuition, or luck, but in this case it was my brother Don's planning. Sister Janice and husband Larry were here from California for their 50th SHS HS class reunion.  Jerry came down from Tomah, WI for the reunion. Don was familiar with a "Promotion" to play several of the western Nebraska public golf courses at a discount price and lined up a trip for us. Larry drove Jerry's Chrysler mini-van and we left Seward on July 5th. We were in Gothenburg for lunch and at the Wildhorse Golf Course for a 12:30 tee time where this picture was taken. After a good round of 18 holes we drove through "hill country" to Curtis and looked at the Tech. School there where Larry graduated from HS in '52. We went on to McCook where we checked in to the Holiday Inn Express.  After eating we drove out to the Heritage Hills golf course to look it over. 
Larry was not only "the driver" for the entire trip but also a "good egg" in taking a lot of razzing from his 3 brothers-in-law. Jerry complained that a hair on Larry's nose had bothered him all day so he pulled it out as we sat in our room watching TV. I and Jerry rode together for our 9:30 tee time the next morning, and we had a great time.  Jerry rested in the Motel that afternoon while the rest of us visited the Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright house and other points of interest in McCook. My blackened Prime Rib was good but not very thick. We left early the next morning for an 8:30am tee time at the Cross Creek Course at Cambridge. The front 9 follows Medicine Creek but the back 9 runs up into the hills. We were back to Seward by 5:00pm after a once in a lifetime event. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sadie at 22 Months

Sadie looks like she was all alone at the Seward City Band concert on Sunday evening but her Grandmother was keeping a close eye on her. Her Mother and Dad were also close by in the Sax section.  Julie is sitting next to the girl at the front, right corner of the picture. John is next beyond Julie. It is nice that they can continue to both play in the band since they competed for 1st chair in the sax section of the Jr. High Band.  Sadie knew they were playing and just wanted to get up to where she could get a good look at them. With John and Julie both being excellent musicians, we would hope that Sadie inherited that ability and interest. But she has a mind of her own. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

I Never Promised ...

I have taken several pictures over the years of "the last rose of summer" but this is our first Tea Rose of this summer. We have a Paul's Scarlet blooming on our backyard fence and a couple little florabundas but they are not like this one. While I "fancied" myself as a rose grower at one time, other interest have taken priority and off the top of my head, can't even give this one a name. I'm sure we bought it on a close out sale at Orscheln's some years ago and planted it in the flower bed under our clump River Birches in the back yard. Now that I don't play golf regularly, I may rekindle my interest in roses and gardening in general. Back in the '50's we had a rose garden with over 20 named tea roses but that was when we were selling for Nebraska Nurseries and I could buy them "bare root" for $1.50. We also had a nice rose garden at our Ridge Road house in Arlington, VA in the '70's. Lynn Anderson had a hit record of "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" which motivated me to plant one for Elaine. I probably enjoyed singing the song to her as much as I did "smelling" the roses. I always added, "But I Planted One for You Anyway". She liked it, and we still enjoy our roses. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Prime of Life

Elaine and I received numerous congratulations as we celebrated our 65th wedding anniversary this past week. (5th) This picture however, was taken 40 years ago at the time of our 25th. While we didn't know it at the time, we were probably at the "height of our game" about then. Batting averages are a good way to recognize when baseball players reach their peak, though there are other factors. Alex Gordon is raising his batting average this year and hopefully will continue to do so. I doubt that he will improve his fielding since he is already at such a high level. Elaine and I may have reached the peak of our "physical appearance" about this time. And, somewhere along the line, began to decline.  We both received  a couple promotions after this picture was taken as we continued to accumulate knowledge and ability in our fields of operation.  I like to think that lifetime experience can go a long way in compensating for the physical features that decline over time.  As our memories of names, facts, etc. become hazy, it's great to have Google for a crutch. I have read that people were once judged by what they had learned and now people are judged by what they can find on  Google, etc. But nothing can take the place of experience. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Postcard Home

This picture postcard of Mt. Hood is one I came across this pm while looking through a packet of old cards. I wrote the card on 11/5/72 from Portland, OR and sent it to Elaine back in Virginia. I was spending the weekend there after flying out on Thursday pm. I was on the program at the Training Center on Friday and met with June Webber, Oregon State Conservationist. Bob Corazza picked me up on Saturday morning and we took Cal & Bob Graham along on drive out to the ocean from Newton to Tillamook, OR and back to Portland through a Forest burn area that looked like the stump in the picture.. The trip also served as my interview of Bob for an Administrative Trainee position in SCS. I went to church on Sunday morning, wrote the card to Elaine, and Rex Tracy picked me up for dinner at their home. Tom Dempster had me to their place for supper. After discussing personnel matters (and problems) with people in Portland, I flew to Spokane, WA where I met with Gaylen Bridge, Washington State Conservationist. The next day I met with the Area Conservationist and took Lou and Edna Kehne out for supper.  I flew to Albuquerque, NM, the next day where I met with Hollis Madison and interviewed a couple more people. We visited Old Town that evening. I spoke at the NM Awards luncheon the next day and flew to Lincoln, NE. I spent Saturday with my folks in their recently purchased retirement home in Seward. Vivian and Eddy Soucek took me to the Lincoln airport on Sunday afternoon and I flew home to Virginia. I had been the Soil Conservation Service, Director of Personnel for only a few months, and this is an example of my travels where I always tried to tie several meetings together. It was a demanding schedule and one for a young, energetic person. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Photo Day at D.C. Stadium

Don Zimmer, one of our old Washington Senator's baseball players died earlier this week which prompted me to do some research. I had remembered seeing Zimmer at this Photo Day in old D.C. Stadium on July 18, 1970, but my memory and the "facts" don't seem to jibe. What does jibe is remembering that Tim, Carolyn, and I had gone to see the Senators play the Boston Red Sox. Prince Charles and his sister Princess Anne were at the game setting in a press box and waved to the crowd when introduced. Tim had completed his Freshman year at UN-L and was accepted at Duke. Carolyn was going into her Senior year at Wakefield HS in Arlington, VA. Tim and Carolyn went to several games together that summer. Tim worked at the Patent Office in Crystal City as a GS-2. It was a busy summer with Jon going to Music Camp, and Verlon to active duty training in California with the National Guard. Elaine was working with the Forest Service, and I was with the Soil Conservation Service. We both worked in the South USDA Building in downtown D.C.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

65th Wedding Anniversary

This picture was taken immediately following Elaine and my Wedding at the United Church of Christ in Seward, NE on June 5, 1949. Wilson Studios did not use color film back in those days. Mrs. Hotovy who lived on a farm near Dwight provided the flowers to do all the decorating. Rev. Seybold conducted the ceremony. Elaine's friend Midge was her Maid of Honor and brother Don was my Best Man. Gladys was a Bridesmaid and Dale was a Groomsman. Janice and Jerry lit the candles. Helen played the organ, Keith Newton sang and the Church was filled with relatives and friends. A reception was held in the Church Lower Level where more pictures were taken. We had rented a furnished apartment here in Seward where Elaine was working for the Extension Service and I was with the Soil Conservation Service. After the normal "chase around town" and hiding out at Midge's place in the country, we spent our first night in our apartment. 

We had made arrangements to drive the Folks' '48 Fleetline Chevy on a Wedding Trip. And, had the car hid-out but it still got decorated. We were awakened early the next morning by a neighbor's alarm clock and were on our way. One of the fellows I worked with drove a little Crosley car which he parked on the street in front of the their house near our apartment. We suspected that he had been involved in decorating our car so we "bounced" his little car up on the lawn and were on our way to California. Elaine had a favorite Uncle Bob out in Santa Anna where we headquartered. He and Carlene had no children and were most hospitable in getting us to Tijuana, Knotts Berry Farm, and to visit other relatives, etc. On our way home we visited many places of interest including Salt Lake City and saw heavy snow on Trail Ridge Road in Rockey Mountain National Park. It was a great trip and a great start to a marriage which has its 65th Anniversary today. We celebrated today with lunch at Olive Garden.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Tree Grows in Seward

Fred Goehner had built a new house of Colorado Limestone in Seward, and my partner and I were doing the landscaping. We sold material for Nebraska Nurseries in Lincoln. They delivered 5 big Pin Oaks, and we planted them along with other shrubs at the Goehner house on April 26, 1958. My partner in the landscaping business and I both had full-time jobs but this was a "side-line. There were no other landscaping services available in Seward back in those days so we provided a needed service. Our "day" jobs were not very high paying and with families to support the extra income was important.  
Here is how the tree looks today that Fred and I were standing by 56 years ago. The house has continued to be one of Seward's fine homes. It has had a very limited number of owners since the Goehner's passed on. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of giving the current owners copies of the above and another picture of my partner digging the hole in which the tree was planted. We moved to Lincoln later in the summer of '58, and my days of landscaping were over. I had been promoted to an Engineering Technician position and enrolled in UN-L as a part-time student. It was a good move that led to a very successful and gratifying career of Federal service with the Soil Conservation Service in USDA.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sadie's visit

Sadie and Grandma Carolyn  had lunch with us this noon. She is a good eater and probably ate more for lunch than us adults. She fed herself for the most part as she ate toast and peanut butter sandwiches, eggs, and apple sauce and drank water out of an 8 oz. bottle. She was finishing off her lunch here with a Ritz cracker. She is putting more words together and tries to say everything. Her 22 Month birthday will be later this week and has a definite mind of her own. She was pretty proud of herself by being able to set in a big chair and up at the table just like the rest of us. Carolyn got a thick telephone book for her to set on which put her up high enough to eat off her plate. We spent some time out on the deck where she and I took a "selfie" but it didn't turn out very well. She has excellent eye/hand coordination and demonstrates that by pouring water from one cup to another. My old Kiwanis thermos cups are put to good use. We were in a weather alert day over much of the State today and it isn't over yet. Tornado's have been spotted out west and damaging hail fell in  the Norfolk area.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Home Maintenance and Dam Rehabilitation

After going to coffee this morning and Kiwanis this noon, I put on some "work clothes" and cleaned gutters. We got an inch and a half of rain yesterday evening and the eves overflowed. The downspouts were plugged with debris from the trees and the eves had accumulated a lot of the "sandy" type material that the Mother's Day hail and heavy rain knocked off the shingles. I couldn't see any damage to the roof other than the loss of the sandy stuff. It was a joint project with Elaine handing me the little bucket and big spoon to pick up the debris and then the hose to flush things out. This was the first time for a couple years that we cleaned up all the gutters on the west side as well as the east side of the house. I showered before going to an NRD/NRCS public meeting on the rehabilitation of one of the Oak-Middle Creek Watershed Detention Dams. It was interesting to hear of the alternatives that can be considered since they have already exceeded the economic life expectancy. Whether it's our houses or Watershed Dams, we don't realize how quickly and how often they require significant maintenance and renovation. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Little League Baseball at 75

This picture is of our 11 year old son Tim as a Little League injured baseball player back in 1963. He broke a bone in his right foot sliding into 2nd base and was out of action for just over a month. He and Verlon had both played Little Chiefs baseball in Lincoln prior to our move to Virginia in 1962. The Tops team was in a 12 and under league and very competitive. June 6th of this year marks the 75th anniversary of Little League baseball. It was on that date in 1938 that Carl Storz tripped on a root from a Lilac bush in Pennsylvania and decided his boys needed a better place to play. Today there are more than 160,00 Little Leaguers. A Museum at South Williamsport documents the growth of the activity as well as some of the names of celebrities who had played as youngsters. Our Minister had a sermon on "Hope" this morning and told of a Coach asking a Little League team how many expected to play Major League baseball; several hands went up and they went on to have an exceptional winning season. When one of the boys on that team became a coach, he asked his team the same question and not a hand was raised. Needless to say, they had a losing season. I don't know if Tim ever had visions of being a professional baseball player, but he had a lot of natural ability plus the drive and determination  to succeed. It helped him graduate with high distinction from Duke University, work his way through Law School while employed in a full time job, and became a successful Lawyer. As the Preacher said, "We can do more than we think we can".