Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Thank you Letter to Kansas

You know, in my haste to share my love of Kansas with you all- I was going to go day by day from my trip and tell you everything. I realized that if I share too much- I’ll jump too far ahead in our story, and I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves or spoil any twists and turns in the story. So- I am going to restrain myself and wait until the visit coincides with the story’s context.

However, we met amazing people on this trip and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention them and their incredible efforts to help us in this project and journey. Here is my thank you speech, and when the time comes for the stories- I will mention them again- and when we write the book- we’ll mention them a third time. That’s how wonderful and hospitable these folks were. Kansans- good folks.

We may be inundated with negative stories and news, and think that the world has just turned upside down with nothing good left. But the more I interact with people in this research project, either through letters or in my travels and emails, the more I see that this world is filled with good people. It’s inspiring. In that vein, to all the good people I met in Kansas, I extend my heartfelt thanks for your inspiration...

Thank you to:
Lynn Beier of Kansas State University who was the epitome of hospitality.

Evan Hamm, Senior at Kansas State University who gave a great tour.

Kansas State Archives:
 Brittany Roberts, student intern who searched hard and found a missing link for us. 

Cliff Hight, the librarian in the archives section who had a busy day, but was kind enough to chat with us and give us a hand in some researching.

Marion and Mary Ann, the women who graciously gave us an idea of what life was like in college in the early 1940s.
Kansas State University - http://www.k-state.edu/

Marcia Walters of McPherson College who was incredibly helpful and invested in our visit.

Rea Samuels, Student and Track runner at McPherson College who gave a great tour.

Adam Pracht, Coordinator of Development Communications, who waited and searched for a way into the Archives room, and then allowed us free reign inside.

There was an archives volunteer whose name I have regrettably forgotten- but she was incredibly helpful and supportive as we dug for information in the archives.
 McPherson College -  http://www.mcpherson.edu/

David Nigh, President of McPherson County Historical Society who had the right info at the right time.

Brett Whitenack, staff member at the McPherson Museum who printed, searched, and joined in on the researching fun.

          Jan Moore and Karen Lewis of the Sheridan County Historical Society who were ready for
           us when we came and joined in on the fun of digging for details!
Sheridan County Historical Society & Mickey’s Museum - http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ksschs/

All the local folks around Selden and Hoxie’s town who were so hospitable and kind as we retraced my Grandmother’s roots.

           The “Taylor girls” and family who knew my father in grade school and organized a
lunch reunion where I got to hear my father called “Ronnie.” We also learned some
about farming from this family.

Marsha Rogers, librarian at Selden Public Library, who saw us peeking into the library windows and came to open it on an off day for us, and helped us find what we needed!
Selden Public Library - http://selden.mykansaslibrary.org/

Jennie, an old friend of my Grandmother’s who refused to give us any dirt on my
Grandmother, but gave us a nice picture of their sweet friendship and interactions.

Neecy Sloan, my great aunt, who I met for the first time (in my memory) and invited us to her home to chat about the family and fun little stories.

Murray Sloan, my Dad’s cousin, who kindly loaned us his very nice trailer to stay in for our stay in Selden/Hoxie, Kansas.

Kevin Stephenson, who owns and lives on the land that my Grandmother grew up on. He was gracious to let us roam the land and look inside the house. His German Shepherd was also a gracious host.

I’m definitely leaving people out- but know this: Kansas is full of really amazing people. Hard working, proud, very cool people. Everywhere we went there was someone trying to help us or get us in touch with someone who could help us. It didn’t matter if a building was closed (we got into at least two buildings that were locked because of kind folks who noticed we were peeking around), it didn’t matter if they were perhaps doing some work- nearly everyone joined in and helped us in our research. And that corn on the cob was delicious.

Thank you, Kansas. We’ll be back.

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