Monday, April 13, 2015

Kansas

K day at the Blogging from A to Z Challenge brings me back to a memory of long ago.

So far I've had such a fun time crafting posts for each letter of the alphabet, in order, using my theme of America the Beautiful

It's time to talk about a state almost at the center of the United States - Kansas.

Not long after I moved to Kansas in 1977, due to my husband being stationed at McConnell Air Force Base near Wichita, Kansas, this song came out.
"Dust in the Wind" by Kansas.
All we are is dust in the wind.....

When I found out I was to be living in Wichita, Kansas, I was less than happy (to put it mildly).  I was hoping to go to graduate school to become a librarian, and the nearest library school to Wichita was in Emporia, some 90 miles away.  This was long before the days of the Internet and today's type of distance education.  And, as someone who grew up in New York City, I just knew that Wichita was part of the Western Frontier, complete with tumbling tumbleweeds and wild cowboys smashing up saloons on Saturday night.  OK, maybe not the cowboy part, but I was convinced Wichita was an archaic cowtown filled with wind, dust and tornadoes.

I had obviously watched too many Westerns while growing up in the 50's and 60's.  Although the wind part is true.

Wichita was a total surprise to me.  It was literally love at first sight.

Once I  found the Mid-America All-Indian Center, and attended my first Wichita River Festival, I was hooked.  For the first six months I lived in Wichita, I lived in walking distance of the Mid-America All-Indian Center.
This print (?) by the late Native American artist Woody Crumbo still hangs on my wall

What symbolized Wichita for me (besides discovering the works of Woody Crumbo) were the works of Native American artist Blackbear Boisin.  One of these works was a statue called the Keeper of the Plains that stood at the confluence of the Arkansas (pronounced by Wichitans "ar-KAN-sas") and Little Arkansas rivers.  When planning this post, I wondered if the statue still existed.

It does, and, after recent renovations, it is more breathtaking than ever.

There is even a mystery surrounding my first few months in Wichita I have not yet solved.  Wouldn't it be great if one of my readers could give me a lead?

Perhaps, one day, I will return and see how Kansas has become in the over thirty years since I lived there.

13 comments:

  1. Native Americans have to register with their tribes and it's possible your descendant could be found if registered. Unfortunately they don't all want that number or to claim their status as Native American (my grandmother refused. as have all her descendants so far as I know)
    A to Z blogger

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    1. That is interesting information. Thank you for letting me know.

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  2. What a lovely post about Kansas! I am now following your blog. I love it!

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    1. Thank you. I appreciate the follow.

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  3. Some of my mom side of family came from Kansas. My mom siblings older then her was born in Grainfield and my grandma was born in Senca.
    Coffee is on

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    1. I only lived in Kansas for four years, but it was an interesting four years.

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  4. Probably most cosmopolitan. And various open fields are no longer there--built up with something or other. At least, that seems to be how it usually goes.

    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

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    1. Sadly, you are probably right. I ran into someone (while traveling) about two years ago who lived in Wichita. What she told me left me saddened. Abandoned by their largest employer, among other things.Still, my husband and I talk occasionally about going back one day just to check it out.

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  5. Man, I really have been off of my blogging game for a while -- I have missed A through J. I cannot imagine moving from New York City to Kansas and being happy about it, so there is something heart-warming about your story.

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    1. Thank you. The good news for today is - our snow is gone. Finally!

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  6. Ha ha, that cowboy description was so vivid!!

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