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.
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.