Never Lost on Midwestern Memory Lane

Topeka Capital-Journal
Nov. 26, 2000

On the weekend before Thanksgiving our son, Steve, who lives in Maryland, with his son, Jake, 11, were here, and Steve insisted we visit the birthplaces of my parents. Being the kind of father I am, I agreed, but the problem was that my dad was born in Miltonvale and my mom and Howe, Neb., and Steve wanted to hit both in one day.

We headed toward Miltonvale and I compounded the problem by stopping in Manhattan to show them the K-State stadium and the new Colbert Hills Golf Course. Then, I figured that since we were so close, we should stop in Wakefield to say hello to former Gov. Bill Avery.

That was fine, except that as we started to turn off US-77 Highway on K-82 we learned it was closed, and we’d have to detour around the bottom end of Milford Lake and approach Wakefield from the south.

Everything seemed to be working, but we ran out of highway signs and were forced to make the reluctant decision that we were lost. Thus began a day of learning anew of the hospitality and innate goodness of rural Kansans. Continue reading

Kansas Transplants Roots Run Deep

Topeka Capital-Journal
Jan 29, 1999

Kansas Native Sons and Daughters are getting together again this weekend, and it reminds me that I have a lot in common with the man generally considered to be greatest Kansan of all.

For one thing, both Dwight D. Eisenhower and I were in uniform during World War II, and for another, neither of us is a native son of Kansas. I was born in western Oklahoma; he was born in Baja Oklahoma. Also, he probably would share my feelings that it’s no big deal to belong to a club when everyone in it qualified by accident.

I came close to being a native son of Kansas. My dad was born in the state, in Miltonvale, and my mother in Nebraska. If they had met sooner, before both of them drifted into Oklahoma, it is likely I would have been a Jayhawker, rather than an Okie. I’m not sure how I should feel about the way things turned out. Continue reading