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 →
Zula Bennington Greene never was sure where her given name originated. She would say her best guess was that her mother read a novel that had a character named Zula in it and gave it to her. That was in 1895 when she was born on a farm in Missouri.
Her first name never really mattered, because she became famous all over Kansas and beyond for the “Peggy of the Flint Hills” columns she wrote for the Topeka Daily Capital and The Topeka Capital-Journal. She wrote her first one in 1933 and continued them until her death 12 years ago this week at the age of 93.