We spent the night in Harrison, Arkansas (The Ozarks) where as a kid my folks took us on holiday. When you are eleven, Harrison seemed like a long way from Caney, Kansas.
Our idea was to swing around through the northeast corner of Oklahoma, take a room in Bartlesville twenty miles from where my parents were living at the time of their deaths. This we did and on Saturday with an early start we wound up in Bartlesville by two in the afternoon. We quickly made our way to Caney, Kansas, one mile on the other side of the state line and immediately went to the graveyard to see (for the first time) my mother’s gravestone.
There it was right next to my half-brother, Dick. I must say the Rolls did a grand job of paying tribute to Mom. We all called her “Nanny Gin” and this is how they inscribed the stone. On one side was her name and on the back side all of the grandkids were listed. She was one of a kind.
Following this we went across the road to the Rolls’ (my half brother’s last name) family business The Gunny Sack and sure enough, out from the back came my brother’s youngest son, Dickie (we all call him Doogie but I don’t think he really likes it). We greeted each other and immediately followed him over to see his mom, Kay, and sister, Robin.
Across the street at 102 North Vine stands one of the ten houses I lived in from the ages of one to seventeen. I lived here from 1956 to 1959. We had moved to Caney from McPherson just as I began the seventh grade (which began the worst three years of my life). Though we didn’t always live here, this house remained the family home for the next thirty years while we moved to Tulsa, Mounds and finally Wichita, Kansas in my sophomore year of high school.
While we waited on Robin we went through my mom’s old albums. She had one for each child and grandchild where she kept everything. These were not real albums
(Why waste money on stuff like that?), an album might turn out to be an old phone or wall paper sample book. Whatever, there they were, twenty stuffed albums in a trunk filled with other memorabilia like letters and photographs. With Kay’s permission, we rifled through them and happily filled a box with those books that pertained to us and our children.
To be honest, there wasn’t much we wanted from their estate and when Mom passed, there wasn’t time to wait while all of her effects were sorted through so we were thrilled to see that Kay and the others had carefully preserved this treasure for the day when we might once again drive around this way.
That evening we huddled in our bed and watched Kansas University play a very tight FINAL FOUR basketball game against Ohio State (64 to 62). We made plans to be in Lawrence for the final game on Monday night.