I chose this book, Vintage Kansas City Stories, because it looked interesting, and I was right, it is! It’s a collection of news stories, ads, and jokes from the Kansas City Journal 1907-1909. I read with interest one particular story about a statue of Venus brought from Florence, Italy in 1907 that was supposed to be donated to the Kansas City School Board but they rejected it.
As we begin the new year, I am reflecting back. Over the holiday, I like to ask people (young and old) a simple question: what was your favorite present? This usually transcends individual tradition. Some have a ready answer, some have to think about it, and many feel the need to qualify their answer with why it's not some big, expensive, elaborate gift.
During November, we take time to salute our veterans. My father, Thomas, was a United States Marine during the Korean War era. After high school, he enlisted in the Marines, and during the time he was in basic training, the cease fire agreement was signed. Thankfully my father never saw combat, but he did spend 14 months in Korea as part of a peace keeping force. However, his older brother, Jack, who was serving in the Navy was part of combat missions in Korea.
I had just started reading James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird when I heard it had won The National Book Award. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this because I had enjoyed the book from the beginning. The story centers on Henry, a child slave who is sort of “abducted” by abolitionist John Brown when Henry’s father is killed in a skirmish between Brown and Henry’s owner. Brown thinks Henry is a girl, partly due to the sackcloth he’s wearing, and nicknames him Onion. The boy pretty much just goes along for the ride, but finds he’s become fond of this incredibly strange man.
It is the year 4,000,000,000. Beneath the baleful glare of the red giant Sun, post-human cyborg archaeologists are working frantically to excavate, record, and preserve the history of Terran civilization before the planet is consumed by the ever-swelling Sun. As they reach the deeply buried strata corresponding to the 20th and 21st centuries and analyze the artifacts, these future scientists come to the following conclusions about our society:
I came home the other night to a warm home filled with the smells of a wonderful meal my wife had just prepared. As I took off my coat, gave her a peck on the cheek, and got myself a beverage from the refrigerator, I asked her where our oldest daughter was and if she was joining us for dinner. She said that the teenager was in her room and would be joining us. My wife then pulled out her cell phone and typed something. She was sending a text message to the girl to let her know dinner was ready! Now, this girl has a room downstairs in part of our finished basement.
School Teachers: This Is Why We Perform Background Checks
William Clarke Quantril was a Confederate raider, bushwhacker, guerilla leader, and...school teacher? William Quantril was born in 1837 in Ohio and was well educated to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a school teacher. After his father’s death, he became a teacher at the age of sixteen in 1853. However, he soon switched jobs to a lumberyard worker before he shot a man claiming self-defense. This foreshadowed his later life. He was soon released as there were no witnesses.
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