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Friday, May 31, 2013

Murder in Sedalia

My memory is a little vague concerning the names of who shot who, so I am not going to use any of the names I think I know but really don't know, you know like Jack Webb said, "to protect the innocent."

There was a house if ill repute, shall we say, on the north side of the tracks years ago.  The house was very famous or infamous and everyone knew it was there and why it was allowed to operate was never really explained.

A young man found out that his former girl friend had gone to work there.  He didn't like the idea and showed up at the house and caused some sort of scene.  The owner of the place took offense at the man's presence and behavior and shot him dead. 

The owner was arrested and for such a big event in Sedalia I cannot remember what the out come was.  

The one thing that does stick in my mind is that the sister of the young man killed was in my eighth grade class at the Sedalia Junior High and so was the son or step son of the man who killed the boy.  They were in the same class, same period etc.  There must not have been any particular problems because nothing stands out that there was a problem in the school between the two famalies. 

If anyone can fill in the blanks I would be interested in knowing.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sedalia-Heber Hunt Chocolate

Students remember some teachers but what they don't realize teachers remember some students.  I for one remember all my students but not by name.  Recently I received a class picture of the first class I ever taught and I knew everyone of them.  There was only one without prompting that I could put a name.  Here is why -  It was around some holiday and it was the custom back then that the students would bring the teacher a small treat like candy or a small token.  A couple of boys brought me a box of chocolate covered cherries.  My wife and I liked chocolate covered cherries so as soon as I got home we opened the box.  I took one of the pieces, bit into it and discovered it was paraffin with a not to good tasting chocolate covering.  Well I saw the humor in it and I wish I would have taken the box back to school the next day and passed it around telling the class how delicious they were and give credit to the boys who gave it to me.  However the boys admitted the next day after being much to eager to ask how I liked their gift, that one of their grandmothers had helped them make the "treat."  I didn't make an issue out of it of course because I thought it was funny.  One of the mothers came up to me after school one day soon afterwards and told me that I had permission to do anything to her son short of breaking bones and drawing blood.  I never did of course, but Brian Dickman beware I might find myself in the northwest portion of the US some day.  I have a good memory and a long one.  I don't think I will order a pizza from you unless you taste it first.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sedalia - Heber Hunt

It was not planned that I would go live in Sedalia.  Yet it seems that one persons misfortune turnss sometimes in to an others fortune.

I was waiting around for my military orders to come through that would undoubtedly send me eventually to Viet Nam.  I had resigned myself to that venture.  My wife at the time was teaching art at Smith Cotton and she came home one evening and said she had heard there was a job opening at Heber Hunt elementary school. 

My student teaching had taken place under Larry Whiteside at Smith Cotton so I was a know quantity in the district and they only wanted someone to fill out the year due to an illness of a 6th and 7th grade teacher. 

I applied for the job, the principal "Bud" Thomas hired me and I started teaching.  I am not sure how much I really taught anyone but I remember the classes seemed to have about as much fun as I did and I met some very nice and interesting people that I would eventually weave into the fabric of my books and short stories.

As luck would have it I received a letter from the army saying that they had more officers than they needed and that my full time service was no longer required. 

I signed a contract for the next year and was very excited that the school district was going to build a new junior high school.  Perhaps I could get a job there I thought after it is built.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Crisp Lake Chronicle, Circa 1950

MY UNCLE BILL.
 A farewell party was held for Uncle Bill last Saturday evening at Hutcheson Park on Lake Drive. Uncle Bill has been the head Post Office official at the postal station in Fairmount ever since his return from the war. He was a natural for the job because he had done the same thing for the Army APO - European Theater, in London, England. Uncle Bill says he is not real happy about the transfer but would make the best of it given the fact that it was politically motivated. "You play with a snake and you are going to get bit," was one of his replies. He claims it was politics pure and simple and had nothing to do with his performance. He said he made a mistake and told his cousin Walter on his mother's side that he had voted for Dewey and not Truman in the last election and Walter told Mr. Jones the precinct captain who in turn told Bill Serman. Well that is possible I guess but upon further inquiry I found out the real reason for the transfer to the Kansas City office. It was no secret to anyone living in and around Fairmount that Uncle Bill had acquired the habit of drinking a beer with his lunch each day. It was against postal rules to drink in a government facility so he would take his sack lunch over to the Calico Cat each day to imbibe in a brew but never more than two. So as not to inconvenience the postal patrons he would leave his cousin on his wife's side, Homer, in charge who was the custodian but whom he had trained to sell stamps with instructions never to sort mail or do anything else around the office - only sell stamps. One day however after arriving at the Calico Cat Uncle Bill found a birthday celebration in progress for Herb McIntosh. Two beers turned into six so my informant recalls because Herb's brother Hal was buying and Uncle Bill told folks he could not be rude and leave the party early. Besides Homer was capable of selling stamps and anything else could wait until the next day. The whole matter could have been a non incident except when Uncle Bill did not return at his normal time Homer decided to take his lunch break anyway. He left instructions on the counter along with a role of stamps and a jar. The instructions stated that customers should take however many stamps they needed and leave the correct change in the jar or bring the money by the next day. Leaving the post office unattended and the stamps on the counter would not have been a problem either either except just by chance a Kansas City postal inspector was on his way to the Independence branch and thought he would stop by the Fairmount station just to say hi! The audit that followed found that there was nothing missing at our local branch. Homer has been transferred to Sugar Creek and Uncle Bill to the Kansas City main office. His assignment is on the mail train that runs between Kansas City and Chicago where he helps sort and put the mail bags out for pick-up and delivery for the towns in between. Uncle Bill says that the job is OK in and of itself but the main problem is that the mail car is always attached to the rear of the train and there are too many train cars in between it and the club car where they keep the beer.