Showing posts from 2015

Looking back, looking forward

Well, 2015 is about to make its exit. And this transition, this marking, this passage, of one year into the next urges us to reflect on what we've accomplished, how much love we've shared with family and dear friends, what storms we've weathered, who we may have lost from our lives, and what we hope to look forward to in the coming year. Following are some of my 2015 highlights, and then some of the things that I hope will happen in 2016. Looking back on 2015: Good travels! At least six trips to SE Kansas for the Route 66 in Kansas book. One trip to ABQ to visit daughter and son-in-law, and oh darn, had to take Route 66 part of the way. Currently, on my second trip of the year to Florida to visit son and daughter-in-law, and oh darn, it's warm and sunny down here. Back in June, Steve got a nice vacation from the newspaper and his piano tuning business and we escaped to Michigan and Wisconsin for close to two weeks. We attended his family reunion and mine, visited t

Second annual Christmas story - "Christmas Eve at the Starlite Motel"

Here's my 2016 Christmas story - enjoy! Christmas Eve at the Starlite Motel Silent night .... The radio crackles. Outside, the snow falls thick and heavy, silently piling up in the quiet road. It's late afternoon, and the bad weather has finally slowed the usually-heavy traffic on this highway. It's been a slow day in the motel office. Just three check-ins. One was a young couple, Bibi and Sean, who had eyes and hands only for each other. There hadn't been much conversation with them. They just wanted to be alone. I remember what that was like, 20 years ago. But you could see they were excited to be traveling the route – they did say that this is their third trip the length of Route 66. They unzipped their parkas in the warmth of the office, and underneath their coats they sported Route 66 souvenir t-shirts from earlier stops. They were a charming and attractive couple. Sean had a wild mop of red hair and Bibi had lovely dark eyes and shiny dark hair

"Curtain Call" - flash fiction

This is one of my flash fiction pieces that did NOT place in a contest, so I'm free to publish it here on my own blog. Enjoy! CURTAIN CALL I am in my Chartreuse Room. It's my favorite place, except for the stage itself. I have a little time before my next performance, and I am relaxing before a final check of my make-up and costume. Reposing contentedly on my chaise, I let my eyes travel around the room. Framed sheet music and show posters on the walls. A rack in one corner hanging full with dresses and costumes, alternately shimmery, sweet, sparkly, or diaphanous. Yes, diaphanous. I did work burlesque for awhile. Below the dresses rests a rack with shoes, some high-heeled, some with taps. In another corner my trunk stands open. Of course, I haven't needed it in awhile, since I've had a nice run here. But it's ready to go in case I go on the road again. You know, it could happen. It's only been, what, a few years? since I was the hit of the c

12 Reasons to Attend the Miles of Possibility Route 66 Conference

12 Reasons to Attend #MilesofPossibility Route 66 Conference in Edwardsville Oct. 29-31 !! #1 Venue – historic 1909 Wildey Theatre #2 Tours – Wildey Theatre and historic Edwardsville, leave from Wildey Lobby, Thurs. noon – 5 pm #3 Pub Crawl – Recess Brewing, Stagger Inn, The Hi-Way, Springers Creek, Thurs. 5 – 10 pm #4 Stand-up Comedy – Route 66 preservationist Terri Ryburn, Stagger Inn, Thurs. evening #5 Keynote Speaker – Prof. David K. Dunaway, Wildey Auditorium, Fri. morning #6 Amazing Group of Presenters – Photos and Bios here , Fri. and Sat. during the day #7 Live on the Wildey Stage – the Road Crew Band, Wildey Auditorium, Fri. 7:30 pm #8 E-group Breakfast – Route 66 Yahoo e-group breakfast, Wildey 2 nd floor, Sat. 8 am #9 Halloween Parade - “Miners, Mobsters, and the Mother Road,” Route 66 & N. Main St., Sat. 6 pm #10 Roadie Party – Hosts Nick Gerli

Day #6 of another road trip - Elk City to ABQ

Sunday began with light rain, a stiff breeze (it was Oklahoma after all), and a pretty morning sky, which cast a flattering light even on the campground at which I'd stayed. I had passed up the super nice Elk City/Clinton KOA, which is actually at Canute, because I wanted to get more miles behind me.  But by the time I got to Elk City I was feeling tired and decided to stop. I had found a nice-looking RV Park online called Elk Creek RV Park. Thinking I'd found it, I stopped. As I paid, I found I was at Elk RUN, not Elk CREEK. Darn, I was at the wrong one. I hate it when that happens. This one had the most atrocious bath/shower rooms I've ever seen. Suffice it to say that I don't plan to stay at that one again. Do yourself a favor and don't you stop there, either. In Texas, I made just two stops - one at a book store in Amarillo for another audiobook, and one at the Mid Point.  When I'm on the way to visit my kids, I just want to get there!  On my way bac

Day #5 of another road trip - some exploring

Day #5 of this trip found me back in Baxter Springs for part of one more day, after packing up for the last morning in Miam-uh OK. I stayed four nights at a fairly nice campground, although it was awfully loud at night (especially the night it stormed). One night I said to one of the campground owners, "It's quite loud tonight." "Oh," she explained, "They're all set up with their TV watching the game outside." Oh. I see. Anyway, I did some exploring this morning, first via 1930 Sanborn maps at the Heritage Center and then via Prius around Baxter Springs. You can take this "broken arrow" as a peace offering or you can mourn its demise. The building under it is in just as bad shape. This may have been one of the drive-ins I've been looking for. Here are a couple shots of the crumbling remains of the electric railway bridge across the Spring River. This is still in existence due to the efforts of local history and preservat

Day #4 of another road trip - a little neon to say good night

This morning I heard from three of our conference speakers on various details about their presentations. Wow! What an amazing gathering this event is going to be! If you've been thinking about registering for our Halloween weekend event, this would be a great time while you can still get rooms in our host hotel block at the discounted rate. Today I had a long, good, productive day up in Baxter Springs. I spent most of the day at the Heritage Center down in the archives, finding a few more goodies and scanning them. Then it was out and about town to take  some photos and also compare sites with old photos. This evening I made a special trip back downtown in Miam-uh to grab some Blue Hour neon shots of the Waylan's KukuBurger and Coleman Theatre signs. But for whatever reason, neither one was on! So i settled for these. Happy neon dreams, everyone.

Day #3 of another road trip - too much perfume, a nifty drawing, and some comfort food

Some days are definitely better than others, especially when it comes to research or writing. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, my writer/blogger/artist friends. Yesterday was such a great and productive day, it would have been hard to equal it, much less top it.  I worked on the book all morning and that went well. This afternoon I went to the county historical society. (That was where I was going to go the last time I was down this way but got sick the night before with either food poisoning or stomach flu. Blech.) So today I finally got there. One of the ladies had cautioned me previously on the phone that she didn't think they'd have an awful lot we could use, since she knew (from me) that Joe and I had pretty thoroughly combed through the Baxter Springs and Galena archives. But not wanting to leave any stone unturned, I went, just in case. I did find a few interesting tidbits, including this nifty drawing of the Baxter State Bank, which you'll recognize a

Day #2 of another road trip - Productive

Today I managed to shrug off my time-management-deficiency guilt from yesterday and just be productive. Of course, not having to drive 335 miles today, most of it in the rain, helped both my time management AND my mood. It was a lovely day. This morning I did a media interview by phone about the upcoming conference. Wow, the interest and momentum are really growing. The new format of this event coupled with the amazing lineup of Route 66 experts all descending upon Illinois, much less Edwardsville (a charming Route 66 city with a less than stellar past of promoting it) is creating some local buzz. (Seriously, dear readers, if you are not signed up for this event, go to the website, check it out, and then ask yourself why not.) Back to my morning. Conference (and book) details, communications, and posts plus a nice walk finished up the morning hours.  This afternoon I spent at the delightful Baxter Springs Heritage Center, happy as a clam down in the basement archive room. They ha

Day #1 of another road trip - Few Signs

Most of you know that I've been putting in a lot of hours as volunteer conference director for Miles of Possibility. A lot of hours. Oh, and co-author Joe and I have a book submission deadline yet this month. More hours. So, another road trip right now seemed crazy. Yet, I needed to get to my research institutions in Kansas one last time before we wind up the book. And it made sense to do some promo stops for the conference to hand out flyers, talk up the event, issue personal invitations to attend, and so on. Okay, it even made sense, once I was in the Tri-State area, to go ahead and drive the rest of the way to Albuquerque for a visit with daughter and son-in-law. (And have MORE stops to promote the conference!) The result of all that rationalizing:  I loaded up my trusty Prius and headed out yesterday morning  the middle of the afternoon after I finally got caught up enough on work to leave. As I'm sure I don't need to tell you, most of us roadies try to drive on

A fairy tale genealogical story?

Two weeks ago today, I had the pleasure of meeting my brother's son and his wife for the very first time! (I had never known my brother.) Jim and Ramona Tennison were in Illinois for a granddaughter's wedding and made a stop in Edwardsville for our delightful family reunion. I've decided to share the story of how this happened...almost a fairy tale, but it's all true. Here goes... On November 28, 1892, Gene Eichar was born in Clarksville, Iowa. Gene and his older sister, Hazel, showed a talent for music early on, and by the time they were in their early teens, they were performing at their local theatre. At the age of 14, Gene went on the road, playing piano for silent movies. When the “talkies” came in, he switched to vaudeville and played with the likes of Jimmy Durante and Jack Benny. All his life, Gene would say, “The only difference between them and me was they got famous.” Gene married young, and he and Lucy had two children, a boy named Grant in 1915 and