A for effort Pete.

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I’ve never been very good in the training department on ordering up gifts for others to give to me on certain occasions, too much pressure for everyone. I’m tickled with any random thought, dark dove bites, other and I’ve received some nice ones. In going through my scrapbooks where (my mother or I?) stashed every memory jogging thing, I came across a very beautiful keepsake that is history, time, place, and art.

Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron New Mexico

I had to give you a taste first. It is a letter from Pete Stack to Paula Graves after her return from cheerleading camp  while he was at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.  “I want you to know that I normally don’t write on shirts for letters!!  But I thought it would be a little different. Do you like the little bull? I found the shirt in the little boy’s section.”  I had just passed through Cimarron a few weeks ago and came home to find this work of art and the bull brought it home.

Pete Stack in Master Scout Uniform

 

This was probably summer ’77. There are a few excerpts for history’s sake below, but he asks, “so how does your dating life go these days?” so it was well into a later friendship stage.  Here are a few noteworthy repeats:

  • I talked to Dave (Nixon) last night for about an hour but it was worth it. It was great to talk to him! He said he had a great time in the Carribean” (I’m sure with Liz hosted by Jack Frost at Petit St. Vincent rubbing elbows with Princess Margaret and George Plimpton, good gig).
  • “He was going to send a bottle to make me sane.” (Guess they didn’t allow liquor at camp, even for the counselors?)
  • “Hope sometime you call!”  (very lonely and ready to go home)
  • “I made a belt the other day! It was macrame and leather. (see macrame) …..I made a pot holder! Neat huh!”
  • (I’m not putting in all these exclamation points).
  • a weird thing from his neighborhood that I won’t mention.
  • side two: he’s wearing down, telling my parents and dog, Dooley hello….”I’m messing up this shirt. You know I got it small so you can’t wear it.” Not then, but after nursing two children, it’s perfect, see below.  I think he’s realizing how much time he’s invested and how cool it is, regrets buying the boys S (10-12), maybe wants to keep it.
  • “I (‘m) running out of things to say but I can bore you somehow. You like my artistry? What a joke!”
  • Strong finish “the mail just came” and then these incredibly detailed drawings. And, “P.S. Tell Marthe hello for me! Also happy cheering!”

    Drawing: Mountain range, Philmont Rocky Mountain Scout Camp patch, Pete's cabin, small drawing of Prairie Village kiddie pool.

    So, I tried on shirt and it fits great. I was taking a break and dancing when John came home after 5 days in Turkey, Texas where he was hunting. The man works all the time, so this was uncommon and I was very proud of him.  We danced a little, then I  took advantage of his 5 days away with me alone in country (loved it) and wanted closure so enlisted his help in capturing the right pose but needed the mirror to get my body right.

John's photographic skill.

This took 5 minutes so quite a bit of effort and diversion from unpacking his bags which I totally relate to when returning home. And here’s the best part.

  • “That’s really a cute shirt,”said John, concentrating on the task: getting this great picture for me, of me, my ex-boyfriend, and my husband. That’s it. So Pete, I just took full artistic credit for your creativity and cleverness. So anyone?, don’t say anything when I wear it to the next reunion if John comes. Too fun.
  • And Pete, it really was a beautiful and thoughtful gift. Thank you.

Guys, guys….tell us what you really think…

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"View from a few bleachers down"

The view from a few bleachers down

  • Tom Noonan to John Adams, seeing this poster at an SME Reunion. “I don’t know about you, but I would never have hung out with those fat girls in high school.”

I think we look great, but he’s got a point. While the low angle shot gives us presence and is symbolically appreciated, it was unflattering to the thighs and the neckline and face, an area where we stored teenage fat.

Here’s another. The comparisons to domestic interiors and objects:  this is a genetic thing passed from father to son in a family I’m around a lot.

  • “She’s about the size of that refrigerator.”
  • “Her bottom is as wide as that doorway. There’s a reason why you don’t see it in photographs.”
  • “___’s as big as a barn.”  This is actually a western Kansas favorite from my mother’s side, the Wards.
"Marc B. at the Las Vegas, NM Depot"

Marc B at the Las Vegas, NM Depot

Now, Marc, if you get the internet I’ll take this off.  And I will mostly remember that you took me to see the oldest metal clad building across from the Depot in Las Vegas before I got back on the interstate. But, after asking if I had a sister, your last words were commenting on the local produce, “I don’t want a woman with three stomaches.” Quit while you’re ahead.

In Marc’s defense, he did say he’d just had surgery and had gained a little weight.

This being said, please don’t stop with the great stuff, I won’t use your name.

Just accept that we’re all goddesses at every size and you’ll be fine.

Venus of Willendorf, Austria, 18,000 BC

Venus of Willendorf, Austria, 18,000 BC, cast of stone original

"Cycladic idol"

Cycladic idol, Syros, c. 2500 BC

"Seated Goddess"

Seated Goddess, Catal Huyuk, c. 5900 BC, baked clay

Men in speedos: David, Michael, and the Prairie Village Pool

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My web designer Shawn just told me that I need to introduce the story with a little background first so someone other than David and Mike might find it interesting which I hadn’t thought of. So, I was the Sr. Business Editor for the Hauberk in 1978, Shawnee Mission East’s Yearbook.

"Senior Swim Meat"

Well hung on the lockers

I mentioned this ad to my neighbor Britt 32 years later, actually two days ago.  With him having no visual reference,  he mentioned the stylization of Steve Hobson’s hand, so Michael, son of an artist, it all holds up, plus Dave’s Esther Williams ballet leg (see water ballet at Prairie Village Pool), nice right side external oblique, Dennis.

"Linda Thomson"

Linda Thomson and Little Foxes

This is Linda Thomsan, our boss, my sophomore Honors English Teacher and bar none best at Regional American Literature selling it with her energy, sense of humor, stylish scarves and ensembles. Business staff meant we took in all the ads which brought in the bucks and laid them out but I think Doris Bywaters did all the work. There were three ads (Blub Club, KC Coloring Book, and Dirty Dozen) that were from the Graves workshop.

Anyway, since the point? of this website was to encourage everyone to live an artful life, every day, every place, I want to give the award for best ad to the Senior Swimmers, the guys who took SME to win State Champions in 1978.

I’ll have to dig out pictures from Prairie Village Pool (there is a facebook page for PV Pool lifeguards), but those of us who didn’t belong to a country club were raised here in the summers:  swim lessons, the babysitter post kiddie pool until our moms could get us onto swim, dive or water ballet teams. We all took Lifeguard Training and Red Cross at 15 thru PV Parks and Rec so we would be earning at check at 16.  I barely passed the Red Cross written test and drew blood scraping my victim’s back over the gutter in the drowning rescue test in the diving pool.  This group also included my neighbor Dennis (see Morgan-Graves Circle) and many more.

It was a 46 hour week, 6 days a week. There’s nothing like dull, monotonous, hot work with the public to bind people together and learn hierarchy. We all had to pay our dues before the coveted job of lifeguard, but that first year I was the “name, please come to the front desk, name” announcer and balanced the cash register while Mike and David took pins in the basket room. So, we were in close quarters together. They also hosed down everything, everywhere, all the time and a lot of it was really gross. On rainy days, we would all pit clor, a vile job. They were in trunks but I don’t know if they went cowboy or had speedos on underneath. Wish I had all those little numbered pins now for an art project.

I moved up to the kiddie pool so I could ruin my skin and stayed there for 3 more years, but I think Mike and Dave had to do more time because I still called them down from the basket room to remove the chronic flasher (see UMKC Conservatory).

The alpha males were the Rovers who sauntered around the 50 meter, 50 yard, the lounge with no loungers, and the diving pools while twirling their whistles. Check this out define.php?term=big+swinging+dick. It cites popular use as 1989, but this was 13 years prior, we’re always way ahead in the Midwest.  Correct me Dave and Mike, but it was head rovers Paul Vyhanek and Paul Heurman who took this stroll their last day in the buff.  The women with young children were so thrilled that no one said a word, they didn’t break their pace and made it around the entire complex and out the turnstyle, probably hanging out at the bleachers.

"John Adams, David and Sue Betzelberger Kerr

John Adams appears to wearing down a bit, not being his own reunion, though many thought he went to East due to great social visibility, especially for one from Wabaunsee County, both in KC and at KU.

Too much here, so Dave will have to be another post, though he did research his perfect beautiful wife on the job, but a word about Michael Jackson Pronko.  He always made me work it.

"Talks too much in Math"

"Talks to much in Math"

We were the only holdouts who made it up to French V, maybe he was VI with Madame Speidel (see Maître Corbeau sur un arbre perché). When he’d give me a compliment, I’d shun it, he’d point this out, I’d quote “Le refus de la louange…” and he’d finish my Rochfaucauld.  Sometimes harsh, he asked me one time why I pretended to be spacey. I don’t think I was pretending but I did check myself on using the gray matter…this was when I was spending hours practicing precise movements to cheer on hero-warriers (see Marvin Hall: The Transformations of Society). I hope to see him while he’s on sabbatical.

"I love your bod"

My mother didn't think girls should have cars in high school because, "then you wouldn't know if he liked you for your car or your body."

Blubs and Boobs

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"Baby Blub"

Baby Blubs sum '76: Marthe Dreher, Paula Graves, Denise Rabius, Julie Hise, Kathy Kindred

The Baby Blubs were the little sisters of the original Blub Club. I guess the date below, 76, is when the photo was taken though their trip which this photo documents would have been summer of 75.

"Blub Club"

Gina Graves, Marcia McGilley, Karen Majors, Kitty Wilson, Alison Ball

Ginny Graves organized the trip and logistics and the list of things to bring, mainly an air mattress and swimsuit.  Dean Graves drove the boat (see Dean Graves and water).  I can’t mention the incident illustrating my mother’s sense of humor because my father documented it on film, very upsetting to her, and it’s a forbade Graves topic.

Dean the Marine, here as Captain

Dean the Marine, here as Captain

We would drive to Bagnell Dam, go on the water slides which I have movies of, then board the houseboat where would eat, eat, dance to loud music, swim, and wave to other guys on boats while my Dad drove us around, finding safe coves for the night. There was also a stop to Bridal Cave so we could see the stalagmites and stalactites and plan our weddings.

Well, that’s it for blubs, but for what this is really about, boobs, a word we didn’t use in the Graves family, we said breasts, another reason why I hung out along with the Dreher sisters and Dick Dreher.  He would know terms like “superfluous papilla” and when a daughter might find an extra mole, he’d suggest that this might be the issue. I think there was a character in a James Bond movie with one.  The Graves also only used the word bra and when I first heard brassiere, I thought it was a dirty word, so French.

"Boobsy Twin"

Marthe and Paula: The Indian Hills Boobsy Twins

For some of us, it all kicked in early, but eventually we all had them. It was a combination of raging hormones and all that salty food we were eating. Fat molecules deposited with the nurturers, while the guys had only blood molecules to rush to extremities.

I read in seventeen magazine that men who liked really big breastsa were lacking in self-confidence.  I also read in Vogue that anything more than a champagne glass was too much. Little did they know 30 years later we’d have big slurps. So, getting so much attention from David B. throwing paper clips down my sundress in 8th grade did it for me though it took a while.

And, back to Blubs, I think we should organize another trip and get the Deaner to drive the boat. Maybe the guys can come too if they get their own boat. It is basically a big floating RV, so I’m not sure if we could all handle the plumbing situation now.

Talking Shop: Stratford, Wood, Graves

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Lisa, Kelly, Paula, Dave, Denise, etc.

Design and Nall Karma: Lisa, Kelly, Paula, Dave, Gatty

Whenever I am with Kelly Stratford or Dave Wood we talk about our work, though of course, not about our clients. Chuck Stratford and Dave’s Dad were both in construction, residential high end and all that entails. Dean Graves was drawing the pictures. They tended to work in overlapping social circles and all have tremendous people and social skills. Dave is in construction, Kelly a decorator, Paula practices architectural design.

  • You know what we said in architecture school, “you don’t know how hard it was for me to draw that, it can’t possibly be that hard to build.” This is still what I say to my contractor. It’s a team effort.

Dave and Mark Allen would measure for my father on occasion, probably his best help (see holding the tape measure). Later in his career, Dave would still make time to squeeze in a small beautifully detailed and crafted Wood-Graves venture for Dean and Ginny. Dave’s dad, John K. Wood, Jr. passed away last week, Dec 2010.

"Graves Gazebo by Dean Graves and Dave Wood"

Graves Gazebo by Dean Graves and Dave Wood

(more…)

Sweet Biff and Dave

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"Biff Rubin"

A particularly cute picture of Biff Rubin.

Biff and Paula in tan corduroy and black

I asked Biff to many parties and he was my homecoming candidate date. He was just the right size, though I think I had about ten on him at the time when he was wrestling at his banter or is it bantam? weight. He was my prop man for chair seats when he was a yell leader, and there’s nothing like straddling a man between your thighs to feel powerful, I’ll look for a picture.

One party we were ants. We, that is I, dyed pillowcases black with rit dye and we wore these with black tights. This particular night ended early for me with Dave Wood holding my head in Karen Kokjar’s bathroom after whatever nasty thing Biff had provided, maybe peppermint schnaps. Dave got me home to Dean and Ginny while Biff stayed for the party. I don’t think Biff and I ever made it to a goodnight kiss.

"looking good"

Looking good, still.

Biff and Dave will always be together because I think they both still live near each other out south somewhere. Or, at least I still always see them together, so I think this. Before John’s Pembroke 10th Reunion Guys Night, we were having pre-party at JJ’s and met up with Biff and Dave, spending the rest of the evening there.  There is nothing better than getting your husband and high school buddies together, especially if all from Kansas City. We also connect through Gary Pener at Tivol’s somehow, running, construction, Pembroke, kids, don’t know how it all fits together.

Dave is a particular holdout, but I feel he has always been very interested in how women’s minds work. I remember a particular discussion in the Graves living room (sans furniture, I think it was being re-upholstered) with Kathy Kindred late at night when the Graves were out-of-town. I won’t get into particulars but actually this wasn’t about women’s minds, but it was flattering that he was so curious. With his family background in design, (father Hagemann and Webb Interiors in Crestwood with a monkey in the office, see June Cavannaugh) he had a high standard for women. But, he noted after his Colorado stint that you shouldn’t get too enamored with beautiful women there until after they’d raised their arms.

Got to ride this one out…

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Just Gotta ride this one out.

Partial Picture of the XIT Branding Crew Lineup. Lacy Adams in blue with her handsome cousin Cooper (yes the National Geographic Cowboy Cousin who received calls..) to her left.

Upstate New York and of the City, Mary Beth P., to the Graves girls, three married women in their 50s. Inn at Loretto hotel room before heading out for the night, Dec 4, 2010.