Running…relations…Running…Ranch…Running…Return…Running…

by admin

Back to KC!

 

Isn’t this why we run?

Because we are always running.

Running around doing or saying or something.

But it is only when we are truly running that we get that zen moment of the true freedom of

  • being on foot,
  • covering ground,
  • and returning to “place” that never is the same.

I have returned to Kansas City after 30 years of living away and I am doing just this, every day in every way. Friends, family, childhood places and spaces, re-visiting a history of mine and of the City Beautiful of Kansas City.

Above tells a story of my journey, but I am here to discuss my training program for Hospital Hill. Well, it was 28 years of running with, at best, a dog along the Cimarron River on the XIT Ranch in southwest Kansas. So my peer group was few, but I did fair pretty well in the local races such as

The Dodge City Marathon which,

as Participant of One,

I Won. Get the isolated picture?

So now while enjoying urban life and the KC CoffeeShop Scene at Eddy delaHunt’s, I ran into Dr. Tom Pierce from whom I request all kinds of tips since my return to town. He handles just about anything with higher than average street knowledge of KC history and cultural geography, running groups, training tips, Westwood Hills homes, and where to find a person of male persuasion with whom I might  go to dinner (no longer a point of focus)… (BTW, his recommendation for me was The Linda Hall Library).

And in ’12, despite the fact that I’d run an average of about 12 miles a month, he said of Hospital Hill three weeks before the race,

“mind over matter, you’ve been doing yoga, you’ll be fine.”

So here’s the pathetic picture of me struggling in at the final stretch. My goal was to break two hours, which I did not. I think maybe 2:05 or 2:07. But, he did give me tips on how to pace myself throughout the race.

Why did I only look up the date of this race 3 weeks ago and think I could do it? Thanks alot, Tom.

So, my approach in counting down the weeks leading up to hospital hill as a guest blogger, are to pass along both his instructions and my own thoughts as I worked my way along the course through streets of my past. I’m an architect and preservationist, with a heavy dose of ADHD when I’m not in hyper focus.

So, I will share a little bit

of history and place

along with Tom’s words

on body chemistry and pace.

Tom is both a Dr. and Chemist, I believe.

Here is one of his best and first tips:

Hold yourself upright. First, middle, last,

regardless of how you feel. Military carriage.

It’s somewhat similar to what my cousin Gretchen told me at the start of my race of the last two years when encountering friends, family, foes?, fear and complicated factum.

“Hold your head up high.”

I think it’s a pretty good approach to running,

and an excellent approach to life.

Adams Family BOTAR Ball Dancing Videos

by admin

note: my comments in red

"Stayin' Alive!"

Custom has made dancing sometimes necessary for a young man; therefore mind it while you learn it, that you may learn to do it well, and not be ridiculous, though in a ridiculous act.    – Lord Chesterfield

Jack Adams somehow knew this at an early age, he does it so well. 

 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOtWND3rTWI[/youtube]

 

And, of course, they’ve always condemned dancing. You know, you might touch a member of the opposite sex. And you might get excited and you might do something natural.  Frank McCourt

From a woman who gave up on enforcing the “no grinding” rule at private school dances.  “I just look at it as safe sex.”  

Jan Davis, woman headmaster of Wichita Collegiate who was pulled out of retirement from the Wichita Public School System to serve at my daughter’s private high school. 

 

But in reality we are accompanied by the whole dancing universe.  Ruth St. Denis.

Mildred Evelyn Lee Ward is my Grandmother. She taught school with her Master’s in English to help put my Grandfather Paul Ward through law school during the Depression. But she found time to teach dance on the side, living this motto “life is a dance.”

 

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.  William James.
aahhh…..so that’s why I admire these qualities…hmmmm….

 

All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.  -Molière

what an idea! we must find more time for this….

 

Dance is bigger than the physical body. When you extend your arm, it doesn’t stop at the end of your fingers, because you’re dancing bigger than that; you’re dancing spirit.  –Judith Jamison.
as with all creativity, in painting, business, people…..

 

Dancing and running shake up the chemistry of happiness. Mason Cooley.
and I do both, to both rein it in and put it out…

 

Dancing begets warmth, which is the parent of wantonness. –Henry Fielding.
keep it in check….

 

Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire. George Bernard Shaw.
so that is what it is?

 

Dancing is a sweat job. Fred Astaire.
among other satisfying things in life…

 

Dancing is a wonderful training for girls, it’s the first way you learn to guess what a man is going to do before he does it.
Christopher Morley.so that is what we’re supposed to do….have not yet mastered….

 

and….some of the best dancing partners are women….

Lisa Revare Hickok, Marthe Dreher Tamblyn, Jane Fenn Wallace. Three SMEast '78 Great Women and Dancers.

Disco dancing is just the steady thump of a giant moron knocking in an endless nail. -Clive James.
I just thought this was funny.

 

Dance hard

Dance while you can

In whatever you do

Even when you don’t know what you should do…

Especially then!

-Paula

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blubs and Boobs

by admin
"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.

Fine women, fine food, fine construction. 5328 W. 67th St.

by admin
"Party at Graves"

Party at the Graves.

Commentary on the Picture

Maybe this was Indian Hills but it is one of many parties where we solved our yet to be uncovered issues with food (men, mother, other) with food. I think everyone’s mouth is full in the picture. I’m sure we’ve all now resolved these issues and found our perfect size on our own.  The food was actually not fine at all, lots of sugar and salt, before fruit & ranch dip with veggies.

Back row:

Madelyn White, Sally Burger.

Dana Marshall, Ellen Hanes.

Liz Frost, Linda Shea, Amber Edwards, Julie Newman, Sarah Jones.

Cassie Brown, Dee Devine, Emily May, I think Leslie Lane is in there somewhere.

Commentary on the building era

See the hammock on the patio? and fireplace with the curved stone wall backdrop?  In quest of environmentalist values and aesthetic, my parents bricked in the lower half of the ski lodge fireplace in the 70s. On the brick hearth they placed a Godin wood stove. It really seemed to mess up the thermostats to me. One time a bird came down the flue and flew around our house. And a squirrel.

Present owners

The new occupants own Czar Bar, a music hotspot at 15th and Grand.  Connie Suss, owner of Bijin Salon lives in the Morgan’s old house and Greg is a musician.  I’ve heard that the new owners of my parents house do not live there, but that they use it to entertain.  I’m glad to see they’re all carrying on the creative vibe and party tradition (see Morgan-Graves-Wilkin Circle). Dennis was sitting in the Village with a “Morgan” ballcap on one day. The Czar Bar owner recognized the gallery name, approached him and they met. As well, I was able to live next door to Connie and Greg Suss when Jack, my son, attended Pembroke ’06-’09.

Scale

When Jack’s friends from east of Mission Road would come to visit, there was often the assumption that the two houses were one house. They were designed and built at the same time, inter-connected by a fence and common circle drive with a John Buck Sculpture.  After I attended Indian Hills and Shawnee Mission East, I realized that the houses are modest in size by some people’s standards. It made for a certain family “intimacy.” While communal spaces are important, I still believe in as much separate territory as can be accomplished, regardless of size. I had a corner in our unfinished basement where I would read.

Morgan-Graves houses

The house was built in 1965, see 5328. Both our home and the Morgan’s were featured in Better Homes and Gardens and the KC Star.  I think my parents made sure that house was in print at least twice a decade. Not that it wasn’t an interesting house, but there were at least six houses of this style in my neighborhood. They were all equally interesting. The architect was Bob Wendt who lived the next block over on 66th Terrace. Bob Wendt had many wonderful houses in Prairie Village. Betsy Curry grew up in a wonderful, large Bob Wendt house off Roe and 83 St, but only my sister Gina has seen this. The construction-related people on 66th and 67th Streets between Fonticello and Nall included the following:

Bob Wendt, Architect-Builder

Bob Falkenberg, Falkenberg Lumber, contractor

Bob Yearick, Architect

Roger Wilkin, Architect

Dean Graves, Architect

Glenn Mistele, basement expert

Jim Morgan, artist and worked with his hands, thus included.

Jim Morgan and Dean Graves, assistants to the architect

Both the Morgans and the Graves worked very closely with Bob Wendt on their houses. While in tandem, each has subtle details on the interior and exterior that set them apart. I think Jim Morgan was a pilot for TWA at the time and thus had the time and eye to expend on design when he was home.

My father’s first degree was in architectural engineering. His schooling was paid for by the U.S. Marine Corps. Upon graduation and marriage to my mother, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He first attended Officer’s Training School in Quantico, Virgina where Gina was born. Two years later, I was born at Camp LeJeune, home of “Expeditionary Forces Readiness.” It was not during wartime, but at one point he was deployed on a ship to the Phillipines for some contretemps. I’m not sure of all the timing. While I know he would have been a noble warrior and done a fine job, I remember asking him about this. He said as the ship was cruising through the Pacific, he thought, “holy smokes! I might just go over here and get shot!” The ship ended up turning around. Anyway, I don’t know the order but at some point he worked for Hallmark. He returned to KU to get his Master of Architecture.  We lived at Johnny Walker apartments which I think was over in Missouri of all places. Thus, he wasn’t really in practice yet when I was five and we moved into this house. Or, he was at least smart enough not to make his first mistakes on his own house. That’s what clients are for. That’s a joke.

The women

All of the wives of these men were equally interesting and career-minded: Modelle Wendt, Marjorie Mistele, Ginny Graves, Gwen Falkenberg, and Myra Morgan. Their vocations beyond the home at this time included the following:

television and runway model

accordian agent

the Nelson Art Lady and docent

all around charming southern belle and soon-to-be gallery owner

and, the quintessential best mother, Betty Wilkin. She funny and loving and encouraging. She would make incredible lunches like hamburgers and french fries. On the grill!! For lunch!!  She had many other talents in preservation, travel and history. But, when you get the best mom award in this category, no one pays much attention to anything else you do.

The Hyde’s Bruce Goff House

Next to the Falkenberg’s was a house designed by Bruce Goff, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Bruce Goff became a renowned architect in his own right (see Bruce Goff in Sublette, Kansas).  The Hyde’s (Mark’s dad) lived in this house. I think he was a very specialized eye surgeon.  It was green, multi-sided, and had an ashtray clerestory and sunken living room. The bedrooms were around the perimeter and were entered through sliding glass doors. We had more than one family barbeque at the Hyde’s. Clyde and Marty Nichols also lived in a wonderful Bruce Goff house with spikey things out of the top over by the Nelson.

The Patterson’s pre-civil War Nall House

Another interesting house on the street is that of Anne and Craig Patterson. I always call this the Nall House.  It was built before the Civil War and was across the street from my neighbors.  My father did all their architectural work and I babysat for their boys. All different stories, I’ll stop here.

Bob Falkenberg

Bob Falkenberg lived down the street, next to the Hyde’s. He was the owner of the best German Construction Co. in Kansas City, Falkenberg Lumber. Bob’s was an incredible design. I don’t think he used an architect. Every detail and material was perfect. The plan had a hallway that angled back in segments. You encountered Nancy and Peco’s bedrooms along the way before leading to a beautiful master suite. Nancy and Pecos each had their own bathrooms.

The place and time. Falkenberg hallway.

There was an incident I’ll never forget in that hallway. Pecos (model handsome) was playing music in his room and he had a really nice stereo and headset. I was with Nancy and we heard “Give me an F….Give me a C….” He may have even been playing it for us or let us listen on the headphones, it was so traumatic I can’t remember. Within moments, Bob was in that bedroom and had Pecos thrown up against the wall, headphones ripped out of the stereo and thrown on the floor, so now it was blaring “what does that spell?  FV@k! what does that spell? [repeat]! That’s all I can remember… Gina and I were 10 and 12, two girls. The late 60s for us were Mary Quant makeup bought in London, paper dress parties, and twiggy posters.

Theirs was the first house I had seen with a huge stainless steel refrigerator and all stainless steel appliances. They added a beautiful atrium Greenhouse that Mr. Falkenberg would work in on the weekends. He would grow things like exotic orchids and tropicals here, and their patio was beautifully landscaped. 20% of the cost of your home should be in landscaping and he certainly exemplified this aesthetic.

Mr. Falkenberg was very handsome and manly. On Friday nights, he and Gwen always had romantic patio cookouts with cocktails, music, and tenderloin on the grill. Maybe everyone did this in the 60s, but the modern kitchen and sophisticated simple grilling seemed way ahead of its time for Kansas. As mentioned, Gwen was the first woman to pass the bar in the state of Kansas. Her sister was Marilyn Van Derbur, the 1958 Miss America. Gwen was from a family of beautiful women with flaxen hair from Denver. Nancy has this hair. I think there was some story that Bob Falkenberg was in Denver, saw a picture of Gwen in the newspaper, and knew what he wanted. He brought Gwen to Kansas.

Bob began working with his father who started the company and took the family business into the next generation. Bob’s very long KC client list included an ambassador to England, among other things. He was a constant presence at the Walnuts. My father’s clients would always use Bob Falkenburg. He seemed to take on any project, regardless of size. That is, those that demanded the highest standards of craftsmanship, finishwork, and an honest, efficient work ethic. His longtime colleagues were old school gentlemanly finishworkers who left a room as they had entered it.

Leslie Yearick, Nancy Falkenberg, Nancy Mistele and I all ran around together at Highlands Grade School.

Glenn Mistele

Nancy Mistele’s father, Glenn, was a master at basements.  If your basement flooded, you called Glenn Mistele. He would solve the immediate problem and diagnose the longterm solution. I won’t go into mothers here since I’m on a construction tangent, that will be for a Highlands Grade School post.

Roger Wilkin

Roger Wilkin, Peter’s dad, was an architect. I’ll say more about the Wilkin’s in Morgan-Graves-Wilkin Circle. Their house had, what are now called, great rooms that flanked an open kitchen.  All of these houses had exposed beams and pitched roofs. They were open plans, but spaces were still divided into functions, inter-connected but intimate.

That’s all I have for now. As I add more information or pictures of the houses, I may break this into parts. Thank you for your patience.