If you can’t build it, paint it. XIT Meade County Ranch Headquarters.

by admin

This has worked very well for me.

If you can’t build it, paint it.

It applies from wanting a plywood porch to be recessed shaker panels to a relationship, it works both physically and in my head.

Since I’m not a trained faux painter nor could I afford one, it’s always a project. And sometimes in life that’s all it takes to stay the course, if that is what is warranted at the time. Someone else above or deep inside knows that, and it’s because it’s best for everyone right then do to just that.  The idea with this concept is that somewhere along the way the only equity involved is mine and the only capital is sweat, time, life, effort, imagination, creativity and love. And sometimes a gallon of paint!

Make lemonade! A chair of bowlies! Cook for someone special. Sometimes it’s not work you love, it’s loving your work, it’s all the same stuff.

Pretending and painting it real.

I did this all over the second house where we raised our family from ’96 until they were gone in ’09 and was there this last June ’12.

As with anyone who returns to a former home, I realized it was now someone else’s to care for. It almost seemed as if no one lived there. In thinking back, it is surprising that this experience was quiet and comforting in a way, as I am writing this after unpacking things from the final move from my house, June 2012. Things can change quickly, so I as a historian, I wanted to get this recorded sometime around the time the changes occurred.

A house on a ranch that has been a headquarters and gathering place for over 120 years belongs to so many people. It  is above all a functional place for the office and many many meals that relate to activities of the ranch. It truly belongs to everyone that has ever worked on that ranch, though there have in fact only been the occupants below, until summer ’12. If anyone claims it as home, they missed the boat and the point of tenure. We are caretakers of history and place that belongs to a whole land system.

So no one ever called it Paula’s house. It was the ranch headquarters. I wanted others to feel this way, and wanted all the employees to eat together. This was unlike the former ranch foreman’s wife who wanted hierarchy of men, for her husband ate with the Adams family while cowboys all ate in the bunkhouse. For the boss, it meant business and ranching come before domestic activities in hierarchy for the space. Inherently it sets up the domestic structure as “work first” and home improvements as having “no return on investment.” A home on a ranch has little value in a real estate or relative sense to larger scope of setting. In many ways, I still like to keep the idea of any real estate investment & improvements as having some kind of return, in part as design is where I sell my services.

Our situation was not unique. There are others for whom marriage is also intertwined with business for their “first homes.”  For example, my father’s first job of being a marine began with their early instruction to enlisted men that they were “married first to the marines.” My mother’s parents ensured that she was not in military housing and they lived off-base at Quantico, but there was no “off-ranch” housing for the debutante bride. I had sweat equity and paint to invest of myself to make it my own, and I gave it my all.

So back to the ranch history….

I never examined the title to this headquarters in depth, for I was too busy living the life. It’s at the Headquarters, about 12″ thick. But, from my own knowledge it is assumed that there was one homesteader who proved up the claim, before speculators moved into area and bought up some land along the river which was then used for commercial cattle production.

In case of the early history of the XI Headquarters, prior to ownership of William Robert  and Colonel Charles Summers (absentee business owner), the property was operated by McCoy Brothers. No further earlier research has been done (by me that I sought when I had tasks with website), but it is assumed that this was an association with McCoy Brothers that operated many ranches in early years of cattle drives during post-civil war.  Dodge City was the closet shipping point in that region in this period around 1880s.

Here’s a scan of a brochure I did of sequent occupancy for the Kansas State Historical Society Tour that came to the ranch over a decade ago. I will likely tell more about this in a later post as the timeline shows key events that coincide with ownership and how it changes hands over time as well as how agriculture and production change.

Sequent Occupancy and XI(T) Headquarters Evolution of Spaces.

  • William Robert
  • H.G. Adams, Jr.
  • Helen &  Alexander Adams
  • Phil and Dottie Glunt
  • David and Kirsten Adams
  • Tom and Mary Finney
  • John and Paula Adams

The study of succession of people that dwell within a house in a linear fashion throughout life of building is called sequent occupancy. I did this with a ranch in the Flint Hills, studying also the evolving patterns of use within the house and outbuildings over a 100 year period, adjacent organic patterning of lands that supported this house by various families that move in and out, merge, divide and or are re-grown over time. Nothing is ever the same, or can stay the same to exist. Change, adaptation, evolution is integral for survival of anything, buildings included.

But back to this house. I’ll quit talking, here are a few pictures of the “after”, or as it is, the present, summer ’12.

John Adams chaps over Ginny Graves couch.

Fireplace I designed, John’s dad’s chair I reupholstered in cowhide, John’s watercolor painting of his father riding a horse painted by his mother’s artist father, John Gorbutt.

It looks very beautiful and simple and quiet. It looks like my father-in-law’s who was most at peace, alone, with his land. I think in the end, they will remember that the women did their jobs, just as the mother cows do theirs, by instinct for survival and to protect children as they see best while it is their responsibility.

This landscape is one of nature, animals, and men who understand that humans are that. Land parcels and employees shrink, but expenses mount. What was historically slave labor and a part-time staff of transient cowboys becomes a very cared for and well-employed existence. There is no bookkeeper or secretary living on the ranch, and it’s a staffed by a handful of people. Overwhelming in such a primitive and isolated existence with DSL, but rancher’s do it.

So, with no money, I wanted to make any improvements I made to the house elegant and historically appropriate. Below you’ll see the minimal additions of fireplace, corner tv cupboard, and work-laundry stations.

The entry hall’s first room was John Adams office. That is, I heard both John and his father say, “Don’t think I’m livin’ out here for my health!”  It was work, and we were the workers to nurture the next generation of ranch-raised Adams in that XIT Headquarters. It was something I was committed to do for life, good, bad, indifferent. Plus, it’s a pretty good mindset for how to get two kids raised with two parents and a good enough marriage which remained intact through an unorthodox lifestyle of two high schools in two cities and about 40,000 miles on my car a year for domestic driving. I was never bored.

My feeling is that if I am ever bored anywhere,

then it is because I am boring.

I think I am not bored and not boring,

though at times I wish I were. 

But, with travels to Santa Fe and primitive painting an appreciation, I did handpaint cabinets for a little New Mexican Artist’s folly. It covered an boxy oak cabinet divider that was hauled into the house to separate John Adams desk from the entry hall when one entered the foyer. It’s final morphoses was to be a leather tooled landscape to “panel” the four sections, with image of horizonline of the river and cattle crossing from a family photograph.

The former divider, pre 2012, during tenure of John Adams Family. Painted stuff.

Son of Boss’s Oss’s

That is, this painting was just “en route” but it definitely filled a need on those dark days when the bathroom floorboards were wet and the red ants and mold would appear. It probably wasn’t appropriate for when son became Boss, but it filled the bill in the whimsical years of  young children and middle-age marriage.

I also did drawings to duplicate dimensions of the historic 6 panel doors. This was done, minus the sticking, so it wouldn’t “mimic” history and fool any viewer as to historical accuracy. They replaced cheap hollow core that a foreman had put in during the time period when the Headquarters was a tenant house. It  was a major improvement, and looked as if they had always been there. The Talavera Mexican in the kitchen, of course, would never have been there.

The local Mexican Revolution was a (relatively speaking) recent change in the southwest Kansas landscape that came after the pivot irrigator, corn, feedyards and packing houses all moved west in the 70s and 80s.

We kept the same alder cabinets with chrome pulls of the 1950s kitchen as I felt that things all come back around and they have. And with private schools a personal high school choice, there was no money or time to re-do a kitchen (wouldn’t anyway, I loved it!) or bathrooms (yes, I would have! as mentioned there are red ants and wet underfloors..mold, ancient toilets from the 60s….).

But back to the place. Here are the before pictures. They seem funny, don’t they? Who was that nut, some broad from Santa Fe? or a Kansas City chick who grew up at an art gallery? She lasted 28 years??! They said she’d never last six months! Modern-Wild, colorful, imaginative, happy and wet in a landscape that to most appears archaic, tan, static. The color selection, though it may seem odd, made reference to the Mexican tile added to the kitchen as backsplash from counter to cabinets. That is, the navy in the center and torquoise of the outer door frame matched the Talavera French fleurs-de-lys which tiled the perimeter of the kitchen.

Talavera fleur-de-lys tile in XIT kitchen.

More laundry room painted stuff, pre-2012.  

XIT Laundry Room “Before” beige tan overpainting without primer :).

The southwest Kansas landscape is not dull at all, but bland to the untrained eye and “slow” by today’s time clock visualization of “action”. But nothing ever is unchanging. It is a vast landscape so harsh the Indians left it alone, and even the Comanches dwelled there only a short time. It was always meant to be empty and void of people.

It works best for those who are content to operate without community, perhaps even functioning best in absence of it. I hope that I did not become one of them, with the requirement to stand alone. I did embrace the ranch lifestyle to experience each moment.

So my point is this….

the wild colors were perhaps what I saw in the place where I lived, alive with all these critters of the landscape, and full of color.

The places where I felt more connected in history and might have felt sweet sad were Jack and Lacy’s bedroom. They looked exactly the same at the time that I visited. That is, except for a little “I’m putting it here” empty nesting going on that dad did and all parents do when trying to collect their children’s belongings and re-claim their space.

When I went into Jack’s, there was a monarch butterfly that somehow had gotten into the house (with me? or was hanging out in Jack’s pad while he’s at KU?). I knew I wasn’t there alone and it made me feel happy. I would still and always belong in some sort of way within that house. Maybe everyone feels this way when they knock on that door of their childhood home and ask if they may see where they had lived while growing up. It’s much much easier to remember it than it ever was to live there, day in and day out, though I only realize it now that I am in a city. As for raising kids here, it was a lot of fun and we had each other and the ranch.

But, it’s funny, the laundry room was very noticeable to me as I spent hours in here. It was like a runway, so big, but animal blood-soaked laundry  caked with manure was plentiful. I made it super efficient in a minimum of space that I devoted to micro-design organization. This was for the totally selfish desire to eliminate annoyance with anyone else about clothes piling up, taking to room, etc. My goal was always to design away angst, and then let go of control and let chips & towels fall where it may.

It was jarring at first. In part because I realized the memo about my paying to replace these doors and claim my artwork for a Lace or Jack, a rental, guest house, or to cart to Santa Fe to sell had either not been passed on by attorney or was ignored. I let that part go, bigger fish to fry on that visit. But, I questioned that maybe they had been replaced…

June 2012. Something is different…

Ghostpainting…..

It was as it they had not used primer or perhaps it needed another coat of paint as there was something dark coming through. There was some shadowing of the former two-color tone and it had a bluish cast, but I couldn’t see any critters. I thought maybe they had even used a sander. But, then I opened up a door and looked and found this spot. Yes!

The stories buildings tell….(please note P. Adams cabinet efficiency design with wire baskets, left side)

And I knew, someone at some point, if they studied that house and really looked as an architectural historian does, would know there was another story besides the beige. That I was there, and there was color! As both KC Mo housing and my sister said for re-sale, “I don’t think that’s what anyone wants to see” but it is what I wanted to see when I was in there doing laundry. Laundry always feels pretty good and cleansing at times, or a least necessary. I painted a picture and while I was there, I got to look at it and it made me happy, it made me feel good.

There is always a clue someone forgot to erase….the historian building detective.

And here’s what it was like from about 1997 to 2011. Enjoy, all these critters were right there living alongside me down there on the Cimarron River, some in the house :). And we all did laundry together, my friends and me.

Armadillo….yes, in the yard! The jump straight up!

 

 

Jackrabbit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prairie rattler….an indian bowl, only about 1/10th full…many more to go…

 

Tarantulas on the highway…..looks like rain.

If you can’t build it, paint it

companions,

place,

relationships

on the wall or in your mind.

Pretend when that works, make it real when action is required.

And then do it again, if not in the same place as it won’t ever be the same way, in a new place, in a new way.

Life is short! God has a plan, and I think he uses a lot of paint.

It’s the economy….

 

What is real?

by admin

I’m so glad my mother put sunblock on this painting of me.

This post is kind of about personplace, thingpet, and art.

So is this painting.

Lacy Amelia Adams and Rosie on kilim footstool.

Lately, I am really trying to simplify and understand in (my) life, what really matters with all this “stuff”, changing context, people that converge & separate, and how the constant of art all fits into the picture. 

So here goes…

First, a little bit about the “THING” in this image, which is the footstool covered with a kilim rug. It is one of the 9 pieces of furniture that I have purchased in my adulthood, not counting flea market finds. My house is mostly made up of furniture of my mother’s and Grandmother’s. There was little that I could, needed, or wanted to buy in southwest Kansas in general. Not to add, nor to buy almost anyplace that was better constructed or of more interesting design than anything I’d have by way of these two women of impeccable taste.

Plus, of course, I’m sentimental, and taking these objects from other “PLACES” in Kansas where my mother, Grandmother, and before that her mother had lived are one of the big things that made the ranch “PLACE” home before I knew it intimately.

I bought this kilim stool in the “PLACE” which was Santa Fe in my 20s on a trip with Gina and my mom. It was from a man, Stephen Miller, who also helped me to purchase a dhurrie to match a (Rainbow Decorator) Smith & Co. loveseat I’d spotted the summer before I was married. This also had received “stamp of approval” from Bobbi Smith who worked for Jack Rees Interiors, a prominent KC decorator with ‘a clientele who collected.’ I’d interned with her at Jack Rees, the summer of 1980. She was a close friend of my Grandmother Millie. 

Coincidentally, she had also picked out some upholstery for John Adams Grandmother Jessie. So, she also knew the rancher’s wife budget & priorities :), at least in the department of home interiors. Do not take this as disparaging. It’s often far more expensive to upholster quality items that will never be made “like they used to” than it is to buy new. I live by the same in much of my philosophy on domestic interiors. Do less, do it well, less often. It’s kind of an environmental thing akin to “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It also might be called being a bit “Scotch” at times, while “French” and “German” at others.

Stephen Miller’s Oriental Rugs was located catty corner from Pasqual’s and across from Doodlets, depending upon what you consume when you’re in SF. I discovered in a recent conversation with a salesperson in a rug store on Canyon Road, that this store’s (Santa Kilim) owner had been associated with Stephen, moved to Guadalupe (where I bought a kilim kabul rug chair), and is now on Canyon Road. The owner even remember acquiring the rugs and his series of upholstered chairs using them.

I had this kilim stool in my living room at both the East and West Ranch Headquarters on the Cimarron River, my two “home” ‘s  for the last 28 years. It is now in my home in Kansas City in Hyde Park, looks “smash” as Bobbi Smith would say. 

But, back to the idea of what I was thinking about when I came across this picture I’d taken of Lacy touching her face within the painting… “what is real?” That is, in a material world, what is it that connects us to place, person, things, even pets? And in seeing this, it inspired the post because it somehow was also connected to my personal ventures in “art” to find meaning, often un-consciously and under wrap.

I’m not going to talk about the person(s) because that’s person(all). We all have these persons and I’d imagine we all have similar feelings when we feel gratitude for having shared time and place with them.

Same goes for pets, it seems there are many out there these days who are having no issues in experiencing their feelings about their dogs 🙂 or expressing them. But, I will put in this picture of Rosie. It is a fake. That is, her Black Pug Ancestress pictured in the oil is the late Mei Rose, whose death preceded this photo by about 18 years when a speeding UPS truck brought about her early demise*. Anyway, Rosie cooperated in this photo setup. And I guess this means this second photo of the post is the realization of a new series of ‘family portrait photo genre’ entitled “what is real?”

note re UPS: [In his defense, I’m sure they lose quite a bit of money on their rural customers. He later asked me, “what happened to that little black pug of yours?” but I said nothing]

“Portrait of Rosie Adams questioning ‘what is real’ in sniffing ‘Lacy Adams pictured with black pug’ Portrait.”

So, here brings in art. I had this portrait of Lacy sitting by my (father’s former) drafting table which has now moved from its location in the bay window at the XIT Ranch to the bay window of The Illinois, 1 North. It is an oil that I had done, after I’d mastered dogs and artichokes.

As an art history major and also having grown up in the Education Wing at the Nelson, I had always been fascinated with the Early American and English Portraiture. The subject matter I’m referencing is that of children or a child, often dressed as a small adult, placed and painted in the context of “the house on the hill” or within a domestic interior. I also admired the later painter, John Singer Sargent, and his ability to incorporate person in place. But, BTW, Sargent was one whose work totally intimidated and blocked from painting.

So, the “primitive itinerant painter” version of the painting type pictured below was a little more approachable relative to my skillset. You’ll recognize the genre from Balis’s painting below that hangs at the Nelson of George and Emma Eastman at the ol’ homeplace. I realize this does not exactly represent the simple folk nor the humblest paintings which I was emulating, but I wanted you to get the “type” at the high end. That is, I think these are the Kodak kids in their “best available painter for the Kodak $$” moment. But you can see what I mean about the naïf nature of the painting with their big doll heads and stick-like bodies. It was do’able.

George and Emma Eastman by Calvin Balis. 1850

It’s really a mixed bag of feelings I have when I look at these paintings, because I often think, “Poor little Mr. Master with this noose of a plantation already around his starched collar… and the little mistress, well adorned with her bracelet, lacy pants, and festooned sunhat.”  Isn’t that jaded, with both sentiments sweet and savory? But, I also see that these children are growing up in this beautiful place, and they are often with a pet or something in their hands that you know gave them pleasure. And, the pride and love that the parents felt in having this executed, commemorating their children’s presence in a special place of meaning at a given age.

In all honesty, when I did this painting of Lacy, I don’t think I thought much about the fact that it is the parents that dress up their toy, arrange it in the portrait setup, and then document it for their own memory and point in time. As so many parents did before me and as we will forever do with the children we raise, I just did it.

I was pretty insecure about my ability to master features, though I actually think I did a pretty good job with Lacy’s face. I had sketched her before. So, I decided that since I lived in the country that I was the Itinerant Painter. I pretty much have to pretend when I launch into any creative endeavor.

Itinerant painter was the term for the artist-by-trade who traveled around, outside of the city, to landowners and others in the country who would perhaps not otherwise have traveled to the city to have their children painted. This was, of course, before the common existence of cameras to capture family “snapshots” at given key points along the timeline of their lives.

So, I don’t know how I exactly composed the room interior in the painting, except that the Guy Chaddock loveseat mentioned above was upholstered in a this cerulean blue color. I am sure that the checkerboard came from…

  • floorgrounds on Mary Engelbreit cards,
  • a photograph of a stained wood checkboard floor I kept in my files that I’d have loved to achieve on the old ranch wood floors,
  • numerous other Flemish interiors such as Vermeer’s self-portrait where he is painting in his studio.
  • PS  Note above what I said about imagination? See how I am just now noticing that I had subconsciously made reference to both Sargent (kilim stool and his rug in Daughters of Edward D. Boit) and Vermeer? Ego check.

Plus, the checkerboard went great with Lace’s outfit in the painting. Lacy’s portrait clothing ensemble, BTW, was given to her by her Grandmother GG. It says, “Spot the Dog” on her shirt. So, I have to put in that picture.

[I guess I forgot about “la mode” when I was pondering above on “person“, “place“, “thing“, “a pet” and “art”. How could I??]

GG, Jade Snow Wong (pug), Lacy Adams pictured by studio, 5328 W. 67th Street, Prairie Village, Kansas.

But, to answer my ponderings above…

For me, art can encapsulate persons, places, things (and pets!). It somehow helps me to feel all of it that perhaps I rushed past at the time in all of the excitement.

experience.

record.

remember.

feel.

process.

create.

breathe.

experience again…

It captures all the emotions that so easily just escape into energy, often misplaced, and puts it in one spot that gives some release to the maker.

…maybe to others, but I don’t feel that it really ever starts with that.

a website? Chapter One: Branding.

by admin

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Why the website?

A woman from a Topeka design firm, that once filmed ‘the boss’ for an ad, described it in saying, “one need’s a presence.” She was familiar with rural systems, and she knew where I was coming from.

On a dark day I might say it this way,

“I just might die out here and no one will ever even know I existed!” 

**note: many women with photo albums who take the pictures feel this way. I’m confident I’d never be in mine if it were not for my mother, and now my sister and daughter taking photos, though Jack’s now good for a few.

A city slicka’ lak mahself bein’ or-rig-on-alee from kan-sa sidday mahgt jes add,

“I just might die of boredom out here if I don’t find my next project.”

Oh? The Rancher’s wife thing? Yes, there was and always will be impromptu cooking and Branding and weaning and the need to be always there. That’s not a full-time job after the critters were ‘done grown up and gone.’  And, in a family business with three brothers….well, it’s important to remember where a wife’s business ends and where another person’s business begins. At least at the XIT.

So we began with full support. My personal first “real” website designer Shawn took all my pages of what is called “cartooning”. This was the site menus and my numerous page layouts. I was attempting the urban cowgirl architect edginess, my (at-that-time) completely wrong words. He visually twanged it up a bit. He said,

“I get it, Paula. Edgy, urban, slick cowboy design-architect thing, but no one wants to go ‘back at the ranch’ for that. Everything that you have brought in and laid out is like a scrapbook, a journal.  See it as that.”  He did not even know me, my web way albums, my French sketchbook, architecture school. Poor Guy, he didn’t know what he was in for, nor did Tracy when he quoted that bargain price of $1200.00 over the phone.

And, at the end of a day I am a classicist, old school, whether it is in Paris or on the Plains. And, aren’t Levis actually ‘de Nimes’?  It’s only as simple or complex as we want it to be at the moment….So, I came full circle and I know now he is brilliant. 

So, the quest for

  • the next client (Steve Revare…any churches you need to adaptively re-use…?),
  • the next historic building along a Kansas highway (Citysearch…Susan Ford…KDOT…, you there?)
  • the next “egg money”  [as my mother from Hays termed the income that rural women around Hays, Kansas earned that was their own and not their husbands]. This is what I did, but it was teaching and design. 
    • My contributions to family were more in the way of driving, cooking, sweat equity with house maintenance, and in choosing an unorthodox lifestyle, not something that floated the boat.
    • Beef was why we were there, not health or lifestyle.

Branding was only once a year.  I thought. 

 

Irish Cow Punch(er) lines. Eddy’s too funny.

by admin

Eddy made a funny.

Mike had been in and out and somehow there came a discussion of an upcoming Polkafest or some Polish Festival.

Lacy Adams, Paula Adams, Eddy de la Hunt at O'Dowd's.

Enjoying my newest dance moves of late, my comment was that The Polka was not a very sexy form of dance.

Eddy’s remark was, “it is if yahr a fahrmehr!”

[here, I’ll translate for you. In Irish, he said, “it is if your a farmer.”]

“They forgit wich cattel ther hand’lin’!”

 

Ode de Savage and the Good ol’ boys at Eddy’s.

by admin

Prince Michael Savage, Paula Graves Adams, Eddy de la Hunt. First Meeting sum '11.

I saw Michael Savage, The Artist, the other day at Eddy’s.

We have different coffee schedules with our respective yoga-paint patterns.

Anyway, we only had a minute for an update.

We don’t really need to get into the context.

And, I don’t want to put word’s in someone else’s mouth, but I think it went something like this.

To paraphrase the Sauvage:

“Well, in the [good] old’n days, the wife [in the country] just died!”

 

Dirt and Wind and Paula’s XIT Princess Palace.

by admin

Make many footprints, the wind blows hard. One day you will get it right and be dust.

-Paula Graves Adams, December 5, 2010.

The Worst Hard Time

"My neighborhood"

At the peak, the Dust Bowl covered a hundred million acres and more than a quarter-million people fled in the 30s.

 

"Cimarron Chronicles"

Cimarron Chronicles: Saga of the Open Range, Carrie & M.W. Anschutz

The picture on the cover of this book was taken on the Cimarron River during roundup on the XIT (Former XI) Ranch.

The effects of the dust bowl were not so severe on the XI and XIT Ranches along the Cimarron River as they were for farmers. The rolling land was untillable and unplowed. It was meant for cattle, not crops.

But still, Mary Anschutz Finney, granddaughter of Carrie Schmoker Anschutz, told me of putting wet towels around the windows to prepare for Black Sunday. Mary Finney was the wife of Tom Finney, the foreman of the XIT for Raymond Adams, Sr., Jr., and John Adams’ manager from 1982-1996. Tom Finney’s father had cattle around Paxico, Kansas. His father lost everything after the market crashes of the 30s. It was after that when Tom came to work for Raymond Adams, Sr.

H.G. Adams (Raymond Adams, Sr.’s father and Raymond was the youngest child of six with two older brothers) bought out William Robert’s interests in the southwest Kansas landholdings in 1923, but died 10 years later in 1933. After this time, his three sons operated lands in Maple Hill, and the two ranches in Southwest Kansas.  The youngest brother and his father before his death had formed the Adams Cattle Co. They prospered in being the earliest cornfeeders in Kansas and there is a picture on my website of their concrete silos which were the first to be built in Kansas.

Being the youngest brother, Raymond Adams (Sr.)  was given the least desirable land of the holdings of the land in the West upon the death of the father when the brothers divvied up. This was thought to be the east ranch in Oklahoma. But, though he did not live there, Raymond Adams (Sr.) ventured into some early wildcatting for oil on this ranch in Oklahoma. The specific proven field which is still producing is the South Woltz. I lived on this ranch when I was married from 1982-1996.

A tangent for runner. Provides ranch scale concept vis-a-vis suburbia. And illustrates the value of training on dirt roads against high winds without water with a dog that runs very fast. 

At the time, one of my rural coping skills was training for a marathon. When I would need to do a 12 mile run, I would loop through the south Woltz so that I would not have to backtrack. The other loop required running 28 miles. So my first actual “marathon” (26.2) was actually padded a bit in distance. It was on the ranch on a day when the wind changed, with no water. But I did run with our faithful German Short Hair pointer, Lapsley. He was given to us by the now Kansas Sec’y of Commerce Pat George. His name is George Lapsley Waugh, taking in two special people as his namesake.

But, my point is that because the pre-marathon training was so grueling, the actual race was a piece of cake. The “first” was that usual deplorable time, maybe like 3:52. In my first real marathon with Kathy Kindred (Avon in KC), my time was 3:36:12. In fact, it was so good that after the following entire summer of training, my second KC Marathon in the fall only beat this time by 14 seconds. I was a little depressed. But my Dean-the-Machine-and-Marine-Father-runner-of-51-marathons told me that shaving off even the least little bit from here on was very difficult. His advice was that speedwork and lengthening my stride were key.

So, this is when I hung up my running shoes to put this time into things that were not quite as isolating and meditative. There was always plenty of time for that regardless.

Raymond Adams, Sr. re-located Tom Finney from where he was working for him in Maple Hill to western Kansas to be his foreman. Tom lived on this ranch and managed many cowboys. It is here where he met the girl up the crick, Mary Anschutz.

The point is, he and his wife, Mary operated the XIT Ranch in western Kansas for more than four decades for the Adams (as if it were their own) in many many ways. They moved from the Oklahoma Ranch upstream to the Kansas Ranch where I later lived in 1968. This was after this west ranch (XI Headquarters) was purchased back from the widow of older brother Alec by Raymond Adams, Sr. and his son Raymond, Jr.

From then on, this west ranch would be known as the XIT Headquarters.  XIT was the Adams Cattle Co. brand and that which Raymond Sr. adopted when the original cattle of his father, H.G. Adams, were divided between the brothers and he had to easily change the existing hide brand. Brands are registered by state, and there was not an XIT in Kansas. A single bar creates each letter of the brand to keep it from being muddied, so this only required the additional two strokes.

"XIT Storm Cellar."

Paula, Ginny, John, Tom Finney. XIT East Ranch Storm Cellar, sum 1983.

This was taken when restoring the 1934 adobe home for John Adams and Paula Adams’ home.

John’s Grandfather, Raymond Adams Sr. had these three adobe structures built on the east ranch in Oklahoma in 1934.  He secured skilled workers from New Mexico familiar with adobe techniques. They were were brought to this ranch on the Cimarron and used soil and hay from the ranch to mix and bake the adobe bricks on site.

This is a view of one of the adobe stucco'd houses on the East XIT Ranch in Oklahoma. You can see the huge Cottonwoods and get the feel, but you actually only see the left corner of the house that we fixed up in which we lived from '83-'96.

Our home had a stamped “1934” in a rectangle at the gable of the south leg of the L-shaped structure. It was formerly a three-bedroom house, but not organized as one would think. There was a bedroom, living room, later added bathroom, dining room and kitchen for a married couple on the east end. But a solid adobe wall ran along the west side of the kitchen dividing this part of the house from the other two west rooms. These two west rooms shared a later added tiny bathrooms, but each room had it’s own door on the south side which opened off into the covered porch.

Tom Finney, John Adams, Paula Adams. In frame doorway with brick partition during early construction.

Kitchen (after) shot. This was era, had seen the cabinets in Santa Fe in a Wayne Nichols House. Jenn-Air range. Paula in hideous running attire.

You can imagine the context. That is, the open range had closed and ranches had formed with outside capital to provide fencing (invention of barbed wire 1874) and windmills for water in the latter part of the 1800s. Trail drives over, the lifestyle of the transient Cowboy had changed and he had settled down. So, a couple provided some stability as well as services in cooking and possibly cleaning (?) for the two single men. The discussion of historical “Cowboy” as single man and women in this landscape is for another day.

View to northeast from my office. I felt guilty about having this great office off our bedroom in a former screened in porch but a) John didn't want it because he could not see the front cattleguard or barn and b) I had the computer. The photo at right with my father--in-law Raymond Adams by the door is the former open covered porch to the south. The "front door" was the sliding Pella door at this west end. To the right on the north wall you can see the doorway which led to the west "extra cowboy" room. To the left of the white stucco banquette that I added later, you can see the second "extra cowboy" bedroom door which was filled in below to make a window out of this bedroom. The two doors were unnecessary. This is when everyone had just started doing the brick butted up against each other (no grout) that was set in sand. The buffalo rug on the floor was given to John from my father. He had a client for whom he'd done architectural work who had a small buffalo herd. Dad did a partial bartering of services in exchange for the hide. The Navajo Flag pictorial is a gift from my dad to John.

You can envision the time period and the context of blistering heat that so beautifully incorporated the open southern porches in ranch homes. And, the teeny later bathrooms as Rural Electric had only just made it to Wabaunsee County in the Flint Hills in 1946.

An Indoor Plumbing and Rural Electric Tangent. 

In fact, the folklore is that John’s Grandmother Jessie was responsible for getting electricity down to the XIT employees in exclaiming something like, “You CANNOT let them live like this! You WILL pay to run these lines in!”  The Adams men tend to be conservative in keeping their costs low. And with no immediate or ever return in a ranch domestic structure, these things tend to get tabled until absolutely required (translation: demanded by wife). Don’t get me started on yellow shag carpeting…

So back to this first house, Paula’s dream house and anyone’s at age 23 and actually at any age. XIT East Ranch, Beaver County, Oklahoma.
Dean Graves, architect.
Henry Rempel, contractor.
Tom Finney, project manager until he started picking finishes and was demoted by Raymond Adams who appointed

Paula, project manager and interior designer, pre-architecture school.

It is one of the first of many successful renovation-restoration projects using the Adams-Graves merging of education and design with a sense of place and history that had been associated with the Adams family for over a hundred years.

There is a wonderfully restored adobe bunkhouse for which Dean Graves did plans on this end of the ranch for John’s Grandmother, Jessie Stewart Adams for her use when she would visit. It was beautifully executed and was done right. This small building had to be trenched below to re-pour footings for stabilization. The re-built bunkhouse and concrete pour for the floor incorporated radiant heating so the tile floors were always warm. These were always great experiences for me, because on all of these projects there was not a general contractor. Owner (and his asst. moi) would act to coordinate subs and work. 

The house had Pella windows, brick floors set in sand, Wood-mode contemporary oak cabinets for which we chose the horizontal strip “pull” band at top to be Maple, corian counters with integrated bowls, Talavera tile. The walls were textured sheetrock in the one part where the stucco had crumbled beyond repair, but in other areas, there were beautiful soft cracks that would have to be periodically patched. I loved this, it gave it character.

Finishes. John and Paula. Paula and Dad (Dean) Graves. Pass-thru to kitchen.

The ceiling was original. It consisted of built up beams to resemble heavy timber, stained a very dark brown that was almost black. Tongue and groove spanned these beams. I left them dark on the recommendation of a decorator who wisely told me to not follow the current trend at that time of making all wood light or painting them white. He explained that the dark would cause the 8’6″ ceilings to recede to give the illusion of greater height.

I really cannot believe that this was my first house, for it was a dream and I was a Princess.

My first trip to the XIT Ranch after my engagement. I flew from Albuquerque to Liberal after a trip with my mother to Santa Fe. This is the sign south of the Cimarron River Bridge on highway 23 which runs north-south and divides the east and west ranches.Love the knee socks and I'm serious.

And back to wind, it has been a very dry year. Ranchers in Kansas experienced this in all corners. Many weathered it, continuing to endure, but it was a devastating year for many people.

This is how it works when one is in business with God and it is a part of that wonderful spiritual relationship that some say is trying to “control” the land. Any steward knows much more than the rest of us that the only thing one controls is oneself, one’s work, and one’s management of whatever resources are at hand  and gained with whatever hand one is dealt. But that everything is really just under the employ of Him. Agriculturalists do an excellent job that is very hard, that many would not choose to do. But we all get to look and see these landscapes as we drive across beautiful America.  I feel gratitude for this.

Here is a picture of the house pens by the XIT Headquarters on the west ranch in Meade County. This was on a windy day about a year and a half ago. Pray for rain.

Pipe pens just west of barn. XIT Ranch Headquarters, Meade, County.

le sketch du jour: July 12, 1980. Dressing for Claude Monet….

by admin

My mother Ginny Graves found these and called them our “Monet Water Lily Dresses.”

Above: My sister Gina, my cousin Laura Ward McCrary, and I are pictured above, dressed for the wedding of my mother’s cousin, Christie Lee Triplett, in St. Louis. Christie Lee was my Grandmother Millie Ward’s niece as Christie’s father, Floyd Lee is the brother of my grandmother, Mildred Lee Ward.

When Claude and I met. 

I knew Claude when I was in pre-school. That is because my mother taught art lessons at the Nelson Art Gallery, so this was my pre-school. But that’s another post.

Anyway, if you have been to the Nelson-Atkins Museum, as it is now called, you have seen the triptych of Monet’s Water Lilies. It  used to be in the large room just to the left of the Nelson Bookstore and Giftshop which are to the left as you enter the gallery turnstiles. Or do they still have the turnstiles?  Anyway, they were and still are mesmerizing to me.

So to visit this real place and the ponds and gardens where Monet painted 16 years after this picture was taken was like being in a dream. The paintings are actually more real than the place, but they are equally beautiful.

Monet Triptych at the Nelson.

 

Claude in his Gardens.

Saturday July 12, 1980. (from my journal and sketchbook)

Woke. Ran 3. Went to Breakfast.

Met Granda & we took Métro to Gare St. Lazare.  From there we took a train to Vernon and from Vernon a taxi to Giverny, the Gardens where Monet painted. They just re-opened this spring and everything is beautiful.

See the bachelor buttons...

The house is pink stucco with green trim and the gardens were full of bachelor buttons, thistles, and all sorts of little yellow, red, pink & orange blossoms.

Monet's House with Tile workshop at left. Arbors are along pathways throughout the Gardens. colored marker sketch by Paula, summer 1980.

We saw the curved bridges and lily ponds and willows that are in all the paintings.

There was a room of paintings in his house.  Off the entrance were some of his later works which are really dark, but interesting and beautiful but in a different way.

We stayed until 3:30 and took the taxi back to Vernon.  Sat in café with Granda and had a sandwich de jambon (ham sam) & a croque monsieur.

Our train leaves at 6:00 and we are waiting at the station. Dinner tonight is at Grandamolie’s hotel, the Regina, at 7:30. This is the hotel on right bank on the corner just across from the street from the wing of the Louvre where le museé des arts décoratifs is located (where I am going to school).

Seed pearl earring surrounded by suspended bezel of baby seed pearls on French Wires from the Hotel Regina Bijoux & Joaillier Anciens & Antiquaires

Granda gave me a very beautiful pair of antique gold earrings with baby seed pearls in the bezel from the hotel jewelry shop. Teensy tintsy intricate construction, they are about 1/4″ diameter drop on French wires.

(end of journal entry)

Monet's Pink Stucco house with Green Trim at Giverny. I used little sponges to do the trees. This was one of my first painting classes and I'll have to tell you, it identified early on why anal people aren't (initially or ever?) very good painters. Way too tedious and don't take enough artistic license. I'm still trying to get past this stage...oil on canvas by Paula, winter 1983.

The painting above was done later from a photograph in my album from that summer. It’s not an exciting painting, but the colors do capture the place.

So Claude, it was a pleasure to visit your home, and with my Grandmother Millie, which made it even more special. And if only I could paint like you, I would paint a picture of the crossing at the Cimarron River on the XIT Ranch, for it is as beautiful a place as any in your pictures. And, I may still do this. It is clearer in my mind each day.

The Graves’ Girls Matching Christmas Outfits and Gowns Fashion Show.

by admin

Two little girls with two little curls in two little dresses making two little twirls…

I think it is universal that mothers with two girls dress their daughters alike when they are younger. It is just too fun to not do this. There is one Easter where all Graves girls, GG included, had beautiful matching Liberty-of-London looking print dresses, Gina and Paula with white hats and collars.

This works pretty well until the younger sister gets wise to the fact that she will have to wear this same outfit again in a few years and then it doesn’t seem so fun. I can’t imagine what it was like for people like Marthe Dreher who had four sisters in her family. Poor thing, she probably had to be pictured in the same dress for like a decade.

A whine about hand-me-downs.

There is a picture of me wearing a red kind of one-piece stretchy number that I DISTINCTLY  remember was a hand-me-down because there was a patch of several stars at the knee which covered a hole that I DID NOT MAKE. Double-insult!  I think I probably only really had to wear a “matching outfit deux fois” seulement un fois. But that has always been enough for me to complain loudly. So, I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s begin the fashion show.

Oh, one more thing about doing this in the Adams Family.

I didn’t ever dress Jack and Lacy alike. They tend to look kind of alike when they are working with boots, jeans, and their rain-wind gear always happens to be blue. I’ve never was organized to exert much control over the whole visual picture thing as witnessed in my engagement picture in the Independent. I am wearing a black, yellow, red abstract print and John Adams is wearing plaid madras. All I can say is Thank Goodness it wasn’t in color.

Lacy Adams had a brother and two boy cousins, so in her case, the dressing alike at Christmas was really only one Christmas. It was a three-sweater-some ensemble which my mother put together for a Christmas of the Graves, Lloyd, Adams in KC. I can’t put my hands on the picture right now, but I think they all said “Cowboy.” It’s okay, GG bought me one of the coolest sweaters I ever had (it was pictured on Torey Time with me and GG) at the boys department, at Jones I think.

Lace, Boy, Boy.

Oh, wait, I just saw one picture of the three Graves grandchildren in red longjohns at Christmas so I will put that in. The boys got a “boy” label, but I suppose Lace didn’t because no one has ever mistaken her yet for a boy, though she does look quite a bit like her father.

 And on the runway…

Scaary! It's a better effect when both baby and doll eyes are wide-open.

I have to put in a few of these of just me from the first Christmas when I was alive, mainly because they are probably universal family traditions. Well, maybe not this first one, but if it is with your mother’s sense-of-humor please post.  Which is, 1) to put the live baby by the plastic baby (preferably a vintage doll or least requisite to have those blinking eyes) and photograph them together.Often, it is difficult to differentiate one from the other. It has never really been discussed. But my mom kept the scrapbooks and thankfully continued to feed with the best pictures and has continued to add these of grandchildren and cousins. Don’t you think it’s jarring?  Probably PTSD from a nightmare about some doll baby that talked on Dark Shadows or an old pre-chucky flick.

2) The baby opening the package at First Christmas Picture. 

Everyone has one of these in their scrapbook.

3) The Mother Holding smiling baby in front of tree picture. 

New second time mother with bouncing baby on lap in front of Christmas tree.

I think I will just carry on with the tradition theme.

4) Being pictured with a Great-Grandmother and two girls in architectural Chair. The first part is pretty darned important and we all know why because we’re getting closer every day. The second part is because these funky chairs seem to follow around the child who most needs the extra furniture which was moi. This one has a name, but my dad or mom will have to post that. It’s like a big round ring and kind of woven, sits low to the ground, Danish Modern. I think it is still over at the bunkhouse at the East Ranch, I might want this back. I want to say Bertoia but that is a batwing chair that is in the master bedroom at the XIT Headquarters.

 

Paula with ball-a, Gina, Nano, Paula, Gina and Paula in chair.

 5) Pictures of evidence of someone baking and hints of future food issues. Later these become more evident as worn directly around the waistline. I am sure many people have these in their albums, and all I can say is that there is a bonus to identifying the problem early on.

a Picture documenting seasonal cookies and eating habits.

6) Picture documenting how girls go from baby dolls to hard stiff little dolls with great clothes and accessories. Personally if it were my choice, there would be a soft cuddly baby girl dolly with really great clothes. At least that would be my doll role model. 

Dollies gets dollies in sage green velvet with lace top and bows.

A Scottish Tradition.

7) Everyone has to have a Highland Christmas Fling. This was before I went to Highlands School, though. The Adams Family is actually Scotch-Irish but I’ve never really seen any of those Adams Cowboys or Sisters wear any kilts or even a plaid cummerbund. Anne Cornwell Gall had some Scottish Plaid boxers and a wool plaid fringed scarf which she would don in the Theta House lounge with just her bra when appearing as, “Tartan Girl.” Wish I had a picture.

Florence Eiseman

 8) In our Florence Eisemans. We had several, but I felt like this particular time period was really smash with the simplified appliqués and jumpers that tied on the sides. Very contemporary as it was 60s for what is usually a very traditional clothing line. I think store on Plaza was somewhere over by hmmm…changes so often…a chain rib place, Buca di Beppo, Steve’s,  one of those stores like Abercrombie that used to be really nice and kind of mass-marketed….Anyway, what was there in my day was a Bennet Schneider, a place to buy and get fitted for shoes where you stood on a platform and had feet squeezed, and Cricket West. Or so we can all get located with something that will always be there, across from that triangular block with the shoe repair.

Green velvet pantsuits.

9) The year we all had pantsuits Christmas.  These were beautiful and not too long after that my mother had a purple velvet pantsuits. She wore it to dinner at Putsch’s 210 and I think maybe she had to go home and change into a dress. Hadn’t come to KC yet, I guess.

A nod to the Germans.

 10) More ethnic Christmases…a nod to our German brethren and a slight strain I have to admit in my own. Sometimes comes out in rigidity and a leaning tendency towards Paternalistic Systems. 

 

Wow, 2 dirndls....Good work, GG!

I had to put in this other one I found when I was younger. It actually looks pretty authentic, so I am wondering if my parents or Grandparents had taken a trip. I think maybe Gina had one, too, but that pic’s in her scrapbook. Her’s was blue.

Handmade nightgowns!

11) Grandmother Handmade Gowns that were better than Lanz! My tiny talented Grandamartha Graves made us these beautiful handmade nightgowns, every year and more. She was amazing with colors and prints. They were softer than soft and big and cozy and never had scratchy places in the inside like Lanz gowns can have with the lace. I think they all had a ribbon at the neck.

Grandamartha also had the best embroidered hankie collection I’ve ever seen, was a master at découpage which I learned and used on a handpainted cowgirl dresser in Lace’s bedroom, and had these great little soaps all over that had some kind of little applique that she would put on them. I loved staying with Grandamartha as we always made stuff and I got to watch soap operas on TV while she ironed downstairs in the basement.

a picture counting down to Christmas on Christmas Day!

12) The Advent Calendar and Old Maid Coffeecake. Traditions. My mom made these Advent Calendars. They were appliqued and hers were very contemporary as they were a stylized tree (felt?) on a burlap background. Each little pocket below had a tiny ornament in it and she also found the neatest most special little things with meaning. From the first of December to Christmas Day, we would do this in the morning before school. We always ate ate breakfast together in the kitchen.  Gina and I would take turns taking out the little surprise in each pocket to tie on the tree. It definitely taught me a love for tiny things and also the rewards of anticipation and delayed gratification! 

The Old Maid Coffeecake is another tradition from my Grandmother and maybe her mother…?  It is basically flour, salt, butter, eggs, sugar, pecans, brown sugar, maybe some baking soda. Lots of good stuff in proportion to the batter so every bite is delish.

Well, that is it for the Fashion Show which turned into Graves Family  Christmas Traditions. Thank you mom, Ginny Graves, for all of the photographs taken and so well organized in our Webway albums. You are amazing!

Merry Christmas in Pictures! 

When Santa came to visit and I wasn’t wearing any underwear.

by admin

Look at my hands! I'm terrified!

 

I actually have quite a few very vivid memories of Santa in person. It seems like many of them are jarring, so I’ll just start with the one that always comes to mind first. Don’t get me wrong, I do love and believe in Santa Claus.

There is really no reason why I shouldn’t just adore to be with Santa in person and here are 10 to support that statement.

  1. He’s a man.
  2. He’s always so up.
  3. He wears my favorite color.
  4. I love black boots and wear them often.
  5. He’s got the perfect wife.
  6. He has always written me great thank you notes about the green wreaths and nutty nougats we left with our lists by the fireplace. That is, he has beautiful manners.
  7. I love his haircolor.
  8. I admire a man who can manage a factory such as he does and like that he favors little people as workers.
  9. I, too, wore stocking caps with pom poms on the end.
  10. Think he was very progressive with the faux fur.

So, that being said, here’s the story and I’ll make it kind of shorter at least:

We were in Hays at my Grandparents house down the street from Fort Hays University. It was picture perfect setting, 60s contemporary stone fireplace across one end of the living room with bar hidden within the paneling, a beautiful huge tree in their tall-ceiling living room library. And nightgowns hand-made by my other GrandaMartha in Kansas City.

I think the man who channeled Santa Claus’s name was Ed something. Maybe my mom or dad will post his name.  I remember the doorbell ringing. And in he walked. He looked probably the best I have ever seen him look. And I was excited in a good way. Until he came in and sat down on that chair. Then I knew something was making me uneasy.  You can see in this picture that I am wringing my hands.

I often have a hard time identifying my emotions until way after event, sometimes even years, fear in particular. So, we talked to Santa for a bit. I answered his questions and made it through my performance anxiety syndrome which flares up whenever I get put on the spot, practically anytime I am with people.

And then it was time for the picture. He was crouched in front of the tree and I was standing by his knee, closest to Santa.  Santa put his arm around me and placed it on my hip. And then I knew why I was so nervous. Being taught that it was more healthy to go to bed without panties, there was really only this thin flannel membrane between me and Santa’s hand. I think he had even taken off his glove.

I do know I made it through without losing my composure. And honestly, it’s only just now after having flashbacks of this for years that am understanding why and linking together these images and feelings. So I have no real conclusion to this story. But, I do think that I was ahead of my time in sensing when to be leery of men. I am my parents’ daughter and it has served me well on most occasions. I am not suggesting any inappropriate behavior by this Santa; this was in the early 60s and things were different then. Or not.

So while there is always a time for a mother to lecture, “Lacy, you CANNOT wear any underwear with that red dress,” there is also a time for mother’s words at Christmas.

advice: to girls, young and old,

on Christmas Eve and when visiting a shopping mall

where Santa might ask you to sit on his lap. 

Wear your big girl underpants. 

And, if Santa exhibits any inappropriate behavior,

tell him to keep his hands to himself.

Addenda, as that was a bit too harsh.

How about, “Santa, just keep it above the waist?”

-Mama Paula

Nov. 27, 2011. Memories from the 1st day of 29 years and counting of Paula Graves Adams’ Cowgirl Adventures…

by admin

Just a word of clarification…

I have to qualify the use of the term “Cowgirl.” I use it as a state of mind, not as any profession which could claim me as an associate.  I do ride a horse, can herd cattle without causing a rampage, and I have a hill on the XIT to where I would ride on a regular basis and look back at the river and the XIT Headquarters.

But cowgirls are really born.  They are born to fathers who are cowboys and cattleman who work in the trenches. Not all daughters of these men are cowgirls. Just the ones who worked alongside the other men.  Some rope and tie, others vaccinate and herd and brand. The three real cowgirls I know in the Adams family are Wanda Adams, Chelsea Adams, and Lacy Adams. But that’s another post.

So. Today is 29 years to the day of our wedding day. And I am celebrating another person who in so many ways made me who I am today, John Adams, just as I feel about my parents. I definitely pulled my weight and worked this gift of parents and husband as I have done with other God given gifts. I need to do a bit more of this for myself and cut them some slack from all the burdens that come along with this responsibility, but I am eternally grateful.

So I will try not to talk (too much), but here are some pictures of stuff leading up to the wedding, the big day, and of our honeymoon in Chicago for three days before heading west in a u-haul to begin the adventure.

Grier and Warwick Showers, Wedding Cookbook, Independent Engagement Pic, Ring showoff, Dean laughing at life's burden of "stuff."

Dean Graves is laughing at one of his own jokes in the lower left photo. Probably something witty sensing my fear of this new burden of “stuff.” I inherited this tendency to do big belly laughs at my own jokes.

I just mainly remember that John Adams would look at it all and say, “you are really getting great stuff.” This is translated as, “these things we both will cook and serve off of are yours so you will write the thank you notes” and extended on into wedding gifts. We had some perfectly nice “Paula & John” cards custom designed by the calligrapher for Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, Mary Lou Cook, but I don’t really remember John using these :). But, he had to pack it and haul it and unpack in a u-haul over bumpy roads, not breaking a dish. As he did two more times to Lawrence and Wichita over the course of our marriage, which is more moving of stuff and wife than most husbands would tolerate. So this really counts for much, much more.

Here is a brief concept and history page for my Paula Varsalona wedding dress. Sandra Kenney, former KU cheerleader, the most beautiful Pi Phi at KU in the 50s, former wife of Bob Kenney, was the buyer for The Jones Store at that time.

Beautiful Kenney women: Sandy, Karen, Kirsten.

She was a good friend of my mother, Kirsten my good friend, and the reason why The Jones Store got all the best designers at that time. And, the models to wear them…Terri Sue Walters and Kitty Bliss. Terry’s picture is underneath my head on the Independent Cover and Kitty’s beautiful picture was on the cover when our engagement picture appeared. So, I am honored to be pictured in a magazine with photos of such beautiful and photographed Kansas City women!

A cover, concept, lace mitts and shoes, and two Paulas at a dress fitting. Professional and hobby designing women.

My mother spotted another $1,000.00 shorter lace dress that was also very beautiful and classic with a plunging neckline. It would have been lovely, but I opted for this $325.00 more Victorian number which I styled with the lace mitts, shoes, and dropping the veil for a crown of baby’s breath with some tiny ribbon streamers. Both dresses seemed like a lot of money at that time, but nothing compared to the rest of the party. What our fathers do…

Here are some of the friends who were at the University Club on Nov. 27, 1982.

George Waugh, Mike Tutera, back of David Kerr's head.

Christie Reed Reniger, Ed Bolen, Kate Nettels Faerber

Julie Connally, Karen Majors Bogle, Alison DeGoler.

Dr. Dick Dreher, head of Children's Mercy Hospital, Marthe's date?, Marthe Dreher Tamblyn.

David Stubbs and my cousin, Wendy Ward.

Alison Weideman Ward, Eleanor Stolzer?

Molly Miller, Lynn Kindred, Susan Grier, Kathy Kindred.

Bridget O'Brien and Elaine Beeson.

Scott Ward and Liz Waugh.

Jamie and John Kane, Carney Nulton.

Mary Beth Simpson, John Simpson, Bradley Grover Simpson.

Mary Stauffer and Sam Brownback.Two Jack's and a Jane: Savings and Home, Dicus and Frost.

? Beta?, Elaine Scarborough, Greg Duvall, John's Patient Pledge Dad.

And here are some family pictures…

 

Raymond Adams and Sandra Dublin Frizzell Adams with her parents. So I am kind of related by (ex) marriage(s) to both McKinley Winter Feedyard, Cindy Brown, and Tripp Frizzell and Alison Miller Frizzell in a way.

David Adams, 12-step Guru across the High Plains. Judy Robert Adams, great-niece of Sally Chisum, a wife on the XI Ranch who never lived there and niece of John Chisum. William Robert, Judy's Grandfather was the former co-owner of the XI Ranch Landholdings before H.G. Adams partnered with him to fence and water, subsequently buying the holdings from Robert.

Ginny Graves, my mother and co-party planner who handled all the details. In a great mother-of-the-bride frock with Allison Ball in the background in a smash pink and black party dress.

And look! Heavy Hitter Jessie Adams and a dashingly handsome man (Bud Helm?) and heavy hitter and my bro Randy Knotts at left.

I’m assuming they all attended the nuptials at 4:00 at Second Presbyterian Church, but I didn’t look around. It was another stage performance where I was gripped with both fear and emotion.

In part, I hold Gina responsible (my maid of honor) as she was beside me crying when I said my vows at the altar at Second Presbyterian Church. This of course precipitated my crying while I said “I do.” John later expressed concern that others would think I was crying because we were getting married. We were both wearing our parents shoes. I actually was sad at the idea of my father giving me away. But as they say, “a son is a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter is a daughter for the rest of her life.”

At the University Club, someone took these candids in the room where all the food was. It was freezing rain that Thanksgiving Day. So, many of the older guests wanted to get in, wish me well, and get safely back home.

Where did the saying, “Rain is good luck on your wedding day” come from?

YAHOO! Answers.

It pops up through Shakespeare’s works and I imagine it would have to do with a pastoral society, where rain would symbolize fertility-hence it is good luck on a wedding day!

So after having a thoroughly wonderful beautiful month of Paris with rain every day and living on a very dry ranch in western Kansas and a wedding day of heavy rain, Paula the Pisces Water Child is always happy to see raindrops, curly hair and all.

But back to University Club, the point is that I’m putting in this picture at the lower right of this “media page” because it is in the library of the University Club. This was pretty much all I saw of my wedding reception until about 8:00 after which John and I did the bouquet (Beth Van Winkle Ewing, Theta now in Dallas) and and garter toss (Ed Bolen). Then we bolted, socially exhausted. One reason I now adore other people’s weddings!

The length of the writeup in the Beaver is only shadowed by the coverage in the Meade-Globe Press which is not included. They noted every detail of my outfit that I had so lovingly chosen. I was both embarrassed and tickled pink.

We spent the night at the Kansas City Club, arranged by John’s step-mom-at-that-time- Sandra (the Wichita Falls most beautiful party planner and gift wife). She had medium-rare filets with three sauces (a bernaise, hollandaise, and a horseradish cream) delivered to our room.  The next morning we lay around in bed all morning and watched Little Big Man with Dustin Hoffman. Then, John had to go back to Lawrence to prepare for his finals and a project with some Brian guy from business school who had transferred from engineering school.

We had a few people to dinner at this apartment in Lawrence during finals. Pat Boppart I do remember, but I cannot remember the others who were still finishing up their college careers. I had chicken breasts stuffed with boursin because it was John’s turn to cook that week. John and Pat argued about how one person of these two felt it was not an even trade for one person to have t-bones and the other to serve spam, though Pat defended this staunchly. I tasted spam later in life, as I have also tasted dogfood, and it is really not all that bad.

Our first Christmas was in Lawrence at Hillcrest Apartments, but I will also do this in a later post in the advent countdown to Christ’s birth. I am more exhausted from this wedding post than I was from the actual wedding.

I will include pictures of our honeymoon in Chicago, a gift from Kevin Pistilli. He and Tina met us there for dinner at the Pump Room. This didn’t happen until later, but honeymoons are a part of the wedding picture so they are included here.

The Raphael, the Cape Cod Room at the Drake, Frank Lloyd Wright's first big residential project in Oak Park and tour of his home.

I am looking forward to the holidays and remembering some very early times with my husband and friends from pictures that I am sure my mother took.

Before a house,

before children,

before a place that would be my life for 29 years and always in my mind.

I hope the others that were married that day in Kansas City (there were four of us, Gibson Rymar and Sara Jury and….??) are also celebrating.

Of course, it is now the 28th as I didn’t get it done by day’s end. This is the day I always I incorrectly remembered as my wedding date. It was always just “the Saturday after Thanksgiving” in my mind…it didn’t matter much as we were usually always having fun with friends and family in the city and would forget to celebrate.

So now I will take the time to say, “Happy Anniversary John!” But this time it is a joke because I remembered yesterday to celebrate this day, the start of my big life adventures that still continue.

love, Paula.