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.



2011 KU Phi Delt Mother’s Weekend, Wheel & Cave, Lawrence on the Kaw

by admin

2011 Phi Delt Mother's Weekend

And it flowed through the Jordan’s that night at the cave….


I traveled the banks of the River Jordan

To find where it flows to the sea
I looked in the eyes of the cold & hungry
And I saw I was looking at me.

I wanted to know if life had a purpose
And what it all means in the end
In the silence I listened to voices inside me
And they told me again and again

There is only one river there is only one sea
And it flows through you and it flows through me
There is only one people we are one and the same
We are all one spirit, we are all one name

We are the father, mother, daughter & son
From the dawn of creation, we are one, we are one, we are one.

Peter, Paul & Mary, River of Jordan

And another great cameo…


Just a few party pics…wish I had more.  Ode to Sean Williams, party pic photographer extroardinarie, ’78-’82, of the Williams Fund clan.

The Stubes

The mixed breeds…some Kansas family genetics circa class of ’82…

The DeGolers...1/2 Pi Phi 1/2 Beta throws a Phi Delt

Salina Manhattan Beta Kappa migratory mix...

Theta mothers and SME cheerleaders throw....

...throw Pi Phi Phi Delt hurdler gymnast grandchildren...

More Kansas SMEast Theta linebreeding...

It’s amazing how attractive we all are…where I’ve lived this kind of thing throws a 6th finger and I’m not lying, ask Jack.

Whew…finally some new bloodlines.

Aaahh...praise god for new bloodlines....Missouri relief Max and Brooke

And of course, up close and personal, friends sons daughters mothers and their body parts…


And tonight’s gonna be a good night!

Thanks to the Pres!

Thank you for a lovely weekend dolls and guys.

SME Cheerleading and Carolyn Howard: the Sue Sylvester archetype

by admin

Howie Returning with the Spirit Stick, Summer Camp 2006


Coach Carolyn "Howie" Returning with the Spirit Stick, Summer Camp in Marshall, MO,2007

“Cheerleaders’ Travel Pays off; New Cheers learned at camp” by Britt Alexander, photo credits assumed.

WWCD? Another great woman, What Would Carolyn Do?
Jane Lynch had to have shadowed Carolyn Howard, the virgin Queen of the female worker bees of Shawnee Mission East for decades. Carolyn was our gym teacher, and ruled over the women and the women’s country club sports, swim team, tennis team, cheerleading, heralders and pep club. She counted the homecoming votes, she counted the balls, she tallied the grades, and gave us 5 minutes to peel off that wet lancer blue spandex swimwear before the bell rang for our next class. More about her old school fashion in  the JV Cheerleaders, but you get her idea, very Betty Grable. Or was that ruching actually just the indentations in our flesh to girdle in our most socially prized teenage assets?

All my sister Gina’s friends turned out to vote for me as a sophomore, so I was one of the two sophs that made JV with Kathy Kindred and that commenced the relationship with Carolyn (see Kathy:  The Sophs on JV with Sr. Bad attitudes). She gave me a B that semester in gym but not knowing who I was up against, I questioned the numbers that got passed on via my sister.

“Sophomores who make JV don’t get straight As.”

She ended up changing the grade which I lived to regret.

The Sophomore Cheerleaders, 1975, Carolyn below.

The Sophomore Cheerleaders, 1975, Carolyn below.

Carolyn was very pretty and had a great sense of humor.  And most of all, she was brutal….5:30 am summer practices before work at the Village Pool at 7…the herkies and hamstrings and but always with a heart of warm iron.

Herkies at sunset...on our Kansas beach...

She always stuck with us no matter how spastic we were, the last girl on the tennis ladder (me) still got to play even if she hadn’t mastered her loser’s mindset as she went into the match.  She kept me on, when I petered out after one week of swim practice and intense chlorine, giving Marthe, a great swimmer, and me, the quitter, the coveted jobs as swim team managers who passed out the Vitamin C. My hair has not yet recovered from the humidity.

Paula Graves and Sandy Clingan, Scott's sister. Junior McCall's, in McCall's Magazine. 1968.

Carolyn Howard saved her old tennis balls to give to my mother, Ginny Graves, for puppets in her art classes. Here is a published picture of one of these puppets in McCall’s by Sandy Clingan, Scott’s sister, with cropped partial Paula Graves burlap drawing and mention to prove I was once a famous artist. So back to Sandy’s, it had a green cone-shaped dress and was on a stick. Here’s my dad’s drawing to give you the idea of the function of the tennis ball.

A Ginny Graves-Carolyon Howard joint creation.

I just wanted to highlight Carolyn’s contributions to the Children’s Art World of Kansas City. from Ginny Graves Discover Stuff.

Carolyn Howard had two pets, Pam Hanslip and Julie Hise.  Julie was miss all pro sports and this woman worked her @s$ off as she still does in her own career that’s something like boot camp I think.  Julie Stram cornered me and Kathy (the two who had traditionally been in head cheerleader slot) and Julie about our stated credentials for the coveted position of Head Cheerleader. Julie won hands down, the first to the thrones demoted to the choir.  Kathy and I compared our answers, but we’ve never actually cornered Julie at a reunion to see what she said to get the job, maybe we’ll have to do that next time.

Paula in her letter jacket pre-letters at a particular SME Cheer Party with Kathy, rosy glow from that tasty '78 Marsala, compliments of Graves cooking wine cellar frigidaire.

Julie did pick up on part of the problem right away our sr. year when she jumped us for having a bad attitude at summer camp, and by the way she was more grueling than Carolyn.  It didn’t stop from first bottle of cold duck, port, or whatever was available from the Graves or Kindred cellars for toddies in the SMSouth parking lot ’til we brought down the girls of ’78 in a sr-squad pre-wrestling drinking violation when she was out-of-town. For that, Howie benched us for the Shawnee Mission South Game our Sr. Year, just the Seniors, so the Juniors on JV got to cheer.

This is what mostly what Kathy and I contributed to the guys as cheermaidens, good gossip.

a Shawnee Mission East Cheerleader Jumping Jill puppet

Drawings for Carolyn in her lancer blue tracksuit with her warrior women, Jumping Jack Puppeteer Design, by Dean Graves.

And a final heirloom photo of the Carolyn Howard in Sweatsuit jumping Jack doll puppet, construction artist Paula Graves.  But of course, Howie was really the puppetmaster until we toughened up and learned our own strings to guide through us through the she-life.  And by the way, I earned letters in three sports at Shawnee Mission East; cheerleading, swim team manager, and debate.  And I’m proud of it.








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.