L is for Library & Lady

Callaway County Public Library

I’ve probably spent more hours in this building than I have in any other place.

It was my refuge as a child. I spent hours looking at 3-d photo cards with the old stereoscope viewer, while the stern librarian Mrs. Mittwede, kept a watchful eye from her high desk.  I read my way through all the Anne of Green Gables books, all the Nancy Drew mysteries, and even the Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan series.

Later, as a young married woman, I trudged through the snow to browse the name books and picked out Kenneth for the baby boy we were blessed with the following July.

After we moved out to the farm in 1965, I didn’t make it to the library very often, because I didn’t learn to drive until I was thirty years old. (a story for another time) When I finally did get my license, I started looking for a job. My husband insisted we didn’t need a second income, that it would cost more for me to work than I could earn.  But I was going stir-crazy, and he knew it.

The Callaway Nuclear Plant was under construction and I wanted to apply there, but he said a construction site was no place for a woman.

One day he was reading the newspaper and came across a “help wanted” notice from the library. He brought the paper into the kitchen and pointed at the ad. “Look! This is perfect for you, this is a place where you can work and be a lady!”

That was in August of1979. For some reason, Mrs. LaDonna Justice, the sweetest boss anybody ever had, took a chance on a rough-edged farm wife and gave me the job.

The library is a wonderful place to work. A great place just to hang out. For years I was amazed that I got paid to go to the library every day.

But my husband is still waiting for the library job to transform me into a lady!


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K is for KRCG-TV #AtoZChallenge

KRCG-TV broadcast for the first time on February 13, 1955.   The station was founded by the Jefferson City News Tribune. The paper’s publisher, Betty Goshorn Weldon, named the station in honor of her late father, Robert C. Goshorn, who had long wanted to bring a television station to the area. Ms. Weldon inherited the paper on his death in 1953 and took over his dream. She was one of the first women to own and operate a television station.

But Mrs. Weldons was equally well-known for her horses. She had as many as 200 at her stables near New Bloomfield. She built the TV station on her Stables property. Beautiful horses grazed in pastures surrounding the station, and KRCG took a mule named Jubie, Jr. as a mascot.

Jobie, Jr. was real, and schoolchildren visiting the station in the early years always asked to meet him. Children arrived by the busload nearly every weekday afternoon to meet Jubie and appear on Showtime, KRCG’s live children’s show.

Do you remember watching Showtime after school? You can see some of the episodes again on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYgFV_ufOjI

One of my favorite memories is visiting the station one evening to watch Lee Mace’s Ozark Opry perform their live weekly show.  You can watch it on YouTube, too! https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=lee+mace%27s+ozark+opry



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John Henry Paul

The life of John Henry Paul reminds me of a song they used to sing on the TV show Hee-Haw: “If it weren’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all. . “

John Henry was born October 23, 1868 in Madison County, Illinois. His father died when he was only four years old, and he lost his mother shortly after his ninth birthday. He and his three young sisters were orphans. The girls were taken in by an uncle and aunt and raised as part of their family. But John Henry, at the age of nine, was given to a farmer, where he began immediately to work to earn his keep.

cattledrive1John Henry worked hard and grew up to own his own small farm in Madison County, Illinois. He was ambitious and dreamed of having a big cattle ranch someday. In 1899 he bought a tract of land near Lexington, Missouri, and drove his cattle herd 208 miles to start a new life there. He brought along his wife, four children under the age of six, plus all his household goods and tools. John Henry put every penny he had into that big move.

At first, everything seemed to be going well. His wife gave birth to four more daughters and the size of his cattle herd increased every year. He was on good terms with his neighbors and thought he was settled for life. Then one of his neighbors brought home some new cattle from a sale. Those new cattle were infected with Brucellosis, and the devastating disease spread to John Henry’s herd. There was no cure. No vaccine. John Henry had to shoot each one of his prized cows and burn or bury the bodies.

He lost everything, but did not give up.  In 1912 John Henry borrowed money and bought a smaller farm about 100 miles east of Lexington in Callaway County, in the Toledo neighborhood.  It was hard to build back up from nothing, especially since he was getting a little older and slower, but he did it.  All of his nine children were grown when the depression hit Missouri in 1930 and took another farm away from John Henry Paul.

He couldn’t to buy another farm, but he rented the Horner place near Mokane, Missouri and took all his stock and tools to begin once again.  His wife died in 1931 and he continued on alone, taking care of his few animals, planting a little corn, raising a garden.  One morning in the late fall of 1935 he found that he was unable to get up out of his chair.  He sat all day, listening to his cows bawling to be milked. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t get up out of that chair.

When his son came by to check on him, John Henry’s first concern was for his animals. But his son, Jimmy,  was more worried about his father. Once Jimmy helped him to his feet, the 68 year-old could get around, although he staggered and grabbed on to furniture to keep from falling.  John Henry said he just needed help for a couple of days and then he would be fine.

His children ignored his pleas, called an auctioneer and sold everything John Henry owned: animals, furniture, even his precious  tools brought all the way from Illinois. The auctioneer gave John Henry the proceeds of the the sale in cash and he stuffed the money into the pockets of his old barn coat.  His children had decided he would go to live with Jimmy’s family in Mokane.  On the way there, John Henry asked to stop at a Mokane store. It was a busy Saturday and lots of people were on the streets doing their Saturday shopping. John Henry staggered up and down the street, greeting people he knew and some he didn’t.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out dollars by the handful and gave it away to every man, woman, and child he met that afternoon.

John Henry Paul died a few months later on February 11, 1936.

He was my grandfather.

J is for John Henry Paul – working my way through the April A-Z Blogging Challenge.


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“He belongs out at the end of 5th Street.” That was a common phrase in Fulton while I was growing up. It was usually said good-naturedly, in a teasing way, sometimes spitefully, and once in a while, with dead seriousness.   Out at the “end of 5th Street” tall stone gateposts led into the spacious, green landscaped grounds of the State Insane Asylum.  When I was a child huge Oak and Walnut trees shaded rows of white metal rocking chairs, where patients spent long summer afternoons enjoying the fresh air. Other patients played on special swing sets built for adult sized bodies  with child-like minds.  There were all kinds among the 1200 people who lived at the asylum.  Some were slow and needed a little extra looking after. Some were old and forgetful. And some were truly mad. Insane.

Insane, that politically incorrect term, is no longer used.

Fulton State Hospital , a Mental Health Facility, offers treatment to about 375 clients. There are four units including maximum-security (Biggs Forensic Center, 186 beds), intermediate security (Guhleman Forensic Center, 91 beds), developmentally disabled (Hearnes Forensic Center, 24 beds) and the Sexual Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Service program (SORTS, 75 beds)

The old brick buildings of the insane asylum have been leveled to the ground, along with all the towering shade trees, the winding walkways, and every single blade of grass.  In the middle of the devastation, a new modern facility is rising.

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Hugh Paul, George Washington, and the French and Indian War

Portrait of George Washington — 1772 by Charles Willson Peale

During the 18th century, Britain and France were engaged in an almost continuous struggle to see which nation would be the world’s dominant military power. Wars between the two spilled over to their North American colonies. By the middle of the century the great prize, claimed by both sides, was the Ohio Valley. If France could successfully hold it as part of Canada, the 13 English colonies would not be able to expand west of the Appalachian mountains.

By 1754, when he was 23 years old, Hugh Paul had enlisted in the Virginia Regiment. He was one of 60 men serving under a young officer named George Washington. Hugh Paul must have liked his commanding officer, even though he was only 22, a year younger than Hugh, because he stayed with Washington throughout the French and Indian War. Hugh was one of only 59 soldiers who received a Savage Land Grant, one of the first land grants given for military service.


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Grandpa Riley Rogers and the end of the world

William Riley & Martha Belle Horner Rogers on their golden wedding anniversary in 1958

He was plowing a field near the house one Spring morning when he heard a strange loud noise. He looked up and saw something he had never seen before. It was bright white, wings spread against the blue sky and it roared “with the voice of a thousand.” Riley abandoned his plow in the middle of the field. He rushed home and gathered his family into the house. His grandfather was a minister and Riley knew his scriptures. He felt sure he had witnessed the angels of the Lord coming to take the faithful home to heaven. He held his family close and prayed all day to be worthy.

The little girls fell asleep where they knelt on the floor.

The next day a neighbor came by to gossip about the new-fangled flying machine. Riley didn’t say a word about his day of prayer and it was never mentioned again in his presence. No one would ever have dared to tease him about it.

I was eleven years old when my grandfather died. I’m sure most of my cousins remember more about him and could tell stories we would all treasure. This is what I remember.

He wasn’t a large man, but even in his eighties, he gave an impression of strength. His hair was white, but he told me once that it used to be red. He always wore long sleeved shirts, neatly buttoned and tucked in, regardless of the weather.

After he moved to Mokane, he mowed the grass at the Pentecostal Church with a reel-type “man-powered” lawn mower at least once a week. He went to Church every Sunday.  He loved to fish. He kept several long cane fishing poles leaning against a big tree in front of his house, and walked down to the river to fish every day as long as he was able.

I never heard him raise his voice, but when he was alive there was never any doubt who was the head of the Rogers family.


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Aunt Nellie sent us out to gather eggs

Aunt Nellie sent us out to gather eggs
The hens were hiding them again
trying to “go set” and raise a brood.
(Aunt Nellie said that wasn’t good)
when they set, they didn’t lay.
Aunt Nellie needed each red hen
to give her one good egg
every day.
It was like an Easter hunt
in dusty hayloft
and darkest corner of the barn,
behind the shed,
among the ragged weeds
along the back fence rail.
Each egg was carefully placed
in Aunt Nellie’s blue tin pail.
One we found dropped
all alone
in the bare dust of the chicken yard
as if some hen couldn’t take the time
to hide her nest
or didn’t care
to take a stand
for motherhood.
The last eggs I gathered
belonged to a “broody” hen I found
setting on a clutch of fourteen
hidden in last year’s tangled grass
beneath the old hay rake.
I used a stick to poke her out
and reached in between rusty teeth
to get the eggs
all smooth and brown and warm
from her body heat.
She fluffed her feathers,
flapped her wings,
and ran back and forth
screeching out her grief.
“Murderer!” she cried “Thief! Thief!”


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F is for Family


Family is the most important part of my life. This picture was taken to celebrate our 50th Wedding anniversary in 2013, so it’s a bit out of date. The grandkids have grown and we added a beautiful great granddaughter last year. But it’s the most recent I have of all of us together and I love to look at and think about how proud I am of each one of them. Genealogy research has been a big part of my life. I look at this photo, grin, and say to my self: these are my descendants!


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Cattle – Everything I know about getting along with people – I learned from the cows


I was a seventeen-year-old town girl when my husband moved us to the farm and tried to teach me how to take care of our new cattle herd. He was working in town and gone long hours. Since I was home all day (with nothing to do except clean, cook, do laundry, keep the wood fire going and take care of the baby)   I needed to learn how to “work cattle.”

Seriously, I had to learn. My husband often left before daylight and returned, exhausted, after dark.  I learned to put out hay and break ice on the pond in winter.  I learned to walk in among a milling herd to fill the troughs with corn.

What the Cattle taught me about People

  • Take time to get acquainted. Stay calm and quiet while they look you over. Don’t expect to be the boss the first time you walk out among strangers.
  • Be nice when you don’t have to. If you provide treats & pats on the back consistently for a few weeks, they’ll follow you anywhere when you need them to.
  • Don’t judge by breed or the color of their hide. For instance, Brahman’s: dangerous rodeo bucking bulls in the U.S., in India, where they are worshipped, they are so tame they are actually a nuisance. It all depends on how they are treated.
  • Don’t get between a Mama cow and her calf. Even the sweetest old cow can be dangerous if she thinks her you might hurt her baby.
  • No ordinary fence will stop a cow if she sees something she really wants on the other side.  Keep her happy and content to stay home by making sure she’s well fed and has a good bull there when she needs one.
  • Sometimes one individual is more trouble than all the rest of the herd. She gets into fights, gets out in the road, gets in your face when you try to work with her.  Don’t keep that cow in your herd, she’s not worth the hassle.


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Bowling – one of the oldest outlaw sports?

(c) Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Sculptured vases and ancient plaques show the game being played some four thousand years ago, and archaeologists have uncovered biased stone bowls from 5,000 B.C. which indicate our ancestors enjoyed the game of bowling more than seven thousand years ago.When Caesar ruled Rome, the game was known as “Bocce,” and the conquering Roman Legions may well have carried the game to Europe and the British Isles.

The basic game of bowling didn’t change very much between its beginning at the dawn of human culture and the middle of the nineteenth century. At that time, the ancient game of ninepin bowling had caught on all over Europe and had made its way to the United States where it was a very popular sport in the underworld community and became a favorite target for gamblers. This led the government of the state of Connecticut to pass an 1841 law that prohibited owning a ninepin bowling alley. This was an attempt to fragment the gambling community by making it impossible for them to meet in the bowling alleys where they usually gathered.

To get around this law, the gamblers in the area simply changed the rules of the game. They added an extra pin to the bowling setup; thereby making their alleys into tenpin bowling alleys. The tenpin bowling alleys were technically legal to own and operate simply because they hadn’t existed when Connecticut banned the game of ninepins. The game of tenpins proved to be more fun than its predecessor, and ten is the number of pins that we still play with today.

Bowling was also outlawed in England and Europe.  By the thirteenth century, bowling had spread to France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, and England.Bowling was so well established in England by 1299 A.D. that a group of players organized the Southhamptom Old Bowling Green Club, the oldest established bowling club in the world that is still active.

The game became so popular in England and in France it was prohibited by law because archery, essential to the national defense, was being neglected. The French king, Charles IV, prohibited the game for the common people in 1319, and King Edward III issued a similar edict in England in 1361.

I have bowling on my mind because my grandchildren play on a Saturday morning youth bowling league in Fulton. We stopped by to watch this morning. The three teens are very different, but they all enjoy the ancient sport of bowling.


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