Monday, May 4, 2015

New Home, New State, New Beginnings

We finally arrived in Kansas City, Missouri, in the summer of 1973. When we got there we lived in an apartment in Grandview for a couple months, while we looked for a house. I wanted to get a recent picture of them but they have since been torn down. The picture to the right is my mom and dad coming out of those apartments. Ours was the one on the second floor.  There were a lot of changes at once that summer: new state, new home, new school and new friends.

We found a house and all of us were ready to move in but we had to clean the place first. We also did some painting. It took several days to get the house clean because the previous owners were smokers. I can remember my mom taking the venetian blinds to the bathroom tub, spraying them down with 409, and the nicotine turning the water yellow-brown from the build up. It was so gross. I don’t think they had ever been cleaned. 

Our subdivision, Terrace Lake Gardens, was quite a ways from the school so I had to ride a bus, which I hadn’t done in years (since I was in grade school) so that was going to be a new experience. I can still remember the first day of school, getting on the bus, not knowing anyone and before we got to school, having several friends. They knew I was the “new girl”. Things traveled fast around our neighborhood. 

Our house sat on a corner lot and was right across the street from where the bus stopped. My bus driver also happened to be my neighbor. That was helpful at times, because if I was running a little late, she would usually wait for me, whereas other drivers probably would not have. There was a really cute boy that lived in our neighborhood, that I kind of liked. He started hanging around and I have to say, my parents weren’t as fond of him as I was. Nothing became of that, other than friendship.

Our house in the Terrace Lake Subdivision.
My sophomore year was a busy one. I tried out for several plays and had small parts. I still remember my drama teacher saying, “there are no small parts, just small actors”. Supposedly Ed Wynn, the actor/comedian said that. But I have seen it attributed to a Russian actor named Konstantin Stanislavsky, too. I loved being in the plays and with each one came a great group of people to work with. I was a nun in the Sound of Music and had a one-word line in it. I got to call out “Maria” during one of the scenes. (I still get teased about that) I didn’t have much to do in that play but it was a lot of fun and quite a production. A lot of the seniors were in it and I thought it was cool to be able to hang out with them at rehearsals.

I was chosen to be the understudy for the lead female role in the play “Mary, Mary” during that year too. I was the understudy for Cheri Buie, who was so awesome. She was a senior and so talented. Anyway, they decided to do an Understudy Night that would be performed the night before the regular opening night. It was so scary. David Dahm played the male lead, my ex-husband, Bob.  We made it through the evening and I got to experience my 15 minutes of fame. 

David Dahm and I rehearsing for "Mary, Mary'.
Don't you just love the pants?
That same year I was nominated for an award with two other students. I think it was a DAR award.  I didn’t get it but one of the other people nominated was Sheila Smith, who went on to be one of my dearest friends. We both lost to a guy in our class.

I didn’t have to take any PE classes during high school because my credits transferred over from my junior high and were enough to get me through. I was ecstatic! I did have to take some electives like Spanish and drama class. I took Spanish all three years but can honestly say that if you don’t use it, you lose it. However, I can still ask where the bathroom is. Important, right? I wish I had paid more attention and had a way to practice what I learned, because I could sure use it in many ways now. I have been saying I am going to try Rosetta Stone. I have had it for several years and haven’t done it, so the odds are probably not in my favor. Oh well, if anyone needs to know where the bathroom is located, in Spanish, give me a call.

Ruskin High School, my alma mater.  
It has changed a lot over the years. 
Today's Terri's Tidbit:  The United States Census Bureau has a really fun website, with lots of valuable information, including a running meter of the current population, US and World.  Check it out here.  It is a great source for those working on their family history. I usually go to or to look at the actual census forms but you can do it through this website.

Not all census takers enjoyed their job or had the patience needed to deal with many different people.  One of those individuals was a man named Frank Wilkeson, who had some interesting entries on his forms. Check them out here, in an article on Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems website. Based on my research, this was a very important job that was not always taken seriously. The assessor would go house to house, taking notes and many times would then transcribe that info onto the forms.  They didn't always get transferred exactly right and many times the names were spelled phonetically or just plain wrong, so it makes a genealogy researcher's job more interesting and many times more difficult.  The most recent census that is available online, free to the public, is the one from 1940.  They have to wait 72 years after the census to release it, which means the 1950 one should be available in 2022. Will your name be in that one, or will you have to wait, like me, for the 1960 census to come out in the 2032 timeframe?

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