No, you’re not seeing double, participant Consuelo Sandoval came to the StoryCorps MobileBooth twice to participate in four different interviews. On Saturday, she interviewed her friends Janie Perkins (top, left), former mayor of Garden City, and Carol Taylor (top right), a lifelong Garden City resident who helps organize and host "Back to the Garden", a reunion weekend for African-Americans who grew up in Garden City.
She also came in with Penney Schwab on Thursday, who interviewed Consuelo about her family’s immigration to the United States and their struggle to obtain citizenship. Then Consuelo interviewed Penney about United Methodist Mexican American Ministries, a social service agency that has been serving communities of need in Garden City since 1974. Penney has been the Executive Director for over 20 years and Consuelo currently works there as a Community Developer.
On our day off, participants Darrel and Marilyn Miller invited us to their farm in Scott City, 40 miles north of Garden City. The Millers use center pivot irrigation to make their corn grow so tall, since western Kansas averages less than 2 inches of precipitation per month.
We ate lunch at the Majestic, Scott City’s most famous restaurant. Marilyn’s parents used to run the Majestic back when it was a 600 person theater that showed silent films and brought traveling shows. Today, the well preserved Majestic serves lunch and dinner and occasionally hosts live performances.
Marilyn is the president of the Scott County Historical Society, which is housed in the recently opened El Cuartelejo Museum. The museum features exhibits on local history, geology and culture. During a tour of historical farm equipment, facilitator Ryan Murdock put his nose to the grindstone (finally).
Before we headed home, the Millers brought us to Monument Rocks. Locally known as the Chalk Pyramids, these large chalk formations tower up to 70 feet over the otherwise flat prairie land surrounding it. The rapidly eroding spires formed when Kansas formed the bottom of the Western Interior Niobrara seaway, over 80 million years ago. The site is known for its fossil deposits as well as its role as a landmark for travelers on the Butterfield Overland Dispatch trail.
Duane West (pictured above right) brought in his
friend, artist Jack Kempton (above left), who recently
turned 98. Duane says Jack is the most
creative person in Garden City.
Jack’s creativity also comes through in his sense of
humor (see above) – that S.O.B. on his hat stands for
“Sweet Old Buzzard”, and it was given to him by one
of his former art students. And his button reads
“Damn Near Blind”.
Duane is a former mayor of Garden City and was lead prosecutor in the Clutter murder case made famous by Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”. He invited us to his house for a delicious lunch made by his wife Orvileta. He then showed off some of his own artwork (pictured left).
We also got to see some of Jack’s artwork. This piece (pictured right) was hanging in Duane’s kitchen. Jack formed the flowers by blowing on the paint through a straw.
Clark Harris (far right) drove 90 miles across time zones just for the chance to interview his father, Charles Harris (second from left). When Clark found out we had an opening at 10:30, he stayed to interview his mom Verna (pictured second from the right). Pictured at far left is Clark’s wife, who helped entertain the parents between interviews.
One of our opening day interviews was Madeleine May Kunin, with her brother, Edgar May. Madeleine is the former governor of Vermont, former US Deputy Secretary of Education under Clinton, and former US Ambassador to Switzerland. Edgar is the former CEO of Special Olympics, and served in the Vermont Senate from 1983 to 1991. In their interview, the pair talked about fleeing their native Switzerland as children in 1940. Here they speak with Andy Potter, from WCAX, Channel 3, Burlington.
As Storycorps bids farewell to Watertown NY and arrives at Burlington City Hall, outgoing facilitator Sarah Kramer gallops off into the sunset, and new facilitator John Randolph prepares to enter the fray.
The MobileBooth East is now stationed in Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace, where a steady stream of Vermonters are stopping by with the warmest of welcomes.
Several members of High Plains Public Radio (pictured right) came out to support us on opening day. The MobileBooth is parked in Finnup Park, right outside the zoo.
Unfortunately, no animals are allowed at StoryCorps, which really upset our neighbor the camel (pictured below), seen here hanging his head in shame and sorrow.
Instead, our first interview of the day was Clifford and Delores Hope (pictured below), long-time Garden City residents whose son Quentin was one of the founders of High Plains Public Radio. This same picture appeared on page A3 of the local newspaper, the Garden City Telegram, with an article about StoryCorps.
The night before opening day in Garden City, we drove over to Dodge City. The historic downtown still looks a lot like “Gunsmoke” (if you ignore the Applebee’s across the street), but our main reason for coming was to experience the Dodge City Days Rodeo, which included bull-riding, bareback bronc and saddle bronc riding, and our personal favorite: mutton bustin’.
Earlier, we visited the Barbed Wire Museum in LaCrosse, KS, where we were warmly greeted by Mary (pictured above). Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay long, but we did do a quick run through to admire the over 2000 samples of barbed wire (see below)
Arlene Yousey (left), StoryCorps participant in Watertown, is the author of "Strangers and Pilgrims," a book that documents the history of the Mennonite Church in Lewis County. She was interviewed by Bernice Zehr (right) about the experience of writing the book, and about the influences that led her to do so.
Day 2 of our road trip to Garden City, Kansas: We stopped by Lucas (pop. 436) – the Grassroots Art capital of Kansas.
Facilitator Ryan Murdock, pictured above, prepares to enter the Garden of Eden. The house and surrounding sculptures, made of concrete by S.P. Dinsmoor in 1907, began Lucas’ reputation for outsider art.
This car, made entirely out of pull tabs by grassroots artist Herman Divers, is one of many of the pieces made of found or reused materials.
We swapped stories of our travels with Tom Sherman and Judy Sagara of Columbus, Ohio during our tour of the Grassroots Art Center. Tom and Judy were finishing a two month road trip across Alaska and the U.S. and kept a blog of their trip.
Day 1 of our 660 mile trip from Ames, Iowa to Garden City, Kansas: We decided to swing by Brooklyn (Missouri, not our hometown in New York) for some lunch. All we found was some farmland, a few houses, and this one abandoned building.
Still hungry and feeling a little homesick, we pulled over in Manhattan, Kansas, home of Kansas State University. It’s not an island and there’s no subway, but we did enjoy a nice dinner in the Aggieville neighborhood – home to several shops, bars, and restaurants near campus.
The Antique Boat Museum, in Clayton, NY, was very helpful to MobileBooth East during our stop in Watertown. Not only did they invite a number of "River Rats" to participate in StoryCorps interviews, they also gave us a lovely tour of the St. Lawrence River and the 1000 islands. Pictured is facilitator Lisa Janicki contemplating whether or not to take the advice of a particpant and drink the water straight from the river. (She opted not to).
Participant Marge Benson brought in this picture (above) of her and six of her sisters. The Seven Spies Sisters Dance Revue performed comedy, sang, and danced tap, ballet, and jazz all over the United States in the 1930′s, and were billed as the largest all-sister dance group in the world. Marge (pictured below) was interviewed at the StoryCorps MobileBooth in Ames by her sons Bob and Curt.
The Watertown Farmers Market brings a lot of foot traffic by the MobileBooth each Wednesday. These lucky youngsters got a chance to listen to a few stories and be outfitted with StoryCorps stickers. In the background you can see our trusty volunteer, Susan Sweeney-Smith of North Country Public Radio, who encouraged them to start documenting their family stories!
Last night, we visited participants Jim and Cindy Pease for dinner and a walk in their woods. After enjoying fresh tomatoes and Cindy’s dill-pickled green beans, we took a tour of their vegetable garden, restored prairie, duck pond, and woods.
Jim is a professor at Iowa State and the wildlife life specialist on “Talk of Iowa.” He also has built over 40 birdhouses on their property.