Category Archives: Family History

Adding Value or Needing To Be Seen

An article I recently read, made me re-evaluate why I want to write. This person is an artist and I am too, but the concept looks much the same. Writing a book is an art, eh?

With the message in this article I have taken away the idea that I need to be seen through my art or in this time, my writing. The “value” is in doing it and doing it for myself. If no one sees my writing, that’s okay because I am adding value to my life for writing it.

So what is the bottom line? I have been given some clarity about why I want to write a book. I think the book is inside of me and writing it allows the story to finally be told. Stories (or Memories) are what life is about. I think we all have memories we can relate.

Growing up at a resort (Sycamore Springs-Kansas) environment gave me a broad perspective on life. My family was in the hospitality service industry. We were there to give everyone a good time. Making sure our visitors had a great time was sometimes a challenge. My Mother taught me that there are two sides to every story.

Her father, my Grandfather, made her look at both sides of a situation too. (So, this is a shared family trait or tradition handed down, and I have tried to teach my two children, and now my grandchildren, the same way).

I had a great childhood living at Sycamore Springs. I met so many people and there is also a rich history with Sycamore Springs. The history goes as far back as the Native American Indians. You have to wait for that story.

I plan to share my stories and also about a lot of the people who came there. Living in a rural setting was influenced by the surrounding communities. There will be stories about them too.

I think this experience prepared me for an entrepreneurial life, I like to look at many ideas and I am willing to try new things. Writing a blog is one way to share these ideas and thoughts – here I am!

I was a late bloomer when I attended the University of Kansas. Anyone can start an education at 49. I studied Fine Arts and attended a course in Creative Writing. In that semester I realized (and my Professor too) that I write in a different manner than some and that is okay.

Until next time….

Snowstorm Rescue

We were in the middle of a blizzard and couldn’t go anywhere, as they say, snowed in.  I had decided to organize the drawer in the chest of drawers that contained old photographs, papers, and letters.  Spreading every piece out on the living room floor was like peering into the past and I didn’t know what I was looking for.

But, there was the pile of letters tied with string…I felt they must be important.

Grandpa Slayton had attended Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan in the early 1900s.  The letters were written around 1909-1910.  They were sermonettes as he called them.  There were poems, little drawings, doodles.  Here was a part of my Grandfather I didn’t know about.

That day during the snowstorm, I met my grandpa from 80 plus years ago.  It was like he had written these words just for me, and I received them just at the right time.  How inspirational and how uplifting! What a treasure!

There were also letters written to my grandmother before they were married. Wow, what a treat!  I will fill in those details later.

So, we never know how or what comes into our lives that can touch our souls at just the right time.  I must keep my mind open to what comes into my life today.  You never know, it may change my thinking, my ideas about something, or the path I take.

I hope you feel the same way about what happens in your life today.

Forgotten Letters

I think I’m going to just jump in and start telling a story.

When I think of telling stories we have to go back many years ago. The history of telling stories called “oral tradition” with the Native American Indians was commonplace. Oklahoma State Historical Society has written a whole section on oral traditions, folklore and narrative that explains how they kept their stories alive. (More to come relating to Sycamore Springs on this subject).

Many years ago my family would receive letters and postcards (that is another story)  from family members who were missionaries.  It was always a long letter that you always had to “jump in” somewhere and start reading because it was written all over the page not in an orderly way.  They had great words of wisdom in every letter that we received.

So, in order for me to tell this story I have to “jump in” somewhere and start telling my story.

I think it was from the movie “Amistad”, one of the slaves said that “we are products of our past, we are who we are because of who and where we came from” (not a complete quote). I truly believe the words are true.

I remember an incident as a young child when my grandparents’ home was being sold and where they were no longer able to take care of it.  The family had an auction to sell off the furniture and extra belongings.

I was too young to know what was important to keep and my parents allowed the neighbor men to clear out the house, cupboards and drawers too. My father only allowed my mother to keep a few pieces. The men focused on the things that seemed most important and hauled the rest of the things to a ditch to be burned later (this was in the early 1960s when you could do this).

My mother had enough sense to know that there were probably documents that needed to be kept and we went  down to where they were going to burn the pile and we picked through most of it and she chose a bag full of papers and photos that should be saved.  Years later, she gave those to me and I tucked them away in the attic for many more years.

I can remember one winter when we had lots of snow in Kansas and we could not go anywhere, I was depressed and just needed some kind of a lift.  I had put all those old papers in an antique chest of drawers where it didn’t have handles. For some reason, I felt really drawn to that the drawer.

I got a screwdriver out and you know how you wiggle the end on each side until you get the drawer partially to open?  There in the drawer were old family pictures and letters that were just scattered. I decided it was time to make sense of what was going on since I love to organize everything.

There were old photos from my grandfather’s side of the family. He had grown up in Hillsdale, Michigan and later moved to Nebraska with my grandmother.

My grandfather was a lay preacher. In the messed up papers and pictures there were a bundle of his letters.  They were handwritten letters tied together with a string.

More to come….

Vanishing Past-Connecting the dots


Skating Rink and Swimming Pool
Skating Rink and Swimming Pool

Historical Fact or Fiction

The story is a journey of pieces.  How did we end up living where we live?  What sort of links along the way influenced our families? How and why.

I am from Kansas.  My parents owned a resort – Sycamore Springs for the first 17 years of my life.   My parents owned this business but they also made it our home.  We met so many people along the way, what a life! and what a story!

Sycamore Springs, Sabetha, Kansas, has a rich history back to the 1800s.  There are ever-flowing mineral springs, the Native Americans lived here, the place had a hotel and also a health sanitorium (mineral baths) was established here, Doctors and all.  Merry-go-rounds, live performances, skating rink, swimming pool, recreation areas, ball field, and much more.

I grew up here with all of this history and stories of Sycamore Springs. also I will link this to the Kansas area communities of Pennsylvania Avenue, Sabetha, Morrill, Hiawatha, Bern, Salem, Nebr., Falls City, Nebr and other towns, Lawrence and Lecompton,KS and churches in Northeast Kansas.

My blog will create links to historical events; family genealogy; stories, humor, inspiration; and family heirlooms. Why do we collect or keep family heirlooms?  Hmmmm, can’t wait to figure all of this out!