PLEASE (Family Portraits)
LARKSFIELD PRESS LARGE PRINT BOOKS
Say Cheese, Please (Family Portraits) 2000 Nelda Kell All rights reserved by the author and her heirs.
Editing assistance: Rita Pearce
Layout and technical assistance: Terryl M. Asla
Published as a public service by I, Witness to History, The Online Library of our Lives, a program of The Cramer Reed Center for Successful Aging, 7373 East 29th Street North, Wichita, Kansas 67226. 1-888-755-9841 We encourage you to download this large print book from our website, http://iwitnesstohistory.org, and print it out for the education and enjoyment of yourself and others subject to the following conditions:
1) The publication may not be altered in any way. 2) Reproductions of this book may not be sold for profit without prior written
permission. LARKSFIELD PRESS is a trademark of The Cramer Reed Center for Successful Aging, a not-for-profit applied research center on aging.
With thanks to the capable, cheerful cooperation of the Resource Learning Center personnel at Larksfield
Place this, my life work, has finally been publishedmy dream come true.
Nelda Kell, December, 2000
Table of Contents
THE PLACE TO BE ..... 1
FAMILY PORTRAITS... 9
MY MOTHER. 9
OTHERS IN MOTHERS FAMILY... 19
MY DAD... .23
EMILY, MY SISTER .... 32
OUR GRANDMA..... .39
KANSAS PIONEER.. 43
A TIME OF GENTLENESS 47
RODA-TA-DODAST GEMS... 53
PRECIOUS MOMENTS.. 66
GRANDMA SPEAKETH 67
KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR.... 79
AFTER WORD.... 91
1 Nelda Kell
THE PLACE TO BE "This is the place to be." How often I heard that from friends who
lived at Larksfield Place in Wichita, Kansas! Even in the early years when everything was just getting started.
My husband, Jim, and I had looked at many retirement places so I knew he had something like this in mind for our future. We had been present at the groundbreaking for Larksfield Place and had made an investment in its beginnings. Therefore, when I lost my dear one in April of '96 after almost 64 years of marriage, it was probably natural, at least, for me to look into the possibility. We had just spent almost three years in Kingman, Arizona where our Granddaughter and family were caring for my husband, who had Alzheimer's. I was living in an apartment equidistant from the hospital to where they were.
I could write a book about those three years but that isn't the subject here, so I'll say simply that Jim got love and that is so important for us all whether we're in good health or bad.
In late May of '96, I made a trip to Kansas with the intention of deciding what I should do with the remainder of my life. I, of course, visited Larksfield Place and when Sharon showed me this apartment overlooking the lake, I seemed to feel that this is where Jim would want me to be. He loved the water and I'm sure this would have been his choice, too.
There were at least two deciding factors for my decision to move back to Kansas. First of all, I would be taken care of and my family would not ever have to worry about me. Then, secondly, a prairie-born child such as I, would be returning to the prairie for, as Dorothy put it, "There's no place like home."
Even with all the "This is the place to be", I was not aware of all the amenities afforded here. I will speak of only one and that is the "Resource Center." We were urged to write something of our early years for the "I, Witness To History" program as so many of our grandchildren know nothing of a world without air conditioning, computers, and all the electric gadgets we all take for granted. We were urged to find pictures to illustrate what we wrote about. That
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was a difficult one for me, as the only picture I found was of a telephone like I used to know about back in the '20s. I found a picture of a washing machine that was operated by a handle that you moved back and forth, but the picture left a lot to be desired. I, nevertheless, turned in my piece, which I had titled "A Time of Gentleness."
Because of this piece, I was introduced to Rita Pearce, a Wichita State University student who was working on a master's degree in Communication, which she has since acquired. Much to my surprise, she asked for an interview, which she would tape. Then, she asked how many copies of the tape I would like. All this was far more than I would ever have dreamed or imagined.
But, when you get to know Rita, you know she doesn't stop with halfway measures. The next surprise was that she had me come in and read a paragraph into the computer. Then, a day or so later, she presented me with a taped copy of our
So, I had in hand my original piece, which she had made copies of, plus the typed-up tape conversation. Somewhere at this point or a little later, I invited Rita to have lunch with me and she asked me to bring other things I'd written.
Again, this was a surprise to me but I've learned that Rita is full of surprisessuch a thoughtful, capable, and dear person. She typed or scanned all my stuff, even asking if I would like to include something I'd mentioned in our interview. So, with a few changes here and there, I can have the whole in book form to pass on to my family. Thank you very much, Rita, as I know what a tremendous task this has been.
Larksfield Place, Wichita, Kansas.
3 Nelda Kell
So much of our interview were things I had already written, so, to avoid too much repetition, I will give my answers to only the questions she asked that will not be found in the rest of the text.
Rita asked about childhood diseases and I said that as I look back, that they were probably worse then than they are now. I had the chicken pox and still have a mark on my nose where I must have dug the pox off.
In our discussion of the Harvey House, I stated that Jim, his mother, and his sister all worked at the Harvey House in Syracuse, Kansas. Jim was just a boy and they all told of many wonderful experiences they had. One of Jim's jobs was to take the paddles out of the ice cream maker. This, of course, was a great job as he got to lick the paddles. He also brought in the heavy cream. We don't see heavy cream like that any morealmost like butter. He could sample that, too, so he liked that kind of job. The manager's name was Bounty. On Jim's first day on the job, there were some fellows working outside with Jim and they were teasing him. They asked, "Did anybody tell you that you don't get paid for the first month?" Jim didn't know what to say about that but, all of a sudden, they all looked up and there was Bounty at the screen door, and he told them off.
I went to school in Florence, but I can't remember anything about first and second grades. In the third grade, I had a teacher who played favorites. My little friend and I were Mutt and Jeff because she was short and I was so tall. The teacher would bawl-out Beth about something and then take her on her lap and pet her. The thing I remember most about that teacher was that she slapped me. I had a circular comb I wore in my hair and I was combing my hairprobably while reading or studying, and she came back and slapped me.
In the fifth grade, we put on an operetta called "The Quest of the Pink Parasol" and Beth, my friend, was the main character. She did it beautifully. I don't remember what I was but I was in it, as music was my forte. Later I played piano for quartets and choruses.
When I was a junior, the coach asked me if I would start a Pep Club. Wonder of wonders, I was a cheerleader! One of my
4 Say Cheese, Please
classmates was a cheerleader along with me. He had broken his neck so couldn't play sports but he was a wonderful fellow. He understood the game better than I did so he could tip me off when it was time to cheer.
High School was a wonderful time for me. We didn't have senior proms, but we did have senior banquets. Juniors fixed the food and I wrote to my fianc, Jim, about our menu. There was salad, meat, potatoes, bread, dessert, and drink. I told him we would be charging fifty cents. I asked in my letter, "Do you think that's too much?"
We were married in 1932 and the first child was born when we lived in Florence. We went to Dr. Hertzler in Newton. Hertzler was a famous name, but it was connected to Halstead rather than Newton. This doctor was related to the famous Dr. Hertzlera nephewI think. I don't think anybody can believe now what little it cost us to have a baby. We could go any time to see the doctor. He told us that the fee would be $25.00 for the whole thing, including delivery and any visits afterward. The Doctor said he preferred we pay as we went along, which we did, as Jim had paid $10.00 of the $25.00 when our little girl was born on September 3rd, 1933. He had said at the time that MOST people paid ahead. When he asked for his $25.00 after the baby came, Jim let him stew a bit, then reminded him that we had already paid some. His response was "That's right, you did. So FEW people pay ahead."
I think it was 1934 when we bought our first cara brand new Ford. Imagine getting a brand new car for $500.00. Jim bought a new car about every year thereafter as he was on the road all the time. The car we had when we got married was a Maxwell.
Before we were married and Jim was attending Dague Business College in Wichita, he worked at Livingston's Cafe for his meals and worked in a parking garage for a place to sleep. I think that cafe is still in businessrun by a son, no doubt. At the parking garage Jim had