I NEVER REALIZED THAT THERE WAS
HISTORY, CLOSE AT HAND, BESIDE
MY OWN HOME. I DID NOT
REALIZE THAT THAT OLD
GRAVE THAT STOOD AMONG
THE BRAMBLES AT THE FOOT
OF OUR FARM WAS HISTORY.
I have been a member, and a board member, of an organization called the COWBOY STORYTELLERS OF THE WESTERN PLAINS for a long time now. The whole point of the group, which started at the coffee shop in Seiling Oklahoma around 1992, was to get the untold and unrecorded stories of northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas areas.
These would be the stories as close to first hand as possible about everyday life and events. From cowboys and ranchers, homesteaders, business people, professional people. The whole purpose is to come into the community who hosts the meeting and listen to their stories and record them for history.
One of the sad truths is that our membership is getting older and more and more space in our newsletter, (which I publish), is devoted to the 'Empty Saddles' of our members who pass on.
One thing about history is that if it did not make the books or newspapers, it is just stories told to families and youngun's to be passed on.
The sad thing is that our group has gone from four meetings a year to two, spring and fall. Spring in Oklahoma and Fall in Kansas. This last fall we did not have the Kansas meeting. No one stepped up to host the event in their area.
Our website never caught on and we are dropping it. We have virtually no e-mails. This is because the young are not interested in history. By the time a person gets the history bug it is generally too late.
I have been considering a project that I would like to ask my readers help on. I am wanting to compile a book on very obscure people, places, events, and happenings in Kansas. The title for the moment is ODD BALL KANSAS - THINGS YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THE SUNFLOWER STATE.
Every community has those stories that did not make the history books and if they made the papers it was generally wrong. Newspapers are notorious for getting things wrong or putting a slant on things.
I have people tell me little tidbits and I have to try and remember them or make a lot of calls because the folks down at city hall, or main street, did not hear the stories themselves. If you have a good story, or a good story about something bad, that can be documented and researched, I would love to put it in my book.
I don't know of anyplace in the state that something odd or notorious has not happened. It does not have to be notorious, just a good story. Contact me and let me get it recorded. Not every story will check out but I want all sides of the story.
Getting back to the Storytellers, I used to send a copy of the newsletter to every High School history department in the areas that we have meetings in. I was hoping that there would be that one teacher that was interested, or at least give extra credit, for the students that came. In all the years that I have sent out the newsletters I have not seen one student or teacher from the areas we come to. Now that the Common Core standards are changing the history that is taught, by rephrasing or ignoring, it is efforts like ours that can keep the record straight.
The Storytellers have published a book of news letters from the beginning until around 2006 that is for sale. The book is $35 plus shipping. Call it $40. Let me know and I can get one out to you.
Membership in the Cowboy Storytellers is $15 per year and you get a newsletter before each meeting. If you would like to host a meeting in your area get in touch with me. It does not take a lot of effort to get us there. Just a place that holds around 30-100, people to tell us stories, any entertainers in your area, and cookie break. Our members come from a long ways so a place to eat or a group to have a meal is needed.
You can get in touch with your story ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.