Friday, June 3, 2016


                                                             Richard Cecil

     I have mentioned more than once that I am in the process of writing a book on little known things about Kansas.  At this point I am about 20% done with the stories but have a long way to go.  In this book I am listing things that are not well known or even unknown to most because it just never made the main line history books.  This process has been a real eye opener for someone who loves Kansas.
     At times it can get frustrating because there is so little online and I have been running librarians and museum researchers crazy with my requests.  I am also getting book poor ordering books and items pertaining to the subjects that I am coming up with.  And oh how interesting the stories are when I finally build the story.  And the way I find some subjects is really out of the clear blue not when you expect it.  Then digging up the facts becomes an adventure.
     There are many unexpected things I do find out about what some may believe, even the State Historical Society and maybe even the Smithsonian.  There may even be some families that are startled with what they believe.  Sometimes they are wrong.
     Kansans are really exceptional people when it comes to ideas and inventions.  Many believed that they would become millionaires and even many newspapers predicted this.  Only to have someone or something steal their thunder.  Sometimes even patenting ownership of a design is not enough to keep from having the ideas stolen.  Many have committed all of their energies, time, and money (and that of investors), and have lost it all.  Even some marriages, prestige, and reputation.  Sometimes even their lives.  The history of the wild west is our history.  Some leave without a trace and some with only a headstone or slight depression in the ground where they lay.
     There may have even been an air crash that did not happen the way it was reported, or where.  I have found one invention that is claimed to have been invented by three different people and yet find a picture that precedes all three of these.  As I go on with the research it may be that I will stir up some questions or irritate some people.  Which is nothing new for me, this could be fun.  It could also be heart breaking.
     What is certain is that history is much more interesting than the way it is taught many times.  That is what is heart breaking.  Had I not been fortunate enough to have two great history teachers and avoided the academic restrictions of a degree and established assumptions, I may have not had this great experience.  And as one who loves to read it has been great.
     I am hoping that at the end when this finally goes to a publisher that it is not one of those things that set on the shelf and gather dust.  The book is not how your normal book is written or laid out.  Each subject gets one page for it's story.  Sometimes it is hard to even find enough for that requirement.  And there will be stories that deserve a whole book written about it all by itself.  But none will be dry as a text book or academic essay.
     I have also made some really nice connections with a lot of people.  Many are surprised that someone is really interested in the story long forgotten by most but the family.  Sometimes even the family does not know the whole story.  But I have made some peoples day by giving them a call out of the blue and showing interest in getting the whole story.  And also the people that I ask questions of about their community and they had no idea that something happened there.
     One thing it does do is keep me from thinking about aches and pains and from listening to the incessant jabberings about politics.  I am about belly full of that.

1 comment: