One hundred years ago this week, the community of Deerfield bid farewell to some of its favorite sons who left to join Uncle Sam’s Army and put an end to World War I. The adieu included an open air dance with live music from the Deerfield Orchestra on the evening of August 2, 1917. The next morning the soldier boys of Deerfield Company F, led by Lt. Roy Thornbrough, met on Main Street Deerfield where “Rev. Gibbons of Lakin, made a very appropriate and fitting talk, in farewell to the boys.” A few more good-byes were spoken by friends and families, and then 10 of Deerfield’s finest citizens drove the boys to Larned where a reception was given to them upon their arrival.
Recently, my family and I traveled to my father’s old stomping grounds. It had been 11 years since I had visited. Having lost my father about four years ago, it was also an emotional journey for me. I was constantly looking for buildings along the way that brought back memories of the trips that I had made to Texas with my parents every summer for over 18 years. So many things had changed, and so little of what I saw was familiar to me.
When we got to Hopkins County, I found myself overcome with emotion. How many times had my grandmother told me stories of the old homeplace, where my dad was born, and my ancestors? Even as a kid, those stories were of great interest to me. I loved hearing my grandmother tell them. But, I didn’t have the foresight to write them down. Sadly, I have forgotten so many.
Grandparents, share your stories with your grandchildren. Write them down or use a cellphone or video camera to record your story. Grandchildren, listen and write down the stories that your grandparents and parents tell you. If not, one day all that valuable family history could be lost.
The Kearny County Senior Center recently implemented a new program in cooperation with the museum. Small groups of senior citizens visit specific areas in the museum on designated days. They then return to the Senior Center for lunch and a round table discussion or “memory sharing.” Last week the group visited the machinery building, concentrating on the washing machine and stove displays. The theme was “Women’s Work Was Never Done.” We heard several interesting comments about our equipment and how some had used the exact same thing in their younger years. This week they visited the depot. “All Aboard” was centered around memories of the train and depot. Next week, they will concentrate on the mens’ and womens’ clothing displays in the museum for “Dressed to the Nines.” If you would like to participate in this program, contact the Senior Center at 355-6482.