The Years Go By
So after we were once settled in Wichita, it looks now like this is where I’ll live the rest of my life. All these years, until Bertha passed away, have been quite routine.
I keep busy year after year doing my yard work in my spare time and Bertha is busy keeping up the house and canning the fruits of my labors in the vegetable garden. When we first moved here, practically the entire back lot was in garden. Three nice apple trees, a couple rows of grapes and boysenberries were there, too, plus a lot of strawberries. One year Bertha put up about 75 quarts, and we always were able to can lots of string beans, lima beans and peas. Gradually the apple trees died out. During the years 1954 and 1955, it was real hot and dry and that’s when we lost nearly all of the above. The cedar hedge became bigger and bigger and caused the apple trees to get cedar-apple rust. All of our trees are now large and it is hard to realize how small they were when we first moved here. At this writing, it is apparent that we have too many trees and shrubs so from now on our job will be mostly removing some of them. Always have been able to get enough firewood off the place for our wood burning fireplace.
Clarence and Bertha at home in Wichita.
Bertha, Clarence, and Flippy.
During the 39 years of our marriage, Bertha’s health was not too good. Her basic troubles were high blood pressure and a bad heart. After the kids were gone there was not too much to do around the house, and like so many others, too many trips to the icebox, caused her to become over weight. When I married her she weighed 106 pounds and at one time she hit 200. It was only during the last year of her life that she took to a diet and at the time of her death (June 13, 1965)she did get down to 150 pounds.
It seemed that about once every year she would have to go to the hospital for some reason. She had a light stroke about 1950. In 1954, she had a hysterectomy and the year before she died she was in several times with heart trouble. Then a couple of weeks before she died, she had a breast removed. I still think that if that had not been done, even if it did have a malignant lump, she would have lived quite a bit longer.
We always took a nice trip by auto each summer on my two week vacation. We’d go to Wisconsin every other year at least, we took trips to Providence and elsewhere in the East two or three times, and a couple of trips to California. We spent four or five times to go to Montana to fish. The Hotvedt’s practically took over a camp on Lake Ennis and the Madison River. At one time, I counted 23 of the brood there.
I sure enjoyed those fishing trips to Montana, always caught a lot of nice trout and while the accommodations were not exactly of the Holiday Inn quality, the scenery was grand. On all of the trips I mentioned, I always took a lot of color slides and now have a collection of hundreds of most parts of the U.S. One year Charles and I went up and met Carl and the three of us camped on the Madison River. A small stream of melted mountain snow would trickle by us in the morning. Mostly we existed on beer, fish and Carl’s sourdough pancakes. I still remember the first night I tried to sleep on a cot in the tent. I got so cold, I had to get out and hug Charles in the station wagon to keep tolerably warm.
I never cared much about fishing here in Kansas until about 1960 when I got acquainted with Henry Burns who took me out to Muddy Creek. I had the idea that there was no good fishing in Kansas, that only Montana fishing would interest me.
We had a couple of good friends in Dr. and Mrs. Frost. Bertha worked for them while going to business college. They had a piece of ground with a nice lake on it only six miles from home. I got to going out there to fish and always was able to catch a nice mess, mostly small crappie. I did this for years. Dr. Frost died and Charlotte and I talked about her selling me a few acres. The deal would have been consummated had not Charlotte gone up to North Dakota to visit a couple of sisters where she died of a heart attack. The heirs did not want anyone fishing out there and whereas I had a key to the place, one day I went out there and found they had changed the lock. It was not for a couple of years that I had nerve enough to ask for permission to fish out there, which they fortunately granted.
So with this happy note, I will close this account for the time being. My main object in writing this account was to put down in writing, some of the experiences and observations of my misspent life in the rather remote past. They may be of some interest to my children and grandchildren. You all know what has happened to me of late years and what happens from day to day, so these events are no longer history.
Editor's Note: And this is where his writings end. His granddaughter Linda often encouraged him to continue with his writings, but she said he seemed to have lost interest in his later years.