In 1909, Mrs. Carrie Westlake Whitney, the librarian, wrote of her account of her first visit to Westport (1881), “there was incessant hammering and banging from a dozen blacksmith’s sheds, where the heavy wagons were being repaired, and the horses and oxen shod. The streets were thronged with men, horses, and mules. While I was in town, a train of emigrant wagons from Illinois passed through to join the camp on the prairie. A multitude of healthy children’s faces were peeping out from under the covers of the wagons. Here and there a buxom damsel was seated on horseback, holding over her sunburnt face an umbrella or a parasol, once gaudy enough, but now miserably faded.”
My house the trading post, in Westport (Kansas City, Missouri), once catered to the families of sturdy, good people, whose life was that of the frontier. The rules and manners of the parties attended, were at the discretion of the host. A party at the old Westport saloon would have involved dancing and a “kissing” game. This would be followed by a “supper” that included pumpkin pie, peach pie, and buttermilk. Afterwards, the fun would continue with a run through the backwoods with candles.
With the room lite with candles that “shone brightly upon the fair maidens with glossy water-falls, delaine tissue dresses, hoop skirts and family jewels.” In 1850, dancing in Kansas City, was forbidden by the churches. The young folks were allowed to have large parties, accompanied by some older persons, but the kids refused to call them “chaperons.” For fun, packs of teens, would take a passage on one of the Missouri River Boats, and dance on deck to the fiddler music. A jolly captain, with a crew that supplied the teens with good southern cooking, made this excursion highly enjoyable.
The most desired and eligible young men were from Westport. The prettiest and wealthiest girls were from Kansas City or Independence. The finest parties were hosted by the sons and daughters of the first trading post merchants, saloon owners, and farmers. The Santa Fe trade made these families wealthy. Their parties were legendary and drew in all the prettiest girls.
Before bridge parties and book clubs were popular, quilting parties were the social occasion for the mothers and daughters. Some girls would travel ten miles to arrive as early a nine o’clock in the morning, to quilt. The ladies arrived by carriage, pulled by one of the girl’s own personal riding horses. The women sat on rush bottom chairs around a quilting frame while stitching in different areas. In the company of the other quilters, pioneer women, brought up with cortly manners and elegances, kept their words polite.
The Belles of Kansas City, Missouri in 2014, are beautiful, well-mannered ladies, with charisma and a flair for taking pictures. Among the popular activities in Kansas City for kids to do include, playing soccer, hanging out at the Plaza and Union Station, and joining a modeling class. Here are a few more photos:
Work is like this old fable, The Wolf and the Crane.
“A Wolf who had a bone stuck in his throat hired a crane, for a large sum, to put her head into his mouth and draw out the bone. When the Crane had extracted the bone and demanded the promised payment, the Wolf, grinning and grinding his teeth, exclaimed: “Why, you have surely already had a sufficient recompense, in having been permitted to draw out your head in safety from the mouth and jaws of a wolf.”
Westport Missouri, from the time it was formed until present day, has been a working class neighborhood. Wars have taken place, the burning of Mormons, the Mexican War, Civil-War, Women’s Rights and other notable history. Business continued despite these events.
I write my blog from my house the trading post. The past owners of this property were young and old people. This building holds the ghosts of the pioneers, Indians, and business owners. Its greatest contribution to history is the fact that it just exists. It has to be noted that it is a wood structure. It is remarkable that the building has existed this long, despite the number of wars, battles, and fires that took place, and the capitalist nature of the city to knock it down and rebuild. And it survived Missouri weather.
The history of Kansas City, too often discuss the same characters, like; McCoy, McGhee, Yoacham, Boone, Ewing, Vogel, Harris, Wornall, Hickman, Thomas Hart Benten, Samuel C Roby, Henry Clay Pate. Here is a short list of who had a trading post or tavern in Westport in the 1800s. It is important to note that this is not a complete census. The town was already, very big by the time the pre-civil war saloon, I live in, was built in 1853.
The goal or lifestyle of the Westport Missouri residents would have been work. They were young working class men and women. Many of the first settlers would have been in their twenties. As the town grew successful and Kansas City dug away the dirt and flattened the cliffs along the Missouri river, these pioneer families grew wealthy and moved into new homes and buildings creating downtown Kansas City. The growth in downtown Kansas City established new public-houses and buildings; built in a wise manner, with a more expressive display of dignity, even though some of the establishments were for the distribution of spirituous liquors.
This was the nature of the city, and has been ever since. Kansas City tends to invest in a new construction project, often centered on building another shopping and entertainment area, and then new construction for residential housing communities. Problem is, we haven’t run out of land. Kansas City has about 116 square miles of real estate. In Kansas City we don’t build up, we build out. Creating older communities that struggle for business. New city projects always bring in the newest technology, however, the consumer only needs the basic comforts from life.
To maintain a reasonable life-style I must work forty plus hours a week. The hours each day reserved for work are not my favorite. The work day begins at 5:30 am when the alarm goes off. I have to work at waking up. It is my habit to push the snooze until six or six thirty. I could stretch it to seven but then I wouldn’t get breakfast or have time to pack a lunch. I plan my lunch the night before. I usually have it set aside, in one area of the refrigerator. The extra time allows me to make last-minute changes as I fill my lunch bag in the morning.
I have to follow a routine to get through the hurried work morning. I shower, dry hair, moisturize, and dress. My wardrobe picked out the night before, it doesn’t have to be dressy. I choose between a blue or black, or pink uniform, and if they are dirty, I wear jeans. I prefer to wear the hospital uniform because I work in a laboratory. I perform medical testing, and I splash a lot of serum. If I’m in my scrubs when I get home, I remember I am still contaminated, but when I’m in my jeans I get comfortable, and forget I may have blood splashes on my cloths. Ack!!
By 7:30 am I am on the highway. I start the first mile or so at normal speed. By 7:37, traffic is 20 mph. I have never figured out why each day traffic slows to a crawl for several miles. Then a few minutes later I’m traveling the speed limit again and there is my exit. I manage to get into the parking lot at 7:57, my shift starts at eight. On Saturday’s shift, I get to work fifteen minutes earlier, because there isn’t any traffic.
My work days, at the laboratory, vary between Monday through Friday, or Tuesday through Saturday. By 9:00 am, I am homesick. But I don’t let on. I blow my nose, and keep looking for specimens. The morning is slow. Not many doctor offices have sent in any specimens, we are just working on orders that were added on, overnight. This is the hard part, the blood specimens have been put into a numbered order in the walk-in refrigerator. Some associates love the cooler, I hate it. But I’m responsible for the chemistry testing and must find seven specimens, in seven different boxed compartment, in the cold. My white lab coat provides some warmth. Burr!
The first weekend of every month I coach/teach a girls modeling class. A very long weekend. I feel kind-a catatonic. Zombie-ish. I try to incorporate some of that positive thinking I teach the girls, but I get tired, tired, tired. Then I don’t care, and find conversing to be a chore. Believe it or not, I like my jobs…but when striving to make another person a buck, I wonder about a lot of things. Like, why am I here?
Then it is ten in the morning, and I smile, because it is break time. I leave my white jacket on the chair, and I go to the little room that contains the only clean sink and food worthy refrigerator. I have fifteen minutes. In my pocket, I set my phone timer. During this time I wash my hands, blow my nose, wash my hands, go to the toilette, wash my hands. I nibble on fruit, salami, and cookies, while I guzzle a coke-cola. My stomach gurgles, and I give a small belch. A silly little tone vibrates from my pocket, it is time to go back. Later, I’ll take a thirty minute lunch and if time allows another fifteen minute break in the afternoon-right before I go home for the day.
With my lab coat on, I pray the hours will go by quickly. Number, after number, specimen after specimen; slowly I turn, checking name, identification number, and test order against the computer screen. Two computer screens, 1500 specimens, and a chemistry analyzer that has a mind of its own. I run several monstrous size equipment that divides the entire room. These analyzer perform the testing that once upon a time a scientist performed in test tubes with titration biurets and apparatuses. At four o’clock, I set the timer for 4:30. I try to bring the beast down, but the specimens keep coming in, I saw on the pending list that we only had 38 specimens left to complete, now there are 128. This happens every night. Doctors add more tests, after they have received the testing results. Thanks to modern computers, what the doctor sends in that day, the doctor can get results for. But, I’m contracted to stay till 4:30. We are technically, open until 5:00pm. I feel this is so similar to the fast food service industry. “May I help you?”
A few of those specimens will not get done tonight. The laboratory manager will be tense and I do not want to tell the doctors whose test results will be delayed. The lab will open at four in the morning and start the whole process all over again.
The work day may bring the blues, but the treasures within this house can almost always brighten my mood. In my bed cloths I move from room to room in this huge saloon from long ago. I carry a load of laundry through the house. I put the load of dirty cloths in the washer. I drop a quarter into the juke box. A 1954 Wurlitzer plays my selection, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” With no one in sight, I dance and sing along. At work I have my I-phone tunes, but at home I have the treasures the wolf left behind.
Westport property values rose during the Depression. The area south of my house the trading post, between State line and Homes Street, where the Civil War Battle of Westport took place, was bought by J.C. Nichols. Mr. Nichols designed streets with running streams, lush plantings, and stone walls and bridges. The Country Club Plaza District was born.
The land around my house the trading post was still farmland. Between 1910 and 1920 the neighborhood had been bought and small depression era family homes were built. My house the trading post became a small neighborhood grocery store.
The Country Club Plaza district offered modern houses and a sophisticated shopping village. In fact, the Plaza shopping center was the most imaginative shopping center of the world. There were luxurious specialty shops and department stores set in Spanish tiled, stucco buildings, with outdoor fountains, statuary, and flowering trees.
The Plaza drew in clients from the surrounding areas, of new homes in Westport, and the new Plaza apartments and from the entire region of Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. The luxury of the Plaza exists today. Over the years, employees from Kansas and Nebraska enjoy annual meetings and business trips at the Country Club Plaza. A trip to Kansas City is jammed packed with entertainment, shopping, and good food, all in walking distance.
Westport has always been the more urban entertainment area, but in the 1920s it became even flashier. Going to the movies and dancing were the favorite activities. One young flapper girl, named Lucille LeSeuer won a Charleston Dance Contest that sent her to Hollywood. That young girl was Joan Crawford.
Kansas City pecans are some of the tastiest nuts around. The nuts are sweet and oil rich compared to southern states. Missouri river towns, like Kansas City, offer fertile soil and sunny conditions for pecan trees. Many pecan trees were planted in the 1800s.
We have a friend who has a pecan tree; he gathers up a bag full that have fallen to the ground. The shucks starting to split open. It is easy to remove the shells. The price of pecans at the local grocery store is about $18 a pound. I wouldn’t pay that much. I enjoy my nuts fresh and free from the ground. Making pecan pie from scratch is often cheaper and tastier.
Since our friend dropped off a bag of pecans and our pet duck (Squeaky) has started laying eggs again, I needed to do something with these God given gifts. As a food ‘snob’ I prefer store bought chicken eggs for breakfast. However, anything with enough sugar in it, I’ll eat. My husband never objects to anything I serve.
I know what boys like. They like my pecan pie. So here’s my recipe for Pecan Pie. Enjoy!
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup Corn Syrup
2 tablespoon margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-1/4 cups pecans
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup fake butter/ shortening
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
4 tablespoon cold water
Make the pie crust first (or use a prepared pie crust).
In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt.
Next, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until pieces are the size of a small pea.
Combine the vinegar and water and slowly sprinkle into the flour.
Gather the moistened dough into a ball, refrigerate for ten minutes or more.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.
Place all the pecans on a greased cookie sheet/baking sheet.
Roast pecans for a few minutes, carefull not to burn. Cool.
Beat the 3 eggs in a medium bowl.
Add brown sugar, corn syrup, melted margarine, vanilla, and nutmeg.
Stir in pecans.
Roll out pie crust and line a pie pan.
Pour pecan mixture into pie crust.
Bake 50 minutes.
A knife inserted into the edge should come out clean.
Serve warm, cold, with ice-cream, or just on plate.
Hipsters are associated with places like Chicago, New York, and San Fransisco. WordPress.com is my hipster scene. Here the talented writers are artist, illustrators, and photographers. They have interests in farming, fashion, history, language, poetry, and an array of art.
WordPress.com is my favorite place on the web. I can get lost for hours. I am mad for followers. I try harder and harder each day to find meaningful words to share and sigh that my photo album only has a handful of pictures.
Linked to my Facebook page, a more private site, where 355 of my friends view my WordPress posts. I am dedicated to providing my Facebook readers one good photo with the first dozen or more words the most meaningful or most interesting statement. Because that’s about all my Facebook friends will read. They don’t take advantage of the full story and they are quick to ‘like’ the photos more than the content. I don’t believe my Facebook friends follow the WordPress link. In return, I read their posts of fluffy kittens, family illness, naughty rants, and birthday gifts.
I receive meaningful and thoughtful comments from my WordPress followers. A hipster scene, although not limited to the men and women in their 20s and 30s, WordPress.com bloggers value independent thinking. Among their thoughts are the counter-culture, and progressive politics. They appreciate art, all types of music, creativity, intelligence, and they are witty.
Go, Go, WordPress.com!
I now want to share my dream to publish the following Children’s Book, Squeaky The Duck.
Are there more job search sites than there are jobs? The online job sites include Monster, and Career builder. And more like, Career Experteer, USA Staffing, Jobs.com, Hire America, Jobungo, Snagajob, and once you go to any of those sites there are a number of employment agencies advertising openings.
However, they all have the some job. I have given my identification to so many hiring sources with no response. I have applied for the same position through a dozen employment agencies. I still can’t find a job. (I had my identity stolen and have to monitor everything now.)
There may be 6% unemployment recorded and the news media spouting long term unemployed are lazy and have too many government services available to them that they have no incentive to work. Well, that’s bull.
Many members of my extended family have experienced a strange change in society and the economy that has left a once proud middle class family to fend for themselves and muddle in poverty. Some family live on only $200-400 a month with children under five. Other like myself are older and the job market has squeezed us out. The only thing saving the over 50 group of unemployed from jumping off the bridge is the blessings of family and a home that is paid or nearly paid for.
Unemployment is hard work. It may mean waking up early to walk the neighborhood collecting aluminum cans. Or spending the afternoon counting pennies to cash in for a gallon of milk. I have ambition, talent, and skills that go to waste because of the computer human resource trends.
As for the guy in the photo, Bob and I saw him sitting along one of the popular beaches in California, during one of my business trips (a few years ago when I had a job). We thought it was really funny. The guy didn’t appreciate that we took his picture; I can’t repeat what he said to us after the shot was taken. What is not funny, is homelessness. I feel that we are closer to losing everything despite all the good work we put into our lives.
Times are getting rough for some, others remain gainfully employed. If you have a job, you are one of the lucky ones.
Something new is coming. My blog, My House The Trading Post, is slowly gaining followers. Wow!
The type of stories that I enjoy sharing are about the Belles of Westport, stories about Westport fashions then and now, stories of the Civil War, and Love Stories then and now. The posts that were least viewed were the stories of music and art that we make here at the house.
What I have learned about blogging is shorter posts are often viewed more than longer posts. Inspirational messages are also favored by more views. I have also learned that one post a day is preferred over multiple posts a day.