Art, blog, History, Kansas City, Story, Uncategorized

Streets Covered In Snow

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I think the Kansas City Mayor follows my blog. Several weeks ago I wrote a blog story about the three snow trucks in a row. The snowplows were barely skimming the pavement. It appeared that the Kansas City snowplows were traveling too fast and the shovel wasn’t engaged low enough to move any snow off the street. I also twittered their technique didn’t look right and that the ‘Kansas’ side was clear.

This morning the snow laid on the ground, all the neighborhood covered in white. The Kansas City snow plow trucks are out and working. They just did my neighborhood. I didn’t expect the street to be clear’d so soon. In fact, I had cancelled my doctor appointment because of the snow.

In Westport Missouri, an icy snow is several inches thick on the roads, and unlike the last time the snowplows are doing a much better job. I love the snow. I don’t like the cold.

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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, music, photography, Story, Uncategorized

The Door, my house the trading post

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Knock and I will answer. If you like my post, I will like yours. If you comment on my blog, I will reply. I’m just lonely and I’m waiting for you.

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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, music, photography, Story, Uncategorized

Golf, my house the trading post

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Kansas City has three country clubs, constructed in the early days, with a picturesque mansion surrounded by acres of beautiful rolling grounds. The purpose was to advance national amusement and improve the mental and bodily health of the club’s associates. In 1890, The Country Club merged with the popular Polo club. Golf competitions have been held since the beginning. Golf cups were given by the club or directors. Also popular were the social features; family dinners served and the music and dancing in the evenings that were held in the club house.

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Every since he was five years old, my husband wanted to be a professional golfer. He lived across the street from the golf course. His mother would take him over there and leave him on the putting green until he was ready to come home. He had to wait for her because he wasn’t allowed to cross the street by himself. During the weekends, his father used to drop him off at the golf course at breakfast time, 8 o’clock in the morning, and pick him up just as the sun went down at night.

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He would spend all day hitting balls with the exception of a few minutes to eat his french fries and drink a Coca-Cola. He became quite good. He played well enough to be the champion of the state. He played in national championships in his junior and as an adult. But whenever he talked about being a professional golfer his father would remind him about the little kid Tommy that he played with; who was three years younger. His father would way something like, “You think you’re going to be a professional? You can’t even beat that 12-year old kid!” He took it to heart.

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Eventually, he let that dream go because the fact was, he could beat that 12-year old some of the time, but there was something about the way he hit a long iron that made you know there was a level of athleticism in golf that my husband would never get to. What my husband didn’t know was that little boy turned out to be Tom Watson, one of the four to five greatest golfers of all time.

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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, music, photography, Story, Uncategorized

Call The Doctor, my house the trading post

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The physicians were dispersed among the first pioneers of Westport. Some were college educated; others acquired their skills while working for an established practitioner. In 1881, twelve of the Kansas City physicians were women. Physicians served as specialist, surgeon, oculist, and dentist; treating every phase of bodily ailment. Most practiced medicine until their death. Westport physicians were well-known for their ability to patch up a man after a gun fight. The territory was continually harassed by predatory bandits before the civil war.

The first hospital wasn’t a great structure of lavish and remarkable architectural beauty.  The first hospital was nothing more than an old Westport trading post. The two-story wood structure was converted by the Catholic nuns as an infirmary accommodating twenty patients.

The old Kansas City Hospital, founded in 1870, was located at Twenty-Second street and McCoy streets. In 1884, a new brick edifice was erected. The city council approved funds to build a two-story brick building in 1895. The building housed the surgical department and women’s ward. At the time, the city physician managed the city hospital. His subordinates were the in-house surgeons, and medical graduates and their assistants and stewards. The supervisory management rests with the board of health.

The board of health, in 1895, consisted of the heads of the municipal departments. The mayor was the ex officio president of the board, with the city physician as executive officer. The subordinate officers were a city chemist, a health officer, a milk and food inspector and a meat inspector. Those officers reported to the city physician.

getimage.exeBy 1908, the new City hospital was a six-story brick fortress-like building. Built of gray brick laid in white mortar, the fireproof structure is pictured on 23rd street, facing north. McCoy street is on the east.

St. Joseph’s hospital was founded in 1875, by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The building was completed in 1886 and was situated at 710 Penn street. It was modern for its time, having a an x-ray machine, and equipment of those in other metropolitan hospital. Much of the equipment was a gift by Dr. Griffith. The St. Joseph hospital was able to hold 100 patients. by the 1900’s. Abundant provisions were made to charity cases and accommodation of any patient or persons of all religions, all were admitted without question.

Signing up for healthcare was disappointing. I still can’t go to the doctor, and my headaches and nausea are getting worse. I enrolled in the healthcare.gov, after several attempts, finally got recognized by the system.  I qualify for free coverage with a $6500 deductible. I think that means I have to pay $6500 out-of-pocket expenses first, before the insurance company will kick in their share. I will not be going to the doctor, because I have empty pockets.

While I am not willing to spend money on my healthcare, I just took my pet duck to the vet. The duck needed surgery, she ate a lot of pennies. I couldn’t bare to see the poor bird suffer. I am looking forward to having Squeaky the Duck home for dinner, but not as the entree.

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A fan, and previous resident of the property, provided the following picture of the house in the 1970’s. He set up the old home movie projector and then took this on his cell phone. myhousethetradingpost.wordpress.com

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The Outfit, my house the trading post

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In 2011, FBI agent, William Ousely, involved in the prosecution of organized crime figures of Kansas City, published a book, “Mobsters in Our Midst, The Kansas City Crime Family.” He wrote several books about the mob era, 1900-1980s. In his testimony as an expert witness on mob activities, he claimed his sixth sense alerted him that danger was imminent or something big was going to happen. The existence of a Mafia-like organization has been disputed since the 1950s.

Do you know how funny, (lack of better word) to see your husbands name in a book related to organized crime? Bob Simons, my husband, a Kansas City attorney, has had the misfortune of associating with some of the city’s notorious criminals during his 40 years practice of law. He tells me of the days when favors and money flowed freely; but his secretary was murdered, and his law partner was shot in the head. As he recalls those days, the hair on the back of my neck and all along my arm start to feel like a cool air has passed over.

The historical reality is that the old Kansas City underworld has been a part of the fabric of Kansas City life. Prohibition helped fuel the growth of the vice and corruption between the crime family and the political alliance. The corruption was at the level of the judges of both the federal and Jackson County courts.  Mobsters in Kansas City played rough, leaving behind hundreds of bloody stories of gangland activities since the 1900s.

The mobs criminal activities have been referred to as the national alliance of crime families, La Cosa Nostra, the Outfit, or the Clique. By 1931, twenty-six U.S. cities were suspected to have similar crime families that were restricted to men of Italian descent who had political, economic, and good social standing in the community. No crime family has ever referred to itself as the Mafia.

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The Italians settled in the Northland of Kansas City. One of the founding fathers was Sicilian-born. In the early 1900s, the Italians of the Northland adhered to the culture and protocols of the Old World Sicilian Mafia. In 1940, Nick Civella was a member of the Kansas City outfit. Many have remained in the shadows, never being identified.

Joe Bonano was identified as the Who’s-Who of Hoods of New York in 1957. Along with, Joe Filardo and Nick Civella, who were identified as being part of the Kansas City Missouri mob family. Kansas City’s organized crime society has tried to avoid scrutiny. Their formula relied on ignorance, forgetfulness, and apathy on the part of the public and their political influence. The sponsors of the mob were members of the business community.

The Bonano family of Kansas City is responsible for the beautiful stone and masonry work in my backyard. Read the Garden of Eden for more about the backyard. Visit my blog again, myhousethetradingpost.wordpress.com for more stories of Kansas City’s unknown past.

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Fire Safe, my house the trading post

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From the time the log-cabins fell into disuse and the first frame business and house dwellings began to appear, Kansas City has had fire protection. Few cities have been so fortunate as Kansas City in escaping disastrous fires. In the beginning, neighbor helped neighbor. Later fire companies were formed which were also social organizations. The few men who formed the fire company were associated with both socially and in fighting fires. The head of the fire company’s social order was the foreman.

The first fire company in Kansas City was organized in 1837. After the war, the revival of commercial enterprises and erection of new buildings, came the need for better fire protection. Not long after the water works department had been established the city installed fire hydrants. Today, the Kansas City Fire Department is operated by the city under the command of fire Chief, Paul Berardi. There are 34 fire stations under Kansas City’s seven battalions.

My husband and I have a game we play, taking pictures of the fire truck and the firemen at the local Westport grocery store. We see the fire truck at the grocery store a lot. We try to get a picture of the guys buying junk food and stuff in between emergency and non-emergency calls. We understand that when there is a non-emergency, the fire trucks often have time to stop at the grocery store after going on a call. But their impulsive buying habits make my husband and I laugh.

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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, Story, Uncategorized

Streets Covered In Snow

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In Kansas City there is a natural road, the old Indian trail, provides the easiest route for me to drive about the city. There are two nice highways, constructed, in the Twentieth Century. Interstate-35, North and South, zips through the city. Interstate-70 takes drivers East and West.  However, the Indian trail, now paved, consist of a variety of inner city streets that are often S-shaped or at an angle to the block streets that dip and rise throughout the city.

During the cow town years, the clay roads became impassable when wet. In 2014, the streets in the “bottoms” still flood. The city around Westport floods. The cement city cannot absorb the rainwater fast enough on most rainy days. Many drivers have lost their cars and lives in Kansas City due to high water. I have been caught in such a scary situation before.

Your heart is racing, the streetlights providing the only light to guide you. Unless the transformers have blown up, lighting strikes out the streetlights. The darkness hides the dips in the road that are under water; if you drive into a street under water there is a chance your car will float away into a deep ditch and sink. I’ve seen it happen before my very eyes. With the children still young, screaming at the top of their lungs in the back seat, out of fear for their life.

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This morning the snow laid on the ground, all the neighborhood covered in white. I love the snow. I also love to drive in the snow, or at least I don’t mind it. My husband and son were not as thrilled that I drive at all. I drive a Mustang. I am an old’ fashioned girl; every woman in 1850 owned her own pony. I own a modern pony.

My son was late for work; he needs to get up an hour early to be able to ride the bus to work. He rightfully lost his drivers license (years ago), and walks to most of his destinations. The metro bus driver zoomed past his stop, earlier in the morning at 1:00 am.

E-mo had just gotten off work. Pappa John’s is right in front of the Metro Bus stop, so E-mo knows the bus had not stopped yet. He stood in the dark of the night, the snow falling, and the streets becoming harder to maneuver. The metro bus came roaring down the street. E-mo was the only person standing on the sidewalk, among the white snow, his black and red Pappa Johns hat obvious below the streetlight. The bus drove past him, never stopping.

Behind the bus traveled three cars. The first car passed by. E-mo put out his thumb to hitch a ride. The second car had three men swerving in the snow, laughed and flipped E-MO off. The third car was a Jimmy John’s delivery car. All appeared to pass E-mo by in the snow, so early in the morning. E-mo looked up, and saw that the first car that drove behind the bus had stopped. The car was backing up, he was coming back to pick him up. E-mo had a ride.

The driver was an out of town man, driving a rental. He was Asian and had a bit of an accent. E-mo thanked the man for picking him up. Promised to give the man a free pizza if he’d like to visit Pappa John’s and buy a pizza.  The man appreciated the offer, however, he was just in town for a business meeting and wouldn’t be staying long. The stranger seemed to know the streets, like he’d been to Kansas City before. I prayed for the stranger after he dropped Emo off at the house.

The stranger was now in the oldest part of town. The streets dip and rise to an elevation that is impossible to drive up. In the distance I can hear the tires of a car stuck in the snow. The city plow trucks will not be done with the streets for many hours.

The morning comes too soon, when it snows; E-mo overslept, and needed a ride to work. His only option was for me to drive him in the snow with my Mustang. I was up, dressed, and warming up my car. My husband shaking his head “no.” My son dragging his feet in the snow wishing I didn’t have to drive him. He was scared. Bad memories from the days of the flash floods. Snow is different.

I learned how to drive, growing up in Chicago, my birthday, is December 21. Do I have to give any more references to my snow driving qualifications? I can out drive any Missouri driven SUV or 4WD, on a snow day. Do not get in the car with me on a bright, clear, warm, sunny day; then my mind wanders and I drive like an idiot.

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The first route I took the tires on the Mustang spun and spun; however I was proud to have gotten up the hill further than the Camaro that I passed.  I turned the Mustang into a driveway, backed up into the street and headed down hill. The car picked up speed and I used the slippery snow to make the turn at the bottom of the hill. My son holding on to the dashboard and the side handle of the door. Taking a one-lane, Side Street that is rotted with potholes, now smooth in the snow. I ride the car through the stop sign so that it will pick up speed and make it up to Rainbow Boulevard. I’m in Kansas now. In Kansas, they have all their streets cleared of the snow. I have to get back over to Missouri, and up to 20th street.

I turned onto Westport Road, merging back into Missouri, the snow is several inches thick on the roads, and the plows are in front of us; three trucks in a row. The snowplows were barely skimming the pavement. It appears that the Kansas City snowplows are traveling too fast and the shovel isn’t engaged low enough to move any snow off the street. I’m driving and thinking their technique doesn’t look right. Then I turn onto McGee, and 20th, and drop Emo off in front of Pappa John’s Pizza.

The return trip was uneventful, except I followed three more snowplow trucks that were driving in a row without the shovels low enough to move snow off the street.

Sunday, in Kansas City, is like a ghost town. The buildings look empty. The streets are lacking of people. The lonely cars parked along the streets, the only indication people are near by.

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