The Almost Annual Pilgrimage to Kansas City, Missouri that is.
|View from Liberty Memorial with Union Station in foreground and downtown beyond|
I was born and raised in Kansas City MO along with my five siblings and five cousins. I left in 1973 to move to Denver, then Detroit, then San Diego, and finally Rochester where I have lived for the past 35 years. I have lived longer in Rochester than I did in Kansas City but the place where you grew up and especially learned to drive will always be home. For most of those 35 years, I have traveled back to KC to visit my family. Mom and Dad and my three sisters stayed in KC while my two brothers and I left.
This trip was special because I hadn't been home since January 2019 for the funeral of our baby sister, Louisa, and because all five of us were there at the same time. Along with four spouses--Peter, Johnny, Sarah and Marilyn--we spent five days doing fun things and seeing new places and plenty of old haunts. Typically we travel by car covering the 1,000 miles in two days with an overnight in Terre Haute IN.
Since I still enjoy driving long distances and Marilyn enjoys riding, we arrived at Anola and Peter's ready for whatever the next five days would hold.
Satchel Paige and some Missouri irony
|Satchel Paige grave with Confederate|
monument to the left and rear
We began by spending the day with Peter and Anola out and about in Kansas City. Our first stop was Forest Hill and Cavalry Cemetery to visit the grave of Leroy (Satchel) Paige. Yes, that Satchel Paige. He had played for the Kansas City Monarchs from 1940-1947. He married LaHoma Jean Brown in that year and they had seven children. Kansas City was his home base. He died in 1981 and is buried beside LaHoma on what is known as Paige Island in Forest Hill Cemetery. The memorial contains Satchel's advice on how to stay young. After all, at age 59 he pitched three innings for the Kansas City Athletics against the Boston Red Sox. He faced 10 batters giving up one hit and no runs!
|1.||Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.|
|2.||If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.|
|3.||Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.|
|4.||Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain't restful.|
|5.||Avoid running at all times.|
|6.||Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.|
In the photo of his grave, you can see a white circle. Here's the irony. Paige was prohibited from playing the major leagues for most of his career because he was black. Until 1947 only white men played major league baseball. They probably thought, as did their fans, that they were the very best players. After all, they were professionals at the highest level. But there were other players who were equally good or better--Satchel was one of these--who simply weren't permitted to play. The professional baseball diamond was the proverbial unlevel playing field. Take a look at any major league roster today and you can see what a team might have looked like before the 1950's if the best players were members, not just the best "white" players. It is a story to remember today as people other than white males are moving into positions of leadership not because of their race or gender but because they are the best suited.
|Aunt Jennie might worked at something|
The four of us went down to the City Market area at the foot of Main Street about two blocks from the Missouri River. This where the original city was founded. We had lunch at Pigwich in the market. Actually the City Market plays a role in one of the more notorious family stories about our 2nd Great Aunt Jennie Campbell. Those of you who know some of the Pickett family stories will be surprised to learn that this one concerns our maternal ancestors. Sadly Jennie was one of the victims of a triple homicide in 1899. She was murdered by Eli Moore, an ex-lover, whom she met when they both worked in the City Market. Moore was a fishmonger and Jennie was a cherry phosphate agent. More details of that story will be in the family history I hope to complete this year. As we left Pigwich, we thought of Aunt Jennie when we saw the KC Soda Co. shop.
|Empty coal train|
|James Campbell (r) and wife Nancy|
|Andy waxes philosophical|
|Mobile smoker with a completely |
|MLB Urban Youth|
|The Mom and Daughter|