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SUMMER 2013 VOL 69 | ISSUE 2

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at my poetry h t l e e is “I f

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artists discover the


Photography by Jason Dailey Story by Karen Ridder

Peggy and the Poet In midlife, a Topeka author rediscovers a beloved childhood neighbor who provides insights into words and life

about the

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writer TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Fall ’ 13

Karen Ridder visits many interesting events as a writer for various publications, including Topeka Magazine and the travel blog for the Kansas Department of Travel and Tourism. She and her husband have lived in Topeka for eight years and they have three young children.


Lawrence magazine

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Ge am dit i o ne


MR 733 An epic home run is only part of Gil Carter’s long life of baseball

Story and interview by James Carothers Photography by Jason Dailey

Some rare ballplayers—Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols—have long superlative careers at the major league level. A few more have a season—Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. Hundreds have only a cup of coffee in the big leagues. Most never get there. Gil Carter played against Hall of Famer Willie Stargell and Joe Torre, among others, but he never got to The Show. Topps never put him on a baseball card. Carter had a moment, however, when he made a permanent place for himself in the folklore of the game, hitting a home run so high, so far and so majestic that the baseball disappeared into the Carlsbad, New Mexico, night. They found the ball the next morning, in a backyard a long way away, among peach tree leaves and peaches. An aerial reconnaissance photograph of the ballpark and the backyard appeared in the local newspaper the next day tracing the flight of the ball with the same dotted-line trajectory given to photos of long home runs by stars like Mickey Mantle and historic blows like Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard round the world.” Those measurements indicated a blast of 730-733 feet; officially, conservatively, the team placed the hit at 650 feet. In fact, there is plausible evidence that Carter’s homer on August 11, 1959, went about twice as far Thomson’s 1951 blow that completed the Giants’ “Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff” in the 1951 National League pennant race. The path of a projectile is a parabola. It didn’t get much publicity then: The aerial photograph was followed a couple of weeks later by a brief note in The Sporting News. Twenty years later a retrospective piece appeared in Sports Illustrated. Finally, there was a nice article in the specialist baseball publication Elysian Fields Quarterly. But the home run was largely lost in the context of Class D ball and a player who, on paper, was assumed to be playing with a “baseball age” five years short of his own. Think about what would happen today, if we had a fan’s video shot of Carter’s blast leaving Montgomery Field, and a cell phone photo of the ball, near a peach, among the fallen leaves. The twittering and tweeting and all the other noises and pictures would instantly go viral. Carter would be assaulted with overwhelming publicity. He’d be called “The Carlsbad Bat.” John Mayberry used to swing the bat as though he was not just “going for the fences” in Royals Stadium, but aiming at I-70. Physicists say you can’t hit a baseball that far. Physicists also used to say it’s impossible to throw a curve ball. For over 50 years, Carter has lived with the knowledge that, for one moment certainly, and for a lot of other moments probably, he was as good Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle, or any of them who did what all hitters dream of doing. And he still knows it.

baseball timeline

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Carter’s

Gil

Gil Carter

Nov. 11, 1931 – born in Topeka, Kansas

Approximately 1947 – Begins playing first organized competitive games as a left-fielder with the Topeka Hornets, an intercity, mixed-race fast-pitch softball team that played its games at a city park in North Topeka

1948 – Begins playing baseball for a high school team organized by Jack Alexander

1949 – Joins Johnny Gates’ intercity baseball league. “We played all these little country towns in Kansas,” says Carter. Carter also gets a job that allows him to take off for baseball games, running a jackhammer at a construction site near the Hotel Jayhawk.

1951 – Moves to Kansas City to play with Kansas City Giants, a semi-pro, allblack baseball team based at Paseo

1953 – Switched to a mixedrace, fast-pitch softball team in Springfield, Missouri. Here, Carter is introduced to Tom Greenwade, who signs him with the New York Yankees and sends him to a minor league affiliate in Mount Kisco, New York

1954 – Spends spring training at Mount Kisco, arriving just seven years after baseball was integrated and as one of the few blacks in the region, Carter says he encountered “lots of prejudice there.” After several incidents, he quits Mount Kisco and the team.

1954 – Arrives in Memphis, where he spends two weeks playing with the Memphis Mudhens in what had been a Negro League team that was now mostly all-black.

1954 – Returns to Topeka where he works and plays ball with the Kansas City Giants

1957 – Marries Bettye Dillard, moves to Kansas City and is signed by Buck O’Neil to join the Cubs farm system

1958 – Attends spring training, for the Cubs and is assigned to their minor league team, the Carlsbad Potashers.

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OLD-SCHOOL STYLE

fashion

&

style

Story, Styling and Modeling by Katy Seibel Photography by Jason Dailey

Whether the team wins or loses, Kansas Couture’s Katy Seibel helps you be the best courtside attraction

Just because you’re heading to the big game doesn’t mean you have to don the predictable uniform of jeans, a team tee and tennies. Why not flex your sartorial muscle and sport a winning outfit worthy of roaring applause? Tips for the fashionable fan Stay true to your Jayhawk spirit. You don’t have to give up your team attire. Search for a vintage or vintagestyle Jayhawk tee that has a little more character. Think a ringer with a faded logo or one that features an old Jayhawk design. Pair it with jeans, ankle boots and a denim or leather jacket. Ditch the literal. Your clothes don’t have to be plastered with slogans and emblems to express your team pride. Try crafting an outfit around the team colors. Get on board with the color-blocking trend and combine a blue sweater with crimson pants and neutral accessories. Take a cue from the hooligans. Get inspired by European football fans and reach for a sporty knit scarf or hat. Study the classics. Go for a vintage collegiate look and opt for preppy pieces like plaid skirts, blazers and kneesocks. Timeless menswear fabrics and prints are very of-the-moment this season. Look to players of the past. Lace up a pair of classic Converse All Stars paired with tall striped socks. For an unexpected twist, complete the look with an easygoing dress. Stay cozy and comfy. Believe it or not, sweatshirts have the fashion world buzzing this season. Shop around for one with a fashionable spin such as jewel or stud embellishments. Or, you can always add your own. You’ll look current without feeling out of place in the crowd. Be a glamour girl. Back in the day, many occasions we now consider casual were grounds for getting gussied up, including sporting events. If you’re feeling adventurous, treat the game like a formal affair. Accent your favorite frock with pearls, a faux fur stole or even gloves. You may want to stick with comfortable footwear, though, like flats or wedges. Combining stilettos and sports is a stretch! Comfort, style and team spirit can all come together if you make the right plays. Put a little care into your game-day getups, and you’ll be a fashion champion in no time!

winter 2013

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Home on the Range Written by Cecilia Harris

Trube Reese discovered the nearly forgotten, handwritten poem that inspired the Kansas state song, “Home on the Range” when it fell out of a book inside Dr. Brewster Higley’s cabin in 1873. Higley had penned the words two years prior, describing the beauty of his surroundings after homesteading in Smith County. Reese reportedly told Higley: “This is plum good, you should have it printed in the paper.” Higley did just that—the poem was published in two local newspapers. He then had the words set to music by his friend, Daniel E. Kelley, who performed it with a local band. Spread by pioneers and roving cowboys, the tune became a popular folk song throughout the country. The Kansas Legislature made it the official state song in 1947. Symbolic Experience

The cabin that Dr. Brewster Higley built in 1872 still stands on its original site north of Athol and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Known as the “Home on the Range Cabin,” it is located on private property, but visitors are welcome “from daylight to dark,” according to Lawrence El Dean Holthus, a trustee with the Ellen Rust Living Trust, which owns the cabin. Ellen and her husband, Pete, lived on the property for several decades and were instrumental in keeping the cabin at its original location. A massive restoration of the cabin, including the loft, was completed in July. Holthus says work continues on the development of a nature trail that will be finished in time for the cabin’s re-dedication during a three-day celebration on October 3-5, 2014. Information can be found at thehomeontherange.com or facebook.

Did you know? President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared “Home on the Range” one of his favorite songs. As one of the top songs on the radio in 1934, “Home on the Range” became entangled in a lawsuit when an Arizona couple claimed ownership of the song. Upon investigation, Higley was deemed the true author based on his poem’s publication in the Kansas newspapers in the 1870s. “Home on the Range” has been commonly regarded as the unofficial anthem of the Great American West.

com/HomeOnTheRangeCabin

Among the many well-known performers to sing “Home on the Range” are Willie Nelson, Gene Autry, Bing Crosby, Michael Martin Murphey, Porky Pig, Barney, and Alvin and the Chipmunks.

An arrangement of the state song is played by the University of Kansas Marching Jayhawks at the end of all home football games.

The state song is performed in the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, the film The Messenger, television shows such as Phineas and Ferb, M*A*S*H and Cheers, and more than 50 other productions.

The song is always the finale at Symphony in The Flint Hills--a fan favorite.

ARTifacts

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peo e d i ple tio n

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winter 2013 vol 69 | issue 4

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with logan mize


There are a few dishes Carl ThorneThomsen won’t remove from the menu at Story. He says there would be a customer revolt. “In some approximate form there will always be duck empanadas, braised short ribs and ceviche,” he says. “And our German chocolate cake.” Thorne-Thomsen, who grew up in northwest Connecticut, and his wife, Susan, opened Story in Prairie Village two years ago. The contemporary American upscale restaurant is a favorite in Kansas City. Diners flock to the beautifully appointed dining room and the three-seasons patio for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. “Cooking brunch takes an entirely different mentality,” explains ThorneThomsen, who has an English degree from Cornell and spent years writing fiction before immersing himself in the culinary spectrum. “It takes a certain restraint when cooking eggs and pancakes; it’s not like sautéing or searing with screaminghot heat.” Thorne-Thomsen credits another Kansas City JBF award-winning chef, Michael Smith, for some of his creative kitchen knowledge. “I was chef de cuisine for Michael Smith at Extra Virgin, and his eponymous restaurant in the Crossroads Arts District in K.C.,” he says. “I learned a lot from him.” Known for maintaining a low profile, Thorne-Thomsen is quick to give a nod to his 20 employees for helping create the Story experience. “The honor of being recognized is incredible,” he says. “I was blown away with the Best Chef: Midwest semifinalist JBF nomination, to see my name with peers that I admire. But we all work together at Story to make it succeed.” Since opening in May 2011, Story has won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and was named to OpenTable.com’s list of top 100 American fare restaurants in the U.S. Thorne-Thomsen received another accolade as Food & Wine magazine’s 2013 winner for The People’s Best New Chef: Midwest. “This is my passion to create food that involves memory,” says Thorne-Thomsen. “Doing something and looking at the clock to realize that four hours has passed and you didn’t realize it—that’s job satisfaction.”

Carl ThorneThomsen Story

“Doing something and looking at the clock to realize that four hours has passed and you didn’t realize it—that’s job satisfaction.” -Carl Thorne-Thomsen

Prairie Village James Beard Foundation Semifinalist Nominee: Best Chef: Midwest storykc.com

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Jason dailey great plains entries 2014  
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