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Lawrence Magazine is a publication of Sunflower Publishing, a division of The World Company.
This issue marks the second decade of publication for Lawrence Magazine. To celebrate, we’ve given the cover and much of the interior a revamped, fresh look that we hope you will enjoy. Our publication’s core mission, however, remains the same. We want to be the magazine that reflects the best of the community—as smart, as savvy and as genuine as the city we cover. In doing so, we use the same letters that other publications do, we just arrange them a bit differently—and we think that makes all the difference.
We have created quite an archive of images over the past 10 years and are off to a great start for the next round.
I have been working on Lawrence Magazine for the past four years and loving every minute of it.
To those I have already photographed—a big thanks. To those I have not yet photographed—I look forward to meeting, talking with and (of course) photographing you. Please be patient with me as I set up the lights and adjust my angles … and we’ll keep Lawrence looking beautiful.
From dogs at dinner tables to comedians in cow costumes, I’ve had the pleasure of turning great ideas into an enjoyable publication.
Jason, chief photographer
Please always feel free to let us know how we are doing … and please enjoy this winter issue.
I always look forward to the creative obstacles and rewards that come with being a designer. This winter issue of Lawrence Magazine is no exception. I enjoyed challenging myself in creating this new look. Cheers! Shelly, art director
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Year of the Sheep
Area shepherds preserve breeding of the temperate, sometimes intelligent, flock-loyal mammal
When the POWs Came to Town
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14 | LM Style Fashion Meets Film
48 | People Swamped
Rather than looking to the runways for style inspiration this season, consider consulting your favorite film.
Novelist Natalie C. Parker brings her Southern Gothic outlook to Kansas
18 | LM Sounds A new film pays tribute to a legendary punk-rock club, and an accomplished local musician takes some solo time
23 | LM Bookmarks Two poets … and a troupe of trees appear in this season’s literary landscape
27 | LM Lingo Learning to Love ‘Liberal’ Lawrence The “L” word has become a political epithet, but its traditional meaning is more fitting for the city on the Kaw
30 | LM Fit Going Cross-Country When the landscape is more prairie than slopes, skiing becomes—yes, slower—but also more affordable, more accessible and more intimate
34 | LM Gallery A Touch of the Knife
Sheep / 76
The Ye ar
Three Lawrence artists cut directly to their view of the land
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ON THE COVER One of the sheep from Gail and Tom Sloan’s sheep farm stands in its barn west of Lawrence. Photograph by Jason Dailey
52 | People Evel Knievel of Campanile Hill Aunt Maggie helps her fellow Lawrencians ground a midlife daredevil and warm up a snowshoveling stickler
56 | People (Anniversary Article) The Soft Side of the Man Who Hated Tigers Don Fambrough, the Jayhawk with the legendary fightin’ words, was also a devoted son and sweetheart
60 | People Hometown Heroes We all need one, and fortunately Lawrence has an abundance of them
66 | Places Reveling in the Round
40 | LM Flavor Layla’s Sweet Fusions
When life gave one couple a wooded landscape with perfect views, they built a home to match
Layering her cultural heritage and professional training, a dessert chef creates delightful taste combinations
70 | Places A Grand Time
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Fashion meets film
Rather than looking to the runways for style inspiration this season, consider consulting your favorite film.
Watching movies is not only one of my favorite pastimes, it is also an endless source of creative inspiration. Films combine the innate appeal of storytelling with the aesthetic interest of a visual component. They can provide a beautiful escape, shed light on the human condition and evoke emotions of every kind. As an homage to a few of my favorite movies, I put together outfits inspired by each. As the winter chill sets in, it’s the perfect time to hunker down at home for a movie or venture out to Liberty Hall to catch the latest indie flick. Take 1: Cry-Baby Set in 1950s Baltimore, John Waters’ Cry-Baby (1990) is an offbeat musical comedy about two groups of teenagers— the juvenile delinquent drapes and the straitlaced squares—and the forbidden love that blossoms between two of them. Though more tame than some of his previous work, Cry-Baby boasts Waters’ signature brand of camp and provides a delightfully twisted dose of retro Americana. Visually, the film is replete with classic vintage fashion, from poodle skirts to wiggle dresses to leather jackets. For my outfit ode, I went the rebellious route with a body-hugging pencil skirt, coordinating crop top and classic motorcycle jacket. Leopard heels, red lips and cat-eye sunglasses add a cheeky touch. This look is a prime reminder that some things never go out of style.
Take 2: Badlands The first feature from acclaimed director Terrence Malick, Badlands (1973) tells the story of a naive high schooler who runs away with a charming young greaser. She goes along for the ride as he embarks on a murderous crime spree through the Midwest. In
…for style inspiration … consider consulting your favorite films. contrast to the dark subject matter, the film boasts a beautifully poetic quality, composed of sweeping natural landscapes, hazy golden light and the lulling cadence of Sissy Spacek’s narration. Though the film is set in the ’50s, the style of Spacek’s character has a decidedly ’70s influence. With that influence, and the
overall feel of the film in mind, I put together a vintage leather skirt, prim lace blouse, tall socks and platform sandals for a look that conveys innocence and femininity with a touch of grit. Take 3: The Royal Tenenbaums Anyone who loves indie movies and vintage fashion can’t help but be charmed by the world of Wes Anderson. Known for his signature aesthetic, his movies are layered with meticulously arranged, symmetrically composed visuals, and often highlight themes of loss, longing and love with a comedic spin. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) chronicles the reunion of a dysfunctional family comprised of three gifted children (now aimless adults), a loving matriarch and a deadbeat patriarch. Inside Anderson’s quirky, stylized snow globe of a world, the film serves up delightful humor and real, melancholic pain in equal measure. Because his films are so visually rich and dynamic, they provide an abundance of fashion inspiration. Of the three films listed here, this one most closely aligns with my own sense of style. While it was hard to pick just one look, I decided to channel the vintage sporty vibe of the movie with some preppy separates, while giving a nod to the sense of fallen-from-grace luxury that the Tenenbaum family exudes.
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A new film pays tribute to a legendary punk-rock club, and an accomplished local musician takes some solo time
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The Ins-and-Outs of Making ‘The Outhouse’ One might say that the makers of an upcoming documentary about The Outhouse, a legendary Lawrence punk club, put the cart before the horse. “We went public with the idea of the film three years ago. It seems longer, but it was July 2011,” explains director Brad Norman. “Before we had reached out to anyone for any interviews or even started writing the film, we started the website and put up a Facebook site.” Once the idea was public, however, there was no lengthy gestation period. By August, cameras rolled on The Outhouse: The Film 1985-1997. The first trip was to Detroit to interview Tesco Vee, frontman for the Meatmen and founder of the influential punk rock ‘zine Touch and Go. After that followed trips to Minneapolis, St. Louis, Washington D.C., St. Louis again, and finally Baltimore. “Then we were broke,” Norman says. At that point, the Kansas-based filmmaker and guitarist, who played regularly at the venue in the 1990s, launched a Kickstarter campaign that ended up raising nearly $4,000 more than its $8,500 goal. Thanks to these funds, Norman and his crew have been able to travel across the country and speak with members of Naked Raygun, Fear, the Melvins and many more musicians who performed at The Outhouse, even Ice T and Ian MacKaye. The interviews of musicians and promoters, along with archival footage, demonstrate why this tiny cinderblock building could draw so many bands. Naked Raygun’s Jeff Pezzati describes it as “a small little sweatbox, like one of the things punk rock is supposed to be,” while Ice T likens his experience at The Outhouse to “putting Body Count in a house party.” It was an atmosphere that would attract punk rock’s finest, like Descendents and Bad Brains, as well as up-andcomers such as Nirvana and Pantera—both of whom appeared as opening acts for bands they would quickly eclipse. But some of the most enlightening and surprising interviews were with the farmers who owned the fields surrounding the club “four miles east of Mass on 15th,” as the directions on so many concert fliers read. “As a kid I felt like going to The Outhouse was like going out in the country,” Norman says. “’Who would we be bothering out here?’ Well, the neighbors set me straight on some of this attitude. They really are likable and are very DIY people—more than any punk kid I ever met.” Some of the film’s footage was screened as part of the 2013 Free State Film Festival, but other than a trailer, nothing’s been seen. The Outhouse: The Film has been submitted to film festivals, and is set for release this winter.
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La Guerre Set Free Musician Katlyn Conroy is an impatient person, but in the best of all possible ways. “I have this problem where I just kind of write all the time, to the point where I get bored with the stuff I’ve written before, and I’m always just kind of focusing on the next project. So, I’m really excited to be releasing this new album, but I’m more excited about the new stuff I’m writing,” she says with a laugh. Conroy, who performs as La Guerre, has changed up the way things are done for her new album, Sapphires. While the singer-songwriter’s previous album, Rare and Collectible Spirits, was done all by herself, at home, this one was recorded in-studio with Joshua Browning. It’s also a lot less electronic than that previous record. “It’s definitely a little more organic-sounding, more structured,” explains Conroy. “These songs, some of them I’d written a very, very long time ago and some fairly recently, but they were all songs that I wanted to tie up and get recorded. And it just happened that they fit well together.” In addition to her work as La Guerre, Conroy plays in Lawrence indie-pop band Cowboy Indian Bear. She says her work with this group has helped her develop skills she wouldn’t have gained by fronting a band on her own. “It taught me how to be subtle, and it taught me how to complement things as opposed to just taking them over,” Conroy says. While La Guerre itself has at times been a full band, as of late Conroy’s been performing solo. “Currently, the band is just me. It’s usually just me and a keyboard, or me and a guitar,” she says. “But I think that it’s really almost better in a way, because I get to emote vocally, and that’s typically what seems to be the biggest crowd-pleaser and what I enjoy doing a lot. I definitely like focusing more on the instrumental parts with a full band, but playing solo? There’s nothing more freeing than that.”
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lm bookmarks Story by Mary R. Gage photography by Jason Dailey
enise Low contemplates culture and nature interlaced across wondrous and humbling geologic landscapes in her new book Mélange Block (Red Mountain Press, 2014). An award-winning author, editor and teacher, Low is a native Kansan and longtime resident of Lawrence. She served as Kansas’ second Poet Laureate and teaches at Baker University. With Mélange Block, Low weaves elements of her own ethnic history with deep forces of nature. In fact, the word “mélange” in the title is a nod to both the geologic description of rock containing a mixture of materials of different shapes, ages and origins, and Low’s heritage of Cherokee, Delaware, British and German identities. Integrating these disparate elements presents the challenge of forging “an identity and operating system out of a wide range of psychological impulses,” she says. And as a poet, Low also sees these themes in words. “I started looking at how geologic processes are not dissimilar from all other processes, including language,” she says. “There are poems in the book that are sedimentary, there are some that are igneous rock, and some are aggregate—where everything is stuck together. Those ideas are behind putting together thoughts, experiences, images from a lifespan.” These thoughts are deftly interpreted in the opening lines of “Volcanic Core.” Throat of a volcano stands Frozen in a final bass note Sounds of a muted threat The old god’s war song.
Two poets … and a troupe of trees appear in this season’s literary landscape
Low describes this work as capturing a “sense of frozen moments.” Volcanoes, she says, “are really frozen explosions. It’s a paradox, and I’m trying to communicate that in abstract representations rather than explanations.” Poetry, Low believes, can expand how language is used and help people with the process of thinking on a deeper level. And for this work, that level becomes an exploration of layers and ages that form our identities.
Clockwise from left Judith Roitman, Denise Low and Maureen Carroll
short takes: November 23 Author and historian Richard Norton Smith discusses his new book, On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller, at the Dole Institute.
when and where December 4 7:00 p.m. The Big Tent Reading at the Raven features authors Kristin Lockridge, Robert Day and Kate Lorenz.
December 18 Final day for Douglas County residents to submit poetry and short fiction for the Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award. Winners announced on February 1.
January 11 3:00 p.m. Patricia Graham, author of Japanese Design, presents a free lecture on Japanese modern design and its influence on the United States at the Lawrence Public Library auditorium. Presented in conjunction with Lawrence Modern.
Judith Roitman—Poet Experimental, avant-garde, or simply unique may the most apt descriptions of Judith Roitman’s recent work Ku: a thumb book. In production by Airfoil Chapbooks of Portland, Oregon, Ku is a collection of 64 cards, each containing one line of poetry. Each card, or any combination of cards, makes a poem. “You shuffle them, and then you have a poem. The point about that,” Roitman says, “is you have 64 factorial poems, which is about 10 to the 89th.” Math and poetry are not mutually exclusive in Roitman’s world. She’s been writing poems since she was 8 years old, and has worked most of her adult life establishing a notable career as a math professor at the University of Kansas. Having retired from KU earlier this year, Roitman now has more time to beguile us with her mathematically poetical (or poetically mathematical) creations. “The way most people think about poetry isn’t what I’m doing,” she says. “What I’m interested in is exploring the relationship among language and mind and the world. It takes all kinds of forms. Some of it is abstract, some of it is concrete; it doesn’t have straightforward narrative. I’m just exploring this thing and trying to understand it, and it manifests in different kinds of ways.” Roitman says that “ku” comes from the word haiku—not because her works are part of that genre, but because they are shorter than haikus. Adorning the backs of each card and its line of poetry are abstract drawings by Lawrence artist Lee Chapman. The publishers cut up a series of larger drawings by Chapman to fit the cards, and are printing each edition by letterpress.
Persimmon, by Lisa Grossman from the book The Tree Who Walked Through Time. (Image copyright Lisa Grossman.)
Troupes of Trees The concept for Maureen Carroll’s flipbook, The Tree Who Walked Through Time: A Tree Identification Story (Anamcara Press, 2014), came to her in an “a-ha” moment— “one of those things where artists tell you they get an idea just suddenly,” she says. “That’s what this was.” Carroll wrote professionally for many years, but she hadn’t thought of writing a children’s book. What she did think about time and again was her inability to identify trees, her love of fine art in children’s books, and the lack of distinctively illustrated tree-identification books. The impetus for the project was when Carroll realized she could meet all these needs in a fundraising project for children’s art education. With that idea in mind, she sought to engage as many artists in the book project as possible. She sent out a call for trees, and Lawrence artists responded. Before long, several
talented local artists, including Lisa Grossman, Samantha Nowak, Stan Herd and Ardys Ramberg, were creating trees for the book—most of them basing their work on an actual tree that they knew, says Carroll. Rewarded with illustrations of 16 different tree varieties, Carroll then faced the challenge of writing a story that incorporated all the trees and tied them together in a book. The end result of the three-year project was two stories: one about a boy who wishes to be a tree, and on the flip side of the book, the other about a tree who wishes to be a boy. Profits from the book are donated to the Mulvane Art Museum in Topeka and the Kansas Alliance for the Arts in Education. Carroll and the contributing artists plan to host several fundraising events through December 2015, including a February 2015 exhibit at The Merc of original artwork from the book.
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The “L” word has become a political epithet, but its traditional meaning is more fitting for the city on the Kaw
This fall, our fair city played a central role in the governor’s race when the phrase “liberal Lawrence lawyer” was used as an epithet against one candidate. That alliterative political attack got me thinking about what the word “liberal” really means, how it evolved over time, and which of the word’s various connotations truly apply to Lawrence. The word has its roots in the Latin liber, meaning, simply, “free.” Economist Daniel Klein has written that, for centuries, “liberal” had only “what scholars have called ‘pre-political’ meanings, such as generous, tolerant, or suitable to one of noble or superior status—as in ‘liberal arts’ or ‘liberal education.’” Only with the onset of the Enlightenment did the word become a political signifier—but not in the same way it is today. One of the earliest proponents of political liberalism was none other than Adam Smith, whom today we associate with free-market conservatism. For Smith, liberalism meant free trade and cosmopolitanism, freedom from government restraint—important and radical ideas in the context of the 18th century. Later, of course, liberals would begin to view Smith’s unfettered capitalism as a new tyranny to rebel against, and the modern American liberal-conservative divide would take shape. As the political and social divisions in U.S. politics calcified in the 20th century, liberalism took on a new connotation, something closer to libertinism. The word became associated with perceived excesses of the ‘60s, and the Reagan-era backlash against ’60s activism saw the once-proud label become an epithet.
“Liberal” was now typically uttered with disdain, the “l” and “r” sounds drawn out contemptuously as though the word was being dragged through the mud—which in effect it was. The word has become so thoroughly tainted that today, even liberals don’t want to be called liberal. The more anodyne “progressive” is the preferred term, as it seems to conjure up the image of Teddy Roosevelt rather than Teddy Kennedy. This politicized nature of “liberal” in the U.S. has been codified in Webster’s, whose main definition of the word is “believing that government should be active in supporting social and political change”—certainly a far cry from Adam Smith. A secondary definition, which Webster’s lists as “obsolete” (incorrectly, I believe), is “lacking moral restraint; Licentious.” Interestingly, however, those two meanings do not hold sway across the pond, where the word in its modern form originated. In the Oxford Dictionaries, the older, broader definitions (open to new ideas, favoring maximum freedom, generous—as in “liberal amounts of wine”) still prevail. So which sense of the word applies to Lawrence? In the Sunflower State as elsewhere, the word once had positive connotations, as evidenced by the town of Liberal, Kansas, which was named for the legendary generosity of its earliest settler in the late 19th century. Even before “liberal” became a slur, however, Lawrence was often viewed as a bit too liberal for this conservative state. In Hutchinson in the 1930s, when my grandma decided she wanted to attend the University of Kansas, her disappointed church choir director told her he’d rather see his own daughter “dead in the grave” than entering that “den of iniquity” on Mount Oread. Some Kansans have always viewed Lawrence as “Snob Hill,” much the same way some Texans view their own state university town as “the People’s Republic of Austin.” Of course, liberal Lawrence didn’t “corrupt” Grandma in the 1930s any more than it corrupted my mom and dad 30 years later— even though my parents were present during the most brazenly “liberal” period in KU history, the late ’60s. This was the era of Vietnam protests, the firebombing of the Kansas Union, the free-love ethos of the Kaw Valley Hemp Pickers, and all the hype of the hippie era that turned “liberal” into a bad word for many across the nation.
Lawrence need not run away from this history or try to bury it. The ’60s radicals here were part of a tradition of Kansas populism and radicalism dating back to the state’s inception. Our abolitionist forefathers like John Brown were the radicals of their day—although in many cases they, paradoxically, also considered themselves conservative fundamentalist Christians. It’s quite appropriate that Amos A. Lawrence of Massachusetts, our city’s namesake and a cofounder of KU, at times considered himself both a conservative and a “stark mad” abolitionist. This seeming contradiction still defines Lawrence today. Senator Bob Dole, a KU alum who was actually recruited by Phog Allen to play basketball here back in the ’40s, is also a conservative politician with strong ties to Lawrence. The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at KU was founded in 2003 to promote bipartisanship, and Lawrence’s liberal reputation has never stopped Dole from making himself at home here and singing the town’s praises. Speaking at Allen Fieldhouse in 2004 alongside his former presidential opponent, Bill Clinton, Dole quipped that the people here have given him “more compliments and fewer votes than anywhere in Kansas.” Lawrence may vote “liberal” in the contemporary sense of the word, but as Bob Dole can attest, our city epitomizes liberalism in its older, traditional sense. Lawrence is a big enough tent for Teddys Roosevelt and Kennedy; for Adam Smith, Langston Hughes and William S. Burroughs; for the man from Hope, Arkansas and the boy from Russell, Kansas; for Western Kansas farm kids, Johnson County suburbanites and outsiders from all over the globe. The “pre-political” meanings of liberal as “generous” and “tolerant” apply better to the city than the more contemporary, partisan definition. I believe we need to embrace this broader definition, so that someday “liberal Lawrence lawyer” will no longer be a slur…. Well, less of a slur anyway; rehabilitating the word “lawyer” is a whole other can of worms.
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When the landscape is more prairie than slopes, skiing becomes—yes, slower—but also more affordable, more accessible and more intimate. This winter, many Lawrencians will head to mountains in the West, in Europe or elsewhere across the globe for the fast thrills of downhill skiing. But that doesn’t mean skiing is entirely forsaken close to home. Some enthusiasts argue that the very best skiing can be found on the prairie, around the lake and over the fields.
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Herb Tuttle Although Herb Tuttle grew up in upstate New York engaging in a variety of outdoor winter sports, he did not discover cross-country skiing until he moved to Kansas in 1979. These days, he skis, snowshoes and walks or hikes while volunteering his time maintaining the cross-country ski trails at Clinton Lake State Park. Tuttle says cross-country skiing is an easy and affordable sport for beginners: Used skis and poles can be found readily at garage sales, maintaining the equipment requires little effort and trails are free to access. An engineering professor at the University of Kansas, Tuttle describes his pastime as “a true aerobic type of conditioning” because of the constant movement from both upper and lower body limbs.
“…a true aerobic type of conditioning … truly a wonderful family sport.” “My own activity is I like to go out in the early evening around sunset when it’s quiet and peaceful and relaxing,” Tuttle says. “The beauty of Clinton Lake is we have up and down hills, so you can get a little vertical challenge in there. If I’m there by myself, I’ll try to push myself a little bit. Above all, I don’t want to hurt myself at the beginning of the season and do anything stupid. Being a mature person, I take it easy at first. Then, I gradually work my way up to doing more to get my muscles back into condition.” Tuttle also works with handicapped children and adults as an adaptive cross-country ski instructor at Snow Creek outside of Weston, Missouri, where he emphasizes the accessibility and joy of the sport. “As opposed to a ski slope, when everyone gets on the trails and kind of goes their different directions, crosscountry skiing is truly a wonderful family sport,” Tuttle says.
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et T he
The Poles 8
The Sock s
Skiing enthusiast Margaret Kramar shares her suggestions.
1 Think layers. After 30-45 minutes of skiing, you will want to take off heavier jackets and rely on layers of warm clothing. 2 Two pairs of gloves: strong, outer gloves for protection and lighter gloves underneath to retain heat. 3 Two pairs of socks: light moisture-wicking socks and then heavier, wool socks over them. 4 Protect your eyes from glares with comfortable sunglasses. 5 You won’t master cross-country skiing with short seasons in Kansas. A road-trip to the mountains allows days of consistently good skiing. 6 Boots are essential and individualized. Consult with a pro. 7 Long, narrow skis for speed. Short, wider skis for ease. Try renting skis first and consult with a pro. 8 Poles are fairly standard, but ask a pro to fit you with the right size.
The Kramars As their love for each other has burned, so have a lot of calories for husband and wife Tad and Margaret Kramar, who ski the same land they farm and live on west of Lawrence. Margaret, who has her Ph.D. in English and lectures at KU, taught herself cross-country skiing 30 years ago by taking a city parks and recreation class. She says it is a perfect alternative to downhill skiing. “I don’t like the sensation of going forward really fast, and feeling like I’m out of control and I’m not going to be able to stop,” Margaret says. “If you’re freaked out by downhill, cross-country is perfect. It’s just a really good way to get outside and get close to things in the winter and be out in the snow.” Margaret introduced the sport to Tad when they met 15 years ago. Now a vice president and associate general counsel for the Federal Home Loan Bank in Topeka, Tad, like a lot of people, had tended to stay out of the snow as much as possible and was initially wary of the winter sport. “Once I started doing it, I realized you warm up,” Tad says. “You’re exerting a lot of energy, and it warms you up. You have to wear less clothing than you would think.” Heat generation, less clothing and even nighttime wintry passes make for a perfect romantic getaway for the Kramars—in their own backyard, to boot. “It’s a really beautiful place,” Tad says. “Sometimes we go in the evening, in the moonlight, and can see well enough just from the moon.” In non-snowy conditions, the two tend their farm, Hidden Hollow, and sell their produce to local farmers’ markets. They enjoy the time they spend together digging in the dirt, but perhaps the most enriching cultivation and nurturing occurs the few times a year the couple grooms tracks together. “It’s a lot of fun to be gliding along the snow,” says Tad.
Whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s W h
Herb Tuttle (with miniature snowman) Tad Kramar (in blue jacket) Margaret Kramar (in red jacket)
Story by Mick Braa photography by Jason Dailey
Three Lawrence artists cut directly to their view of the land
Gregory Thomas / Debra Clemente / Jewell Willhite
o palette-knife painters, a touch of the knife becomes a direct, free and often joyous way to apply paint to their canvas or panel. With strokes, dabs, smears and scrapings, their knife-painted images emerge with raw sensations and textures that are very distinct from smoothly blended brush paintings. The Lawrence area boasts many fine painters who have used the palette knife, but here are three landscapists who have chosen to work primarily or solely with the knife to capture sensational scenes drawn from outdoor observations or creative imagination. Gregory Thomas Palette-knife painters usually lay down large, plasterlike areas of background color and then loosely break spaces down into smaller shapes and details to build colorful layers and textures. To Gregory Thomas, this thick layering of paint is essential to capturing his scenes in a more three-dimensional tactile surface. The Kansas native gradually developed his themes from working with alla-prima color, unmixed and right out of the tube or jar, and the paints’ thickly applied creamy impasto.
I like when I scrape through one color to reveal something under it. – Gregory Thomas “I used to paint provocative things about social issues, controversy and sort of darker images. I turned 40 and realized that I really needed to do something else,” Thomas says. “So, my plein air knife painting became a way to refocus and interact with everything in the landscape that has always been right there in front of me. It helps to calm me, and I hope my paintings have that effect on others.” For a time, Thomas outfitted the bed of his pickup truck as an open-air studio where he could stand or sit to work with everything he needed to paint. He could drive to a view that inspired or intrigued him, park and get right to it. By directly experiencing the open view and absorbing the light and air around him in all sorts of weather, the distractions and noise of modern society faded away. Even his playfully loose downtown Lawrence scenes suggest a refreshed and relaxed local experience. “I almost always try to finish my paintings on site,” Thomas says. “It takes courage to apply color with a
opposite Gregory Thomas, Debra Clemente and Jewell Willhite improvised this composite work during their photo studio session. ABOVE, FROM TOP Gregory Thomas, Cattails, and 7th and Mass. by Thomas
palette knife straight from the jar or tube, with little or no mixing except by how I put them on the canvas. I like when I scrape through one color to reveal something under it. It’s exploring, and each painting is a new adventure. Sometimes I realize that I’ve painted things I wasn’t really conscious of seeing out there, and that the colors and light and shapes all came together—I’m amazed! “I love to be outside, and I have to paint,” says Thomas. “When I realize that I’m actually here, able to do what I should be doing, I’m at peace.” Debra Clemente Taking time to look and see how everything fits together is the way Debra Clemente approaches her creative work. Clemente’s observations, meditation and mental wanderings allow her ideas to evolve. She paints and writes about remembered impressions with a bit of active thought, and lots of intuition enhanced by imagination. And then there’s one more element—her careful absorption of beautiful colors, rich light and the world around her, so they can take on a new life on canvas. “It’s all about the color,” says Clemente. “My images are really excuses to make the colors work together. I like to make them really pop. I use a lot of oil paint that I don’t have to do much to—they have that richness and body already. Then I just let it happen. I paint sort of unconsciously, and I try to keep each color fairly clean and don’t mix them into each other much. I work along the edges of each line or shape of color, where I can soften or change how they meet or touch each.” Clemente likes the freedom of layering and building the paint, adjusting here and there as needed, but keeping the creative process flowing without focusing on making a specific image. Her paintings evolve as she spreads, dabs and scrapes colors to reinforce each other, or to reveal others below the surface. “The movement and light and color variations are almost abstracted from flashing colors I observed in a field, the tree line, or from the undulation of flowers in a garden or prairie,” Clemente says. “I try to look at life with my eyes, heart and spirit. I’ve moved beyond just painting what I see. I try to get this feeling going on and just keep working it. I use colors as a voice, just like using words when I write. And my writing is really about my own creative journey—learning to trust what I’ve learned. There’s an ongoing and changing richness in my painting that reflects my life. It challenges me to avoid imitating myself, to keep it fresh and to move forward with optimism and joy about what could be next.”
right Debra Clemente stands in front of a composite painting. ABOVE, FROM TOP Take Time and Hard to Forget by Clemente
Jewell Willhite With her palette knife, Jewell Willhite lays down paint on her canvas to define essential space and light contrasts without a lot of color mixing. Then, she ambitiously reconstructs places she has visited and lived in matching colors, shapes and textures. Willhite began favoring the knife when she moved to outdoor landscape painting in the early 1990s, and she has continued favoring plein air work, particularly rural landscapes—though there is a very practical reason for this. “I paint rural paintings mostly now because the people I paint with live in the country,” says Willhite. The artist characterizes her work as responding to a location’s light and color—both very transient things. “The light is always changing, and the way you see color and shadows changes,” Willhite says. “And things happen to interrupt you, so it’s hard to finish paintings where you start them.” Mountains, lakes, gardens and wildlife are her usual subjects, but Willhite is not reluctant to include man-made objects that occur in the landscape. Fences, bridges, buildings and other structures often counterbalance the looseness and softness of nature. Sunflower Field is a painting Willhite suspects is more appealing to buyers because of its local flavor. But a closer look at the balanced composition, hot and cool contrasts—the suggested but not fully rendered flowers countered by the barely present form of a distant barn— proves that the aesthetic appeal goes well beyond the subject matter. “Painting is supposed to be about what inspires the artist, what we choose and respond to, and the freedom to do it in our own way,” says Willhite. “I mostly paint for myself without even knowing what I will do with it.”
ABOVE, FROM TOP On the Road by Jewell Willhite, the artist stands in front of a composite work, and Sunflower Field by Jewell Willhite
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Story by Paula Naughtin photography by Jason Dailey
Layla’sSweet wedding-cake trends Wedding-cake baker Layla McEniry notes that there are definite trends in the field. Right now, she says, a popular option is “the traditional white cake, but with lots of fresh fruit or lemon.” She adds her own twist to the cake with a signature Swiss meringue buttercream. “I jokingly say during my wedding meetings with the couples, ‘If you like a light frosting that is kind of like butter, sex and air, this is your frosting.’” The frosting is “not too sweet; it’s very light. It is just a gorgeous finish. I hate cloyingly sweet; it detracts, for me, from flavor.”
Layering her cultural heritage and professional training, a dessert chef creates delightful taste combinations Layla McEniry is fascinated by culinary history—where a particular dish originated, who ate it, how cooking methods developed, and especially how cuisines evolve when cultures and people intertwine. That makes sense, as her own life and cooking have been shaped by the melding of cultures. “I’m a product of multiculturalism, and I cook like that,” says McEniry. Her mother, Toots Schultz, came to America as a teenager, right after finishing high school in the Philippines. Her father, Jerry Schultz, met Toots when he was at the University of Kansas working on his doctoral degree in anthropology. Together, they raised a family that incorporated both American and Filipino cultures. Cooking intrigued McEniry early on. “I was that kid who asked for a food processor when they were 11,” she says. Part of her interest
I was that kid who asked for a food processor. – Layla McEniry
evolved because her parents had a restaurant that “was a pan-Asian before there was pan-Asian in Lawrence,” the much-lamented Toots’ Oriental. Another influence? “I watched so much Julia Child on PBS. I just never thought anyone could be like that on television. I never saw anyone who looked like her, who sounded like her. She whacked fish, she was just no-holdsbarred and I thought, ‘That’s how I would want to cook.’” McEniry’s initial solo cooking attempt was a disaster. “The first thing I ever baked was a muffin. And the response to my terrible muffins that no one could eat? I was in the bathtub and the door is flung open and my family pelts me with the muffins. There I am in the bathtub—and my floating rock muffins,” she laughs. That experience just made her more determined, however. “It spurred me on—‘I’m going to figure this out,’” McEniry vowed. Though McEniry would study ceramics at KU and settle on a career as a cognitive therapist, she continued to cook and moved
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substantially beyond rock muffins— working at times in legendary local establishments such as Paradise Café and Wheatfields, and setting up her own wedding cake business, Sweetcakes. “Fourteen years ago, a friend got married and she said, ‘No one will make me a checkerboard wedding cake,’” says McEniry. “I thought, ‘That sounds like a hell of a challenge; I’m going to try it out.’” McEniry is careful that her work with Sweetcakes balances rather than overcomes her life. “In the height of wedding season I do two big orders a month, max. It’s all so easy to burn out,” she says. Working as a disability advocate Monday through Friday and then as a “weekend warrior” wielding cake batter and
without the ceremony Readers who are not getting married can try out some of Layla McEniry’s creations for themselves in the form of cupcakes. She sells them several times a year at the LOLA (Ladies of Lawrence) craft shows. What will you find there? “Every time I do LOLA it’s something different,” she says. “I’ve maybe done one repeat cupcake.” She’s also added French macarons to her LOLA offerings. “I make my own almond milk, and I use the almond meal that’s left over to make macarons. No waste—that’s kind of my theory.”
frosting knives “has just been this beautiful balance for me,” McEniry says. She also finds that the creation of the cakes satisfies her artistic side. “There is something very structural about making cakes, especially tiered wedding cakes. It’s where my food and my art are synthesized.” At home, McEniry cooks up desserts such as leché flan. She says this dish, based on a family recipe, embodies “a little history of the Philippines—a microcosm of Filipino culture and understanding.” The original leché, or milk, flan originated from the Spanish colonizers of the Philippine Islands. Then, notes McEniry, this ingredient was gradually replaced by canned milk after GIs brought that American staple to the region during World War II. But the importance of flan remained unchanged. “Flan is very much a holiday food,” McEniry says. “Christmas is huge in the Philippines because of Catholicism. So fiesta happens the
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whole month of December. Both flan and steamed rice cake are just those things that you get everywhere. Everyone has a little bit of a variation.” McEniry continues her family’s cooking traditions at home. Husband Sean and daughter Sadie Mae, who just finished high school, are enthusiastic consumers of her efforts. A family meal at the McEnirys will often include items from several areas of the world. “We might have a couple of Filipino dishes, a Japanese dish, and I might make Vietnamese spring rolls,” McEniry says. Surprisingly, Filipino food has proved challenging for McEniry. “Of all the foods that I am most uncomfortable cooking, Filipino food is the top of the list. The only dish I’ve ever burned is the Filipino national dish, chicken adobo. My adult goal is to become a proficient cook of Filipino food.” That seems a sure bet. This is the same cook who, after all, conquered the once rock-hard muffin.
Flan é h c e L Layla’s
Serves: 6-8 Preparation Time: Approximately 1 hour 1 can condensed milk 1 can evaporated milk 7 egg yolks
3 whole eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla cup cream
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Pour into a baking dish that will fit inside a larger pan (a roasting pan works well) so you will have a bain-marie, a hot-water bath. Put your filled baking dish inside the roasting pan and add very hot water to the roasting pan—enough to go about one inch up around the outside of your flan baking dish. Be careful not to get any water inside the flan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until the flan sets and is firm.
Caramel Sauce cup packed brown sugar cup half-and-half cream 2 tablespoons butter 2 teaspoons vanilla Pinch of salt Mix in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until thick. Assembly 1-2 ripe mangos, sliced After the flan has cooled slightly, set in a pan of warm water to loosen it. Then flip onto a cake plate with a raised edge to catch all the drippy goodness. Top with sliced mangos and pour caramel over the top.
Pour: 1 oz Calvados
(French apple brandy)
1/2 oz Ferrand Dry Curacao Dashes of Angostura bitters
Garnish with: Lemon peel
Bellini n lia
Strain: Into Collins glass Top with: 3 oz ice-cold sparkling wine
Garnish with: Orange peel
treet women say ss. S : Ma
Shake: With ice
Top with: 3 1/2 oz ice cold sparkling wine
Mix: 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice 1/2 oz simple syrup 1 oz London Dry Gin or New Orleans cognac
S os ad
theme int o rence e s se nt
reet men s ss. St ay: Ma
On New Year’s Eve, many Lawrencians will raise a toast of … what exactly?
the science o f di m sti u i llin c g
Law re n
Pour: 1 oz cold white peach puree
Top with: 4 oz ice-cold sparkling wine Garnish with: Orange peel
nothing *unscientific street survey of Mass. St. pedestrians 10/24/2014
A few of Steve Wilson’s concoctions
Steve Wilson, owner of City Wine Market, says it’s all about the bubbles:
This issue’s theme: arnis mix
Because not everyone likes Champagne or sparkling wine by itself, cocktails made with bubbles are an excellent, crowd-pleasing alternative.
Rice Stafford Gray
owner/winemaker at BlueJacket Crossing Winery, says if you’re looking for local wines, then there are two grapes to know better in the coming year.
[Source: Kansas Department of Revenue, 2012]
Kansas never officially ratified the 21st Amendment repealing prohibition
Several counties continued to ban liquor-by-the-drink sales.
What will be the drink for the coming year? Kyle Gardner Bar Manager for Pachamama’s
Manager for The Birddog Bar/ 521 Restaurant
Trending down? Infusions. “A trend, but not as much as before.” Trending up? Mescal. “That smoky taste is rising in popularity.” Always popular? Bourbon and rye. Trending down? Cinnamon-flavored spirits. “They will trend out by the end of the year.” Trending up? Complex cocktails. “Bartenders love to be creative and response has been fantastic.” Always popular? Whiskey. “Your grandfather’s drink, but now there are a lot of lighter whiskeys out that have a bigger base with women and the younger crowd.”
In 1880, 63% of douglas county voters said “Ban the Drink!”
Only a few counties opposed prohibition. Washington
Atchison Leavenworth Lincoln
survives kansas seasons
hardy, but takes four years to develop
lilac or tuberose aroma
[Source: Cutler, William; History of the State of Kansas, A.T. Andreas, Chicago, 1883]
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Novelist Natalie C. Parker brings her Southern Gothic outlook to Kansas
rom its opening line—“It’s no secret, ours is the meanest swamp in Louisiana”—Natalie C. Parker’s debut novel weaves a Gothic tale in which the notion of place connects the past and present in unexpected ways, Southern storytelling tradition plays an ominous role and memories are not always what they seem. Parker infuses Beware the Wild with the kinds of stories she remembers from her childhood in Virginia and days spent visiting her grandparents in Mississippi. “They had this sense of mystery and magic about that land,” Parker says. “They would point to the lake or they’d point to a tree, and there would be a story about that lake or that tree that would inspire me to go off on my own adventure.” Always, she says, their stories underscored the idea that nature was a part of the fabric of family. In Beware the Wild, that magical connection turns dark when Phineas Saucier disappears into the swamp at the heart of Sticks, Louisiana, and no one remembers he exists. No one, that is, except his sister, Sterling. “As Sterling becomes the only person to remember her brother, the stories about her brother become very important to who she is and her quest to bring him back,” Parker says. The role of stories in developing and sustaining identity intrigues Parker. “One of the things that I always strongly associated with my family and the South in general
Story by Julie Tollefson photography by Jason Dailey
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Off the ledge … the benefit of shared experience Though writing, by nature, is a solitary endeavor, Natalie C. Parker draws support from several close-knit writing communities, both online and local. “It’s really nice to have people who are at a similar stage in the process so you can compare notes,” Parker says of the friendships she’s developed with other first-time authors. “They can either talk me down off the ledge, or they can say, ‘This happened to me and these other five people. Here’s how we addressed it.’” The support flows in both directions, with Parker giving as much as she gets from the communities she’s helped build. “She’s made such an impact on how I process the everyday highs and lows of publishing,” says Julie Murphy of Fort Worth, Texas, whose debut novel Side Effects May Vary, came out in March and who first “met” Parker online. “She’s also talked me through a few huge creative breakthroughs, especially in regard to my second book.” Locally, Parker formed the Kansas Writers Group to encourage writers to make connections and support each other as they navigate the highly competitive and unpredictable profession. The group welcomes authors in any genre and at any stage of their writing careers, from published authors such as Parker and Tessa Gratton to beginners. Amanda Sellet of Lawrence, who is an experienced writer for newspapers and magazines but is new to fiction, regularly attends the group’s bimonthly meetings. “Because people like Natalie and Tessa are successful in the field, it makes it more real—the idea that this is something that can happen to actual people, you know,” Sellet says. “It’s not like waking up with a superpower or winning the lottery.” The Kansas Writers Group meets the second Saturday of evennumbered months (February, April, June, etc.). For more information about the group, contact Parker on Twitter (@nataliecparker) or through her website, natalieparker.com.
is storytelling and how families are constantly re-creating themselves by the stories that they tell,” she says. “I like how small towns, in particular, use storytelling to create very specific, very intimate culture.” Parker deftly examines this theme throughout Beware the Wild, in which stories and memories are synonymous and both are malleable—challenging the conception of what memory really is. In Sticks, after the swamp takes Phineas, a girl emerges and takes his place in the family. Memories and stories morph, and the culture of the town shifts to accommodate its new reality, one in which the girl has always lived there and Phineas never existed. Poetry and prose The swampy, Southern atmosphere in Beware the Wild comes alive through Parker’s easy turns of phrase and sharp cultural observations, rooted in tales passed down from grandparents, aunts and uncles. The 33-year-old writer says she stopped short of including personal family lore in her fiction, but her prose vividly evokes the feeling of family tales and leaves no doubt about her deep affection for the land and creatures she knew as a child. As an adult, she’s grown to have the same regard for her swamp-less home in the heart of the country. “I thought living in a landlocked state would crush me,” she says. “I was dead wrong.” Readers can expect to see the influence of the prairie in her future projects. “The beauty of this place is a slow beauty,” she says. “It rewards the patient observer, those with an eye for subtlety or quiet drama, those who don’t assume that they’ve seen the sky just because they opened their eyes.” Beyond the wild Beware the Wild hit shelves in October, and a sequel is already in the works, planned for release in winter 2016. Beyond her sequel, Parker’s future projects are less defined. By day, she facilitates a research project at the University of Kansas focused on climate change, which might yield fodder for future novels. “One of my great literary loves is science fiction,” she says. “I’ve been taking all these notes for six years that will very shortly be turned into, hopefully, a series.” At home, her partner, Tessa Gratton, also writes novels for young adults, including her newest, The Strange Maid. Though sharing a vocation in common has its upside, when both have deadlines, Parker says, “rational decisions kind of shift.” Car keys end up in the freezer, milk may be shelved in the pantry, the lawn gets shaggy and meals often consist of cereal. Parker regularly posts shorter pieces of her writing at a group blog called “The Hanging Garden.” She also organizes and hosts retreats that bring together groups of writers. “I find that inspiration moves in many directions at once,” Parker says. “As long as I let it do that, it’s just more fun.”
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Campanile Hill Story by Maggie Lawrence
illustration by Lana Grove
Dear Aunt Maggie, Every winter, I dread snow days with every fiber of my being. Not because the kids get to sleep late (bonus!) and lay around all morning watching Frozen for the umpteenth time. Luckily, I have a flexible job, so I can stay home and enjoy their company. The problem is my husband, who on every snow day in recent memory has rushed home from work early, loaded up the kids in the minivan, and hauled them to Campanile Hill, where everybody and their dogs go to sled, including inebriated KU students. And there is nothing wrong with sledding itself. It’s the crazy contraptions my husband comes up with for my children to sled upon. We have a perfectly good toboggan with safety rails in the garage. But my husband says that’s “too easy.” Instead, he has careened down the hill on a converted plastic kiddie pool, a mattress … and even the hood of an old Chevy. Once, he sent our 5-year-old plunging on a beanbag chair. (I should mention that, while my husband was an undergraduate at KU, he was known as “King of the Hill” for his sledding prowess on cafeteria trays and laundry baskets.) I’m constantly complaining that this insane form of recreation isn’t safe. But he claims the kids are safe because they always wear goggles, helmets, knee and elbow pads, and they stay clear of trees and drunken college kids. What can I do to stop this winter madness, Maggie? The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts heavy snowfall this year. My husband is threatening to take his old recliner to the Hill! Terrified on Turnberry
Dear Terrified, First, points to your husband for his creativity and enthusiasm, and for employing safety precautions like helmets, pads and goggles. In his case, however, I would suggest wrapping your precious progeny in several layers of bubble wrap, too. Seriously, my dear, careening downhill over ice and snow can be dangerous business in any environment. But sledding on Campanile Hill—while a wonderful Lawrence tradition—can seem like a demolition derby of daredevils, especially on the first big snow day. Your hubby is subconsciously trying to relive his college glory days and using your children as bumper guards. This scenario has “emergency room” written all over it. Tell him to save Campanile Hill for when the kids get older and, preferably, can drive themselves to the hospital. In the meantime, take the youngsters to the slopes that have the fewest obstacles and no inebriated fraternity brothers. There are some fine, but not-so-fearsome hills behind Hashinger Hall on KU’s campus; Clinton Overlook Park (800 N. 1402 Road); in Centennial Park (between Sixth and Ninth streets, and Iowa and Rockledge); “Dad” Perry Park (1200 Monterey Way); and Perry Park North (Harvard and Parkside), which is especially good for the littlest ones. And, one last thing: The next time your hubby leaves for work on trash day, take that old recliner to the curb and leave it for city sanitation crews. Don’t let the “King of the Hill” become a La-Z-Boy casualty.
Aunt Maggie, or Maggie Lawrence, is the nom de plume of a longtime Lawrencian who shovels her own driveway, thank you very much. You can ask Aunt Maggie to solve your hometown dilemma by writing to her through Lawrence Magazine—as long as you are prepared for Aunt Maggie’s hardnosed answer.
Dear Aunt Maggie, Our next-door neighbor is an otherwise pleasant, middle-aged man who is (how do I say this nicely?) obsessive-compulsive when it comes to shoveling snow. Every winter, neighbors in our cul-desac chip in to hire a snow-removal service. Mr. Doe (not his real name) refuses, saying he prefers to clear his driveway himself. The minute the snow stops falling, Mr. Doe wastes no time in getting out there with his shovel, cleaning the flakes away in perfect, symmetrical piles. He works methodically: first the driveway, then the sidewalk from one property line to the other. Inevitably, the snow-removal truck will arrive to clear the rest of the driveways, leaving piles that block the end of Mr. Doe’s drive. This throws Mr. Doe into a dither, and he proceeds to transfer the displaced snow back onto the road in front of my driveway, which is just inches from his. What can I do, Maggie? I’m afraid this situation will soon devolve into a snowball fight, or worse! Frazzled in Fox Chase
Dear Frazzled, This is quite the conundrum. On one hand, Mr. Doe has a right to shovel his own driveway, if he sees fit. And the City of Lawrence snow ordinance simply states that the property owner adjacent to a public sidewalk has 48 hours to remove snow from said sidewalk or face a fine. It says nothing about shoveling snow into the street. My best suggestion is to kill Mr. Doe with kindness. When you see him shoveling, go on the offensive. Take him a nice hot cup of cocoa. Spike it with some Kahlua, if you think that will help. Take him warm cookies for Christmas or black-eyed peas for New Year’s. Become his BFF and, if you’re lucky, next time he’ll scoop that snow in the other neighbors’ direction.
fA r m
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Editor’s Note: To mark the 10th anniversary of Lawrence Magazine, we are returning to a few of our favorite stories in this and the following two editions. This profile of Don Fambrough originally appeared in the fall 2011 issue of our magazine, just a few weeks before Fambrough’s death at age 88. The former head coach of the University of Kansas football program was eulogized as a spirited competitor and dedicated mentor, and the city of Lawrence has since named portions of two streets along Memorial Stadium in honor of Fambrough and his coaching legacy. But in this profile, Cheryl Nelsen presented an entirely different side to the public persona of Coach Fambrough—a man with deep gratitude and love for the two most important women in his life.
the soft side of the
man who hated tigers Story by Cheryl Nelsen
photography by Jason Dailey
hen I moved to Kansas in 1977 and interviewed for a job in the English E AGAZIN M E C Department at Lawrence High School, EN LAWR I had not heard of Don Fambrough, the fire-breathing University of Kansas football coach who led the Jayhawks from 1971 to 1974 and 1979 to 1982. But I did know his wife, Del. She was the chair of my department. And, as it turned out, this petite, refined woman who loved British literature was perhaps all I needed to know about the legendary football coach best known for his professed hatred of the University of Missouri Tigers and his salty, no-holds-barred pep talks before each MU-KU showdown. Don said he didn’t know what Del saw in him, but there must have been something because they were married 60 years. He definitely knows why he married her. “She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen,” said Don, who was 88 when we sat down for our talk in the summer of 2011. “She was absolutely gorgeous. She could have
any boy, probably, in the state of Texas. Beauty, brains—she had it all. I can’t imagine any person ever being as easy to live with as she was. She just babied me the whole time.” They met in the sandbox, he said, where they grew up in Longview, Texas, and he couldn’t remember not knowing her. Del was the second great love of his live—the first was his mother, Willie. “If I amounted to anything, I got it from my mother,” Don said. “No one in my family had ever been to college. My mother was determined that if I got a scholarship that I would take it, and that would be the only way I could go because we couldn’t afford to pay the tuition.” Don’s father thought his son required only reading and writing, plus plenty of chores to do on their 2,400-acre ranch. But Willie helped Don with his chores of milking and feeding livestock and rounding up cattle, so he would have time to practice football. Because Don had no one else to play football with on the ranch, his mother helped him build a goalpost and held the football for him to practice kicking extra points.
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Coach Don Fambrough kept treasured memories of his football career and his wife, Del, near him in his home.
“If it hadn’t been for her, I would never have played a down,” he said. “I was a mother’s boy all the way.” He wasn’t the only one who had respect for Willie. Don rode a horse named Charlie to school, often standing on Charlie’s back. One day, while trying to get Charlie to lope, Don fell off, and the horse straddled him. “My dad came down and tried to get me, and Charlie bit him,” Don said. “Some of the cowboys came down and tried to get me out from under Charlie, and he bit them. My mother came down, and he stepped aside for her.” Once Don began dating Del, he had two women supporting his early football career. Del, a cheerleader, was at all his high school and college games. She got her father interested in football so he would drive her to Don’s games away from Longview. In 1937, Don was on the Longview team that won the Texas championship against Wichita Falls in the Cotton Bowl. Don describes the game as being as much a thrill for the town of 8,000 as for the team. Off the field, Don and Del dated mostly by having dinner at her house or catching an occasional movie. “I couldn’t afford to take her to a movie. I had a good friend that would let me in the movie for free, and I’d meet her in the movie,” he said. After high school, Don played football for the University of Texas for two years, but World War II interrupted his college days. Uncertain as to when Don might go to war or come back, he and Del got their marriage license by standing in a line of sweethearts that stretched for blocks. Don and other members of the team expected to stay in school until they graduated, but many were taken into the military. “We played Georgia Tech in the Cotton Bowl on a Saturday. The following Monday we were all on the [military] drill field. In fact, we had to get what they called a ‘delay en route’ to play the game. The service people allowed us to play in the Cotton Bowl, but then we had to go directly to whatever branch we were in.” Del didn’t let the war keep her away from her new husband. Whenever possible, she moved where Don was stationed and took whatever jobs she could find. “She would stay with me as long as she could when I was on this side of the ocean,” Don said.
The Air Force was the branch Don enlisted in because his older brother James flew a B-17 over Japan. He figured if James could do it, so could he. “I washed out as a pilot because I had no perception. One time I tried to land, and I was about 3,000 feet up in the air. The instructor said, ‘Fambrough, I can’t pass you because if you fly an airplane, it’s pretty important you know how to land.’” His failure as a pilot turned out well for him, he said, because he was assigned to a unit where he befriended Ray Evans. Don described Ray as the greatest athlete he has ever been associated with, and it was Ray who helped persuade him to go to KU after the war ended. Back in Lawrence, Ray went on to become an All-American in football and basketball before starting a professional football career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Don spent one season playing for the KU football team before graduating and taking an assistant coaching position with the Jayhawks. During the years Don coached at KU, Del was one of his biggest supporters. Don says in addition to her own teaching career, she took care of him and their two sons, Bob and Preston, assisted him with recruiting athletes and managed all their finances. “Back then you could have asked me [my salary]—I didn’t even know what we were making,” said Don. “I was so involved in football.” But once Del became sick with cancer, Don forgot everything but her. Told in 2001 she had only weeks to live, Del asked to die at home. Don says he relied totally on the visiting nurses from Hospice to help take care of her. He admired them so much that he volunteered by being an ambassador for the program. He spoke to various groups each month about what Hospice did for him and his family. “They did everything to make her comfortable those few days she had before she passed away. She died holding my hand with a big smile on her face. They made sure she didn’t hurt.” Don said he completed three goals he had for his life: He played football, coached football and married his childhood sweetheart. “I was blessed by having a person like Del in my life for so many wonderful years. I think she would describe me as being somebody 100-percent, totally in love with her. I probably didn’t always show it, but it was there.”
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The Bright Showstoppers Every year since 2008, Gary and MaryAnn Martin’s home at 1132 Parkside Circle becomes the canvas for an extravagant Christmas-themed light show. Not only is the display computer-automated, it also is synched to music on 96.9 FM that can be received on a car radio. The Martins turn on their lights between Thanksgiving and Twelfth Night (January 5) from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. (midnight on Friday and Saturday), and visiting their home has become a holiday tradition for many in the Lawrence area. Gary estimates that on a typical night, 100 cars will pass by the home within an hour. Here, he talks more about the mechanics of the show: I’m a programming and computer geek, and I’ve always liked Christmas lighting, so this is a natural combination of the two. The show has evolved every year. There’s always some new technology coming along, and we are always getting more and more fixtures. I’ve lost count of how many individual elements we control, but it’s in the many tens of thousands. We are now almost 100 percent LED lights, and we also use what are called RGB pixel lights, where every single bulb is individually controlled and you can make them any color you want. This opens up a lot more possibilities of what you can do. I can create a full-motion video on the Christmas tree out front with the pixel lights. The tree basically becomes a cone-shaped screen. The sheer volume of work that goes into building the fixtures, maintaining the fixtures and doing the coding is challenging, but the end result is a lot of fun, and just seeing the looks on kids’ faces is worth it. This is our personal gift to the community. Everyone is invited to drop by. We just ask that people turn off their headlights when they stop on the street and be conscious of others.
Story by Liz Weslander
photography by Jason Dailey
The Gingerbread Man Browsing the confection-covered creations at the annual Gingerbread Festival and Auction will put anyone in a holiday mood. Allen Blair, a chef at Shadow Glen Golf Club in Olathe, is one the many gingerbread architects who donates hours of work for this sweet holiday tradition that benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County. Blair has been making gingerbread structures for the auction for 15 years, and he spends every spare moment in the weeks preceding each auction adding details to his intricate entries. Here, Allen talks more about the auction and what he has learned about gingerbread designs over the years: The main reason I do this is for Big Brothers Big Sisters. I think they are a great group to help out. They do a lot stuff for kids in the community, and I’m proud to be part of the whole operation. I try to keep my designs crisp and clean, but with a lot of detail—those are the ones that seem to sell for the most. Everyone likes churches, everyone likes Christmas-themed cottages. I like to use gelatin sheets in windows so people can actually see into the house. Then I build things inside with gum paste: presents, trees, things that make people look. One of my personal favorites that I’ve made was a lighthouse that had a rotating light. It stood about 2½ feet tall—a bit monstrous. I think it took third place in the contest, but it didn’t sell for a whole lot at the auction, so it was a lesson for me in size. I think that the smaller the gingerbread house, the more likely people are going to want to have it in their home. My advice for those wanting to build a gingerbread structure is to find a good dough recipe—one that is humidityproof—but after that, just have fun with it. The more you can get your kids and family involved, the more fun it is.
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The Original Jingle Jogger When Ellen Young was 41, she decided that she was tired of being overweight. She began walking regularly, and eventually started attending Red Dog’s Dog Days, the free community fitness program organized by Don “Red Dog” Gardner. As time went on, Ellen became a more avid runner and began volunteering to help organize Dog Days events. After Ellen’s husband fell ill in 2003, the Dog Days community responded by organizing a medical-expense fundraising run called “Jingle Bellin’ for Ellen.” The run, now called the “Jingle Jog,” has continued as an annual December tradition of jogging down Massachusetts Street dressed up in lights and Christmas regalia. Here, Ellen talks more about her fitness journey and the Jingle Jog tradition: When I first started Dog Days, I could hardly do anything, but I kept at it, and eventually in 1997 I entered my very first 5K. I finished dead last, but that wasn’t important. It was important that I entered and that I finished. For the Jingle Jog, people bring money to Dog Days in the mornings and put it in a giant Christmas sock that we have. We usually raise around $3,000 and have donated to the Ballard Center, Boys & Girls Club and the Humane Society. When you think about the informality of it, it’s a nice sum of money in December. It’s a short run. We start behind Kizer Cummings and run on Mass between Sixth Street and South Park. Then we have a little party afterward at Kizer Cummings with cookies and punch. People just do goofy things. I’ve worn a Winnie the Pooh costume with an elf hat. One time a group of us wore Christmas-themed pajama pants with Snoopy slippers. The important thing to me is that people enjoy running. A lot of people run competitively, and I do as well, but you have to enjoy it or you won’t go back to it.
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reveling in the round When life gave one couple a wooded landscape with perfect views, they built a home to match
Story by Mary R. Gage
photography by Jason Dailey
wight and Kim Purvis’ home sits on a hill south of town where, from their wraparound deck, the panoramic skyline of the Wakarusa Valley and Lawrence seems to extend in every direction. But then again, if you live on the rolling hills in a round house, endless horizons are just one of the perks. Like most people, Kim and Dwight had always lived in traditional, rectangular-type houses. Kim never imagined herself in a round house. But Dwight not only imagined it, he became more and more intrigued by the idea. He liked that it was “different, out-of-the-box.”
If you just see something you like, you can modify it to what you want. – Kim Purvis And all it took for Dwight to sway Kim was a short factory tour. Or rather, a short factory tour and some ingenious planning on Dwight’s part. The couple planned a trip in the fall of 2011 to visit their adult son in Charlottesville, Virginia. But not far from their destination was Deltec, a manufacturer of prefabricated circular homes. It was a company that Dwight had been following for several years. In addition to promoting round houses, Deltec focuses on energy efficiency, sustainability and storm-resistant design. They offer a wide variety of exterior designs, floor plans, construction seminars, advice and support, as well as delivery of the product to the building site. “What you buy from them is the shell,” Dwight says. “It’s everything from the outside walls to the interior studs. The plumbing, electrical, drywall and all are separate.” Clients can then choose to have the company assemble the house, to do it themselves, or to work with subcontractors. All of this was presented on the factory tour, which Kim somehow found herself taking. But by the end of the tour, Kim was on board with Dwight not only to purchase a kit, but to build it themselves with the help of a subcontractor. “It really isn’t that different from regular homes,” Kim says. “It uses the same materials, but it is done in a bit different way and really minimizes the waste. I liked their whole philosophy.” The Purvises could tap plenty of enthusiasm, plus their own expertise. In 2008, Dwight had retired from his career as a band director to become a woodworker, and Kim had left her job as a pharmacist in 2010 to launch their own remodeling firm. “We had always talked about working together,” says Kim, “and we had always worked on homes—not really flipping them, but revamping them. We got the hang of it and enjoyed it, so this seemed like the natural next step.” After ordering the shell, Kim took on the design of the interior floor plan, creating her own arrangement. “If you just see something you like, you can modify it to what you want,” she says.
Artwork in the kitchen and a striking spice rack become small focal points in the Purvis home, whose round interior provides soft perspectives.
Two trucks delivered the finished roof and wall panels to the home site south of Lawrence on Monday, November 12, 2012. What followed next was a flurry of activity reminiscent of an old fashioned barn-raising. The Purvises, five friends and an outside consultant specializing in panelized home construction began putting up the basement sections the next day. “By the following Sunday,” says Dwight, “we had the roof on and the house dried tight to the weather.” Some of the friends who had come to help had to leave left after six days. But three others and the consultant remained for an additional three weeks. By mid-December, it was just the two of them working on 1,400 square feet of bamboo flooring on the main living level, ceramic tile for the master bathroom and laundry room, and finish trim, and overseeing plumbing, electrical and drywall subcontractors. When finished, a faceted circular house is thought to be more energy efficient than traditional designs due to a reduction of outside wall area and airtight construction. And when you look closely at the Purvis home, it’s not technically round, but a “panelized” circular structure with eight prefabricated panels and 12 concrete wall sections comprising the ground floor, and 20 panels encompassing the second floor and main living level above. The exterior walls and the truss system bear all the home’s weight, allowing complete freedom for the floor plan. “You don’t even have to have interior walls, and the ones you do have you can put anywhere you want,” says Dwight. “You can make a recital hall out of these, or a church.” The structure also made it convenient to set up the house as all-electric, with a geothermal heat pump for the central heating and cooling system. Kim estimates that their utility bills are at least 55 percent less than in their previous, traditional home in Lawrence. The Purvises have been able to enjoy these savings through a full change of Kansas seasons, having officially moved in at the end of April 2013. And they have enjoyed watching the reactions of guests who often expect to see a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome-type dwelling and are pleasantly surprised. “They say, ‘Wow, this is like my house,’” Dwight reports. “Of course,” says Kim, “we don’t have curved walls and we don’t have curved furniture.” Overall, it’s been a positive experience. “We’d do it again in a heartbeat,” says Kim. “It’s the ultimate do-it-yourselfer’s dream, to be able to start with a shell that’s already airtight and wellengineered,” adds Dwight. “And some people will say there’s a spiritual harmony or something with a round house. I don’t know if Kim and I have felt that, but we’re getting along OK,” he says with a smile.
grand time A small, enchanting mountain town is a perfect destination for the coming year
Story and photography by Susan Kraus
t first impression, Grand Lake, Colorado, didn’t look like a town that would surprise. But first impressions can be wrong. It might have been spotting a massive moose with huge antlers lying under a tree in a town park or being captivated by the shimmering image of mountains and trees reflected in the largest, deepest glacier lake of Colorado. Perhaps it was the air—so crisp and cool with an elusive fragrance of wood and water—or hiking just minutes from town and encountering deer and elk in the meadows above Adams Falls. Maybe, in part, it was the down-home friendliness of the shopkeepers and the very fine Repertory Theatre … the point is, after just a few days, I surprised myself in falling for this little town. And I think you could, too. Lying on the western slope of the Continental Divide, Grand Lake serves as the western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. In a way, it is similar to the popular Estes Park, but Grand Lake, from its wooden boardwalk sidewalks to the content of its shops, feels more rustic—more Western—and with only 470 yearround residents, it has less than one-tenth the population.
… the point is, after just a few days, I surprised myself in falling for this little town. One of the year-round residents is Bob Scott. He first came to the area in the 1960s to work at Grand Lake Lodge and returned each summer for 40 years from his home and businesses in Texas. Then, in the 1990s, he sold off the Texas holdings and moved in for good. “It’s magical,” he said, chatting with me while meticulously cleaning antique silver tableware in his shop, Bob Scott’s Authentic Indian Jewelry and Gifts. “There’s such beautiful water, and we’re surrounded by national park and forests. But, just as much, I value the slower pace, and the friendships. And now we have a world-class theater. Do you know we raised $5-and-ahalf-million before we even broke ground? Now that is a community coming together!” I had to agree—although, from the look of the million-dollar vacation homes that fringe the lake, there are some part-time residents with deep pockets and an emotional attachment to Grand Lake. But that’s the kind of place it is—millionaires side by side in the café with backpackers. And they all dress the same. Lodging in Grand Lake leans towards the rustic. No chain hotels, more cabins and old-fashioned motor courts, plus plenty of large houses for extended families. I stayed at the Western Riviera, a motel directly on the lake, with wrought-iron tables and chairs on a deck right
The mountains are beautiful for skiing, but the horse trails in Grand County offer equally pleasing experiences.
Bar Lazy J Ranch: With a 3/4-mile stretch of the Colorado River flowing through the ranch, Bar Lazy J is known for horses and fly-fishing. Most of the rustic cabins are right on the river across a postcard-pretty lawn dotted with wooden swings and chairs. Dating back to the 1920s (the ranch opened in 1912), these cabins can house 42 guests. The ranch features a pool, hot tub, stocked trout pond, game rooms, massage therapist, evening entertainment and a children’s program that keeps kids physically and emotionally engaged. And all the activities leave everyone hungry for the ranch’s ample gourmet meals served in a historic log lodge. Drowsy Water Ranch: Nestled in a canyon up a long, private road, Drowsy Water is secluded. A stream runs through the valley, lined with red-roofed cabins tucked in groves of aspens. The kids’ program (infantto-teen) is central, with counselors for every age. It’s a safe place for kids to be kids. Features include a pool, hot tub, farm animals and more, and the ranch offers a riverrafting day. Mountain bikes and a zip line can be used by guests as well for an extra fee. Latigo Ranch: This is the most remote of the ranches, with about a 6-mile drive off paved road winding higher and higher through the Arapaho National Forest. It’s a dude ranch in summer and a Nordic center in winter. Fishing, a swimming pool, hot tub, rec center, library and satisfying, often gourmet, meals are included along with the stunning vistas (this is the highest-altitude ranch), with spacious cabins that are set more apart from each other. My first day, a family of six deer bounced past our cabin, stopping to graze under the trees nearby. And that night I saw a star-filled sky that rivaled the night sky of Fiji. C Lazy U Ranch: This is an upscale resort set in a sweeping, Bonanza-vista valley. Not the traditional dude ranch, C Lazy U is more of a resort with horses—make that a huge herd of outstanding horses. It offers gourmet buffet meals (creative chefs), a great riding program, kids’ programs and upscale lodging. It receives more people, and so it has less of the intimate, we’re-in-this-together feel of other ranches, but this also allows you to meet and converse with guests from all over the world.
The Dude Ranches of Grand County Grand County is known for its dude ranches, all four of them. Each offers morning and afternoon or all-day rides, along with riding instruction, and will match you to your own horse for the week. All have game rooms for old-fashioned fun, evening gatherings and entertainment. Décor tends to be country/ cowboy. There are no TVs (that’s not the cowboy/cowgirl way). The shared goal is to unplug and decompress.
outside the room. Updated, clean, with a helpful staff and beautiful views, plus everything downtown was within an easy stroll. Regardless of where you choose to stay when you come to Grand Lake, start your visit with a scenic lake tour provided by the town through Headwaters Marina. You’ll learn some geology and park management; how pine beetles devastate forests; a primer on moose, elk, deer and bear behavior; how Grand Lake water supplies Denver; and the facts and anecdotes of local history. It’s that anecdotal history of tenacious pioneers and enthusiastic residents that will infuse your visit with more meaning. Grand Lake connects with Shadow Mountain Lake and Lake Granby, forming the largest body of water in Colorado. Fish, sail, water-ski, tube, jet-ski… it’s all available. You can hike, backpack, camp, birdwatch (281 types in the park), ride horses through aspen groves and river-raft down the Colorado (which is way, way cool … and way, way wet). Obviously, most of these activities are enjoyed during the summer, but winter is a snow-lovers paradise. Winter Park, a very popular ski resort, is just down the road. But for cross-country skiing, snowshoe hiking, ice fishing, ice skating, and snowmobile exploring, Grand Lake rocks. During either season, when the roads are open, take a drive along the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway to the small town of Hot Sulphur Springs. Soak tired muscles in healing, 21-mineralrich hot pools and tubs, on a site that the Ute Tribes regarded as sacred. Much of the surrounding area is public land and open to explore: Arapaho National Forest, Routt National Forest, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Byers Peak Wilderness Area and Never Summer Wilderness Area. In all, this is an area of roughly 1,870 square miles (compared, say, to Douglas County’s 475 square miles) with only 12,600 year-round residents (compared to 9-10 times that for Douglas County). Even in high season, you can find hiking trails where you hardly see other people. There’s still time to take a winter trip to the region or to start planning for the summer. The Kansas heat is coming. But you can breathe in some cool, crisp mountain air by going where you can s-l-ow-d-o-w-n and r-e-l-a-x. And perhaps you’ll discover a few surprises yourself … Grand County style.
getting there. You know the first part: Head out of Lawrence going west on I-70 for the 530 or so miles to Denver. Or fly to Denver. Then you have a choice. The first option is to pass through Denver, take Exit 232 north off I-70 and twist up over Berthoud Falls, through Winter Park, Fraser, Tabernash and Granby. Shortly after Granby, you take Highway 34/ Trail Ridge Road into Grand Lake. The second option (open seasonally) is to cut north on Highway 36 to Boulder and continue north to Estes Park as it turns into Highway 34/ Trail Ridge Road. This north side of Trail Ridge Road is a 48-mile run that is the most elevated continuous paved highway in the United States running above the tree line, through tundra. But both the north and the south Trail Ridge Road routes meet in Grand Lake. There’s only one road running into town, and only one road running out. And it’s the same road.
76 Year of the Sheep Area shepherds preserve breeding of the temperate, sometimes intelligent, flock-loyal mammal
86 When the POWs Came to Town Seventy years ago this spring, German prisoners of war were brought to Lawrenceâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and they would leave an unlikely legacy
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sheep Area shepherds preserve breeding of the temperate, sometimes intelligent, flock-loyal mammal
If you go by the Chinese zodiac calendar, 2015 is the year of the sheep. For Kansas, the year of the sheep might have been 1884.
That was when the state’s stock sheep population reached 1.27 million, greater than the people population at the time. After that came wool tariffs, wave upon wave of cattle and a change in agricultural tastes that sent sheep populations plummeting. There are currently 65,000 head of sheep in the state. Deb Simon, state executive for the Kansas Sheep Association, says the local sheep census probably will never again surpass the human population. Shepherding is simply too much an investment and too much work with too little financial return for people to raise large numbers of sheep. But there have always been shepherds in the state, and over the past few years a new interest has kindled for the wool, meat and dairy their flocks provide. And there remain pockets of farms around Lawrence where shepherding traditions are passed down, and shepherds still rush to their barns in the middle of the night to help with the lambing. In these places, 2015 will be the year not of any one type of sheep, but of yet another generation of bristly St. Croix, wooly Lincolns, motherly Columbians and others of the flock. The Clarks’ Lincolns The black-faced, wooly CVM-Lincoln sheep tended by David and Barbara Clark at “Maggie’s Farm” north of Lawrence are large creatures by sheep standards—up to 200 pounds. It takes both Clarks to wrangle these sheep for the annual shearings, usually each spring. At other times of the year, David also concentrates on his business of designing and creating stained glass, while Barb is the principal shepherd for these docile but independent-minded creatures. After shearing, she sends their fleeces to a mill to be cleaned and carded into roving, a straightened fiber made ready for spinning. Once Barb gets the roving back, she will spin it into yarn. Depending on what she does to the yarn, which may include dyeing, her skeins range in price from $18.50 to $50. A hand-spinner for close to 40 years, Barb uses a spinning wheel and a skein-winder that was once owned by David’s great-grandparents. “I always tease David that, if we have an electrical outage, I can do everything but he can’t,” says Barb. “His equipment is electrical. I can just light candles and keep cookin’.” The sheep also contribute another valuable commodity to the Clarks’ farm— manure, which the Clarks collect twice a day to make compost for their garden. The produce from this garden, which is certified organic, is sold to the Lawrence Community Mercantile and to Genovese. The Clarks are committed to keeping shepherding knowledge alive. Two women, Tayler Blodgett and Emily Lundberg, are currently working with Barb and David through the Growing Growers program, which matches apprentices with mentors for hands-on experience. “It’s a great program. We’ve done things out here that we couldn’t do without help. It’s allowed us to expand,” Barb says. In addition to gardening and sheep farming, Barb offers her customers membership in a Community Supported Agriculture knitting group that delivers wool six times a year. Once a month, her CSA members meet to knit and socialize.
The Clarks' Lincolns
Yarnell's St croix
“People that knit come out here, and they see the animal that the fiber came from that they are making a sweater out of,” says Barb. “There does seem to be a sort of collective consciousness of using local products, appreciating things that are grown locally, eating locally, knitting locally, weaving locally, spinning locally.” Barb and David began their flock with a promise never to sell off a sheep for meat, but to let each animal grow into old age. This means the flock—which does not do well if new members are introduced—must gradually die out before new sheep are added. The result, says Barb, is a “geriatric” flock, but one that is allowed to roam together across the fields, searching out treats of wild herbs and huddling close until the last one is carried off to the farm’s sheep cemetery on the outskirts of their land. Yarnell’s St. Croix At Debbie Yarnell’s Homespun Hill Farm, the wool on her St. Croix sheep is literally gathering dust. These are hair sheep, which means their coats come on in late fall or early winter, get thick, and then, in the spring, fall off in clumps. The St. Croix are raised for meat, which Debbie sells from her farm. She built her clientele through the Lawrence Farmers’ Market for 10 years, but has now begun selling directly to customers from her farm south of Lawrence. Although she does sell some whole lambs, her biggest seller is the ground lamb because of its versatility. Debbie sees a trend of people choosing lamb meat for health benefits on doctors’ advice. But these trends still leave the industry behind the levels it had reached as recently as the past midcentury, says Debbie. “Before World War II you saw sheep farms all over the place. During World War II a lot of the military was fed mutton, the meat of an old ewe,” she says. “It has a stronger flavor, much stronger. The military was fed that because it was available. It kind of turned off the American buyer. A lot of those military guys came back thinking they were eating lamb, but they were eating mutton.” Local conditions also affect a flock’s size. After the drought in 2012, Debbie downsized both her cattle and sheep herds. Now, she has a cattle herd of South Poll, a breed that tolerates Kansas heat better, and a sheep herd of 25. “What I’ve found is that not a lot of farmers like to tend sheep because you have to move them often,” Debbie says. “Cattle you can put out in a pasture, and they are free to roam. You can’t just put sheep out in a pasture and let them roam, because they will always go back to the same spot, and they will nub it down to nothing.” With the help of electric fencing, Debbie rotates her sheep from spot to spot in small sections throughout a 28-acre area. One place where the sheep love to graze is her herb garden. “I got tired of weeding the herb garden,” she says. “I set it up so that, every other week, I put the sheep in there. It’s like a natural tonic for them. It has thyme, sage, garlic—all those wonderful things.”
How do you call your sheep?
Baa! My Name is ____.
To Tom Sloan, Kansas legislator and sheep farmer with a flock of 30 ewes and two rams, names are not necessary. Numbers suffice. Every lamb born gets an ear tag of four digits starting with the year. So the first lamb born this year was 1401, and the last one tagged was 1445. “This is a business,” Tom says. Other Douglas County sheep farmers agree, but a few of the sheep do get names for various reasons. For Maggie’s Farm owners Barb Clark and her husband, David, names work because their flock consists of five sheep, crossbreeds of CVM and Lincoln. Natalya Lowther of Pinwheel Farm in North Lawrence gives names to her flock, which fluctuates from 10 to 25 in the breeding stock. The names come from the personalities of the sheep, colors or markings, or sometimes a visiting child names them. “I don’t remember numbers real well, which is why I’m not a doctor or a scientist or something. Names are easier to remember,” Natalya says. At Debbie Yarnell’s Homespun Hill Farm in southern Douglas County, only one of her St. Croix sheep has a name. That sheep, Spot, wisely has worked her way into the farm life as a friendly pet who greets everyone warmly. The other sheep keep their distance when someone enters their space. From the outset of establishing their flock 12 years ago at Maggie’s Farm, the Clarks’ intent was to raise sheep for their wool, not for eating. Barb says, “I tell them every morning that they are not going to be anybody’s lamb chop. Not that I have any opposition to that. I just couldn’t do it. If you give them a name, you can’t eat them.”
Lowther’s Crossbreeds Very little is wasted from the sheep-production operation at Pinwheel Farm. Owner Natalya Lowther says meat is the mainstay of her 12-acre farm nestled in North Lawrence, but the secondary wool and byproducts do not go to waste. In addition to the meat, Lowther comes back from the meat-processing plant with fat trimmed off to render down for tallow used in making soaps and other products. The hides are shipped to a custom tanning company, Bucks County Furs in Pennsylvania, where they are made into machine-washable sheepskins. “People buy sheepskins for baby gifts because they really soothe the newborn for sleeping,” says Natalya. But Natalya’s hallmark product at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market since she began selling there 16 years ago is her summer sausage, which is made with pork and mutton, a meat that is otherwise less popular in the region. “In the last couple of years I’ve seen the demand for lamb at the farmers’ market just skyrocket,” Natalya says. “I think there’s just so much interest in local food and in trying new meats.” Another product Natalya is interested in pursuing is sheep milk. “I’m working toward sheep that are triple-purpose. I want them to make big, meaty lambs, beautiful fleeces and sheepskins, and I want them to produce a lot of milk,” she says. Sheep, says Natalya, demand a lot of labor, but they are easier to handle than cattle or hogs and provide a wide range of products, particularly the fiber which drew her into the industry. “And I like sheep personalities—they tend to a bit aloof, they don’t want to be quite in your face, they are quiet and peaceful.”
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The Sloan's columbians 84
The Sloans’ Columbians Tom Sloan, the state representative for much of Lawrence and northwest Douglas County, starts and ends his day far from the workings of the legislature in Topeka. At 5 a.m., he begins chores for his flock of sheep, and after he returns home he will be busy with his flock until 9 p.m. or later. In between those hours, his wife, Gail, is available. During lambing season, which unfortunately coincides with the legislative session, much of the lambing work is done by Gail. Tom and Gail have a flock of 30 Columbia ewes and two rams. The couple were married 34 years ago, and for 33 of those years they have had sheep. Currently, the Sloans concentrate on showing sheep fleece. Some of the fleece they have shown at the National Western Stock Show in Denver and the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky, have won first prizes in the Columbia breed category multiple years. Once, in Denver, they won reserve grand champion ram fleece over all breeds, and another time they had the best five fleeces in all breeds. The Sloans now pass on their knowledge to Douglas County 4-H’ers who want to show sheep at the Douglas County Fair. The students arrive at the Sloan farm west of Lawrence in the spring and select their lambs, with the oldest students going first. The 4-H youth will go to the farm at least every other day to handle their animals. They trim hooves and teach the lambs to walk, stand properly and be friendly. “This is not a thing where you come out and say, ‘I want a lamb,’ and I have to do all the work,” Tom tells the 4-H’ers. “It doesn’t work that way. This is your animal, your project. You are in charge. If you want help, Gail and I are here.” If a 4-H youth chooses a market lamb, a male usually, it’s sold at the sale for meat. If a female lamb is selected, it will remain on the farm, where it will be fed. A ewe can be shown as a yearling, and then put back into the flock so that when she is a year and a half old, she will be bred. By the third year, 4-H’ers will have their own lambs to show from their original ewe. Tom says he and Gail have been working with 4-H’ers for a decade, with anywhere from 4-12 students each year. The couple say they would not necessarily advise young farmers to go into the sheep industry for profit, but they do see many rewards to raising sheep. “Over the years we’ve had pigs and cows, but we like the sheep the best,” says Tom. “They are a lot easier to handle, you can market them more quickly and they’re cuter than pigs.”
Let us now praise …
Douglas County shepherds team up with a variety of animals to protect their flocks.
Llama the llama
• Social • Protects sheep from predators such as coyotes • Can spit and kick if needed • Known to enjoy playing with young lambs
jake the Horse
• Large size scares away predators • Runs in circles around mother lambs to protect during birthing
merry the Dog • Often her bark is enough to scare away coyotes
Lesser llamas … when a guardian fails Alas, not every llama has the right stuff. David and Barbara Clark discovered this a few years ago when they brought in a llama to guard their flock. In retrospect, they realized they had a llama who was homesick for his former llama companion … and who had never seen sheep before. When a group of wooly creatures began to approach him, he panicked. The llama bolted over a five-foot fence and dashed into a field, cowering in fear. The failed guardian refused to answer calls or show his face until the Clarks retrieved his former llama companion, who cried out to him. “Only then did we see his head raise up out of the bluestem,” recalls David, who helped wrangle the llama and return it home.
story by Julie Tollefson
photography by Jason Dailey
Seventy years ago this spring, German prisoners of war were brought to Lawrence—and they would leave an unlikely legacy. A wooden box in Pauline Nunemaker’s living room holds treasured mementos of World War II: a pin made for her by a neighboring youth who died on D-Day, a list of her husband’s Army postings, newspaper clippings. It’s appropriate that this box—hand-carved, glass-lined, about half the size of a shoebox— safeguards these keepsakes. The box is a reminder of a twist of circumstances that brought German prisoners of war to rural America as replacement labor for American men fighting overseas. Nunemaker obtained the box in the waning months of the war from one of 300 German POWs held in Camp Lawrence, constructed near the intersection of 11th and Haskell Avenue. This spring marks 70 years since the camp opened. “I thought it was pretty,” says Nunemaker, explaining the appeal of the flower-covered box, a small luxury in hard times. “Things like that were hard to get.” Prisoners interned at Camp Lawrence worked for local farms and factories at a time when labor was in short supply in the United States. They also created works of art, like Nunemaker’s box, and forged personal connections that transcended the anger and hate of war. From Top This handcrafted wooden box was made by a POW in Lawrence and traded to Pauline Nunemaker. Working at a dehydrator operation outside Lawrence, Nunemaker came into indirect contact with some of the approximately 300 German war prisoners.
German POWs were assigned to work at mostly agricultural ventures around Lawrence. Photo courtesy Watkins Community Museum.
Captive help Nunemaker, now 90, was newly married when her husband, Gene, joined the service in 1942. She went to work in the office of W.J. Small Co., a dehydrator operation that produced livestock feed. By 1945, the need for farm labor to meet critical demand became severe, and W.J. Small and other local businesses sponsored the establishment of Camp Lawrence. The first POWs arrived at the end of April 1945. They were young—in their 20s and 30s—and most had served in the African campaigns. They had been transferred through the U.S. military prison system, most recently from Camp Phillips and Camp Concordia in central Kansas. In those camps, administrators had worked to filter out hardcore Nazi sympathizers and reassign them to facilities outside the state. For many in Lawrence, however, the prisoners arrived less as ideological enemies and more as needed hands. “We were so short on men to do the labor, it was kind of a relief,” says Nunemaker. Once the POWs arrived, Nunemaker’s responsibilities at W.J. Small Co. would include buying barbecue, sandwiches and fries for the German workers. “They all seemed so young and very polite,” she says. Though she saw the prisoners every day, she never met any of them. “I was not allowed to talk to them,” she says. “They were not allowed to come into the office where I was.” Still, one day, she noticed a group of POWs and others talking in the parking area. Before long, the assistant manager brought the carved wooden box into the office and asked whether she wanted to buy it. Its price? A carton of cigarettes. “I didn’t smoke, but I knew a grocery man who would let me get a carton of cigarettes. So that’s what that cost,” she says. Living rooms and museums across Kansas are home to pieces of German POW art. The Cloud County Historical Society Museum in Concordia holds an extensive collection of items crafted by POWs, including a hand-carved model airplane, duck figurines, plates, furniture and paintings. The craftsmanship of the German POWs also made possible the construction of one of the iconic landmarks on Mount Oread. Danforth Chapel, designed by Kansas City architect Edward W. Tanner and built of limestone hauled from a farm outside of Lawrence, rose piece by piece in the summer of 1945, thanks to the labor of skilled stonemasons among the prisoners. continued on page 92
gentlemen: the scope and limit of wartime comradery
Seven decades after the end of World War II, it might seem hard to imagine a situation in which prisoners of today’s military conflicts would be interned in camps across the heartland, and sent to work in civilian industries. But during World War II, Kansas was home to at least 16 POW sites, though some were small “satellite” camps, says Matthew Thompson, museum registrar at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene. One of the largest was Camp Concordia, which housed more than 4,000 POWs. At its peak, Camp Lawrence held 300. Thompson, whose work at the museum as well as his academic interests involve World War II, says the United States took seriously its obligation to treat prisoners well in accordance with the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. As a result, POW arrangements were “very gentlemanly, really, all things considered,” he says. Still, the establishment of a prison camp in a community came with strict rules—for the prisoners and for civilians. The commander of the camp in Lawrence, Major Merle E. Hollicke, issued a document, Instructions to All Users of P.O.W. Labor, which specified among other things that prisoners were not to be treated as criminals, but also banned fraternizing with POWs as “unauthorized, unproper and objectionable,” and prohibited talking to POWs except as necessary for them to complete their work. In an August 1945 issue of the University Daily Kansan, the list of rules accompanied an announcement that prisoners were working on campus and shared the same page as other military news, including notice of a recent KU graduate killed in action. The prisoners even had access to a set of “in-house” lectures and university-level courses that were, in part, supported by the University of Kansas, with the chancellor signing at least one “Camp University” report card. But however gentlemanly prisoner-captive relations were, the presence of the POWs also underscored the limits of wartime cordiality. At nearby Fort Leavenworth, 14 German soldiers were executed for murdering fellow prisoners suspected of collaborating with or spying for their captors.
The German POWs
during World War II
camp phillips An estimated 7,000 prisoners were taken to 16 camps across Kansas, the two largest being Camp Concordia and Camp Phillips.
hutchinson eldorado Neodesha Elkhart
Some 450,000 German and German-allied prisoners of war were taken into the United States from combat in the European and African frontlines. They arrived to the States on transport ships and were then shipped by train to camps across the nation. After Nazi Germany surrendered to Allied forces, German POWs began to depart the States. The last prisoners left Kansas in 1946. Some of the POWs were filtered through U.S. political indoctrination camps. Many did not immediately arrive home, but were detained as forced labor in Britain and France for several months. Sources: Krammer, Arnold; Nazi Prisoners of War in America (New York: Stein and Day, 1979); O’Brien, Patrick with Thomas D. Isern, and R. Daniel Lumley; “Stalag Sunflower: German Prisoners of War in Kansas,” Kansas History, Autumn, 1984.
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Enemy in the heartland As the summer of 1945 wore on, what began as an expedient solution to the labor shortage bore unexpected benefits: Enemy soldiers interned at camps across Kansas, and residents came to know each other on a personal level. “Many farm families would invite their German workers inside to eat lunch with them, which facilitated a great deal of unofficial cultural exchange,” says Matthew Thompson, museum registrar at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene. In numerous letters found in the Watkins Museum of History collection, prisoners recalled the kindness of local residents during their stay at Camp Lawrence. Willi O. Jager, who was 19 when he was captured in France in December 1944, corresponded with several people in Lawrence in later years. “I remember Camp Lawrence with good feelings, too, mainly because of the fair treatment we received from the Officer in Charge of the Camp, Major Merle E. Hollicke, whose general attitude was to regard us as human beings and not as enemies,” he wrote in a letter to the Watkins Museum in 1995. POWs out on the town Jager also recalled POW escapades reminiscent of a reverse Hogan’s Heroes, the 1960s television comedy series in which U.S. prisoners of war regularly outwitted their German guards. The wire fence that enclosed Camp Lawrence was easily breached, Jager wrote, and POW clothing resembled the uniforms of U.S. soldiers, except for the letters “POW” printed on the back. Two of his fellow prisoners managed to obtain unmarked uniforms and sneak out into town. “They spoke some English and the ‘excursions’ went ahead unnoticed several times until one night they were asked to show their identity cards by M.P.,” Jager wrote. “After that, we all had to line up outside our tents and had to hold up for inspections all our garments including underwear. They were thoroughly checked and each and every item was marked POW. As far as I know, the two delinquents went unpunished.” Jager’s account mirrored similar stories in other camps, says Thompson. Prisoners who did escape their camps almost always did so for amusement, he says, because geography was as much a deterrent as barbed wire. “The prospect of traveling thousands of miles merely to reach an ocean was sufficiently untenable,” Thompson says. “The scale of the geography was one of the biggest culture shocks they faced initially.”
Memorial Little remains to mark the physical location of Camp Lawrence. The camp closed by the end of 1945, and its main building burned down to its foundation in 1987, but its legacy lives on: in memories and stories passed down for seven decades; in hand-carved wooden boxes, a limestone chapel and a collection of letters; and in a culture of goodwill, forged in the midst of war.
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Martins’ Holiday Lights Home Show Thanksgiving – January 5 The Martin family pulls out all the stops for their monumental home holiday light show, open to drive-by public. | 1132 Parkside Circle
Winter Wonder Weekend December 5-7 A weekend full of events in downtown Lawrence, including the annual Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade, the opening of the Public Library’s ice-skating rink, the Gingerbread House Festival, the Ugly Sweater Run and more. See downtownlawrence.com for a full rundown of events, times and locations.
Festival of Nativities
Ashley Davis in Concert December 19; 7: 30 p.m. Lawrence’s Celtic voice performs Celtic Songs for a Winter’s Eve | Lied Center | Tickets and info at lied.ku.edu or (785) 864-2787
THIS HOLIDAY SEASON Your List
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Park and Winerock January 8; 7:30 p.m. IIYM piano competition champion Chaeyoung Park and University of Kansas music professor Jack Winerock perform cabaret-style pieces | Lawrence Arts Center | Tickets and info at lawrenceartscenter.org or (785) 843-2787
Transformations January 24 Deja Brooks—Lawrence’s big-hearted, glamorous diva—hosts the song, talent and sequin spectacular where representatives of various charities compete for a crown and thousands in donated funds. | Tickets and info at transformationslawrence.com
Kiss the Fish
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January 27-28; 7:30 p.m. Indian Ink Theatre Company brings comedy family performance | Lied Center | Tickets and info at lied.ku.edu or (785) 864-2787
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Margaret Atwood February 2; 7 p.m. Writer Margaret Atwood delivers the Kenneth A. Spencer Memorial Lecture | University of Kansas, Kansas Union Ballroom | Free and open to the public | For more information see thecommons.ku.edu or call (785) 864-6293; Atwood’s book, The Handmaid’s Tale, will also be the Lawrence Public Library’s selection for Read Across Lawrence—see their website (lawrencepubliclibrary.org) or call (785) 843-3833 for a listing of related events in February.
Photographs Lawrence Magazine, Lawrence Journal-World and Vintage Books
L T’S GET TOGETHER
December 6-7; 4-7 p.m. Centenary United Methodist Church opens showing of approximately 400 Nativity sets, from handcrafted scenes to intricate works of art. Runs each weekend through December. 245 N. Fourth St. | (785) 843-1756