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table of contents

volume 03 / issue 04

Kathy Malm Linda Saenger Christy Underwood

for advertising rates and information (785) 822-1449

Sales executives Sue Austin Tina Campbell Brian Green Mary Walker Heather Phillips Jeanna Pohlman

Ad designers Jamie Jeffries Aaron Johnson

Debbie Nelson Natalie Brooks Erica Green Jenny Unruh Laura Fisher

features

Publisher Olaf Frandsen advertising director Kim Norwood advertising sales managers

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Carolina Litowich: A Reintroduction Writer Patricia Ackerman explores the overlooked legacy of a remarkable, pioneering author from Salina

Annette Klein Kristin Scheele

photographers Lisa Eastman Larry Harwood

Contributing writers

Editor art director graphic designer Chief Photographer General Manager

Nathan Pettengill Shelly Bryant Jenni Leiste Jason Dailey Bert Hull

e-mail Comments to sunflowerliving@sunflowerpub.com

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for subscription information, please contact:

Salina Journal Circulation Department Christy West 333 S. Fourth, Salina KS 67401 (785) 822-1467 / (800) 827-6363 ext. 347 cwest@salina.com

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local profiles Chef’s table

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departments

Production and editorial services for Sunflower Living provided by:

sunflower resumes sunflower spaces

Patricia E. Ackerman Chelsey Crawford Sarah Hawbaker Karilea Rilling Jungel Meta Newell West

Terry and George Davis

Owners, Forever Oak

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Rocky and Andrea Pfeifer

Owners, Auld Lang Syne

10

Eco-Vernacular, Kanopolis Style One couple creates a life of green living, on their own and off the grid

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


table of contents

38

14

European Getaway

Enjoy eight escapes to the Old World, because Europe is much closer than you might think …

24

Life Lessons

The Coach’s Standard

A senior artist’s work thrives from understanding the fragile beauty of people and creatures in her life

Weekend cooking marathons aid Alan Shuler in his quest for the perfect, healthful pizza

18

46

Dancing with the Swedes

They like to move it Swedishstyle … 50 years and counting

PHOTO CONTEST

Announcing a winner and next season’s contest theme Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

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under the cover

from the

editor

contributors

from the editor I hope Pat Ackerman’s story on Salina native Carolina Litowich does much to revive local interest in this author. A woman in an industry dominated by men; a Jew in a region without a synagogue; an immigrant’s child; a graduate of a prestigious Ivy League school in an era where daughters often forsook higher education; a mind with an interest in crime in an era when young women were to mind hearth and home— Carolina Litowich was a proverbial outsider. But we can become acquainted with her thanks to the preservation work of Salina Public Library’s former Kansas librarian Judy Lilly, the current staff of the library’s Campbell Room and the Smoky Valley Museum, where many of Carolina’s documents and family photos have been stored. From these documents, her writings and from Pat’s story, I get the impression that the author of what one reviewer described as a “Kansas Babbit” would have been someone who was hard to impress, but easy to disappoint. We hope Carolina Litowich would approve of this issue … but if she didn’t, at least I expect we’d enjoy her witty, biting response. nathan pettengill editor swedish folk at

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Salina area’S premier magazine on people, placeS & Style

Carolina litoWiCh RediscoveRing a Legacy

on the cover: ROAD

TRip

Tour Europe in Your Backyard Winter 2013 $3

6

The historic Holland General Store is now a privately owned motorcycle club.

Granted, exploring the vast Kansas landscape is a bit easier in the 21st century with a GPS device, wide roads, and rest stops along the way … but being a photographer means you can’t just drive the route. You have to get out, walk around, knock on doors, strike up conversations and sometimes order a plate of chicken noodles just to get the best picture. Photographer Larry Harwood did all of these while working on “European Getaway” in this issue. This story on European-named cities also offered him an excuse to explore areas around Salina that he had never yet seen—and to document life in his hometown of Glasco. One picture that came from the photo shoot in Glasco was taken during the weekly Farmers’ Market at the city’s Corner Store. Here, Larry’s father, Dr. Claude “Doc” Harwood, plays the fiddle (with Clark Huffer on the banjo) at the market concert as Larry’s mother, Marilyn Harwood, claps along to the music. Marilyn Harwood—who had fought a long battle with illness and Alzheimer’s—passed away just a few weeks after this concert. With Larry’s permission, we are including this photograph as a tribute to the woman who was Glasco’s former mayor, a member of the Kansas State Board of Education, a church organist and a loving mother. If you’re tracking down the details of a distinguished Salina writer’s life, who better to have on your team than a distinguished Salina writer? We were fortunate that Patricia Ackerman—a writer and English professor at K-State, Salina—was able to devote considerable time in researching details, dead ends and mysteries relating to the life of 1930s Salina author Carolina Litowich. As part of this research, Ackerman not only spent long hours working with the archives of the Salina Public Library and the Smoky Hill Museum, but she verified information in Gypsum Hill Cemetery and tried to patch together sometimes contradictory clues to Carolina Litowich’s personal life through her published works and accounts from Salina residents who knew the Litowich family. “I thoroughly enjoyed the process of unraveling the unsung details of Carolina Litowich’s life and family. Conducting research in the Kansas Room of the Salina Public Library reminded me of how many stories lie quietly around us, waiting to be told,” writes Ackerman.

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


previously... salina’s Loft Living

SaLina area’S premier magazine on peopLe, pLaceS & StyLe

RolF Potts’ Base The Vagabond on home

Previously... Letters, Comments and Observations about our Previous Edition new B rd in town Fall 2012 $3

salina’s Loft Living

SaLina area’S premier magazine on peopLe, pLaceS & StyLe

RolF Potts’ Base The Vagabond on home

santa’s

Salina SummerS

Salina area’S premier magazine on people, placeS & Style

HealtHful trend of Heritage farming frank reese & tHe sorells

Stan BarenBerg’S oStricheS Settle onto the prairie

opening moVes

new B rd in town

swedish

folk at

50

Lindsborg Chess sChooL introduCes and sharpens the game of Kings

Stan BarenBerg’S oStricheS Settle onto the prairie

Fall 2012 $3

Salina area’S premier magazine on people, placeS & Style

Summer 2012 $3

Carolina litoWiCh RediscoveRing a Legacy

ROAD

TRip

Tour Europe in Your Backyard Winter 2013 $3

He’s at it again.

Rolf Potts, the area’s award-winning travel writer, is once more on the road after a brief layover at his cabin in Gypsum where he visited with our writer Susan Kraus for her story in the fall edition of Sunflower Living. Over the past Thanksgiving holiday, Potts was updating his blog from Belgium as well as from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Currently, he is teaching a semester at Yale University, then heads to Paris for the summer where he will lead a writing seminar. If you’ve ever needed an excuse to get to Paris (or return there), Potts has just given you one. You can enroll in the seminar online at pariswritingworkshop.com

Your Turn

The big birds are ready for winter.

Stan Barenberg, the trucker-turned ostrich farmer featured in our fall edition, says he expects all of his birds to weather the region’s distinctly un-African winters. Barenberg considers that a testimony to his birds’ adaptability. “The only thing you have to worry about is their water. You have to keep it at least 45 to 50 degrees,” says Barenberg. “The birds have such good circulation that you don’t have to worry about keeping them warm.” Barenberg did run heat lamps for the youngest birds until the end of October; by then they were large and sturdy enough to survive even a Kansas winter. Ostriches aren’t entirely snowbirds, however, cautions Barenberg. An ice storm, for instance, can freeze over the nostrils on a beak and suffocate an ostrich. “But that’s the same for cattle and other animals,” says Barenberg. “An ice storm is hard on everyone.”

swedish

folk at

50

Salina area’S premier magazine on people, placeS & Style

Carolina litoWiCh RediscoveRing a Legacy

ROAD

TRip

Tour Europe in Your Backyard Winter 2013 $3

Recycled reading

We’ve had several questions these past months about back issues of Sunflower Living magazine. The Salina Journal office in Salina sells back issues while supplies last. We also keep an online posting of each issue. For convenience, we have set up a Sunflower Living Facebook page (facebook.com/sunflowerliving) and have posted back issues into the timeline. Simply scroll down to the date an issue was released and click on the link. If you prefer not to use Facebook and are having difficulty locating a particular issue online, simply send us an email or call us, and we’ll provide you with the link.

If you have something to share about this edition of Sunflower Living, please send an email to sunflowerliving@sunflowerpub.com or write to us at Sunflower Living / PO Box 740 / Salina, KS 67402. We are always eager to hear from you.


sunflower resume

a closer look at area business people

terry & george davis story by Nathan Pettengill photography by LISA EASTMAN

Q

The White House calls you. They need a new desk for the Oval Office. What would you recommend? Why?

a

A cherry desk from the Henry Stephens collection—it is braided-rope trim, big crown mould and a matching leather office chair. It’s stately, would give good service, and the quality is so good it would fit in there.

Q

If a chair should match someone’s personality and lifestyle, what style of chair would you recommend for each of these five famous Kansans? Why? Amelia Earhart –

charting her trip

studio chair because she would be

large, dust chair with arms— stately and comfortable Carrie Nation – beautiful Queen Anne chair that is strong and stately like she was Birger Sandzen – paint-splattered bar stool – easy to move, handy and light Steve Hawley – contemporary, chrome ergonomic office chair Dwight Eisenhower –

Terry Davis / George Davis Occupation: Owners, Forever Oak Job Location: 619 E. Crawford Birthplace: Marysville, Kansas / Parsons, Kansas name:

Terry and George were high school sweethearts at Minneapolis and will be celebrating 40 years of marriage this summer. For most of those years, George worked as a state agronomist, and Terry worked in insurance and banking. But in the late 1980s, the couple spent their free time operating a store specializing in handcrafted, high-quality hardwood furniture. They moved Forever Oak to Salina in 1992 and have operated from their showroom on Crawford since 1994. “Our name says Forever Oak, but we now have several types of woods,” says Terry. “All the furniture is Amish from Ohio. We’re very proud of the fact that it is all made in the U.S. and that the wood is from maintained forests—a renewable resource.”

Q

If you could furnish one world monument with wooden furniture, what would it be? Why?

The Taj Mahal

Buckingham Palace

Arrowhead Stadium

Frank Llyod Wright architectural home

the most underappreciated piece of wooden furniture is the

desk chair because it is something you spend almost as much time in as you spend in bed—a nice office chair keeps your back from hurting. The most overrated piece of furniture in a typical household is anything cheap because it won’t provide any service—people get what they think is a good buy, arrive home, and it falls apart. 8

Any of the Frank Llyod Wright architectural homes. We have lots of Arts and Craft movement furniture, and it would be a dream to put these into one of those homes.” “

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


a closer look at area business people

Q

sunflower resume

If you could live anywhere else and operate your antique store where would it be?

Andrea-

Denver, Colorado Austin, Texas San Francisco, California

Q

If you could be anything other than an antiques dealer, who would you be?

Andrea-

Rocky & Andrea Pfeifer

Real Estate Agent

Circus Clown

Writer

Seamstress

story by Chelsey Crawford photography by LISA EASTMAN

Rocky Pfeifer / Andrea Pfeifer Occupation: Owners, Auld Lang Syne Job Location: 101 N. Santa Fe Birthplace: Hays, Kansas / Denver, Colorado name:

Rocky-

Rocky and Andrea Pfeifer used to spend their days off work at Auld Lang Syne, looking for treasures in the nooks and crannies of the three-story antique store. In 2002, they decided to buy the whole lot, becoming owners of the operation that has partnered with individual dealers since 1993. “We love the location on the corner of Santa Fe and Iron.” Andrea says. “We really like being downtown. One of the biggest things that we are thankful for is our dealers. They keep us up and running. They are wonderful.”

Q

“People have asked me about buying the vault doors. There are 3 vaults in the building that dealers use for showrooms. I always tell them if you want to buy the door you have to buy the building.” Q

President

Lion Tamer

Antiques Dealer

I have already done everything and this is my favorite.”

What is one of the craziest things people have asked you while you have owned the shop?

Andrea-

Police Officer

Q

What have been your favorite places to find antiques and collectables?

At other antique stores

What is your favorite era of antiques?

At estate sales or auctions

Vintage 50s and 60s Early 1900s-20s 1800s handmade antiques

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

From a nice couple in upper New York

9


Eco-Vernacular,

Kanopolis Style Home of Paul Krumm and Micki Taylor story by Patricia E. Ackerman photography by Larry Harwood

One couple creates a life of green living, on their own and off the grid


Krumm & Taylor Home

I

LEFT: The Krumm-Taylor home is built literally into the landscape near Lake Kanopolis. The couple have lived in their semi-submerged, off-the-grid eco house since 2009. OPPOSITE RIGHT: Though

the home’s structure relies on innovative design, its wooden tables, chairs and shelves provide a sense of tradition.

t is New Year’s Eve 2009. Paul Krumm and Micki Taylor are moving into their newly constructed rural home approximately six miles east of Kanopolis. Like other new homes, this one features an open floor plan, modern kitchen, large living room and sleeping quarters. Unlike most contemporary new constructions, there are no electrical lines running to the house. Taylor and Krumm live completely off the public electrical grid. Krumm works as a builder/contractor while Taylor indexes books and operates her 10-year-old company, Skyfire Garden Seeds, which grows and sells heirloom garden seeds. So the couple have some background in independent living, but most of their knowledge about how to construct a home and live off the public electrical grid has come from study and practical experience. Krumm originally purchased what he describes as his “long, quarter-section of land” near Kanopolis Lake in 1995. Three years later, he and his new bride, Micki Taylor, moved a small trailer house onto a hill toward the back of the property “as temporary housing” powered entirely by wind and solar energy. Then construction commenced on a second building, intended for use as a workshop. But, according to Krumm, “Micki became tired of waiting for a better house.” “That is putting it mildly,” expounds Micki. The couple did agree on their next step—the initial

construction for the shop became the foundation for what would become their 1,400-square-foot, earthsheltered home. That new house incorporated a combination of both found materials and eco-technology. “I wanted to prototype several environmentally friendly building techniques I have studied, including earth-sheltering and passive annual heat storage,” Krumm explains. Highlighting the found materials, Krumm points out two steel beams spanning the living room. They were once the bottom of a 32-inch bridge beam salvaged when a new bridge was constructed across the Smoky Hill River on Highway 156. Salvaged walls of a 24foot grain bin formed the home’s high, arched ceiling and provided the form for the exterior concrete roof. “I placed 4 inches of reinforced concrete on top of the corrugated grain bin walls, then earth on top of that, then plastic pond liner, and then more earth on top of that. Then I sloped it all back 6 inches, added another layer of pond liner, 6 inches of Styrofoam insulation, a third layer of pond liner and then 16-18 inches of earth,” explains Krumm. “This layering extends 15 feet beyond the house. So, all of the earth around our house is insulated, keeping the surrounding earth at the same temperature as the house.” The temperature inside the home is maintained largely by the structure’s geothermal design features. Five holes along the back of the home lead into earth tubes that go behind the house. Two of the tubes slope

Sunflowerliving / WINTER 2013

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sunflower spaces

1.

2.

3.

4.

“I wanted to prototype several environmentally friendly building techniques I have studied” -Paul Krumm around the house and emerge outside while three tubes wrap under the floor, then emerge to the southeast of the home—a wraparound feature that works on a process known as “thermosiphon,” effectively allowing one set of tubes to pull in cool air when the house is warmer than the earth around it and another set of tubes to gather warm air when the home is cooler than the earth around it. This natural home heating and cooling system, says Krumm, keeps the day and night temperature variation to within 6-7 degrees. “In the winter we stay between 65-70 degrees and during the summer between 80-85 degrees.” Any auxiliary heating and cooling comes from a motor home furnace and a small window air conditioner. “We use a single motor home furnace that keeps us warm only during the coldest parts of the winter. The fan blower is powered by solar energy, but the actual burner is powered by propane,” explains Taylor. “We keep a small

12

window air conditioner in the bedroom, which we power through the wind generator during extremely high temperatures like the summer of 2012.” For power needs, the couple estimate they had been tapping into a backup gas generator approximately once a month when there had not been sufficient sunlight for their solar generators or wind for their wind generators, but they have now installed a new wind generator they expect to meet most all needs. The wind and solar generators feed into golf cart batteries that they use for storing energy and powering appliances. Their computer runs off of a 12volt car outlet directly connected to the battery bank. And their kitchen stove runs off of propane with a range that pulls some electricity. On sunny days, however, they can forgo electrical power for cooking by using a solar oven, which also keeps from heating up the inside of the house.

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


Krumm & Taylor Home

HOME BUSINESS Micki Taylor pours tea from the home’s kitchen, which— despite being off the grid—has running water, a microwave oven and two refrigerators.

Taylor says that though the environmentally friendly construction and eco-devices are important, equally vital is monitoring use of power. “Most electricity in homes is used to power two things. One is your refrigerator, and one is powering appliances even when they are not being used,” she says. “We keep all of our appliances on switches. When we are not using the TV, microwave or computer, we switch them off. Some people unplug them. Appliances can use more energy plugged in and sitting there waiting for you to use them for a few hours each day.” The couple use a wireless router for internet, an antenna for television and cellular phone service. Both Taylor and Krumm are avid readers, and the walls that separate their living room from their bedrooms as well as the pantry from the office are actually huge bookshelf units filled to the top with books on diverse topics. It’s a practical decision—shelves instead of walls in order to save space, explains Taylor. The exterior walls around the home are considerably sturdier. The earth contact walls of the home are solid, formed concrete. The front walls are constructed around 4-inch-thick panels of Styrofoam insulation, covered by welded wire on 2-inch setters, which has then been sprayed on both sides with dry process gunite, similar to stucco. Looking over the project, Krumm says if he were to start it all over again he would add a vapor barrier underneath the flooring, but he wouldn’t change anything else in the process. And the shop building that never was built? “I hope to get something like that done, but at my age, I don’t know if I’ll get that done,” says Krumm with a laugh before returning to his latest urgent project. Krumm’s water pump has just broken down—and when you live off the grid, you also tend to do your own plumbing.

1. When

weather allows, a solar oven is used for cooking.

2. The home’s roof is covered in layers of soil. 3. Solar panels provide for some of the home’s electrical demands. 4. Book shelves serve as walls for the home’s interior.

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

Living off the grid has not harmed Micki Taylor’s home business, Skyfire Garden Seeds, which she has operated since 2002. In fact, there are advantages to growing heirloom seeds on an isolated patch of land. “All of my seeds are openpollinated, meaning there are no hybrid seeds in my stock. In order to grow seeds yourself you must keep them from crosspollinating, in order to keep them true to the original plant,” explains Taylor. Taylor gathers the seed stock for Skyfire Garden Seeds from small, family-owned farms and companies. She then cultivates and sells in small quantities over the internet for home gardens. Recently, Taylor has been concentrating on heat-resistant plants. “One of the special varieties I have grown includes a donkey-ear pepper, which has a delicious flavor and does well, even in 100-plus-degree heat,” says Taylor. “I am also growing a couple of eggplant varieties from India, which are tolerant of Kansas heat. And this past year, I found a Santorini, a small, Greek salad tomato that does well in 100-plus-degree heat.”

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local profiles

Life Lessons story by Karilea Rilling Jungel photography by Lisa Eastman

A senior artist’s work thrives from understanding the fragile beauty of people and creatures in her life 14

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


Lee Becker

T

LEFT: Brushes and paints (TOP) fill Lee Becker’s Lindsborg studio. TOP RIGHT: Animals have become themes in Becker’s recent works. This pair of Plymouth Barred Rock birds live with her friends—“these are chickens I know,” says Becker. ABOVE: Becker prepares to melt wax for a sculpture mold.

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

here are times when Lee Becker looks at her past works of art and asks herself: “Gee, what was I thinking?” But the long career of this Lindsborg artist, recently celebrated with a retrospective at Bethany College’s Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery, contains many stages of growth. Each period of her work, says Becker, “is what it was at that place and time,” but the most rewarding themes run through her 75 years of life and connect with some of her brightest childhood memories. A native of McPherson, Becker grew up as an adopted child spending much time at her grandparents’ ranch near Marquette surrounded by fields of wheat and alfalfa and raised near horses, cows and bulls. She remembers climbing atop a bull once, just to try riding it. Her aunt and mother caught her just as she sat proudly on top of the bull and “the air turned colorful with my mother’s comments.” True, Becker has not created any tributes to the gentle bull that didn’t kill her, but she has recently created vibrant paintings of farm animals, recreating her childhood scenes with the experience of an artist’s eye. “I was around animals, and they were my friends,” says Becker. “My work has come around again, as they have such interesting forms in their lines, shapes and color.” Now, the animals in Becker’s life are two dogs who share space in her Lindsborg studio, a concise, chaotic castle that holds her latest works, mostly

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local profiles

paintings. Becker had painted throughout her life and returned to school to study art as a nontraditional student in the late 1960s. Balancing her work as a mother to three sons, Dirk, Daniel and Craig, Becker painted, threw clay, cast bronze and worked with limestone lithography. “I had to do it all in order to get my teaching certificate,” explains Becker. “And because I was a maniac. I wanted to do it all.” She graduated, went on to earn an MFA at Fort Hays State, traveled and watched her sons grow. And then she lost Craig in a road accident when he was only 20. Reflecting on her dyslexic son who enjoyed drawing, collages and other art projects, Becker says she thinks Craig would have grown to become a very good artist. As any parent who has lost a child might do, Becker drew her two older boys to her a little closer, like a mother hen in one of her paintings.

“My work has come around again” -Lee Becker Becker says she is no psychologist, but she knows the loss of her son had a profound impact on all aspects of her life, including her art. After a Rotary Club-sponsored trip to India, where she was inspired by the people and art, Becker returned home to find an Indian connection waiting for her—a rare Indian rhino at Salina’s Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure. “They look as if they are bolted together, by those bits and pieces of armor,” she says of the rather ungainly creatures that she has painted in a series of works. “They are almost gone. A lot of the animals I paint are very rare—a lot of them are lost due to poachers.” Showing a recent print of an Indian deer, Becker explains the long process of carving through different stencils made of heavy linoleum known as “cured battleship linoleum.” She dares not determine how long any particular print might take to finish, but she has honed down an answer to the question of “how long does it take you?” to this: “Three hours … and thirty years. Print-making is more time-consuming by nature, but if you are keeping track of the time, then you are not really doing the work.” Becker believes that her return to animal themes, no matter how painstaking the process, marked a key point in her development as an artist. Looking back on her early years in the 1950s and early 1960s when she was mastering her art, Becker says she had become “bored with the nonobjective painting” that she was seeing around her and that was reflected in her works. “I felt something was missing. Something was not in the picture. So, I went back to the beginning and began drawing from life.”

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Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


lee becker

Lee Becker holds up a print from a linoleum block carving that was inspired by her visit to a spice farm India.

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


local profiles

Many members of the Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers balance their dancing with other school activities. Jenna Hubele is a dancer who also performs in the Smoky Valley High School choir.

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Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


Swedish dancing

G

H

D

IT

E

W

S

D

CIN N A

THE SW

E

story by Sarah Hawbaker photography by Larry Harwood

They like to move it Swedish-style … 50 years and counting

T

hese students are choir members and tennis players for the Smoky Valley Vikings. They hold leadership positions in 4-H and student council. They sing and play in the band. They are in forensics and drama club; they have part-time jobs and homework. They do it all and then, on Wednesday nights, they gather in an elementary school gymnasium to laugh, joke, talk about the Tantoli, Weavers, Crested Hen and Hornfiffen and, of course, to dance. “Clearly, the group is unique,” says Rebecca Van Der Wege, the

executive director for this group of approximately 40 kids—the Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers. “These are busy kids,” Van Der Wege adds. Yet they and their families choose to take on an extra weekly commitment of practice and fundraising. As a parent of a current dancer, Van Der Wege says her family made this choice because they value the connection to their heritage and ancestors. “Connecting the past, present and future through this group is more than special—it’s amazing,” Van Der Wege says.

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

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local profiles

to see them perform 20

The next major, public performance for the Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers will be on Palm Sunday, March 24, at Bethany College’s Presser Hall. The dancers take the stage at 1 p.m., prior to Bethany College’s annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah” at 3 p.m. Entrance is free for the dance performance, but tickets are required to remain for the “Messiah” and can be bought at the Presser Hall Box Office or ordered by calling (785) 227-3380 ext. 8137. Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


Swedish dancing

LEFT When

The Heritage

he isn’t dancing with the Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers, Christian Hansen is often working with his goats as a member of 4-H.

Before the dancing even begins, there are other aspects of the troupe that set them apart and connect them more closely with their heritage. One of the signature features of the Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers is that they practice and perform with live fiddle music provided by fellow students such as junior Telea Peterson, who began playing the violin as a fourth-grader. Peterson says the most difficult part of learning the songs for the Swedish Dancers is that most must be learned by ear. Sheet music, she explains, is sometimes not used at all and when it is, the paper is often difficult to read because it has become so worn from being copied year after year. Van Der Wege, who also played the fiddle when she was in the group, recalls learning songs by watching the fingers of other fiddlers. In addition to playing the fiddle, one musician takes on the task of playing the nyckelharpa, a keyed fiddle. This year, that role is filled by junior Megan De Vore who self-taught herself the instrument when she was a freshman. “The nyckelharpa is a very unique instrument, which makes it fun to play,” says De Vore who describes a nyckelharpa’s sound as very resonant and somewhat metallic but with hints of an Old-World cadence stretching back to what is believed to be its Middle Eastern roots. The fiddlers, like the dancers, perform in authentic costumes, each of which represents a specific province or parish of Sweden. The dancers may choose a costume that represents their own Swedish heritage or pick one they simply like. The only rule is that each outfit be authentic to Sweden. Some of the dancers wear costumes that have been worn by family members over the years.

TOP Swedish dance moves might or might not improve Jonathan Dahlsten’s serve returns as a member of the Viking tennis team, but who can argue with authentic socks that match the tennis court colors?

BELOW Dressed

up in their historic dance costumes, Teressa Cooper and Benton Van Der Wege greet visitors outside The Swedish Country Inn in Lindsborg.

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

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local profiles

50

Golden Anniversary!

In 2013, the Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers will celebrate their 50th anniversary. What began as a handful of dancers performing Swedish folk dances at Lindsborg’s Lucia Festival in 1963 has turned into a Lindsborg tradition that has traveled the world. For many children in Lindsborg, learning Swedish folk dance is a part of their upbringing. Starting from the time they are in first or second grade, students in the Smoky Valley School District learn to dance. The group then begins to create a list of students as young as sixth-graders who may be interested in joining when they enter high school. And since students may begin taking orchestra in fourth grade, the list of possible fiddlers typically is made up of those students. The number of dancers accepted each year depends mainly on the number of seniors who are graduating out of the troupe. Organizers also attempt to keep the 30-40 dancers evenly divided between boys and girls since most dances are performed with partners. Rebecca Van Der Wege, the group’s executive director, says Lindsborg Swedish Dancers have grown over the past 50 years because of the dancers themselves and because of Lindsborg’s support through attending performances and assisting with fundraisers. “A group like this doesn’t last 50 years without that pride and appreciation of its mission,” Van Der Wege says.

22

The Dances

Of course, the main emphasis for this troupe is dancing. The troupe performs approximately 10 times each year, with each performance lasting approximately one hour and consisting of 10 different dances. The group’s first performances each year are usually holiday performances at area nursing home facilities. After that, the group performs as part of St. Lucia Festival in early December. Other performances are at Midsummer’s Festival in July and Svensk Hyllningsfest, which takes place in October of odd-numbered years. Every four years the group takes a trip to Sweden during Midsummer Festival season and tours throughout the country for approximately three weeks. The trips allow the students to sample authentic Swedish culture from their stays in hostels and Swedish homes. And sometimes they pick up new performance ideas. “When we learn a new dance, we bring it back, work on it and might add it to our performance schedule in the U.S.,” says Van Der Wege. Most of the group’s dances are are circle dances, though some contain a competitive aspect. For example, Sword Dance allows boy dancers to see who has the quickest feet by dancing over swords. Crested Hen is a skipping dance between two girls. Whoever gets the hat during the dance also gets the boy. Each dance has a story and the dancers tend to get into character during their dances, says Jenna Hubele a high school senior who has danced in the group since she was a freshman. “The girls usually are being cutesy, and the boys are trying to act manly,” Hubele explains. With so many dances, the learning curve for new dancers can be a bit steep. Freshman Seth Peterson, whose parents, brothers and a whole slew of extended family members have participated in the dance group over the years, says getting in tune with your partner is a big part of learning the dance steps. The dances in those initial practices, says Seth, can be “awkward” or “just bad sometimes.” But because most of the dances are either a waltz, polka or schottische dance, and because the same dances are performed year after year, once freshmen like Peterson learn the steps that first year, the next three years are often a breeze. Troupe member Christian Hansen, a junior in high school, has learned to put the performances in perspective. “You will never have a perfect performance, but the biggest part is having fun and pleasing your audience,” says Hansen. Van Der Wege says she enjoys watching the dancers improve through all stages of their development, but their dedication and their enjoyment of the dances make it even more rewarding to work with them and present them to the community. “I think the students do a terrific job of engaging the audience by making it look fun, and actually having fun,” Van Der Wege explains. “That’s all them. Parents can’t do that for them. Directors can coach and instruct, but can’t do it for them either. When they’re out there dancing for a performance, it’s all -Christian Hansen them, and they do a fantastic job.”

“You will never have a perfect performance, but the biggest part is having fun and pleasing your audience.”

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


Swedish dancing

1.

3.

2.

1. The

2012-1013 Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers pose after practice

2. Megan De

Vore plays the nyckelharpa for the troupe.

3. Along with the

nyckelharpa, three fiddlers provide the music and set the rhythm for the dance troupe.

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

23


Chef’s table

The Coach’s

standard

24

story by Meta Newell West photography by Larry Harwood

Weekend cooking marathons aid Alan Shuler in his quest for the perfect, healthful pizza

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


Alan Shuler

A

lthough Alan Shuler really enjoys cooking, it’s often hard for him to find time for the kitchen. Preparing something special must compete with teaching at Salina South Middle School, coaching freshman football at Salina Central and videotaping varsity football games, as well as remodeling and woodworking around home. But Alan does make time to cook, particularly on weekends when he says the Shuler kitchen becomes the venue for something “kind of like a Rachael Ray Week in a Day cooking marathon.” Toward the end of the marathon, Alan whips up quick dishes that serve as weeknight fare for him and his wife, Lesley. Extras show up in the sack lunches that he takes to school each day. Alan didn’t actually take an interest in cooking until he was married and living in a campus apartment at Fort Hays State University. “Lesley and I did a lot of experimenting in our onewall kitchen that couldn’t have been more than 7 feet long. We had an undercounter refrigerator that was probably smaller than the one we sent to college with our daughter a few years ago,” he explains. One of the young couple’s first endeavors was pizza. Back then, they made it with a biscuit dough crust and were so proud of the results they even took photos. Thirty years later, Alan, now 51, is still experimenting with pizza in his Salina kitchen. He describes it as a “quest for the perfect pizza,” and goes on to say, “Every time I eat a pizza, I judge it against the others I’ve eaten in the past.” Definitely one of his most memorable was a Chicago-style pizza that he ate in Chicago a few years ago. “It was two-crusted, stuffed full of sauce, cheese and meat. One slice was a complete meal,” he explains. That slice became his standard for judging all future pies. However, Alan’s love of cooking, and eating eventually lead to the inevitable weight gain. “After a weekend of indulgent eating and a whole lot of sitting while attending a football clinic, I decided to make some changes in my eating habits and cooking style,” he explains. His decision was further reinforced when he reconnected with a former colleague who had lost a lot of weight. “If he can do it, I can certainly do it, too,” Alan remembers thinking.

“Every time I eat a pizza, I judge it against the others I’ve eaten in the past.” -Alan Shuler Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


Chef’s table

what you need

Chicken fajita pizza Cornmeal

Salsa

No-Fat Refried Beans

Flour Tortilla Mix

Green Pepper

Red Pepper Mexican-Style Cheese

Chicken Breast

White Sweet Onion

pizza tips

Chili Powder

alan’s

Dried Cilantro Leaves Oregano Leaves Garlic Ground Cumin

Not Pictured: Olive Oil, Salt, Black Pepper

26

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

“I’ve had good success with pre-baking the crust for about 45 seconds to one minute on one side before adding the toppings. I do this when I know I’m going to be using heavier toppings, or lots of toppings,” Alan says.


Alan Shuler

pizza stone &

peel advice

“For me, eating healthy called for a change in attitude and a change in what I ate and how often,” he points out. But, he also admits, “It’s hard to say whether it was more difficult to cut down on cheese or carbs.” His weight reduction success is also aided by his creativity in the kitchen. He seems to have a knack for recreating the tastes he most enjoys in food and is creative enough to figure out how to maximize flavor while using wholesome ingredients. For example, Alan put his own twist on a healthy version of a refried bean soup that was inspired by something he ate in Cancun. “I just started experimenting, adding spices and adjusting flavors, and eventually got to that ‘ah-ha’ moment when everything came together.” However, he continues playing with that recipe and has even added ground turkey, creating refried bean chili. He’s even created pizzas that he considers to be healthy and that satisfy his pizza cravings. “Instead of using a lot of cheese, I now load a pizza with lots of vegetables, use lean meats and sometimes substitute salsa for the usual tomato sauce. There are so many ways to tweak the recipe, and I’ve even come up with a yeast-free dough that cuts the time it takes to make a pizza.” Alan’s healthier pizzas are certainly a far cry from that memorable Chicago-style pizza he ate back in 2007. But, he readily admits that along with a change in his eating attitude, his tastes and ideals have also changed. “Chicken fajita pizza is now my new standard.”

Always be sure to add the stone to a cold oven. Alan warns, “Putting a cold pizza stone in a hot oven can cause it to crack. In addition, let the stone cool completely before attempting to clean it, or it can suffer the same fate.”

preheated stone is a little tricky, but Alan has found another special tool that helps deal with this problem. “I dust a wooden pizza peel with a light sprinkling of cornmeal to help the pizza slide off the peel and onto the stone.

Transferring the assembled pizza to the

Clean the cooled pizza stone by simply rinsing with water. Do

Alan usually triples the recipe for the dough so that he can make several pizzas at a time. “For toppings, I often use what is available,” Alan explains. Upon finding a package of minute steak in the refrigerator, he used the lean red meat to create a steak pizza.

If you don’t have a pizza stone and peel, just use a pizza pan.

Hawaiian pizza is another favorite in the Shuler household. Alan starts with chicken but adds a little chopped ham, then layers the pizza with sliced mushrooms and finishes it with a light sprinkling of low-fat mozzarella cheese. Sometimes he even adds a little crushed and drained pineapple.

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

not use soap and don’t worry about oil buildup—those oils actually help season the stone, creating a nonstick quality. The wooden pizza peel also requires special care. “To avoid warping, do not allow the peel to stand in water,” Alan says. “Simply wipe it down with a wet cloth. And, never slice the pizza on the peel!”

A self-professed carnivore, Alan now tries to load his pizzas with veggies, too. “I usually add the cursory peppers and onions to most of my pizzas and sometimes add artichokes for Lesley,” he says.

27


Chef’s table

Recipe

alan shuler’s chicken fajita pizza Cooking Time: Approx 40 minutes

Feeds 8

1 ingredients: Flour Tortilla Dough

step

¼ cup warm water

1 cup flour tortilla mix

Cooking Instructions 1. Place pizza stone on the center rack of the oven. 2. Preheat to 450 degrees. 3. Add warm water to tortilla mix in a large bowl. Mix well. Add more water if dough is dry, additional flour if sticky. 4. Lightly flour a work surface. Knead dough about 5 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. If dough appears sticky, add more flour. 5. Cover dough with a damp cloth and let rest 15 minutes. During the resting period, prepare the chicken and veggie topping.

28

Alan’s menu suggestion Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


Alan Shuler step

2

ingredients: Chicken and Veggie Topping 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup thinly sliced white sweet onions, ¼-inch slices ½ cup green pepper strips, cut into ¼-inch strips ½ cup red pepper strips, cut into ¼-inch strips 1 teaspoon crushed or minced garlic 1 pound chicken breast, skinned, boned and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch strips 1 tablespoon chili powder ½ teaspoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon oregano leaves ½ teaspoon dried cilantro leaves 1/8 teaspoon salt or salt substitute 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Cooking Instructions 1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. 2. Add onions and peppers and cook two or three minutes or until veggies are tender crisp. 3. Add garlic, chicken and seasonings (chili powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, salt and pepper); cook until chicken loses its pink color. 4. Remove from heat and set aside.

step

3

ingredients: pizza Cornmeal (handful to sprinkle on pizza stone and pizza peel) ½ cup no-fat refried beans (Alan sometimes substitutes refried black beans) ½ cup mild salsa or use part canned and drained Tex-Mex style diced tomatoes 2 cups Mexican-style cheese blend (amount can be reduced) Optional toppers: shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, fresh cilantro

Cooking Instructions 1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the rested dough so that it is approximately ¼-inch thick and will fit on a pizza stone. Turn dough several times to make sure it is not sticking to the work surface. Although a round shape is traditional, dough can also be rolled into a more rustic oval shape. 2. Sprinkle pizza peel (see “Tips and Advice” section in this article) with cornmeal; place dough on peel and transfer to the hot pizza stone. Bake 45 seconds to one minute, until crust just begins to bubble. 3. Using the pizza peel, remove crust, leaving stone in the oven. Spread crust with a thin layer of refried beans, add a layer of salsa, scatter the chicken and veggie mixture over crust, and top with cheese. Avoid overloading the pizza, or it will be difficult to return to the oven. 4. Using the pizza peel, carefully slide the pizza back onto the stone and bake 7 to 9 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is crisp and lightly browned. If desired, switch the oven to the broil setting for the last minute or two. 5. Remove pizza from the oven. (Alan slides it onto a cookie sheet for efficient removal.) Start with refried bean soup, followed by chicken fajita pizza. Add a green salad, if desired.

6. Slice and serve. Pass the following toppings if desired: shredded lettuce, pico de gallo and fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

29


Carolina Litowich:

A Reintroduction Writer Patricia Ackerman explores the overlooked legacy of a remarkable, pioneering author from Salina Story by Patricia E. Ackerman / Photography by Larry Harwood

30

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


One hundred years ago,

Carolina Litowich was a 15-year-old girl learning about life from her home in Salina. Developing strong opinions about the world, she grew up to become a writer, weaving her ideas into one of the rare novels of fiction to be successfully published by a female American author in 1932. That novel, Ugly Face: A Story of Unusual Strength and Most Literal Realism, unmasks the miseries of a middle-aged man and his constant struggle to present the proper “face” to Midwestern society during the 1920s. That character, Hilary Howne, longs to feel more successful both at home and at work. He transfers his personal failings into an ambitious dream of providing a first-class education for his only daughter, Victoria. He wants “a broadening school for Victoria, one where she will develop her cultural side, in a spiritual way.” But life seems to foil the gentleman at every turn. Unlike the daughter of the hapless Mr. Howne, Carolina Litowich grew up to become an extremely welleducated woman. She attended Salina Public Schools and Kansas Wesleyan University before studying at the University of Chicago and ultimately earning a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City. She worked for a time at New York’s stylish Delineator magazine, which mixed themes of fiction and fashion with flapper-era sophistication. Litowich traveled extensively, living out the final years of her life in Hollywood. Records show that she maintained active memberships in the Southern California Woman’s Press Club, Writer’s Round Table, Hollywood Opera Reading Club, the Del Mar Beach Club, the Opera Guild of Southern California and the Women’s Committee for the Philharmonic Orchestra. Her name also appears on the Los Angeles Social Register. Litowich’s 1952 obituary conspicuously claims that the author “was identified with civic movements” throughout her life. True to this reputation, Ugly Face lifts the curtains on the changing social values and roles of American women during the ’20s and ’30s. The author writes openly about adultery, unfulfilling marriages and cultural improprieties, topics heretofore discussed only in whispers. But she views impending changes through the eyes of a wary male protagonist, and the novel is dedicated to her father. Throughout her 52-page novel, Litowich weaves subtle autobiographical threads. Though the story is set in Wichita, the homes and neighborhoods described in Ugly Face are strikingly reminiscent of Salina’s Historic District, complete with “rows of elm trees lifted majestically to the sky.” To this day, the Litowich home where Carolina was raised stands on a large corner lot at 683 South Santa Fe (see story section on pages 36-37). The traditional family home plays a prominent role in Ugly Face as Mr. Howne’s ambition for his daughter’s future leads him to overvalue his two-story home, thinking that “some place in that block is going to sell soon for a filling station” and his home certainly sits on “the best corner for it.” Unfortunately, Howne’s entrepreneurial cousin purchases land a few blocks away (perhaps based on Ninth and Crawford), which he resells to the Blue Line Oil Co. for a new filling station. Traces of Salina are also found in the novel as young Victoria Howne and her boyfriend frequent a dubious dance establishment called “The Blue Balloon,” reminiscent of Salina’s once-popular “Blue Pacific.” It is not difficult to imagine a young Carolina Litowich watching peoples’ lives from her front porch at 683 South Santa Fe. Like Victoria, she would have been “almost a young lady now, old enough to go to college, old enough to notice things.” Ultimately, Litowich grew into the cultured and educated woman that the fictional Hilary Howne dreamed his own daughter might become. And by writing and publishing a book like Ugly Face in 1932, Carolina Litowich subtly questioned the wisdom of accepting life at face value—while leaving us a strong portrait of someone perhaps very much like her younger self and of Salina domestic life in the 1920s.

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

31


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Just $15 per year!

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If you are a reader living outside of our n ew B rd home delivery areas, in tow n you may subscribe annually for only $15 and enjoy the convenience of having Sunflower Living mailed directly to your home. B rd n e wtow n in eS trich g’S oS airie nBer Bare to the pr Stan on Settle

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GIve a GIft subscrIptIon and share the salIna area lIfestyle wIth a frIend! 3 Easy ways to subscribe: Mail in this form, call or send us an e-mail! Yes! Send me a year of Sunflower Living, 4 issues, for just $15 (includes tax). Last Name

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Mail this form to: Salina Journal Circulation Department c/o Christy West 333 S. 4th, Salina, Kansas 67401

Or call us at (785) 822-1467 / (800) 827-6363 ext. 347 Or e-mail at cwest@salina.com

Successful female authors such as Gertrude Stein, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Edith Wharton were the exception in 1932, the year that Carolina Litowich became a published novelist. At that time, a disproportionate amount of books were written by male authors, and the possibility of becoming a career female writer was quite slim—even for someone like Carolina Litowich, who seemed quite able to defy expectations. It is impossible to know what other aspects of daily life in Salina or other themes might have been portrayed if Carolina Litowich had chosen or been able to continue writing novels—but perhaps some hints can be found at the Salina Public Library. In addition to holding a copy of Ugly Face in its regular lending stacks, the library also holds several photographs, documents and manuscripts relating to the Litowich family in its archive collection. Among these papers are what appear to be portions of unfinished stories, a play and plot themes by Carolina Litowich. The following is a transcription of what appears to be the draft for a mystery-theme play and then some story ideas proposed by Litowich with comments from a reviewer. Both documents are transcribed, with some editing for clarity, from the Litowich collection, available for public viewing in the Salina Public Library’s Campbell Room of Kansas Research.

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Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


Draft for a mystery-theme play By Carolina Litowich Unknown date / Litowich Collection, Salina Public Library

At Carl Ellman’s exhibit of portraits, he is pointing out qualities of Mrs. Truman’s, society leader’s, full-length portrait to well-dressed group. Jewels are in evidence. A man’s hand is seen unloosening Mrs. Truman’s bracelet. She is too engrossed in her own triumph to notice. Carl continues discussion as small groups leave together, Mrs. Truman discovers loss of bracelet and frantic search follows. Mrs. Truman, not wanting to embarrass Carl, decides to look at home before reporting loss to insurance people. In an ante-room, thief gives bracelet to Elsa. That evening, in the studio, Carl Ellman sits over a game with a woman whose back and the turn of her face alone are seen. Over her shoulder is a scarf. Her replica, in this position, hangs in the studio. She chides him for his cooling affections; he rebukes her. She shoots him, flees. She does not turn her head enough for her face to be seen. Carl Ellman drags himself to her portrait, paints a mark on her back, dies.

Sketches for short story themes

(believed to be by Carolina Litowich with comments in the handwriting of someone other than Carolina Litowich) April, 1942 / Litowich Collection, Salina Public Library

A man who has been blind for years, recovers his sight. He is the victim of a robber, who blindfolds the man and leaves him. But the victim can make his way, blindfolded and with his hands and feet bond. The victim would have to be left by the villain in a neighborhood with which the victim was familiar.

Better make him a witness whom the criminal does not consider, believing him blind. A villain might be caught through the following means: Canary birds of fine lineage, carry their pedigree just above the foot. The pedigree, written on a very small and very thin piece of paper, is clamped with a small piece of soft, pliable metal just above one foot. The paper is not exposed, only the small piece of metal is seen. A message could be on the paper. The villain could blunder by reclamping the metal on the foot opposite from the foot on which the metal was usually clamped. This blunder could be observed.

Good. This is original. Suggests appealing action. Try it for a spy plot in a short short -- a story of an escape from Germany, perhaps. The refugee is guided by messages on canaries, until finally he reaches a place where a boat will take him off.

The Vilkaviskis Genocide Included in the Salina Public Library’s file on the Litowich family are a series of six postcards that carry a painful reminder of the fate of the Litowich family who remained in Europe. Written in the Latvik dialect of Yiddish, they were dated from August 6, 1937 – March 14, 1940, sent from Michli Litovich and postmarked from Vilkaviskis, Lithuania. This town, now in the southwest portion of Lithuania and near the Polish border, had an active Jewish community who had settled in the region since at least 1575. By 1939, there were as many as 4,000 Jews living in the town with six synagogues, an elementary school and a high school. In June 1940, the Soviet Red Army took over the town, nationalized businesses and began arresting and exiling several members of the Jewish community. In June 1941, the Nazi army captured the region and began rounding up and executing members of the Jewish community. By one estimate, 3,400 of the 3,500 Jews in Vilkaviskis were killed by the Nazis. There are no postcards in the Litowich collection from Vilkaviskis after the Vilkaviskis executions. The memory of the Jewish community in Vilkaviskis is honored by the website www.jewishvilkaviskis.org, created and maintained by an international group of historians and volunteers. Here, you can read their story, see pictures of Vilkaviskis’ historic Jewish community and even find a map showing the location of Michli Litovich’s home (Vinco Kudirkos, house 14). Historical and linguistic background for this section was provided by Jewish Vilkaviskis project coordinator Ralph Salinger, Renee Perelmutter from the University of Kansas and www.jewishvilkaviskis.org. Photograph: Postcards sent from Michli Litovich and held in the Litowich collection of the Salina Public Library’s Campbell Room of Kansas Research. Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

33


The Litowich Legacy

Members of Carolina Litowich’s immediate family lived as successful and respected citizens of the Salina community throughout much of the 20th century. Her father, Benjamin Aaron Litowich, immigrated to the United States from Poland. He owned and operated The Salina Mercantile Drygoods Co. until his retirement. Shortly after Benjamin Litowich’s death in 1937, Consolidated Printing and Stationary President Will Montgomery recorded a KSAL Radio broadcast in which he claimed that “the best known and best beloved name in Salina’s Retail Business is Ben Litowich. In 1871, Litowich came to Salina, and opened what he called the New York Store, displaying the latest things in men’s haberdashery, even to the epitome of sartorial elegance, paper collars and cuffs. The New York Store grew, and just before the turn of the century, the name was changed to the Salina Mercantile Company, which stands today as one of the leading dry goods and department stores in town … generations of customer loyalty is evidence of the respect Salina had for his honesty and high character.” Benjamin and Juliette (Rothchild) Litowich’s eldest son, Bernhardt, became a prominent Salina attorney with the firm of Burch, Litowich, and Royce (present-day law firm of Hampton & Royce). He also served as president of the Kansas State Bar Association. The younger son, Herbert, assumed responsibility for running “The Merc” after Benjamin Litowich’s retirement. Carolina’s younger sister, Helen, retired from the Salina Public School System after serving as a teacher at Roosevelt-Lincoln School for many years. None of the Litowich siblings had children, and all members of the Litowich family are buried together in Salina’s Gypsum Hills Cemetery.

photographs Page 30: A portrait believed to be of Carolina Litowich as a young woman. Page 32: Documents from the Litowich collection in the Campbell Room of Kansas Research. Page 34: Carolina and Helen Litowich (top); The Litowich Family, from left, Herbert, unidentified (believed to be Benjamin Aaron Litowich’s mother), Carolina, Benjamin, Bernhardt, Helen and Juliette; a studio portrait believed to be of Carolina Litowich. All historic photographs courtesy the Campbell Room of Kansas Research, Salina Public Library.

Litowich Family Tree Daughter-in-law

Edna Eberhart Litowich

1884 – 1972 (wife of B.I. Litowich, no children)

Son

Bernhardt I. Litowich 1883-1949 (prominent Salina attorney and president, Kansas State Bar Association)

Son

Son

Herbert M. Litowich

Leo J. Litowich

1885-1970 (Ran Salina Mercantile Co. after his father’s death)

Dec. 9, 1889 – August 28, 1900 (died at age 10 months)

Father

Benjamin Aaron Litowich

1849-1937 (b. Vilkviska Poland, to U.S. around 1869)

34

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

Daughter

Daughter

Helen Litowich

Carolina Litowich

1900-1972 (Taught at Salina Roosevelt/Lincoln School until retirement)

Mother

Juliette Rothchild Litowich

1861-1928 (Helped Litowich start “the Merc”)

May 2, 1897 – June 14, 1952 (died of heart attack at age 55, author)


the

Litowich home Portrayed as a grand, but bleak, house in Carolina Litowich’s novel, this historic home on Santa Fe now teems with life and new generations

George and Sherryl Ward fell in love with the Midwest when their eldest daughter enrolled at Kansas Wesleyan University in 2004. As a result of that visit, the couple decided to relocate their family from San Diego in 2005. Sherryl, a native of Connecticut, was a child model who studied ballet at the New York City School of Performing Arts. George grew up in North Dakota before working for 29 years as a detective in the San Diego California Sheriff ’s Department. The two have raised a family, including biological children, foster children and adopted children. At one time they had 17 children living in their home. Eleven of these children (two boys and nine girls) moved with them to Salina.

36

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


Seeking a large house in their new hometown, the Wards were thrilled to purchase the Queen-Anne-style residence at 683 S. Santa Fe—the old Litowich home that seems to have served as a model for the home in Carolina Litowich’s novel. Immediately upon arrival, the Wards began renovations to enable the home to accommodate their large family. Several small rooms at the back of the first floor were opened to become a large, family-style kitchen. And the third floor was remodeled. But historic connections remained. Elaborately carved woodwork, pocket doors and hardwood floors are wellpreserved throughout the house. The home’s layout retains a library, a formal dining room and a parlor on the first floor. Main rooms feature individual fireplaces, each uniquely designed with elaborate tiles and ornate woodwork. Intricately designed stained-glass windows illuminate both the library and the staircase in the front foyer. The second floor contains four bedrooms and a sewing room, accessible by both front and back staircases. The third floor features a large, open living space. Covered balconies open out from both the second- and third-floor levels. So though there are some obvious updates, the house would be familiar to the Litowich family, who moved into the home in 1916 and who owned it until 1963. And in fact, the home’s layout greatly resembles the fictional home that is the setting for Carolina Litowich’s novel. Both of the houses, for example, have a unique, small and remote bedroom located at the back of the second floor, adjacent to what was the servant’s staircase. Since moving to Salina, the Wards have studied the history of their house prior to the Litowich period as well. The house was built in 1887 by Hugh King, for Mason D. Sampson. Historical records show that Sampson was co-proprietor of the Saline County Journal, predecessor of the Salina Journal. Sherryl enthusiastically shares copies of an original design and floor plan of their home she located in a Shoppel Pattern book. “It duplicates our home exactly, with the exception that the published version is reversed, an exact mirror image of our home.” The projected construction cost of this home in Shoppel’s book is listed as $4,865, “including mantels, range and heater.” The house was the first Heritage Conservation Landmark in Salina, designated December 17, 1984. The Wards also opened their home to the public in 2006 when the home was part of Salina’s Holiday Tour of Homes. “It was a wonderful experience,” says Sherryl. “We met so many interesting people and heard stories of past families who had lived in the home, including the Litowich family.”

Patricia Ackerman will present a free, public reading from Carolina Litowich’s book Ugly Face at the Salina Public Library, 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 26. She will then lead a short discussion about the book and answer questions. After the event, Sunflower Living will hold a free drawing for a courtesy copy of a rare 1932 edition of Ugly Face. Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

37


European Getaway Enjoy eight escapes to the Old World, because Europe is much closer than you might think ‌

38


Salina

Story by Nathan Pettengill / Photography by Larry Harwood

Let’s face it. A jaunt across the Atlantic Ocean isn’t that simple anymore with the rising costs of international airfare, security hassles and the difficulty of simply finding time for a relaxed tour. Nonetheless, 2013 can be the year of your great European getaway. Sure, there’s a catch—when you tell people you are going to “Holland,” chances are they might understand you mean that windmill-ridden, real-estate challenged coun-

try with an affinity for orange. But that would be their mistake. For this trip, we’re heading to Holland, Kansas, and other destinations with grand European names that just happen to be in the Salina region. Welcome to Europe the easy way, with eight destinations. No airport delays, no electrical adapters, and no passports required—only plenty of photo ops, souvenirs and fascinating history ahead.

39


1 New Cambria Destination 1

New Cambria

Salina

European Heritage:

There was considerable anxiety in the Kansas community of Arvonia in 1870—the Welsh were coming. According to John Bright’s Kansas: The First Century, already some 15-20 Welsh families had descended on nearby Milford township, clinging to their mother tongue and changing their new hometown’s name to “Bala” in memory of a village in the Welsh homeland. By the mid-1870s this wave of Welsh had settled into Arvonia … and quickly began shedding their Old World identity. It was, notes Bright, a story repeated across the state as “the Welsh sooner or later lost most of their distinctive characteristics and became ordinary Kansas communities.” New Cambria is perhaps another example of forgotten Welsh heritage. The “Cambria” in “New Cambria” is a Welsh variation for “Wales” (another variation, “Cumberland,” appears more frequently in the United States). This township took its Welsh-tribute name when it was organized in 1878. It’s quite possible the postmaster who penned the name knew of its Welsh origin, but more likely he was influenced by his home region in Pennsylvania—Cambria County.

Getaway Attractions: The integration of diverse immigrant communities into one culture is perhaps represented by the distinctly non-Welsh Peace Lutheran Church as the most prominent place of worship in this Welsh-named community; but you can also see the mix of cultures by a short drive to the picturesque and historic Highland Cemetery (just outside New Cambria, go west on Old U.S. 40, then north on Woodward—the cemetery will be on the west after you pass over I-70 Interstate) where German immigrants, English infants and Union soldiers lie buried alongside what was rumored to be a secret African-American burial at a time when whites and blacks mixed little in public and even more rarely in hallowed ground.

40

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

2 Solomon Destination 2

Solomon

Salina

European Heritage:

The biblically-named town of some 1,000 residents is the hometown of Seymour Stedman, a 1920 United States vice president nominee from a political party that many associate with Europe, the Socialists. But Steadman’s views, particularly his economic populism and anti-war stance, would not have been too out of place in Kansas of his time where the People’s Party won control of the Kansas Senate in 1890 and then the governorship in 1892. Steadman’s pacifism, while never adopted widely throughout the United States, would also likely have found sympathy in many areas of Kansas, where German-Russian Mennonites and other similar “peace church” adherents began populating the state. The German communities—predominantly from the Russian Volga region and Pennsylvania communities—formed the single biggest bloc of 19th-century Kansas immigrants. But Solomon was also the center for another group of immigrants, the Irish. “Mother” Riordan, a widow with

six children, arrived just west of Solomon in 1860 and hosted what are believed to be the first regular Catholic worship services at her home. The Riordan cabin formed an anchor for other Irish families and the core of “the Irish settlement” whose legacy is the Immaculate Conception Church and the Irish cemetery on the west edge of Solomon.

Getaway Attractions: Though their linguistic and some of their cultural heritage faded into the larger culture, German-Russian Mennonite connections live on in subtle ways, such as the Mennonite-style chicken noodle served every Thursday at E’s Pub & Café in Solomon’s restored downtown (head south from Old U.S. 40 to First Street). A staple comfort food that stuck in the guts of immigrant descendents who have never seen the Volga, this might qualify as the national dish of the German-Russian Mennonite migration. At E’s Pub, you can top off the dish with a New Castle Brown Ale—not at all German-Russian, nor particularly Mennonite, but some might find it to be, just like the region’s immigration history, a delightful blending of European traditions.


3 Marquette Destination 3

Salina

Marquette

European Heritage:

This town emerged in the early 1870s as “Calmar,” a variation spelling of a Swedish city and appropriate choice given the town’s population of mostly Swedish immigrants. However, when the town was incorporated, founder Harrison S. Bacon chose to name it Marquette, presumably in honor of his previous home in Michigan, which honored French explorer Father Jacques Marquette, whose surname comes from a region in northern France. The town’s hand-me-down French name is given some credence by the decorative fleurs de lis that can be found (if you look closely) in the woodwork of a building on the city’s central Washington Street. But for the most part, Marquette has a distinctly “Main Street, America” appearance and continues the same tradition that attracted many of its original settlers—homesteading. To this day, Marquette offers free tracts of land to Swedes and non-Swedes alike willing to start a new life in this community.

Getaway Attractions: Normally, Marquette’s Kansas Motorcycle Museum (free to the public and located downtown on Washington Street) might be the main attraction, but for this European tour that honor must go to Steve’s British Motorcycle Museum (slightly smaller but more Euro; just one block from the main museum and open when Steve is in). The downtown Artspace Gallery & Studios is also worth a visit for its collection of works by Kansas artists with world vision, such as Mir-Pilar and Lance Wadlow. There are loaves of French baguettes at the local grocery store (across from the fabulously retro gas station), but the sweetest treats are purely Americana and found at City Sundries Soda Fountain on Washington Street.

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

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4 Holland Destination 4

Salina

Holland

European Heritage:

There are a few explanations for this small town’s name, but the most colorful is that the Union Army veteran settlers of this town and other residents formed a dairy cooperative at the height of the agrarian revolt that produced butter that was just as good as the famed butter of Holland. Like its European namesake, this town thrived on commerce—which is a bit odd since it was at least 3 miles away from a the railroad stop. Along with the dairy, the center of this trade was the town’s general store, set up in the 1880s and operative until the 1950s. Now it’s a private motorcycle club, with some fabulous vernacular motorcycle-theme art decorating its exterior.

Getaway Attractions: Holland’s trading probably also benefited from traffic from the Chisholm Trail which ran just to the east of it. Of course, notes Jeff Sheets—the director of the Dickinson County Historical Society—that trail was more of a “corridor” than an orderly queue of longhorned cattle, so Holland likely came face to face with the cowboys as they neared the end of the run in Abilene, or came back from Abilene with whatever cash they didn’t spend there. You can see markers setting out what was the heart of the Chisholm Trail, by heading 1.5 miles to the east of Holland either on 1400 or 1500 roads. Look for white, concrete obelisk markers, and watch out for ghost riders.

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Sunflowerliving / winter 2013


Delphos

Salina

6 Delphos

Salina Bavaria

Destination 6

5 Bavaria Destination 5

European Heritage:

Perhaps this small town’s strongest connection to Germany is through Ernest Hohneck, its founder. Leaving Germany (but the region of Saxony, not Bavaria) for the United States in 1850, when he was still under 30, Hohneck settled in various locations before establishing himself in Kansas and being elected as a Free-State sympathizer to the 1857 state legislature. After the legislature collapsed (over the same issues that would shortly lead to the Civil War), Hohneck and a group of fellow delegates hunted and trapped their way back through a brutal winter of snow and winds. He arrived home after he had been reported dead. Who could blame him, then, for immodestly choosing the name of “Hohneck” for a region he then settled in Saline County—an act of self-affirmation that had the government’s seal of approval once he became acting postGetaway master in 1871. By 1880, however, a group of English immigrants had Attractions: arrived from Ohio and had changed the name to the distinctly un-English This Bavaria obvi“Bavaria.” It’s unclear whether ously boasts no Alpine Hohneck—who had by then set up a mountain scenes like its namesake region brewery and a hotel—had any hand in south Germany, but in this or if this was a tribute to him, it does have a fairly but he seems to have remained in the impressive hill on the region until 1883 when he left for southeast side of town Washington state, from where he sent with a nice view. Yodel a letter in 1908 writing that he always if you wish. thought of Kansas as his homeland.

European Heritage:

Delphos, Greece, home to an ancient shrine guarded by the dragon Pytho and birthplace of the god Apollo, should be grand enough to inspire a town’s name. But here, once again, it wasn’t the charming history of Europe that inspired a town’s name, but nostalgia for another American town only a few decades older, in this case the original postmaster’s old hometown of Delphos, Ohio. And yet … the spiritual heritage of the once-removed Greek namesake carried through to this Kansas town in 1873 when the First Society of State Spiritualists of Kansas chose Delphos, Kansas, as their summer retreat destination, running special trains from Beloit and Wells for what is believed to have been hundreds of attendees. Karen Lyons, president of the board of trustees for the current Sunset Spiritualist Church in nearby Wells, suspects Delphos was chosen more for the location than the name. “It’s a nice setting, the railway went by, and it was a nice opportunity to put the camp there,” explains Lyons.

Getaway Attractions: U.S. Army Captain Zebulon Pike (namesake for the famous Pike’s Peak in Colorado), passed through this region with his expedition in late September 1806. It is not known precisely where he camped, but a monument has been placed commemorating their passage four miles outside of Delphos on Victory Road. For a series of extended auto tours in this region (including an Early History Tour and a Bohemian Hills Tour), pick up a copy of the self-guided Red Post Tours on your way to Delphos at the Ottawa County Historical Museum in Minneapolis (110 S. Concord St.). Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

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Glasco

8 Denmark Destination 8

Denmark

Salina

Salina

7 Glasco Destination 7

European Heritage:

A town with a rich Bohemian heritage and a distinctly Scottish name courtesy of one John Hillhouse, who left Scotland with his wife and kids for the United States in the 1850s, took a train into the Midwest, then pushed handcarts to Salt Lake City. They became separated in the West, wandered for two years, reunited in Missouri, moved to Kansas after the war and became one of the first settlers in the Solomon Valley, according to Glasco historian and community leader Joan Nothern. When it came time for a formal name, Hillhouse proposed one from his homeland, “Glasgow,” an idea that was accepted by the mix of predominantly Bohemian settlers who were his neighbors. “Hillhouse lived here a long time and impacted the community,” says Nothern. “It was proposed to honor him.” And perhaps the sense of unity was so prevailing that Hillhouse didn’t even mind when the postmaster submitted the official name as “Glasco”—not Scottish, not Bohemian, but perhaps something in between.

Getaway Attractions: From January to May, Glasco’s Corner Store on Main Street is exhibiting a Smithsonian-partnered exhibition, The Way We Worked in Glasco focusing on women and veterans in the community. Call Joan Nothern at (785) 568-0120 to verify the store will be open during your visit. Keeping on the unity theme, Glasco’s four churches join together as part of Cloud County’s Stained Glass Art Tour, featuring classical and contemporary stained glass. Some of the churches are open during regular hours, but Nothern says any of them can be opened if you ask at the city’s downtown store, the Hodge Podge, and are willing to wait as they locate someone with a key. If you return to Cemetery Road. and follow it south out of town and then around a bend to the east, you will soon come upon the Glasco Cemetery where residents decided to allow both Confederate and Union veterans to be buried together. If you look closely, you’ll find tombstones for Southern veterans among the more than 70 Union graves.

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Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

European Heritage:

Denmark’s connection to its European namesake is direct and authentic. A group of Danes, Swedes, Norwegians and at least one Swiss family first settled this area in the early 1860s. Repelled by Sioux, they retreated, regrouped and then set up permanent towns by the early 1870s (only to be invaded themselves a few years later, this time by hordes of locusts). In 1878, the community erected their church and in the coming years affiliated as Danish Lutheran and decided to hold services in the Danish language until as late as the 1920s. To this day a small model ship, the “Dannmark,” hangs over the church’s pulpit in the tradition of churches in Danish fishing villages. The church, as well as the neighboring “Denmark Hall,” has served as the community’s social and spiritual center, allowing neighbors to keep in touch with one another and their Danish heritage. Church member Stan Crawford remembers moving into the community as a young boy in the early 1940s and quickly adapting to Danish customs that were still very much alive. His new Danish friends held “lunch” in mid-morning and mid-afternoon, families would dance around their Christmas tree, the women would waltz at Denmark Hall with one hand holding on to their long dresses, and the elders would speak in Danish—particularly when Stan or other youngsters Getaway would try to eavesdrop on their conversaAttractions: tions over the party phone lines. Every three years the community of DenThe church is still very mark has gathered to hold a celebration of much the center of Danish heritage with music and demonDenmark, featuring a strations from daily Danish country life, small, historical display such as making wooden shingles or churnin its foyer. Church ing butter. But Denmark has yet to decide services are open to if it will be able to hold the next heritage visitors and held every celebration in 2014. There are not only Sunday at 10:30 a.m. fewer Danes, but there are simply fewer The church’s cemetery is open to visitors, with people in this rural area to organize and the tombstones testifyparticipate in such a major undertaking. ing to the town’s initial Nonetheless, annual events at the church mixed heritage—a and Denmark Hall are still being held few Swedish surnames as planned. And if you choose to gather ending in “son” mixed friends and family in a circle around a among the more comChristmas tree, hold hands and sing—well, mon Danish surnames then you, too, have preserved some of the ending in “sen.” heritage of Denmark, Kansas.


2013 European Getaway Calendar

DATE EVENT LOCATION

Feb. 24 (tentative) February Pancake Feed Denmark Denmark gathers at Denmark Hall for annual all-you-can-eat pancake feed. Tickets available at the door; open from 4-7 p.m. Date and time are subject to change; call (785) 277-3632 to confirm.

May 18 Thunder on the Smoky Rally Marquette All-day motorcycle rally with bike shows, games and poker run. (785) 546-2292. La bierre et les Harley, sa c’est la vie, sa c’est Marquette. June 1-16 Sunset Spiritualist Church Camp Wells National, two-week retreat with lectures and presentations on Christian-based spiritualism sponsored by the Sunset Spiritualist Church, spiritual heir to the organization that organized the first retreat in Delphos in the 1870s. June 7 Rhubarb Festival and Tasting Tea Glasco Annual gathering featuring rhubarb ice cream, cakes, salsas and most anything with rhubarb; 3-5 p.m. at the Glasco Corner Store. July 28 National Day of the Cowboy Chisholm Trail, near Holland No celebrations planned in Holland, but events are planned at the Dickinson County Historical Society in Abilene and this is the perfect excuse for a road trip and a trail sighting. Don’t forget your hat. Aug. 2-3 Marquette Rodeo Marquette Annual event sanctioned by the CPRA, Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association, and sponsored by the Smoky Valley Saddle Club. Aug. 9-10 Del-Fest Parade, small carnival, children’s games, wheat threshing and craft fair. Open to the public.

Delphos

Oct. 5 Fun Day Glasco All-day events including parade, music, children’s games, car show and food—including homemade bierocks—help celebrate the cultural heritages of this community. Scottish kilts optional. Oct. 12 Solomon Festival Solomon Baby beauty contest, car show, parade, bed races, street dance and many other events held in the city’s revitalized downtown. November 9 Feed the Pheasant Hunter Denmark Denmark Hall hosts annual soup, sandwich and pie dinner to mark the opening of pheasant-hunting season. Homemade meals are served a la carte, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and generally cost under $10. Date and time are subject to change; call (785) 277-3632 to confirm. November 17 Ernest Hohneck’s Birthday Bavaria Not necessarily a national holiday in Germany, nor a civic holiday in Bavaria—but a perfect chance to raise a glass of Bavarian beer in honor of the town’s colorful founder, German immigrant and lifelong Kansan. December 8 Immaculate Conception Holiday Solomon Solomon’s Church of the Immaculate Conception holds a service commemorating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Visitors welcome to join service and church which served as cradle of local Irish settlers. Call (785) 655-2221 for service time.


Photo contest

next round We want to feature your photograph in Sunflower Living magazine. Each issue, we announce a theme and accept photograph submissions from readers. Our panel will judge the submitted photographs and select a winning image, which will run on this page in the following edition. The winning photographer will receive a prize of $50.

Submission Guidelines: A) Email the image to

close to the heart

First Place

Fritz Mendell

For this issue’s contest, we invited readers to submit their photographic take on the theme “Close to the Heart.” Our panel of five judges chose Fritz Mendell’s pair of black swans whose necks intriguingly form what appears to be the shape of a heart.

Retired photo editor Fritz Mendell says he was a reluctant convert to digital photography until he bought a mid-range Canon Rebel and fell in love with it. Recently, he upgraded to a Canon 7D and has been taking several pictures with this model, including this first-place entry of a pair of swans at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure. “Those swans—the bigger group you have, the more they show off. There were just two of us, my wife and I have a season ticket out there, but they were showing off that day. I have to credit my wife for the idea. She saw the contest info and said: “You ought to enter the swan pictures.” And I said: “OK.”

Runner Up

Dale Cole

Chosen by:

sunflowerliving@sunflowerpub. com with a heading of “Photo Contest.” Please include contact information and the name of the theme you have chosen. B) Submission must be made before February 14, 2013 C) Only submit the image if you are the photographer and the copyright holder of the image and if you live in the distribution area of Sunflower Living or Salina Journal. Photographs showing the image of a person must have that individual’s consent. D) Files should be in digital form, either JPEG or TIFF, that can be printed up to 8X10 at 300 dpi E) By submitting an image, you consent to having the image published in the magazine and posted online in connection with the magazine. Theme for the 2013 spring Edition:

Chosen by:

jason dailey Chief photographer, Sunflower Publishing www.daileyimages.com

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lisa eastman Photographer, Sunflower Living www.prophotoks.com

Larry Harwood Photographer, Sunflower Living www.larryharwoodphoto.photoshelter.com

Shelly Bryant Art director, Sunflower Publishing www.sunflowerpub.com

Sunflowerliving / winter 2013

Jenni Leiste Designer, Sunflower Living www.sunflowerpub.com

“I looked up, and this is what I saw …” Submission must be made before february 14, 2013


BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD


Sunflower Living winter 2013  

The winter 2013 edition of Sunflower Living, the premier magazine of people, places and spaces for the region of Salina, Kansas.

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