Category Archives: Kansas

A look back at 2014 – The US Edition

Yes, I think its fair to say that so much has happened in my life this year, that I can stretch this out to 2 parts quite easily. The UK edition will follow on Wednesday, by the way. A look forward to what I know 2015 holds in store, on New Years Day.

So, lets start with the first trip, the one to Kansas City, and the whole state of Kansas. Initially, the plan had been for this to happen in May, but things never work out quite as planned. Kate’s work got in the way, so it got put back to September. Thankfully, her main concern about doing that, extreme heat, and me, never cropped up. It was very pleasant, 70’s, and 80’s and all that, but no more, so all was fine.

Before we get to the main emotional stuff, I could never have got to Cherryvale without her, and I dont think she will ever realise just how much I appreciated her help in getting me there. But its what happened when I got to Cherryvale that really struck home to me, just how wonderful some people can be to a virtual stranger, that she may well never meet again. One amazing woman, named Tina. Not only did she really welcome us to Cherryvale, home town of Louise Brooks (and Vivian Vance, as she would appreciate me mentioning), she really welcomed us to town. A guided tour, photos of both Brooks homes, and a trip out to see the Big Lake nearby too. But on top of all this, she arranged for me to get into the museum, in town, on a day when it would normally be shut to the public. Someone I’m really glad to have met, and to give me the chance to get close to standing in Louise Brooks’s footprints.

Its fair to say that I’ll probably never get back to Cherryvale, but I will always remember that place, unless dementia gets me first!

On the same trip, after Kate had gone back home (she has a normal life, for heavens sake), I headed off into Kansas City, home town of Jean Harlow, of course. Funnily enough, for quite a while, I got no further than Union Station, on the edge of town. Nowadays the station has one through train (Chicago – Los Angeles), and 2 other services to St Louis, and thats it! Of course, back in the 1920’s, there were a lot more trains, and there is photographic evidence of Jean Harlow travelling by train, so its fair to assume that I very much stood in her foot steps there.

Luckily, I got to take a modern trolley car trip around the city, so did see a lot more, maybe I’ll get back one day, but I’m not getting any younger…

Bur despite all that, its fair to say, that in the end, that wasnt my most emotional trip to the US this year. In November, I went out to Albany (as was always planned), given an invitation by my wonderful friend, James, to join his family for Thanksgiving, a first for me. Really, really glad I did it, despite the snow dump on the Wednesday, about 9 inches. Thing is, the bus service didnt even blink, let alone stop. Over here, an inch, and…rolls eyes.

Thanksgiving Day, and everything surrounding it was amazing, so glad I got to find out what that was like. And no, I didnt go shopping on Black Friday!

But yes, the side trip to New Hampshire. I had discussed the possibility of doing a past life regression with S earlier in the year. There was only about 200 miles between him, and Albany, but getting there by public transport… We compromised, I got the coach to Worcester, MA, and he took me to and from New Hampshire from there.

Lets be frank, much though it would have been wonderful to have discovered I was Jean Harlow in a previous life, it wasnt really likely to be true. It wasnt, though I would love to have seen his face (I was deep in trance remember) when I said I was in Hollywood in 1928! I remember being asked the colour of my hair, giggling, and saying brunette, though of course I had no idea why he was asking me that. Yes, I was, in a past life, a small part actress named Clara Johnson, oh wow!

Sadly, finding anything out about Clara, even with the internet, has pretty much come up blank, apart from one credited part. Small parts never got credited before the mid 30’s, we know she made a decent living, but no more… Sometime, I really must get back to New Hampshire, let him put me under for much longer, and find out so much more about her. But until then, I know who I was, and just maybe, she worked, or played with Jean, when both were just small part actresses.

So yes, those 2 trips have tugged at my emotions no end, but I’m really, really glad I done both, and now know what I do.

Louise got married (at least) twice, Jean three times, Clara, just the once. For each of them, there must have been something of this. And of course, in the title of the group, Hollywood

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Somewhere, over the state line

Yes, somewhere over the state line, in the South eastern corner of Kansas, sits a little city called Cherryvale, I have mentioned it once or twice before in blogs, as the birthplace of Vivian Vance, as well as a young lady named Mary Louise Brooks.

Yesterday, I got there, so glad.

Now, this isnt a big city, total population of just over 2,200 people, but for me, it was one of those places I so wanted to visit, but getting there is a challenge for non drivers, unless you have a special friend like Kate to drive you there.

We got to Cherryvale shortly after 1.00, and I rang Tina, my local contact there, to let her know we’d arrived. She was one block or so away, and very soon a car pulled up, and we met up. What followed was a wonderful guided tour of Cherryvale, showing us all the landmarks, relating to Brooks, Vance, and general Cherryvale life, both past and present.

A picture of the first home Louise Brooks lived in

Louise Brooks 1st home in Cherryvale

Her second home

Louise Brooks 2nd home in Cherryvale

Then, while we waited for the Museum to be opened (just for us, I might add), we were taken up to the nearby ‘Big Lake’ to admire the view, and for me to get my picture taken

Me, at the lake, Cherryvale

After that, back into town, and while Kate settled into businesswoman mode, I took a tour of the museum. Lots of Vance, plenty of Brooks, and far more relating to life in, and around Cherryvale. We even managed to find some pictures of Jean in the old magazines of the 20’s and 30’s too!

Last, but not least, an ‘I was there’ photo, outside of the museum

Me, at the museum, Cherryvale

Yes, the lady in the background, in green, is Kate, my heroine for getting me there!

Finally, just before 3.30 we headed out of town, realistically my one, and only visit in my life to Cherryvale, but I got there. I know Louise would probably just say “so what?” or something along those lines, but I’m so glad I did it.

Finally, huge thanks to Tina for all she did for us, and thanks also to the lady who guided me around the museum, whose name I cant remember. Cherryvale, thanks for such a wonderful day.

Under the circumstances, there were only 2 video options. Given this is probably the ultimate Kansas song, and all that…No, not the Garland version, but Eva Cassidy, a version that I personally far prefer

I’ll find my way home…to Kansas City

So fine, sue me, its a lie, until tomorrow, I’ve never been to the place. Well, not in this life at least! But who knows what might have happened in a past life, and yes, just maybe I’m thinking of one particular person, however unlikely that will be the case, when I do a past life regression later this year.

But yes, for Jean Harlow at least, finding her way home to Kansas City would be a reality, as of course, thats where she was born in 1911. Alright, strictly, Harlean Carpenter was born in Kansas City, in 1911, but with a change of name (and a boost in fame), it was Jean. It was her mother’s name in fact, which is where she took it from, when getting her first audition in Hollywood. And as they say, the rest is history!

Beyond the obvious, I know very little about the city, so it will be interesting to see if I show any amount of familiarity to the place. Mind, given how much would have changed over the 100 years, beyond obvious landmarks (her homes, for example), there probably isnt much remaining that Jean would recognise anyway. But yes, I’m looking forward to seeing the modern city, with interest, I must admit.

Oh, and fine, I know most know it anyway, but the fact that most of Kansas City, isnt in Kansas amuses me no end. Harlow in fact lived in houses in the city, on both sides of the state line.

As Dorothy said, in a certain film, there’s no place like Kansas.

True, not many places are that flat!

But the charms of Kansas, most particularly Cherryvale wait in store for me too. A trip to the birthplace of Louise Brooks is just going to be amazing, I know.

Neither however, will be the first new state for me on this visit, that will be Georgia, if only as a transit through Atlanta Airport. All in all, one state short of halfway, in the sense of visiting US states for me.

Yes, the whole thing is a trip I’m looking forward to greatly, and getting to meet up again with Kate will be super too.

But fine, the video, is a moment where I look at Kansas City on the map, step into Jean Harlow’s shoes, and say, somehow I’ve found my way home.

Lets look forward to 2014

Fine, as promised the brief look at what I know I have planned for the New Year.

As usual, the main things in the pipeline would be the 2 trips to the US, though the first will be later than usual this year, not until mid May, instead of late April. Why, principally because Easter is late this year, so combining in all the bank holidays around that time, and avoiding the Grand National, its about the first chance I get to go. Where, well, as things stand at present, like Dorothy, I will get to Kansas. Though whether I get beyond Wichita, at the moment, its wait and see. September, and this might change for other reasons to November, the plan is to go to Albany.

All provisional, the first depends to a small degree on a friend named Kate (who might have had a few mentions here) and her availability. Though to be honest, unless she can be available in September to travel with me, but not in May, I plan to go to Kansas, come what may! Might make going to Cherryvale without her a lot more tricky, but…

Albany in September, might become Albany in November. I mentioned just before Thanksgiving that it would be nice to be in the US on that occasion, but equally saying I felt it was a family thing, so maybe I shouldnt? But another dear friend, James, offered to adopt me for the event, and if that does happen, I will probably delay the trip till then, and just have the usual week at home in September instead. I might, might, make a third trip to the US, but suspect the finances wont stretch to that.

Due to some small football tournament next year (something called the World Cup?), getting to Ireland for cricket might prove complex. Not that I can really comment at present, beyond 2 one day matches against Sri Lanka just before my May trip, not much is definite yet. I hope I can, and get better weather than last year if I do, but lets wait and see.

Beyond that, I have my 56th Birthday (creak) to look forward to in March, and a week off, starting a week on Monday, hopefully to recharge the batteries. Beyond all that, the Works Christmas Dinner at the end of the year, assuming I’m still there of course!

I know, I know, such an exciting life lol!

The only other thing I do know, is that at some point this month, the 5th ebook should be released, and I promise to crank up the publicity machine when its ready, whether you like that or not! 😛 More, probably, though I have no idea when!

One thing is for sure, whatever plans I make, something will come along to change them, one way or another. For good, for bad, who knows? But no, I have no plans for romance, or to go to a football (soccer) match at any point this year!

The video, well, its a tribute to someone who died 28 years ago today, thanks to his wild drugs intake. But this is silly fun, and as it was used to introduce the world to 1980, quite apt. Phil Lynott, RIP. Oh, and another Phil died today, Phil Everly. I just have to fear the day when all the Stephanie’s die lol!

Virginia Plain

Fine, lets not talk about ireland conjuring up defeat from the jaws of victory yesterday in the cricket. Mind, when they were 4-2 early on, my main concern was that we didnt get routed. But then Ed Joyce scored a century, and Pakistan were 17-4, then 133-7 chasing 230 to win, the dreams of an irish victory grew, only to be dashed again. I know, I know, Pakistan should win, but in all honesty, you end up feel down because we didnt. But such is cricket, and all that, but as I said, thats not what I’m talking about tonight.

Regular readers should know by now that my holiday plans tend to end up being flexible, unlike several joints in my body! And guess what, they’re changing again. Whats that you say, Kansas in September? Err, maybe not! Next year probably, though as usual, please dont quote me on that! No, actually, September holiday, you must have been seeing things if you thought that, I’m going to Richmond, Virginia.

No, you werent really seeing things, its a change of plan, thats all. My friend Kate is far cleverer than me, at least in the work field sense, and probably others too, but anyway…Basically she’s involved in a work project in, or around that city, and given the current timings for it, she wasnt going to be able to get away in September. And most definitely not later for a month or so, either. So I got an email asking me if I fancied a week in the Richmond area instead, with the comment of ‘no, I knew you wouldnt’ tacked on to it. So I fooled her, and said yes. I was actually there about 13 years ago, and though I dont remember much about it, I do remember it was quite a nice area. Hadnt really thought about going back until now, but then…

Cutting a long story short, thats now the holiday destination for September. Kansas, as I said, next year. Given the ‘flattering’ things Louise Brooks said about Wichita, she’d probably tell me I was doing the right thing anyway, but I will get there soon, just to discover it for myself.

No, I dont expect to get the chance to dress up like, or behave like Scarlett O’Hara, but if someone is offering the chance…I might give it a try lol!

Today has actually been quite a change for me, with my job, you dont get bank holidays off, well not other than Christmas Day (no racing), and the Boxing Day/New Years Day option offered to everyone. But when I saw my shifts for this week, I had Monday off! Actually a treat, given its a Sunday bus service, which makes getting to and from a work a bit of a pain on these days. Just a shame that today the weather has been lovely, and tomorrow when I can get around, is supposed to be wet most of the day. We will see, and if the forecast is wrong (which would hardly be a first), I will probably get out for a while. If it is wet, I might still get out, though I would have to rethink things a bit.

In fact, if the weather is reasonable, its only £5 to see the end of the test match at Leeds, not that its got long to go, but never having been to a test match, well, I might look out the window early tomorrow, just in case. Maybe one day I will get to see Ireland play a test match, who knows?

But for now, the video. Yes, holiday related, and yes, as so often, the blog title is the giveaway

Change of heart

So, hi, and welcome to 2013 to all my readers. Oh, the title, dead giveaway that something has changed, isnt it? And no, for those so inclined, its not my cup size increasing dramatically lol! 😛 Nothing that exciting, just the irony that as soon as I post about my holiday plans for this year (yes, now its this year!), than I change them. As I said, nothing dramatic, simply swopping around, now off to Rochester in April, and Kansas in September, after a Yahoo chat session with my dear friend Kate. It does mean I might freeze in April, I might boil in September, but I’m pretty sure I’ll survive both all the same. But, if anyone knows of a coat with its own internal heating system, I’d love to hear about it!

What else? Well, I guess if you’re so inclined you’ve seen the stats for here for last year? Funniest thing for me is that the most popular thread is the one where an assexual person asked what sex would be like, but I suppose the sex thing is always going to come up in searches? No, not at all surprised that the UK, and the US totally dominate the countries reading this really.

Resolutions for this year? No, not really my thing, though I do resolve to visit the US twice this year, but I think thats cheating lol. Of course that could change for good or bad, but probably not! More rebellious stuff, I hear you say? Well, I wouldnt be surprised if when we get better weather that I wear skirts, and heels more than I have in the past, but that is assuming we get a summer, unlike this year. Still expect to spend most of it in trousers though, all the same. Dinner’s in a dress, quite likely I suspect! 😉 That is out in the open now, so why stop? Wearing a dress to work, probably not though, that might rank as a step too far, and lets face it, who wears a dress to work nowadays anyway?
I dont smoke, hardly ever drink, and gamble once a year, so I can hardly give up any of those, could I? I think someone would like me to lock horns with Leeds NHS again over a certain issue, but she will probably be disappointed, my life is pretty good as it is, apart from one annoying thing I’d like ‘adjusted’. The rest of me seems to pass, and no one is likely to see that annoying thing, so why worry…? If any surgeon does want to resolve to solve that problem for me though lol? 😉

Right, I resolve to continue providing music videos for your delight, and this is no exception. A little known Gerry Rafferty track, but one that deserves so much more attention, even if sadly he isnt around any more.

I’ll Take Manhattan

No, not that well known one in New York, the far better one in Kansas! Yes, as mentioned earlier in the week, this is about College Football, more importantly the Kansas State Wildcats.

Yes, today heralds the end of the College Season, though a good number of teams will still have one game to go, a bowl game somewhere. Hopefully the Wildcats will win tonight, win the Big 12 Conference, and head for the Fiesta Bowl, but as that doesnt start until 1 in the morning my time, you’ll have to look that up for yourself.

Up to 2 weeks ago, they had dreams of the national title, then it all went wrong against Baylor, and now we have to win tonight against Texas just to win the conference title! Hopefully Collin Klein can also play his way back into Heisman contention as well.

But having done my cheerleader stuff for the Wildcats (and personally, I suspect I’d look silly in one of those skirts, but…), I’ll come to the other side of matters, that will be happening all over the US this week, or indeed last week for some, those players for whom the end of their senior year, is the end of their career. Yes, the stars will go on to the NFL, and various other leagues, but for many, thats it, and that must be a strange feeling. For some of course, they have higher futures anyway, for example the Ivy League people will earn fortunes in other high powered positions.

I have no idea what thats like, I was never that good at sport, so it never really arose for me. I did play cricket for the school, but thats a whole different level of intensity, lets face it.

I get to go to Kansas next year, though I suspect I wont be taking Manhattan somehow, but you never know? I might get to see one Kansas College, assuming Wichita State is actually within the environs of Wichita that is! I might see more, but that depends on events I wont know about until the New Year, so watch this space then.

Ah, the video. Yes, as you might have guessed, the song is about that place in New York, not the one in Kansas, but you cant have everything. Besides which, given the time Louise Brooks (from Kansas) spent in New York, and the fact that the video is from 1929 gives it all a bit of the perfect circle feeling. No, I dont know the artists, but I’m sure Google could find it if you really want to know

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPIgQdOoEV0

Since I’ve been gone

Yes, I know, its been a while since I last posted here. Sorry, but the last 3 days, the shifts have been quite long, to put it mildly, and the train company has been providing its usual awful service which didnt help either, for getting anything done here.

However, the good news, or bad news depending on how you see these, this is the first day off of 3 in a row, so you should get more soon. Whats happened, apart from work? Nothing all that exciting really. No, I havent rung my ‘beau’ to arrange a date, before anyone asks lol!

On a sports front, Ireland started their cricket year today in Kenya, and Keighley are currently playing their first game of the season as well, as I type this. Oh, and the NFL has finished, technically last weekend, but that wasnt a concern on my last post. Next big date in that sense is April, when they announce the schedule, and hopefully put Buffalo @ New England in the right sort of place, mid-end September if they can take a hint. Oh, and the on/off farce of last nights Ireland rugby match in Paris!

By now I’m fully used to having a cleavage 24/7, and it would now seem funny to be without them I suspect, though agreed, naturally curvaceous would be so much more fun! And no, not one word from anyone at work about them still! I cant believe no one is at least curious, but anyway…

Its beginning to look like next year will be the one I walk in the footsteps of Louise Brooks. It really ought to be this year (25th anniversary of her death), but next year will have to do. Rochester (burial spot) will definitely at least be visited next April, if not the place I stay, which has to be a possible. Where else you ask? Wichita, Kansas in September is definitely becoming the hot favourite for that trip. She spent 2 short spells of her life there, and its a lot easier to reach than Cherryvale (birthplace) for a non driver like me. Thats probably a step too far unless I find a friendly chauffeur though, not even any bus service that I can find into that town! No, I have no plans to learn to drive in the interim!

Oh, and lastly before I sign off. There’s a significant date for some in 2 days time, but certainly not for me. Well not unless my beau has somehow found out my address lol! Cant actually remember the last time I had a Valentine card to be honest, might well be there hasnt been one this century as yet. No, I dont miss the fuss, but it just always strikes me at this time of year.

Alright, the video, all I suspect some come here for. An oldie, a great rock song, and maybe not too hard to work out from the blog title.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYtdW5bD-7Q