Tag Archives: Kansas City

Taking ownership of words

A block or so away from the Huron Cemetery sits the best bookstore in Kansas City Metro area.   Prosperos.   If you click the link below you can access a lot of photos to explain why it’s the best bookstore hereabouts.



Run by nice folks…. the sort of place that helps local artists and writers, has local musicians and even the occasional poetry reading.

But guess what!    They published a sticker that proclaimed the store to be the Kansas City Indigenous Bookstore.     And it stirred up a storm of outrage even among the writers and artists who’ve benefited from the store’s support.

The word, ‘indigenous’, which is one anyone can claim if they’re natural, if they’re born here, if they can’t be accused of being from somewhere else they could be sent back to, the word, ‘indigenous’ I was going to say, is now the personal property of a group of people who had ancestors somewhere on the continent before my own ancestors got here a couple of hundred years ago.

And if a bookstore has the brass to call itself ‘natural’, a ‘native bookstore’ of KC, it’s surprising how many people who had ancestors out, say, in Arizona or New Mexico feel themselves being robbed of the meaning of the word.    And are supported by various frizzly headed folks with ancestors more recently arrived [though many probably have no idea when, nor from where ] ….

So, if you dislike seeing this sort of bullying by grabsters of the English language, if you preferred it back when people couldn’t snag a word to hold to their chests and warn off all competition for its use, next time you are in KC, visit Prosperos Book Store.

Go there and buy a book to show how damned independent and ambivalent you are about the building of barbed wire fences around words and a willingness to forsake friends,  to fail to remember favors, to go into righteous battle should anyone trespass on the use of someone else s word.

Old Jules

Huron Indian Cemetery, downtown Kansas City

I’ll readily confess my lack of enthusiasm when Jeanne, miles off in Missouri during one of our motor adventures of exploration, suggested we head in to Kansas City.    We’d had an interesting time, visited a 19th century school-church-cemetery, and Watkins Wool Mill museum.   We’d pulled into the urban hell surrounding the Jesse James Museum and farm, noted the $8 plus change fee for entry, and retreated as befits citizens who donealready seen and heard the endless yarns of the James-Younger gang.

But, there’s a nice book store, Prospero’s, we could visit if we wished, I figured.   And a Vietnamese restaurant I hungered for during the weeks I was across the street in the KU Hospital for the Not-Necessarily-Sane a few months ago as a consequence of a condition appropriately labelled, Guillam Beret Syndrome or something of that nature.

But Jeanne had cemeteries in mind.   Particularly the Huron Indian Cemetery sitting on prime development soil occupying an acre or so between the KC Police HQ and the KC Library.


Helena Conley – Floating Voice – Wyandotte National Burying Ground
“Cursed be the villain that molest their grave”
Eliza Burton Conley – departed this life May 28, 1946 – Attorney at Law – Only woman ever
admitted to the United States Supreme Court

Turns out there are somewhere between 700 and 1000 graves in that acre of ground.    It’s been fought over by two branches of the tribe, one wishing to sell for development, or for a casino, the other wanting to hold it sacred as a burial ground.    Salivating developers spent nearly a century hoping if it were vandalized enough, if enough stones were lost, broken, stolen, they could build their offices, bars, porn shops, or fast food joints where those 1000 bodies lie.

200 here, 500 over there, 700 that way, the acre is Grand Central Station of the dead. http://www.kansastravel.org/kansascitykansas/huronindiancemetery.htm

In service to their country
The William E. Connelley Survey of 1895-1896 indicates a large grave in
this area. By tradition, Union dead were buried in this part of the Huron Indian
Cemetery following the Battle of Westport, October 21-23, 1864. http://www.kansastravel.org/kansascitykansas/huronindiancemetery.htm

History of Wyandot

We didn’t go to Prospero’s, but we did have some great Vietnamese.    And we found a place I plan to return to sometime and sprinkle some tobacco around that acre of dead folks, just in case it matters.

But hell, that’s just me.

Old Jules


Hell, no wonder I can’t freaking breath! Damned hole in the ozone layer plugged up my nostrils.

This is actually good news. I thought something was going wrong with my health.

Old Jules

WWI Museum, KC

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Yesterday I rammed my way through physical therapy and came away feeling like a million bucks a hundred bucks.  When I arrived back at Jeanne’s house I had life left in me I hadn’t squandered yet, so we decided to brave the heat and visit the National WWI Museum.  The day was warm, but a lot cooler than the average first week of July would have a person expecting.

 Anyway, that museum is impressive.  Didn’t attempt to dream up any serious rationale for that war having been justified in any way.  On the part of any of the parties involved.  Didn’t do any more flag waving than old propaganda posters high enough on the walls so’s a person had to stretch the neck to view them.  And some were in French, German.

Sure, they did have a copy of the Zimmerman telegram on display, translated.  But nobody trying to keep a straight face saying it justified the US entering the blood bath.  Too much has happened since then to allow any rosy cheekism on that score.  Been far too many Zimmerman telegrams written in US English over the century since.

What they did do was display roughly a thousand small arms, hand grenades, field artillery, aircraft, mortars, vehicles and several thousand photographs.  Firearms were redundant and soon became a blur.  A home made reproduction of shell crater 20 feet deep with a lot of war debris in it was graphic, made for a nice demo.  Peep holes into trenches watching men doing war things in trenches also.  The kids visiting loved it, and I didn’t think it was the worst way to get across a concept that is WWI.

Reminded me vaguely of a cross between the Empirial War Museum in the old Bedlam Hospital for the mentally ill in London, and the Admiral Nimitz Museum of the Pacific War in Kerrville, Texas [before Texas Parks and Wildlife took it over and ruined it].  Which puts it up there head and shoulders above most museuems I’ve ever visited.

No RARARAH we’uns won flagwaving Hurray for the US patriotic idiosyncracies, no hint any lives given weren’t entirely in vain, was pleasant.  And there were maps on the walls allowing you to examine how many countries all over the world were dragged into the bloodbath by the mere misfortune of being part of the British Empire.  How many because they were part of the French Empire, etc etc etc [in the manner of the King of Siam].

Seems to me the yardstick that fit best serves is that repeatedly inside in front of displays and later as we left, Jeanne remarked.  “This was worth it.  I’m glad we did this.”  Jeanne has zero interest in wars, WWI, anything of that sort.

It was worth it.  I’m glad we did it, too.

Old Jules


Weston, MO and Leavenworth, KS

Gertude Derks Consort of the late Bartholomew Bless - Born March 5, 1824 - Died February 23, 1892 - Requested in peace

Gertude Derks Consort of the late Bartholomew Bless – Born March 5, 1824 – Died February 23, 1892 – Requested in peace

it's cut onto the side of a stone for someone else.  Bart Bless Sr. is nowhere to be found in the vicinity.  However, the son and daughter-in-law, or perhaps grandson, is buried 20-30 feet away.

it’s cut onto the side of a stone for someone else. Bart Bless Sr. is nowhere to be found in the vicinity. However, the son and daughter-in-law, or perhaps grandson, is buried 20-30 feet away.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Jeanne’s got spring break from her daytime job this week, and my electronic brain I use for a heart these days is defragmenting.  So Jeanne’s taking this occasion to show me around some KS/MO sightseeing Mecca places.  Likely as not there’ll be all manner of highbrow cultural stuff, but yesterday it was Weston, MO [all of it that didn’t burn down in 1859, or has been built since the town burned down], and Leavenworth, KS.

That tombstone at the top was in the Weston graveyard and said so much about Weston, humanity, the history of the human race, ethics, morals, compassion, and other matters we could have stopped and I’d have used it as a launchpad for this blog entry, waxed poetic and philosophical until I was sated.

But we didn’t stop there.  We went to the overlook in Weston State Park and looked, me breathlessly, at the mighty Missouri River flowing below.  Read the initials carved inside various hearts carved on trees back when the world was young.  Looked at old barns and whatnot.

Then drove across the river to Leavenworth.  Visited the only old timey Army Surplus Store in Christiandom carrying on the tradition of old odors of mildew, ’98 Mauser bolt action rifles, coal scuttle helmets, and clever posters about huns and loose lips sinking ships.

Afterward we drove to the VA Hospital, discovered a 600 acre ghost town of memories of US military veteran aches, pains, and infirmities.  Heck of an interesting place.

By which time I was worn down to a small frazzle.  We didn’t visit the National Cemetery.

But today after she worked half-day on her usually  night job she took me to see the Westport battleground.  Biggest Civil War battlefield west of the Mississippi River.   Covered with houses and large other sorts of buildings built between Appomattox doings and now.

Just driving around that 53 square mile battlefield looking at all the houses wore me down to a small frazzle.

Luckily, tomorrow I’m going in bright and early for another eccocardiogram, chest xrays, blood lab work and something else I can’t remember right now.  At the OTHER VA Medical Center nearby somewhat.  The one that didn’t lose the Spanish American War.

Old Jules