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Leavenworth, Land that I Love or "My famous uncle"

Posted by Maureen Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Leavenworth, Kansas is my hometown, and the city where many of my mom's siblings grew up. For the record, as seen in this photo, it is also the First City of Kansas. Most people don't know that. If you've read one or two of my recent blogs posts regarding family, you may have gotten the idea that I have quite an affinity for my aunts and uncles. Fact. Recently, one uncle (Sam) sent a gem of a website to another uncle (Tom), in a state of disbelief that Tom was the only one given honorable mention for his riches and fame (or something like that) on a Leavenworth Visitor Info site. Uncle Tom, whose wedding I recently officiated on a yacht, is a Published Author. That's right, his name in print! (no one got that movie reference last time...try again?) Here's the most amusing segment of the article.

The list of Leavenworth residents and visitors who have been touched by fame or infamy could go on and on. Academy Award winning actor Wallace Beery, the glamorous June Haver and British writer Oscar Wilde represent the arts. Professional baseball players Murray Dickson and Del Crandel started their careers here, while the first black heavyweight champion of the world, boxing great John Johnson, ended his as physical education director for the Federal Penitentiary. Generals like Custer, Sherman, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Patton and Powell have walked the streets here, as have Prohibitionist Carry Nation and Abolitionist John Brown, Grammy award winner, singer Melissa Etheridge, actor Richard Sanders ("Les Nessman" of WKRP) and author Tom Oliver (To Watch the River) are current famous faces first seen in Leavenworth.

Now please take a moment to read the action verbs used in much of this paragraph, namely "started their careers," "ended his career," and "walked the streets here." These are all semantic ways of getting around the fact that the only TRULY famous person who is actually from Leavenworth is in fact everyone's favorite pop star, Melissa Etheridge. Nice.

Now I'm not downing Leavenworth (I mean, it's got bison!) and certainly not dogging on Uncle T (I mean, he took me to see Bon Jovi & The Anaheim Ducks!)....I'm just saying, this paragraph seems like a bit of a stretch.

But hey, us Olivers will take it.


8 comments:

toby said...

All I'm saying is: World Famous Topeka Zoo.

louann said...

yes yes yes that's what happens when you move to lalaland. You become famous! it's the american dream! and maybe tom doesn't know he is famous, so this should bring some satisfaction. For the rest of us who live in the Midwest, we continue to walk in those footsteps, and keep sending emails to the LVTimes to tell them we are famous too! it's not a stretch!! many more well known people have lived and enjoyed this area - they forgot to mention Wild Bill Hickock and Donald Rumsfeld!

Maureen said...

toby-you're world famous.

louann-you're beginning to sound like "sage". maybe you've been reading toby's blog too much? ;)

louann said...

maybe YOU'VE been reading it too much! I could never have sage's wit.

louann said...

MY NAME IN PRINT!!! It just hit me! - "The Jerk" - the new phonebooks here scene..........eh?

Maureen said...

you got it, Mamasita! One of the best scenes ever...

Anonymous said...

And you guys call me goofy! Aunt Katy

Sarah said...

I'm picking out a Thermos for you. Not an ordinary Thermos for you. But the extra best Thermos that you can buy, with vinyl and stripes and a cup built right in.

Yeah! The Jerk rocks!