We acted like kids let out of the house after being confined for months. The reason for our trip was a high school graduation in Wichita, Kan., for our grandson Blake LaCrone.
A couple of things you might be interested in knowing about Wichita: It is the largest city in Kansas, and the original downtown is full of old empty buildings. Kellogg Avenue runs east and west clear through the city and at either end is a large antique mall. Both are called Paramount Antique Mall and are owned by the same people. We like the one on the east side better. It is smaller, much cleaner and the newer of the two. We left that store with almost two-dozen small purchases.
I also noticed a great abundance of large cream-colored bricks used to build walls around parks, apartments, golf courses and commercial developments. The person who owned that brick business is probably the richest person in Wichita. They stood out to me because of the dark bricks that they have through PACA.
Bates City and Odessa in Missouri both got some of our money. I bought a really old wooden doorknob set with brass plates at Bates City and left a 3-D-surfaced full size oak door, which was a steal at $45, because it would not fit in the car. All in all, we probably shopped in at least two dozen locations, and the car was loaded by the time we got home.
For over 20 years on our way to St. Louis, we have stopped at an antique mall in Pocahontas (home of singer Gretchen Wilson). The multi-dealer mall is now closed, leaving just two sites on the square still open.
As is often the case when we leave town, good friends have died and been buried before we return home. Bob Hart, his late wife Barbara Jolly and the Jolly family have been my friends since the late 1940s. Bob always had a smile on his face and poked fun at me every time he saw me. Jim Feathergill was a handful of common sense, street wise, a great dancer and really good pool player. I had known him and his wife most of my life. His sister, Vera, was ahead of me in school, and one daughter who I called the Dragon Lady was a special friend. I will really miss these two positive people. They were a credit to our community.
Bob Swisher has been a collector since he was a child. Questions or comments can be mailed to 807 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Urbana, IL 61801, or emailed to email@example.com.