Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • RICHARD DAVIDSON: Mural brings memories

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  • A few months back, I wrote about the mural tour and the amazing number of murals that exist in Southwest Missouri. I’m still amazed by how much was around that I didn’t know about. Last week, that list grew once again, and it did so in a way that touched me more than normal.
    For decades, a mural had been sitting at Premier Turbine, hidden from view for all except those who had a reason (and permission) to be in that part of the Premier Turbine factory. Now, as of last week, that 39-foot mural is attached to a wall in Davidson Hall on the campus of Crowder College.
    I’m not going to recite the whole NDN article that Whitney Saporito wrote about the mural last week. But I do want to mention the added “family” tie that made the mural’s move to Davidson Hall that much more special for me.
    For a time in the 1960s (and I’m not sure of the exact dates), my grandfather and grandmother Clemons worked at the Neosho Rocketdyne facility. I remember stories my granddad would tell about sitting on his porch in Stark City as the rocket tests were conducted and how the sky would light up like daytime and the ground would shake. I wish I could have seen it.
    And seeing it, the mural that is, is what makes this mural extra special to me. And I now know that Larry Sanchez would have been painting that mural while my grandparents watched the masterpiece come to life. So now, a mural that my maternal grandparents watched come to life is now spending the rest of its life in a building named after my paternal grandparents.
    Perhaps the irony isn’t as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be, but it’s still special to me. And while only my grandfather Davidson was on-hand to see the dedication and mural’s move to Davidson Hall, I’m sure my granddad Paul and grandmother Murriel Clemons were watching over the ceremony with Paul giving my late grandmother Davidson the highlights and stories of how that mural came to be.
    What a great turnout at the pet clinic last week – I was impressed! Thanks to all of the city staff who helped to make it a success. And a special thanks to all of the vendors who participated. It was great!
    Spring seems to be knocking at the door. Don’t forget Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday! Until next time: keep the faith, stay the course, and may God bless Neosho!
    Richard Davidson is mayor of Neosho.
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