There is a little rock house just east of Neosho. It sits in a field across from a row of buildings occupied by businesses such as Restonovation, Construction Services Group, Swartz Tractor and others. My daddy was born in that little rock house. My great-grandparents on my Granddad A.W.’s side lived in the two-story white lap sided house just to the south and nearer the current day highway. My Grandma Margaret’s folks, the Sweeney’s, lived to the west through the woods and across a field in a two-story stone house. These things I remember.
Over the years I listened to countless stories from my Dad and Uncle Carl. Stories in which the landmarks were referred to by names like Possum Trot School, June Gate, Union School, Waddell, the County Farm, and so many other long forgotten names and titles. All the while I would keep thinking, “One of these days, these guys are going to be gone and someone needs to be keeping notes on all this information.” That day came and went. No one had kept any notes. The boxes and boxes of pictures were not cataloged, and information written down. The stories were not recorded. In fact, I am uncertain of the location in the family grave plots in Gibson Cemetery. I do know where the family plots lie in IOOF but can’t seem to recall the locations in Gibson. I wish I had taken notes.
I never was a note taker. For one reason, if I took notes the probability of me being able to read my own writing after the fact was near to non-existent. There was a reason that my high school teachers felt that success in the mastery of the then state-of-the-art typewriter keyboard was essential for educational survival. My good fortune was that I was an audible learner. If I attended all the classes and lectures and listened to the information given, read the text and worked my way through the various problems presented for instruction and practice, I would test out very well. I challenged the process a few times and it always proved out that the quantitative value of the listening portion of the process was extremely high. I could succeed without putting one hundred percent into any of the other areas, but less than my full attention in the listening portion would always cause future suffering.
So, it was with great intent that I listened to Dad, Grandma and Uncle Carl about all of the details of the county. Some that still existed sixty years ago and others that are now gone with no remaining landmarks or other features that I could point to if describing them to someone new. With the passing of the years I am also finding that I am not as permanent as previously believed. Some of the information is getting harder to access. I know it is there, but retrieving it is somewhat frustrating. I wish I had taken notes!
-Paul Richardson is the proprietor of In Sane Marketing. He writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.