August 2003 my husband Roy, and I
took a long-dreamed trip back to my home state of Kansas. I'm
Darlene Bohling Harding, daughter of Albert and Freda Bohling. I was
born in my paternal grandparents home August 23, 1936. John and Lula
Bohling, my dad's parents had their home built at 18166 X Rd.
outside of Meade, in 1928. My grandparents sold their place to Pete
and Agnes Isaac sometime in 1947, and then moved to Dodge City.
My teacher in first grade was Madge
Elliott, she was also my dad's teacher years before. I remember our
family living in the Wes Edwards place outside of town somewhere, I
don't remember what direction from town. Years ago when we went back
to Kansas, we looked the place up with the help of my Aunt Josie
Bohling Adams. What a disappointment for me. It wasn't such a huge
house as I remembered as a child. Looking back through the eyes of a
child, I recall such a big staircase, it was beautiful. I remember
walking up the stairs holding a candle, because there was no
electricity. I can just picture the water pump in the kitchen, and
the wonderful porch that circled the house, where my brothers and I
including my three brothers, Dale ( the oldest ), Duane and Gary
moved from Meade to Livingston, California in 1943. Our family made
a couple of visits back "home" through the years. In 1976, my
husband Roy, two of our four daughters and myself, took my dad for a
visit back to Meade and surrounding areas to visit relatives. We
hadn't been back until 2003, when we thought it was way over due.
We had such a
wonderful time visiting aunts, uncles and cousins in Greensburg,
Wichita, Dodge City and Cimarron. My cousin Phyllis Figger of
Cimarron called Mel and Linda Isaac in Meade to see if several of us
relatives could stop in to see "the old homestead" of years ago.
Mel, the son of Pete and Agnes Isaac, and his wife live in this
wonderful home. They were so gracious in welcoming us 6 strangers
into their home. Linda gave us the tour of their lovely old home. It
was especially heart warming for my aunt, Nora Bohling Bartling, who
lived there during the years it was her parents home.
It really was
special to me to be in the bedroom where I took my first breath 67
years ago. A lot of wonderful memories came flooding back, as we
went up the stairs to my aunts bedroom. I remember playing with her
dolls when I was just a little girl. And outside, I recall the fun
we had as youngsters playing at our grandma and grandpa's. It was so
many years ago, but, still it was fresh in my memory. We were so
thankful to our new friends, Mel and Linda who were just so warm and
friendly. We sat around their dining room table telling them stories
we remembered about their home, years before it
their home. Linda served us fresh lemonade and we enjoyed the
afternoon being back at Grandma and Grandpa's house.
I want to thank Mel and Linda once
more for the wonderful visit and their gracious hospitality. I will
always remember and be grateful to them. God Bless you, Mel and
I must add the coincidence of
coming from Meade, Kansas where the famous Dalton Gang had their
hideout... to moving to LIvingston, California where Mason Frakes
(Bill) Dalton was buried in the yard of his father-in-law.
Bill Dalton's body was removed and placed to rest in Turlock,
California. And years following, we lived next door to that same
house. Believe it or not, it is true.
Darlene Bohling Harding
Mel and Linda Isaac and their remodeled
John ( l.) and Albert Bohling and his
greyhounds in the '30's.
John and Lula Bohling and their
(left to right) Nora, Minnie,Josie,
Albert and Clarence. Esther was born
Albert and Freda
Bohling and children.
and Duane. Gary was
is a poem written by Dale Bohling:
There he stands in new school
The little boy with the Mona Lisa smile
Shiny as a new penny in is overalls
And brand new straw hat and a hair cut too!
What else does a little boy need
To start his first day in school?
It's not a big deal you say, the first day?
Try telling his little topsy turvy tummy!
Caught in the Kodak's icy stare
He tried to work up a brave little smile
But his trembling lips could only turn
Up the muted corners languidly.
As I hold the Kodak version of frozen time
I'm staring once again into the blinding sun
I see the outline of the voice who says to me
"SMILE" and so meekly I comply.
I feel that little heart as it beats so savagely
Behind those stiff new overalls and know
That little boy ever shall I be..
God help him!
God help me!