Remembering a century of change

Staff writer

Bula Good has seen a lot of history during her 100 years of life.

The Marion woman will turn 100 on Sept. 25.

She still remembers looking out a window in Wichita and watching the fury of dust storms raging across western Kansas and knowing what was happening to those in the path.

Then there was the Great Depression. No one escaped financial misery.

“Everybody was in the same boat,” Good said. “Nobody had too much. They raised gardens and did a lot of canning.”

Her brother tried to enlist in the Civilian Conservation Corps, but was declined because their father was a country doctor. The program accepted unmarried, unemployed young men from relief families.

Then there was the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

“I remember it very plain,” Good said. “I stood right here and I had a 6-month-old in my arms when I heard.”

She remembers Japanese being sent to detention camps.

“They declared war right away,” Good said.

Her husband, who was 10 years older than her, was ultimately drafted toward the end of the war, but remained stateside. He served for about a year.

She followed him to the base where he was stationed and their second son was born there.

When he was released from military service, she and a friend drove all the way back to Kansas on icy roads.

Looking back, that wasn’t the safest decision she ever made, she said.

Of their four sons, Bill, Tom, Bob, and Mike, the oldest two served in the military during the Vietnam War. Bill served stateside and Tom was sent to Vietnam.

“I didn’t take a deep breath all that year while he was there,” Good said.

The tumult and social upheaval of the 1960s is still clear, too. White people didn’t want black people to get ahead, and it took a long time for it to end. Maybe it’s not really over, she mused.

“Then all the deaths,” Good said. “The president and his brother. Martin Luther King. It was a terrible time. You look at what’s going on now and you think it’s terrible, but I guess it’s going on all the time.”

She still lives in Marion and is thankful for having family and loved ones close by.

“My husband’s been gone 23 years,” Good said. “I never thought I’d live that long.”

Last modified Sept. 22, 2016

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