Community cheerleaders

I caught a break a week ago by begging Peabody High School alumnae Beth Gaines-Riffel to let me use her opinion column from Grass and Grain as a guest editorial. She was gracious enough to say OK and I thought "Yes-s-s-s. . .!" I was off the hook for an editorial in the Main Street newsletter issue.

But you know what? Sometimes something hits me and try as I might, I just can't keep my mouth shut. So even though I didn't have to labor over an opinion column for you folks, something happened that sent me into overdrive and I wrote one anyway. There wasn't room for two in the alumni edition. I saved it for this week because you all need to hear this.

You might remember I mentioned a couple of times recently about descendants of Wm. Morgan (founder of the Peabody Gazette) planning a family reunion April 9-12 in Peabody, Newton, Osage City, and various other historic Kansas haunts. There were random reports of whom, which side of the family, and how many. Some numbers hovered around 100. Egad! Most of us just wondered where they might all be planning to eat!

At any rate beginning April 9, a good number of Morgan, Brewer, and Loose relations wandered in and out of Peabody businesses, museums, ancestral homes, and buildings. They were quite a bunch. Their big event was April 12 at Peabody Senior Center where they shared old photos, letters, names, and information. Many had never met. Some serious camaraderie developed. We are always glad to provide the background for those kinds of connections.

Family members also were on the prowl for souvenir items of the Morgan house and Peabody. They bought much of what was available from Main Street, the historical society, and private businesses smart enough to market Peabody memorabilia. But one item that had gone missing was the Morgan house commemorative Christmas ornament commissioned by Peabody Main Street as part of its historic ornament series.

Wouldn't you just know? The Morgan house ornament is one of only two in the series that long ago sold out. And here were a couple dozen eager buyers who'd have snapped up one apiece in a heartbeat! But the Married Daughter and What's His Name came to the rescue. They remembered that there were two Morgan house ornaments at our auction warehouse in the personal property we were getting ready to sell. Margy Grindstaff and brother-in-law Eddie Holub each had a selection of Peabody souvenir items including the Morgan house ornaments. Woo-hoo! I love it when stuff like that happens.

A quick call to Margy and Eddie's family and we got permission to auction the ornaments to the Morgan folks on Saturday. Luckily, What's His Name is currently involved with the Main Street program and was the designated memorabilia merchant at the senior center. Also luckily, The Mister taught him several years ago to chant, "I gotta' one, who'll gimme two?" So the Morgan relatives all were invited to a private auction to bid on the last two available commemorative ornaments featuring their ancestral home. Now isn't that a warm and fuzzy story?

But wait . . . here is the best part! After the ornaments sold, The Mister contacted Margy and Eddie's family once again with the news that the private auction had done quite well. After a little "shock and awe" about what those wild and crazy Morgan people had paid, a long distance family conference was held and the Grindstaff-Holubs gave the proceeds to sponsor the Boeing Jazz Band at the upcoming "Operation Celebration: 1940s."

Now how about that?

In our auction business, The Mister and I enjoyed a long and good relationship with both Margy and Eddie and their spouses. Dealing with the last possessions of people we really liked is often bittersweet and their sale was one of those. We didn't know them well enough to know what they were like growing up during the Depression and World War II. By the time we arrived in Peabody in 1970 that part of their lives was long behind them.

But what a nice way to remember them as Peabody gets ready to look back at the days when they were young, healthy, happy, and anticipating their futures. Margy and Eddie both were "community cheerleaders." We are grateful that their descendants are willing to continue that support with the opportune sale of some collectibles and to then donate the money "Operation Celebration" in their memory.

Nice story, huh? I wouldn't have wanted you to miss that one for the world.