Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for the ‘Memories & Milestones’ Category

Good OL’ . . .

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. . . Thirsty Thursday again,

BUT this time

it ties in with a marketing event —

Cheeseburger In Paradise.

So enjoy the food, booze and entertainment.

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There’s an inmate here

who obviously is

the sap in the family tree.

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Kansas City Links

Memories of Two States

By Sandy Katz

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —- Famous mice, presidents, cartoonists, jazz artists, and shopping-mall entrepreneurs mix and mingle through the history of this border-straddling metropolis that sprouted out of a trading post just east of the Kansas border on a bend of the Missouri River.

The first bridge to span the mighty Missouri was built here shortly after the Civic War, boosting business in the cattle industry as the railroad spread west.

Then, J. C. Nichols imported millions of dollars worth of century-old statuary to Kansas City and created the Spanish-style Country Club Plaza in 1922 amidst pig farms on the city’s outskirts. It was the first shopping center in the world designed to accommodate shoppers arriving by automobile. The 1914 Union Station, the nation’s second-largest train station, retrieved its elegance with a $250 million restoration begun a couple of dozen years ago.

Kansas City’s allure is best described by Rogers and Hammerstein in their song from the musical “Oklahoma:” “Everything is up to date in Kansas City.”

Getting up to date with Kansas City can be an enlightening tour.

For example, Walt Disney, who graduated from Kansas City Art Institute, fed a small mouse while at work in his Laugh-O-Gram studio. The little critter was the inspiration for the renowned Mickey Mouse.

A couple of museums in the 18th and Vine Historic District house memorials to and memorabilia from jazz and baseball “Who’s Who” who gathered there, including Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Lester Young, Satchel Paige, James “Cool Papa” Bell, and Josh Gibson.

From the Roaring ’20s to early ’40s, it was an entertainment center with no equal as more than 100 nightclubs, dance halls and vaudeville houses featured jazz.

A trip to neighboring Independence, M0, is a must to visit The Truman Presidential Museum and Library, which follows the history of the 33rd U.S. President, Harry S. Truman, who grew up and retired here.

Among the exhibits in a scale model of the Oval Office is his famous sign, “The Buck Stops Here.” Written on the other side is “I’m From Missouri.”

Just up the road a piece on the Kansas side of the border in Leavenworth, more widely known for its “Big House,” the first U.S. federal penitentiary

Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 7, 2023 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Memories & Milestones

Tagged with ,

Got To Talking . . .

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. . . about the old days

in a phone chat with a long-time colleague

when we tumbled onto the topic of

some major stories we both covered,

and some how got onto the recollection about

how dogs used to ride along on fire trucks.

He said he found out why:

they were used to find the fire hydrants.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

May 19, 2023 at 8:40 pm

Posted in Memories & Milestones

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It’s Good Friday . . .

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. . . with Easter over the horizon.

Time to take a break

and pause for prayer,

mellow meditation and

feasting with your family.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

April 6, 2023 at 8:43 pm

It’s Holy Thursday . . .

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. . . better known as Thirsty Thursday around here,

to be followed by Good Friday

and then it’s Easter Sunday.

Don’t forget to sign up for Easter brunch.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

April 5, 2023 at 10:24 pm

Blood Pressure checking . . .

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. . . cancelled today

but don’t forget Val Vista Pharmacy personnel

available at 11 a.m. in 2nd floor theater

to review your prescriptions and

discuss how they can work with you

to provide automatic service and free delivery.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

April 4, 2023 at 9:04 pm

Good Friday . . .

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. . . and Easter Sunday

are coming up this week for Christians.

Jewish Passover begins Wednesday.

And we’re about midway through

Islam’s month-long Ramadan.

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Many Memories are Good

When thinking of nothing during shower time, bits of good memories will dance through my mind and I can flesh them out while I’m toweling off the water.

One that scrambled in recently slipped in on the shoulders of an old home town pal who happened to be on the same teams in a couple of softball leagues years later in a city far from home. One of them was in an outlaw league that was so-called because it played on Sundays when regular city league games were rarely scheduled.

These were fun games that attracted top players from throughout the region. One Sunday we arranged for a group of Kitchener-Waterloo Press Club pickup players to play the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League along with whatever pickup players they could get.

We had a particularly quick and blazing whip-arm pitcher named Wayne Rehkopf along with  former Montreal Canadiens hockey goalie Bill Durnan, who is ensconced in the Hockey Hall of Fame and is listed among the 100 greatest players of all time. He is also in the Canadian Softball Hall of Fame as one of the all-time greatest pitchers.

I was the catcher.

A long-time and active member of the Press Club was Bob Rafferty, who also coached the K-W Dutchman during their world championship and Olympic years in the mid-’50s. Even National Hockey League and Russian national hockey teams refused to play exhibition games against them because they were so good..

Bob, like most of the couple hundred folks who populated our spectator crowd this particular Sunday, got to enjoy the sauce more than the spectacle as the day wore on.

But then, as we clattered aboard our bench to take our turn at bat for the sixth inning, Bob came over and sat down beside me, slapped me on the thigh and said, “You know, Scag, I thought you were too small, but you’re a helluvan athlete; yep, you’re an athlete.” And tottered off.

I don’t recall playing any better after that, but I’ve felt a helluvalot better ever since.

There are many overlooked compliments in our day-to-day lives, however, that we should think about.

 It’s a major compliment that your spouse picked you, and is still putting up with you. What about your friends, the ones that picked you? You should feel complimented that they still share their times – good and bad – with you.

When the children keep returning home to visit is a gold-standard compliment we can all use. “You done good, mom (or pop),” sits proudly on the top shelf of anyone’s Laudatory Library.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

April 2, 2023 at 9:17 pm

Carol Reichert announces:

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Verena Voices choir

is presenting a short program on

April 4th at 2:30 pm 

in our Dining Room.

They will sing inspirational songs as well as an Easter favorite.

After their singing, Carol Reichert will play

seasonal and lively songs for your entertainment.

Please come and support our own choir and

director Kathy Irving, and Carol R. accompanist.

Thank you

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The Man Who Dethroned a King

By Tom Morrow

Mature Life Features

The captivating tabloid trippings around the globe of Harry and Meghan – are they going the raise Archie in Canada? the U.S.? — isn’t new. Anyone familiar with history knows that Britain’s King Edward VIII, who gained the throne when George V died in January 1936, abdicated his crown for “… the woman I love.”

But what wasn’t known until recently is how he was helped out the royal door by Cosmo Gordon Lang, the Scottish cleric who became Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, whom he had once admired. Lang believed that, as Prince of Wales, Edward was adept at philandering and had not always been wise in his choice of friends and acquaintances, whose standards Lang was later to condemn as “alien to all the best instincts and traditions of his people.”

The archbishop had been aware for some time of the king’s relationship with the American Wallis Simpson, who was still married to her second husband, Ernest. In mid-1936 it became clear Edward intended to marry her either before or shortly after his impending coronation, depending on the timing of her divorce.

Lang agonized over whether he could, with good conscience, administer the coronation oath to the king in such circumstances, bearing in mind the Anglican Church’s teaching on marriage. It would be unthinkable to have a divorcee, especially an American, sit on the throne as Queen.

Lang confided to his recently opened diary his hopes that circumstances might change, or that he might be able to persuade the king to reconsider his actions, but the king refused to meet with him. Lang kept close contact with the king’s mother, Queen Mary: Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, and the king’s private secretary. Edward believed Lang’s influence in court was strong, recalling how from beginning to end he felt the archbishop’s “shadowy, hovering presence” in the background.

The matter became public Dec. 2, 1936, when the Bishop of Bradford made an indirect comment on the king’s “need for Divine Grace.” By then, faced with staunch opposition by the Church and Parliament, the king decided he would abdicate rather than give up Wallis Simpson. Nine days later — Dec. 11, 1936 — he gave up his throne in favor of his brother, George VI.

Two days later, Lang broadcast a speech in which he said: “From God he (Edward VIII) received a high and sacred trust. Yet by his own will he has … surrendered the trust.” Lang did not disguise his relief that the crisis was over. He wrote of George VI, “I was now sure that to the solemn words of the Coronation there would now be a sincere response.” On May 12, 1937, Lang crowned George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II, with full pomp and ceremony in Westminster Abbey.

Time magazine recorded:

“… All through the three-hour ceremony, the most important person there was not the King, his nobles or his ministers, but a hawk-nosed old gentleman with a cream and gold cape who stood on a dais as King George approached: The Rt. Hon. and Most Reverend Cosmo Gordon Lang, D.D. Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England.” Supposedly the archbishop fumbled with the Crown but Lang himself was fully satisfied.”

Years later, it was revealed that Lang had placed the crown on George’s head backwards.

It wasn’t until details read in Lang’s recently discovered private diary that the world learned how he and then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin colluded in forcing Edward to step down from the throne.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

April 1, 2023 at 5:33 pm

Things Change . . .

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. . . and so do times.

Taking a glance back in your memories through

Flashbacks has been moved to 3:30 pm. Saturday

in the 2nd floor theater followed

at 4 p.m. by Travel with Sheldon.

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(An earlier piece about strange pets we had led to this one about…)

Pets That Left Us

We didn’t have a cat or dog around the railroad shack I spent much of my pre-school life in but we did have a pet crow.

On his way home from the railroad section house a five-minute walk down the tracks, my father stumbled onto a nest that had fallen out of a tree. Squawking under it were five scrawny chicks. He brought them home and, to appease his foreman, gave a couple to his daughters. Those chicks died within days so dad gave them another two chicks. He kept one for me.

It grew rapidly and soon claimed its perch on our clothes line, which gained my mother’s attention immediately, because it used to crap all over her clean laundry when she pinned it to the line. Mother would swing and swat at the bird that would hophophop down the line and back up again to avoid the broom and caw-caw-caw at her for trying to knock it off its perch. Somehow, mother managed to keep the laundry a lot cleaner than the dialogue she had with that bird.

As fall grew, the bird disappeared. We moved that winter to a larger house down the road a piece and, when spring arrived, the only person who saw that crow again was my father. It would fly to meet him when he got off work at 5 p.m. and then fly off in the direction of our former household. The only time I saw it again was one day when I went to meet dad as he quit work.

On another occasion during one of his regular tours to check his rabbit snares in the nearby bush, my father heard a small animal scrunching through under the brush. He chased it down and found a squirrel, It was a flying squirrel with one of its “webs” ripped. That stopped it from gliding from tree to tree on its scavenging nut hunts. Dad brought the animal home and quickly fashioned a small house for it so it could be protected from other animals while it recuperated.

We fed it peanuts and let it out periodically to walk around the clothesline stand so it could regain its strength and get used to us and its surroundings. One day it scratched its way up the clothesline post and tried leaping out to a nearby bench but fell short. We picked it up and placed it back in its little house. It stayed with us until late summer when it scuttled off to a nearby tree, climbed up high and launched its body to another nearby tree.  It spread out its legs and the webbing on both sides of its body held up. That was the last we ever saw of it. It never came back to say good bye.

The only other “pets” I had as a kid in the country were garter snakes. They were good looking and not too big and easy for us kids to catch them. Once you got one, all you had to do was put it in your pocket and it would curl up and stay warm. We had to let them go before we got home so we wouldn’t get swatted for keeping such dangerous beasts in our pockets.

I almost had a chipmunk for a pet during my teens. I was staying with a buddy and his family at their lakefront cottage when we spotted the little critter as we were preparing to get our canoe ready for a water ride. We chased it through the brush for a good 15 minutes. I got it but didn’t want to squeeze it to hard so John pulled of his T-shirt to form a sack bag we could keep it in. As I handed it to him, the chipmunk bit into his finger, making him lose his grasp and my vision of having a chipmunk for a pet vanished in the underbrush.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 31, 2023 at 8:39 pm

Posted in Memories & Milestones

Tagged with ,

Tips On How . . .

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. . . to make plans to make your money last

are on tap for 2 p.m. Thursday in the 2nd floor theater.

Then it’s on to Thirsty Thursday’s happy hour

beginning at 3 p.m. in the bistro

before tottering by Lou Malnati’s pizza-tasting table

in the dining room at 5 o’clock.

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Some Pets Not for the Nervous

We’ve all read about or seen on TV some out-of-the-norm animals us humans claim as pets – reptiles, raptors, farmyard critters, jungle denizens, insects, you name ‘em. Some folks claim they’re “comfort” beasts and take them on vacations, airlines flights and trips to the supermarket. If this keeps up, I’m thinking of getting myself a comfort crocodile.

We have had a diverse set of animals over the years.  My sister killed one of them. It wasn’t my pet. I’m not comfortable enough to turn my back on spiders. This was a spider – a black widow. A couple of my kids spotted it under a stairwell and argued about its identity. To stop the arguing, my wife got a jar and went and captured it. Sure enough, it was a full-blooded black widow, the first poisonous creature we could call our own.

The kids popped a popsicle stick into the jar to give it something to crawl on and tossed in live flies, dead moths, tidbits of meat and even some hard-boiled yolk. It prospered somehow and even took the time to produce a couple of wisps of a web between the stick and sides of the jar.

My sister came to visit on a weekend and, when the kids showed her our latest pet, her reaction was natural. She went screaming back out the front door and said she wasn’t returning “until that thing is flushed down the toilet.”

She finally was talked back to earth when the boys assured her the beast was contained tightly in a well-screwed-down Mason jar and tucked high on a window sill where she could watch it to make sure it didn’t get close to her. Curiosity overcame her cowardice the next day as she began asking questions about the care and feeding of a black widow spider. One of the boys swatted a fly and joined his brother as they gave her a short course on the housing and handling of their pet.

They unscrewed the top of the jar and were about to dump in the dead fly when she got nervous and knocked the glass out of their hands. It smashed into pieces when it hit the floor and she was shrieking and scampering and scooted out of the area. The two boys got a broom and began to police the area carefully. But it was too late. In her jumping and jostling, my sister had stepped on the critter and it was ground into the linoleum.

She never apologized for the death nor did she offer to get the kids another pet spider.

It’s a good thing she wasn’t around when we had a pet caterpillar. It was rusty brown in the middle and black at both ends. We had trouble figuring out which end was its head. It spent its days in an empty fishbowl out on the back porch and we fed it lettuce. Then one day it was gone.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 29, 2023 at 4:19 pm

After Every Mardi Gras . . .

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. . . there’s an Ash Wednesday.

So enjoy Mardi Gras frolicking

that begins at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the dining room,


all Roman Catholics

get down to the 2nd floor theater

for Communion and ashes at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

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Some people never get my name right

While there have been several requests about how to pronounce my first name, See-sill for Cecil is easy to remember.

It’s my last name that gives them the most trouble. In English, you just pronounce every letter – Scag-lee-owe-knee. In Italian, the “gl” is swallowed and the name comes out Scal-YO-knee. It works the same as gnocci — nyoki

Even after several attempts, most seem to prefer spelling my last name ending with an “i” – Scaglioni. My insurance company persisted for years to keep spelling it that way even though it was spelled correctly on the policy.

Many editors have had head-scratching sessions to make sure the by-line on my stories was spelled correctly. For many years, they preferred the shortened Cec Scaglione. One article in my Detroit paper appeared under the by-line of Ceg Scaglione until a sharp-eyed editor caught it and corrected it for the later editions.

Early in my career, I received a check from a Toronto magazine made out to Cec Scogbone. I managed to get it cashed at my bank so it didn’t become a problem.

I get a lot of correspondence with the “g” dropped – Scalione.

One of the credit-card companies I was enlisted with a while ago persisted in sending me a monthly statement addressed to Scaslione. They even came up once with Schelione.

A welfare agency I did a story about sent me a thank-you note addressed to Mr. Scageclone. A complimentary note for another story I wrote was addressed to Mr. Scheline. A Methodist bishop sent a letter to my boss lauding the effort of Mr. Ceg Scaliogre.

But I feel comfortable with my name, especially after having run across so many easy-to-maul names over the years.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 18, 2023 at 7:38 pm