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The Kings of Oak Springs | Episode 50 | May 1882 Karla King 11th Birthday

Updated on September 29, 2015

Birthday balloons decorated the house

Red, white and blue balloons
Red, white and blue balloons

Karla King had her ‘birthday’ on the 13th this year

Karl and Katherine King decided that celebrating Karla’s 11th birthday, which occurred on May 11 this year, should be a low-key activity with just her best friends. Karla liked that idea very much. As so often happened during the school year, while the three girls saw each other every day, on the school coach, and in school, they were rarely able to just get together for ‘play time.’ Saturday afternoon, May 13th, was their time to do just that. Rachel Dent and Missy Yokum spent the entire afternoon together in Karla’s room in the King farm house.

In mid-afternoon, they took a break for birthday cake and ice cream. Before long, they went back to doing what they were doing before the break; doing what 5th grade girls do. Katherine and Kate were pleased to hear their occasional giggles, but otherwise simply went about their housework as they hosted the ‘birthday party.’ Kate busied herself with final preparations for her upcoming high school graduation exercises, as well.

Earlier, Karla had gotten a birthday letter from her oldest brother, Keith, now about to finish his second year in the Civil Engineering program at the University of Missouri in Columbia. In his letter, he let the family know that he would be visiting during the first week of June, before his summer work and study schedule took effect. The entire family was pleased to hear that he would be coming for a visit. They missed him, but knew he was pursuing his own dreams, and they were very proud of him for the success he was finding there.

Kate got her high school diploma

A sample high school diploma
A sample high school diploma

Kate’s high school graduation came upon the family quickly

Although Kate, and her family, had been talking about and planning for her high school graduation, on Saturday, May 20, for well over six months, as the actual date approached, they each felt they were not ready for it at all. The graduation exercises would be held at the school on Saturday afternoon. With some disappointment, but mostly relief, Kate received word that John Carver had been named ‘top scholar’ and would be required to be the student to give an oration at the graduation exercise. All five graduating students had achieved high levels of scholarship, but John was deemed by the administration to be the best.

A reception for the graduating students and their families and friends was planned at the school following the formal graduation exercises. At the exercises, School Board President, Thomas Crane, had the privilege of giving her graduation diploma to his daughter, Charlotte, as well as to William McDonald, Vic Campbell, Kate King and John Carver. John Carver spoke on “Being the best you can be.” Superintendant Quinton Chambers gave the keynote address charging the graduating seniors to ‘make a difference’ in the world in whatever role they each chose to pursue following graduation. In his remarks, he also took the opportunity to tell a positive, uplifting story about each of the five graduating seniors. He had seen each of them come up through the grades, so he had a few years of observations to draw upon. Each set of parents, and both of Vic’s sets of grandparents, sat near the front so that they would be among the first to congratulate the graduates following the exercises. They were all very proud of each of the graduates’ accomplishments.

Her brother, Keith, had also sent Kate a special letter of congratulations for her graduation. She was very pleased to receive it, and looked forward to thanking him in person on his visit in a few weeks. Kate would begin working at the bank on Monday, the 29th of May, so after the graduation exercises were over, she devoted her full attention to getting ready for that new adventure. She was also looking forward to working closely with Vic in this new relationship for the first time.

The United States flag flew proudly that day

The flag of the day in 1882
The flag of the day in 1882

G.A.R. members led Memorial Day activities on May 30th

Augustus Ward led the several members of the local Patton Chapter of the G.A.R. in the Memorial Day exercises on Tuesday, May 30th, the date approved by the President for this recognition ceremony. The activities were held at Centennial Park, and about 50 persons were in attendance. Many of the farmers chose to stay in the fields to finish getting their crops in after the especially wet spring rains that had continued for what seemed like an excessively long period this year. It wasn’t that they were not patriotic, but their livelihood depending on getting all of their crops in for the year as soon as possible. It was already late for most of them.

Mayor Joseph Cox also gave a short speech, as one of his first duties as newly designated Mayor. The audience gave him a rousing round of applause when he finished his speech. G.A.R. Commandant Lewis Truesdale, also the local State Representative, spoke briefly as he had done on previous occasions. This however, was his first public appearance since the death of his only son, Jimmie, a few weeks earlier. Some in the audience noted his subdued nature, following his remarks, in contrast to the strong, patriotic approach he had always taken on prior occasions. It was also noted that his wife, Carolyn, and daughter, Myrtle, were not present for the ceremonies and his remarks. Many wondered whether or not he would stand for re-election to the State House in the fall. He had yet to make an announcement either way.

Local merchants had decorated their stores in red, white and blue to feature Memorial Day specials. Many of the men, women and children in attendance at the activities stopped by the various stores to check them out before making their way back home. School had finished the prior week so many of the students enjoyed this day in town not having to go to school.

Note from the author

This is the fiftieth episode of this short story series, and the tenth of what will be Volume Three. The stories are set in the Ozarks Mountains setting of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga historical fiction. This Episode is set in April of the calendar year 1882. The 20-Episode Series OSx, “Life in Oak Springs and more” fills in the gap of time between Episodes 40 and 41 in this series. These episodes move the story forward for the entire "Saga" series.

The earlier episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into two eBooks, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs,” Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (20 episodes each). See the link, below, to get yours.

“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”

Video Book Trailer

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The D.A.R.....there's a blast from the past. I'm sure they are still an active organization, but here in the west we hardly ever hear of them. Probably much more active on the east coast. Anyway, another enjoyable read, Bill....and the 13th is my birthday as well. :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 19 months ago from The Caribbean

      Pleased that the young women could spend time together; I would send Kate a card also.

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 19 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Oh, my, Bill... thank you... When I saw D.A.R. I thought "What?" - Supposed to be G.A. R. "Grand Army of the Republic" - Civil War vets organization.... "Daughters of the American Revolution" is a fine organization, too, but for the story, it is G.A.R.... Happy Birthday on the 13th... you and Karla can celebrate, together!! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 19 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Of course you would send a card to Kate. I would have, as well. The young women had a great time at the 'party.' Thank you for your visit and comment!! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 18 months ago from Central Florida

      Sadness and grief had a seat in the many celebrations of the spring of 1882. Such is life, as they say. Moving forward is the key to healing and growth. Many member of the community are embarking on a new chapter in their lives. I'm sure the Truesdales are reflecting on how short little Jimmie's book of life turned out to be.

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 18 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Life is full of changes, then as now, of course. This weekend, we're at a family wedding in Dubuque, Iowa, a new family being formed. The middle of three siblings in about 18 months to do so. A reminder of those changes is all around us. Neither grandfather is still alive, one grandmother is ailing, so could not attend. Feelings even here run from sadness to joy! ;-)

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