Selected as one of
150 Best Kansas Books
In 2011, Kansas’ Sesquicentennial year, the Directors of the Kansas State Library chose 150 books, considered the best books written by Kansans and/or about Kansas in the past 150 years. To see the complete list Click here
Fragile Hopes, Transient Dreams
And Other Stories
An historical word portrait of the Great Plains and the men and women who lived, loved and died on America’s vast prairie during the 20th Century (1889 to 1999).
Each story presents a different theme, a different era, a different point of view. Tales portraying romance, mystery, suspense, heartbreaking challenges and heroic triumphs of the Roth family and their descendents, provide the reader with a strong sense of place as he experiences the realities of homesteading, farming, droughts, “the Great Depression”, “The Dirty Thirties,” World War II, the gas industry, infidelity, unrequited love, rites of passage, and intrigue.
Each tale stands alone, yet correlates into a larger story—a chronicle of the development of the prairie.
Located on the westernmost fringe of America’s Heartland the prairie, one of the richest wheat and gas producing regions in the world, is a significant protagonist in this Southwest Kansas saga. The reader is constantly aware of its presence and of the gradual, relentless changes beginning with the homesteading days and ending at the turn of the 21st Century.
(See story on Fiction page)
THE B-24 LIBERATOR
My husband, Carl L. Ungerer, received his B-24 pilot training at the Liberal, Kansas Air Base. Training completed, he was kept on as a pilot instructor. That’s where we met, and married. The essay—The Airbase—is from Fragile Hopes, Transient Dreams.
17½ BIG STEPS
The Mexico you’ll read about in my Work In Progress, 17½ Big Steps, is very different than the one portrayed in travel brochures. Written in my favorite format of short stories and essays, the book is set, for the most part, in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Negotiating heavy evening traffic, after dark, in downtown Veracruz was more of a challenge than I’d bargained for. As I searched for my hotel, I started to make a left turn at a busy intersection when, suddenly, a short, fat man lay spread-eagled across the hood of my car!
A policia–and from the look on his scowling face, only inches from mine, I knew I was in trouble. If anything could ensure my disappearance into a Mexican jail, this is it, I thought. I envisioned jail bars and a barren cell. The clanging of iron gates echoed in my mind.
The policia disentangled himself from the hood of my car and, although I couldn’t understand a word of the spiel of Spanish rage directed my way, I did understand when he stood back and made an emphatic gesture to the left.
I completed the turn, slammed on the brakes and looked back for further instructions. Raising both arms in the air, he waved me on, shaking his head and smiling broadly, obviously taking great pleasure in scaring the bedevil out of an American turista.
A flutter of excitement greeted the blondes’ arrival at noon on Wednesday and within minutes, all the trabajadores on the beach knew that two Norte-Americanas with long blond hair and blue eyes and large khaki backpacks had arrived from Cancun by taxi and were, even now, erecting a sleeping tent near the beach.
When he heard the news, Ignacio, who had been painstakingly raking clean, neat strands in the fine platinum sand, swept up the accumulation of leaves and, shouldering his rake, wandered nonchalantly in a northerly direction. While yet a dozen yards away, he paused. When the girls continued their work without looking up, he went closer.
“May I help you?” he asked in broken English.
The one near him looked up and smiled.
“No, thank you,” she said.
Ignacio leaned against a tree and stood, silently watching as they worked. Lazaro, who had also slipped away from his work crew, joined him. He opened wide his eyes and pursed his lips when Ignacio looked his way.
The girls were tall and slender. The hair of one was the color of honey, the other as pale as the sand beneath their feet. They were lovely to watch.
CUL DE SACWhile Woodland Circle, a cul de sac in the retirement community of Paradise Village is not "Wisteria Lane," no household is without its secrets, intrigues and hidden agendas.
Patricia King turned onto Woodland Circle and lowered the sun visor to shield her eyes from the late afternoon sun. She drove slowly around the cul de sac scanning house numbers. There wasn’t a soul in sight.
She spied number nine four houses down on the left-hand side of the street. Swinging wide to allow for the U-Haul trailer, she eased the seven-year-old Pontiac into the driveway, turned off the motor and sighed.
The three-day drive from Philadelphia, towing a trailer, had been tedious. Every muscle in her body ached.
She got out of the car, stretched and turned to inspect her surroundings—the neat brown house with gold shutters and doors, the well-manicured lawn, the neatly trimmed shrubbery, the wedge of blue lake visible through the trees—
I think this will do quite nicely, she thought.
(See story on Fiction Page)
While on a mid-winter holiday in the Yucatan Peninsula—a graduation gift from her parents—Megan Lockridge finds herself stranded on an idyllic tropical beach. Playa Gloriosa provides everything she dreamed of in a vacation—friends, fun and games—and romance. Two incredibly attractive gentlemen vie for her attentions; Francisco, an amorous Latino who arouses emotions she never dreamed she was capable of and Kevin, a handsome New York advertising agent who, she suspects, might turn out to be the love of her life.
A full moon was streaming through the window when, for no explainable reason, Megan awakened shortly after midnight. She could hear the soft sound of the waves brushing against the sand. Sitting up, she drew the drape aside and reached for her crutches.
Except for a shimmering moonlit path, the sea was a deep indigo blue. Her heart quickened when she remembered another moonlit night, on another beach.
Since the accident, she had tried to put Francisco out of her mind and she wondered now why he returned so persistently to her thoughts. He meant nothing to her. Kevin did; she should be thinking of him.
She became aware that something had intruded on the tranquil scene—a solitary figure strolling on the moonlit beach.
It looks like—but it can’t be! Megan thought. What would Francisco be doing here?
oUT OF THE STORM
When World War II came to Southwest Kansas, I joined the Civil Air Patrol and began taking flying lessons in a bright yellow Piper J-3 Cub.
"I LEARNED ABOUT FLYING FROM THAT"
Flying Magazine, early 1950’s Read More
As Traffic Director for KREX-TV in Grand Junction, Colorado, I was asked by management to transfer the log from hard copy to computer.
WHY A HEALTH PAGE?
` If you don’t feel good, you’re not worth a darn. At least, I’m, not. Not only my body, but my brain as well, is sluggish and out of sorts. More
WHY AN EDOC PAGE?
A few years back, I googled my name—just to see what was going on—and was astounded to find a number of articles I’d written for various publications offered for sale as “EDocs” in various publications More
I welcome comments, criticism and suggestions. Email me at email@example.com
I took the seascape (above) when I toured the Yucatan Peninsula. The beach is Playa de Chemayil the state, Quintana Roo. I rented a cabana and spent a most heavenly week there.