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Friday, December 17, 2021

I'm Going To Kansas City - Kansas City Here I Come

From 1918 on - Harry Truman lived here

The was Bess Truman's home her whole life

The number one question we get asked - Why Kansas City? When I was a kid - I loved the Kansas City A's baseball team. They were the first team to wear colored uniforms when all the other professional teams wore white or gray. They just didn't stay between the lines. I would stay up late at night - and listen to their games on the radio. In those days - few games were on TV - and those games were usually the Yankees and the Phillies. So my imagination would travel through the ether on radio waves. I am 73 years old - and I never got there to meet "the crazy little women there and I'm gonna get me one."

In 1964 - the Beatles played at Municipal Stadium and brought the house down with their version of "Kansas City."

Lulu and I were itching for a trip. We want to make it a short 5 day trip and we wanted to go free - using Delta FF Miles. Lulu had been to Kansas City for conventions two times - so she tacked on a couple days in Branson MO for good measure.

Thursday at 6 am - we headed to Atlanta - then Kansas City. We were upgraded to first class because the plane was half empty. Our flights were swell - and by 10 am - we were in our Sheraton Suites hotel in Kansas City. All 5 nights that we were in Missouri - the skies were clear and sunny. Just a few miles over in Kentucky tornadoes were tearing the state apart. One tornado touched down for 250 miles - killing lots of people and destroying buildings. We saw none of that. 

Our first attraction was the Negro Baseball Hall of Fame. Then later we went to the College Basketball Hall of Fame.The next morning it was National Toy and Miniature Museum - followed by the National World War I Museum - and the Union Station Museum. In between these attractions - we enjoyed lots of steak dinners and barbecue joints. Kansas City was relatively empty - we had most of the museums to ourselves. That does not discount the quality of the museums - they are all top shelf. 

The third day we picked up our rental car - and headed to Independence MO - to see the home of President Harry Truman. We also toured the library and museum in his honor. It is about 15 miles east of downtown Kansas City. Harry Truman is one of my favorite presidents. He was strongly for integration. He became president when Roosevelt died in the middle of World War II. They used to call him "Your Accidency." He became famous for dropping the Atomic Bomb on Japan. That immediately ended the war. One interesting note - when Truman was Vice President for Roosevelt - they only met twice! Harry was picked to be Vice President - and he was often called "The Missouri Compromise."

Next was the drive to Branson MO - about 3 hours away. My son says - Branson is Las Vegas designed by Ed Flanders. It sure is different. We enjoyed seeing it in the middle of December. The place was pretty empty. We stayed at the Lodge of the Ozarks. We went to 2 shows. The first night we saw the Presley Country Jubilee. The second night we saw a Christmas Show at the King Theatre. Both shows were within a mile of our hotel. The Presley family show was the first theater on the strip and has been run by family for 55 years. 

Downtown Branson is a time warp. They have Dicks 5 & 10. It reminds you of the Newberry's of your youth - just aisles and aisles of kitsch. Lulu loved it and spent hours inside. In the days it was super crowded - at 7 pm we were alone in there. We enjoyed the outdoor music - water - light show. I cannot imagine it in the summer. It has 60 theaters - all on a two lane winding road in the mountains. It seems to have no planning at all - but it is a big success. 

On Monday - we started our drive early back to the Kansas City Airport. We crossed the famous Route 66 in Springfield MO - the home of the Simpsons. On our flight home both of our planes were full - we rode Comfort Plus home. As the clock struck midnight - we walked into our cozy home in Tallahassee. We had a great time - and it certainly puts one in the Christmas Spirit. 

The Negro Baseball Museum

The Negro Baseball League - 
Kansas City Monarchs ruled

Every black boy wanted to be a Monarch

Josh Gibson may have been the best hitter ever

Finally the Brooklyn Dodger let Jackie Robinson play

Satchel Page was a great barnstorming pitcher

We ate at this backstreet barbecue in KC.

The stadium is gone. 

But the memories remain

This is the site of my favorite boyhood teams stadium

Union Stadium has a Christmas village in it

Lots of trains in Union Station

Old wall mural when trains were king

Big tree inside the station

The City Market north of town near stockyards.

World War I Museum - tall open air tower
On top you were out in the open - it was windy

Toy Museum - Viewmaster

Alamo Set

Erector set

Barbie House

Nancy said Lori had this doll

Funny story - one of my teacher buddies - after a big party - 
in the dark - mistook this for a toilet

Jackie Doll

Lincoln Logs

Tinker Toys - a favorite of mine

A working steam engine


The original Teddy Bear

In the 50s - Lionel Trains were king for me

Atari game machine

this tool made toys for kids

Miniature doll houses

Lincoln's Cabin

This was a miniature classroom in a doll house

We were enjoying the Christmas spirit in

This was a well endowed museum

We were the only ones in this Toy Museum

Most famous product of Kansas City
They make the Ford F-150 there

We went up the tower at the WWI Museum

We saw the Union Station from up the tower

Display at WWI Museum

The College Basketball Hall of Fame is user friendly

The Kansas City Kings of the NBA played here - gone now

In the basketball museum

In 1966. Texas Western - a black school
shook the basketball world.
The next year everybody wanted black players.

We split that steak

The Kansas City Plaza from our hotel

Entrance to Truman Library

Harry Truman only bought 2 cars in his life on the same day

They cost $2700 total for 2. 
Notice one is a coupe - one is a sedan

Truman's grave

I remember them burying. him there. His wife
and daughter are there too. 

Truman loved libraries. His quote. 

Truman would only give press conferences during his walks. 
The reporters had to jog along to keep up. 

Truman House was closed for covid
but the guard took our picture.
Independence MO is small. 

Our Lodge of the Ozarks - it was pretty empty

We sat by the fire alone at night

The 5 & 10 in Branson

Veyr busy in the day. 

5 & 10

Titanic Museum in Branson

The Stairway in the Titanic

Jews of the Titanic

Nancy alone in the 5 & 10 at night

Just like Tamaqua Newberry's

At night - plenty of parking

This theater in Branson was empty by our hotel

Route 66 in Springfield MO

Just a winding little two lane highway - Route 66

It winds from Chicago to LA

In those days you pumped the gasoline up to the jar by hand.
Then gravity let it run into your car.

We were once in Springfield IL - it also 
had Route 66 run through it

Our final lunch Monday was in Clinton MO