Kay Hively: After 20 years, use found for old briefcase
The year is coming to an end, so we all need to put up those pretty new calendars and start filling the dates. As we start 2008, I hope you'll say a little prayer for the coming year that we can have a little more peace on earth, a few more financial successes, good health for us and our family and friends, tighter friendships, more opportunities to do good things.
On the Sunday before Christmas, Russell and I had guests in for an early-morning breakfast. Our old friends, Harlan Stark and Dick Keezer, hosted much of the Daily News staff for many years so this year we took it upon ourselves to host them. We also were lucky enough to have Kenneth and Anne Cope join us.
Naturally, as we sat around the table, our conversation drifted toward newspapers and the people who have come and gone from papers here in Neosho.
Then Kenneth told me that he had been thinking about a photographer who used to work at the Daily. The man's name was Curtis Winchester. Often photographers seemed to drift in from far away places, but I believe Curtis had family in the area. Curtis came and went before I moved to Neosho, but I heard many stories about him.
Kenneth said he had been thinking about Curtis and would like to nominate him to the Missouri Press Photographer's Hall of Fame.
When he said that, I told Kenneth that I had something he might want to look at. Many years ago, during a house cleaning at the newspaper, I found an old briefcase that was being tossed out. It had the initials C.W. on it.
The briefcase was filled with old newspapers and some beautiful black-and-white photographs that had been mounted. From the photographs, I learned they were taken by Curtis Winchester. That obviously was what the initials had stood for.
Since I have a hard time throwing things away, and since I thought the pictures were worth keeping, I dragged that old briefcase home and stuck it in a spare bedroom closet. There it has sat for 20 years I would guess.
When Kenneth mentioned Curtis, I thought of that old briefcase.
I left the breakfast table and went looking. Russell got it down off a top shelf and we brought it to the dining room. Of course, everyone wanted a look. Kenneth and Anne were so pleased to have those mounted photographs, thinking it would support the nomination.
What fun it was to just give the entire briefcase to Kenneth so he could use its contents.
Then Kenneth asked Harlan to write something about Curtis that could also be used in the nomination.
I think everyone went away happy on that deal. Something I had salvaged found a good use and I got another shelf cleared. Kenneth got good evidence for his nomination and Harlan is going to have fun remembering and writing about Curtis. Now we'll all cross our fingers and hope the nomination is successful.
I've always heard that if you keep a thing seven years, you'll find a use for it. It took more than seven years of that briefcase hiding in a closet, but I finally found a good use for it.
Now, I wonder what treasure will turn up next year. I always expect good things and I'm certain 2008 will have its share of surprises.
Neosho Daily News