Sesquicentennial showcases community
Two weekends ago Eudora again celebrated CPA Picnic in the park. Every year, there is a discussion about what CPA stands for, and if you want to hazard a guess watch the Eudora News for information on how to enter the 150th birthday trivia contest. This past week the question was, "What does CPA stand for and what was its original purpose?" Follow the rules of the contest and you may qualify as a winner of a $150 prize to be awarded at the end of the contest in October.
As part of the Sesquicentennial Committee, I walked in the CPA Parade this year handing out flyers informing everyone when our 150th birthday celebration will be. If you did not get one or you did not hear Rex Burkhardt announcing it as he rode in the parade, it will be Oct. 4-5 in conjunction with EudoraFest.
The 150th committee has been hard at work for months to make sure that our sesquicentennial year will be memorable. Not only are there numerous activities planned, there are also commemorative items on sale, including a book written by Cindy Higgins. An original creation by Cindy, the book gives us an outline of Eudora from Paschal Fish -- the Shawnee Indian businessman who sold the land for Eudora to the first German settlers who founded Eudora --ntil the present time. Cindy is one of those talented, shy types who stand behind the camera when photos are taken and slide into oblivion when praise is handed out. However, it is a must that her work and creativity in putting together this comprehensive history for all of us to read and enjoy be acknowledged. When you see her thank her and just maybe she will autograph your book.
In addition to the book, which is a great buy for only $5, a throw depicting Eudora landmarks, a commemorative pin and T-shirts featuring Paschal Fish with his daughter Eudora by his side, are for sale at various places in Eudora. To further mark the event a banner featuring EudoraFest as well as the 150th will soon hang over Main Street
There has been much mention in the past about the bronze statue of Paschal Fish and his daughter Eudora that will soon be standing at the corner of CPA Park on Main Street. There are those who believe that such an impressive work of art will "put Eudora on the map" and there are those who still feel that there are other needs in Eudora that need addressing for instance sidewalks on 12th street for kids to walk to school. Someone even mentioned that we could have built another Habitat House for the same amount money. All of these concerns are valid and how do you assess which is more important? The fact that the city contributed $10,000 to the statue and the remainder has been raised by the hard work of Tom Tucker and the Lions Club should be noted. If the statue brings a renewed interest in the history of our town and the stories of those who have contributed to its progress from the beginning to the present, that is important. Knowing your past gives a better understanding of the present as well as the future.
There are descendants of the first settlers to Eudora still living here. In this time of a mobile society where so often extended family lives across the country, a sense of belonging becomes important to many who feel the need for roots. I have written about this before in other columns but was recently reminded again how important that continuity is especially to our young people.
My niece, Ann Gowen, who writes for the Washington Post was back home in Lawrence in time for the CPA this year. She actually was excited to come to Eudora, mingle in the crowd, munch on hamburgers and pie and feel the energy and connectedness of small town life. Since leaving Lawrence years ago she was never here at the right time and as she remarked, "I've waited 20 years to come to CPA" This from a person who recently was in a group of reporters who interviewed the queen of England.
I also have noted a column in the Lawrence Journal World written by yet another former city dweller, Elisabeth Black, who is a Kansas University graduate and who chose to move back to a country home close to Lawrence after living in Chicago and on the East Coast for more than 30 years. I enjoy reading her column with her fresh observations of "coming home" to what she considers a small town in the Midwest. It seems that whether in reality or fantasy everyone wants roots and to belong somewhere. Celebrating our 150 years of small town life seems even more important when we realize that so many never have that sense of belonging.
All of this is, of course, an ad hoping that you will enter into our 150th celebration, which soon will be beginning. Get a schedule on the Web site (www.eudoranews.com/sesquicentennial) and take in the events starting in September with some wonderful speakers leading off the festivities.