Happy Birthday, Kansas!


Among the places pictured here:  Wichita (Keeper of the Plains, Wichita Troll, Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, Sedgwick County Zoo, street musician sculpture); Independence (Little House on the Prairie Museum); Gypsum (old Gypsum High School); Canton (hot and cold water towers); abandoned farm house (on drive to Gypsum); Coronado Heights; Bonner Springs (Kansas City Renaissance Festival); Topeka (Kansas Silent Film Festival); Peabody (Peabody City Park); a rest area in Montgomery County (historical marker for the Bloody Benders); Lindsborg (grain elevators)

Today is Kansas Day.  The Sunflower State entered the union on January 29, 1861, as a free state.  And yes, I had that date memorized.  You see, Kansas Day was a big deal in my elementary school growing up.  At the main school I attended,Chisholm Trail - as in that Chisholm Trail! - we would have beans and Jiffy corn muffins, and we'd celebrate all things Kansas.  Our state flower?  The sunflower, of course.  Our state tree?  The cottonwood.  Our state bird? The Western meadowlark.  Our state animal?  The American bison (or buffalo, if you insist).  Our state reptile? The ornate box turtle.  Our motto?  "Ad astra per aspera" - "To the stars with difficulty."  Our state song?  "Home On the Range."  We colored pictures of Jayhawks.  (You're a Jayhawker if you're born in Kansas.)  We colored our state flag and learned about famous people from Kansas.

One year, we made paper sunflowers.  It was a much colder winter.

Sometimes Kansas drives me a little crazy.  Many of my friends have left for good, running off to New York or Seattle or Chicago.  Others stay and gripe.  I'm a firm believer in seeing the beauty in what's around you, looking for the good in things.  My roots are here.  Most of my family is here, and the ones who are not are within driving distance.  My own city has an arts scene I am proud of (and AWESOME Lebanese food), and there are some wonderful things to explore in our smaller towns.  (See my Lindsborg posts for proof of that!)  Kansas has Lawrence and the Kansas City area.  There are many other places in my own state I have yet to explore.  You can see so much more on my Sunflower State Pinterest board.

And yes, we get tornadoes.  We get lots of crazy weather.  Yesterday, January 28, it hit the mid-70s!  Today, the temps should start at around 60 F then plummet through the day.  While I won't count on it, there is a slight chance for snow tonight.  What the hey?

Kansas, we may not always get along, but in the famous words of Dorothy Gale,

"There's no place like home."


Taken from Coronado Heights, near Lindsborg, KS


I'll have something kiddie lit-related to share with you tomorrow. Did any of you celebrate special regional "holidays" in school?  


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Comments

  1. Happy Birthday kansas, from your panhandled buddy to the south! hehe
    I know JUSt what you mean about having friends leave your prairie state (and gripe about it) and friends stay in your prairie state (and gripe about it.) I admit, there are times I gripe too. But I also agree with you in embracing the place you call home and 'blooming where you're planted.' It was in the 70s here too and I LOVED it. Storms are coming this morning. I dont know about you, but I love a good thunderstorm, and rain's been too scarce out here lately.
    Love the little sunflowers! So pretty and bright! I wonder if you can guess Oklahoma's state song? ;) ( It starts OOOOOOOOOOOOklahoma..)

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    1. Kansas says thank you, Heather! (Yup, I'll just make myself its spokesperson today.) Tee hee, my mom's from Oklahoma (and lives there again now!), so I knew the Oklahoma state song before I ever saw the musical or movie. She lives in Shawnee. And yes, I do enjoy a good thunderstorm, although the build-up to one can give me a grand sinus headache. We need the rain, too! I'm quietly crossing my fingers for snow, but I doubt it's coming. I'm dreading the summer - will it be a string of 110 degree days again?

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  2. Wow, you even have a state reptile? That's very specific, LOL! I grew up quite far north in Ontario and now live in southern Ontario in the Greater Toronto area. It was quite a change for me when my husband and I moved.

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    1. The state reptile was decided while I was still in grade school. I remember when it was added to our list of Kansas symbols. OH! And I left out our state insect! That would be the honeybee.

      It's funny, but I grew up a city kid. Wichita isn't huge, but it's the biggest city in the state. (The KC metro area is made up of a whole bunch of smaller cities.) My husband grew up in small-town southwest Missouri, then went to high school in an even smaller Kansas town. He didn't ride on his first escalator until he was in high school.

      There's a part of me that would love to move out to a smaller town or even a bit of farmland - Mr. B daydreams about it - but I don't know if I could handle being away from all my city amenities...

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  3. What fun! It's funny, Pioneer day (July 24th) our UT birthday is a huge deal for me- one of the biggest celebration days of the year... but I've never really though about other states birthdays. Enjoy the day!

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    1. I thought Utah would probably have its celebrations. :o) Thanks!

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  4. This is so great. Today Andrew asked me how many internet friends I had who live in Kansas, and I was like THREE! is that right? you, Heather and Lauren?

    I told him that my internet friends are REAL friends, but I think he is not believing me. But I do! With all my heart! :)

    I can't think of any Washington state regional holidays, but I do miss the random holidays that I had in Hawaii, growing up, like Prince Kuhio Day and King Kamehameha Day.

    Happy Kansas Day to you! xo

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    1. Heather is in Oklahoma, actually. Rebecca from Sturdy for Common Things is up in Lawrence!

      Yeah, I refer to my blog friends as my friends to my husband. He thinks it's cool, though. I don't have as many people to geek out with about kids' books and related stuff in real life. My in-person friends and I geek out about other things.

      I knew Hawaii had its celebrations! Mr. B was stationed there during his pre-Me Marine Corps days. He LOVED Hawaii. I wondered about Washington, though.

      And thank you! Happy January-is-Almost-Over to you!!! xxxooo

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  5. Growing up, we always celebrated 89er Day to commemorate the Land Run of 1889. We dressed as pioneers and had our very own land run in the schoolyard. No oppressing of native peoples, though, so it wasn't quite historically accurate.

    Not growing up here, I had no idea it was Kansas Day. I've only been here (almost) 5 years so I think I get a bit of slack! Almost all of our friends have moved away and Paul and I would definitely like to live somewhere else (I really need to live somewhere walkable) but I try to stay positive and I'll agree there are some really fascinating things to see out in small-town Kansas if you're willing to make the trip.

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    1. Yeah, you really do have to rely on your car here. It can be quite a trek to get somewhere, and we don't have great public transportation, either. I've never lived anywhere else, but I've traveled a lot. I've found other places where I'd be willing to live. But I still have many friends here, and my grandma, dad, and sister, and my mother is 3 hours away in Oklahoma and my husband's dad is 3 hours away in Missouri. With kids, I do love having family nearby. And real estate is affordable.

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  6. So, I have no idea when Georgia day is, but I do remember taking Georgia history in 8th grade and we made all kinds of state-related projects and crafts....but we didn't celebrate the actual day it became a state, but I like that idea--maybe we can start the tradition in our family. :) How lovely to have sunflowers as your state flower--those always make me happy. We always try to grow them in our garden, but the chipmunks love them so much too and dig up the seeds and eat them. Hope you had a fun day celebrating with your kids!

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    1. Kansas may have sunflowers, but Georgia has magnolias! My mother moved to Georgia when I was 17, and lived there until the year after I finished college. I used to spend my summers, most spring breaks, and the occasional Christmas there. I always missed magnolia season!

      And we never had to take a Kansas history class - state stuff would just get thrown in with U.S. History. And the tradition has ended - Big Sis said that although they sang "Happy Birthday" to Kansas during the morning announcements, they didn't really do anything else to celebrate the day. I guess they wouldn't. I'm sure Kansas state trivia isn't covered on standardized tests.

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