Everybody can use a helper. Beccy Tanner has been my helper. A writer all her life, she either made stories about horses she rode as a young girl or completed class assignments in high school and college. For the past many years, she worked as a reporter for Kansas's largest newspaper. She loves to write about Kansas history, and that's how she helped me.
Beccy learned about an old cabin in northwest Kansas. In her research, she discovered that the poet who wrote the words to "Home on the Range" built the cabin, lived there for many years, and wrote his poem there. I liked the story and she helped me with the facts of the story while I wrote a magazine article. It was published in Cricket in the June/July 2012 issue. You'll find references to it on the Children's Magazine Articles page of this website.
The poet's name was Brewster Higley. He had no desire to be famous, but after he showed the poem--then called "The Western Home"--to a friend, another friend made up a tune for the words, and it became the most famous cowboy song in the world. You could travel to Japan or France or Brazil and hear the tune with the words translated to each country's language.
And it all started in 1871 in Kansas with Brewster Higley. All he wanted to do was find a nice, quiet place away from Indiana where he had been a doctor. He looked up and down Beaver Creek in Smith County, Kansas, until he found the best place to build a cabin. He just wanted to write poetry and play his violin. That's all.
Most recently, Beccy wrote about special places to visit in Kansas. Kansas has 105 counties, so her article tells about 105 attractions in Kansas, one per county. I live in McPherson County, and this is what she said about the site she chose for my county:
"Coronado Heights: One of the most scenic spots in Kansas to view a sunset. The stone castle, built in the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration project (part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal Program following the Great Depression), overlooks the Smoky Hills and Smoky Hill River Valley.'"
Maybe I'll write about Coronado Heights someday and Beccy may be my helper again. I say thanks to Beccy, and I look for ways I can be her helper in the future, too. Yes, we all need helpers.