Last Sunday, December 29, marked the renewal of a relationship between Morganville, Kansas, (my hometown) and Feves, France. Morganville adopted Feves in 1948 to help rebuild the town after WWII by staging a highly successful pageant with attendant fund-raising schemes around the edges. The equivalent of today’s $10,000 was raised, which bought clothing and food for the French neighbors. (My blog a few weeks ago addressed this happening.)
The nephew of 1948’s Feves’s school’s headmaster and family attended last Sunday’s event. What a reunion! Exchanges of gifts and gratitude preceded a digital presentation from both countries. Comparisons of times 65 years ago with today updated the relationship and cemented ongoing mutual feelings of regard.
I attended because of my history with Morganville, memories of the event, and because of the writing possibilities, which are numerous. Such as this blog.
I also would like to do up a story for children, probably for a youth magazine, from the perspective of a child who was part of the pageant. Morganville’s history, such as Captain Morgan’s circumventing the world before settling in Kansas, is the script. More than 150 people, costumed and rehearsed, performed the story, read by a narrator. For my children’s story, I would place a 10-year-old boy, dressed as an Indian, at the heart of my article, and tell his experience. (This is my childhood neighbor's experience.)
Another idea is to write about the event and its history for a regional magazine. I could piggyback on publicity that led to Sunday’s event, which included most of Kansas’s major newspapers. Interested tourists would be invited to visit the Clay County Historical Museum, which will have a new and much larger home in a few weeks. In fact, I could highlight the new home of the museum and focus on a couple of noteworthy collections, such as memorabilia from the pageant, which resides at the museum.
Most interesting to me was re-meeting people I hadn’t seen in 50+ years. Thank goodness we wore nametags. The maturation process made puzzles of most of us. A familiar smile or twinkle in the eyes or a particular gesture gave away some identities; others required a study of the nametags.
Pictures from the pageant proved equally interesting. I didn’t remember my involvement in the production until I saw a picture of myself at age 5, in a white dress, carrying a basket of flowers. I was part of the Scandinavian delegation as Captain Morgan passed through northwestern Europe.
Renewed friendships, exchanges of memories—the pageant and more—and the warm feelings that come from having another reason to appreciate one’s roots gave reason for the smiles and hugs and reminisces that filled Morganville school’s former gymnasium.
Given that Morganville’s population—both then and now—hovers around 200, a pageant with 150 participants connecting them with Feves, France, population 1,000 then and now proved quite an event. In my mind, it was Morganville’s best hour.