After a couple of years lay off, Gail and i decided to take another Father-Daughter vacation to Kansas City with a side trip to Atchison, Kansas. Back in 1957-58, I lived in Atchison with my father. My grandmother raised me from the age of four and the only time I lived with Dad was then.
He ran a roadhouse in Atchison called “Dot’s”, named after my uncle’s wife who was partners with Dad. Dad was an artist and painted cartoon characters on both the exterior and interior walls of the nightclub. It was, at the time, what they called “The hottest place in town”. Every weekend it was packed and had live rock and roll music from local bands. Below are photos of my 32 year old father in front of Dot’s.
In July, 1958, a disastrous flood and tornadoes destroyed Atchison. It was called “The City that wouldn’t die”. I was 17 at the time and my teenage buddy, Joe were staying in a room in the back of the roadhouse, and Dad was in Kansas city with friends. We were woke up by the floodwater pouring into the room from an outside door. It was jammed shut and after some time and water chest high, finally broke outside and the really fast current of the floodwater carried us a considerable distance, maybe 3-4 miles. There was/is a park on a high bluff overlooking the town that we finally found refuge. A Corps of Engineers motorboat finally rescued us and took us to the high school which had been converted into an aid station. Reporters there from the Kansas City Star photographed us and we were on the front page the following day. This is a photograph of me and Joe taken in 1958. Me on the left and Joe on the right.
I went into the Army shortly after that, spending nearly 4 years in France. When I returned, I went back to Atchison to find it completely transformed. Dot’s Roadhouse was now a salvage yard, but Dad’s cartoons were still on the walls. Later, in 2001 on another return trip, the building had been repainted outside and they were gone forever.
As Gail never knew her grandfather, I thought it would be interesting if just maybe those cartoons were still on the inside walls, so, off we went. The man who ran the salvage yard was interested in the building’s history. He had ran it for 30 years but never knew anybody who had actually lived in the building. When I mentioned the cartoons, he instantly said, “Yes, some are still inside”. We went inside and the walls were covered with plastic sheeting? We didn’t ask why, he just lifted some of it up and lo and behold, there were the cartoons.
It was surreal for both of us, standing there looking at paintings created by my father and her grandfather almost 60 years ago. I took Gail to the bluff where the Engineers picked me and Joe up as well as the high school. Gail on top of the bluff!
We visited some other places in Atchison, Amelia Earhardt’s home and museum. Gail loved that!
We had lunch at Palucci’s. It was there back in the day! Then back to Kansas City and dinner at a Red Lobster.
The following day, we went to the WW I museum in K.C. It was great!
I had done some homework on restaurants in Kansas City to find the most awarded and most popular. I came up with The American restaurant in the Crown Center, overlooking the downtown area. It was really cool and the food was superb!
On Saturday, we shopped, Boy, did we, (Gail), shop! We shopped at the Country Club Plaza, the Oak Park Mall, and various and sundry other stores. My daughter is a shopaholic and never tires of it, ever! Then that evening we had dinner at an “On the Border” Mexican restaurant. I love these but in Missouri, for some strange reason, they are only in Kansas City. None in St. Louis or Springfield!
On Sunday, we went to the Kansas city Marketplace and bought some great veggies to take home. Of course, Gail loaded up on all kinds of things!
Then, to my favorite barbecue restaurant on earth. Jack Stack. For baby back ribs and burnt ends. It was as good as I remembered it. Every time I am in K.C., I have to eat there at least once.
We left for Springfield around two that afternoon. As always things like this go far to quickly, and it seemed over almost before it began. I’ll never forget it though!