Thursday, September 17, 2015

If you’re a resident of Grandview, chances are you’ve learned some history while living in the area about Harry S Truman. We have shopping centers, festivals and more dedicated to preserving Truman’s legacy in our town. Most notably, however, is the Truman Farm Home, located just off of Blue Ridge Road, tucked between the old Steak-n-Shake building and The Farm Shopping Center.

Despite the recent lift of sequestration cuts at parks such as the farm home, the National Parks Service still hasn’t reopened the home for visitors due to budget restraints. However, the grounds remain free and open to curious passersby. The Parks Service has offered a cell phone-guided tour, free of charge, to those wishing to still visit the home.

Last Friday, while the weather was a perfect 70 degrees, I wandered over to the Truman Farm Home to take the thirty-minute tour, guided by my phone. The tour starts in the parking area and directs you through the yard, around the east side of the home, and back to the parking area. Throughout the tour, historical facts are given about each piece of the property in front of you.

While I still would love to go inside, as I remember doing as a little girl and pretending, however briefly, that I lived during the time Harry was growing up in that house, it was nice to visit again and roam the yard of the home with the help from the recorded tour.

Even if you’ve visited the home before, I’d encourage you to do so again. With fall approaching, the weather will be pleasant enough. If you’d prefer to go with a group, the Grandview Historical Society will meet there on Monday, October 5 at 5:30 p.m. to take the tour and enjoy a sack supper picnic.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Do you believe in ghosts? Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve believed in ghosts, or spirits. We had one we named Carol who would visit us from time to time while I was growing up in our house in Grandview. There were a few unexplained things that happened over the years that we would eventually “blame” on Carol. Since then, every unexplained phenomenon throughout my life I’ve attributed to Carol.

Over the holiday weekend, my boyfriend and I visited the former Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City for a two-hour ghost tour. Chilling, humbling and fascinating, walking the prison grounds feels a bit like you are walking in a graveyard. In a way, that’s true. The site, dubbed the “bloodiest 47 acres in America,” opened its doors in 1836, housing 5,200 inmates at its peak, making it at one time the largest prison in the United States. On Wednesday, September 15, 2004, the 1,355 inmates were moved from the Missouri State Penitentiary to the new Jefferson City Correctional Center east of town. The Missouri State Penitentiary served Missouri as the oldest prison west of the Mississippi River for over 168 years.

During our tour, we received brief histories of each cell block visited, as well as a rundown on any paranormal activity experienced or captured there. In the dungeon, which was used to torture prisoners and a sort of dark confinement, we witnessed first-hand the cave darkness that would turn some inmates insane. In a cell, on a bench, in complete darkness, I felt what I can only describe as a cold breeze on my face and neck, though beside me was a cement and limestone wall.

Later, I learned that the particular cell I felt the air in is referred to as the “touchy-feely” room, for others have experienced grabbing, touching and feeling, especially among females.
s the tour began to wind down, our final destination was the gas chamber. A small, stone building just on the outskirts of the prison was the final place where thirty-nine men and one woman took their last breaths before being poisoned, while family and friends of victims watched through small windows. The sense of sadness, death and solitude was incredibly overwhelming on the entire property, but especially in the gas chamber.

Visit for more information.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

...and the violence continues. It seems that is how I want to end so many of my stories, Facebook and Twitter postings and conversations. Last Wednesday, I awoke to the heartbreaking news that two journalists were murdered during a live shoot in Virginia by a former coworker, who was apparently known for violent tendencies and unsteadiness.

As I watched the news that night, thinking my son wasn’t within earshot, I cried. I was overcome with so much emotion that I sat there and let the tears fall: tears for those who lost their lives; tears for their families and loved ones whom were being interviewed; tears for their coworkers who, despite everything, continued with their jobs. All of this just seemed too close to home.

During my career as a journalist, there have been a few times where I felt threatened, or uneasy. Typically, I have been unsettled over phone conversations that leave me on edge for a few days. Once that feeling subsides, I glide right back into my routine. But, last Wednesday shook that routine up and made me really question my own actions and what I’m doing to prevent something like this happening to me.

Because, it could happen to me. I’m not ignorant enough to have the “never me” mentality. I’ve known enough “crazy” people to know better than that. But, I do have a comfort zone that I’m used to being in and I could always be more aware of my surroundings.

As I was crying in front of the television, Michael walked in the room. He asked, “Mom, did you know those reporters?”

“No buddy, I didn’t know them,” I answered.

“But they’re reporters like you. I don’t understand how something like this could happen. Or why people keep killing each other. It makes no sense,” he said.

My nine-year-old can’t comprehend it, and neither can I. I’ve always been of the belief that crazy people will do crazy things, despite what we may do to try and prevent things from happening. Unfortunatley, I don’t have any answers for my son. It seems to be a question that comes up whenever our country faces tragedy at the hands of monsters: what can be done to keep guns out of the posession of criminals or the mentally unstable?

Until we can figure that out, I think we’ll continue hearing about these types of senseless murders. I’m a supporter of the freedoms of our country, but I’m not fan of those freedoms being abused.