When I was growing up in north Missouri, I'd spend a week with my sister every summer; she lived in Kansas City, North, near Gladstone. You could stand in her back yard and see the KC skyline. I loved that skyline. When I was at Sister's house, we'd visit Fairyland Park and the Swope Park Zoo. We'd ride the bus to the Katz store in North Kansas City. What a magical place Kansas City was.
When I was twelve years old and in the sixth grade, my parents moved to Kansas City hoping to find a way to make a living. They'd been eking out an existence on a farm where Daddy was a "hired man", and times were hard.
I missed the country life, and actually cried myself to sleep several nights, after we'd moved to the big city.
But we were about four blocks from Municipal Airport, which was Kansas City's only airport at that time. I could walk down there any time I pleased and watch planes take off and land. Now that was exciting.
I got over my homesickness for the farm.
We were exactly one block from the Missouri River levee, and I could climb up and over those rocks and walk right to the river's edge, as you see my cousins and Daddy doing in the above picture.
We were almost under the A.S.B. bridge, and it had steps you could climb and a sidewalk where you could walk right across and end up downtown. Nobody told me we were living in what was practically a slum. I could lie on my parent's bed after dark and watch the light on top of the KCPL building change colors. I thought I was living a miracle.
Years later after I graduated, I rented my first apartment on Eleventh Street. I'd catch a bus to work in front of Genova's Chestnut Inn (seeing country music singers' names on the marquee who later became legends), or I could walk north to the Independence Avenue bus stop.
I worked in North Kansas City, so I transferred buses Downtown in front of Emery, Bird, Thayer. Waiting for my next bus, I soaked in the amazing displays in Downtown's streets and windows during the Christmas season back then.
The Kansas City skyline still moves me. If you've driven through Dallas or even St. Louis, Kansas City pales by comparison; but I will always love it. Because I remember when Downtown Kansas City was the place to be.
And I want to thank all the Kansas City bloggers who help keep those memories alive for me (even the angry bloggers). The Kansas City spirit is still there, even if Downtown isn't what it used to be.
I will always love Kansas City.