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American History
Osage Highlanders - Chapter 9


"A MUSEUM!"  Dawn blurted out. "That is what we can do with the old place. A museum in a far out place on the prairie seemed like such a wonderful idea.”

“It is so far out, like an island away from the push and pull of daily living.  People who are caught in the cities appreciate a break like this.  It's a quiet place. So many could come to see the antique photographs we still hold in the family. We have  great numbers of photographs from this civilization's ancestors.  This could be a place where anyone could  read about their  ancestor's trials, their fight to hold the land, to work with nothing and create something.”

The rock wall Dad built with his bare hands inspires me.  Someone else might feel the same way about the lovely rock work which uses the stones off the prairie. The selections to show off the rocks where fossils are embedded on the  old rock porch are so like a mystery to me,  too.  Why are there fossils in the flat prairie location? To see the little seashells caught in the rocks instead of in water as where one would normally expect to intriguing.

There is the old cemetery of the German immigrants where the graves of their children are buried,  too.  The  stone markers hold memories of their families in this, the loneliest of lonely places.

A firsthand study could be made as to  how pioneers held on and were able to battle the greatest of odds.  The weather, the varmints, the isolation and the poverty with only a dream to spur their will, would be inspiring children and encouraging to their parents when they become weighted down with problems.

Dawn was truly excited and sure everyone would see her dream as well. However, the immediate extended family was always too respectful, too caring, and too considerate for letting her know what they really thought about her idea. It wasn't the polite ignoring of her talking about it, but their quiet study of her which made the lady feel as if she had two heads.

So then, Dawn went about another lonely task accompanied only by the fidelity of her mate on this project. He wasn't catering to her wishes simply to console her, but was genuinely  ready to do what had to be done to address the obviously real problem pushing in upon,  not only the youth of their family, but of the whole area as well.

If we can show our young people we are here, we care that records are saved for them, history is written, their grandparents battles were fought for them and their descendants;  then they,  too will one day take the time to pass this history on to their own. In this way can't we help to establish a bridge between times just as Leslie felt she experienced an understanding during a rain storm  and a revealing dream while she slept there in the old family home gave her understanding?

These things agreed with the beliefs her family held and Dawn was thankful she was exposed to art at an early age (four years old) by the artists who visited the family. They stayed for a time and always left a bit of their life with the family in the form of their work. By the time the age of twelve rolled around,  the haunting, huge murals depicting Pocahantas and John Smith at Woolaroc out of Bartlesville, Oklahoma were part of the children's experience-- much to the awe and total captivation of the child's mind. These are the things of value.

With this thought in mind, Dawn invited her  four year old granddaughter to visit Gilcrease Art Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Even though the child was only four,  the little girl on video tape ran through the place making statements, unrehearsed, "Awesome!" "Cool!"  "Wow!"  This was reason enough for Dawn to save the tape to play for classes at the schools when she was invited there to lecture about her painting of the mural for the post office.

If I ever have a gallery there is one thing I think would be a great goal to shoot toward and that would be to have a daily bus going to the schools, each day of the school year,  for all the surrounding areas to bring in students to see works of art. This would be my legacy to leave there in our  family home. With this in mind, I need to use my time wisely in order to have a large number of finished works. It is easy to let paintings  slip away through donations and such.

With this decision made,  Dawn began her visits to the towns around, painting her canvases wherever the opportunity presented itself. At Pawhuska a mural was put on the outside of a paint and building store wall. Even though her age gave her a little handicap, her maturity allowed her to far outweigh the inconveniences in physical ability against her skills in being able to focus in on the work. After setting up a detailed drawing with every phase of the picture established, it was a breeze to complete the large outdoor work.

In Pawhuska, a ranching community, the cowboys wore their tall leather, often hand tooled boots. If this was a distinguishing label,  so were the  Stetson hats. These men were ever alert to anything just a little different from the norm. This was  because their way of life dictated the need to be observant. With their polite ways they wouldn't interfere while she worked but, on the other hand, they could not control their need to see what she was doing. This  resulted in a rather lively business for the store owner that day. There seemed to be a rash of home repair emergencies.


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