Spiritual Autobiography (F)

Living in front of a golf course in Leawood South was a much better experience of community than living in front of a corn field in St. Joseph, MO.  St. Joe had many wild or abandoned places within city limits that were fun for kids to explore.  Leawood, KS. is a suburb on the south side of Kansas City.  Leawood South is a residential development on the Kansas side of State Line Road.  Across the road was Grandview, MO.  State Line Road was just a two-lane road when we moved into Leawood South.  Further south was undeveloped land and considered rural.  Blue Valley High School was located further south in Stanley, KS.  Although there was residential development near the one high school, many of the students there came from Stillwell which was rural and composed of farms and ranches.  The back entrances of Leawood South opened onto a road that connected with College Boulevard which was just developing then and had many vacant areas alongside the boulevard.  A few miles north from Leawood South on State Line Road was another residential development called Verona Gardens that wasn’t built around a golf club, but they attended Blue Valley High School also.

Uncle Hugh didn’t visit us as often in Kansas because Leawood was further away from the St. Benedict’s Abbey.  St. Joe had only been about a twenty-five minute drive one way and this drive to Leawood was over an hour.  Father Hugh was working days at the business office of St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, KS.  Despite his mathematical skills, Father Hugh was a social creature.  He became friends with many foreign students at the college.  He began to bring these young men to our house in St. Joseph and then to Leawood after we moved there.  These foreign students were from Middle Eastern and South American countries.  Hugh seemed to want them to experience family in the United States because they were often homesick.  I wasn’t their sister though.  After my father died in 1979, one of these foreigners became a romantic interest over two years of visiting us in Leawood.  I differed from some of my girlfriends though who idealized marriage and family.  During high school, I began to realize that I didn’t have the wealth, the health, or the beauty for aristocratic marriage in America.  This world I lived in, in Kansas, was never going to be mine.  Because my father couldn’t never free himself from the loyalty program, he had to put the equity from the sale of the St. Joe house into the purchase of the Leawood property.  That’s why my grandmother wanted me to sue the U.S. government over the loyalty program because none of his grandkids would get their inheritance from him.  How would they pay for postsecondary education for their kids?  Doris thought it was selfish for a girl to expect a college education to come from the family economy, which was really just her way of stealing all of my father’s equity for her grandkids courtesy of the U.S. Army.

Doris liked the purchase of the Leawood condominium because my father was the first owner.  He bought right after the foundation was poured.  Doris got to pick carpet, inside paint color, etc.  She also shopped for better accessories and art, etc.  The condominium had an eighteen foot ceiling in the living room and two skylights.  They sectioned off the downstairs into an unfinished basement on one side and a rec room, a half bath, and a bedroom in the other half.  My dad didn’t bring his workbench and tools because the garage was just big enough for two cars.  He also didn’t have to do yardwork anymore because the Homeowner’s Association took care of the outside of the property.  Doris had been playing golf at the St. Joseph Country Club, and she quickly joined the Leawood South Golf Club in the summer of 1977.  We had moved into the Leawood condo right after I completed Bode Middle School in May.  Doris soon signed me up for individual golf lessons with the local golf pro and bought me some used golf clubs.  Then, she introduced me to Megan and Lisa who would start as freshmen at Blue Valley with me in the fall.  They had been playing golf since they were children and hoped to get full golf scholarships at the end of high school.  They wanted me to join the girls golf team so they would have enough team members to compete in high school competition.  I still didn’t know Megan and Lisa too well that summer of ‘77.  Lisa, my friend from St. Joe, came to visit for a couple of weekends but she didn’t know them either.  I was homesick for my friends in St. Joe.  Lisa had given a surprise pool party for my departure.  They had chipped in and bought me a director’s chair for my new room.  That was the only piece of furniture that I ever thought of as mine.


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