Little Scraps of Paper



In 1962 right after turning 21 years of age, R.J. Thompson, Ronald Myrick and myself hitched a ride to Kansas City. Signed up to drive a Chev to New Brunswick. Spent three days in New York City and boarded the Cunard Line R. M. S. Carinthia for Liverpool on March 9th. Only remember two passegers. Mr. G. Bustard who stood up the first night and introduced himself "that's spelled with a U not an A." and a Miss Bridget Cullen.


 Came back on the Mauretania June 23rd We had spent four months traveling and I had taken $500.00 and came back with $2.00. Had a great time in YURP.

 This letter which is so badly faded is from 20th Century Fox and was a letter thanking Mardel and I for the "work" we did for them. The bottom left hand cornor is a photo of us with the "work" we did which was to construct six scarecrows for the movie "Ace Eli and Rodger in the Sky". Part of the movie was shot east of Lindsborg in a field. We went out to watch the biplane land and take off in a stubble field which was great. In addition to being paid a lot of money for very little "work" we sold them a lot of stuff we had collected in the Old Brunswick Hotel.

We owned a little art gallery called the Tomtegubbe at that time. A tomte is an elf in Swedish. gubbe means "old man". So The Tomtegubbe was the habitate of an old man elf.
We sold arts and crafts mostly made by persons in the Little Sweden area of Kansas. The movie people found us quaint and were quite condesending until they learned that we had moved from the belly of the beast, L.A.California two years before. We sold them several patch work quilts which they thought were extremly inexpensive.



The only name of any of the people working for 20th Century Fox that I remember was Joel. He was the art director. He had a very strange sense of humor. I did not like him much as he was a real liar. His assistant was worse. It was interesting to have these guys in the Borg for several months. First the advance people and then the actual film crew. They shot the baptism scene and some airplane stuff, which was all very boring.
They took the equipment and went to a Hot Springs spa in Arkansas or Missouri on the weekends and filmed a porn movie, or so they said. They said if the skin movie didn't work out well at least they would have the orgy to remember. I think that all of them were going to be in the movie and take turns having to do the filming.

This is all I know about horses.

I road at a stable in California, at a stable in Nebraska and once at Lonnie and Liz Lilligren's where I slowly slipped off as I tried to get the horse to turn. I leaned to the right just like I always did on my Harley, but horses do not lean like that and so I just sort of rolled over and off.
Frank Reese made the one on the left out of cold rolled steel. He did four animals, one for each of his kids. The eyes of the horse are very small bb type ball bearings that he heated up and beat in with a hammer. After he finished the forth piece from cold rolled steel he decided to do it the easy way and he built a brass foundry. He taught himself how to make wax horses and people and then pour a mold around the wax and then heat the mold so the wax melts out and then he built a foundry where he poured them out of brass. I helped him with the first pour.
The pink pieces of paper are from Santa Anita Race Track in California were they race horses and people can bet on who will come in first. I have never been to the track. The red ticket says to retain this ticket and I did.

One day my mother had had enough of my constant questions and she took me into her laundry room and took a glass canning jar, size large, that was full of small pieces of paper down off of a high shelf. They were postage stamps that had been torn off of the corner of the letters she had been getting for quite a few years. She asked me if I would like to start a stamp collection. If I would promise to take good care of the stamps she had already collected, she would show me how to get started. She filled a bowl with warm water and spread out a towel on the laundry folding table. The stamps were dumped into the water and then I had to sit quietly and wait until I could see that the postage stamp was curling up off of the piece of envelope. Honestly I think that my mother had a real interest in minature art, which she was willing to sacrifice for a little peace and quiet. This was before T.V. and so this little stamp collecting endeavor was something that she get me to do, which in todays world parents take care of by saying "Go watch T.V."

I sat there for a long time and then the stamps started curling up and she showed me how to gently pull the stamp off and lay it face down on the towel to dry. Thus started my love affair with small scraps of paper. Mostly I stayed with the postage stamps, but the passion for little pieces of paper slid over into tickets and photos and everything else that "might be valuable someday". I just happened to got sick that winter and so the stamp collecting came to my mother's rescue again as she needed something for me to do for five or six days while laying proped up in bed. My father futher supported the effort by bringing back a pack of World Stamps still on paper from one of his trips to help set up the National Teachers Association . Proably a conspriacy with my mother to help keep me quiet in the laundry room. It took days and I seemed to get sick rather easily that winter until finally they forced to potentially infect the whole school by going back to school. There were a lot of German stamps and some with the over prints which became necessary because of the horrible inflation that ran rampant in Germany for a time in the 1940's. Another of my lessons about Capitalism took place when my father laid out the non over prints and then the same stamp with enough zeros to make a million added. In my 12 year old thought that meant that the cost of a comic book would go from ten cents to a million dollars. I couldn't quite get my mind around the fact that comic books would disappear from the store shelves to be replaced by only necessities. I learned the words inflationary depression. Hope I do not have to learn to live in one of those in the near future!

This sheet of paper is from the House of Representatives in Topeka Kansas. I spent two weeks there living with The Norbergs and working as a page in the House of Reprsentatices. Actually I was the Page for the Speaker of the House.

This is a map of how to get from the Kansas State Capital Building to Mr. Norbergs Law Office. Actually the law office was located just on the dividing line between Topeka and the Topeka ghetto.The interstate makes an S curve right through the area today. The S took out all of the "Negro" business areas.
I walked from the Capitol to his office every day. We were released a little early so I had time to take in a matinee movie at one of the theatres almost every day. Two movies for 20 cents it was 12 cents at home.
Saw my first flying saucer movie on T.V. It placed a meme in my mind that has had me watching the sky ever since.
This was where my stamp collecting really took off. Next to Cotty Norbergs office was a used book store where they sold comic books and stamps and stamp supplies.

I bought a comic book for 50 cents -five times the original cost. Yes, I still have it. I think that the Captian Marvel comics were 90 cents each for the first three issues. He would trade twelve comics for any one of those first three. There was a section of the store that had the most traffic, and it was all men. I had been told about staying away from men that tried to talk to you and of course, I jumpd to the conclusion that these were the men my father had talked about.
I spent a week looking at the World Stamp albums and the American Stamp albums that were for sale. I must have handled them quite a bit as I was finally asked to just look, not touch. I spent $3.50 for a new "still in the box" American Album that I waited ten years to start using for mint only. I spent $2.00 for a World album that I could add pages to as needed. I bought a 5000 stamps on paper package for $1.00 and the comic book for 50 cents, all on the last day.
The owner of the shop was so suprised that he gave me additional pages for the World Album, a large packet of stamp hinges, a book on How to collect stamps, and a handful of stamps on paper that he must have torn off of his correspondence. I had spent half of my two weeks wages in about fifteen minutes, --and ten days of looking.

The last time I went to Disneyland , I was with with Gifford and Jocko. We paid to park and then walked around until we got to a fairly unobservable part of the fence and went up and over. It had strands of barb wire on top but we had practiced so it was not a deterent. This put us in the paved road way which the guards patroled with dogs and little golf carts. But we had timed that and were across the path and up and over the next fence. Now that sounds real easy and smooth but next time you are at Disneyland take a look at the fence. We blended into the "jungle" as the cart and the dogs came around. We were in FREE to Disneyland. Our entrance was into the Jungleland section where the boat ride cruised. Gifford started his gorilla calls as the boats went by and of course the ride guides called the security to say that there were some gorillas or at least some chimps loose in the jungleland area. Security closed off the only walkway into the rest of the park and we were caught. We were photographed and our I.D. info copied down. Our B.S. story got us released. I have yet to meet anyone else that was not jailed for trying the same thing. I've never been back.

The red button is from the trip with Herb Hyman to New York City. Stec and I found Herb's number in the L.A.Times asking for riders to pay gas money. It was a very fast trip in a "59 Chev. Herb's aunt lived on the edge of Central Park. We ate lunch with them. Stayed in a cheap hotel . We saw everything.

Marineland wasn't as interesting as the modern A frame type Swedenborgian Church just up the road which was free.
The Los Angles County Fair at Pomona was always a trip. Bonsai Trees, Appaloosa Horses, weird chickens, and the guys picking up trash dressed like farmers who sold joints. Ask Joe Dee about the year he went to the fair!

No idea what the Veterans of Foreign Wars, two miles West of Council Grove ticket was for.
Probably envolved a little drinking which probably accounts for my lack of remembering.

If you know who the woman is in the far lower left, or the guy in the middle row, second from the right I would like to know. She taught tap dancing.

Hard to believe that the cherubs above turned into these people below. It took about 54 years. 

Escapades arranged by my wife  


This is a view of the banner factory. M made a summer and a winter set of banners for the commercial area of downtown Salina. It was a great project, and a lot of work. Her Phaff sewing machine actually had grooves worn into the paint from the canvas sliding across into the sewing needle.

She also ran the needle all the way through her finger which just happened to be her right hand so she could not reach the wheel on the right to lift the needle. I had to lift the needle and then hold it up and push her finger down with great gusto.

My wife joined the Kansas Archaeology Society, which is one of the only state Archaeology groups which will let common people dig for artifacts. The first day you work with the person in charge of labeling. The second day you work with a person at the dig, being shown how to dig and sift all of the dirt to make sure that nothing is overlooked. After a week you are on your own.

One year M took her niece Randee along for the week. The dig was just outside of a little town in south west Kansas. One day they were taken to a place way out in the country. The area seemed flat with high grass growing and then suddenly it cut away to reveal a slough, where there was a cave with a pond of water in front where there were a lot of hieroglyphics. A place that is kept quiet so that trophy hunters will not be able to find it.


One day M decided that she was going to go teach on the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico. I was working for Flynn Plumbing, sweating the copper for the second set of apartments that Dale Hoag was building. She took the red truck, packed some clothes and drove to Gallup where she interviewed for a job. She taught typical European art the first semester and then found some rug looms that were used in 1940 so she got permission to switch to teaching Navajo Weaving. Later I joined her out there. I ended up going to Flagstaff to school. We would take her students to the Crown Point Rug Auction. We ended up buying several Navajo Rugs as the receipts above show.


I was not a fan of the Viet Nam conflict when I got drafted. After serving as a Medical Instructor at Ft. Sam Houston I was convinced that the conflict was definitely evil.

Upon returning to Kansas to finish school I decided to do everything I could to convince others to stay out of the draft. I am proud to say that a lot of the conversations I had resulted in guys finding legal ways to avoid participating in the conflict.

I also met a couple of guys who were members of the War Resisters League, a liberal antiwar group from the east coast. I took it upon my self to purchase pamphlets and leave them in places where college students would find them.

I also left them in restaurants, mens bath rooms, pinned up on community bulletin boards, hoping that a random scattering would glean a mind or two. No way to tell if it worked but at least I was not just sitting around talking like so many other left of center liberals.

I am not a left of center liberal, but I do like to talk.

A Convair van purchased from the Lindsborg Ford dealer who gave Miss Welch the Christmas gift. The salesman was a friend of mine, Bill Lindholm. I also bought a red Ford truck from Bill. After two "deals" I learned and I never bought another vehicle from Bill.

I bought it and it would not stay running long enough to get it off the lot. Gus Shriner tuned it so that it would run. I will also never buy another van. The nice thing about it is that it got fairly good gas mileage and it had double doors on the side so that you could load it easily. Well actually it did not work very well for a guy that is six foot tall as I tended to hit my head on the top of the door opening every other time that I stepped in or out of it.


In this photo, the Tomte van is at the Buffalo Brick Yard, just east of Buffalo Kansas. The Brick Company was closed and the yard had been abandon. I spent a little time on the phone and got permission to haul bricks out of there. The first load was with the van and then I borrowed my Uncle Neil's truck and got a really big load of fire brick for ceramic kilns and even used some of them for my glass furnaces.

Also hauled all of the brick from the house we tore down in Lindsborg. Flynn had the contract and he "sold" me the right to take all of the brick that I could clean and haul out. I got a real nice pair of stained glass doors out of that deal also.

These menus were from the Mess Hall at Christmas time. The Christmas of1965, I attended as one of the people on K.P. It was an interesting time. ----- I got put on Mess Hall duty for four days in a row and then two days in a row on K.P. Well you only get about 4 hours sleep each night and by Christmas I was looking like warmed over death. The Mess Hall Sargent walked up shoved his face next to mine and said what the _ _ __ are you doing here again. I said I was told to be on K.P. He asked my name and looked at his roster for the week and started screaming at the top of his lungs. "You trying to get me cut?" "Who you working for?" "You white bread _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ !" Sit down here and don't move" He left and came back with my Sargent. My Sargent was red in the face and real nervous. The Mess Seargent showed him the sign in roster for the week. Mess Sargent started yelling about going to the Colonel. My Sargent asked to talk to me alone. He said "Private Esping if you forget about the time you've spent here I promise you will never go on any detail again" I said "Yes Sir, I would like that." He left and the Mess Sargent came over with a big grin on his face. "Take that chair out on the dock and watch the sun." He grabbed my shoulder and said, "Either you the dumbest guy we ever drafted or you the smartest white bread I ever seen!" " If your sargent put you on any detail you sneak over here and see me." That Mess Sargent treated me real good. I slept in the chair all day except for eatting breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinner was the big Christmas Feast. My job was to open the cans of mixed nuts, and stack the packages of cigaretts real perty. I handed out the cigaretts to the guys coming through the line. Naturally the guys I liked got two or three packs. As soon as the mess hall closed I went out on the dock and had a smoke. There were ten cars that pulled up in the driveway as I watched. Opened the trunks and ran up the stairs grabbed turkeys, big plastic bowls of mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, hams, The Mess Hall Sargent watched from the door. He saw the glow of my cigaretteand fairly well leaped over in front of me. "What the _____ are you doing here." I answered, "I was just getting ready to help load the cigarettes." His face mellowed, then hardened, and he shouted "get your white bread ass inside" Later he said, "you think you saw something out there in the dark don't you. What you didn't see was a lot of very hungry people getting fed by there asshole government."

I would see the Mess Sargent from time to time as my military career progressed. He always waved and yelled "Hey, You stay away from me white bread"

Finally I asked him why he called me that and he said "You white and you worthless" I just smiled and quiped, "yea and I'm real dumb."

King Canute was a big deal in the 'borg. My Uncle Mox as usual was the instigator of having a celebration on the river on the 15th of January. It was cold. It was real cold. I was dressed in animal skins, but there were some rather important parts that did not have ANY covering. My feet were wrapped in rags and then rabbit skins. I had a bear rug (it had been a little bear) which was sort of tacked in a couple of places so it would stay wrapped around my body. They let us sit in the car until five minutes before the thing started. It started with a couple of Tomten (little elves) walking out onto the sandbar at the rivers edge, carrying torches. It was so cold that the speaker system froze and would not work so I had to walk right up to the edge of the frozen solid river and yell in Swedish. "Everyone back to work Christmas is over today." A couple of other Tomten carried a couple of Christmas trees over to the already ten foot tall pile and the torches were flung into the pile. That was the best part of the whole deal the dried out evergreen trees went up like paper soaked in gasoline. Come to think of it my Uncle probably used a little gasoline. The Television news guys from Wichita were there, they had kept the cameras in the vans until the torches appeared. My moustache had ice on it just from breathing. The only thing that kept me from freezing to death was watching King Canute's queen who had fewer skins on then I did. The rabbit skins kept sliding off of her shoulders.

We ended up doing King Canute for the Hyldings Fest parade that next year in October. It was to be a prelude to the next King Canute Day on January 15th.

King Canute was a pretty interesting personality. As I was freezing on that night in January I decided to do a little looking into his history. He is given credit for Christianizing Sweden. There were parts of Sweden that converted before his reign, but he made it official and the pronouncement carried a penalty for not conceding. Along with the Christianization was an interesting side light. He made infanticide a capital crime. The custom was that a new born would be taken to the mothers mate who would look at the child and if the man took the child into his arms it signified that he would take the responsibility for raising the child. If the man did not hold the child, it was taken into the forest and abandoned.

Some how some of the children survived. Supposition is that some of the elders who were cast out of the villages cared for them or perhaps the last remnants of the "other" race spoken about in the book "Eaters of the Dead" would carry the newborn off. At any rate there was a whole society that lived on the edges of the Swedish so called civilized world. This outside society lived without the benefit of domesticated animals and crops grown in cultivated fields. They were "of the mist", moving at night from well hidden habitations. The society included those with birth defects, physical problems or mental conditions not unlike the bezerkers of Viking legend. They seemed to have acquired a lot of natural information and thus were considered magicians, evil magicians. They were experts with the crossbow. They ran with wolves. They all dressed pretty much the same, so it was hard to tell them apart. They blended with the forest and used birds to watch their enemies.

Mothers threatened naughty children with being sent to the forest. There were stories of the forest dwellers sneaking into a home and taking children out of their beds, replacing the stolen child with one of their own. A spy for future needs. The original child was taken to work for the forest dwellers.

King Canute set aside a section of the major cities and brought these people into the city to live. For the first time people could see the dwarfs and giants, the humpbacked and addlepated. The artifices of precious metals, tanners of skins and leather, dealers in herbs and powders, makers of weapons, and workers in wood all seemed to who work together. Their lifestyle had required the development of compassion for each other to survive the rigors of living hidden in the forests. Infanticide was still sort of practiced. Those children whose parents did not want them were taken to the section of the city where these others lived.

Another facet of this story is that there is a great argument as to whether these "outsiders" were the reason for the development of stories about elves, trolls, and fairies, or as the "outsiders" themselves said that some of there "friends" had decided to stay in the woods or hidden in the wild places and they actually were the Tomten. It was these friends, (elves, trolls and fairies) who were the benefactors for those who had survived being abandon in the forest. It seemed that even though the shoe maker blew out his lights at night there was still a tap tap tapping that went on until morning. Bags of herbs and flowers picked and sorted in the forest were seen stacked in front of the door of the herbalist early in the morning. Farmers whose farm steads were farthest from town told of Tomten who "gave a little help" with impossible tasks and were never seen. The farmers paid for the work by setting out food and bolts of cloth.



It sat at the east end of the fairgrounds. It was only there one year and I never heard of it again until I googled it . I was in the forth or fifth grade and I always got to go along to the Topeka Kansas Free Fair. The band from Council Grove would go up and play on one day and so the school bus would leave real early in the morning which meant even with all of the excitement I would sleep until the bus pulled into the fairgrounds. My money was pushed real low into the bottom of my pants pocket and a day of horrible choices was about to begin. The decisions of what to see on the midway and what would have to wait was torture. I probably spent more time standing out in front of an attraction reading every word and listening to every phrase chanted by the barker than I did inside the attraction. When I saw the sign for the Nazi Atrocity Tent I knew that I would have to see it. It was more expensive then any of the other attractions. It had giant swastiks painted on the front with Huge twisted Prussian helmented evil faces learing down at poor defenseless fifth grade kids. I walked up sorta close to read the signs and noticed the phrase in red right at the entrance that said that NO ONE Under 18 would be allowed in the tent by order of the State of Kansas. Now most of the attractions had the same price, probably a dime for kids. This one had only one price since kids were not allowed and it was a quarter or thirty cents. That meant that I could see two and one half or three attractions for the cost of this one. Having been raised by people who sent me to school in levis with patched knees there was a moment of conservative penny pinching hesitation and I steped up to the ticket booth. It was real early and no one was around and the guy looked right and left took my money and said hurry up. I was only 12 and I was in. I should have known that this was a portend for the entire day.

It was an exhibit of photos and sworn statements about the mass burials and the ovens used to cremate those who were gased with cynaide or who died from forced labor in the prison camps that were set up by the Germans during world war II. It was shocking to see this at the State Fair but I had already seen a lot of it in a book that was hidden in the bottom of my fathers sock drawer. The book was sent to him by his brother who had served in the European theatre during WWII. IT had photos from the cameras of the U S troops who liberated the prisoner of war camps through out German and its conquered territories. It showed the emaciated men and women sitting behind barbed wire barely alive, unable to smile at their liberators. There were pictures of the clothing piles taken off of those who were to be gased. There were photos of bodies stacked up like cord wood when the ovens couldn't keep up with their grisly jobs of turning nameless corpses into ash. I'd seen this in bits and pieces of stolen moments when I first found the book. So the NAZI ATROCITY TENT was not the full blown shock for me, that it would have been for other 12 year old kids. That is it wasn't until I turned the corner and came face to face with the two lamps with lamp shades made of human TATTOOed SKIN. I remember that I physically jumped back away from the glass case that contained part of a dead human beings tattooed skin. The light in the lamp was turned on and the TATTOOS showed up real well. I read the accompanying explanation which said that the life expectancy in a certain Prisoner of War camp was low for those that had TATTOOS. The Commandant had only to see the TATTOO and he collected it for his collection with in a day or two.

Today this would not be available for public viewing and especially not for a 12 year old kid. Todays children of privilige are well protected from such stuff, the stuff of which nightmares are made. But I am positive that the development of my anti war objections started right there in the NAZI ATROCITY TENT while looking closely at a perfect example of man's inhumanity to man.