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Donna's Journal
Newkirk, Oklahoma Book Review, September 2005

Newkirk, Oklahoma is a town of approximately 2,243 population. It is nine miles from Ponca City and about 16 miles from my home.It is the county seat of Kay County. A note about their history tells that the Historical Society where I spoke bought their building in 1992 for $300. in back taxes. It was added that today the property around it on mail street sells for 30,000. to 60,000. The Historical Society building is, in fact, called Main Street and is located directly in the middle of the town. Within that old, quarried, stone building is a miniature museum rich with artifacts and historical notes about early day pioneers. Fragile, intricate quilts, a four by eight foot collection of buttons, period furnishings from the 1890's, pictures of pioneers with women in white blouses and long skirts lifting them to wade in a pool of water, all these saved from another era.

My brain has been muddled with a cold and I had been trying to think what to say to this group. The Chilocco Indian School ruins issue has been dragged around, back and forth, like a limp dish rag until, personally, I'm sick of talking about it, so I didn't really want to discuss it again.

Instead I brought up the huricane Katrina and did compare the lack of concern over the dikes breaking to the business with Chilocco's disrepair, dangerous buildings, uncovered tunnels leading to unseen depths, to the same apathy that seemed to surround New Orleans as far as preparing for disaster. I reminded the group that I had spoken a year ago about the possibility of having to house people from a terrorist attack. Katrina was not motivated by terrorists but, nonetheless; made us aware of what can happen. Having grown up in an oil community, we are taught from early on about the possibilities of attack during war time. This was only my concern about having the massive rock buildings at Chilocco available for tourists and, or emergency situations. There is a great generator in the student union building. How much of the power plant for steam heat is workable would have to be accessed.

I did cover these points briefly but then used the thought about preparing for the future to bring my book into place where I told about my father having a ranch he operated on wind power in 1930's which provided electricity for washing machine, radio, lights, water pumped into the house. I briefly mentioned his working with hydrogen which, in fact, he did invent a car to run on water, and that now there is a car that can do this, too. The government has released information and video on it but says it is still too dangerous to be sold to the public.

I left the thought with them about my plans to experiment with the paint approved by NASA for insulation in and on the outside of a house. The testimonial of people who said it made a 32% saving in their heating and air-conditioning was read to them. Here is that URL again:

I shared with them the information given to me by the Librarian in Pawhuska while at my book signing there regarding insulation. The machine used to punch holes and bind with the plastic rib back I took along to show them how easy it was to bind their own family stories they had written. The low cost of this effort I shared with them, expressing how important it is for their grandchildren to know about the history only they could write. I emphasized that even hand written notes could be bound.

When the floor was opened up for questions, the director of the Historical Society mentioned that FEMA had called her asking the status of Chilocco School as far as housing refugees from the hurricane Katrina. She said she referred them to the Kaw tribe, who is one of the owners.

I closed my presentation with the words, “And this is HOW TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES” while I held my book up, “which I might add, always gets a laugh.”

During the time we shared punch and cake, I learned there were a number of ladies who had been school teachers. I hope they were inspired to go home and begin their own writings.

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