Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day and Roots
Finding family grave provides a connection to the past
by Ken Neal
Article originally appeared in the Tulsa World on May 27, 2007

     Monday is Memorial Day, so we get a three-day weekend. Sadly, that is about all the day means to most of us — a holiday.
    As American dead pile up in yet another war, perhaps it is time to restore Memorial Day to its original status, a day set aside to remember and honor those who, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “gave the last full measure of devotion.”
     Memorial Day was proclaimed in 1868 by Union Gen. John A. Logan and for more than 100 years was celebrated on May 30, regardless of the day of the week on which the date fell.
     Then Congress, trying to “fix” things, in 1971 set Memorial Day for the last Monday in May to guarantee a threeday weekend. We swapped a day of remembrance for a holiday. 
    Memorial Day grew out of the Civil War when women in many communities began to decorate fallen soldiers’ graves with flowers. The practice became so widespread that many Americans still refer to the holiday as “Decoration Day.”
    Through the years Decoration Day became more than a day to honor war dead. It was a day to remember all dead loved ones by visiting and decorating their graves.
      It always seemed a futile exercise to me; after all, dead people don’t give a hoot about flowers. But I’ve come to realize that the day of remembrance and decoration is not for the dead so much as it is for us, the living.
     A walk through most any graveyard can be a solemn experience; a connection with the great body of humankind.
    Here’s an old fellow who lived a long life and, judging from the inscriptions his family put on the tombstone, a happy and productive one.
      But here lies an infant swept away by a childhood disease long since conquered by modern medicine.    Nearby is a young man killed in an accident just as he was starting an adult life.
     In many cases, there are the graves of several wives near the patriarch’s grave. Early day America was hard on women. Through the early 20th century, women worked at their men’s side in the field, managed the household chores and bore children — many children — as well.
    The graves of relatives — even remote ones — trigger the connection with the past and the realization that
these people once suffered and triumphed much as we do today. If they hadn’t, we wouldn’t be here.
That is hardly a profound thought but it came home to me and my son during a visit to a small country cemetery near Stidham, Okla.
    It was a few days before Memorial Day, but people had already started with decorations. The Lenna Cemetery, like thousands all over the country, is well kept. It is on a hill in a bucolic setting.
     It is a comparatively large cemetery, given the fact that Stidham at last count claims but 23 living souls.
    My son, Patrick, digging into the not-so-illustrious background of our Neal clan, found Grandpa John Henry Neal’s grave at Lenna. Through the miracle of the Internet, he located grandpa’s burial site. Patrick had learned that grandpa was a Union Civil War veteran and thus entitled to a standard issue tombstone
complete with his name and the unit in which he served, Company H of the
3rd Arkansas Cavalry. 
    Gale and Mary Treat of Wichita, Kan., had meticulously recorded the graves of people buried at Lenna and put them, complete with pictures, on a Web site. 
    Armed with that information, we walked straight to old John Henry’s grave. He was my great-grandfather. He died in 1912 near Stidham. My father had referred to his grandfather in telling me of his own father’s
early life. I knew great grandpa’s name was John Henry but I didn’t know he was a union soldier in the Civil War. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Kathy and Julie Neal
by Ken Neal

May 2012
I am writing about my daughters in one remembrance because most of my memories are of them together. After all, their mother and I had barely gotten used to Kathy Rene when Julia Lorraine came along.
So for more than 50 years now, it has been “Kathy and Julie.’
Kathy arrived nine months and two weeks after our wedding, only because February was a short month. I am reminded of my mom’s wry observation any time a baby was close to the wedding.
“Well,” she would say when the aunts were clucking and counting months, “it never takes as long for the first one.”
         Kathy was an early college graduation present for me.
        We lived in an upstairs apartment at 910 S. Indian Ave. in Tulsa. That apartment house was on the site of the present parking garage at the current OSU hospital.
        It was Oklahoma Osteopathic Hospital in 1957 and our family doctor, Ivan Penquite, was chief of staff there.
Kathy’s mom, Patty Jeanne, was not quite 20 and I was 21. Looking back now from the vantage point of 55 years, I realize we were all children together.
Patty was an instinctive great mother and at 90 pounds and a bit over five feet, delivered a 6 pound, 14 ounce baby girl with ease. At least it seemed easy to me. In those days, fathers were not allowed in the delivery room but kept at bay in the waiting area.
       We walked out the back door to the hospital at about 6:30 a.m. and Kathy came bouncing into the world at about 12:30 p.m.
       Her mother and I were in the waiting room together and after a bit we decided we weren’t helping anyone and took off for breakfast! Patty never forgave us!    

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day
Approximately Late-1960's

Patty Neal (approximately late 1960's)

The Magic, The Memories and Us
Photos from the World of Disney

Catherine Neal - Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World - January 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Patrick Neal Letter
Approximately 1977

Patrick Neal letter to himself (approximately 1977)

Encephalartos Arenarius x Horridus

E. arenarius x E. horridus
I purchased this cycad hybrid at Jurassic Garden in Los Angeles, California in April 2011. Here is a description provided by various Cycad resources:  
Encephalartos arenarius x horridus has the attractive leaf characteristics of the Encephalartos arenarius, but its color is influenced by the silvery-blue leaves of Encephalartos horridus.

E. arenarius is endemic to the Coastal Dune Forest in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, in the Alexandria area.  Also known as the Alexandria Cycad, E. arenarius is a medium-sized cycad, with a trunk to about 4-5 ft. long, either erect, or reclining. E. arenarius requires excellent drainage (i.e. sandy soil), and prefers light shade or moderate sun. It should be protected from frost.

Much of the coastal Dune Forest in and around Alexandria has been cleared and lost to pastures. This has resulted in E. arenarius losing its habitat. The accessibility of the habitat and the relative ease with which plants can be removed from the sandy soil, have made E.arenarius an easy target for destructive collectors. Truckloads of plants were illegally removed with the result that E.arenarius has now become fairly rare in nature. The population size of E. arenarius is estimated to be 850-1,500 mature individuals. 

E. arenarius qualifies as Endangered under criterion A of the  IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to continuing decline in the number of plants and the extent of habitat. 

E. horridus has been described as one of the most unusual of all the South African species. It has been over-collected in the past, but sufficient quantities are now available in nurseries to reduce some of the pressure on wild populations.  Horridus is Latin for bristly, dreadful, horrible - appropriate to its appearance, with its heavily armed leaves. E. horridus is a very distinctive South African cycad which has been known to botanists for almost 200 years.  Its very characteristic leaves always make an impression on people who see it for the first time, as is evident from its name. 

Esther Bray and Granddaughters
Approximately 1965

Left to Right:  Beth Baldwin, Julie Neal, Cyndi Baldwin, Kathy Neal and Esther Bray

Two Opinionated - A Tribute to Alex Adwan and Ken Neal
The Tulsa Press Club - Tulsa, OK (2003)

The video of "Two Opinionated - A Tribute to Alex Adwan and Ken Neal" (2003) has now been posted in 6 parts.  The video features speeches from Gov. George Nigh, Gov. David Walters and Tulsa Mayor Susan Savage.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mother's Day 1960
Sapulpa Herald Article

Mother's Day  (May 1960) featuring Kathy Neal and Julie Neal

Civil War Trails
Grove Farm at Antietam National Battlefield - Sharpsburg, Maryland

President Lincoln visited Gen. George McClellan at Antietam Battlefield two weeks after the September 17, 1862, battle.  The roof of the Grove Farm mansion can be seen in the background of this famous photo of Lincoln.

Lincoln at Grove Farm - Sharpsburg, Maryland (October 2, 1862)

Grove Farm - Sharpsburg, Maryland (November 2009)
Photos of our visits to Antietam National Battlefield can be found at:
September 2009!i=1481474223&k=DPktMGC
November 2009 (with the Danklefs)!i=1508271859&k=H7C9sh2

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Magic, The Memories and Us
Photos from the World of Disney

Patrick Neal, Amelia Danklef, Julia Danklef - Moments before the 2012 Disney Half-Marathon, Walt Disney World - January 2012

The Patty Family
Taken from unknown book on Creek County, Oklahoma families

One 80-year old Sapulpa old-timer relived a thrill when a package come for him shortly before Christmas in 1968. A colorful saltfish was soon mounted on the wall of his bedroom (the only space they found big enough for it) proof of his prowess as a fisherman.

It all began when Harry, Jr. took his family on a weekend fishing vacation at Acapulco and caught a saltfish himself. He decided that his father should experience this thrill of a lifetime and soon after flew him to Acapulco, Mexico for a weekend of fishing. Father's catch proved to be bigger than his.

Patty landed his catch all by himself, although it tired him a little. He said it probably took about twenty minutes, although his mind wasn't on the time.

The Patty family came to Oklahoma Territory in 1900 when Harry was 12 years old. His father farmed near Oklahoma City and south of here at Twin Mounds owned a cotton gin at Bristow, made money when the Slick oil field came in, and lived in Bristow until his death.

Harry was a sophisticated 14-year old teenager when Grace Frye came to visit her sister in Twin Mounds. Grace was four years younger and spent her time playing with Harry's younger brother, but when Harry was almost twenty they both saw things a little differently, and he married 15 year-old Grace Frye.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Barbecue Inn - Houston, TX
The Best Fried Chicken Ever???

Before today,  I probably would have said the best fried chicken I have ever had was from the AQ Chicken House in Arkansas. However, the Barbecue Inn, listed on many top ten list as the best fried chicken in America, lived up to its reputation. I can't describe it better than famed Houstonian food critic Stephen Chung, who organized our lunch outing today.

"I can confirm that the Barbecue Inn has likely the best southern fried chicken around. The 3 pieces of all-white chicken included a wing and 2 breasts. Although it appeared overcooked, that was not the case. It was crisp and succulent. The chicken itself was moist and tender, yet firm and flavorful (although a tad amount of salt would have been ideal). The french fries were sufficient but compared to the glare of the fried chicken's star, it was un-noticeable. Oh, and there was a simple iceberg lettuce and tomato salad, with ranch, to start."  -  Stephen Chung, May 4, 2012
Networking for Success: Schmooze or Lose
by Diane Young

The Collegian, an independent student newspaper of the University of Tulsa
Summer 1996

This summer I was interviewed by the local news about finding a job through the internet. At the end of the interview, the reporter asked me if I thought I would get a job by using the internet. "No," I said. "I'll probably find one by networking."

I've grown up calling people on the phone, asking questions, and going on informational interviews. Being the daughter of a career counselor, I learned early the value of making contacts.

Networking got me my current summer internship based entirely on the recommendation of my professor. Networking in one form or another has gotten me every job I have held since I was 16 years old. I expect that networking will also be the key to my post-college career.

This job search has proved to be a little more challenging, however. As a native Tulsan looking for a job in New York City, I thought my networking outlook was bleak at best. I am happy to say though, that I am visiting New York next week to meet all of the people I have contacted through email or by phone.

As an enthusiastic supporter of networking, I have realized a few fine points that can help anybody who is willing to make the effort.
Moody's Investors Service, Inc. - Public Finance, Team 3
New York, New York - Approximately 1999

The nation's best and brightest assembled for one brief rate municipal bonds.

The Magic, The Memories and Us
Photos from the World of Disney

John Neal - Disney's California Adventure, Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (April 2011)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ken Neal - Speech to Teachers Association
Approximately mid-1990's

Teachers: Why I Hate You, Why I Love You

Ken Neal, Tulsa World (1953-2009)
     In recent years - almost by accident - I have come to be a defender of education in general and teachers in particular. I didn't plan it. It happened as a logical outcome of what I like to believe is sincere and thoughtful consideration of Oklahoma, her people and her future.
     As a native son, I'm as sensitive as anyone to the generally low regard Oklahoma enjoys in the rest of country. I've been forced to try to defend our state in conversations with my editorial peers in national seminars and stand ready to continue to do it.  But in many respects, it's a losing battle. The blunt truth is that Oklahoma, by most measures, is at the tail end of the country.
     I won't bore you with recitations of where we rank among the states on a variety of measurements of what can be loosely called progress. In almost every instance, whatever the comparison, whatever the measure, Oklahoma is near the last. You teachers know how true this is in the field of
     In the past 10 years, the statistics and information have flooded my desk and that of anyone else who cares to pay attention. Oklahoma is the last frontier of the United States, a unique blend of her immigrant streams of Indians, poor Appalachian folk, cowboys and some midwestern farmers. One great accident of nature has at one time given the state wealth and at the same time held back the development of the state. That accident was oil and gas.
     Virtually since statehood, Oklahoma has thrived or suffered depending on the fortunes of the oil industry. For five years or more, we have been in the depths of a great depression caused by the collapse of the oil industry.
Harry Rosco Patty - World War I Draft Registration Card
June 5, 1917

Harry R. Patty (born November 14, 1880) World War I Draft Registration Card - June 5, 1917

Baby Dude Meister Has Arrived

In reviewing all of the ancient and more recent past history that has been posted over the last few days, I thought it appropriate to add a bit about someone new.  Neal No. 3, Patrick James.  The Baby Dude.  Arriving on April 9, 2012 he just had his three week birthday, and has met one set of grandparents and a cousin.  This weekend BD will be introduced to two cousins on his dad's side, an aunt and an uncle (this is Madalene, Amelia, Aunt Julie and Uncle Tim, the Dallas contingency).

By all accounts, mostly mine at this point, BD has an even temperament and is not easily disturbed despite his little sister's best attempts.  Dislikes include, getting undressed, no socks, having his nails trimmed and getting in and out of the tub.  Otherwise he is fairly chill and easy to be with, which is good since I'm with him all day.  A loud house doesn't appear bother him--also good since I suspect it will only be getting louder.

Welcome to the circus, we're thrilled to have you and we hope you enjoy it as much as the rest of us do!

Your Mom.
Evel Knievel - Tulsa, Oklahoma
May 5, 1974

May 5, 1974 - Tulsa International Speedway, attended by Ken Neal, Patrick Neal and Tony Baldwin.  Knievel only completed seven more jumps following this Tulsa appearance.
Tulsa World story after the jump.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Radford Andrew Neal - World War I Draft Registration Card
September 12, 1918

Radford A. Neal (born September 18, 1880) World War I Draft Registration - September 12, 1918.

Ken Neal - Rotary Club Speech
Fall 1995

God Is A Liberal: She Told Me So

Ken Neal, Tulsa World (1953-2009)
I developed this ridiculous title line in the hope of grabbing your attention and also to suggest that linking God to any side in politics is as presumptuous as a football team praying for victory. 

I've often wondered at what God must think when two high school teams are praying at opposite ends of the field for opposite results.
The terms liberal and conservative change so much in relation to each other that it is only slightly sacrilegious
to wonder if God can tell which is which.

Broadly speaking, liberals have been described as those who want change while conservatives have been defined as those who are reluctant to change the status quo.

When Barry Goldwater launched the modern conservative movement in the early 1960s he in fact was sounding a rebellion against the orthodoxy that liberalism had become. In this sense, he was a liberal.

When the founding fathers broke away from the English crown and formulated a new government, it was not only considered to be liberal, but radical. It was the American Experiment.

Yet today, the Constitution and the government founded by those liberal thinkers is now considered to be the
conservative cornerstone of the Republic. We want - conservatives want - prospective members of the U.S.
Supreme Court to be strict constructionists, that is, conservative, in their approach to the Constitution.

Yet the conservatives in Congress today are anxious to change the Constitution. The Balanced Budget Amendment, the Line Item Veto and Term Limits are the basic litmus issues for the conservatives pushing, oddly, for radical change of the Constitution. Still others would amend the Constitution to ban abortion, return prayer to schools or protect the U.S. flag.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Roll With It

Tim Danklef, Steve Winwood, Patrick Neal - Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles (July 1988)

Cynthia Esther Bray - Obituary

The Sapulpa Herald - May 16, 2007

Esther Bray and Kathy Neal, 1958

Cynthia Esther Bray, 91, died Monday, May 14, 2007. She was a much-loved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. 

Esther believed in God’s plan for her. He gave her a healthy, long life. Physically, she looked and acted like a person 20 years younger. She was a wise and wonderful woman, well-known in the Sapulpa community. She will be missed by all. 

Esther was born Aug. 9, 1915, in Bristow, to Harry and Grace Patty. She graduated from Sapulpa High School in 1935 and married Howard Bray on January 24, 1936. Their first daughter, Patty Jeanne, was born in May of 1937, followed four years later by daughter Betty Joanne. 

Esther was always hard at work. She worked for her brother Harry in the Machine and Tool business. She worked with her sister Betty at a dress boutique in Sapulpa. For over 20 years Esther was an award-winning Avon representative. She retired from selling Avon at the young age of 87. 

Esther was huge part of the life of the Sapulpa First Church of God. She directed the choir for nearly 50 years. She was so proud and honored when a scholarship was established in her honor for a Music Student at Mid-America Christian College in Oklahoma City. 

Diane Neal - BusinessWeek Online Article
Published August 21, 1998

BusinessWeek Online
August 21, 1998

by Diane Young

Do you feel as though you know just a little bit more about President Bill Clinton lately than you need to? Are you, like me and so many others, growing tired of hearing about Bill's backroom escapades? Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you want to know more about his partner in sin, Ms. Monica Lewinsky. Sure, she has been on TV, been splashed across the papers, and been the butt of late-night TV jokes. But not nearly as much as Bill. So in the interest of equal time, I set out to find Monica on the Web.
If you're among the relative handful of people who feel compelled to take on the same mission, here's a hint: Don't waste your time with your standard search engines such as Yahoo! or Excite. Instead, you need a 24-hour, dedicated Monica search engine. Head straight for

Yes, it's true. There's a Web site that's not only devoted to Monica Lewinsky but also to helping you find all the other Monica pages out there. And it's just full of stuff that never made it into Linda Tripp's tape recordings. There are even links to the Top 100 Monica sites. Sure, you could find these on your own by scouring the Web, but here they're conveniently bundled in one place.

Once you're over your initial disappointment that there aren't really 100 Monica sites listed -- goMONICA is up to only 43 -- you can start cruising. What kinds of sites are we talking about? One of the most prominent is The MonicaCam is stationed right across the street from the offices of Lewinsky's legal dream team, Plato Cacheris and Jacob Stein. The enthralling view is updated every 10 minutes from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Honestly, you can't see much, but it is history, after all.

A word of caution for parents of school-age kids on the lookout for civics lessons. Though goMONICA declines to host adult content, it does have links to pages that are about as steamy and sleazy as a five-minute encounter in a White House closet. If your employer will fire you for looking at soft-core on the job, wait 'til you get home.

Grandpa John C. Chamberlain
by Ken Neal

Grandpa Chamberlain
This is Fannie Ruth Ingalls Neal's great grandfather. He would be my great, great grandfather; the great, great, great grandfather of Kathy, Julia and Patrick, my children, and the great, great, great, great grandfather of Abby and Neal Johnston.

Grandpa Ray Ingalls was born February 6, 1890 in Nebraska and his mother, Eva Chamberlain, was born March 12, 1869 in Franklin, Ohio. Her father, the man in this picture, probably was born in about 1840 in Pennsylvania according to records. He had two wives, the first of which was Eliza (last name unknown) and this was Eva's mother. Eliza had two other children and must have died an early death because records indicate that John eventually married Ophia A. Proctor and had five more children.

Judging from his dress, and his mustache, and his age (65-75?), the photo was probably taken around the turn of the 20th century.

So far as I know, this photo is the oldest in our family photo collection.
Ken Neal - Commencement Speech
 St. Gregory's University
Approximately May 1991

Parents, faculty, administration, (Dr. Carmen Notaro) friends, honored guests, and students.
What an honor it is to be here with Tulsans like Henry Zarrow.

Bishop Slattery: I don't believe you can possibly know what a thrill  it is to have you introduce me----And you read what I wrote so well.

I fear that the bishop's introduction will be the high point of my talk. I would probably be ahead to simply say thank you and sit down. But don't get your hopes up.

You might think you are leaving St. Gregory's. But the truth is, you can't.

The good brothers here have grasped you in ways that you do not yet comprehend. And it is my judgment, knowing something of the nature of St. Gregory's and the men and women who run it and teach you, that this is a good thing.

You will find yourselves seized by the values that were put into you at St. Gregory's at the strangest times; you will remember things you learned here that you can not now bring to mind.

I am not talking only of knowledge gained from the classroom; in fact, I suspect that this might be the least important aspect of your education here.

One of my college professors once told me that the purpose of a college education was not to give one knowledge but to teach him where to go to find knowledge.

That was true 30 years ago but it is even more true today with the body of knowledge growing exponentially. Leonardo DaVinci might have been the last man to know everything that was known in his day.

No one can know everything that is known; no one can carry around all the knowledge that one needs in one's head. This has been true for many generations; in the computer age, the most useful knowledge is how to gain access to the total body of knowledge.

You leave St. Gregory's to travel many different paths, but you all share this: graduation from St.  Gregory's is not the end of learning for any of you.  You have only made a start on a lifetime of learning.

Kathy R. Neal - Letter From India
September 17, 2007

Today I'm wiped out after the weekend in Araungabad. I knew but had forgotten what an assault on the senses India is.

Araungabad is the starting point for visits to the cave temples at Ajanta and Ellora. The caves temples range from 200 BC to about 700 AD and are Hindu, Buddhist and Jain. They are a series of monasteries and worship halls, some very simple; others incredibly elaborate. At Ajanta they overlook a the horseshoe curve of a river and have more paintings. They are much more sculptural and intricate at Ellora. After they were abandoned they were overtaken by the jungle and lost. They were "discovered" in the mid-1800's. I kept
thinking that people had been pissing in them for thousands of years until I realized that what I was smelling was bat guano. These temple caves were on the short list of the new seven wonders of the world. They were beat by Petra in Jordan but it would be a close call for me. The most magnificent was carved from top to bottom. A photo is attached.

We were stopped by Indian families on holiday who smiled, asked where we are from, took photos of us, and offered us food. You'll see a photo of me with a sweet family who was having a picnic. We made the
mistake of asking a couple of LOSER guys who were obviously American where they were from then spent the better part of both days avoiding these guys. We should have known better from the "Bass Pro Shops" t-
shirts one of the guys was wearing BOTH days that he was goofy. When you're one of a handful of foreigners in a place like this it somehow seems impolite not to acknowledge each other.

Ken Neal Article - Fred R. Neal

The "Ghost Town" - War and the Aircraft of Douglas Forever a Part of Tulsa
Ken Neal, December 12, 1993

      To those of us marked by World War II, the nearly mile-long building at the Tulsa airport was "the bomber plant," and the company that ran it was Douglas.
      Years after its heyday during the war, Douglas merged with McDonnell Aircraft to become McDonnell Douglas.
      Sandy McDonnell once testily corrected me when I referred to the plant as Douglas. But then he couldn't know how deeply intertwined the plant and Douglas were in the minds of my generation.
      Or what it was like to stand on a hill in Sand Springs and watch streams of big airplanes fly off to war.
      Or to hear almost every evening of the work adventures of thousands of men and women who ultimately built 5,929 warplanes and modified thousands more in a few short years.
      Or to know in detail the model numbers and designations of every fighter and bomber; to imagine that every time a B-24, a B-17 or an A-26 showed up in the movie news that it probably came from Tulsa and that maybe my dad worked on it.
      My father, while holding down a full time job, attended Spartan Aviation School eight hours a day for
eight weeks for the chance to go work for Douglas, which received 10,000 applications before the plant was opened in mid-1942. Ultimately 24,000 people, most of them from Tulsa and Northeastern Oklahoma, were busy putting together a variety of airplanes.
      To a 7-year-old boy, airplanes were a wondrous thing. The war was something bad, of course, but it provided the framework for the contest between the airplanes on both sides.   
Patrick Neal Letter to Kathy Neal
Approximately 1979

Neal R. Johnston - Cascia Hall Preparatory School
High School Graduation - May 2011
Cascia Hall Preparatory School - Tulsa, OK