To the editor:
In this age of COVID-19, a great many people are cautious about getting out and going very far. However, a few days ago, my late father’s only living male first-cousin celebrated his 83rd birthday in little Cawker City (near Beloit). I wanted to definitely get to that occasion, since life is so fleeting in the best of times. My dad’s cousin (Tom W.) was glad to see me and I was delighted to visit with him and other relatives, marking that great milestone of life.
I thought to myself, since I was out and about, I’d visit my birth city of Wichita. Heading northward on Interstate 135 (almost at the last second), I decided to swing in the left lane to catch U.S. 50 and visit a first-cousin of mine, (Barbara K.) at Hutchinson. Had a delightful visit with her.
As I was leaving the area, I almost had an afterthought to go visit the eccentric sculpture “The Garden of Eden” at Lucas, done circa 1905-1925 at Lucas near Russell (Russell is the hometown of former Senator Bob Dole, whom I’ve met). I think I saw the sculpture as a kid, but it appeared then as a hodgepodge done by a kook. But, now, as an adult, I have mellowed and found out that its creator Samuel Perry Dinsmoor was a Civil War veteran, plus he had been a teacher in Ohio and Illinois (I, also had ancestors who lived there). He only became an artist and sculptor as a second or third career (he was a farmer, too).
Although a few of the sculptures appeared a little zany, some had merit. I saw sculptures of a primitive man and woman. The man was wearing around his waist the Masonic Apron, which is the honorable badge of the Masonic fraternal order. I was a bit surprised to see that Samuel Dinsmoor and his first wife are buried on the cabin home property and Mister Dinsmoor’s remains can be seen through a glass-lid cement sarcophagus. His suit coat jacket and even his beard was intact. Yet, my tour guide said that his face is starting to decay rapidly in recent years with mold.
The man wanted to be “remembered.” Dinsmoor’s first wife died in 1917. Afterward, Dinsmoor was a lucky man. He married his housekeeper, a Czechoslovakia immigrant, Emilie Brozek. He was aged 81, she was age 20. The marriage produced two children.
A sculpture portrayed “Labor” (rather than Jesus Christ) as being crucified on a Cross, although I know that Dinsmoor believed in Almighty God. I am sure he was reverent, but trying to make a point. One of the artist’s rendering depicted a “Capitalist”; probably with the hint that capitalism needs to be honest and moral to work.
It was of interest to me that Dinsmoor served in the U.S. Civil War (with the North) and after the war joined the Masonic Lodge in Athens County, Ohio before transferring his membership eventually to Blue Hill Masonic Lodge in Lucas, the town where the sculpture is located. He even served in several Lodge officer capacities, including Secretary. So, the man had a brain, albeit an eccentric one.
I’m glad I stopped and saw my relatives in good weather, albeit guarding my own safety with a medical-mask. We cannot take things for granted. We all need to enjoy life while we have it.
James A. Marples