Velma Wancura

High Plains History Episode
11:22 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Velma On...

As my time with Velma Wancura draws to a close, Velma and I talked about some of life's nuggets.  These are some of her thoughts about:

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Prejudice and Pride

Velma Wancura 41966

It was hard to be German during World War I.  Velma Wancura's father hired extra help during harvest time.  She said you had to be careful not to hire a German sympathizer or a spy. 

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

The Root Cause of Stingy

Velma Whipple Wancura around 1930

Go back to May, 1935.  Velma and Ted Wancura have a young son.  They haven't had a wheat crop in years, or rain for that matter.  Most of their cattle herd has been lost in the dust storms.  A tornado took their house.  The Wancuras moved a vacant house in to replace it.

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Dark Cloud on the Horizon

The mid 1930's were the dry years on the high plains.  The drought has taken so much, a tornado took their home, but one young couple continue to persevere.  Velma and Ted Wancura were creative problem solvers.  They had 150 head of cattle, but no grass in the pasture. so   Ted and his brother harvested the cactus that remained for feed.  After burning the spines off with a blow torch, the cactus were placed in a cattle tank where the were well received.  When they were gone, Ted fabricated a truck bed to haul beet tops from the Garden City sugar factory, approximately 50 miles away, where the farm land was irrigated.  That solution worked until weather conditions worsened. 

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

No Home to Go To

In 1935, there had been no rain and no wheat crop for the Wancuras.  One day, Velma and Ted decided to drive to Beehler to a farm sale about 14 miles north.  On the way home, they stopped at her parent's home in Beehler to say hello.  The weather turned.  Velma's dad told them to stay for the night. 

The next day they started out for home.  They met a neighbor on the road, who told them there was no reason to travel any further, a tornado had destroyed their home.  It was scattered for miles.  

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

The Dry Years

The hard times began long before the dust storms that inspired movies, documentaries, and books.  There was no rain, no crops, wheat was .25 cents a bushel, which would have been something if there was any wheat to harvest.  For Velma Wancura, the dry years meant going back to work as a teacher.    That wage supported her family.   

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Back When Horse Power Meant Barney and Joe

A thrashing crew from back in the day

Velma Wancura's dad wanted to be a farmer, so he traded a house in McCracken, Kansas for a quarter of land south of Beeler.  He was a good farmer, and it took the whole family to make it successful.  The kids helped  milk eight to twelve cows twice a day, separated the milk, and sold the cream.  Velma also remembered the horses.    She recalled two by name, Joe and Barney.  When Velma was six or seven, she started driving the team.  Looking back, she said, "The horse looks so tall and big, I don't know how I did it."   

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Life is What You Paint It

Can you imagine living over 100 years and only having two regrets?  I can't.   It is one of the things that amazed me about Velma Wancura. 

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

A Leaf Should Know Its Tree

A Young Velma Whipple

I met Velma Whipple Wancura two years ago.  Her grandson, Dan Wancura contacted me, telling me I needed to meet his grandmother.  He said the story of her life was simply amazing.  He was right. 

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