On the gainful employment scene, it seems that Dick's job at Boeing was long gone by the time he returned with me to Gen. Dick got a job as a service manager at a Ford dealership. Gen worked at various Wichita hospitals. She and Dick had the wherewithall to get pregnant and build another house to accommodate the new baby.

A Little House on the PrairieThe new house was on what was then called Woodchuck Lane (now North Woodchuck Street) in a new subdivision called Country Acres west of Wichita. To the south, the only structure in view was a farmhouse on what is now West Central Avenue. To the north was a water tower, located on what is now a public park. To the west was nothing but cultivated prairie, the setting sun, and heat lightning on the horizon after dark.

Gen and baby BeckyBecky was born in late June of 1956. I love this photo of Gen and brand-new Becky.Gen, an accomplished seamstress (as are all good Minnesota farm women) sewed drapes for the entire house. She even lined them and pleated them meticulously, using her Ironrite. We moved those drapes with us for years. Gen re-cut them as needed to fit the windows in whatever house we occupied. She made her maternity clothes, as well, including a smock from cotton fabric printed in an Egyptian motif (in keeping with Gen's love of the opulence and mystery of ancient Egypt) in grey, black, white, and metallic gold. With the leftover fabric, she made a doll quilt that Becky and I played with for a long time.

Christmas of 1956 was special. Dick was home and working. We had lots of presents. Grandma and Grandpa McKinney hosted a gathering of the clan at their little house in Towanda. Everybody seemed to approve of everybody else, in spite of Grandma McKinney's awful wallpaper.

McKinney cousins. Left-to-right. Front row: Susie, Dennis Fisher, Cindi. Back row: Grandma and Grandpa McKinney, Bill Fisher.