Posted by Backyard Urban Gardening on Saturday, July 18, 2009

Brothers Sigfreid and Glen Sallinger left home two hours before daybreak on Saturday, July 26, 1932 and headed east toward Kansas City.

Availability of affordable land lured their German grandfather to Liberal, Kansas forty years earlier. You could look in four directions and see nothing for miles and miles. No cities. No houses. No people. The land was good for growing wheat and corn. But, with three months of drought and a note at the bank coming due in the fall, the wheat and corn stalks withered to nothing and held little promise of providing more than a few bushels – not worth harvesting. Nine hundred and seven prime acres growing nothing this season, but weeds. Hard times had arrived for the Sallinger family.

Providing little protection from the searing heat rising up from the gravel road, packed tight like asphalt, the soles of Sig’s shoes had worn holes through their bottoms exposing his feet to the dirt road they walked on.

“My feet are on fire.”
“Try not to think about it,” Glen said.
“Think about it? I can feel it, I don’t have to think about it.”
“Well, try to ignore it then,” Glen said.
“Let’s see you try it.”
“My shoes are fine,” Glen said.
“Then give yours to me.”
“Why?” Glen said.
“Well, you’re obviously better at ignoring the pain than I am. And, if I don’t do something soon, we’re going to have to stop for today.”

Glen took a seat on a log that lay near the road’s edge. The boys traded shoes and continued walking. They’d been walking again for a few minutes when Sig started up again.

“You mad at daddy?”
“No,” Glen said. “It ain’t his fault.”
“I guess not, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I’m gonna miss momma – and daddy.”
“Me too.”

Two days later, the following article appeared in the Liberal News:

Malcolm and Elizabeth Sallinger were discovered dead in their rural home outside Liberal Sunday evening. Seward County Sheriff's Deputies were called to the home by neighbors who arrived at the home to check on the elderly couple when they failed to attend church services Sunday morning. At press-time, the Sherriff's office released few details about the deaths, but did say that the couples’ children Sigfreid (Sig), age 15, and Glen Sallinger, age 17, were not at the home when deputies arrived. Neighbors said the family had been struggling to earn a living from farming for the past several years. No charges in the case have been filed.


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