Friday, April 22, 2011

Amelioration: Earth Day

Hail Thee, Festival Day!

Amelioration [to make better, to improve upon]
is one of the earth's words,
The earth neither lags nor hastens . . .

The earth does not withhold, it is generous enough,
The truths of the earth continually wait,
they are not so conceal'd either,
They are calm, subtle . . .
conveying themselves willingly . . .

The earth does not argue,
Is not pathetic, has no arrangements,
Does not scream, haste, persuade, threaten, promise,
Makes no discriminations, has no conceivable failures,
Closes nothing, refuses nothing, shuts none out . . .

~ from A Song of the Rolling Earth ~
~ by Walt Whitman ~

Elaine and Gene Carriker

Two years ago ~ on Earth Day 2009 ~ my Uncle Gene sent the following announcement about the dedication of a new building at the neighborhood school in Wichita, Kansas, where he worked for 16 years.

As he is a most engaging guest blogger, I will let him speak for himself:

"In recognition of Earth Day . . . listen up, Earthling!

Tonight at 6:30 Elaine & I are going to the dedication of the new $8,000,000.00 Amelia Earhart Environmental Magnet Elementary School in Wichita. Just so happens yours truly was the principal of this school back in the 1960’s when my faculty and I received a $250,000.00 grant from the Feds to start an environmental school. The building was located on an 11 acre tract which gave us ample room to lay out an exemplary environmental school that used environmental issues in all phases of curriculum where it was feasible to do so.

We planned the site as 4 distinct and different entities. One was the experimental area, one the “back to nature” area where we never had it mowed, one was the formal & ornamental area where there was a pond, benches and tables to have lunch for classes using the site. The 4th site was the wooded area where we planted trees of all kind.

I was principal there from 1960 to 1973 when I was asked to open a different school for kids with special talents, abilities and interests and in the upper quartile in “smarts.”

I spent 9 years at that program and then returned to Earhart in 1984 and spent the last 3 years of my career polishing up the Environmental Complex, retiring in June, 1987.

When the citizens of Wichita passed a bond issue a couple of years ago the above amount was spent on a new building for Earhart. It is built as totally “green” as it was architecturally possible working with the contractor. I’m anxious to see what they were able to do with it. I’ve seen the outside and now will get to see the inside.

Several years ago they named and dedicated a pond out in the complex the Bill Carriker Pond. How’s that for an ego trip. Not many people get a slimy pond full of cattails and bulrushes in it named after them. There’s even a large rock by the pond with my name on it. Looks like my tombstone.

PS. I’ve asked my son to take some of my ashes and throw them up into the wind so they will blow over the complex.

Is that enough “green” for you, Earthling???"

~ Bill (aka Gene) ~

Uncle Gene has also appeared here as a guest blogger
on the Third Sunday of Advent, 2010
and on My Father's Birthday, 2010

Gene's memoirs available on amazon:
Tiger Creek Tales: Memories of an Oil Patch Kid
by Billy Gene Carriker

Uncle Gene and Aunt Elaine
With their new great - grandson ~ May 2010

Unforgettable Uncle Gene

Loos'd of Limits


  1. Kim writes:

    "And now for the final chapter. Just prior to his death, Dad learned that his great grandson, Trent Logan Mitchell, was accepted to Earhart. Trent's first full day of school will be August 22nd just over a month after his "Great Papa" left us. He would have been so proud. The family is making plans to plant a memorial tree at Earhart in his memory."

  2. Ms. Carriker:
    My wife and I own an old mountain cabin in Colorado where we spend most of our weekends. The county records show that Billy Gene and Elaine Marie Carriker of Kansas were the owners from 1975 until 1992. Being curious, I searched the internet and saw that you mention Gene and Elaine Carriker quite a few times on your blog (like this one). Is there any chance you have or can get a hold of old photos showing the cabin and Gene and Elaine using it? We love the cabin and I’m just trying to track down any history of it.

  3. Tim, thank you so much for writing. I know Gene & Elaine (both deceased now) would have been thrilled to read your note and share their memories and know that you love the cabin as much as they did! I will check with my cousins to see what further information they might have.