It’s a most magical time of the year

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

-Roald Dahl



Wishing you the Merriest of Christmases, the Happiest of Hanukkahs, the sweetest of holidays. Wherever you are and however you celebrate the season, remember that no act of kindness, however small, is wasted or lost, and know this that kindness is the greatest magic of all, for it blesses two.


Let’s go fly a plane

Oh, oh, oh!
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!…
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear…

Mr. Banks sings in Mary Poppins

Clear blue skies, few trees, level fields and plenty of room to land, all made for a great place to fly a plane. Add to this, the can do attitude of a few geniuses and you have the makings of airplane history. And the makings of Wichita as the Air Capital of the World.




It all began back in 1916 when Clyde Cessna moved his airplane manufacturing business from his farm in Kingman County to an auto factory in north Wichita. He was quickly followed by other magnificent men like Lloyd Stearman, Walter Beech, E.M. Laird, J.M. Mollendick and George Weaver, those magnificient men who were responsible for starting the aircraft industry and winning a war, if you consider, and we proudly do, Boeing’s contribution to World War II.




Wichita is a great place to fly a plane.

Boeing’s major manufacturing plants may be gone. Still we make great planes here in Wichita at companies which include: Cessna Aircraft Company, Spirit Aerosystems Inc, Hawker Beechcraft Corporation, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Wichita, and Bombardier Learjet, and even an engineering component of Airbus.



So today, when you fly a plane, it probably has something to do with Wichita. We have the planes and parts so that, in you mind, you can say, “Let’s go fly a plane.”





The beauty of a horse

In the image of a horse we project our own wishes and dreams – strong, powerful, and beautiful. In the image of a horse galloping unfettered upon the landscape we realize our escape from our mundane existence.

Arabian beauties
Camargue Horses in France. Image Xavier Ortega.

The place to which we go does not matter. Whether upon the southern coast of France, the deserts of Saudi Arabia or our own Southwest, it is the idea of freedom that propels us. We ought to do good and live life as simply as a horse runs.


Horses are social animals, traveling in herds, but they are also uniquely individualistic. Like humans, a horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to keep pace with and outrun.

The beauty of the horse lies in its spirit.


The interior designers at Traditions Home can order these and other beautiful images for your home or office.

Ernest Valeton de Boissière and Silkville, Kansas

Ernest in old age

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on,
and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

The Tempest, Act IV, Scene I, lines 168 – 170.

In Kansas, take Interstate 35 from Emporia to Overland Park, take the Williamsburg exit, go to Old Highway 50, and travel east and south a few miles. There you will find a one room schoolhouse built of Kansas limestone. The school is all that remains of Silkville, Kansas and the dream of Ernest Valeton de Boissière.


Everyone is familiar with the first French Revolution, which occurred in 1789, eventually making Napoleon emperor. Napoleon’s rule lasted until 1815 when he met defeat at Waterloo. Louis XVIII became king. In 1824, King Charles X assumed power. In 1830, a Second (July) Revolution took place and Charles X’s cousin, Louis Phillip, took power. By 1832, conditions in France remained bleak. The death of Jean Maximilian Lamarque sparks the June Rebellion of 1832, which provided the background for Victor Hugo’s book, Les Miserables. In 1848, the Third French Revolution took place leading to the election of Napoleon’s nephew, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. He declares himself emperor. In 1851, he declares himself emperor. In 1870, a disastrous war with Prussia deposes Louis Napoleon and establishes the Third French Republic.

Ernest Valeton de Boissière (1811 – 1894) a Frenchman dreamed of a community  where everyone would share the wealth. Ernest Valeton de Boissière.

In 1868 at the age of 58, De Boissière bought 3500 acres of land in Franklin County, southeast of Ottawa. His goal was to begin a silk making farm, thus the name Silkville.


By 1870, 70 acres of white mulberry trees were planted on the rolling landscape. From California, French silkworm eggs were imported. And by 1874, a three story stone farmhouse was ready to house the French families who came to live and work in Silkville.


By 1876, Silkville was displaying its silk ribbon at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and winning ribbons. As cheaper Japanese and Chinese silks became available over the years, the farm added the production of butter and cheese to make money.

Meanwhile, the children of Silkville went to school in the one room schoolhouse that still stands at the corner of Old Highway 50.


Foreign competition and the availability of land defeated the dream. By 1892, de Boissière, at the age of 82, converted the farm to an orphanage and donated the land to the Independent Organization of Odd Fellows.

Silkville School
Silkville one room school

The dream may have ended but the idea of sharing and caring is universal.