Sadie Spahr Class1930
Spare Class 1930

By Lloyd Adams
Vancouver, Washington

     I VALUE the lessons I learned and the experience of growing up in the small southeastern-Kansas town of Burden.
Hardly on the map in the 1930s with a population of 400, it's even smaller today. My family moved away in 1937, when I was a high school freshman. And once World War II arrived, almost every able bodied person moved to Wichita to work in the aircraft industry or went into the military. Few returned to Burden.
When I last visited in 1994, the town looked exactly as it did those many years ago, except for the decades of eterioration and a tiny, aged population.

The Baptist church where I learned right from wrong, good from bad and respect for my elders is still operating.  Dear "Aunt" Sadie Spahr served as my mentor, role model and Sunday school teacher.  Once our class went to the Spahr farm for an overnight sleepover in the hayloft. I guess I made a pest of myself, because the older boys tied me up in a burlap bag and let me think things over awhile.  At that age, we showed our manhood by carrying matches. Of course,  hay and matches never mix, so before we could play in the hay,

    Mr. Spahr lined us up and went through our pockets to recover any matches that we might have hidden there.  Another memorable person was Mr. Dyer, our top-notch school
coach. He was a friend to every student, a strict disciplinarian and the church janitor.
Safe and Sound It was the custom for young chil
dren to go to the front pew and sleep during Sunday night services.  One evening, I was the only child to do so, and my parents forgot about me and went home. Mr. Dyer finished his chores, turned out the lights, locked the door and went home.  When Mom and Dad realized what happened, they rushed back to the church, then had to go to Mr. Dyer's home to get the keys. Dad opened the church door, switched on the light and rushed to the front pew, only to find me still sawing logs.
That experience taught me the unshakable truth of safety within the church of God.
After 80 years, I still thank God for that little Baptist church and the town of Burden.

SMALL TOWN. Burden, Kansas holds big memories for author, to the right of Sadie Spahr (far left) with the rest of his 1936 Sunday school class.