On a lighter note, in July of that year, 1939, both my parents competed in the summer horse show before leaving for the Philippines...here is an excerpt from my book:
During the spring of 1939, Ramsey turned to Lavinia more at night. Whether it was from the stress he was currently under or something else, she didn’t care. She looked forward to their times of intimacy. When they decided to travel to the Ft. Riley, Kansas horse show at the end of July she worried that maybe they had not been as careful as they should. By the beginning of July there was no longer any doubt as to her condition but she decided to keep this news from Ramsey for the time being. He might want her to curtail her jumping and she was determined to go through with her classes. Their horses, Little Boy and Sir Conrad, had been transported from Texas, arriving in good condition despite the long trip.
This was the premier horse show of the summer and many big name riders would be there, old friends of Lavinia and Ramsey’s, as well as instructors that she looked forward to meeting. Besides that she needed some new breeches and who better to get them from than Albert More. He had his shop in Junction City, three miles from the post and he was the absolute best.
Ft. Riley was the cavalry’s chief training center and where Wainwright had been an instructor before he was assigned to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Ft. Myer in 1921. The legendary Guy Henry was currently the commandant of the Ft. Riley Cavalry School, the man responsible for changing the severe curb or “Shoemaker Bit” used on the Cavalry horses with the softer snaffle or the double bridle. She felt awed at the idea of meeting this man who had coached the first Olympic Equestrian Team back in 1912.
Ft. Riley was impressive with its historic limestone buildings and large horse barns. The main highway that cut through the post was lined with wide green pastures, oak groves and sycamores. Short, steep hills lay between the many acres that comprised the main post and the prairie to the west, making the landscape an interesting mix of deep ravines and flat hills for miles around. Hunting was one of the preferred ways to exercise and train the horses and both Ramsey and Lavinia looked forward to participating in this sport. Jumps had been set up at strategic spots, both brush and pole, leading over ravines and across grassland.
The historic Bartell Hotel in Junction City was where they had made reservations. Built in the 1880’s, it was an enormous brick monolith that took up almost an entire city block. Many of their friends were quartered there as well as it was one of the only decent hotels in the area and sported a bar as well as a very good restaurant; it was a short three miles to the base and with everyone traveling to and fro, rides were readily available.
In the evenings they got together with the rest of the show crowd. The town bustled with the energy of the riders and there was a festive air as people filled the two bars in town with their boisterous and lively conversations. Heavy drinking kept the bars open until the wee hours. One would never have known that just three miles away, the cavalry was preparing for war.
We are heading on to Nashville, Tn. today...next blog in a few days...