An Opportunity to be Better - Chapter 6 Page 1

Aid is Delivered - the Real Work Begins

After Carson's "One World" play was over, some drifted away and went home, while others stayed to take part in the dance which followed.

Local farmer Orbie "Orb" Pierson seemed to be involved in any event requiring a band. Pierson and his musicians provided the after-play dance music.

Orb and wife Hazel also provided Morganville with its first local ambassador to its sister city. Daughter Billie had been born in 1918. In 1949, Billie would become the first person from Morganville to visit Fèves.

For Velma Carson, Velma (Hahn) Young, the band members, and some others, the time immediately following the pageant was probably a welcome opportunity to rest. During this time, Carson received some "fan" letters such as the one below:

Broughton, Kansas
September 4, 1948

We attended the pageant given in Morganville the other evening and we would like you to know that we enjoyed every minute of it. Being interested in pageants and plays of the home-talent variety, and having helped produce a goodly number of them, we realize what a huge undertaking it was. The writing of the script must have been a task!! Knowing small-town life, I can well imagine how the facts had to be sorted and resorted in order not to hurt anyone's dignity, and how tempted you must have been to add a few of the "juicier bits!!" (I do not refer to anything in particular, as I know hardly anyone in your town.)

We liked it all: the script, the pageant and the homemade cake, and we wish it could be given again so we could bring all of our friends.

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Haney
per Mrs. H.

Orb, wife Hazel and daughter Billie Pierson in 1919

Joseph and Josephine Haney had been accompanied to Morganville on the evening of the pageant by their 8-year-old daughter Cathy. Cathy would one day become the curator of the Clay County Historical Society museum and play a large part in preserving much of the material related to the pageant and the joining of Morganville with Fèves.

While Sonkin's recording of the play would give Todd some idea of what had unfolded that late-August evening in Morganville, Carson knew he would be eager to hear her impression of the event. So she sent him a letter, part of which follows, containing her assessment. It was sent September 1, the Wednesday after the performance, and she excuses the delay on having friends in town. But what with all the work leading up to the show, a post-performance let-down almost certainly played a part.

When I thought I could write to you on the 28th, I was optimistic. Sunday, we were still high and involved in a visiting family – old neighbor – reunion. Monday, the blackest cup of coffee wouldn't mesh any more and we all slept. Tuesday began the avalanche of scrambled costumes and their return to the old hooks in our spare room closet. The post mortems have been continuous; our floors will have to be revarnished. Last night, we reluctantly took Charlemagne back to obscurity.

Tonight, the UNESCO committee is holding an open meeting at the Stadium to elect a treasurer and secretary and appoint clothes collecting (They are already bringing things here) and food shipping committees, etc. etc.

Morganville will carry on faithfully and steadily. They are already thinking of ways to make more money. We know our "take" was not all
[that] large as it should have been considering the crowd, but we feel that everyone's education and good will toward the whole idea was worth much much more. Already we have had a query from a once isolationist banker in a neighboring town. A State Senator told me Sunday he was going to manage to give the program publicity in the legislature next winter. A visiting teacher is going to try to promote the idea in her school in Coldwater, Kansas next winter, etc., etc. The Ruegg girls and the Swedes may get together and send you a box of cookies, when it gets cooler. We have had several definite requests for repeat performances, here and in other towns. But we are a canny little village and know when to leave the game. I have had so many personal requests for the script for distant exiled citizens and from members of old families and the cast that I may look into printing costs – with great reluctance. It was jingled off during an eye operation and cast assembling in harassed hours. It was only meant to be read [to] music once – among friends.

The pictures came this morning and are not as good as I wish they were. We should have had a daylight dress rehearsal.

Speaking of the "what we should have dones" and the "without whoms," we want to thank you for sending Mr. Sonkin. He managed to give the whole idea the reassurance, glamour, and authenticity we needed – never mind the publicity.