Schonberg with the motorized log cart he designed Photo courtesy Kay Schonberg
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Philip Schonberg is best known in this area for his tree trimming business (Schonberg’s Tree Service) that he has run with a couple of his sons and a handful of employees for many years. But Schonberg is more than just a tree trimmer; he’s an inventor of sorts.
He insists he’s not really an inventor, but more of an “adapter.” He figures out how to make things better by building, rebuilding, and rethinking something to make it more useful. Take the motor-driven log cart that he designed. Because there is not a lot of equipment on the market that you can use in the trimming business that is suitable for small or well-manicured yards, Schonberg came up with the cart that is marketed under the name “little helper cart.” Don’t let that name fool you because it is a big help to those in the tree business, and surely saves a lot of wear and tear on muscles.
At only 240 pounds itself, the cart can carry a load of up to 800 pounds. (Try moving that much weight in a wheelbarrow!) It’s self-propelled, can move a heavy load uphill and doesn’t tear up the turf in a yard. Even a small person can operate it. Schonberg allowed me to drive one around his equipment yard after the interview, and the cart practically drove itself. I had to hang on to keep up with it. Granted, it didn’t have 800 pounds in it, but Philip had stacked several big logs in it for me.
Because his tree business can only be done eight or nine months out of the year, he takes advantage of the winter months to build the carts. So far he’s sold about 90 carts, and he gets rave reviews from those who have bought them. A training and safety supervisor in Kansas City called the little helper cart “a life saver.”
“Tree trimming is still a lot of work,” admitted Schonberg, “but the cart helps. It is so much easier than using a wheelbarrow or a dolly.”
Schonberg comes from a family of inventors. His dad, grandfather and uncles came up with all kinds of inventions.
“My Uncle Harry built a tractor out of old car and truck parts,” Schonberg said with a laugh. “Being poor is fertile ground for inventors. There are probably some people who sit around trying to invent things, but most inventions are made by hard-working people just trying to figure out how to make things better.”
Not everything Schonberg creates is for business. He built The Flying Banana, a trailer he pulls behind his tractor that looks unmistakably like a huge banana, for the pleasure of his grandchildren. It has plenty of seating for his numerous grandchildren with a little gate that closes so that a child can’t fall out. Adults enjoy the excursions in The Flying Banana as much as the kids.
Schonberg also has a huge organic garden that produces much of the food his family enjoys all year. Even the swing on the porch was handmade by Philip, and it’s much more comfortable than one from a factory. It practically invites you to slow down and sit a spell to enjoy the serenity of his country property.
Phil and his wife Kay live a few miles south of Eudora in a home they built themselves. They have four grown children and a banana trailer load of grandchildren. Schonberg can be reached at 785-865-6789.
The Pilla Building in the early 20th century Photo courtesy of Eudora Area Historical Society
Eudora News and Information ~ www.eudorareporter.com
How did a lawyer from Connecticut and a guy who runs a PR firm in Wisconsin end up at Blacklodge Recording in downtown Eudora making an album they ultimately named Eudora? It’s a winding road that brought this pair to our little neck of the woods.
Dave Kenna and Mark Farley were both musicians throughout high school in NY in the late 1970’s and early 80’s playing hard rock and heavy metal. Their style changed after Farley sang an Allman Brothers tune with a two-piece band in a little bar in Long Island. Kenna and Farley realized they could put together something acoustic that would allow their harmonies to be heard and would focus on their melodies rather than just volume. Thus, the two-man band Second Wind was born in 1982.
The friends ended up attending different colleges but met up on breaks and played in Long Island during the heyday of the wine and cheese scene. It wasn’t exactly the most profitable thing in the world.
Kenna explained, “We could get lots of acoustic gigs for about $20 a night with a $10 bar tab.”
Their careers took them in different directions after college, but the two continued to get together once a year to attend an NFL game together. Each year they chose a city they’d never been to before.
“As 2012 approached,” recalled Kenna, “it occurred to me that we were coming up on the 30th anniversary of our first gig as Second Wind, so I suggested to Mike that we head to Kansas City and bring a guitar along so we might record a few songs.”
Mike was skeptical, but the guys wound up each writing a new song and then combining Dave’s melody and chorus with Mike’s lyrics for a third song. They finished it off with a favorite Jim Crose tune. The friends then headed to Kansas where they spent the day recording at Eudora’s Blacklodge before attending a Chief’s game later in the weekend.
At that time Blacklodge Recording was in the historic old Pilla building at 7th & Main. It is currently the personal studio of Hawaii-born-and-raised songwriter Kawehi. From 1862-1929 the building was the Pilla Store (owned by Charles Pilla, once mayor of Eudora) that sold groceries, general merchandise and farm implements. In the years following it housed many grocery different stores, a funeral chapel and another recording studio. Dave Kenna described the building as having “amazing acoustics” for recording.
Kenna and Farley had a great experience in Eudora, not only at the recording studio but also meandering around town and eating lunch at Jasmine’s. Mike Farley thought that a restaurant that combined Chinese and Mexican cuisine was just odd enough that it had to be tried. They were not disappointed in either the food or the people they met as they wandered the streets of Eudora after the meal.
“Folks we met along the way were excited that we were recording and were so open and friendly that as the recording came to together, we decided that the most appropriate name for the album would be Eudora,” explained Kenna. “I associate the name Eudora with one of the greatest days of my musical life.”
Farley added, “It was the perfect setting for two old friends to record and put something on CD after 30 years.”
After finishing the recording, Kenna and Farley decided to release the CD to raise money and awareness for autism. They added two songs they had previously recorded and wound up with an acoustic album that Kenna believes “captures where we started, where we went on our own and where we are now.” They couldn’t be happier with the result.
“What I find amazing,” said Kenna, “is how we just picked up the ball so easily and how our voices, 30 years on, still seem to work together. We insisted on minimal technology in the recording and allowed our mistakes and the natural acoustics of the room to shine through.”
Dave Kenna can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone loves a garage sale…especially one with nearly twenty vendors that is held inside a comfortable building. This coming Saturday you can go to just that kind of garage sale. That’s right! You can shop in climate-controlled comfort and browse through many tables of bargains at the Eudora Community Center, 1630 Elm in Eudora. It’s hard telling what treasures you’ll find!
The sale runs from 9:00 am until noon on Saturday, November 23.
There are a limited number of spots left for those wanting to sell goods. The cost to rent an 8-foot table is $10, with proceeding going to local charities. For more information, contact the Eudora Community Center at 542-3434.
The Eudora Area Historical Society will have its November meeting on Thursday, November 21 at 7:30pm at Eudora City Hall.
The program for this meeting will be presented by William Worley and is titled “How Rural Electrification Transformed Kansas.” Prior to the 1930s, the prohibitive costs of stringing electrical lines across vast rural spaces made electricity a primarily urban phenomenon. This meant that many jobs of the farm had to be done by humans, animals, tractors, and combines. Learn how New Deal legislation established rural electrical associations (REAs) as cooperative ventures managed by farmers and supported by low-cost government loans. For the first time, farm wives could have washing and sewing machines, dairy farmers could refrigerate milk, and families could be entertained by radios and eventually televisions. Rural work productivity soared. We probably all take electricity for granted today, but it was not long ago that the Eudora area was largely devoid of electricity.
This program is made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council. “How Rural Electrification Transformed Kansas” is part of the Kansas Humanities Council’s The Way We Worked Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and discussions examining the theme of work and working in Kansas and how these stories help define us.
Contact Ben Terwilliger, 785-690-7900, EudoraHistory@gmail.com, for additional information.
This event is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!
Eudora News and Information ~ www.eudorareporter.com
This is the second in a two-part series on adoption. Last week you read the stories of the Dodge and Jubber families. Today you can read about two more Eudora families who have experienced adoption.
Elijah, Ling, Alex, & Xen Clobes, photo courtesy Julie Clobes
With four children between the ages of 5 and 9, the Clobes household is a busy, sometimes chaotic, place. But it wasn’t always that way. Like many couples, Julie and Mark Clobes had trouble conceiving. They had always talked of someday adopting, but the infertility—and the fact that they had waited until they were in their 30’s to get married—prompted them to start researching adoption sooner rather than later. They chose to adopt internationally.
“We felt most comfortable with international adoption,” explained Julie. “Mark and I had both done a lot of traveling and were interested in other cultures.”
Julie said that China particularly stood out to them because of the rich and interesting history, and because the one child policy in China meant that there were lots of little girls in orphanages. Since Julie is a nurse, they felt strongly that they should pursue what is called “special needs adoption.” The term “special needs” includes minor differences like crossed-eyes, birth marks or even ears that are too low, not just major health problems or disabilities.
It took about a year to adopt their first little girl from China. Ling was 20 months old when she came home with the Clobes family. An especially joyful part of the adoption was that they got to meet Ling’s foster mother in China and develop a relationship with her. Ling is now a happy and active 9-year old.
Two years later, the Clobes adopted a little boy named Alex from Guatemala. Though the process started when Alex was just a newborn, he was 17-months old at his homecoming. They made two trips to Guatemala, spending a week with the baby when he was 9-months old and then bringing him home eight months later. They were able to take Alex, who is now 7, back to visit his home country last year.
Six weeks after they brought Alex home, the couple that had battled infertility conceived a baby boy. At five years old, Elijah is a handsome little blonde who loves his older siblings and looks up to them.
Not satisfied with just having brothers, Ling began to pray for a sister. This prompted the Clobes to start the adoption process all over, looking to China for a second time. The process went quickly, and in only nine months they brought 5-year-old Xin (pronounced Shen) home to Kansas. Ling got to make the trip to China with her parents to bring home the sister she had prayed for.
“I was anxious about how Xin would accept us since she was older,” Julie shared. “But she walked right up to me in the orphanage and called me mama. Then she started playing with Ling.”
Xin didn’t talk for the first six months after she joined the Clobes, but now at eight she is a chatterbox. She has adjusted well to her new family and fits in perfectly. Julie describes her as the “family princess” since Xin loves anything sparkly and girly!
Julie would encourage any family who has thought about adopting to start learning about it and looking into all the different options. There are many, many children in the US and all over the world that need a family. She said that people shouldn’t wait for the “perfect time” to adopt because there is never a perfect time.
Has adoption been worth it for the Clobes?
“This is better than anything we could have imagined, or anything we could have planned ourselves,” answered Julie. Then she added, “This is the best of life.”
The final adoption story is from a slightly different perspective than the previous three. I interviewed Michaela Beem Beshears, a married woman with four children, who was herself adopted when she was a baby. You’ll also hear from Michaela’s mother, Mary Beem. It’s a beautiful story that just might bring you to tears, so have a hankie handy.
Michaela Beshears was just two months old when she was adopted by Marvin and Mary Beem in 1975. It was her parents’ second adoption, as they had gotten a boy named Matthew six years earlier. The Beems created a warm and loving home for their children. Both Michaela and her brother Matthew, who passed away in 2004, loved to hear their adoption stories. Their parents never hid the fact that they were not biological; the kids knew from the beginning how they had become a part of the Beem family. But both of them knew they were unconditionally loved and accepted, so much so that Michaela has never felt the need to know her birth mother.
“As I was growing up, people often asked me if I knew my real mom, and my response was always the same and is to this day: My real mom is Mary Beem, the woman who loved me, wiped my tears, held me when I was sick, supported me through so many different journeys in my life, disciplined me when needed, spoiled me and loved me unconditionally,” said Michaela. She added, “My father did the same.”
To Michaela, her biological mother is “just the lady who had me.” She is grateful that her birth mother chose life and allowed Michaela to have such a wonderful family.
Michaela gets to celebrate two special days each year, her actual birthday on May 5th and her “Getting Day” on July 24th. Other than celebrating those occasions, she says she forgets that she was even adopted. She has never felt different or had any bad experiences, and being surrounded by friends and neighbors who were also adopted made her feel even more normal.
Her mother Mary feels the same way, almost forgetting that her children were adopted. She and her husband, who died in 2006, always loved both of their children as if they were flesh and blood. Mary keeps a photo of herself with Michaela and Matthew on the dresser along with a poem called The Adoption Creed: Not flesh of my flesh nor bone of my bone, but miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart, but in it.
Michaela lives in Eudora with her husband Mark and children Emily, Abby, Connor and Brooklyn. Her mother Mary Beem also resides in Eudora.