When that customer requested permission to go to St. Mary, I thought, probably, I had made a mistake by taking him. It proved otherwise. He greatly assisted me on that sale as he seemed to know what to say and when to say it. During the succeeding fifteen years, he went with me many times. In 1919 he went with me to see a prospect at Sylvan Grove. Kansas weather, at times, is warm and humid. As the pressure was gently applied, large beads of perspiration were visible on the prospect's forehead. We sold, for cash, a 36-56 steel separator, fully equipped. The customer who went with me that day was a man in whom people had confidence. I once told him, after closing the sale, 'He had been in the wrong business. Sales was where he belonged.' His going with me on a sale, was a good omen.
During my work on sales on the Salina Block, I enjoyed the confidence and friendship of many customers and dealers. The first customer to whom I sold Advance machinery in 1903 did no shopping? during the 20 succeeding years he operated machinery. He bought two Advance separators, one Avery, one Nichols and Shepard, from me. He was not alone in that. In looking back I wonder why that came about. It was not because of my good work on sales. Neither was it because of the machinery I sold, as I had sold some of them machinery made by as many as three different companies. Many good machines other than the ones I sold, were made. As I look back in the evening twilight of my life, I sometimes wonder what I did to merit the confi dence and friendship of those men.
I do not wish nor intend to write anything which will take anything from any of those friends, which so rightfully belonged to them. However, among those friends were two outstanding ones. It was not easy to determine which was closer. Both were ten years younger than I. Twenty years ago one of them suddenly passed on. As I walked by the other to the graveside, I said to him, 'This is getting close to us. Who will be next,' The answer required eight years. It was not the one many things indicated it would be. He and I keenly felt the loss of that friend. That friend's going, if it were possible, drew us closer together.
Mt. Calvary Cemetery is located on a hill in Salina about a mile east of the Smoky Hill River. Gypsum Hill Cemetery, a Protestant cemetery, lies adjacent to it on the south. Marymount College, for girls, is located north across the road or Iron Avenue. That structure is magnificient. Students enroll at Marymount from many parts of the United States. The Smoky Hill River, flowing in its winding course, flows into Salina from the south. Salina is a City of 24,000. It is a city of good homes and beautiful trees. In the spring the foliage is heavy and dark green. The city lies mostly to the northwest, large flour mills, many cement storage tanks and St. John's Mil itary School are seen in the distance. As you look west the United Life Building, school building and churches are visible. Sacred Heart Church with its spire pointing toward the heavens is located at Ninth and Iron Avenue. Sacred Heart Cathedral is under construction near it. Fine residential districts, Kansas Wesleyan University, and a $1,000,000 high school building lie to the southwest and south. Country Club Heights, with its luxurious homes, is to the east.
When the lazy, sluggish Smoky Hill River is aroused from its lethargy by heavy rains, its wild torrents become engines of destruction. I witnessed the damaging flood of 1903, the equally disastrous one of 1951, and several lesser floods 'sandwiched' between them. The muddy turbulent water of the Smoky Hill caused much destruction but the people were undaunted. They returned to their homes, cleaned and rebuilt them and a more beautiful Salina arose from the ruin.
The principal in this sketch lived his entire life near Salina. When 15 years old, through the death of his father, he became the head of the family, consisting of the stepmother, a brother, three sisters and two young halfbrothers. With horses and mules he plowed, harrowed, drilled and harvested the crops produced in 320 acres of land and paid the indebtedness, proving of what metal he was made.
After he bought the Advance machinery and had taken it home, I drove out one Sunday to give the machinery a final checkup, before he began operating it. It had been used as a sample and was well adjusted. It was my desire to see him off to a good start.
The 26 HP. read mounted compound Advance engine with Cab, Jacket, brass bands around the waist of the boiler and 'Banner Boy' Trade Marks stenliled on water tanks and coal box, was a proud appearing engine. The well built, finely finished separator, was a fit companion.
The machinery was near the house. I was alone with it. The Stepmother quietly approached, looked at me in a motherly way, spoke gently and said, 'You must not mistreat Ed. He is a good boy'. With those remarks, she returned to the house. That was in 1911. I have not for gotten her softly spoken words. Her statement more nearly appraised his qualities than a volume written by me. 'She was a wonderful mother.'
He was honest, his character above reproach and faithful to his friends.
Our friendship began the day we rode Union Pacific Train No. 104 from Salina to St. Mary. The ties of friendship grew stronger as the years fled. I was near when what may have been the happiest moment of his life and stood by him in his hour of greatest sorrow. He stopped to see me many times as he returned from early Church Services and other places. The last Sunday morning he was permitted to attend church services, he stopped as he went home. On the cold New Year's morning of 1940, I drove to see him. As I drove into the yard, he was getting into his car. He said, 'I must go to church. I will be seeing you.' Those were his last words to me. I admired him for what he was. There is no forgetting. Neither do I wish to forgot. And now, in the still hours of the night and in my dreams, visions of him come to me. His tragic death and coming in the time of my life, it came, did not lessen the tension.
And in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, with the rippling water of the Smoky Hill River flowing at the foot of the hill, nearly circled by the City of Salina, with its fine homes and beautiful trees, among his People, he sleeps the sleep Eternal and may the Lord, whom he so faithfully served, have bless Edward J. Streckfus.