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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida • Page 13

West Palm Beach, Florida
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if F0R Women Palm Beach Post, Monday, February 10, 196913 '''S 4 LAST WAGON WEST Not only has this wagon taken the Gillis Family West to California, but to Europe, Canada, Mexico, and throughout the United States. The bales of hay on the bottom are for the trusty draw horse, of course. i II Jt a a -r' i mh HITCHIN' UP HORSES Leon Gillis gets horses ready (below) for next trek. He and his niece are traveling through Palm Beach County on their way to Miami. Impossible Dream Came True vwW'nfmmmma 11 i 5 Percheron dray horses to haul wagon.

George and Gracie in at 1,600 lbs. each and ate a lot of hay! The also took along a saddle horse. July 14, 1962, the family Santa Monica, California, where Mrs. Gillis a symbolic bottle of Ocean water into the During that year, the children had kept up their school using school texts and encyclopedias carried in the They'd also broadened education considerably visiting museums, schools, farms, Indian reservations, military bases, zoos, battlegrounds, and legislatures. They'd met talked to people from all of life.

They'd eaten all of unfamiliar regional They'd learned to live and they were still for more travel! Why Europe next, they asked. recouping their finances, the family shipped the to Antwerp, Belgium, were on their way. Two of older children stayed behind, with plans to join the later. The European tour included 12 nights of camping under the Eiffel Tower, and an unprecedented wagon trip through Czechoslovakia, Poland, and 'Russia. Cupid flew over the wagon in Germany in 1964.

Lee Ann, the oldest Gillis girl, clad only in a bikini, was sunning herself on the tailgate of the wagon when an enterprising American soldier flew his helicopter over and descended for a closer look at the amazing spectacle below. He returned that afternoon by car and five months later married the girl. Since the European venture, the Gillises have made forays into Mexico, Canada, and throughout the United States. Mrs. Gillis set up base in Virginia so the older children could finish high school, and she joins the wagon on vacations and holiday weekends.

Meanwhile, Leon Gillis continues his adventuring with whatever members of the family want to go along. Currently his niece. Eileen Stevens, is with the wagon. Eileen, an extremely attractive girl who looks no more than sixteen, but ad mils she is By SHEILA TRYK Staff Writer Nobody is quite sure which member of the Leon Gillis family first had the idea to go across the country by covered wagon. Perhaps it was little George, who was then six, who naively suggested that it might be fun.

But by 1961, the wild notion had become a secret family project. And in September, 1961, the Leon Gillis family set out by horse-drawn covered wagon from near Richmond, Virginia, heading for California and the Pacific. There were eight persons in the wagon Gillis, his wife, and their six children, ranging in age from 6 to 17. The impossible dream was becoming a real-ity. Gillis, originally from Georgia, had been in the sporting goods business in Virginia, when he decided to retire and become a wagonmaster.

He purchased a large, sturdy farm wagon chassis, and with the help of a retired blacksmith and wagon-builder, rebuilt the wagon to accommodate the family in the simplest way possible. In Pennsylvania, they found a pair of blue roan BRINGING IN HORSES Gillis brings in his horses (left) that were tethered in a vacant lot to tow his wagon. One of the horses, Gracie, has walked an estimated 40,000 miles towing the covered wagon. CHATTING At right, Leon Gillis and Eileen Stevens discuss past and future journeys aboard the covered wagon. the weighed Gillises On reached poured Atlantic Pacific.

work wagon. their by factories, parks, state and levels manner foods. simply game not After wagon and the tour 17 I I 22. is an actress whose home is in Garden Grove. California.

Her father Gordon Stevens, has been an actor in motion pictures most of his life. Eileen feels the wagon trip is giving her more experience with different types of people than any acting course she could ever take. Right now. the Gillis covered wagon is in Palm Beach County, heading for Miami, towed by the faithful Gracie. who has walked an estimated 40.000 miles, and by George II.

a dray horse who looks as if he has a good measure of Clydesdale in him. Gillis would like to figure out a way to take the wagon to Cuba, but admits the prospects aren't very bright. Come summer, and all members of the family who want to "sign will take the wagon across the Atlantic once again, to tour England and Scotland. "The Last Wagon West'' has probably traveled more miles than any prairie schooner in American history all because one American family, the Leon Gillises. decided to defy convention and do their own thing.

Literally (Graham, who said a prayer at Nixon's inaugural and conducted the first East Room religious service in the Nixon era, also was close to LBJ, having been an overnight guest at Camp David and the White House on many occasions, including just two nights before Johnson left office. Other Carpenter sallies "We knew the eastern establishment had moved in when a French poodle replaced a beagle." "Nixon was shocked that in the waning hours of the Johnson Administration LBJ signed an executive order to take his grandson (Lyn) with him Nixon claims that Lyn is the only one who knows where the hotline is that he held frequent conversations with Kosygin that are still classified." The publishers, who were busy last year signing up LBJ-era authors, "have come to town again, signing up members of the new administration. They have secretary of state Bill Rogers writing 'let Saigons Be Saigons'." "(Secretary of the Interior) Walter Hickel isn't writing a book. He's writing a protest song, 'This Land Is My You know, putting Hickel in charge of conservation Is like putting Dean Martin in charge of prohibition!" And there was a dig from Mr. Carpenter at Sen.

Eugene McCarthy, who probably more than anyone else toppled Pres. Johnson from the White House. The Senator, a book of whose poems has recently come in for some critical acclaim, is a "wistful bard" who has "reached the limit of poetic license," said Liz. "He's the only poet who makes neither rhyme nor reason." i -f'H V' i fact, Nixon's press secretary, Ronald Zieg-ler, delayed his briefing one day when he learned Agnew was holding forth, in order not to draw away the Vice President's audience. All of which is fine for Agnew, and gets him more of an audience for his words than any vice president ordinarily can command.

But he may die of pneumonia in the process! Nobody seems to be able to figure out a place for the Vice President to carry on his busy sideshow, except outside on the White House driveway. Cameramen are used to setting up out there, to focus on a White House visitor likely to have newsmaking announcements, because the group can expand indefinitely in the great outdoors. But not in icy-cold winter months And it has been cold! Reporters were so chilled the other day, when the group with Agnew and Lindsay included New York Senators Javits and Goodell and several other officials each with something to say. of course that their fingers could scarcely grip a pencil. The Messrs.

Agnew, Lindsay, et al, most of whom didn't have on overcoats, must have been even colder. Agnew's own presumably Is not large enough for his press sessions. The President meets the press in the historic, chande-liered east room, but that may be a little much for a vice president to aspire to. A happy compromise would seem to be the big west wing press lobby where photographers I 4 Mirrors Of Washington Poor Agnew Being Left Out usually set up their gear in the winter. Maybe nobody told Spiro T.

about that. There was an amusing exchange at a Zieg-ler briefing when it was announced that President Nixon plans to have an office in the Executive Office Building across the street. i ft 7 In Cold "Let's get this straight. Ron." one reporter, only partly in jest. "Are you saying Vice President Agnew is moving I to the White House, and President Nixon is moving OUT?" Ziegler responded, to laughter, that Mr.

Nixon's office across the street is to be in addition to the oval office in the White House west wing, the traditional presidential office for many, many years. Liz Carpenter is still alive and kicking and making wisecracks, even though the train of history has moved on. Lady Bird Johnson's inlmiatable pres secretary during the Johnsons' five years in the White House, Mrs. Carpenter is now writing a book. But she took time out the other day to accept, with her husband, Les, a journalism award from the Headllners Club in her old home town, Austin, Tex.

They gave the home folks a tongue-in-cheek fill-in what's going on back in Washington, now that the Nixon team has taken over. "There has been considerable movement throughout the deadpanned. "The J. Walter Division has tunnelled into the Executive Ultice building. Nixon nas nirea so many advertising men, they're changing the White House address to 1600 Madison Avenue.

Nixon cabinet members get to their desks by 7:30 each morning smiling, contributed Les Carpenter, dubbing the new team "the up-up-upmanship administration." "They keep the Sabbath Holy in the East Room with that great transition rider of the skies, Billy Graham, the bi-partisan Baptist," he added. i i ill By ISABELLE SHELTON WASHINGTON (NANA) Something should be done to bring Vice President Agnew in out of the cold! President Nixon, either to build him up or shut him up (you can hear both versions around White House lobbies), moved his vice president into an office in the White House itself When Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey were vice president, each had an "uptown" office (as distinguished from offices all vice presidents have on Capitol Hill), in the Executive Office Building across the street from the White House. Richard Nixon, as President Eisenhower's vice president, didn't have an "uptown" office at all. Agnew, in any case, professes to be very pleased with having his digs so close to the seat of power. And there does seem to be an effort to show that he is engaged in meaningful activities of an executive nature.

Thus, twice within a few days be appeared before White House reporters with Mayor John Lindsay of New York City, to talk about a plan he is pressing to help Lindsay get the now-closed down Brooklyn Navy Yard cheaply for the city, as a source of jobs. The pattern, if worked out successfully in New York, will be used in other areas of the country, Agnew said. The Vice President got an excellent press turnout for his two appearances, because the White House press area is teeming with reporters and photographers these days, all curious about how it's going to be with the new administration. So when Agnew's staff whistled for reporters, there were plenty at hand to respond. In i (J "'i LIZ CARPENTER.

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