m saiina Journal - Sunday, November 29,1981 / The Salina ^ournal Bernice Moris, Rexford, and her disc art. Pa in tings are tribute to the farm Photo by Evelyn Burger Story by Linda Mowery REXFORD — Bernice Maria was 10 years old when she discovered the world of art. She painted a picture for her father — a picture of a deer that had byn shot by hunters. At the time, her tools were household enamel paint and imagination. "My dad loved the painting," Mrs. Marts said. "We were quite a loving family and anything us kids did was great." Mrs. Maria* talent for painting has never left her. At 69, she considers it a "God-given gift." Her most recent project has been to salvage some old disc blades and turn them into a canvas for her work. "I never throw anything away," Mrs. Marts said. "I'm always looking for something to paint on." Her husband, Clarence, is responsible for what she considers "the hard work." He cleaned the rust and dirt off the blades, which had been retired several ago on the couple's farm near Rexford. Mrs. Marts plugs the round hole, where the blade fits onto the disc, with a hard plastic. Then, she starts painting with a ceramic stain. She does not like oil paint because it takes too long to dry. Mrs. Marts does not sketch her pictures before she starts to paint. Most of the time, she does not know how they will turn out until she is done. Her disc paintings feature wildlife in their natural habitat. Her favorite paintings show beaver and pheasant. She is especially proud of the pheasant painting because of the detail on the feathers. "It takes a real steady hand and a tiny brush," she said. She already has sold four of the disc blades for $45 each. Most, however, will be used as Christmas presents for her four sons and other members of the Marts family. "I'll be working night and day to get them done," she predicted. "It takes quite a bit of time to paint a disc." Hiuband helps Clarence Maria attaches a short chain to the back of the disc blades so they can be hung on the wall. Mrs. Marts, who has never had an art lesson in her 69 years, also has painted portraits of her seven grandchildren. She painted in secret because "If I couldn't have done it, no one would ever have known." When the first oil painting was done, she took it to her husband and asked him who the face in the picture resembled. Much to her delight, he correctly identified it as the couple's grandson, Craig. "I just did those paintings for the challenge," Mrs. Marts said. "And I was pleased with the way they came out." They were her first attempt at portrait painting. While Mrs. Marts tends her paints and brushes, Clarence Marts, a retired farmer, works to enlarge his collection of bridle bits and wrenches. The collections He has about 165 bits, including one from the Civil War and a set used by the U.S. Calvary during World War I. Maria' wrench collection fills three or four toolboxes and features pieces that date back to the Marts, who also makes bits, said wrench collectors are common, but few are interested in bridle bits. He knows of less than half-a-dozen in Kansas. "We're a hobby family," Mrs. Marts said. "If someone came to our house, they would wonder now we got along. He's always in his shop welding something and I'm always in the basement pasting and painting. "We never lack for something to keep us busy." GAME TRAIN Former Herington resident wonts to remember the passenger cor By LINDA MOWERY Great Plaina Editor HERINGTON — Old Rock Island Railroad passenger coaches don't die. They find a home along the side of the highway and live happily ever after as an electronic game train. The idea to update the old carriages belongs to Gordon Schultz, who holds a doctor's degree in education from Kansas State University. Schultz, a former high school principal and school superintendent, is a member of the State Board of Education. He also is president of Crazy Cleve's Game Train, Wichita. "I guess I'm a little boy who never grew up when it came to trains," Schultz admitted. Schultz was reared at Herington, a little more than a mile from the nock Island tracks. Trains were a major part of his life. He remembers when he was 10 years old and his father bought him an electric train set for Christmas. "It took my breath away, I loved it so much," Schultz recalled. "That's the kind of thrill we want to give people when they look at our cars." He also remembers when he was a high school senior and his class boarded a train for Kansas City. He still can hear the hiss of the compressed air from the brakes as the train left the Herington depot. "It gives me a kind of thrill to relive that," be said. And Schultz remembers the sum- men he worked for the Rock Island and Santo Fe Railroad*. This car soon will be an electronic game train. His passenger cars are being restor' ed at Herington under the guidance of Gary Young and other local workers. "There's a lot of work involved," Young said. "There cars were pretty well run-down." Most of the can carry the date of 1935. One, however, was built in 1915. It has been restored and is open for business in Herington. Another game train operates at Manhattan. "Putting a 1980's activity into a piece of nostalgia gives it a pretty dynamic mix," Schultz aaid. One of the cars, nicknamed the "Butch Caasidy coach," has a sign that reads: "Don't shoot buffalo from the open windows." "They remind ui of atime that WM lew complicated - a time that takes u* tack to our childhood," Scbulti t He said workers have tried to "stay true to our railroad roots." Herington residents, many of whom worked for the railroad, have been asked for suggestions. The cars are painted Pullman green and black. Luggage racks remain, along with some of the original seats. Young said it takes from two to three weeks to restore the cars, and another week or two of work once the carriage has been carried by rail and flat-bed truck to its permanent site. At present, Young and his crew expect to refurbish about 15 cars. They will repaint, carpet, fix windows, install bathrooms, place electric eyes on the doors and build a bar in the coaches for soda and popcorn. Conventional doors are placed in each end of the car for fire exits. "No smoking or drinking is allowed," Schultz said. "We want to keep the cars super clean and super organized so it's a family atmosphere. That way we get all the market. We have a place where everybody can go." He wants to exchange the "sterile" atmosphere of the typical game room for one that is "attractive and interesting." Each coach will contain 18 to » electronic game machines. The cars, which originally carried about 100 persona, will be limited to 50 customers. "The more crowded it gets, the more people like it," Schultz aaid. Schultz aaid he will open aa many game trains as demand allows. He already has purchased a site at Emporia. Other future locations will include Salina, Great Bend and Hut- chinaon, he said. Interior facelift.
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