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December 2020/January 2021 Contributor Articles 


by Ronnie D. Foster

After writing several books on the fallen warriors from my home of McKinney, Texas, I decided to take on something a little less daunting. While doing research I had seen many interesting articles about McKinney High School football. As a 1966 graduate of MHS I had heard many of the stories, but there were so many great tales going back to the late 1800s that I thought they should be retold.

One of the stories that really caught me by surprise was from this column by sports writer H. D. Mouzon of the McKinney Courier-Gazette in 1948: 

In the year 1904 things began to happen on McKinney’s sport front and several innovations were introduced into the game of football that later were to spread and become everyday occurrences on the gridiron. Few local fans are aware of the fact that the first forward pass ever thrown in a football game in Texas was thrown right here in McKinney. And still fewer followers of the sport know that the much-used Statue of Liberty play was originated on a west McKinney pasture.

Roy Kirkpatrick, who played on and coached a number of McKinney teams soon after the turn of the century, attended  Washington University in St. Louis in 1902 and played on the football team where he learned the use of the forward pass in a game with St. Louis University. Eddie Cochems coached the St. Louis eleven that year and used the pass against Washington. Cochems is generally credited with having originated the play.

When I read Mr. Mouzon’s statement, I thought, wow, that’s quite a claim, the “first forward pass in Texas”. With the storied
history and tradition of football in Texas, I was thinking, ‘how could that be?’ Sounded like some hometown folklore to me. So, I looked further. Having never heard of Cochems I found this quote from Hall of Fame Coach David M. Nelson: “E. B. Cochems is to forward passing what the Wright Brothers are to aviation and Thomas Edison is to the electric light. ”

It was starting to make sense. Roy Kirkpatrick played in the same town, as well as against Coach Cochems, and learned football strategy from the master of passing and one of the best coaches in the history of college football. Therefore, it is very realistic that the first forward pass in Texas football did happen in McKinney.

H. D. Mouzon describes the very play:

During the 1904 season the local gridders played a game with Greenville in which Kirkpatrick first employed his forward pass.
With Creash McCarty doing the throwing and McCarty Dowell on the receiving end, this is the first time the now famous play
was ever used on a Texas gridiron.

The play started with Dowell being instructed to hide out along the sideline between plays and to get down field as soon as the ball was snapped. Then the players lined up for the scrimmage, however, the McKinney end was nowhere to be seen and, even though the McKinney quarterback didn’t know what had happened to him, the play was called anyway.

When Graves received the ball, he glanced around and saw Dowell emerge from the crowd about 40 yards downfield, so he let go a mighty heave of some 50 yards straight into the end’s arms and he galloped across the goal for the score. The amazed Greenville eleven couldn’t figure it out. All they were sure of was the fact that they were a touchdown behind.

Five years later in 1909, McKinney High School football records officially began, with schools pledging to field only high school
students. Before then, small towns didn’t have enough students to fill the teams, so outsiders were regularly brought in. Practice
and some games were held on a cow pasture at the Kirkpatrick farm in southwest McKinney. Under coaches Roy Kirkpatrick
and Guy Rambo, the McKinney High team would go through that first official season undefeated and unscored on, with the
forward pass a main feature of their offense.

In that first season they played six games, tied two, won four and were unscored on. In the 111 years since that remarkable season,
MHS has fielded many championship teams, but none have never matched that season record of “unbeaten and unscored on”.
The E. W. Kirkpatrick house, built in 1902, located at 903 Parker Street in McKinney, is listed on the National Register of historic places. In 2020 it is still home for Kirkpatrick family descendants. •


by Melissa Giller 

“The doors of this library are open now and all are welcome.  The judgment of history is left to you, the people.”
-Ronald Reagan

The American Presidency comes alive at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Ventura County, California, where 18 galleries and dozens of interactive displays wait to entertain, educate and excite you.  Open since 1991, but wholly renovated in 2011, the galleries were designed to bring history to life.  Where else can visitors walk onboard an actual Air Force One aircraft that flew seven U.S. presidents, touch an authentic piece of the Berlin Wall, or lay a hand on a real steel beam recovered from the World Trade Center after 9-11?  

Visitors will not just learn about the history of the American Presidency, but will immerse themselves in Ronald Reagan’s path to the White House.  Starting back in his days as a sports radio announcer to his years as a Warner Brothers movie actor and then the host of GE Theater, visitors step into his shoes, through the use of Green Screen technology, and call a Cubs game, introduce a GE Theater, and even act in a movie!  Follow President Reagan to the White House and deliver the Presidential Inauguration through the use of a teleprompter.  Travel the world on diplomatic missions on board Air Force One.  Explore the White House Oval Office and the White House East Wing.  

Visitors may also enjoy the Library’s outdoor grounds, where guests can stroll through a replica of the White House Rose Garden or the White House West Lawn.  Numerous picnic benches across the property encourage guests to eat outside enjoying the gorgeous vistas.  For those who want to eat indoors, the Reagan Library is also home to two restaurants, Reagan’s Country Café and The Ronald Reagan Pub.     

But the Reagan Library strives to be more than just a memorial to the late President.  It is also a community resource with revolving world-class exhibitions, family-friendly events, and abundant public programming.

Two to three times per year the Reagan Library puts on special exhibitions.  In 2021, the Reagan Library will host FBI: From Al Capone to Al Qaeda, a brand-new 11,000 square foot exhibition which covers the history of the storied agency from inception to its modern-day efforts to fight domestic terrorism in the United States. This is the first time that many of these remarkable, historic artifacts and criminal evidence have been on public display together. You can always find what exhibits are coming up by visiting  

The Reagan Library is also home to year-round public programming. Most events are also held online so you may watch from wherever you live.  A lineup of events can always be found at 

The Reagan Library has incorporated top-of-the-line COVID safety and health precaution procedures and policies for our guests.  These include timed ticketing, six foot distancing stickers throughout the property, limited seating in our theaters, hand sanitizer stations across the property and more.  For a complete list of our procedures before you visit, visit 

From Air Force One to historic photos and video to interactive games to exquisite landscaped grounds, to special exhibitions and events, the Reagan Library is truly one of the most unique and beautiful travel destinations in southern California.  The Library is sure to be a fun, entertaining and educational experience for everyone, of every age, in your group. 

Open seven days a week, the Reagan Library is only closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  For more information on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, including its upcoming exhibits and programming schedule, call 800-410-8354 or go to •


by Jeff Urbin

Franklin Roosevelt held the first of his famous “fireside chats” just days into his presidency thereby demonstrating his understanding of the importance of bringing accurate and unfiltered information directly from the source to the people. Today, with the help of quickly evolving technology, that tradition is being continued and expanded thru the Roosevelt Library’s Education Department’s distance learning program.

Whether you call it a virtual field trip, distance learning, or video conferencing, the ability to bring real-time, interactive learning
and information into the classroom via technology is a modern educational miracle. Over the last three years the Roosevelt
Presidential Library’s education department has provided dozens of distance learning sessions to thousands of students all across the
United States, and as far away as Australia!

Classroom students are not the only learners who benefit from distance learning. The Roosevelt Library has been a pioneer in providing distance learning sessions to residents of adult and assisted living facilities. These folks are members of the Roosevelt demographic who, due to distance and/or mobility issues, are not able to visit the Library in person. Many of them have first-hand memories of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt from their childhood, or can remember their parents talking about them. The interactive nature of the video conference format allows residents to share their stories with the presenter which makes for a far richer session for everyone.

Advances in video conferencing technology have made it possible to bring information about the Roosevelts, the Great Depression and World War II to outside venues in an educational, interactive, and economical format. Just as FDR did with his Fireside Chats, we are bringing the information to the people; people of all ages and different situations. We think FDR would be amazed by the technology and very pleased with the results.

If you would like more information about distance learning programs, or would be interested in booking a session, contact
me at•



A Conversation with Storyna Co-Founder Linda Tietje

Here at Celebration Magazine, we hear lots of amazing stories from our readers. So when we heard about the new Dallas-based startup Storyna, seeking to make life story writing easy and fun, we wanted to learn more. 

Celebration Magazine: We love the idea of capturing the amazing stories we get to hear from our readers every day! What inspired you to start Storyna?

Storyna: There are so many hidden stories in our everyday lives. Stories that shaped us. The inspiration for Storyna was really my Grandmother Rosemarie. Her life was not easy and both her experiences and her perseverance shaped first my mom, and through her, me. As a family, we encouraged her to write some of these memories down but the task just seemed too overwhelming. When she passed, I knew I wanted to find a way to make capturing life memories easy, fun and affordable. So they will no longer get lost.

Celebration Magazine: That is such a neat idea. Why do you think writing down our memories is so important?

Storyna: There are so many reasons! But let me share the most important two: 1. Our families, the people who love us, really want to preserve our memories. They want to get to know us better. They want to learn from our experiences and understand their roots. What better gift could you give your daughter than a shelf, or at least one book full of your stories and memories? Your voice she can turn to when she had a bad day - now or in the future, when you may no longer be able to be there yourself? 

And 2. It is just a lot of fun! Going back through our lives, or part of if, can be a very liberating experience. We get to relive some of our best memories, we get to uncover things we thought we had long forgotten, see how it all unfolded over time. We can jump over any unpleasant memories if we prefer, or review them and finally let them go. Writing has many benefits and not only brings joy but also a sense of purpose.

Celebration Magazine: What tip can you share with our readers who are interested in getting started?

Storyna: Let go of perfection and make it fun. Instead of tackling a large project alone, find a friend or group to write with and break the project into smaller chunks. Every chapter is a success. Celebrate it! And of course, join us at - so we can help you every step of the way!


by Debra Saxon

"Fary tales can come true; it can happen to you; if you're young at heart. ...And if you should survive to 105, look at all you'll derive out of being alive, if you're young at heart." 

We all know these words; it's Frank Sinatra's 1955 classic, YOUNG AT HEART.  

However, these words were very special to our friend, Alan Waters who left us in October after having celebrated his 105th birthday. 

Alan Waters was one of those guys that lived life to the fullest. I first met Alan in 2004 when I went to work at a retirement community, in Plano. He was in his 80's then, so full of love, life, and of course, a little mischief.  He was a devoted husband to his wife, Harriet, his family, and being a part of the community.  

Alan was the first person to perform for the crowd and always had the perfect toast to start our Happy Hours. 
After Harriet's passing, he began the next phase of his life; he picked up painting, and with a little urging from his family and our staff, began cruising and traveling. 

Never the guy to say, "NO," Alan ziplined, parasailed and rock climbed his way through the next few years.

With a little luck on his side, Alan met the next love of his life, Betty, who has been the perfect companion and partner. Betty and Alan enjoyed traveling together, especially cruising, music, parties and of course, dancing. 

Alan lived independently until a few months before his passing. He always told me that he lived so long and with such great health, because he stayed busy.  I believe that. 

So, here's to our friend Alan Waters. Thank you for the amazing memories, the paintings and may you always be YOUNG AT HEART! We will miss you!

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