"I left Virginia in 1971 to give college in Kansas a try," said Kevin Gray, a 1976 graduate of PSU. Gray tells readers about this in his latest book, On the Strand, a memoir which covers his years in Pittsburg.
"I began On the Strand in 1997 when I found myself in a writing program at the McGregor School of Antioch University. Through this program, I not only earned a master's in creative nonfiction but finished with a manuscript I knew could be published."
The title for this book was taken from the title of a poem Gray's father had written while at PSU (then Kansas State Teacher's College) in 1939.
The book begins with Gray's high school years in Richmond, Virginia, and a tour of Europe for Kansas State College alumni tour, that he partook with his parents.
"During the tour, I kept a journal and recorded comments by Brenda Rua (now Chappell) made to me about why I should consider leaving Virginia and going to school in Kansas," said Gray.
Through Rua's efforts, Gray was convinced to come to Pittsburg and attend what was then known as Kansas State College. Gray was surprised to discover the vibrant night life available in Pittsburg during those years.
"I found that out my first night in the Palace, while Rod Stewart's 'Maggie May' blew out repeatedly from the jukebox."
Carol Yoho, of Topeka, is working with Gray through the Kansas Authors Club, to help him find ways to promote On the Strand here in Kansas.
Gray taught English and journalism at Paola High School for 30 years before retiring to become a journalist for the Miami County Newspapers (Miami County Republic, Osawatomie Graphic, Louisburg Herald) until last August, when he quit to help in starting the new Osawatomie Journal.
"At the Journal, I enjoy writing columns, news and feature stories, and work as a photographer," said Gray. "I also substitute teach in several school districts - Prairie View, Osawatomie, Spring Hill and Ottawa."
Gray is available for book readings and presentations and can be contacted by calling 913-731-0030.
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