Nothing is normal this spring. A freeze is predicted for Thursday night by the National Weather Service. My newly-planted garden will shiver. The Royals hold a winning record as I write this. Strange, but fun. One week there’s snow on the ground and the next flowers are blooming profusely. Here’s a salute to a person and an idea as we wait for spring to settle in for good.
The person is Sandra Kay Miller, 69, of Weston, who died on April 1.
I’m going to miss Sandy Miller. She was one of my favorite go-to sources for Weston and PlatteCounty history. For a long time, when I had a question about the tobacco town or the surrounding countryside, my first call was usually to Miller.
Weston has been fortunate to have several dedicated historians bringing a rich past to life and saving information for future generations. The Weston Chronicle newspaper is a remarkable ongoing history archive. Miller is not the first and only person to recognize good stories on those antebellum streets. But she was there when I needed help, and she put the history into enjoyable formats for current and future generations to enjoy.
The book “Memories of Weston, Missouri — A Visual History — 1837 to 1992,” was published in 1993. Miller organized and wrote the book. She followed that with Volume II of a book with the same title, with mores photos from the 1850s to 2000 and historical notes.
Along with her husband, Ron, Miller lived in one of the oldest houses in Weston. The Miller Cottage is on a hilltop. She could look down on much of the City from her yard. I never walked away quickly. There was always a lingering conversation, one more interesting anecdote or fact to talk about.
We talked about history and families in the Missouri River bottoms beyond where the old city riverboat landing once welcomed steamboats. Businesses, families, homes and 1800s socials were all good discussion fodder.
But there’s one more thing Miller should be especially noted for, she pursued the history of Weston’s African-American families. Those families were gone by the 1980s, long moved to towns with better opportunities. But Miller was determined to make sure their heritage and contributions were not forgotten.