Gene and Bill Milton and their wives, Sally (Brinkley) and Betty (McCrary) respectively, returned to Excelsior Springs in April, 2005, to visit their hometown.

The four grew up in the Excelsior Springs area and all worked for Tate and Margarite Chiles, who owned Lake Maurer. Gene ran the skating rink and Bill was floor manager. Betty sold tickets and Sally was the locker girl.

Their visit included a trip to the Hall of Waters, where they were disappointed that the swimming pool was not open. All swam there as children and the Hall of Waters is still dear to their hearts. They toured the mineral water bar and outdoor balcony, talking about the water bottling operation that used to be in the basement, the tunnels and the mineral water wells that were evident in the downtown during their early years.

At one time the boys were helping Judd Palmer to build a tennis court behind the Hall. It was to be used as a tennis court in the summer and as a skating rink in the winter. They also had paper routes for The Daily Standard, the Kansas City Star and the Kansas City Times. On weekends they caddied at the Golf Course. Both remembered being caddies for Bob James, the son of Frank James and the last family member to live at the James farmstead in Kearney.

Betty and Sally remembered many of the stores located in downtown Excelsior Springs and the music teacher, Mrs. Weien. Sally was the daughter of Rev. Brinkley, the Baptist minister. Betty still has relatives who live near Excelsior Springs.

The two men had several tales including one concerning a certain hump in the road going up to Isley School -- great for riding on a bicycle or a sled. The road had been constructed in that manner to handle water runoff from the hill. Another favorite hill for bike riding was Golf Hill Drive, where you couldn't use your brakes or "you were chicken." That ended in quite an accident one day as a car decided to turn from Lover's Lane and cross into their side of the road. Gene was steering the bike and Bill was riding on the handle bars. Opting for the ditch over the car, they landed and the two skidded some ways down the hill, but managed not to break any bones!

Another favorite past time was going up on Siloam Mountain at night with a load of mud from the river. Bill and Gene would make mud balls and throw down the hill at passing cars. One night they hit a passing police car and the officer turned his search light up on the hillside. Luckily for the boys, there was a patch of knee high crab apple brush growing nearby and they used it for cover, evading detection.

It was a lot harder to evade Police Chief Bill Payne, who was quick at spotting the sling shots stuck in their back pockets. Claiming Bill must have taken at least 50 of their prized possessions, they laughed about how they would each just get a fork and make a new one.

Bill and Betty now live in Centennial, Colorado, near Denver. Gene and Sally live in Phoenix, Arizona.