Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So, I dressed myself in my calico gown last Tuesday morning (the 22nd of June, 2nd day of summer, 104th anniversary of the day that Billy Wilder & Anne Morrow Lindbergh were born), and headed off to SE Kansas the other day. I set out from one Independence to another, down where the storied Ingalls family lived some 140 years ago. I confess that my scuffed-up heart fluttered at the sight of the Verdigris River, only because my 8-year-old self learned about it in Mrs. Wilder's L. H. on the P. One of the best parts of doing my books over the years has been getting to visit places of which I'd read. When I was researching for my Lincoln books, you'd better know that my heart skipped when I sped past a sign on a freeway bridge reading Sangamon County. I'd come into that lanky man's home country.
Out in the shade behind the replica of THE L. H. on the P. I had the pleasure of visiting with some kindred spirits from India, Pennsylvania and Japan. Their admiration of L.I.W., who'd been a skippy little brown-haired girl right thereabouts, had brought them, by way of a tour arranged by Barbara and George Hawkins. http://lhsitetours.homestead.com/ And don't think I didn't tip my hat to gritty commerce and mention my L.I.W. Coloring Book, available in the gift shop.
Home again, by way of Fort Scott, Kansas, and off again to Burr Oak, Iowa, for Laura Days. The Ingallses lived there too, in that beautiful, green and rolling country up by the Minnesota line for a little while, around 1876, the Centennial Year. It was in the summer of that year (June 25), when that horrid battle went down at Little Big Horn, Montana. I've been gallivanting rather than writing about inspiring pulpit-pounder Henry Ward Beecher, who was born June 24, 1813, or the anniversaries of the U.N. Charter or the Korean invasion or the 1914 assassinations in Sarajevo or Helen Keller's and Pearl Buck's birthdays and old Senator Byrd's deathday and so the summer steams on and the big wheel keeps on turning. Did I tell you that tomorrow tomorrow makes 91 years since .... never mind. It's time to think of today.

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