Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Getting ready

DAY 10 (Continued):  Yesterday evening I thoroughly vacuumed and washed the new car. Max helped. It looks like new again.

Jenny showed me the family history book that her father, Gene Elmore, has written about his father and mother, and their ancestors. It is wonderfully written and quite moving. The story of his mother's family, German immigrants to Texas in the mid-19th century, and the incredible hardships they endured, is particularly moving. Gene is, like me, a "preacher's kid." His father was a Methodist minister in Texas. In one of life's coincidences, his father and mother, just married, moved to his father's first church in Nash, Texas, which is a suburb of Texarkana, the very month - August, 1941 - that our family moved to Texarkana and my father became the minister of First Congregational Church there. Gene wasn't born yet then. His father's church was on the Texas side of Texarkana and my dad's church was on the Arkansas side (Texarkana straddles the state line and is, in effect, two cities), so it is unlikely that my dad knew his dad, but who knows?  His reflections on what it meant for him to be always on the move as a child I found to be quite affecting, and could completely identify with - though our reactions to that constant change were not the same.  His work inspires me to do the same for my parents' story - something I've been collecting material for over the years but have not yet gotten down to actually writing. We hope to see Gene and his wife, Claire, when we return from our trip with Mimi - they will be visiting Paul & Jenny then. I look forward to talking with him about family history.

DAY 11: We're getting ready for the Feinlands. Ellen made granola this morning and I made bread. Jerry, Julie, Ben, Miriam and Tamar have all flown into the Denver airport, and should have landed by now. Denver is about a 9-10 hour drive from Alpine, so we don't really expect to see them tonight, although I guess it is not impossible. But more likely we'll see them tomorrow, on the  4th. Paul has finished off the basement as a living space, so there are two big finished rooms and a bath down there for the Feinlands to use. Things are going to be pretty lively here for a few days! Then all but Miriam will leave next Monday for their return trip. Miriam (Mimi) will stay with us and we will make a 2 1/2 week trip to Boise, ID, Salem, OR, then up to Seattle and the Olympic N.P., across Washington to Montana - maybe Glacier N.P. - and down to Alpine and then to Denver to put Mimi on a non-stop flight back to Bradley on July 27th so she can go to camp. Whew! Then we'll come back to Alpine to rest up a bit before making our return trek. A lot of driving!  Putting that new car to the test!

OK - here's another little coincidence. Not a big one, but interesting nonetheless. When we were in Bartlett last week, Maggie gave Ellen quite a lot of old postcards that had been gleaned from my brother's piles of paper, etc. in his study. Some are old, classic cards, some are newer. Ellen loves to get postcards - she is carrying on what she calls a "snail blog" with her friend Bonnie Hull in Salem, OR - she sends Bonnie a postcard every day (at least tries to). We look for postcards everywhere we stop on our trips, and they are getting harder and harder to find. Email will eventually probably make postcards utterly obsolete, but we hope not in our lifetime. Ellen was thrilled to get this stash of cards. And among them?  -- two old cards from Texarkana!!  Here they are:

The Post Office in Texarkana, straddling the State Line

The old Presbyterian Book Store in Texarkana, Texas

In all likelihood, Gene Elmore's dad and my dad shopped for religious books at this bookstore!

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