Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Chain of Happy Events

The other day I was checking out Facebook and saw that my friend Alison’s son’s girlfriend posted something on Alison’s wall about the Iona Marble Quarry which got me thinking about my Iona marble ring that Jeremy’s parents gave me for my 21st birthday the year we stayed a week in a caravan park on the grounds of Castle Sween. I remembered wearing my Iona marble ring to the most recent Burns’ Night at the aforementioned Alison’s house, but had not seen it recently. I assumed it was in one of my jewelry boxes, but went downstairs to check. It was not in either of my jewelry boxes.

Iona Marble Ring
Not my ring, but similar

I told myself to not panic and figured I would look through drawers over the weekend. I thought that perhaps I gave it to my daughter — the ring is slightly too large for my ring fingers. I texted Clare to see if I gave it to her along with a similar ring I found on the Internet. She replied, “Whooooa no you never gave me that whaaaaat.”

I was sad (but glad I didn’t give it to Clare after all) so I did check one drawer, thinking perhaps I put it there after Burns’ Night and never put it away. I dumped out the contents of the drawer but could not find the ring. I did, however, find Rupert.

Rupert and the Sunrise
Rupert and the Sunrise

I’d been a little worried that I’d lost Rupert, you see. I was too worried to do a whole house search because if I didn’t find him, then he would be lost for ever and ever and that would be sad. Even sadder if I lost the ring. Rupert, if you don’t already know, was originally found by the aforementioned Jeremy in 2002 when we stopped by Todmorden to pay his family a visit.

I was so happy to have found Rupert that I stopped looking for the ring.

On Saturday morning I thought I would check my jewelry boxes one more time. This time I dumped out one of the jewelry boxes on my bed. It didn’t look promising, but I did find a pair of earrings I thought I’d given the aforementioned Clare when her earlobe piercings seemed to be closing up. The posts were a little smaller than most other posts and I thought it would help. You see, for the past several years I have been a little sad because my earlobe piercings seemed to be closed. I could not find a pair of earrings that would fit in the holes and was pretty sure I’d need to have them re-pierced, something I didn’t want to deal with. I tried one earring on — it went through the hole! I tried the other earring and it, too, went through the hole. While I was delighting in my earring success I glanced down at the bed and noticed my Iona marble ring.

All because Alison’s son’s girlfriend posted a link on Alison’s timeline.

Time Travel Anyone?

Recently on Facebook someone in a group about my hometown (Elgin, Illinois)  posted a video I’d uploaded to YouTube that my grandfather filmed when Jack Kennedy stopped in Elgin on his campaign tour. The Facebook user credited me with the video and requested my friendship on Facebook. I checked out his FB page before accepting the friendship and saw that his name was Dennis Higgins, he lived in Elgin and he wrote a few books. When I asked him about the books he said that two take place in Elgin and one in Chicago. Oh, and the books are all about time travel.

Something you may or may not know about me is that I am a sucker for time travel stories. I am not sure when it began, but I know I liked anything about time travel as far back as when I could only check out books from the children’s part of the library. One of the first time travel stories I remember reading was The Time Garden by Edward Eager. I may or may not have read the other books in his time-travel series, but I think I read at least a few of them. I also remember reading The Children at Green Knowe and other books in that series around that time, which has elements of parallel time in it. While the Chronicles of Narnia are not time-travel stories exactly — I thought of them as such when I devoured them in my teens. When I was teaching I discovered the young adult’s author, Avi, and read his very scary, but delicious Something Upstairs. More recently I have read and loved The Time Traveler’s Wife and 11-22-63.

It doesn’t stop with books — I also love time travel films. Although I don’t remember when I first saw Somewhere in Time, it is a movie I watch whenever it comes on television and is among my top five favorite films. I have not yet read the book by Richard Matheson on which it was based , although I did begin reading it and have it on my Nook. About the same time I first saw Somewhere in Time, I also saw The Two Worlds of Jenny Logan which was another romantic time-travel story, but not nearly as compelling as Somewhere in Time.

I even tried to write a time travel story once for NaNoWriMo. I’d been toying with an idea for a story about a bored 10 year old boy or girl somehow time-traveling to the early 1800’s and meeting young Robert E. Lee while his parents attended a wedding reception at the home ever since we attended a wedding at Robert E. Lee’s boyhood home in Alexandria, VA. While I didn’t finish the story (I got bored with it and lost it in a computer hard drive crash) I did end up learning a lot about Lee and his family. I think if I were to ever write anything about his family I’d write about his mother. Not a lot has been written about her and she was a long-suffering woman with an interesting life.

parallel roads by dennis higgins

Back to Mr. Higgins and his time travel books. I borrowed his first book, Parallel Roads (Lost on Route 66) on my Kindle and began reading it in bed Wednesday night at about 10:00. I read about 25% and decided I’d better get to sleep because I had a ton of work to do the next day. I couldn’t sleep so I read some more. Finally at 2 am I put the book down and eventually fell asleep, having read half the book. I didn’t read much yesterday because I was so busy, but did finish the book this morning.

I really enjoyed it. This one does not take place in Elgin, but there is an Elgin pocket watch in it. It is about a 30-something’s search for information about the disappearance of his paternal grandmother shortly after she gave birth to his father. It is also a bit of a travelogue about Route 66, then and now. I always find it interesting that so many authors have been able to make so many different ways to time travel, and this one is unique. I’m not doing a very good job “reviewing” this book. If you want to read a really well-done review about it, check out Ingrid Hall’s review.

You know how sometimes you read a book and it is completely foreign to you? You learn a lot of new things from that kind of book, but it never really feels familiar? Those can be good reads, but I also like the kinds of books that make me feel like I am in my own living room — books that make me nod and think, yeah, that’s right. Books that might make me  think of a parallel experience I have had. That’s what Parallel Roads was for me, in a way. No, I’ve never traveled in time, but I have tracked down some missing family history through my recent forays into genealogy. I also recently took a cross-country trip with an emotional woman. In fact, the road trip (the 1946 one) in the book really did remind me of my recent trip with Clare in quite a number of ways but if I tell you how it might ruin the ending of the book for you.

I am really glad I uploaded that video that my grandfather took and grateful to Dennis for requesting my friendship because of it. I look forward to reading his other books. Time Travel! Elgin! What’s not to love?

An Unexpected Journey: Part 4 Missoula, MT to Olympia, Washington

Missoula to Olympia
Missoula to Olympia

The view out my window when I awoke after a wonderful night’s sleep, with the sound of the Clark Fork River as the backdrop of my dreams, was more than I could have imagined. A lone osprey sat on the topmost branch of the tree directly across the river from our room.

It was difficult to get any work done while the osprey sat there, but I managed a couple hours’ worth.

After packing up and loading up the car, Clare and I had a delicious (and decadently expensive) breakfast in the dining room of the hotel. Clare even got to see the osprey hover.

The drive to Olympia involved misty mountains, Idaho and an unexpectedly barren landscape of Eastern Washington state.

As we neared the Seattle area I expressed disappointment that I’d neglected to bring the Twin Peaks soundtrack.

The Tacoma area was much more built-up than I expected, but Olympia seemed more low-key.

Clare’s house is tiny and, strangely laid out, but a good match for her and her roommate, Bennett. The kitchen is wonderful, with lots of cupboard space and a nice view of the front yard.

We had a late dinner at a bar in Olympia. I must have not been as hungry as I thought because my wild salmon taco was unappetizing. Hopefully next time I am in Olympia I will have something worth eating.

Clare and Bennett had an event to attend, so I reluctantly stayed home. I got to meet one of Bennett’s friends who, when stopping by to pick up some of his stuff, assured me they found a great house in a safe area.

The next morning Clare and Bennett drove me to the airport where I bid Clare a fond adieu. I am pretty sure she is unaware of how much I appreciated the invitation to join her on her trip across the U. S. Someday she will understand, I’m sure.

Photos on page 2