Monday, June 27, 2011

Blog 12

Sorry to keep you all waiting. We have too often been out of the range of a wifi signal.

Thursday, 23 June
We met with Bob & Betsy Zimmerman in Betsy's sister's place in Burton, Ohio, in the middle of Amish country. It is charming seeing horse-drawn buggies on the streets sharing the pavement with cars, trucks and RVs. Perhaps the most interesting contrast was seeing the horse and buggies parked in special shelters next to a Walmart. There's definitely a lesson to be learned here, however. While the average American enjoys many amenities, luxuries and conveniences, it is done at a great cost to the environment. Meanwhile, the Amish thrive while mowing and cultivating their fields with horses. They leave a very gentle footprint on planet earth.
Bob's sister-in-law lives in a wonderful house built in 1820 occupied by people of note in Ohio. We chatted with Bob a while, catching up on this & that, and then had lunch in an Amish restaurant and traveled to meet with his mother in nearby Hiram. And talk about houses people of note, President Garfield once lived in Phebe's home and Phebe is a relative of Garfield's.
But this is not a story about famous people, it is a story about an extraordinary family, and for sure, Phebe's life is quite extraordinary. Besides sharing gene's with a president she, her husbandthe late John Pridy Zimmermanand her four sons, Bob, Ted, John, Jr., and Dean, are all highly intelligent, well-educated, well-read and accomplished in their fields. The house and the treasures in it are physical testaments to their lives and the things they hold dear. We were unable to meet with Ted, John, Jr., and Dean. That will have to wait for a future trip. The visit finished with a delicious dinner at the nearby Welshfield Inn with Bob and Phebe. Thanks Bob!

Friday, 24 Jun
This was a primarily a day of travel, not a particularly long day, but a trip through the heartland of this country, through the rich farmland of northern Ohio and southern Michigan. Our first stop in Michigan was to try to find out more about the life of my great-granduncle, John H. Purves. You may recall John from our days in Georgia. John fought in several battles in the Civil War and was quite seriously wounded. After the war he lived for about seven years in Sandusky, Ohio, and then moved to Jackson, Michigan, in about 1875 and lived there until his death in 1923. The when is not quite so interesting as the what he did there. He became a prison guard, and especially while serving as the captain of the night watch, he kept a journal detailing his experience there, the things he witnessed. Shortly after his death, the prison edited and printed in book-form these journals. My cousin, Christine Lurk (see Blog 7), discovered the journals in their printed form and sent me a copy, and Sunday, Valerie and I will go to the old prison on a tour and hear his words as part of the narration.
At the end of the day I met with the woman who will conduct the tour, Judy Gail Krasnow. She was excited to meet the great-grandnephew of John H. Purves. She took us into her apartment in the Armory Arts Court where she now lives. The Armory Arts Court is a prize-winning reconstruction of the old prison where Purves once worked. There she gave me a copy of this wonderful picture that a relative of another night watchman had given her. Written on the photograph is: “When he worked at Jackson Prison.Walter Bearse.” We are looking forward to the tour and I will tell you all about it in the next Blog.
Night Watchmen, Jackson Prison, Jackson, Michigan. John H. Purves, Captain, front and center.
Our home for the two days was amazing. There were well over 1,100 campsites, many of which were permanentat least until they die.

Saturday, 25 June
An interesting monument/vault in Woodland Cemetery.
In the morning Valerie & I went to the Jackson Public Library to do a little research. Unfortunately we did not leave ourselves enough time, we but did discover, among other things, that he and his wife were buried in Woodland Cemetery. Then, knowing that, we went to the cemetery where we found, unfortunately, that the office is open only on weekdays. The cemetery is large and there was no way that the two of us could find their graves simply by walking around. Because he was in the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) we narrowed our search to graves with GAR markers. It was, however, to be for naught, and we had to move on to our next destination, the home of Walter and Gloria Edwards in Owosso, Michigan.
Walter Edwards is my second cousin once removed, that is to say, his great-grandparents are my great-great-grandparents. We had never met them and found them delightful. Walter has been many things throughout his long life: Fireman in the Birmingham Michigan Fire Department, ceramic tile setter, and during WWII he was in the Navy serving as a technician specializing in fire control and radar. In addition he is an accomplished furniture maker. Gloria is an artist specializing in painting ceramics. We were most impressed with them both. Their long lives have been very rich and full.
We finished the day by returning to our camp.

Sunday, 26 June
After breakfast, we headed back to Jackson for Judy's tour of the prison. Story telling is her thing, and she does it very well. Her narrative has been thoroughly researched, the selections chosen are interesting and dramatically presented. After the tour we took her out to lunch and introduced her to my collection of the Purves' millitary service records and pension applications. She got quite excited by it and after lunch we copied it all for her. I wish I could return next year to see how see incorporates this new material.
Afterward, we looked for former residence of the Purves family, and then set out for Ann Arbor where we met Betsy & Chuck Price. They are busy people! And busy people are always the most interesting, so we were fortunate to find a time when they were both at home. Chuck is a radiologist, and it's fascinating hear the business from his side. We've only experienced it from the patient end, and there's so much more that we are unaware of. Betsy volunteers for least two worthy causes, and does gorgeous quilted work, everything from the typical squares cleverly pieced together to free-form pieces. And she makes the in all sizes, from picture size to full-size bed spreads, all of them knock-dead gorgeous.
We next moved on, back to Ohio where we will meet up with many of the Cleveland folks. More on that on the next blog.
 More pictures of the magnificent farms along the way.

At KMart: A horse & buggy and a shed to shelter both from the weather.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blog 11

People have been having trouble reaching me and placing comments on this blog. I'm so sorry!. I should have printed my contact numbers from the beginning of the trip. The best I can do now is to print them here nowbetter late than never. Here they are: my cellphone: 503-385-6118; my traveling email: I apologize to those of you who tried and failed to reach me. If I have passed through your neck of the woods and we didn't get together, I am truly sorry, we would love to have seen you. We won't now be able to go back to see you. I'll just have to do better next time. Between now and then, you are all always welcome to visit us in Oregon anytime. 503-585-4298;

22 June
It was purely a travel day, but there were lovely things to see. Unfortunately, both our cameras were down; mine because I forgot to pack the battery charger; Valerie's simply gave up the ghost. I got her another, and we can call it an early birthday present (9 July). It was too late, however, for the best of the views. I-80 follows the Susquehanna River for several miles, and the valley views with the many well-maintained farms were gorgeous.
At the end of the day we set up for the night in Kool Lakes, a private, unaffiliated campground in Parkman, Ohionot spectacular but very pleasant and quite convenient to tomorrow's events. Tomorrow we are looking forward to visiting with Bob Zimmerman and his mother, Phebe. Bob & I have been sharing old photographs and information since the first McIntosh reunion that I have been privileged to attend in the summer of 2000. When I look back at that event I still can't believe it happened. I don't remember how many cameI have that information at home—but I do remember that Bob was there with his mother and father, and his three brothers and much of their families. The reunion was made conceivable by Lenore & Neil McIntosh. It was Lenore who released a flood of information that showed me that I had a great bounty of cousins in Ohio and beyond. And Phebe provided me with names, phone numbers and addresses. We all had one thing in common: two ancestors named James McIntosh & Agnes Davidson. More and other interesting relationships have since been discovered, but the core that came that day were particularly special to me. With a little bit of tweaking from Phebe and others they came; some hadn't met since childhood; other had never met. We met in a cemetery in which most had never been. We were rained on; we split into two groups, but it was a magical day, and I shall never forget it.
Tomorrow I meet again with Phebe and Bob. I'm greatly looking forward to it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blog 10

A village in northeastern Vermont as seen from I-91.

Friday, 17 June
The way back through Vermont took us through some beautiful landscapes and towns. I-91 through northeastern Vermont is quite spectacular. The views are broader than they are further south where the mountains are closer together and the valleys are more narrow and deep and more intimate. US-4 took us through one of the most beautiful cities, architecturally speaking, in Vermont. The many old grand buildings have been well and lovingly preserved.
Farms in Benson, Vermont.
For me, the biggest surprise of the trip thus far was Benson. Benson is a very old town dating back into the 18th century and has some beautiful old buildings in a good state of preservation. But what surprised me the most was the vitality of the farms. The area around Townshend where I grew up has been much altered by the influx of people from Massachusetts, New York and, especially Connecticut who have bought what were often beautiful old farms. But beauty is not just aesthetic, it is function, and these new people were seeking escape from the more industrial cities in the neighboring states and were not seeking to maintain these properties as farms, but country cottages, escapes from the frantic drum beat of the cities. The most positive result of this migration was the preservation of the homes, but the barns and other outbuildings often fell into decay and the fields, no longer cultivated nor mowed soon were overgrown with brushes and trees. And worse, the migrants altered their summer cottages in ways which destroyed their aesthetic function. The house in which I grew up is very much a case in point. While my parents were operating the business manufacturing copperware, they also maintained the integrity of the original builders. Changes since the sale of the house are of a quite different aesthetic.
Bomoseen Lake, VT, turned out to be one of our least favorite campsites, especially when compared with the reception we received at the Langlois' home. But we were not here to have a fun time in the lake but to meet David Wright & Mary Lou Willits. David picked us up at our campsite and immediately began a narrated tour of the area historic, philosophic, the aesthetics, the economics—all rolling off the tongue of this amazing contractor/master builder/historian/businessman/conservator. As we traveled from the park to his home we learned the history of the place, his involvement in the restoration and preservation of historic landmarks that he is personally involved with as well as the efforts of others in the community. We love his home filled with craftsman-style furniture, art, lamps, and other objects including copperware in the craftsman-style, some Vermont Copper Crafters (my parents' company) and some Craftsmen (the company for whom my father worked 1939-1941).

Saturday, 18 June
We set out for Londonderry to meet with Tom Platt to try to work out a plan for the paintings of Arthur Gibbs Burton, AKA “Mr. B” in the McIntoshes when I was growing up. Mr. B was an artist specializing in oil paintings of the Vermont landscape. He lived with the McIntosh family in the last years of his life and left his paintings to my mother when he died. Some years later, Tom Platt, then a client of my mother, (a CPA at that time) became enamored with Mr. B's work and worked out an arrangement to display the paintings in his restaurant and sell them, splitting the proceeds with my mother. My mother died in 1998, and so to bring this much-too-long introduction to a conclusion, Tom and I worked out an agreement to bring the relationship to a final conclusion. By the way if you are ever in or near Londonderry, VT, be sure to stop at the Garden Cafe and Gallery for a delicious lunch or supper surrounded by a collection of wonderful art works.
After saying goodbye to Tom we headed off to nearby Weston to say “Hi” to Jerry Bidlack at Kinhaven, a summer music camp. You may recognize the name “Jerry,” my high school music teacher, from Blog 8. Unfortunately, Jerry was attending a funeral and was not at the camp. However, Michael Finckel and his wife were there which I had not anticipated. Michael is the son of George Finckel, my second, and one of the two most influencial cello teachers I had. It is always a treat to meet good friends unexpectedly, and it helped erase the disappointment of missing Jerry.
VCC #506, Fern Planter, Boiler style.
We couldn't hang around long because with had to get back to Townshend. In Townshend I gave a copy of my book on the Vermont Copper Crafters (VCC) to Carol Melis (see Blog 8) with whom we had a lovely chat. Then we set off one more time to see to see if we could find Otto Tarbel and take a picture of my father's bas relief of a wood cutter. No such luck, but we did find his mother and her husband in the old brick school house. We had a wonderful chat with them. Their turning the old school house into a residence has preserved a piece of history for future generations, and in the words of Martha Stewart, “that's a good thing.” One of the fringe benefits of this visit was getting a picture of a VCC piece that was not included in the Gallery section of my VCC book: #506, Fern Planter, Boiler style.
The Alumni Parade "band"
We then skidded the tires economically and had dinner out at Bootsy's Bar & Grill in Newfane and then it was back to Townshend to join my old classmates in the Leland Gray Seminary Alumni Parade. Now don't get the wrong idea; by the time I attended LGS the word “Seminary” had no significance whatsoever, and it is now known as Leland & Gray Union High School. The parade was fun, and I got to renew old acquaintances, and to find out what happened to them all. And by the way, the float won 1st place! I'm sure my presence there is what made the difference! 
The Class of 1961!
Well, more likely, the sentimental judges were probably swayed by the fact that it was our 50th anniversary.
We spent the night on Carl Steiner's property, and feeling the exhaustion of a rather full day we slept soundly.

Sunday, 19 June
This was to be a day for travelling, but we started with one last attempt to find Otto. But it was not to be, so we headed for I-91. We refilled our propane tank to make sure that the refrigerator would keep what was left of our bison frozen, and in Concord, Massachusetts, we picked up I-84 to begin the final westward leg of our odyssey.
Then the shaking began, and in Brewster, NY, BANG! A blowout! Fortunately, it was one of the rear tires which are dual tires, so Valerie was able to regain her composure quickly and safely move over to the shoulder. We called AAA, and, while waiting for the tow truck, we began considering our options. After being towed to the garage we got a taxi to a nearby motel where we ordered pizza, watched TV, and fell into a much welcomed sleep.

Monday, 20 June
I woke earlyfar earlier than necessarystill considering our options, and then walked the mile or so on a very busy road to the garage. The best of the options in our opinion was to get six new tires and continue our trip pretty much as planned. However, if you recall from our Cheever Tire & Wheel experience in Bellows Falls, our tires are hard to find. What we settled on was a 185R 14D tire to replace the original 185R 14C. The 14D is a bit thicker than the 14C and thus tougher, which is good, but it was chosen because the 14C is not locally available. And, even at that, the 14D tires would not be available the following morning. The good news is that we will be on the road again by noon Tuesday.

Tuesday, 21 Junethe first day of summer, and always my brother's birthday.
Happy Birthday Bob!
As promised, we were on the road pretty close to noon, and as it was a day for travel we just got on the interstates and rolled along in our usual 55 mph and stopped at the KOA in New Columbia, PA, where we hoped to find a wireless internet so I could get this long overdue Blog published.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blog 9

Tuesday, 14 June
We woke in the middle of the night to the rather loud noise of rain hitting our roof. It probably sounded heavier than it was, but it was pretty steady most of the night and continued well into the daylight hours. We had to get up early and drive back through Bellows Falls to Alstead, NH, for a 9:30 appointment for a wheel problemhopefully nothing worse than balancing or aligning. We had notice a shaking of the steering wheel as we approached 60 mph, but as we generally drove at 55 mph we had ignored the symptoms. But recently we even noticed a problem as we first started to rolla gentle rocking side to side. 
When we rolled into the station they took one look at the hubs and said, “We can't help you. We don't have the tool that will handle that size hub. Go to Cheever Tire & Wheel.” Fortunately the place they suggested was nearby. So back across the Connecticut River to Bellows Falls to the garage. They took us in almost immediately. That was a relief. They took off the left front tire and balanced it in no time at all, and then took off the right tire and started rolling it toward the machine to balance it. The machanic suddenly stopped and said, “There's your problem. Your tire is dead.” His analysis was based on years of work. “One of the belts is broken,” he said. And sure enough, there was a significant ridge in the road surface of the tire. The bad news is that they didn't have one there in the shop; the not-so-bad news was that they couldn't get it until the next morning. All in all, not bad. It would have been better if they could have found two tire so that the tires would be equal, but with luck the difference will still be a lot better than with the “dead” tire. We will get the rig to them by 9:00 am Wednesday, and by 10:00 we should be on the road to Magog, Canada. More on that tomorrow.

Collamer Abbott
In the afternoon we went to White River Junction to meet Collamer Abbott. Collamer Abbott? Now you will really think I have gone off the deep end. Collamer is not a cousin, and I have only talked with him by telephone two or three times. But there was something very special about this humble man. Collamer wrote an article about the Vermont Copper Crafters for Yankee Magazine which appeared in the March issue of 1949. The Vermont Copper Crafters was a business that my parents created in 1946, and I wanted to include his article in my history of the company (see blog 8, Sunday, 12 June). I telephoned Yankee and they responded that their copyright had expired, but that I might want to contact the author who had also done the photographs for the article. So I did, and a friendship developed between us, and, as I was in Vermont I thought it would be fun to meet him face to face. The long and the short of the matter is that it was a wonderful meeting. He worked for most of his life as a photo/journalist and an English teacher, but he was almost invisible at the time; people knew his work, but he was anonymous. He is now 91, and in the last couple of years, his work has caught on. He says it is because his photographs captured a lost timemostly the 40s and 50s. But his work is also very attractive visually. While the photographs were mostly taken for journalistic purposes, they are always well-composed, often take advantage of an attractive cloud, a child's face, a curved line, etc., etc. He was as much artist as journalist.
We had a wonderful conversation with this modest, gentle man, and I felt privileged just to be there talking with him. He is one of a kind.
The Merry House, ca. 1880-81
We then drove on to Magog, Quebec, Canada, where Ralph Merry, an ancestor of Valerie's not only lived, but founded the town of Magog. Not only founded, but built a house that is still standing since the early 1800s. Valerie in her research Valerie located a book on the Merry family written by Maurice Langlois, and immediately contacted him. They have shared information which was of great importance to Valerie as she was in the process of transcribing a diary written in 1880-81 by a descendant of the Merry and Jenney families: Homer Jenne, Valerie's great grandfather. On an earlier odyssey we traced her family as far north as Derby one of the northern most village in Vermont. You will remember in an earlier blog the name of John Jenney in Plymouth, MA; well, some of that family migrated to what would become the northern boarder of Vermont. One of this family Elisha married a Matilda Merry.
Valerie, Barbara & Maurice inspecting the Merry House
So that is where we are at this moment, researching the Merry family, and enjoying the generous hospitality of Maurice Langlois and his lovely wife Barbara. It always amazes me when our relatives welcome us into their lives with open arms, but Maurice and Barbara had never met us before and are not relative of any degree. However, we do share a common interest in genealogy and the conviction that family history is not only fascinating but important! There is no way that we can adequately thank them unless they were to visit us in Oregon. Perhaps they will one day.
The next stop will be on the 17th back in Vermont with David Wright & Mary Lou Willits. They, again, are not relatives. They are friends met on line through a common interest in Vermont, copper, and history. We look forward to meeting them. 

A gallery of additional Blog 9 photos
Cheever Tire & Wheel
Cheever Tire & Wheel   

Cheever Tire & Wheel

Cheever Tire & Wheel
Merry House

Valerie, Barbara & Maurice at the Merry House

Merry House
Vermont views on I-91

Vermont views on I-91

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blog 8

June 8
We left the Christine & Paul Lurk after an all-too-short visit. Many thanks and best wishes to them. Pennsylvania has a reputation for bad roads, and I must say, this leg of the journey lived up to that reputation: pot holes, crumbling pavement, and repairs that are possibly worse than the problem they were supposed to have fixed. We bounced and rattled along at our usual 55 mph wondering if our rig could hold together for the rest of the trip.
We pulled off the road in Bethlehem, PA, to visitnot another cousin—but my high school music teacher, Jerry Bidlack and his lovely wife, Nancy. He is perhaps a few years older; he may have two new hips; his hair may be a little thinner and whiter, his back may be bent from the constant work of many years, but his voice—still punctuated with frequent laughter—has every bit the same pied-piper quality it had some 50 years ago. His teaching saved me a year's worth of music theory at Oberlin Conservatory, and his recommendation, I sure, had much to do with the fine scholarship I received there. We will try to see him again in Kinhaven, a music camp in Vermont, where he still conducts the orchestra.
After visiting with Jerry all too briefly, we bounced and rattled our way to East Sturbridge where we spent the night.

Robert, David & Ann Cavanaugh
Thursday, 9 June
In the morning, we bounced our way on SR 209 to I-84 through New York to Middleborough, Massachusetts where we had and wonderful dinner with Ann Cavanaugh and her husband, David. Ann is the most distant cousin (4th cousin once removed) we are meeting on this trip; our first common ancestors are Andrew McIntosh (1783-1836) and Sophia Symers (ca. 1780 - 1829), my great-great-great-grandparent and her great-great-great-great-grandparents. But distance has nothing to do with it; we are cousins! We had a wonderful meal, and the conversations—punctuated by a thunder storm and laughter—rolled on and on over many topics from Boy Scouts (David is a scout master) to music (Ann performs many instruments) from family (they have two sons: Robert John and Andrew David and we have a daughter, a son and three grandchildren) to history (they live in a turn of the century house—the 18th to the 19th century). Ann will be perform on Saturday, and we would have loved hearing her, but we hope to be in Vermont by Saturday.

Friday, 10 June
The Jenney Mill
This could have been the most exciting “sight-seeing day” of the trip. 1st, you have to understand that Valerie is descended from a long line of folks (12 generations to be precise) from John Jenney in Plymouth, MA. In her genealogical research. Valerie had found that John Jenney built and operated a grist mill in Plymouth, which was basically the first commercial enterprise in America, so we set aside the day for pursuing more information on the mill and struck pay dirt! The mill is now in the hands of an amazing couple who are working to preserve the mill and house for prosperity. The wife runs the concessions and large tours (often school children); the husband runs the more intimate and detailed tours of the mill explaining its history, its significance, its working which is all mixed with the explanation of many terms from the “rule of thumb” to “ear marks.” It was a mind blowing presentation.

Saturday, 11 June
Definitely cooler than the past week or two—a welcome relief. We took I-495 around Boston and headed toward Concord to meet with George Neikrug, my cello teacher at Oberlin and U Texas. I have been blessed with many wonderful influences in my life; George gave me what was necessary to have a career in music. We had a delightful time with George and his wife Virginia remembering common acquaintances—or trying to. We did OK, and blamed the rest on old age. But George, at 92, has 24 more years of excuses than I, and I think he fared better than I.
We then headed toward Townshend where I grew up, and mile-by-mile the scenery became more and more familiar. There were many changes, of course, but Townshend is like an old friend, and there was no need for the GPS. Valerie kept the map out, but there was no need; I was on auto pilot.
We set up the rig in Ball Mountain RV Park on the west back of the West River. The river was full following several days of rain. I tried calling folks to work out a schedule for the week we will be in Vermont. I was unable to get on line but the phone worked well. Then, because the holding tanks needed emptying I decided to change location. At the new location I was able to get on line but unable to call out. You seldom get more that you pay for, and as we had not yet payed for camping here—that will happen in the morning—I could not complain—but it did complicate things.

Sunday, 12 June
What a fun day, and one which was totally in the hands of the gods. No amount of planning could have made the day any better.
1st, we again had trouble getting a signal for the cellphone, and getting on line was still tricky. We would have to do it the old fashion way: go see the folks face-to-face. We started the day by driving out to see if Carol Melis was home (she lives in the house that we first lived in when the family arrived in Vermont in 1946 and across the street where lived starting in 1948). I wanted to leave my book, A Brief History of the Vermont Copper Crafters, with Carol to give to the house—the house, not the people in the house. It's complicated, I know, but not worth telling in more detail here. But Carol was on vacation. Hopefully, she will return before we head west again.Strike one.
I then went across the street and knocked, but, alas, no answer. Strike two.
We then went to find Ned Phoenix a long time friend to whom I had promised my book. We couldn't find his home. A neighbor suggested that the Phoenixes were probably all in church. Strike three.
I guess that normally would mean I was out, but no. This was not a game of baseball; this was the game of life, rural life: “If at first you do not succeed, try, try--” etc. After lunch we went to the Windham County Historical Museum in the Newfane (the town just south of Townshend) where among other thing, my father's hand-painted Vermont Copper Crafters sign is held in perpetuity. I had already given the museum my book and they had a couple of pieces of my father's copper ware, including one which I don't have. I was excited.
Rose Marie Short
We then met up with Rose Marie Short, a long-time friend and neighbor whose parents had helped my parents financially when they were setting up the copper business. She was in marvelous spirits in spite of living with life-threatening medical problems that will probably end her life. She was living with her daughter, Helen Grace, in an assisted care facility. We had a long chat about old times and new and then moved on.
We next visited with Carl Steiner whom I had known years ago. I had known his parents, too, and is father was an itinerant electrician in Townshend for many years and something of a town character. His son, Carl, seems to have taken up his father roles of town historian and character. These are not official positions, of course, but he is well qualified as he blessed with the gift of gab and the ability make interesting he daily lives of the local folk. He also raises bison and sell the meat. We bought some.
We then whipped some lunch and headed off to Ed & Lois Phoenix's place (parents of Ned and also of Whitney in Las Vegas whom we had considered visiting way back on the third travel-day of the trip). They were in a great mood and we talked and talked and met their son Seth. Ed does many things from tuning pianos to building houses, including the home they now live in.
Valerie with Ed & Lois Phoenix and their home.
The final event of the day was the arrival of Ned and a lady friend at our campsite. Ned would require an additional blog to describe, and perhaps a third as he is a moving target. He is a musician, a reed organ repairman, and brilliant intellectual who brings new meaning to the gift of gab. Anyway, we decided to meet with him at his house the following morning to complete some of the topics left open.

Monday, 13 June
One of the things I wanted to accomplish in Townshend on this trip was to get a photograph of a bas-relief my father had created for the wedding of a Townshend couple (this would have been in the 50s). Well, to make a long story short, I have not yet succeeded. However, it was not without spending the better part of the morning looking.
So we gave up on that and set out to Ned's place and finish what we had begun last night. Ned lives up a steep gravel road, deep into the forest, in a house he started building 20 years ago and which is still largely unfinished. It is wonderfully conceived and will(?) one day make a wonderful home for him and his many reed organs. His ideas on violin playing are very interesting, too, and, for the most part soundly based, even though they are quite unorthodox.

We then departed for Saxtons River a few miles northeast of Townshend. The goal was to meet up with my nephew, and his family: Bruce, Ella, Samantha and Riley. But, because of the near total lack of a cellphone signal and an on-again-off-again wifi we set out without knowing if we would find them or not. But we all managed to get together and had a lovely meal at the Saxtons River Inn. I thank them for letting us so rudely interrupt their lives. And I especially apologize to Riley for having interrupted her time with her friends, and for not remembering to take her picture before she left to rejoin her friends.



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blog 7

Midway Museum

Gravestone of Susan's parents in Flemmington Cemetery

Flemmington 1st Presbyterian Church

Thur, 2 June
The 2nd was a hot and humid travel day. We past through the city of Atlanta and had lunch with our former colleague Kurt Zeller. Kurt is a fine tenor with whom we both have collaborated, and he is a brilliant conversationalist. While we contributed our share, we could have simply listened to this brilliant and accomplished friend. After lunch we drove on and spent the night in Fosyth, Georgia.
On the way we passed through some more tornado damage.
Tornado damage: trees ripped out by the roots.

Tornado damage: the limbs have been torn off.

Friday, 3 June
We then went on to Macon, Georgia, where our friend, Susan Miller, grew up. There we gawked in true tourist fashion at the wonderful 19th and early 20th century architecture and had a excellent introduction to the city at the visitors center.
Unfortunately, Dick McIntosh was unable to travel to Hinesville to join me in meeting Jim Arnold and his family. Jim is the son of MaryEllen McIntosh who was key in my finding and understanding the descendants of Robert McIntosh, the identical twin of my great-grandfather, John McIntosh. We had a wonderful meal with Jim, his wife, Barbara and their two sons, Jim Jr. & Tyler. The conversations and exchange of information went on into the wee hours of the night. Their wonderful home is filled with pictures and artifacts of their family.

Saturday, 4 June
In the morning we went to the First Presbyterian Church of Flemington, GA where we thought nice thoughts at the graves of our friend Susan Miller's mother and father nestled under a lovely dogwood tree. We then went on to the colonial village of Midway, GA, and took a tour in the museum there. The museum lies next to a marvelous old church which survived the American Revolution and the Civil War, or as southerners call it, “The Wah.”
Midway Historical Museum

We then headed north to Columbia, South Carolina to enjoy the warm and wonderful hospitality of Pam & Don Hoffman. Pam is from my mother's side of the tree: the Edwards. Originally from Wales, the Edwards moved to Liverpool, England, where they lived for a couple of generations before my mother's mother moved to this side of the pond with her family. Pam found me on line while doing genealogical researdh, and Valerie & I were thrilled to meet them about ten years ago on yet another of our round-the-country tours. We spent the night in their wonderful home

Atlanta, Georgia

Sunday, 5 June
Pamela is a cellist, and I had given her my new game, FingerBoard, and after breakfast, we played a round. A good time was had by all (Don won). We had a wonderful visit and got to know this generous, delightful and talented couple better. Wish we lived closer. After the game we headed north again and ended up in an RV near Staunton, VA, high up in the Appalachian Mountains where we had neither cellphone connection nor wifi.

 Monday, 6 June
To relieve the tedium of interstate travel on I-81, we opted for a stretch on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a magnificent, high national park on the crest of the Appalachian Mountains. To the east there were long views of neighboring mountains, and to the west far below—2,700 feet on at least one occasion lay the Shenandoah Valley.
Tuesday, 7 June
We returned to I-81 and continued north with hopes of meeting up with my cousin, Christine Lurk and her husband Paul. Christine—also known as “Blue.” Christine is from the same branch of the family tree as Gloria Dukeshire way back in Kingman, AZ (she is descended from Thomas Purves and his second wife, Nancy Hattery). We went out to dinner and then the girls returned home and talked about what I don't know, while Paul & I went to the Gettysburg Battlefield, not so much for the battle—Paul is deeply knowledgeable on the subject—but to look at what are almost surely dinosaur tracks in the rocks—Paul has done considerable research in this subject as well.
Wednesday, 8 June
We left the Lurks after a wonderful visit, sorry only that it could not have stayed longer. But we needed to mush on to the next stop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where we chatted with Jerry Bidlack and his family. Jerry was my music teacher in my last two years of high school. His influence has been a huge in my life, especially my musical life. Not only was he an outstanding musician and friend, he was immensely generous with his talents and time. Among other things he accompanied me in two recitals one of which included a sonata of his own composition.
We then reluctantly pushed on to Mountain Vista RV Park near East Stroudsburg, PA, where we will spend the night.

Valerie & Henrietta examine a 1909 home under reconstruction
Macon architecture

Macon architecture

Macon architecture

Macon architecture
Macon railroad station

Macon railroad station interior

Macon railroad station "Colored" waiting room
Jim & Barbara Arnold
Christine & Paul Lurk
View from Blue Ridge Parkway

View from Blue Ridge Parkway

View from Blue Ridge Parkway

View from Blue Ridge Parkway

View from Blue Ridge Parkway