Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our day of listening

We are having a family reunion in central Illinois today. So we'll be celebrating the national day of listening all weekend. I'm a huge fan of NPR's Storycorps, a wonderful oral history project. This is a little story of what I heard:

We drove around my dad's hometown of Lincoln, Illinois. I was driving as we looked for my cousin Donna's about-to-open quilt shop. As we circled the downtown square, Dad called out the names non-stop of the stores that USED to be there. He remembered Bushell's Beer Hall (where grandpa used to go every Saturday night to visit with neighbors), Ritchharts Auto Service (their son Bob used to be the quarterback on dad's football team), Hauffes Doughnuts (their 2 boys represented their products, being rather doughnut shaped) Langellier Ford (where his family always had our cars serviced and traded) JCPenneys and Sears (no longer downtown, which Dad finds disturbing). He pointed out the spot where he and his brothers parked their truck every morning when they got to high school. He pointed out the courthouse, where EH Lukenbill's office was (the former superintendent of schools - they went there to be tested at the end of 8th grade to see how their school measured up against others).

Last but not least, he pointed out the spot where he said his grandparents house was, not far from Route 66 as it passes through Lincoln. Today, the house is gone and it is home to this new Lincoln landmark. It's listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Largest Covered Wagon (the canvas is put away for the winter).

My husband and his 4 siblings gathered last night. They have not all been together for many years. The oldest
is 74, the youngest 56. They poked fun at each other and talked about things like gallused overalls and helping with washing with old machines with agitator levers ("kids were the motor") and wringers (a scary memory). And they so clearly loved being together....

We found my cousin Donna Becke's shop, the Log Cabin Quilt Shop. She will open for business on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 118 N. McLean Street in Lincoln. To start, the shop will be open Saturdays 9-3, and Mondays noon-6. They have notions, patterns, books, a quilting machine and high hopes to keep adding and adding to the shop's exciting!

Record your own family stories whenever you can. It is so satisfying, to take a few notes and save your story for posterity.

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