Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sharing about Priscilla at Schingoethe Center for Native Americans

Fields of yellow mustard now brighten the Southern Illinois countryside. Most of our flowering spring trees are already green, but as I traveled up to the northern part of the state to Aurora, I was able to enjoy the flowering red bud, pear, dogwood, and other blooming trees all over again.

I left Woodsong on Saturday to go to Mattoon to visit my brother Jim and his wife Vivian. Finally I got to meet 17-month old Willow, my great grand niece. Her mother Leana (my great niece) and her grandmother Judi (my niece) were visiting with Jim and Vivian when I arrived. Just like I had been told, Willow is a live wire who was busy every minute exploring. I did not try to hold her because a success would have lasted only a few seconds. Instead I enjoyed receiving the magazines and other items she rushed around the room gathering and bringing to me and her great-grandparents. With blue eyes, light complexion, and lovely blond curls, her beautiful face would have made an exquisite doll. As the evening progressed, she did not slow down but her little face registered fatique, and I bet she was asleep in the car seat before her mother had her back home to Charleston.

On Sunday I met Dr. Darrell Latch at Arcola in front of his power lifting gym to ride the rest of the way to Aurora University where the Illinois Trail of Tears Association was meeting at the Schingoethe Center. A beautiful facility with artfully arranged displays in the museum, the small library, and auditorium, the curator Meg Bero has crated an exciting and colorful environment to help us appreciate native Americans.

I enjoyed sharing the story of Priscilla, the Hollyhock Girl, who was freed from slavery off the 1838 Trail of Tears in the southern part of the state. And I invited folks down to the annual Memorial Day weekend open house held at Silkwood Inn, where Priscilla lived, from l0 to 4 on Saturday and Sunday. Sponsored by the West Franklin Historical Society as well as the Mulkeytown Historical Society, the museum in the former Mulkeytown School will be open as well.

Arriving back in Mattoon to Jim and Vivian's, I was ready to relax over late-evening sandwiches and with late-night visiting. We finally went to bed a little after midnight and slept in very late Monday morning. More visiting over a late breakfast and an afternoon lunch at Sullivan, where Jim took me around the square so I could at least see the theater there that I have read so much about. Finally at five, I figured I better be on the road again to head home. Gerald and Gerry were also headed home from Louisville, KY, where they had gone back to see Erin and Notre Dame play a double header after the games were rained out on Sunday. We hoped to possibly meet at Mt. Vernon for supper, but I was enough ahead of them that we didn't try that rendevouz.

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