Dear friends, I am slowly returning to writing after an extended trip to the Midwest. I thought about posting pictures from walks through the park in my hometown, but I’m not sure I’ve got a clear purpose for doing so. And I would hate to bore you with things which are so near and dear to my heart.
I’m also still processing much of yesterday’s sermon, so those thoughts may have to wait until another Monday for Michelle DeRusha’s Hear It, Use It community.
In the meantime I would like to offer a guest post by my great aunt, Mildred Donaldson, written sometime in the early 1900s. My brother found the following in an old family album. Aunt Mildred’s essay, which she probably wrote as a high school student, won first prize in a competition in her little Tidioute school.
Her winning essay was published over a series of weeks in the hometown newspaper. Although the original clippings were too brittle to unfold, my brother scanned and emailed them as they appeared in the album. Fortunately a typewritten copy of the entire essay was also preserved:
I love the old-timey language, the type font, the historical references, and the storytelling. I had heard some of these stories from my grandmother, but many I had forgotten. I’m so thankful that pieces of family history like this endure, meaningful perhaps only to the few who have lived part of the story. But while I’m working on getting my writing act together I decided to offer my great aunt’s essay here, in a series of three parts, as a play date from the past:
Tourists in Tidioute: An Essay that Took First Prize at Tidioute School
By Mildred Donaldson
Sunset in Florida. How beautiful. The scene which is so distinctly remembered to-night is that of a southern bungalow built under a group of tall and stately palms. Away in the distance a great body of water, the Atlantic, is perceived faintly glimmering in the soft light. It is orange blossom time, and the soft breeze which gently sways the branches of the orange trees wafts the odor of the exquisite blossoms to the middle aged couple on the veranda of the bungalow. Not a sound is heard at this sweet hour of sunset, although children are playing beneath the palms and youths and maidens are strolling in the orange grove.
Finally, when the sun had disappeared far beyond the horizon, and the moon was slowly appearing, the couple on the veranda spoke.
“Ruth,” said the gentleman, “how would you like to go touring this summer and explore the States a little farther north of us?”
“And leave this beautiful place, John, just during the prettiest time of the year here?”
“Yes, dear, why not? This is beautiful indeed, but there is more beauty to be found elsewhere. For the last few weeks I have been thinking of the little village in Pennsylvania where you and I grew up, and have almost arrived at the conclusion that I should like to visit it. Why not take the young people and show them the old place?”
“What a great idea, John, I did not think of the old town when you first spoke. I certainly would like to see it again if it does take us away from this little spot of Florida beauty, all our own, that we love so well.”
That is how it happened that early one morning not long afterward a large gray touring car, occupied by the middle aged couple and three young people, was seen driving out of the neat little garage just behind the still neater bungalow, laden with all the necessities of camp life, for they intended to pitch camp whenever night overtook them until they reached the little Pennsylvania town, named Tidioute, which they intended to visit.
Two weeks later, for they had taken their time, and had had many experiences, a large gray touring car slowly crossed the bridge spanning the Allegheny at Tidioute.
What joy overcame the older folks as they saw, for the first time in twenty-five years, the place where they had grown up, the little village of Tidioute nestling among the hills with the Allegheny flowing along its edge.
The gray car drove up Main Street and stopped at the well-known Caldin Hotel. After refreshing themselves, and being too tired to do any exploring that night, our party retired, but not until ten year-old Ted had clamored for a bit of history concerning this quaint little town which had already appealed to him.
“Wait, wait,” replied his father, “tomorrow we’ll open your eyes and show you and your sisters whether northern scenery can be compared with southern sunsets or not. Your sisters think it can’t be done, but we’ll see.”
Next week: The legend of how Tidioute got its name.
Linking with Laura @ The Wellspring: