Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I love Research

FDR's remains returning to Washington, DC

I just remembered it was Tuesday.  Can you believe that? If you know me personally, it’s not a stretch. So, here’s what I’ve been up to: Yesterday, LuLu and I had a good ride around the block (three miles), and then I came home and did 125 sit-ups on Belle the Ball. Then, I sat down and wrote the rest of the day. Actually I didn’t write, I did research.
This morning, it’s back to the research and in a few minutes I’m going to start a chapter where my main characters learn that President Roosevelt has died. It will be one of those moment of ‘where were you when…’ I’m thinking about having my characters decide to drive the 191 miles to Greenville, SC to witness Roosevelt’s funeral train pass by. Not sure how feasible that will be for them though. Not too many people had cars back then and they definitely didn’t have enough spare change for gas for that distance. It will be interesting to see how the chapter will turn out.
Yesterday, I spent the day watching old newsreels of the funeral train. Over 700 miles between Warm Springs, Georgia, where the president died, and Washington, DC. Seven hundred miles of railroad track where thousands and thousands of Americans lined up to pay their respects. Farmers stopped plowing when the train past by their fields. Women picking cotton fell to their knees and lifted their hands toward heaven. Children were let out of school to wait by the tracks for a glimpse of the last boxcar in the procession that carried the president’s coffin. The bier that held the coffin in the Conneaut’s lounge (the name of the box car) had been raised twenty inches off the floor so that the coffin would be visible through the windows for all to see. Southern Railway System folks had to scurry to accommodate the late president’s unscheduled trip back to Washington. They did a masterful job.
I love research. I love being transported back in time. I love the thrill of discovery when I come upon a fact that had been illusive. But what I love most about research is gaining back what has been lost to me. History. People. Events. Where we’ve been prepares us for where we’re going. If we’re wise, we will take heed.

Wishing you a good day…

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