Last night, Tuesday 2/11/14, I gave my final presentation on the Civilian Conservation Corps, in South Jersey at the Friends Village in Woodstown for the Salem County Genealogy Society. A nicer group of people couldn't be found which is why, although I am retired from public speaking now, I decided to give one more lecture. I wanted to do something nice for this group of kind and dedicated people and especially their young president, Bonnie Beth Elwell, a charming and devoted historian and genealogist.
It gave me such a warm feeling to look out and see all the courteous and smiling support in that audience. The people were helpful, interested, interactive - all you might wish of an audience. It was a great venue for a 'swan song.'
There are numerous reasons why I can't do public speaking any longer, most having to do with a plethora of minor but contributing health concerns. For many many years, I hauled around heavy boxes and bags of materials across snowy parking lots, up long staircases in public schools and auditoreums, after long drives, and fought the eternal battle of the electronics. I presented for Crayola Binney & Smith and innumerable other organizations over my 32 year career span in education. Then after I retired, I did it all again for Camden County Historical Society, in the suitcase history program for the schools, and with various other organizations on Colonial Living and the Underground Railroad. When I left each of these jobs, I left a good person in my place to take up the baton.
Dorothy Stanaitis at 856-456-2485, is a professional storyteller and she took the Camden County Historical Society job when I left. She also took the Philadelphia tour guide job, and she has developed wonderful programs for Colonial Living, Underground Railroad and Philadelphia history, along with her continuing Storytelling business. I gave her phone number because she is currently active in her own business and can perform for your group, should you wish to hire her.
We had developed a couple of good programs that I will be sorry to see reitred - RED, WHITE AND BLUEBERRIES was my favorite, on Clara Barton and the Red Cross and Elizabeth White and the blueberry. Well, to use a metaphor appropriate to the Olympic games. There comes a time when you have to hang up your skates.
To carry the flame for the Civilian Conservation Corps, there is Wes Hughes. He is an organizer for the Batsto volunteers group and he is contracted to write a book on the Civilian Conservation Corps in South Jersey. He and I will be in touch and I will pass on some resources to him. He attended the lecture last night.
Last night I was most fortunate in having a friend who was willing to pick me up and drive me to the Friends Village, and help me carry the bags, AND man the table to sell my novel: White Horse, Black Horse. Harry Schaeffer, is a dedicated volunteer at the James and Ann Whitall House in Red Bank Battlefield. He introduced me to the Salem group, which I have since joined. People in the historical community seem to be more gracious than the people of many other kinds of groups that I have met.
It appears a respect for local history, family history, and history in general, may perhaps be related to respect for all things and people.
I am retired from public speaking but hope to return to the Gloucester County Historical Society Library in Woodbury in the spring and I will continue at the James and Ann Whitall House as a docent. AND, when this weather finally progresses into spring, I hope to resume my wandering over the backroads, woods and beaches of South Jersey.
Meanwhile, I am still walking my dog Trixie at the Timber Creek Dog Park, most days, and I can report that as long as you have TRAX, a good walking stick, and dress in warm clothes, you'll be okay. My vet said it isn't wise to walk a dog when the temperature drops below 20 (depending on the breed I assume), so we have missed a couple of days each week this month, but we were there yesterday and we'll see what tomorrow brings. The report threatens 6 more inches of snow, so I may be in all day reading a great history book.
Currently I'm reading the history of the folk music revival of the 1960's - (just now I'm reading Woody Guthrie's life story) more on that tomorrow!