On Sunday, September 27, 2015, a friend and I drove down to Greenwich for the Artisan's Fair. I love this fair because they are really artisans and not crafters or souvenir vendors. These people blow glass, smith iron, throw pottery, and weave, and we get to see and buy their products.
As with every year, they also have music and this year it was a country western band with a singer who sounded a lot like Willie Nelson. They were terrific.
Also, this year, there were re-enactors and a particulary erudite and charming one told us a great deal about the Revolution in New Jersey. Some of it I knew from my extensive reading when I was a volunteer at the Whitall House at Red Bank Battlefield, but almost all of it was new to my pal and he made it so vivid. I had his card to share with you and now it is lost but it will turn up.
Another man who was very interesting was Joseph Matthews, Archivist. He told us a great deal about the Swedish Granary in the yard of the Gibbon House Museum, and the site of the Fair. As good luck would have it, a WONDERFUL book had been for sale at the Cumberland County Historical Society, where I always like to drop in and see the exhibits and say hello to the unfailingly polite an welcoming volunteers there. The book is
Finnish Log Constructio - The Art, Anniversary Edition, author, Frank W. Eld. He had been speaking at the CCHS the ay before.
When I got home, I got cozy on the sofa and read the book from cover to cover. I was filled with gratitude and admiration for Mr. Eld and all the others who make it their life's vocation to save our cultural material heritage. The past speaks to me through many voices, re-enactors, books, and most particularlu buildings. I tell you truly, I have fallen in love with buildings. It is why I went tow work as a volunteer at Whitall Hosue those many years ago, and why I visit Greenwich regularly, and why I used to wade through the flood waters of swampy For Elfsborg to visit the solitary and, I feel, lonely, Abel Nichilson House.
As I grew up in Philadelphia, and attended Gloria Dei, Old Swedes Church, I believe I aborbed the spirit of old places and found my first love, Old Swedes.
Un beknownst to me, until I did my dna test through ancestry.com, I always believed myself to be German, English and Irish. I never knew I wa 17% Scandinavian! Most likely it was the blending of Germans and Danes along the Holstein/Schleswig border which is the peninsula of Jutland, nonetheless, I now feel a vested interest in the Scandinavian Colonial history of the NJ/Pa.Delaware River region. Buy the book. It is fascinating - then visit the log houses we have, one, the VanLeer Schorn cabin at Trinity Church in Swedesboro, one at Salem, just as you enter the city, and the Nothnagle Cabin near Mickleton.
By the way, did you play with Lincoln Logs when you were a child?