Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Revisiting Heaven

I returned to Fairhope Monday for a business trip. The business was to promote my books about Fairhope: That Was Tomorrow and The Fair Hope of Heaven. It is not as peaceful as it used to be, but then, neither am I. I crowded my schedule with book signings, book talks, and meetings with various people who are interested in what I have to say about Fairhope's history and the story of the Organic School.

The first speech “Nostalgia and That Was Tomorrow” at the Fairhope Museum of History went better than I expected. Intrigued as I have been by a recent article in the New York Times about nostalgia, I gave my description of it--including the diagnosis of cowbells causing brain addlement, and how the young Swiss mercenary soldiers, missing their beloved homeland with its hillsides of cows and the soothing sounds of the bells, might well have been perfectly sane to yearn for a more pleasant time and place than war on foreign battlefields.

I read a little from The Fair Hope of Heaven, about the sky and the stars, the Fairhope I remembered fondly and the one I’d heard about from those who recalled the past. I read  from That Was Tomorrow about the young schoolteacher’s reaction to her first days in Fairhope, with my descriptions of the Fairhope of the day, the unpaved streets, the wandering children pulling satsumas off trees, the goats and chickens, the occasional eccentrics saying hello. Time travel to "Old Fairhope" is always rewarding. My audience seemed entranced, and I was heartened by what appears to be genuine interest in the topic, one upon which I can expound for hours.

Today I spoke at the Marietta Johnson Museum about the Organic School and Mrs. Johnson's commitment to education reform at the beginning of the 20th century. A large audience, (large to me, anyway, probably about 40 at one talk and 30 at the other) was stimulated to ask challenging questions and kept me on my toes. At both venues I sold some 20 books total--and there will be many more sold at the book signing at the indie bookstore (Page & Palette) Friday from 1-3.

I'll wind up my trip Sunday with a talk at the Unitarian Fellowship, and return to Albany (NY) Monday. I am having a wonderful visit and expect more surprises in days to come.

Will let you know as they happen.


Anonymous said...

How exciting, Mary Lois! That's always so rewarding when people "get" what you're saying!

Mary Lois said...

Feeling good!