Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Speaking Tour of the Front Range 9 May 2012 (Fort Collins>Longmont>Colorado Springs>Fort Collins )

One of my favorite groups is the Longmont (Colorado) Genealogical Society. I have presented programs there for three years and enjoy the people so very much. Wednesday, May 9 was no exception. It was a beautiful Colorado day, the group was friendly and nice and they asked good questions -- these are key components for me. I love to drive so the weather is important to me so I can enjoy the scenery on the way, I love to visit with people and talk genealogy so the friendliness is important and I like to know they were listening and absorbing the subject so the questions are very important to me. All points were covered and the meeting was very enjoyable. The electronic equipment behaved, the room was nice and spacious and the snacks were delicious. The subject was Welcome To The Wonderful World Of Directories. It is a fun subject and the audience seemed to enjoy it as well. We met in the First Lutheran Church on Third Street in Longmont, Colorado. The meeting room is outstanding. Under normal conditions I would have driven back to Fort Collins and been home in time to take a nap.

Naps are my new addiction (g). I love them, but this was not a normal day for me. I was also scheduled to present The DAR Genealogical Research System Is For Everyone in Colorado Springs. This is an evening meeting and the group is the Pikes Peak Genealogical Society. Of course, this means a hectic trip through Denver about 4pm and at the start of the rush hour. I left Longmont at 3 and started south. I had a brand new Ford Focus rental car so the vehicle was not of concern, not as if I had taken my pickup that is. It was mostly the anxiety of the traffic so when I saw the turn off for E470 I figured, "Why not? I have never taken it before but it may be a good thing to do today." After a few miles traveling due east, I wondered if I was going to end up in Kansas. I had already been on the Google Brick Road this week and didn't really want to return to Kansas so soon. But eventually the bypass turned south and I relaxed a bit. It was a great way to drive through Denver (or around Denver) without all the close calls that are so typical.

The Pikes Peak Genealogical Society is so fortunate, as they meet in the restored Carnegie Library in Colorado Springs. The new modern Library is attached to it but the old Library has been brought back to 1905 era decor and feel. The meeting room is the reading room where the patrons sat and read. The "1905 Carnegie Reading Room" has a round exterior with beautiful long windows looking out to the west. You can see the Rockies through the windows in the picture. This lovely room is where the meeting was held on May 9. Except there were two more rows of chairs and no tables.

This picture is the main room where the librarians sat and checked out books, answered questions and shhshed the children. I remember those libarians very well. It was in the day of teaching proper behavior versus now where we want them to feel good about themselves so let them do what they want. The curator told me that there was a drinking fountain in the white square showing in the floor, but no one knows what happened to it during the dark days of the Carnegie Library, so the spot is all there is now.  Through the opening behind the librarian's desk you can see the windows of the "1905 Carnegie Reading Room". What memories it brought back as I entered that Library. The beautiful old card catalog cabinet made of rich wood, the tiny drawers, the polished brass pulls on the drawers, just like it was in almost every Library 60 years ago. The curator didn't object as I carefully opened one of the drawers and saw the index cards that were the way we could find out what was in the Library and where it was located. How can such a simple act bring back so many memories?  I spent so much time as a kid in Libraries just like this one.

But back to the reason for the trip -- the meeting.  The room quickly filled as the 7pm start time approached.  Every chair was taken.  There was the usual business meeting and a special feature that I liked. This was that members (or guests) could come forward and tell what has been happening in their genealogical world, experiences, breakthroughs, etc.  Guests were introduced and asked to come forward and tell who they are looking for and where, etc.  It was a nice touch.

The program was well received and again inspired good questions. Two young DAR members sat in the front row and one was especially enthused, and seemed anxious to "help" me talk about DAR.  I chalked it up to pride in DAR and let it go at that.  The subject was not DAR membership, but rather the wonderful records DAR has given to the public to use free of charge. It didn't really bother me and didn't harm anything.  I have learned that being flexible is a good tool in the speaking game.  One man in the audience was following along on his tablet as I went from database to database and asked questions about what he had found there.  It was a great evening, because I love to talk DAR and I love to talk genealogy, so I was happy.

But alas, at 9pm I  had to head north to go home and I still had a long drive through who knows what kind of traffic.  Maybe Wednesday night is quiet in Denver -- this is what I hoped as I entered I-25 North.  As it turned out I was home by 11:30 and real glad to see Fort Collins and Kitty Girl.  I was also very grateful to have had a safe trip, had met some wonderful people, had a nice day and a nice car to drive.  Have I mentioned lately how blessed I am?  Well, I am, and I know it.  I probably won't take on another "Speaking Tour of the Front Range" again soon, if ever.  But I sure did enjoy this one.   Patj

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