Tuesday, April 15, 2008

file this under WTF

International Thriller Writers
I was a member in 2006, but intentionally didn't renew in 2007.

So today I receive a dues letter that reads like this:

"we wanted to give you the opportunity to keep your membership active by bringing your dues up to date."

That is followed by a renewal fee for 2008 -- BUT ALSO FOR 2007, when I wasn't even a member. Total 240.00. Umm, okay. Now I'm expecting a letter from the Girl Scouts giving me the opportunity to pay for 35 years of dues.

Friday, April 11, 2008

spring update

some interesting things I’ve discovered about my new place:

This used to be a town. Everything burned down except for the church, which explains why it’s in the middle of nowhere.

The lumber baron who started the town and built the church had an interest in horticulture. He cultivated his own variety of lilacs, naming them after himself and the now non-existent town. These lilacs grow on both sides of the front door. Lilacs are my favorite flower, and I can’t wait to see the color. I’m guessing white, but I’m hoping for lavender.

I haven’t run into anybody in the area who can tell me anything about the history of this place or the history of the family who built the town and church, but I’ve found some info online. Here is just a small section of the founder’s bio that covers the later years of his. It looks like he semi-retired and lived out his final years here. I know the church was built in 1895, so that fits the bio. It’s so strange to think of someone buying ground and building a town in just a few years. He and his wife had one son who was always in poor health. At one point they moved to California hoping that the weather would improve the child’s health, but the son died and it sounds like both parents were never quite the same after that.

online bio:

"In 1892 he purchased a larger tract of hardwood timber. Here he gave his attention to the manufacture of railway material, chiefly crossties and car stock. Besides his own mill he controlled the output of many smaller mills, which business he conducted for several years, from 1895 to 1899. He passed away June 22, 1903, at his residence in Wis., and his body was taken to Santa Rosa, Cal., for burial at the side of his son. His health failed him during the last five years of his life, though most of the time he was fairly well and able to attend to his business. During the last three years only the care of the farm engrossed his attention. There he seemed most happy since he was particularly fond of animals and outdoor life. Two weeks before his death he had a slight paralysis of his left side, apparently of a few hours' duration. He sat up and read thereafter every day until the end came. His charities were large and unostentatious. He maintained a free hospital bed without disclosing his name, gave liberally to other hospitals, and assisted several young men to an education and in business. He was a large-hearted, generous, kind considerate man, a noble citizen, endeared to his family." Of him it was also said: "No man in the great Northwest more deserved success and none has left a more honorable record."