Friday, May 30, 2014
Recently I've been corresponding with a fifth-generation Californian, Cathryn Fairlee of Cotati, who has ancestors who arrived in California in the 1850s on both sides of her family. (One settled in Marysville -- named after Donner Party survivor Mary Murphy Covillaud; the other was buried in the cemetery of Mission Dolores in San Francisco -- as was Mary's brother-in-law, survivor William Foster. Just can't get away from the Donner Party associations!) Cathryn's a professional storyteller and will present a "Chautauqua" telling the Donner Party story as Virginia Reed at the Veteran’s Hall, 10214 High Street, Truckee, on June 27 at 7:00 pm. ($10 donation.)
Parenthetical digression: this use of "Chautauqua" threw me for a loop when I first heard it some time ago; it brought to mind the summer camps and traveling shows that provided education and entertainment for rural Americans in the late 1800s and early 1900s. More recently, "Chautauqua" has also come to mean a performance by someone who adopts the persona and garb of a historical character to tell his or her story.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Reader Chet's recent comment on my post about "Donner Party Cannibalism: Did They or Didn't They?" reminded me of some news I meant to share: Several weeks ago I learned that the article is a finalist (runner up) for the Western Writers of American Spur Award for best short nonfiction for 2014. What a surprise! I had no clue that it had even been nominated. Naturally, this is exciting news, but despite my elation, the article is still unsatisfactory and I'm drafting a more detailed study. It may turn into a book by the time I'm through... Will keep you posted.