Home and Away Again

by Memoir Mentor on June 15, 2010

I returned from my Ohio research trip about a week ago and have spent the days since organizing and analyzing the material I collected in my ancestral homeland. On the whole, I rate the trip a success, particularly the experience of actually seeing the places where my Parretts actually lived and worked. I am lucky, because that area is still primarily a farm community. If I squinted my eyes and disregarded the paved roads, automobiles, and power lines, I figured I was seeing pretty much what my folks saw when they lived there. 

I learned a lesson, though, one I’ll pass on to you. Before you go on such a trip, compile a list of every record you already have relating to the people you’re researching. I made a list of what I wanted to get, but not what I already had. I thought I could rely on my memory. I should know better by now. Turns out I brought back some duplicates of material I found years ago–which means I wasted both time and money spent on photocopying!

There was little need to pack away my suitcase, for I’m off again. I know, I know…why don’t I stay home and write? I will, I will…after this next trip. My husband and I are joining some friends on a Baltic Cruise. For the next couple of weeks, we’ll be floating around on the Symphony, a fancy sea palace filled with food and fun and hundreds of people who are paid to assure we’re happy! We’ll be pushing off from Dover (the White Cliffs place), then sailing to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and, finally, three days in St. Petersburg, Russia, a place I’ve always wanted to see. I just finished reading The Madonnas of Leningrad, a good book my student Marta Sarkissian gave me to prepare for the trip. And I’m tucking in my airplane carry-on bag my new copy of Steig Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the last book in his super-exciting Millennium trilogy. Can’t wait to dive in.

Sound fun? I’ll let you know when I return. Meanwhile, write on, my friends.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linda Hoye June 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Have a wonderful trip! Sounds wonderful!

2 Linda Lacey Missouri July 8, 2010 at 7:05 am

Dawn, Tell us more about your impressions of the Steig Larsson’s books. I just heard about Larsson from his editor and friend when I caught a late-night interview on the Charlie Rose TV show. You might enjoy going into the July PBS archives and listening to it. Love, Linda Lacey Missouri

3 Memoir Mentor July 8, 2010 at 10:17 am

I’m reading the third book of the Larsson trilogy. Each one has been a pageturner to the max. He’s created a unique and very compelling female character in Lisbeth Salander. When I was in Stockholm recently, I found the addresses of some of the sites mentioned in his books. It was so much fun, and I had to keep reminding myself that it was fictional characters who purportedly lived in these very real places. The Swedish movie for the second book is debuting in Orange County this weekend. I’ve seen the first movie. In case you don’t know, Hollywood is also planning to make movies of Larsson’s books. Too bad he died so young, before he was able to see the acclaim his books would generate.

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