Friday, May 15, 2009

Minneapolis Madness

Oh let me tell you - when you get more than one writer together in the same room - you never know what is going to happen. We had more fun than any group had a right to when we gathered in Minneapolis. Just to remind you there was (Back row from left to right) Cathy Hake, Judy Miller, yours truly and Kim Sawyer, (in front row left to right) Stephanie Whitson, Julie Klassen, Nancy Moser and Lauraine Snelling (who was down in her back for most of the trip and I know would appreciate prayers). We all write historical stories for Bethany House so research is near and dear to our hearts.

I know Judy has talked about the costume warehouse. That was an absolute hoot! Stephanie Whitson gave us the most amazing workshop on quilts through history. Sadly we all had to learn that the stories about the underground railroads being mapped out with quilts hanging from porches and elsewhere simply wasn't true. There is no documentation for this anywhere except through some fictionalized stories written well after the fact. And this is taught as true history in school!

Cathy Marie Hake, a nursing veteran with over 30 years of experience gave us an amazing workshop on historic medicine. We learned so much - especially about medicines. Goodness but they were doping themselves left and right in the 1800's. One of my favorite was a bottle of hooch called, SAVE THE BABY. As Cathy put it, what mother worth her salt wouldn't invest in a bottle of that? Well, when you looked closer the ingredients were things like Laudanum, Chloroform and Tincture of Cannabis. Hmmm, wonder what you were saving the baby from?

There were a great many giggles over books to help with martial needs. We were more sober when examining a surgeon's field kit. Getting sutured in those days involved a thick curved needle (think of one the size of a leather punch) with a finger loop on one end. The surgeon would push the needle and thread through, then grab the thread and push the needle back out because it couldn't go through all the way. You can see the needles in the picture below. Made you glad to live in this day and age of smaller needles and painkillers.

Well now I'm home and it's back to work. Oh, but here's something fun for you. It snowed like crazy yesterday and although it melted right off and didn't last - we're supposed to get more snow tonight. I'm thinking spring just might come to us around next August.

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