I’m doing this fundraiser at my own expense ….
As I have mentioned before and as I have told each author I have written, I am doing this fundraiser at my own expense (of course with the help of my dear husband as well). I anticipated my expenses and committed what I would spend to this worthy cause…raising funds for the Coalville Library, the little town where we live! However, to my thrill and amazement, the project has taken off BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS and I started having “unanticipated” expenses and I WANTED to spend MORE money for extra, special promotional tools to enhance the professionalism of Jo’s Library Quilt. You see…my “stuff” just HAS to look as good as the QUILT! So I started thinking of ways I could come “rustle” up some “spare change.”
BINGO! I have an antique basket (that’s collecting dust on a shelf) that my brother-in-law Dennis keeps trying to “trade” for some kind of valuable piece of “junk” he has like a car engine that my husband would love or used to tin. You know... “stuff” that I would really enjoy! Wrong! But Dennis does loves and admire antiques (and only if you could see the collection of "beauties" he and his wife Vickie have collected throughout the years!) and he has also come to enjoy the “magical world” of the internet. So I asked Dennis to do some research on the basket to see what I could sell it for and what it might be worth! AND low and behold it is worth SOMETHING as his “keen” eye told me many years ago. This is where, hopefully, I will be getting my “spare” change!
And where I got the BASKET is even a better story…from my dearly, beloved Mom, Alice (who is no longer with us but is in spirit) and guess what, she was a TEACHER! And she did support libraries and I believe she would love to hear that I’m using the BASKET for my fundraiser. And the story even gets better. My Mom got the basket from her family, the traveling ones…Aunt Alice and Uncle Barton (who were brother & sister) who had three brothers and sisters who were ALL TEACHERS who SUPPORTED LIBRARIES!!!!!!!!!!!!
(The following information has been provided by sister, Jane Lewis. And you’re gonna love this one…she’s a RETIRED TEACHER WHO SUPPORTS LIBRARIES THEN & NOW! (Isn’t this just too much?) And Jane has always been very interested in genealogy and she traveled the U.S. with her dear friend Jane Crosier researching our family’s heritage and has provided me with this WEALTH of information. And FYI, Jane is also my website “Editor.” I post things as fast as I can on the website, she reads it, proofs my boo-boos, e-mails me back! Isn’t e-mail great? She lives in Indiana and can STILL help me daily on this project! (Excuse me for a minute: “No, Jane…you don’t get half of what the basket is worth; you have your own “stuff” to sell off and besides that, you’re doing this for me because you’re my ONLY SISTER!). Oh my goodness, again! Before we start with Jane's story, I almost forgot to tell, my sister-in-law Carolyn (brother Ross' wife) is a TEACHER too! We're just "full out it, TEACHERS, aren't we!
And so Jane wrote…
I believe the California travelers of the Austin ancestry (our Mom’s family) were Aunt Alice and Uncle Barton (neither married). They drove to California at least once, maybe twice in the early 1900’s. They also took the train. I have pictures, one of Aunt Alice and another of Uncle Barton standing atop Mt Lowe in California. I found a website that shows a picture of Mt Lowe, looking over the city of Los Angeles. The view is exactly the one in the background of Alice and Bart's pictures. That was awesome to find. www.mtlowe.net (you may know this as Echo Mt...Very popular!
So off to California go Alice and Bart. I believe they bought baskets, turquoise jewelry and copper trinkets on their travels out west. I think some of the pictures I have are from Arizona or New Mexico. Barton did some landscaping in California...I have got to find out which city...he landscaped the city square or something like that...that will take some deeper searching. Probably gifts brought back to the rest of the family that were working for a living....Alice and Bart really did have fun running around together! OH MY GOODNESS! I just realized these travelers were born just 40 years after the timeframe of Jennifer Chiaverini's book THE SUGAR CAMP QUILT...my inspiration for this project! How exciting!
Early 1900's, Aunt Alice atop Mt. Lowe in California (mtlowe.net)
Aunt Alice's traveling companion, her brother Uncle Barton on Catalina Island (early 1900's).
The other three siblings that were TEACHERS (supporting libraries!) were Catherine, Vida, and Eva! The teachers were more into buying all the beautiful glass, silver, etc. With only Garry and Eva getting married, almost all the family belongings went to our Mom! So we can thank Auntie Alice and Uncle Barton for gallivanting around the country and bringing souvenirs home. The Indian style woven baskets I'm sure are from out west. I also have some baskets that look more like ones that were locally made...could have been for everyday use...maybe even from Grandpa’s grocery store!
Unfortunately, all the rest of the stories won't be told until we meet up with the aunts in heaven! I’m sure we'll find them at a little cafe that serves wine, a cup of tea and plays cool music! I have so many pictures. In fact, most of them that have no name or date on them. I'm just so sorry none of us got Mom to sit down and identify all these people. I do have some good information and pictures in the family Bible that we can share on another day!