I know not a cheery title, but one that deserves addressing.
The other night we gained a new friend/follower. I think of all of us as friends. I see us sitting around a campfire just outside of Price. We are bundled up against a chill in the air. We're roasting marshmallows and sharing our favorite parts from the books. We've just spent the day touring the gentle town and are connecting all the pieces we have seen. When ever any one comments or emails I feel very near that campfire. And I can't call campfire buddies, followers. So you are my friends.
Anyway our new friend was thrilled to find our corner of the world. So excited that she wrote a blog post about the site on her site. http://nymfaux.blogspot.com/2010/08/rewriting-past.html After I read her post determined I needed to address the disappointment that can occur during this discovery process. So for Jill and anyone else who has bumped into some sorrow at the discoveries I hope you will read on.
Like most of you it was a love of the story that sent me hunting. Originally I just wanted to know if it was true so I could use it as a model to write my Grandmothers story. She lived an extra ordinary life, in a time now forgotten. She also had great story telling skills as well as writing skills. But try as we might she never would write them.
The internet was new, but exploding new at the time I began. I figured I could just put in a search request and miraculously my answers would appear. Unfortunately, they didn't. I was disappointed. I still loved the stories. Over the summer and into fall I re read them trying to absorb them like air.
One day my husband, the real techno-wizard, found a website dedicated to the same hunt. It was a fun site. The family was eager to learn. But they hit a dead end. Disappointment again. I visited the site a couple more times trying to put it into perspective with the bits of Southern Utah I knew. Then some attachments caught my eye. Historians. Thats how they were listed. Bingo. My enthusiasm returned.
I wrote an email to one of the historians. At the same time hunting up contact information on the other. Lo and behold the emailer wrote back. We exchanged some emails. Everything was copacetic. Then suddenly - Not. He was protective of his discoveries. He told me his friends had warned him about people like me and that I owed him money. I was panicked, hurt, and disappointed. I moped for about a week. O.K I also refused to check my email for fear something worse would happen.
Then one night it occurred to me - he had given me a gift. Because he knew more I knew I could know more. Whatever more was. Years earlier I had worked as a claims processor for a corporations workers comp. cases. I loved it. I felt like Magnum P.I. or (what was the Angela Lansbury show in 80's). Anyway. I loved a good hunt. Research is a crazy passion for me. This would be great. Hunting for I don't know what just so I could write Grandma's story well.
These disappointments weren't the only ones. I could fly on weeks of success. Then one day hit a month or two long wall with nothing. Because I was hunting history with an unclear plan it made the low times extra hard. So hard that once, no twice, no three times I actually packed up, cleared up and hid away the work. I even went so far as planning to send everything I had to Utah State History, writing a note and handing it over. We were saved though by my pre-teen daughter, who begged me to wait. I'm so glad she did.
I know there were days that learning about Tom made me cry. Or finding out that some character was a composite of people let me down. Something else though began to happen to. I began to see what and possibly why John chose what he did. I have no way to confirm my opinion. John left us quite a few years ago. But when I get a chance I plan to ask him if my guess was right.
Now I say. Three cheers for the disappointment. It will help me someday write a good book.