It’s one of those years. (Well, hopefully it’s just ONE YEAR with no repeats, ever.) The options for vacation are pretty limited, so I decided on a day trip, since the car we’re leasing gets turned in soon and we have a lot of unused miles on it. I decided to go to Mankato, Minnesota, a 90-minute drive south, and asked my daughter Gennie to come along. I was so happy she said yes. The corona virus and quarantining has changed the kinds of interactions I have with people, and I relished a whole day to spend with her, all the talking and laughing and sharing we would do.
Some of you may remember four years ago when I was posting Divorce Lessons. I was going through a pretty traumatic time in my life after Bob had asked for a divorce in September 2014. I started blogging about what I was going through and what I was learning in those raw, vulnerable months. In Lesson #5, I posted about what our Thanksgiving looked like that year, and how I was making changes to create new routines, a possibly New Normal at a time when nothing felt normal.
I’m reposting it today. I’m finding that as I look back at that time and the many things I learned in the process are good for me to practice today. Of course, after going through many rocky months, much therapy, many changes, and Bob living in an apartment for almost two years, we did not get divorced. And that’s just one of the many things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving.
I hope you enjoy this repost, and have a very happy Thanksgiving, my friends!
[November 30, 2014] Technically, this Thanksgiving was the dreaded First Holiday. Maybe next year will be more drastically different since our living situation will have changed and we’ll be further down this road, but this year, with all the divorce-talk, the holiday has certainly had a different feel. Continue reading
Technically, this Thanksgiving was the dreaded First Holiday. Maybe next year will be more drastically different since our living situation will have changed and we’ll be further down this road, but this year, with all the divorce-talk, the holiday has certainly had a different feel.
I’m a planner, a list-maker, a researcher. I like to figure things out, sometimes to my detriment, but often it is a strength. So weeks ago, as I saw Thanksgiving looming, I knew it would in some ways *be* different, and I wanted to make it even *more* different. Which brings me to lessons I learned this year as I did so… Continue reading
This past weekend I got to experience another world– somewhat like living inside a book, immersed with other folks in the imagination of a writer… the people, places and events she created. It wasn’t a re-enactment, but we were in a little sensory time-warp bubble. The author was Maud Hart Lovelace, the books were the Betsy-Tacy series, and the world was “Deep Valley” (as she dubbed Mankato, Minnesota in her books) and the years were 1892 – 1917. I was in Mankato for the Betsy-Tacy Convention.
Maud wrote about her childhood and early adulthood growing up in Mankato in these books– they are based on her life, but she maintained they were ficitonalized. She changed names and locations and situations; she created stories based on some reality; she embellished. When I was a kid eating up these books like candy, I wished they were real. I looked up “Deep Valley” on the Minnesota map and could never find it, so I assumed they were totally fictional. It wasn’t until I was well into adulthood that I discovered the reality part of the fiction.
These were books I re-read many times over the years. I loved the world Maud created, and these characters felt like my friends (yes, I did have real friends, too!). I identified with Betsy, who knew from a young age she wanted to be a writer. But until the mid-90s, “I thought I was the only one” (a catch-phrase of Betsy-Tacy fans). For brevity, I’ll keep it short… but I discovered an email listserv of Betsy-Tacy fans, two societies working to promote the books, and I have been a part of all of these groups for 17 years now.
Going to Mankato this weekend for another B-T Convention (we’ve had them every few years) is as much about seeing the many people I’ve come to know and love online, and in the societies, as it is about seeing the actual historical sites. We have become a close-knit community, and that made the convention extra special.
But there are also the actual houses of the real Betsy/Maud and Tacy/Bick that have been bought and restored, and many historical places to visit in the town. Living inside the Betsy-Tacy books this weekend also meant: listening to speakers, some of whom corresponded with Maud, a young adult author panel, a costume parade, a legacy panel of descendants of the series’ characters, a sing-along, touring Minneapolis since one of the books takes place here, a trivia contest, socializing and drinking, and much more.
I feel really, really lucky to have come across this community of fans– it’s brought me friendship and fun, shared experiences and many great book recommendations. People sometimes look at me strange when I talk about these books, the people I meet because of them, and how excited I get about all of this. But I feel grateful to be able to live inside these books, and have a weekend like this one where it all becomes even more real. After all, I can whisper to my childhood self, “guess what? You’re not the only one!” 🙂