Monday, July 26, 2010

The Great Escape

Last Wednesday, I took advantage of a day off and wandered through some colorful little communities on my way to Princeton. Although I thought it would be a day away from turning pages, I was wrong...and happily so. I guess it's just who I am one way or another.

Have you been to Poy Sippi? The first thought that popped upon seeing the modest clapboard houses, perfectly tailored old fashioned white churches - with honest-to-goodness Norman Rockwell steeples! - was "I have found Lake Woebegone!" Remember, it was Wednesday, and the good peopleof Poy Sippi were working, so things were quiet. None of the stores I visited were air conditioned, and the owners, each and every one, were found in a corner, in a rocking chair, fanning themselves with a paper plate. Each was anxious to chat, and equally as anxious to lower prices to meet my needs. Nice folks.

Finally I made it to "Georgie's", in Princeton. the picture at the top is from the main showroom. Owner, Robyn Mockus, has a warm collection of home gods, featuring the fanciful work of her artist/writer sister, Tracy Porter. Porter designs furniture, accessories, and clothing. She is frequently on Oprah's favorites list...and she is from Wisconsin...about an hour and half away from Manitowoc.

I also checked out Green Lake, about three miles from Princeton. Green Lake hosts writing conferences throughout the year. A little research when I got home told me that I missed a whopper of an opportunity; but now I have a reason to return. Hidden somewhere on highway K in Markesan, which is in Green Lake county, is Happy Tales Bookshop owned by Roy and Lenore Dickmann. Their used bookstore was features some years ago on "Sunday Morning". The Dickmanns love books; they estimate having over 1 million in barns and other buildings on their farm property. She arranges them on tables in a very unorthodox categories... books everyone should read...books that have been banned....books to read once and then give away...books with blue covers! I can't wait to get back there. Apparently, Roy and Lenore aren't too anxious to part with their collection, since they are only open on Saturdays!

***Last week I had one of those "you never know..." moments. A former student stopped in with here infant daughter to thank me for being her teacher. That was humbling, and just the gentle reminder I needed that we never know how our words and actions will affect others.

Claire is one of those perpetually happy people, the kind of person others envy. Claire should bottle whatever that magic is...that's what I often thought. A few years ago, I had the privilege of meeting Jen, who turned up to audition for Heart-A-Rama. Jen has the same contagious spirit as Claire, and guess what? Their mom's are sisters!

***If you're looking for a rental flick that is a bit out of the ordinary, try "Paperclips." This documentary shows how several groups of junior high students worked in a small town, to teach their homogeneous community about diversity. They set out to collect six million paperclips, one for each person who was murdered during the holocaust. In the process, they met concentration camp survivors, received letters from relatives of those who died, and created a permanent memorial. Amazing and emotional. A two or three tissue movie.

"Grizzly Man"....another documentary. Timothy Treadwell's passion took him to the Alaskan wilderness where he lived among bears off and on for over ten years. He filmed himself interacting with the bears, and commenting on society's lack of compassion and understanding of these animals. As his involvement with the bears progressed, his video essays turned to rants, and he appeared to be losing touch with reality. I don't know what to make of him, or of his friends who surely saw the downward spiral. Fascinating and terrifying film.

Heart-a-Rama 2011 kicks off tonight with a directors' meeting. Hopefully, we'll come up with a theme tonight and can start writing!

Thanks for stopping by!

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