Monday, September 24, 2012

Unexpected Gifts

As our vacation approaches, we are having an unexpected number of guests arriving. The widow and daughter of Bruce’s first cousin, Jim Kerfoot, were with us this weekend. They brought a most unusual box for us.

Bruce’s Kerfoot grandmother’s maiden name was Share. At some point in time Jim Kerfoot received a box of Share family things. There were fans, a thread from wedding dresses, pictures, etc. The most interesting articles were some toys from Henry Share who died when he was 3 years old. The toys included a small (6 inches) hatchet and some marbles. From a family tree we found out that Henry died in 1812. It was very moving to hold in our hands toys from a member of the family who had died 200 years ago. Certainly none of us ever expected to do this. It makes you stop and think about family roots. Now I would like to spend some time researching the family tree to find out more about Henry.

I have just received a gift from one of the families who has had a summer home on Gunflint for many years. In the 1930’s Katie Burns went to Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota) as a freshman. She met another freshman named Ruth Merry. The next summer Katie vacationed at Gunflint Lodge with the Merry family. Father Ray Merry bought land on Gunflint and built a summer home. Katie managed to visit every summer until she also bought land on Gunflint Lake. Over the years Katie became a doctor and served in the Navy during World War II. She got married and raised two daughters. She never, however, lost touch with the Merry family or Gunflint Lake. Immediately after the war she built a cabin on Gunflint. This was to be her summer home for the rest of her life.

As part of my museum interviews, I spent hours talking and taping Katie. After all, except for a war years she had been on the lake since the 1930’s. In her living room was hung an interesting framed picture. It’s about 4’x4’ and shows two beavers building a dam with a background of beaver houses and a shoreline. It was done on linen with crayons. Katie told me that Ruth Merry did the picture in college and gave it to her. In the lower right corner it says “R.M. to C. B.”

From the first I loved the picture. Katie added to her will that the picture was to be given to me. It is something that I will always treasure.

We are in the peak of fall color. Last week was filled with days of sunshine and rain showers. It was a good thing because we needed the rain. Today is beautiful sunshine and a few puffy white clouds. Driving to town the yellows just jumped out at me. We also are getting a greater number of reds than in the past.

A week from today Bruce and I leave on vacation. We will be home on November 2nd. I am going to try to write one or two blogs during the trip. Keep your fingers crossed.

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