But first my Weight Watchers report. After two weeks of travel, I am amazed and happy to say that I LOST 2.2 pounds! Yeehaw! The truth is, I was getting a little careless, but now I’m fully re-committed for sure. Ready to conquer new ground.
Gettysburg was wonderful–I had planned to stay 3 full weeks, but between the invitation to Dodge City and the cruise I’m going on in early November, I was forced to shorten my visit. This meant I didn’t get to contact some people I wanted to meet, but never fear–I’m going back in June to attend the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College. I am SO excited about this, I can barely find words–I’ve tried to sign up before, but the spaces fill up fast, and I was too late. This year, I’m in! It will be an intense week of indepth classes, some of which will include battlefield visits.
While in Pennsylvania this time, I revisted all the battlefields–Devil’s Den and Little Round Top, too. I found the tour of the Jennie Wade House, a place I didn’t get to on the last trip, incredibly moving. Jennie Wade, as many of you know, was the only civilian killed in the ferocious battle–she was making bread for her family and the wounded soldiers surrounding her house when a stray bullet struck her. She was killed instantly–a dreadful tragedy of course, but also a blessing. Many of the soldiers were not so fortunate, obviously. Prior to that fatal day, Jennie braved the proverbial hail of bullets and shells to take water to the wounded, at night as well as in broad daylight. It was Jennie, more than any other historical figure, that caused the story I want to write to gel in my brain. I want to write about the women, the ones who picked up the pieces, served as angels of mercy after every skirmish. They loved and lost, these women, but most of them went on anyway, simply because they were needed. When you meet my character, Caroline Hammond, I hope you will like and admire her as much as I already do, even in these very early stages.
On a more mundane note, Gettysburg is an excellent place to shop. My absolute favorite is a place called Gallery 30, where I purchased, among other things, a wonderful Pennsylvania Dutch floorcloth, a reversible faux-fur vest, and a delightful print illustrating the old song that includes the words, “Bless the beasts and the children.” There is also a nice outlet mall near Gettysburg, and I went crazy in the Chico’s store there. (Jen says if she ever writes a memoir, the title will be, “The Devil Wears Chico’s”. ) I also purchased three prints of artist Dale Gallon’s work. They’re amazing, and once they’re up on the wall, I’ll post photos.
I spent time with good friends, Sandy Pennesse and Janet Wahl–they treated us to lunch at the historic Farnsworth House–but missed seeing Gary and Marsha Roche. Gary is the BEST battlefield guide you can imagine. Anyway, it was the off-season for the Roches, and they live elsewhere except in the summer, but you can bet I’ll be getting together with them during the June visit.
We closed the visit with a grand dinner at the Cashtown Inn, which is right up there with Dobbin House and the Farnsworth House when it comes to great places to eat.
I can’t wait to go back to my favorite town in Pennsylvania.