I don't know if I can even get this all into one post, it has been the most amazing day, I have about 8 million pictures and one great video and so much to report!! We're back in our room, having just left a group of Perfectly Awful Girls at the Red Sky Lounge where the debate when we left was: Joe vs. Tony. I had no idea how many things Tony had going for him (and also realized, heh, I married my Tony, and that's worked out pretty well!)
The day started off with us missing breakfast -- whoops, but I do have a baby in tow, I think that gives me some excuses. So the day really started off boarding our bus and heading up to Hill Street (really Center St) where we saw the little yellow cottage Maud Hart Lovelace lived in until she was 14, and across the street, the white rambling house that Tacy lived in. It was amazing to see them both, and they are both being beautifully restored and maintained by the Betsy-Tacy Society.
We then went and sat on the bench, scene of so many Betsy-Tacy dinners and story telling.
In Tacy's house many artifcacts are on display including the brass bowl that Stella Hart bought for herself because she wasn't sure her husband would buy it in time (I think I model myself after Stella). I also saw the cover for Winona's Pony Cart for the first time in a display of all of Lovelace's books, the Hart family's coffee pot -- which was always put on in times of family stress and strife (though I still don't understand how eggshells worked into the making of coffee), and Maud's typewriter.
After these tours we headed back to the convention center for a typically Betsy-Tacy picnic lunch, with bologna, a hard boiled egg and an unfrosted chunk of cake. We picked up our BT swag from the Betsy-Tacy Society store -- including a great onesie and bib for the baby and had a quick stopoff at our room before heading out on the driving tour of Mankato.
Driving around Mankato we visited the Carnegie Library where Betsy read as a child, and studied for the Essay Contest with Joe Willard. Then it was onto Carney's house, where we saw the sleeping porch immortalized in Carney's House Party and the side yard where the grass was worn down from everyone hanging out. We drove past the Episcopal Church that Betsy and Julia convert to in Heaven to Betsy and stopped at Tib's Chocolate Colored House which is absolutely gorgeous! We visited the Blue Earth Historical Society (which was very helpful to us in the upcoming reissues) where we could see Maud's high school scrapbook along with the lifesize replica of Betsy that Harper Collins created and sent on tour to celebrate the publication of Betsy's Wedding. This tour included a wedding reception at the Waldorf Astoria which was attended by more than 300 people!
We drove through Paige Park, scene of so many high school picnics, Little Syria, from Big Hill and Emily of Deep Valley and ended our tour at the current library, where there are, in addition to many copies of the books, original drawings by Lois Lenski and the actual glass pitcher that Tacy gives to Betsy for her fifth birthday.
And if that wasn't enough--we had dinner tonight in the Great World, with food inspired by the book. We were graced at our table with Mr. O'Farrell and Mrs. Main-Whittaker (making us, I think, second only to the Captain's table on the S.S. Columbic). Many attendees dressed up in costume. There was Betsy in her cherry colored robe having a bath at the pension in Munich when the soldiers are out, women dressed as paper dolls, two women dressed as spinach mit eit, two young girls dressed for the Cat Duet (which they performed), two different pairs of people dressed as the Agony Column and subsequent telegram and one woman dressed as the House of Yellow Roses. And there were many many more dressed in beautiful period costumes. They all looked amazing.
Right now I should be working on my speech for tomorrow -- I can't believe I'll be on stage with relatives of Vera Neville AND Cab Edwards. I must muster my wits and treat this as the essay contest SENIOR year and get my act together. Look for another report tomorrow!