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American History
Afraid of our Shadows


"Does this phone ring all the time?" her husband asked. He was home now, retired.

The author's mind wandered back through the years and she answered, "Yep".

"It was worse when the kids were teens," she told him, "and when you were younger trying to repair or install everyone's electric in town. Then there were times like when Dad died," her voice trailed off.

And, at the thought of the loss, which could still bring a heavy feel about their heart, they both sat suddenly in silence, remembering, each in his or her own way. They were thinking their own thoughts.

The little book store was cozy with the persons there who had a mutual tie and bond in their love to read. Unlike a library full of books which were all used, this was a store and it held a polished new look. Everything about, plus and including the shiny new jackets on the books themselves was crisp. The folks waiting to have their newly purchased book signed were avid readers, no doubt. There was that look about them, one of quiet determination, as if they were reading the moment involved, waiting to turn the page, aware of the author setting before them and her hold on them.

The author, Linda Logan had written a book on her family of the Osage tribe. She was here today signing her book. This young woman kept the look of her heritage with dark hair, delicate bone structure and that quiet something in her personality which was often owned by those of American Indian blood. She was unhurried and not at all bothered by the group of people pushing in on her to have their books signed. She could have as easily been dining at some fine restaurant, nibbling at a bit of this, a taste of that, or a sip of something, all the while holding a look of pleased enjoyment.

"Would you be so kind as to look at my work in this manuscript?" Donna boldly handed the woman the clumsy large notebook which was a collection of the antique photographs her father had left to her. "I was so intrigued with these lovely old records by the way of photographs of the different branches of my family. See here, they are so varied. Some are of the Osage, some of the Ponca tribe. There is a history story in pictures of the Jones's, and look at the dust bowl days of Oklahoma lived through here by the Collins. There are pictures of the Arkansas people. My husband's family of the Flood's I also added."

"These are a rare treasure," Linda slowly flipped through the pages.

"Where did you obtain your facts?" she wanted to know.

"Newspapers, archives, burial records, cemeteries, history books, interviews by living relatives, just research." Donna told the woman.

"I will give you my address. Please write to me and I will send you the information you will need to publish these." the honest look and sweet smile of the attractive woman gave no hint of what was to come about for a very naive personage who just wanted to save rare old photographs, and looking back, probably, there wasn't a clue as to anything but positive good wishes on the author's part.

After obtaining the right address Donna now bundled all her material together and began the nightmare of publishing. There was a bouncing back and forth of correspondence with the professor who was to co-author with her with once even, a meeting in a town where the book would be published through a leading University in the state.

"While I was on vacation, the plumbing in my house broke and ruined a good amount of my records. Fortunately, nothing of yours was lost," came one letter from the professor.

"I am in the middle of a divorce and must just put off what we had planned for a while," another letter came.

Another letter said, "My daughter, fourteen, I am having to spend time with her, since the divorce."

"I am remarried, we have bought an older home and are restoring it. Time just doesn't seem to permit me to get into the work on your book at this point."

"With the lecture series, the class schedules, all this extra work, it seems like I can't get a moment extra. I will get to our project."

So, on and on, the days came and kissed the cheek of the fair maiden who was fast becoming a jilted old maid dreamer of publishing loving family history. "You know it has been six years!" Donna complained.

"Somehow or another, I'm beginning to think there is just no end to the wait."

"Just keep up with your research, looking for needles in the haystack sort of thing," her husband encouraged. "You know you have found many things since six years ago, you did not know."

The last straw in that haystack came with a letter, "I have taken a job at another university and I will be moving there."

With heavy heart she picked up the not even so much as an elegant pen, but rather a cheapy ball point. "Just send the material back, I know you would like to get into it, but it is just so much heart ache." She was really thinking about the superstitious ways of her Gramma Bell who had originally saved the photographs. "It just wasn't meant to be," she sighed and quietly waved goodbye to the dream of theirs when he had told her, "I want this published and placed in every university all over the world."

The death of her father lingered about her just as a impish leprechaun chiding her of the failure to publish. Today there was no more mourning of out loud grief. If there were tears they came as easily as soft flowing words slipping away from the lips of a blues singer mouthing notes with almost no sound.

"In my heart I know there have been family who have not wanted these old pictures shown to the world. Of what are they afraid? It is almost as if they fear their own shadow, dancing here and there, slipping back and forth, dipping and dodging the idea someone might know of their less than glorious past." she muttered and felt all but defeated.

Meanwhile, their little family seemed to be under total attack. All the events recorded in the book which she was now publishing off the computer one by one to gift to genealogy departments in various cities; these ancestors's events were in some way another visited on their children. The theme was repeated time and again, "history repeats itself," this from media, gossip, strangers, friends......and family. They went from each sorrow to the next to the next until they became like a padded cylinder which was pummeled by a fighter striking blow after blow upon them.

"We can't go back, and we can't go forward," it's like a nightmare when you are falling through space without ever hitting the ground.

"I can't even complain, when there is nothing tangible ever to touch or know about or explain."

Just as suddenly a different angel appeared to them. This one of light, hope and gentle love. A recently met stranger, but soon to become friend wanted to help put up a web page for Donna. Quickly the two created, together, her home page, http://stonescry.tripod.com/ The two were something of a clean working machine and they clicked to produce a sketch of the book on the home page, there along with bits and pieces of the author's life.

The last part of the story is a history of its own of the gentle man in Scotland, Alastair McIntyre, who saw the home page. It was he who worked slowly, patiently, together with the author and her husband to put the book on the web.

The book isn't in libraries throughout the world for the scholars of tomorrow. It is rather at the access of all the folks in the world who are possibly descendants of these people, their own beloved ancestors, of the book, Nancy Bellzona's Picture Book, Oklahoma 1896." Is there a better wish than this? Or is there a greater access? There is none. Why! even you can enjoy at: 

http://www.electricscotland.com/history/america/donna/index.htm


Return to Donna Flood's Index Page

 


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