Every June in my hometown of Portland, Oregon the Rose Festival Fun Center rises up from the edges of the waterfront and spills out across the city like a pioneer Mardi Gras (albeit sans beads and breasts). As a child, the Fun Center was an intoxicating cacophony for my senses – sailors in fresh whites, sticky children, late spring mud, great maned Clydesdales, warm buttery popcorn, and bits and pieces of conversation flying past on smooth heeled shoes and short skirts. But I remember clearly that at the end of the day, I had to find a place to steal away and process the experience.
I feel like that right now.
Since the moment the vendor floor of the National Genealogical Society Conference opened its doors in Salt Lake City this morning at 9:30am, a river of bright, enthusiastic faces from all corners of the United States and beyond flowed by and around me. By noon, I had talked with family historians from corners of Florida and Missouri, Texas, Maine, New Jersey, and Illinois. I’m told that there is at least one attendee from New Zealand. (If you’re out there, dear Kiwi, come by our booth – I have a prize for you as “the one who traveled the farthest.”) It is amazing – all these people.
What is more amazing is how many souls all these family historians represent, both living and deceased. The numbers are staggering to consider. Consider too the time, the talent and the resources so dedicated to preserving the past for the future. It is awe-inspiring. I am humbled.
Next Time: Class Notes