Friday, December 8, 2017

My Bishop Hill Collection

I’m a SAVER. (It’s not just part of my name.) I’m a saver of the sorts of things that clutter up shelves, fill boxes, and overflow closets. The kind of saver who occasionally has to sort through piles of stuff to find the top of the desk.

I’m not a hoarder. I wouldn’t go that far. I’ve moved too often and too recently to qualify for that title. Every move, you see, demands reorganization and therefore some jettisoning of acquired material possessions. A brutal process to be sure. But the absolute essentials always make it through. The essentials in this case are items of my collection of Bishop Hill memorabilia.

It’s like I always knew I’d need them for give-away contests.

The most recent additions to my collection are going to be used first. I shopped for these last February at the Colony Store. They are the crochet snowflakes handmade by Bishop Hill’s favorite Swede (in my opinion), Ulla Voss. Not to be confused with Ulla Olson, a character from my novel. I needed a U name for a plot point and couldn’t think of a better name to borrow. I bought six of Ulla’s snowflakes and decided to give the first four away in pairs. The others will be partnered with some cute keychains and a fox.

Why a fox?

I’m glad you asked. Years ago, when I still lived in Bishop Hill, I was up in the middle of a winter’s night with a bad cold. When I wasn’t coughing, I heard the most horrendous sound coming closer to my house. I watched out my window as the noisy culprit revealed itself to be a lonely fox walking down the street calling out for company. That was memorable. So was reading The Fox Hunt by Sven Nordqvist. Both experiences influenced me when it came time to write my own version of a Swedish fairy tale that’s in Winter Worlds: Three Stories. So, it’s all good.

After those items are gone, I have more in reserve. As I said before, I do like to save things.

Such as:
Illinois road maps from 2008. That would be the year of the action in Clouds Over Bishop Hill. Did I plan that? No. I saved those maps because the governor at the time was in trouble. Y’all remember Rod R. Blagojevich?

Some target silhouettes of a squirrel. Those date from the time a black squirrel decided to live in, and chew on, Bishop Hill’s wooden water tower. I wrote about it for the Galva News. I won an award for the photograph of the resulting monster ice cycle. The paper targets are suitable for framing.

Oldest by far are a few copies of the Bishop Hill Children’s Activity Book created by Sherry Cosentine and Deborah Rickman in 1980. These came from someone else’s cleaning binge. I’ll gladly share.

So, let the contests begin.

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