Words of Explanation

September 18, 2013 § 9 Comments

Unfortunately, I have not been able to keep up with my weekly postings because I am currently sharing yet another experience with Susan.  As I describe in Chapter 11 of Susan Lawrence: The Enigma in the Wright House, Susan nursed her second husband, Lawrence Joergen-Dahl , in his last days.  Carl Volkmann, my husband of 56 years, is currently receiving home hospice care at the end of his 15 year struggle with colon cancer.  I am fortunate to be able to share these days with him, but am unable to continue other activities.  For that reason, new posts will not be appearing on this blog for the foreseeable future.  Thank you for understanding.

I do, however, want to share with you the perspective of former Governor James Thompson regarding the current brouhaha about expensive doors and statuary in the Illinois State Capitol.  He recalls the days that the State of Illinois bought and preserved the Dana-Thomas House.   Click here to read his thoughts in the Chicago MagazineIt seems that history does repeat itself.

Some Dry Thoughts

September 2, 2013 § 4 Comments

One of the unexpected bonuses of leading “Living the Wright Way” (in-depth tours of the Dana-Thomas House) is the discussions that the guests generate as we tour the house.  The group this week started imagining how clothes must have been dried when Susan lived at the Lawrence House.  This was of particular interest to me because I went home after the tour to meet a delivery man who brought us a brand new dryer to replace the energy consuming monster we have been tolerating the past year. The coincidence inspired me to do some research on early 20th century laundry drying techniques, and I found that there is plenty of information on the internet.

Susan's Dryer  (Clothes Horse)

Susan’s Dryer
(Clothes Horse)

As a result, my imagination has created a new image of the beautiful courtyard surrounding the house.  Somehow clothes lines are extended throughout the yard, and laundry attached with spring-hinged clothespins is waving in the summer breeze. Linens are spread on the grass and across the bushes where they can dry in the fresh air and be bleached by the sun. In inclement weather, laundry was hung on wooden racks called clothes horses.  I am imagining that when necessary, Susan’s staff set up dozens of clothes horses in the cloak room which adjoined the laundry room.

My Dryer

My Dryer

Although I know that the 1900 techniques for drying clothes are much better for our environment than my method, I suspect that the folks who did the laundry at the Lawrence House would prefer the time and space saving technology that I enjoy. I’ll try to save the planet in other ways!

There are two more opportunities to join the “Living the Wright Way” tour—September 14 and 28.  Both two hour tours begin at 10:15.  A donation of $20 is suggested, and reservations may be made at 217-782-6776. Who knows what interesting discussions will evolve on those tours? 

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