February 2, 2014 § 1 Comment
January and February are usually depressing months around the Dana-Thomas House, but this year is particularly bleak. Traditionally, the large crowds who visit the House to enjoy the holiday decorations in November and December disappear abruptly at the first of the year. The situation is magnified this year by the severe winter weather the Midwest is experiencing. Understandably, tourists are not traveling. Consequently, we have anywhere from three to a dozen guests visiting the House daily. Additionally, many of the volunteer interpreters spend these months in warmer climates, so the camaraderie which we enjoy is limited to a smaller group.
Susan undoubtedly experienced the winter blahs too. Like my fellow interpreters and other women of means in her day, she frequently escaped to warmer climate during the dark months. Among her destinations were California and New Orleans where some of her cousins resided. The most memorable and tragic of her winter getaways occurred shortly after the festive opening of the Lawrence House in December, 1904. I describe the trip in Chapter 8 of Susan Lawrence: The Enigma in the Wright House:
[On January 26, 1905, Susan and her mother Mary] left Springfield for New York to embark on a cruise to the Caribbean. After stops in Cuba and Nassau, the two women began a tour of the southern United States. They visited Palm Beach and Jacksonville, Florida. There they boarded a train of March 12 to Thomasville, Georgia, where they planned to stop for a few days. While en route, Mary became ill…She died of cardial asthma within 20 minutes after she was stricken.
As I re-read this, I realize what a downer this post turned into. I need to get to a warm climate!