A Little Celebration

What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipts for the Million 1857?

2667. An invitation to a ball should be given at least a week beforehand.

Mayor's Arts Awards 2013

A Wee Bit of Excitement

Okay, it’s NOT a ball, but it is exciting. I’ve been awarded the Mayor’s Arts Awards 2013. I’m in rich company. What is so satisfying for me is not only recognition for my writing but my historical work. For those of us who love history and the stories behind our communities, our families and the human roles in important events, I feel a great deal of pride that I stuck to it, pouring over old records, ephemera, pictures and microfilm. Took the time to interview living participants. We historians often work alone, eating cold lunches on the fly, travel to places on our own dime just to figure out something that happened 80 or 150 years ago.

When I first decided to get a degree in history, I discovered right away that I wasn’t interested in the minutia of the French Revolution or a specific battle date, but the stories and feelings of the people who lived in any time. Maybe this came from growing up reading my great-grandfather’s pocket journal accounts on being on the Battle of Gettysburg as an assistant surgeon in the Union Army. Later, in college and many years after I explored the whole collection of war-time journals to better understand what he was feeling, how he dealt with terrible events around him. I’ve explored the Comanche Indians as prisoners of war in my senior thesis using letters and saddle reports at the Library of Congress, explored early history of Hawaii, the early pioneers in Washington Territory, 19th century West Coast traders, early schools. I give talks and do demonstrations, but I especially love working with kids, teaching history hands-on. (That’s why I’m so good at making butter in a churn)

It Takes a Village

Of course, winning something doesn’t mean you got there by yourself. For writing, I have my wonderful critique group, various writer’s groups, the PNWA (for learning about the business) and Village Books for selling books (mine too) and bringing awesome authors for book talks to hear their words and stories. For history, my education at Kalamazoo College, my stipend student time at the Smithsonian, Mission Houses Museum (for introducing me to 19th life in Honolulu with a bent to Hawaiian studies), Whatcom Museum and Skagit County Historical Museum and Center for Pacific NW Studies. And especially history friends in my home town Candance Wellman and Edradine Hovde and Mike Vouri, chief interpreter at San Juan Island Historical National Park. We’s all crazy about history. If I left someone out, you’re still somewhere in the file in my brain. Thanks!

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One thought on “A Little Celebration

  1. Janet, this is so very, very exciting and so very, very deserved! I’m so thrilled for you. I’d be there to celebrate, but have another commitment that day. I’ll be there in spirit though, cheering you on!

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