Freedom Beat Across America: In Search of America's Heartbeat

Days 9 & 10

The sun has riz, the sun has set. And here we is – in Texas yet!
The fact that there’s free wi-fi provided doesn’t mean my poor old computer can access it. I must’ve stressed it out, because, like any intelligent robot, it simply went into down-time the other night. But the next morning everything was fine! So here I am, trying to catch up. When so much happens and so much is seen and heard, the brain starts to toss everything into a loose pile in one big underwear drawer.
On Tuesday we left Pappy’s, and apparently it was just in time because Sally sent us an email to say that the air conditioner went wacko and they woke up the next morning to water all over the floor. Yet another piece of machinery that said, “Game over – I’m takin’ a nap.”
We did a do-si-do with Dallas because I misread the signs and we ended up going west and north when we should’ve been going east and south. Melissa, bless her, insisted she was thrilled for the chance to get pictures of the city from all angles as we did a complete circle. We finally got on Route 45 south for Corsicana, but we arrived after the Pierce Museum of Navarro College had closed for the day, so we found a very nice Best Western and collapsed. Somewhere in that trip, we passed the 2000 mile mark!
The Pierce Museum is astounding.  We spoke to Holly, the Director of Pierce Collections, and she made us most welcome.  In addition to a wonderful collection of Southwestern art, we spent hours looking at their collection of letters written during the American Civil Way.

One young man wrote home, “I would like to see Bob’s girl. Does he still write to her? Please let me know what prospects there would be in that respect.” He then went on to describe the women he had met in the towns, and especially one very pretty Confederate girl with blue shoes and pink ribbons who had written to him and enclosed a lock of hair. Whatever his desires for “Bob’s girl”, obviously he wasn’t letting it slow him down.
Many letters of 1864 already say, “the war cannot last long at the rate it [the killing] has been carried on for the past month”.
“I am alive, but dreadfully fatigued.”
“Lt. Davis was shot dead this morning by a 12 yr old sentry for coming too close to the fence.”
“The mine was lighted at precisely 5 o’clock and the huge mass of earth with men and guns were lifted up into the air. Some men were blown into our advanced pits. One man who came over unharmed said he thought it was rather unceremonious to send a man kiting through the air in that shape before he had eaten his breakfast.”
Our guide Jack said the bored soldiers had cards, chips, dice and dominoes. They would bet on anything, even how many lice they could pick off each other. He also said that President Lincoln thought the whole rebellion was a small matter and initially called up 75,000 men so as to kick a few troublemakers into line, after which life would go back to normal. My, doesn’t that sound familiar? The thinking of leaders and politicians doesn’t seem to have changed much.
One letter that especially caught my attention was from a mother to two, or maybe three, of her sons. Apparently it didn’t matter much which one the letter reached – she simply begged in a most poignant voice that whichever did receive it, please write back. “Please let me know where you are. Tell me where to send my letters. Please let me know that you are well.” A shout, from a hundred and forty-eight years ago, into the void . . . into eternity.


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2 thoughts on “Days 9 & 10

  1. I love how you wrote this up with the “voices from the past” making those letters and times come to life. I love the photos of the big bronze statue. I want to quilt it!

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