What's new since April? Well, since my last posting, I've had 25 different appearances including two national monuments, two state parks, two libraries, nine retirement homes, three museums, three community festivals, two associations and my first bus tour of the Omaha-area forts! (I'm missing one in there, but that's plenty.) VERY busy with the speaking engagements, especially with the first of those with the Nebraska Humanities Council starting up.
One of the state park presentations came at the end of April with the Nebraska State Historical Society at the Fort Robinson History Conference. This is held every two years with a different theme, and this year's just happened to be "U.S. Army Posts of the Central and Northern Plains." My book came out AFTER the agenda for the weekend was sent, but I just HAD to get in. They did find a spot for me on opening night - I gave my "Lost Forts of the Northern Plains" and it went over fairly well. Of course, the BIG attraction for me for the weekend was meeting many authors whom I've read for years and getting them to sign my copies of their books. Herb Hart, somewhat my "godfather" for my book after his series of fort books, was the guest of honor for the banquet and even made special mention of me in his remarks!
At the end of May I did a very unusual role, that of the founder of the town of Barneston, Nebraska! No relation that I've been able to find, but I still dressed up 1880s style and had great fun walking in the parade and giving a short talk on the book. You'll note in the photo that I'm the ONLY one walking - "Mrs. Barnes" and the Indian performers in the wagon didn't want to walk, but I couldn't see renting that costume and not allow anyone to see it! So I allowed my ham side to take over for a few blocks on the streets of Barneston.
The June bus tour for Metropolitan Community College went fantastic. I had just over a dozen people come with me to visit Fort Atkinson, Fort Omaha, the Omaha Quartermaster Depot, and Fort Crook (Offutt AFB) for a full Saturday. Beautiful day for the trip, especially with the living history people at Atkinson and a great guide at Offutt. The next one is already planned - Oct. 3. Hope to see you on it!
I also got involved in the fight to save Fort Hartsuff (Neb.), or to keep its operating hours and maintenance from being severely curtailed. I had an editorial published in the Lincoln Journal-Star which helped get some other things fired up, I got the Nebraska Concrete & Aggregates Association to help out (Fort Hartsuff is nine historic concrete buildings) and even testified before the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission (they didn't like me too much). The planned cutbacks were cut in half but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.Many speaking gigs around Omaha, but just got back from a great trip west which had me at Scotts Bluff National Monument (for my first nighttime presentation), the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, and the North Platte Public Library.
I know I'm leaving a lot out here, but considering that I don't know if anyone reads these, I don't feel too bad about it! (Let me know if there IS anyone out there!)