Monday, October 10, 2016

Into The Past - How Far Can We Go?

It is time to leave Watkins Glen. Shoulda stayed longer, shoulda hiked the Gorge again. Shoulda, Coulda.

Down in southern New York, there is a little town called Corning which hosts a giant Museum called the Corning Museum of Glass. This is a must-see for anybody who likes glass. This museum is like the Disneyland of Glass, without the rides and the mouse ears. The gift shop alone was bigger than my house.

The first area you enter is the Contemporary Art + Design(1990-2015) area which showcases artists who are stretching the boundaries of what we think glass should be into what glass could be. Some of it was just plain ugly – whoops – perhaps I'm not cool enough to see the artistic vision that was sought after. Some of it was weird and entertaining and some of it was beautiful.

Hard to see but a lot of lacy glass

The other major gallery was called 35 Centuries of Glass which was fascinating. They had glass samples from well, 35 centuries ago up to fairly contemporary times. The displays were really well done and it flowed from country to country and glass making method to glass making method. I was especially enamored of the paperweight displays – I have a small collection at home and it was wonderful to see samples from the major paperweight houses.

I'm walking through the many centuries and what do I come across but an actual window from the Darwin Martin House that I toured in Buffalo.  That was rather special how everything seems to be tied together.

Interspersed between all the galleries were several different demo labs. I sat in on a basic how to make a blown pumpkin. What was interesting, besides the glass blowing, was the audience. There was a huge Chinese contingent so they had a translator. The English speaker guy would talk rather in a monotone and then the Chinese woman would speak. She was jumping up and down, laughing, doing her own little demo of what the glass blowers were doing. I couldn't understand a word, but she was probably the most entertaining part of the whole demo. There were several other demos throughout the day that sounded interesting (glass breaking demo – huh?) but none of them fit into my schedule.

Hassidic Jew and Roman Catholic Chess Set

Some people have sometimes called me obsessive - I think of myself as being very focused and rather a completist.   Case in point - I think I need to visit all 400-some National parks, monument, historical sites, battlefields etc. I mean, all these sites belong to me (and America) - I need to check them all out, make sure that they are doing all right.  I do get  a kick out of them.  Now I have that Junior Ranger thing going also.  But, after spending a few weeks chasing after these National Sites, I get to a point where I just don't care anymore.  I know the next trip I take, I will be right back at it, but I am pretty much done with the whole National scene at the moment.  I had about six more sites on my radar for this trip and I just decided I don't need to go see them.  Enough is enough.

So, I made a right turn somewhere in Pennsylvania and headed for southeastern Indiana.  It is sort of on the way home, isn't it?  The reason?  I was heading to the land of my ancestors - my people settled in Metamora Indiana in 1811.  I thought I should go find out what was up with them. 

The library in Brookville has quite an extensive genealogy department and I spent several days digging through their collection.  It was very satisfying.  My timing was really great also as when I was there, they had a genealogy conference going on which was much fun.  What is not to like talking about lost dead people and how to find them, plus there were a lot of munchies. 

I also mixed it up a bit and visited a few graveyards to pay my respects to these new found family members.  What was fun was that I visited one graveyard on a Sunday morning.  The church, which I think was a Pentecostal church was getting their religion on.  They had a band and there was a lot of whooping and hollering and some really good music.  Almost made me get down on my knees and raise my hand to the sky. 

GGG-Grandma and Grandpa

Half of Duck Creek Cemetery taken out the car window - I looked at every single one of these stones up close and personal

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