Writer’s Week #6

Potato containers ready to re-plant.

Sunday’s high winds, with gusts up to 45 miles per hour, did their job. The wet soil turned over on Saturday has dried enough to till. Today’s list includes plant a row of early vegetables to be protected by row cover, dig a spot for the tubs in the photo, and continue the deconstruction of last year’s garden plots with an eye toward planting more early vegetables. Garlic is up. I chose the plot for tomatoes. Much planning remains.

I’d like to move the seedlings back into the greenhouse. The forecast later in the week is for ambient temperatures to fall below freezing again. I’ll think about that as I’m tilling the first row. I’m scheduling a five-hour shift, planning to use it all.

The main news since my last writing post is the 1950 U.S. Census was released. In it I found new information and as a result, need to re-write the chapter about Davenport in 1951. This is a positive development. The census provided the first specific evidence of family members living in Rock Island, something I’ve known, but with little detail. I found my Uncle Gene also lived there, separate from his father, working at a dairy where he “helps with milk.” He was seventeen years old. The census also clarified the status of the home to which I was brought from the hospital after being born. My grandmother was head of household with the three children from her second husband living with her. There is a lot to track down and the new census release makes it easier than it was. It also confirmed some things I knew with another, definitive source.

I scanned the 313 pages of double spaced manuscript. Boy, there is a lot more writing, editing, and proof reading to do! Some things seem solid. The outline I created this year will continue to serve as a coat rack upon which to hang things I write or discover. That will be followed by a re-write using the new information. The work I did before the coronavirus pandemic does not fit neatly into the new outline structure and needs a major re-write. Likewise there is much to accomplish to write through the period of time before I kept a journal, got married, and started working in transportation. Depending on my choices, there could be two volumes. The first through the birth of our daughter, the second covering everything else through the coronavirus pandemic. Reducing it down, last winter was a period of progress.

The unavoidable task ahead is going through all of my past writing and paper archives to distill something usable. Thus far, the writing has been fun adventures of me sitting in front of a computer screen making up the story. Once I tackle the physical record, writing will be real work. I’m looking forward to writing the whole thing so it may be time to put it in low gear and start climbing that hill.

Right now, all I can think about is getting to my shift in the garden.

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