Thomas Wolfe was wrong . . .

. . . or so my mother says. Maybe you can go home again. Over the weekend, my sister, brother and mother did just that. We went back to Forsyth Mo as a kind of memorial for my Grandpa. My Grandparents bought a house in this tiny town in the Ozarks when I was 6 or 7. We spent every summer there and we loved it. When my grandpa died recently we decided that rather then getting together for a funeral (we aren’t funeral people, our family is too small) we would all meet up in Springfield Mo, go to his grave, and then go to Forsyth and do everything we used to do with my Grandparents when we were kids. It was a perfect trip.

I got in first after a miserable sleepless night. Springfield MO not being a huge travel hub, there weren’t a lot of choices on how to get there from San Fran. I left straight from Jersey Boys Saturday night show and took a 12:50 am flight to Dallas Fort Worth. I landed at 6:20 am (4:20 San Fran time), so not a lot of sleep was had. I then had a DELIGHTFUL 3 ½ hour layover. No more sleep for Patty. Next a 1 ½ hour flight to Springfield, where I took a cab to our hotel and immediately fell asleep from noon – 2:00 pm. After the rest of my family got in and we got something to eat we went to the cemetery where my Grandparents are buried. It was interesting; it’s the only military cemetery in the country where both Union and Confederate soldiers are buried together.

I forgot how hot it is in the Ozarks in Aug. It’s like Africa hot. It was 103 all four days we were there. We were a sweaty mess after visiting the cemetery, so the natural thing was to do a little shopping in the cool air-conditioned Target. We needed “creek shoes”, and I needed a bathing suit (I somehow forgot to pack one). Pickens were slim in the bathing suit department, but we found awesome water shoes for $2.50. NOTHING makes my family happier then a bargain. We were still crazy full from our late lunch, so we decided to go out and drink our dinner. We found a funky looking cocktail desert place in the middle of a strip mall in the middle of nothing . . . weird. After eating and drinking our fill, we went back to the hotel, sat in a hot tub for a bit, and then fell sound asleep.
The next morning we headed for Forsyth. My mom booked us a really cool place down by the lake. It was a huge three bedroom cabin.

After dumping our stuff we headed into town. At first it was weird because as we neared the
town we saw all sorts of new things, a Sonic Burger, a tanning salon, a big grocery store, but as we got closer to the town it all looked exactly the same as it did 20 years ago. Our first stop was my grandparents old house

It looked exactly the same. It was really weird seeing it again. So many memories. We took a walk by the park at the base of the hill. The creek was a pretty good height. When we were kids it seemed like the only two seasons were flood or drought.

There were times when the water was so high that it came up to the walking bridge

We walked around the tiny town and went to visit the Library where my Grandma worked. The two people working there didn’t remember her, at first I was surprised because I was so used to everyone knowing them, and then I remembered how long it had been since she worked there. The rug my Grandpa made was still hanging in the library

as we were talking about the rug a woman walked by and said “Are you talking about Mollie and the Doctor?” She remembered them both, and it was so nice to talk to her about them. Everyone loved my Grandma, and we were so glad there were still people in town that remembered them.

It was 103 degrees out, and we’d been looking forward to swimming in the creek all day. It was one of our favorite things when we were a kid. My brother remembered exactly how to drive to our old swimming hole. It was like no time had passed at all. Over thirty years ago we built a dam out of rocks to make our area deeper. It was still there. Thirty years worth of kids must have kept adding rocks to it as it broke and got rebuilt, broke and got rebuilt. Crazy! We bought some cheap floats at Target and floated down the creek in search of deeper, cooler water. The top of the water had to be 80 degrees, but if you dig down we were able to find a little cool water. After a while it was time to sit on a rock and knit by the creek. What a life!

It was so lovely at the creek that we stayed until 7:30 or so. The only restaurant of the three in town that was there when we were kids was closed on Mondays, so we got a couple of frozen pizzas & some ice cream from the market and made dinner back at the cabin (it had a full kitchen).

The next day we went into a little town called Hollister. It’s this strange little fake English town. The main street is called Downing Street, and yes, there is a 10 Downing Street. After looking in the only open shop and buying the worlds cheapest homebaked cookies (everything was crazy cheap in the Ozarks), we headed off for the College of the Ozarks. It was called the School of the Ozarks when we were kids. It has a museum I used to love called the Ralph Foster Museum. They call is the “Smithsonian of the Ozarks”, and it kind of is. It has everything from the Ozarks (including the car from the “Beverly Hillbillies”). It had a great spinning wheel and hand carved loom.

My brother, sister and I all took pictures of ourselves by the tools from our chosen profession. My sister posed by a recreation of a country doctor’s office, my brother posed by a wood shop, and I . . .

After a terrific lunch at their brand new restaurant (it was a simple cafeteria when we were kids). It was time to head off to the main attraction . . . Silver Dollar City!!!

Silver Dollar City is hard to describe. It’s an amusement park that is designed to be a town from the late 1800s. They have glass blowers,

carpenters, carvers, metal workers, potters, candy makers, bakers, candle makers and on and on. We liked the rides as kids, but we loved watching all the artisans doing the craft demos. It had changed some. There were now roller coasters built on the outskirts of the park, but they still had some of the old rides. Didn’t matter to us, we had a ball. It was almost exactly as we remembered it.

We arrived at 3:00 pm which meant we got to stay until closing (7:00 pm) and come all day the next day for one days ticket price. On our way out we saw a humming bird that let us get really close to it. The wings beat so fast that they don’t even show up on the first photo

By the time we got back, stopped to check out the sunset, and changed into dry clothes (we were all wet from the raft ride) it was past 8:00 pm and the good old Longhorn restaurant closed at 8:00 pm.

So we went to a bar that served food and it was pretty darn good. We all got to bed early since we were going to head back to Silver Dollar City the next day.

Before we went back to the park we made a detour to Bonniebrook, the home and museum of Rose O’Neil, the creator of the Kewpie Doll. We went so my sister could buy a Kewpie doll for her daughter. It ended up being pretty cool. I can’t believe what a huge phenomenon this little doll was. It was on everything. Here’s just some of the TONS of merchandise that had Kewpie dolls on it

The big surprise was finding out she studied with Auguste Rodin, and was a celebrated serious artist in Europe. All while being the most commercially successful female artist in America. What a combo! Her serious art was kind of dark, lots of monsters. I suppose if you grind out Kewpie dolls all day that makes sense.

In her garden there were two of her sculptures. You can really see the Rodin influence in these:

Her house was in the middle of acres of forest that she owned. There was a little stream that ran beside the house, and she’s buried right on the grounds. My sister said she would love to live there.

We spent another great day at Silver Dollar City. Here’s some pictures to give you all an idea of what it looks like

We watched this amazing woodworker make rolling pins on a lathe. He had just finished one that was made from the most beautiful cherry. The wood grain was gorgeous. My brother admired it so much that I have a feeling that the ridiculous price of $20 was set just for him.

The artists set their own prices. They are all incredibly low. Handblown glass from $30 – $50 on average!! I was torn between thinking how wonderful it is that this way everyone can afford to buy something beautiful and thinking that artists are woefully undervaluing their own work.

I was surprised that with all the different crafts there was no textiles, no spinning, no weaving. Ah well. I knit enough on this trip to make up for it. (I’ll post finished pics of my two leftover cotton projects tomorrow).

We finished the trip with dinner at Lamberts. It’s this crazy place where they throw dinner rolls at you with amazing accuracy.

All in all it was an amazing trip. You really can go home again. . . and speaking of going home. I will be home a week from today, and a week from tomorrow I will start my new job at The Point Knitting Cafe.

Tonight I go say goodbye and thank you to those great folks at Chicks with Sticks. More knitting content and finished objects pictures tomorrow.

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One comment

  • Veronique August 21, 2007   Reply →

    Wow, that was quite a trip!
    I hope you’re all relaxed and ready to start your new job 🙂 I look forward to meeting you soon.

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