"Serendipity and Salads" was the theme of the meeting held Saturday, June 7th in the meeting rooms of the downtown public library. Originally scheduled to be held as a picnic at Comstock Park, the threat of a downpour caused a change in the venue. Dozens of tasty green, pasta, bean, fruit, and jello salads filled the tables, accompanied by hot and cold drinks and desserts, and of course, the best of company! Members sat and ate in a circle, visiting and enjoying the chance to socialize.
During dessert, those who wished shared their stories of serendipitous research. What is serendipity? Call it just plain luck, help from above, or a "fortuitous coincidence", it's those times when you stumble by chance across something for which you've seached high and low, or were told no longer existed. Every genealogist has at least one story of serendipity to share. Examples can be read in Hank Jones's Psychic Roots books, or seen on his video series on RootsTelevision.
EWGS members had plenty of serendipitous tales to share. I think we all agree that our favorite was Pat Mielbrecht's story of the Lace Lady. Have you heard of brass rubbings or brasses? In England and other Western European countries, there are brass plates on top of old graves in churches that are representative of the individuals buried there. Some are life-sized, while others are more miniature. One hobby that has developed in these areas is called brass rubbing, in which people cover the plates with paper and rub them with a crayon to copy them. The best-looking ones are done on black paper with gold crayons, because the results look more like the original brass plates. Pat's story is how she tried multiple times to visit the Lace Lady's grave, so-called because of the beautifully-detailed lace dress depicted in the brass plate. Eventually, Pat got her brass rubbing of the Lace Lady and her husband, Sir Thomas Peyton. Only years later, did she discover that she is a direct descendant of this couple! Pat brought her brasses beautifully displayed in gold-colored frames for all of us to enjoy.
You can see two images of a brass of the Lace Lady on E-bay here.
The next general meeting will be held Saturday, September 6th at the Shadle Branch of Spokane Public Library, due to repairs to the Downtown Branch at that time. Our topic will be "Oh, the Places We Went" during which time members will be encouraged to share their stories from courthouses, graveyards, etc. during research excursions in the summer of 2008. This meeting is FREE to the general public. Coffee, Cookies, and Conversation begin at 12:30, followed by the business session at 1:00. The main presentation will begin at 1:30. There is free parking in the library parking lot. If the lot is filled, attendees can park along the east side of Belt Street along the west side of Shadle Park and walk through the park to the library.