Monday, June 25, 2012

2011 becomes the past!

    I sometimes recall the story of the 1st grade student that told his teacher that he knew that God was a baseball fan.  She asked how he knew this and the boy replied, "Well, at church, I heard them talking about God and the 'Big Inning'."  It is my hope that Marilyn and I can have a "Big Inning" at the Shelbina Mansion.  This year will require a lot of effort as Marilyn is working hard on her PhD while I will be returning to work myself.  There are always a lot of factors in decisions and this is no exception.  The economy has had a lot of turmoil and we have so much more that we want to accomplish in the renovation.  It is also our nature to push ourselves to reach goals.  The home in Shelbina grows in our hearts daily and whether you call it Benjamin House, Vesper Place, or Shelbina Mansion,  the home holds a place in history that endures.  We are sure that there will be tours and special events to come in 2012.  Hopefully there will not be anymore Tornados!

2011 winds down!

     Before we form our new years resolutions, or reflect too much about the past events of 2011, we decided to live the last few days of 2011 to the fullest.  The arrival of daughter Monika from Texas always gives us a boost and this season was no exception.  She arrived with an excitement about the mansion and we were immediately blessed by running into Shelbina's twin dynamo of Kathleen Wilham and Jo Kampschmidt in the same room!   They offer both excitement for the future and knowledge about Shelbina's past.  An additional bonus was Kathleen's granddaughter Amy and her story of escaping the snow storms of New Mexico by driving seven hours to the airport in Lubbock, Texas.  Monika had attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, so she could well appreciate Amy's adventure.  Life gives everyone challanges and it is always great to have people in your life who can stay upbeat when faced with these events.  Thanks Monika, Jo, Amy, Kathleen, and especially Marilyn my wife for your energy.
     This was Monika's first opportunity to stay overnight at the mansion and experience staying a room that had so much history.  She is both a software engineer and photographer by education, so her ability to see the features of the house in snapshots is uncanny.   Add to this, we were soon joined by Robert Crist and his daughter, Robin.   2011 was still a lot of fun as they toured their former residence and gave us two "thumbs up".  Robin told of her first years in the "big old house" with the rumors of ghosts and I noticed that Monika  left a light on all night in her room.   The day continued to be a lot of fun as Warren and Michelle Moellering arrvied with their four children.  They were awed, but nervous about the ghosts of the house.  Monika had to work for about twenty minutes to help them relax into normal boyish energy.  She totally negated all the fear that I had worked to create over the past year.  The mansion is growing with all the good humor.
       We also enjoyed our restaurant experiences.  Martha's daughters walk so quickly while traveling from the tables to the kitchen, that Marilyn suggested we hire them to help with the house or at least have them show me how to walk that fast.  I explained that I would probably break something if I tried to move that quickly.  We also had a great breakfast at Kemps restaurant in Clarence.  Both Roberta Bischsel and her mother offered  ideas for the mansion and were excited to hear of the progress.  Monika ordered the  chocolate chip pancakes and we were unanimous in our opinion that they were the largest, thickest pancakes that we had ever seen.  The fact that Marilyn and I helped her finish the bounty verifies that the taste was also special.  
     We had even more fun in Clarence when Monika asked us to stop at a service station to photograph the old cars with mannequins.  They are set in realistic poses and the station is filled with authentic antiques from the good old days.  Our good luck contiunued as we met the owner, curator, designer and really enjoyed talking with him.    We  were once again fortunate to meet a person with enthusiasm.  Finally, any trip to Clarence requires a slow drive past the home on the west side of town.  It is both beautiful and unique.   The design must have taken some courage to select and architechural skill to exicute.   Take a look into Clarence, Missouri if you ever have the chance.
     2011 has had its ups and downs for all of us, but we hope to "dig in" and make a contribution in 2012.