Friday, April 8th 2011
Today being my last day in the Wade, I first had to get my things together, get breakfast, and get checked out from the hotel in Lisle -- all of which I accomplished in more or less timely fashion (i.e., I wasn't v. late, for me).
Once in the Wade, I did a little more work with Warnie's diaries, going back and looking at his preparations for departure from Hong Kong in 1930. Didn't definitively find the answer I was looking for to the question that'd occurred to me last night, but found that my guess is the more probable of several options. After that, devoted myself to finishing up the Sayers WILKIE COLLINS book -- which was enjoyable enough: if no lost masterpiece, then certainly worth bringing back into print, which I hope some group such as the Sayers society, the Mythopoeic Press, or the Wade itself does at some point.
Also got to see Chris Mitchell briefly, who just swung by to say goodbye, and pay a brief visit to Rachel Mink (co-ordinator for VII) and Marj Mead (assistant director), talking about the piece I did for their forthcoming issue and how it came out and suggesting a follow-up piece; Marj was also able to answer a question about Wade history that confirmed my memory from years ago but added some crucial missing information I'd either forgotten or conflated. So that was both enjoyable and helpful. At lunchtime I took a detour on my way over to the union and took a quick turn through the college Library instead, to take that once-familiar long walk down the length of the building and up the stairs to where the Wade Center was when I first starting coming here, way back in 1983 (if having taken roughly two years after my arrival at Marquette to have been able to afford a trip as far away as Wheaton, what with my not having a car and not being able to afford a hotel room). Saw some flyers about the various Special Collections (not part of the Wade, but a parallel program of the college itself), about which more later.
After that, walked over to the union, where I had soup (two kinds) and tea (two cups) while looking over some of the Special Collections flyers I'd picked up. Then back for one last afternoon's session in the Wade, where after finishing up the Collins I spent the last hour or so of the day looking through some unpublished material, taking notes at a furious rate as the last minutes before closing time ticked by -- as is usual w. my visits to the Wade. All in all, when my research trip ended at four o'clock, I was quite pleased with my progress: one continuing project finished, a new side-project begun and ended, another continuing project progressing nicely, though still w. a long, long way to go, and a serendipitous discovery having led to some interesting if unedifying information I hadn't known before. Plus I'd gotten to see people I like, both in and out of the Wade, met a Tolkien scholar I hadn't known before, & had a pleasant stay in a town I like (always nice, after all the years I spent in college & grad school pursuing those three degrees back-to-back, to be back on a campus for a while).
A nice added bonus at the very end of the week was my getting to attend the organizational meeting of the new Wheaton College Tolkien Society, exactly the sort of group I'd have loved to have joined had such existed at any of the three colleges I attended. I counted fourteen people, which seems a good turn-out, and in Laura the archivist they have someone who shd be a great faculty supervisor. I'll certainly be following their future career w. considerable interest, as Bertie Wooster says, and look forward to joining in if any of their meetings co-incide w. any of my future visits to the Wade.
But all good things come to an end; after a half-hour, I had to leave the meeting to get going on the drive to Rockford so that I cd reach it before dark. To make a story short, the new route I tried worked wonderfully well: less scenic and interesting (and more expensive) than the one I tried the last two times, but much quicker too, so that I got to Rockford in just 1 hr 20 minutes. Nice. Rendez-vous'd with Janice* (YAY) and got to see not just my father-in-law but The Rockford Coulters (the senior generation of which, anyway) and Janice's brother's wife's nephew & his fiance: all people I like and enjoy spending time with.
And so, another research trip to Wheaton comes to a conclusion.
*whose own flight had gone smoothly, other than a delay before departure and a hurry-up once in the air because, or so they were told, a human kidney (presumably for transplant) was on board and needed to be rushed to its destination. Haven't heard that reason for a shift in schedule before.