Friday, April 8, 2011

Wheaton -- Day Four



Day Four: Thursday April 7th

Today went well; having one main project (the DARK TOWER transcription) behind me gave fresh impetus to the other projects I'd wanted to work on during this visit. Accordingly, I read through and made notes on Warnie's diary for 1930 describing his visits to San Francisco ("The first thing which struck me was that the sky scraper is a legitimate and attractive contribution to architecture"; "The gradients in this town are terrifying . . . and to go up one of them in a taxi sets you wondering what kind of brakes the car is fitted with.") and Los Angeles/Hollywood ("It was a glorious morning, like one of those rare, perfect English summer days, and with a clean bracing tang in the air: cleanliness by the way (and the alert fitness of the people) is the first thing that strikes one about Los Angeles: not only are the streets and trees and vehicles clean, but there is a cleanness which amounts to an austere beauty about these tall rectangular buildings: I like the sheer soaring sweep of them."); tomorrow I'll see if I can get through the New York City and Boston entries.

Today's big event was twofold: the arrival of Richard West, who came down for the day, devoting his time to continuing his work with the Lewis Papers (the ten-volume set of Lewis family history compiled by Warnie Lewis in the early 1930s), and the return of Chris Mitchell, the Wade's Director, who'd been away on a trip. The three of us had lunch together in downtown Wheaton (I had soup) and enjoyed much good Tolkien discussion (et al); I learned some interesting things about the various Wade collections and also some upcoming events and we discussed some upcoming projects. After another good afternoon session, during which I finished up the California leg of Warnie's trip, looked briefly at a very bad book AND its v. bad unpublished continuation, and got in a good spell on Sayers' WILKIE, Richard and I ate together in the student union (I had soup. I like soup.) and more good conversation, including recent political events in Madison, and about how various folks I know started WisCon back before I knew them, and of course about cats. Then walked back with him to where he was staying and visited some more while waiting for his taxi to arrive and take him to the airport. To my surprise, the 'taxi' that showed up was a long white stretch limousine -- I suppose it'd been in the area and picked up a ride for the way back to O'Hare.

After that, I stopped by the Naperville Road/Butterfield Road Borders again -- my last visit for this trip -- for another chai and the last online access of the day, then came back for my last night at the hotel, where I poured over maps and planned out tomorrow's route, making careful notes to prevent myself from getting lost, hopefully, as I did last year. Did some pre-packing to speed tomorrow morning's check-out, drank a lot of tea, and finished up the second Fr. Brown collection.

And now for tomorrow, and the last day's work in the Wade for this trip; hoping to make it count.

Birds seen today: the hotel-guarding geese (whether the hotel wanted guarding or not), some melodious blackbirds (wasn't able to tell whether they were grackles or not) stretching their wings in the early morning sun, a mourning dove (haven't seen one of those in quite a while), and one goldfinch who was more yellowy-bright than ours back in Washington, though they're getting there. Nice to know that the empty field surrounding this hotel in all directions helps support a little urban wildlife.

--John R.

P.S.: forgot to mention that this morning I compared my copy of the just-released English edition of Arne Zettersten's book to the Swedish original from two/three years ago, and confirmed that it corresponds closely, chapter-by-chapter, except that the English addition has a brief appendix not in the original summarizing the chapters, the entry for manuscript holdings in the Works Cited section is a little longer in the new version, and the original had color artwork not in mine: eight plates and two endpapers

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