Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Week on the Road, Part Three

We arrived in Friendswood safely, with only a moderate case of jangled nerves. The freeways in Houston aren't really any worse than those of Austin or Dallas, but the drivers are considerably more aggressive. They whip in and out of lanes at maximum speed with inches of clearance and they are not at all hesitant to let you know when you have committed the unforgiveable sin of being a courteous, careful driver. God forbid you leave a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. That is an invitation to have someone attempt crossing 4 lanes at one swoop.

Looking at the map, we had estimated it would take a half hour to make our journey and were a little disbelieving when the dollhouse store proprietor had told us it would take more like an hour and a half. Always listen to the locals, because that was exactly how long it took us to negotiate I-45 a distance of twenty miles.

We arrived at Cousin Maxine's and were welcomed literally with open arms. Cousin Maxine and I are 4th cousins in a shared Mobley line (Reason Mobley is great-great-great-grandfather to us both). She is a genealogist par excellance and retired about ten years ago from the top post of Houston's Clayton Library, a major genealogical research center in the United States (probably 3rd behind Salt Lake City's Family History Library and Fort Wayne's Allen County Library). She knows every nook and cranny and resource they have to offer and had volunteered to be our personal guide for a day at her library.

Cousin Maxine's house is also a fairly impressive research center. One bedroom of her house is lined with bookshelves that hold her collection of reference books. Another bedroom holds her computer and is also lined with bookshelves that hold the notebooks containing her years and years of family research. There are multiple file cabinets and I did not even look inside the closets. Bottom line, if you are researching Mobleys and Lewises, she's your go-to gal. Someday I hope to have a home research library just like hers. It's a great way to spend your retirement years. Just walk down the hall in the morning and you are in business.

Thankfully Maxine knew a way to get to the library that did not involve I-45, so we arrived about five minutes after they opened and with unjangled nerves. We were delighted to discover that they were in the midst of their annual book sale. Books that had been donated that duplicated books they already had were being offered for sale at ridiculously low prices. I bought 10 or 12 books - mostly thick books that take up a lot of room. Lana bought another half-dozen. The back seat was beginning to fill up.

We had the forethought to bring along a picnic lunch to eat in their snack room, so we never had to move from our sunny (mostly, but in late afternoon rain clouds moved in) table next to the Georgia bookshelves. I spent some time exploring their microfilm collection and was able to eliminate yet two other Texas counties where my missing marriage record might be lurking. We happily worked until 4:30, when we pooped out and headed for home. We ate supper on the way, so by the time we arrived home we were resuscitated enough to head to the back bedrooms and continue our research in Maxine's library.

It was very gratifying at the end of our research day when Maxine pronounced that we were very able researchers. She has worked with the best and we felt that was high praise indeed. We spent some time each evening of our visit batting around ideas for breaking through our brick walls and getting her objective opinion on some questionable records we had found. We thoroughly enjoyed our day in the company of such a knowledgeable researcher.

The next day took us in a different direction, to be covered in the next post.

In a slight detour from topic, it has been interesting today to observe Miss Dixie's recovery from surgery. She has not seemed to feel bad, but she wants to be close to Mommy and she doesn't want to share Mommy with the other kids. She hovers nearby when I am on the computer, keeping an eye on me.

Both Boo and Scout have been spending time in my lap today, happy to have life back to normal. I was amused at one point when Dixie stood it as long as she could from her vantage point on the desk, reached over and bit Scout's back hard to get her to leave. The next interloper was Mojo, who Dixie didn't dare bite. She took a different approach, reaching out to touch him with her paw until he got irritated enough to move down to the dog bed under the desk. At that point, Dixie decided she might ought to claim Mommy's lap for herself and she oozed down into position, where she took a nice long nap.

"I've been sick." installment, locating Dr. Henry's property in Alvin.


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