by C. LaRene Hall
Have you ever written something and felt that it wasn’t quite correct? I have. One story that I’ve worked on for years just didn’t feel right. I then researched everything again, and made calls to talk with people who knew about these things. Still I didn’t feel good about what I had found. Then I decided I had to go see for myself. That’s what I did this summer – RESEARCH.
Was my search helpful? YES!
My daughter and I spent a Sunday afternoon traveling to a small town, Spafford, New York, where my great-grandfather lived until his family joined the Mormon Church. This town lies between two of the Finger Lakes – Skaneateles Lake and Otisco Lake. The highest summit is Ripley Hill.
His journal told about many of the things there when he was a young boy, but I wasn’t fortunate enough to find any familiar landmarks other than the large hill. I guess things can change in 175 years. Still, somehow, I felt a connection to the land. It was disappointing, but an enjoyable day.
The following day we went to Lockport and took an Erie Canal Cruise. I can’t describe how much this fascinated me. Experiencing the feeling as the boat moved in the water, and watching the locks open and close is hard to explain. I know that my descriptions in my book will be much better now that I have been there. Yes, it is different than back in the 1800’s because they didn’t have our modern conveniences. Mules pulled the boat they rode, but it’s similar.
We spent most of our trip walking the same paths and seeing some of the same things as my grandparents saw. We also visited Kirtland, Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Far West, Haun’s Mill, Nauvoo, Carthage Jail, Mount Pisgah, and Winter Quarters. Will my story be better now? I think so. Although things have changed, now I’ve seen some of the scenes I’m writing.