In researching my memoir, I oftentimes slipped into the role of my alter ego, Nancy Drew. I’ve retrieved clues from dusty archives; revisited the vacant fields where my father pitched his revival tents; and reclaimed abandoned artifacts, strewn by the wayside as we followed the Sawdust Trail.
I unearthed this family treasure in the Oregonian archives. Years ago, my father purchased this advertising space, in anticipation of a large turnout for an indoor revival meeting. The venue’s long gone, and the intended audience has scattered. But this newspaper clipping is a voice from my past, harkening me back to my childhood. I remember the murmuring crowds, the rise and fall of my father’s voice in the pulpit, perfumed women and sweat-soaked laborers, gospel choruses and clanging tambourines… same as if it were just yesterday.
Most certainly, dusty pages like this would’ve been trashed, were it not for keen-eyed, good-hearted historians–librarians, genealogists, archivists, and volunteers–saints of a sort, who devote their time and energies to the preservation of our individual and collective stories. I’m grateful to them always, but I think they deserve special recognition on Thankful Thursday. Can I get a witness?