Friday, September 5, 2008

Sep 5th - Moorhead-Fargo & Shirley Manning


I am so glad that I persisted in my pursuit of finding Shirley Manning. With only two addresses to go on (One in Moorhead, one in Fargo), I was excited to have gotten a phone number from Bob Skogman in Isle on Wednesday. But no one was answering, and the answering machine voice sounded like Stephen Hawking, and he didn't really care.

So when we got to Moorhead, I told Pat that I wanted to just go find the first address and knock on the door. The address we arrived at was the costume shop she had described in the last letter as one she was trying to sell. It looked closed and dark. I looked in the windows, and rang bells on the doors. No response.

In a whim, I went around the corner where it appeared that a couple of cars were parked in driveways of the building. Ahah! Another door between them. I was so happy to find it open, and even more so when I found a light on inside near a back wall. Between me and the light was floor to ceiling racks of costumes. I called out to the silence "Hello, I'm looking for Shirley Manning?" "That's me", came the reply from many aisles over in the darkness.

We've just said goodbye to Shirley and her husband Joe, after lunch and dinner, a trip to a regional history research center across town, and hours of talk. We looked at hundreds of pages of genealogical research, painstakingly compiled by Shirley over decades, and made lots of copies of key documents. I have come away a whole lot more knowledgeable, and much better prepared for our trip to our next stop - Ray, North Dakota. I am happy to have had the chance to meet and thank Shirley for all of the work she did twelve years ago to start me on this road, and that I have gotten the chance to show her how her work has expanded into my research and genealogical activity. As her husband said just before we drove away tonight, he was so glad that she could see what good her works does for others. So am I, Joe. So am I.


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