I was going to attend a lecture by Mr. Gates back in October, but the government shutdown postponed the event. Thankfully, the lecture was rescheduled, and I had the chance to attend yesterday with my mom. And just like I was grateful to have happened upon his book, I'm so grateful my mom and I took the time to go and meet him.
Yes, I gave him a copy of my book! (If only I had thought to bring my copy of his book for him to sign...but at least we got a picture.)
Mr. Gates' love for the people who were part of the town's history was evident, and I enjoyed hearing what he had to say about his book and all the work that went into it. (Apparently the book went through five different drafts, all of which his mother typed out on a typewriter! Mothers are wonderful, aren't they?) He firmly believes in the importance of primary interviews, hearing the stories from the people who lived them. He noted that the project was "more than a book" to him - it was about getting to know the people who made the town. Apparently "one of the most electric moments" for him while he was working on this book (in the 1980s, I believe) was organizing a luncheon at the Eureka Inn for the people he had interviewed who used to live in the town. A lot of them hadn't seen one another in so long that they were so excited to catch up!
In a similar manner to how Mr. Gates felt about his project, I felt like attending the lecture was about more than the interesting facts I heard. I appreciated seeing and meeting other people who were interested in learning about and preserving the town's history. A few asked questions and chatted back and forth about memories and knowledge during the lecture, which was in one of the old town buildings that had been moved and converted into an education center. And after the lecture, we went outside and walked down the trail (Headwaters Forest Reserve) a ways, enjoying the bright fall sunshine and getting a glimpse at what the town used to be through people who knew about it.
I'm glad to have taken a morning to make a memory (and to have enjoyed yet another walk through Falk). Autumn always seems like the perfect time to do that, doesn't it? And Falk continues to beckon me, just as Virginia City (Nevada) has done. Their histories haunt and allure, awaiting further exploration...