Sunday, March 09, 2008

Murder and Mad Weather--The Road to Rochester

You would never believe that when I left Lancaster County on Thursday afternoon, it was sunny and 50º outside--even up north in Rochester. 24 hours later we were in the middle of a mini blizzard. Of course I was oblivious to the snow storm brewing right outside the Rare Books Collection at the University of Rochester Library. My face was buried in piles of the most fascinating letters and pamphlets from the 1840s and 50s. With the research for my next book really taking off, I have that know, when your mind won't stop for a second, you can't sleep because you're constantly moving pieces around in your head, trying to figure out the best narrative approach and how much of your research really belongs, blah blah blah... Wow!

Of course the coolest tidbit I found was all about the supposed murder that took place at the Hydesville house in the early 1840's. Oh the details! Very exciting...but you'll have to wait for my book to find out more! Huge thanks to Mary and Rose for chasing down these wonderful documents and making copies for me.

My favorite part of the trip was hanging with my fabulous hostess and brand new YA librarian, Deena, and A2A blog buddy Kate. I felt as though I had known them for years. Kate, I hope your bronchitis is better! We all shared a tasty dinner at The Garlic Pit...MMMMMM! Later we hung out at Kate's house to chat a bit longer, and her kids were all the entertainment we needed. They are awesome! And a huge thanks to Deena for putting me up (or shall I say putting up with me!?) and especially for shoveling out my car.

Tuned in to the Weather Channel on Saturday morning, it looked as though the line of snow extended just south of Rochester--well, it turned out to be 2 hours south. So I decided to make a run for it and see if I could beat the rest of the storm. Two hours of white-knuckling past an endless stream of steel corpses along the median--good little Subaru--and I finally came out the other side of the storm. The next few hours were a mix of rain and dry cloudy skies. I had just crossed into Lancaster Co., PA, 25 minutes from home, so I called Deena to let her know I had survived. No sooner had I hit the "end" button and put the phone down when my car started to shake. Up ahead, a huge tree lay beside the road, stretching its gnarled finger tips across the right lane. Above me, a wall of clouds raced across the sky and I half expected a tornado to reach right down and sweep the highway clean. Once again, the knuckles turned white. A few miles from home, the stop sign was twisting in the wind, greeting everyone with 360º waves. Power lines were swaying wildly, dipping lower and lower with each gust of wind. I couldn't believe it! Maybe its the ghost of the murdered peddler following me home! 45 mph winds!

Whew! Home now with lots of great research and an itch to head back up to Rochester for more.


  1. Sounds like a great trip! Garlic Pit - mmmmm

    Wasn't that storm a doozie? We had hail too! Yikes - thankful for today's weather.

  2. Wow, lots of snow. Glad you had fun meeting Deena and Kate!

  3. We can't wait to have you back!

    Maybe we should write the weather channel and tell them to stop animating their maps for a minute.

    Oh, yes, and there's only one chocolate left...Yum!

  4. Ohh a murder - how fun - are you putting that in your YA? I hope so - it would be a cool book to write. The weather was wicked here Saturday and I'm in South Carolina not even near the Mason-Dixon line - lol - we had winds but nothing else but it was so windy we actually did lose power for about 4 hours. Just in our area even though the power company said it was area wide. From what we could tell driving on the roads to town - the road parallel to us where my husband works had power, the roads between the two that don't really run perpendicular but are appendages off the two main roads had power but our road didn't. I should have called my friend on the other road which is where ours splits from at the edge of town to see if they had power. I never did hear how hard the winds were blowing but I sure felt them.

    It really does sound like you had a great time and there is more research to be had. Can't wait to see what you come up with. - see you in the postings - E :)

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  6. Oh, you had yourself a wonderful time, didn't you?! Yay for research mania. And so sweet of Deena to put you up!

    Your account of your return to Lancaster was riveting! Glad you made it!

  7. Sounds like you had a great trip. At least you were entertained for your drive home. It could have been so boring, otherwise. ;-)

  8. HOLY SMOKES! You can turn your own experience in to a story.

    Can't wait to read your book.


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