Sunday, April 17, 2011

Amazing April

March might have been busy with many talks and interviews for One Book Arizona 2011, but it was nothing compared to April! I have given presentations on Hopi Summer from one end of the state to another, from Bisbee in the south, and on up to the north: Prescott, Prescott Valley, Cottonwood, Dewey-Humbolt, Camp Verde, the Hopi Mesas, Flagstaff, Sun City, and Phoenix! Whew!

Each presentation has been unique, with opportunities to meet delightful people. At the Dewey-Humbolt Library I met a woman and her 80-something mother who told me that they had lived at Polacca on First Mesa for a year in 1952--their stories were wonderful. A woman at the Cottonwood Library told me about her grandfather who was a Mennonite missionary at Moencopi. She offered to share her grandfather's photographs and papers--another book? And one museum in northern Arizona is exploring the possibility of organizing an exhibit relating to Hopi Summer, and possibly borrowing some of the Hopi arts that Maud Melville purchased in the summer of 1927, along with Ethel Muchvo's letters, and some of the Melville photographs and journals.

And of course, the visits to the Hopi villages and with old friends there were memorable. There was an interview on KUYI Hopi Radio. Many people who I encountered up there told me that they had heard the interview. Vans brought many of the elderly people to Sipaulovi. Since the room was full half an hour before the scheduled presentation, and since the Second Mesa Sewing Group was already at the center for their usual weekly gathering, I quickly went through the Hopi Quilt presentation--showing all the pictures of the Hopi quilts and quilters. Some of those quilters are gone now, and it was so nice to be able to share their photos and their quilts with their friends and family.

Ethel's daughter, Vivian, came to the Thursday night presentation and it became very emotional when I talked about her mother and father, and all of the eleven children that they lost before they had Vivian, their twelfth child. Vivian had tears running down her cheeks through most of the talk, as did many other Hopi people who were family members or had always known Vivian. I always get a bit teary when I talk about all of Ethel's lost children, but that evening it was especially difficult to talk without completely sobbing. Still, it was such an honor to share the story and pictures with that audience.

The next morning's talk at the Health Center was just great, although not as emotional, just lots of fun sharing stories and pictures. Vivian attended the talk, along with 87 year old Mrytle, whose parents are also mentioned in the book. The two ladies so enjoyed the pictures, and as I showed images of the people and villages, they just chattered and told old stories. Everyone crowded around them to hear. I felt as though we were reviving--and sharing--even more Hopi history. What an amazing experience--for all of us.

At the Northern Arizona Book Festival in Flagstaff, many people filled the auditorium to hear about Hopi Summer. Again, I teared up when I showed Ethel's pottery vase. Karen Tootsie arrived for a day of shopping in Flagstaff and delighted many people who were able to talk with her. She also brought a box of Piki that people enjoyed sampling. Maddy and Cinco were also there to share in all the events, the book talks, paper folding, and the fun recycled art show at the Coconino Art Center. Such great times!

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