At the conclusion of a walking tour through Bluffton, the couple approached.
"You don't remember us, do you? We have a gift for you."
Indeed, I didn't recall them.
Because of my hobbies, I am blessed to meet many people. While I often recall the stories that surround our meeting, the conversations that we have, and even a face, I am challenged at remembering names.
In this case, the original meeting was brief, and was prompted by a lead passed on by a newspaper writer.
To those with hobbies, I'm sure you can relate.
I had been told about a couple that had once lived in the house that was owned by former members of the Actors Colony. One of my favorite journalists, Susan Harrison Wolffis, had crossed paths with them on another assignment. Susan had previously written a wonderful piece on the Actors' Colony and the subject had come up in conversation.
Susan then passed the information on to me.
On an impromptu and somewhat awkward visit to their home one day, I mentioned the lead, Susan's name, and discussed my hobby. I left them with my contact information.
Then time passed on, filled with the things that occupy our daily lives.
The walking tour occurred on a beautiful summer day. For me, it's the chance to share information about a neighborhood I find fascinating. It's a great opportunity to meet people and to view a beautiful slice of the landscape that I call home.
On this day, unknown to me, I was joined by the couple who had once lived in the home of vaudeville performers Ella and Donat Butowick.
The couple walked me to their car, and explained who they were and the details on their former home.
There were no surviving members of the Butowick family when Ella had passed away in 1968, so the home was given to the family's maid. A few years later, the maid died. Her son, who lived in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, had no interest in the property so he sold the home and it's contents.
Among the items left was a collection of postcards and a number of mementos collected by Ella and Donat from the days when they graced the vaudeville stages of North America and beyond.
While the couple moved from the home, they kept the collection which occupied a few cardboard boxes.
I would soon learn that the Butowick postcard collection numbered hundreds.
Preparing to move again, the couple has entrusted the collection to me while they decided what they should do with these souvenirs.
In the meantime, they suggested that perhaps I might be able to weave the contents of the collection into a story.
It's taking some time to organize the card, and a little more to organize my thoughts, I'm now ready to begin.
Go To Chapter 2