16 May 2009

Weekly Geeks: Literary Places

Do you live in a place where a famous author was born? Does your town have any cool literary museums or monuments? Does Stephen King live at the end of your street? Was Twilight set in your hometown?

I almost passed over the Weekly Geeks question this time around. I'm afraid that Momence, Illinois, population 3,180, is not a literary hotbed. But then I got to thinking. Mark Twain may not have sat at the local park to pen any adventures, but my great great grandfather did sit by the river and write poetry. I feel guilty for his books not immediately jumping to mind when I read the question. Published by Undersea Institute Press in 1951, Homespun Poems by G. Gordon Carter represents this area for me. With titles such as "To the Farmers," "Mother's Custard Pie," and "O Praise Me Not the City," this collection reveals much of what makes Momence.

The best part of the book is on the first page. The copy I have was given to my grandpa by his grandpa, the author. The inscription reads:

To My Beloved Grandson, Edgar.

Take God with you into the curtained future, then success and happiness will
be yours.


Grandpa Carter

Christmas 1951

Another book I have with a Momence connection is Legends and Tales of the Homeland in the Kankakee by Burt E. Burroughs, published in 1923. On the first page of this book is written: Velma Carter, Eddie Carter, Trisha Carter, a list of owners in their own handwritten. The Preface includes the following:

A few years more and a century will have elapsed since the first white man settled in Kankakee county. Our yesterdays have trickled from the hand of
Father Time even as teh sands fall from the hour-glass and these unrecorded days
have carried with them into the realm of "time that was", memories of many an
incident, many a legend and tale of pioneer days beyond all possibility of
recall, which we cannot but deeply deplore. To preserve some small part of
this inheritance of our pioneer ancestors for future generations while yet the
opportunity remains, seems to me a worthy task, one that might well enlist the
efforts of any citizen with the inclination and the leisure to devote to it.

The text does just that - preserves a few stories. I love the connection to the past in both of these books. One personal, the other communal.


  1. Wow, don't feel guilty that you didn't immediately think of your great great grandfather's book. Sometimes one doesn't see the wood for the trees.
    The family connection makes this topic so much more personal.

  2. How nice though to have that book. Happy WG.

  3. That's a very cool connection.
    Happy Weekly Geeks :)

  4. Thanks guys! And happy Weekly Geeks to you too!

  5. Wow, that is SO cool! Made me feel all warm inside :))

  6. How wonderful to have a published writer in your family and to have a copy of his work. Enjoyed your post.

    Here’s mine, Detroit City Poets

  7. This may seem odd but this evening 06/24/09 my Dad gave me a copy of the book Homespun that was given to him and my Mom on their wedding day this was July 11 1953. The inscription reads:To Carol and Eugene with love and good wishes for your future health and welfare.
    Aunt Etta and Uncle Gordon

  8. Okay, I need more information!!! Clearly we are somehow related as Etta and Gordon are my great-great grandparents. Carter is my maiden name. My email is trillian_lalienvaliel@hotmail.com; I'd love it if you'd contact me.


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