I am pleased to have a guest post from author Jeanette Watts, who answers...
What would be your dream place to visit and why?
JW: I assume Oz, Ruritania, and the moon are off limits? Then I would have to go with the Columbian Exposition of 1893. It has always fascinated me. I’m a Chicago native. I discovered a diorama of it at the Museum of Science and Industry when I was something like 8 years old. I have been sorry since that day that the whole thing was temporary! How could people put in so much work, create such a beautiful place full of Beaux-Arts palaces, and then tear it all down? This struck me as tragic.
I want to see George Westinghouse’s new electric lights lighting up the entire fair at night for the first time. Electric lighting was in its infancy at this point. People had never seen such a thing before. They were awed. I want to ride the first-ever Ferris Wheel, where the individual gondolas were made out of railroad cars! Nowadays we have the London Eye. But this one was first. I want a pickle charm from H.J. Heinz’s display, which is a landmark in marketing. Heinz had a lousy location on the second floor of a building, but managed to become one of the most popular displays in the fair by littering the place with coupons redeemable for a free pickle charm. You could say his tactic worked “like a charm.”
Other things weren’t quite so monumental, but they still sound amazing and very entertaining. Who would not want to see Canada’s 22,000 pound “Monster Cheese?”
While from the photos it looks beautiful to behold, the Chicago World’s Fair was devoted to progress. People could see for themselves all kinds of innovations in science and technology. There were also new foods debuted there, like Juicy Fruit gum. There were pavilions dedicated to different foreign countries, where people could learn something about other cultures.
The entire place sounds like a fantasy land of wonder and magic, and I have been wanting to go visit there almost all my life.
Author of Wealth and Privilege
by Jeanette Watts
Money. Family. Love. Hate. Obsession. Duty. Politics. Religion - or the lack thereof. Sex -- or, once again, the lack thereof.
Thomas Baldwin finds himself married to a woman he can’t stand, while head-over heels in love with another woman he can’t have. Talk about bad planning. He feels like a kite, buffeted by circumstances which blow him not only through personal crises, but also through some of the most significant events in Pittsburgh during the late 1800s, including the railroad riots of 1877, the creation of the Homestead Steel Works, the assassination of President Garfield, and the Johnstown Flood. Over time, and with the help of his muse, who dances maddeningly just beyond his reach, he takes control of his life, wresting it from the winds attempting to control him.
A carefully-researched historical novel about life among the privileged class of Pittsburgh during the Industrial Revolution.
The troops had achieved their objective. The tracks at the crossing were clear. They stood in formation, at attention, their arms at their sides, guarding the tracks. Their faces were impassive, and not one of them looked down.
The dead and dying lay scattered about the rail yard. There were men, women, even children lying face down in the dirt. A young man in the uniform of the 14th National Guards, one of the Pittsburgh regiments, was crawling away from the scene, his right arm and leg both covered in blood.
From his elevated viewpoint, Thomas could see movements beyond the rail yard, as people half-dragged, half-carried dead and wounded away from the crossing. He could see the shock on people’s faces – he could also feel the anger. It was a burning, deadly anger. These Philadelphians shot down protesters in cold blood. By God, this wasn’t over yet.
Thomas and Regina both sat down on the hard metal deck of the water tower. They sat in silence, too appalled by the scene below to say anything.
“They could have shot over people’s heads, and probably had the same effect without killing anybody,” Regina said eventually.
“Could be,” Thomas answered, only half paying attention. He’d seen movement on the streets below. Yes, indeed: the protesters were returning. He nudged Regina – easy to do, since she’d been leaning against him - and pointed. She looked, and a grim, glad smile reached her lips, if not her eyes.
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jeanette Watts has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing.
When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.
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