Monday, August 13, 2012

The Fork in the Road...

At the age of twenty-seven, George Bond, first-born son of Hugh and Elizabeth Linaker Bond, said goodbye to his home and family in North Meols, Lancashire, England. From this beautiful place, countless generations of Bonds had lived out their lives. They worked the sea as well as the farms...and had been content. But something different stirred in George. He saw a great big world out there and he wanted to explore it. And so one day he traveled to Liverpool. He booked passage on the SS Lucania and during the summer of 1898, arrived at Ellis Island in New York.

From there, he intended to work his way across the United States, save up some money, and then by way of San Francisco, book passage on a ship sailing to Australia

Frisco Utah, Ghost Town

He made it as far as Frisco, Utah. This town, once known as the wildest town in the Great Basin, where murder was common, served as the commercial center for the San Francisco Mining District. At its height, over six thousand people populated the boom town. Here, George not only found work, he also found an unexpected fork in the road, that this far, he had so stringently traveled. 

Ah, but a lovely fork it the name of Florina Vilate Gay.

George and Vilate

Florina Vilate Gay, daughter of Francis Albert Gay and MaryAnn Temperance Dorrity, moved to Newhouse, another small mining town, located five miles southeast of Frisco. She worked at her brother-in-law’s boarding house, when, in 1903, a typhoid epidemic swept through the mining towns. Florina, the only nurse in Newhouse, used her skills to assist those afflicted. During this time she met, and later married, George Bond. And even though George never made it to Australia, he always found another fork in the road to follow. In her journal, Vilate wrote; “I have moved from pillow to post all my married life...” and so it was, just as the documented records bear out. They never stayed in one place very long.

Mary Helen Bond

On October 22, 1908, George and Vilate welcomed their daughter, Mary Helen. Obvious to everyone, Helen inherited a bit of her father’s wanderlust. She exhibited it every time she came upon a fork in the road, or an unknown path. At such times, this small town farm girl expressed the desire to follow it, just to see where it might lead. Many times whomever she was with indulged the whim. But there were times out of necessity; they left those beguiling roads unexplored.

As a writer, I have an outlined path I follow for each story I write. Yet, I must confess, in each of those stories, I too, have come across a fork in the road that beckons me to follow. And just like Helen and George, I allow my imagination to wander and see where it leads. Most of the time, those paths lead to greener pastures and mountain forests. Sometimes they lead to beautiful oceans, rivers, streams, and breathtaking waterfalls. And...more often than not, when I reach the end of the path, I find a much better story.

Are you more prone to stay on the path or do you have a bit of the wanderlust as well?

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