Monday, October 06, 2014

From Julia Country School to Taliesin

We got up early this morning and had breakfast at our motel and then headed northwest of Spooner in search of the one-room Julia School where my mother taught before she and Dad were married. Here it is all decked out in the morning sun. The front door was open, so I peered in but the onetime school room had been turned into a family dwelling, now in very serious disrepair. Nearby was the Rocky Ridge school, now beautified, where my uncle Don taught for a number of years. 

From there we drove south of Spooner to Rice Lake where we searched out Miller's Cheese store, having promised Alex (who grew up in Wisconsin), that we'd bring her back some cheese. Nothing better than Wisconsin cheese! 

We spent the rest of the day exploring southern Wisconsin under a perfectly blue October sky. The camera simply does not capture the incredible winding roads, high rocky cliffs, meandering streams and hilly countryside with cows and horses grazing in the pastures.
And then we came to Taliesin, Wisconsin's most prized architectural complex, designed and lived in by Frank Lloyd Wright. We have a Wright home in Grand Rapids, but nothing like this---though we didn't have time to take a tour. I was able to snap a picture of the house and the Wright family cemetery with chapel and his grave marker. Carlton and I have a connection with his work that few people could claim. When Carlton was 15, he accompanied me in an automobile trip to Pasadena, where I taught for 2 weeks at Fuller Seminary. I had told him ahead of time that he would not be loafing around during that time and that he'd have to find work. So while I was in class on the first day, he  went door to door asking homeowners if they needed any house painting done. He returned in the evening to tell me that he was painting a famous house built by the Wright Brothers. I was incredulous. What was he talking about. He told me in all seriousness that he was painting the interior of a house designed by, none other than Frank and Lloyd Wright (e.g., the Wright Brothers!). I was so stunned that I insisted we had to go there immediately and see it, and sure enough, it was the Pasadena Frank Lloyd Wright house near the Rose Bowl. The owner was cash poor, and when Carlton came along she eagerly hired him and paid him $500 for a week's work. I told my students about it, and one of them hired him to paint her basement den the next week------only $200 for that.