Voices from the north

I got an email yesterday from a fellow named Larry in North Scituate, not far from Chepachet, that knocked my sox off. It seems that he's devoted a considerable chunk of time researching a piece of family history with his sister, and it all has to do with elephants.

One of the most famous elephants in modern western history was called Jumbo, a mammoth star of the British Empire who won the hearts and the minds of those islanders in the late 19th century. In a slip of sanity, the poobahs at the London Zoo sold him to P.T. Barnum, who traipsed him around North America until a train ended his life in Canada in 1885. The family connection, it seems, is that Larry's great-grandfather may or may not have been engineer of the unfortunate iron horse that plowed into poor Jumbo's side and caused his demise. Thus Larry's interest in history, in elephants, and in the history of elephants. He has grown expert at navigating elephant research and has offered to help in this project.

At the end of the email he wrote words that will forever bolster my resolution to make this film. "We need more efforts involved with matters of the heart and spirit nowadays." Already he's been able to make a Jumbo connection with RI for me and I'm delighted. He provided the above shot of Jumbo's demise.

As a result, I can see a widening of the initial story, but not to the point of drowning the original intent.

On another front, I drove all the way up to East Providence this fine day to meet with Jan Mariani, the zoo rep for Roger Williams Park Zoo, where lucky Alice the Elephant awaits another visit from the AI stork.

Jan and I agreed to have a quiet little confab over Asian food near the zoo to iron out some details of where my interests and those of the zoo overlap. It was a pretty fruitful meeting and we both left with encouraging "to do" lists for future actions. Just the kind of meeting I like. Agenda-ed, on target, productive, and filling. I eagerly await more info as the week goes on. We discussed a "Day in the Life" feature in the Zoo section that I think could really engage one and all. She may be able to help me considerably in that direction.

Last week, between trips to Baltimore and NYC, I wrote the rough draft of the Chepachet story and am very encouraged with it. It flowed, and, because I was doing it in a 3 column format, I slowly began to see the pix that go with the words. In other words, this film is beginning to appear like a picture in an old-fashioned darkroom.

More as things develop...

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