Saturday, September 29, 2012

Johnstown, Nebraska

So a little further along Highway 20, I had my second serendipitous encounter with Willa Cather, sort of.  Somewhere back in the blog archives you may remember the humorous little story of how we met up with Willa Cather's great nephew, George (it's just as well that I couldn't remember his last name or I would probably have been stalking him by now), who also lived in New York and who was the only other adult on our 3:00 tour of the capitol building in Lincoln, and about our dinner at Billy's and his Cather related stories, and how I left feeling somehow related and needing to make a pilgrimage to Red Cloud, which we have done more than once, and a lot more.  Your assignment, due next Monday, is to find that blog entry, and any others related to my Willa Cather/Red Cloud experiences, and anything else you might find on Wikipedia or wherever and write a 10 page essay that will bore all of us to death,  suck  the life and joy out of her literature and provide the perfect academic experience that will make you never want to hear her name again.  I jest, of course, but isn't that the job of a high school English teacher, to make you never want to read serious literature again.

So my second Cather encounter was in Johnstown, the town in which they filmed the CBS movie version of O' Pioneers.

As you can tell from the sign, the star has faded on this claim to fame, and the town has receded back into its former anonymity, although there are still signs of its former brush with fame.  Due to the vagaries and vicissitudes that define the circumstances provided to a photographer, I passed the town in the morning and was lucky enough to find the sun shining on the more interesting side of the street, of which this was all of it.

There was a bit more, but I wasn't there for it, but you get the idea.  Unfortunately, the only operating business other than the post office was a bar on the shaded side of the street that didn't look like part of a movie set.  But for closure, I do need to get back.  Interestingly, there no longer seemed to be any effort to capitalize on their fame in terms of tee shirt shops, etc.