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Picturing a World

Map of Leiden

Although COVID-19 quashed many events in 2020 intended to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, there were always books. During the lockdown, I read Jeremy Bangs' Strangers and Pilgrims: Travellers and Sojourner about the Pilgrims' earlier years in Leiden, Holland. Pieter Bast's 17th C aerial map of the city allowed me to wander Leiden's streets and visualize the neighborhood where Pastor John Robinson's congregation lived—as well as the larger city where so many other lives were being led.

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Hargus Creek

Jeanette Palmer, the central character in Where the Light Falls, is from Circleville, Ohio. One of my readers was surprised to hear that Circleville is a real place. It is and, as far as I can tell, lives up to its perfect name as the quintessential Midwestern small town. A paragraph in a 1909 diary I'm reading describes a late-June storm in Circleville so dark that fireflies came out at 5:00 p.m. The diarist and the people she is visiting play bridge, escort another visitor to the streetcar, "and then took in the picture show but declined to go with the crowd to see Hargus Creek out of bounds."

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