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August 8, 2001 -- 12 Days in Syracuse  (Part 2) < Previous News  |  Next News >



Old Friends

After spending a few days with Don and Debbie in Manlius and getting introduced to "Iron Chef," I visited Jake, Marilyn, and Mike, old friends from my University of Wisconsin days who, for unexplained reasons, all live in the Syracuse area now.  I met Jake in August of 1982 during my first day of graduate school in the University of Wisconsin's Geography Department in Madison.  Jake and I were Teaching Assistants for the same Physical Geography class for several years and, since he was a year ahead of me, I learned a lot from him, such as why rivers meander... and how to make good chili.


I also learned from Jake why it's important not to throw a football near the UW Geography Building.  Or, if you're going to do that, at least be sure that you're throwing the football with your Advisor.  I'm still not sure who paid for that window:  Jake or our Advisor, Tom.  Jake is now a Professor of Geography at Syracuse University and frowns on students who throw footballs near his building.



Above left:  Syracuse University has a pretty campus, and an enrollment of about 18,000.  Somebody please tell me, though, what's an "Orangeman"?

Above center:  Jake, one of my football-throwing college friends from the University of Wisconsin.  He's now a Professor of Geography at Syracuse (and an Orangeman, I guess).

Above right:  Here's Jake in 1983 giving a "thumbs-up" before our drive from Madison, Wisconsin to Portland, Oregon in sub-zero temperatures.  I've described this rather humorous trip a bit more in Previous Roadtrips, 1980-84.


Marilyn was another good friend of mine in the Wisconsin Geography Department.  She and I met after my first year and we soon discovered that we had a lot of common interests.  Perhaps more than anyone I know, Marilyn shares my fascination with American history and traveling, and we often have long discussions about such varied topics as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, underrated National Parks, and "The Waltons." 


Back in college, Marilyn introduced me to the wonderful music of folk singer Mary McCaslin.  Here's Mary singing "Old Friends."

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Marilyn works at the Syracuse University hospital while her affable husband, Mike, teaches art in a nearby elementary school.  Marilyn is a very sweet woman and Mike is so affable it's laughable.  I've visited Marilyn and Mike throughout Wisconsin and upstate New York over the past 15 years and always enjoy getting together with them.  The thing is, though, I never know where I'm going to end up when I visit them. 


I arrived at their house in the early afternoon and the three of us headed down to the nearby town of Skaneateles.  First, though, Marilyn had a special treat.  Knowing that my last name is "Leu," she showed me what is probably the only "Leuville" in the world.  Actually, it's just a house with a "Leuville" sign posted outside, but I got a kick out of it nonetheless.


After eating a delicious seafood lunch at a busy lakeside restaurant in Skaneateles, we decided to drive up to Auburn and tour the home of William Seward, President Lincoln's Secretary of State.  I didn't realize it, but the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 was actually part of a much larger conspiracy by Confederate sympathizers that night to kill several U.S. political leaders.  One fellow was supposed to kill Seward but managed only to wound him.  The sheet from Seward's bed, in fact, is still on display in the Seward House with the blood stains faded but certainly discernable.  Good thing the guy didn't succeed, because two years later Seward managed to buy Alaska from Russia for something like 2 cents an acre.  By the way, I wanted to take a picture of the faded bloody sheet and post it on my website.  However, I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside Seward's house, so you'll just have to go there and see it for yourself!


After seeing Seward's house, we dropped by the house of Harriett Tubman.  After that, Marilyn suggested we visit the nearby... um... cemetery (don't laugh).  Like I say, Marilyn and I are history buffs and she was certain that the horse "Comanche" was buried in the cemetery.  Comanche, of course (or maybe not), was the only survivor of "Custer's Last Stand" and was ridden by one of General Custer's officers, Captain Myles Keogh.  After extensively searching the cemetery, we found Keogh's grave but never found that of his fabled horse.  On the way back that evening, and never lacking for interesting things to do, Marilyn and Mike drove me by the notorious Auburn prison.  The guards shoot to kill here so we didn't linger outside the walls too long. 


Visiting Marilyn and Mike reminds me of the movie "Forrest Gump," because I never know what I'm going to get.  As I drove back to my brother's house late that night, I thought about what a great time I had seeing Marilyn and Mike again.  If nothing else, the treasured memory of that bloody sheet will be with me forever.



Above left:  I spent a whole day catching up with Mike and Marilyn.  Here they are outside the William Seward house in Auburn.  Seward was Abe Lincoln's Secretary of State and was injured by a knife-wielding assassin the same night Lincoln was killed.  The highlight of our tour was seeing Seward's blood-stained bedsheet on display here. 

Above center:  Some more old photos:  This is Marilyn in 1985 about to smash a softball at the end-of-the-year Geography Department picnic in Madison, Wisconsin.  Some people always look the same, don't they?

Above right:  Marilyn in Syracuse in 1986... with a baby that she's glad isn't hers.



Above left:  Here's their real baby.  This is Lucy, one of their affectionate guinea pigs.  

Above center:  Marilyn and Mike showed me what is possibly the only "Leuville" in the world. 

Above right:  We also visited the Harriet Tubman house in Auburn.  Harriet was a slave from Maryland who escaped to the North in the years before the Civil War.  She secretly returned to the South several times and guided over 400 slaves north to freedom with the help of the "Underground Railroad."



Above left:  We stopped by the Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn to look for the grave of Captain Myles Keogh, a casualty of Custer's Last Stand in Montana.  Keogh's horse, Comanche, was the cavalry's only survivor of that battle and Marilyn (far left) was sure that Comanche was also buried in the cemetery.  The skeptical Mike (right) tried to convince Marilyn that they don't bury horses in cemeteries.

Above center:  We never did find Comanche, but we did find Myles' grave.  Marilyn is still convinced that Comanche is buried there somewhere.

Above right:  After they took me to the cemetery, they showed me the Auburn Prison.  Cemeteries, prisons, blood-stained sheets... it's always interesting to visit Marilyn and Mike! 


This Old House

After visiting with my friends, it was back to work:  on my website and on Don and Debbie's house.  Here are some shots of my last few days in Manlius. 



Above left:  More house repair work.  This is Don fixing the front step.

Above center:  Don and I -- all brains but no brawn (or is it the other way around?).  Don's dog Cappy is in the house giving directions.

Above right:  Another day, another project.  Going to Home Depot to get new carpet for the back porch.



Above left:  Cutting the carpet...

Above center:  Loading the carpet...

Above right:  And laying the carpet.  Don can't figure out why it's too long.



Above left:  Another barbecue...

Above center:  ...some more work...

Above right:  ...and it's done.  Gee, the house looks too nice to sell now!



Above left:  Dinner time.

Above center:  Getting my truck ready for the drive back to Oregon.  Note my foam bed and 12" subwoofer, which I usually keep on the passenger side floor.  It may be an old truck, but the 11-speaker stereo system sure sounds great!

Above right:  Debbie by my truck before I hit the road.  It's always great to visit Don and Debbie and I really enjoyed my 12 days here, even (and especially) with all the house project work.  Being so far from the West Coast, their house is like my home-away-from-home.



Next News

August 10, 2001  (Battle Creek, Michigan)



Previous News

August 8, 2001  (12 Days in Syracuse: Part 1)

August 6, 2001  (Manlius, New York)

July 23, 2001  (Middleton, Massachusetts)

July 22, 2001  (Boston, Massachusetts)

July 20, 2001  (Pomfret, Connecticut)

July 18, 2001  (Denton, Maryland)

July 16, 2001  (Cumberland, Virginia)

July 14, 2001  (Roanoke, Virginia)

July 9, 2001  (Sevierville, Tennessee)

July 8, 2001  (Fontana Lake, North Carolina)

July 5, 2001  (Manchester, Tennessee)

June 30, 2001  (Hohenwald, Tennessee)

June 29, 2001  (Corinth, Mississippi)

June 27, 2001  (Natchez, Mississippi)

June 24, 2001  (Austin, Texas)

June 20, 2001  (Canyon de Chelly, Arizona)

June 18, 2001  (Clay Canyon, Utah)

June 15, 2001 -- Part 2  (Zion Nat'l Park, Utah)

June 15, 2001 -- Part 1  (Zion Nat'l Park, Utah)

June 14, 2001  (San Diego, California)

June 11, 2001  (San Jose, California)

June 2, 2001  (Bellingham, Washington)

May 19, 2001  (Hillsboro, Oregon)

April 30, 2001  (Hillsboro, Oregon)

April 19, 2001  (Bellingham, Washington)

April 5, 2001  (Bellingham, Washington) 


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