In memory of Karen Stuart

Has it really been 28 years since I toured China and it’s archives with the Society of American Archivists?

SAA China Archives Study Tour, 1986.

First row from right, Lynn Ewbank, Karen Stuart, SAA China Archives Study Tour, 1986.

Touring China in 1986 was one of those experiences of a lifetime for me. Karen Stuart, who worked at the Maryland Historical Society before going to the Library of Congress in 1990, was my roommate which was great because Karen had been on the earlier China tour and knew the ropes. Out of those on the trip, Karen is the only one I reconnected with via Facebook.

Karen Stuart kneeling, China, 1986. ©D.L. Ewbank

Karen Stuart kneeling, China, 1986. ©D.L. Ewbank

It broke my heart to learn Karen has passed – a huge loss for the LOC and all of us fortunate to have crossed paths with Karen.

Lynn Ewbank and Karen Stuart on the great wall, 1986. ©D.L. Ewbank

Lynn Ewbank and Karen Stuart on the extremely windy Great Wall, 1986. ©D.L. Ewbank

To cheer myself up in this loss, I try to picture her in heaven laughing with other China trippers who went before her including Smithsonian Archivist, Chinese language expert, and trip leader William “Bill” Moss; sixth Archivist of the United States Dr. Robert M. Warner; NARA Archivist Linda Henry, Karen’s father Mason Stuart, and possibly others whose passing I missed.

Lynn Ewbank, right, China 1986. ©D.L. Ewbank

Lynn Ewbank, right, China 1986. ©D.L. Ewbank

Thanks, Karen and other China trippers, for helping make that trip special. And remember, China trippers, Karen has invited you to our room for an evening of comedic Arkansas/China trip trivia where everyone wins. The prizes are things I don’t want to lug back to the U.S. like that fluffy little panda change purse. (Yes, if you win – and you will – you have to take it!!!) If I’m a little late, sing about the Qufu China Choo-Choo and tell trip stories (like the horribly rainy day Ed Weldon bought us all dry socks – I still have mine!) until I get there!

The August 2014 StoryDame Methuselism Award goes to…

Joan Rivers, born in 1933 according to Wikipedia. According to We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy, Rivers, who wanted to be an actress, fell into comedy because she could make a little money at night after hitting agents all day in the mid-60s. She was the first woman who was part of “the new confessional wave.” Today the Barnard College graduate hosts the Fashion Police on E! and sells her own line on HSN. Catch Joan on her YouTube series, In Bed With Joan, or read about her in her own words in her newest book, Diary of a Mad Diva.

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One thing that’s better old

The handyman arrived thirty minutes before he said he would. From my viewpoint, that’s a very good sign. I need a few boards replaced. When you have an older frame home, the routine, at some point, is going to be rot, replace, paint.

Cracked and peeling paint on a house that isn't mine. ©iStockphoto/jhorrocks

Cracked and peeling paint on a house that isn’t mine. ©iStockphoto/jhorrocks

“See that wood,” he said pointing at remaining original boards used ca. 1950 to build my home. I nodded. “It’s better than that wood,” he said pointing to newer boards replaced since I’ve owned the home.

Someone pointing to something older that’s better than something new is music to the ears of a sexy-generian. I clarified the cost again.

“You’ve got the job,” I said.