For years I’ve searched for a CONGER to serve as the steward of a vast legacy of Conger lore collected by Maxine Crowell Leonard and passed on to me. I transported that legacy from Maxine’s Iowa home to mine in the late 90s, published the Conger Confab newsletter for years and soon realized I could not give it the attention it merited. I am not a genealogist, and Confab readers deserved one. Earlier this year my friend from Confab days, who has remained a valued friend since, Dick Henthorn emailed me about an Ernest Conger, 82 years old, living in Iowa, who knew Maxine, who was re-launching Confab. That was music to my eyes! Ermest and I talked over about his plans for Confab. He said his son Gene would be helping him. What he and Gene did not tell me, that I had hoped they would, was that they could come to Springfield to take that materials Maxine had passed on plus what I had added in the course of years of Conger correspondence and hundreds of extra issues of Confab which I had published. Gene sent me the four page issue of one of his early Confabs . . . . and that was the last I heard from the the Iowa Congers.
Later this year I received an email from Jean Clinton of Louisiana. In the course of several emails it became obvious to me that she was a thoroughly competent genealogist, a fine writer, and an enthusiastic CONGER . . . AND she would be willing to be the new steward of the Conger legacy. I began gathering materials — books by Congers, correspondence, all photo albums from Maxine’s Conger Confabulation reunions, newsletters and stacking them in my living room, just inches from my front door, ready to load when Jean visited with a roomy vehicle.
She arrived in Springfield late Monday, perfect timing for a twilight tour of my home town and dinner. She stayed the Mansion View Motel on S. 4th Street, right across from the Executive Mansion, home for Illinois’ Chief Executive (Governor) when he is in town. Item number ONE for the morning ahead would be to load Conger lore into her squeaky clean driving machine. . .
On arrival at “Conger House at 428” about 9:30, Jean explained she had been up since EARLY early and walked around the heart of Springfield in perfect early sunshine.
I was totally surprised by — with excellent mutual assistance — how fast we loaded the car. She clearly had a gift for optimal space utilization; ’twas amazing!
Jean (bless her heart) had shared keen interest in visiting my AeroKnow Museum, so the first stop of the day, with me in my vehicle and Jean in hers, was the airport.
I could not — in my best dreams — have asked for a more charming and attentive visitor! The pictures show this to be true. Later I shared some songs I wrote and gave her my books of poetry I’ve written.
(sorry for the disarray of the pictures. There’s a way to have avoided this, but I don’t know what it is.)
The tomb where “The Great Emancipator” Abraham Lincoln is buried was amazingly close to the airport, and it would be the final spot for Jean and I to visit.
Too, too, too soon it was time to say goodbye. Jean followed me to the intersection and street going south to St. Louis. And we said goodbye.
Jean is going through the Conger materials and welcomes correspondence with other Conger family researchers. She can be reached ONLY VIA E-MAIL at firstname.lastname@example.org
I tried to reach Ernest Conger while preparing to post this blog. The address for him and his son Gene is email@example.com
I, Job Clifton Conger, IV, kept my great grandfather’s shaving cup and early safety razor, but the rest belongs to Jean. Since blogs last forever, I’m ready to respond to notes that are directed to me via the Comments area that follow this post.
Thanks for reading this post, and warmest regards and THANKS for carrying the legends of Congers onward with dignity, enthusiasm and pride.
As I say in closing my Honey & Quinine blog posts . . .
Live long . . . . . . . and proper!