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River Ramblings Retrospective

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    River Ramblings Retrospective

    "The River as Muse", the second offering in the "River Ramblings" program series at the Howard Steamboat Museum occurred last Saturday evening. Despite the wacky weather of sleet, huge snowflakes and then heavy rain, an appreciative audience of 48 filled the ornate moorish music room of the mansion. Capt. Bill Ray, equally at home at the Belle's big oak pilotwheel or behind a fiddle and banjo, kept the audience entertained in his inimitable style. A poignant moment in his concert came when he sang and played John Hartford's "Delta Queen Waltz" and dedicated it to the memory of Ann Zeiger, who departed from our midst on February 13th. One of the DQ's most devoted admirers, Ann would have loved Bill's kind and appropriate gesture -- and I could just hear her giggling.

    After an intermission, during which I served homemade cookies and warm apple cider in the museum dining room while Yvonne opened the gift shop, Tony Ellis and wife Louise Adkins presented the second part of the program. They have a very impressive musical pedigree, having played Carnegie Hall and all over the world! Beautiful music beautifully played on banjo and reed organ -- and a well deserved standing ovation brought forth an encore! They have a number of CD's, also available on their website One of my favorites, of course, was their "Becky Thatcher Waltz", dedicated to the former steamer MISSISSIPPI, which was renamed BECKY THATCHER in 1966 at St. Louis and has been at Marietta since 1975. As I stood at the front door to bid farewell to our guests, many of whom told me they were first time visitors, I heard nothing but compliments and the hope that we would offer a program like this again. I always enjoy hosting nighttime events, as the mansion takes on an entirely different look, with the fancy chandeliers glittering, etc. And those talented musicians certainly "lit up" the stately house with delightful music on Saturday night!

    After all of our guests had departed into the rainy night, Yvonne and I took down all the folding chairs, cleaned up the dining room and managed to get the HEAVY Steinway piano back into place. It was discovered that the roof in the den, where we had moved the sofa and some of the other music room furniture for the concert, was LEAKING! Running an old house museum is NEVER dull!

    Don't forget that the annual spring festival (A Victorian Chautauqua) will take place during the weekend of May 19th and 20th. The theme this year is "The 1937 Flood Remembered". The next program in my "River Ramblings" series is on the calendar for Saturday, August 25th when our own Pat Carr will present "Footlights Afloat", relating her experiences of living and working aboard the SHOWBOAT MAJESTIC while a student at Hiram College. More details will be forthcoming on the museum website at Y'all come!

    Curator Keith
    Last edited by Keith Norrington; 03-06-2007, 10:17 AM.

    Hi, Keith:
    Many thanks for your wonderful encapsulation of the recent Howard Museum event. I thought of you all with the horrendous weather we had here last Saturday evening.

    I was also touched by the 'memorial' in music rendered for our dear friend the late Ann Zeiger by Capt. Bill Ray. Yes, she would have loved it. Ann enjoyed the Howard Museum, it's collection and fine hands-on staff and supporters over the years. At this moment Ann's family are arriving and tending to her affairs. A local Cincinnati memorial for Ann has been discussed. No word yet if, where or when, but information will be provided on and locally. Again, thanks for your fine posting.

    *Note: Calls and E=Mails here on the arrival of the March S&D REFLECTOR. Capt. David Smith has put it to bed in the hands of 'Richardson Printing' in Marietta for editing, printing. It should appear before too long.

    R. Dale Flick


      Indeed, Ann was a longtime and enthusiastic member of the Howard Steamboat Museum and always very supportive of our programs and events. Several memorial donations have already come in and we are certainly appreciative of those, with a decision to come later regarding how the money will be used to honor Ann. Generally, unless the family specifies something, donations go into the general operating fund which, at the Howard Museum, is always a great need to keep the doors open. If anyone is interested in contributing to the museum in Ann's memory, the address is:

      Howard Steamboat Museum & Mansion
      P.O. Box 606
      Jeffersonville, IN 47131-0606

      Last edited by Keith Norrington; 03-12-2007, 10:35 AM.


        In case you didn't read between the lines, this wonderful presentation was assembled and dissassembled by a crew of two: Yvonne and Keith. Presumably the Chatauqua festival will see more help from within. I know Ted will be grinding away then, and I'm coming over to lend a hand in whatever way I can, as I will for Pat's Showboat extravaganza Aug. 25th, But I knew it was too risky weatherwise to commit to this one, and it was a good thing I didn't as we got iced in a la Darin and St. Louis a while back. I was in a 9 sq. block area that didn't lose power at all and I was harbor to some powerless friends for a couple of days. But that's off the point... perhaps some of you who live closer to the Howard could consider volunteering for an event setup occasionally. I'm sure no offer would be turned down, and you'd get to hear a great program too(and usually gather at Kingfish at some point ). As we've said before, the Howard is the little museum who thought it could, and did, and continues doing!
        Last edited by Judy Patsch; 02-28-2007, 01:21 PM.


          I first began volunteering at the Howard Steamboat Museum in 1968 when I was 14 years old. Since 2008 marks my 40th year of being connected with the museum, board members come to me with questions about how things looked before the fire, etc., because there are fewer and fewer people remaining who actually remember. Alan Bates, who was a founding board member, Jim Reising, Kenny Howe, Ruth Heffern (Loretta Howard's granddaughter) and a very few others are left who were "regulars" and recall the museum from its earliest days when Mrs. Howard was still there to preside over the mansion and collections, delighted that she had managed to bring Capt. Jim Howard's dream of turning the house into a museum to fruition.

          2008 will also mark the 50th anniversary of the museum's opening in 1958. After the Golden Eagle River Museum at St. Louis closed in 2004 (after 30 years of operation) we are concerned that the Howard Museum not suffer a similar fate due to lack of interest and volunteers needed to keep the 22 room mansion open. We have a very small paid staff and some dedicated volunteers who are aging and dwindling in number. We understand that everybody can't be a volunteer and greatly appreciate the many out of town members who continue to support the museum through annual memberships and contributions. And a special whistle salute to those special people like Judy Patsch, who drive 400+ miles to help at events (bringing a cargo of cookies!) and Ted Guillaum, that lovable former DQ purser turned organ grinder who donates his time and talent each spring to provide lilting melodies for both days of the festival. THANKS!!!!
          Last edited by Keith Norrington; 02-28-2007, 02:39 PM.