Yesterday I drove 475 miles round trip to conduct on site research for Sandhill Dreams. Fort Robinson is way up in the corner of Nebraska, tucked near South Dakota and Wyoming. It is remote country, but God's country. Absolutely beautiful though very remote. I hadn't been in that corner of the world for about 12 years, since working on a gubernatorial race.
As I drove, I asked God to give me favor with the curator I was meeting and for the trip to be valuable. Wow! God answered that prayer in a huge way.
I spent almost five hours with Thomas Bueckner, the museum curator at Fort Robinson. He's been at the museum for twenty years and is a warehouse of information and stories about the Fort during World War Two as well as other Nebraska WWII activities. It was amazing! Fantastic! Invigorating! Exhausting!
I have the July 1, 1943 War Dog Training Manual to copy. Invaluable since that is the exact time period that the book occurs during. A CD of photos to copy -- taken by a soldier who worked at the Fort during the War. Most soldiers assigned to work with War Dogs were only at Fort Robinson for 8-12 weeks, but this man was there for the duration. I also have a copy of his interview. I also have the Fort's newsletter that was produced the first half of 1943. It is a goldmine of social events and happenings at the Fort.
I really wish I could have spent another day there just reading the interviews and flipping through photos.
This day was a great way to get over lingering concerns about approaching experts for help with research for books. Mr. Bueckner was so generous with his time and knowledge and seemed to delight in sharing that.
I'll share more later, but what a great day!