I've been finalising some plans for a trip that's coming up in a couple of weeks... I'm flying to Chicago, then driving to Springfield, Illinois where my great-grandfather Hamuera Te Punga trained to be a Lutheran pastor... then to St Louis, because the historical records and archihves of the Lutheran church are based there... and to Indiana, where the Springfield seminary was relocated and merged into another seminary there... and back to Chicago, hopefully with time to see the South Chicago site where he was ordained in 1912, and then home to Toronto. All in six days.
It's an exploratory trip, where I'll be checking things out and deciding if and where I need to return for longer sessions in the archives... but it's been fun getting things lined up for the adventure... the rental car has been confimed, the flights paid for, and people I'll meet along the way have been replying to my emails and fb msgs. All set!
I find myself getting excited again, the way I was excited before going to the Adelaide Lutheran archives... a chance to possibly find things, and a chance for new connections. Also a chance to see the literal places where Hamuera was living between 1906 and 1912. Land means a lot to us, and I want to see the land he looked out on when he woke up in the morning and when he moved around between seminary, church and farm work. This trip will help me in my research into Maori writing, but it will also help me learn more about Hamuera and, I suspect, all of us Te Pungas. I'm looking forward to it.