“You must keep in mind that hundreds attended the seminary a century before we arrived there. Many became missionaries, traveling the world, enlightening the masses, saving souls, and no doubt having a jolly good time abroad. When they returned, they brought back cultural items—parting gifts from local tribesmen or simply objects they picked up along the way. Over time, those items were amassed in the seminary’s basement, serving as an in-house museum. This was well before the Internet and even before television exposed us to other continents. Young seminarians would tour the collection, studying the relics of different heathen cultures. That collection broadened our knowledge and challenged us to follow in the footsteps of our alumni.” Rosemont paused in his telling, recalling the many good men who had traversed the seminary halls across time. “It was all well and good until 1970 when members of the United Nations developed an agreement against the trade and transfer of cultural properties.”
-- Excerpt from The Sheltering Stones
You are no doubt thinking: What a fantastical story. Well, it’s true. My husband was one of those dumpster-diving seminarians back in the 1970s. He and several classmates rescued a broad range of cultural antiquities, sparing them from a landfill rubble. The oddities are still guests in my home. Pre-Columbian pieces of architecture, a cup with a gruesome face, Roman coins, a scrimshaw tusk, cuneiforms, a figurine head of a bird, chainmail purse, and a tiny sculpted bust of a Nubian woman remain on display. These cultural antiquities resonate with history. Each object’s uniqueness draws your attention and then forces you into quiet contemplation of all that has transpired before you. The oddities are portals to the past that breathe life back into marginalized or extinct cultures and somehow still add magic and meaning to our lives. We are honored to be the temporary custodians of these touchstones; torn between our desire to protect and preserve the antiquities or repatriate them. It’s not an easy decision.
This blog is where I post my inspirations for each book in the Barrington Bay series as well as behind-the-scenes tips, pics, and other tidbits. Feel free to click 'Read More' for in-depth posts.