With my dad’s passing in April and my mom’s return to life up north, my life has changed – with my return from Camp Widow San Diego just four weeks ago, there have been some interesting developments, and as promised I will share more when I’m able.
Last week I received an interesting e-mail regarding a book I’d written several years ago, Around the World in a Locomobile: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile. Published by American History Press in 2014, the book is the true account of widowed New Jersey industrialist Harriet Fisher’s revolutionary ride around the world. Departing from New York in July 1909, Harriet had her car shipped to France where she and her personal attendant, man servant, mechanic/driver and beloved dog, Honk Honk, began their historic road trip that took them across five continents.
I believe I was fated to share Harriet’s story. Previous to the writing of the book, I’d been researching Alice Huyler Ramsey, another New Jersey native who made history as the first woman to drive an automobile from the East Coast to California with three female friends onboard. As it turned out, Alice and I graduated from Hackensack High School, although decades apart!
I first learned of Alice Ramsey when I was drawn to my tv screen during an episode of The Antique Road Show when someone was presenting a photo of Alice and her traveling companions. I jotted down her name and while reading about her journey, came across the story of her fellow New Jerseyean travel pioneer, Harriet Fisher.
The writing of the book was fascinating. During that time I befriended the grand daughter of Harold Brooks, the man who drove that Locomobile around the world. Becky Urban was gracious enough to share artifacts and personal notes of her grandfather. My late husband, Rich, and I were even invited to a private family function where Harold’s adventure was shared for his descendants and later we attended the exhibit Becky curated for the Ellarslie Museum in Trenton, New Jersey. Rich was always so intrigued with young Harold’s skills and accomplishments.
But getting back to that e-mail. it was a letter from an engineer in Germany who’d read my book and was planning to retrace a portion of Harriet’s trip that would take him across the Alps down into the Lake Como Region of Italy where Harriet’s beloved Villa Carlotta was located. He asked if I could provide any additional knowledge.
I told him I’d reach out to others who’d helped me in my book’s research process, and I also asked if he planned to bring a dog along for the ride as Harriet had. He wrote back that they already had a cat who’d be taking the trip! Apparently the cat is a good traveler.
And then the most interesting question was asked, would you like to join us?!
That is a question not yet answered. Stay tuned…