Telling our own stories, and Grant Wood’s story, too

Historical Society programs feature Rick Morain Friday, then actor Tom Milligan plays Grant Wood Sunday

The Greene County Historical Society hosts two programs in coming days, both featuring master storytellers.

Rick Morain, Jefferson Herald columnist and former owner of the newspaper before he retired, will speak Friday, April 4, about the importance of preserving family stories when the historical society begins its monthly meetings and programs for 2014 by gathering at the Cooper United Methodist Church.  Lunch is at 12 noon and is $8.  The program, which is free, will be at 1 pm.

Tom Millligan
Tom Millligan
Grant Wood, self-portrait
Grant Wood, self-portrait

On Sunday, April 6, professional actor Tom Milligan of Des Moines will perform the one-person play “Grant Wood – Prairie Rebel” in a 2:30 p.m. program at the historical museum in Jefferson.

He will perform in-character as the legendary Iowa artist, even taking questions from the audience.

Milligan’s performances are made possible with a grant from Humanities Iowa, and he enchanted a large audience here last June when he portrayed another notable Iowan, former U.S. Vice-President and Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace.

Both programs fit the Historical Society’s theme for 2014: “Telling our stories.”

Rick Morain
Rick Morain

Storytelling has been an art for at least four generations in the Morain family, and Rick is going to talk about he and his siblings have preserved family stories, and how their parents did that same thing with stories from the grandparents’ generation.  He’ll cover the “how-to” and importance of documentation, and he plans to intersperse that with some of his family stories that are certain to create laughter and maybe some tears for those attending.

Dot Lawton, chairperson of the lunch committee for the meeting in Cooper, reports the highly-regarded Cooper ham balls, as well as homemade pie, will be served.  Gooseberry pie seems to be a favorite at Cooper events, so Historical Society members and others might want to register and come early, as the pie swapping begins when the first person arrives.

Lunch reservations should be phoned to the Society’s community contacts by Wednesday, April 2, at 4:30 pm.  Those contacts are Helen Eason, Scranton, 712-652-3878; Betty Griffith, Grand Junction, 515-738-5767; Marilynn Hoskinson, Jefferson, 515-386-3490; Virginia Carlson, Paton, 515-386-2401; Liz Guess, Churdan, 515-389-3160; Mary Weaver, Rippey, 515-436-7679; and Lawton for Cooper at 515-386-4585.  Late RSVPs should be to Lawton.

After the Friday program, Ces Brunow, president of the Historical Society, will conduct the business meeting, including updates on 2014 program plans and the overall budget.

For the Sunday program on Grant Wood, Brunow is asking the public for help in finding some Wood artwork to display at the museum for the day, or longer.  That could include prints – or an original if anybody has one.  The Sunday program is free and open to the public, with free refreshments after the performance.

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