JUST JUNIORS JOURNAL
What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
SUMMER OF HISTORY
Part Three: The Grave Of King Arthur
THE LS KIDS AND THE HOLY GRAIL
What....Is your name?"
"My name is Biz Albright."
"What....Is your quest?"
"I seek the Holy Grail."
"What....Is your favorite color?"
Okay, maybe it didn't really happen like that.
Lou and Biz Albright crossed a log that lay across a small river. Their eyes camr across a large dip in the river's bed, which was set off by large, flat rocks. Lou excitedly ran over near the riverbank. "I think we've found it!"
It had been noon on the fifteenth of August, two hours earlier, when Lou and Biz set off looking for the legendary grave of King Arthur of Camelot, which was also rumored to contain the Holy Grail.
Lou recently, while doing research, came across an old Indian legend that stated that when King Arthur was heavily wounded in battle, he went to the Americas to find the Great Spirit Spring, which supposedly had healing properties. He lived there for another twenty years before he finally died. His men built him a grave by detouring the river and constructing the grave on the riverbed. It was twelve feet deep, three feet wide, and nine feet long. Once Arthur was buried, the knights piled stones on it to make a cairn, which was held together by a keystone.
Centuries later, in 1951, some boys pulled out the keystone. This made the grave collapse and sink a little. Later on, a politician stepped into it while fishing, sinking so much he had to be pulled out by his friends. After that, it was filled with sand, to create the location that Biz and Lou discovered. This all happened in the Black Forest area of Pennsylvania.
Biz and Lou had followed the river for a while. checking out odd dips and tributaries, but nothing seemed to spark anything.
Then they came to a trail called the Mud Lick Hollow Trail. It was named after the shallow creek that ran into the larger river, Windfall Run. Lou was ecstatic. It was the right place.
They walked down the trail to get to the merging of the river. Right at that point was a bridge made from one fallen log and a cable. They crossed it.
After some scouting around, Lou spotted the place. "I can't guarantee that's King Arthur down there," he said. "But this is man-made, and old. It's definitely a burial vault."
Biz waded into the water barefoot, and the two of them found some rocks that had come from the cairn. The closest they saw to the Holy Grail, though, was two rocks in the river that, together, looked vaguely Grail-shaped.
"I'm amazed we found the grave," commented Lou. "Hey, I've seen both Monty Python and Indiana Jones. Neither one of them ended up with the Grail, either."
Near Beech Creek, Pennsylvania, is a place that's very hard to find. At least, it was for Crissy Miller and Biz Albright. It's a park called Big Rocks.
At eleven AM on August 14, the two of us set off to Big Rocks Park. Crissy and I had a hard time trying to find a one-room white school house. That set us on the path to Route 144, which took us to the red dirt road that took us too Big Rocks.
As soon as the two of us reached it, I know why it was called Big Rocks. There are many rocks there, which are VERY big.
Climbing the first rock we saw wasn't very hard. (Even I didn't fall.) And on the top sat the Tree of Knowledge. Okay, I'm not sure it was really the Tree of Knowledge, but it did seem to have a face!
After exploring a bit more, it was time to go home. Crissy and I had a great time....In fact, we want to take the LS Kids there sometime. (Hint, Lou. HINT!)
On August 19, 1905, a young woman named Ida Yost committed suicide by drinking acid on her porch. No one knows why she did it. Her father heard the noise, so he went and discovered her, and sent for help.
That happened 99 years ago last month. Some say her ghost is still in the house that Lou moved into last year. Some of the Kids don't believe in that sort of thing. The ones who do say that Ida still remains in the house as a ghost.
"The truth is out there," said Crissy Miller.
The 99th anniversary of her death was August 19, 2004. The Kids all wished Ida a happy deathday at the next meeting, which was on August 22. "Just another teenager with issues," says Lou,"Only this one's dead."
"If you should happen to exist, Ida," says Krystle Welch,"Welcome to the LS Kids. We welcome you with open arms. We wonder about why you killed yourself, and we talk about you. You are a Lost Solace member."
-Krystle Welch, Staff
-Ginger White, Staff
Dedicated to Ida Yost, the first Lost Solace Kid.
GINGER WHITE TURNS EIGHTEEN
August second was my eighteenth birthday. My mother said I could have an overnighter at our house, and told me to decide who to invite.
That was easy. I invited the LS Kids.
On August 1, they all showed up at five PM. Krystle Welch, Debbie Benfield, Crissy Miller, Biz Albright, and Meghan Rockey all came to the house, and we had dinner together. Lou called to say happy birthday, but he was out of town camping that weekend, and couldn't be there.
After dinner, we had cake and ice cream, and played some of my CDs, mostly Avril Lavigne and Missy Elliott. We hung out and watched movies on DVD until four in the morning, when we finally all fell asleep. (Debbie Benfield stayed asleep for eleven hours.)
And now that I'm eighteen, I can vote for President in the election! I'm voting for Lou.
KINZUA BRIDGE REMOVED FROM HISTORIC REGISTER
PENNSYLVANIA- The Kinzua Bridge, once the longest railroad bridge in the world and a favorite trip of the LS Kids, was removed from the National Register of Historic Places on July 21, 2004. It was taken off because less than half of the bridge remains after the tornado that damaged it last summer.
The date it was removed from the register, July 21, was exactly one year from the date it was damaged. At that time, the Kids had been to visit it frequently, and it had been one of Debbie Benfield's favorite locations. The LS Kids held a campaign to restore the bridge, writing letters to the governor and other officials. Initially, they received a letter promising to rebuild the bridge, but Governor Ed Rendell then decided against rebuilding, citing expense as the reason.
"Why would you not want to rebuild the bridge?" asked Debbie. "I mean, come on now....It's my favorite place. It's so peaceful, and makes a really nice picture. Come on now, keep Pennsylvania beautiful."
Part of the bridge, which was built in 1892, still stands. The LS Kids last visited on July 4, 2004, on their way to Warren to see the fireworks.
Everything I Need To Know, I Learned From "Monty Python And The Holy Grail"
#1- Bunnies are not cute. They are actually bloodthirsty fiends.
#2- You can't go through life singing and laughing. Chances are, if you do, your friends will have to eat you to survive the dead of winter. And there will be much rejoicing.
#3- Never think you know the answers to everything. Someday, someone will ask you something to which you don't know the answer. Then you'll be thrown over a cliff.
#4- A witch weighs the same as a duck. So witches never have to worry about their weight.
#5- If I went around saying I was an emperor just because come moistened bint threw a scimitar at me, they'd put me away.
#6- Society will throw out the weak or the old, even if they are getting better.
#7- If you should ever get a limb taken off, look on the bright side....'tis just a flesh would, only a scratch.
#8- Look beyond the bloody curtains.
-Run away! Run away!
RHYME AND REASON
I wish for love,
But I doubt I'll find.
I wish for peace,
From the battles in my mind.
I wish to be worth,
Of anything but this.
I wish to be remembered,
That is all I wish.
I wish to be forgotten,
Of all my unwanted things.
I wish to be known
For all the good I bring.
My love, my peace
My worthiness, my remembrance,
To be forgotten but remembered,
To be given one last chance.
ADORE IT/DEPLORE IT
Adore It: State Representative Melissa Hart (R-PA) is leading a movement in the Senate to increase funds for victims of domestic violence by $25 million dollars. A good use of money, and a good cause.
Deplore It: Help desk personnel Dorothea Perry and Robert Gross were fired from their jobs at New York Law School, still fighting the firing in court. Their offense? Reporting child pornography on the computer of a tenured professor. If you were thinking of attending New York Law School, don't.
The Just Juniors Journal Is:
Assistant: Staci Wyland
National Advisor: Vesta Jones
President: Debbie Benfield
Vice-President: Krystle Welch
Secretary: Crissy Miller
Quartermaster: Biz Albright
Staff: Megan Rockey, Destini Geraty, Ginger White, Sarah Wilson, Ida Yost
Distant Correspondents: Kazlynn Otto, Meghan Wilson, Amber Fleming, Regina Spence
Foreign Bureau: Janice Marco
Earlier this summer, in a previous Endnote, I said that I wanted to make this a summer to remember for the Kids. That's always my goal, really---Summer is when you can best get out and do stuff, have the most fun. That's when experiences really come alive.
Summer is over, now. Came to an end in Lock Haven with the Labor Day Regatta, like it always does. And I think I succeeded in my goal---The Kids will remember this particular summer for a long time.
We saw Valley Forge, a zoo, fireworks....traveled to Lehigh Gorge and the Kinzua Bridge, New York state, the Austin Dam Ruins. Played Dungeons and Dragons all night for several weekends running. Tracked down an old Indian legend to find what may be King Arthur's grave. The Kids all did new things this summer, and they all got something out of it.
I know they enjoy this. As we crossed the bridge to the gravesite, Biz commented on it. "You guys are lucky," I told her. "They don't let you do this kind of stuff in the Girl Scouts."
"Gonna make a good article," said Biz.
"Yeah, I'm glad you're home-schooled," I said. "I'd hate like hell to have to read your what-I-did-last-summer reports." (I can just imagine that one: "Hello, is this Lou? This is the guidance counselor at Central Mountain High School. One of our students, a Miss Albright, wrote a report claiming that she spent the summer helping you search for the Holy Grail. Miss Albright is in my office, and we'd like you to come in for a conference.")
I do try to get out and do different things with the Kids, memorable sorts of things. I think I succeed pretty well---The Kids themselves reassure me of that. I've had recent conversations with Biz Albright, Meghan Rockey, and Krystle Miller that indicate to me that they'll remember these days long after I'm gone.
I mean, how many teenagers get to do stuff with ghosts, and find lost graves, and things like that?
Meghan Rockey recently told me something like this. "You do okay," she said. "The trips I've been on, things seem to work out."
From a teenager, that's gushing praise. And from quiet, shy Meghan, it's pretty miraculous. I'm glad she feels that way....I'm glad they all do. And if anything happens to me, there are worse epitaphs than that. I could live with that one, from the Kids: You do okay.
-'Tis but a flesh wound!