Oma Sue's Blog
Hi – I’m Sue Reyzlik. I recently realized my life-long dream of building a writing hut in the backyard. The writing hut serves as a creative space and home office for Oma Publishing. This blog will be intermingled with family history, varied experiences and insights on being a Grandma (Oma), creating my special backyard space, as well as, my “retirement” career as a self-publisher of children’s stories. And perhaps a little bit on the 32 years I served as Executive Director for Keep Fremont Beautiful and the wonderful people who are sharing this adventure.
Three Months Since the Last Entry – Oh My…
For the past few months, I have been involved in organizing an event for John C. Fremont Days. The “busy-ness” of organizing this new event has kept me from writing a blog entry… which is sort of the truth… I should back up a bit and give you the prequel…
I conduct the Nye Avenue Historic Tours each year for the John C. Fremont Days Festival. This is a three or four-hour commitment on the first night of the festival. I’m not sure how I came to do this task… someone must have retired (quit) and they needed a replacement and they asked me to fill in. So, for several years now I have been doing the tours, I haven't quit, and no one has begged to replace me – so it’s my job until I can’t do it anymore!
The tours are fun – at least for me. I have a captive audience and they are forced to listen to my ramblings for a little over an hour… it scratches that itch for this old retired teacher to teach. I get to reminisce about the street that was once known as “Millionaires Row”. I share my memories and the stories I’ve heard about the famous and sometimes infamous people who lived on this historic avenue.
Often times, I will be talking about a specific house and a person on the tour will add their own memory or anecdote concerning a prior owner or their visit to the property. Those little stories add so much to the tour and it is interesting to learn a new aspect of the personalities of the home’s occupants or perhaps an insight into the reasons for the owner's financial downfall. I just love it when I learn something new!
A particular property of interest is the May Museum. The home of Theron Nye and later his son Ray Nye. The house was set for demolition in the late 60’s but as luck would have it… the lawyer representing the Louis E. May Trust lived across the street from the Nye home and he was appalled by plans to build apartment buildings on the historic property. Mr. Sidner was successful in saving the property and the stately old building became the May Museum. It currently houses the Dodge County Historical Society as well, and I for one will be forever grateful for his preservation efforts.
When we first started John C. Fremont Days, the May Museum property served as a hub, a focal point for the entire three days of the festival. In recent years, most of the activities had been moved to other locations. Since many people, on the Nye Avenue Tours, showed so much interest in the May Museum property and the history of the Nye home… it seemed like a good time to reintroduce the Museum to the festival… in a low key – low impact kind of way!
If you have read any of my blog entries, you know I like to tell a story! Wouldn’t it be fun to have people who know “something” about Fremont, share that “something” with others. Luckily there are quite a few people in Fremont who share my love of a good story! Although we did have to tell them that the stories did need to be truthful… so that discouraged a few from participating. But still – we lined up a variety of story tellers!! Hooray.
We call this new event for John C. Fremont Days – “Musings at the Museum”. I’m going to be there to share stories about my family and the life and business they built in the early days of Fremont. I’m also going to share stories of growing up in Fremont and how certain family members influenced my writing efforts. My children’s stories are based on true life events and experiences… I write what I know. Frogs, ditches, floods, birds tangled in bushes, building a raft out of Styrofoam… even the three frog characters share similarities with my grandchildren… I will share those stories.
The development of this new event hasn’t really taken up much time at all… but the rabbit hole of discovery I fell into sure turned out to be a time suck! My cousin Cindy shared some family picture albums – one small section corresponded to a story my Great Aunt Rose had told Orleatha Kellogg - which was included in her book – “Bloom on the Land – a prairie pioneer experience.”
I was pretty much amazed that all these years later (over 100 years) the text and pictures would reunite for a “story”. A story that would be shared in my Aunt Rose’s own words, at the “Musings at the Museum”. Do come see that – it’s fun!
Then my other cousin, J shared a file of photos from the early days of Greens Greenhouse – fascinating! Max Design made up a cool story board utilizing several of those early photos – you won’t want to miss that – a very interesting story!
Then my son came home for a visit… And then a family of owls moved into my yard… totally a time suck… I will have to write a blog about that… And then my brother Stacy came back to the mainland and we started going through old family slides and that was really cool! There are tons of stories in those slides for next year!
Before you know it – three months have passed and I haven’t written a blog… just one rabbit hole after another…
Anyway – just thought I should check in and let you all know that I am still around and I’ve been getting some good material for blog entries. Let me know how you are doing in the comments. And as always check out www.omapublishing.com for the latest book and products… All book sales are donated to the Gracyn Mae Smith Special Needs Trust Fund. The stories are great for telling your grandkids and purchasing the books will help a very special little girl with muscular dystrophy. Books and puzzles will be available on Saturday July 10th for purchase – see you at the museum!
I don't have a lot of pictures of the homes on the Nye Avenue Historic Tour, but I do have a few that I copied from some books in my Grandparents collection. The homes are or were located along Nye Avenue here in Fremont... The Schneider house is located on 10th and H Street... another popular street for our more prominent citizens to build their homes.