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A good article about the CONTACT conference

George R. Stewart began his epochal Ordeal by Hunger by describing northern Nevada from a position in orbit 200 miles above Earth.  This, in 1936, 24 years before any human had seen or photographed it.  As always, Stewart was a ranger of the mind, looking out over the next pass to see what could be seen.  The CONTACT conference also does this, and here’s a good article about that conference.

Eastend, Saskatchewan, Wallace Stegner, and George R. Stewart

I wandered into Eastend quite by accident about 12 years ago.  The tiny farm town in the southwest of Saskatchewan didn’t seem like it would be of much interest — until I noticed that it had a T-Rex Laboratory in the middle of town.  Intrigued, I parked, got out, visited the lab and then began to walk around the town.  In two blocks I realized this visit was a synchronicity:  A sign announced that the modest home on a quiet street next to the Frenchman River was “Wallace Stegner’s Boyhood Home.”   Stegner, who spent his boyhood years here,  was profoundly influenced by George R. Stewart.  He wrote a fine essay about him, which is included in WHERE THE BLUEBIRD SINGS TO THE LEMONADE SPRINGS.

Later, researching a chapter on the friendship between Stewart and Stegner, I found the website for the Boyhood Home. It had become a residence for writers and artists.  They accepted my application, so I had the rare honor of living in Stegner’s house for several weeks over three visits.  And the pleasure of getting the chance to know Eastend and its wonderful people.  Some, like Charlie Goulet, are now gone; but I know that if I drove into town tomorrow I’d soon run into Ken and Ethel Wills, Dick and Clora Banford, Tim and Jacquie Tokaryk,  Sean Bell, the Websters, and all the others who have helped bring that community into vibrant life.  It’s now home to one of the finest small enlightenments in the world today.  Good cheeseburgers at Charlie’s Lunch, good meals at Jack’s, b&b’s, and a new T-Rex Discovery Centre that would do justice to the Smithsonian.

It was an inspiring place to work on the biography.  And as things turned out, it was the place — in the living room of the Stegner House — where I found the key to the George R. Stewart biography.

The other highlight was being honored with a presentation of a Saskatchewan supporters of the arts pin, by Lieutenant Governor Lynda Haverstock.

Visit Eastend.   And give it some time.  Good campground, adequate motels, not far from a CAA approved motel if you prefer.

A highly recommended place to visit.