Thursday, March 7, 2013

A little bit of this and a lot of that

A few years ago I enrolled in a Latin class to satisfy my foreign language requirement for a Bachelors Degree. Out of the choices it appeared most logical believing I would probably forget everything else.

It was a demanding course having to deal with word gender (I didn’t realize some foreign languages assigned male or female to a word), declinations (I am not even going to go down that road) and putting the verb at the end of a sentence (?). I did, however, take away some interesting tidbits of information and some cool-sounding phrases.

One item I have used numerous times is the literal definition (roughly) of exit. It is a Latin word that means “he goes out.” Is that cool or what? In fact many of the words we use in the English language are derivatives of a Latin root.

It may be of some interest that our word “canine” comes from the Latin canis meaning “dog.” Our word “junior” is a direct reflection of the Latin junior which means “younger.” Fell asleep yet? Hold on here’s another one: ante is Latin meaning “before” and bellum is Latin for “war.” Ever here of those old mansions in the South referred to as “antebellum?’ This means they existed before the Civil War, and that concludes the lesson of the day (happy?).

But it does lead into one more Latin phrase I face on an almost daily basis: Tabula Rasa, which means roughly “blank slate.” Which is why you are getting this near-meaningless information, as it is one of those days my mind is a Tabula Rasa. Maybe it’s the time of year or the third moon of Saturn is aligned with the Dog Star, but I fail to posses an original thought as of this writing. When this is the case, I default to upcoming events at the American Gothic House Center—of which there are quite a few.

In a few weeks, on Saturday, March 30, the Center will host the first-ever Easter Egg Roll at "Our White House,” sponsored in conjunction with Gothic Area Tourism of Eldon. Just like the annual event at the “official” White House children will roll eggs across the lawn for candy and prizes. Volunteers will be on hand to help make bunny ears and take pictures in front of “our White House.” The Easter bunny will also make an appearance and every child will receive a special commemorative egg just like at the real White House.

A couple weeks later, on Sunday, April 14, at the Eldon Library Hall, Laural Ronk and Richard Miller of the Bluffs Art Council share the story of Grant Wood’s time in Council Bluffs and his painting of the Pioneer and Corn Room murals in Eugene Eppley’s Chieftan hotel in the late 1920s. The two will describe the importance of these murals and the Bluffs Art Councils efforts to collect and conserve remnants of the Corn Room to exhibit them in their community.

Then on Saturday, April 27, the Grant Wood Bus Trip will hit the road for Ames. This trip was described in detail in an earlier column and the deadline to sign up is April 12.

After that the Center takes a breather for awhile until the American Gothic Days in Eldon are held June 7-9, then it gets busy again.

Besides the festivities in Eldon (of which there are many), the American Gothic House Center is sponsoring a few of its own. On Saturday, June 8, the Center will hold a 5K Walk/Run and on Sunday, June 9, a 20-plus mile bike ride will originate from the Center. In addition, all weekend the Center will display entries for the American Gothic House Art Contest.

To find out more on all the events coming up clink on the underlined links above or go

One more thing. 2012 was an eventful year for the American Gothic House Center as can been seen in the newly-published 2012 Annual Report. Click here to view the report.

Brian Chambers
Media Coordinator
American Gothic House Center

The American Gothic House Center strives to become financially independent through gift shop revenue, sponsorships, and by establishing an endowment fund. Funds raised in this campaign will be used to match the Iowa Cultural Trust Endowment Challenge Grant and will become endowment funds to support the Center's annual operations. As a subscriber to the weekly newsletter, you have already shown support for the American Gothic House Center. I invite you to strengthen your role in the valuable experience we provide the community by making a contribution to our fund drive. Click here to give your tax deductible gift, or head to our website for more information. Thank you to all who have donated so far!
        Our Mission: Integrating the puzzle pieces of American Gothic
300 American Gothic St | Eldon, IA 52554 | 641-652-3352 |

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