Behind the Scenes in Kansas: Day Two in Lawrence

 Professor Laura Moriarty, author of  The Chaperone

Professor Laura Moriarty, author of The Chaperone

DAY TWO: KANSAS UNIVERSITY, LAURA MORIARTY AND THE MCCORMICK SCHOOL MUSEUM

The adventure continued on our second day in Kansas! First, we road tripped to Lawrence and saw the beautiful Kansas University campus.  While we were there, we got the chance to interview bestselling author Laura Moriarty, who received a ton of acclaim for her book The Chaperone. Her heartbreaking/heartwarming novel tells a complex and beautiful story that intertwines the history of the orphan trains, the struggles of fitting in to a blue law society and the journey that fifteen year old Louise Brooks took into New York City with a chaperone in the early 1920s; all through the eyes of Cora, a loving and curious woman who bravely strikes out to find her mother in Manhattan while adapting to watching over the ambitious, wild and precocious teenage Louise.

Laura gave us some serious food for thought in what turned out to be an incredibly interesting interview.  The portrayal of Louise's Lulu in Pandora's Box was one point of discussion, from which developed a discourse on the innocence of Lulu's character and the childlike quality of her movements, along with how this might cause discomfort for those who were aware of Louise's past.  It was a truly great interview and I can't wait to show it, as what I've said here only scratches the surface. Laura was amazing and I was thrilled to have gotten to meet one of my favorite authors.

After that, we drove back to Wichita through the twilight prairie. Half of the sky turned a deep indigo blue with the onset of night, while the other half shown shades of bright pinks and light oranges with faint streaks of purple. This sheltered city girl who's writing was blown away by the flatland and shadowy contrast of the trees against the clouds.

 It feels like an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, doesn't it?

It feels like an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, doesn't it?

Once we got back, we went straight to the really cool McCormick School Museum, where they were kind enough to let Stan Farley, Shawn and myself down into the archives to look at Louise's old high school yearbook and see some Wichita history. I could get lost in that archive and one day intend to happily do so for much longer than the bit of time that we had.

 Stan is pointing at little Louise, who stands majestically in the front row in all black.

Stan is pointing at little Louise, who stands majestically in the front row in all black.

Charlotte Siller