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From the desk of Alison Gibson, Director
Next week the Ripley Friends of the Library are sponsoring a visit from the Newport Aquarium—the aquarium will be bringing a Yellow Sting Ray (or two) to let our kids see up close and personal one of the most amazing type of fish in the ocean! This will be on Wednesday July 20th at 12:00 noon in the library annex.
Two weeks ago we talked about circuses and the Ripley connection. Our copy of the 1921 The Ways of The Circus: Memories and Adventures of George Conklin came in. George was born in 1845 in Cincinnati, but moved to Ripley in his later childhood. The family lived on Front St, or as George said on the top of the levee–with the river usually way below, but in flood, the water came up as high as the second floor of the house. George’s description of the flood waters is wonderful “at such times its surface was littered with all sorts of things–houses, chicken coops, pigpens, flatboats, barges, trees and whatever the flood could tear loose.” Dad was a tailor, and one time waiting a little too long to leave the house before the water came in and used one of the tailoring tables as a skiff–George laughed when it quickly turned over. George was a river rat –running trot-lines, playing around and helping at the wharf boat. Alas, when two sternwheelers were docking, George’s leg got caught between and crushed. George talked about how Doc Wiley didn’t believe it had to be amputated, set it, and made a box filled with bran to keep all pressure off the leg–two months of immobility (and being awakened by the occasional mouse eating the bran!) and some creative physical therapy paid off-eventually George was able to walk without a hitch. We believe this Doc Wiley was the second one in Ripley, and practiced in Ripley from 1858-1864, which would fit date wise. After the Civil War, the family moved to Philadelphia to be closer to George’s two older brothers who were already active in the circus life. The Ripley pages are few, but rich in detail from a young man 160 years ago. The rest of the book is interesting—circus life was not for the faint of heart.
We still have room in the GreenAcres field trip for kids K-6th grade (can choose August 9 or 10) but the forms must be filled out by July 26th–this is free and transportation is provided–stop by or call for more information.