Blackwood’s Name

As a little girl, Cath Conlon spent her summers in the valley in South Texas on her grandparent’s farm. Cotton was the staple crop there.

When Cath wasn’t playing in the cotton fields, she was hovering over her grandmother in the kitchen. Her grandmother taught her the dying art of canning and how to make delicious recipes from food in the garden. Cath’s grandmother, part Shawnee American Indian, was Lillian Francis Blackwood.

Years later, Cath recounted those summers to a friend, describing in detail the long and enchanting months she spent playing in the fields and how much time she devoted to the kitchen with her grandmother. Her mother standing nearby listened casually. Later, Cath’s mother expressed amusement, “Cath, you didn’t spend the whole summer there or even months, you were there for only one week.”

A child’s mind is amazing, imaginative and curious. Cath’s dream for the place she named Blackwood was that children could invent a whole life of memories from an experience of just one week.