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The Second Invitation From Wales and my 3d Trip and Rebecca's 2d

Before the second invitation to come to Wales and do serious field experimenting and demonstrating, there was lots of emailed planning to be done for such a trip. I had two main requests - first that my hosts do what they could to track down any living relatives we might have in Wales, and an opportunity to meet with them. And secondly, that I can bring at least two capable assistants - David Jr and Rebecca - who are familiar enough with the technology and what it must be connected to - including Unix server - to do that while I concentrate on the radio - wireless links.

They agreed. So here was the second formal invitation

Then Came the Television Movie!

Euryn Ogwen, who had worked for and within the BBC SC4 - Welsh Language Television programs, and still consulted with them, managed to interest them in a funding a full length (hour long) television documentary on the wireless I would be bringing and demonstrating.

While I was in Cardiff during my second trip I was taken to their studio offices, and met with their key producer and manager.

Since the idea was that such a televised program, linked as it was to the teaching of Welsh and Welsh life and culture itself, could help kick start the 'e-fro' idea - the linking up of communities electronically - for more than just functional purposes - it was approved. So both S4C and the Welsh Development Agency would fund the trip, and film it.

The lead off filming was to be done, right in America, not only with me in Old Colorado City - connecting up my own lair, but also films to link my Welsh family - at their grave sites in Iowa!

So I was connected to the Welsh film producer, Wil Aaron who, before long, came all the way to Old Colorado City to see me, filmed what I was doing with wirelessly connected Old Colorado City Communications, and then travelled, paying for my and Rebecca's travel to south eastern Iowa to where the Reverend Richard Hughes immigrated settled after 1870 and raised the entire Hughes clan The producer wanted me to come to Iowa where my grandfather and all the Welsh Hughes' lived and were buried, to flesh out the 'American' half of their hour long documentary. The area is called Columbus Junction. and Cotter Iowa where most of my family lived and died.  They also could film me where I advised companies in Keokurk, Iowa - in the absolute furthest southeast corner of Iowa how to integrate wireless into their company operations.

But Wil Aaron wrote me another email that illuminated, more than anything I can think of, exactly why the Welsh, and Elen were so impressed with me, why they thought I, though two full generations away from Wales really reflected the Welsh character, and why they thought I could do so much for Wales itself. Here is his email text.

Dear Dave Hughes

I have been thinking over my e-mail to you about the Welsh film, and I
would like to add another idea. I have been pondering how to use the
sequences we intend to shoot at Columbus Junction. I wonder if they
would work as a post-script?

After showing how your vision enables small rural communities all over
the world to set up, at low cost, their own digital link, we ask at the
very end of the film "Has your Welsh heritage influenced that vision?"
In Columbus Junction, amidst the graves of your ancestors, we'd put that
question to you.

I'm not sure what your answer would be. Perhaps the "frontier spirit"
and the "maverick cowboy spirit" and all the other Western American
"spirits" mean far more to you than the Welsh heritage. But it does
seem to me that your way of looking at the world shares many elements
with the Welsh non-conformist freeholders' vision of the world in the
nineteenth century. Those Welshmen were political radicals with no great
love of government and no loyalty to distant city-based power centres.

They believed that providing their children with an education and the
tools to make good use of that education was all important, partly to
get on in the world and enrich their lives and partly to work out their
own salvation. And, above all, they were community people - chapel
community. Their loyalty to the communities of their own chapels, to a
thousand Shilohs and Salems and Bethlehems, was paramount.

It would make a moving conclusion to the film if one could suggest that
some of the ideas coming back from the US to give new life to a Welsh
community were in effect forged in that community, and others like it, a
hundred and fifty years ago.

Wil Aaron  

He was right. After my previous study of my religious non-conformist ancestors and the long history of Wales, from at least the Roman Times, I realized I reflected old Welsh (and pretty much anti-English) values. So I freely expressed that during the filming, and that I was happy to help Wales, my ancestral lands in this wireless project.  

So Rebecca and I made my first family trip ever to where my great great grandfather and mother settled and where he preached, farmed, and many of his children lived, died and were buried in the "Cambrian Cemetery' near Cotter, Iowa. (while Eben, my grandfather went further west - to Colorado - in the 1890's to seek his fortune, yet marrying another Welshperson - Ellen from Anglesey.  Here are a few pictures from that side trip in 2002 before we flew to Wales itself in August.

 

The Town Hall of Cotter Iowa, where the Hughes's Settled
Reverend Richard Hughes and wife's Grave in the Cambrian Cemetery near Cotter. Daughter Rebecca views the stones.
And Revered Hughes last home, nearby.

 

The remainder of the film was to cover a experimental and demonstrative wireless 'proof of concept' inside Wales, and broadcast it on the Welsh Language television program across England.

The plan was centered on the rural Dyffryn Ogwen (Valley) of North Wales, where about 6,500 people lived, anchored on the western end by Bangor and its large University, that had strong wireless broadband connections to the Internet, with small town Bethesda in the middle, and very small communities along the valley to be connected.

Thus, I and Rebecca prepared to travel to South Wales while David, with wife Diana, planned to come into north Wales via Ireland and through Anglesy, so he could later program the computer in Bethesda, north Wales while I installed the wireless network connection to the Internet at the University in Bangor, and then by pretty much line of sight through Ogwyn Valley.

Another complete chapter of my wireless pioneering was opening.

 

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