Posted tagged ‘history’

“History isn’t about dates and places and wars. It’s about the people who fill the spaces between them.”

July 3, 2015

Thinking I was smart, I went shopping early. Everyone else did the same thing. I was lucky a car pulled out before I went around the lot any more times as I was getting dizzy. I had my list and made several sweeps of the store. Standing at the cash register I noticed I hadn’t bought ice cream, the center piece of my dessert. I ran and got what I needed then waited while 6 bags were filled. It took 3 trips into the house. I thought my legs would give way on the second trip with a bag filled with bottles. Sweat running down your face is not a pretty sight. After everything was put away, I sat down, reached for the phone and tried to make a call. No dial tone. I checked, and I suspect it is my phone as the TV and internet are working just fine. At least I know I won’t be interrupted by phone calls.

The world has come to Cape Cod for the weekend. The line to get off the Dennis exit stretched as far as I could see. Luckily I was traveling against the traffic. I will probably have to go out later to get a new phone but until then I’ll prep for tomorrow’s gala dinner and 4th of July celebration.

I don’t remember how old I was when I realized the importance of July 4th. I guess it might have been around the fifth grade when I first had American history. I remember feeling quite proud that I lived near Lexington and Concord. I even got to go there on one Sunday family excursion. I remember standing on the Old North Bridge where the fighting started, the “shot heard ’round the world,” and imagining the smoke from the rifles. On Lexington Green all I kept thinking was here I am standing where some Minuteman stood.

All of my traveling imaginings started with that thought. Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve thought about who came before me. At Versailles I imagined Marie Antoinette walking through the halls, her dress swishing as she walked. I thought of Incas looking out the same windows I was looking out at Machu Pichu. The Tsar and his family walked through the Winter Palace and so did I. At the Old Fleet Street Tavern( which I think is really The Old Bell Tavern on Fleet Street. I seemed to have combined what and where). I wondered if Christopher Wren had stopped in for a nosh just as I had. Everywhere old I have gone, I’ve wondered.

“Education is wonderful – it helps you worry about things all over the world.”

September 2, 2013

Today is damp and cloudy. Maybe rain, even a v, is in the forecast. The whole weekend has been the same. I don’t think we had as many tourists for the weekend as usual. The forecast was spot on.

In kids’ parlance today is not Labor Day. It is the day before school starts. The buses roll tomorrow morning. My neighborhood has kids now, little kids, and four of them are headed to elementary school together: two to kindergarten, one to first grade and the oldest to second grade. They’re outside riding bikes now. I suspect their heads are not filled with images of new clothes, buses and the first day of school. They still have the look of summer about them.

The red spawn of Satan got the hose treatment again this morning. A short time later it was back but ran as soon as I walked on the deck. It didn’t take long for the hose and me to have an impact.

If I were to go back in time, to my elementary school days, I’d choose the fifth grade. We got bused for a while to the next town while the new school was finished. It was an adventure which also shortened the school day. We had the same hours as the rest of the school so we were on the bus for a part of the morning and a part of the afternoon. We always got back just as school was letting out for the day. In the spring we moved into the new school. My room was on the first floor. The nun I had that year was a jovial sort. She used to hand out pieces of candy as prizes. Seldom did she leave her desk chair to walk around the room so she’d toss the candy to the prize winner. She periodically had contests like who could list the most homonyms, now called homophones. I remember that contest because I won, and this was before computers. My prize was a miniature book with Bible verses. I was intrigued by the size of the book and not so much by the verses. I don’t remember what I learned that year, but I figure it was pretty the same as all the other years. Nouns and the other parts of speech never seemed to disappear and once we hit decimals and fractions they followed us everywhere. Columbia and coffee are forever linked. There was only so much geography. As for history, I have no idea what we studied in the fifth unless it was the Pilgrims, but in those days history sort of hopscotched all over the place.

We were still young in the fifth grade. We jumped rope during recess and giggled about boys. Fifth grade was when I punched the boy who constantly teased my friend and wouldn’t stop when asked, even nicely asked. That is probably my favorite memory of that year. I learned to stand up for friends and I learned I had a strong right.

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

April 29, 2012

Oh, spring, where have you gone? Last night was winter, and today is only 52°. The sun is warm through the doors and windows but not enough to make being outside on the deck inviting. I got cold when I was filling the bird feeders this morning. Even the house feels chilly. The heat turned itself on early this morning which meant it was lower than 62° in here. No wonder I slept in under the warmth of my down comforter.

This is a new week, and I have high hopes it will be a good week. It’s my Pollyanna moment.

When I was in high school, I took four years of Latin. I have no idea why, but I actually liked it. The Aeneid, my fourth year text, was my favorite. I still remember the first line, ” Arma virumque cano.” I sing of arms and of a man. I think the story appealed to me because I loved all the tall tales, stories of people like Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed and Pecos Bill. I can still see in my mind’s eye the illustration of Pecos Bill riding that cyclone. In my library those tall tale books were on a short shelf to the left of the door. I used to sit on the carpet and look through them and read a few tales before I’d choose the books to take home. I think I read all of the books from that section.

I never read any of the science books in my library. They were in the shelves in front of the windows. I did read some of the biographies of scientists like Madame Curie, but the actual science itself never interested me. I loved mysteries and historical fiction, though, when I was little, I didn’t know that’s you called it. My favorite of all was Johnny Tremain. It took place in Boston so the novel felt personal for me, and I could actually visit the houses of characters like Paul Revere. It made the story real to me. I remember the horror I felt when Johnny spilled hot silver on his hand.

That book led me to read more stories about the Revolutionary War. I think that’s what books are meant to do. They take you to one place which leads to another and another and on and on. It’s like a family tree filled with the names of books on branch after branch.