Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Harrisons, the First Thanksgiving and Taps at Berkely Plantation

After the House of Burgesses program at Jamestown, we left the park and enjoyed a shady lunch along the James River and explored one of the beaches, finding lots of treasures! Then it was off to explore Berkeley Plantation, about 30 miles north on the James River. Along the way we passed many other plantation homes, including Sherwood Forest, home of President James Tyler. Little did I know how that would factor in to our trip to Berkeley Plantation. (Check both links.)

Berkely Plantation is home to many grand events. The first Thanksgiving in English America occurred at Berkely Plantation in 1619. My son portrayed this event in a recent history presentation, so that is one of the reasons why I wanted to come here. A group of settlers lived on this spot until three years later when they were massacred by Indians.

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The Harrison family came here to live in 1726. They built this beautiful Georgian home which is the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison who signed the Declaration of Independence, and President William Henry Harrison (Tippicanoe and Tyler Too) whose Vice-President was John Tyler who owned Sherwood Forest Plantation quite close to here. His grandson, Benjamin Harrison, was also President.

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Civil War fighting occurred here.

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The Union troops camped here, where "Taps" was written.

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In the 1920's a wealthy Scottish couple purchased the home and bought many colonial antiques to furnish the mansion. This was before historic preservation as we know it, and shortly before Rev. Goodwin convinced Mr. Rockefeller to finance the restoration of Williamsburg's historic area, a short drive away. Although the original moldings and wood floors are intact, the paint colors are a bit off. Yet much of the colonial flavor is retained, despite electric table lamps and such. Eventually the family bequeathed the historic home as a museum for all to enjoy today.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Very First House of Burgesses...at Historic Jamestowne

Last spring the kids and I studied about the first House of Burgesses. Then I found out that it would be reenacted at Historic Jamestown on its anniversary date, at the end of July. We had to go!

We met in the recreated church, rebuilt on the same foundation, that the first House of Burgesses met on July 30, 1619. (For reference, the pilgrims of Massachusetts fame did not arrive in the New World until 1620.) Previous governors instilled martial law to maintain order for a community that was on the precipice of survival. With Governor Yeardly's arrival, came a new charter called the Great Charter, allowing for representative government. A representative from each of the eleven outlying areas, as far away as today's Richmond, arrived to meet in assembly at Jamestown. I forget the name of this 1619 person, but he explained all the history to us. Then he assigned roles.
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He asked who was active duty military. No one. Then he asked who was retired military. My husband raised his hand, so he got the job of Sergeant at Arms...literally at arms! Here my husband is dubbed with the most important task of protecting the governor by the official crowning of the helmet.

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Then he was given a halberd to protect the governor.

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Three different papers were dispersed through the audience. These papers contained three types of actual laws that the burgesses debated for a week. The first set of laws, which the lady behind me brought to the floor for discussion, were made by the previous governors who instilled martial law. Were all of these laws still necessary? We debated them and voted aye or nay. The governor, in the center, officiated and the man to the left moderated the debate, clarifying for us the intent of each law. We did a quick time travel through the laws. Each of the three burgesses brought up two or three of the laws on their sheet of paper that intrigued them the most. The second burgess, a man in the back corner, led the debate on laws that had been written under the new governor.

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After evaluating the newest laws, my son had a chance to play burgess, which he portrayed in full force. He spoke as if he WAS a burgess, which made the moderating interpreter get a big grin. (That was fun!) "Sir, here is a law which my fellow burgesses and I had some debate about..." Whereas the first two guests were appointed to their tasks, my son practically leapt at the opportunity to do this interactive activity.

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After the laws were voted upon, the moderator reminded the governor that we wanted to vote payment for ourselves for our job as burgesses, to which the governor agreed. The burgesses gave a 100% verbal vote of "aye."

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This was a great program that cemented for us the events of the first representative assembly in America.

Surrounded by Safety

An interesting event occured one night a few weeks ago. I was busy ordering some homeschool stuff on my computer when I was interrupted by the sound of sirens. Not one siren but multiple sirens, coming down our street! We all gathered near the window to see the action. To our shock there were about ten hook and ladder fire trucks and pumper fire trucks, an ambulance, police, fire chief, etc, etc, etc. Oh dear. I had visions of needing to be evacuated. All the neighbors joined us out front. One bold lady went around the corner to where the first truck headed. Eventually she returned with the report that all was well. A neighbor had electrical panel issues in the basement related to the sump pump.

Well, if several fire trucks and emergency personel arrive from various surrounding counties in such a timely manner, we should be in good hands. After talking to the neighbor about this we also discussed the massive number of security personel who live in our neighborhood, from policemen and firemen, to secret agents (if they are good enough for the president they are good enough for me!), FBI, ATF, and every other alphabet soup agent lives in a house near us!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Lion and the Unicorn: RevQuest 2012 at Colonial Williamsburg

Period Accurate Costumes? Check!

Period Accurate Accessories? Check!

RevQuest code name? Check!

Cell phone? Check! Wait? Cell phone? In the 18th century? Some of the codes from the spygame, RevQuest, are obtained from texting on personal cell phones. We were at Colonial Williamsburg for the 18th century experience, so we left our cell phones on vibrate mode and otherwise left them alone. Besides, when we bought our cell phones a few years ago, I asked my husband, "Why spend more money to text when for a lower monthly charge we can simply talk?" So we can't text anyway. Later in the day, we were taken aside from a CW guest who incredulously asked us, "Why in the world are we texting instead of doing this spy game in a more 18th century manner?" We shrugged our shoulders because this perplexes us as well, although I think it's to appeal to the diehard 21st century types. No matter! Our personal plan was to play as last year with RevQuest: Sign of the Rhinoceros. We would play 18th century style and make use of the appropriate informants who were secretly coded throughout the town. (Your Orders will explain all that.)

One item was left on our checklist...collecting our official RevQuest Orders and signatory red bandanas at the Visitor Center. We wear the red bandanas, complete with the RevQuest: Lion and the Unicorn logo somewhere on our person to signify to others that we are playing the game. That way the others who are playing can step in, as needed, to play their part. My kids, in trying to turn a 21st century bandana into an appropriate 18th century accessory, did so thusly. My daughter used hers for her basket cover. My son wore his on his armband. Although I thought it was because he was portraying a wounded soldier, he said, that sometimes people would wear bands on their arm to signify something, as in black bands for mourning. so he thought he'd do that with the bandana.

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As we walked into the historic area, we carefully looked over each shoulder to see if any spies were about. Then we opened our packets to learn our mission. Oh. This was going to be easy! We had the final solution figured out merely from reading the first page. But it would be fun to see how it all plays out. We quickly found Secret Agent #1 whom we met at our designated meeting point...who then surreptitiiously took us to a secret spot to explain our mission. Loved Secret Agent #1!

After a bit of spying out and about town we waited to meet...the greyhound...a new element to the game. I had this one figured out immediately! I saw something about the greyhound posted in the Visitor Center, enticing guests to try to find him. Oh so clever! Loved the greyhound!

More spying! More hidden clues! Not a problem. We had it figured out! We dutifully "texted" via the properly stationed informants in a most period accurate manner. I especially loved our secret "tip-off" in one of the tours. Excellent job giving us all the same information, yet secretly coded for our personal mission.

Finally our mission was accomplished which allowed us to find the designated meeting point for Follow-Up RevQuest Spies who most properly debriefed us and rewarded our tasks. We got coins! These aren't cheap plastic coins either. They were so heavy you could hear the massive bag go "Clunk!" when they were brought in and set down to distribute. We also got a card to investigate the information from the spygame further.

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And yes, turns out the final answer, obtained from the debriefing, was precisely what we thought it would be at the beginning. It's a really great story! Want to know? (pausing to look over shoulder) Go to Colonial Williamsburg before September 3 to play RevQuest: The Lion and the Unicorn so you can find out too!

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What a fun way to learn through a spy game, whether texting or not!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blood Type Science Experiment

On of the last science labs my daughter did for Human Physiology this past year, was determining blood type. We purchased this blood type kit through Apologia. The instructions included a web site for a video with directions, which confused me a bit. Since I had done this in my Human Physiology Honors class in high school, I decided to resort to my past experience for completion of this project.

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My daughter completed her info card and added water to each of the circles which already had been pretreated with antibody sera.

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My daughter's least favorite part, the finger poke. As I recall, I finger poked myself then all of my lab mates in high school because they were too scared.

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Massaging the finger to apply blood to the four spots on the card.

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Mixing the blood with the antibody sera. My daughter was "fussing" a bit about her stabbed finger and this experiment must be done quickly before everything dries, and we only had one kit, so I did a lot of the labor on this one.

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After applying the blood, the card had to be rotated in different directions to mix evenly with the chemicals.

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Ta da! After everything dried, we interpreted the results, which she labeled on her card. Then she laminated to keep. After all was done she felt faint. I guess she won't be pursuing a medical career. Nevertheless she did understand everything that was going on.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

June Garden 2012

This morning I got to do some gardening, a task I've not been able to work on much since moving to Virginia three years ago. My Texas garden kept me plentifully busy, but my garden here is a bit small, due to lack of time. I'm a bit behind in blogging about our ventures in Colonial Williamsburg and homeschooling, but thought it's about time to get caught up on gardening photos. Especially with a blog title of "garden" I should add some pictures.

Spring came quickly. Sadly it ended quickly with the March heatwave. The cherry blossoms that usually last about a month only lasted one week. I live 30 miles from Washington DC so I pitied the souls who came to the area for the Cherry Blossom Festival which we attended three years ago.

With such a rapid spring, my flowers burst into bloom yet died within days, so the colors were scattered over the months. Thankfully hot, hot March yielded to a cooler April. Nevertheless my photo posting would have been repeatedly skimpy, so I saved them for one big bundle.
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Epic of Mirabeau B. Lamar's Waterloo in Texas

The other day the kids and I were studying state governments at the Virginia capitol website when we decided to take a detour to the Texas capitol website, where my kids first learned about state governments years ago when we lived there. Most of the information was review, but fun because it brought back wonderful memories, because Texas is, after all, epic. Did you know that the Texas capitol building is not only the largest of the state capitols but taller than the US Capitol? Then we came to the page dedicated to how Austin, the capital of Texas, got its name. We may have read this years ago, but now it brings on a completely new meaning since we've had to meet Napoleon himself and he is truely a wonderful person.

One of the 19th century presidents of Texas, when it was a Republic, decided to have the capital moved to Waterloo and have it renamed for the Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin, who brought the first American settlers into Texas. The name of this president was Mirabeau B. Lamar and I inserted that his middle name was Bonaparte.

Now that he has found a new appreciation for Napoleon, my son shook his head, stating that sticking Bonaparte (Napoleon) next to Mirabeau (from the French Revolution) was not a good thing. And no wonder the president wanted to rename the capital Austin, since Napoleon (Bonaparte) met his defeat at Waterloo.

Never know where the lessons will take you when trying to teach state government. Napoleon is so epic, he even found his way to Texas.

Friday, July 13, 2012

2011-2012 School Year-Finis!

Daughter-senior
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Human Physiology
  • Logic
  • 5th to 18th century History
  • 5th to 8th century Geography
  • 5th to 18th century Philosophy
  • 5th to 18th century Government
  • 5th to 18th century Literature
  • Driver's Ed Book Training
  • Awanas-Citation Award received
Books Read
  • The Dream of the Rood
  • The Parable of the Christ Knight
  • The Byzantine Empire
  • Arabian Nights
  • Chanson de Roland
  • The Vikings
  • Beowulf
  • Marco Polo
  • Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
  • Piers Plowman
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Le Morte d'Arthur
  • The Middle Ages
  • Dante's Inferno
  • Petrarch's poetry
  • Machiavelli's The Prince
  • Mystery and Morality Plays
  • Famous Men of the Renaissance and Reformation
  • Historical Atlas of Exploration
  • Poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt
  • The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
  • The Lost Colony of Roanoke
  • Othello
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Don Quixote
  • 17th Century Poetry by John Donne, Ben Johnson, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, Richard Crashaw
  • Tartuffe
  • The Colonial Period
  • The Age of Religious Wars
  • Phaedra
  • 18th Century Poetry by Phyllis Wheatley
  • "The Rape of the Lock" by Alexander Pope
  • "Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat" and "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray
  • "My Cat Jeoffrey" by Christopher Smart
  • "The Castaway" by William Cowper
  • Montisquieu's Spirit of the Laws
  • "Braddock's Defeat at Fort Duquesne" by Benjamin Franklin
  • Paradise Lost
  • "Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions" as proposed by Patrick Henry
  • "Against the Stamp Act" by William Pitt
  • "Report on the Boston Massacre" first hand account by James Bowdoin
  • "The Boston Tea Party" first hand account by George Hewes
  • Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress
  • The Non-Importation Agreement from the First Continental Congress
  • Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Death" speech
  • Thomas Paine's Common Sense
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Nathan Hale's "I regret I have..."
  • Thomas Paine's "These are the times..."
  • The Declaration of Independence: The Story Behind America's Founding Document and the Men Who Created It
  • Yankee Doodle Boy
  • Hero of the High Seas: John Paul Jones and the American Revolution
  • Inventing America: The Life of Benjamin Franklin (A Museum in a Book: Featuring Removable Sketches, Letters, and Historical Documents)
  • Nathanael Greene: The General Who Saved the Revolution
  • The World Turned Upside Down
  • The Constitution
  • Bill of Rights
Son-sophomore
  • Geometry
  • Chemistry
  • Latin III-Latin Road to English Grammar
  • Logic
  • 5th to 18th century History
  • 5th to 18th century Geography
  • 5th to 18th century Philosophy
  • 5th to 18th century Government
  • 5th to 18th century Literature
  • Driver's Ed Book Training
  • Awanas-book 8 of 10 completed towards Citation Award
Books Read
  • The Dream of the Rood
  • The Parable of the Christ Knight
  • The Byzantine Empire
  • Arabian Nights
  • Chanson de Roland
  • The Vikings
  • Beowulf
  • Marco Polo
  • Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
  • Piers Plowman
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Le Morte d'Arthur
  • The Middle Ages
  • Dante's Inferno
  • Petrarch's poetry
  • Machiavelli's The Prince
  • Mystery and Morality Plays
  • Famous Men of the Renaissance and Reformation
  • Historical Atlas of Exploration
  • Poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt
  • The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
  • The Lost Colony of Roanoke
  • Utopia
  • Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare
  • Othello
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Don Quixote
  • 17th Century Poetry by John Donne, Ben Johnson, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, Richard Crashaw
  • Tartuffe
  • Phaedra
  • 18th Century Poetry by Phyllis Wheatley
  • "The Rape of the Lock" by Alexander Pope
  • "Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat" and "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray
  • "My Cat Jeoffrey" by Christopher Smart
  • "The Castaway" by William Cowper
  • The Colonial Period
  • The Age of Religious Wars
  • Montisquieu's Spirit of the Laws
  • The Journal of Major George Washington
  • "Braddock's Defeat at Fort Duquesne" by Benjamin Franklin
  • Paradise Lost
  • "Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions" as proposed by Patrick Henry
  • "Against the Stamp Act" by William Pitt
  • "Report on the Boston Massacre" first hand account by James Bowdoin
  • "The Boston Tea Party" first hand account by George Hewes
  • Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress
  • The Non-Importation Agreement from the First Continental Congress
  • Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Death" speech
  • Thomas Paine's Common Sense
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Nathan Hale's "I regret I have..."
  • Thomas Paine's "These are the times..."
  • The Declaration of Independence: The Story Behind America's Founding Document and the Men Who Created It
  • Yankee Doodle Boy
  • Hero of the High Seas: John Paul Jones and the American Revolution
  • Inventing America: The Life of Benjamin Franklin (A Museum in a Book: Featuring Removable Sketches, Letters, and Historical Documents)
  • The World Turned Upside Down
  • The Constitution
  • The Bill of Rights
History Presentations

Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trips
Colonial Williamsburg Connect
History/Literature Movies Viewed
  • Drive Thru History: "Turkish Delight"
  • El Cid
  • Ivanhoe
  • Braveheart
  • Joan of Arc
  • Cinderella-Rodger's and Hammerstein
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy
  • Julius Caesar (Marlon Brando)
  • Henry V-Kenneth Branagh
  • Hamlet-Mel Gibson
  • Taming of the Shrew-Elizabeth Taylor
  • Twelfth Night
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Othello
  • Kiss Me Kate 1950's movie version and recent stage version
  • Reduced Shakespeare Company-All of Shakespeare's works abridged...highly bawdy, preview first for your kids
  • McClintock-Taming of the Shrew in Oklahoma's early 1900's Cowboy and Indian country. Can the men tame the women?
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers-Taming of the Shrew remake
  • Kidnapped
  • When the River Ran Red
  • George Washington's First War
  • Williamsburg: The Story of a Patriot
  • Johnny Tremain
  • The Patriot
Current Read Aloud
  • Won by the Sword: A Story of the Thirty Years' War by GA Henty
Field Trips

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jefferson and Adams, A Stage Play

I've been meaning for years to blog about "Jefferson and Adams: A Stage Play", and I'm not sure why I haven't yet. I bought the DVD four years ago when we were on vacation from Texas to Colonial Williamsburg. When we returned home we immediately began our school lessons where our history turned to the first five presidents of our country. He was definitely impacted by all the letter writing that took place, as was I. Here is an example of how a greatly produced and performed play can influence your school! After watching this DVD, my son was inspired for an opening to our homeschool presentation on this era.
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The following spring we moved to Northern Virginia and have spent most of our Fourth of Julys in the historic area. The times I have been there, this play has been performed on the evenings after Fourth of July when we are going home. Because this year's Independence Day fell in the middle of the week, I was able to fudge with the schedule a bit more and this time we were able to see the play in person!

It was such a thrill for me to sit next to my kids and listen to them laugh at all the right parts, indicating they've been learning their history lessons over the years regarding Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. My kids definitely understood all the concepts Jefferson and Adams discussed. The play was meaty with information as I had hoped, yet crystal clear and quite interesting to watch being dramatized.

"Jefferson and Adams: A Stage Play" is about three people...surprised you! I bet you thought it was only about Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. It's also about one more person who was highly influential in their lives, none other than Abigail Adams. The Colonial Williamsburg Thomas Jefferson is in this play which is great because he not only looks like Thomas Jefferson but he also studies Jefferson so thoroughly that he seems to be Thomas Jefferson! So if you are looking for a worthy addition to your classroom resources, this DVD will be great for your history studies. The entire package of the play is steeped in historical accuracy for the personas portrayed, the lines are taken from hundreds of letters of actual correspondence, and the costumes and props are quite proper 18th century fare.

The play begins with Jefferson at Monticello and Adams at Quincy, on the last day of their life on July 4, 1826. They recall each other, recount a brief synopsis of their life, and recall the grand event in which they participated together on that very day, fifty years previous. At this latter memory, they become young again and we are transported back to 1776 in Philadelphia at the Second Continental Congress where they meet. It is here that they were placed on the same committee to write a document justifying America's break with Great Britain, the Declaration of Independence. The course of the play takes us through the beginning of their friendship, paralleling a bit of their personal lives with the political roles both of them led. Sometimes in person but mostly by correspondence, they share political ideas, wit, humor, joys, sorrows...and deep grief. The story takes us from dusty Philadelphia (which Adams always indicates by sneezing fits), to their respective homes, Paris, and Washington DC.

Midway through the play, their friendship is severed, which is explored through conversation and correspondence. Misunderstandings and casting blame severs the wound further. Those who know these great men know they eventually rejoined as friends, renewing their correspondence, again sharing ideas, wit, humor, joys and sorrows. Yet this time they share regret at time lost, since they are too old to travel far to see one another.

I cried at the end because one by one they all died. Abigail Adams died several years before the men did. Jefferson died early in the day on July 4, 1826. Adams died later in the day. Presuming his friend was still alive, it has been said that his last words were, "Jefferson lives." This play covers their dramatic lives and quiet end.

The theme of the play is the parallel lives of these two men, who are as different from night and day, yet they formed a deep bond of friendship. Do you know exactly what split their relationship and what brought them back together? This play explores that and is quite interesting and poignant at the loss of time in their friendship. How deeply did Abigail Adams influence them? Why was she included in this selection of correspondence?

There is a teacher guide available for this, but I don't see it on-line. I think I would like to get it next time I'm in the Visitor Center Bookstore, where I've seen it. This play is good for students grades 8-12 to review how these men influenced America from 1776 through their presidencies. We will watch our DVD when we cover this period of history again this autumn.

Even though we saw the play in person last week, the kids and I watched the DVD tonight to compare notes. The play in person is quite a bit different from the DVD. Being a DVD, there was more opportunity to be a bit more cinematic. Without the cinematic input the actors during the live production last week had to work harder, do more acting, to create the same effect, which they did quite successfully. Ever the teacher I turned this into a teaching opportunity that there can be more than one way to accomplish a goal, since my kids tend to get their mind set on only one way. In the end we decided we liked both the live stage play and the DVD, each has its own merits for its differences and are greatly enjoyable.

Apparently, whether I see the play in person or watch it on DVD, I'm going to cry. When we watched the DVD tonight, they had to die again and the tears started to well up. I'm not sure why, but perhaps because I get to visit the historic area frequently so I've gotten to know Thomas Jefferson and the other persons of history. Nevertheless the Thomas Jefferson actor said in the behind-the-scenes segment, that Adams last words, "Jefferson lives." is representative of Thomas Jefferson's influence on America. His works live on.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Colonial Williamsburg Fourth of July

The Fourth of July began terrifically because we were in wonderful 18th century Colonial Williamsburg. However it ended sadly because the historic area had been converted to 21st century style. Many people ask me why Colonial Williamsburg doesn't stick with the 18th century and I always say I have absolutely no idea unless it's to appeal to the non-18th century types. I'm wondering how many 18th century lovers they'll lose in the process though. Thankfully the daytime events, which I hope are never taken away or replaced, were typical stellar 18th century fare! Huzzah!

The day began as it traditionally does with Salute to the States, showcasing the original thirteen states. The Fife and Drum Corps played thirteeen different tunes, one for each original state, interspersed with the firing of a cannon. The last one was for Virginia, for which all three cannons fired at once! The tune played for Virginia was "World Turned Upside Down" which is traditionally thought to have been played at the surrender ceremonies at the Battle of Yorktown, the last major battle of the American Revolution. Because the cannons fired thirteen times at the surrender ceremonies, this special military muster commemorates that same ceremony.

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After the cannons were fired the Fife and Drum Corps marched for us on Market Square. We felt for them because it was quite hot.

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Then they marched down Duke of Gloucester Street to Botetourt Street.

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Amazingly there was no Revolutionary City that day, a first for me. I'm glad they did the dramatic public reading of the Declaration of Independence. The militia and Fife and Drum Corps gathered at the Capitol.

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The dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence.

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It was common in the 18th century for guns to be fired in jubilee.

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Some townspeople attended the public reading as well.

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Later that afternoon we visited with Govenor Patrick Henry behind the Coffeehouse. Did you know that he was the first govenor of Virginia? Being July 4, 1776, he reflected on a little speech he gave the year before in Richmond town, the little fishing village at the fall of the mighty James.

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He gave the *entire* speech, complete with crescendos and dramatic gestures!

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"Give me liberty or give me peace!"

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Sorry, I don't have the entire speech memorized. Neither does Mr. Henry. Nor did Mr. Henry read from notes. Instead he spoke "extempori from (his) mother wit." After his marvelous speech, he allowed us to ask questions and he quite kindly chose me. I had a query as to how his job as govenor differed from that of the royal governor who preceded him. His answer was quite informative so I furiously scribbled all the notes I could. It was so kind of Govenor Henry to take time out of his busy schedule to address us that day despite his many pressing matters. Not only that but it was exceedingly hot. Although I very much wanted to chat with him afterwards, out of respect to him and the guests who hadn't had opportunity to meet this grand man yet, I suggested to the family perhaps we best talk to him another (cooler) time. Our deep gratitutide for his sacrifices to us...

In the late afternoon, the Junior Fife and Drum Corps led us from the Capitol to Market Square. Without the Fife and Drum Corps, necessary communication signals could not be relayed among the soldiers or between the opposing armies. They too, along with the Founding Fathers and soldiers, sacrificed their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. Although they were non-combatants, anything could happen.

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We settled on a shady spot on Market Square to eat a picnic dinner I had put together and left in the igloo in the van. My husband had retrieved our picnic of pulled beef barbeque sandwiches, potato chips and icy lemonade while we settled on an old, old quilt I had made (my second) for my son when he was a toddler. For the last several years it has become our picnic blanket.
My son wanted to play cards so my daughter let us use her colonial card deck. We played Nertz first.

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I won most of the games because no matter the distraction (heat, music booming in my ear, an inflatable red, white and blue ball bouncing around that one of the staff threw several out for group games), they seem to make me do better, which frustrates my son, so after he finally won a round, he asked that we play Rummy. We played that until the fireworks. (Below is my Nertz pile. I forgot how to score since I haven't had anyone to play with since my roommate days.)

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Most of the fireworks were behind the trees. Instead of shooting off from the museum as in previous years where everyone can see them, these shot from behind the palace, but we saw the trees mostly. I thought I had seated us far enough away from the trees to see the fireworks, but I was wrong. A few shot high enough to get in view.

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In previous years we followed the Fife and Drum Corps after the fireworks down Duke of Gloucester. They didn't do that this year. Perhaps there's a perfectly logical reason for all these changed but we love all the Fife and Drum Corps events and greatly missed them.

After we left, we ran into the masses trying to squeeze into the teeny tiny tunnel by the pond to walk to the Visitor Center. I told the family that we'd be better off waiting on a delightful bench in the lovely historic area and waiting for the pathways to clear. An hour later we were finally able to take the path.

I told the family I'm scheming a quiet unobtrusive place to see the fireworks next year and take a jam box to play our Fife and Drum Corps CDs. Even though there may be good reasons that I'll never know or understand, they are missed. It's just not the Fourth of July without them.