Life is defined by belonging: our family, town, organizations, belongings, even the time into which we are born. I attended a teachers’ institute at Colonial Williamsburg a few years ago. That town preserves what belonged to another time period, so that we, of the 21st century could understand somewhat what it felt like as patriots and loyalists, all British subjects, clashed, and then hashed out new plans in the taverns, church, and legislature all situated on the mile long walk down the main street.
Our trainers immersed us in the life of the time. Four of us from Tulare County joined six others from California, a few from Pennsylvania, some from Georgia, one or two from New York, and we lived as a group for one week. We belonged together for a week.
Our guide, Bunny, embroiled us in an 18th century court case in which a Baptist minister was tried as a criminal because he preached from a Baptist pulpit, not from the one true church the Anglican Church. “The law of the land from 1624 mandated that white Virginians worship in the Anglican church (Church of England) and support its upkeep with their taxes.” ( Religion in Early Virginia.) We had to decide his fate.
One of our members, Jami Beck, volunteered to participate during the trial.
We learned how to fire cannons and muskets.
We danced, and sat around a properly set dinner table sharing the latest colonial gossip.
We visited with tavern owners who served George Washington on a regular basis.
Slaves let us enter their farm-house, feel the tobacco they harvested, smell it hanging in the barn. But in all the authenticity of belonging to that time period. There was always something that didn’t belong.
Actually there were many things. What do you think belonged, and what didn’t?
For this challenge, get creative. Reach far. And remember that “masterpiece” can mean many things. We want to see awesome sites you’ve discovered, fantastic things you’ve come upon, wondrous moments you’ve captured, and more.
IN A NEW POST CREATED SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PICTURE OF A MASTERPIECE.
A few years ago I had the privilege of attending a teacher institute in Colonial Williamsburg. It was one of the highlights of my life. One place we visited was the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. I could have stayed for hours at each exhibit reading all the blurbs, but tours always keep moving. If you don’t keep up, you miss the lecture which is more detail than what is written on the blurbs, and you can ask questions. You take a few pictures, and poof, you are gone. You forget almost all the stuff you learned. Five years go by. Lo and behold someone at WordPress suggests that everyone create a post on masterpieces. Yeah!
Some accused George Washington of kingliness, but his portrait painter, Charles Wilson Peale, captured the essence of Washington assuring folks that although he was to be honored and revered, he was somewhat of a regular guy as compared to King George III.
“Washington wears the blue coat with buff trim of the Continental Army. The epaulettes with stars on his shoulders along with the blue sash identify him as the Commander in Chief. His riding boots, spurs and his sword show him to be a gentleman officer. And his pose, leaning on the barrel of the cannon show him relaxed and in control.
Portrait of George Washington. Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1780. Oil on canvas. OH: 96 1/4”; OW: 61 3/4.”
King George III dressed in his best at about the same time would not have dreamed of wearing a cotton or wool jacket. A little rabbit, a little silver, a touch of velvet, and gold let the world know that he was blinged out.
He assured the people that their tax dollars were working hard for them. Doesn’t everyone have a painting of their horse hanging on the front of their shirt? Ah yes, and the hair… This was not synthetic hair. These beautiful locks originally had hung on someone else’s head, and had been laboriously sewn into a wig, hair by hair. George Washington wore his own hair.
Speaking of masterpieces. Girls learned at very young ages to take their time and create a masterpiece of needle work. Here are two samples that passed the mustard standards set up by the museum. I would have given these girls an A+ if they had been my students. How about you? Every tried any needle work yourself? Cross stitching, embroidery anyone? My embroidery looks like a two-year old did it compared to what these twelve or fifteen year old girls accomplished.
I meant to publish an article about Clementina Rind yesterday for July 4th, but got carried away by the new dictates of my self-imposed schedule – and FORGOT!
Maybe you don’t think of Clementina as being particularly sordid – certainly not in the ways that Catherine the Great portrayed sordidity! But in her own way, publicist, Clementina Rind, was the only woman in a man’s world, in a time when women had NO say – politically. A widow of a newspaper publisher, she was the ONLY Virginia woman to print a newspaper and hold the position of public printer during the Colonial period.
Being now unhappily forced to enter upon Business on my own Account I flatter myself those Gentlemen who shall continue to oblige me with their Custom and will not be offended at my requesting them in the future to be punctual in sending cash with Advertisements. … May that All Ruling Power, whose chastening Hand has snatched from my dear Infants and myself make me equal to the Task! … to bestow Happiness and Plenty on my orphan Family, if they find me capable of being their Servant…”
-Virginia Gazette September 2, 1773
Clementina watched as the revolution became what she described as “inevitable.” She published Thomas Jefferson’s First Declaration, and sent his document all over the colonies and Europe. That document became the gateway to Jefferson’s writing fame.
Clementina did not have long to blaze the trail. She did not live to see the Revolution fought, and the freedom she longed for, won. She died about a year after her husband, leaving her children to the care of Free Masons.
I enjoy the WordPress challenges. This one, UP, was particularly fun. Up is ubiquitous. As I looked up my photos, “up” took on one meaning after another. Some of my up connections may be stretching it a bit, but I’ve heard them all used – or used them myself. Yesterday I wanted to finish up showing my favorite quilt show pictures using different challenges, but then I wondered….
Are you fed up with quilts, or are you still upbeat about looking at the Best of the Valley Quilts?
But things keep happening in my life, and I can’t keep up with the many things I want to share with you. I wanted to put up a few pictures from my first ever photography class. We went up into the foothills to a TCOE property called Circle J Ranch near Springville, CA on Yokohl Valley Road. The class was learning to take wildflowers, but it seems that when we hold a camera up to our eyes, anything that moves captures our attention. Never barking up the wrong tree, this photogenic squirrel filled up on acorns. As for me, I am now up on the latest in using ISOs, F-stops, and can now manually focus my camera. Yeah! Yippee! Giddyup!
Someone had to give me a leg up today. What’s up with that?
I was so focused on the work of upping my use of F-stops, that I didn’t realize my pants were soaking up moisture from the ground until all of the sudden I felt wet! Having already gotten my knees wet from the grass, I little suspected that I had sat in a fresh cow pie. I got up when I was done, only to realize that the gig was up, and no one there was going to look up to me and think I was cool, or smart or anything but messed up. It looked like I … well, you know! I wore my jacket the rest of the day around my waist as a cover-up.
These guys were probably off in the background chatting up a storm and having a good laugh at my expense. I give up. I’ll never be cool. I had to clean up when I got home. Did you know that Oxy-clean does NOT clean up all stains?
Changing up the conversation, but keeping up with the theme, a few years ago I went with a group of teachers from the Central Valley to a teachers’ institute in Colonial Williamsburg, VA. In Colonial Williamsburg we learned a lot about how folks cleaned up around the house in the 17th and 18th centuries, about the time my family arrived here from England.
After cleaning, we had to set up for dinner. Education for women in the 18th century included: measurement, time-management, keeping up the books, preserving and storing up food for winter months by pickling, smoking and drying as well as using up a lot of salt. They also had to be up on politics because they hosted political meetings in their homes.
Some of us stocked up on trouble. Jami Beck and I fessed up, and look where it got us. I give up! Jami has really shaped up.
She was honored Thursday, April 18th as the SJVCSS Elementary Teacher of the Year! Give it up for Jami everyone!!
Back in Williamsburg some of the socially upward-moving folks in those days, called “middling sorts,” were tobacco farmers. They hung up the tobacco leaves to dry in the barn.
Others, like Clementina Rind, were publishers. She had to go up stairs just to get inside the front door. That’s really me, but we all were assigned to be a certain person for a week, and I was Clementina, and this was her house.
We spent much of our week in taverns. That’s where everyone congregated and visit and eat in those days. They are still good places to go and bulk up. Re-enactors dressed up in colonial clothing showed up everywhere to draw us into the 18th century daily life. This tavern owner, is telling us what George Washington liked at her tavern.
Let’s jump forward two centuries. Former slaves, led by Col. Allen Allensworth, who fought in the Civil War, established the one freedom colony in California. It is located in the southern end of Tulare County. He rounded up other retired African-American military men, known as Buffalo Soldiers to settle his town, founded in 1908. Interpreter Steve Ptomey lifted up spirits with his razor-sharp demonstration of a trip to the Barbershop. In Allensworth some of the kids cleaned up really well. Just so you don’t suspect Steve of child abuse – he wasn’t using a real razor!
Moving back up to the 21st century to the small upscale town Exeter, folks are considering what to cook up for dinner. Hanging up in the meat locker might be one of those cows that got up the nerve to laugh at me!
In nearby Woodlake someone took borrowed a cart from the grocery story, and left it broken up, littering up our beautiful lake. Do people do that in your area? That steams me up.
I’d like to hurry up and get this published. I have many more pictures to share, but I’m going to limit myself to two or three that I dug up from my collection.
That’s all I could scoop up in a couple of days of preparing this post. (lie – I have tons more)
I’m almost all dried up.
I’ll leave you with this thought. Cuddle up with someone you love and read a good post or book, or watch a movie. Life is looking up!
Unforgettable means never to be forgotten, remarkable in a way that cannot be forgotten such as place, events or great memories. As much as I forget appointments, and names these are some experiences I won’t forget.
I really thought parasailing was going to be much more thrilling frightening than it was. I waited until the two little girls that were on the boat with us went first. I figured if they could do it, I could. V did not want to try it. It felt like I was in a squeaky Ferris Wheel seat that was a little too tight. V was the one who was really having the unforgettable time. This former Navy guy found out that boat rides on the ocean were better off forgotten.
I tend to overestimate what I might like to can do. I assume I will like it until I try it. The next trip to Hawaii brought me another adventure I would never forget, and so I crossed it off my to-do list forever. That smile was pained. Riding up the dusty mountain was difficult, coming back down and trying to keep my mare on the path with the rest of the folks instead of careening off the path in search of greenery…
The final unforgettable memory I’m going to share today was from one of the most memorable weeks of my life. A trip with teachers from across the United States to Colonial Williamsburg. Every minute was packed with adventures. In this shot we were learning how the soldiers cooked their food in outdoor ovens with a walk around path while they were on the battlefield. Our week included visits to Yorktown and Jamestown as well. If you like United States History, this is a place to spend some time.
Thanks for joining me for a few unforgettable experiences. Jakesprinter has many more to share with you that will spark your ideas.
This week’s photo challenge by WordPress, Thankful , conjures up pictures of food, family, friends, and material objects. Beyond our immediate circle of influence and interaction, our country, and the peace, liberty, and freedom it offers comprise some of the more esoteric gifts that make us thankful. Our lives are improved by people that serve us and do things that we can’t do for ourselves, so we are thankful for: business people, teachers, doctors, our service men and women, inventors, even attorneys, Jean.
All of what we experience in life today thankfully and appreciatively is built on a foundation of ancestors that worked hard, made mistakes, created, and destroyed, loved and laughed just as we do today who left us a legacy. I am thankful that life moves on, and things change.
At a teachers week-long institute in Colonial Williamsburg, we had no idea what kind of trouble we might be getting into. I’m not sure why we are laughing, our crime was not a laughing matter. We might have been doing something dreadful such as preaching Baptist doctrine inside the town. Amazing when it’s out your time period, you can laugh about some pretty horrible practices. I’m just thankful these are passé.
Thank you all for visiting my site yesterday – I had 100 views! I don’t know about the rest of you bloggers, but that fact makes me forget that I have any other worthwhile work to do, and makes me want to think of what to write to y’all today. I do love that contraction. (I’m not a Southern Belle, but I just love using it in honor of PT, who reads my blog every day. Thanks PT.) Don’t you just love her dimples. She’s amazing, but that’s another story. One of the unanticipated benefits of retirement is to have my library all in one physical location. That means I found my journal that I kept during my Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute. These are VERY cool. They are handmade – even the paper. I was afraid to write in it at first because I didn’t want to mess it up. So I may bore you from time to time, sharing my reflections that accompany the hundreds of photographs I took while I was there, and have just sat in my Facebook gallery, my external hard drive, and who knows where else. I didn’t want to spend time too much time writing about them because I didn’t want to get my facts wrong. And I didn’t want to spend time researching when I knew that somewhere I had written downs tons of notes. Ah the bane of not having a photographic memory. Just think what a joy I could be to y’all if I could just remember things perfectly. Actually I remember large bits of things, but somewhere they get jumbled, and my facts get scattered, and come out incorrect. Then, because I am supposed to be somewhat of a history guru, I am embarrassed when I err, and my guru credibility is lost. But I meander…In addition to being Clementina Rind for the week, I was also assigned to be on the Military Committee. I had no recollection of that for several reasons, but I wrote it in my journal, so it made SOME impression at the time. Clementina is still with me 4 years later. I was really into taking pictures of 18th century military life. I have 97 pictures, and NO Notes!! The sad thing is that we participated in amazing feats of war. I accidentally hit the woman next to me in the face with my wooden musket when we were standing in formation practicing loading aiming, and firing our supposedly harmless weapons. I didn’t volunteer to attempt loading the cannon. It was real.My entry for the day we went to Yorktown reads, “I forgot my journal when we went to Yorktown. ”
Ever consider what it might have been like if you got a toothache on the battle field – or even back home in the 18th century? When I was a dental assistant, believe me none of our instruments looked this vicious. Of course, without my notes I don’t know if these WERE dental instruments or something with which to take out bullets. Whichever, the look malicious, and I know there was no anesthesia involved. No laughing gas. No Novocaine. No topical anesthetic to numb your gums BEFORE you got a shot of NO Novocaine!!! So maybe these wicked tools for the little balls that came out of muskets. The point is I FORGOT TO TAKE MY JOURNAL. Do you see how disastrous the effect merely four years later??? Can you imagine if I waited 40 years to label my precious pictures?George would never have forgotten HIS journal. This desk was center stage in his tent.The troops did eat, and what you see in the background is part of the outdoor dugout oven. This piece of equipment, as I recollect, was not a branding iron, but had something to do with cooking. Wish I had taken my journal.This was my 75th picture. I bet you are wondering what’s in the box. Well, if I had brought my JOURNAL, I could have told you, but NO, it rested safely in my room where it wouldn’t get dirty. (It still isn’t dirty.) Judging from the pictures sequentially around this photo, which I can see, but I won’t bore you with, the box has something to do with canons. My solid hypothesis is that it holds cannon balls. Where is Mike Lebsock when you need him? Probably sitting in his Colonial Williamsburg home office writing memoirs in HIS JOURNAL. Or maybe he’s sketching. He actually painted the middle picture right above his books. What a talented SJVCSS President we have!!! When I got back I quoted Clementina as saying, “I have watched as this revolution became inevitable. I published Thomas Jefferson’s first declaration. I strained to see this conflict that I might rejoice at our freedom. Freedom of the press (of course that was of GREAT interest to Clementina), which we have as British citizens, but which could as easily be taken from us, as surely as taxation without representation has already been taken. I regret that I did not live to report this great event.”Don’t try to read THAT quote, I photographed a page that had better handwriting!!! Then I did what I do most in my journals. I introspected. “Its amazing to me to understand what bravery and sheet luck has play a part of my privilege of being born and raised as an American woman. This privilege becomes clear and dearer as I age and I realize the foundations that were laid to make my life possible.” I still stand by that statement.The moral of this story. Buy a journal. Take your journal with you. Write in it. Don’t lose it. Then share it with someone.
One of the best experiences of my teaching career was the Teacher Institute in Colonial Williamsburg. I wanted to bottle it up and bring it home, and recreate and refashion it so that we could produce similar experiences for people on the West Coast.
Organizers packed the week with themes of experiences, most of them reproducible except for the location.
Before we arrived we had to read a couple of books about Colonial Williamsburg, and the PEOPLE who lived there. Whenever you spend the time and money to take kids on vacations or field trips, you should prepare them in some way. That’s half the fun of going. Assigning your students books or articles to read, watching videos together, then having them discuss and write about what they are learning will put the steroids into the field trip – without making it illegal!! Students will be constantly comparing what they read with what they learn when they visit. They will be able to ask questions.
Once we arrived in Colonial Williamsburg, we received a new identity. That first evening as we got an overview of the town, we were always looking around the corner to find out about our special person.
I was Clementina Rind, whom I wrote about earlier in my blog. The interesting thing about doing that SIMPLE activity is that you never forget THAT PERSON. You might forget tons of other factoids, but that person lives in you forever.
Students don’t even have to dress up to take on their identity One teacher assigned her students the identity of children of the Holocaust.
The strategy of assigning alternative identities is applicable anywhere about any period in history. Most teachers can’t dredge up re-enactors, or even guest speakers, but I’ve seen teachers dress up themselves,
You will hear her story in subsequent posts, because it is an interesting and important story, But today, on this birthday of the United States of America, you will hear directly from her. As the the editor of the Virginia Gazette, on Thursday, March 17, 1774 I am not sure whether she wrote the article herself, of it came from someone else, but it is from the Colonial America – what might have been us in 2012.
“On the Present Neutrality of Great Britain”
Those who endeavor to stimulate the military by their writings, to take an active part in the present broils of Europe, either do not perceive the pernicious consequences of such a measure, or do it with a factious view, in hopes of getting them out, and other persons in thereby. Nothing can be more clear and manifest, than it is in the interest of this nation to preserve the peace as long as possible in order to give time for lessening our immense public debt, and removing those heavy taxes which the late war laid upon the shoulders of the people. Were the ministry to take an active part in the present quarrels, and engage the kingdom in the expense of a fresh war, before any of the burdensome taxes had been taken off, which were imposed upon us for the support of the last, it would be absolutely impossible for them to find out resources for maintaining it, without distressing the people beyond their patience, or power of bearing. Besides, these writers have not shewn, nor can shew, any just cause why the crown of Great Britain should take any part in the quarrels of Europe, or enter into a war with any power therein. By whom hath Great Britain been injured, or by what prince in Europe hath she been hurt? Is the division of Poland amongst the confederate princes, of any detriment to this nation? Of by what means have we been sufferers by the war between the Turks and Russians? Let us no longer play the Quixote, by meddling with matters, and entering into quarrels wherein neither our honor nor our interest are at all concerned. Long experience must surely have shewn us the folly of such proceedings. All the debt of the nation, and all the heavy taxes we now labour under are owing to our entering into other people’s quarrels, and fighting their battles. Will not our great sufferings teach us a little wisdom? Let us learn at least to mind our own concerns, and pursue our own interests. Peace is now not only necessary for our interests, but for our very existence, as a nation. Let us imitate the prudence of the Dutch, who, but their situation have more reason to meddle with, and interest themselves in continental quarrels, than the English nation. yet avoid taking any part whatever therein. They know, and pursue their own interests, and it is high time we did so too. It is therefore to be hoped that our ministry will regard less of what factious persons may write or say, and take every prudent step and measure for continuing to su the blessings of peace.