E, my mom, and I went to Boston in early August to visit my aunt and two of my three cousins on my dad's side. Much time was spent clarifying cousin ordinality and removedness, as E got to know multiple generations of relatives. My cousins are just enough older than me that when I was a kid, I recognized their TOTAL TEENAGE COOLNESS and wished I could be just like them. I'm pretty happy with being me these days, but they're still totally cool, as are their kids.
Last spring, E had a long unit in school on the American Revolution, so our touristy side-trips all had a revolutionary focus. My aunt lives in Lexington, so we visited the Lexington battle green, where the first shots of the revolution were fired on April 19, 1775, and also toured Lexington's historic Buckman Tavern, Munroe Tavern, and Hancock-Clarke House. We saw the reconstructed North Bridge in Concord, and later walked the Freedom Trail from Boston Commons to the USS Constitution (we didn't quite make it to Bunker Hill; next time).
It's impressive how quickly one learns local history when one crams multiple historic sites into three days--and equally impressive how all the details trickle out of one's brain when one doesn't take any notes and then waits almost two months to write about it. Fortunately, the war has been well documented elsewhere, so instead of feeling embarrassed about the lack of detail here, I'll simply insert a handy summary map below, courtesy of the U.S. National Park Service, and hope it sufficiently jogs my memory when I look back at it a few years from now. I did learn that, prescriptive rule-follower that I am, I probably would have been a loyalist rather than a patriot. (Indeed, my inner loyalist saw some worrisome parallels between the so-called patriots of 1775 and those of 2010.) I also learned that it's a bad idea to try to march a militia of 700 sleep-deprived soldiers some 40 miles from Boston to Cambridge overnight. Oh--and that it's difficult to paint arms and legs, so portraits are more expensive if you want those body parts included, i.e. it costs an arm and a leg. (Thanks, swell high school intern tour guide at the Massachusetts State House!)
I didn't take a lot of pix, but here's the cream of the crop. Check out the double and triple exclamation points in this monument from 1799!!! It stands at the side of the Lexington Battle Green!! It reflects the righteous joy of a new nation at having cast off the yoke of British tyranny!!! I love the proud expansiveness of the text ("Built in the year 1799"--how about just "Built in 1799"?), and how divine intervention is implied to have played a role in American
victory but not in monument carving (compare "the ever memorable
Nineteenth of April, An. Dom. 1775" to "Built in the year 1799"), and how the rules of capitalization clearly hadn't been worked out yet ("The Die was cast!!!"), and how sometimes letters are replaced by apostrophes even when there's enough space to spell everything out ("They nobly dar'd to be free!!")!!!
This spiffy window is in the ceiling at the Massachusetts State House--a gorgeous building worthy of triple exclamation points, though we didn't see any there.
Here's my beloved child and my beloved mom. Don't they look great?!!
The Banality of Stupid
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