Tuesday, July 05, 2005

living history

Ha, I'm thinking, this post could be about how I feel like a walking fossil. But it's not.

We went to Plymouth today, and saw Plymouth Rock (aka "the Plymouth Pebble"), the Mayflower II, and Plimoth Plantation. It was a long day, but a good one, marred only by my lack of credit cards and subsequent inability to shop as I would've liked.

I was only moderately assaulted by the uber-politically correct narrative of how the Native Peoples respected the land and worked in harmony with nature yada yada yada. One snotty teen waiting in line with her mom at the Mayflower II behind us started going on about how great they were and how scummy the Europeans were and I did say something to the effect that these Native Peoples were not all sweetness and light, seeing as they themselves practiced slavery and went around slaughtering each other (to say nothing of the immigrants) as they saw fit. I'm not trying to disparage them, just trying to inject a little perspective. Disney's "Pocahontas" isn't the best place to be learning about this stuff.

These places are extraordinary and I could've easily spent several more hours at both the ship and the plantation, but with the kids I felt lucky to spend the time we did. They get tired, they need snacks, they only have so much of an attention span. Fortunately, in Plimoth Plantation, it's always 1627, so someday I'll get to go back and really soak it up.

One thing I do know, I literally wouldn't have survived back then, since only strong antibiotics saved my life as an infant. I certainly would struggle to do the physical work they had to do survive, even now. But I find it all quite fascinating. I wish I could interest the children even a bit -- they did enjoy the craft demonstrations (woodworking, needlework, and pottery making) that we saw, so I guess there is some interest already. I have enormous respect for the actors and craftspeople at these sites, they had tremendous patience and knowledge. I'm sure the kids didn't really understand that you could talk to them and ask them questions ranging from, "Why did you come to America?" to "What do you eat for breakfast?" I think they would've liked that. So, we'll have to try again another time.

1 comment:

Sheik Yerbootie said...

You think that type of Amerind history is distorted, try the Museum exhbition at Foxwoods Casino.

It's amazing.