Just in case we aren’t in Boston forever I decided to really study the Revolutionary War with my kids this summer. I love brushing up on my own knowledge of history as my kids discover it for the first time. I totally remember my mom drooling over my text books when I was in Jr High, begging to study with me so that she could remember all the things that she once learned. I feel the same way now. I can’t get enough of it. I just wish we had more time, and I’m thankful I took advantage of a few lazy summer days to really soak in this great historical place where we live.
We started by reading a bunch of little books this summer about the Revolution from the Bear Lake library. All the books we read growing up have now retired to Bear Lake. This is one of my favorite things about the lake – shelves of books, and big open days of time to read them.
We also started reading Jonny Tremain (and we’re still reading it). It’s good, really good. I’d say 75% of it goes over Charlie and Hazel’s heads, but they’re somehow still super into it and are loving the story. I love how fiction and facts are all woven together to tell such a compelling story and teach history all at once. It really made our adventures on the freedom trail come alive as I pointed out the Boston wharfs where Jonny lived, the common where he learned to ride his horse, the church where he attended meetings and rang church bells. It’s also full of great characters and has spurred all kinds of bed time conversations. It’s making me realize how powerful stories can be in teaching kids real lessons that they’ll remember.
I broke up the freedom trail into 4 days (we haven’t done the forth day yet). It’s way too long for us all to do happily together in one day. I didn’t break it up chronologically or anything like that, just by convenience. The first day we went out to Lexington and Concord. We saw the minute man path, the old north bridge, the Paul Revere capture site and visited the Concord Museum. We also stopped at Louisa May Alcott's house and the little school of transcendentalism because I just couldn’t resist and we were hungry and were told that they sold shortbread at the gift shop. I love that place. This is the only picture we got that day.
Day two we spent following the freedom trail through parts of downtown Boston. I love Boston with all my heart. It is such an incredible city. I wish we could go in every week, there is just so much history and energy and beauty there.
We lucked out and picked a beautifully cool and dry summer day. I made a little treasure hunt for the kids (looking for random little landmarks and statues kept them surprisingly engaged) and we followed that little red brick line to the site of the Boston Massacre, the Old State House where the declaration of independence was first read in Boston, the Old South Meeting house, the cemetery where Paul Revere and a lot of other Sons of Liberty were buried and the old corner bookstore.
At the Old State House we met this red coat. He was super into his character and kept acting all confused when tourist asked him to take pictures with him, saying in his British accent “is that a custom of yours? What is this “picture?” He somehow engaged me a in way too long and in depth of a discussion about why the British were treated unfairly in Boston and how John Hancock and other businessmen were committing treason and embezzling goods to make their fortune at the expense of the colonists. I can’t keep everything straight as it is, let alone trying to debate with a man who thinks he lives in 1768. I couldn’t keep track of what had or had not happened then. This is the site of the first public school. Hazel and Charlie thought it was pretty cool. We made our way through the common, towards Beacon Hill to see the State House and then into the public gardens where, of course, we had to ride the little Mallard family of ducks. I love those colors. Hazel’s always willing to pose. Emmeline mostly wanted to pull or push the stroller.Peter slept and then just looked at me as I wheeled him around in the stroller. He was perfect (as usual). I got all kinds of comments and looks as we walked through the city. I guess I am kind of a spectacle with my crew. Every time I passed a clean reflecting window I also did a double take. Wow, that’s a lot of kids! Who is that crazy mom, I’d think to myself. No wonder I feel like I’m dragging around a piano most days as I try to get things accomplished!
But it sure is a glorious ‘piano’ that I drag. They are just little sponges soaking in their world. I love it. At trinity Church.We ended the day at Jeff’s work to ‘pick him up.’ The kids always love going to see daddy at work. I always feel like we are quite a spectacle, walking into that quiet office with such a noisy bunch. People are so kind to us, and the kids get to write on Jeff’s white board and drink spicy sodas. That was probably the highlight of the whole day for them.
I have to say it was a great day, one of those days where you feel like the mom you always thought you were going to be. Most of the time I don’t quite get there, in fact, I’m pretty dang far from my ideal on most days, but I got there that day in Boston, and I even was present enough to enjoy it all.
It was pretty magical.