Monday, October 12, 2009

Listen my Children and you shall hear...

It's been a beautiful New England holiday. The colors have become brilliant, and they stood out particularly against wildly cloud-filled skies on Saturday when I did quite a bit of driving. In the morning, I drove about 50 miles west to attend alumni weekend activities for South Lancaster Academy, the school I used to teach at in the 1980s and early 90s.

Many of the 35-year class became my friends in college. The 25-year class were seniors my first year there, and the 20-year class was one of my favorite (dare I say it) classes ever. We went through a lot together, traveling to Puerto Rico and Montreal, as well as all over New
England for choir and drama performances. Trips like that create bonds that don't break.

Later, after I had come back home, I decided to go find some color and drove out to Lincoln and Concord. I was not disappointed. First, I stopped off at Hartwell Tavern and discovered that they had an event planned for that evening that interested me. I had about 90 minutes to kill, though, so I drove on to Walden Pond and the Old North Bridge where I watched the sun set.

It was dark by the time I got back to the Tavern for the Living History event, "Heroes of Battle Road," a series of vignettes telling the story of April 19, 1775. The Lincoln Fife and Drum Corp was playing wonderful Revolutionary music. Visitors received tea bags as their tickets and groups of 20 walked the road through the woods to the Tavern (about 1/4 mile). Along the way, we were stopped by Minutemen guarding the woods between their captain's house and the tavern, a woman bringing nourishment to the men, and a rogue band of Redcoats. We met General Gage and his wife in the barn, and overheard a group of British regulars talking about Gage and various war strategies.

Inside the tavern, we were privy to a conver- sation between Mary Hartwell and her friend Katherine, wife of the captain of the Lincoln militia describing their experience on that day when the Redcoats marched to Concord and Lexington. We met the captain who told us all about how the Minutemen were paid (1 cent for every mile they came to fight in a battle and 2 cents for each meal). We also met Innkeeper Hartwell and learned about the food he served and why his was a higher class inn than most (he only allowed 4 to a bed instead of the usual 6).

It was a fascinated evening. We were not allowed to photograph during the tour because it would distract the interpreters, so I was glad I had been there earlier, in the daylight.

Monday, October 05, 2009

People were Talking

So, I'm watching my guilty pleasure, Dancing with the Stars, and a long-ago memory suddenly flashes in front of me. I'm with my journalism class from 1988 at Boston's channel 4, WBZ-TV, at a live show of "People are Talking," an afternoon talk-show hosted by local guy, Tom Bergeron!

The day's theme was upstart entrepreneurs, and two of the guests were Ben and Jerry, of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream fame, just named "Small Businessmen of the Year" by President Reagan. My students and I had a great time. Part of the show involved audience Q and A and several of them asked questions and in the end, we all got samples of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

I had forgotten that until now, but think it's kind of cool, now that I think of it. Of course back then, Tom wasn't the mega-star he is now. He was just a home-town guy hosting a very popular local show. Little did we know that our experience would become one of those "we knew him when" moments = )