Monday, December 20, 2010

Life in the 1830s

Sturbridge, MA. Columbus Day Weekend we took a fall foliage trip to Sturbridge, MA. It was my first trip to Old Sturbridge Village, a place Don visited many times in his youth. The Village is set in the 1830s, at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution when factories were becoming more popular than farms. Costumed interpreters guided us from our knowledge of the Colonial era to “their” time, 54 years later. Advances in technology made the printing press more efficient, and made fabric cheap and easy to purchase. It was a picturesque time of year to visit the Village.

For Ashley, the highlight seemed to be tossing acorns to the chipmunks (they are surprisingly cute in person) and making friends with a woolly bear caterpillar, whom she brought home with her.

While in the area, we spent a day in Boston. In the afternoon we toured the Maporium, a 15 foot diameter glass globe. Standing in the center of the sphere you see the entire world as it was in 1935. It is worth the trip. While there we learned about Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science movement.

A trip to Boston would not be complete without a visit with Don’s Aunt Elva Pillsbury. Aunt Elva is 94 years young, still lives on her own and is always on the go. By sheer coincidence, we were in Beantown when Don’s cousin, Paul Tomkavage, was celebrating his 60th birthday at his home with Cousin Helen Pillsbury, and their son Nick Tomkavage. This happy occasion brought Nancy and Rich Stromer, Don’s cousins from Colorado, to Boston. Also fortuitous is that Nancy and Rich’s children, Sara Stromer and Joe Stromer live nearby and came for the celebration. Ashley and Sara bonded while making very silly faces and asking people extremely silly questions. Cousins Martin and Franca Pillsbury were also there for the fun.

The trip home included a detour through Springfield, MA to show Ashley the Seuss Memorial Sculpture Garden. Her eyes lit up as she joined the whimsical sculptures for some silly pictures. The ride home was long, but Ashley was kept entertained by the woolly bear caterpillar, which she has named Cindy Lu Lu (in honor of Dr. Seuss) and is now hibernating. If all goes well, she will turn into a silver moth next spring.

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