Monday, June 21, 2010

New Hampshire - June 21, 1788

On June 21, 1788 the United States Constitution went into effect as New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify.

My most recent trip to New Hampshire was last month, when I traveled to New London, New Hampshire to visit the Library at Colby-Sawyer College as part of my sabbatical project. The town is charming, as is the New London Inn where James and I stayed in a jacuzzi suite that was decorated in blue and gold. We peeked in a few of the other rooms, each of which appeared to have its own decorating scheme. The Susan Colgate Clevland Library and Learning Center has its own rustic appeal as it is housed in an old barn - one enters through the silo.

Rear-View Mirrors by Paul Fleischman is the story of Olivia who meets her father for the first time when she is 17 years old. She travels from Berkeley, California to North Hooton, New Hampshire to spend a month with him at his invitation. The following year she returns to North Hooton, after her father's death, to honor his memory with a 70-mile bicycle ride that he had completed the year before. The story oscillates between Olivia's memories of the summer before, in which she and her father performed a sort of dance of one-upsmanship, and the bike ride during which Olivia reflects on her father and discovers some things about herself. This book has a lot of descriptions of New Hampshire flora and fauna, and a bit about the Red Sox, too.

I've heard Thornton Wilder's Our Town (the fictional Grover's Corners, New Hampshire)  is one of the most-produced plays probably because the sets are sparse, and therefore it can be low-budget. The 1940 movie version, however, used more true to life sets, and I don't think it ended the way the play does. I know I've seen the play, but I don't remember when, and I also read it in high school. Am I misremembering that in the play that after Emily dies and gets her wish to go back for one day, she then goes back to being dead? Anyway, another reason this gets produced a lot is that even 100 years later certain things still ring true. James and I laughed when Emily started badgering her mother about whether or not she thought Emily was pretty, and her mother finally told her to shut up about it when Emily wouldn't let it go. We started the scene over again and then called our own badgering daughter down from her room to see it. We had to do the same thing when we watched the scene in which Dr. Gibb admonishes his son George for not doing his chores and leaving his mother to do them herself, on top of everything else she had to do because she got tired of asking him to do them. A timeless story indeed.

We celebrated New Hampshire along with West Virginia and Arkansas at dinner this evening. Read about our tri-state dinner here.

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