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Revolutionary Blogging: I was Martha Washington

[The first in a series of posts with a July 4th theme]

In third grade, I was tapped for the role of Martha Washington in the school play. I have no idea what the play was; I believe it was something one of the teachers wrote herself and it had something to do with Washington crossing the Delaware.

george.gifMy role as Martha was limited to my sitting on a chair and imploring my dear George to be safe and beware of the cold, harsh elements out there.

I wore a long blue skirt and a white frilly shirt. My mother put baby powder in my hair so it had the appearance of being whitish-gray, and I smelled like a fresh diaper.

It amazes me how I can remember the scene so vividly; waiting on the side of the stage for my cue, I held onto the railing that led to the stairs and exit until my knuckles turned white. As I looked out at all those faces in the audience I had a moment of sheer panic. I kept looking at the exit, then the audience, then back to the exit.

Finally, my cue came. I took a deep breath, flubbed my first line as I walked across the kitchen set, and then took my place in the chair where I did my "Oh, George you are my hero for loving your country this much" speech.

And that was it. It did not give me a great love for the stage; in fact, I never participated in another play again. However, it did make me want to know more about George Washington and his war.

My mother drove me to the library the very next day, where I discovered a book called George Washington's Breakfast.

A succession of books followed, mostly easy readers that told tales of the Revolutionary War through colorful pictures and monosyllabic words. Which, when you're in third grade, is just enough. Come to think of it, sometimes it's just enough when you're an adult as well.

I've listed some Fourth of July reading below and while they are all kids/young adult books, they do make for interesting reading or perhaps they would make a nice gift for your favorite young history buff.

No, I don't have an Amazon merchant's account, I don't get any money if you buy these books, this is not a paid advertisement.

The Story of America's Birthday
Shh! We're Writing the Constitution
The Fourth of July Story
Victory or Death! : Stories of the American Revolution
My Brother Sam Is Dead
The Fighting Ground
Red, White and Blue: The Story of the American Flag


Don't forget our impressions of martha while in the pool. Simply go under water, flip your head over so all your hair falls in front of your face, then pop out of the water and flip your hair back. Voila! The spitting image of Martha and her funky hairdo! Sorry, but this is pretty much all I think about when I hear her name.

The Fourth always makes me want to watch the movie 1776. Any idea when that's coming out on DVD?

It is already available on DVD.

My mother made us watch that movie every year. I've added it to my wishlist just for memory's sake - though I have in turn forced my own kids to watch it when it came on tv, and I even took them to a stage presentation.

Links still aren't working, so here's a nice long Amazon URL for you:

Have you ever read Katherin Mayo's /General Washington's Dilemma/? I picked it up yesterday for the Fourth of July Weekend . . .

And for those wanting a hightly readible series on US history, from pre-colonisation days to almost the present, get Daniel J. Boorstien's series "The Americans", starting with "The Colonial Experience", then "The National Experience" and finally "The Democratic Experience". It goes a long way to explaining the historic and cultural background to why the US - and the societal values - are the way they are.

Who's Martha Washington?

And for children: Johnny Tremain, by Esther Forbes.

Michele, I played the flag in a Flag Day play in fifth grade.

I think that trumps Martha. ;-)

Meryl's right. Very few people have ever saluted Martha Washington (with the possible exception of George), and almost no one has ever pledged allegiance to her.

On the bright side, she was never hung a hundred feet up to flap in the breeze either.

Hmm. Maybe it's a draw...

I was Goodwife Bradford in the fourth grade Thanksgiving play. Like all the girls and most of the boys, I had one line. Mine was: "The common house needs cleaning."

Times have changed.