The Best of Living History, Part I

There might be some among you who doubt that “the best of living history” could be a full, multi-part series.  These are the same doubters who don’t believe there are an infinite number of interesting facts about Dolly Parton.  

You have to wonder what they are doing reading this blog in the first place.  

This series is not for the doubters, but for the rest of you – for the believers, for the ones who know that the lengths of weirdness we humans are capable of are as magnificent as they are disturbing.  

I consider it to be one of the great upshots of western civilization that through a combination of washing machines and Lean Pockets, we have freed up so much of our time that we can get down to the really important work of putting on silly clothes and pretending to be people we’ve long since out-evolved.

Without further ado, I’d like to present the classic, the all-time, all-singing, all-dancing best piece of living history we’ve got going.  That is to say, obviously, Colonial Williamsburg.

I first learned about Colonial Williamsburg, and while we’re at it, the entire concept of living history when I was eight (oh, how empty my life must have been those first eight years) because of Felicity  (which has led me to realize that

a) a post on American Girls must be coming soon and 

b) they now make dolls of their best friends?  Lame.) 


For the following, oh, eight years I obsessed about Colonial Williamsburg.  I fantasized about the day I’d go.  I wondered what it might be like.  And then, at 16 years old, when I was way too old for this kind of shit, I went.  Sadder still?  The trip was a birthday present.  Other kids ask for cars – I asked for costumed colonials.  But the saddest part of all is that as we drove down to Williamsburg I became acutely aware of the fact that I was developing one hell of a case of strep throat.  This in and of itself wasn’t entirely surprising, because I’m apparently allergic to the South and, without fail, every time I venture south of Arlington I become sick in some way.  

So I decided to tough it out.  This was, after all, the fruition of an eight year dream.  I lied a lot and found every excuse I could to sit down.  It was only when my mom turned around in the saddle makers shop and saw my crying from the pain of swallowing that I was whisked to a doctors.  We left the shop and walked out into the street.  My frantic mother pulled aside the first worker she met,

“Where’s the nearest doctor?” 

“There’s an apothicary down the lane.” 

“No, seriously.  My daughter’s sick.  She can’t swallow.” 

“The good doctor can have her bled.” 


Worth all eight years of waiting.


[Ed. – I’m reminded by a friend of mine that the two of us did, in fact, go to Colonial Williamsburg about six months before this incident.  But since we had to get to Busch Gardens by 9am, we came before anything was open, and stumbled upon the staff parking lot.  Nothing ruins the magic like men in tricorns and capes getting out of pickup trucks]


2 Responses to The Best of Living History, Part I

  1. Kate Denham says:

    Ha! This is so funny- all of ben’s brothers still spend hours complaining about the one time they went on a trip to Colonial Williamsburg- they’ve never been able to explain it to me!

    Hope your life is absurdly interesting at the moment- if banking kills me do you think the democrats would take me? :p


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