Thursday, July 26, 2012

a road less traveled

Last year my eight year old attended a little country school.  It was conveniently located near our home and we often walked the little country road that connected our house to her little school.

We watched the colors  change on this road, from green to red, orange and brown.  Then to the stark colors of winter. 

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We did this until the colors turned back to green again.  We quickly became familiar with every detail of the road.  There’s an old cellar hole and a lonely old stone wall that weaves through the woods.

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Her school was the second oldest school in NH opening in 1789.

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They closed the school and now she will attend a much more modern school where the floors don’t creak and the radiators don’t hiss. I’m certain modern school are good, too, but most likely they won’t have a gym door the perfect shade of blue-green.  I loved this school, it sits atop a hill looking at all the big old houses that face it. 

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In fact one of my favorite houses in this town recently went up for sale causing me to hyperventilate for three days straight.  It sits near the school, it is so big and regal but has a quiet beauty to it.

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I think it’s around 400k. It’s so pretty with a brook and a pond and the circle driveway is perfect for tricycle riding.

Anyhow I shall tell you a little history lesson I stumbled upon while resting in the corner of the Brattle Book Shop.  I knew the school was named after Samuel Appleton but didn’t know much about him.  Then I came across the name Franny Appleton in an article about historic artwork.  I discovered they were related and I came home and spent way too much time researching instead of cleaning my house.  Is that bad?

Franny was Samuel’s niece.  She married Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. One day as she was sealing envelopes with wax she lit her dress on fire and Henry tried to save her but couldn’t.  He burned his face and that is why he grew that enormous beard.  It’s so tragic! Reading through historical stuff affects me so much, but at the same time I always want to know more.  No matter where we’ve lived the history of how people got there and what they went through never fails to be amazing.  There’s so much to learn!

5 comments:

Barbara said...

And you're in the perfect place to learn it. Feeling very homesick for New England right now ... it is just such a lovely, lovely place. Even if you won't have that school to go to, you and your little one will have memories of that walk forever.

Dawn Castor said...

How sweet to walk your daughter down the road to school! It sounds charming but a new building will I suppose, be more efficient. Thanks for the info on that Longfellow dude! Perhaps I can share that with students this year.

Jemm said...

That is just appalling that they closed that school! What a treasured memory for you to have, though, of that year walking together to school. Wish I could buy that house and move next door to you!

Andi said...

Wow! He knew about the beard? You are so curious. I love your information. I fear I simply float through life not really considering the history of such things...

The Dadman Diaries said...

You make me so homesick!