Monday, July 04, 2011

patriotic miscellany

I struggle to be original, and although I sometimes succeed at originality I often need inspiration (read: an idea to copy or steal) to accomplish whatever is in my sights. Like today. I'm copying The Bug's presentation of a patriotic version of a Monday miscellany. Ready or not!

My favorite period of American history is the Revolutionary War. Especially the 70's. When I was a tween I wanted to be a docent at Colonial Williamsburg so I could wear those cool dresses. I even wrote a letter to inquire about how to go about getting the job and got a really snotty response. I guess being 13 didn't impress them much. I ended up making my own really cool costume later on. Take THAT, Williamsburg.

In keeping with my love for all things revolutionary I also have in my possession a 13-starred flag. My younger brother (who can be very original) got the idea of giving it to me one year for my birthday. Best. Gift. Ever! Except for the Sheltie when I was 11. My beloved flag hasn't flown in a while. The other day Ken and I were at Home Depot and he bought a "regular" flag (the last one we had got sort of torn up by snagging on the bricks on our house). When I mentioned that I had this Beloved Flag he asked, "why?" Men. They can be so clueless sometimes. (Dr. M., you are an exception, especially regarding this flag!).

Does anyone remember a very short-lived television series back in, oh, 1970, called The Young Rebels? Set in greater Philly, 1777. I ate, slept, and breathed that show. I even wrote my own stories for the characters. You can take the TV show out of the lineup but you can't--well, never mind.

Another tidbit of my revolutionary war-phile era (and then I'll move on, promise) is that I really wanted to be part of a fife and drum corp. March in parades and all that stuff. It wasn't the parades that was cool, it was the dressing up part. I know, there's a theme in the offing. Any wonder I became a priest? I get to dress up!  I played the recorder so I figured it couldn't be too much of a stretch to play a fife. Or whatever it's called. I seem to recall that my mother discouraged me from pursuing this. The word "no" comes to mind. But I honestly can't recall and I don't mean to malign my mother in any way. She knows I love her. Eventually I got over the fife and drum thing. I think I realized that I would be really hot (as in sweaty hot) in that colonial costume. Especially marching in a parade on July 4.

According to a very well hidden legend the song Yankee Doodle (as in "went to town,...") was "inspired" by the disorderly troops under the command of one of my lateral ancestors. A great-great-great-great-great-grandmother's brother, to be precise: Colonel Thomas Fitch.  Lest Tom get all the glory, his sister, Elizabeth (that would my ancestor), later saved the town of Fairfield, CT from being burned by the British. Girls rule!

I have two favorite musicals. One is A Chorus Line, the other is 1776. Surprised you there, didn't I?  I was fortunate to see it twice with its original cast on Broadway, with William Daniels as John Adams, and Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson. I still break into song sometimes when certain phrases cue the lyrics. Musicals written for the stage just don't translate well to movies, IMHO. For instance, the play ends with the various representatives of the Continental Congress being called up to John Hancock's desk to sign the Declaration of Independence. The liberty bell begins to toll in the background. Adams, Jefferson, Franklin and two others are standing there at the desk when the tolling of the bell crescendos and a screen with the declaration printed on it drops like a curtain in front of the scene. A light shines from behind it and the scene on stage freezes. You realize that it is the famous portrait of the signing (see below). There is such power in that visual presentation of the signing and the words superimposed with the image.  This isn't what makes this a fabulous musical, it's just the crowning glory. If you haven't ever seen it, I recommend highly that you do so if the opportunity presents itself.

I guess that's enough historic miscellany for today. I hope you enjoy your celebration, whatever it entails, or your day, wherever you might be. For the record, we'll be home doing regular stuff, and our cooking out will involve a drunken chicken.

3 comments:

The Bug said...

I love this! We used to watch 1776 (the movie) every 4th of July. And yes, we will break into song when the occasion demands it.

Carolina Linthead said...

We make do with the movie, but it isn't the same, even with the extra scenes restored. When I was in high school, a community group that included several of my friends put on a production of 1776 for the Bicentennial celebration. It was good, so far as singing, but the staging left quite a bit to be desired. I would love to have seen it on Broadway! As for the flag, yes, I do understand. It is a minor miracle that I do not own one, actually. Excellent post!

Jan said...

It was fun to read about your memories. I love Williamsburg and like the idea of you living close enough to think of working there! You are more intentional about Independence Day than I have ever been. It's nice to have you back, too!

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