Today we decided to go to Derry, New Hampshire to visit the Robert Frost Farm and the Taylor Up and Down Saw Mill. Robbie asked who Robert Frost was, so I pulled up The Road Not Taken online and read it to him. He thought about it for a minute, and then said excitedly “Oh I get it – he was not sheeple! He did not go where all the sheeple-people went!” Although I am not personal fan of the word sheeple <grin> I think his interpretation of the poem is spot on!
Next, I read him Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, and I mentioned that in school, I’d had to memorize that poem and recite it in front of the class (as did everyone else in my grade). Robert said he had to memorize and recite the Preamble to the US Constitution, and I remembered I’d had to recite the Gettysburg Address. This led to questions about who Lincoln was, and why even though he was President a long time ago, we still remember his speeches (Robbie said giggling, “Especially Mom since most speeches I’ve heard are too boring to want to remember for more than an hour or two…”). So we talked a little about some of the good things Lincoln did for the country, like freeing the slaves, which Robbie remembered he’d heard about before – and leading the Union during the Civil War, with which he is also already familiar from a previous conversation. We had seen a pick-up truck driving around our town with a giant Confederate flag flying in the bed of the truck, and Robbie had asked, “What flag is that?” – and he found it amazing to think the US was at one point trying to split in two “like Korea with its North and South!!” So after we remembered Lincoln, and after he questioned a few more times why teachers in school made Robert and I (and our classmates) memorize things that are already written down anyway <grin> we read through the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address together. When Robbie heard the word “endure” in the Gettysburg Address, he got all excited and said “hey that’s a Pokemon move – endure!!!”
So we headed out to Derry, and we visited the Farm and the Sawmill, and took lots of photos – then we decided to stop at an old cemetery in Chester, NH on the way home. The cemetery has graves from 1750 forward, and has stones that were carved by famous stone-workers of the day. We had read that we could find both happy and sad faces on the stones in cemetery. The second we got out of our car, Robbie was thrilled – he walked among the gravestones looking at each one for dates, interesting names, and interesting carved faces. He was very excited, talking about who the people might have been, and wondering how old the oldest graves we’d find would be. He asked if we could go to other cemeteries “very soon” to look for other carvings, and to see what else we could find for old and interesting graves. When we left the cemetery and went for pizza for dinner, Robert mentioned that he’d seen George Washington’s gravesite when he was younger. Right away, Robbie wanted to know if any presidents are buried in or near New Hampshire. We found a website that lists “Presidential Places” by president name or state, and learned that Franklin Pierce is buried in New Hampshire, Calvin Coolidge in Vermont, and John Adams and John Quincy Adams are in Massachusetts. We promised to visit their gravesites as soon as we could!
Photos from today: