Archive for August 8th, 2006

What’s in YOUR Backpack?

August 8, 2006 @ 6:33 am | Filed under:

So we took this little road trip. The girls packed their
own backpacks with a week’s worth of clothing and (prepare to gasp in
horror—at least, that was their reaction when I told them) only two books each.
TWO books. Not twenty-two, which is about how many Jane figured she’d
need for a six-day trip. I reminded her that 1) she was going to be too
busy talktalktalktalk- talking with her bosom buddies to (gasp) do any
reading while we were there and 2) if by some unimaginable chance there
came a lull in the talktalktalking (and swimming and eating and singing
of songs from the Snoopy soundtrack
she was going to be staying at possibly the only house on the east

(Actually, that’s not true, and is in fact somewhat of a slander against Alice. Between us, Scott and I have amassed more books than is sane and reasonable for any one person. Alice is both sane and reasonable. She has a lot of books, but not a basement full. But then, a lot of what we have are comp copies of our own books, and it is fairly reasonable to keep those around. Then, too, we have wound up with a lot of freebies. And both of us have kept pretty much every book we ever owned since, um, birth. And then all the stuff I’ve collected for homeschooling. It adds up. However, a massive subtraction will have to occur very soon, because with gas prices what they are there is no way I’m putting all these (beloved, sob!) volumes on a moving truck. And horrors! I hear they don’t have basements in Southern California! Nowhere! It is the Land of Perfect Weather But No Basements! I believe it’s a state law, and that border check Scott had to pass through as he entered California was not, in fact, to screen for illegal aliens but rather to make sure he wasn’t trying to smuggle any basements through in his trunk. They have specially trained German shepherds who can sniff out a basement a mile away. Grrrr…I smell cellar! What do you think this is, New England?)

So. Two books each. When I saw the girls’ choices, I had to laugh.
Sometimes it’s like we’re a parody of ourselves. I do believe I have
blogged about every one of those books at one time or another. For
example, Beanie picked one of her beloved Tintin books—a fine choice for a long ride, I must say. She can’t quite read them yet—Go Dog Go is more her speed—but she loves to pore over the pictures and puzzle out the story. Her other choice was one of Scott’s Disney adaptations, I think.

Jane’s two books were A Wind in the Door, Rakkety Tam, and Little Women. Apparently she thinks I can’t count.

And Rose chose The Children’s Homer and her tattered, read-to-shreds copy of Adventures of the Greek Heroes. Because no trip is complete without a little Hercules. (Whose little-known thirteenth labor, by the way, was to smuggle a basement into California. Since California as such didn’t even exist in his day, this was quite a feat indeed.)


Who needs books when you can watch the traffic on I-81?

We Have a Winner!

August 8, 2006 @ 4:36 am | Filed under: , , ,

Three of them, actually. Diane, Stephanie, and Cici all correctly guessed the answer to yesterday’s trivia question: Charlotte Tucker (Quiner Holbrook), maternal grandmother of Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Which is to say: Ma’s ma.) Charlotte was born in 1809 along with Edgar Allen Poe and a whole bunch of other notable personages, such as Alfred Lord Tennyson and Abraham Lincoln (as Ryane pointed out). Also Louis Braille, British statesman William Gladstone, Charles Darwin, and Felix Mendelssohn. Quite a year for history, I’d say.

My girls discovered the 1809 connection when we read Abraham Lincoln’s World by Genevieve Foster. (If you don’t know the Foster books, you’ll want to check them out—they are an engaging and fascinating look at various historical periods, each one digging in deep to world history during the lifetime of a key historical figure like Lincoln, Washington, William Penn, or Columbus. They make terrific read-alouds for a wide age range. I’ll be reading Augustus Caesar’s World to my gang during the upcoming year.)

We were excited to realize that Abe Lincoln was born just a few months before our good friend Charlotte Tucker. For me, Lincoln is so firmly connected to the Civil War that I had never given a moment’s thought to what was going on in the world when he was growing up. The War of 1812! Madison and Monroe! Jefferson was still alive, for decades! Do you ever think of Lincoln and Jefferson as having overlapped?

Anyway, Charlotte is the person I mentioned yesterday who is so very important to me. After writing books about her, she feels in some ways like another one of my own little girls. Same with her mother, Martha. Perhaps even more so with Martha because I’ve written about her both as a child and as a mother.

I know I said I’d give a signed book to the first person to get the right answer, but the three Charlotte answers came in so close together that what the heck, you all win. Email me your address and the name or names you’d like me to put in the book (you? your kids?), and I’ll send you each a copy. Also let me know if there’s a particular Charlotte or Martha book you’d like to receive.

Thanks to all who proffered a guess!

Tags: , ,
, , , ,