At one point last night, I started to write down conversations that were happening at different ends of the Thanksgiving table. My favorites include my mother discussing her cleaning lady's immigration classes, Uncle Greg explaining to me how Sylvia Plath killed herself, who exactly "this Tyler Perry" is and my brother and his friends recreating their roles from their 8th Grade musical, Guys and Dolls.
I never found my documentary on the hardships of Pilgrim life, although the more I brought it up, the more I yearned to know the horrible, disgusting details of these brave men and women in search of religious freedom. Once again, and much to the "I'm such an intellectual, I'm out of touch with the conveniences of modern life" horror of my family, I found all I need to know on Wikipedia.
Here. See for yourself.
There isn't a section on "Hygiene" as obviously, I'd prefer, but we do get to read all about married life and the first Thanksgiving. Get a load of this: "During the first winter in the New World, the Mayflower colonists suffered greatly from diseases like scurvy, lack of shelter and general conditions on board ship. 45 of the 102 emigrants died the first winter and were buried on Cole's Hill. Additional deaths during the first year meant that only 53 people were alive in November 1621 to celebrate the first Thanksgiving. Of the 18 adult women, 13 died the first winter while another died in May. Only four adult women were left alive for the Thanksgiving."
First of all, that's pretty brazen to think it's a good idea to go live in the unbroken wilderness with 101 people for the rest of your life. Imagine it. "Oh, hey guys. So we found this huge chunk of land in the middle of this ocean. It sucks here. Wanna go live there. We'd have to, you know, build everything."
Um, no thanks. I'm good here in Puritan England. Freedom Schmeedom.
-the original Beth Spotswood, circa 1619
I should get that engraved on a rock and placed dramatically in front of Harrod's. Anyway, 4 chicks at Thanksgiving? Jeez. You think you're coming to the New World and at least your girls are coming with you. But a coupla snowflakes later and suddenly, it's a sausagefest. Also, I'd imagine the women got passed around a lot. 4 women? John Smith has needs. "Second marriages were not uncommon, and widows and widowers faced social and economic pressures to remarry. On average, most widows and widowers remarried within six months to a year."
Tick tock, Ed. You can't mope around all year.
I pointed out to Melissa that I spent my entire youth hating school and now, in my extremely early 30's, I'm dying to sit in a classroom all day and learn. Kids don't know how good they have it! These days, plop me down in a 6th Grade Social Studies class and instead of doodling in my Trapper Keepers, I'd be all, "Whoa, whoa, whoa Teach. Back that up. Let's talk more about this Squanto..."