I’ve waited a long time for this
Posted on January 23rd, 2013
The historical period I fell in love with was the Age of Sail. Everyone else in my family had other historical periods staked out, but my father’s dominated. In the very few years we lived on the east coast, I went to Gettysburg alone 25 times.
Show of hands for everyone whose father made them walk the path of Pickett’s Charge so they’d know what their great-great-great grandfather did! Just me? You know how every Civil War battlefield has a million monuments for each individual regiment? We had to track them down for both sides (North and South, because ours was a house divided). Guys, there are a trillion insects on the east coast and they bite and sting. Also, I am allergic to mosquitoes. We hiked up Big Round Top in the summer. At Devil’s Den my siblings and I would get bored and pose like the staged corpses in the photographs. There used to be a really cheesy light presentation at Gettysburg, showing all the troop movements, and for a brief period of time I had parts of it memorized.
Anyway, back to Age of Sail. (And that’s it, really — I lose all interest in naval history when ships get metal hulls. My knowledge of the war in the Pacific is awful. I think I ask M when Midway was at least once a year, because I forget.) But the wooden hulls — how I love them. And I love admiralty law in all its crazy iterations, which is a shame because there’s almost no practice of it left in this town (and what there is has been dominated by one firm). I love reading prize cases. And I’m the only person I know who has an authentic, period cannon in her study (okay, it’s just a signal gun, but it looks like a cannon).
There were two things that made me a bit sad when I found out Pea was a girl. First, what if she didn’t want my Batman comic and memorabilia collection? Second, what if she didn’t like ships?! I know, how sexist, and here I am a girl and I’m into those things. But I worried.
I’m not worried any longer. She started yanking books off the shelf this afternoon and demanded that I explain everything in them. This did lead to some interesting conversations.
Pea: I don’t like the British.
Pea: They fought those arrow humans in the movie.
Me: ??? (She watched Master and Commander with me once and — this is surprising — wasn’t scared at all, but I’m not sure what that was about. I’m pretty sure M never showed her Last of the Mohicans.)
Pea: Did they have farmers’ markets on the ships?
Me: Um…no. You don’t really want to know about the food.
Pea: Why are there humans cutting other humans’ arms off?
Me: Well…if the arms are really hurt, and the body can’t heal them, the arm has to be taken off.
Pea: But they can put them back on.
Me: Um…no. Not back then.
Pea: (Buries head in chair cushion.) “I DON’T LIKE THE BRITISH!”