Learning History the Best Way

My girlfriend, Linda, is visiting this week.  Since we’ve been friends for over fifty years, we know each other pretty darn well.  Before she arrived, my husband made plans for her first few days with us as he would get to enjoy her companionship this past weekend.  “Linda will love the Mariner’s Museum,” he said confidently.  I told him as kindly as I could, that though I thought the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News was a fabulous place, I wasn’t so sure that Linda wanted to spend an entire day inside looking at nautical history.  “No, really, she’ll love it!” he kept telling me.

Let me tell you something about my husband, George. He absolutely loves history. He loves biographies. He loves autobiographies. He only reads nonfiction. I remember one time when he ordered several books on Amazon and was so thrilled when they arrived. One book was on the Inquisition, one was entitled, “Disease and History,” and the last one was about the Franco-Prussian War. I fell asleep just reading the titles.

I know my husband, and I know my friend. It was George who really wanted to go to the Marriner’s Museum, a place we have been to twice already. Linda, on the other hand, loves to be outdoors. Yes, she enjoys history, but walking around a nautical museum to experience it doesn’t do it for her. Now, put her in an art museum, and that’s a different story.

After repeatedly telling my husband that we should think of an alternative to the Marriner’s Museum, he said if the weather was beautiful, he might be able to reconsider. He hurriedly looked up the weather report for Sunday and was delighted to see that it was going to be breezy and chilly. Perfect weather to be indoors, as far as he was concerned. The day before Linda left to come here, she called me and said, “Susan, I don’t know how to break it to George, but I really don’t want to go to the Marriner’s Museum. I want to be outdoors. Even if it’s cold, we can bundle up. Could you break it to George for me?” Coward.

An active dig at the Jamestown Fort site.

An active dig at the Jamestown Fort site.

Sad for only a second, George came up with another idea. “We can take Linda to Jamestown. It’s outside and it’s historical.” Brilliant! So yesterday we spent several ours at Jamestown, the first permanent settlement. It was the birthplace of our country. We took a guided tour of the grounds and heard the fascinating story of the discovery of the very fort that was built in 1607. Our park ranger that led the tour was funny and informative. Though he talked for an hour and a half, we were captivated by his talk. The weather was a little chilly, but we stood outside in the sunshine by the banks of the beautiful James River. Both Linda and George got what they wanted.

After Jamestown, we went to Williamsburg, just down the road.

After Jamestown, we went to Williamsburg, just down the road.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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43 Responses to Learning History the Best Way

  1. Robin says:

    There’s nothing like a win-win situation, and this sounds like one. I’ve never been to Jamestown and hope to get there now that we’ll be so close. 🙂

  2. Amy says:

    I like history and don’t read fictions… I’m glad Linda and George got what they wanted 🙂

  3. Oh, I laughed out loud at George’s book titles from Amazon! Why? Because I should introduce my husband to yours. They have the same kind of reading interests….zzzzzzz. 😉 My husband loves history, museums and anything remotely historical. Usually when we visit a museum, I’m two rooms ahead of him because I only stop to read descriptions about things that interest me, he reads every single written word in every display.

  4. Hahaha…whew that was close! Glad you were able to compromise and have a wonderful time with your friend.

  5. judithhb says:

    Next time Linda is coming to visit please invite me too. And that George – gotta love him!

  6. tchistorygal says:

    What a great compromise! I love Jamestown – and Yorktown. After doing the week long teacher institute in Colonial Williamsburg, and visiting both places as part of the program I convinced my husband to visit a few years later. He’s not a history buff (unless it’s old cars), but he LOVED all of it. Those are such amazing places, there’s something for everyone to love there. I have a few pictures from Williamsburg on my post from yesterday. Glad you all worked that out! 🙂

  7. winsomebella says:

    Brilliant indeed! Jamestown is on my list……..I like history and outdoors too!
    So wonderful to have friends that “old.” 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      Great, Stacia—when you come to visit Jamestown, you can see Al and Patti and George and me. In fact, you and your sweetie can stay here. We’ll go to Jamestown together.

  8. Al says:

    You tell George that the next time he has a hankering for the Mariner’s museum to call me. Didn’t know he was a nonfiction only guy. Just another thing we have in common. How can “Disease and History” not be a cover to cover read for everyone??!!

  9. gaycarboys says:

    I’m afraid I’d be in a quandary. I’d want to do both;)

    • Coming East says:

      The next rainy weekend, I’m going to let my honey take me back to the Mariners’ Museum, GCB. It really is a great place, but I’m like Linda. I will always choose the outdoors if the weather cooperates.

      • gaycarboys says:

        i must admit the outdoors has a certain allure. Although I did see a brilliant “Alexander” traveling exhibition last week and the Australia Museum. There is something about seeing ancient technology that I find compelling. One regret is not going to Pompeii when I had the chance. I simply ran out of time. One can’t have everything I suppose.

      • Coming East says:

        That’s what return trips are for, Alan. 🙂

  10. dorannrule says:

    That was a great compromise. I love Jamestown and always wonder about the original settlers and all they had to endure. I’ll bet your friend enjoyed every outdoor minute! 🙂 P.S. Your husband might like to read The Great Influenza. It’s one of my favorites. 🙂

  11. Dianna says:

    I’m sure that was fun — and I would rather be outside at Jamestown than inside at a museum too!

  12. Elyse says:

    My husband always insists on the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum. What is it with these guys?

    • Coming East says:

      LOL, Elyse. You think it’s a guy thing? Don’t tell that to TeachesHistoryGal, who reads my posts! But I agree. I think more men are like that than women. I do enjoy historical fiction, though. Does that count?

  13. I’ve learned an awful lot about Canadian history (stuff we weren’t taught in school) by visiting various ‘historical points of interest’ in and around my own province. Last year my husband and I visited a ‘pioneer village’ in Prince Edward County; we were the only people there and while he was originally reluctant to traipse through old buildings, he was soon caught up with the old bits of machinery on display. There really was ‘something for everyone’ there. It’s amazing what’s in your own backyard that you can learn from (and enjoy at the same time).

    • Coming East says:

      Yes, seeing history unfold before your eyes instead of reading about it from a book is so much more meaningful, isn’t it, Margo? I would love to explore more of Canada someday. Maybe when hubby retires in a few years. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  14. Huffygirl says:

    I always read your posts anyway Susan, but the photo on this one really drew me in. Made me want to get down in that hole and see what was there. Looks like you found the perfect marriage of history and outdoors.

    • Coming East says:

      Since I always wanted to be an anthropologist and go on digs, HG, I enjoyed the ranger’s talk immensely. Oh, to be young again and have choices.

      • Huffygirl says:

        Agree. When I was young the choices were hair stylist (which was then called beautician), secretary, teacher, librarian, nurse. But my sister and I wanted to be paleontologists or archeologists. And this was way before the Indiana Jones movies. We ended up teacher (her) and nurse (me.)

      • Coming East says:

        I think we were all supposed to just get married, stay home, and raise the kids, HG. Actually, I think I like that idea. My kids need to come home so I can raise them.

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