Saturday, May 26, 2007

Abigail's Lace (for all of us 1776 fans!)

It took me awhile to find all the photos but my perseverence (read: stubbornness) paid off! Actually at one point I had found everything but the photo of Abigail's lace and was feeling pretty despondent when I had the sudden urge to look in one of the soup tureens in the dining room. Why did I look in the soup tureen? Beats hell out of me but I did and guess what? Yep. The photo was in there. (Along with one of the hot air balloon that landed in front of my parents' condo years ago.)

Without further ado, I bring you my beloved Adams Chronicles. (For non-US readers: John Adams was the second president of the United States. Abigail was his beloved wife. The letters exchanged during the course of their marriage are an amazing window into the 18th century, into their passion for freedom, into a partnership based on love and respect and shared goals. Abigail wasn't just his lover and wife, she was his intellectual partner--something very rare in the late 18th century.)

Abigail's lace:

When I snapped this photo I had no idea that the guide would actually let me hold this beautiful piece of history in my own hands. When she did, I was crying too hard to take a photo of anything but tears!I wish I'd asked more questions . . . and remembered the answers to those I did ask. It was such an emotional experience that the sense of wonder and connection dwarfed everything else.

These are photos of John's desk and chair. If you look closely, you can see his spectacles. Again, if I remember correctly, I believe he died on July 4, 1826 while sitting in that wing chair. His last words (I'm paraphrasing) were, "Jefferson still survives." In truth, Jefferson died that same day.

John's library and the dresser that held the lace, followed by a photo that speaks for itself.

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Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Barbara, when I read the words "Jefferson still survives", I started to cry. What an incredible bond those men had! It was certainly based on shared danger but it was even more than that: it was a deep-seated passionate belief in doing what was right, no matter how hard it was. You don't encounter that often and I think that's why the events of the American Revolution are so stirring to me. These men laid their lives on the line for ideas. Yes, I know there were some economic and political issues but can you imagine taking on the most powerful country in the world because you believed in something as abstract as "freedom"? Wow! It makes me shiver.

I always think of Franklin's words about signing the Declaration of Independence (and I'm paraphrasing too): "We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately." Laughing in the face of peril--you gotta love it.

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful photos from the soup tureen. :-)

2:43 PM  
Blogger Lori's Light Extemporanea said...

Oh, I'm all teary-eyed too. Thank you, Barbara, for finding and posting those pictures.

I got to visit the Adams homes in August of 1998. My late, great mil sent me there in hopes that I'd stop talking about Abigail Adams so very much. (Fat chance,that!) She pawned me off on two of her friends who lived in the Boston area and we had a blast going to Plimouth Plantation, Salem, and, of course, the Adams homes. We ran out of time to go to the place where they were buried.

One of the other fun things we did was to follow around an actress who pretended to be Mrs. Adams as she showed us what her Boston was like. Very interesting and informative. We ended up being the last people on the tour with her and just chatting her up major. After that, we went out to the Adams homes and I just felt such a thrill to be there. I know you know what I'm talking about.

Then I went home and, with the help of my ever-obliging hubby, created an Abigail of my own. She's now 8 years old.

I don't talk about Abigail Adams as much anymore but I have the fondest memories of that wonderful trip. Thanks for bringing them to mind tonight.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Nancy, you may have been paraphrasing Franklin, but I belive that's a direct '1776' quote. :)

And Barbara, thank you for the photos. I have always found it such an incredibly poignant thing that Jefferson and Adams died on the same day, on the anniversary of American Independence.

Very appropriate Memorial Day reading.

4:25 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

Oh my, I'd have been teary touching that lace, too. Old things and places rich with history affect me that way.

2:23 PM  

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