Image to the eyes of the Pilgrims and fellow travelers, the beauty of Plymouth Bay, that beautiful New England blue.
Several years ago, I went to join Janene at a convention in Boston. A wonderful city I had hitched up to from a Connecticut weekend, 10 thousand years ago. One of my wishes was to see Plimoth Plantation and especially to learn about the Indians, or as we say politically correctly in the East, Native Americans.
I had been fed up with our soirées, called Feasts that 1st grade has done for years. Amid tons of turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, canned green beans and a truckload of apple/pumpkin/pecan pies, are kids dressed as Pilgrims and Natives. I used to go wild, that we perpetrate, not so much the meal (which we are still skeptical of), but of the costume. Especially Native, which seems more like Native tribes of the mid-West, especially Shoshone hide paintings or those Sioux and Ojibway symbols creeping up on vests which were really to be realized as Wampanoag! So I wanted to see in person, what I had researched on the net.
The Plantation sits several miles from the bay town. So the shots immediately below are both on the Plantation, and a few from Plymouth town. I deleted tourists or phone poles, to give a more pristine image of what it might have been like. I wanted to present them to my Florida kids. Land/water imagery here would not be alien to them, though the color more yellow and lighter, and signs of Florida palms lurking!
Plimoth Plantation isn’t in Plymouth, the town. The site has a similarity to the town, but is not at Plymouth. At Plimoth Plantation you just go on a self-directed walk (we were given a time to come back). It was pleasant walking to the Wampanoag village, my first stop.
Several years ago by a teacher to help her with her costumes and I did my homework. I cut one shouldered vests. We attached fringe and did not let the kids do drawing on. I got the boys to do feather things for hair and clay pendants for necklaces. While I had the girls string beads. I guess authenticity was not colorful enough. We stopped working together, or maybe it was just time. But my kids were more authentic. So I was delighted to see reenactments of descendants of the Wampanoag, although they looked a little more European, than expected!
I noticed the Wampanoag had tattoos on his forearms, but we kept going off track with some of the questions asked. I wondered if tattoos were common like among the Timucuan. It is hard to tell, these people throughout the Plantation site are actors.
The young man above (I was laughing about the shirt!) explained about the boats and how they were created.
The young lady was a little shy, but so preoccupied with smoothing the clay over the fish. As I know clay, I thought how this must hold in steam up until a certain point, then blowout a bit. A novel way to cook fish, as the clay would tend to absorb liquid. I wondered about the clay, is it as sandy as some of the clay that comes right out of the ground here. Or as slimy as I remember clay out of the ground in New York?
And then you walk further into what is the recreation of Plimoth Plantation. On this Constable-like day, with gardens growing and people walking around you, I got a sense of the scale and the beauty of the land. You’re free to roam in the houses and yards, without some Disneyesque idiot guiding you along. Or worse yet, two docents making sure you don’t steal a rock or something at Abiquiu in the O’Keeffe house.
Plymouth had a hill (retouched photo, right) which sloped upward a distance from the water. I if you could see the boats come in, and on the hill the Plantation had been. There was a creek nearby, which reminded me the reason the site was chosen: fresh water. After Jamestown.
It is not the real McCoy, but a reasonable facsimile, like the boat and the Wampanoag. Just as Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam, sheds some light on my own ignorance. I went back over the photos trying to get rid of people to see both in land and people what it must have been like. My original intent was to do a video with the retouched shots for my kids, to give them some visual sense.
The beautiful gardens got to me. Yards, like you have now, with vegetable gardens and even some flowers. Is this what it was like living in English towns? I know that Williamsburg was based upon careful drawings done by a Frenchman, who actually mapped out the exisitng town. I wonder how they arrived at this recreation here.
Sick of black and belt buckles, I always knew they were more Elizabethan in appearance. All that nonsense that came out of post-20s twentieth century illustrative nonsense. Teachers spend so much time with the kids cutting stiff white colors. As if the Pilgrims had a bottle of Javalle water handy! Catch the spots on his gold wool doublet.
Lots of fences and sectioned off areas. There was even a fort/meeting hall, and that was interesting to go in and see. The untreated wood reminded me of the South, that I knew as a kid. Normally I hate flash, but the interiors were authentically unlit, and I wanted to be able to get the detail of them.
I have been to Williamsburg on the cheap. Several years ago you could go in, although not take part in any of the histories or museums without a certain badge you paid for and wore. Still I got to see what I wanted at Williamsburg for nothing. At the Planation and the Mayflower2, you had to pay, but with a bus trip thrown in, a pleasant driver who gave us the “tour” of Boston and tipped us off about the Mayflower 2, the replica. It was a pleasant day for $30. I don’t know what it is today, but you can check.
National Monument to the Forefathers, formerly known as the Pilgrim Monument, is located on Allerton Street in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Boston is a great city. Plimoth, and the real Plymouth are something to see. When visiting Boston, go there if you have time.