Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Betsy Ross (Or, The Lady That Never Dies)

Betsy Ross is all the rage these days. Well, in our house anyway. The fascination started with a chance book borrowed from the library, but then evolved to my seeking out a more descriptive book from the library and finally, after talking about her life and sewing and oh my god she was one of seventeen children, we went to check out her house on President's Day.

Her house is open five or six days a week, so we could go anytime. But I actually shuffled around existing plans to go specifically on the holiday because the Betsy Ross House website had led me to believe there would be special goings on that day that would warrant coming specifically on that day of all days. If by special goings on they meant making paper bag puppets, then I guess they spoke the truth. If by special goings on, I envisioned parades and speeches and reenactments, then I guess the only one I have to blame is myself. Damn you, imagination.

We reread Betsy's biography before heading out. But there was little point in brushing up on our facts. Nothing about that woman is validated anywhere. Facts presented at the house completely contradicted facts in the book. And no one is even sure if she did indeed sew the first flag. The only thing I felt entirely sure of was the fact that Betsy Ross was dead.

The grave of a Betsy Ross impersonator.
(Betsy herself still resides in the house.)
As we toured the house, Vance kept asking where Betsy was. I kept telling him that we wouldn't see Betsy herself. She was dead. We could just see her house. This exchange happened numerous times. Finally, as we headed down to the upholstery-shop part of the house, Vance's understanding nod led me to believe he was finally convinced that there was no Betsy. We get down to the shop and who should greet him but a Colonial woman named Betsy. The two kids looked at me both confused and overcome with the sense they were witnessing a miracle. "I didn't know Betsy was still alive!" Fifi exulted. Thank you very much historical re-enactors.

No comments:

Post a Comment