Sunday, October 13, 2013

~ Our Trip to Hannibal, Missouri: A Mark Twain Study

Age is an issue of mind over matter.
 If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

Go to Heaven for the climate, 
Hell for the company.
Only one thing is impossible for God: 
To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds 
on the heel that has crushed it.

A statue of the man himself as one enters town

Gripped yet, by the wit and wisdom of Mark Twain??
Well, we were  certainly were as we turned back  time  and 
immersed in bygone days when we visited the 
boyhood home of America's most well known
authors and arguably a genius in his own right.

 I find these quips of Twain's especially relevant in our current political climate:

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, 
and your government when it deserves it.

Suppose you were an idiot, 
and suppose you were a member of Congress.
But I repeat myself.

Welcome to my spot on the web!
Please make yourself comfortable and enjoy a photojournal of 
to America's Hometown: Hannibal, Missouri,
  a highlight of our almost 8,000 mile journey,
for a peek into the past, 
a gander at the home of "the real" Becky Thatcher....
"the real" Huck Finn...
 Twain's life and inspiration....
"Meeting" the man himself.....

~ The Journey West to Missouri ~
This site was a fountain of info on Twain, his works  and practically speaking, touring the town and the surrounding area.
We left home predawn on the Fourth of July, as my son was in a play 
at a local community theater  the weekend prior to that.
We had planned to be off in late June, but when he landed the role, of course
we pushed everything back ten days or so.
 With  all that is involved in prep for a  family cross country camping trip,
 it took some days after the hustle of
rehearsals and performances to be sure we were set and to rev up for the journey.
No matter much you think you have done, seems there's always more, right?
And speaking of planning for the trip,
I have a post forthcoming on details of  our packing for  entertainment and
learning in the kids' backpacks....some of which I discuss below.

An interesting view of the NYC skyline, from the Jersey side, 
which always looks "backwards" to me....
the opposite of the skyline view one sees in  movies and TV set in NY.
This is 70 miles west of us, 
though I grow up in Queens, in the shadow of the skyscrapers.
 The Freedom Tower ( to the right) still looks like a surreal 
addition to the iconic structure of the cityscape.
I  replay 9/11 in my mind whenever I see The City and probably always will.

Eight hundred miles later....
How cool is this?
Taken in Indiana on Interstate 74, heading west of course.

Yes, that's our van stopped up there on the side of the road.
The hubby ran back to get the shot for me, for our homeschool endeavors and
for him as well, as an Earth Science teacher.

Just a little aside~~ In the boys' travel folders,
 I place maps which they reference as we reach certain
geologic/geographic features.
Believe me, there are cries of jubilation over the map skills that they
home during their summer vacation.
Yessirree! Worksheets on vacation! Now who doesn't love that?! 
Seriously, they are fun and practical....

Along with the Which Way Info Book on Missouri,
 (since MO is the state of our first couple of stops)
they're prepared with these maps:

~ Contiguous USA Latitude and Longitude Activity~ 

found  here at Enchanted Learning

~ Interstate Map of the Contiguous USA~ 
found here at  Online Atlas

~Political Map of the Contiguous USA~

found here at Free World maps

~Time Zone map of the contiguous USA~

Found at World Time

The number of ways that the maps can be utilized is all up to one's own 
family needs, ages, and creativity.
I do catch them referring to  their state and USA maps throughout our trips!
Complain away, but they're used and actually, liked!
We've done time zone studies, latitude/longitude "quick quizzes" 
and shading of a brand new state as we cross its border, 
thereby keeping track of which ones we've toured.
 So far we've visited 44 states as a family
 over the course of five summers  of cross country travel.

~On the Streets of Hannibal~
After driving through the night and slightly over 1,100 miles, 
we reached Sam Clemens's hometown by the morning of the 5th.
Yup, the hubby is a man on a mission and drives til we reach our destination.
National Lampoon's Summer Vacation, anyone?
Seriously, we do stay safe; we do.
Stops are aplenty. 
Snacks, walks, conversation in the car and books on CD.

So here it is:
 Boyhood personified.

 Oh yes, fence painting contest!

 Meeting and.......
...chatting with the man.
And wow, was he ever Mark Twain!
It was as if we were truly back in time on the streets of his hometown.
Everything about the experience propelled us to the immutable past.
The setting, the buildings' architecture, the characters come to life strolling the streets,
the very fact that the Mississippi raged steps away was simply epic.

Here's K by the refurbished home of Tom Sawyer's partner in crime,
 Huck Finn, whose character was actually based in large part on 
Sam Clemens's real life boyhood best friend, Tom Blankenship!
Did you know that?

The boys by the hearth inside the Blankenship residence.
Why on earth is this so blurry?

And Becky Thatcher's character was based on Laura Hawkins,
a girl who was admired from afar by  Sam.
Here they are inside the Thatcher home:
K's a good sport.

~The Mark Twain Museum~

With an actress who portrayed a slave and 
retold Mark Twain's realistic short story,
"A True Story."
She was truly amazing. The dialect, the impersonation.
Timmy with a piano  owned  by Clemens's son in law, acclaimed
pianist, Ossip Gabrilowitsch
A raft set-up in the basement, symbolic of
Life on the Mississippi

With a lovely statue of Twain reading aloud from one of his own novels.

~By the Mississippi~
After a picnic lunch by the shore.....

An iconic statue of Sam Clemens overlooks the mighty  Mississip!

~At the campground that night~

We befriended a family who had driven to Hannibal for the
Fourth of July weekend
 from  nearby St Louis and enjoyed their company over s'mores....
Unfortunately, they were obscured by smoke in the other picture we took.
Interestingly, they were homeschoolers also, and as usual, we Moms
wound up discussing all things nerdy...... 
curriculum and schoolroom-set-up!
Ah, fun.
Even on summer vacation!
But really, marshmallows, Mark Twain and a  fellow homeschooler with whom to
thrash out details of how to implement what we learned in town 
that day within our literature studies
What could be better?

The next morning, Timmy draws a bird in his nature journal before we head to
St Louis for a tram ride to the top of the Gateway Arch
and a tour of The Museum of Westward Expansion in its base.
I shot the photo below  as we waited right there in that spot underneath it for about two hours on the Saturday of Fourth of July weekend, while security examined bags 
and x-rayed all belongings of
the throngs of tourists who entered.
It was 106 degrees and there was a festival of international food
on the grounds under the arch.
Hence, more mobs and cooking heat. 
So while this looks the epitome of grandeur and 
the personification of America's spirit of freedom....
I have to come clean and tell you that
I wasn't feeling it at the time.

I'll be blogging around the trip to the top of the arch and the jaw dropping
spirit captured with the museum at its base
 at some point, but probably not all that soon.
Though by now, I am over the feeling of hysterical entrapment 
at the top of the arch.
I'm really not kidding.

Friends,  please watch for, at some point in the coming weeks,
the next installment
in my series of Mark Twain's life and times.
I'll be discussing little known facts about Sam Clemens,
 controversy over a few of his titles as well as
practical use of Twain's works across the curriculum.

If you're interested in our travelogue, all of my Forever West posts are here.
Individually, they are:

You'll Ever Have, This Side of Fishermen's Wharf ~

Geology/Earthquake Ares  of Southern California

Enjoy traveling with us......!

Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

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  1. I had to laugh at the quips of Twain.
    Wow 1100 miles without stopping, except I'm sure for gas and potty breaks. whew...but what a great trip and insightful education. Thanks for sharing.
    Spatulas On Parade

    1. I KNOW...the wit is too funny, right?? Still rings true, even 150 years later! Too much!

      I know, we like to just get where we're going...not stopping til then...:)
      Thanks for stopping in, Dawn! I appreciate your visit!

  2. Oh I can't wait until we can take my kids traveling around a bit more. I would love to visit places like this, ones saturated with history. I would love for them to witness such authentic reenactments. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you Kristen; love that you stopped by to visit!
      You'll love traveling with them once they get old enough to enjoy!...

      Take care!

  3. It's been years since we've visited the Hannibal sites. Thank you for sharing visit - it's a reminder that we need to take our younger children!
    I've enjoyed peeking in on many of your travel posts - so much fun, so much learning!

    1. Linda~
      Thanks so much for the kind words! Yes, you will def enjoy this type of trip as your children get older!

      Take care!

  4. What an awesome trip and learning experience. I love visiting historical sites and being able to learn what happened there hands on and not just as pages in a book. Thanks so much for sharing your journey!

    1. Aw, well, thank you, Mst T, for spending some time here!

      Couldn't agree more-traveling really makes the past come to life! I appreciate your visit! Be well!

  5. Oh, how fun!! The church my family went to when I was young is across the street from the Mark Twain House in Hartford. We always went over there to visit and he is a family favorite. Thank you for sharing on Sharing Saturday!

    1. How great that you were so close to such a historic spot in CT! Terrific memories We've never been there, tho I've heard it's amazing

      Carrie, thanks for your visit! Have a great day, friend.

  6. Thank you for sharing your trip! Field trips are the best ways for children to learn because it's hands-on and fun, and I think they remember it for a lifetime. I will have to remember this place for an idea for a future trip!

    1. I so appreciate your visit!! You'll love Hannibal when you have the opportunity to get there!


      Have a great day!

  7. Wow! How super super fun! That drive is less than 6 hours for I want to go!

  8. This is such a great post! I really enjoyed all those Mark Twain quotes and will be keeping those maps in mind next time we take a long trip. Thanks so much for linking up at Wherever Wednesday (and sorry it's taken me so long to come by and comment! Been such a busy month this month.) I featured your post on this months WW, which is a week late (alas). If you have any other travel posts or local flavor posts I'd love if you'd share them:


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