Thursday, October 2, 2008

Field Trippin

Oh yeah, I went on the best field trip that I have ever been on with either one of the boys, EVER!

Ok, we got to school and I decided that since I was going, I would drive. And lil ole me got to drive the sexy red MB! I thought it would be nice to take PJ's friend's dad with me too. That way we both didn't have to spend the gas money, and we didn't have to drive with the snooty moms either.

We take off before the bus, get half way through Knoxville and thought I was going in the wrong direction. Turn around, get all the way to Loudon and realized I was heading the right way after all. I thought I knew where this place was, turns out I did. I just forgot that I 40E leads you to I 75 N, heading to Lexington. We did get there eventually, about 10 minutes after the bus got there, so we didn't miss anything.

We went to the Museum of Appalachia in Norris TN. It has been around for years and is a great place for a field trip, and a great place to go back to take Eric one day. I really wish the leaves were changing, but they weren't. The weather was perfect and the kids were great.

We were greeted with the woman playing the fiddle. She was an excellent story teller.

We walked by this amazing fireplace on the way it.

She had the children come up and pick-a-pocket. Each one had different things in it to make a story. She explained that since they didn't have a good way of keeping their stories, they would make up a song.

She had several of the children up there. They would put on hats and they would help make up parts of the songs.

This was a time when they made up the instruments. They had washboards, spoons, and a washtub that actually made a bass. It was funny. The kids had a blast and all of us really enjoyed the fun that they provided

Our storyteller would tell us about the things around the room. Like the auger that was against the wall. Or how about this one:

Apparently Granny Toothman didn't waste a single hair from anything. She made things from even the tongue of a whale. Gross, but they had to be resourceful. They were smart, they used everything that came their way, because this was all they had. They didn't have the modern things that we have today.

The boys collected their paper for the scavenger hunt they had to do. They had to answer 10 questions to get extra credit. And then we were off.

There were about 35 different exhibits that we had to travel through. We spent the most time in the Hall of Fame and the Discovery House. The Hall of Fame held the artifacts of people that lived in Appalachia and actually became famous, Sgt Alvin York was one of them. They had a guitar from Roy Acuff, and many other things that the boys did not find the least bit interesting.

The Discovery House was a different story, they loved it. When they got inside and started "discovering" what was back then, they didn't want to leave. We spent more time there than any other place.

They saw the spear and arrowheads, the tools that they used to make everything with. Me, well the quilts were amazing to me.

This place was full of things that you wouldn't imagine. It was the stuff that they collected from all over. Now, what I didn't realize until I got further into this place, was that they moved houses, churches and schools from different parts of Appalachia to make this musuem what it is today. I can't imagine the time that went into all of thisI would love to show all the pics, but I can't. There are most of them on the slideshow. Please click and visit.

Anyway we traveled upstairs, past the quilts and found so many unique and interesting things. I noticed that they had several player pianos or pump pianos. That was a form of entertainment for them when they went out, very rarely was that.

While upstairs one of the little girls in PJ's class stopped to show me something. She was so amazed by this, that she didn't stop talking about it. I love to see that kind of enthusiasm in children. But she showed me this Matchstick Chapel. It was made entirely from matchsticks. Of course they didn't have radios, tvs or computers, so their form of entertainment was a hobby that they picked up. Like I said, some quilted, some made toys,
some made Matchstick Chapels.

PJ went around one corner that he wasn't supposed to and found a butter churn. We all have seen butter churns and to me it was no big deal. I need to let him churn some butter one day. He won't ever complain again. But downstairs, this caught my eye,

On the way out I spotted this, how the boys missed it is beyond me. It was their post office. Now we all remember Little House on the Prairie, this looked just like what was in that show.

It was getting close to lunch time and I didn't want to get into another part and then haul it back for lunch, so we turned around and headed back to the pavillion. Now, let me stop here and say this, if I had KNOWN that they served lunch here, I would have gotten it. This man walked by me with cream corn, new potatoes, corn bread and homemade chicken and dumplings!!!!! Oh man, here I am eating a turkey sandwich, snacking on fig newtons. NUTS! Plus, if I got that, PJ would be all over it!
It felt like a wonderful Fall day. The breeze was blowing cool air, the sun was just strong enough to be warm, the air was fresh and clean. It was a perfect day for all of us to be out there, in light weight jackets, not sweating, just comfortable.

Ok, now we started our scavenger hunt after lunch. The questions were things like, "In the Arnwine Cabin, they used this for cooking______" There were a list of words to pick from, things like iron stove, smokehouse, fireplace. Well, the boys got a little ahead of themselves and wrote down answers before we got there.

I thought that it would take us longer to see the rest of the houses, but it didn't. All it was, you walk in, if allowed and then you take the path to the next house. Mark Twain's house, Daniel Boone's house, the Whiskey Still used during Prohibition, Big Tater Valley School house, the church, the house that showed they actually had some form of money, the original pictures on the walls, the original needlepoint. All of this amazed me, the boys thought it was too cool too.

The church was amazing, along with the school house. The books, original hymnals,
the pews where they sat, the benches where they learned, the distration out the windows,where the teacher stood all just enthralled me. But what really amazed me was how both of the boys really showed an interest in this trip. That was wonderful to see.

We got done early and headed back to the pavillion where the teacher was at. She told us that we had enough time to do whatever we wanted and then we would spend time in the gift shop. Those 2 boys begged and begged to go back through one more quick time. And, so we did.

This trip through the Discovery House, I noticed this, how I missed it the first time, I don't know.

Our next stop was the People's Church. Strange little place, in my very humble opinion. They taught the hell, fire and brimstone from this place. But they had other things in there too. Rather different, but it was part of the tour.

We missed some questions on the paper, and decided to head to the cabin that had several answers. Apparently General Bunch was well off, he had a larger than normal house, garden and smokehouse. I am sure there were others that would have loved to have that stuff.He had pantries full of food, a hutch of some sorts and a quilt loom over the table. you can see it over the table.
I had to explain to the boys that the people then were smaller in stature than we are today, they weren't as wide either. They rode bikes, if they had the money for one, they played outside all the time, and they did their chores, not just sweeping the floor. It was things like milking the cow, chopping wood, cleaning out the pig sty, collecting eggs, churning butter. They had to help out around the house, the mother stayed home, but that doesn't mean she had time to do it all.

If I went through all 35 houses on this blog, I would be here forever. But it is long enough as it is. I took 165 pictures in all. Didn't realize that I did. Spent $87 in the gift shop. Some things for Christmas, some things for fun, some things that I just wanted. I bought Eric a Civil War puzzle in a bottle, handmade woven coasters, 2 rubber band guns for the boys (they had a blast with them last night), a cookbook for me (can't go up there and not buy one), and a few other things that caught my eye.

PJ and I needed something to drink before we left, so we headed to the snack shop and got a diet coke and coke in the glass bottles. The woman said that the bottle opener was on the machine. Yep, I should have gotten a pic of that. I remember my step great-grandfather having one of those in his little store. PJ was amazed at how I knew how to use that thing.

We left with our fellow riders and headed home. It was an awesome trip. I learned so much. Growing up in New Jersey, you don't learn things like that. We learned about the Appalachian Mountains, only because of geography, we didn't learn about the people that lived there. We didn't learn about Appalachia and the states that was considered Appalachia. We learned about the Northern things, never anything about the South, only that the South lost the Civil War. I am so sorry that I missed out on this stuff growing up, but I have the chance now to learn new things. And this trip was amazing. The children were WONDERFUL, the time was fun, the step back in time was an eye opener.

One last picture. I am still learning to take different things, loving life through the camera lens.

There were dates on everything that they had. But what amazed me is that people lived this way up until the 1940's, 68 years ago. A time that we thought they lived a little better. But in Appalachia, this was the norm. My parents lived in a house with electricity in the 40's. They had gas heat, they had radios, so to see that they lived like this up until this point, well, it floored me. Growing up, I thought that it was all like it was up North, I lived in a shell, I thought every place was as advanced as we were in middle part of the century. It wasn't, people didn't have electricity in some places, they kept warm by the fireplace, cooked in a cast iron pot directly in the fire. Such a wonderful history lesson for me. I can't wait to take Eric up there now!

Thank you for enduring the journey. I really hope you enjoy the pictures.


Johanna said...

How interesting! I felt like I was there with you. That is one place I'd love to visit. I just eat up history.

Funny you should mention Loudon. My friend, Ed, relation to Clayton Coon, the book I plan to write someday, lives in Loudon part of the year. They also own a home in Sarasota, FL and go down during the winter months. I didn't realize Loudon was so close to you.

Thank you so much for sharing. The pictures were great!

Elaine said...

You had an amazing day! I love your pictures, and I would love to go to the museum someday. I'm so glad the boys enjoyed it and got so much out of the day. When History is so accessible, and so real, kids love it. Not a bunch of dates, but real people and real examples of life and living. Thanks for sharing, and your photos are gorgeous!