The Washington Post March

American Collage

Our focus, these past few weeks, has been directed toward several aspects of the American experience –

Part of the American Collage “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects”, by Richard Kurin.  (We began by learning a bit about the Smithsonian Institution’s 19 museums and 9 research centers sites – mostly located in Washington DC).  So far, our favorite objects in the book’s collection:   

Columbus piombo    washington uniform

  • The well known portrait of Christopher Columbus that may not be a representation of the man at all – it was painted in 1519, more than 10 years after his death 
  • George Washington’s ultra elegant uniform (designed by George Washington!) 
  • The Bible that Thomas Jefferson edited for himself (leaving out parts he did not believe in)(discussion provoking)

It is going to take us months to work through this book.  We’re glad.

Part of the American Collage – “The Amish of Lancaster County” by Donald B. Kraybill.  Easy to read, up to date (published in 2019), with lovely, plentiful photographs.  Emphasized:  COMMUNITY and the hard working, self-sufficiency, graceful, modest, and religion-centered values of the Amish.  Of great fascination to us was the Amish education system:

amish school

  • all grades are taught in a one-room school 
  • science is not taught in school (we discussed)
  • there is no school after age 14 (we discussed)
  • teachers are not certified, college educated, or even high school graduates (we discussed)

Part of the American Collage – “The Blue Angels”, by Keillor and Wheeler.  Descriptive writing and heart-stopping photographs showcase the precision daredevil abilities of the Navy pilots demonstration team, thrilling everyone since 1946.  Most exciting chapter:  THE MANEUVERS! “The Delta Breakout”! “Loop Breaks”! “Six Plane Cross”!  “The Fleur-de-Lis”!  I asked my son if he would like to fly in a Blue Angel formation and the answer was a YES.  Count me out.  Also, you can count out any Amish community members from soaring with the  Blue Angels as they are (1) forbidden from joining the military and (2) forbidden from riding in airplanes of any sort.  CHANGE OF TOPIC: the first female Blue Angel joined the team in 2014 (we discussed).

Part of the American Collage – “The Incredible Band of John Philip Sousa”, by Paul Edmund Bierley.  We have never come across a book with its subject so thoroughly documented.  This book catalogs every tour, concert, concert program, musical instrument, and musician of the Sousa Band’s 40 year run.  Take aways, so far –

  • In 1889, Sousa sold the publishing rights to “The Washington Post March” for –  OH DEAR IT HURTS TO EVEN TYPE THIS – $35  
  • Sousa composed over 130 marches.  Most famous: “The Stars and Stripes Forever”, composed in 1896 and declared “Official National March of the USA” by an act of the US Congress in 1987
  • Between 1892 through 1931, the band presented just under 16,000 concerts, zigzagging all over the world.  SIXTEEN THOUSAND.
  • Sousa’s Band was a concert band, marching only eight times during the course of 40 years

Part of the American Collage – “Appleseed, The Life and Legacy of John Chapman”, by Joshua Blair.  We’ve learned:

  • Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) was a real person (1774 – 1845), not a made up legend (although he did travel barefoot, wearing the darnedest clothes, just like the legends proclaim)
  • how he procured the apple seeds (from cider factories!)
  • how and where he set up apple nurseries and the importance of these nurseries
  • of his ability to trusted by westward moving pioneer settlers as well as native Americans
  • how he utterly embodied the spirit of the Swedenborgian religion; the apple tree planting being his ministry
  • in case you are still reading – I painted the “Johnny Appleseed Song” on our kitchen wall (pictured above) in 2003 to celebrate my father’s 82nd birthday because he loved this sung as grace before dinner

apple pie

“As American as Apple Pie” story problem – Of course, Le Fictitious Local Diner sponsors an apple pie baking contest each July 4th.  Last year 40 people entered the contest and there was a three-way tie for best pie:

  • Dr. Susan’s “Doctored-up Super Cinnamon Apple Pie”
  • Tennis Pro Tom’s “What’s Not To Love-Love Apple Lemon Tart”
  • Miss Maddy’s “I-Want-More Burnt Sugar Apple Extravaganza Pie”  

1)  If each pie used an average of 6 apples, how many apples were used to make up all the pies entered into the contest?

2)  If each pie maker practiced on 3 pies before baking their entry pie, how many apples were used to make up all pies (practice and entry pies)?

3)  If the pie bakers bought their apples from Farmer Brown’s fruit stand, did the stand sell more or less than 1,000 apples for the event? 

4)  If the three winning pies were placed on the diner menu for the month of July, and 10 of each were served over the course of the month, how many apples were used to make the menu pies?   (answers at bottom of post)

Look what we made:  our American experience collage (my son’s first collage)

Part of the American Collage – Classical Music:

Amy Beach’s “Fireflies” from “Four Sketches, opus 15”, 1892.  (Amy Beach is noted as being the first female American composer.)  “Fireflies” may just be our favorite summertime classical music selection.  We have probably listened to it 100 times, each time reminding us of firefly magic during sultry summer nights when we lived in Georgia.  The piece sparkles –

Florence Price’s “Silk Hat and Walking Cane” from her “Dances in the Canebrakes”, 1953.   (Florence Price is noted as being the first female African-American composer.)  This delightful short piece provided an opportunity to chat with my son about this well-structured composition’s thematic set-up:  We listened for themes  A – B – A (developed) – C – and finally back to A –  

Charles Ives’ “Country Band March”, composed in 1903.  This is a true musical collage in which Ives has jaggedly juxtaposed fragments from more than 12 recognizable American marches and folk melodies.  When we listen to this, my son and I pretend we are making our way through a crowded carnival midway with American music blaring at us from all sides – 

Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH
(story problem answers:  1)  240 apples,  2)  960 apples,  3)  less, 4) 180 apples)

Wordery

Webster_27s_Dictionary_advertisement_-_1888_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_13641

Words, words, words – this past week, new vocabulary words have been emerging willy-nilly.  We have clocked in a fair amount of time defining unfamiliar words, phrases, and concepts.  Thank you Wikipedia and Google Images!  Last night, I presented my son with a vocabulary matching quiz, to see if the words had been explained well enough. (YAY!  Big smiles here. Phew.)

  • From “The Young Reader’s Shakespeare: Hamlet” by Adam McKeown:  coronation, goblet, immortal, liege, parapet, specter, avenge, revenge, and vengeance
  • From “Flora and Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo:  arch-nemesis, euphemism, treacle, and villain
  • From “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (translation by Katherine Woods):  baobab (a tree…real or imaginary?)
  • From our new novel, “The Way to Stay in Destiny” by Augusta Scattergood (a book BTW that we are LOVING), we had to do a bit of a side study on the illustrious Hank Aaron.
  • From Mozart’s “Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio”: seraglio

baobab

Editor’s comments: there is such a thing as a baobab tree (it is VERY weird and ridiculously large, and we can see why the little prince worked diligently to make sure this tree didn’t take root on his little planet), and everyone should take a listen to the “Overture to the Abduction from the Seraglio” – five and a half entertaining minutes (we love the rambunctious cymbal smashing)!

“Overture to the Abduction from the Seraglio” – take a listen!

 mules turkey rooster combs

From our Farm Unit – last night we learned quite a bit about mules. During the course of the past few days we’ve learned about turkey breeds, the three reasons to breed goats (milk, meat, fiber), and we’ve learned about draft horses. This book (“Farm Anatomy” by Julia Rothman) is just dynamite.  There is something new and easy to understand every single night.

Best Farmer Brown story problem from the past week: Farmer Brown has been glad it has been raining, because his cows, sheep, and goats drink a LOT of water every day (we learned this from our “Farm Anatomy” book!). If each sheep needs one to four gallons of water daily and he has a herd of 60 sheep, what is the least amount of water they need during the course of a week?

Last night’s music theme: March’s Marches. Last year, during March, my son and I listened to a different march every night. In truth, the concept ran thin about day 18. Even accounting for the wide variety of marches (military, wedding, graduation, coronation, funeral), 31 marches are a lot of marches. Last night, I presented my son with our list from last year and he selected three to listen to:

  • “The Radetzky March”, by Johann Strauss, Sr., composed in 1848. Such an A+ march; we never get tired of hearing this.
  • “March of the Siamese Children”, from “The King and I” by Rogers and Hammerstein (1951): elegant, and we love listening for the low, reverberating gong tones.
  • “The Washington Post March”, written in 1889, by John Philip Sousa.  Interesting aside: it is said that when Sousa was 13, his father signed him up as an apprentice in the United States Marine Corps band, to keep him from joining a circus band (a parent’s gotta do what a parent’s gotta do).   The link below leads to a neat video, starring the US Marine Corps Band and a nice explanation of the piece by the band leader:

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH