Monday, September 15, 2008

I, Josh Middleton Do Solemnly Swear....

Good Evening, Bloggy Friends.

As some of you may know I am a pretty big history buff. I have been reading historical novels ever since I was a wee tot. I remember being no bigger than a bean sprout, when I would walk into the town library to check out a book almost as big as I was. I wouldn't always finish it, but it excited me just to have it. I am particularly fascinated by women in history. So, you'll usually find me learning about different events that have taken place through various female perspectives. I usually get bored if there are too many men involved, so reading about their wives, mothers or sisters is a great way for me to learn about certain events that have taken place in our nation's history. There was a period of time when I became so involved, I told everyone I wanted to be the President of the United States when I grew up. I remembered the President's inaugural address and recited it to anyone who asked.

I am currently about to start reading a novel about our fourth First Lady, Dolley Madison called "A Perfect Union: Dolley Madion and the Creation of the American Nation" by Catherine Allgor. She is one of the few First Ladies I remember hearing anything about in early history classes. When reading about the birth of our nation her name would inevitably be dropped as the heroine who infamously saved the Washington portrait when the White House burned in the Battle of 1812. She is typically painted as a charismatic, boisterous lady who could run with the big dogs.

Before beginning a book I always take a minute to search through the pages of pictures that usually lie in the somewhere near the center. I love seeing what people looked like before I start reading their stories. As I was looking through the pictures that exist of Dolley's life I was shocked to see that a few actual dauguerreotypes exist of her. This may not seem like a big deal, or a surprise to you, but I was so excited. I have only seen painted portraits of her, so in a way she has always seemed rather imaginary. It was so neat to see an image of what she really looked like.

I'm excited to start reading this book. I don't have a lot of time at the moment for recreational reading, but I'll get through it slowly as the semester rolls along. It's nice to have a distraction from my sometimes daunting studies. This brings me to my question for the day: Are you reading anything now? Bloggy Friend Gary is, I'm sure. Any one else? What are you reading? What do you typically like to read? or do you despise it? Im interested!

Below I scanned a few of the dauguerreotypes I told you about. I'm not sure if you are a big fan of history, but maybe it will strike a cord of fascination within you like it did for me.

Have a great night. Do something that sends a chill of excitement down your spine!

Love, Josh

P.S. The above picture of me was from third grade (1988). Don't let that sweet smile fool ya, this was the first year I received my first (and only) paddling for starting a food fight in the cafeteria. It was also the year my little sister, Alexandra was born.


Picture 1: Dolley Madison (R) and her neice Annie Payne Cutts. Matthew Brady 1948

Picture 2: "The Last of the Founders." Matthew Brady


Rick Watson said...

Paddling? That's funny my first and only paddling was in 6th grade when I became involved in a food fight too! This boy threw it at me first, then I threw it back and I remember my teacher, Mrs. Wilson, coming over to me grabbing and squeezing the back of my neck scolding me. I received one lick from the principal, Mr. Dickens! The other boy received NONE! You know why? His mom was a school cafeteria employee!! I was so angry!!!

I'm reading nothing for pleasure, but when I do it's usually a documentary or self motivation type writing. I'm not into much fiction. I feel like I'm wasting my time when I read fiction. I'd rather read about real factual stuff! I must say my books, and there are several, this semester are very interesting and I always have reading assignments, nonstop. You can imagine, urban geography, Renaissance, Latino/a can offer up some spicy reads!

I've never been much of a history buff, but as I've grown older and wiser I tend to be more and more interested, especially with art history.

Josh, I'll have to send you a pic of me in 4th grade, not the one you've seen before, but my class pic!

Casey said...

That picture is so adorable!!!

My first paddling came in 1st grade... and was followed up by another the same school year... for talking too much. Imagine that. To a teeny, tiny first grader, a paddling was enough to prevent any further disciplanary action.

I love history and am proud to announce I won the History award when I was in 7th or 8th grade. I also have always enjoyed reading Presidential history books, but I'm interested in the men & the women behind them.

I'm not currently reading any books, but I am about to start. I have a lot of Prez books I've collected but havent read. I have some time on my hands right now.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I love your photo credits, hon.

Well aren't chu in a good mood then?! That's good!

It's amusing how people intersect and how they ... well, what's the opposite of intersecting? Sometimes I think how very different you and I are, then you say something and I think "That boy is just like me."

Men bore the Bejesus out of me. I've never understood them, I never cared about their fashions or their interests. Why do so few of them use saucers? It's a rare male who fascinates me ... there are a few (artists, of course). I was raised by women. I have no desire to be a woman, but I believe my environment growing up alienated me from males. I know that is not the experience of all gay men.

Life without women (in history, or in the aisle at the store) would be a very great bore. No, worse than that, it would lack color and character (for me).

There's hardly a thing I can think of that men are good for!

Oh. Hold the phone ...

Edro Edro said...

My most memorable paddling (there were a few) came in 5th grade when a few of us got caught looking at a page that someone had ripped out of a Hustler magazine. How scandalous!?!

Anyways, I'm reading Mississippi Sissy by Kevin Sessums. You should check it out, Josh, if you haven't already. I think you'd like it.

And here I thought Dolly Madison was only famous for pastries.

gleeindc said...

For the B&D question, I don't remember paddlings in school, except for my brief teaching experience when my favorite class of 8th graders found out it was my birthday and paddled me.

As for reading, the Dolley book sounds interesting. I was just at an anniversary celebration for HR 5050, the bill/law that established rights for women was signed in 1988 and they had an event in the capitol building -- I got to go because I designed the commemorative pin the hosts (hostesses?) at the National Women's Business Council handed out. While we waited to go into the room (security is very tight at the capitol, as it is at a lot of federal bldgs in DC), my supervisor and I were talking history and she noted something about how the British were held up when they invaded the city in the War of 1812, so I quipped that it must have been that delay that allowed Dolley to save the George Washington portrait.

For other reading, as Josh knows, I peruse about 15 blog sites on politics and send out a daily (or two-day) report with my own rants sometimes added. That takes up quite a bit of my reading in the morning time. Who knew moving to DC would bring me back to my interest in politics.

I save the New Yorker and Harpers for the subway ride to work. As for books, Josh's one bloggy Gary is currently reading John Guy's bio of Mary Queen of Scots; a light read, Attack of the Theatre People; and Bleak House, because Dickens people tell me it is his best one.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading a really good novel by R.L. Stine called "curtains"

Anonymous said...

I am reading "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath. (B.F. Bill, too lazy to sign in.)