The Canadas

 

 

 Spring 2002


News

 

Will’s Baptism

Flat Rock, North Carolina

Williamsburg, Virginia

 

Updated August 18, 2002
Canadas 2002

Student and Family Trips

Lisa, Essie, and Will spent the first few weeks of April visiting family in Indiana, while I stayed in North Carolina and—story of my life—worked.  In addition to grading a few million papers, I managed to attend a play in Pembroke, a symphony concert in Red Springs, and a marvelous performance and lecture called “Broadway and the Hammersteins” in Southern Pines.  We made up for this time apart by enjoying a number of family excursions the rest of the spring.  Shortly before Lisa and the children left, we took a trip to Flat Rock, North Carolina, with a number of the students in my “America’s Literary Journalists” class to visit the home of Carl Sandburg.  A week later, we celebrated Will’s baptism with a family gathering at home.  Later in April, after the four of us were reunited, we spent a couple of days in Chapel Hill, where I attended a seminar called “American Circa 1900.”  In May we took day trips to the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro and Discovery Place in Charlotte.  Essie and Will especially enjoyed Discovery Place, a science museum where children get to touch and otherwise interact with the exhibits.  Finally, in June, the four of us took a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, where Lisa and I led an educational experience for 10 college students from all over North Carolina.

 

Once school was out, my work slowed down considerably, while Lisa’s picked up.  Near the end of May, she catered a wedding reception for 170 people in Fairmont, North Carolina.  It was the biggest event she had catered since launching her business a few years ago, but it went well.  Essie and Will were keeping busy, as well, especially since Professor Dad was home for the summer.  Taking our home-schooling program up a notch, I guided Essie through “lessons” on the solar system, gravity, states of matter, geography, time, the digestive system, and more.  Essie showed signs of dramatic improvement in her reading, as well.  In addition to having more success with sounding out words, she began building a stock of sight words she could recognize—“the,” “see,” “bell,” and others—thanks in large part to some Reader Rabbit books that Lisa brought home.  Will was my student, as well, learning about the concepts of up and down, on and in, colors, and quantities.  Essie and I also helped him to explore the outdoors, particularly tree bark, plants, and flowers.  Along with these homework activities, we also had picnics in the back yard, read together in the afternoon and at bedtime, and enjoyed daily playdates at Hammond Park, the library, a local strawberry patch, and other places. 

 

 

 

 

 
Will’s Baptism

Four years ago, our little girl was baptized at Easter time.  Now it was her brother’s turn.  Like Esprit, Will is a magnet for our relatives.  Granny and Papa Canada came down, as did Aunt Jessica Henry, Aunt Melanie Salyer, and Aunt Andrea Navarro, and Andrea’s entire family.  All told, 11 people made the 700-odd mile journey from Indiana to be with us at this special time.

 

Will was baptized today, and we had the pleasure of entertaining several visitors from Indiana for the weekend: my parents, Jessica and Melanie, Andrea and Ramon Navarro, Ray Jr., Pat, and Chris, Emily, and Lorenzo Navarro.  Will did pretty well during the baptism ceremony, though he cried a bit because we had to take his bottle away from him in order to take part in it.  After the service, Essie and Lorenzo had the times of their lives searching for Easter eggs in our back yard and then finding the goodies in their Easter baskets.  All of us had a giant Easter brunch of ham, red potatoes, and more, courtesy of Lisa and her sisters.  That evening, Lisa cooked burgers and hot dogs on the grill, and we had a party out in our carport.

Flat Rock, North Carolina

To coincide with the senior seminar I am teaching this semester, “America’s Literary Journalists,” I planned a trip to the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock, North Carolina.  I had stopped there once a couple of years ago when I was traveling back from Indiana by myself, and I was happy to return, especially since I could bring Lisa this time.  I knew that Lisa would like this tidy little farm in a secluded, beautiful country setting.  I suspected that the students would like the place, too, and I think they did.  Of the 11 students in the course, five came: Robert Bean, Crystal Craven, Mike Hemminger, Mary Harrington, and Erin Murner.  Crystal brought her fiance, Robert brought his girlfriend, and Mary brought her granddaughter.  Lisa and I brought Es and Will.  Together, the 12 of us saw Sandburg’s office, the room where he wrote, and several other rooms.  My favorite was the family room—a cozy, bright spot in the rear of the house.  Lisa and I agreed that we loved the entire house; it is modest, but tidy and comfortable.  The setting is simply spectacular.  The front porch, Sandburg’s office, and the “Crow’s Nest” on the second floor all look out on a mountain lake and distant mountains.  Other parts of the property feature other scenic vistas of mountains, rolling hills, and another lake or two.  After our tour of the house, some of us walked back to the goat barn.  This part of the property was easily Essie’s favorite.  She went from goat to goat, petting just about every one and just glowing the whole time.

Williamsburg, Virginia

I still remember the thought that occurred to me the night before Lisa and I led our first student trip.  It went something like this: “What have I gotten myself into?”  On the next day, we were going to take 23 college students we had never met to a city we had never seen.  Lisa and I are generally cautious people who like to be in control of our lives.  Driving nearly two dozen adolescent strangers to Philadelphia and turning them loose in one of the country’s largest urban areas is not something that cautious people generally do.  It certainly threatens one’s sense of control.  Yet the trip had seemed like such a good idea back when I had planned it months earlier.  As it turned out, my initial instincts were true.  It was a good idea.  In fact, it was a great idea.  The week we spent in Philadelphia with Teaching Fellows from across North Carolina turned out to be one of favorite vacations.  The students were responsible, cooperative, friendly, energetic, and enthusiastic.  In short, they were the perfect travelers—and our trip was the perfect trip.  Sure, we ran out of gas in downtown Fredericksburg, nearly scraped the paint off the top of one of our rental vans, found the Rodin museum closed, and took a wrong turn or two that exposed us to portions of Philadelphia that tourists don’t generally get to experience, but doesn’t every vacation have its ups and downs?  Through these various downs, the students maintained a positive outlook—and a sense of humor.  From that perspective, the downs tended to look like ups.

 

Our experience in Philadelphia in 2000, in fact, was so good that we followed it up with a trip to Boston the following summer.  This year, we were at it again.  Since our infant son, Will, would be joining us for the first time, however, we planned a somewhat less ambitious journey, taking 10 Teaching Fellows to Williamsburg by vans.  Judging from the students’ reactions, as well as our own experiences, I think we can say that this trip was a success, as well.  The centerpiece of the trip, of course, was Colonial Williamsburg.  In small groups, we explored sites such as the Governor’s Palace, the House of Burgesses, and the many workshops.  We also took in the Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center, and many of us chose to visit Carter’s Grove plantation on the free day I gave the students.  Will was rather tight-lipped about the whole experience, but Essie had a good time.  In Colonial Williamsburg, she got to visit a giant windmill, pet an ox, see the making of baskets and newspapers, and perform in a scene from a colonial production of Romeo and Juliet, playing the part of the nurse so beautifully that our phone has been ringing off the hook ever since.  At the Jamestown Settlement, she pounded cornmeal, paddled a canoe, and climbed aboard replicas of the ships that Captain John Smith and others took to Virginia back in 1607.  Finally, she dressed up in era clothing in the children’s area of the  Yorktown Victory Center.  Despite all of these adventures, the highlight for Essie—hands down—was riding in “the big white van” with the students, who were simply wonderful with her.  In fact, one of these students—Heather Jaques—wound up playing a role in Essie’s nap on the ride home.