Have Twins, Will Travel

North End Boston

paulrevereridecoverbefaBoston, Mass – I succeeded piquing the twins’ interest in American history. All it took was a comic book about Paul Revere and a few guns.

I have been taking the boys on some of my research outings around town lately, so we took a vote about our destination yesterday. Much to my surprise, the landslide victor was Paul Revere’s house in the North End in Boston. (I might have swung the election when I told them we would be able to see Paul Revere’s gun. They went for it.)
We took the T downtown and followed the red line of the Freedom Trail from Haymarket into the North End. This was fun for the twins, because they could navigate and lead the way. And of course it led right to the Paul Revere House, an unassuming clapboard house which also is the oldest house in Boston.
I think it was a little anticlimactic. The house is tiny. How Paul Revere lived there with his 16 kids, I cannot imagine. (Clearly they didn’t have all they gear.) The twins did learn a bit about life in the 17th century, such as how they baked bread in the fireplace. Twin S was particularly intrigued by the curtain around the bed (and later, he would hang blankets from the top bunk so he could have some privacy too). What they came to see, however, was Paul Revere’s gun. Sadly, it was not a blunderbuss, as Daddio had predicted, but rather a pistol (not from the war). I’m not sure whether to be amused or distressed that my three-year-olds know what a blunderbuss is. But anyway… it’s history, right?
Afterwards, we resumed our trek along the Freedom Trail. I promised the twins a treat if they would cooperate. That explains why they went along with me to the Old North Church, where the sexton hung two lanterns in the belfry to warn the Patriots that the British soldiers were coming by boat. The twins were slightly interested in the candle-burning chandeliers and the rickety ladder up to the belfry. But mostly, they amused themselves climbing around in the pew boxes.
Then we continued along the Freedom Trail, one more block to Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, which was an unexpected highlight. There, we found the headstone of Daniel Malcom, which had been “shot up” by British soldiers. Apparently, the Regulars were not impressed by his epitaph:

A true Son of Liberty
A Friend to the Publick
An Enemy to Oppression
And one of the foremost in opposing
The Revenue Acts on America

I’m not sure the twins understood why this guy’s headstone had been marred, although I tried to offer the simplest explanation that I could. But anyway, they sure were fascinated by those bullet marks. That’s when I felt I had achieved what I set out to do… to show them that history is fascinating, especially when you can see first-hand where and how it transpired.

Our final stop was Modern Pastry. It can’t hurt to reinforce the history lesson with a cannoli – definitely one of the highlights of the North End in Boston.