Friday, October 24, 2014

Rhode Island

My granddaughter is an athlete. She likes most sports but her first love is softball and she excels at it. Because of that she was invited to participate in SAG.

SAG stands for Student Athlete Games. It is an event held every four years I believe. Students are chosen for both athletic and scholastic prowess. Young people from all over the world are invited to take part. It is quite an honor.

My granddaughter's parents decided to take a vacation and tag along. They invited me and I was excited to go. The games were being held at the University of Rhode Island.

My granddaughter would be staying in a dorm with other participants. Of course we needed a place to stay so we reserved a motel room. It was in nearby Fall River, Massachusetts.

The opening ceremonies for SAG were held the morning after we arrived. All of us attended mostly to see my granddaughter march in with the others.

Because the university was built on land from the Indian tribe native to the area they always opened important ceremonies with a blessing from the medicine man of the tribe. He intoned the blessing while inhaling the smoke from his ceremonial pipe and issuing toward the various points of the compass. I have to say that the smell of the smoke was familiar and perhaps had a hint of illegality to it.

After a few speeches the participants left to do what they were there to do leaving us to find something to do.

We decided to visit the home of Lizzie Borden first. You know Lizzie Borden. Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had don, gave her father forty-one.

When we got there a tour was in progress so we visited the gift store to wait. Of course we made a few purchases. Then the tour guide came in to get us ready for our tour.

In rushed a young man in his very early twenties. He was so excited and had a photo he wanted to share.

He had been on the tour the day before and took a few pictures. He picked up what he thought was a ghost in one. I saw the picture. I am not sure what it was.

So he wanted to know if he could go back in just long enough to take some more pictures. They told him to go ahead. He said, "Alone?" Yep

So our tour began. The guide was an older man who looked a lot like Lizzie Borden's father. He accentuated that by dressing like him and delivering the narrative in the first person.

He took us through the whole house. We saw the kitchen and the bedrooms upstairs that are available to rent for a night. Then we saw the rooms where the Bordens slept. We saw where Lizzie's step=mother was killed and her body was discovered. We saw the living room where her father was killed as he napped on his sofa. They even have a dress form standing in one bedroom that is dressed in the dress Elizabeth Montgomery wore when she did the Lizzie Borden movie.

In a question and answer session afterward two women were very proud that they we cousins of the Borden family. Their last name was Borden. They were miffed when the man said that there were no other Borden males in the close family tree. Someone asked if he thought Lizzie was the one who committed the murders. He thought that was the case.

My son knows how much I like lobster and there we were right in the midst of lobsterland. He wanted to treat me to a lobster dinner and maybe try it himself. We went to a seafood restaurant.

My daughter-in-law wanted no part of anything fishy but she went and ordered "normal" food as did my grandson.

My grandson has a real weak stomach. Or should I say a strong gag reflex? The poor thing had to sit with his face to the wall because everyone around us was eating oysters. He suffered through that whole meal just so I could eat my lobster. He is so sweet.

We drove to Boston to spend the day steeped in history. We visited the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. It is an impressive building on a little point of the ocean. There is a large paved area outside to wander on and look into the water.

The building is classy just as I would expect something designed by Jackie would be. The many exhibits are informative and I learned a lot.

What I liked the most however was the misty rain that was falling when we were looking at the ocean before we left.

We had so many other places we wanted to see. The problem was that we got hopelessly lost. With us not knowing the city and construction and one-way streets we spent literally hours trying to find something/anything we could recognize to get out of there.

We did stop a couple of times to ask directions but no one else seemed to know where we were either. It was such a disappointing day.

Across the river from where we were staying was a naval museum. My father served in the Navy in World War II. I was very interested.

There were five vessels I think. Daddy was on a battleship so I really wanted to see that one.

We were able to go on all the ships there. We could climb around and explore what the sailors experienced. Up and down steps that are little more than stationary ladders. Below deck smelled horrible.

In the movies they always show the sailors sleeping in bunks. Ha! The sailors on these ships slept in hammocks. Unless they were of an elevated position of course. They get bunks.

We climbed on the guns and took pictures pretending to operate them. It was great fun and I felt close to my father that day.

In between all the sight-seeing we were doing we attended the softball games my granddaughter played. Her coach was a very young man from Australia. All the girls had crushes on him. My granddaughter simply told me, "He;s kinda cute."

She also went to other sporting events when she was not involved in other things. And there were the inevitable pizza parties in the dorm. She had a great time too. Although she was upset that we went to Lizzie Borden's house without her.

Former President of the United States Bill Clinton was the closing speaker for SAG. We certainly did not want to miss that.

As we were walking across the campus to the building where he would be speaking we spotted my granddaughter with a group of her peers. They were playing some sort of game similar to soccer but it was not that. My daughter-in-law immediately wanted to join. My son stayed to watch. My son and daughter-in-law were very young when they had the children so they fit in well most of the time.

My grandson and I continued on to the building. He looked at me and said, "I wish they wouldn't do that." Of course I wondered what he did not want them to do.

He said that they tended to forget that they were the parents. It embarrassed him.

That was when I told him that the hardest thing a parent has to do is to let go. It is so difficult to see your babies grow up to be not babies. I told him to try to give them some slack. Now that he has a little girl I am anxious to see how long it takes him to understand what I meant.

Bill Clinton is a hypnotic speaker. Even though you know he is speaking to hundreds of people you feel that he is speaking just to you. It is a gift.

After his speech he answered questions. He sat in a comfortable chair and seemed totally at ease as he fully answered each question. He was not hurried in his comments and often added even more. No wonder he was elected president.

It was a wonderful trip. I think everyone had an exceptional time.


  1. Dear Emma,
    that was really an interesting trip! To have a granddaughter to play at such an important Game is an honour, and very exciting.
    And you used your spare time there to see a lot.
    I have much to do with crime literature/TV, so Lizzie Borden is of course a 'household name' to me, shudder. (Though I ask myself: How come that the women wanted to be relatives?)
    Wow: you saw Bill Clinton! His wife was here in Berlin a short time ago (autobiography presentation), but I only saw her on TV.
    Being able to let go: the greatest lesson to learn.

    1. I read in the news after I wrote this that they are planning a new mini series on television about Lizzie Borden. Hopefully it will treat the subject with some reality. I have yet to read Hillary Clinton's autobiography but it is next on my list. Letting go is the hardest lesson. It goes against everything a mother feels.