Tuesday, November 13, 2012

George and Martha

Quite some time ago I came across a review of the book Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. I was interested, so ordered the book. The book arrived, all 817 narrative pages of it (plus many more pages of notes and references). I started reading the book, but soon gave up--not because it is dull. To the contrary, I was finding it very interesting. The probelem, for me is that it is 817 pages of very fine print. As I have mentioned previously, I have certain vision challenges. Because of that, reading this book was very difficult for me.

I should have ordered it in Kindle format, where I can control print size. I ordered the actual book, because I knew it had pages of illlustrations (photos of paintings of many of the important people of the time) and the illustrtions would not be good on my Kindle. (I do now have a Kindle Fire which does better on photos, etc., but the Fire had not come out yet when I ordered this book.)

Recently, I subscribed to Audible.com. One day I thought about my unread book about Washington and checked in Audible to see if they had it. To my delight, they did. So now I am working on listening to the book, which is very well read--and I can flip to the illustrations section in the actual book when someone's name comes up. The recording is almost 42 hours long, so I'll be working on it for quite a while!

Today a name came up of a person who is not in the book's illustrations, and I turned to the internet to see what I could find. Well, I found him and that led to looking up others. Soon I was reading an article about Martha Washington. There was a picture of her as a young woman that had been made with facial age regression software. It is the same technique used to age photos of missing children, only doing a regression. She was quite a lovely young woman. Records still exist of orders she placed for clothing. From them we know she was barely five feet tall and very slender in her youth. The idea of George marrying an older, stout, widow for her money is one conjured up much later (though she definitely was a wealthy widow). Martha and George were both 27 when they wed, though she was eight months older than George.

Thinking about George and Martha Washington reminded me of another George and Martha.  Many years ago my parents had a pair of geese that they named George and Martha. They got a lot of enjoyment out of watching those two. My parents' backyard was fenced and sheltered on two sides by thick poplars and on one side by the house. On only one side, by an alley, could anyone easily see though the fence into the backyard. Alas, some busybody, who could in no way have been bothered by George and Martha, reported to the city that my parents were harboring illegal livestock in the city. They were forced to find another home for their geese.

It's sort of ironic that the geese had to go--today deer frequently can be seen in that yard. All around town yards are visited by squirrels, rabbits, skunks, deer, and antelope. But George and Martha were illegal immigrants!

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