Once November begins each year, most primary grade classrooms in the country spend some time teaching about Thanksgiving and integrating Thanksgiving related activities into the core curriculum. Although the amount of time we spend on it has been greatly reduced since the focus has shifted to teaching to the standardized test – Thanksgiving isn’t on the test – it is important that, if anything, our kids understand the reason Thanksgiving is celebrated (well kind of now that Black Friday has seeped into Thursday’s holiday). Anyhow, while reading a book to my kids about Thanksgiving last week, it reminded me of the time I visited the site of the first Thanksgiving.
When I lived in New England, I spent most Thanksgivings with friends as it was too far to fly home for such a short period of time. However, my junior year of college, my parents flew east so we could spend Thanksgiving together. After my last class before the long weekend, we drove south to the Cape.
Plimoth Plantation was our destination for Thanksgiving that year. It is a reenactment visitors’ center.
In addition to the museum, you can’t go to Plymouth without visiting Plymouth Rock. In fact, that is what I most looked forward to seeing. The rock itself has been moved from its supposed original site numerous times. It is now housed in a memorial type structure with a viewing area.
When we leaned over the railing to look at the rock – the rock that is such a famous US symbol – our eyes narrowed and our smiles dropped a little.
“That’s it?” I asked. The great rock was not great at all, in fact it was quite small in terms of a rock landing. Later, we found out that this was just a piece of the rock. Between moves and tourists chipping away at it, this is what is left for visitors to see. I was glad to learn that, according to past writings, the rock had been rather large – maybe 15 feet in length. Rarely have I been disappointed after visiting a famous landmark, in this case though the symbol is much more impressive than the real thing.