That pun was obviously and embarrassingly intended.
So despite my feelings about history for a good 30-something years of my life, I was actually excited to get started on this resolution. Instead of starting on Wednesday like I had planned, I turned the History Channel on New Year’s Day and watched “World War II From Space”.
Unfortunately, I set myself up to fail with that one because I’m not that interested in wars OR in space (sorry, Dan), although there wasn’t much more to the “space” aspect of this than some maps like the one you see above. I can’t tell you one thing I remember from this program though, so I knew I needed to switch things up a little bit if I was going to learn something this week.
That’s when I found “I Love the 1880s”. And I do. I officially love the 1880s. If you remember the VH1 (I think?) version of this show (“I Love the 80s” & “I Love the 90s”), the History Channel one is just like it. I watched all 4 episodes and then watched 1 of them over again because I liked it so much.
I learned that Einstein and Marilyn Monroe may have had a bit of a fling, which was news to me because I don’t even think of them being from the same time period. I also learned that Andrew Jackson really liked to shoot at people and challenged Charles Dickinson to a duel after Dickinson insulted the future President’s wife. Jackson was shot first in the chest, but survived (as he did with a few other duels and an assassination attempt!) and proceeded to shoot and kill Dickinson. So when you think that senseless acts of violence are a relatively new phenomenon….they’re not.
The show had a lot of fun facts about history, and the commentary on them was humorous, so it kept me interested. I remember things about Winston Churchill being the “highest functioning alcoholic” and Freud testing cocaine on himself because he thought it was some sort of miracle cure for just about any disorder. And in the early 1900s, people used to put their babies in these things:
Supposedly it was a “safe” way for kids to get sunlight when they lived in high-rise buildings and didn’t have a yard to play in. And you guys thought Michael Jackson was the original Baby Dangler.
I watched a few other interesting shows on Pompeii and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. I was surprised to find that I actually kind of enjoyed watching them, so maybe next time I’m bored and there is no reality TV to rot my brain with, I will continue this resolution to learn more about history.
I wanted to go about learning this stuff a few different ways, so I’m also in the middle of a book called Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents. It’s pretty good. Similar to the show about the 1880s, it’s full of facts but with fun and interesting twists. There is a section on every President from Washington to Obama, but I haven’t finished it yet, so I guess history week really isn’t history just yet.
I think my apartment complex must have known how I was spending my week because this showed up in our monthly newsletter:
A 3,106 carat diamond?! Is anyone’s finger THAT big?!
Last but not least, I visited an exhibit currently on display at the Peabody Historical Society. It focused on the last 150 years in women’s history and included some pieces from each era – clothes, books, china, musical instruments, photos, etc. The picture below is actually a gym uniform worn in 1913. Sweat much?
Speaking of gym, I dragged Dan to this right after we left a 1-hour boxing class, so we had on some gym clothes of our own. I think they go nicely with this Victorian living room.
There were some other interesting things here as well, like this wreath made from human hair (wtf?):
And this book from 1823 that we touched (with gloves on) even though it says not to because we misread the sign and I didn’t realize it until right this very second. Oops.
I am actually pretty proud of myself after Week 1. I (mostly) enjoyed learning and may even keep up with this one throughout the year. 51 more weeks to go! Weeeeeeee!