Sunday, June 25, 2017

Epsteins in New England-- the Literary Tradition

We left Maine in the morning and made our way to Derry, New Hampshire and the Robert Frost farm.

Though I was familiar with many of his poems, I certainly didn't appreciate much of his personal history at all.  We had an excellent guide who helped bring it to life for us.  He dropped out of college, married a sophisticated and educated woman who came from wealth and was gifted a farm by his grandfather-in-law.

Yet, he wasn't much of a farmer and maintained a somewhat atypical lifestyle for someone on a farm in many of the things he did; the items in his home, how he educated his children, and the fact that he didn't offer much of the produce for sale. It was there to feed his family.

At the same time, the rural environment provided him with the inspiration for many of his poems. The highlight, for me, was seeing the actual wall that inspired his poem, "the Mending Wall."

After a drive through the rest of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, we ended up in Hartford, CT where we went to the Mark Twain House.  The tour was fantastic (we took the "butler" tour where a man-Tom Raine- played the role of Twain's butler and guided us through the house accordingly.).

It was the house where Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and others were written. 

To be honest, I didn't know that Twain had lived in Hartford. I had always associated him with Missouri, but he had quite the life in Connecticut.

The house was opulent (money from his wife and her family- which I guess proves that to be a great New England male writer, your wife needs to have money- or at least that was the case once upon a time).

Though, apparently Twain blew all his money and ended up destitute for a decent portion of the latter half of his life.

Both of the writers, interestingly enough, were fond of technology and used many "cutting-edge" devices in their homes. That certainly made me feel better about some of my purchases.

If you are ever in the area, it is certainly well worth the visit.

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