There was an article in the paper recently that brought back memories of my childhood. Perhaps a little background is necessary.
I believe I was 7 or 8 years old (1924-28). The teacher was teaching history at the time, talking about big war ships. There were pictures of the USS Constitution, AKA “Old Ironsides.” That was because the sides of the battleship were covered with iron sheets, the teacher explained. When she finished she told us that the battleship, which was around 200 years old, was being refurbished and all the school children across the nation were asked to help by contributing ten cents each, which we did.
Now moving fast forward to the seventies, when I was visiting Boston. We toured the battleship. It was a beautiful ship. The deck was made of wonderful mahogany wood, shined and polished. The doorways were low – we had to duck under them. People were shorter in the 1700s. The built-in bunk-beds were shorter, too. In fact, everything was smaller. They showed us the galley, which was also small. They would issue a small amount of grog (a drink of rum mixed with water) to the sailors before going into battle. The sails were flapping in the breeze. It was a pleasant day on the waterfront. To think I had contributed to the battleship being refurbished back in 1924-25 gave me a sense of pride.
Now back to the present, when it’s being refurbished again and actually sailed under her own power, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the ship’s victory over the HMS Guerriere in the war of 1812.