When I was in the 2nd grade, I wanted to learn about our presidents. I went to the school library and was delighted to find a whole series of blue books that covered ALL of our presidents! I avidly read them. It was a lot of work for a second-grader, but I really wanted to LEARN. Later I discovered that I had worked really hard to read what was essentially drivel. “Washington cut down the cherry tree” type of dis-information, rather than facts.
I STILL get angry when I think of the time I wasted. I really find it hard to believe that the library gave the series shelf space. I’m disgusted with myself for not realizing until much later that I had been fooled.
I was a ‘good student.’ I followed the rules, didn’t get into trouble, made really good grades, but essentially learned very little in the public schools. I then went to college, earning a degree in elementary education, and following that with a Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist. I still feel the same way about my education.
Now that I’m older than dirt, the only one I can really blame is myself. I COULD have made the time to get books that would have told me what I wanted to know, that would have excited me to learn more, to really know about the history of the United States, and facts about our presidents, our wars, our successes and our failures.
Recently I read George Washington’s Secret Six – The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution. The authors are Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger.
I’m STILL excited.
I learned so many things I didn’t know! I had never heard of the Secret Six. I had no appreciation for the fact that after the Declaration of Independence was signed, it was 7 long years of fighting before our actual independence was won by brave men and women in all walks of life, doing what they could for their country. As in anything, there was a lot of controversy. People felt it was prudent, in many cases, to keep a low profile about their politics and loyalties.
I was amazed at the code they devised to be able to communicate without being caught. I never realized how close we came to LOSING the Revolutionary War. I have a new appreciation for ‘regular’ people risking their lives, and that of their families and future, to do what they could to help.
I went to Nathan Hale High School in Tulsa, and I can recite his famous quote – but I had no real appreciation for how young he was – how he gave up his whole future to try to help. I didn’t realize he was one of MANY young, idealistic people who lived in the midst of British loyalists, trying to get information that would help the rebels win, or how quickly the loyalists would turn over someone to the British trying to get that information, because they were “ruining” the loyalists’ way of life.
I feel awful that I didn’t know this before, but I’m very glad I found this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to learn more about George Washington, Benedict Arnold, The Revolutionary War, our push to win freedom from the British. I’ve ordered, and just received, the next book in the series, Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates – The Forgotten War that Changed American History.
Maybe there’s hope for me yet! :0)