2007-10-11 / News

The Senior Times

By Charlotte Richardson

The Senior Watercolor group, as you may recall, took part in an upcoming PBS film, to be entitled "First Face," the story behind Gilbert Stuart's famous 'unfinished portrait' of George Washington. Phase one of our adventure happened a week or two ago, when the film crew came in to film our class 'finishing' the portrait in the Community Room of Pemberton Housing. As reported last time, we used two very different, but patriotic themes. The world rolled on a few times, and we assembled once again, this time to travel to Boston, to view the many and extremely varied versions of the 'finished' portraits displayed on the main pathway through Boston Common, America's oldest park.

They ranged from pure graffiti to serious/humorous presentations from many groups all around the area. The two we had worked on were well received, and we saw many of the people stop for a moment to view them as they took advantage of the beautiful day to stroll through the Common. They viewed the many interpretations and were invited to do mini copies of their own. One very young little boy chose one of the Watercolor Class entries as his favorite to create a smaller version for himself. He sat on the curbstone of the pathway, deep in concentration and very intent on his work, and when last we saw him, he was doing a neat little replica of what he saw. All of the posters were viewed by hundreds, and the film crew was on hand, with camera ready, to catch any of the comments from those who chose to respond.

Our group was treated royally ,with a van to transport us to and from Boston, a picnic lunch under one of the great shade trees that abound provided for our enjoyment, and a beautiful day to enjoy all of it. A couple of us walked through the Colonial cemetery on the grounds, and were astonished at how young our early Americans were when they died. There were many sad little gravestones of babies buried next to their mothers from some unfortunate happenstance. We also noted that a great many died in October, though the years were different, which caused us to ponder. The tombstones had many similar engravings on them, sculls, angels, chalices, etc., and as old as they are, most are still pretty legible - a tribute to the artisans who engraved them so many years ago.

We were told that the Boston Common was chosen for the display because the artist being celebrated in the film, Gilbert Stuart, is entombed there, although no one can exactly say where. One theory is that he was buried in the family tomb of a friend, but no one seemed to know quite where that is located in the cemetery. Boston Common and its remarkable history are well worth a trip to the capital city of Massachusetts. A brochure available there states that the 'Boston Common has belonged to the people of Boston since 1634, only four years after the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony arrived in the New World. Among other customs, the Puritans brought with them, the English village institution of the common land or "common," a tract set aside from royal or manorial lands for the free use of the townspeople." The land, now the Common, was purchased for that purpose in 1634, by assessing each householder a minimum of six shillings. Had they not taken those steps, there would not be a Boston Common, which over all those years has been for the use of the people.

Our group was enchanted with Boston Common and its long history, and it was exciting to know that even in the 1600s there were people who recognized the need to keep land available for open space.


Members of Conanicut Grange and the Farm Viability Committee will sponsor two events next week in the spirit of autumn and the Harvest. On Sunday, Oct. 15, (rain date Oct. 21) from 1 to 3 p.m., there will be a Pumpkin Gathering at the Jamestown Community Farm, along with a hayride through the farm. On Monday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. (rain or shine), a program "How To Cook A Pumpkin" will take place at the Grange/Senior Center, 6 West St. Tickets are $20 and seating is limited to 40 people, so call Lynda at 423-0910 to reserve your place. Two local and well-known chefs, Kevin Gaudreau and Phil Larson, will prepare the pumpkins in large varieties of delicious soups, desserts and other recipes.

What do YOU get for $20? You get to eat what the chefs prepare, a copy of all the recipes used, and two pumpkins to take home for Halloween. This event will be covered and filmed by County Garden Magazine, a Better Homes and Gardens Publication.

Call quickly, because these tickets will soon sell out. The proceeds go to Conanicut Grange #21, which will soon celebrate 118 years of service to the community and support for agriculture. If you agree that No Farms = No Food, then call in soon and get your reservation to a program that has been a revelation to many on the unusual and delicious ways you can eat a pumpkin. Don't miss it! Call now!

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