Wednesday, January 25, 2006


The other night I defiantly sat down to watch TV among the boxes. Todd passed through the living room and said, "Why aren't you working?" By that time, I'd flipped to the very beginning of American Experience on PBS, and I watched as I unpacked a few token boxes, just to pacify the man.

Well. This particular episode was about John and Abigail Adams, beautifully played by Simon Russell Beale (Charles Musgrove in one of my favorite movies, Persuasion) and Linda Emond. The characters only spoke words directly from the letters the Adamses wrote to each other during their long marriage, and they came to life so vividly. David McCullough narrated the show...I imagine much of it was drawn from his book on Adams.

That Abigail. What a woman. What a thinker! "We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them." I'd like to have this engraved on a rock and toss it through the Oval Office window. Oops, hope some NSA guy isn't reading this.

"These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or in the repose of a pacific station, that great challenges are formed. . . . Great necessities call out great virtues."
This quote is a challenge to me. I love the still calm of life, I crave it. Do I really need great virtues? Can't I just be middling good?

And of course,
"Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could." Take that, husband who wants me to unpack boxes.

The stuff about John was good, but it was Abigail who really shone out of that story. Raising kids, running a farm, and keeping an ear to the ground along the way for war news and political news to pass along to her husband, and finding the time to throw her own cogent opinions and thoughts into those long letters...she needs to be in the pantheon of patriots right up there with Jefferson and Washington. Her picture should be on classroom walls for all us American girls to look up to and aspire to, because she was an American girl to the bone: strong, savvy, saucy and smart.


Michelle W. said...

Abigail sounds like a inspriation! tfs those great quotes.


Mimi said...

When I was a kid, I used to love to read biographies of famous people (our libarary had a really cool series) and I LOVED the one about Abigail Adams!