Friday, June 17, 2011

Pioneer Pastimes (Thursday, June 9)

This morning we ran over to the visitor's center to get tickets to the shows we wanted to see today. All the shows are free and you can stand in line outside hoping to get a seat but that doesn't guarantee that you'll get one. We didn't want to take any chances because the shows are so popular.

The first show we went to was called Just Plain Anna Amanda. It's about a girl named Anna Amanda Amelia Applebee, who is the namesake of her grandmothers, Anna and Amanda, and her mother, Amelia, and her quest to discover her sense of self. She feels like she's just a conglomeration of everyone else instead of an individual. At the end she's convinced that she's a "walking legacy," and understands that that's a good thing.

At the beginning of the show they made an announcement to be sure to keep the aisles clear because the actors would be using them throughout the show. Just after they said that, Miriam wiggled off her seat, ran over to the stage, and started climbing up the stairs. She's so silly—that face she's making is her "Is this a smile?" face.

Rachel got called onto the stage during the finale, as the actors were telling the children to celebrate themselves. She was tickled pink.

We went to the Family Living Center to learn how pioneer families lived. We saw some bread being made in a bustle oven, saw how candles and rugs were made, and even helped make some rope.

There were some pioneer-style toys for the children to play with and both Rachel and Miriam enjoyed playing with the dolls. They also had some blocks out and Miriam found a rectangular block, put it up to her ear like a cell phone and said, "'Ollo, 'ollo, 'ollo?"

That made several of the senior missionaries chuckle. It was quite anachronistic. 

On our way over to Pioneer Pastimes, we stopped in the park to listen to the Nauvoo Brass Band. 

It was virtually a private concert.

We sneaked out in the middle of the concert (which was difficult to do considering our party of seven was more than half of the crowd that had gathered to listen to the band) because the girls were itching to play pioneers and were getting might impatient. 

So we made our way over to Pioneer Pastimes, which the girls loved. To be honest, we all enjoyed ourselves there. Rachel and Miriam dressed up in pioneer clothes and played in the little log cabin. Once Rachel went in there I knew she wasn't ever coming out again; there were some other little girls there and they got lost in play together.

They found matching dresses, rode their sheep to school, swept the floor, did the laundry, took care of the children, cooked meals, and so forth.

Rachel missed a lot of the other toys and games that everyone else enjoyed. Miriam entertained herself with marbles while the grown ups played some sports.

We played Graces with sticks and hoops until I started getting bloody knuckles. Whenever I caught the hoop (which, truthfully, wasn't that often) it would skin my knuckles. I think I was catching them wrong.

Andrew was the stick-pulling champion, at least when he played against Miriam.

And me.

And Emily.

Andrew lost to both Morgan (the reigning champion) and...his mom.

We had fun experimenting with the stilts; even Miriam gave them a go.

 When we told Rachel that it was time to go, she was very upset. She could have kept playing forever.

To help cheer her up, Andrew introduced her to the Nauvoo Climbing Bears. I think they were his favourite toy there; he made sure to beat everybody to the top.

And playing with them for a few minutes really did help Rachel cheer up.

Miriam tried to figure out how to work the climbing bears as well, but she had a bit more trouble—she's not very coordinated yet.

It was quite the chore convincing everyone to move on. We had plans to visit Carthage in the afternoon so we really did have to hurry to lunch. On the way we decided to stop and have a tour of the Cultural Hall, where plays, meetings, and dances were held. It was later used as a factory (of sorts) for wagon building when the Saints were preparing to make their exodus out West.

It was fun to imagine the Prophet Joseph Smith dancing on this very floor, with his wife. Andrew gave me a few twirls around the floor. I tried to get my girls to settle down and act respectively but the sister missionary giving us the tour told them that they were free to get all their wiggles out since that's what the dance floor was meant for. I stopped trying to control them and they went wild.

If you look out the window on the third floor of the cultural hall, where the dance floor is, there's a beautiful view of the temple. It's the same view the Saints would have had back in 1846 (though it was only completed after most of the Saints had left Nauvoo and was later burned and then demolished, it is built on virtually the same place as it was before).


  1. Oh, how I LOVE Nauvoo! Thanks for sharing your experiences there. I feel like I'm reliving my 2 visits there (minus the humid heat and bugs!).

  2. Did I miss the part where you talked about chopping off your hair?

    Miriam STILL talks about playing all those pioneer games in Nauvoo. It was so fun to see your pictures and relive the memories!

  3. I am sorry that you missed out on rope-making for real--my dad made his own rope. It was my favorite farm chore!

  4. @ Bridget - I hadn't talked about it yet.

    @ Mom - You're a real pioneer...just wait until I tell Rachel! ;) We made rope at that one family you remember?