Thursday, August 27, 2015

See Lincoln's death chair at Henry Ford Museum

This is the actual chair that President Abraham Lincoln sat in when he was assassinated in Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC on April 14, 1865. 

The chair is displayed today at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. As Lincoln watched the play “Our American Cousin" from the Presidential Box, well-known stage actor John Wilkes Booth approached from behind and put a bullet through his head with a small deringer pistol.

Interestingly, Lincoln was familiar with Booth, having seen him in numerous plays including one called "Marble Heart" at Ford's Theatre in 1863. Lincoln enjoyed Booth's performance so much that he sent a note backstage inviting him to the White House. But Booth, a rebel sympathizer and Confederate spy, did not respond. Booth later told his friends "I would rather have the applause of a Negro to that of the President!"

According to Wikipedia, shortly before his death, Lincoln dreamed of his assassination. He told the following to his friend and biographer Ward Hill Lamon and others:.

“About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary.

“I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along.

“I saw light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this?

“Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. 'Who is dead in the White House?' I demanded of one of the soldiers, 'The President,' was his answer; 'he was killed by an assassin.' Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Women's rights in the 1880s. Not many!

I spotted this at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Women have come a long way since those days back in the 1800s (even though there is much further to go!). Today, August 26, 2015 is Women's Equality Day, and the 95th anniversary of the amendment that gave women the right to vote.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cheesy lights in the campground

It's 9:30 p.m. and dark. A fifth wheel trailer a few campsites from me is glowing various colors. A string of small LED lights hangs below the awning up against the RV. They change colors, one color turning into another. They are blue, then green, then yellow, orange, red and back to blue. 

From my RV, you can't actually see the lights, just the glow. From inside the fifth wheel it must resemble the interior of a cheap motel room with the blinking lights of its sign interrupting the dark.

Why do people do this? I am in a beautiful New York State Park along Lake Ontario. Why does the owner of this RV feel the need to light up his RV in such a cheesy way?

I don't get it. It looks stupid.