Monday, August 14, 2006

A Trip to The Van Buren House -- With Mildly Retarded People

On a recent trip for work, muh wife and I were on our way to beautiful Mystic, Connecticut after a 2.5 day detour in the Saratoga, New York area.

We were a few hours early and were actively looking for ways to help pass the time when we hit the Mass Pike/Route 90.

A few miles into the trip, I saw one of those National Park Service brown signs identifying key historical land marks that are available for visiting...identifying The Martin Van Buren Historical site.

For those of you that don't know... MVB was the 8th President of the United States.

I know a piece of trivia about Martin Van Buren that I love to share whenever I can so I did with muh wife in an effort to convince her that a forgotten president could/might be fun? I really wanted to go so that I could verify the statement.

I whipped the wheel to the right and the car was then pointed in the direction of the site...without a complaint from muh wife...making me even happier.

12 miles and a stop to ask for clarification of the site later, we walked into the Visitor's Center of the site. There were three park rangers in the Center and the two of us. Ten minutes later, muh wife and I were the only two participants in a tour of the Martin Van Buren house and farmstead.

The ranger went through her schpiel and we learned a lot about plumbing in the day and saw a lot of the house the way it was when MVB was President and then afterwards. It was a pretty standard tour, and I was interested in all the history. There were two main rules on the tour -- no flash photography and don't touch anything.

Then...the tour took an unexpected turn. About 1/2 way through the tour, we had three other people join us. They seemed like nice enough people -- a mom, dad, and a kid that looked to be about 16 or 17.

It took us about three minutes to realize that the kid was either autistic or mildly retarded. He asked questions about pots next to beds and if they were used "one way or two way" and touched everything he could...and tried to take pictures of everything with his flash photography. The parents didn't help out at all and the tour guide was run ragged trying to stop him.

It wasn't comical, but it was quite a dynamic to witness...and made the Martin Van Buren house visit that much more memorable.

P.S. The really fun fact about MVB is that he was the first president to be born in the United States. All presidents before him were born in the colonies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

where did you get those photos? you didn't use flash photography, did you?