Jun 20, 2012

Oh What a Weekend - Part II

And now the continuation of Father's Day weekend...

Saturday morning was dedicated to Jameson. As some of you may know, he has a certain interest in science and dreams of one day being a famous scientist/inventor. When he was very young, Julie introduced him to the tale of the Wright brothers and the invention of the first airplane. He's been captivated by their story ever since. As it just so happens, our hometown is also the hometown of Orville and Wilbur Wright. This is one of the reasons Jameson is so intrigued by them. He loves the idea that one of the most important inventions in human history was created in the city where he was born - it gives credence to his belief that he will also one day invent great things.

Another thing that Jameson loves is old time photographs of Dayton. He thinks things looked so much grander a century ago and hopes that our city will one day recapture that distinguished look.

Knowing these things, I thought the perfect outing for us would be a tour of the Wright mansion on Hawthorne Hill. Jameson agreed. Hawthorne Hill is the home that the Wright brothers (and sister) built after they became filthy rich inventing the airplane. I never realized it, but their mansion is actually in walking distance of the tiny home in which I grew up. How sad is my local historical knowledge!?

And now for a little Wright brothers history for you. Wilbur Wright never lived at Hawthorne Hill. He died just before it was completed. Orville, however, lived there until he died. The brothers grew up in a modest home and built the mansion after making a boat load of money from their various patents related to flying and from the airplane company they started. There were actually seven Wright children, including a set of twins that did not live very long. Their sister Catherine talked them into building the place out in the "country" outside of downtown Dayton in the area that is now the City of Oakwood. All kinds of wealthy people from Dayton's history built homes in the same area. As celebrities of their time, the Wrights hosted all kinds of famous people in their home including Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh. The house is symmetrical from front to back and side to side. It looks the same whether you're approaching up the hill in front or coming up the driveway in back. After Orville Wright died the home was bought by the National Cash Register (NCR) corporation and was used as a guesthouse that has welcomed all sorts of important folks like visiting presidents, including both Bushes. While not all the current furnishings are original to Orville's time, NCR had the sense to thoroughly photograph every room in the house to preserve a detailed record of Orville's home. The Wright family currently owns the property and still hosts functions there.

Now don't you feel smarter?

As for the tour, Jameson and I both loved it. Nothing in the house is off limits, except for Orville's study. You can view it, but you can't walk through it. It's also the only room in the house where nothing has been moved since Orville lived there. The rest of the members of the tour group were adults and I think Jameson felt special being the only kid there that day. He was great, of course, asking questions and paying attention the whole time. He was a little quiet at first and was surprised at the size of the place (over 6,000 square feet). Jameson loved the stories about Orville that the guide shared in each room we visited. After the tour we decided to locate the Wright brothers burial plot at the unbelievably gorgeous Woodland Cemetery.

Jameson was expecting something much, much smaller.

This is the original table at which Orville Wright would have sat for dinner.

Orville's study is the only room in the home that remains unaltered from when he lived there.

Jameson contemplating the flying car he's going to invent.

The Wright family headstone at Woodland Cemetery.



After Jameson and I finished our tour, a cemetery hunt and lunch at Milano's, it was time for some father-son fun with Truman. Our activity: bowling. Truman is always entertaining in one-on-one situations. In many ways, he's the quietest and most independent of all of our kids, so it's always interesting to spend time with him without his siblings around. Much like Amelia was with the pool, Truman was incredibly stoked to be headed to the bowling alley with dad. Of course, he made dozens of observations along the way, and, of course, I cannot recall any of them at the moment.

Truman insisted that he did not need any help. Which was true.

Truman's unique form.

Truman celebrated every throw. No matter what.

Stop getting so old, T-man!

Kid sized bowling shoes are always cute.
What bowling trip is complete without alley junk food?

I'm not sure Truman wanted to leave the bowling alley, but after a couple of games it was time to go. Day two of Father's Day weekend wasn't over, though. I was sending Julie off to a Lindsey Buckingham concert which meant I was home alone with the kids. Which meant I was home alone with Miss Eliana at bedtime. Which meant Eliana and I were staying up late watching action movies.

Eliana didn't miss mom one bit. (At least that's what I keep telling Julie.)

Stay tuned to the exciting conclusion of Father's Day weekend 2012.

1 comment:

wesley's mom (sue) said...

I've loved reading these. What a great tradition.