Friday, July 10, 2009

Manassas Day 1

This morning was "breakfast" in a new motel. Joseph says the butter was good. So was the orange juice. But "continental breakfast" consisted of a microwave, toaster, english muffins and bread, packages of jam and cream cheese, and OJ and coffee. We decided this was a good morning to use the coupon for the free croissant sandwich that Joseph won at our stop at Burger King when we first got to Harrisonburg.

We walked through Old Town for a few minutes until the Visitor Center opened. We got maps for a walking tour and a driving tour in town. The center is in the old restored Manassas train station. That is where we will get on board the train into D.C. on Sunday morning. It's in the same spot the trains came and went from during the Civil War, bringing supplies and transporting soldiers.

The drive into the conference looked like it was going to be a breeze. Just get on the road that runs in front of our motel and keep going for 9 miles until you see Willard Dr. It was great until we got to Exit 43 which said that Exit 44, our exit was closed. They actually had very helpful bright orange detour signs that guided us, but it threw off all our directions once we reached Willard Dr. We didn't know where we were supposed to be on that road, and took several wrong turns before we finally found the center.

There was some confusion about our booth space, and we waited for 45 minutes or so to get the tablecloths/drapery and chairs that we had ordered. We couldn't set up the booth until the tablecloths were on the tables, so we stood around and walked around and stood around some more and bugged the organizers, and finally were able to start setting up about 2 minutes before we were supposed to be all done.

It's a big hall with lots of room and over 75 vendors -- everything from accordion lessons to culinary institutes, the state dept of education, colleges, and crafts along with the standard Abeka, BJU, Sonlight, etc. Nothing that really interested me very much, though.

It definitely has a different ambience and emphasis than the Washington and Oregon conferences. The classical education influence is heavy in the main speakers and workshops. Susan Wise Bauer and her mother are the main speakers -- biggie classical school promoters. Of the forty workshops available over the two days, not one focuses on character, discipleship, and family issues like courtship, family leadership, roles of women and men, like the fairs we're used to. All were dealing only with academics. Some people were definitely not interested in what we had to offer. One lady wanted help teaching her children about the Bible, since she had just become a Christian, but the Old Testament "bores her to tears." Another walked up and asked me what we had to offer. I explained and she responded with an "oh" without looking at me and walked away.

But then at least one lady walked up with her list obviously thought out and bought a whole pile of the small books -- DOD, AUL (which I think we somehow didn't charge her for -- Sorry, Daniel!), Family Circles, PC Memory, etc. And others obviously were familiar with us. It looks like we sold about $600 worth today.

We fluctuated between absolute boredom to panic with people waiting in line. Late afternoon was especially dull -- try some Tazo tea from the exhibitors' room, walk around, go to the bathroom, get another kind of tea and some Chex mix, try to snap out of a desperate yawning spell, go to the bathroom, etc. It was dangerous being so inactive after the hours and the pace we have been keeping.

Speaking of panicking, I finally got around to reading some emails that I had downloaded earlier and was astounded to find out that I have a Homeschooling Today article due on the day we come home. Kara Murphy refered to July 16 as the "drop dead" deadline. Drop dead is right. How did I ever get roped into writing these articles?! This is the one for Nov/Dec. Can I quit after this one?

We're praying some big books sell tomorrow. We need those empty boxes to send stuff home in. We want to get rid of some things so we don't have so much to drag around D.C. with us on Sunday. And I really don't think everything would fit in our suitcases anymore.

Finally set up for business!

Look what we found in Manassas! Kline's Freeze, just like Kline's Dairy Bar in Harrisonburg -- same ice cream, same picnic tables, same calories ... a little something to carry us over until I started making dinner at 10 p.m.

We headed out to the Manassas Battlefield and were delighted to find that we could go in, even though the visitor center closed at 5. It was perfect. The air was cool with a bit of breeze, the birds were singing, the deer were venturing out of the woods, and the sun was setting, as we walked the mile-long mowed path through the fields, enjoying the view and reading the signs about the battle. Joseph took some great pictures and we got some fresh air moving through us after sitting in an exhibit hall all day. I didn't think we'd get a chance to get to the battlefield, so it was a pleasant surprise and a pleasant evening.

The sunset reflected in the Henry House window

Rickett's Battery which the Confederates took.

Doesn't he look like the talking head in a documentary?

Watch out, Judith Henry. You should leave your house before the cannon start firing.

Nice shot, huh?

It was even prettier than this. A great memory to hang on to.

We'll see how much of a post we manage tomorrow night. We have to repack everything to fit into the DP boxes and our suitcases, toss any food we can't carry with us, pack our breakfast, lunch and dinner for D.C., return the car to Hertz, and get a cab back to our motel. Will everything fit or not? Stay tuned...

Today's question: From what nation was the sculptor who portrayed Stonewall Jackson as the big muscular guy on the big muscular horse?


  1. Bev says: Wow you again managed to pack an amazing amount into your day....and even find a Kline's :) The sunset pics are magnificent! One more thing to add to your panic...I mean list of things to do...I will be going to Costco on tuesday...I will be happy to shop for you if you send me a list :) Tomorrow sounds like an interesting/challenging day. Sorry to remind you...but I need the final total and sales tax amount to send in the first of next week. :( It sounds like an article on the importance of character training might be appropriate. I had a delightful chat with Grandy today...she is so amazing. Have a great day tomorrow.

  2. Those pictures are beautiful! Um, I am guessing... Japan.

  3. Hmm....big and Italian sculptor??(If two guesses were allowed my second would be Greek)

  4. Daniel says French.
    Katelyn says German.

    Cool pictures!

    Thanks for fitting everything in the boxes too :-) I should have made you more than four return labels.

  5. Juli wins! Italian born Joseph P. Pollia designed the statue. I lose. I thought it was designed by a German...