Monday, August 25, 2008

Tom Sawyer's

All American Kiddos: Evie, Gabby and Ian

(it was so humid outside, I was having a hard time keeping my lense from fogging.)

Before our vacation, the most 'live' exposure I had had to Tom Sawyer was the island at Disneyland dedicated to the fictional boy created by Mark Twain.
But now I have been to the REAL Hannibal, MO. The town that Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) grew up in and based most of Tom's adventures around.
Of course, like any self-respecting American town with any shred of historical connection...Hannibal has seized on this entrepreneurial opportunity and built a living shrine to the characters of Tom and Becky. There is even an annual Tom and Becky contest and the winners are chosen to represent the town in festivals and parades throughout the year as the couple.

Backing up just a bit (ok--quite a bit)...Jeff visited Hannibal with his family when he was a child (hey--I warned you it was quite a bit!) and the part that he remembered the most, was touring "Injun Joe's Cave". Of course, it is not called that anymore. very un-PC. But it was unchanged other than the name. An incredible, underground expanse of rock formations and caverns.
At just over an hour, the tour was a bit long for the little ones, but they were troopers, and definitely enjoyed it overall. We had read the book, Tom Sawyer, as a family. in preparation for the trip to the town, so they had a deeper appreciation for all of the sights.

Gabby demonstrates how narrow some of the passages are.

This is titled "Jesse James Hideout". They have evidence to support the belief that Jesse and his gang stayed here for a while. Jesse signed his name in the cave!

a very tired Evie, fortunately nearing the end of the tour...

Our tour guide through the cave was very good at weaving the story into his tour, and we were glad that the kids had the knowledge of the book to pull from when he referenced it. At one point in the tour, he shut off all of the lights to show us just how dark it was in the cave without electricity, and why Tom and Becky were so scared when they were lost in the cave with no lights. and plenty of bats (ew).

We ate ice cream at a small parlor that also boasted a wide array of Mark Twain's books. My goodness that man was prolific! I realized just how little of his writings I have actually read. Did you know he is known as the first American celebrity? He is definitely one of the most quoted. I will leave you with one of my favorites.
"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society."


rebanerck said...

hmm... I see us getting a bit closer to the stuff I am looking for... :-) now I think I need to read the book to my boys and take a little field trip. It can't be too far from us, right? it doesn't look too far away on the map...

annaliese said...

oooooh...that's a low blow there, ms. reba. :) but, yes, I think it would be a fun trip for you all. not exactly QUICK, but still fun ;) (oh, and yes, we are almost to your part of the trip!)

Mer said...

Here I will admit to all of blogdom - I have never read a book by Mark Twain.

Whew! Glad I got that off my chest. ;0)

Looks like you guys had fun. :0)

annaliese said...

well, you must remedy that. he is a fabulous author. and while Tom Sawyer or Adventures of Huck Finn are great fun, I would definitely recommend reading a book of his essays or speeches. He has such a wit in his writing. I also recommend looking up his quotes (I think there are books dedicated to these, as well)--they are highly amusing!