They Knew They Were Pilgrims

The 17th Century Adventures of Plimoth Plantation's Colonial Interpreters

They Knew We’d Be Pilgrims: Part Deux

September 7th, 2013 by Alexandra

So eons ago (okay, back in May), after revealing the deepest, darkest, nerdiest secrets of our childhood Sally and I promised that we would force our coworkers to do the same and then share the results with the entire internet. We’re great friends! ┬áBut we wanted to know if our colleagues were just like us – were there warning signs in their childhoods that they too would grow up to become a Pilgrim instead of something normal like an accountant or nurse?

To investigate, we spent the past few months patiently collecting pictures and anecdotes from Pilgrims both past and present, and as it turns out, Sally and I aren’t alone! Whether it was choosing to be a historical character instead of a Power Ranger for Halloween, going on the nerdiest of nerdy family vacations, or being that one weirdo who always checked out the same historical fiction book in the school library that had previously been collecting dust for about a decade, we Pilgrims were a special breed even as children (For the record, I did none of those things. Just kidding, I did all of those things!). It should be no surprise then that all the snooping around in our colleagues’ lives proved that little nerds definitely grow up into big nerds, and that the birth of a historical interpreter is usually long before you even have a job interview at Plimoth Plantation.

Without further ado then, here are some of my fabulous co-Pilgrims, bravely sharing their geekiness just for you dear readers:

"Thanksgiving-ish, 1985. Which also means it was my second birthday!" - Kathy

“Thanksgiving-ish, 1985. Which also means it was my second birthday!” – Kathy

Alex

“I was obsessed with my Felicity American Girl doll, so for my 10th birthday my family went on vacation to Colonial Williamsburg. My mom went through all the trouble to sew me a costume to match my doll, and I just remember being upset I had to wear tennis shoes and didn’t have the proper historically accurate ones.” – Alex

“I spent some of my childhood living on the Isle of Wight, just around the corner from Osborne House, the summer home of Queen Victoria. I’m not sure whether this is precocious or adorable, but I could give tours of the house and gardens from an early age” – Sally

"Here's my personal favorite. Taken in 1990 in West Glover, Vermont, at the Rodgers Dairy Farm Bed & Breakfast." - Norah

“Here’s my personal favorite. Taken in 1990 in West Glover, Vermont, at the Rodgers Dairy Farm Bed & Breakfast.” – Norah

"This is one of my all time favorites, from 1995. I saved up all year to buy that hat!" - Anna

“This is one of my all time favorites, from 1995. I saved up all year to buy that hat!” – Anna

"June 1999 at my first-ever Civil War re-enactment in Whitehall, PA. I had also just received my first-ever non-20th century meal...and from my expression, the most common caption everyone gave it (which is also the one used by the newspaper) is 'What IS this stuff?' I still don't know exactly what was all on my plate...but I certainly ate it all!" - Don

“June 1999 at my first-ever Civil War re-enactment in Whitehall, PA. I had also just received my first-ever non-20th century meal…and from my expression, the most common caption everyone gave it (which is also the one used by the newspaper) is ‘What IS this stuff?’ I still don’t know exactly what was all on my plate…but I certainly ate it all!” – Don

Malka

“My mom had come here with her family as a girl (and she grew up in Ohio!), and brought me down for my first visit when I was six and half. That day, a pilgrim woman asked me to help dry her dishes — and I was hooked! I fell in love with the museum then and have never fallen out, whether as a child volunteer in the English Village, on Mayflower II, and at the Wampanoag Homesite, or now as a paid interpreter and museum teacher.” – Malka

Kyle

“When my mom was working at the Plantation she borrowed some clothes from Wardrobe – and I was a Pilgrim for Halloween!” – Kyle

"Feb. 6, 1979. A long time ago I had a saw and I cut my finger." - Michael

“Feb. 6, 1979. A long time ago I had a saw and I cut my finger.” – Michael

Kathleen

“Language (or lack thereof) is no barrier, as I tell the Aunties “It’s not just the food, it’s the ways” and the hard truths about the First Thanksgiving. Some jobs you train for; some jobs you’re born for. The Few, the Proud, the Pilgrim.” – Kathleen

"I wasn't going to make it as a pilot, so I chose a different career." - Bill

“I wasn’t going to make it as a pilot, so I chose a different career.” – Bill

"Despite what my dad thinks, there were signs..." - Colleen

“Despite what my dad thinks, there were signs…” – Colleen

"I set up a Civil War Encampment in my backyard, and even gave the other kids lessons on how to dress up." - Jess

“I set up a Civil War Encampment in my backyard, and even gave the other kids lessons on how to dress up.” – Jess

"Here are the pictures my mom gave me of 8th grade Ana working at 'The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation' in 3rd person!" - Ana

“Here are the pictures my mom gave me of 8th grade Ana working at ‘The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation’ in 3rd person!” – Ana

kid_doug

“Me, my grandpa and sister on the Mayflower circa 1994. There was one guy I remember liking in particular…turns out it was Chris Hall, and I still get to stand next to him!” – Doug

May you stay forever young Pilgrims – keep playing dress up like its your job. Because well, it is.

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6 Responses to “They Knew We’d Be Pilgrims: Part Deux”

  1. Beth Rollins says:

    Love Doug’s quote about Chris Hall! The fact that he still gets to stand next to him:) I too have pictures like that from when I was a kid. I think I have one of Mark from 1992 or so when my family and I came to the plant for the first time

  2. Pat CLaus says:

    Those photos are too adorable! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Laurie Sybertz says:

    What a great story, I did nerdy things as a young girl also, sasafrass tea,ect.Still mad I didn’t get picked to be a pilgrim in seventh grade!

  4. carolina says:

    This is fantastic! Love seeing everyone in their “younger days” and learning how they ended up playing, er, working at Plimoth Plantation. What fun!

    • john kemp says:

      yield who will to their separation
      my object in living is to unite
      my avocation and my vocation
      as my two eyes make one in sight

      for only where love and need are one
      and work is play for mortal stakes
      is the deed ever truly done
      for heaven and the future’s sakes.
      Robert Frost

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