If you are a parent, the word ‘remember’ is a regular part of your vocabulary. “Kids, remember to brush your teeth,” “remember, you need to feed the dogs,” “BOYS, PLEASE remember to put the seat down!” For some strange reason children just don’t seem to be able to remember these REPEATED, simple requests.
In actuality remembering is something we all need to be reminded to do.
We were taught in our U.S. History classes to, at the very least, remember the lives lost in countless battles for freedom’s sake. But like any nation that forgets to remember or recall their past, much is taken for granted and the lives of those who sacrificed are diminished and forgotten. You only need to have one conversation with a military war veteran, or see one glimpse of the thousands of shoes at the Holocaust Museum to understand the importance of remembering. Forgetting can have grave consequences.
It is easy to forget. We are so busy and many of us have chaotic and hectic lives. We have to make a conscious choice to remember. But one day WE will be history- the people that are written about. I think often about what they will write. How will they remember us?
Recently I made an unexpected trip to Washington, D.C. My husband and I had one day that was not work-related, so we decided to visit Mt. Vernon. Initially, I was going to write about another historic home and its story, and, although July 4th is gone for another year, it is the perfect time to look back and remember. By today’s standards Mt. Vernon isn’t really that spectacular. The grounds and views from Mt. Vernon are breathtaking, but the actual house and outbuildings are fairly simple in their materials. In fact from the outside the main house looks as though it’s made of stone but wood was cheaper than stone in those days, so pieces of wood were carved to look like stone.
What is amazing and unforgettable about Mt. Vernon are the people who lived there. It’s hard to know where to focus when you are at Mt. Vernon. What a pivotal time and place this house represents for all Americans. so I decided to spend some time getting reacquainted with Martha Washington and realized that I didn’t remember much about her at all.
Prior to meeting George, her name was Martha Dandridge Custis. At the young age of 26 Martha had become a very wealthy widow with two children by the time she met and married George Washington. Previous to Daniel Parke Custis’ sudden death, Martha and Daniel had buried two of their young children. I hadn’t remembered that George and Martha Washington didn’t give birth to any children as a couple, but George took and raised Martha’s remaining two children as his very own.
I don’t have enough time to tell about this special couple. They were completely devoted to one another. When George Washington left Mt. Vernon in 1775, he was unable to return again for over 6 years. Martha would travel to meet George, usually in the winter months, at whatever encampment he was in at the time. She would stay with him for months at a time during the Revolutionary War. Martha helped organize donations for the Continental soldiers as well as personally donating a large sum of money herself. At Valley Forge she sewed warm socks and clothing for the soldiers, gave them food and nursed the sick and dying. The colonial soldiers referred to her as Lady Washington, and what a Lady she was.
By the time Martha buried George, she had buried their two remaining children, as well. Patsy was only seventeen when she passed away, and their son Jacky was twenty-seven when he died. Martha outlived all of them.
George and Martha Washington’s room at Mt. Vernon remains exactly as it did on the day he died. George passed away in that bed. It is hard to take it all in when standing on those old rickety wooden floors in the hallway of Mt. Vernon looking into the room they once shared.
Martha Washington is just one story, one life representing much love, but much suffering and hardship as well, on behalf of her family and country . . . and much of it for the sake of freedom.
Remembering, as you can see, is so important for our future generations.
Kimberly Pearson has always had a passion for retail and merchandising. From studying retail merchandising as a young woman to practicing a more restrained version as a professional organizer then to home interiors and Redesign in 2005, it’s just a part of her make up.
Today, that passion has taken her to a personal shopping service provided solely to the design trade. As a lifelong Phoenix resident she has a heart for local; primarily local vintage shops. Kimberly works closely with her clients to provide top-notch customer service in their search for special pieces all while promoting a more convenient method to support the local community. Kimberly Pearson if the founder of Brick & Mortar Vintage and can be reached at (602) 460-6277. brickandmortarvintage.com