Who knew that history would hold such fascination for me? Yet living in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia has been wonderfully interesting and laced with history. This was George Washington's stomping ground. His main residence is located about 10 miles away but he had a townhome here, and his church is just up the street. Scattered in Old Town are many of the pubs and local meeting places where he dined and conducted business.
Yet his is not the only story. There is the story of the wealthy landowner whose daughter married a man he did not like. As a wedding gift he built his daughter and new son-in-law a house behind his own. It was a grand home with a beautiful view of the Potomac River but no front door. The son-in-law had to walk through his father-in-law's home to get to his own.
Then there’s the tragic story of the bride. As her groom waited anxiously in the main parlor his bride was upstairs getting dressed. Unfortunately, her dress caught fire and it spread so quickly that it was too late to save her by the time anyone realized she was in trouble.
What about stockings two hundred years ago? In those days it was a man who wore stockings and women would judge a man's suitability by how his calves were highlighted and accentuated in the stockings. "Stocking stuffers" were those men whose calves were not up to par and they stuffed their stockings to project better calves.
Then there was that mysterious woman who died without a name. The couple's boat had been docked in the harbor for days with no activity. Finally the husband brought the ailing lady, covered from head to toe, to the tavern where he asked for a room and a doctor. The doctor was not allowed to see the woman until he swore never to reveal her identity. After she died the husband bought a grand headstone and she was buried in a near by gravesite. And then he disappeared without paying his bills at the tavern, with the doctor, or for the headstone. The doctor lived out his life without ever revealing her name.
The stories of others intrigue us because we are similar in many ways no matter the age or times in which we live. People are people, we all want the same things in life, and we connect through our stories. Even though "stocking stuffers" maybe from the 18th century we can identify with wanting to project something we are not. We also admire the doctor who could keep the secret, and feel sorrow both for the bride lost and the groom left to grieve.
Don’t let that person next door go by everyday without ever stopping to say hi, or have a chat about the gardens, or the grandchildren. The stranger may take your kindness without a thought about your welfare, let it go. You may have more in common than you realize, you may have done the same to another. It’s harder to keep the negative stuff in mind when you focus how similar we really are.
We are all one and when you connect with another, you are really connecting with yourself!