I’ve always followed the rules. I say that not with pride but with a certain amount of regret.
So when (15 years ago) I toured Leonardo da Vinci’s living quarters at Chateau du Clos Luce and broke a rule with premeditation but no malice, it was a big deal. As I exited his bedroom I laid my hands on his dresser drawers. I touched the very places where da Vinci’s hands had touched. If there was even one molecule of his genius mojo embedded in that wood, I wanted to make contact.
Fast forward 15 years to Concord, Massachusetts. The Old North Bridge where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Emerson House where Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne all stayed, Orchard House where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set Little Women – I was filled with an overwhelming sense of history and wonder.
At Emerson House we toured the home where Ralph Waldo Emerson lived and Nathaniel Hawthorne rented for three years. While there,
Hawthorne and his wife used her diamond wedding ring to etch thoughts into glass windowpanes. He wrote stories at a desk believed to be built by then groundskeeper, Henry David Thoreau. My companion that day was daughter and one woman travelling billboard, Sally Rose Car. She carries Dead Behind The Eyes wherever she goes. In an attempt to cosmically soak up some inspiration and talent, she put her copy of the book on Hawthorne’s desk and I laid my hands on it.
At Orchard House we heard the story of Alcott and her sisters. Their parents gave all the Alcott girls permission and encouragement to pursue their talents. May (Amy in Little Women) was a gifted artist. She was encouraged to draw and paint wherever she wanted. The walls are covered with her drawings.
Stories of Alcott’s childhood and experiences as a Civil War nurse were fascinating. Every room in the house is filled with furnishings that were there when Louisa and her family lived there. So much to touch. I had to break the rules many times. When we got to Louisa’s bedroom and the desk where she wrote Little Women , Sally did her thing. The tour guide noted that Little Women has never been out of print. I’d like some of that, please.