Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Old Salem

Last weekend, my friend asked me if I wanted to go with her to North Carolina.  She had a conference to attend there and she not only wanted a driving buddy but thought I might appreciate the trip.  

So I found myself driving down to Winston-Salem, NC at 5 in the morning to get there in time for the conference on the African American story in Salem hosted by the MESDA.  As a friend, they gave me a complimentary ticket to the museum (decorative arts) and to all the buildings in Old Salem.  One of the best uses of a Saturday afternoon I've had in a while.  

For one, I got a personalized tour through the MESDA with one of the nicest people who loves her job researching decorative arts in the early south.  It was one of the most interesting conversations I've had with a tour guide.  We wandered through the various rooms and expressed opinions and ideas.  I asked lots of questions and spent my time suddenly thinking and investing time into a subject I've never distinctly thought about.  It's like interior decorating meets family history meets anthropology.  

Secondly, I got to spend a half day wandering by myself through a restored old village of the church town Salem.  It was established by the Moravian Church and it remained a theocracy until the 1830's.  For a while, I was the only person in the town so I had the workers in period dress all to myself to ask all the questions I could think of.  They were all kind; some of them were Moravians themselves and so it was nice to see how their spiritual and family heritage made a difference on how they felt about this little piece of history.  

Third, I convinced my sister to bring her daughter up to spend time with me.  That meant half a day in the freezing cold with my sister and niece.  My niece was a trooper in spite of the cold.  We bought some of the best bread ever and munched on it as we wandered through the buildings.  Baby didn't talk much.  She did grunt and point a lot at objects that she could say.  I guessed she was testing me to make sure I was saying them the same way she did.  (Just in case her Mom was teaching her the wrong words)  Most adorably, she would call my sister by saying, "MOM!  Mom!"  No Mommy or Mama for her.  Simply Mom.  She also has this cute habit: if you ask her where her mouth is, she opens it up really wide as though she is surprised.  In summary, I have the cutest niece.  

My friend agreed: "She isn't even my baby but I feel the need to take her places just so I can show her off."  Amazingly, Baby took right to my friend and wouldn't let go.  

 Single Sisters at the Single Sisters House
 Gun Shop
 Very interesting multi-purpose building.  The right part served as the housing for meat going to market.  The left part housed the fire engine.  
 At first, my friend and I couldn't find this place.  
"We can't even find the single brothers' house.  Do you think that's symbolic of our lives?"   
 But we finally found it.  And they let me in.  

 The tin coffee pot

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