Another frigging history lesson

This morning, after completing a few household tasks I spent half the day reading.  I have four books on the go, but this morning, I read part of one of the books Bernard Bailyn wrote about Puritan New England (New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century), as well as a later book, The Barbarous Years, which focuses more on the Virginia colony.   I read the first book as an undergraduate, but now that I have discovered one of my ancestors, Thomas Dudley, was a governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, I am reading it again.

I spent yesterday afternoon working on my family tree, particularly the Dudley line, which I very well may abandon as I have discovered Thomas’ ancestor was probably “Lord Has Been” and a laughing-stock in England after he lost his lands and title, I think because he gambled and drank.  Another of Thomas’ ancestors was hung by Queen Elizabeth I for his involvement in a plot to remove her from the throne.

Now I wish I had paid more attention to the paper a classmate wrote on the infamous ‘Gun Powder Plot.’

Apparently another of Thomas’ ancestors married someone indirectly related to Edward III.  I could have gone forever not knowing that and been quite content. You may recall Edward’s progeny fought the War of the Roses.

View-Master, the iPad of the 1940s and 1950s.

View-Master, the iPad of the 1940s and 1950s.

My third book is a quick read about the Plantagenets.  Over the years, I have taken many classes and read many books about this family, and visited many of the sites in England and Scotland associated with them. I first became interested in them when I saw Lawrence Olivier in Richard III as a teenager, or perhaps it was when I saw The film Richard I (and the III Crusade), with Rex Harrison playing Saladin, whom historians now think was a Kurd.

Or maybe it was when my parents bought me the View-Master slides of Elizabeth I’s coronation. Of course, Elizabeth II is not a Plantagenet, nor was Elizabeth I.  Which is why Shakespeare cast the Plantagenets in such a negative way.


Well, enough of that, If you don’t like history you’re missing a lot. Lately, I have been reading and working on my family tree most of the day.  I try to share what I have discovered with David and he goes to sleep.  Yesterday, when I was trying to explain to David who the Plantagenets were, I sparked him awake, by asking him if he remembered the film where Katherine Hepburn played Eleanor of Aquitaine, the wife of Henry II.

The family was quite dysfunctional, and at one point in the Lion in Winter, Hepburn as Eleanor, trying to smooth things over between her two quarreling sons Richard and John, and placate husband Henry II, turns in exasperation towards the camera, and says, “Are all families like this?”  David immediately popped alert.  He loved Hepburn and knows all about dysfunctional families, and remembered this ad-lib line.


David is home from his AA meeting, so I will log off and get the pork loin roast in the marinade.  Yes, we do eat occasionally.

9 thoughts on “Another frigging history lesson

  1. Just finished reading “Agent Storm: My Life Inside Al Qaeda and the CIA” by Morten Storm, a Dane who first converted to Islam, then after ten years lost his faith and started working for the Danish, English and American secret services. Not history, exactly, more current events; but still a fascinating look into the Muslim underworld in Europe.


  2. Isn’t it interesting when you uncover your past relatives? Long before it was made relatively (no pun intended) easy to trace your lineage my two oldest sisters spent countless hours and a fair amount of money doing just that. I remember them being disappointed too about some of them too.


    • My Great Aunt Ruby and cousins Elaine and Ann did much research on several lines of the family history on either side. Also cousin Anke in the Netherlands provided much input from her side of the family.

      So far I am not disappointed, just surprised by some of their history.


  3. We are taking notes of all the books you have been reading and adding them to our list. I loved Lion in Winter and Kathryn Hepburn was and always will be one of my favorites.


    • Yes, the Lion in Winter was a great fillm with a wonderful cast. I think it won the Oscar for Best Picture. The Plantagenet book is by Dan Jones. Bailyn won the Pulitzer several times, and is one of our most revered historians. These books are a quick read. I also like Alison Weir’s books on the Tudors and the last of the Plantagets and have read most of them.


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