Princesses & Castles & Gowns
This post concerns a somewhat different sort of history. Or different types of history. The make believe history of fairy tales and fantasy. The history of own childhood as we look back on it. And the history we build ourselves with moments that are perhaps only significant when we look back on them.
My daughter Mélanie turned four yesterday. Hard for me to believe four years have already gone by since she was born and also hard for me to remember a time when she wasn't part of my life. In the case of her (much-anticipated) birthday I was very much aware that this particular moment was one would both remember, hopefully fondly. Thankfully as she was falling asleep she told me "I had a nice birthday."
Her big present from me was a wooden castle. It goes with a coach she got last year, some dolls she already had, and a new set of Frozen dolls which fit the castle perfectly. By last night it was populated with even more dolls of different sizes exploring the rooms and acting out Mélanie's stories. I had a wooden castle growing up and some of the the earliest historical stories I made up were not written down but acted on on its battlements. I love watching Mélanie play in this make believe world and learn a few historical terms - battlements, portcullis, sceptre.
Her party had a pirate princess theme with her cake decorated with characters from Captain Jake & the Neverland Pirates (along with a favorite purple pony). Mélanie loves pirate stories, mostly at her age of the very lighthearted kind (including Pirates of Penznance). Another example of a sort of fantasy world with roots in real history. As is her love long, full-skirted dresses she can twirl in, tiaras, and sparkly jewelry.
I love watching her explore stories, and I particularly love when they touch on one of my great loves, history. For me, fairy tales and make believe were an early gateway into my eventual love of archives, Calendars of State Papers, and dusty trails of books too seldom read to be in the Stanford library's computer system. It will be interesting to see if Mélanie's interest in history grows. For now, I'm enjoying playing with her castle with her :-).
What started your love of history?