Wednesday, September 15, 2010
"I hate school!" My youngest announced last week, stamping her foot emphatically-her arms folded tightly across her chest. "Why do we have to go to school anyway? It's just a big waste of time!"
I knew she didn't mean it-she was just overtired and had been working diligently all afternoon on a rather difficult lesson.
"You better be careful of what you say," I advised. "Thaddeus Stevens might hear you and he won't be happy."
The girls and I had had a discussion over the weekend about Thaddeus. (His picture hangs in the tavern at the Fairfield Inn where I work as an Innkeeper. My girls often have the wonderful opportunity to accompany me there on the days I go in to prepare breakfast and ready rooms for the guests.)
Her eyes got wide and her hand flew up to her mouth. "I didn't mean it!" she quickly added-looking around nervously. We had also heard lots of stories about ghosts haunting the inn, and because Thaddeus had frequented the Historic Fairfield Inn quite a bit while constructing the "Tapeworm Railroad" between Frederick, Maryland and Gettysburg, PA, in the mid 1800's, there was always the slight possibility he might decide to come back for one more cup of delicious 1863 Ham and Bean Soup or to confront a little 10 year old girl who often acts too big for her britches.
"I'm sure he wouldn't be upset with you," I said, trying to ease her concerns. We talked a little about some of the notable things Thaddeus Stevens had accomplished in his life time. Not only did he play an important role in inventing the public school system, he also built two local furnaces, one of which resides at the Inn currently. He was also a staunch Republican and advocate for the abolishment of slavery. While he never married, he did share his home with two of his nephews and his "housekeeper," a lovely woman named Lydia Smith. Her portrait hangs next to the Maria furnace at the lovely Historic Fairfield Inn.