Jailbreak! -- 05/16/04

Jailbreak! was the title of a one act play that Nancy and I went to see last night in the parish hall at King Kong (the local nickname for Kingston Congregational Church, a church that dates back to the colonial era, although the current church building is more recent, having been built in 1820).

It was performed by a group of teenagers -- four high school students and half a dozen 8th graders. The kids are all junior docents at the Pettaquamscutt Historical Society. The play was about Samuel Casey, a renowned local silversmith in colonial times. His works are in museum collections worldwide; in his day he was considered the equal of Paul Revere.

In 1764 his house in the village of Exeter burned to the ground, taking with it furniture, tools, all his belongings. The total loss was estimated to be five thousand pounds -- truly a fortune for that time.

He moved to the village of Little Rest (the colonial name for what eventually became known as Kingston) where he not only resumed working as a silversmith, he also became involved in a counterfeiting ring with his brother Gideon (who was the black sheep of the family, having been involved in various difficulties throughout the colonies) and with a number of local townspeople as accomplices. In 1770 their luck ran out and they were caught.

This is an image of the coins he had produced.

The historical society has one half of a die he used to counterfeit Spanish coins and they produced some pewter copies for sale as souvenirs. I purchased one and scanned it in. Apparently Casey thought that by counterfeiting foreign coins he could avoid the automatic death penalty for counterfeiting British coins. This worked for his accomplices -- they had their ears cropped and the letter R (for rogue) branded on their faces. Casey, however, was sentenced to be hung. While he was being held in the village jail, a gang of townspeople (disguised by charcoal-blackened faces) broke into the jail and set him free. A number of years later, his wife successfully petitioned the Rhode Island General Assembly to have her husband pardoned and his death penalty set aside, but apparently he was never seen or heard from again after the jailbreak. What happened to him remains an historical mystery.

The kids did a marvelous job. We hear so much these days about kids being in trouble, kids who are into drugs or who spend all their time watching television or getting into trouble. I'm going to quote the description of one of these kids, but each of them have biographies that are equally impressive. "XXXXX is a freshman at Narragansett High School. She has performed in school plays since 1st grade, played the king's daughter in the "King and I" at Theatre-by-the-Sea, did tech crew for her high school play "George Washington Slept Here," and has participated for the past two years at the RI Scholar-Athlete Games in voice and theatre. She has studied voice for 6 years and clarinet for 4 years, and performs with the Narragansett Madrigal Singers. This past year she was in the RI Music Educators Junior Division Honors Chorus. She has loved acting since she was very young and would someday like to pursue a career in musical theater. She enjoys going to the movies with friends, going to the beach, listening to loud music, and going for long walks. Her interests include politics, criminal law, and psychology." Almost all of these kids play at least one musical instrument (about half of them seem to have studied one instrument for several years and then added a second one two or three years ago). They also tend to be active in sports (tennis, softball, surfing, skateboarding, basketball, and climbing were among the activities mentioned).

Sunday Brunch questions for 05/16/02 -- Head to toe fashion

1. Is your hair its natural color right now and do you wear your hair long or short?
Natural dark brown turning to gray and the percentage of gray is increasing rapidly. Beard is almost all white. My hair is probably longer than average, but not as long as I used to wear it. (Had it in a pony tail nine or ten years ago.)
2. Shirts: long sleeves or short?
Depends on the season, right? Long sleeve in winter (or year 'round when I am going to work and have to suffer in frigid air-conditioning in the summer), and short in summer. Currently wearing a short-sleeve t-shirt from a race five years ago.
3. Do you wear a belt?
Yes, much of the time. I'll wear jeans without a belt if I can't find the one I want right away. With a business suit I tend to wear braces (suspenders), but these days it is very rare to dress like a grown up... and since I've moved over to this editing and QA work, I've not taught a real class since September, so I usually wear jeans and sneakers to the office. For the past three or four years at least, I was the only instructor in my entire division of the company who still wore suits and ties when teaching.
4. Tell me about your favorite bottom wear (pants/jeans/shorts/skirts).
Uh... I don't wear skirts. I am equally happy in suits or jeans, but I usually wear jeans. I am very happy that summer is getting near because I like wearing shorts.
5. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Lots, mostly running shoes. I have a pair of black wingtips and also a brown pair. I also have two pairs of semi-dress shoes -- i.e., smooth, not wingtips, and with cushioned soles to be comfortable for standing all day (delivering lectures, etc.) -- one gray pair and one light brown pair. I also have two pairs of casual walking shoes (i.e., sneakers). And I have a ton of running shoes. I tend to buy two pairs of new running shoes each year, one pair in winter and one pair in summer. The new ones are for running. The older ones are for just wearing around the house, walking, biking, yardwork, etc. Eventually they get really beaten up and grungy and I think Nancy tosses them away. I'm wearing a pair of moccasins right now. I have a battered pair of work boots and an even more battered pair of hiking boots. Both pairs of boots need to be replaced.

previous entry

next entry

To list of entries for 2004

To Home (Index) page