What happens when two thirtysomething siblings relive the summer reading programs of their youth in an all-out battle of the books? The race is on as they read by the rules and keep tally on their logs to see who will be the ultimate reader by Labor Day 2010.

August 19, 2010

Invoking the ISBN rule: Duxbury...Past and Present

I know, I know: our reading republic is rallying behind Brendan, hoping that he spends his time in Edinburgh reading instead of performing. Hoping that he's been stockpiling posts, that maybe tomorrow (or at least the day after tomorrow), he'll add 20 titles to his log. A more compassionate sister might focus more on epic tomes, or simply stop posting entirely.

Alas, we never determined skunk rules in our reading program, and I love my brother too much to deny him fierce competition to the end. Since Brendan has already shared my childhood love for invoking lesser known rules in our games, it's fitting to apply this to our reading challenge. Hello, ISBN rule!

I have now read ISBN 978-0-941859-11-0 (an adult, non-fiction book) at least 12 times this summer, mostly out loud (and in slightly condensed form) to my three year old sons, who are obsessed with-- what else?-- town history.

Yup. If they're very, very good this year, maybe Santa will bring them their very own autographed copies of "Duxbury...Past and Present".

Here's how it started: The town's historical society did a letterboxing project this summer (if you are local, you should check it out; it's very well done). 10 clues, 10 separate boxes, 10 different sites particular to Duxbury's history. While easy enough to do in a day, we chose to spread this out over the course of the summer, which helped turn this into the Summer of Duxbury History. Having grown up here, I remember most of the big facts (Pilgrims! Clipper ships! Cranberries!), but my kids are into the minutiae: like that the Cranberry Factory Mill had nothing to do with cranberry production (textiles); Myles Standish has been exhumed three times; and the Powder Point School for Boys was destroyed by fire. They now know that practically every abandoned stone foundation that they see near water was once the site of a saw mill. They have nearly suffered whiplash while quickly turning to catch the sight of a stone marker by the side of the road (there are loads). They are hooked. So, they ask questions, I respond or we look the answer up in the book, then we pass away a little more time reading about some other local history and lore.

Earlier this week, they found their last remaining letterbox and made their way to collect their prize: a pretty swanky t-shirt announcing that they "put their stamp on history". They are excited that another round of letterboxes is in the works for this fall. And the three of them are talking about making their own clues and creating letterboxes. Best yet*, I was able to take pictures of the three of them together (a rare thing, indeed).

(Lest you think this was all idyllic, I'll share that there was quite a bit of arguing over who got to find the clues, some bossiness, a few mosquito bites, and one moment when the kids decided to explore a conservation trail and I basically whined to get them back on the letterbox track. We were on a mission, folks!).

*Well, no. The best is that I added a book to the log in the process.

1 comment:

  1. "The best is that I added a book to the log in the process." I'm speechless.

    In other news, that picture is probably worth me losing this thing.