Tag Archives: history

The Watch That Ends The Night: Voices From the Titanic ~ Book Club

The Watch That Ends The Night

I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. It is historical fiction with a poetic twist. Anyone who enjoys reading about the Titanic will thoroughly enjoy this book.

The Watch That Ends The Night is written by Allan Wolf. We all know the story but Mr. Wolf takes the information, the facts, and uses them to create a whole new story – to bring the people to life, so to speak. He gives them character, family, emotion, hope, fear, and dreams.

Each page, sometimes two, is a new speaker. These are the thoughts and actions and emotions of each of the people who were on board this magnificent ship when she floundered and failed. The speaker has a way with words that varies from person to person, just like in life. Each person speaks a different way, using a different type of poetry.

These voices tell us the story of the Titanic from a unique perspective. Meet the voices of this disaster:

Olaus Abelseth – the immigrant
Thomas Andres – the shipbuilder
John Jacob Astor – the millionaire
Joseph Boxhall – the navigator
Harold Bride – the spark (wireless operator)
E.J. Smith – the captain
Jamila Nicola-Yarred – the refugee
The Iceberg
The Ship Rat
. . . and more.

p. 7 – The Iceberg

I am the ice. I see the tides ebb and flow.
I’ve watched civilizations come and go,
give birth, destroy, restore, be gone, begin.
My blink of an eye is humankind’s tortoise slow. . .

p. 175 – The First-Class Promenade

Like figures on a crousel,
around the upper-crust rondelle,
they swagger, sway, sashay, glissade;
Titanic‘s first-class promenade. . .

These are just a couple of examples of the differences in the poetic voices used to tell the story of the ship building, the launch, the sailing, the disaster, the rescue.

Mr. Wolf has done an incredible amount of research and used this information to put together this new and interesting vision of the Titanic. It is a fascinating and interesting read. There is much information that I had not heard before or a new take on it that helps me see the people on board the ship as real.

As with all historical fiction, there is some information that is included from lore and legend, some that is changed or unverifiable. However, Mr. Wolf does a complete job of trying to make the reader aware of where those changes or legends occur by include a as-true-as-is-known biography of each of the voices in the story. This final closure is a wonderful ending to this unique story.

This is one to add to your list. No doubt about it. You can find a partial preview and read some of the story online.

At Home.

As always, please visit Wendy’s Ladybug Daydreams blog to see what she read this month and is up to now. Thanks for reading along!

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens


Conner Prairie ~ Mega Field Trip

Conner Prairie

For several years, I have been looking for an opportunity to visit Conner Prairie, thanks to Home Sweet Life. Carol, the author at Home Sweet Life, and her family have volunteered at Conner Prairie for years and so I have been following all of her posts.

Conner Prairie is a living history museum located just north of Indianapolis, Indiana. There is an admission price to this museum and it gives you access to almost everything on the site. You will find several areas to visit that represent different times in history, specifically Indiana history.

1836 Prairietown
1863 Civil War Journey
Lenape Indian Camp
Animal Encounters
William Conner House
Treetop Outpost
. . . and more.

Our first stop was, well, the gift shop. But after that, we visited the Lenape Indian Camp. We listened to stories told and watched while a man worked on beading. He talked with the girls about how the Lenape got beads, where they came from, etc. He also showed them the technique he used to attach beads and create the difficult patterns he was making.

We visited the animal encounter where we saw several different animals – sheep and goats mainly. These animals are special breeds (heirloom breeds?) and are very lovely.

We visited Prairietown where we saw the school and the potters and several other places. The school was one of my favorite places because the school teacher was very knowledgeable. She was able to answer all of the girls questions and tell us about how much of the town worked and the students learned. I was interested in the math triangle that was used. I also really liked the discipline policies, very family based.

The weaver’s shed was really interesting. The lady working there had a younger girl working with her. They both shared about the textiles they were working with and what they were doing. It was really interesting. Miss E was really interested in this part and happy to stay there for as long as she wanted. Miss J was more interesting the potters. The young ladies working there were creating ink wells and talking about how they did their work. The kiln was going to be fired in a week or so and they had quite a lot of items ready to be fired. Lots of questions came from that stop. Miss L really liked seeing the butterflies in the garden. đŸ™‚

The treetop outpost was fun, with lots of exploration and hands-on activities. Miss J really enjoying this part, as well. Up and down and up and down. Miss E found the library at the bottom of the treehouse and stayed there for a while. Miss L spent some time with the giant building blocks and items.

The Civil War journey turned out to be interesting. This area had some technology built in and was fun. It covered the invasion of a group from the south and how they plundered a large area. There was a home there that incorporated some recorded video and audio that tells of how the invasion affected the family. There was a hospital building where the young man talked about much of the medicine available at the time. He also talked about how many soldiers had to have amputations to save their lives. He walked us through what an amputation would have been like. Um – almost too much information for me! One of the buildings included a recorded presentation that showed three different perspectives of the war.

The William Conner house stands overlooking the prairie that the area is named for. The home is furnished and has a number of interesting items. There are several interactive areas – in the kitchen there are spices to sniff and see if you can identify, in one of the rooms there is a building table where you can choose how to settle the land, there are letters to look at and trunks to explore.

I am certain I have left a ton out of this day long visit. It was a neat place. We go to meet Carol from Home Sweet Life (I was so excited!) and she acted our own tour guide. It made the day absolutely wonderful and interesting.

At Home.

This is part of a series titled Mega Field Trip.


Texas Bucket List – X: eXtra place to visit for W ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet


I couldn’t think of an X and I had too many W places I wanted to share so I decided to share another W place with you, since I had eXtras. đŸ™‚ I know – it is pushing it. I’m okay with that today.

Sweetwater, TX, was one of the sites for the training of female pilots during WWII. The female pilots played important roles in the defense of America and freedom around the world during that time. They may not have been in direct front-line combat but they experienced many losses and contributed much needed help and experience.

In Sweetwater, there is a museum dedicated to these female pilots from WWII. They were called WASP. Women Airforce Service Pilots lived and trained in the barren area of west Texas at Avenger Field. This site how houses the National WASP Museum in one of the old hangars.

A visit to the WASP Museum does not take too long but it is very interesting. You can see more of our visit in this post I shared with you a couple of years ago. I also shared a couple of books with you about it – one is Flying Higher and is biographical in nature and another was fiction but interesting titled The All-Girl Filling Station. The WASP program figures in Secrets in the Sky by Melinda Rice, a juvenile fiction story about a young girl in Sweetwater who befriends some of the lady pilots. We used it as a read aloud several years ago and really enjoyed it.

At Home.

Mega Field Trip

Mega Field Trip

We returned a couple of weeks ago from a mega field trip and we had such a good time. We spent three weeks (almost) on the road, stopping at interesting places we found in between a couple of scheduled places. This trip was a few years in the making (and saving for) but it was definitely worth it.

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing with you a number of the stops we made and encourage you to find your way there if you are ever able to. We do not regret a single stop.

Our only disappointment is that Hurricane Michael’s path altered the last few days of our trip. We had planned to return home along the Gulf Coast from central Florida. When we saw the anticipated arrival and place of landfall, we decided to change our plans. We headed farther north and then across so that we were out of the way of those who were making emergency plans and trying to evacuate. It is sad that the next time we are able to go through those areas they will look nothing like what we would have seen. However, we are safe and we did not disrupt those trying to get to safety. And that is what mattered.

So, here are a few of the places that I’ll be sharing about in the coming weeks, so you can look forward to them:

  • Conner Prairie
  • Wright Brothers Museum
  • Colonial Williamsburg
  • Pocahontas State Park
  • Washington, DC
  • beach in Florida
  • New Bern, NC
  • and more.

I hope you join us as we recall some of the times we enjoyed on our meanderings.

At Home.

Texas Bucket List – W: Washington-On-The-Brazos ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

W - Washington only

Last summer, At Home Dad and I visited the “birthplace of Texas.” It is called Washington-On-The-Brazos. It is the city of Washington which happens to be located on the Brazos River. We enjoyed it so much that we went back and took the girls. It was a fantastic history experience for them.

There is a little hall there that has been recreated to be like the original site of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence. There is fantastic visitor center that houses an exhibit about the declaring of independence of Texas from Mexico and how those years as an independent nation went. Then it covers the period until Texas became a state of the United States of America. It is a well done exhibit that really shares the history, people, and artifacts that bring history to life.

The delegates that met in Independence Hall were important men from a wide-spread area. They came and participated because they wanted to do what was right and have a say in getting things set down well. These 59 men and the work they did in creating a Declaration of Independence and Constitution are often overshadowed by the fall of the Alamo, as they occurred within days of each other. However, they were a part of the same fight for freedom that the people of Texas were fighting. So many people played a part in this fight for freedom and this exhibit showcased a lot of them.

On site, there is also the Star of the Republic Museum. It houses and exhibits thousands of artifacts from the period of Texas as an independent nation. The artifacts are fascinating and the history that accompanies them is well done. The purpose of the museum is to “collect and preserve the material culture of the Texas Republic (1836-1846) and to interpret the history, cultures, diversity and values of early Texans.” There is a chronological history of Texas, with artifacts to support each part. The second floor showcases different styles of home and the affluence of different people. There are also artifacts from different professions, past times, and necessary items. It is fascinating.

If you want to see a living history site, you can also visit the Barrington Farm. It is a reproduction of a farm from the end of the time of the Republic of Texas. It is based on the Anson Jones family. Dr. Jones was the last president of the Republic of Texas and this was his home. It is worked authentically with people dressed in period clothing. We were a bit disappointed in this site but it could have been because the people were all busy with a school tour. It was interesting to look through the authentically furnished dog-run cabin, see the gardens, the smokehouse, and other buildings needed to run a farm.

Washington-On-The-Brazos is a great site to visit. Take a picnic lunch, walk some of the grounds, explore the museums and sites, and drink in the Texas outdoors. A definite recommmend!

At Home.


This is a weekly series and will be linked weekly with the Blogging Through The Alphabet co-hosts:
Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool
Kirsten at Doodle Mom
Jennifer at Worth a Bowed Head
Kimberley at Vintage Blue Suitcase
Desiree at Our Homeschool Notebook
Markie at My Life As Mrs. Cooks
Hilary at Walking Fruitfully

St. Bartholomew’s Eve (Heirloom Audio) ~ a Crew review

St Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio

Shrieks of joy are always heard in our home when Heirloom Audio releases an new title and St. Bartholomew’s Eve produced nothing less. Miss E and Miss J (14 and 9) took it out of the package and immediately high-tailed it to the bedroom to listen. After about two hours, they reappeared and let me know how wonderful it was. Another hit!

Heirloom Audio Productions is a company producing Christian entertainment through high-quality audio dramas. These are stories that are done with voice actors, sound effects, and all that goes into a movie, without the video. The audio dramas allow your imagination to stay engaged and for your brain to process and understand the story as it develops. Heirloom Audio is working to produce the novels of G.A. Henty in audio drama format and have done about 10 titles so far. We have been able to listen to all of them and have truly enjoyed each one, learning a lot about the situations, history, and people of that time.

inside set of St Bartholomew's Ever

The current production, St. Bartholomew’s Eve, begins in 1567. We find the Hugenots (French Protestants) under persecution by those in the nobility and the Catholic church. An English lad, Philip, has been sent to France by his family, and gone willingly himself, to assist those in danger and fight for what is right. He wants to assist those who are fighting for the right to worship peacefully, without terror and persecution.

Philip and Francois (his cousin) join with the Hugenots and we find them preparing for battle. They march out in battle and in the process of talking with those they are with, they find out that this persecution began over a meal. Philip is told that the Catholics were upset when the Hugenots ate meat on a Friday and sang songs that allowed all those in attendance to participate. The Catholic leaders were upset and decided that these people needed to be removed. Thus, the persecution.

In the first battle, Philip and Francois are extremely helpful and they are given awards. When Philip decries his award, saying he was doing what is right and that he was afraid while acting to save the prince, he is told that he was very brave. He questioned it and was told “Fear is what you feel; brave is what you are.” (What a wonderful quote!)

At another battle, the army is about to advance when Philip reminds them that they need to pray. In his prayer, Philip asked God to help them don His armor (quoted from the Bible – I loved that part, too!). Though they are betrayed and some of the party is captured, their hopes remain high and their faith in God is strong. At one point, when they are surrounded and all seemed lost, a young voice began singing “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” All joined in and faith was bolstered, hope renewed. It was a beautiful singing of a lovely hymn.

Some high points in the story:

  • God and the ability to worship him rightly was the purpose behind the battles.
  • The song “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” was beautiful. It began and ended with a child’s voice, reminding me to have a childlike approach before God.
  • Philip mentioned more than once the “glory and duty” of worship. That is a good reminder for me.
  • The purpose of the battles was not for human glory but was rather to protect those who needed it and to secure peace, particularly in worship.

One thing to be aware of is that this is a war story. Life was not simple for them and they did have to fight to worship in peace. Some of these scenes are vivid and some of the sound effects, well, they leave little to the imagination. You may want to know this before you allow your children to listen; it may not bother you. Either way, it is definitely a battle and war story.


As always, Heirloom Audio has brought us a rendition of a G.A. Henty novel that shows us life in another era. This is a story I am going to try to find to read now, as there is a chunk of the story that feels like it is missing. It is difficult to condense all the detail of a Henty novel into a two-hour production so there is much more to be gleaned by reading the story itself. And that also provides a great correlation to discuss with the girls.

I would love to see Heirloom Audio continue to put out their study guide curriculum to go along with their audio dramas. Those have been extremely well-done in the past and help to fill in some of the holes of the story. It also bring to light some of the details that the listener might not gather while those who worked to research and write the audio drama know them intimately. I would really like to see the guides continue to be produced alongside the audios. It was sorely missed with this production.

All in all, another wonderful production is found in St. Bartholomew’s Eve. Other productions by Heirloom Audio include (links are to our previous reviews):

At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog by clicking on the graphic below to read about what other families thought of Heirloom Audio’s production of St. Bartholomew’s Eve.



Texas Bucket List – V: Valley of Dinosaurs ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet


Texas is not often one of the places where people think of right off when it comes to dinosaurs. But, there is actually a very large area of Texas where you should think of dinosaurs. It is often referred to as the Valley of Dinosaurs but is maybe better known to people familiar with the Park Service as Dinosaur Valley State Park.

Located in Glen Rose, TX, this is an area where lots of dinosaur tracks have been well preserved. Along the Paluxy River, there are sauropod tracks and theropod tracks in the mud by what is believed to have been an ancient ocean. When the river is not too high, you can walk along the river and walk in the tracks left by the dinosaurs. Some places, you can go swimming and cool off from the hot sun.

When we went, it was September and still blazing hot. We waded in the river and walked along the tracks. It was a fun experience and gave us opportunity to discuss the truth of God’s word in relation to modern science with the girls. Many of the signs in the park refer to “millions of years ago” so just know that going in so you can speak truth with your children.

There are five sites within the park that hold tracks. This gives you a lot of viewing opportunity and some good hiking, as well. It is a lovely park. Take a picnic and enjoy the day. It was a good trip. Maybe it is time to visit again.

Close by is Dinosaur World and Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, both places I would enjoy visiting.

At Home.


This is a weekly series and will be linked weekly with the Blogging Through The Alphabet co-hosts:
Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool
Kirsten at Doodle Mom
Jennifer at Worth a Bowed Head
Kimberley at Vintage Blue Suitcase
Desiree at Our Homeschool Notebook
Markie at My Life As Mrs. Cooks
Hilary at Walking Fruitfully

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