History has always been a real interest to me. The more obscure the better. For some of histories greatest stories come not from the big ones, but the common folk who made a difference or did some great or crazy thing for which they got no recognition. I remember as a kid having this fascination with a little known Confederate Guerilla (a soldier who doesn't fight conventionally, not the primate, okay?) from the Civil War named Champ Ferguson...I'm not even sure who peaked my interest in him or how I found out about him...probably dad. But I was fascinated with his life and the fact that his history was local to where I was. I don't know how many times I read the one book I could find in our local library. Robert E Lee? U.S.Grant? Whatever...give me the underdog bent on revenge and in need of serious anger mangagement for entertainment any day. Go on, google Champ Ferguson and do a little research. Anyhow, I love history. So it's no surprise I get into teaching it to my kids more so than any other subject and it kills me when they don't show a bit of interest LOL. Such was yesterday's history lesson...
Before I go on...who knows the owner of that quote?
.For our story journal I finally located a copy of "My Napoleon" by Catherine Brighton...they had it wrongly catalogued at the library apparently and I've had it on reserve for, like, a year now and just happened upon it the other day on a return cart. I know very little of Napoleon, except that everyone always said he was short (5 ' 6" , isn't really short for a frenchman, by the way) and was mean spirited and also needed anger management...military genius. But I had no idea that when he was exiled to Saint Helena after losing at Waterloo (stay tuned for hilarious and interesting history fact to bore someone with at your next get together) that he lived in a house with a little girl named Betsy Balcombe. The picture book is taken from excerpts of her memoirs later in life and it's fun to see that "Little Corporal" who was seen by so many as a monster, had a special place in his heart for this little girl. The book is well written and illustrated. When Betsy's mother gets sick and the family has to return to England leaving Napoleon alone on the island this is what the book says ...
"Napoleon has said 'I love you' to many beautiful women, I am sure, but I must be the only little girl to hear those words from him." Napoleon died shortly after Betsy left the island. There is a debate as to how he actually died...stomach cancer is the widely held belief, but samples of his hair show he might have been poisoned. See, how interesting History can be.
Now, for that hilarious and interesting fact I promised...Napoleon always wore a black scarf in battle but for some reason, he decided to wear a white scarf to the Battle of Waterloo, where he suffered defeat and had to surrender to Britain. Wonder if it was after Labor Day? Could've been why it was a bad battle for him?
Did you know that Napoleon was afraid of cats, had a thing for white horses (and black scarves) and oftened carried chocolate into battle for energy. Now that last one I can relate to...I carry one to battle with me too. The trenches of motherhood can be rough.
Anyway, I shared a bit of this info with the kids, but noticed their glazed over eyes after the book was read. However, upon asking Lillie and Jack this morning to tell me what they knew from our lesson yesterday they were able to tell me quite a bit. So that just goes to show you that they listen when they don't appear to be. Well, at least I learned something about Napoleon I didn't know and am now very interested to see if I can find a copy of Betsy's memoirs as I am sure they would be extremely interesting. So, there's your history lesson for the day...you can thank me later.
Have a blessed day!