Monday, July 31, 2006

Nauvoo and Carthage, Illinois

We had the best time visiting church history sites in Carthage and Nauvoo. My biggest piece of advice for anyone who hasn't been there: one day isn't enough! There were SO many things that we wanted to see and do. But, I'm very grateful for the experiences that we had.

This is the end of Parley Street, where the early members of the church had to cross the Mississippi River on their way to the West. It was very humbling to picture families leaving everything behind and facing this huge river to take their families across. What a challenge.

We watched the Nauvoo Pageant in the evening. It was awesome. In fact, it was my favorite part of the whole road trip. For an hour and a half before the pageant began, they had "preshow activities." They were perfect for my kids. Brandon got to play stickball and he and I raced in gunny sacks. Whitney's favorite activity was decorating a paper hat.

This is the Nauvoo Temple. Beautiful. It's amazing to think that it's a replica of the one built in the 1830's. I read that it was the biggest building east of Chicago at that time. That's probably because it was mostly frontierland east of Chicago at that time.

The first thing we did in the morning was visit Carthage Jail, the site where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred. I'm so glad we decided to go here first. It was a very reverent spot. My kids are NOT very reverent. They did pretty well, but I can't imagine taking them there at the end of the day. The most suprising part for me was that the bullet hole from the bullet that killed Hyrum is still in the door. The grounds all around the jail are beautiful--very well kept. Many of the windows still have that cool old wavy glass that I love. They played a short audio clip of the events of the evening of June 27, 1944 while we were in the 2nd floor bedroom where Joseph and Hyrum were killed. There was a really neat spirit there that I could even feel while trying to contain my two crazy kids.

Here Brandon is posing with a few of the cast members from the Pageant. The cast is made of up of 20 professionals and 150 volunteer families. It was amazing to walk around all the historic buildings around Nauvoo and be guided by volunteer missionaries everywhere we went. I can't imagine how many volunteer hours are given to help that place run. And what a blessing that I can benefit from all of their service!

This was the kids' favorite spot, the Pioneer Pastimes pavillion. They had all kinds of toys and games from pioneer times. We probably stayed here for over an hour and I still had to drag my kids away when it was time to go. Whitney was content just to play with the wooden blocks. She would've been a good pioneer child. They also had two little play cabins--one was like a kitchen inside and the other like a schoolhouse. After spending so much time in the car, I'm glad the kids could just play for a while.

Throughout the trip it was obvious that Whitney missed her Daddy. She seemed to gravitate to whatever male we were visiting--Patrick, Uncle Bill, both of her Grandpa's, Uncle Paul. This was the funniest attraction--to a statue daddy outside of the visitor's center. She kept walking up to him and giving him hugs. I tried to warn Andrew he was being replaced. Luckily, she was even happier to see her real daddy when we got home.

We went to a children's musical production called "Just Plain Anna Amanda." It was very entertaining and the kids loved it. Towards the end, they pulled one child out of the audience to go on stage for a couple of minutes and it just happened to be Brandon! It was so cute. He enjoyed the attention.

As we were leaving the pageant at the end of a long, very full day, Brandon said, "Thank you, Mom. I loved coming here. It was even funner than going to BYU." (which is one of his favorite things to do when we visit Utah, so that's saying a lot.)

Side notes: I didn't know how muggy it was in Illinois. Holy cow! It felt even more humid than NC. We were so gross and sweaty by the end of the day.

Also, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was there the same night we were. He actually sat on the row right in front of us. That was pretty cool. Last time I spoke with a general authority face to face, I made a fool out of myself, so I kept my distance from Elder Oaks.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Great post. You make me want to go and make sure there is plenty of time to do things. Hopefully we'll take the kids there in a few years since John served his mission around there.

Speaking of apostles, Elder L. Tom Perry is coming to John's parents to have dinner in two weeks and we're going to be there to help serve up the plates so we can see him. (John's dad is being released). If I do get the chance to say hello, I guess I better come up with something intelligent to say! Or maybe just "Nice to meet you," is safest!?