Class, Kindness, Coffee, and Hamilton: An #SoCS #RevofKindness #weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, I’d try to take a nice deep breath and relax while you’re here. But I’d have to admit that I’m feeling the press of time’s passage, today, and apologize for the fact that I’m rather scattered and rushed today.

In order to get some things done, and hopefully with some sense of relevance, I’m making this post due triple duty, or maybe even a little more than that. It’s my Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, which makes allowances for the scattered and unedited nature of this post. Today’s prompt is “class.”

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I loved school. It was there that I first learned about Alexander Hamilton – that he was a Founding Father, the first Treasury Secretary, and that he was on the ten dollar bill. I also learned that he was killed in a duel by Vice President Aaron Burr. I may have heard that Martha Washington named a tom cat after him, or maybe I heard that later.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my own children, now just shy of 12 and almost 15, had ever had a history class. They have, however, been to Philip Schuyler’s house in Schuylerville, NY, right around the corner from where their dad works. We’ve watched magical puppet shows on the same lawn where Alexander Hamilton may have walked or watched his own children play (Philip Schuyler was his father in law.) We’ve attended an Eighteenth Century Day on a summer afternoon where we watched weaving, sheep shearing, quilling, and soapmaking. My daughter tried her hand at candlemaking and stiltwalking, and my son was fascinated by medical leeches.


The Schuyler House at dusk, July 2010.

We have a different kind of life, as unschoolers. My children can learn about Alexander Hamilton, and the world he lived in, in many ways, even if neither has thus far been thrilled by my recent fascination with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breathtaking musical…I hadn’t made the connection between Schuyler and Hamilton until my son stopped to read the sign as we were leaving from that puppet show.

How my kids learned about the duel…

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I value this life where learning comes not from classes, but from all the directions our lives carry us. It’s organic and unpredictable and not at all within my control. Daily, something one of my children says, or does, or creates, awes me. What they know, they know. They don’t know it to pass tests; they know it for their own reasons, and use it for their own purposes.

Leeches at the Schuyler House!

It’s very cool. This week has been busy with kid travel. My daughter had a sleepover at her best friend’s house. My son is on his first out of state trip without me, to a boys’ only birthday party. I met his friends halfway, and, before that, we stayed up all night, talking, and going for a long walk, and I was quietly amazed at this child I gave birth to, who is now an intriguing combination of almost a man and a great big goofy puppy with oversized paws and ears who just gallumphs joyfully through life.

A curvy dipped candle fail, but a cool experience nonetheless. August 2013


It was a long drive home, all alone. It had been a long time since I had a long drive solo – and I listened to Hamilton and enjoyed -until my new Bluetooth speaker cut out, and, without the boy who excels at the tech stuff that flabbergasts me, I ended up at a rest area, trying to work things out.

If we were having coffee, I’d mention the car I noticed next to me, with an elderly gentleman in the passenger seat, and a young man maybe in his 20s behind the wheel. It was a casual kind of noticing, because I really wanted to figure out the speaker (I did, but not until I was home again.) When the car pulled away, I was occupied, but when it pulled back in and the passenger attracted my attention, I was a little surprised.

Stiltwalker in Shadows…

He had a story of having left his wallet and cell phone at a rest area a few hours before, and being without funds, not able to find the person who could help him relocate his lost items. They said they were headed for Syracuse, and we were still considerably south of Albany.

He was willing to give me contact information if I could help him. I had only a small amount of money – perhaps ironically, a ten dollar bill with Alexander Hamilton’s portrait. I could have assumed this was a scam. It happens.

But, instead, I gave the man my ten dollars, and said it wasn’t necessary to share information or repay me. In the end, I figured that kindness trumped purpose. I don’t need to know if their story was true, or their gratitude genuine. I’ve been in dire circumstances, and there have been times when a complete stranger came to my aid.

Kinetic Still Life at the Schuyler House

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that giving the money to those two men was also an act of kindness for myself. I set aide the speaker, and popped in my Jewel CD, and sang my way home.
I’d also tell you that this post is my #weekendcoffeeshare entry, and that it’s also my Kindness Challenge Week Six post, where the theme is “Inspired by Kindness.

Given this post, it seems only fitting to share this, from last Sunday’s Tony Awards.


    • Oh, uh…yeah. I should maybe get on that – but I may just wait a week. This one was a whirlwind of travel, family, writing, and plotting. Some big revelations, too. Blogging? Well, I’d say it took a backseat, but it’s more like it wasn’t even in the car! =)

  1. I enjoyed your post very much! The whole thing flowed with a sense of easiness and love. My children do/did attend public school, but I have always used whatever we were doing, watching or where ever we were going as learning experience. And like you, occasionally I see a situation, where I have the means to help a person and I do. I give in good faith, and leave it. the person who receives to use it in good faith.
    Barbara from Life & Faith in Caneyhead

    • That last sentence – that’s what I felt as I handed over the money. Both of the gentlemen blessed me, but I already felt blessed – I had the money to give, and willingly shared it. Kindness feels good.

      I am routinely amazed by the things my children know, and how often they don’t know how they learned them. It’s something I don’t have in my own life – having gone to school, I’m much more aware of the process of learning. For both of them, it’s more organic, with learning not separated at all from the matter of living. They learn from everything, constantly, and now, I’m just trying to keep up! =D

    • That’s very true. If they needed the money to keep going, I’m glad I had it, and didn’t need it.

      If they didn’t really need it, I still released the money, and I’ll never know, so nothing was lost, and I still gained the sense of having helped.

      Either way, it made me happy to share, and erased the frustration I’d been feeling. =)

  2. We both have the same fascination right now. I’m in love with this musical-I’ve blogged about it multiple times. I love that you are into it and I love even more that you and your kids have been to these places. Simply amazing! ❤️

    • I’ll have to come read your blogs – I keep meaning to, but life has been chock-full lately! =)

      It’s easy to visit these places when they’re only a few minutes away. I’m lucky that way, even though my own parents were more into the Civil War, and never made a point to take us to the many Revolutionary War sites that are right here almost literally in our backyard.

      The summer between my junior and senior years, I worked at the Saratoga National Historical Park, and got a very rich taste for the birth of our nation.

      And Hamilton? It’s stupendous, in all kinds of ways. I love the language, the themes, the music, the voices, the writing – all of it!

      Now I can think of you when I listen, which will make it that much sweeter! =)

      • It’s so amazing that you have all those places right there.

        I don’t read many other blogs for the same reasons. It was just a happy coincidence that I noticed yours last week. I haven’t found many people in this community who are as into Hamilton as I am. I have my daughter to thank for it. She’s very much into the theatre scene.

        It’s exciting to finally have someone to share it with here. 😘

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