This ignorant American, enlightened


“This is the world famous Rockefeller Center. Founded of course by Theodore Rockefeller. This is the skating rink, and I think the Rangers practice there sometimes.”

Michael Scott from The Office, demonstrating his vast insider knowledge of New York City for the show’s documentary camera

Since Saturday I’ve been showing Australian friends Dieter and Lorraine around historic and interesting sites in our wonderful East Coast middle state area, and I swear, I feel like I am so not smarter than a fifth grader.

Yes, when we visited Independence Hall, it could have told you that the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. But it took me a minute to remember that the Constitution was signed in 1787. And I’d have never gotten that one if it weren’t for Schoolhouse Rock.

I had no idea when the interstate highway system was built, but thanks to my civil engineer/Delaware Department of Transportation employee sister for a good pick-up on that one. Eisenhower was the president (if I’m remembering correctly…which I might not be). But the year? Gone.

I know that the Washington Monument (which we visited on Sunday) is 555 feet tall (Forgot about the 5 1/8 inches, though. Darn!). However, I choked on why the thing two-tone. I had pretty much no idea. It seems that the project ran out of money after the first third was built and, when the project was restarted 24 years later, the stone came from a different quarry. See, everybody? At least I was listening on the tour.

I confessed as we walked up to the Korean War Memorial that while I find it very moving, I have no clue about the details of the U.S. involvement in the Korean War (to which my lovely friend Dieter replied, “Didn’t you watch M*A*S*H*?”).

Thankfully, while we were at the World War II Memorial I was able to confirm that Hawaii was indeed admitted for statehood in the 1950’s, and again, for that I have TV to thank (Remember the Hawaii Statehood Party on Happy Days? Strangely educational.)

Yesterday in Rehoboth Beach, DE, I was stumped as to the names of the shells that we were picking up, didn’t know why there were pipes going into the water, and could not, in any way, put a description of salt water taffy into words.

On the bright side, I am very hip to the Walter, the Farting Dog picture book series, and was able to snag a few books for my friend Lorraine to take back to her classroom. She said the boys will love it.

Score one for the ignorant American.



  1. Amy said,

    September 29, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I hope they enjoyed themselves at a good ole fashion Boy Scout of America Court of Honor….I am sorry I never got a chance to say hello to your friends from Down Under….With 4 boys receiving awards, 3 items to bring for potluck, and a slide projector I was in charge of no one coming near, I never got around to introducing myself. I did however get a picture of Jake pinning his “Scout” pin on his dad!!!!!

    • Cheryl said,

      September 30, 2009 at 3:02 pm

      I am sorrry that I missed it! My group told me that the Valenti boys were a stitch (at least the one with the Academy Awards acceptance speech!). I love that Scouts lets boys be boys!!!

      I’d love to see the picture–I was so touched that Craig also received a pin!

  2. Andie said,

    September 30, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Love schoolhouse rock! And I hope we didn’t scare Lorraine too badly!

    • Cheryl said,

      September 30, 2009 at 3:01 pm

      We did NOT scare Lorraine! It was a lot of fun. Thanks for joining us. You never know what’ll happen when you let all the friendship bubbles collide!

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