Sometimes people were waiting at the door of the Paul Revere House when my father opened it at 10 o’clock, but after that visitors would knock on the heavy door with the knocker. Sometimes a group would arrive all at once as the house was a stop on the Gray Line Sightseeing tour. Visitors might come in knowing only that Paul Revere made a famous ride, but they would leave knowing the he was a silversmith, a coppersmith, a copper engraver, and one of the leaders of the Sons of Liberty, a strong group of the Revolutionary time. In addition, my father would tell them it was the oldest frame house still standing in Boston and go on to point out features of the house as well as furnishings and portraits.
People were interested that Paul Revere was married twice and had 8 children by each wife. Visitors asked many questions about family life, the customs of the times, and many questions about Paul Revere and his family and political activities. My father had read extensively and enjoyed answering questions . He also enjoyed chatting with guests, finding out where they were from, where they had visited and what else they planned to do in Boston.
The Paul Revere House closed at four, and my father tallied up the number of guests, a record of souvenir sales and prepared the night deposit which he would make on the way home. After taking in the flag and closing the shutters and making a final check of everything, he would close and lock the front door and head to the subway to make his way home.
At the supper table there were often tales of the day. Once, when my father was upstairs with the souvenirs, one of the other workers came rushing up saying, “Corson, Corson, there’s an old bloke downstairs with a gun. Without stopping to think, my father ran downstairs only to find that the “old bloke” was one of the trustees, and the gun was an antique musket he was donating for display.
But here is the story I will never forget. It was the mid-50’s when an advance team advised my father that Christine Jorgensen, one of the first well-known transgender persons, would be visiting that day. That evening at the table my father told about her and her entourage and with a mischievous look said, I was hoping to get her alone so I could slip her a quick feel!” My very prim and proper mother could only gasp, “Gar-ner.”
—————————-to be continued—————
Dorothy C Judd (c) 2017