For many years, I've said The Music Man, with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones, was my favorite musical. The movie was made in 1962 and it was the first music extravaganza I ever saw. (I still remember watching it at the Fine Arts Theatre in downtown Westport, Connecticut.]
But truth be told, my favorite movie musical has become another American set piece, "1776," made in 1972 and featuring an all-star cast that included William Daniels as John Adams and Virginia Vestoff as Abigail Adams. I love the musical so much I've been playing it over and over on my iPhone, piped through Bluetooth into my car's stereo system as I drive my round trip weekly from Boston to Bridgeport.
Now there's a new way to touch the actual history of John and Abby, who formed one of the great romances in American history. It's the 328-year-old house where Abigail Smith was born and grew up, one of four children of The Rev. William Smith, minister of First Church of Weymouth, Massachusetts. The Boston Globe has a feature on Abigail Smith Adams' home in the "Globe South" suburban section today.
Befitting a minister, it's a handsome house for the times, and it's been completely restored for our times. The house was built in 1685 by The Rev. Samuel Torrey, who was one of Rev. Smith's predecessors in the same Weymouth pulpit. Abby's father bought the house for 45 pounds, just $70.67 at today's exchange rate.
The long list of renovations cost much more than the original price, of course.
I can't wait to see the place where "Salpeter, John" married "Pins, Abigail" on October 25, 1764, and where she no doubt offered for him to "Sit Down." My mother suggests that someone also asked to open a window. (That late in fall, I doubt there were too many flies.)
The house remained in the Smith family for three generations. Abby's sister Mary inherited it and rented it out before selling the house to The Rev. Jacob Norton, who followed up on the purchase from Mary by marrying Mary's daughter. So the house was long the unofficial Weymouth minister's residence, and then became the official Weymouth parsonage when the church bought the house.
Now it's been restored.
The wonderful history belongs to all of us. Yours. Yours. Yours. Yours. Yours!
Update | June 14, 2013: This post was originally written on Blogsy, an iPad blogging tool. I'm just learning how to use Blogsy, which has a lot of functionality but also a difficult learning curve. That's why this post, when first published, had ho links in it. I've now added the links.