Ms. Bathtub

Musings from Carye Bye of Portland, Ore.

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Location: Portland, Ore., United States

I may be Ms. Bathtub, but I hardly ever take baths.. I do shower that is, so don't worry!

I am the director of the Bathtub Art Museum and also run my own printing card & novelties business under the name Red Bat Press. I live in the great bike fun-friendly city of Portland.

I'm always up for a good adventure; however anything goes here.

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Ben Franklin Survivor


Did you know that Ben Franklin was a vegetarian in his youth? Did you know he started the first library? Recently I have been immersed in many Ben Franklin factoids due to a country-wide celebration of his 300th birthday (Who will be there to celebrate my birthday in 2275?)

It all started with a phone call from a school in Hillsboro looking for someone to teach old time printing to the students. Danielle, my neighbor got this curious call, while she was interning at the Portland Art Museum, and immediately replied, "my neighbor's a printer".

I soon learned the school was organizing a very special week dedicated to Ben Franklin, and one day was to be all about Printing. So I signed up for the job, in hope I could inspire a future printer.

Since I didn't retain much information from social studies during my school days, I had much to learn... So my quest for knowledge began, and soon I was eating this stuff up. Ben's life was fascinating. He started printing early at age 12 as an apprentice in his brother's shop (The 15th child of 17, they needed to get Ben out in the world, and fast!), and by his 20s had his own newspaper, annually printed the popular "Poor Richard's Almanac", and was even printing money for the colony of Pennsylvania -- he did so well that he retired at the age of 42 and could now pursue his passions for science and government. If you read a list of all the things this man did, you will wonder if he ever sat down! But the cool thing I learned is that even at the end of his life, he still only wanted to be known as I, Benjamin Franklin, Printer.

Back at the school in rural (I was surprised) Hillsboro, Ore., the children loved learning old-time printing - all 200 + including up to 25 deaf and hearing impaired.
They made square printer's hats out of one sheet of newspaper, learned to print their initials by setting large type upside down and inking it, and they also printed their own bookmark with "A penny saved is a penny earned" quote.

Me, well I loved the opportunity, and enjoyed researching the project. I was happy to have Ivan, a local hobbyist printer, on board to help out and the school was great to work with. But the bottom line for me is I survived! Taking on the project was a big step out of my comfort zone, I spent they day addressing 8 classes of students from 1st to 6th grade. I was in charge, I was the expert. I even wore a "printer's outfit" White shirt rolled sleeves, vest, tie, and an apron.

I've decided that I need to say Yes, more often then No, to new experiences. This year alone I've sung Karaoke publicly, Learned to bike-camp, and was on the radio. I'm learning if you want to be GREAT, like Ben Franklin, you must not be idle, and let your life pass on by.

This particular quote of his, says it all "Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough."

2 Comments:

Blogger pthbbbt said...

Ever read Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon? Included in the humongous cast of characters: Ben Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and more— including a talking dog, an invisible duck, and, of course, pirates. Not exactly historically accurate, but makes for a fantastic rainy winter read.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Rory said...

Welcome to blogdom Carye!

Not quite a blot on the landscape but a blip in outer space, this blister of a blog will surely bloom so blithe admist this blizzard of bloated webpages!

Good luck
Rory

12:04 AM  

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