Society Reading Feature #1

This month's featured girl: Felicity

Week 1: Meet Felicity

From the Felicity Reading Journal:

1) Felicity loved her Father's store. Describe your favorite place, including the sights, sounds and smells that are part of it.
2) "Haste makes waste" is something Mrs. Merriman said to Felicity once a day. What does it mean? How is it true for you?
3) Felicity disobeyed her parents by going back to the tannery because she wanted to help Penny. Do you agree with Felicity's decision? Why or why not?
4) Father told Felicity, "It is never wrong to try to earn something you love. Indeed, 'tis only wrong not to try." Draw a picture of [or talk about] something you love enough that you will work to get it.

Week 2: Felicity Learns a Lesson

From the Felicity Reading Journal:

1) In colonial times, boys learned trades by becoming apprenctices. Girls where taught to manage households. What do you think about teaching boys and girls so differently?
2) Mr. Merriman lost customers because he stopped selling tea to protest the king's tax. Write about something you believe in, even if others disagree with you.

Week 3: Felicity's Surprise

From the Felicity Reading Journal:

1) Elizabeth helped finish Felicity's gown so Felicity could still go to the dance lesson at the Palace. What is the nicest thing a friend ever did for you?
2) Going to a dance lesson at the Palace was the most grown-up thing Felicity had ever done. What is the most grown-up thing you've ever done?
3) Here are some things from Felicity's time; draw [or talk about] how these things look today. Items: sugar loaf, shoes, bathing tub, spinet

Week 4: Happy Birthday, Felicity!

From the Felicity Reading Journal:

1) You are Felicity. Write about how you feel when Father and Grandfather disagree about the king ruling the colonies.
2) The guitar Felicity received was precious to her family because it had belonged to Grandmother. Draw a picture of [or talk about] something that is special in your family.
3) Felicity's family was not sure they could trust her after she disobeyed and was careless with the guitar. Write about a time when you had to work at earning trust.
4) Imagine that you are a citizen of Willamsburg. You've just heard that the governor's marines have stolen the colonists' gunpowder. What is your reaction?

General Felicity Tidbits

From the Fashion Flip Book:
-Wealthy colonists in Willamsburg dressed in the latest European styles. Their elegant clothing was made from the world's finest fabrics, such as Chinese silk, French satin and Irish linen.
- In the 1700s, most people though children should dress like little adults.
-Colonial girls always kept their heads covered. Felicity's round eared cap covered her ears like a bonnet.
-Colonists were forbidden by law to weave their own cloth. Instead, they had to purchase it at a store and pay high taxes on it.
-For everyday wear, Felicity wore a mob cap. Mob caps where first worn by English market women. In the 1700's some mob caps where very large to fit over elaborate hairstyles.
-Felicity's red petticoat was called an upper petticoat, it was quilted for extra warmth.
-Felicity's gowns did not have pockets sewn in, so she tied separate pockets around her waist beneath her petticoat.
-Over her pockets, Felicity may have worn hoops to make her skirts full. She reached the pockets through slits in the sides of the petticoats and hoops.

From the American Girls Club Handbook:

Project One: An Evening in the Parlor

Colonial homes like Felicity's had no television. In the evening families, friends, and guests gathered in the parlor for music, stories, and parlor games. Spend an evening in the parlor and create your own entertainment as Felicity would have in 1774.
1) Dress your best for your evening in the parlor. Make sure that your head is covered like a proper colonial girl's.
2) Gather your friends and family in your living room. Remember, there was no electricity in Felicity's time. Use candles to light the room. [If you are young, ask and adult first.]
3) Colonists ate a small, light supper in the evening. You can serve a snack of cheese and crackers or candied nuts (see project two). Arrange your food in a beautiful, balanced design.
4) If you or a guest plays an instrument, give an informal concert. You can also sing, read aloud, play cards, or play colonial charades. Bring along a sewing project if you have one. A colonial woman could carry on a conversation without missing a stitch. Can you?

Colonial charades
1) Choose several proverbs, or popular sayings, and write them down. Use the following phrases or choose others you know. Make sure all the players know what each proverb means. Proverbs: A stitch in time saves nine. The early bird catches the worm. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Make hay while the sun shines. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
2) Divide the players into two groups. The first group chooses a proverb and acts it out for the second group.
3) The second group tries to guess the proverb. If they do, they get a point. If not, the other group gets the point. Then the groups switch roles. The first group to make five points wins.

Did you know?
In colonial Virginia, people prided themselves on their hospitality. They welcomed friends, guests, and strangers into their homes and treated them with warmth and kindness. Innkeepers even complained that it was hard to do business, since Virginians were so likely to invite a stranger to stay the night! Neighborliness was just as important as hospitality. Neighbors worked together and helped one another. If you were sick, your neighbor would help you get medicine. If you couldn't work, your neighbor would open your shop or plow your fields. Neighbors shared food and tools, clothes and housewares, news and advice. Many of the services we might pay for today, like transportation or babysitting, would have been proveded by neighbors.

Project two: Make Candied Nuts

Colonial gentlewomen served candied nuts with afternoon tea or at the end of an elegant dinner. make candied pecans or almonds to serve to your friends and family. [If you are young, get an adult to help you.]
Ingredients: Shortening, 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 2 eggs, 1 cup nuts.
Equipment: 2 cookie sheets, waxed paper, measuring cup and spoons, paper bag, mixing bowl, wire whisk, mixing spoon, potholders, pretty candy dish.
1) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Use a piece o waxed paper and shortening to grease the cookie sheets.
2) Measure the sugar and cinnamon into the paper bag. Hold the bad closed and gently shake it to mix the ingredients.
3) Separate the egg whites into the bowl. Beat the whites with the whisk until they foam. Stir a few nuts into the egg whites.
4) Carefully spoon the nuts out of the gg whites and drop them into the bag hold the bag closed and gently shake it to coat the nuts with the sugar mixture.
5) Place the nuts on the cookie sheet. Prepare the rest of the nuts in the same way.
6) Bake the nuts for 30 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Let the nuts cool. Then serve them in a pretty candy dish.

Did you know?
Colonial girls like Felicity needed to learn to cook so that one day they could tell servants how to prepare meals. The most important part of a colonial kitchen was a large fireplace. In it were many small fires to cook different dishes at different temperatures. There might be a large fire with a chicken rotating on a spit, a smaller fire for a skillet of potatoes, another for a pot of soup, and yet another just to keep the apple pudding warm. it took a skilled cook with a watchful eye to tend all those fires at once. Most of the food in Felicity's household was grown or raised right in her own garden and pastures. In 1774, there were no refrigerators to keep foods fresh. Felicity and her mother spent spring, summer, and fall pickling, drying, canning, salting, and smoking foods for winter. Colonists believed heavily salted or smoked meat was more healthy than fresh meat. They were often right, since fresh meat was likely to smell strong, or spoiled.

Want to know more?

Fiction books set in Felicity's time:

"A Williamsburg Household" by Joan Anderson
"The Fighting Ground" by Avi
"Sybil Rides for Independence" by Drollene P. Brown

Nonfiction books about Felicity's time:
"If You Were There in 1776" by Barbara Brenner
"Colonial Farm" by June Behrens and Pauline Brower

Movies set in Felicity's time:
"A Williamsburg Sampler" (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)
"America, Episode III: Colonial Life"
"Johnny Tremain"

Music from Felicity's time:
String quartets and piano sonatas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
English ballads, such as "Mr. Froggie Went a Courtin'" and "Billy Boy"

Special places to visit:
Colonial Williamsburg, a living history museum of the Virginia Colony's capital
134 North Henry St., Williamsburg, VA 23185

National Colonial Farm of the Accokeek Foundation, a living history museum of a colonial tobacco plantation
3400 Bryan Point Rd., Accokeek, MD 20607