May 20, 2013

A Stitch in Time


The lines aren’t all entirely straight and the stitches aren’t always even, but there’s no mistaking Windsor Castle rising above the treetops or the royal coat of arms down below, beneath the slightly imperfect slogan that appears to read GODSAVE THE KING. Back in 1936 someone spent days—perhaps even weeks—memorializing with a needle a moment in British history that never took place at all. (more…)

May 8, 2013

A History Day Judge Tells All




Not everyone is cut out for the task. “I just can’t do it,” my friend Maggie says. “They’ve all worked so hard and they all want to win. I can’t be the one to crush them.”

Maggie likes kids and history—a lot—but she’s never volunteered to judge at Washington History Day, a statewide contest for students held near Seattle each spring. Maybe I’m tougher, or meaner, or maybe I’m just a sucker for that look kids get when they start to grasp that history is—OMG!—interesting and maybe even important. Whatever the reason, last Saturday I got out of bed at daybreak, tanked myself up on coffee, and faced the delicate, serious task of crushing dreams at State History Day for the eighth consecutive year. (more…)