For the last few days, I’ve been spending time with my college roommates on the east coast. Today the girls and I took in the beauty of historic Concord, the setting for much of the American Revolution, as well as the first intellectual capital of the country. Among others, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott wrote their great works here, and Louisa’s father, Bronson Alcott, was a pioneer of progressive education.
After a fascinating tour of the Alcott house, where Louisa May set the loosely autobiographical novel Little Women, we went to a fall festival at the Old Manse on the Concord River. Emerson and Hawthorne each lived here, and you can understand why the setting inspired such great works. Sitting under trees bursting with red and orange fall leaves, the girls and I gorged ourselves on freshly made kettle corn and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. I felt peaceful and happy…and then began to feel a little sick.
At first I thought it might be a sugar overdose, but I soon suspected that the cramping pains beginning in my mid-section and shooting down my legs were due to what the colonists called “female complaints.” Dizziness and spotty blackouts followed, and I spent the next half hour sitting on the ground with my head between my legs repeating my own advice: Stay calm. Accept the situation. Keep a sense of humor about it. Instead of walking around Walden Pond as we’d planned, my friends and I headed home so I could lie on the couch and sip tea (which the girls later told me was new mom Charlotte’s Mother’s Milk tea that “promotes healthy lactation.” Thanks, ladies!).