I think Ask Ryan Anything, the popular series where people get to ask me whatever they want in the comment section, will be a standard Monday afternoon event. So look forward to continuing posts every Monday, as long as I keep getting lots of questions, as I did last week. Post questions on anything you want in the comments and I'll answer them. Warning: snarky questions merit snarky responses.
Today's mini comment to potentially kick off any discussion: I just got back from visiting the House of Seven Gables, a tour I hadn't done since elementary school. Particularly interesting is the hidden staircase and the story behind it. When I was a kid and went on a field trip to the home, we were told the secret stairs were a part of the underground railroad. Exciting, right? Well, not so much. Turns out the stair case was really added around 1910. No wonder the new curator discontinued any underground railroad talk. The home of former 17th Century wealthy shipping merchants and the setting of Nathaniel Hawthorne's famous book, where he visited as a child - who wouldn't want to spice that up?
Seriously, though, do we know anything about our past? Imagine - some tour guide 50 years ago probably told bored school kids about the underground railroad story, so they'd pay attention for 10 minutes, and now generations of people no doubt believe there were runaway slaves hiding in busy downtown Salem's most famous house. No one should be shocked: we also think Paul Revere warned us the British were coming and Americans were tiny, short shrimps back in the 1700 and 1800s because the ceilings were short. Conventional wisdom!