I am reading this memoir right now and I love it. After a bit of research, I found there is a PBS DVD. I bought it for myself for my bday and watched it last night. Here are my thoughts.
-Antibiotics are really a wonderful. There was so much death before 1875 when these were invented. There are a few heartbreaking scenes of kids dying of scarlet fever. I think when people had kids, they probably assumed at least a few would die.
-Maine is cold. I’ve never even been in Maine before May or after September, and in those months, it is COLD. I cannot imagine how hard it would have been to travel by foot in the winter for miles to deliver babies. Martha Ballard was one tough cookie.
-Spinning and knitting are huge themes in her memoir, but sadly, there is hardly any in the movie. The people spinning clearly aren’t spinners (I’m sure it’s hard to find actresses who spin) and there is NO KNITTING WHATSOEVER. Come on! PBS couldn’t even have called a local knitshop and video tape SOMEONE knitting?! I would have flown to Maine for that opportunity. Martha talks knitting in her memoir a lot. She knitted while women in labor were sleeping, while she was snowed in, whenever she had a chance. This was a bummer for me. I might actually email Prof. Ulrich and ask her about this.
–Laurel Thatcher Ulrich…this is really interesting. She is clearly really smart and very into textile history. I also have a huge book that she wrote checked out from the library The Age of Homespun that I really need to read…might be doing another renewal on that one…
-Martha’s husband, Ephraim, was a surveyor. He surveyed the Casco Bay. He probably saw Peaks Island and might have visited.
-Kaiulani Lee who plays Martha was born in 1950 in Arlington, Virginia. Maybe this means I can email her and tell her how awesome she was in this movie.