Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Independence

Two weeks ago, Jeff and I took a quick trip down to the KC area to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. It was just three nights, but it was the first time we have taken a trip together, with or without kids, since our honeymoon. Which should explain right there why it was a wonderful get away.

We stayed in a bed and breakfast called the Hawthorn, which is located in Independence. It is a mansion built in 1900, which has been converted to a GORGEOUS B & B. I've never stayed in one before, but oh my goodness! HEAVEN! Here is a picture of the room where we stayed, which was a hundred times cleaner, more comfortable, and nicer than any hotel I have ever stayed in:





Right outside our room was a gourmet coffee station (and for the girl who drinks at LEAST one pot a day, this was a huge plus!) and a snack bar. Every morning, we were served an out of this world three course, fresh, homemade breakfast. In fact, on Thursday night we were the only guests, so we got first dibs on the table in the sun porch at Friday morning's breakfast. Every day started with a fresh fruit, yogurt, and granola parfait. Next came a variety of fresh out of the oven muffins, and then pancakes, hash browns, breakfast meat and eggs. We were so stuffed after all this indulgence we never had lunch one day the entire trip. Breakfast was probably my favorite part of every day. Not having to prepare food, feed three kids, and clean up afterwards was the biggest luxury. I felt completely pampered.

Although the mansion is beautiful, it turns out Independence isn't. It's a pretty scary town, actually. The whole thing is like one huge bad neighborhood, with sex shops, cruddy convenience stores with shady people lurking in the parking lot, and lots of crime. Sprinkled here and there throughout the town are some pretty cool historical sites, but don't wander too far off the beaten path!

A big highlight of the trip for me was our visit to the Truman Presidential Library. Beforehand, the only thing I really knew for sure about Harry Truman was that he dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. I really enjoyed learning about his life. He is one of Jeff's favorite historical figures. Jeff loves anyone who "pulls himself up by his bootstraps", and Harry Truman was certainly a bootstrap man.

This is a photo of a letter written by a father to Mr. Truman after his son was killed in the Korean War:



He sent along with the letter his son's Purple Heart. Harry kept this letter in his desk at the Oval Office for the rest of his term. It made my heart hurt to see it-a little for the parents of this young soldier, and a little for Harry Truman, who seemed to carry the loss of each soldier's life on his shoulders.

In one room they had a display of articles that appeared in Life Magazine in 1952. One of them showed this:



It's a little hard to see, but the article told of a young mother with three small children who had been stricken with polio. Having a husband who also had the disease as a child, I think all polio stories grab my attention, but I will admit I stood at looked at this picture for a good 10 minutes. The photos in the article show the mom in an iron lung, where she lay paralyzed. Hanging above her head you can see the pictures of her three children. I cried right there, thinking about how heartbroken I would be to have to lie there, unable to move, seeing my children's faces, and knowing other people were taking care of them. I wish I knew what happened to her and her family.

We also took a tour of Harry Truman's home, which actually belonged to his wife. Poor Harry had to live with his mother in law most of his adult life, who wouldn't let him sit at the head of the table, stay in the master bedroom, or display any of his treasures from the White House, even after he had been President of the United States. That's one difficult MIL.


My favorite part was the kitchen where Harry decided to put wallpaper on the ceiling, as well as the walls, because he liked the pattern so much!

Afterwards, we stopped for an ice cream at Clinton's Soda Shop where Harry Truman had his first job. Here's Jeff, making his "if you're going to take a picture of me I am going to try and look as dumb as possible so you quit trying to photograph me" face. I hate it when he does this:



Seriously. He looks like the grumpiest man in the world. But I love him anyway.

It was so nice to be away, just the two of us. I am always nervous to leave the kids, but I am always a better mom for it when I return. I wish we could get away, if only for a quick weekend, more often. But alas! The joys of having three kids, a job, and a husband with a REALLY busy work schedule make that impossible. We appreciate it all the more though when it happens. It was a great way to wrap up the summer.

2 comments:

John and Teresa said...

Wow, that place is super nice looking! What a fun getaway! I need one of those.

Christy M. said...

It looks like you had SO much fun, Christy!! I'm a little jealous, because I haven't been away with Brian since our honeymoon, and that was 6 and a half years ago!! One day soon, is what I keep telling myself :)

It looks like the B&B was so nice, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Sorry it was in a scary neighborhood. At least the Truman museum was awesome, and it sounds like you both really enjoyed it.

I hope you can get away again soon!

p.s. My husband always does that when I try to take his picture too. Makes me want to pop him sometimes!

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