In Other Words … Season 2, Episode 24

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Fireworks over Lake Waramaug from Lake Waramaug State Park, Kent, Connecticut, July 1, 2023. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Revolutions, Mr. Dickinson, come into this world like bastard children… half improvised and half compromised. Our side has provided the compromise. Judge Wilson is now supplying the rest.

Dr. Benjamin Franklin, “1776”

The film 1776, a musical treatment of the wheelings and dealings that led to the Declaration of Independence, is a July 4th tradition in our family.

True to the spirit of the times, it draws from the letters and writings of John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin, and others for its dialogue.

In the quote above, the vote on independence has come down to the Pennsylvania delegation: John Dickinson, Franklin, and Judge James Wilson. The casting was simplified for the stage and dramatic effect.

In the script, Franklin calls for the delegation to be polled. Dickinson, who opposed separation, votes no. Franklin votes yes. Wilson breaks from Dickinson for the first time and votes in favor, lest he go down in history as the man who prevented independence.

Much of life is improvisation and compromise. This week we prepared for an Independence Day family reunion that involved complex logistics to happen perfectly. Plans A and B were scrapped when planes A and B were cancelled. Our plans for dining venues changed, then changed again, with the number of guests and, literally, the weather. By good fortune rather than good planning, one of our guests proved to be a much better grill chef than any of us are.

Today, the last of our flock is heading to a new home 600 miles away. The last few weeks of all-hands-on-deck preparations are over, and my work schedule can resume somewhat. I’ll have fresh 1979 posts for the blog.

I’ll also press on with on the Bubble Wrap project. I hope to tie it in to the episode of The Mega-Brands That Built America on the History Channel. So far, Bubble Wrap is not among the brands they’ve teased in their promos. It does not appear in their program schedule yet, either. But this does give me the opportunity and a deadline of August to complete my draft and start moving toward publication. I’ll keep you posted.

* Pennsylvania’s signers also included George Clymer, Robert Morris, John Morton, George Ross, Benjamin Rush, James Smith, and George Taylor, as well as Franklin and Wilson. None appear in the play.

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