Monday, July 4, 2011

The Other Independence Hall: a Patriotic Essay

Not many people know that there are two Independence Halls. Unless of course, you live in Southern California, and even then the knowledge can be rather dubious. Nonetheless, it's located right across the street from Knott's Berry Farm, the US's first amusement park--home of the boysenberry, Mrs. Knott's fried chicken, Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts gang.
As a homeschooled child, my sisters, friends, and I often went to our semi-local Independence Hall replica for field trips. Across the street we could hear happy screams, laughter, and roller coasters roaring by while we bravely tried to be interested in learning about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. We would think to ourselves that we must be the truly patriotic because we were at Independence Hall, while all those other people were having fun at Knott's Berry Farm. We would buy some cheap replicas of the Declaration of Independence or feather pens, then pile back into the stations wagons and mini vans homeschooling moms used to drive, secretly wishing there'd been time to be like everyone else and go to the amusement park across the street.
I'm an adult now. When I go home to California to visit we often stop at Knott's Berry Farm to eat at the Chicken House and wander the shops stuffed full of jams, jellies, and Peanuts gear. When we realize we have to leave right now if we don't want to be stuck on the freeway on the way home, we hurry back to the car, and load children and strollers. As we pull away, I look across the street at Independence Hall and think, I'd like to stop and go for a tour again.
But there's never enough time.

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