My period of mourning for the death of Downton Abbey has finally concluded (my mourning attire went from black to mauve to colors of sherbet, in honor of the gowns of the widow Iron Mary, before returning back to black since I think people can’t see me if I wear it). I have now moved on to other bloggery things, like writing a new, irregular column for this space I’m calling “Ask Abigail”.
Who is Abigail? I hear you asking. It’s a popular name, it could be any number of people. In this case, however, the Abigail of the title is long dead, so it’s safe to say it’s no one you know. Or me, for that matter. I never met the Abigail of “Ask Abigail” in person, though I feel like I know her, because I have read her mail.
I recently finished reading the book My Dearest Friend: the Letters of Abigail and John Adams, so I’m now mildly obsessed with the Adams family, and, by extension, the historian David McCullough, who wrote John Adams and 1776. In both tomes, the Adamses come off looking like prescient, courageous geniuses, a description they would both most likely object to, but can’t, since they passed away rough 200 years ago.
Abigail Adams may be gone, but her wisdom remains. Due to personal experience, she can answer questions regarding the following:
- Errant and disappointing children
- Dealing with grief after a smallpox epidemic (or after an untimely death in general)
- Church polity
- Lending libraries
- Rotating crops
- Buying and selling imported hairpins
- Buying and selling horses
- Coping with an absent husband
- Handling the noise of cannon-fire within a 10-mile radius
- Thorny legal problems
- Buying and selling land remotely
- Hiring and keeping servants in a employees’ market
- House Renovation
- Sewing, mending, spinning, weaving and other skills related to handcraft
- Taking care of livestock
- Taking in relatives
- Caring for an aging mother-in-law
- Educating your child in the absence of a local school
Please send all inquires and questions for Abigail to firstname.lastname@example.org and she will respond via proxy. Please don’t expect a personal response, as some things are even beyond the power of Abigail Adams. If your question is selected, it will be answered in this space.