Moonie & Roger Williams

Tonight Moonie and I stopped in at the Roger Williams National Memorial, where dedicated staff like Ranger John McNiff educate the public about “Rog” (as I affectionately call him) and other historical figures and events.

Tonight the RWNM was showing off the last of five original letters written by Rog that they’ve been displaying one at a time over the past few months. This letter was written in the 1600s and referenced the property of one man who’d died and mentioned another man whom Rog had taken in and was teaching to read. I’m grateful that people have worked hard to preserve these pieces of history. Rog was a real person, not just a figure in a book, and it’s fascinating to see him brought to life and to see splashes of ink from his quill pen when he got excited about things.

Of course, it was kind of hard to read all of this with Moonie’s fuzzy head in the way.

Rog letter

Even when he moved, the words were difficult to read, and the Roger Williams National Memorial staff helpfully handed out transcripts of Rog’s letter. Moonie isn’t completely literate, but he likes to pick out words he knows, and he immediately started looking for words like “cookie” and “candy” and a new one he learned tonight, “cake.”

Suddenly he squealed, “That’s me!”

“What? It says Moonie? Where?”

Rog letter 2

But he was pointing to where Rog had mentioned the man he’d taken in and tutored: “…How I sought him out (by Natives) and cherished him in his Lost Naked and Starving Condicion and that I was not only his Master (and he my Howse hold Servant by the Yeare), but his Schooll Mr [Master], giving him my Dutch Testamt and spending much time to teach him how to reade.” Moonie was zooming in on the word “naked” and, as someone who runs around in the buff every day, falling for a guy who’d take in and help another naked dude.

He insisted on getting a photo with Rog before we left. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Rog died in 1683, but since the National Memorial has a great statue based on what Rog may have looked like, Moonie was more than happy to pose with that.

Roger Williams

Rog is his new best friend, even if he’s a bit taller than Moonie expected. And could stand to use a little skin moisturizer.

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