The time has come... I have a confession to make: being a writer has not always been my dream job. There was this period of time, when I was 13 or so, when I had glorious daydreams of getting my doctorate in languages and becoming a etymologist. Many people confused this with entomologist, and wondered why I would have to study languages to be a bug scientist. (Which proves why the world needs etymologists, doesn't it?)
And you know how everyone has his or her reading weakness? Some people are murder mystery junkies, some people hide teen vampire novels under their covers...I read dictionaries. I memorize obscure, fairly useless definitions and try to work them into daily conversation. I dream about word histories.
Now that you know that, you won't be surprised to learn that visiting Noah Webster's house was on my top priority list for our New England Author Tour. What did surprise me was what a relative little I knew about the man. Besides being a fellow word nut, he was a politician, an activist, a teacher—one of the behind-the-scenes men in the American Revolution (rather than one of those burning-down-the-houses-of-Tories kind)...and so I still love him even though he thought women should never be allowed to read novels. (He would certainly think me a heathen for writng a few!)
Another highlight was seeing all the gorgeous illustrations by Monica Vachula, from the picture book by Pegi Deitz Shea: Noah Webster, Weaver of Words. I hope these pictures help you enjoy them a little—but you should probably just go get the book from your library because it is lovely and well worth reading!