Hi Friends –
Life has been very busy for me lately and I’ve been laying here on Mom & Dad’s new bed thinking back, so I’m going to try to catch you up on some fun times we’ve had over the summer in the next few posts.
This story is going back to the final week or so in Connecticut. There are a couple of places that are a must see when you visit the Hartford area that Dad wanted the human puppies to see before leaving on our new adventures.
On this particular day we visited the home of Samuel Clemens. He ended up being a quite a famous author and humorist who wrote under the name Mark Twain. I learned that he was born in Missouri in 1835, which gave him the setting for Huckleberry Finn and wasn’t even famous by the time he decided to move his family to Hartford. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t rich either. The money they used to build their Connecticut mansion was in fact his wife’s. He did earn a great deal of money on his own through his writing and speaking engagements, but lost most to bad investments, most notably a typesetting machine that was probably puppy steps from being great but was prone to failures which cost him $300,000. That’s nothing to bark at and is still a lot of money today!
So where did his Nom de Plume come from? Well two places really. Mark Twain is a river boat measure of water depth. When the leadsman’s line sank to the two fathom knot (a navigable 12 feet of water), he would call out “Mark Twain”. As it turns out Samuel “borrowed” the name from another writer, Capt. Sellers who had passed and “could no longer need it.”
As we toured Mr. Clemens’ home we took in the sights of hand painted parlor walls, their pattern looking very much like what would only be done in wallpaper today. There were gas lights, where many families still relied on candles, and the rich wood tones throughout. All of this was interesting to my family because as you may know they are kinda book and history nerds. We moved at a nice slow pace throughout the tour but Dad noticed that I seemed a bit uneasy, it wasn’t noticeable to the other in the tour, but Dad knows my best and expects it at all times in public. He and Mom say the best compliment to a service dog is when people say, “Oh, I didn’t even notice him.” Dad took Mom’s advice and stopped correcting the small whines, or unexpected small moves left or right since nobody even so much as glanced our way. (Editor’s note: They glanced over every time Dan corrected because he made more noise than Casper, so I told him to STOP!) Dad took note that I was quite uneasy in the parlor as well as in the children’s room and the Master hallway. He said it was like a fly was on my butt, or someone kept bumping me. I was much calmer in the servant’s area and even wanted to try the brass sink for a drink of water. Dad laughed at me when I stuck my head into the bowl expecting the tap to turn on my command; it didn’t, I think we should have asked about that but it was a tight spot and we moved on rather quickly instead.
The most notable room in the house is of course, the billiards room. This happened to be Samuel’s favorite room. He spent much of his time here entertaining his male dinner guests late into night. When he wasn’t playing a game he was sitting at his writing desk, in the same room, where he penned his most famous works. As the guide spoke I felt comfortable enough and just decided to lay down. Dad looked down at me and wondered out loud to Mom, why I would choose to lay down on the job. The guide overheard the comment and told us all how much of an animal lover Mr. Clemens was; apparently he, and his family had dogs and several cats, just like my family. Soon after, we headed out side and I felt the need to move quickly past the back of the house, so fast in fact I forgot that Dad was holding on and I dragged him right into Mom! We finished the tour outside, by the carriage house. This gave other members of the tour a chance to meet us and they all commented how great I was to have on their tour. We chatted with some longer than others and even found those that agreed with us when it was suggested that I might be picking up on spirit energy and maybe even Sam himself was in the billiards room welcoming me to rest a bit. The home is as interesting and eclectic as his writing, and I would definitely recommend a visit the next time you are in the area.