Rocks of History

Today, I prepared a text about Thanksgiving in the US for my students. I like to incorporate current events and national holidays into my lessons whenever possible. While writing about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving (the actual lesson will include an explanation that the first Thanksgiving is just a myth, but it still makes for a good story), I remembered visiting Plymouth Rock a couple of years ago and how thoroughly underwhelmed I was. Because here in Northern Germany, pretty much every second village has a big rock with the founding date of the village engraved, so Plymouth Rock isn’t particularly impressive at all.

There is such a stone perhaps a kilometer from my home, commemorating the founding of Feine in 1201. Feine consists of approximately five farmhouses and a bus stop. The bus stop is named after the family in front of whose farm it is located. I went to school with a son of that family – we always used to joke that he had his own bus stop.

Yet this collection of five houses and a bus stop, so small that it barely deserves to be called a village, is older than any Western settlement in North America save the Viking settlements. And that’s why I found Plymouth Rock distinctly underwhelming, because even tiny Feine has a more impressive rock to offer.

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