So I finally went to Chatham Manor, and it was quite amazing. Before I start my post though I wanted to make two observations.
1) Did anyone else notice that “Fat Kids” was on the Bill of Fare for the dinner party in the movie? A quick google search failed to enlighten me as to what this could be other than actual chubby children. which leads me to my second observation.
2) The description of Chatham “looming over Fredericksburg for years” has me convinced that Chatham Manor is in fact the Shrieking Shack. Discuss.
Now, onto the actual post. As far as actual Whitman stuff is concerned, I was rather disappointed that this was the only (non publicity video) reference I could find to my favorite Wound Dresser (besides Megan of course). Regardless though, I was determined to find the connection on my own. My Whitmania led me around the grounds looking for someway to feel as if I was walking the same ground as Whitman. I certainly didn’t find it here, although realizing that what looked like metal swizzle straws were actually catheters made me cringe. And I didn’t find it here, but seeing the ammunition up close made me realize how terrifying it must have been to be on the battle field. I can’t imagine how it would feel to see one of those immense shells flying towards me. I didn’t even find it here (and here), although maybe if I had been able to stay longer without getting the heebie jeebies thinking about the pile of amputated limbs I would have.
It wasn’t until after all of this that I realized where Whitman was. He was infused with the entire building. He had been there, he had talked to, loved, and comforted wounded soldiers there. Then I saw where he was, he was right in front of me. He had stood on this lawn and seen the same sights I was seeing. At that moment I found my connection to Whitman. As I drove down the rode on which Presidents, generals, soldiers and Whitman himself had walked I had to stop. I could feel the presence of all the people that had walked that road, I could feel their pain, their determination, their joy, and their loss. I left with an inkling of how Whitman must have felt as he watched hundreds of soldiers pass through the doors of the hospitals he worked in. I left understanding that Whitman truly was The Better AngelUncategorized