Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa
and anyone else who would like to be here
Not very far from St.Louis, next to the wide and muddy Mississippi River, is a town called Hannibal, Missouri. A very famous writer named Mark Twain grew up there a long time ago, long before I was born. Mark Twain wrote books about two boys named Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn who lived in a town like Hannibal.
One of the places we liked to go in the car was to Hannibal. We visited the house where Mark Twain had lived.
We learned the story of Tom Sawyer and the fence. Tom's Aunt Polly told him to paint the fence. This would be a lot of work. He told all his friends that it was really fun and wonderful to paint the fence. They begged him to let them try it. He made them give him money to let them paint the fence. That way, he didn't have to do the work himself. And he got money from his friends. Mark Twain's house had a white fence. People said this was the fence he was thinking about when he wrote the story of Tom Sawyer.
Mark Twain worked in boats on the river. We loved to look at the river and the boats that still worked on the river. In Mark Twain's book, Huck Finn took a long ride on a raft all the way down the river to New Orleans.
Mark Twain also wrote a book about the old boats on the Mississippi River. They had big paddle wheels that moved them through the water, and big steam engines to drive the paddle wheels. A few boats like that were still on the river when we were taking our trips.