Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Johnny Appleseed

Happy Birthday, Johnny Appleseed!

What did you do to celebrate Johnny Appleseed? Anything? Do you even remember who he was? Why he is part of America's legends, folklore and history.

Did you know that he was born John Chapman?

Did you know that he didn't start out as just a farmer like his father? But rather, his father started him upon a career as an orchardist by apprenticing him to a Mr. Crawford, who had apple orchards?

Did you know that in most places he traveled he didn't plant orchards but tree nurseries?

Did you know that he wouldn't warm himself with a fire if it meant disturbing the wildlife in the area?

Did you know that he never married because he was too late to propose to one woman and he felt that other women were betrayers?

Did you know that the popular image of Johnny Appleseed is a false image? Instead he "he planted nurseries rather than orchards, built fences around them to protect them from livestock, left the nurseries in the care of a neighbor who sold trees on shares, and returned every year or two to tend the nursery. "

Did you know that Johnny Appleseed may have suffered from Marfan Syndrome?

Did you know that there is a dispute about where he is really buried?

If you did not know about any of these things, you may want to read up a bit more on your folklore about Johnny Appleseed. He may not have been who you really thought he was--when you first learned about him in elementary school. To see more about John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Appleseed. I did and that's where I found the answers (as well as questions) and the picture of Johnny Appleseed. I thank whoever gathered all the information and the photo for allowing it to be shared through the wikipedia site (and now mine too as referenced back to it). Hopefully, you will learn many new things about him and why apples were considered so important--especially back then.

Now don't you wish that you had celebrated Johnny Appleseed's birthday? My school did. We had a very festive carnival type atmosphere and all of the booths featured apples. Apples to sort by color. Apples to catch. Apples to throw. Apples to eat. Apples to feel. Parts of apples (including the worms) to see and touch. Apples painted on faces. Apples of all types to see, smell, taste, feel, and in general get a basic sensory overload of apples. But we all had lots of fun and the students loved it!