Sometimes traveling I feel like life transcends reality. Today was one of those days as we made what our professor termed an “enforced march” out of town. In reality, it was a beautiful twenty-minute stroll through lovely fields. At this point, many members of our class, including myself, were unsure of our final destination.
We arrived at the back of a house and the class took a collective breath of amazement at a cottage with a garden that could have stepped out of Midsummer Night’s Dream. There was discussion about never leaving as we inhaled English lavender, while walking under verdant archways. This cottage we discovered was the birthplace of Anne Hathaway, the long-term wife of William Shakespeare. Inside we could see beautiful 15th and 16th century furniture, including a bench in the parlor that may have been occupied by the great playwright himself.
Making our way through the house the class encountered a tour guide who was incredibly well informed about the Hathaway’s and the history of the house. He entertained us by describing the etymology of words or phrases like curfew and room and board. More importantly, he had a romantic soul. He encouraged us to think about Anne’s role in William’s life as important and their marriage as a happy one (I am not sure how much I believe that latter statement.) Has he read any of Shakespeare’s sonnets? Then again, there is so much that we can only guess at. What would life have been like married to William Shakespeare? Coming to you from Stratford, England….