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An Evening With Dr. Franklin

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

While working yesterday, I received a message from my mother that Dr. Benjamin Franklin would be having a junta in the next town to the south of me. A group known as the Friends of the Library, in Snohomish, had somehow arranged to have the good Doctor sit down with anyone and everyone who wished to hear his tale. Because of the short notice, I had to do some rearranging of my plans, but, in the end, it was well worth the trouble. After closing up shop for the evening, I quickly ate dinner and then made haste to get to the meeting.

The junta began at 7p.m. and lasted for about an hour. Dr. Franklin regaled us with his various adventures growing up in and around Boston. Did you know that his first foray into business was alongside his father in the family's tallow shop? As fate would have it, Dr. Franklin was ill-suited for candlestick making, and looked elsewhere for employment. At the age of 12, he became an apprentice to his brother James, a printer. Unfortunately, his many adventures in his lifetime are far too numerous to list them all here.

He did, however, explain how he came to find himself mixed up with the group of men who started the American Revolution. It turns out that Dr. Franklin was never really interested in independence from England, but wanted England to recognize that the colonies would be best served with their own parliament--being so far from Parliament in England. It was only after being humiliated in a session of the privy council and being branded a traitor did Dr. Franklin's heart change to embrace total independence from England. As he put it, "You can only hammer on something for so long before it begins to harden."

In an effort to not tell Dr. Franklin's whole story for him, I'll leave you with what I've written thus far. I wish, however, to impress upon you the importance of seeking to meet with Dr. Franklin at one of his local juntas. Trust me... It will be well worth your time and energy. He is engaging, enlightening, as well as entertaining. I especially enjoyed the generous question and answer period. Opening the floor up to questions from the audience, he answered in a way that only Benjamin Franklin could. Also, if you're an organizer for a community group, school, church or fundraiser, this is an excellent presentation for your event.

In an effort to aid you in locating a future event with Dr. Franklin, I'll provide you with a couple of links. The first is Hardwick's, a family-owned and operated hardware store located in the heart of the University District in Seattle, Washington since 1932, who sponsors him. There is also Dr. Franklin's blog where upcoming events are posted as well as his own website: In addition, this show is sponsored by the fine folks at the Interactive History Company, based in Everett, Washington, who's credo states, "To Improve Everyone's Understanding of History Through Interactive Education and Entertainment." After last night's event, I'd say they lived up to it!

In closing, I wanted to personally thank the man behind the costume: G. Robin Smith. It's never easy standing before a room of complete strangers, let alone opening yourself up to their questions. You've taken the time to research Benjamin Franklin and it shows in your conversations. Again, Mr. Smith, thank you!


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