March 17, 1896 - Elizabeth Bassett

St. Patrick's Day

I have never much understood the tradition of celebrating an Irish holiday in America. This is not a complaint, merely an idle observation. I am prone to idle observations and have long had the good sense to keep them mostly to myself. For example, I have become quite convinced that men understand economics even less than women. This is of course why they will never discuss it or politics with us. The calamity which would certainly ensue after I voiced such a provocative (and correct) opinion would best be avoided (for my safety and comfort).

I wore mint green today, the fashionable color of St. Patrick’s day. Oddly enough the customary Irish color of the day was blue until circa 1750 AD. The green associated with the holiday now most likely came from a propensity for Irish nationalists to wear a clover on their lapel as a representation of their nationalism, something they expressed expeditiously on the 17th day of March each year. The “wearing o’ the green” the Irish would call it and undoubtedly an Englishman (perhaps color blind or did he truly believe the people were unaware their clothing was blue? Must research this!) must have taken the phrase literally. I think anyone who has met an Englishman would agree this is a more than plausible explanation.

I was tempted to wear blue today instead of the green, but unfortunately I think I might well be the only person in Primrose College (if not Brown University and all of Rhode Island) who is aware of the color change. Let me not forget to also mention the high likelihood of severe bruising from being repeatedly pinched by the childish tradition. Furthermore, my incorrect (by common opinion) color choice would have greatly upset Mr. Green, the only member of the staff who is Irish by ancestry. Undoubtedly, he would argue his namesake for the prominence of green (the Irish are well known for their exaggerative tales, a.k.a. blarney) in Irish history. Mr. Green’s temper (or rather his inability to control said temper) is well known amongst the ladies of Primrose College.

Mr. Green, sadly (or not), is leaving Primrose College at the end of term. Penelope, my roommate, has suggested we plan a going away party for him. Strangely (or not), she has scheduled the event the day after his departure.

In his honor, Brown University and Primrose College are actively recognizing St. Patrick’s Day for the first time. I was fortunate enough to be chosen to participate in the celebration by marching in the school band. I am quite certain my father would not have approved of my baton twirling through the streets of Providence. I however, quite enjoyed the spectacle.

I surmise the celebration and parade were done in a last minute effort to appease Mr. Green (rumors say he has been lobbying for such an event for a decade) and entice him to stay on staff. His temper not withstanding, he is an excellent professor of the musical arts. Prior to coming under his tutelage I had always considered myself musically inept. If I were to continue under his instruction for three more years I feel I might have been able to perform in public without causing the involuntary wincing for which I have become accustomed. I shall pray (for the sake of my future audiences) a suitable and experienced replacement be found.


Anonymous said...

A very nice entry, Elizabeth. Even ass an Englishman I find myself unable to illuminate sartorial/historical matters green and blue.
Mr Fane

Anonymous said...

"ass" an Englishman. A shlip of the pen, sorry.