Marymount’s Middle School had an unusual visitor on Tuesday, October 6: a pilgrim from Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, acting and speaking in every respect as a man hailing from the year 1627. Francis Cook—or “Goodman Cook,” as he taught the students to say—visited first Class IV and then Class VII, taking both grades on a vivid trip into the past.
Goodman Cook opened his presentation with a discussion of why the pilgrims first left England and settled in Holland. His story of meeting and marrying a Dutch woman swept the girls into his time-period, and by the time he asked them who would like to accompany him on his voyage to the New World in ‘the ship Mayflower,’ eager hands flew up all over the room. Many of the students, however, changed their minds after an all-too-detailed description of the ship’s conditions, from the goats in the hold to the endless seasickness to the near-inedible food—biscuits baked multiple times so that all of their water (and softness!) were lost.
Goodman Cook delighted the girls with his peculiar ways of speech—‘k-nife’ for ‘knife,’ ‘coe’ for ‘cow,’ ‘spaking’ for ‘speaking’—and even more with his insistence that they were the ones speaking and dressing ‘unfashionably.’ His presentation ended with a surprise from his sack: a costume for one student to try on, as an example of how ‘properly dressed’ ladies would have clothed themselves in the seventeenth century! An impromptu fashion show and a final performance from Goodman Cook on his penny whistle ensured that this visitor from another time will be long remembered in the Middle School.