Page 13 - Lifestyles in Palm Beach Gardens - August '18
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Lifestyles in Palm Beach Gardens, Page 13
      Book Review



      Book Of Ages: The Life And                         which is where I discovered what turned out to be this   have ever had the good fortune to experience. More than

      Opinions Of Jane Franklin                          remarkable literary treasure.                     once, as I finished a chapter, I put this book down for a
                                                           What led me to select it from the thousands of other
                                                                                                           few minutes and simply sat quietly, pondering with a deep
                                                         volumes on this store’s shelves I have no idea. I had never   empathy the life of Jane Franklin – the youngest of her
      By Nils A. Shapiro                                 heard of the book, nor of the woman whose life story it   parents’ 17 children, seven girls and 10 boys. The youngest
        When we learn history, it                        tells. Indeed, I never even knew that Benjamin Franklin   of her brothers was Benjamin, who was six years older than
      is almost always by reading                        had a sister!                                     her. Jenny and Benny (as they were called) would be close,
      about the events and lives                           But that fact did surprise and intrigue me. And the   caring and adoring brother and sister for all their lives, into
      of the most famous people                          excerpts of glowing reviews on the back cover, together   old age, the last of their family to survive. But that is the
      of their times and their                           with the fact that the book was a finalist for the coveted   only thing they had in common.
      achievements. There  are                           National Book Award when published in 2013, was enough     Benjamin, who left home at the age of 15 and did not
      rare exceptions, and I have                        to convince me to make the purchase. And so, Book of   return for decades, would come to be revered throughout
      reviewed one or two such                           Ages came home with me, where it has rested among my   the world as statesman, philosopher, scientist, author,
      books in past review columns;                      personal library shelves ever since, almost forgotten ...   businessman, man of letters, governor, our nation’s first
      A Day in the Life of Ancient                       until I scanned my collection for a book to consider for   diplomat – a signer of the Declaration of Independence
      Rome comes to mind.                                this August review column.                        and Constitution – while Jane would marry at 15 a man
        This month’s selection is another – a book I came upon     The result is one of the most compelling, most   who failed at everything, borrowed his way into debtors’
      strictly by chance while browsing through a local bookstore,   emotionally moving, most impressive works of history I   prison and eventually went mad. She bore 12 children
                                                                                                           and buried 11 of them. Because she was a woman in the
                                                                                                           1700s, Jane was taught to read so that she could pray in
                                                                                                           church, but was not taught to write because women of
              CAMPBELL AND KARLIK, P.A.                                                                    her day were taught instead to cook, sew, and learn other
                                                                                                           appropriate household duties.
                                   ATTORNEYS AT LAW                                                          However, Jane was intelligent. She taught herself to write
                                                                                                           by sounding out the words, so she wrote phonetically, and
                                                                                                           apologized for her poor spelling in almost every letter she
                                                                                                           wrote. At one point she wanted her brother to know that
                             Wills • Trusts • Estate Planning • Probate                                    she admired how he had handled himself in an appearance
                               Taxation • Real Estate • Corporations                                       before the British Parliament. She wrote, “Yr. Ansurs to the
                                                                                                           Parlement are thought by the best Judges to Exeed all that
                                                                                                           has been wrot on the subject, & being given in the manner
                                                                                                           they were are a Proof they Proceeded from Prinsiple.”
                                                                                                             The book’s title, Book of Ages, is taken from one that
                                                                                                           Jane herself created, “the paper made from rags, soaked
                                                                                                           and pulped and strained and dried. Her thread was made
                                                                                                           from flax, and spun and twisted and dyed ...” Its purpose
                                                                                                           was to record dates: the births and deaths of her family. Her
                                                                                                           first entries were of her husband and her own:

                                                                                                             Edward Mecom Senr Born in December 1704
                                                                                                             Jane Franklin Born on March 27 – 1712
                                                                                                             Edward Mecom Marryed to Jane Franklin the 27th of
                                                                                                             July 1727

                                                                                                             Through the years, she would add many entries,
                                                                                                           including the births of 12 children and the deaths of 11 of
                                                                                                           them. Hers was not an easy life, but one that participated
                                        Diane L. KarLiK                                                    in the great events of her time and our nation’s history.
                                                                                                             After serving as a printer and bookseller in Philadelphia,
                                                                                                           Benjamin had gone to England and lived there for decades
                                                                                                           during the colonial period, developing his reputation there
                                                                       Tel: (561) 625-5220                 (fathering a bastard son during that time) and returning
         3450 Northlake Boulevard Suite 210                Fax: (561) 625-5201• Mobile: (561) 797-5004     home for visits only once every 10 years. His relationship
         Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33403                                EMail: dlkarlik@aol.com               with Jane, as loving and close as it truly was, was therefore
                                                                                                           limited  to  their  two-way  correspondence  of  hundreds
                                                                                                           of letters that were carried by mutual friends across the
                                                                                                           Atlantic.
                               pickupS FOR AuTiSM ...                                                        Through these letters we become first-hand witnesses
                                                                                                           to the founding of our nation as she experienced them,
                                                                   ... and Related Disabilities            an average colonist in Boston: “the shot heard ‘round the
                                                                                                           world” that lit the flame of the Revolution; the mob of
                                                                                                           colonists disguised as Mohawks who attacked the British
                                                                                                           ship in the harbor to protest the tea tax, an event that became
                                                                                                           known as the Tea Party; the secret meetings in taverns,
                   GOT cluTTeR?                                            DOnATe YOuR                     the rumors of uprisings, Paul Revere’s ride to warn of the

                                                                             GenTlY uSeD                   Book Review on page 14

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