Thursday, April 5, 2012

In which I go to the big city, and see two-headed babies in jars

downtown Philadelphia

My internet has been out for most of the last week, giving me two bits of insight.  First, I miss being tethered to the mothership, and second, I don't really miss it that much.  Anyway, I'm back online and back to my blog, and I have loads to tell you all about.

Before I get to the two-headed babies, I have to say that the Ithaca Farmers' Market starts up again this Saturday!  Hurrah!  This is, of course, I am looking forward to the social crowd and the lovely customers and the flowers and fresh greens and Cambodian curry and regular income.  On the other hand, I'm mourning the loss of the weekends until next January.  This is the start of my TWELFTH season there.  Please come down and say hello, booth #84.  I'll have my painted belts out for sale for the first time.

In anticipation of the start of the market season, I took most of last week off to go visit friends in the Philadelphia region.  Everything was flowering there, cherry trees everywhere and little just-born-green leaves popping out on the bigger trees.  There was some shoe shopping involved (my maiden voyage into DSW, Designer Shoe Warehouse but also known as Danger Shoe World), and a total score on awesome sparkly tango shoes for $5 at a fantastic thrift store.  And my friend Karen and I took a trip into the big city itself to hit up some science geeky museums.  So there was the Franklin Institute, walking through the giant heart model and avoiding the crowds of hyper schoolkids running amok in the electricity exhibit....that was fun, but the real star of the whole trip was going to the Mutter Museum.

This deserves it's own paragraph.  By the way, there should be an umlaut over the U in Mutter, but I can't figure out how to do this.  The museum's promotional materials were very keen on letting us know about the umlaut.  This is a museum of medical oddities associated with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.  You can read up on the history with a little google searching, so I won't reiterate it here.  I had been working myself up to visit to this museum for a long time, knowing my inherent squeamishness about oddities and aberrations, but I found quickly that sqeamishness was replaced by fascination and compassion.  Ok, so there's a freakish plaster cast of seriously conjoined baby twins...but it's accompanied by a little card with their story of their separate personalities and how they lived to be 13 months old and were cheerful.  And then you turn the corner and there's a gigantic stuffed colon (and I mean gigantic) in a tasteful glass case.  AAAUUUGGGH!  But wait, there's the man's story and he was a real person who had to live in a sideshow.  There were so many gruesomely fascinating things...if you buy me a pint I will tell you all about them (the sad story of the dwarf and her baby, the jar of skin flakes, the ossified embryo, the lady with the horn on her forehead who lived well in to her 80's), but I will spare my more sensitive readers the details.  What really struck me was how so many of these people would have been spared their afflictions in these days of advanced surgery and nutrition and medicine, but also how so much of what we know now rests on the pain these people went through.  And thankfully no one really gets rickets anymore in most places in the world.  It was fascinating, and well worth the trip....and for those who are also squeamish I can reassure you that it is tasteful and respectful and Not That Bad.

See you at the Market!  (Don't worry, I probably won't be making a line of notecards of medical oddities.)

1 comment:

Gary's third pottery blog said...

a horn out of her head?????? oh man....