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By Alex Oliveira
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Young Wellesley residents gathered in the library craft room on Wednesday, January 9, to work on some arts and crafts and learn local history as a part of the library’s and the Wellesley Historical Society’s Winter Wednesday series. With the help of the Historical Society, kids learned the story of Wellesley poet Katherine Lee Bates, who penned “America The Beautiful,” and worked with glue and construction paper to render the song’s “purple mountains majesty.”
With photographs of Bates brought by Wellesley Historical Society Executive Director Amanda Fisher laid out across a table, Library Education Volunteer Ellen Murphy greeted kids as they arrived: “Welcome. Today we’re learning about Katherine Lee Bates.”Working from a model piece pasted up on the window, Murphy, along with Derek, a junior at Wellesley High School, helped about thirteen kids cut and paste together a picture of pointed purple peaks that towered above green, fruited plains of construction paper.
“Does anybody know where these mountains are? They’re not in Massachusetts,” Murphy asked the group.
“They’re the Rockies!” somebody exclaimed.
“That’s right, they’re Pikes Peak in Colorado. She was standing at the top when she started to write the song.”
Singing together and to themselves in hushed voices, the kids worked diligently away, cutting, tearing and gluing their own rendition of the mountainous scene. There were also images of Bates with her dog, Hamlet, and parrot, Thelonious, for the kids to color, and mad-lib style lyric sheets for the kids to pen their own version of the song.
Held on January Wednesdays every year and sponsored by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Wellesley Historical Society, Winter Wednesdays strive to teach kids about their town’s local history in a fun and interactive setting.
“It’s a hands-on way to relate what the Historical Society has in its collection to the younger generations,” said Murphy, “Every week, there’s going to be a craft and some history that goes with it.”
The Historical Society will be hosting their final installment of Winter Wednesdays on January 30 at 1:30 p.m. in the library.