You may remember last spring I took the boys to see some of the sights of our town, including the Hugh Mercer Apothecary, and was very pleased to find the docents patient and willing to help accommodate us. The boys were off on Monday, so we fished about for President's Day stuff to do. Joey was not in a good mood for a long ride to Wakefield, and Ferry Farm was closed (why is the farm where George Washington grew up closed on President's Day? I have no idea). So I settled on another go at the apothecary.
Unfortunately, this time wasn't so pleasant.
When you enter the apothecary, the front receiving room includes a wall of medicines and a counter of jars filled with interesting herbs and such. The tour starts in the next room, which was apparently the doctor's surgery. There may be a couple more rooms in the tour, but I don't know, we've never gotten that far. They spent a very long time in the surgery, explaining what medicine was like in colonial times, quite graphically. It's a pretty nice little presentation for adults and children who can easily sit and focus.
When we arrived, the tour was well underway with a room full of children in the surgery. Since you have to pay for the tour ($5 per adult, $2 for kids 6-12), I thought it a good opportunity to let my guys try to settle and see if the tour would be a good idea. The docent was not the one there before, and she immediately started badgering us about how it was a paid tour and much to the effect of "pay up, lady." I explained that I would pay in a minute, as I was trying to get a handle on my guys. Andy was asking questions about the counter, Joey was asking questions about the furniture, and I didn't particularly want either of them running about the room while I was trying to get money settled. Both boys were being pretty good about their voices, so I didn't really see why the woman started fussing about us being in the room, but she did- "its a paid tour, and you're disturbing it" sort of comments. Why isn't she going to let us wait for the next tour, since it was a paid tour and already well under way? I wondered.
I started having my second thoughts, and quickly explained that my child was autistic and I wanted him to get used to the room for a moment. I think had the woman given us a couple of minutes to settle, we would have been ok, as I had gotten them both sitting on a bench and was working to determine if this tour was going to be something we could handle. But she didn't, so Joey picked up on the mood and decided he was done. He announced his wish to leave in a fairly loud voice- one that I would readily say was disruptive to the other room, where they were still going on about pulling teeth- and I was by now quite sure we were not welcome. Andy wanted to stay and ask more questions about the herbs and hear the tour, but we weren't getting the minute we needed to pull Joey together.
"Come on, we're not welcome here," I explained to get him out the door. Now the woman started saying things like, "I was a teacher for 29 years and know something about..." and "I'm just trying to help you..." and "You don't have to be so nasty about it!"
A teacher for 29 years? And you don't know an autistic child when you see one? Or offer to help accommodate a disability instead of running your mouth? This was getting worse by the minute. I finally got Andy gathered and out the door, and Joey made a break for the library just down the street.
Now, you'd think once I had removed my children from the situation, it would be done. She had her silent front room back, but was she happy? No. In her full colonial costume, this woman actually came out and followed us a way down the street, making similar comments about how rude and nasty we were being and how "some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed in the morning!" No kidding, lady. You just made it that kind of day for us, that's for sure.
And guess what else is closed on President's Day? The library.
We gave up and went home to play Wii Sports.