The Retiree by Jerry Hoem January 10, 2018

Today’s history lesson came about to help some nieces who have developed a desire to investigate their ancestry, particularly the rumor about coming over on the Mayflower. That’s the sailing ship, not the moving truck. As you know, King James I ruled England in 1620 when the Pilgrims took off for America. James I was also known as James VI, as he became king when a young child and didn’t know squat about arithmetic. We like to call him Jimmy. He had a lot of trouble with parliament. A collection of his people took off for The Netherlands around 1608 to pack up for the New Country; England was the Old Country. They had a bunch of trouble with Spain and since this was around the time of Mary, Queen of Snots, so known because of her ill temper, the squad of discontents wanted out. They finally moved out in 12 years. These things take time. There must have been a lot of people on that ship. More of them turn up all the time. Among the squad were a couple of Fullers, of interest to the nieces. They supplied their shipmates with brushes to clean the ship and to comb out hat hair that would develop on the long voyage to Plymouth Rock while wearing funny hats. The crew loaded provisions for the trip, including a Plymouth four-door sedan, since the reign of the English Tudors was over. For amusement on the long cruise, a Plymouth Rock band was provided by the Mayflower organization (organisation, as the Brits spell it), and naturally they carried their King James versions of the Bible, as all pilgrims do. That would also placate the king. GPS was not fully developed in the 1600s so the ship was navigated using Mercator’s maps. If you’ve seen Mercator projections, you know they are dandy for nautical purposes because they represent lines of constant course, known as rhumb lines or loxodromes, as straight segments that conserve the angles with the meridians. But they have those nasty gaps where the world is round—really, it is round, even if it looks flat—so for a good hunk of the trip they didn’t know where the heck they were, but it didn’t matter, because if you don’t know where you are going, it’s hard to tell when you get there. Besides, the Mayflower lacked electrical power for the Mercator projector. Anyway, they found their way to Plymouth Rock, unloaded the sedan, and set out for the nearest SuperAmerica for coffee and maybe a bagel. I am glad I was able to add some clarification to what has to be a difficult and complex task. Some day I will add my analysis of King George III, as he had a really neat name and two predecessors, and possibly messed up as bad as Jimmy. When I get a little more technically astute, I will download my exhaustive analysis to Facebook. I tried that already. Either it didn’t work, or nobody thought it was worth a comment.