Wayback Wednesday: Preschool Superstar

My preschool starring role: Dolley Madison.
My preschool starring role: Dolley Madison.

Last night, before I went to bed, I shuffled through my shoebox-o-photos, trying to make a selection for today’s Wayback Wednesday post. Nothing was really jumping out at me, so I went to sleep hoping inspiration would come to me at some point today.

Fortunately, it did – from a rather unexpected place.

On the first Wednesday of every month, I co-moderate a chat on Twitter with my officemate Julia and a preservationist from Canada named Kayla. Today’s theme was jobs in preservation, so we invited our colleague Priya, who runs the career center on our website, to join us. Now, as one might imagine, the public side of a Twitter chat happens online, but we handle the moderation on a conference call.

At one point, a tweet referenced the upcoming bicentennial of the War of 1812, which inspired a bit of a sidebar on the phone about the fact that Canadians have a much closer attachment to that particular war than Americans do. Somehow, in the course of the conversation I joked that I knew most of what I did about the War of 1812 from having played Dolley Madison in a preschool play… and that I had the photo to prove it. (This may have inspired someone on the call to burst out “Nerd alert!” but perhaps I imagined that.) Before I knew what I was saying, I was promising to use that picture for today’s post.

And so, for Julia, Priya, and Kayla, I present today’s Wayback Wednesday photo: me, rocking the Dolley Madison costume. I honestly remember nothing of the play, other than I know my role was to save important papers from the White House when the British came to burn it down. I assume I carried off this task with as much aplomb as a four year old can muster. I also assume I was the star of the play, because what could possibly be more important than saving the ephemera of our young republic?

I’m pretty sure there’s only one person on the planet who can confirm whether or not I was, in fact, the star – and I’d like to think my mom’s not gonna rat me out to the Internet if I am wrong. Right, Ma?


For actual information on the War of 1812, visit the Octagon, where President Madison – and Dolley – set up shop after the White House was burned. The Treaty of Ghent was signed there, and it’s a damn cool building.


Do you have photos from your past that you’re willing to share – and a blog to post them on? Play along with Wayback Wednesday by linking back to this post or sharing in the comments so we can snoop into your past, too!

6 thoughts on “Wayback Wednesday: Preschool Superstar

  1. Eileen May 5, 2011 / 12:48 am

    I’m learning so many things about you thru WBW which I’m finding odd, since we’re sisters and all. But I guess the three year age gap and your far superior memory skills account for most of it 🙂

    • Sarah May 5, 2011 / 3:32 pm

      I don’t know that I necessarily have superior memory skills… After all, do I actually remember being in this play, or do I remember seeing this picture and being told about the play? I honestly don’t know.

  2. Mom May 5, 2011 / 6:15 am

    Ohhhh, not only were you the **** star **** but you were the cutest, prettiest …….. You sat by my feet for hours waiting while every stitch was put in Dolley’s dress. You were adorable clutching an armload of papers, and saying your BIG line, “Mr. president, I have the papers”.

    @Eileen — I too am amazed at Sarah’s memory. Her WBW posts “jog” mine. And, as a one-year old, you certainly are not expected to “remember” this one.

  3. Priya C. May 5, 2011 / 9:29 am

    Sarah that is great. Hooray for history geeks!

  4. Kayla May 5, 2011 / 2:58 pm

    Love it! Thanks for sharing!

  5. susan May 5, 2011 / 5:13 pm

    I have such a bad memory you could probably convince me that I’m the frowning flower girl. I’d start nodding and saying “Oh, yeah…maybe…”

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