I know I promised a face mold comparison with Nanea, but, since it’s Labor Day, and summer is seriously coming to an end, I’ve really wanted to get caught up with my summer blog posts! I took Molly, Elianna (who plays Linda), McKenna (who plays Susan) on an adventure in Ludington/Camp Gowanagin.
Molly walked along the shores of the lake at Camp Gowonagin. She couldn’t believe that she, Linda and Susan had all gotten to go back to Camp Gowonagin this year! She had headed down to the lake to check how warm the water was. Ever since she had gotten over her fear of swimming last year during the crazy Capture the Flag War she wanted to try swimming again, just to make sure she didn’t have any fear of the water, that her fear was completely gone.
She stretched out and put the very tips of her fingers into the water. It was warm! Just as she stood up, something blue and bright glinted in the sun on the sand. She walked over to it. It was a bottle.
And it had a note stuffed in it!!!
Molly picked the bottle up. She was so excited! She had actually found a message in a bottle just like in all the stories she had read! But this one was real!
She was just about to reach and take the note out of the bottle when she stopped. Why do this by herself? Her friends, Susan and Linda would be just as excited to discover what was in the bottle. She ran as fast as her heels could dig into the sand to their cabin.
“Susan!!! Linda!! Look what I found!!!” Molly held the bottle up to them.
“Oh my goodness! A real message in a bottle! You found that on the shore?” Susan asked, “It’s just like in the stories! I wonder if someone is stuck on an island and needs help! And we get to save them! Or I bet it’s a map to some treasure! We’re going to be rich!”
“Or what if it’s something to do with the war,” said Linda, and immediately their excited expressions grew solemn. All three of them had family members who were fighting over in Europe. Molly thought about her father who was in England tending to the wounded soldiers. Could this possibly be something that might help them or hurt them?
Molly slid the message out of the bottle and handed it to Linda.
Linda unfolded it and read:The ship is making water fast. We have turned around and headed for Milwaukee. Pumps are working, but sea gate is bent in and can’t keep the water out. Flicker is flooded. Seas are tremendous. Things look bad. Crew roll is about the same as last payday. A.R. Sadon, Purser.
On the other side was a map with crude markings drawn on it showing a trail. Molly studied it, “I know where this is!! Look! This is the island Susan and I explored last year! And the trail ends just a little bit farther out…
“OH NO! We have to help them!! Come on! Quick!!!” Susan started to run out the door, with Molly right behind her.
“You guys! Wait!!” Linda cried, but the two girls were already out the door and headed toward the camp boats.
“Let’s each take our own boat so we can help as many people as possible!” Susan cried as she sprinted toward the boats, jumped in and started paddling. Susan had also overcome her difficulty of paddling and maneuvering a rowboat without going in circles. She was first to strike out into the water all by herself.
Linda finally caught up with Molly, “Molly wait!! You can’t just go barging into the lake trying to save the day! We need to tell the camp counselors what’s going on!
And anyway….wait a minute…hand me that message again.”
Molly handed Linda the message, trail side up. Linda flipped it over and groaned, “Awwww! We’re so stupid! Look at the date!!! October 24th 1929!!! That was 15 years ago!!”
“Oh no!!! You’re right! And Susan already left!” Molly looked out at the lake. Susan was already way out in the water. There was no way she’d hear them, “Let’s go get her and tell her. You think we can catch up?”
“Sure, get in. I’ll paddle.”
Linda began paddling vigorously with Molly shouting Susan’s name every three minutes.
They finally caught up to Susan enough so she heard Molly yelling. Molly told her their mistake.
They rowed back and trekked back to their cabins to continue what they were supposed to be doing, which was to set up their cots and get settled in the cabin.
“I can’t believe it!” Susan said, “1929! That bottle’s been floating in Lake Michigan for fifteen years!! And we’re the lucky ones to find it!”
“Yeah! It really is so cool! Oh my goodness! You know what we should do?” exclaimed Linda, “We should take it to a maritime museum so they can display it as an ancient relic!”
“An ancient relic!” Susan laughed.
“But Linda, you should do that!” Molly said, “Tell a camp counselor tomorrow! I’m sure they’d be happy to take you there!”
And just like Molly said, Linda was taken to the town’s Maritime Museum, the bottle and the message clutched tightly in her hand. Heather, the human camp counselor was holding Linda, and as soon as she walked in the door she was greeted with a gasp from the human behind the desk, “You have an American Girl doll!!”
“Haha! Yeah! I collect AG dolls and I love bringing them to all sorts of different places I go and writing stories about them on my blog!” Heather says.
“OH MY GOSH! I have three AG dolls and I love them so much! My grandma sewed a matching dress for me and my doll! Look! Look! I can show you!” She pulled out her phone and showed herself wearing a cute black and white sundress holding her look-alike doll wearing exactly the same thing.
“That’s so cool!!!!” Heather cried, “I’ve always wanted a dress like your doll outfit and I finally found a t shirt on ebay that matches one of my dolls shirts! This is SO exciting to find another adult who loves AGs!!! Are you on agplaythings? Do you blog?”
“No, I don’t blog, I just enjoy my dolls. What’s agplaythings?” she asked.
Heather wrote ag adult collecting forum information down for her. They talked and talked, and Linda was getting bored. She meandered over to the lights that go into lighthouses.
I wonder if the ship my bottle came from got lost because there wasn’t a lighthouse around, Linda wondered, and I wonder why these lights are shaped at the top with all these little prisms. She went over to the next exhibit and found out why.
Oh cool! It bends the light! The light points out so it can be even brighter for the ships to see! That’s so neat! Linda had fun spinning the wheel and watching the little red laser light bend so it was always pointing out in one direction.
She turned around and found a real lighthouse! That was just her size! She dashed inside and ran up the steps.
I’m going to light the lighthouse! Linda exclaimed out loud. She found the switch and flipped it.
The light was so bright she had to shield her eyes. She started humming the Lighthouse Keeper’s Waltz
“Ahoy! Any Ships out at sea?”
“What are you doing Linda?” Heather finally noticed Linda had gone off on her own.
“I’m saving the ships out at sea! I just lit the lighthouse!”
“Come down! You wanted to know where all the lighthouses were, so come here and I’ll show you!”
Behind glass cases were miniature lighthouses from all over the United States.
“Look! Here’s some from Virginia! You think we can go visit one or two when we visit there again next time?”
“I sure hope so!” Heather said, “Maybe one or two!”
There were even a few from different countries. They looked like cathedrals more than lighthouses.
“Yay! Big Sable! That’s our lighthouse!” Linda said.
“And South Haven, where we visit on the way.”
“Ooo! Look, Linda! This is about the Spartan and the Badger, the two car ferries that we see in Ludington every year. Look! These are their whistles.”
“That’s so cool! Now I’ll know what the ship is saying when it blows it’s whistle next time!”
It was a really cool piece of information, because pretty much wherever they went, the whistle was so loud, they could hear from very far away; hiking on the trails in the state park, or even inside their cabin!
They went upstairs and looked at old brigantines and other sailing ships of the 1700s. “Jacky’s ships,” Linda said, smiling as she remembered her friend, Jacky Faber who was at home, “she would love these.”
“She sure would!”
“Linda, let’s go hand your message bottle to the lady at the desk, maybe she might know more about it, and I’m sure she’ll be delighted you’re donating it to the museum.”
Heather and Linda walked over to the lady at the desk again. She was very happy to see them again, “What can I do for you now?”
Linda spoke up, “My best friend found this bottle with this message in it when she was walking along the shore yesterday. I was wondering if you knew anything about it, and if you wanted it for your museum.”
“Oh! How exciting! I’ve always thought it would be so cool to find a message in a bottle!” she pulled the note out, read it, and gave a gasp, “You found a note from the train ferry, the SS Milwaukee! It was sailing to Grand Haven carrying 37 railroad cars when it came upon a storm. Some of the railroad cars came loose and crashed through the ship making it sink. All 52 on board were lost. They replaced the ship with the SS City of Milwaukee, a ship you can actually go and visit today! It’s a national landmark.”
Linda turned toward Heather, “Oh! Can we go visit it?”
“I’d love to go see it! We’ll go tomorrow!”
That night the girls gathered around the campfire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows and sing camp songs.
Linda told them all about her adventures at the museum.
“And the lady said we can actually go and visit the SS City Milwaukee! Heather said we can go tomorrow, but she only wants to bring one of us. I think it should be one of your turns, since I already got to go somewhere.”
“Thanks, Linda. What do you want to do, Susan? Rock, paper scissors?”
“Sure! Ready? Rock, Paper, Scissors!”
Susan showed paper, but Molly cut her hand up with her scissors. They both giggled.
Linda started randomly singing:
Oh an Austrian Went Yodelling on a mountain so high
When along came an avalanche, interrupting his cry!
(Drum roll on thighs for avalanche)
Yo-delayy ki ki, yo-delayy ki koo: swish swish”
The next day was dark, drear, and raining, but that didn’t stop Heather and Molly from heading out to visit the railroad ferry.
“I guess it’s not quite as big as the Badger.”
“No, I not quite as big,” Heather agreed.
They were led into the bottom part of the ship where the railroad cars were packed in.
“Can you imagine what it was like on the SS Milwaukee with railroad cars coming loose and breaking through the stern of the ship like that? The noise! The terror! The storm!” Molly shivered, “And these cars are SO big! The damage they must have done!”
They walked up one level to where the crew lived and worked.
“Tiny little bunk beds!” Heather said.
“I don’t know! They’re big enough for me!” Molly giggled.
“They’re too big for you!”
“That’s why I have you to cuddle up with!” Molly joked.
Heather snorted, “Haha! Right!”
Across the sleeping quarters was the engine room. Heather remembered her grandpa. He had worked on the engine of a WWII minesweeper. It scoured the Pacific Ocean, searching out bombs that might blow up the American ships.
The engine room would get so hot, the crew would work 4 hour shifts. It was also so loud, that in order to communicate to others aboard the ship, the engine room had it’s own soundproof phone booth!
Four people worked together to drive and steer the railroad ferry. Two people on each side would follow orders and dictate how fast/whether to move ….
.. to the other two people actually doing the steering.
The black box below controlled the entire ships electricity. It was a very dangerous job because if you touched a switched the wrong way you would instantly get electrocuted. That was why the floor was a wooden platform, so in case that happened, the rest of the people on the ship wouldn’t get electrocuted also.
The top level is actually a real true hotel room! You can stay in one of these bunks for as cheap as $40 a night! Rustic ship living!
In the kitchen area, the plates and bowls were held on the shelves so they wouldn’t roll away on the floor when the ship rocked!
Even the stove had barriers so the pots wouldn’t bang into each other, or fall off the stove!
Molly danced to some boogie music on the radio!
Someone on the tour had asked the guide how long this ship was compared to the Titanic. The guide said, “The Titanic would span the length of the tree-lined shore, to the other end of the shore (where the back of the ship was!). Super long!!!”
Molly visited the Captain’s quarters,
and at the end, she got to steer the ship itself!
Yes, the SS Milwaukee really was a railroad ferry that sank and there really was a note in a bottle that was found from a crew member of that ship. Obviously, it was not found by Molly!
The ship that isn’t real though, unless you count it as a real disappointment, is the doll rowboat from Target. It’s a wonderful boat and comes with lots of things (not shown, click here to see my post/review of it (scroll down a little to see the boat)), but IT LEAKS!!!! I put Molly and Linda in the boat and it started filling up with water instantly! That’s why I only got those few pics of them rowing. Very disappointing. I guess it was a good thing they’re shoes had already been damaged by the campfire! I put them too close to the fire and their shoes got burnt! Huff!!!
So Molly has been enjoying being Historical Girl of the Year, but her year is now coming to an end….except have you heard the exciting rumor AG might be bringing her back in February!!! WOOT!! I hope she gets a collection! But even if she just becomes a cubed doll like Felicity, Addy and Samantha, that will still be exciting! Hopefully at least one or two new outfits! (thoughts on that, anyone?)
The new Historical Girl of the Year will be…….
I highly doubt I will be re-enacting Kirsten’s stories like I have been with the other historical dolls. Number 1, I am too busy, and all that requires a lot of time and effort. And number 2, Kirsten’s stories are so sad. I don’t feel like re-living them through my dolls. I do, however have fun plans for Kirsten! She will travel to at least two places of her time, and perhaps I will make up my own story just like I did with Molly here!
Stay tuned throughout the year!