As Laetitia walked down Raglan Road toward the Emerald Victorian in the early dawn hour, she was thinking about the night before, when she had met her grandmother and several members of the extended family for dinner. During the evening’s conversation, her grandmother used the term “young Turks” to describe a group who were trying to effect change in a women’s organization that she belonged to. When Laetitia first heard the expression as a child, she envisioned a group of men with turbans and scimitars and women in harem attire, but she later learned that the phrase originally described a faction of young men who rebelled against the Ottoman Empire during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At this point, her thoughts shifted to the day’s tour as she arrived at her destination, made coffee, and settled into a comfortable chair in the library.
It’s 123 miles from Laconia to Dummer, New Hampshire, but the drive passes through White Mountain National Forest. It took Laetitia and her group much of the day, since they made several side excursions and frequent stops to go on short hikes. On arrival in Dummer, the group did a walkabout. The town of about 300 residents is a scenic one, surrounded with lots of woodlands near the Pontook Reservoir and the Androscoggin River. As such, it attracts lots of tourists. The town was named, not as a comment on the intellectual capacity of its residents, but rather for Governor William Dummer, who was a hero during the eighteenth-century French and Indian War. The day’s limerick sprung from some happy hour gossip about an ambitious teenager named George.
Teen George viewed himself as a comer
A “young Turk” riding round in a hummer
But his plan had a flaw
Folks aren’t easy to awe
When you tell them your hometown is Dummer.