(10.22) Heads up netops, this is our unique and baffling cultural inheritance, embrace it. But first, what does it all mean? In 1636 Roger Williams was forced to escape the pious nitpickers running the Massachusetts Bay Colony and he headed south.
After crossing the Seekonk River in a canoe, Williams was greeted on the banks of the other side by friendly Indians who greeted him by saying “What Cheer, Netop!” which combines both old English and Narragansett words and means “Greetings, Friend” or “Hi, Neighbor”.
So here’s your Dose-approved Cheer Crawl route.
Start with some drinking over at What Cheer Tavern at 228 New York Avenue (unclear if they stock Revival’s What Cheer? Pilsner). Then check out the music of Roger Williams (below) at What Cheer Records and Vintage, 180 Angell Street at Thayer.
Finally head over to the John Brown House Museum for their annual What Cheer Day celebration, a special living history event with a focus on 18th century fashion and scandal.
This year’s edition is more ambitious than ever, adorned as it is with authentic fashions of the day and fraught with a crisis that finds the iconic mansion atop what is now known as College Hill shaken with scandal.
What Cheer Day attendees will call upon the Brown Family and enter the year 1799 with the help of costumed interpreters. The drama begins when Alice Brown straggles home late from a party, troubled by symptoms including nausea and fatigue. Fortunately, Dr. William Bowen is on hand to provide a diagnosis. Distressed by the news, Mrs. Brown and her sister require the ministrations of Mrs. Brown’s longtime lady’s maid. Things only get more intriguing from there.
Sample18th-century cakes and lemonade, chat with interpreters and staff to find out the latest town gossip, and make paper dolls to take home.
What Cheer Day, $15 (children under 12 free), 1pm to 6pm (last admission 5:30pm), Saturday, October 22, John Brown House Museum, 52 Power Street, (directions)