Last week, approximately 120 eighth-grade students from Adele Harrison Middle School had the opportunity to spend a day away from class while exploring the Jack London State Historic Park and answering the “Call of the Wild.” At 9:15 a.m., students boarded the bus, backpacks in tow, for a fun-filled day of learning. Upon arriving at the park, students were assigned groups and given educational packets to use throughout the day. The agenda included a hike to Jack London’s Wolf House, his grave site and a tour of the museum that London’s second wife, Charmian, called “House of the Happy Walls.”
It seemed as though everyone learned many new facts while hiking through the area where he lived. Ellie said her perception of Jack London has now changed since this experience. She felt that Jack was the type of man who would let nothing stop him, and lived his life to the absolute fullest.
Tino’s favorite part of the field trip was when the docent gave a tour of Charmian London’s room, which was full of many interesting artifacts from the Londons’ travels.
Courtney enjoyed going to the House of Happy Walls because she felt that she had a better understanding of Jack London’s past.
Trinity now has a better understanding of his passion for wolves, his adventures and his love of learning. Jack London’s friends actually called him Wolf.
Olivia felt as though the Londons could still be living in the home and just stepped away for a moment.
Students from Adele Harrison have recently read “To Build a Fire” and are in the process of reading “The Call of the Wild.” This field trip really brought home the theme, experience is the best teacher.
Jack London was born on Jan. 12, 1876, to Flora Wellman and William Chaney – who was soon replaced by John London when William refused to be involved. As a boy, Jack enjoyed reading and writing – so much so that getting his stories rejected 600 times did not faze him. Jack London had two daughters, Joan and Becky, with his first wife, Bessie Maddern. Jack divorced Bessie and married Charmian Kittredge.
Jack and Charmian loved to travel, but they always felt their property in Glen Ellen was home. Jack liked the best of everything – livestock, food and parties. He planned on building a home that would be amazing. The construction of the Wolf House began in 1911, but his dreams were crushed two years later when the house burnt down only weeks before the scheduled move.
On Nov. 22, 1916, Jack London passed away, leaving his estate and money to Charmian. Jack London’s legacy lives on in his works and fans who travel from all over the world to learn a little bit more about his life. Adele Harrison students were lucky, we only had to board a bus, and despite skipping school we still learned volumes about this adventurous man.
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Heather Durfee is an Adele Harrison Middle School eighth-grader.