For a couple of decades now, Kearney Park, in Fresno, has played host to the Civil War Reinactors on the last weekend in October. This event is assisted by the Fresno County Historical Society for whom I volunteered earlier this year by giving tours here:
This week I am working around back, in the servant’s quarters, answering phones for the Historic Society as the regular employees hurry and scurry with last minute details for this weekend. There is more information about the event at the society’s website.
When I taught in the large inner city high school, there were lots of field trips. If you were with me back there when I had a teaching career, then you may remember the details of those trips.
We went everywhere, making sure our students dressed professionally, behaved well, asked intelligent questions (because we did lots of research before hand), and wrote thank-you notes when they got back. I was the crazed teacher who worried constantly about how well her students were behaving and keeping an eye on the clock to make sure we got back to the bus on time. Now, I am on the other end. I am the tour guide. It is so much more fun.
The bus arrives, the kids and teachers pile off, they split into groups, and I ask the mansion tour group to line up on the steps of the large home. I have my script; I know how to line up the students; I have 45 minutes to get them through the house with all the information they will need and then line them up for the servant’s quarters/gift shop visit which is someone else’s responsibility. Then I make a dash through the house, open the door, and greet the next group of students. Two or three of these groups and I’m done and can go home.
It is so much more fun than getting the students back to school and teaching a couple more classes as well as preparing for the next day’s lessons. Less stress, too. I like being the tour guide.
I have always wanted to be a tour guide. Once I had dreamed of doing it at a winery. Now I’m getting the opportunity to do it at a local historical building–Kearney Mansion.
This house was built as the farm manager’s home and Mr. Kearney stayed here while working on his estate farm of 5,000 acres, mostly grape vineyards that turned the grapes into raisins. M. Theo Kearney was known as the raisin king.
I will be giving three school tours on Tuesdays in May. Not quite a winery, but still involving vines!