Tag Archives: tour guide

The week is done

I finished a very busy week with three school tours at Kearney Mansion today. Rambunctious third graders, the day before Christmas break begins. It feels wonderful to be home and sit on the couch with no more responsibilities until Sunday when Terry and I light the four Advent candles at church.

The past week was busy but fun. The school had lunch every day outside (in 50+ degree weather) because the cafeteria was being used for dance lessons. The lessons were provided through an arts grant, and I’m glad the whole school got the opportunity to dance. Fortunately the two days I was at school the sun shined and made for a pleasant lunch time. However, the kids were getting anxious for their holiday break (three weeks) and so behavior wasn’t always the best.

Oh Thursday, after lunch was eaten, I had to retreat to the office, and sit on the naughty bench, as the chaos at lunch and recess was more than my elderly brain could absorb. I chatted with a 4th grade boy who was sent to the office for throwing paper that hit the teacher.

When I asked why he wasn’t doing his work, he said he had finished it and the teacher hadn’t given them any more to do. I asked why he wasn’t reading a book and he claimed he didn’t have one. So, I gave him a book I had been carrying around in my bag, just waiting for the right kid. It’s called The Red Rubber Ball and it’s about chasing one’s dream and being creative.

This young man talked about how he was creative and liked to build things. We also talked about how he would explain his situation to the principal who is also a retired educator who has been substituting at Columbia. She is beyond amazing.

When the boy was called in she asked what he had in his hand; he explained the book and crayons that “lady out there” gave them to him. The substitute principal came out, sat next to me on the naughty bench, and we had a good laugh about the whole thing. She said that she thought both she and I were too old to be doing this and should be suspended. She even tried to get the office manager to send us home. I told you she’s amazing. The office manager told us to get back to our jobs.

Good teachers know that kids will get into mischief if not presented with worthwhile tasks. Give a kid a book.


The deluge, the tourists, and Chinese New Year

California is still in a drought situation but for the past two days we have had a deluge here. More rain in 48 hours than the current season had produced up to this date. We are thrilled with the rain, but it is causing some problems such as flooding, and in the southern part of the state, mud slides. Here, in the San Joaquin Valley, the nut and fruit trees have all bloomed and the wind and rain will likely wash way those petals. The farmers are also worried about mold and mildew so are applying sulfur to help retard the growth of those fungi.

I was scheduled to do a tour at Kearney Mansion yesterday, but this time for adults rather than school children. I had never done an adult tour, but I was happy to oblige. I just had to study up on more of the art pieces in the house so  I didn’t sound stupid if asked about the paintings. School children usually ask if Mr. Kearney painted the pictures and I can just say no and move on. Adults will want a bit more information.

This was going to be a big tour-80 adults, two tour busses, coming from the bay area. The Historical Society director wanted extra help with the group so there were three of us in the house, spread out, to tell about various aspects of the house and Mr. Kearney’s life.  The tourists were mostly elderly women. There were about five men in the group. They were all very congenial and I had a great time talking with them. I found that to be an advantage over school children, I could have conversations with the adults.

Fortunately, the rain let up while they were at the mansion. I got pounded with rain as I drove home, afterwards, and the traffic was heavy by 4 p.m., but there were no accidents or street flooding nor downed trees. That is also a problem around here. Trees and limbs get blown over, bringing down power lines and blocking roads. The tourists were to spend the night in town, attending a local musical theater, and then continue on this morning to see the Blossom Trail.

The weather is supposed to be calmer today and Fresno’s Chinese New Year parade is still scheduled to take place around noon in our historic China Town. Terry and I went to last year’s parade (you can read about it here) and had a nice time, but I think we will forego this year’s event and just go straight to our favorite Chinese restaurant and have lunch. I am very much a fair-weather tourist!

Retired people activities

Keeping busy is not a problem around here. Terry has been getting more and more requests to take pictures of events. We were invited to a formal dinner at one of the downtown historical buildings last month to celebrate the work of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Terry takes lots of photos for this organization so it was a nice “thank you.” Even though they didn’t request photos, Terry took a few (100) or so. This shows an overview of the room:


In just the past two weeks he has done photos of their monthly breakfast and then of the grand opening of a new business of one of their members. Someone snapped a  picture at the grand opening, and Terry was in it, doing his job:

Terry at yougurt etc


The business is a yogurt shop, and this photo was taken of people with their samples of the product that were given out that morning. You can see Terry back there, camera to face, taking a photo of some other people from the Chamber, chatting.

Friday, while my friends and I went to Kingsburg, Terry went to another grand opening, this time a residential development in downtown Fresno, to take a few photos:


Taking the photos is the fun part. Then he spends hours editing them, putting them on CD, making a cover, and delivering the CD to the organization. On Friday night he took photos for a meeting at our church.  I don’t know when he will get time to edit those as he is doing the editing of our church’s video of the Sunday morning service which is broadcast on TV each Sunday morning. Not only will he do the editing, but drive the finished tape across town to the TV station. Oh, and he also operated one of the video cameras this morning that tapes the service for the one-week delay.

Me? I’ve been doing school tours at Kearney Mansion again. I did this last year and had so much fun, and I guess I was good enough, that they asked me back. The students who come are local third graders. I usually give two-45 minute tours, back to back, but if the school has a large group, then I will do three tours. I’m pretty tired on those days. Since we are in the last days of school here, the tours have finished, and I’m planning to work on a scrapbook project this week depicting a party I helped give one of our church members who was moving away.

Kearney 2


Here I am showing the students a panorama picture of the Fruit Vale Estates as it looked in 1903.

This photo, taken in the farm management office that is in the house, shows an advertisement that M. Theo Kearney used to sell his development in 1889:

Kearney tour guide


So, those are a few activities we have been doing the last few weeks of May, first part of June. The next big thing is to take care of our grandchildren for six days while their parents are doing a summer mission project. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Field trips redux

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.


Docent training


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!