For my second day of training at Old World Wisconsin, I got to finally get away from paperwork and training videos and get on site to see the historical buildings where I’ll be a costumed interpreter. I gotta tell you, I AM SO EXCITED!!!! My first stop was to see St. Peter’s Catholic Church in the Yankee Village area. This church was built in 1839 and has a wood stove right smack dab in the middle of the center aisle of the nave. No bridal procession is gonna get around that sucker! One of my jobs will be to pull the rope on the carillon to start and end the day. Swingin’! I also got to play the pump organ. I have never even attempted this kind of feat before today. It was a bit like trying to pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time, as my feet had to keep the bellows going while my fingers worked out the four-part harmony, but I managed to squeeze my way through a verse of Amazing Grace without too much difficulty. What fun! After some consideration, I realize that hymn is probably not Catholic, although it may be from the right period. I still have so much research and learning to do!
I had to cut my time in the Village short and ride up to the German immigrant area to see the place I’ll be working on week days and with school groups. It’s an 1870s farm with a two-story house, bake house (or summer kitchen), granary, pig barn, regular barn, smoke house and three garden plots. I will be the interpreter for all these areas. I will be making bread in the big brick oven (it goes back about 8 feet!), tending the garden, keeping an eye on the pigs so they don’t escape, chopping wood with a mallet and froe, greeting guests and inviting them to interact with the place. Oh, so much fun going on! AND, I got fitted for my corset today! I can hardly stand it!!
Came home to turn my computer on for the first time and saw more than a dozen e-mails. Then I checked the poetry prompt for the day. It looks like fun, but frankly, I’m too pooped to poet. I have so much homework to do, so many questions to answer about the world I am stepping into. Instead, I will leave you with these sunset shots from our trip to the Mississippi and let you think about settlers moving west into the unknown. Why is history important… in the big picture? Why is experience important? Why is it important to share experiences through stories?