Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Today was July 17th, and I was scheduled for one of my monthly now graduated to twice-monthly bus tours ... .

I'm not the only ranger giving bus tours of the scattered sites that define Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park, but since few on staff have yet been trained as interpreters of this specific history -- and the only other experienced bus tour guide is now lead ranger for the Visitors Center with little time to take the tours on.  At this point, the impression with the public is that I'm the "only game in town," thus my next several tours are all booked up, and it's just too early to begin to book September.

The bus tours are really the only way to experience the full context of this new national park, and they've become very popular with visitors, both from the City itself (where folks have known little about the history of this WWII Boom Town), and from the greater Bay Area public.

It might be of interest to note that on a recent survey of the guest book that visitors sign voluntarily, since opening on Memorial Day weekend in 2012, we've had 98 international visitors from 27 foreign countries.  This doesn't count the out-of-state visitation, nor those from the  nearby suburbs where so many of the descendants of the shipyard workers of the WWII era now reside.   Our figures (despite the absence of proper signage) are respectable (averaging maybe 2500-3000/month), and growing daily.

Today is post-Trayvon Martin demonstrations, both local and national, and I found myself factoring in recent painful history as I narrated today's tour. It was unavoidable.  But I found that -- since I have nothing to draw upon in my interpretation except personal history and experience -- I was processing that most recent history over the full range of the two-and-a-half hours of the tour, not often, not always aloud, but Florida and the trial surely were clearly a presence on the bus.

Came up with some remarkable conclusions that I'd not had a chance to even know were being drawn ...

and -- as I heard the unrehearsed sentences being uttered aloud during the commentary -- there were some surprises ...

I think they may need a few hours of fine tuning before I try to etch them into words in this screen ... but it may be enough to state that a weight seems to have been lifted ... a weight that had been gaining over weeks without notice ... but I've grown into new territory ... and I need to live with the newness for some hours before trying to move them onto a page. 

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