17 Jun Flag Day
I started and finished off this week spending the afternoon in the Freeman Schoolhouse, keeping an eye out for visitors (humans and spiders). It was a nice break from trying to make sense of the thousands of photos that have been uploaded to the “Place New Photos Here” folder in the network drive (one of my projects is to figure out a better system for dealing with new photos, as well as organizing the current ones). I raised the flag (which I can hear gently tapping against the flag pole in the breeze), opened the windows, and settled down at the teacher’s desk to read about the history of the school. I was a little disappointed when no one stopped in on Monday afternoon. When I was back on Friday, though, I had plenty to keep me busy. Four groups came in, and three of them had mothers who had worked in or attended nearby one-room schoolhouses. I told them a little about our school, and enjoyed listening to stories they had heard about their mothers’ experiences. Right after the first group left, I had more excitement. I had found a couple loose spider webs floating around the desk and chair, so looked over them thoroughly (or the chair at least) before sitting down. However, as the first group was coming in, I noticed a big, black, ugly spider scurrying under one of the old McGuffey Readers on the desk. Once the group left, I picked up a big wooden dowel (that was part of a hoop game) to try to do something about the spider, but every time I moved toward it I saw it flinch. The second group came in before I could do anything. I decided that to avoid breaking anything on the desk or scaring off any potential visitors when I inevitably freaked out, that I would move my chair and let the spider sit quietly at the desk. Unfortunately, it decided to venture further onto the desk, where I watched its striped legs drag its bulbous body to perch on the old pen holder. I got chills every time I looked at it, even though I was sweating in the 90° heat. Fortunately the rest of my week was exciting for other reasons. I met with the head of the Interpretive Division, who was impressed with my plan for organizing the digital photo collection, and I was able to really get started tagging and organizing those photos. Then on Flag Day (Wednesday), we had a naturalization ceremony here at the park, with 34 people getting U.S. citizenship. I was the photographer. I’ve gotten so used to being critical of the United States and our government that it was really an amazing thing to be at a ceremony celebrating this country, without any political agenda. Seeing these people tearing up and excited about becoming United States citizens made me thankful for my own U.S. citizenship. And seeing the judge cry when telling the history of our flag and when it’s been flown, I teared up too, for all the people who have been citizens, who are trying to become citizens, who were denied citizenship, or who have had to leave.